Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Lilja (Lil) - 100

not in Skj

Lilja (‘Lily’) — Anon LilVII

Martin Chase 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Lilja’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 544-677.

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Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson: Lilja (AII, 363-95, BII, 390-416)

SkP info: VII, 606-7

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37 — Anon Lil 37VII

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Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 37’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 606-7.

Vígðiz oss, þá er vatni dögðiz,
valdr himnanna á þrítugsaldri,
í Jórdán við æðar hreinar;
Jón baptista drottni þjónar.
Þessi ástvinr Jésú Kristi
er nú váttr, er þann dag mátti
sjá skínandi á grænni grundu
guðs þrenning með lýðum kennaz.

{Valdr himnanna} vígðiz oss á þrítugsaldri, þá er dögðiz vatni, við æðar hreinar í Jórdán; Jón baptista þjónar drottni. Þessi {ástvinr Jésú Kristi} er nú váttr, er þann dag mátti sjá þrenning guðs, skínandi á grænni grundu kennaz með lýðum.

{The ruler of the heavens} [= God (= Christ)] consecrated himself to us at the age of thirty, when he was sprinkled with water by the pure springs in the Jordan; John the baptist serves the Lord. This, {the belovedfriend of Jesus Christ} [= John], is now the witness, who that day could see God’s Trinity, shining on the green earth, make itself known among men.

Mss: Bb(114va-b), 99a(8r), 622(29), 713(9), Vb(250), 41 8°ˣ(117), 705ˣ(10r-v), 4892(30v)

Readings: [1] Vígðiz: Vígði hann 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    er: om. Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892;    vatni: vatnið 622, vatn en Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    dögðiz: ‘dogdir’ 622    [2] valdr: vald 622, 713    [3] í Jórdán: Jórdánar 99a, 705ˣ, við Jórdáner 622, 4892;    við: so 99a, 713, 705ˣ, með Bb, om. 622, 4892;    æðar: æðið Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [4] drottni: drottin 4892    [5] ‑vinr: so 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892, ‑vinrinn Bb, 622, 713, 705ˣ    [6] er: að 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892    [7] sjá skínandi: samskínandi 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892, sem skínandi 713;    grænni: grænri 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892    [8] kennaz: kenna Vb, 41 8°ˣ

Editions: Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, Lilja 37: AII, 375, BII, 400, Skald II, 218, NN §3313.

Notes: [All]: The story of the Baptism of Jesus is told in Matt. III.13-17, Mark I.9-11, and Luke III.21-2. In liturgical tradition the Baptism is celebrated together with the visit of the Magi on the Feast of the Epiphany, so this st. follows logically on the preceding. — [1] vígðiz oss ‘consecrated himself to us’: The poet continues to emphasize Christ’s active and volitional role: cf. 24/7-8, 29/7-8, and 36/7-8. The Baptism of Jesus was traditionally regarded as Christ’s dedication of himself to humanity. Cf. the Meditaciones Vite Christi of Iohannis de Caulibus: Desponsat enim uniuersalem ecclesiam et singulariter omnes animas fideles. Nam in fide baptismatis desponsantur Domino Iesu Christo, dicente propheta in persona ipsius; Desponsabo te mihi in fide ‘He wedded to himself the universal Church and all faithful souls individually. In the faith of Baptism they are espoused to the Lord Jesus Christ, as Hosea said of Christ, “I shall wed you to myself in faith” (Hos. II:20)’ (Stallings-Taney 1997, 82; Taney 2000, 71). In ON vígja ‘to consecrate’ is used in reference to priestly ordination or monastic consecration; later it came to be used also in reference to marriage (see Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4: vígja). — [1] dögðiz ‘was sprinkled’: The more usual iconography of the Baptism of Jesus shows him being submerged in the Jordan rather than being sprinkled. The practice of baptism by sprinkling began in Scandinavia and Iceland in C13th, and though it was resisted by the church (C14th statutes insist that infants be dipped in the font: see e.g. NGL III, 297), it became the standard custom (see Fæhn 1958). — [2] á þrítugsaldri ‘at the age of thirty’: Luke III:23. — [5] ástvinr ‘the beloved friend’: John the Evangelist (rather than John the Baptist) is commonly referred to as ‘the beloved disciple’ (John XIX.26, XX.2, XXI.7, 20); cf. Ník Jóndr 3, Kolb Jónv 1. — [6] váttr ‘witness’: John the Baptist was the ‘witness’ who was the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah (John I.6-8, 36). — [7] sjá skínandi ‘[could] see, shining’: The reading of Bb. Both Skj B and Skald prefer the hap. leg. reading of the majority of mss, samskínandi ‘shining together’ (of the Trinity), which requires mátti (l. 6) to be taken with kennaz ‘could be recognised’. — [8]: The Baptism of Christ has traditionally been understood as a revelation of the Trinity: God the Father proclaims Jesus his ‘beloved son’ as the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove.

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