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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 14VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 14’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 490.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa

Þú reiknaz lasta læknis
lamið eigi með hamri
höfuðmusteri ins hæsta
hjálpremdrar skynsemdar.
Þar nam þjóðar stýrir
þýðr manndómi skrýða
guðdóm sinn og samdi
sier brúðhvílu skæra.

Þú reiknaz höfuðmusteri {ins hæsta læknis lasta}, eigi lamið með hamri hjálpremdrar skynsemdar. Þar nam {þýðr stýrir þjóðar} skrýða guðdóm sinn manndómi og samdi sier skæra brúðhvílu.

You are accounted chief temple {of the most high healer of sins} [= God (= Christ)], not beaten by the hammer of salvation-strengthened reason. There {the kind governor of people} [= God (= Christ)] was able to clothe his Godhead with humanity and arranged for himself a bright bridal bed.

Mss: B(13v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] læknis: ‘lęknss’ B, BRydberg, ‘lękn(i)ss’(?) 399a‑bˣ, BFJ    [2] lamið: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘lame[...]’ B    [3] höfuðmusteri ins: ‘ho᷎fut must[...]’ B, ‘ho᷎fut must[...]s’ 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, BFJ    [4] hjálpremdrar: ‘hialpremmdar’ B    [5] stýrir: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘st[...]r’ B    [7] guðm: ‘gudd[...]’ B, guðdó(m)(?) 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 466, Skj BII, 499-50, Skald II, 273, NN §§1640, 2983; Rydberg 1907, 34-5, 55, Attwood 1996a, 105, 306.

Notes: [2, 4] eigi lamið með hamri … skynsemdar ‘not beaten by the hammer … of reason’: The significance of the cl. as a whole depends in part on whether B’s ‘hialpremmdar’ is emended and construed with skynsemdar (l. 4) or with læknis (l. 1). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) follows Rydberg, and is followed in turn by Kock, in emending to hjálpremdrar f. gen. sg. to agree with skynsemdar, construing eigi lamit með hamri hjálpremdrar skynsemdar, which he paraphrases ikke hamret (opført) med den frelsekraftige fornufts hammer ‘not beaten (built up) with salvation-powerful reason’s hammer’. The sense of the helmingr is then presumably that Mary as the temple of Christ exists by divine fiat and does not need to be strengthened by means of arguments deriving from the expectation of salvation (which human beings require). Another possibility is to emend to hjálpremda* m. gen. sg., in apposition with ins hæsta, qualifying læknis lasta (l. 1). The helmingr can then be interpreted to mean that Mary is the ‘chief temple’ of Christ, and together they bring salvation to sinful mankind; Mary is a temple of grace and intercession, not built up (hammered, carrying on the image of a building) by reason. LP: hjalpremdr notes that one might expect this hap. leg. adj. to qualify læknis or þú rather than skynsemd. — [3] höfuðmusteri ins hæsta: Only ‘ho᷎fut must…’ is now legible in B. The 444ˣ transcriber, Rydberg and Finnur Jónsson were able to make out a final <s>, but all eds have relied on Jón Sigurðsson’s suggested reconstruction to hǫfuðmusteri ens hæsta. Jón’s reconstruction is likely to be influenced by the occurrence of the identical l. at Has 60/3. See Note on hæstr höfuðkastali in 1/7-8.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. 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.
  6. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  7. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Internal references
  9. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 60’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 126-7.

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