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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Líknarbraut (Líkn) - 52

not in Skj

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.

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

SkP info: VII, 250

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Anon Líkn 19VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 19’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 250.

Hvat megi heldr of græta
hvern mann, er þat kannar,
röðla býs en ræsis
ríks píningar slíkar,
er dýrr á sik sáran
siklingr ept kvöl mikla
hreinn til hjálpar mönnum
hauðrfjörnis tók dauða?

Hvat megi heldr of græta hvern mann, er kannar þat, en slíkar píningar {ríks ræsis {röðla býs}}, er {dýrr, hreinn siklingr {hauðrfjörnis}} tók sáran dauða á sik ept kvöl mikla til hjálpar mönnum?

What could be more able to make weep each man who ponders it than such torments {of the mighty ruler {of suns’ dwelling}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)], when {the precious, pure king {of earth’s helmet}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] took bitter death upon himself after great torture for the salvation [lit. help] of men?

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] þat: ‘þ[...]’ B, ‘þạṭ’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 19: AII, 154, BII, 165, Skald II, 87; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 41, Rydberg 1907, 14, 49, Tate 1974, 64.

Notes: [All]: The two kennings of this st. emphasise the theological point that humans crucified God himself when Jesus died on the Cross. — [2] kannar ‘ponders’: The usual meaning of the verb is to search through/out something in order to gain knowledge of it (Fritzner). Here the sense seems to be ‘to ponder, contemplate’, perhaps even imaginatively to share in the sufferings of Christ through compassion. The verb is used again in 22/4 in the sense ‘to explore, search out’ with reference to the Harrowing of Hell. — [3] ræsis röðla býs ‘of the ruler of suns’ dwelling [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]’: Cf. Has 59/3-4 and Kálf Kátr 39/3-4. The gen. pl. röðla ‘of suns’ (contrasting with the sg. in Has 59/4) is attested elsewhere; the extended sense is probably ‘heavenly bodies’, i.e. sun and stars. (Guðrún Nordal 2001, 292 translates it as sg. ‘lord of the dwelling of the sun’, and indeed pl. forms can substitute for sg. in skaldic poetry.) — [7] hjálpar (gen. sg.) ‘salvation [lit. help]’: The extended sense of hjálp ‘help’ as ‘salvation’ occurs also in 24/4, 32/2 and 41/3. — [8] hauðrfjörnis ‘of earth’s, land’s helmet [SKY/HEAVEN]’: Fjörnir ‘helmet’, lit. ‘protector of life’ (from fjör ‘life’). The kenning occurs also in Anon (FoGT) 12/4III; cf. Pl 1/2 foldar fjörnir ‘earth’s helmet’.

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