Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 61’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 632-3.
|Öll helvítis járnhlið skjálfa;
undraz myrkr, er ljós er styrkra;
hlaupa fjandr og ætla undan;
ódæmin þeir sögðu að kæmi.
|Hræzlan flaug um heljar bygðir;|
helga menn, er fjötrar spenna,
hlaut óvinrinn laust að láta
lamdr og meiddr, er valdið beiddi.
Öll járnhlið helvítis skjálfa; myrkr undraz, er ljós er styrkra; fjandr hlaupa og ætla undan; þeir sögðu, að ódæmin kæmi. Hræzlan flaug um bygðir heljar; óvinrinn, lamdr og meiddr, hlaut að láta laust helga menn, er fjötrar spenna, er valdið beiddi.
All the iron gates of hell shake; darkness is amazed that light is stronger; devils leap and think to flee; they said that the unthinkable had come to pass. Terror flew through the abodes of hell; the enemy, lamed and injured, was obliged to let loose holy men whom fetters clasp, when might commanded.
Mss: Bb(115rb-va), 99a(12v), 622(34), 713(11), Vb(252), 41 8°ˣ(125), 705ˣ(15v), 4892(34v)
Readings:  undraz: óttaz 705ˣ; er: að 99a, 622, 4892, enn 713, om. 705ˣ; ljós: ljósinn 622, 705ˣ; er: om. 622, 705ˣ, varð Vb, var 41 8°ˣ  að: om. 4892  er: sem Vb, 41 8°ˣ; fjötrar: fjötra 99a, 622, fjötrinn Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892  óvinrinn: ormurin Vb, 41 8°ˣ; laust: lausa Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ  lamdr: lamda 4892; meiddr: meidda 4892; er: því 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892, sem 705ˣ; beiddi: beiddiz 99a, 4892, beidist Vb, 41 8°ˣ
Editions: Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, Lilja 61: AII, 382-3, BII, 406, Skald II, 222.
Cf. the account of the
Harrowing of Hell in Niðrst1, 4-6: þeir Satan rødoz viþ,
at þeir heyra, er englar helger colloþo sva hat, at dynia þoti umb alt, oc
melto sva: ‘Tollite portas, principes, vestras et elevamini porte eternales, et
introibit rex glorie.’ Þa melto
helvitis buar viþ Satan: ‘Far a braut nu or sætum varom; ef þu mat, þa berstu
nu hart viþ dyrðar konongen. Ecki villdom ver viþ hann eiga’... Þa melte
David...‘Lioter oc saurger, latet up hliþen, at rex glorie of comesc hingat’...
Þa er David hafði þetta melt, þa kom konongr dyrþar at helvitis virki, hann
braut þegar borg helvitis oc gørþ a hliþ miket. Hann havir vitraz i mannz
asiono meþ liose miclo, svat myrcr helvites hafa þa horfit. Hverr goðr maðr
hevir þa losnat or þvi bandi, sem bundinn var. Sva micell craptr oc gnyr hevir
at gørzc viþ þat, er sva sciot reð (hann) um brotet helvite, at dioflar allir
toco at falma oc at scialva ‘Satan and his companions talked with each other, saying
that they heard holy angels call out so loudly, that it seemed to thunder
everywhere, and they said: “Lift up your gates, princes, and let your eternal
gates be raised, and the king of glory will come in”. Then the inhabitants of hell said to Satan: “Go away now from our homes; if you can, you should now fight hard against the king of glory. We do not want anything to do with him”... Then
David said ... “Ugly and unclean ones, let the gates be opened up, so that the
king of glory can come here” ... When David had said this, the king of glory
came to the ramparts of hell, he broke the fortification of hell at once and made a big hole in it. He had revealed himself in the appearance of a man with
great light, so that the darkness of hell had then retreated. Every good man
had then been released from the bond with which he was bound. Such great force
and such a din was created when he rode so quickly through the destroyed hell,
that all the devils started to tremble and shake with fear’. —  járnhlið ‘iron gates’: The gates of hell are typically described as being made of brass, in reference to Ps. CVI.16 (quia contrivit portas aereas et vectes ferreos confregit ‘because he hath broken gates of brass, and burst iron bars’, cf. Isa. XLV.2). The only other occurrence of the word cited by dictionaries is the translation of Acts XII.10 in Postola Sögur (Unger 1874, 78); it also occurs in Oddur Gottskálksson’s translation of the same verse (Sigurður Nordal 1933). —  laust ‘loose’: Here and in
81/1, the n. form of the adj. is used without respect to its object: lauss is normally declined so that there is congruence (JH). In 81/1, the poet uses the same idiom to pray that Christ never let him
loose: the juxtaposition of the two statements recalls the paradox pointed out
by S. Paul: by being freed from the bondage of sin, we become slaves of God (cf.
Rom. VI.18-22). —  valdið ‘might’:
Lit. ‘the might, the power’, a reference to God.