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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 40VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 40’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 511-12.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa

Heil vertu, drottning dýrðar,
dýrt skrín himinstýris,
hátt rann, höfuðborg dróttins,
hertjald konungs aldar.
Þig fann búð og breiða
bygð .................... hæstra manndygða

Heil vertu, drottning dýrðar, dýrt skrín {himinstýris}, hátt rann, höfuðborg dróttins, hertjald {konungs aldar}. Þig fann búð og breiða bygð hæstra manndygða ….

Hail to you, queen of glory, precious shrine {of the governor of heaven} [= God (= Christ)], high house, chief fortress of the Lord, army-tent {of the king of men} [= God (= Christ)]. [People] found you the booth and spacious dwelling-place of the highest virtues ….

Mss: B(14r-v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] skrín: so 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, BFJ, ‘sk[...]in’ B;    ‑stýris: so 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, ‘‑stýr[...]’ B, BFJ    [3] höfuðborg: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘ho᷎fud hel⸜g⸝’ B, ‘ho᷎fud bo[...]g’ BRydberg, ‘[...]g’ BFJ    [4] konungs aldar: ‘[...]’ B, BFJ, ‘konungs all[...]’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]lld’ BRydberg    [5] breiða: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘br[...]ida’ B    [6] bygð: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘býg[...]’ B, BRydberg, BFJ;    manndygða: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]andygda’ B

Editions: Skj AII, 471, Skj BII, 504, Skald II, 275, NN §§2983, 3266B; Rydberg 1907, 40, 58, Attwood 1996a, 113-14, 312.

Notes: [All]: The text of st. 40 begins fol. 14v, and the ms. becomes more legible than it was for the previous 4 sts. After l. 6 of this st., however, the remainder of l. 2 of the fol. and the beginning of l. 3 are empty, perhaps to be filled in at a later stage. Thus ll. 7-8 of st. 40 are missing. — [1-4]: The first helmingr lists a number of epithets for the Virgin Mary comparing her to a costly vessel (a shrine) or a building or other habitation. On such images, see Schottmann 1973, 47-56. — [2] dýrt skrín himinstýris ‘precious shrine of the governor of heaven [= God (= Christ)]’: Mary is also characterised as the skrín ‘shrine’ of Christ – the treasury in which his body resided – in Arngr Gd 4/2IV: skrín þengils sólar ‘shrine of the prince of the sun’. — [3] höfuðborg dróttins ‘chief fortress of the Lord’: On the Marian image, see Note to höfuðkastali 1/7-8. The ms. text is difficult. After höfuð the scribe has written ‘hel’, which he has then crossed through, and apparently written another word above the l. This area of the fol. has now crumbled away, and most of the word, except for a final <g>, can no longer be read. The 399a-bˣ transcript confirms, however, that the word was borg. The phrase höfuðborg dróttins is an appropriate appellation for the Virgin. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) thought (wrongly) that the l. was too long and emended to hátt rann hǫfuðdrottins ‘high house of the chief lord’, in which he was followed by Kock. The l. is metrical, however, with resolution on höfuð in metrical position 3. In addition, dróttinn is uncompounded in surviving Christian verse (this would be the only example), while höfuð-compounds are characteristically used in appellations for the Virgin. — [5] þig fann ‘[people] found you’: The sg. (collective) subject of the verb is not expressed; it has been surmised in the translation to refer to Christian people generally, but it could possibly refer to Christ.


  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. Schottmann, Hans. 1973. Die isländische Mariendichtung. Untersuchungen zur volkssprachigen Mariendichtung des Mittelalters. Münchner germanistische Beiträge 9. Munich: Fink.
  8. Internal references
  9. Not published: do not cite (Arngr Gd 4IV)

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