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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Leiðarvísan (Leið) - 45

not in Skj

Leiðarvísan (‘Way-Guidance’) — Anon LeiðVII

Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘ Anonymous, Leiðarvísan’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 137-78. <> (accessed 19 May 2022)

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Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII]: G [2]. Leiðarvísan, et digt fra det 12. årh. (AI, 618-26, BI, 622-33)

SkP info: VII, 141-2

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Anon Leið 1VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 1’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 141-2.

Þinn óð sem ek inni
allskjótt, salar fjalla,
harðla brátt til hróðrar,
harri, munn ok varrar.
Mér gefi dǫglingr dýra
dœmistóls ok sólar,
enn svát ek mega, sanna
orðgnótt, lofa dróttin.

Ek sem inni þinn óð, munn ok varrar, allskjótt, harðla brátt til hróðrar, {harri {salar fjalla}}. {Dǫglingr dœmistóls ok sólar} gefi mér dýra, sanna orðgnótt, svát ek mega enn lofa dróttin.

I arrange your poem inwardly, [and] my mouth and lips very quickly, very briskly for praise, {lord {of the hall of the mountains}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]. May {the king of the judgement-seat and of the sun} [= God] give me precious, true word-abundance, so that I may again praise the Lord.

Mss: B(10r), 624(85)

Readings: [1] Þinn: so 624, ‘[...]inn’ B

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G [2]. Leiðarvísan 1: AI, 618, BI, 622, Skald I, 302, NN §§1257, 1258, 2991D; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 57, Rydberg 1907, 4, Attwood 1996a 60, 171.

Notes: [All]: Sts 1-5 constitute an appeal to God and the other members of the Trinity to help the poet compose his poem, represented as a praise-poem (hróðr, mærðr). Each st. marks a stage in the poet’s progression towards the realisation of his goal. In st. 1 he has barely begun to prepare his mind and the organs of speech for a quick composition; in st. 2 he asks God to give him plenty of words and predicts that his speech-organs will be stirred into action; in st. 3 he begs the Father and Son to straighten out the poem’s form, while asking the Holy Spirit to strengthen the work. St. 4 sees the poet more confident in his abundance of words, and ready to recite his poem before a human audience, while in st. 5 he asks his audience for a formal hearing and announces his subject: advice about Sunday. — [1] Þinn: In B, the beginnings of 10r, 39 and 10r, 40 are indented by some 9mm, to allow space for a larger initial to mark the beginning of the poem, which has not been supplied. All previous eds and transcribers have reconstructed this letter as <Þ>. — [1] sem ek inni ‘I arrange inwardly’: Skj B, followed by Skald, treats both sem and inni as 1st pers. sg. pres. indic. verbs, adding the enclitic pronouns. This requires emendation of ek to ok and inni to innik. They thus read semk ok innik. Finnur Jónsson takes munn ok varrar (l. 4) as the object of semja ‘to arrange, compose’, and þinn óð (l. 1) as the object of inna ‘to perform, relate, tell, achieve’. He construes innik þinn óð … ok semk munn ok varrar ‘I produce your poem ... and arrange [my] mouth and lips’. Kock (NN §1257) argues that this is an example of zeugma, with óð ‘poem’ the object of both verbs and munn ok varrar harðla brátt til hróðrar ‘mouth and lips very eager to praise’ the object of semk. Attwood 1996a retains the ms. reading by treating sem as a conj. meaning ‘just as, as well as’ and ek inni þinn óð ‘I compose your poem’ and sem munn ok varrar ‘just as [I compose my] mouth and lips’ as parallel clauses, with óð and munn ok varrar as the objects of inna in the sense ‘to compose’. The problem with this reading is that inna does not mean ‘to compose’ (as semja does) but ‘to perform, relate’ and thus does not suit both postulated objects. The only other way to keep the ms. reading (and the one adopted here) is to consider sem ek the verb with two objects and regard inni as the adv. ‘inside, indoors’, usually used in a concrete sense, but here meaning ‘inwardly, in my breast’, where poetry resided according to skaldic convention (cf. Meissner, 134-6). Another example of inni used in a metaphorical sense is in Gamlkan Has 7/5. — [2] salar fjalla ‘hall of the mountains [SKY/HEAVEN]’: A common kenning for the sky or heavens; cf. GunnlI Lv 8/2V, Hallv Knútdr 8/2III and Has 30/2. — [6] dǫglingr dœmistóls ‘king of the judgement-seat [= God]’: This kenning also occurs in Kálf Kátr 47/5-6. Cf. also drottinn dæmistóls ‘lord of the judgement-seat’ in Kálf Kátr 1/1-2 and 21/1-2. — [7] enn ‘again’: This adv. suggests that the poet has composed poetry in praise of God before; cf. Anon Mgr 2/8 and Anon Vitn 2/7. — [7] sanna ‘true’: Skj B, followed by Skald, emends to sannan, m. acc. sg. to agree with dróttin ‘lord’ (l. 8). The ms. reading is retained here by taking sanna as f. acc. sg., qualifying orðgnótt ‘word-abundance’, amplifying dýra ‘precious’.

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