Cite as: Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Nikulásdrápa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 566.
|Firð stóð í bygð breiðri
borg Pátera sorgum,
mest áðr lýðr frá losta
lítt gættr í bý fættiz.
Páteraborg, firð sorgum, stóð í breiðri bygð, áðr lýðr, lítt gættr frá losta, fættiz mest í bý.
The city of Patara, removed from sorrows, stood in a broad settlement, until the people, not at all guarded against lust, diminished greatly in the town.
Mss: W(112) (FoGT)
Readings:  Firð: Frið W; breiðri: ‘bredri’ W  lítt: ‘lut’ W
Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. . Nikulásdrápa 3: AII, 160, BII, 175, Skald II, 92, NN §2334; SnE 1848-87, II, 194-5, III, 154, FoGT 1884, 122, 243-4, FoGT 2004, 32, 60, 90-1, FoGT 2014, 4-5, 57-8.
Context: The author of FoGT cites this helmingr to illustrate the rhetorical figure of topographia, the description of, or reference to, a specific place, here the city of Patara in Lycia.
Notes: [All]: This stanza bears some resemblance to ch. 12 of Bergr Sokkason’s C14th Nikulás saga erkibiskups (Unger 1877 II, 60-1). The relevant passages are quoted in FoGT 1884, 243-4. SnE 1848-87, II, 194-5 cites sts 7-10 from the priest Hallur’s Nikulásdrápa on the same subject. The background story is that the sinful and depraved people of the wealthy city of Patara were harrassed by a basilisk, sent by God on account of their sins, an episode that forms a prelude to the legend’s account of the birth of the saintly Nicholas. To judge from its position in the narrative sequence of the legend of S. Nicholas, the subject of this stanza would have been treated either late in the drápa’s introduction (upphaf), probably after some reference to the poet’s devotion to God or S. Nicholas, or shortly after the first refrain (see Context to st. 2 below). —  firð ‘removed’: An emendation of the ms.’s ‘frið’, presuming a scribal metathesis, first suggested by Sveinbjörn Egilsson in LP (1860): sorg and accepted by all subsequent eds. Frið (from friðr ‘peace’) does not fit the context, while firð ‘removed’, p. p. of firra ‘deprive, save, keep away from’ (cf. LP: firra 4), goes well with sorgum ‘from sorrows’ (l. 2), and qualifies Páteraborg ‘the city of Patara’ (l. 2). —  bygð ‘settlement’: The fact that metrical position 4 in an odd line of Type XE4 is occupied by a trimoraic nomen is an indication of a late date of composition (C14th). —  Páteraborg ‘the city of Patara’: Situated in Lycia, in
the south-western part of the Mediterreanean coast of Turkey. It was the
birthplace of S. Nicholas, possibly born c. 300 AD. He later became bishop of
the neighbouring city of Myra. Patara was a major trading port in antiquity and
the early Christian period. —  lítt ‘not at all’: Lit. ‘little’. The ms. reads ‘lut’, which could be construed as hlut ‘lot, part, number’, a reading accepted in SnE 1848-87, II, 194-5. This, however, requires the sorgum of l. 2 to be understood as saurgum from saurigr ‘dirty, filthy’. Initial l- is also required by alliteration here (initial h- in the consonant cluster hl- was not lost in Icelandic; cf. ANG §289). See discussion in FoGT 1884, 243.