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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Heil 15VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra manna drápa 15’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 883.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra manna drápa

text and translation

†A… …aust
…mus† píndi beima;
… byskup ljósan
beiða skjótt, að fyr hann leiðiz.
Illir fundu í einum helli;
úti lágu dýr fyr skúta;
brúðar leysti hann bur frá dauða;
bein var honum að kverkameini.

†A… …aust …mus† píndi beima …; beiða ljósan byskup skjótt, að leiðiz fyr hann. Illir fundu í einum helli; dýr lágu úti fyr skúta; hann leysti bur brúðar frá dauða; bein var honum að kverkameini.
‘…tormented the men …; request that the radiant bishop be quickly brought before him. Wicked men found [him] in a cave; animals lay outside the cavern; he released the son of a woman from death; a bone caused him pain in his throat.

notes and context

Stanzas 15-19 concern S. Blaise (Blasius, bishop of Sebastea in Armenia, c. C4th), a martyr popular in Medieval Europe and in Iceland, who was attributed with miracle-working powers, particularly in respect of diseased animals and humans, on account of some of the miracles ascribed to him. He was regarded as particularly effective in curing afflictions of the throat (see st. 15/8 and Cormack 1994, 68). Cormack (1994, 85) surmises that the cult of Blaise in Iceland may have been stimulated by pilgrims to the monastery of Reichenau, of which he was patron, and by the dedication to him (along with S. Giles) of an altar in the crypt of Lund Cathedral in 1131. Blasíus saga appears to have been translated first into Norw.; a fragment from c. 1150 is extant and there is another, Icel. fragment, based on this translation, from C13th (Unger 1877, I, 256-71; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 303; Foote 1962, 23). In Iceland, the cult of Blaise seems to have been confined to the south-western part of the island. — [1]: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends A... ...aust to Agrícolaus. Agricolaus is the name of Blaise’s antagonist in the ON prose saga (Unger 1877, I, 257). — [2]: To Finnur Jónsson (Skj A and B) ‘tí’ was visible before ‘...mus’. 399aˣ adds the abbreviated stef Skírir menn immediately after beima, but this evidently belongs to the previous st. — [7-8]: These ll. allude to Blaise’s saving the life of a child who was choking on a fish bone.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 10]. Af et digt om hellige mænd 15: AII, 514, BII, 566, Skald II, 310; Kahle 1898, 93-4, 113.


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