Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 60 [Vol. 7, 629-31]

[7] bjúgi ‘coiled, twisted’: The adj. seems appropriate in conjunction with the serpent-form Lucifer has taken on and especially given the association with the world-encircling Miðgarðsormr suggested by Niðrst. But it is not used elsewhere in either poetry or prose to describe a serpent. It tends to mean either ‘crooked, bent’ in reference to an object (e.g. a fish hook), or ‘bowed down, crippled’ in reference to a person who is sick or injured. The word occurs again in the phrase bjúgi brandrinn ódygðar ‘the recoiling sword of faithlessness’ 66/7. The connotations may be the same here: Lucifer’s plan has backfired and he becomes the victim of his own scheming.


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