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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 56VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 56’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 926-7.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

text and translation

Skólastika var skipuð í sælu
skærust frú með drottni kærum;
hennar tígn var heilög nunna
hreinlífis í klaustri einu.
Benedictus sá blíðr í greinum
bróðir þeirar meyjar góðrar
líða upp af líkam brúðar
ljúfa önd í merki dúfu.

Skólastika, skærust frú, var skipuð í sælu með kærum drottni; hennar tígn var heilög hreinlífis nunna í einu klaustri. Benedictus, blíðr í greinum, bróðir þeirar góðrar meyjar, sá ljúfa önd líða upp af líkam brúðar í merki dúfu.
‘Scholastica, the brightest lady, was received into bliss with the dear Lord; her distinction was [as] a holy, chaste nun in a convent. Benedict, gentle in [his] actions, the brother of that good maiden, saw the beloved soul rise up from the body of the woman in the form of a dove.

notes and context

S. Scholastica was the sister of S. Benedict of Nursia, and is said to have established a convent at Plombariola, a short distance from her brother’s foundation of Monte Cassino. The story referred to here in ll. 5-8 was told in Gregory the Great’s Dialogues, a work translated into Icel. in the late C12th, though now preserved only in fragments (Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 311). It relates that brother and sister used to meet once a year at a house near the monastery. On the last of these occasions, Scholastica wanted her brother to stay the night so they could go on talking, but he would not. Scholastica began to pray and soon such a fierce storm arose that Benedict was unable to leave. Three days later she died. There were several Benedictine houses in Iceland which might have been specially interested in this legend, including Þingeyrar (founded 1133), Munkaþverá (founded 1155), Viðey (1344-52) and Hítardalr (1166-1202), and the convents of Kirkjubær (founded 1186) and Staður on Reynisnes (founded 1296). See further Cormack 1994, 84.



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 56: AII, 598, BII, 596, Skald II, 330, NN §§2970C, 2971D, 2979.


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