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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Heilagra meyja drápa (Mey) - 60

not in Skj

Heilagra meyja drápa (‘Drápa about Holy Maidens’) — Anon MeyVII

Kirsten Wolf 2007, ‘ Anonymous, Heilagra meyja drápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 891-930. <> (accessed 17 January 2022)

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Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 12]. Af heilogum meyjum, Heilagra meyja drápa. (AII, 526-39, BII, 582-97)

SkP info: VII, 912-13

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

34 — Anon Mey 34VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 34’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 912-13.

Anteócía meyjan mjúkust
Margaréta tók bjarga
sætum lýð, er sauða gætti
sinnar fóstru, ljúfust kvinna.
Ólíbríus vænan vilja
vildi af brúði mildri;
frúin kærasta fimtán ára
fyrirlátandi honum játa.


In Antioch Margaret, most gentle maiden, began to save the sweet people, most beloved woman, who guarded the sheep of her foster-mother. Olybrius wanted to get the love [lit. the beautiful will] of the gracious woman; the dearest lady, fifteen years old, refused to yield to him.

notes: Stanzas 34-6 relate the legend of S. Margaret of Antioch, one of the most popular Christian saints, on account of her supposed ability to help women in childbirth. The legend tells that Margaret was the Christian daughter of a pagan priest, Theodosius, during the reign of Diocletian, who rejected the advances of the prefect Olybrius. He then denounced her as a Christian. She was subjected to various tortures, including the assault of Satan in the form of a dragon, who tried to swallow her. She was eventually beheaded. There are three versions of the saga of S. Margaret in C14th and later ON mss (Unger 1877, I, 474-81; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 320; Wolf 2003, 42-9, 158-9). Some of the later mss, particularly the very small ones, were almost certainly used as talismans to help women in childbirth (cf. Jón Steffensen 1965), a subject important to the poet of Mey (see st. 36). On her cult, see Cormack 1994, 121-2.

editions: Skj [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 12]. Af heilogum meyjum 34 (AII, 533; BII, 590); Skald II, 326-327, NN §2976A.


AM 721 4° (721) 9r - 9r (Mey)  transcr.  image  image  
AM 713 4° (713) 25, 30 - 25, 32 ()  image  image  
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