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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 50VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 50’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 922.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

text and translation

Sóma vann í sínum dæmum
signað fljóð, er Skotland tignar;
Brígiða hielt frá bernsku dægri
blóm greinanda meydóm hreinum.
Skifti hun því, sem æ var eftir,
jafnan heilt í drottins nafni;
ástrík var hun fyr einu klaustri
abbadís með heiðri vísum.

Signað fljóð, er Skotland tignar, vann sóma í sínum dæmum; Brígiða, greinanda blóm, hielt frá bernsku dægri hreinum meydóm. Hun skifti jafnan heilt því, sem æ var eftir, í nafni drottins; ástrík var hun abbadís fyr einu klaustri með vísum heiðri.
‘The consecrated woman, whom Scotland praises, achieved honour by her good examples; Brigid, an exuberant flower, preserved from childhood her pure virginity. She always completely divided that which always remained behind in the name of the Lord; full of love she was abbess of a monastery with certain esteem.

notes and context

Stanzas 50-1 celebrate S. Brigid of Kildare, the second patron saint of Ireland (after S. Patrick), who is said to have lived in the early C6th and to have founded the first monastery in Ireland. She was a popular saint in the North Sea littoral, and there is a certain amount of evidence for her cult in Iceland, though her feast day was removed from the list of Holy Days of Obligation in 1275 (Cormack 1994, 24). — [5-6]: The meaning of these ll. is not entirely clear, but they possibly refer to Brigid’s practice of giving away local agricultural produce to feed the poor. A number of the miracles attributed to her refer to her ability to give away food (e.g. butter, bacon) to the needy and still have those things remain in stock undiminished (see Connolly and Picard 1987, 13-15). — [7-8]: The reference is to the basilica at Kildare, in the southeast of Ireland, Brigid’s monastery and the resting place of her body until it was removed for reburial with the remains of SS. Patrick and Columba some time before 1185.



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 50: AII, 536-7, BII, 594, Skald II, 329, NN §§1848, 2978.


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