Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Heilags anda drápa (Heildr) - 18

not in Skj

Heilags anda drápa (‘Drápa about the Holy Spirit’) — Anon HeildrVII

Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Heilags anda drápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 450-67.

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Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: C. [3]. Heilags anda vísur (AII, 160-3, BII, 175-80)

SkP info: VII, 463-4

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13 — Anon Heildr 13VII

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Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilags anda drápa 13’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 463-4.

Þinn er, salkonungs sólar,
sjauskiptr frami gipta,
(vandask) hægri handar
hreinn fingr (bragar greinir).
Prýðir rausnar ræður,
ríkr andi, þér líkaz;
fyrirtígnari, fegra*,
föður, kverkr meginverkum.

Hreinn fingr hægri handar {{sólar sal}konungs}, þinn frami gipta er sjauskiptr; bragar greinir vandask. Ríkr andi, prýðir ræður rausnar; fyrirtígnari föður, líkaz þér fegra* kverkr meginverkum.

Pure finger of the right hand {of the king {of the hall of the sun}} [(lit. ‘the sun’s hall-king’) SKY/HEAVEN > = God], your distinction of grace [lit. good fortunes] is sevenfold; the poem’s branches are elaborately crafted. Powerful spirit, you adorn speeches of magnificence; proclaiming messenger of the Father, it pleases you to beautify throats with mighty works.

Mss: B(10r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [7] fegra*: fegnar B

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. [3]. Heilags anda vísur 13: AII, 162, BII, 178, Skald II, 93, NN §2340; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 55, Rydberg 1907, 3, 46, Attwood 1996a, 58, 154.

Notes: [All]: The Lat. text, of which this st. is a rendition, reads as follows: Tu septiformis munere, / dextrae Dei tu digitus, / tu rite promisso patris / sermone ditans guttura ‘You, with your sevenfold gift, you, finger of the right hand of God, you, duly according to the promise of the Father, enriching throats with speech’. — [1, 3, 4] hreinn fingr hægri handar sólar salkonungs ‘pure finger of the right hand of the king of the hall of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends to salkonungr ‘hall-king’ (nom. sg.) (l. 1), taking the st. as an apostrophe to the first person of the Trinity. He construes Sólar salkonungr, þinn hreinn fingr hægri handar er frami gipta sjauskiptr ‘King of the hall of the sun, the pure finger of your right hand is the sevenfold distinction of good fortunes’. The Lat. here, as elsewhere, is vocative, and B’s text can be retained as a straightforward calque on dextrae Dei tu digitus. The God-kenning salkonungr sólar ‘king of the hall of the sun’ recurs in Leið 25/7, and is probably modelled on salkonungr himna ‘king of the hall of the heavens’ in Geisl 66/6 (see Note on Leið 13/5-8). — [3, 4] bragar greinir vandask ‘the poem’s branches are elaborately crafted’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) interprets this cl. in a negative sense, as a reflection of the poet’s concern about the difficulties of reconciling the skaldic medium to complex latinate poetic figures. Finnur glosses digtet bliver nu vanskeligt ‘now the poem is becoming difficult’. This involves taking vandask as 3rd pers. pl. pres. sg. m.v. of vanda, used reflexively, meaning ‘to become difficult, precarious’ (Fritzner: vandast 5). Vanda can also mean ‘to work elaborately, to take pains over’ (Fritzner: vanda 3), however, so it is also possible to interpret the phrase as a boast about the poet’s craftsmanship, and that is the sense adopted here. — [5-8]: This helmingr is difficult. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), while indicating his uncertainty, interpreted the four ll. thus.: rausnar-ríkr andi, fyrirtígnari fǫður kverkr, prýðir líkast ræður, fegnar þér, meginverkum ‘spirit powerful in magnificence, honourer of the Father’s throat (speech), ornaments in the best way the speeches, you rejoice in, with mighty works’. Aside from the considerable syntactic fragmentation this involves, there are problems of sense. Taking kverkr, gen. sg. of kverk, f. ‘throat’ with fǫður gen., to form the epithet fyrirtígnari fǫður kverkr ‘honourer of the father’s throat’ i.e. ‘honourer of the father’s word’ for the Holy Spirit runs contrary to the Lat. text, which indicates that the helmingr should refer to the Holy Spirit’s endowing the throats of human beings with speech. A reading that is much simpler syntactically, but which involves emending B’s ‘likaz’ (l. 6) to líkastr, sup. adj. m. nom. sg., to agree with andi, is provided by Kock (NN §2340 and Skald): here ll. 5-6 and 7-8 form two separate main clauses. The present edn retains B’s líkaz and emends fegnar (l. 7) to fegra* ‘to embellish, beautify’. This gives a close parallel to the Lat. sermone ditans guttura ‘enriching throats with speech’.

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