Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Lilja (Lil) - 100

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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, 628-9

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58 — Anon Lil 58VII

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Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 58’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 628-9.

Syni Máríu svartir færa
seggir blandið gall með dreggjum;
fulla smán og flestar pínur
fundu þeir, en heimrinn stundi.
Fölnar skinn en fellr að enni;
fættuz orð en þurru mættir;
öndin leið af Jésúm píndum,
yfirvaldanda himins og landa.

Svartir seggir færa syni Máríu gall blandið með dreggjum; þeir fundu fulla smán og flestar pínur, en heimrinn stundi. Skinn fölnar en fellr að enni; orð fættuz en mættir þurru; öndin leið af píndum Jésúm, {yfirvaldanda himins og landa}.

Black men bring the son of Mary gall mixed with dregs; they worked utter debasement and very many torments, and the world groaned. The skin pales and grows slack at the forehead; his words became fewer and his powers diminished; the soul departed from the tortured Jesus, {supreme ruler of heaven and lands} [= God (= Christ)].

Mss: Bb(115rb), 99a(12r), 622(33), 713(11), Vb(252), 41 8°ˣ(124), 705ˣ(14v-15r), 4892(34r-v)

Readings: [2] blandið: blandað 99a, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, blanda 622    [4] en: og 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892    [6] fættuz: fæktar 99a, 705ˣ, fæktaz 622, 713, fækkar Vb, 41 8°ˣ, fækka 4892;    en: og 99a, Vb, 705ˣ, 4892;    þurru: þverrar 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, þverra 713, 4892;    mættir: mætti 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ    [7] Jésúm: Jésús 713, Jésú Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892    [8] yfirvaldanda: yfirvaldandi 622, 713

Editions: Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, Lilja 58: AII, 382, BII, 405, Skald II, 221.

Notes: [1, 2] svartir seggir ‘black men’: Svartr has connotations of both black in appearance and morally darkened, but the primary sense seems to be the literal. The epithet here echoes the more common svartir djöflar ‘black devils’ (see HómNo, 35; Mar 1871, 1082; and Unger 1877, 571 [wrongly cited in Fritzner as 511]). Cf. dökkvir flokkar ‘swarthy flocks’ 84/5. Lucifer was often portrayed as having a black complexion (see Link 1995, 52-3; Russell 1981, 190-1; Russell 1984, 132-3). — [2] dreggjum ‘with dregs’: Cf. Matt. XXVII.34: et dederunt ei vinum bibere cum felle mixtum ‘and they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall’. The word appears earlier in 15/5, where Lucifer sets about brewing the ‘dregs of death’. — [4] fellr að enni ‘grows slack at the forehead’: The idiom falla að is used of water or moisture, but it requires a subject. If an impersonal use of the verb were possible (none is attested), the image here could be of moisture (blood or sweat) falling from Christ’s forehead. JH suggests ‘the skin grows slack at the forehead’ (slappes over panden). It is somewhat difficult to imagine the skin of the forehead slackening, but cf. Julian of Norwich, A Book of Showings (Colledge and Walsh 1978, II, 362). Other translators propose ‘became wrinkled or contracted’, i.e. ‘fell’ in wrinkles (Finnur Jónsson 1772-8, II, 427; Baumgartner 1884, 58; Skj B; Paasche 1915, 75). Meissner (1922, 22) translates Die Stirn verfällt ‘the forehead slackens’. — [6] mættir þurru ‘powers diminished’: The implication is that the strength of Christ’s words waned. Þverra as a strong verb is normally construed with a subject. All mss except Bb have þverrar, a form well attested in MIcel., but never used impersonally (JH). — [8]: Cf. 52/2 and Note.

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