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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 99 [Vol. 7, 675-6]

[8] Dominus tecum ‘the Lord is with you’: The angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary at the Annunciation (Luke I.28) was incorporated into the popular prayer Ave Maria: Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ ‘Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death’. The poet hopes to die with this prayer on his lips, and he hopes that Mary’s intimacy with her son will assure him a lenient judgement. Cf. the Marian prayer from HómÍsl: Weſ þu mér at tráusti í andláti míno oc ſvara fyr mic þeim orþom eſ mér come til hiálpar. þa eſ keomc fyr déomiſtól ſonar þíns. Vaʟd þu þui en helga maria af verþleicom þínom. at eige déome ſá mic til eilífra quala fyr ſakar ſynþa miɴa. eſ mic leyste fra eilífom dáuþa af miſcuɴ ſiɴe meþ blóþe ſíno ſiálfſ. ieſuſ chriſtuſ filiuſ tuuſ ‘Be my consolation at my death and answer for me with the words that will help me, when I come before the judgement seat of your son. Holy Mary, by your merit make certain that he not damn me to eternal torment for the sake of my sins, who redeemed me from eternal death by his mercy and with his own blood: your son Jesus Christ’ (HómÍsl 1993, 90v). The skald’s Dominus tecum is more than a conventional prayer to Mary: it is a speech-act by which he makes the statement true not only of Mary but of himself. The same formula occurs at Mgr 47/4.


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