Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 29VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 29’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 502.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa

Bænheyrðu, Máría, mína
málsgnótt og bjarg sálum;
miskunnar þarf eg þinnar,
þýð mær guði kærust.
Líðr að ljósu kvæði;
lofi þínu vil eg ofra;
skyldr em eg góðu að gjalda,
göfug prýði, þier, jöfra.

Bænheyrðu, Máría, mína málsgnótt og bjarg sálum; eg þarf miskunnar þinnar, þýð mær, kærust guði. Líðr að ljósu kvæði; eg vil ofra lofi þínu; eg em skyldr að gjalda þier góðu, {göfug prýði jöfra}.

Be attentive, Mary, to my speech-abundance, and save my soul; I need your mercy, kind maiden, most dear to God. The bright poem draws to its end; I will exalt your praise; I am obliged to reward you with good, {noble adornment of princes} [= Mary].

Mss: B(14r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [4] þýð: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘þ[...]’ B    [5] kvæði: ‘k[...]ędi’ B    [7] gjalda: ‘[...]iallda’ B    [8] jöfra: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]fra’ B

Editions: Skj AII, 469, Skj BII, 502-3, Skald II, 275; Rydberg 1907, 37-8, 56, Attwood 1996a, 109-10, 310.

Notes: [1] bænheyrðu ‘be [you] attentive [to my prayer]’: The OIcel. verb bænheyra does not have an exact Engl. counterpart. It means ‘to be willing to hear and answer someone’s prayer, to be attentive to someone’s prayer’. The intercessory response ‘hear our prayer’ in liturgical settings carries much the same meaning. Both it and bænheyra reflect the Lat. intercessory response Te rogamus, audi nos ‘we beseech you, hear us’. — [4] þýð ‘kind’: Only the initial letter is legible in B. Here, with Skj and Skald, the 399a-bˣ transcript’s reading, þýð f. nom. sg. ‘meek, kind’ is adopted, construed with mær ‘maiden’. Rydberg reconstructs þar (adv.) ‘there’. He construes ek þarf þar miskunnar þinnar, mær Guði kærust ‘I need your mercy there, maiden most dear to God’, though the referent of þar is not clear.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  4. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.

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