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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 34VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 34’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 506.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa

Einkannlig mær, mönnum
mest líknar þú flestum;
allra manna í milli
mjúkust ertu sjúkum.
Göfug eik, ger oss mjúka,
greinar lífs, og hreina;
lát oss af greypum glæpum
guði treystandi leysta.

Einkannlig mær, þú líknar mest flestum mönnum; í milli allra manna, ertu mjúkust sjúkum. Göfug eik greinar lífs, ger oss mjúka og hreina; lát oss, treystandi guði, leysta af greypum glæpum.

Unique maiden, you show mercy exceedingly to most people; among all people, you are most gentle to the sick. Noble oak of life [lit. of the branch of life], make us humble and pure; let us, trusting in God, be released from cruel sins.

Mss: B(14r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] r: ‘m[...]’ B, BFJ, ‘mę[...]’ 399a‑bˣ    [2] flestum: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘fl[...]stum’ B    [5] eik ger: ‘ei[...]du’ B, ‘eik ge ir’ with ‘o’ added above the line in another hand 399a‑bˣ, ‘eik (ger)du’(?) BRydberg, ‘e[...]d du’ BFJ    [6] lífs: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘líf[...]’ B;    hreina: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘hr[...]na’ B    [8] treystandi: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]eýs[...]anðe’ B

Editions: Skj AII, 470, Skj BII, 504, Skald II, 275, NN §2678; Rydberg 1907, 38-9, 57, Attwood 1996a, 111, 311.

Notes: [All]: The fifth verse of the Lat. reads Virgo singularis, / inter omnes mitis, / nos culpis solutos / mites fac et castos ‘Unique virgin, gentle above all others, make us gentle and pure once we are released from our sins’. — [1] r ‘maiden’: Jón Sigurðsson’s suggested reconstruction, made in an interlinear n. to the 444ˣ transcript, is adopted by all subsequent eds, and confirmed by the Lat., which has virgo singularis ‘unique virgin’. — [5] eik ger oss: Only ‘ei…du’ is now visible in B, the enclitic ‘du’ being removed in normalisation. Rydberg and 399a-bˣ read ‘eik’ with certainty. Jón Sigurðsson, the author of the 444ˣ transcript, is confused by this reading, and tries to make sense of 399a-bˣ’s ‘ge ir’ by suggesting the reconstruction geimir, though it is not clear how this would fit the context. Sveinbjörn Egilsson provides a marginal n. to 444ˣ, suggesting that ‘ge ir’ should be understood to represent ger 2nd pers. sg. pres. of gera ‘to make’, adding a Lat. gloss ‘i.e. fac’ to resolve the confusion. The 399a-bˣ transcript has been corrected by a non-scribal hand, possibly Jón Sigurðsson’s, to reflect this interpretation, which also informs Rydberg’s reading.


  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.

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