Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mv II 20VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríuvísur II 20’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 714-15.

Anonymous PoemsMáríuvísur II

Tunga má það alls aung
inna í brag sinn,
hvessu móðir míns guðs
mundi heiðra göfugt sprund,
þá er föður hrings hlíð
hreinum færði kvikan svein,
þann er fjörvi fjogur dægr
firðr lá á börum stirðr.

Alls aung tunga má inna það í brag sinn, hvessu {móðir guðs míns} mundi heiðra göfugt sprund, þá er {hlíð hrings} færði hreinum föður kvikan svein, þann er lá firðr fjörvi fjogur dægr stirðr á börum.

No tongue at all can express that in its poetry, how {the mother of my God} [= Mary] could honour a glorious woman, when {the slope of the ring} [WOMAN] brought to the pure father the living boy, who lay, deprived of life, for two days and nights stiff on the bier.

Mss: 713(87), 721(14r)

Editions: Skj AII, 495, Skj BII, 537, Skald II, 294, Metr. §§14B, 20; Kahle 1898, 42, Sperber 1911, 13-14, Wrightson 2001, 64.

Notes: [3] móðir guðs míns ‘the mother of my God [= Mary]’: Skj B and Skald emend to móður (f. acc. sg.) ‘mother’ and take göfugt sprund ‘woman’ as the subject of the cl. (‘how the glorious woman could honour the mother of my God’). If we assume that Mary honoured the woman by allowing her to return to her husband with the living child (cf. 16/5), that emendation is unnecessary. — [7] fjogur dægr (n. acc. pl.) ‘for two days and nights’: Lit. ‘for four periods of twelve hours’. Dægr refers to the period of one night or one day (see Fritzner: dægr), and the mother brought the child to the church on the second day after his death. For the form fjogur (n. acc. pl.) ‘four’, see ANG §448. Skj B and Skald read ‘fjǫgr’, a form that is not clear (Sperber has fjǫgur and Wrightson fjögur).


  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. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  5. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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