Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 55’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 624-6.
|Rödd eingilsins kvenmann kvaddi;
kvadda af eingli drottinn gladdi;
gladdiz mær, þá er föðurinn fæddi;
fæddan sveininn reifum klæddi.
|Klæddan með sier laungum leiddi;|
leiddr á krossinn faðminn breiddi;
breiddr á krossinn gumna græddi;
græddi hann oss, en helstríð mæddi.
Rödd eingilsins kvaddi kvenmann; drottinn gladdi kvadda af eingli; mær gladdiz, þá er fæddi föðurinn; fæddan sveininn klæddi reifum. Klæddan leiddi með sier laungum; leiddr á krossinn breiddi faðminn; breiddr á krossinn græddi gumna; hann græddi oss, en helstríð mæddi.
The voice of the angel greeted the woman; she who was greeted by the angel, the Lord made glad; the maiden rejoiced when she gave birth to the Father, the boy who was born, she clothed in swaddling clothes. The one clothed in swaddling, she carried with her for a long time. Led onto the cross, he opened his embrace; arms opened on the cross, he healed men; he healed us, but agony harmed him.
Mss: Bb(115rb), 99a(11v), 622(33), 713(10-11), Vb(252), 41 8°ˣ(123), 705ˣ(14r-v), 4892(33v-34r)
Readings:  eingilsins: ‘eingelsis’ 713  kvadda: kvað 622, kvaddan 4892; eingli: eingli enn 622  er: om. 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ; föðurinn: frelsarann Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ  fæddan: fæddi hun 99a; sveininn: sveinn og 99a, sveinn í 622, sveinn hun Vb, 41 8°ˣ  á: af 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892; krossinn: móður og 99a, 622, 705ˣ, móður 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892  krossinn: kross og 99a, 622, 705ˣ  en: þá er 99a, af 622, er 713, þá Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ; helstríð: sóttum 622; mæddi: fæddi 99a, mædda 622
Editions: Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, Lilja 55: AII, 381, BII, 405, Skald II, 221.
Notes: [All]: This summarizing st. exhibits anadiplosis as well as climax or gradatio and polyptoton: see Note on 49/1-4 and cf. st. 66. The consistent end rhyme reflects the influence of the Lat. hymn tradition. The image of enclosure in the first helmingr contrasts with that of Christ’s opened arms in the second (see Laugesen 1966, 297-8). — : Cf.
st. 28. — : Cf. Luke I.46-7: Og Maria sagdi / Ond min mycklar dróttinn / og gladdizt andi minn i gudi heilsu giafara minum ‘And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord / And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour’ (Hið Nya Testament 1540 [Sigurður Nordal 1933]). — : Medieval authors loved this paradox: cf. the hymn Patrem parit filia ‘The Daughter Bears the Father’ (AH 20, 221). — : Cf. st. 35/1-4. —  leiddr á krossinn, faðminn breiddi ‘led onto the cross, he opened his embrace’: The reading of Bb, which conforms to the rhetorical pattern of the rest of the st. and refocuses attention on the Crucifixion after the flashback to Jesus’ infancy in ll. 1-5; other mss have af móður ‘by the mother’ instead of á krossin, and this unlikely reading has been followed by Skj B and Skald. There is no tradition of Jesus being led from his mother, and the phrase makes little sense in context, whereas the concept of him being ‘led’ to the Cross is familiar from the gospels (Matt. XXVII.31, Mark XV.20, Luke XXIII.26, John XVIII.28), where it echoes the Old Testament image of the lamb led to the slaughter (Isa. LIII.7 and Jer. XI.19, quoted in Acts VIII.32). The image of the crucified Christ’s arms opened to embrace is a common topos in medieval devotional literature. Cf. the Icel. homily for the Feast of the Holy Cross: Rétte haɴ fra ſér báþar hendr a croſſenom. þuiat haɴ býþr faþm miſcvɴar ſiɴar. ꜵʟ þeim er haɴ elſca ‘He stretches both his arms on the cross, because he offers the embrace of his mercy to all those whom he loves’ (HómÍsl 1993, 17v) and the C13th penitential hymn Memorans novissima: Caput habet pendulum / ad te deosculandum / et extenta brachia / te ad amplexandum ‘He holds his head pendulously in order to kiss you, and extends his arms to embrace you’ (AH 46, 342). This idiom also appears with a different sense in Rþ 16/3 as well as in several ON prose works. See Kommentar 2000, III, 570-2. In Stjórn it is used in a discussion of how to catch a unicorn: þa setia menn eina skæra ok uskadda iungfru moti þi dyri, huer er sinn fadm skal breida moti þi ‘then men place a pure and untarnished virgin before the animal, who shall open her embrace to it’ (Unger 1860, 70). — [7-8]: Laugesen identifies in these ll. the figure versus caudati ventrini: the ll. rhyme at the end of each colon (Laugesen 1966, 298; see Everard’s Laborintus, ed. Faral 1924, ll. 717-20; NB l. 721 is misnumbered as 720). — : The paradox is a well-known topos. Cf. Isa. LIII.5: ipse
autem vulneratus est propter iniquitates nostras adtritus est propter scelera
nostra disciplina pacis nostrae super eum et livore eius sanati sumus ‘But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our
sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed’.