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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, ‘ Anonymous, Leiðarvísan’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 137-78. <> (accessed 19 May 2022)

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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, 177-8

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

44 — Anon Leið 44VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 44’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 177-8.

Mœðask mér á óði
— mest þarf hóf at flestu —
(brands hefr ôrr til enda)
orðvôpn* (kveðit drôpu).
Skulu eldviðir ǫldu
alljósan brag kalla
— þjóð hafi þekt á kvæði
þvísa — Leiðarvísan.

{Orðvôpn*} mœðask mér á óði; mest hóf þarf at flestu; {ôrr brands} hefr kveðit drôpu til enda. {{Ǫldu eld}viðir} skulu kalla alljósan brag Leiðarvísan; þjóð hafi þekt á kvæði þvísa.

{My word-weapons} [ORGANS OF SPEECH] become exhausted from the poem; the greatest moderation is needed in most things; {the sword-blade’s messenger} [MAN] has recited the poem to the end. {Trees {of the fire of the wave}} [(lit. ‘fire-trees of the wave’) GOLD > MEN] shall call the very bright poem ‘Leiðarvísan’; may people derive pleasure from this poem.

Mss: B(11r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] þarf: ‘[...]arf’ B, ‘(þ)arf’(?) 399a‑bˣ    [4] ‑vôpn*: ‘vo᷎pns’ B    [5] eldviðir: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘e[...]d u[...]ir’ B

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G [2]. Leiðarvísan 44: AI, 626, BI, 633, Skald I, 308; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 70, Rydberg 1907, 11, Attwood 1996a, 70-1, 181.

Notes: [3] brands ‘of the sword-blade’: Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 70) considered this to be the pers. n. Brandr, and construed (with emendation) Brandr hefr ǫrr kveðit drápa til enda ‘Brandr has spoken the poem to the end’. He argued that the poet is giving his own name here, as he has named his mentor in 43/8. In the introduction to his 1844 edn (vi) and in 444(3)ˣ, Sveinbjörn identified this Brandr as Brandr Jónsson, Abbot of Þykkvabœr 1247-62 and Bishop of Skálholt 1263-4. Brandr is credited with authorship of several religious texts, most notably Gyðinga saga (Wolf 1995). If, however, Leið can be dated to the mid to late C12th, as is argued in the Introduction, this attribution becomes chronologically implausible. Finnur Jónsson (LH II, 118) pointed out that Sveinbjörn’s emendation is unnecessary, since rr brands ‘the messenger of the sword-blade’ makes a perfectly acceptable man-kenning (LP: 2. brandr). — [5] ǫldu eldviðir ‘the trees of the fire of the wave [ (lit. ‘the fire-trees of the wave’) GOLD > MEN]’: The identical kenning occurs in a verse spoken by Skarphéðinn Njálsson in Nj (Skarp Lv 9/7V) and in a lv. preserved in Víga-Glúms saga and attributed to Víga-Glúmr (VGl Lv 4/3V). — [6] alljósan brag ‘very bright poem’: Cf. 4/2 ljósum brag ‘bright poem’. — [8] Leiðarvísan: Lit. ‘Way-guidance’. The poem’s title draws attention to the conceit of the Christian life as a journey, possibly a pilgrimage, for which the poet has provided guidance concerning penitence, sinless living and Sunday observance. On the title, see the Introduction. Has 64/2 also gives the name of the poem in the penultimate st., as do the anonymous poets of Sól and Lil.

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