Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut, 40 [Vol. 7, 275-6]

[8, 6, 7] hlífiskjöldr við öllum meinum ok harðri freistni ‘a protective-shield against all injuries and hard temptation’: This follows the homily (above) closely: heilagr cros er hlífskioldr viþ méinom ... en ęfling viþ allre freístne ‘a protective shield against injuries ... and strength against all temptation’; cf. the late medieval Gimsteinn 117/8, in which the Cross is hlíf ok skiolldur mot fiandans golldrum ‘a protection and shield against the devil’s spells’. The Cross as protection (praesidium) is also a motif in hymns, e.g. Christi crux et passio / Nobis est praesidio, / Si credamus ‘Christ’s Cross and Passion are [lit. is] to us for a protection if we believe’ (AH 54, 223); it is described as a shield in a ME lyric: Crux est ... / a targe to weren fro detly woundes ‘The Cross is a shield to protect from deadly wounds’ (Brown and Robbins 1943, no. 23).


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