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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Máríuvísur II — Anon Mv IIVII

Anonymous Poems

Kari Ellen Gade 2007, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

 

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.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Crane, Thomas Frederick, ed. 1925. Liber de miraculis sanctae Dei genitricis Mariae. Cornell University Studies in Romance Languages and Literature 1. Ithaca, New York and London: Cornell University Press and Oxford University Press.
  5. Schottmann, Hans. 1973. Die isländische Mariendichtung. Untersuchungen zur volkssprachigen Mariendichtung des Mittelalters. Münchner germanistische Beiträge 9. Munich: Fink.
  6. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  7. Wrightson, Kellinde. 1995. ‘Marian Miracles in Old Icelandic Skaldic Poetry’. In Burge et al. 1995, 87-99.
  8. Wrightson, Kellinde, ed. 2001. Fourteenth-Century Icelandic Verse on the Virgin Mary: Drápa af Maríugrát, Vitnisvísur af Maríu, Maríuvísur I-III. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 14. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  9. ÍM = Jón Helgason, ed. 1936-8. Íslenzk miðaldarkvæði: Islandske digte fra senmiddelalderen. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  10. Jón Þorkelsson [J. Thorkelsson]. 1888. Om digtningen på Island i det 15. og 16. århundrede. Copenhagen: Høst & søns forlag.
  11. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.
  12. LH = Finnur Jónsson. 1920-4. Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie. 3 vols. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Gad.
  13. SnE 1999 = Snorri Sturluson. 1999. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. Rpt. with addenda and corrigenda. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  14. Internal references
  15. Kari Ellen Gade 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Vitnisvísur af Máríu’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 739-57.
  16. Valgerður Erna Þorvaldsdóttir 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Brúðkaupsvísur’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 527-53.
  17. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 77’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1188.
  18. Not published: do not cite ()
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