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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 3VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 3’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 480-1.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa

Þú ert, Máría, meira
metin allri þjóð betri;
þier sýnir guð greinir
gjarna, sjóvar stjarna.
Lofar, þá er öllum er efri
ein riett í veg hreinum,
— Kristr skipar hjá sier hæsta
heims drottning — lið* beima.

Þú, Máría, ert meira metin betri allri þjóð; guð sýnir þier gjarna greinir, stjarna sjóvar. Lið* beima lofar, þá er ein er riett efri öllum í hreinum veg; Kristr skipar {hæsta drottning heims} hjá sier.

You, Mary, are more valued [and you are] better than all people; God eagerly shows you discernment [lit. discernments], star of the sea. The company of men praises the one who alone, rightly, is higher than all in pure honour; Christ establishes {the highest queen of the world} [= Mary] beside himself.

Mss: B(13v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] betri: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]etri’ B    [8] lið*: liði B

Editions: Skj AII, 464, Skj BII, 497, Skald II, 271; Konráð Gíslason 1860, 555, Rydberg 1907, 32, 53, Attwood 1996a, 102, 303.

Notes: [1-4]: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) follows Rydberg (1907, 53) in construing betri adj. as part of the second cl., agreeing with greinir (f. acc. pl.) to give guð sýnir þér gjarna, sjóvar-stjarna, betri greinir, translated as gud viser dig gærne, sø-stjærne, bedre ting ‘God eagerly shows you, sea-star, better things’. The present edn follows Kock (NN §1635) in taking meira metin ‘more valued’ (ll. 1-2) and betri ‘better’ (l. 2) as parallel. Greinir acc. pl. is interpreted in the sense ‘discernment’. — [4] stjarna sjóvar ‘star of the sea’: That is, stella maris ‘star of the sea’, a common Lat. epithet for Mary, which was popularised in the Christian West in the antiphon Ave maris stella for the Feast of the Assumption and became a commonplace in Marian poetry, though it was the result of a serendipitous scribal error. It originates in Jerome’s Liber Interpretationis Hebraicorum Nominum (or Onomasticon), an etymological dictionary of biblical names (Antin 1959). Jerome glosses Miriam, one of several Hebrew renditions of the Virgin’s name, more or less correctly as stilla maris ‘a drop of the ocean’ (cf. Antin 1959, 137). An early copyist mistook the i in stilla for an e, and the image of the ‘star of the sea’ was born (Warner 2000, 262-3). On the relationship between the Antiphon Ave maris stella and Mdr, see Notes to sts 30-6 below. — [5-8]: This is the first occurrence of the first of the three refrains in Mdr. The helmingr is written out in full, and is marked by an obelos in the left-hand margin. The refrain is repeated in sts 12 and 21, being abbreviated in B both times (13v, 42; 14r, 7). — [8] lið*: B’s liði must be emended (as also in 12/8 and 21/8) to provide a nom. subject for the cl.; liði is also unmetrical.


  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. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  6. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Warner, Marina. 2000. Alone of all her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary. London: Vintage.
  8. Internal references
  9. Not published: do not cite (LdnIV)
  10. Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Máríudrápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 476-514.

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