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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 9VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 9’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 897-8.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

text and translation

Máría hlaut hin yngsta æru
angri svift, er tók að giftaz;
Zébédéus mildrar meyjar
móður fekk að vilja góðum.
Þeira sonr má heita herra
harðla kunnr, er guðs son unni,
postuli Jón við mildleik mestan
mektarsannr og Jacóbus annarr.

Hin yngsta Máría, svift angri, hlaut æru, er tók að giftaz; Zébédéus fekk mildrar meyjar að góðum vilja móður. Þeira sonr má heita harðla kunnr herra, er guðs son unni, Jón postuli við mestan mildleik, mektarsannr, og Jacóbus annarr.
‘The youngest Mary, deprived of sorrow, gained honour when she got married; Zebedee received in marriage the gentle maiden with the good will of her mother. Their son can be called a very famous lord, whom God’s son loved, the Apostle John with the greatest mercifulness, in possession of true might and the second James.

notes and context

The Apostles James the Great and John are said to be the sons of Zebedee in gospel accounts (Matt. IV.21 and Mark I.19). The notion that John (and therefore James) was the son of the Virgin Mary’s sister is found in many medieval sources and was well known in Iceland; cf. this poem, st. 10/1 and Gamlkan Jóndr 3/1, where John is also called Christ’s systrungr ‘sister’s son, cousin whose mothers are sisters’; see also Jón4 1874, 466 and I, 56.


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 9: AII, 528, BII, 584, Skald II, 322, NN §2971A.


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