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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 28VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 28’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 501-2.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa

text and translation

Kaup veit dýrt fyr drápu,
drottning himins og gotna;
hróðr nemi höldar kvæðis;
hef eg slæm en lýk stefjum.
Þá … ór gröf grýttri
gaft, mær, bragar stæri
blindum, björt, að venda
braut og styrk ….

{Drottning himins og gotna}, veit dýrt kaup fyr drápu; höldar nemi hróðr kvæðis; eg hef slæm en lýk stefjum. Björt mær, þá gaft {blindum stæri bragar} … að venda braut ór grýttri gröf og styrk ….
‘Queen of heaven and of men [= Mary], grant a precious reward for the drápa; may men learn the praise of the poem; I begin the slœmr and finish the refrains. Bright maiden, then you gave the blind increaser of the poem [POET] … to turn away from a stony grave and strength ….

notes and context

[1-4]: As the poet says, this st. marks the end of Mdr’s refrain section (stefjabálkr) and the beginning of the conclusion (slæmr). — [5-8]: The reconstruction and interpretation of this helmingr follows Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (NN §1653; Skald) in retaining the dat. stæri (l. 6) and construing it with bragar, gen. sg. m. of bragr ‘poem’, to form a kenning for the poet ‘increaser of the poem’, here qualified with m. dat. sg. adj. blindum ‘blind’ (l. 7). The blindness referred to here may be physical or spiritual. The 399a-bˣ transcript contains tentative readings/reconstructions of mátt acc. ‘strength, power’ in l. 5 and í þrautum ‘in struggles’ in l. 8. The helmingr is thus interpreted as a statement that the Virgin gave the poet the power to turn away from (spiritual?) death (mátt að venda braut ór grýttri gröf ‘power to turn away from a stony grave’) and the strength required for his spiritual battles (styrk í þrautum ‘strength in struggles’).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 1]. En drape om jomfru Maria (Máríudrápa) 28: AII, 469, BII, 502, Skald II, 274, NN §1653; Rydberg 1907, 37, 56, Attwood 1996a, 109, 310.


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