Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 5VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 894-5.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa

Sæt ‘Sweet’

sœtr (adj.): sweet


Máría ‘Mary’

María (noun f.): Mary


mædd ‘overcome’

2. mœða (verb): weary


Júðanna ‘of the Jews’

júði (noun m.; °-a; -ar): Jew


fældi ‘mocked’

fœla (verb): mock

[3] fældi: feldi 721, 713


fljóði ‘woman’

fljóð (noun n.): woman


fljóðið ‘the woman’

fljóð (noun n.): woman


rjóðan ‘the red’

3. rjóðr (adj.): red


Rjóðandi ‘reddening’

rjóða (verb): to redden


[5] rjóðandi ‘reddening’: Kock (NN §1839) argues that the participial adj. qualifies flóð n. ‘flood, stream’; Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) has it qualifying móður and translates rjóðandi móður as ‘blushing mother’, but this interpretation ignores the rhetorical force of the echoing verse-form.


þá ‘then’

2. þá (adv.): then

[5] þá: þá er 713


og ‘and’

3. ok (conj.): and, but; also

[5] og: í 713


flóði ‘streamed’

3. flóa (verb): flood, flow


táranna ‘of tears’

tár (noun n.; °; -): tear


móður ‘mother’

móðir (noun f.): mother


streingt ‘tight’

strengr (adj.): [tight]


eingi ‘no one’

2. engi (pron.): no, none

[8] eingi: einginn 713


Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

This st. uses a variety of the echoing verse-form that Snorri Sturluson in Ht called iðurmælt ‘repeatedly said’ (SnE 1999, 22). Here the stressed syllable of the final word in l. 1 is repeated (though in a cognate, not the same, word) at the beginning of l. 2; l. 2’s aðalhending changes the stem while maintaining the rhyme, and the new lexeme begins l. 3; this format is repeated through the rest of the st., employing four rhymes in all. Note also that the st. comprises four apposed couplets, allowing the word-play, a type of adnominatio, to suggest a rapid sequence of significant events. This rhetorical ornamentation, which is very like some of the devices employed by the poet of Lil (cf. Foote 1982, 260-3), doubtless reflects the emotional intensity associated with the common medieval motif of Mary standing weeping at the foot of Christ’s Cross. See st. 36, whose subject is S. Margaret, for a similar display.


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