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, 465

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

15 — Anon Heildr 15VII

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Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilags anda drápa 15’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 465.

Út rek óvin sleitinn,
angrþverrir, veg langan,
giptu framr, en gumnum
gef traustan veg hraustum.
Ver þú, at vér megim forðask,
víss leiðtogi, píslir
lengr ok löst, á þröngum
lífs veg, siða fegrir.

Angrþverrir, framr giptu, rek sleitinn óvin út langan veg, en gef hraustum gumnum traustan veg. Ver þú, fegrir siða, víss leiðtogi á lífs þröngum veg, at vér megim lengr forðask píslir ok löst.

Harm-destroyer, outstanding in grace, drive the aggressive fiend a long way away, but give valiant men trustworthy honour. Beautifier of conduct [lit. conducts], be a true guide on life’s narrow way, that we may for a long time escape torments and vice.

Mss: B(10r), 399a-bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. [3]. Heilags anda vísur 15: AII, 162, BII, 179, Skald II, 93, NN §§2341, 3280; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 55-6, Rydberg 1907, 3, 46, Attwood 1996a, 59, 154.

Notes: [All]: The Lat. text reads: Hostem repellas longius / pacemque dones protinus / ductore sic te praevio / vitemus omne noxium ‘Drive the enemy further off and give peace continually; thus with you going before [us] as guide, we may avoid all evil’. — [4] traustan veg ‘trustworthy honour’: Kock (NN §2341) considers that, since the poet has spoken of driving the devil away langan veg ‘a long way’ (l. 2) and is about to speak of lífs þrǫngum veg ‘life’s narrow way’ (ll. 7-8), vegr m. should also here be taken in the sense of ‘way’ (LP: 1. vegr), rather than ‘honour, glory’ (LP: 2. vegr). The Lat. pacemque dones protinus confirms that the interpretation offered here, which accords with those of Finnur Jónsson and Rydberg, is correct. The poet is, of course, exploiting the dual resonances of vegr throughout the st. The word-play is only fully resolved in the parallel characterisation of the Spirit as fegrir siða ‘adorner of the faith’ and leiðtogi ‘guide’. The Spirit is able to guide men on the narrow path (vegr) to righteousness, which is marked by the gift of honour in the Christian sense of glory (vegr). — [7-8] lífs þröngum veg ‘on life’s narrow way’: Compare Matt. VII.14, quam angusta porta et arta via quae ducit ad vitam et pauci sunt qui inveniunt eam ‘How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it’.

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