Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 59VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 59’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 929.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

Máríu þjóna miklu fleiri
mektug hirð en nökkurr virði,
ekkjur, meyjar, frúr og flokkar,
föður unnandi helgar nunnur.
Öllum þessum eingla hallar
ástúðigum drottins brúðum
fagrmynduðum fel eg á hendi
fræðagjörð og þetta kvæði.

Miklu fleiri mektug hirð en nökkurr virði þjóna Máríu — ekkjur, meyjar, frúr og flokkar, helgar nunnur unnandi föður. {Öllum þessum ástúðigum fagrmynduðum brúðum {drottins {hallar eingla}}} fel eg á hendi fræðagjörð og þetta kvæði.

A much more numerous mighty crowd than anyone can consider serves Mary — widows, maidens, ladies and groups, holy nuns loving the father. {To all these loving [and] beautifully formed brides {of the Lord {of the hall of angels}}} [HEAVEN > = God (= Christ) > HOLY VIRGINS] I dedicate the composition of poetry and this poem.

Mss: 721(10r), 713(28)

Readings: [2] mektug: megtug 721, 713    [3] ekkjur: ekkjur og 713    [7] fagrmynduðum: ‘fagrmynöðum’ 721, ‘[...]myndugum’ 713

Editions: Skj AII, 538, Skj BII, 596-7, Skald II, 331.

Notes: [1] þjóna ‘[they] serve’: Although the direct subject of this verb is sg. (hirð ‘crowd’), the subject is amplified by the list of pl. subjects in ll. 3-4. Hence the mss’ reading þjóna has been kept here, although both Skj B and Skald emend to þjónar ‘[it] serves’ 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. — [8] fræðagjörð ‘composition of poetry’: Lit. ‘the making of knowledge’, understood to be poetic knowledge. The cpd also occurs in a similar context (fræðagjörð með fögrum orðum ‘a composition of lore with fair words’) in st. 1/5 of the poem Gimsteinn ‘Jewel’ (ÍM I, 2, 305).


  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. ÍM = Jón Helgason, ed. 1936-8. Íslenzk miðaldarkvæði: Islandske digte fra senmiddelalderen. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

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