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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Lausavísur, 2. Stanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise, 35 [Vol. 3, 612]

[All]: After st. 35 the prose text offers the view that sts 34-5 present avarp theologie ‘a summary of the Bible’ in two dróttkvætt stanzas. The same use of fjórðungalok appears in both, as well as a similar disposition of kennings. In st. 35 the poet balances the main events, theologically speaking, of Christ’s life on earth before the crucifixion, the subject of st. 34, with the major events that took place after it. Lines 1-2 allude to Christ’s Harrowing of Hell and his Resurrection, which lifts the burden of sin from mankind; ll. 3-4 celebrate his Ascension to heaven, ll. 5-6 the descent of the Holy Spirit to mankind at Pentecost, while ll. 7-8 are about the Last Judgement. The poet’s boast to have encapsulated avarp theologie in two stanzas is well taken. As both Björn Magnússon Ólsen (FoGT 1884, 143 n.) and Longo (FoGT 2004, 214-15) have pointed out, his model was almost certainly various commentaries on the Doctrinale and the Doctrinale itself (Reichling 1893, 177, ll. 2623-6 and nn.), where oliopomenon is said to be a figure in which a series of important events is expressed in few words, and the example is given of a series of short clauses encapsulating the history of the Trojan war.


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