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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 4VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Máríudrápa 4’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 481-2.

Anonymous PoemsMáríudrápa
345

Oss fel þú lastalausa,
líkn vel kend, á hendi,
komin upp á hæð himna,
hjálp mín, syni þínum.
Hrittu öllum ótta
undirgrefti og heiftum
flærða hart af fyrðum
fáröflugra djöfla.

Fel þú oss lastalausa á hendi syni þínum, vel kend líkn, hjálp mín, komin upp á hæð himna. Hrittu öllum ótta, undirgrefti og heiftum fáröflugra djöfla flærða hart af fyrðum.

Entrust us, free from faults, into the hand of your son, well-known mercy, my help, come up to the height of the heavens. Drive all fear, undermining and the malevolence of anger-strong devils of deceits forcefully away from men.

Mss: B(13v)

Readings: [4] hjálp mín: ‘híalpmín’ corrected from ‘híalmín’ B

Editions: Skj AII, 464, Skj BII, 497, Skald II, 271, NN §§1636, 2669A; Konráð Gíslason 1860, 555, Rydberg 1907, 32-3, 54, Attwood 1996a, 103, 303.

Notes: [1] lastalausa ‘free from faults’: That is, ‘free from sin’. B’s reading is retained here, following Skj and Rydberg. The cpd adj. lastalauss ‘faultless, guileless’, from lǫstr ‘moral fault, blemish’ and lauss ‘free from, -less’ occurs in prose (see CVC: löstr) but is otherwise attested in poetry only in Egill St 3/1V, where it seems to describe the art of poetry. Kock (NN §2669) avoids the cpd, emending to lǫstum leysta, dat. pl. of lǫstr and m. acc. pl. of leystr ‘freed, redeemed’, construing oss fel af lǫstum leysta ‘entrust us, redeemed from faults’. This is theologically sound, and complements víst er lýðr af lǫstum leystr ‘the people is truly redeemed from faults’ in 15/3-4, but there is no reason to emend the ms. reading here on grounds of sense. — [6, 7, 8] og heiftum fáröflugra djöfla flærða ‘and the malevolence of anger-strong devils of deceit’: Skj B’s emendation to heptum (l. 6) provides full rhyme with -grepti, but causes problems of interpretation. Finnur appears to treat hept- as a synonym of B’s heift ‘war, conflict, feud, malevolence’. He takes heptum as dat. pl., in apposition with flærða (see below) and translates stød al frygt og de vrede-stærke djævles falskhed og forbitrelse med kraft bort fra menneskene ‘drive all fear and the anger-strong devils’ falsehood and bitterness forcefully away from men’. While hefti does not occur elsewhere with this meaning, such a noun might possibly derive from hepta ‘to bind, fetter, restrain, hobble, (metaphorically) to hinder’ (Fritzner: hepta). Kock (NN §1636) approves Finnur’s emendation to heptum, interpreting it with him as the dat. pl. of hefti ‘shaft of a weapon’. He assumes the weapon in question to be an arrow, and takes heftum flærða ‘with the weapons of deceits’ to be a reference to the arrows of deceit, with which devils assail mankind. This is a common motif in Christian exegesis, and probably has its origin in Paul’s account of spiritual armour in Eph. VI.16. Although Kock is correct in asserting that hefti usually refers to the shaft or haft of a weapon, it is invariably used of clutch-weapons, such as axes or knives (see CVC: hepti, heptisax), and is therefore unsuitable to the context he proposes. B’s heiftum (l.6) has been retained here, accepting the less than perfect rhyme, and interpreted as dat. pl. of f. heift ‘conflict, feud, malevolence’, parallel with ótta and undirgrefti as object of hrittu. Flærða is gen. pl. of flærð ‘deceit’, governed by fáröflugra djöfla (l. 8) ‘of anger-strong devils’, the wielders of heift.

References

  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. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  6. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  7. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. 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.
  9. Internal references
  10. Not published: do not cite (Egill St 3V (Eg 74))
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