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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 38VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 38’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 915.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

text and translation

Sæt Lúcía segi eg að hieti
Sikileyjar hin vænsta meyja;
prúða vildi í porthús leiða
Páskásíus fullr af háska.
Hvergi máttu höldar margir
hræra nökkur drottins kæru;
orka þeir að yxnum sterkum;
eigi mega þau frúna sveigja.

Eg segi, að hin vænsta meyja Sikileyjar hieti sæt Lúcía; Páskásíus, fullr af háska, vildi leiða prúða í porthús. Hvergi máttu margir höldar nökkur hræra {kæru drottins}; þeir orka að sterkum yxnum; þau mega eigi sveigja frúna.
‘I say that the most beautiful maiden of Sicily was called sweet Lucy; Pascasius, full of sin, wanted to send the beautiful one to a brothel. In no way could many men move the woman of the Lord [HOLY WOMAN]; they employ strong oxen; they cannot budge the lady.

notes and context

Stanzas 38-9 celebrate S. Lucy of Sicily, while sts 40-1 refer to S. Lucy of Rome, who does not seem to have been venerated in Iceland. There are two fragments of a C14th saga of S. Lucy of Sicily (Unger 1877, I, 433-6; Foote 1962, 26; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 319; Wolf 2003, 148-51, 177-8), and relatively weak evidence of her cult before c. 1200 (Cormack 1994, 118-19). Lucy’s story is that she rejected her pagan suitor Pascasius, who denounced her as a Christian. She was miraculously saved from a brothel and from death by fire. She was finally killed by a sword thrust through her throat. — [5-8]: These ll. follow the general story line of the prose saga (Unger 1877, I, 435; Wolf 2003, 150), though in a rather cryptic fashion. When men tried to take Lucy to a brothel, it was found that she could not be moved. Sorcerers were called in to try and move her by magic, but they failed. She was then drenched in urine to counter any magical powers that she might have been using herself, to no effect. Finally, a team of oxen was brought in to move her but they also failed.



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 38: AII, 534, BII, 591, Skald II, 327, NN §§1847, 2970E.


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