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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 26VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 26’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 908.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

text and translation

Ágáða með yndi fríðu
ættuð vel, sú lýðinn bætti
Sikileyjar í sínu ríki,
sóma prýdd og æsku blómi.
Quinciánus kæru væna
kvaldi sárt, er miskunn dvaldi;
fljóðið vill hann fá til brúðar;
fríðri snót er þvert í móti.

Ágáða með fríðu yndi vel ættuð, sú bætti lýðinn í sínu ríki Sikileyjar, prýdd sóma og blómi æsku. Quinciánus, er dvaldi miskunn, kvaldi sárt væna kæru; hann vill fá fljóðið til brúðar; fríðri snót er þvert í móti.
‘Agatha, with fair delight [and] of a good family, she improved the people in her kingdom of Sicily, adorned with honour and the bloom of youth. Quintian, who rejected mercy, painfully tortured the beautiful woman; he wants the woman as [his] bride; the fair maiden is adamantly against it [lit. (this) was very much against the fair maiden(’s wishes)].

notes and context

Agatha, a virgin martyr of Catania in Sicily, was the subject of a legend that describes her as of a noble family, pursued by a pagan suitor of consular rank, named Quintian. She rejected him, whereupon he prosecuted her as a Christian and had her subjected to various tortures, from which she eventually died. The most noteworthy of these (see st. 27) was the cutting off of Agatha’s breasts. There are at least four versions of the life of S. Agatha in ON (Unger 1877, I, 1-14; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 298; Cormack 1994, 74; Wolf 2003, 11-17, 155) and evidence for her veneration from the late C13th onwards, particularly in the region round Borgarfjörður (Magnús Már Lárusson 1951).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 12]. Af heilogum meyjum 26: AII, 531-2, BII, 588, Skald II, 325.


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