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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mey 52VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 52’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 923-4.

Anonymous PoemsHeilagra meyja drápa
515253

text and translation

Barbara gat frá blótum horfið
blíðufyld og skrýddiz fríðum;
hennar faðir liet sælan svanna
syrgiliga í húsi byrgja.
Kvíðufullu kvalara þjóðir
knífum skáru brjóst af vífi;
Ságu gulls með sverði vágu;
seldiz hun enn í drottins veldi.

Barbara, blíðufyld, gat horfið frá blótum og skrýddiz fríðum; hennar faðir liet sælan svanna syrgiliga byrgja í húsi. Þjóðir kvalara skáru knífum brjóst af kvíðufullu vífi; með sverði vágu {Ságu gulls}; hun seldiz enn í veldi drottins.
 
‘Barbara, full of grace, turned away from sacrifices and adorned herself with virtues; her father had the blessed woman sadly locked in a house. Bands of tormentors cut with knives the breast off the fearful woman; with a sword [they] struck the Sága <goddess> of gold [WOMAN]; she still gave herself into the power of the Lord.

notes and context

Like Christina, S. Barbara was a beautiful maiden whose father, Dioscurus, shut her up in a tower to keep her away from her numerous suitors. Dioscurus found out that Barbara had become a Christian, so he attempted to kill her, but she was miraculously removed from his reach. He then denounced her to the prefect of the province, who tortured her (including cutting off a breast; for this motif, see Wolf 1997) to make her renounce her faith. She refused to do so, whereupon her father was ordered to kill her, which he did, and was immediately struck by lightning. There are two C15th mss of a saga of S. Barbara, both independently derived from the same exemplar (Unger 1877, I, 153-7; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 301; Wolf 2000 and 2003, 142-7 and 176-7). For evidence of her cult in Iceland, see Cormack 1994, 2, 16, 19 n. 26, 29, 37, 83-4 and Wolf 2000, 68-72.

readings

sources

Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 12]. Af heilogum meyjum 52: AII, 537, BII, 595, Skald II, 329, NN §§91, 2970B.

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