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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mv III 8VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríuvísur III 8’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 723-4.

Anonymous PoemsMáríuvísur III

Kvíðir við kvalanauð
klerkr fyrir mein sterk;
treysti hann á tígn Krists
trúandi ok biðr nú:
‘Nær vertu, mær, mier,
Máría, svá að liniz fár;
lát mig eigi — dug* drótt —
deyja hier, guðs mey.’

Klerkr kvíðir við kvalanauð fyrir sterk mein; trúandi treysti hann á tígn Krists ok biðr nú: ‘Vertu nær mier, mær Máría, svá að fár liniz; lát mig eigi deyja hier, {mey guðs}; dug* drótt.’

The cleric worries about torment-distress because of grievous sins; believing, he trusted in the honour of Christ and now prays: ‘Be near me, Virgin Mary, so that the danger subsides; do not let me die here, {Virgin of God} [= Mary]; help your followers.’

Mss: 721(16r), 1032ˣ(146v)

Readings: [5] mær: so 1032ˣ, om. 721    [7] dug*: dugar 721

Editions: Skj AII, 497, Skj BII, 540, Skald II, 296, NN §§1700, 3277B; Kahle 1898, 44, Sperber 1911, 16-17, 65, Wrightson 2001, 70.

Notes: [1] kvalanauð ‘torment-distress’: This refers to the torments of hell that the cleric would undergo after death on account of his sins. — [5] mær ‘Virgin’: The word is missing in 721 but it is added in the margin in 1032ˣ in lighter ink. There is no open space in 721, but the l. lacks an alliterative stave and a syllable. The word may be a conjecture by ÁM, and it makes the l. unmetrical (three internal rhymes). Mey ‘Virgin’ would be better (so Sperber), but it repeats mey ‘Virgin’ in l. 8. — [7] dug* drótt (imp.; f. dat. sg.) ‘help your followers’: The ms. has dugar (m. gen. sg.) ‘of courage, strength’. Drótt dugar ‘retinue, people, followers of courage, strength’ does not make any sense. Skj B emends to er dugar drótt, which is translated as som hjælper menneskene ‘who helps people’. However, the verb duga ‘help’ is a weak verb of class 4, and the 3rd pers. sg. pres. form is dugir (so Skald). See also st. 28/3-4 below (muntu duga dýru fólki ‘you will help precious people’). Wrightson retains dugar and notes that it is an unusual form of the pres. indic. She translates the phrase drótt dugar as ‘the company (of angels) will help’, which, aside from the problematic form dugar, makes little sense in the present context. For the imp. dug ‘help’ see ANG §538.4. Cf. Mar (1871, 605): þik bid ek hialpa mier ‘I ask you to help me’.


  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. 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.
  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. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.
  9. Internal references
  10. Not published: do not cite (ÍslbIV)
  11. Kirsten Wolf 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Heilagra meyja drápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 891-930.

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