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, 176-7

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43 — Anon Leið 43VII

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Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 43’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 176-7.

Réð með oss, at óði
— es fróðr, sás vensk góðu —
greitt, hvé grundvǫll settak,
gǫfugr prestr at hlut mestum.
Orð* mun allra verða
auðsætt, bragar þætti,
ramligt hús þars reistum,
Rúnolfr, hvé fekk snúnat.

Gǫfugr prestr réð greitt með oss at mestum hlut, hvé settak grundvǫll at óði; es fróðr, sás vensk góðu. Orð* allra mun verða auðsætt, þars reistum ramligt hús, Rúnolfr, hvé fekk snúnat þætti bragar.

A noble priest readily gave us [me] advice, for the most part, about how I should establish the foundation of the poem; he is wise who accustoms himself to what is good. The words of all will become readily apparent, where we [I] raised a strong building, Rúnolfr, how I was able to compose the poem [lit. weave together the strand of the poem].

Mss: B(11r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [4] mestum: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]estum’ B    [5] Orð*: Yðr B    [7] ramligt: ramligs B    [8] fekk: ferr B

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G [2]. Leiðarvísan 43: AI, 626, BI, 633, Skald I, 307; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 69-70, Rydberg 1907, 11, Attwood 1996a, 70, 181.

Notes: [5] Orð* ‘words’: All eds follow Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 69 n. 25) in emending to o ‘word’. This is construed with allra (gen. pl.) ‘of all’ (l. 5) to give orð allra mun verða auðsætt ‘everyone’s words (i.e. public opinion) will be obvious’. B’s reading yðr does not provide skothending and is difficult syntactically. — [7] ramligt hús þars reistum ‘where we [I] raised a strong building’: Cf. Has 59/3 ramligs bús af ræsi. B’s ramligs must be emended to ramligt, to agree with hús (n. acc. sg.). Both Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) emend thus. The poet appears to be thanking Rúnolfr (see Note below) for helping him establish the foundation (grundvǫllr, l. 3) of Leið, presumably its basic structure, and he continues this metaphorical comparison here between composing a poem and building a house. Cf. Egill Arkv 25V and Kálf Kátr 1/4 for similar comparisons. — [8] Rúnolfr: Rúnolfr is usually taken to be the name of the gǫfugr prestr ‘noble priest’ of l. 4, possibly the poet’s teacher or mentor. There are two priests of that name mentioned in a Prestatal of 1143, attributed to Ari Þorgilsson (DI I, 180-94). The first is Rúnolfr Dálksson, nephew of Bishop Ketill Þorsteinsson of Hólar (bishop 1122-45). He is probably identical with the Rúnolfr Dagsson named in ch. 19 of BjH (ÍF 3, 163 n. 2) as the source of information concerning Bjǫrn Hítdœlakappi’s composition of religious poetry and said in Sturlu saga ch. 29 (Stu 1988, 88-9) to have been a monk at Helgafell c. 1170 (see Astås 1970, 266-7 n. 15; Attwood 1996b, 226). The other possibility is Bishop Ketill’s son, Rúnolfr Ketilsson (d. 1186), who was the author of a poem celebrating the new church built at Skálholt by Klœngr Þórsteinsson (bishop 1152-76), one st. of which (RKet LvIV) survives in Hungrvaka. As a known poet, Rúnolfr Ketilsson is often considered to have the better claim, but BjH’s evidence for Rúnolfr Dálksson/Dagsson’s interest in skaldic poetry bolsters his claim also.

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