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, 234-5

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5 — Anon Líkn 5VII

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Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 234-5.

Dreifðu, láðs ok lofða
lífstýrir, mér dýru,
leyfðar kendr, í lyndis
láð himnesku sáði,
ár svá at ávöxt færak,
alls kannandi, sannan,
elsku kuðr, af yðru
óþornuðu korni.

{Lífstýrir láðs ok lofða}, kendr leyfðar, dreifðu mér í {lyndis láð} dýru himnesku sáði, svá at færak ár, sannan ávöxt af yðru óþornuðu korni, {kannandi alls}, elsku kuðr.

{Ruler of land and the life of men} [(lit. ‘life-ruler of land and men’) = God], acknowledged in praise, sprinkle my {mind’s land} [BREAST] with precious heavenly seed, so that I may bring forth an abundance, true fruit from your unwithered seed, {tester of all} [= God], renowned for love.

Mss: B(11r-v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [3] kendr: ‘[...]dr’ B, ‘[...]ndr’ 399a‑bˣ    [7] elsku: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘elsk[...]’ B    [8] korni: ‘ko[...]i’ B, ‘korṇẹ’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 5: AII, 151, BII, 161, Skald II, 86; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 36, Rydberg 1907, 12, 48, Kock and Meissner 1931, I, 91, Tate 1974, 50.

Notes: [All]: The st.’s dominant image, that of God as sower whose seed is his word, depends upon such passages as I Cor. III.7-9 (God as husbandman who gives increase, cf. ár below) and the parable of the sower in Mark IV.3-20. See the OIcel. homily on ember-days (HómÍsl 1993, 16v-17r; HómÍsl 1872, 36): sva scolom vér nu haʟda þa. at vér náem andlego áre í hiortom rom ... Þa keomr orþa sáþ hans i hugscoz iorþ óra ‘thus we should now hold them [i.e. ember-days] that we might receive a spiritual abundance in our hearts ... Then the seed of his word will come into our mind’s ground’ (cf. lyndis láð below). With reference to this st., Paasche 1914a, 127, who noted this homiletic analogue, has also assembled relevant appellatives of Christ from church Lat.: e.g. verus et summus agricola ‘true and supreme husbandman’, sator universi ‘sower of the universe’, auctor spritualium fructum ‘creator of spiritual fruits’; cf. liturgical agricola caelestis ‘celestial husbandman’ (Manz 1941, 60, no. 34). — [1] dreifðu ‘sprinkle you’: One of only two instances in the poem (cf. látattu 6/5) of B’s several suffixed 2nd pers. pronouns necessary for a six-syllable l. — [3] kendr ‘acknowledged, known’: Restoration of ‘ken’ based upon Jón Sigurðsson’s note in 399a-bˣ, supported by an ascender of possible ‘k’ and an ‘n’ that was visible to Jón and to Rydberg 1907, 12; Jón’s suggestion has been accepted by all eds. — [3-4] lyndis láð ‘mind’s land [BREAST]’: According to Guðrún Nordal 2001, 258, ‘the poetic imagery that supposes that the mind resides in the chest is dominant in chest-kennings in the thirteenth century’, but already we find vilja byrgi ‘enclosure of desire’ in Þjóð Yt 4/2I (C10th); cf. rann hugar ‘house of the mind’ 7/4 and tún hyggju ‘field of the mind’ 40/3. — [5] ár ‘(year’s) abundance’: Cf. Lat. annona ‘year’s yield’. Skj B (cf. LP) and Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 10 construe ár as adv. ‘soon, quickly’, giving the sense svát ár færak sanna ávöxt ‘so that I may bring forth early (i.e. promptly) true fruit’. Though this is possible, the frequency of ár as ‘year’ or ‘year’s abundance’ in the poem, especially in kennings for God or Christ (10/2, 17/1, 20/5, 46/3, 47/3), together with the sowing imagery of the st., argues against it. A similar joint occurrence of ár and ávöxtr as synonyms is found in the ONorw. homily on the parable of the sower: þa fec hann þar mikit ár ok margfaldan á-vöxt ‘then he received a great abundance and manifold yield’ (HómNo, 70). — [6] kannandi alls ‘tester of all [= God]’: On the idea of God as tester, cf. reynir munka ‘tester of monks’ Anon Hafg 1IV, possibly the earliest of all ON Christian kennings; see Lange 1958a, 59 on the surprise the kenning must have evoked, even though reynir had a long history in pagan kennings. — [7] elsku kuðr ‘renowned for love’: Restoration of ‘u’ based upon 399a-bˣ and occurrence of elsku kuðr in Has 16/5, one of the chief models for Líkn; cf. elsku kunnr, Arngr Gd 32/2IV. — [8] korni ‘seed’: Restoration based upon 399a-bˣ and aðalhending.

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