Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 23 [Vol. 7, 589-90]

[1-5]: The various mss treat these ll. as either the poet’s direct address to his tongue and poetic faculty (so Bb, Skald, NN §3312 and this edn), or (much less likely) as a 3rd-pers. statement about the same subject (so Skj B and various mss, though not consistently). This difference affects the following words: tala ‘speak’ (talar ‘it speaks’) (l. 1); þínum ‘your’ (sínum ‘its’) (l. 2); áttu ‘you must’ (á hon ‘it [the tongue] must’) (l. 3); værir ‘you would be’ (væri ‘it would be’) (l. 5). The apostrophe to the tongue is reminiscent of the many Lat. passion hymns beginning with the topos pange, lingua ‘sing, tongue’, e.g. the passion hymn Pange lingua, gloriosi / proelium certaminis ‘Sing, tongue, the strife of the glorious battle’ (AH 2, 44) and the Nordic hymn to S. Óláfr, Pange lingua, gloriose / Diei solemnia / Regum jubar pretiose / Rex Olave … ‘Sing, tongue, the solemnity of the glorious day, the precious splendour of kings, King Óláfr …’ (AH 11, 206).


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