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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Máríuvísur III — Anon Mv IIIVII

Anonymous Poems

Kari Ellen Gade 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Máríuvísur III’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 718-38.

 

Dróttinn, gief þú mier mátt,
máttugr, bragarhátt,
svá að eg færði fögr orð,
faðir várr, í einn stað.
Veittu fyrir vald þitt,
valdandi, guð, um aldr
ástar, í opið brjóst,
óttalausa máls nótt.
 
‘Powerful Lord, give me power, a poetic form, so that I might bring fair words into one place, our Father. God, ruler of love for eternity, lead by your might a fearless wealth of words into my open breast.
Heyrðu, svá að hrein orð
hitti eg og gleði mitt,
æstr, fyrir unað best,
Andréas, hugarland.
Minnumz eg, að mey sönn,
Máría — sú er líkn vár
í hreinum vís vón
verkum — leysti einn klerk.
 
‘Hear, most worthy Andrew, so that I may find pure words and may please my mind-land [BREAST] by the best bliss. I remember that the true Virgin, Mary, redeemed a cleric; she is our mercy, trusty hope in pure deeds.
Siða geymdi sjá maðr
sjaldan um barnsaldr;
uppi vill hann heims hopp
hafa, þegar til gaf.
Þegninn lagði þrátt magn
þykkjustórr í víndrykk;
gjörðiz hann við gleðiorð
gálauss um sitt mál.
 
‘This man seldom heeded morals during childhood; he wants to uphold the pleasures of the world as soon as there was an opportunity. This insolent fellow incessantly put his energy into wine-drinking; he became careless about his condition among jesting words.
Rítar gjörðiz ranglátr
rennir við yfirmenn;
hjart varð af sökum sárt;
siðir spillaz þar við.
Kvennaástin kvelr hann
— klerkum er það mein — sterk;
var hann ór viti nær
vífa fyrir gleðilíf.
 
‘The speeder of the shield [WARRIOR] became unjust to his superiors; the heart became wounded by sins; morals are destroyed by that. The strong love of women torments him; that is a harm to clerics; he was almost out of his wits because of a life of pleasure with women.
Sefi gjörðiz saurlífr;
sárum … hugarfár,
lýtanna logi heitr
lerkað fekk þann klerk,
hverja nótt að hann fór
Hrundar á gulls fund
villr yfir vassfall;
váða giekk um hans ráð.
 
‘His mind became lecherous; the mind-danger … with bitterness(es) [lit. hurts] the hot flame of sins tormented that cleric, so that he went every night to meet a Hrund <valkyrie> of gold [WOMAN], crazed, across a river; danger threatened his condition.
Ítr hafði einn hlut
jafnan fyrir guðs nafn,
Máríu, sem vitum vier,
vaktað, ef frá er sagt.
Hann las í hvert sinn
hæstar tíðir guði næst
mjúkri við mein slík
móður, þegar hann upp stóð.
 
‘The excellent one had always observed one thing because of the name of God, Mary, as we know, which is told. Against such transgressions he recited the highest hours next to God to the gentle mother every time as soon as he got up.
Enn fór hann eitt sinn
ofanvert nætrrof
heiman yfir stórstraum;
strangan efldi foss gang.
Farið gjörðiz fult nær,
flóðið þar er hann stóð;
leynir óttaz líftjón
lýta, ef skipið brýtr.
 
‘Again he went one time at the end of the night’s retreat from home across the mighty stream; the torrent gathered a strong current. The vessel became almost full, because the flooding overtook him; the concealer of sins [NEGLIGENT PRIEST] fears life-loss if the ship breaks.
Kvíðir við kvalanauð
klerkr fyrir mein sterk;
treysti hann á tígn Krists
trúandi ok biðr nú:
‘Nær vertu, mær, mier,
Máría, svá að liniz fár;
lát mig eigi — dug* drótt —
deyja hier, guðs mey.’
 
‘The cleric worries about torment-distress because of grievous sins; believing, he trusted in the honour of Christ and now prays: ‘Be near me, Virgin Mary, so that the danger subsides; do not let me die here, Virgin of God [= Mary]; help your followers.’
Tíða sinna tregbjóðr
trúar hafði ei gáð nú;
heyriliga hann hefr þær;
henni boðaz dýrð tvenn.
Lítið fekk hann lesið út;
líðr svá að honum stríð;
‘Áve Máría,’ hann upp hóf
óttafullr og dó skjótt.
 
‘Now the slow-preacher of faith [NEGLIGENT PRIEST] had not observed his hours; he begins them audibly; a double glory is proclaimed to her. Little was he able to read out; the toil afflicts him so; ‘Hail Mary,’ he began, fearful, and died at once.
Síðan er hann sökk niðr
sektarfullr og varð drektr,
kraup hann kafadjúp
kaldr eftir liðinn aldr.
tr, þegar líf þraut,
lokkandi djöfulsflokkr;
fjandr gripu fast önd
fleiri, en teliz þeir.
 
‘After he sank down, full of guilt, and was drowned, he crept through the plunging depths, cold, after his departed life. An enticing devil-crowd sees this, as soon as life ended; more fiends than can be counted gripped his spirit firmly.
Einglar kómu að þeim
ofan með guðs lof:
‘Láti þier,’ kvað ljúf sveit,
‘liggja þann, er frið þiggr.
Enn, ef þier hatið hann,
hefndin verðr af guði efnd;
Máría kallar mann sier;
muni þier, að kemr hun.’
 
‘Angels came at them from above with the leave of God: ‘Let that one lie,’ said the lovely company, ‘who will obtain peace. But, if you persecute him, vengeance will be effected by God; Mary claims the man for herself; remember that she will come’.
Hrópar hinn, er gaf glæp,
og greinir þegar klerks mein;
löstu berr á loft fast;
ló hann við mart þó,
áðr himins björt brúðr
borgið fekk hans sorg;
er af rótum riettlát
runnin upp við miskunn.
 
‘The one who gave sin shouts, and at once explains the cleric’s offences; he spreads the sins ardently into the air; he lied about much, though, before the bright bride of heaven [= Mary] could mitigate the man’s misery; the just one is infused from the roots with mercy.
Máría kom til móts þar;
móðurliga hun hjá stóð;
dökkr hafði djöfulsflokkr
dregið hann á kvalaveg.
Hrygðarfull, ‘Höfuðslægð,
hverju valdi taki þier
meinafullir minn þjón?’
mærin talar guði kær.
 
‘Mary came to meet them [lit. to the meeting] there; she stood motherly by; the dark devil-throng had dragged him onto the road of torments. Mournful, the Virgin speaks, dear to God, ‘Principal slyness, by what authority do you, full of evil, take my servant?’
‘Hvessu máttu í hendr oss,
himiríkis frú slík,
þennan eigna þier mann?’
þverinn mælti kvalaherr.
‘Fleygir gjörði fjarðlogs
flest, þar er hann gat vest,
svá var hann saurlífr
syndafullr og harðlyndr.
 
‘‘How can you, such a lady of the heavenly kingdom [= Mary], appropriate for yourself this man against us?’ said the obstinate torment-army [DEVILS]. ‘The flinger of the fjord-flame [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] did the most where he could do the worst; he was so depraved, sinful and ruthless.
‘Siða skyldar svá guð
sannan vera hvern mann;
hæfilæti og hreint líf
háleitt er það lögmál.
Hier í móti að hann fór
háðuliga með sitt ráð;
fleiri gjörði hann verk vár
en vili guðs að stóð til.’
 
‘‘Thus God decrees that each man should be true in morals; moderation and a pure life, that is a sublime law. Against this, he dealt shamefully with his condition; he did more of our deeds than God’s will warranted.’
‘Eg mun eigi það við þig
þræta,’ kvað meyin sæt;
‘guðs hefir banablóð
banni frá leyst hann.
Býð eg því mens meiðs
máli og klerks sál
að sönnu fyrir son minn;
sier hann, það er riett er.’
 
‘‘I shall not argue that with you,’ said the sweet Virgin; ‘the death-blood of God has delivered him from damnation. I summon that case of the tree of the neck-ring [MAN] and the cleric’s soul truly before my son; he sees what is right.’
Koma fyrir Krist dóm
kvalarar, sem gieta skal;
akta þeir uppkveikt
ógurliga nýtt róg.
Árar kváðu almbör
jafnan styggja guðs nafn;
sárar geingu sakir nær;
sögðu þeir hans brögð.
 
‘The tormentors come before the judgement of Christ, as will be told; they present an inflamed, new accusation frighteningly. The messengers said that the elm-bow tree [WARRIOR] always offended against the name of God; the bitter charges cut deeply [lit. went near]; they told of his actions.
Kippa þeir um klerk upp
kyndugir höfuðsynd:
‘Siða drýgði sviftuðr
sómalausan hórdóm.
Síðast, áðr líf* leið,
líkti hann að gjöra slíkt;
fyrir þetta sakasár
sálin verðr að hafa bál.’
 
‘Crafty, they pull up a cardinal sin of the cleric: ‘The remover of morals [NEGLIGENT PRIEST] engaged in honourless whoredom. At the very last, before life ended, it pleased him to do such a thing; because of this guilt-wound the soul must suffer the fire.’
Árum veitti annsvör
unnandi miskunn;
heldr verndar meyin mild
merkiliga sinn klerk.
Ræðir svá rík brúðr:
‘Rietta hefir yðr stiett
dáðum prýddr Dávíð
diktað, er hann saung slíkt:
 
‘Loving mercy gave answers to the messengers; the gentle Virgin defends her cleric quite remarkably. The mighty bride speaks thus: ‘David, adorned with accomplishments, has prepared the right path for you when he sang like this:
‘Rangir váttar ráð þung
* rísa upp og gjöra víst;
lygi flytr reift róg,
rennr sú er með flærð enn.
Minnaz rieð á miskunn
maðr sá,’ að frúin kvað,
‘að sönnu las hann Síóns
síðast á lífstíð.’
 
‘‘False witnesses rise up and certainly create grave conditions; a lie, which still runs around with destruction, spreads intentional slander. That man did remember mercy,’ said the lady, ‘truly, he read [the prayer] of Zion in the last moment of [lit. latest in] his lifetime.’
‘Munni hans,’ kvað mekt sönn,
mart lúkiz upp bjart;
tungan endi sinn saung,
og sjái fyst, hvað það má.’
Skýja laus skör ló;
skilja má, að kantil
Áve Máría upphaf
á var þar skráð þá.
 
‘‘Through his mouth,’ said the True Power, ‘much may be revealed brightly; the tongue ended its song, and let us first see, what that can do.’ The deceitful crowd of clouds [DEVILS] lied; one can discern that a song, Hail Mary, the beginning, was then written on it.
Árar stukku, þegar þeir
þessa heyrðu gietið vess;
síðan yrðir sæl brúðr
sveitir þeira háleit:
‘hvessu máttu …
hælaz,’ kvað meyin sæl;
‘þennan kalla eg mier mann;
minna sie eg að þier vinnz.
 
‘The messengers ran away as soon as they heard this verse mentioned; then the blessed, exalted bride addresses their troops: ‘How can you boast …,’ said the blessed Virgin; ‘I claim this man for myself; I see that less is achieved for you.
‘Ginni þier frá guði menn
að gjöra það, eð ilt er;
sárar fyrir sakir þær
síðan að þeir fái stríð.
Einatt skal yðr pín
aktaz, þá frá er sagt,
að þier freistið fira mest
og fáið eigi svikið þá.’
 
‘‘You entice men away from God to do that which is evil, so that they later suffer torment because of those bitter offences. Always shall torture be devised for you when it is told that you tempt people the most and are not able to deceive them.’
Flatir hurfu frá í braut
fjandr sviftir hans önd
og mistu nýtt nest
nauðigir, sem guð bauð.
Sína bað Sátán
sveina fá stórmein,
er þeir kómu í kvalir heim;
kvað hann vera skylt það.
 
‘The shame-faced fiends turned away from there, deprived of his spirit, and they, reluctant, lost the new provisions as God commanded. Satan ordered that his servants should receive great harm when they came home into torments; he said that was deserving.
Göfugligt guðs víf
giefr fyrir utan ef
hófi hægt líf;
heimar skiftuz klerk þeim.
Síðan undir sátt bauð
sættandi fljóð* mætt,
að hann rietti ráð sitt;
rausnar var það fögr lausn.
 
‘The glorious wife of God [= Mary] grants [the man] without doubt a pleasant life according to his ability; worlds were exchanged for that cleric. Then the splendid, reconciling lady stipulated in accordance with the reconciliation that he should mend his ways; that was a fine redemption of esteem.
Þerfiliga þaðan af
þakkir gjörði hugrakkr,
meðan endiz líf lunds
linna, við guð sinn.
Og af mönnum mest ann
maðr sjá fyrir dugnað
Máríu, sem vón var,
verkin bætti sjá klerkr.
 
‘From then on the brave-minded one humbly gave thanks to his God while the life of the tree of snakes [MAN] lasted. And of all men this man loves Mary the most for her help, as was expected; this cleric mended his ways.
Máría, krjúpa menn þier,
mætust, því að ágætr
setti þig fyrir mikinn mátt
móður sína, hreint fljóð.
Ei*gi* mun svá aumligr
iðrandi, ef þig biðr,
að hann fariz, frúin skær;
flestra ertu hjálp mest.
 
‘Most glorious Mary, men kneel to you, because the famous one placed you, his mother, the pure woman, in charge of great power. There will not be a repenting one so miserable that he perishes, if he worships you, luminous lady; you are the greatest help of most people.
Máría, ertu sköpuð skær,
skærust, og guði kær;
kæran, muntu duga, dýr,
dýru fólki, lofskýr.
Skýrust má; sektsár
sárin láttu gróa vár;
vára kenni eg nauð nær;
næri vertu, guðs mær.
 
‘Luminous Mary, you are created luminous and dear to God; precious darling, you will help precious people, praise-bright. The brightest one is powerful; let our guilt-sore sores heal; I feel that our distress is near; be nearby, Virgin of God [= Mary].
Máría, gief þú, meyin dýr,
mjúkust, þeim eð er sjúkr,
linun, að laung pín
líði, sú er vár bíðr,
því að ór heimi, hæst blóm,
hieðan, trúi eg, oss kveðr
sannur guð sonr þinn;
sálum hjálpi þitt mál.
 
‘Gentlest Mary, give, precious Virgin, comfort to the one who is sick, so that the long torment which awaits us may pass, because, highest blossom, the true God, your son, will call us away from this world, I believe; may your plea help souls.
Himiríkis hæst blóm,
hæstum guði ertu næst,
móðir og mey prúð
mildinnar fögr snild.
Máría, legg þú dóm, dýr,
diktandi, á verk slíkt;
tákna, mun eg, lofuð líkn,
linna hier við flokk þinn.
 
‘Highest blossom of the heavenly kingdom, you are next to the highest God, mother and splendid Virgin, fair accomplishment of grace. Precious Mary, pass, carefully deliberating, judgement on such a work; praised mercy of miracles, I shall now end your poem.
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