Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut, 2 [Vol. 7, 230-2]

[All]: The st.’s concern with sins of the tongue may be inspired by Jas. I.26 and III.5-10 as well as, in a monastic context, by ch. 6 of the Benedictine Rule and the Ambrosian hymn for prime, Iam lucis orto sidere 2/1: linguam refrenans ‘bridling the tongue’ (AH 51, 40 and Ordo Nidr., 183-4, 242, 260, 264). With reference to the nautical imagery (below, and sts 33-4), see also the OIcel. ship allegory, where the tongue is likened to a rudder (rather than an oar): Styret iarteiner tungu mannz, fyr þvi at stiórnen styrer skipeno sem tunga mannz styrer ꜵllum mannenom til goþra hluta eþa illra ... Sva fyrerferr oc sá maþr ser, er illa styrer tungu sinne ... En ef han gæter væl tungu sinnar, þa styrer hann sér til himinrikis ‘The rudder signifies the tongue of man, because the rudder steers the ship just as the tongue of man steers all men (sic ‘the whole man’) to good or evil things ... Thus the man who poorly governs his tongue also perishes ... But if he governs his tongue well he then steers himself to heaven’ (Larsson 1891, 246, glossed by Marchand 1976a, 244-7).

references

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