Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Pétrsdrápa (Pét) - 54

not in Skj

Pétrsdrápa (‘Drápa about the Apostle Peter’) — Anon PétVII

David McDougall 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Pétrsdrápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 796-844.

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Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 7]. En drape om apostlen Peder, Pétrsdrápa (AII, 500-8, BII, 545-58)

SkP info: VII, 809-10

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16 — Anon Pét 16VII

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Cite as: David McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Pétrsdrápa 16’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 809-10.

Þurrum fótum flýtir
faðir á sjó (en aðrir)
Pétr, að landi leitar,
liðstórr (skipi fóru).
Niðr dró ilsku eyði
ótt, þegar hræzlan sótti;
svalg af saltri bylgju;
*sökk í kólgu dökkva.

Liðstórr faðir Pétr flýtir þurrum fótum á sjó, leitar að landi, en aðrir fóru skipi. Þegar hræzlan sótti, dró ótt niðr {eyði ilsku}; svalg af saltri bylgju; *sökk í dökkva kólgu.

Father Peter, great of help, hastens with dry feet on the sea, makes for land, but the others went by ship. As soon as the fear seized [him], it suddenly dragged down {the destroyer of wickedness} [APOSTLE]; he swallowed the salt swell; sank into the dark wave.

Mss: 621(58r)

Readings: [4] ‑stórr: ‘‑storr’ corrected from ‘‑sliorr’ 621    [6] ótt: ætt 621;    sótti: setti 621    [8] *sökk: ok sökk 621

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 7]. En drape om apostlen Peder 16: AII, 503, BII, 548-9, Skald II, 301; Kahle 1898, 81, 110.

Notes: [All]: This st. brings together (or confuses) two different gospel passages: ll. 5-8 clearly refer to the account of Peter’s attempt to walk to Christ upon the sea at Matt. XIV.29-30. Lines 1-4, however, appear to refer instead to Christ’s appearance before his disciples after his Resurrection, while they were fishing on the Sea of Tiberias. At John XXI.7-8, Peter is said to have cast himself into the sea in his eagerness to come to Christ on shore, while ‘the other disciples came in the ship’: alii autem discipuli navigio venerunt. In the rendering of this passage in Pétr 16/23-5, Peter is described as ‘walking over the sea until he came upon dry land’: gangandi yfir sioinn til þess er hann kom ꜳ þurt land (cf. Pétr2 162/22: gekk þa Petrus ... sem a þurru landi ‘Peter then walked ... as if on dry land’; Pét 16/1-3). En aðrir lærisveinar foru ꜳ skipi til strandar ‘But the other disciples went in the ship to shore’ (cf. Pét 16/2-4: en aðrir ... skipi fóru ‘but the others ... went by ship’). It is possible that the first helmingr of Pét 16 originally belonged to a different st. dealing with this later gospel passage (cf. st. 25 and Note). On the other hand, when juxtaposed, the two helmingar form a kind of diptych illustrating the power of faith and the weakness of incredulity. — [4] liðstórr ‘great of help’: Kahle (1898, 81) reads ‘lid sliór’. Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) prints ‘líd storr’ but notes that ‘storr’ is ‘somewhat unclear and doubtless corrected’. Since, however, the form does not show the st ligature regularly used elsewhere in the ms. (cf., e.g., 57v: næst stafi hæsta 1/2; stort 1/6; stolpi 5/7; styrk 5/8, etc., with, e.g., 57v: slottig 3/2; 58r: slika 10/8), it seems more likely that the original ms. reading was ‘lidsliorr’ ‘sluggish, slow with help’. The letter <l> appears to have been later altered to <t> to produce the reading liðstórr. — [5] dró ... niðr ‘dragged down’: The phrase can alternatively be read as impersonal and translated as a passive construction: ‘The destroyer of wickedness was speedily dragged down as soon as fear came upon him’. Cf. Pétr 5/8-10: Jesus ... reisti hann upp sva mælandi: ‘Þetta bar vitni um litilleik truar þinnar ok efa hiarta þins, er þik dro i kaf.’ ‘Jesus ... raised him up saying: “this bore witness to the meagreness of your faith and the doubt of your heart, which drew you under”.’ — [6] ótt ... sótti ‘suddenly ... seized’: Ms. reads ‘ætt ... setti’ (with skothending). Kahle (1898, 110) suggests that hræzlan setti refers to Christ who ‘subdued fear’, but hræzlan (nom. sg. with suffixed def. art.) must be the subject rather than the object of the verb. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation (Skj B) ótt ... sótti makes good sense and provides the expected aðalhending. His reading is silently accepted by Kock (Skald) and is adopted here.

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