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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mv III 6VII

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríuvísur III 6’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 722.

Anonymous PoemsMáríuvísur III

Ítr hafði einn hlut
jafnan fyrir guðs nafn,
Máríu, sem vitum vier,
vaktað, ef frá er sagt.
Hann las í hvert sinn
hæstar tíðir guði næst
mjúkri við mein slík
móður, þegar hann upp stóð.

Ítr hafði jafnan vaktað einn hlut fyrir nafn guðs, Máríu, sem vier vitum, ef er frá sagt. Við slík mein las hann hæstar tíðir næst guði mjúkri móður í hvert sinn, þegar hann stóð upp.

The excellent one had always observed one thing because of the name of God, Mary, as we know, which is told. Against such transgressions he recited the highest hours next to God to the gentle mother every time as soon as he got up.

Mss: 721(16r), 1032ˣ(145v)

Readings: [1] hlut: so 1032ˣ, ‘hl[...]’ 721

Editions: Skj AII, 496-7, Skj BII, 539, Skald II, 296, NN §1699; Kahle 1898, 44, 100, Sperber 1911, 16, 65, Wrightson 2001, 69.

Notes: [1] ítr (m. nom. sg.) ‘the excellent one’: It may seem incongruous that the immoral cleric should be referred to in this manner, but the adj. is probably used ironically (see also NN §1699). Skj B emends to ítri (f. dat. sg.) ‘splendid’ which is taken with Máríu ‘splendid Mary’. — [4] vaktað ... sagt ‘observed ... told’: Note the internal rhyme -akt : -agt. — [4] ef ‘which’: For the use of ef lit. ‘if’ as a rel., see Fritzner: ef 3. Skj B emends to en ‘and, but’ and Skald to er ‘which’. Wrightson retains ef which is translated as ‘if’. — [7] við slík mein ‘against such transgressions’: This refers to his immoral life. Wrightson connects this prepositional phrase with mjúkri ‘kind regarding such transgressions’. That is less convincing, because it is rather unlikely that Mary should look with lenience on a life of debauchery.


  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. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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