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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 17VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 17’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 492-4.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa

Fagnaðu, mær af megni
miskunnar fullrunnin;
dýr, gaztu orð af orði,
o guðs og bart* forðum.
Fagnaðu, jörð, því að orðin
alfrjávuð* fekkt hávan
lífs ávöxt og leyfðan
leyndardóma blóma.

Fagnaðu, mær, fullrunnin af megni miskunnar; dýr, gaztu orð af orði, og bart* forðum {o guðs}. Fagnaðu, jörð, því að orðin alfrjávuð* fekkt {hávan ávöxt lífs} og {leyfðan blóma leyndardóma}.

Rejoice, maiden, overflowing with the power of mercy; precious one, you conceived the word from the word, and once bore {the word of God} [= Christ]. Rejoice, earth, since, grown fully ripe, you received {the high fruit of life} [= Christ] and {the praised flower of mysteries} [= Christ].

Mss: B(13v-14r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] megni: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]egne’ B    [2] miskunnar: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]skunnar’ B;    fullrunnin: ‘fullr[...]nn[...]’ B, fullrunnum 399a‑bˣ, ‘fullr(u)nni(n)’(?) BRydberg    [3] orð: ‘[...]’ B, öll 399a‑bˣ, oss BRydberg, BFJ;    orði: so 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, ‘[...]e’ B, ‘[...]’ BFJ    [4] o: ‘[...]’ B, BRydberg, BFJ, ‘oṛð̣’ 399a‑bˣ;    bart*: ‘barth’ B, 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, bænir BFJ;    forðum: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]’ B, ‘frodan’ BRydberg, ‘frodv’ BFJ    [5] jörð: so 399a‑bˣ, orð B, ‘(i)o᷎rd’(?) BRydberg, ‘[...]o᷎rd’ BFJ    [6] alfrjávuð*: ‘alfriafuðan’ B;    fekkt: ‘[...]ck’ B, ‘feck’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘fickt’ BRydberg, ‘[...]’ BFJ    [8] leyndardóma: ‘l[...]d[...]mma’ B, ‘ley[...]do[...]a’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘l[...]d(om)a’(?) BRydberg, ‘l[...]’ BFJ;    blóma: ‘blom[...]’ B, BRydberg, BFJ, ‘blome’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 467, Skj BII, 500, Skald II, 273, NN §§1642, 1643, 2675; Rydberg 1907, 35, 55, Attwood 1996a, 106, 307.

Notes: [All]: Here begins the poet’s rendition of the antiphon Gaude virgo gratiosa ‘Rejoice, virgin full of grace’ (AH 9, 54, no. 66; Schottmann 1973, 519) which extends to st. 19. Lines 1-2 render the first l. of the Lat. hymn. B is illegible in many places, so the readings of previous transcribers, notably the 399a-bˣ transcriber and Rydberg, have been drawn on to reconstruct the text. — [2] fullrunnin ‘overflowing’: The 399a-bˣ copyist read fullrunnum with certainty. This participial adj. may be construed with megni miskunnar to give the prose arrangement fagnaðu mær af fullrunnum megni miskunnar ‘rejoice maiden from the overflowing power of mercy’. However, Rydberg read fullrunnin and this may be taken as f. nom. sg., agreeing with mær ‘maiden’. Fullrunnin af megni miskunnar ‘overflowing with the power of mercy’ is likely to be a calque on the familiar Marian epithet gratia plena ‘full of grace’, which originates in the Ave Maria, Gabriel’s words at the Annunciation (Luke I.28). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) reconstructs miskunnar full brunni, translating glæd dig kraftig, mø, fuld af nådens kilde ‘rejoice strongly, maiden, full from the spring of mercy’. Kock (NN §1642) accepts Finnur’s reconstruction, but dismisses his translation, on the grounds that det är fagna, icke fullr, sem brukar konstrueras med dativ ‘it is fagna, not fullr, which should be construed with the dat.’. Fullr, he asserts (correctly), invariably governs the gen. Kock translates: gläd dig, jungfru, innerligen / över nådens fulla brunn ‘rejoice fervently, maiden, over mercy’s full spring’. Brunnr miskunnar ‘spring of mercy’ seems to be understood as an implicit Christ-kenning in Kock’s interpretation. — [3-4]: These ll. are difficult and the ms. readings uncertain in several places. However, they should correspond to the 2nd l. of the Lat. hymn, verbum verbo concepisti ‘you conceived the word from the word’. This can be achieved with a small number of emendations, viz., orð (l. 3) and orð again (l. 4), while accepting 399a-bˣ’s readings orði (l. 3) and forðum (l. 4). B’s ‘barth’ (l. 4) is understood as the 2nd pers. sg. pret. of bera ‘to bear’. Finnur Jónsson offers no interpretation of ll. 3-4, and reproduces only those words which are clearly legible in B. Kock (Skald) conjectures dýr gazt oss af ærnu | óð guðs ok bæn fróða ‘glorious, you have provided us amply with song and wise prayer to God’, which makes sense, but bears little relation to what of the text is preserved. It is clear from sts 19 and 20, which are concerned with the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ and the Coronation of the Virgin, that st. 17 is the first part of an evocation of the five joys of Mary. This st. should therefore deal with the Annunciation and the Nativity. — [5-8]: Compare ll. 3-4 of the hymn Gaude virgo gratiosa: Gaude, tellus fructuosa, / fructum vitae protulisti ‘Rejoice, fruitful earth, you bore the fruit of life’. — [5] jörð … orðin: Although B is defective, both the Lat. word tellus ‘earth’ and the verse context indicate that the second word of l. 5 must be jörð. Parallel ll. in subsequent sts (i.e. 19/1. 19/5, 20/1), as well as the first l. of this st., suggest that a vocative is required. Both Rydberg and Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) adopt 399a-bˣ’s reading and it is also adopted here. Vowel-alliteration may be preserved if the scribal ‘vorden’ (p.p. of verða ‘to become’) is normalised to orðin (ANG §§235.1, 490.2 and 3; CVC: verða). — [8] leyndardóma ‘of mysteries’: Emendation suggested by Jón Sigurðsson in a marginal note to 444ˣ and adopted by all eds.


  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. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  6. AH = Dreves, G. M., C. Blume and H. M. Bannister, eds. 1886-1922. Analecta hymnica medii aeui. 55 vols. Leipzig: Reisland. Rpt. 1961. New York: Johnson.
  7. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  8. 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.
  9. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Schottmann, Hans. 1973. Die isländische Mariendichtung. Untersuchungen zur volkssprachigen Mariendichtung des Mittelalters. Münchner germanistische Beiträge 9. Munich: Fink.

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