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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 30VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 30’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 502-3.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa

Heil, guðs háleit móðir,
… sjóvar stjarna,
mær, er mildi stýrir,
merkt jafnan því nafni.
Hlið kallaz, og hylli,
himinríkis, þier líkar
— sæl ertu slíkra mála —
sannleikr og dygð manna.

Heil … stjarna sjóvar, {háleit móðir guðs}, mær, er stýrir mildi, merkt jafnan því nafni. Kallaz hlið himinríkis og þier líkar hylli, sannleikr og dygð manna; ertu sæl slíkra mála.

Hail … star of the sea, {glorious mother of God} [= Mary], maiden, who governs mercy, always designated by that name. You are called the gate of the kingdom of heaven and you are pleased by the favour, truth and virtuous deeds of men; you are blessed with such references.

Mss: B(14r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] …: ‘[...]’ B    [3] mildi: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘milld[...]’ B    [6] líkar: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘lik[...]r’ B    [8] sannleikr: ‘sann[...]eikr’ B;    dygð: ‘dyg[...]’ B, ‘dygḍ’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 469, Skj BII, 503, Skald II, 275, NN §§1654, 1655, 2855; Rydberg 1907, 38, 57, Attwood 1996a, 110, 310.

Notes: [All]: Sts 30-6 are a slightly expanded rendering of the hymn Ave maris stella (AH 2, 39), discussed in Connelly 1957, 161-2 and Warner 2000, 20 and 262. The influence of Ave maris stella on OIcel. Marian poetry is discussed in Schottmann 1973, 53, 67, 91-3, 492, 518, 527 and 535. — [2] : A space some 2.5 cm wide has been left in the ms., presumably since this word could be supplied from a different exemplar, as appears to have happened with st. 13/8 at 13v/44. The missing word has not been supplied here, however. The alliteration requires initial <h>. Kock (NN §1655) suggests reconstruction to hvarnýt (adj.) ‘ever-new’ or more likely ‘ever-gracious’, construing Heil, guðs háleit móðir, hvarnýt stjarna sjóvar ‘Hail, God’s glorious mother, ever-gracious star of the sea’. The Lat. requires a straightforward stjarna sjóvar here, so any addition is an expansion of the original. Rydberg reconstructs to hjartna gen. pl. ‘of hearts’, construing hjartna mildi stýrir er merkt jafnan því nafni ‘the merciful regulator of hearts is always designated by that name’. — [4] merkt jafnan því nafni ‘always designated by that name’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) suggests the l. refers to the name ‘Máría’, but Kock (NN §2855) considers the referent is the phrase ‘star of the sea’. Rydberg’s suggestion that hjarna be supplied to fill the lacuna in l. 2 (see previous Note) implies the creation of a fourth Mary-epithet, mildi stýrir hjartna ‘merciful regulator of hearts’, and that this is the nafn in question. It is clear, however, from the Lat. text that it is actually to mær (l. 3) that this l. refers: Ave maris stella, / Dei mater alma / atque semper virgo / felix caeli porta ‘Hail star of the sea, cherishing mother of God, and a maiden always, felicitous gate of heaven’. — [5-6] hlið himinríkis ‘the gate of the kingdom of heaven’: Translates Lat. porta caeli ‘gate of heaven’. Line 8 presumably refers back to this and the Virgin’s other titles.


  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. 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.
  6. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  7. Connelly, Joseph. 1957. Hymns of the Roman Liturgy. Westminster, Maryland: Newman.
  8. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  9. Schottmann, Hans. 1973. Die isländische Mariendichtung. Untersuchungen zur volkssprachigen Mariendichtung des Mittelalters. Münchner germanistische Beiträge 9. Munich: Fink.
  10. Warner, Marina. 2000. Alone of all her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary. London: Vintage.

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