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, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Leiðarvísan’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 137-78.

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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, 157-8

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19 — Anon Leið 19VII

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Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 19’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 157-8.

Tunglbryggju gaf tyggi
tíu orð laga forðum
— fríðr af fǫstu mœðisk —
fjǫlhress goðs vin Móises,
ok þrekprúðum þjóðar
þann veg yfirmanni
várr dróttinn lét veittan
víðkunnan dag sunnu.

{Fjǫlhress tyggi {tunglbryggju}} gaf forðum Móises, goðs vin, tíu orð laga — fríðr mœðisk af fǫstu —, ok dróttinn várr lét veittan {þrekprúðum yfirmanni þjóðar} þann víðkunnan veg sunnu dag.

{The very hearty king {of the moon-pier}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] once gave Moses, God’s friend, ten words of law — the handsome one grows weary from fasting —, and our Lord let {the strength-magnificent overseer of the people} [RULER = Moses] be granted that widely-known honour on a Sunday.

Mss: B(10v), 624(88)

Readings: [5] þjóðar: so 624, ‘þ[...]ar’ B

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G [2]. Leiðarvísan 19: AI, 622, BI, 626-7, Skald I, 305, NN §§1263, 2559, 3250; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 62, Rydberg 1907, 7, Attwood 1996a, 64-5, 175.

Notes: [All]: Moses’s receipt of the Ten Commandments (tíu orð laga, l. 2) is documented in Exod. XX.3-17. Although no fast (l. 3) is mentioned at this point in the biblical narrative, Moses is later (Exod. XXXIV.28) said to have spent forty days and nights in conversation with God on Mt Sinai and to have fasted there: fecit ergo ibi cum Domino quadraginta dies et quadraginta noctes panem non comedit et aquam non bibit et scripsit in tabulis verba foederis decem ‘and he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights: he neither ate bread nor drank water, and he wrote upon the tables the ten words of the covenant’. — [3-4]: Skj B emends vin (dat. sg.) ‘friend’ (l. 4), to the nom. form vinr, and takes the resulting kenning goðs vinr ‘God’s friend’ as part of the intercalary cl., modified by fríðr (l. 3). In this, he is followed by Kock (NN §§1263, 2559), who also takes fjǫlvíss ‘very wise’ (l. 4) (on the emendation, see following Note) as in apposition to fríðr ‘handsome’. This gives fríðr fjǫlhress vinr goðs mœðisk af fǫstu ‘the fair, very wise friend of God grows weary from fasting’. However, it is not necessary to emend vin, if it is taken, as the w.o. suggests, with Móises (l. 4). — [4] fjǫlhress ‘very hearty’: Skj B and Skald emend to fjǫlvíss (adj.) ‘very wise’, which produces a better rhyme, but only if Moses’ name assumed the form Moíses (see Note below) Although fjǫlhress produces a less good rhyme, it makes good sense here (cf. dáðhress ‘deed-healthy’ 45/4, also used of God). Although hress ‘healthy, hearty’ does not occur very frequently in compounds in skaldic verse, it is interesting to compare several other examples in the C12th drápur. Pl decribes its hero as móðhress ‘hearty in courage’ 29/6 and the Emperor Trajan as víghress ‘hearty in battle’ 58/1, while S. Óláfr is characterised as eljunhress ‘energy-filled’ in Geisl 11/6. — [4] Móises ‘Moses’: The name must here be disyllabic, as a third syllable, such as we have in 18/2, would render the l. hypermetrical. Kock (NN §3250 and Skald) emends to Móísi, which makes the l. too long. Like OE, ON adopted the Hebrew diphthong (cf. Lat. Mōȳsēs; Goth. and Gk Mōsēs). It is very difficult to ascertain stress and length, which seem to vary according to metrical environment. In Hebrew, the first element of the diphthong is long, but the tokens seem to indicate that internal rhyme could be on both elements of the diphthong, which could be rendered ói or óí (cf. Lat. ōȳ). It could well be that, in its disyllabic form, the name was pronounced ‘Mojses’. — [6] þrekprúðum ‘strength-magnificent’: Compounds with þrekr ‘strength, prowess’ are fairly common in the Christian drápur, although this is the only occurrence in Leið. Cf. Pl 20/3: þrekmaðr ‘doughty man’; Has 26/5: þreknenninn ‘active in power’; Geisl 71/2: þrekrammr ‘mighty in strength’; Geisl 66/4, Líkn 43/2: þreksnjallr ‘swift in strength’.

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