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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 25VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 25’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 499.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa

Brúðr, áttu bezta kveðju,
blíð, skyldasta víða,
— kristnir menn það kunna —
konungs aldar, með valdi.
Orð, þau er harðla heilug
heyraz, þier í eyra
sendi guð til grundar
Gabriél að mæla.

{Blíð brúðr {konungs aldar}}, áttu skyldasta bezta kveðju, víða með valdi; kristnir menn kunna það. Guð sendi Gabriél til grundar að mæla orð þau í eyra þier, er heyraz harðla heilug.

{Gentle bride {of the king of men}} [= God (= Christ) > = Mary], you have most right to the best greeting, far and wide in accordance with your power; Christian men know that. God sent Gabriel to earth to speak in your ear those words which sound very holy.

Mss: B(14r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] bezta kveðju: ‘bez[...]ued[...]u’ B, ‘bezṭạ kvedju’ 399a‑bˣ    [2] skyldasta: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘skyll[ ...]azta’ B    [5] þau: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]au’ B;    heilug: ‘he[...]ug’ B, BFJ, ‘heịḷug’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘hei[...]ug’ BRydberg    [8] Gabriél: so 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, ‘gabrie[...]’ B;    la: ‘mę[...]’ B, BRydberg, BFJ, ‘męḷị’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 468, Skj BII, 501-2, Skald II, 274, NN §1651; Rydberg 1907, 36-7, 56, Attwood 1996a, 108, 309.

Notes: [All]: This st. introduces the theme of the Annunciation; see Luke I.26-38. — [1-4]: The helmingr has been understood to contain an intercalary cl. at l. 3 (so Skald), taking víða ‘far and wide’ (l. 2) with the main cl. Alternatively víða could be construed with the intercalary. — [1, 4] brúðr konungs aldar ‘bride of the king of men [= God (= Christ) > = Mary]’: On the widespread use of the figure of Mary as ‘Bride of Christ’, see Warner 2000, 121-33 and, for skaldic poetry, Schottmann 1973, 95-8. The locus classicus is the antiphon Assumpta est Maria in cœlum ‘Mary is taken up into the heavens’, for the Feast of the Assumption, which draws heavily on the bridal imagery of the S. of S.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  5. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Schottmann, Hans. 1973. Die isländische Mariendichtung. Untersuchungen zur volkssprachigen Mariendichtung des Mittelalters. Münchner germanistische Beiträge 9. Munich: Fink.
  7. Warner, Marina. 2000. Alone of all her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary. London: Vintage.

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