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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kolb Jónv 2VII

Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2007, ‘Kolbeinn Tumason, Jónsvísur 2’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 224-5.

Kolbeinn TumasonJónsvísur

text and translation

Miðr gekt einn an aðrir
ǫðlings frá píningu,
svikbannandi, sunnu,
snjallr, postolar allir,
þvít drengr í styr strǫngum
stótt þú hjá kvǫl dróttins
blíð ok bragnings móðir
byrstrandar grátandi.

{Snjallr svikbannandi}, einn gekt frá píningu {ǫðlings sunnu} miðr an allir aðrir postolar, þvít þú, drengr í strǫngum styr, ok {grátandi blíð móðir {bragnings {byrstrandar}}} stótt hjá kvǫl dróttins.
‘Courageous one, you who bans falsity [APOSTLE], alone fled from the torment of the king of the sun [= God (= Christ)] less than all the other Apostles, for you, a valiant man in the hard battle, and the weeping gentle mother of the ruler of the wind-beach [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ) > = Mary] stood close by at the torture of the Lord.

notes and context

See Introduction.

This st. and sts 3-4 refer to the scene described in S. John’s gospel (John XIX.25-7): Stabant autem iuxta crucem Iesu mater eius et soror matris eius Maria Cleopae et Maria Magdalene cum vidisset ergo Iesus matrem et discipulum stantem quem diligebat dicit matri suae mulier ecce filius tuus deinde dicit discipulo ecce mater tua et ex illa hora accepit eam discipulus in sua ‘Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple whom he loved, he saith to his mother: “Woman, behold thy son”. And after that, he saith to the disciple: “Behold thy mother”. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own’. — [5-8]: Although this helmingr contains two subjects (þú ‘you’ and móðir ‘mother’) the verb form stótt (2nd pers. sg. pret. indic. of standa ‘to stand’) is congruent with þú. This phenomenon may occur when the verb precedes subjects in differing persons: in such cases the verb agrees with the subject nearest to it (in this case þú, cf. NS §69).


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: Kolbeinn Tumason, 1. Jónsvísur 2: AII, 37, BII, 46, Skald II, 29, NN §2560; Jón4 1874, 512, Bugge 1874, 935, GBpB 570n.


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