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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.

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

SkP info: VII, 273

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38 — Anon Líkn 38VII

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Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 38’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 273.

Snjallr, ert orðinn öllum
ofrníðingum síðan
djöflum leiðr ept dauða,
dýrr kross, himinstýris.
Leggr andskota undan
ætt fyr göfgum mætti
opt ok yðrum krapti
óttagjörn á flótta.

Dýrr kross, ert snjallr orðinn öllum ofrníðingum síðan, djöflum leiðr ept dauða {himinstýris}. Andskota ætt, óttagjörn, leggr undan opt á flótta fyr yðrum göfgum mætti ok krapti.

Precious Cross, you have afterwards attained power over all arch-villains, [you are] hateful to devils since the death {of heaven’s ruler} [= God (= Christ)]. The devil’s clan, eager with fear, flees often before your noble might and power.

Mss: B(12r), 399a-bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 38: AII, 157, BII, 170, Skald II, 90; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 47, Rydberg 1907, 18, 51, Tate 1974, 83.

Notes: [All]: Sts 38-41 (especially 39-40) appear to be based largely on a list of virtues and powers of the Cross in the Icel. homily De sancta cruce (HómÍsl 1993, 18r; HómÍsl 1872, 39; cf. HómNo, 105), beginning with fyr crosse drotteɴs fløia dioflar. hræþesc helvite ‘devils flee before the Cross of the Lord; hell is afraid’. The devils’ fear of, or flight from, the Cross (or its sign) is a common motif. See, e.g., Pseudo-Augustine, Sermo 247 (Auctor incertus [Augustinus Hipponensis?], col. 2203) Hoc signo daemones fugantur ‘At this sign demons are put to flight’, and, from hymns, O crux praeclara, / quam impia / tremunt tartara ‘O famous Cross, which the ungodly, infernal regions fear’ (AH 9, 25); the idea occurs also in the late medieval Icel. Gimsteinn 113/8 enn giædi hans [i.e. krossins] munu dioflaʀ hrædazt ‘but devils will fear its [the Cross’s] virtue’ (ÍM I.2, 329; cf. Máríublóm 18/5-6, ÍM I.2, 176). — [1] snjallr ‘powerful, valiant’: Perhaps striving for equality in adj. distribution, Skj B, followed by Skald, emends to gen. snjalls to modify himinstýris ‘heaven’s ruler’ (l. 4), but this is unnecessary. — [4] himinstýris ‘of heaven’s ruler [= God (= Christ)]’: The kenning occurs elsewhere only in Mdr 40/4, where dýr- and stýr- are again rhymed. — [5] leggr undan ... á flótta ‘flees’: Skj B construes undan as prep. with krapti, i.e. ‘under [your] power’, but LP (1860): leggja, translates leggja undan (adv.) á flótta simply as ‘to flee’. The verbal phrase combines leggja undan (e.g. GunnLeif Merl I 18/8VIII) and leggja á flótta (e.g. Geisl 29/5-6), both of which mean ‘to flee’. — [5] andskota ‘the devil’s’: Lit. ‘counter-shooter’; although the noun occurs frequently in the general sense ‘enemy’, it occurs in skaldic poetry only here and in Jón Lv 1/3IV in its theological sense (common in prose) ‘the devil’.

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