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, 285

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

51 — Anon Líkn 51VII

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Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 51’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 285.

Framm bar ek foldar humra
(fæ ek heitis svá leitat)
leiðar (ljósu kvæði)
Líknarbraut fyr gauta.
Sæll lát oss ok allri
angrskerðandi verða
þjóð, sem þurft vár beiðir
þenna hróðr at góðu.

Ek bar framm Líknarbraut — svá fæ ek leitat heitis ljósu kvæði — fyr {gauta {leiðar {foldar humra}}}. {Sæll angrskerðandi}, lát þenna hróðr verða oss ok allri þjóð at góðu, sem þurft vár beiðir.

I have presented ‘Líknarbraut’ — thus I find a name for the bright poem — before {men {of the path {of the realm of lobsters}}} [SEA > SEA PATH > SEAFARERS]. {Blessed grief-diminisher} [= Christ], let this encomium be for the good of us and all people, as our need entreats.

Mss: B(12r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [7] vár: vör 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 51: AII, 159, BII, 174, Skald II, 91, NN §1197; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 50-1, Rydberg 1907, 20, 53, Kock and Meissner 1931, I, 91, Tate 1974, 96.

Notes: [All]: By naming the poem in the penultimate st., the poet is following the pattern of his two main models, Has (64/2) and Leið (44/8); cf. Anon Sól 81/4 and Lil 98/8. — [1, 3-4] gauta leiðar foldar humra ‘men of the path of the realm of lobsters [SEA > SEA PATH > SEAFARERS]’: LP (1860), LP, and Meissner, 238 all construe foldar humra as ‘land-lobsters’ (i.e. ‘snakes’), whose leið ‘path’ is ‘gold’. (Cf. orma leið, linns leið, etc., Meissner, 238.) This ed., however, follows NN §1197 in construing humra fold ‘land/realm of lobsters’ as ‘sea’, whose leið ‘path’ is the ‘sea-path’ seafarers cross. All other instances of humarr ‘lobster’ in kennings are in sea-kennings (e.g. humra heiðr ‘lobsters’ heath’, humra fjöll ‘lobsters’ mountain’; see Meissner, 96). The semi-redundancy of fold ‘land’ and leið ‘path’ is similar to the sea-kenning holmfjöturs leið ‘island fetter’s path’ (Hallv Knútdr 5/2III), where ‘island fetter’ itself is a kenning for ‘sea’. (See also Líkn 7/1, 3 mána hvéls hauðr ‘land of the moon’s wheel’ where ‘wheel’ simply refines the concept of ‘moon’). ‘Men of the sea’ or ‘seafarers’ accords well with the ‘sea of the world’ allegory and the Cross as ship in st. 33; see also the seafarer-kenning at 34/1-2. — [3] ljósu kvæði ‘for the bright poem’: Cf. ljóss bragr and alljóss bragr ‘completely radiant poem’ Leið 4/2, 44/6, the latter, as here, in the st. naming the poem. — [4] Líknarbraut: ‘The Way of Grace/Mercy’. The poem’s title may itself be construed as a kenning for its subject, the Cross. On the idea of ‘way’, note the recurrence of vegr ‘way’ or ‘glory’ in the poem, at times in kennings for God or Christ (7/8, 13/2, 28/5, 41/6, 48/4); cf. brú ‘bridge’ 35/1 and leið ‘path’ 51/3. Líkn ‘grace, mercy’ also occurs at 10/8, 22/8, 33/7 and 40/1.

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