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, 274-5

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39 — Anon Líkn 39VII

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Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 39’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 274-5.

Crúx, lemið angr en æxlið
alt gótt liði dróttins;
sýndr ert seggja kindum,
sigrtrúr í gný vigra.
Opt ert éls í höptum
ítr lausn viðum rítar;
guma forðar þú gerla
grandi holds ok andar.

Crúx, lemið angr en æxlið alt gótt dróttins liði; ert sýndr seggja kindum, sigrtrúr í {gný vigra}. Opt ert ítr lausn {viðum {rítar éls}} í höptum; þú forðar gerla guma grandi holds ok andar.

Cross, you cripple grief but cause all good things to increase for the Lord’s retinue; you are visible to men’s offspring, victory-faithful in {the din of spears} [BATTLE]. Often you are a glorious liberation to {trees {of the shield’s storm}} [BATTLE > WARRIORS] in fetters; you rescue men completely from injury of flesh and spirit.

Mss: B(12r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] Crúx: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]’ B    [4] vigra: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]gr[...]’ B

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 39: AII, 157, BII, 170, Skald II, 90; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 47, Rydberg 1907, 18, 52, Tate 1974, 84.

Notes: [All]: The enumerative quality of the st., in which each couplet is a separate syntactic unit, focusing on a particular virtue of the Cross, derives from its rather close following of the powers of the Cross listed in the Icel. homily De sancta cruce (HómÍsl 1993, 18r; HómÍsl 1872, 39; cf. HómNo, 105). — [1] Crúx ‘Cross’: Lacuna; restoration based upon 399a-bˣ, supported by skothending. Here and in 52/1 (mæztr/crúcis) Skj B and Skald employ an Icelandicised paradigm for Lat. crux/crucis (i.e. krúx/krúzis); cf. LP and Lange 1958a, 90. The evidence for such a paradigm does not seem strong. In addition to the two instances in Líkn, the only other occurrences LP lists (the Icel. forms do not appear in CVC or Fritzner) are EKúl Kristdr1/1III (Skj A hroz/kruzi, B hróts/krúzi) and Anon BjúgvísIII (Skj A hves/krusi, B hvé’s/krúsi), both C12th. In each case rhyme is a possible indicator, but each of the rhymes is different, which may suggest nothing more than confusion about (or variety in) the pronunciation of Lat. crucis/cruci. — [1] lemið angr ‘you cripple grief’: In 399a-bˣ Jón Sigurðsson reads ‘lein’ with superscript tittle, but in a note he writes ‘(m)’ over ‘in’ and is uncertain whether the abbreviation is <ið> or <er>. Lemið and æxlið (l. 1) are 2nd pers. pl. forms used here (perhaps honorifically) with a sg. subject; cf. sg. ert ‘are’ (l. 3) of the same subject. Cf. also yðrum ‘your’ (pl.) 38/7. The power of the Cross to console in grief is addressed in the homily above, where it is described as huɢon viþ harme ‘a comfort in sorrow’. — [3-4]: This couplet refers to the medieval use of the Cross as a sign of victory in battle. In the homily the Heilagr cros es sigrmarc goþs ‘The holy Cross is the victory-sign of God’ and sigr i orrostom ‘triumph in battles’ (cf. sigrstoð ‘victory pillar’ 42/2). The idea depends ultimately on Constantine’s famous dream before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (Eusebius, De vita Constantini I, 28 in Winkelmann 1991, 29-30). — [5-6] ítr lausn ... í höptum ‘a glorious liberation ... [to men] in fetters’: In the homily (above) the Cross is described as laúsn i hoftom ‘liberation in [from] bonds’ and láusnarmarc maɴa ‘sign of men’s liberation’. — [7-8]: Cf. the homily, in which the Cross is leiþrétteng fra synþum ‘redress from sins’.

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