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, 161-2

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23 — Anon Leið 23VII

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Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 23’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 161-2.

Dagmærir lét dýrðar
dróttins tíð fyr óttu
mæztr frá meyju beztri
mildingr berask hingat.
Þvís rétt, at dag dróttins
dáðsnjalls hǫfuð kallim
— gerðisk fǫgnuðr fyrðum
fríðr — annarra tíða.

Dagmærir, {mæztr mildingr dýrðar}, lét berask hingat dróttins tíð fyr óttu frá beztri meyju. Þvís rétt, at kallim dag dáðsnjalls dróttins hǫfuð annarra tíða; fríðr fǫgnuðr gerðisk fyrðum.

The day-glorifier, {the most praiseworthy prince of glory} [= God (= Christ)], allowed himself to be born here at the Lord’s time before dawn from the best maiden. Therefore it is right that we should call the day of the deed-eager Lord chief of other times; fair welcome was prepared for men.

Mss: B(10v), 624(89), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] ‑mærir: so 624, ‘męriʀr’ B;    dýrðar: so 624, ‘dyrrar’ B    [3] beztri: so 624, 399a‑bˣ, ‘bezt[...]’ B    [6] kallim: ‘kalle’ 624

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G [2]. Leiðarvísan 23: AI, 622, BI, 627-8, Skald I, 305, NN §1264; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 63, Rydberg 1907, 7, Attwood 1996a, 65-6, 176.

Notes: [All]: The birth of Christ is described in detail only in Luke II.1-20, though there is also a reference to it in Matt. I.25. — [1] dagmærir ‘the day-glorifier’: Skj B emends -mærir, the reading of 624 (B has ‘-męriʀr’), to mærri* and takes this as the fem. dat. sg. comp. form of mærr ‘glorious, great’. He regards this as parallel with beztri ‘best’ (l. 3) qualifying meyju ‘maiden’ (l. 3) and construes mæztr mildingr dýrðar lét berask hingat fyr óttu tíð dróttins dag frá mærri, beztri meyju ‘the most praiseworthy prince of glory allowed himself to be born here before dawn on the Lord’s day from the most glorious, best maiden’. Kock (NN §1264) objects to Finnur’s w.o. and reinstates B’s reading, commenting that the kenning-like expression ‘day-glorifier’ is appropriate in the context of a poem seeking to show how God allowed all great and remarkable things to happen on Sundays in order to endow that day with holiness and lustre. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 63 n. 11) emended to dagmærar, f. gen. sg. of dagmærr, hap. leg., which he regarded as a heiti for ‘heaven’ (LP (1860): dagmærr), construing it with mildingr dýrrar (retaining B’s reading for the second word) to give the God-kenning mildingr dýrrar dagmærar glossed as rex almi cæli ‘king of the bountiful heaven’. — [3] mæztr frá meyju: Cf. Has 19/1: Þú vast mæztr frá meyju. This st. is also concerned with the birth of Christ. — [5-6] dáðsnjalls dróttins ‘of the deed-eager Lord’: Cf. Geisl 56/7-8, where S. Óláfr is described as dáðsnjallr dǫglingr ‘quick-acting ruler’.

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