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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ník Jóndr 1VII

Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2007, ‘Níkulás Bergsson, Jónsdrápa postula 1’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 67.

Níkulás BergssonJónsdrápa postula

text and translation

Unni allra manna
alskýrr ok mey dýrri
heilagr Kristr ins hæsta
hreinlífis þér einum.
Valði heims ok hǫlða
hauksnjallr konungr allrar
sér til sýslu stjóra
sárvæginn þik frægjan.

Alskýrr heilagr Kristr unni þér einum allra manna ok dýrri mey ins hæsta hreinlífis. {Hauksnjallr konungr heims ok hǫlða, sárvæginn}, valði þik frægjan sér til stjóra allrar sýslu.
‘Completely pure [and] holy Christ granted to you alone of all men and to the precious maiden the highest degree of chastity. Courageous as a hawk the king of the world and men, merciful to sin[ners] [= God], chose you, famous one, for himself as steward of all business.

notes and context

See Introduction.

The statement that S. John is second to Mary alone in purity is the highest form of praise, since Mary is the Virgin Mother of God. S. John was considered to be a virgin (Kirschbaum et al. 1968-76, VII, 112, 114), in contrast to the other Apostles, who were held to be married men.



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: Níkulás Bergsson, 1. Jóansdrápa postola 1: AI, 560, BI, 546, Skald I, 265; Jón4 1874, 509, Bugge 1874, 932, Lange 1958a, 78.


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