Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mv III 16VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríuvísur III 16’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 727-8.

Anonymous PoemsMáríuvísur III

‘Eg mun eigi það við þig
þræta,’ kvað meyin sæt;
‘guðs hefir banablóð
banni frá leyst hann.
Býð eg því mens meiðs
máli og klerks sál
að sönnu fyrir son minn;
sier hann, það er riett er.’

‘Eg mun eigi þræta það við þig,’ kvað sæt meyin; ‘banablóð guðs hefir leyst hann frá banni. Eg býð því máli {meiðs mens} og klerks sál að sönnu fyrir son minn; hann sier, það er riett er.’

‘I shall not argue that with you,’ said the sweet Virgin; ‘the death-blood of God has delivered him from damnation. I summon that case {of the tree of the neck-ring} [MAN] and the cleric’s soul truly before my son; he sees what is right.’

Mss: 721(16r)

Readings: [5] meiðs: meið 721

Editions: Skj AII, 498, Skj BII, 541-2, Skald II, 297, NN §1702, Metr. §§12A, 16A; Kahle 1898, 46, 101, Sperber 1911, 18, 66, Wrightson 2001, 74.

Notes: [1-2] eg mun eigi þræta það við þig ‘I shall not argue that with you’: Cf. Mar (1871, 606): þat er eigi vidrkvæmiligt, at eg disputera uid ydr leingi ‘it is not seemly, that I dispute with you for long’. — [1] það við þig ‘that with you’: We should have expected a short disyllabic word instead of the two words það við ‘that with’ (it is unlikely that the enclitic prep. við ‘with’ could carry stress). — [3-4] banablóð guðs hefir leyst hann frá banni ‘the death-blood of God has delivered him from damnation’: Cf. Mar (1871, 606): er leystr uar med blodi sonar mins ‘who was delivered by the blood of my son’. — [5] meiðs mens ‘of the tree of the neck-ring [MAN]’: Wrightson retains meið (m. acc. sg.) ‘tree’ and treats meið mens ‘tree of the necklace’ as a parallel construction to klerks sál ‘the cleric’s soul’. That requires that býð ‘summon’ is taken in the meaning ‘offer’ (which takes the acc. rather than the dat.; however, Wrightson still reads ‘summon’) and leaves því máli (n. dat. sg.) ‘that case’ as an unexplained adv. translated as ‘in this case’. It is likely that the reference to the cleric and his soul as two separate entities reflects the medieval notion of the separation of the soul of a dead person from his body. — [7] að sönnu ‘truly’: Skj B and Wrightson take this adverbial phrase with the last cl. of the helmingr. That is possible, but less desirable from the point of view of w.o. (see NN §1702). — [8] hann sier, það er riett er ‘he sees what is right’: Cf. Mar (1871, 606): Sonr minn tynir alldri sinu rettlæti ‘My son never loses his righteousness’.


  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. 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. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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