Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mv I 7VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríuvísur I 7’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 683.

Anonymous PoemsMáríuvísur I

Hier kom orð, það heyrði
hústrú fríð um síðir;
sig skildi þá sældar
saklaus vera sprakki.
Ráðtæki var ríkrar
raungrætiligt sætu;
kunni hun mág sinn manna
mest álygi vestrar.

Orð kom hier, það fríð hústrú heyrði um síðir; sprakki sældar skildi sig þá vera saklaus. Ráðtæki ríkrar sætu var raungrætiligt; hun kunni mág sinn mest manna vestrar álygi.

The rumour came here, which the fair housewife finally heard; the woman of prosperity then knew herself to be innocent. The remedy of the powerful lady was really deplorable; she blamed her son-in-law most of all men for the worst slander.

Mss: 721(12v)

Editions: Skj AII, 488, Skj BII, 527, Skald II, 289, NN §3359; Kahle 1898, 32, 97, Sperber 1911, 2, 57, Wrightson 2001, 43.

Notes: [1] það ‘which’: For the omission of the rel. part. er see NS §261. Earlier eds (with the exception of Kahle) construe the clauses as follows: Hér kom, þat orð ‘It happened, that (the woman finally) heard that rumour’. However, koma used impersonally with the meaning ‘happen, occur’ is always followed by a that- or a when-cl. (see Fritzner: koma 8.). — [2] hústrú ‘housewife’: Most earlier eds silently emend to húsfrú ‘housewife’. Because both forms of the word are attested (see Fritzner: húsfreyja) the emendation is unwarranted, even though húsfrú ‘housewife’ occurs in st. 8 below. — [3] þá ‘then’: Skj B and Skald emend to þó ‘nonetheless, yet’. — [4] saklaus (f. nom. sg.) ‘innocent’: We should have expected the acc. form in the acc. inf. construction skildi sig vera ‘knew herself to be’, but in learned style, nom. may occur (see NS §217c, Anm. 1). Because sprakki ‘lady, woman’ is m., Kock (Skald; NN §3359; so also Wrightson) emends to saklauss (m. nom. sg.). The present edn retains the ms. reading, assuming that the f. form refers to the gender of the woman rather than to the gender of the noun (so also Mv II 12/5). The corresponding place in Mar (1871, 1202) reads as follows: sem hun vissi sik fullkomit saklausa ‘because she knew herself to be completely innocent’. For Lat. parallels, see Schottmann (1973, 363).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Schottmann, Hans. 1973. Die isländische Mariendichtung. Untersuchungen zur volkssprachigen Mariendichtung des Mittelalters. Münchner germanistische Beiträge 9. Munich: Fink.
  6. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  7. Wrightson, Kellinde, ed. 2001. Fourteenth-Century Icelandic Verse on the Virgin Mary: Drápa af Maríugrát, Vitnisvísur af Maríu, Maríuvísur I-III. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series 14. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  9. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  10. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.
  11. Internal references
  12. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríuvísur II 12’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 709-10.

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