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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 January 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, 144-5

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Anon Leið 5VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 144-5.

Hljóð gefi hirðimeiðar
hrælinns at brag svinnir
— gegn vilk þjóð at þagni
þá stund, es kveðk — sunda.
Vilk, meðan varrar telja,
— vegskrýðendr mér hlýði —
frá dáðmôttugs dróttins
degi nǫkkur rǫk segja.

{Svinnir hirðimeiðar {linns {hræsunda}}} gefi hljóð at brag; vilk, at gegn þjóð þagni þá stund, es kveðk. Vilk, meðan varrar telja, segja nǫkkur rǫk frá degi dáðmôttugs dróttins; {vegskrýðendr} hlýði mér.

May {the wise guarding-poles {of the serpent {of carrion-channels}}} [BLOOD > SWORD > MEN] give a hearing to the poem; I desire that the honest people keep silence while I am reciting. I want, while my lips declaim, to utter some lore concerning the day of the deed-mighty Lord; {way-adorners} [MEN] should hear me.

Mss: B(10r), 624(86), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] gefi: so 624, 399a‑bˣ, ‘ge[...]’ B

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G [2]. Leiðarvísan 5: AI, 619, BI, 623, Skald I, 303, NN §1259; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 58, Rydberg 1907, 4-5, Attwood 1996a, 61, 172.

Notes: [5-6]: To accommodate the emendation of vegskrýðendr described below under Note to l. 6, Finnur Jónsson construes varrar viggskrýðendr hlýði mér, meðan teljak ‘the adorners of the horse of the wash should hear me, while I recite’. Kock (NN §1259) objects to this, on the grounds that it is impossible to split the temporal cl. (meðan telja) with part of the subject of the main cl. (varrar). Instead, he prefers to preserve the ms. reading telja, which Finnur had emended, and to take varrar as nom. pl. of vǫrr f. ‘lip’, referring back to the lips first mentioned in 1/4. His reading is followed here. Sveinbjörn Egilsson, who first suggested the emendation to viggskrýðendr, also assumed varrar to be the subject of the temporal cl., giving the arrangement hlýði viggskrýðendr mér meðan [minnar] varrar telja ‘may horse-adorners [MEN] listen to me while [my] lips declaim’ (note to Sveinbjörn’s transcription of the 624 text in 444(3)ˣ). — [6] vegskrýðendr ‘way-adorners’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) follows Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s suggestion (1844, 58 n. 2) that veg- m. ‘way, path’ should be emended to vigg- n. ‘horse, steed’, to give the man-kenning viggskrýðendr ‘horse-adorners’. Finnur extends this kenning by taking varrar (l. 5) as nom. pl. of m. vǫrr ‘pull of the oar, wash or wake left by a ship’, which is often used poetically for the sea. He thus forms the inverted man-kenning viggskrýðendr varrar ‘adorners of the horse of the wash’ [SHIP > MEN]. Although viggskrýðendr varrar would anticipate blakkskreytendr brautar borðs ‘decorators of the horse of the path of the plank’ in 8/3-4, B’s reading vegskrýðendr ‘way-adorners’ makes acceptable grammatical sense and is likely to be a man-kenning, given that the poem’s title gestures towards the familiar Christian figure of life as a journey, possibly a pilgrimage. Alternatively, veg- could have the sense of ‘honour’ in this cpd. — [7] dáðmôttugs ‘deed-mighty’: This is the first of a series of adjectival compounds beginning dáð- used to describe God and his miracles. Compounds of this type are quite common in the Christian drápur, though relatively uncommon elsewhere in the skaldic corpus (see LP: dáðmttugr). They appear to be a particular favourite of the Leið-poet: God is described as dáðfimr ‘deed-agile’ 26/6; dáðhress ‘deed-hearty’ 45/4; dáðsnjallr ‘deed-eager’ 23/6; dáðsterkr ‘deed-strong’ 20/2, 36/6. Christ establishes peace that is dáðskreytr ‘deed-adorned’ 15/5, the angel host is characterised as dáðstett dags lands ‘the deed-host of day’s land’ 24/5 and the crowd of five thousand fed by Christ is dáðgladdr ‘deed-gladdened’ 28/2. Most of these compounds appear to be neologisms, though similar forms are found in both Geisl (where God is dáðmildr ‘deed-kind’ 25/8, and dáðvandr ‘zealous for [good] deeds’ 6/2, and S. Óláfr is dáðsnjallr ‘deed-eager’ 56/8) and Has (where God is described as dáðgeymir ‘hoarder of [good] deeds’ 34/3; dáðrakkr ‘deed-bold’ 7/8; dáðreyndr ‘deed-proven’ 44/2).

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