Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Anon Pét 30VII

David McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Pétrsdrápa 30’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 822-3.

Anonymous PoemsPétrsdrápa

Útan bækr hefir ítra
öll ritninga vitni;
kann því mætr í máta
megnstærir fólk læra.
Breyzku holdi og hetskum
heims stríðandi fjanda
mettaz saðning sætri,
sanndyggr, heilags anda.

Hefir útan bækr öll vitni ítra ritninga; því kann {mætr megnstærir} læra fólk í máta. Sanndyggr stríðandi breyzku holdi og {hetskum fjanda heims} mettaz sætri saðning heilags anda.

He knows by heart [lit. without books] all the testimonies of glorious scriptures; therefore {the excellent increaser of strength} [APOSTLE] can instruct people properly. The truly worthy fighter against the frail flesh and {the malignant enemy of the world} [= Devil] is sated with the sweet feast of the Holy Spirit.

Mss: 621(58v)

Readings: [4] megnstærir: megnstórir 621    [5] hetskum: heimsku 621    [6] heims stríðandi: ‘heim strida’ 621    [7] mettaz: meti að 621

Editions: Skj AII, 505, Skj BII, 552, Skald II, 302; NN §§1732, 2997C; Kahle 1898, 84, 110.

Notes: [4] megnstærir ‘increaser of strength’: Emended from ms. ‘megnstorir’ to provide aðalhending with læra. Cf. LP: þrekstœrir ‘increaser of might, performer of great feats’. — [5-6]: Ms. ‘Breysku holldi ok heimsku’ lacks skothending; ms. ‘heim strida fianda’ lacks aðalhending. All eds emend ‘strida’ to a form of stríðandi ‘(one) fighting against (something), an opponent’, and assume loss of -s in heims by haplography. Stríðandi, pres. part. governs dat. holdi and fjanda. Kock (NN §1732) objects to Finnur Jónsson’s interpretation (Skj B): bekæmpende verdens skrøbelige kød og djævelens dumhed ‘fighting against the frail flesh of the world and the devil’s stupidity’, and proposes that ms. ‘heīskū’ is a scribal error for ‘hetskū’ (cf. OSwed. hætsker; Dan. hadsk; MLG hetisch ‘spiteful, savage, malignant’). This emendation provides skothending with breyzku (cf. AEW: breyskr from German *brautiska-) although an OIcel. adj. *hetskr is not otherwise attested. (Cf. Notes to rís 28/8; jungum 29/8.) — [7] mettaz sætri saðning heilags anda ‘is sated with the sweet feast of the Holy Spirit’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends ‘meti at’ to mettar and reads mætter hann ... med den hellige ånds søde føde ‘he satiates ... with the sweet nourishment of the Holy Spirit’. Kock (NN §§1732, 2997C) argues that ms. ‑i is miscopied from an original ‑r, and proposes emendation to metr, which he takes as 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of metja ‘to lap up (food)’, a rare verb usually applied to animals. Finnur’s interpretation is nearer the mark, but the ms. sequence ‘meti at’ is more likely a mistranscription of an original reading mettaz (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. passive refl. of metta / mettaðr, the late weak 2 verb derived from mettr, part. adj.; see CVC: metta; Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4: metta). Miscopying of <t> as <i> is a common scribal error, especially in the sequence ‑tt-, and mistranscription of <z> as <t> is equally commonplace. Miscopying of original mettaz as meti at may have been prompted by the separation of the first four letters of the word from the last two by a l.-division in the copyist’s exemplar. The parallel use of metta / mettr with dat. obj. is paralleled at, e.g., Sturl Hakkv 7/7-8II elris garm eski mettan ‘the hound of the alder [FIRE] sated with ash-wood’; cf. Finnur Jónsson 1926-8, metta: Bósarímur (ed. Jiriczek 1894) VI.6 metta hjarta angri ‘to fill the heart with sorrow’. On endingless ō-stem dat. sg. saðning, see ANG §376. Mettaz is used with saðning ... heilags anda as an alimentary metaphor traditionally applied to the study of scripture (see, e.g., Curtius 1953, 134-6), and ll. 7-8 complete the idea introduced in ll. 1-2: Peter knows the scriptures ‘without books’ because ‘he is sated with the feast of the Holy Spirit’. The satiety that is normally experienced by the student of scripture through reading – rumination on and ‘digestion’ of a text – comes to Peter through the divine gift of the Holy Spirit.


  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. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  6. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  8. 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.
  9. Curtius, Ernst R. 1953. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Trans. Willard R. Trask. Bollingen Ser. 36. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Originally published 1948. Europäische literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter. Bern: Francke.
  10. Sigfús Blöndal. 1920-4. Islandsk-dansk ordbog / Íslensk-dönsk orðabók. Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Verslun Þórarins B. Þorlákssonar / Aschehoug.
  11. Finnur Jónsson. 1926-8. Ordbog til de af samfund til udg. af gml. nord. litteratur udgivne Rímur samt til de af Dr. O. Jiriczek udgivne Bósarímur. SUGNL 51. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  12. Jiriczek, Otto L., ed. 1894. Die Bósa-rímur. Breslau: Koebner.
  13. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.