Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 42 [Vol. 7, 612-13]

[1-4]: Lucifer’s soliloquy here is an anachronistic summary of incidents that attest to the humanity of Jesus. He watches Jesus grow weak from fasting in the desert after his Baptism (cf. Matt. IV.2, Mark I.12-13, Luke IV.1-2) and recalls that he was dependent on his mother as a helpless infant. This is part of the topos of the deception of Lucifer (Wee 1974, 5-9); he cannot be sure whether Jesus is human or divine, and he tempts him to learn the truth (see st. 45). Cf. Note to st. 39 and Mar 1871, 187: ef hann vęri gvþ allra verallda, mvndi hann eigi þvilikar vanvirþingar þola vilia. Eigi mvndi hann i vꜹggv halldinn eða reifvm bundinn, eigi mvndi hann grata hungra eða kvensliga miolk drecka, þviat eigi mvn þat synaz talat skynsamliga, at hvngr se a gvðe lifanda ‘if he were God of all worlds, he would not want to suffer such humiliations. He would not be contained in a cradle or bound with swaddling clothes, he would not cry with hunger or drink woman’s milk, because that would not appear spoken fittingly, that the living God should experience hunger’.

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