Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 32 [Vol. 7, 600]

[3] mjúka miskunn ‘mild mercy’: This may be an allusion to the medieval topos of the dispute in heaven between the personified virtues Mercy, Truth, Peace, and Justice: the virtues debate the fate of fallen humanity, and Mercy eventually prevails, persuading the second person of the Trinity to become incarnate and bring about salvation. The topos, based on Ps. LXXXIV.11 (misericordia et veritas occurrerunt iustitia et pax deosculatae sunt ‘Mercy and truth have met each other: justice and peace have kissed’) was widespread: for classic examples see Meditaciones Vite Christi, De Contencione inter Misericordiam et Veritatem (Stallings-Taney 1997, 12-14; Taney 2000, 6-8), and Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermo 1 In Annuntiatione Dominica (Leclerq and Rochais 1968, 22-9).


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