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

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.

Mss: 649a(46r) (Jón4)

Readings: [1] allra: ‘all[...]a’ 649a

Editions: Skj AI, 560, Skj BI, 546, Skald I, 265; Jón4 1874, 509, Bugge 1874, 932, Lange 1958a, 78.

Context: See Introduction.

Notes: [All]: 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. — [1] allra ‘of all’: Earlier eds read <r> without comment, but the letter is now no longer visible. — [8] sárvæginn ‘merciful to sin[ners]’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) interprets this cpd as ‘merciful to wounds’ or ‘merciful to the wounded’ and regards sár (noun ‘wound’ or adj. ‘wounded’) as a metaphorical expression for ‘sin’ or ‘sinners’ (LP: sárvæginn).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  6. Bugge, Sophus, ed. 1874. ‘Anmærkingar ved de til Jons saga IV henhørende viser’. In Unger 1874, 932-6.
  7. Lange, Wolfgang. 1958a. Studien zur christlichen Dichtung der Nordgermanen 1000-1200. Palaestra 222. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

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