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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Leiðarvísan (Leið) - 45

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.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45 

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

SkP info: VII, 158-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

20 — Anon Leið 20VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 20’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 158-9.

Sinn skreytti dag dróttinn
dáðsterkr framaverkum,
rekkum*s rann til drykkjar
reint vatn fram ór steini.
* Ráðmegninn lét rigna
risnufimr af himni
mat, þeims manna heitir,
margri þjóð til bjargar.


The deed-strong Lord adorned his day with deeds of distinction, when pure water flowed forth from a rock as a drink for men. The one strong in counsel, quick with hospitality, caused that food which is called manna to rain from heaven as a help to many people.

notes: Two separate accounts of God’s feeding the hungry Israelites during their desert wanderings are alluded to in this st. Lines 1-4 refer to Moses’ striking the rock at Horeb with his staff, providing drinking water. This event is recorded in Exod. XVII.1-7, and is widely referred to in later Hebrew hymns and Scriptures (see, for example, Ps. LXXVIII.15-16, XLVIII. 48.21). Lines 5-8 relate the more famous incident of the provision of manna, panes de caelo ‘bread from heaven’ (Exod. XVI.4), which is recorded in Exod. XVI.1-36. It is interesting to note that the Leið-poet has reversed the biblical chronology in sts 19-20. In Exod., the provision of manna is recorded as taking place before the striking of the rock at Horeb (the relative chronology is confirmed by the geographical progression indicated in Exod. XVI.1 and Exod. XVII.1), both of which take place before the Israelites reach Sinai, where Moses receives the Law. None of the surviving recensions of the Sunday Letter actually contains accounts of all three of these incidents, and only the S. Emmeram Homily version of the Sunday List has accounts of both the miracle at Horeb and the receipt of the Ten Commandments, these being presented there in strict biblical order (see Attwood 2003, 73). Either the Leið-poet was working from some hitherto undiscovered exemplar, or there is some artistic purpose behind the chronology here. Imagery established in these events, in which God provides nourishment for his people, is traditionally considered in Christian thought to refer to Christ, who is described in the New Testament as a provider of life-giving water and as the bread of life: sed aqua quam dabo ei fiet in eo fons aquae salientis in vitam aeternam ‘the water that I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting’ (John IV.14); ego sum panis vitae ‘I am the bread of life’ (John VI.35). Read in this light, st. 20 prefigures the Incarnation, which is the subject of the next narrative st. (as opposed to refrain st.), st. 22. It is perhaps churlish to point out that the Exod. account implies that manna did not fall on the Sabbath – the Israelites were told to collect a double ration on the sixth day and keep the seventh as a day of rest (Exod. XVI.23-6). — [5]: Similarly, Konráð Gíslason (and Eiríkur Jónsson 1875-89, II, 907) proposed the omission of B’s ok at the beginning of this l., to produce a regular 6-syllable l.

editions: Skj Anonyme digte og vers [XII]: G [2]. Leiðarvísan 20 (AI, 622; BI, 627); Skald I, 305; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 62-3, Rydberg 1907, 7, Attwood 1996a, 65, 175.


AM 757 a 4° (B) 10v, 30 - 10v, 33  transcr.  image  image  image  image  
AM 624 4° (624) 88, 19 - 88, 22  image  
JS 399 a-b 4°x (399a-bx) -  
Lbs 444 4°x (444x) -  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated