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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Heil 2VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra manna drápa 2’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 874.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra manna drápa

text and translation

H… fyr höggum þeira
hátt, og síðast skilja mátti,
á hendi fal hann sig helgum anda
hreinn og góðr og drottins móður.
Dæmi þau kvað hinn dýri Tómas
dauða vild og allar nauðir;
svá skýfðu þeir honum af höfði
hallandi sier krúnu alla.

H… hátt fyr höggum þeira, og síðast mátti skilja hann, hreinn og góðr, fal sig á hendi helgum anda og {móður drottins}. Hinn dýri Tómas kvað þau dæmi dauða og allar nauðir vild; svá skýfðu þeir alla krúnu af höfði honum hallandi sier.
‘H... loudly under their blows, and at last it was understood [that] he, pure and good, commended himself to the Holy Spirit and the mother of the Lord [= Mary]. The glorious Thomas declared those models of death and all torments [to be] desirable; so they cut his entire tonsure off his head as he bowed himself.

notes and context

[1]: Because of the fragmentary nature of the st., it cannot be determined where H[...] should be placed in the Prose order. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) suggests the emendation Herma vann which he translates as ‘spoke’; Kahle suggests Herma nam ‘spoke’; Kock (Skald, NN §1764) suggests Herra hann ‘Lord he’. — [7-8]: The description in these ll. of the head wound that killed Thomas corresponds closely to that of the prose lives: the first blow was largely deflected by the arm of the clerk Edward Grim; the second sliced off the top of Becket’s head and he fell face downwards. According to the saga, he awaited the second blow with bowed head, með hneigðu höfði (Unger 1869, 261 and 441; Eiríkur Magnússon 1875-83, I, 544).



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 2: AII, 512, BII, 563, Skald II, 308, NN §§1757, 1764, 1765, 2889; Kahle 1898, 90-1, 112.


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