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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Líknarbraut (Líkn) - 52

Líknarbraut (‘The Way of Grace’) — Anon LíknVII

George S. Tate 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Líknarbraut’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 228-86.

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51   52 

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: C. 1. Líknarbraut (AII, 150-9, BII, 160-74)

SkP info: VII, 240-1

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10 — Anon Líkn 10VII

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Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 10’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 240-1.

Því ber ek angr, at engu
árs launa ek sárar
skírs, sem skyldugt væri,
skilfingi píningar.
Þó gleðr enn sem aðra
oss, sú er hlauz af krossi
lýð ok lofðungs dauða,
líkn dýr, himinríkis.

Því ber ek angr, at ek launa engu, sem væri skyldugt, {skilfingi skírs árs} sárar píningar. Þó gleðr enn oss sem aðra dýr líkn, sú er hlauz lýð af krossi ok dauða {lofðungs himinríkis}.

On this account I bear sorrow, that I requite not at all, as would be due, {the king of bright abundance} [= God (= Christ)] for his sore torments. Yet there still gladdens us [me] as [well as] others precious grace, which was allotted to people from the Cross and from the death {of the king of heaven’s kingdom} [= God (= Christ)].

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [5] gleðr: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘gl[...]dr’ B    [7] lofðungs: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘lo᷎fdunngs’ B

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 10: AII, 152, BII, 162-3, Skald II, 86, NN §2327; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 38, Rydberg 1907, 13, 48, Tate 1974, 55.

Notes: [All]: The st. explains the poet’s ambivalent feelings of sorrow and joy introduced in st. 9. — [2] ek launa ‘I requite’: Skj B emends to launum vér, apparently to avoid the possibility of elision and for agreement with oss ‘us’; NN §2327 objects, and indeed 1st pers. sg. and pl. regularly alternate in skaldic poetry, especially with reference to the poet. — [3, 2, 4] skilfingi skírs árs (dat.) ‘king of bright abundance [= God (= Christ)]’: This is the poem’s first of several uses of ár in a kenning for God or Christ; cf. 17/1 árstillir ‘instituter of abundance’, 20/5 árveitir ‘abundance giver’, 46/2-3 árs öðlingr ‘prince of year’s abundance’, 47/3 árs eflir ‘strengthener of year’s abundance’. In each of these, either the temporal sense ‘year’ or the beneficent concept of ‘(year’s) abundance’ (cf. Lat. annona) accords with the divine referent, as creator of time or as giver of bounty and good fortune. Such kennings only occur in Líkn, and the concentration of them, together with other instances of the word (see Notes to 5/5 and possibly 2/5), may support de Vries’s speculation (1964-7, II, 76) that the overall number of sts is symbolic of the fifty-two weeks of the year. Snorri Sturluson (SnE 1931, 184; SnE 1998, I, 103) defines skilfingr ‘king, prince’ (l. 4) as a descendent of the legendary warrior king Skelfir; cf. OE scylfingas. Used of Christ or God only here, the heiti also occurs in Geisl 13/3 of S. Óláfr. — [6, 8, 6] dýr líkn, sú er hlauz lýð ‘precious grace which was allotted to mankind’: Cf. hlaut and líkn in Has 24/1-4. Rydberg 1907, 48 (cf. lxii) emends lýð ‘(common) people, mankind’ (l. 7) to acc. pl. lýða, taken in conjunction with sem aðra (l. 5) as object of gleðr, i.e. ‘which gladdens us as well as other people’. — [6] af krossi ‘from the Cross’: The prep. can also mean ‘by means of’; as in st. 39 and possibly 1/5-8 the Cross may be construed here as instrumental.

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated