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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Máríuvísur II (Mv II) - 24

not in Skj

Máríuvísur II (‘Vísur about Mary II’) — Anon Mv IIVII

Kari Ellen Gade 2007, ‘ Anonymous, Máríuvísur II’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 701-17. <> (accessed 19 May 2022)

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Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 5]. En digt om et andet Maria-jærtegn, Máríuvísur II (AII, 492-6, BII, 532-38)

SkP info: VII, 701-17

notes: entered by EM; updated and intro added by TW 13/6/6 based on MCR corrections; more corrections made early 07 - finalised 10/7/04.

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


All 24 sts of Máríuvísur IIVísur about Mary II’ (Anon Mv II) are preserved in two early C16th mss, AM 713 4° (713) and AM 721 4° (721), and they also survive on fols 81v-102v (all verso) of an early C18th copy of 713, AM 711 a 4° (711aˣ), written by Árni Magnússon (see Kålund 1889-94, II, 125-6, 128-31, 149-50). In 713, Mv II is found on pp. 85-7, directly following Vitnisvísur af Máríu ‘Testimonial Vísur about Mary’ (Anon Vitn) and preceding the later Salutatio Mariæ ‘Hail Mary’ (see Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 46; ÍM II, 228-32). The following gloss is recorded in the right margin at the beginning of the poem (p. 85, ll. 18-19): mariu visur er maria gaf barn einne bonda konovísur about Mary, when Mary gave a child to a farmer’s wife’. In 721, the poem is located on fols 13v-14r, following Máríuvísur IVísur about Mary I’ (Anon Mv I) and preceding BrúðkaupsvísurVísur about a Wedding’ (Anon Brúðv). On the top of fol. 13v the caption Af kraffta verki A daudu Barne ‘Concerning a miracle performed on a dead child’ has been recorded in a later hand. Árni Magnússon introduces the poem as follows in 711aˣ (79r): Þessar Mariuvisur eru uppskrifadar ur þeim rotnv kalfskinns blo᷎dum in 4to. fra Sr Olafi Gisalsyne ä Hofi i Vopnafirde ‘These verses about Mary are recorded from the rotten vellum leaves in 4° from Reverend Ólafur Gíslason at Hof in Vopnafjörður’ (i.e. 713; see Kålund 1889-94, II, 131). In the present edn, 713 has been chosen as the main ms. because 721 contains several illegible places, and 711aˣ has not been considered. For earlier eds of Mv II, see Kahle (1898, 37-42), Sperber (1911, 9-14, 61-4),Wrightson (2001, 53-66), Skj (AII, 492-6; BII, 532-8) and Skald (II, 292-5).

Mv II is structured in the same way as Vitn and Mv I (see Introduction to Vitn). St. 1 opens with an invocation to God and Christ, st. 2 contains a prayer to S. Andrew, and the miracle is narrated in sts 3-21, followed by praise of Mary and a prayer for mercy (sts 22-4). The miracle told in Mv II deals with a pious, barren wife who goes to the Church of Mary to pray that she and her husband be given a child (sts 3-9). Her plea is heard and she gives birth to a son, but because of her preoccupation with the child she neglects to pay her usual homage to Mary, and the child dies as a consequence (sts 10-12). The woman brings her dead son to the church, prostrates herself in tears before the effigy of the Virgin, and the child is revived (sts 12-21). A prose version of this Marian miracle (‘Son Restored’, Widding 1996, 97; ‘Child Revived’, Wrightson, 2001, xxi; see also Schottmann 1973, 380-4 and Wrightson 1995, 88, 93-4) is recorded in Maríu saga (Mar 1871, 977-9, no. clxxxi: Vor frv lifgadi einkason husfreyiu ‘Our Lady brought the only son of a wife back to life’). There are few verbal correspondences between Mv II and Mar; rather, it appears that the poet of Mv II retold the miracle independently. It is not necessary, however, to believe that he used another prose version (see Schottmann 1973, 380). The miracle is included in a number of continental (and insular) collections of Marian miracles, and it ultimately derives from the Lat. version De puero suscitato ‘Concerning a revived boy’ in the Pez collection (C12th, Northern France; Pez no. 24 in Crane 1925, 29-30).

Mv II is composed in hálfhnept ‘half-curtailed metre’ (see SnSt Ht 77III; SnE 1999, 32, 69, 85-6; Schottmann 1973, 390-4). Kock (Metr.) devoted a long article to the alleged structure of that metre, which resulted in extensive emendations of the texts of Mv II and Máríuvísur IIIVísur about Mary III’ (Anon Mv III) in Skald. Kock gives the relevant paragraphs of the 1933 article (cited as Metr.) in his nn. in Skald along with the references to NN. The references to the paragraphs in Metr. have been retained in the present edn, but no attention has been paid to Kock’s textual emendations, nor is there any discussion in the Notes of his metrical reconstructions.

The language of Mv II displays features consistent with a late C14th or early C15th date of composition (see Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 41; Kahle 1898, 3; LH III, 16; Schottmann 1973, 351-2; Wrightson 2001, xvii-xviii). For a discussion of the poet and the possible connections between Vitn, Mv I and Mv II-III, see Introduction to Vitn.

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