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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 58VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 58’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 928-9.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

text and translation

Sínar dætur sigri vænum
Soffía hafði drottni offrað;
Fíðes, Spes og Káritas kvæðum,
kristiliga er lífið mistu.
Adriánus jungar meyjar
ónauðigar kvelr til dauða;
Máríu sonr hefir mæðgur fjórar
mætar leitt í himneskt sæti.

Soffía hafði offrað sínar dætur drottni vænum sigri; kvæðum Fíðes, Spes og Káritas, er kristiliga mistu lífið. Adriánus kvelr ónauðigar jungar meyjar til dauða; {Máríu sonr} hefir leitt fjórar mætar mæðgur í himneskt sæti.
‘Sophia had sacrificed her daughters to the Lord with a beautiful victory; we praise Fides, Spes and Caritas, who in a Christian manner lost their lives. Hadrian torments the undeserving young maidens to death; Mary’s son [= Christ] has led the three precious daughters and their mother to the heavenly seat.

notes and context

Fides (Faith), Spes (Hope) and Caritas (Love), represented as three daughters of a mother Sophia (Wisdom), may have been introduced to Icelanders in C14th from the Rhineland, where their cult was well known (see Cormack 1994, 37-8 for details). Several C14th-15th fragments of their lives exist (Unger 1877, I, 369-76; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 310). These saints are said to have been martyred in Rome under the Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). — [1-2]: Kock (NN §3391C) draws attention to the fact that vænum sigri ‘beautiful victory’ (dat.) may modify drottni ‘the Lord’.



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 58: AII, 538, BII, 596, Skald II, 330, NN §§2970B, 2971B, 3391C.


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