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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 5VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 894-5.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa
456

text and translation

Sæt Máría gjörði að gráta
gráti mædd í sonarins láti;
lát Júðanna fældi að fljóði;
fljóðið horfði á krossinn rjóðan.
Rjóðandi þá flaut og flóði
flóð táranna niðr um móður,
móðurbrjóstið streingt af stríði
stríðið bar sem eingi síðan.

Sæt Máría, mædd gráti, gjörði að gráta í láti sonarins; lát Júðanna fældi að fljóði; fljóðið horfði á rjóðan krossinn. Rjóðandi flóð táranna flaut og flóði þá niðr um móður; móðurbrjóstið, streingt af stríði, bar stríðið sem eingi síðan.
 
‘Sweet Mary, overcome by weeping, wept at the death of the son; the conduct of the Jews mocked the woman; the woman looked at the red Cross. The reddening stream of tears then flowed and streamed down the mother; the mother’s chest, tight from grief, bore the grief like no one since.

notes and context

This st. uses a variety of the echoing verse-form that Snorri Sturluson in Ht called iðurmælt ‘repeatedly said’ (SnE 1999, 22). Here the stressed syllable of the final word in l. 1 is repeated (though in a cognate, not the same, word) at the beginning of l. 2; l. 2’s aðalhending changes the stem while maintaining the rhyme, and the new lexeme begins l. 3; this format is repeated through the rest of the st., employing four rhymes in all. Note also that the st. comprises four apposed couplets, allowing the word-play, a type of adnominatio, to suggest a rapid sequence of significant events. This rhetorical ornamentation, which is very like some of the devices employed by the poet of Lil (cf. Foote 1982, 260-3), doubtless reflects the emotional intensity associated with the common medieval motif of Mary standing weeping at the foot of Christ’s Cross. See st. 36, whose subject is S. Margaret, for a similar display.

readings

sources

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 5: AII, 527, BII, 583, Skald II, 322, NN §§1839, 2970A.

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