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, 238-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Anon Líkn 8VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 8’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 238-9.

Beiðandi kveð ek bæði
bræðr ok systr at kvæði;
öll veiti þér ítran
yðarn tænað mér bæna,
vizku stærðr at virðiz
veðrskríns jöfurr mínum
— nýtr er, náð sem heitir —
nálægr vera málum.

Beiðandi kveð ek bæði bræðr ok systr at kvæði; veiti þér öll mér yðarn ítran tænað bæna, at {jöfurr {veðrskríns}}, vizku stærðr, virðiz vera nálægr mínum málum; nýtr er, sem heitir náð.

Entreating, I summon both brothers and sisters to my poem; may you all grant me your excellent help of prayers, that {the prince {of the storm-shrine}} [HEAVEN > = God], very great in wisdom, might deign to be close to my utterances; potent is [he] who promises grace.

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [5] stærðr: ‘s[...]dr’ B, ‘stịṛḍr’ 399a‑bˣ    [6] veðrskríns: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘v[...]d[...]skrins’ B    [7] náð sem: nauð sem B, 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 8: AII, 152, BII, 162, Skald II, 86, NN §1389; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 37, Rydberg 1907, 12-13, 48, Tate 1974, 53.

Notes: [1-2] bæði bræðr ok systr at kvæði ‘both brothers and sisters to my poem’: Metrically the first couplet is unusual on two grounds: the runhenda-like end-rhyme of bæði and kvæði, and aðalhending of historical <œ> (brœðr < bróðir) and <æ> (kvæði) in l. 2. Troubled by these features, and noting that in all other instances the poem is consistent in matching historical <œ>-rhymes (3 times, including tœnað: bœna (l. 4)) and <æ>-rhymes (8 times), Konráð Gíslason 1869, 146 suggested emending kvæði to frœði ‘learning, history’, which Rydberg adopts and Skj B cites as an alternative in the prose arrangement. Even though the aðalhending here is anomalous, emendation is unnecessary. By C13th, the distinction in ligatures was lost in Iceland; <œ> was absorbed into <æ> (Halldór Halldórsson 1950, 47; cf. CVC: æ). B does not differentiate, using <e᷎> for both. Addressing a congregation as ‘brothers and sisters’ is common in homilies (e.g. HómÍsl 1993, 4v, 22r, 40r; HómÍsl 1872, 10, 45, 87); cf. systkyn ‘brothers and sisters’ 46/7. — [5] stærðr ‘increased, very great’: B ‘s[...]dr’; 399a-bˣ stirðr ‘stiff’, but in a n. possibly stirðum even though the final ‘r’ is clear. The ‘t’ was visible at the time of the 399a-bˣ transcription; a remnant of a hook, suggesting ‘e᷎’ or ‘o᷎’, can still be seen; and skothending with virð- requires <r> before <ð>. In a marginal note to 444ˣ, Sveinbjörn Egilsson first suggested skýrðr ‘made clear’ (so Skj B), but crossed it out and replaced it with stærðr, which he employs in his edn (1844, 37); so also Rydberg 1907, 48 and Skald (cf. NN §1389). In poetry stærðr often functions as an intensive of stórr ‘great’, i.e. ‘very great’ (cf. afli stærðr ‘very strong’ Ólhv Hryn 12/1II and þrekstærðr ‘very powerful’ Bjbp Jóms 34/5I, Sturl Hrafn 12/5II), and this sense seems appropriate here. — [6] veðrskríns ‘of the storm-shrine [HEAVEN]’: Restoration based on 399a-bˣ. Here and at 25/2, 31/6, and 48/4, -skrín has been translated with its cognate ‘shrine’, resonant with holy connotation (so also LP: skrín; CVC; Meissner, 378: ‘Schrein’, and Attwood 1996b, 229-30), recognising that its more limited sense is ‘casket’ (Guðrún Nordal 2001, 294, 381). On God as keeper of the winds, see Jer. XLIX.36. — [7] náð ‘grace’: B, 399a-bˣ nauð. Sveinbjörn Egilsson emends to náð ‘grace’, adopted by Rydberg and here. Salvaging ms. nauð ‘need’ would require a stretched meaning of heita – ‘useful is he (i.e. the poet) who names (i.e. points out)/promises need’ – but this is not very satisfactory. Skj B (followed by Skald), having emended ms. nauð sem to nauðsyn ‘necessity’ construes er nauðsyn heitir to mean ‘as necessity demands’, but no ON dictionary gives ‘demand’ as a meaning for heita. (Despite this emendation in Skj B, LP under nýtr has nýtr es nð sem heitir, i.e., as here, ‘useful, potent is he who promises grace’.) In its theological sense, náð ‘grace’ (otherwise ‘rest, peace’, both of which could also work here) appears rather late in Icel. CVC dates it to C14th, but Fritzner gives some C13th instances. If the emendation is correct, this would be the earliest such use in poetry; cf. Anon Lil 12/4, Kálf Kátr 48/6, EGils Guðkv 28/7IV, Árni Gd 41/4IV, and Anon Vitn 14/4 (nýtar náðir).

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