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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Líknarbraut — Anon LíknVII

Anonymous Poems

George S. Tate 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Líknarbraut’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 228-86.

 

Einn, lúk upp, sem ek bæni,
óðrann ok gef sanna
mér, þú er* alls átt ærit,
orðgnótt, himins dróttinn.
Þinn vil ek kross, sem kunnum,
(Kristr styrki mik) dýrka
(örr, sá er ýta firrir
allri nauð ok dauða).
 
‘Heaven’s Lord [= God], you who alone possess a fullness of all, open up my poetry-house [BREAST], as I pray, and give me true word-abundance. I desire to glorify your Cross as [well as] we [I] can; may Christ strengthen me, the bountiful one, who removes men from all distress and death.
Víst má ek hræddr, ins hæsta
heiðs algöfugr, beiða,
mér at munnshöfn dýra
mærðteitr jöfurr veiti,
ár því at ek má stórum
ungr hógsettrar tungu
frá afgerðum orða
ofsjaldan vel halda.
 
‘Surely I must, fearful, entreat that the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven [= God (= Christ)] grant me precious mouth-content [SPEECH], for, [being] young, I can all too seldom keep my oar of words [TONGUE] well from great offences of an easily-employed tongue.
Hneig, er veitir vægðir
vígrunni, miskunnar
hreina hugðubænum
heyrn þína, guð, mínum;
allr týnumz ek ella,
ítr, sem þú mátt líta,
guð, nema gæzku saðrar
gipt þín of mér skíni.
 
‘God, [you] who grant mercies to the battle-bush [WARRIOR], incline your pure ear [lit. hearing] of mercy to my loving prayers; otherwise I am completely lost, as you, glorious God, can see, unless your gift of true grace shine upon me.
Þrifgæðir, lát, þjóðar,
þíns anda mér skína
ástarljós, sem ek æsti,
albjart í sal hjarta,
þat er misverka myrkrum,
munar, hrindi, svá blindi
míns, ór mælsku túni,
móðs vandliga hrjóði.
 
‘Prosperity-endower of the people [= God (= Christ)], let the wholly radiant light of love of your spirit shine in my heart’s hall [BREAST], as I entreat that which may clear away completely the darkness of misdeeds from my field of eloquence [BREAST], [and] so drive out the blindness of my despondent mind.
Dreifðu, láðs ok lofða
lífstýrir, mér dýru,
leyfðar kendr, í lyndis
láð himnesku sáði,
ár svá at ávöxt færak,
alls kannandi, sannan,
elsku kuðr, af yðru
óþornuðu korni.
 
‘Ruler of land and the life of men [(lit. ‘life-ruler of land and men’) = God], acknowledged in praise, sprinkle my mind’s land [BREAST] with precious heavenly seed, so that I may bring forth an abundance, true fruit from your unwithered seed, tester of all [= God], renowned for love.
Þann, er af mínum munni
margr til andar bjargar
sér megi randa rýrir
röðuls framkvæmdan öðlaz.
S… látattu sveitir,
siðskjótr, af því hljóta
gumna kind at grandi,
guð minn, laga þinna.
 
‘Such [fruit] that many a destroyer of shields’ sun [SWORDS > WARRIOR] might gain benefit from for his soul’s salvation [produced] from my mouth. My God, quick to promote virtue, let not men suffer from it [a perversion?] of your laws, to the injury of the race of men.
Hauðrs, veit helgar ræður,
hildingr, ok kenningar,
mána hvéls, ór mínu,
mannvandr, hugar ranni.
Öll eru orð þín gulli,
alhreinn, ok gimsteinum
vísi sæll, ór völlum,
vegs, bjartari ok fegri.
 
‘King of the land of the moon’s wheel [MOON > SKY/HEAVEN > = God], exacting of man, direct holy discourses and doctrines out of my house of thought [BREAST]. Completely pure, blessed prince of glory, all your words are brighter and fairer than gold and gems from the fields.
Beiðandi kveð ek bæði
bræðr ok systr at kvæði;
öll veiti þér ítran
yðarn tænað mér bæna,
vizku stærðr at virðiz
veðrskríns jöfurr mínum
— nýtr er, náð sem heitir —
nálægr vera málum.
 
‘Entreating, I summon both brothers and sisters to my poem; may you all grant me your excellent help of prayers, that the prince of the storm-shrine [HEAVEN > = God], very great in wisdom, might deign to be close to my utterances; potent is [he] who promises grace.
Hróðr stofna ek heiðar
hjálmspennanda þenna
bæði hryggr ok blíðan
bjartr ok glaðr í hjarta,
ok mun árum þykkja
eggmóts, of hvárttveggja
vísi ljóss ef vissi,
vera sök til þess nökkur.
 
‘Both sorrowful and bright and glad at heart, I begin this joyful encomium for him who spans the heath’s helmet [(lit. ‘helmet-spanner of the heath’) SKY/HEAVEN > = God], and it will seem to messengers of the edge-meeting [BATTLE > WARRIORS] that there is some cause for this, if a bright prince might know of both [i.e. sorrow and joy].
Því ber ek angr, at engu
árs launa ek sárar
skírs, sem skyldugt væri,
skilfingi píningar.
Þó gleðr enn sem aðra
oss, sú er hlauz af krossi
lýð ok lofðungs dauða,
líkn dýr, himinríkis.
 
‘On this account I bear sorrow, that I requite not at all, as would be due, the king of bright abundance [= God (= Christ)] for his sore torments. Yet there still gladdens us [me] as [well as] others precious grace, which was allotted to people from the Cross and from the death of the king of heaven’s kingdom [= God (= Christ)].
Kosti alls af ástum
— einsætt er þat — hreinum
(magn stýri því) meira
maðr hverr (svika þverris);
þvít margfalda mildi,
minn lausnari, þína
hverja stund at höndum
hlífrunnum lætr svífa.
 
‘Let each man strive all the more out of pure loves; that is the only choice; may the power of the diminisher of falsehoods [VIRTUOUS RULER = Christ] govern it; because, my Saviour, you allow your manifold mercy to glide every hour into the hands of shield-bushes [WARRIORS].
Sá * baztr frá mey mæztri
mildingr beraz vildi
heiða tjalds ok holdi
hjálmprýddan sik skrýddi;
en nauð á sik síðan
sjálfráði tók dáða
víst fyr vára löstu
vísi sjálfr með píslum.
 
‘The best prince of heaths’ tent [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] willed to be born from a most precious maiden and clothed himself, helmet-adorned, with flesh; and later the prince himself, independently with regard to his deeds, took distress upon himself with torments, certainly for our errors.
Vilda ek vitra hölda
vegs gæti*, meinlætum,
hátt, þeim er hörðum mætti,
hvargóðum stef bjóða.
Krists vinnr krapt ins hæsta
krossmark viðum hnossa
alls bezt; lofar æztan
öll dýrð konung fyrða.
 
‘I would like to offer a sublime refrain to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men [= God (= Christ)], who met with hard tribulations. The cross-sign of the most high Christ gains power best of all for trees of treasures [MEN]; all glory exalts the highest king of men [RULER = Christ].
Veittu menn, sem máttu,
marga lund á grundu,
grimmúðgastir gumnar,
guði sælum harmkvæli.
Lét fyr ljóna sveitum
limu sína guð pína,
framar en flestir gumnar,
fjöldyggr, megi hyggja.
 
‘The most grim-minded men — men who were able — gave blessed God sorrowful torments in many ways on earth. Very faithful God let his limbs be tortured for the hosts of men more than most men might imagine.
Þoldi halshögg hölda
hildingr með spýtingum;
vörðr hlaut fróns af fyrðum
flest skaup ok kinnhesta.
Hann bar hneyxl af mönnum
hverja lund ok stundir
— píndr var hann berr ok bundinn
barðr — viðfarar harðar.
 
‘The king of men [RULER = Christ] endured neck-blows along with spittings; earth’s guardian [RULER = Christ] received from men extreme mockery and slaps. He bore disgrace in every way from men and hard hours of mistreatment; bare, he was tortured and bound, beaten.
Nisti ferð í frosti
fárlunduð við tré sáran
— vasa hann verðugr písla —
várn græðara járnum.
Glymr varð hár af hömrum
heyrðr, þá er nagla keyrðu
hjálms gnýviðir hilmi
hófs í ristr ok lófa.
 
‘A harm-minded host nailed our wounded Saviour with irons to the tree in the frost; he was not deserving of torment. High clanging was heard from hammers, when the trees of the din of the helmet [(lit. ‘din-trees of the helmet’) BATTLE > WARRIORS] drove nails into the insteps and palms of the prince of moderation [VIRTUOUS RULER = Christ].
Árstillir vann alla
oss, þá er hekk á krossi
(eitt er um þat) dróttinn,
(almæli) fullsæla.
Krists vinnr krapt ins hæsta
krossmark viðum hnossa
alls bezt; lofar æztan
öll dýrð konung fyrða.
 
‘The instituter of abundance [= God] made us all fully fortunate, when the Lord hung on the Cross; all agree about that. The Cross-sign of the most-high Christ gains power best of all for trees of treasures [MEN]; all glory exalts the highest king of men [RULER = Christ].
Guðs var mær ok móðir
na hauðrs við dauða
hýr með hjarta sáru
hildings ok píningar.
Víst bar víf it hæsta
vátar kiðr af gráti,
sonr, þá er sárr af benjum
siðnenninn dó hennar.
 
‘The mild maiden and mother of God [= Mary] was with a sore heart at the death and torments of the king of the moon’s land [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]. Certainly the highest woman bore cheeks wet from weeping when her virtue-striving son died, sore from wounds.
Hvat megi heldr of græta
hvern mann, er þat kannar,
röðla býs en ræsis
ríks píningar slíkar,
er dýrr á sik sáran
siklingr ept kvöl mikla
hreinn til hjálpar mönnum
hauðrfjörnis tók dauða?
 
‘What could be more able to make weep each man who ponders it than such torments of the mighty ruler of suns’ dwelling [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)], when the precious, pure king of earth’s helmet [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] took bitter death upon himself after great torture for the salvation [lit. help] of men?
Enn und hægri hendi
hyggjublíðr á síðu
hlaut af hvössu spjóti
höfugt sár konungr jöfra.
Árveitis rann ýta
eirsanns ór ben þeiri
— hugum skyldu þat höldar
heyra — vatn ok dreyri.
 
‘Yet on his side under the right arm the thought-tender king of princes [RULER = Christ] received a heavy wound from a sharp spear. Water and blood flowed out of that wound of the mercy-true abundance-giver of men [= God (= Christ)]; men should hear that in their thoughts.
Lýsti miskunn mesta
mildr, þá er saklauss vildi
einn fyr öllum mönnum,
eyhjálms konungr, deyja.
Krists vinnr krapt ins hæsta
krossmark viðum hnossa
alls bezt; lofar æztan
öll dýrð konung fyrða.
 
‘The tender king of the island-helmet [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] showed the greatest mercy when he alone willed to die guiltless for all men. The cross-sign of the most-high Christ gains power best of all for trees of treasures [MEN]; all glory exalts the highest king of men [RULER = Christ].
Kvaliðr sté öllum æðri
ítr gramr til helvítis
dægra láðs ept dauða
djöfla rann at kanna.
Leysti sinn at sönnu
sólhallar gramr allan
lýð fyr lífstré þjóðar
líknarstyrkr frá myrkrum.
 
‘The tormented glorious king of days’ land [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)], higher than all, descended after death to Hell to explore the house of devils [HELL]. The mercy-strong king of sun’s hall [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] freed truly all his people from darkness by means of the life-tree of mankind [CROSS].
Lík fór kennir keykja
krapts með önd til graptar
sitt, ok sæll reis dróttinn
sólar hauðrs af dauða.
Urðu allir fyrðar
angrhegnanda fegnir,
áðr þá er elsku fæðis
aldyggs bani hryggði.
 
‘The knower of strength [POWERFUL MAN] went to the grave to quicken his body with spirit, and the blessed Lord of sun’s land [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] arose from death. All men became glad at the harm-suppressor [= God (= Christ)], those whom the death of the fully loyal nourisher of love [= God (= Christ)] earlier grieved.
Lands sté gramr af grundu
guðblíðr dögum síðarr
— eykz af öllu slíku
ór hjálp — tugum fjórum.
Fróns skal sikling* sínu
sveit, hin er Krists vill leita,
tjalds í tígnarveldi
trúa mann ok guð sannan.
 
‘The godly-tender king of the earth [= God (= Christ)] ascended from the ground forty days later; our salvation is increased by all such [acts]. The company that wishes to seek Christ must believe the king of the earth’s tent [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] [to be] true man and [true] God in his glorious power.
Geypnir skjöldungr skepnu
skríns styrkliga sína
(ern er hilmir) hlýrna
(heiðtjalds) saman alla.
Krists vinnr krapt ins hæsta
krossmark viðum hnossa
alls bezt; lofar æztan
öll dýrð konung fyrða.
 
‘The ruler of the shrine of heavenly bodies [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] holds in his hand mightily his creation all at once; the prince of the heath’s tent [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] is valiant. The cross-sign of the most high Christ gains power best of all for trees of treasures [MEN]; all glory exalts the highest king of men [RULER = Christ].
Enn mun kross dýrð kynnaz
— kemr ótti þá — dróttins
fyr hnigstöfum hjörva
hljóms at efsta dómi.
Meiðr skal hverr ór hauðri
hringmóts til alþingis
fremðarráðs á fæðis
fund hvatliga skunda.
 
‘The glory of the Lord’s Cross will yet be made known to bowing staves of swords’ din [BATTLE > WARRIORS] at the Last Judgement; fear will come then. Each tree of the sword-meeting [BATTLE > WARRIOR] shall hasten quickly from out of the ground to the Althing to meet the nourisher of propitious counsel [= God (= Christ)].
Kross mun á þingi þessu
þjóðum sýndr með blóði
— uggs fyllaz þá allir
aumir menn — ok saumi.
Líta seggja sveitir,
svipur ok spjót á móti
sér ok sjá með dreyra
sjálfs Krists viðir Mistar.
 
‘At this assembly the Cross will be shown to the people [lit. pl.] with blood and nails; all wretched men will be filled then with terror. Hosts of men look, and the trees of Mist <valkyrie> [WARRIORS] see before them the whips and spear with the blood of Christ himself.
Heim laðar hvern frá dómi
himins fyrða til dýrðar
— gipt þrýtrat þá — gætir
glyggranns með sér dyggra;
en veglausum vísar
vándum lýð til fjánda
birtiranns at brenna
byrjar valdr of aldir.
 
‘The guardian of the storm-house [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] invites each of the faithful men home with him from the Judgement to heaven’s glory; grace will not fail then; but the ruler of the radiant house of the wind [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] consigns the inglorious, wicked host to devils to burn forever.
Hljóta ey með ítrum
alfegnastir þegnar
sólar vörð í sælu
slóðar alt it góða.
Krists vinnr krapt ins hæsta
krossmark viðum hnossa
alls bezt; lofar æztan
öll dýrð konung fyrða.
 
‘Thanes joyous beyond measure obtain forever every good thing in blessedness with the glorious guardian of the sun’s track [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]. The cross-sign of the most-high Christ gains power best of all for trees of treasures [MEN]; all glory exalts the highest king of men [RULER = Christ].
Krýp ek til kross, en glæpa
knosuð bönd af því losna,
óttafullr með öllu
innan brjósts frá þjósti.
Dýrt kveð ek hræddu hjarta
huggóðs drifit blóði
grams píslartré geisla
grundar sköpum bundinn.
 
‘Wholly fearful within my breast, I creep to the Cross away from anger, and the bonds of sin, torn thereby, are loosened. With a fearful heart, bound by fate, I address the precious Passion-tree [CROSS], besprinkled with blood, of the benevolent king of the land of rays [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)].
Heill ver kross, er kallaz,
Krists mark, himins vistar
lýðs af læknis dauða
lykill mannkyni syknu;
örr því at upp lauk* harri
élskríns fyr þik sínum,
áðr þá er læst var lýðum,
lífs höll vinum öllum.
 
‘Hail Cross, Christ’s sign [CROSS], which is called the key of heaven’s dwelling for mankind, acquitted through the death of mankind’s healer [= Christ]; for the generous lord of the storm-shrine [HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] opened by means of you life’s hall [SKY/HEAVEN] for all his friends, which was earlier locked to men.
Heims, bart hvössum saumi,
hjálpsterkr, friðarmerki,
lýðr at lausn of næði,
limu Krists við þik nista.
Mátt af dreyra dróttins
dags reitar því heita
blíðs ok bitrum dauða
blómi helgra dóma.
 
‘Help-strong one, peace-sign of the world [CROSS], you bore the limbs of Christ pinned to you with sharp nail-stitching, so that mankind might obtain liberation. Therefore you can be called the blossom of relics on account of the blood and bitter death of the tender lord of day’s furrow [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)].
Skeið ert fróns und fríðum
farsæl konungs þrælum
fljót ok farmi ítrum
fóstrlands á vit strandar.
Þú snýr böls hjá bárum
— boðar kasta þér lasta —
lýðs und líknar auði
lífs hafnar til stafni.
 
‘You are a voyage-prosperous, swift warship bearing [lit. under] beloved servants of the king of earth [RULER = Christ] and a glorious cargo towards the shore of our native land. You turn your prow past the waves of evil to life’s haven bearing the wealth of grace for mankind; billows of vices toss you.
Stigi nefniz þú stafna
stálfríðundum smíði
traustr af tvennrar ástar
— tek ek minni þess — kinnum.
Framm kemr hverr á himna
hræskóðs ok fær góða
stétt, þá er stig þín hittir,
styrjar lundr af grundu.
 
‘You are called a ladder, trusty on account of side-poles of twofold love, a smith-work of stems for prow-adorners [SEAFARERS]; I take remembrance of this. Each tree of the tumult of the corpse-scathe [WEAPON > BATTLE > WARRIOR] advances and receives a good pathway from the earth to the heavens, when he gains your steps.
Bezt ert brú til ástar,
brýn þó at torgeng sýniz
gumna kind, af grundu
guðs þrælum fullsælum.
rir ganga þik fyrðar
fimir í lið til himna;
hallaz af þér, er illrar
óvenju til spenjaz.
 
‘You are the best bridge to love from earth for the fully blessed servants of God, though you seem conspicuous, difficult to traverse for the children of men. Capable men, agile in limb, traverse you to the heavens; they fall off you who are allured to evil misconduct.
Heims lézt verð ok virða
vegit gimsteinum fegra,
himna ljóss, í hvössum,
háleitr, friðar skálum.
Vág erat víst né frægri
(vétt sýnir þú rétta)
ófs til ýta gæfu
(alsetrs vera) betri.
 
‘High, radiant one of the heavens [CROSS], you weighed the price of the world and men, fairer than gems, in sharp scales of peace. Surely there is not a better or more famous balance for men’s bounteous good fortune; you show the just weight of the common seat of men [WORLD].
Sæfðu lamb guðs lofðar
ljóst (hafa þess í brjóstum)
ok ert enn í slíku
altári (lög sára),
því at lautviðir létu
lastbundnir helgasta
linns, þá er lausn gaf mönnum,
lífs fórn á þik borna.
 
‘Men slaughtered the radiant Lamb of God — they have its sea of wounds [BLOOD] in their breasts — and you are still an altar in such [offering], for sin-bound trees of the serpent’s dell [(lit. ‘dell-trees of the serpent’) GOLD > MEN] caused the holiest sacrifice of life, that which gave men liberation, to be placed upon you.
Snjallr, ert orðinn öllum
ofrníðingum síðan
djöflum leiðr ept dauða,
dýrr kross, himinstýris.
Leggr andskota undan
ætt fyr göfgum mætti
opt ok yðrum krapti
óttagjörn á flótta.
 
‘Precious Cross, you have afterwards attained power over all arch-villains, [you are] hateful to devils since the death of heaven’s ruler [= God (= Christ)]. The devil’s clan, eager with fear, flees often before your noble might and power.
Crúx, lemið angr en æxlið
alt gótt liði dróttins;
sýndr ert seggja kindum,
sigrtrúr í gný vigra.
Opt ert éls í höptum
ítr lausn viðum rítar;
guma forðar þú gerla
grandi holds ok andar.
 
‘Cross, you cripple grief but cause all good things to increase for the Lord’s retinue; you are visible to men’s offspring, victory-faithful in the din of spears [BATTLE]. Often you are a glorious liberation to trees of the shield’s storm [BATTLE > WARRIORS] in fetters; you rescue men completely from injury of flesh and spirit.
Veit mér líkn, er læknar
ljóna kind frá blindi
hyggju túns ok hreinsar,
heims prýði, kyn lýða.
Ert fyr hvers manns hjarta
hreins við öllum meinum
hæstr ok harðri freistni
hlífiskjöldr í lífi.
 
‘World’s adornment [CROSS], grant me mercy, you who heal men’s offspring from blindness of thought’s enclosure [BREAST] and purify the race of men. You are the highest protective-shield before the heart of each pure man against all injuries and hard temptation in life.
Engr fær töld með tungu
tákn þín, er nú skína,
hjálpar hneigistólpi
heims alls, of kyn beima.
Æxtr ferr valt til vaxtar
vegr þinn, er berr fegri,
hreinn, en hugðu vinnim,
hverja dýrð, of skýrða.
 
‘Inclining pillar of all the world’s salvation [CROSS], none can enumerate with tongue your signs, which now shine upon the race of men. Your pure honour, which bears every glory fairer than we might express in thought, grows continually greater.
Sett hefr sína dróttar
sigrstoð konungr roðna
blikmeiðundum blóði
bauga láðs fyr augu.
Sjá má hverr í heimi
hnossa brjótr, á krossi
dyggr hvé sinn faðm seggjum
sólstéttar gramr réttir.
 
‘The king of the host [RULER = Christ] has set his victory-post [CROSS], reddened with blood, before the eyes of harmers of the radiance of the land of rings [(lit. ‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’) ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]. Each breaker of treasures [GENEROUS MAN] in the world may see how the faithful king of the sun’s path [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] on the Cross extends his embrace to men.
Þá er, sem þengill skýja
þreksnjallr kveði alla
oss með orðum þessum
ágætr fyr meinlæti:
‘Mín hefi ek sár at sýna
seggjum góð með blóði;
maðr sjái hverr á hauðri
hingat til píninga.
 
‘Then it is as if the strength-bold king of clouds [= God (= Christ)], famed on account of agonies, addresses us all with these words: ‘I have my good wounds with blood to show to men; let each man on earth look hither at [these] torments.
‘Ér meguð undir stórar
yðars græðis sjá blæða;
þær eru sýnt, þó at sárar,
saklausum mér vaktar,
mín því at mildi raunar
mest ok yðrir lestir
veldr því, at verða skyldi
vísi lýðs fyr píslum.
 
‘‘You may see your healer’s great wounds bleed; they are, though grievous, clearly dealt me guiltless, for in reality my mercy and your sins most cause it, that the prince of the people should be subjected to torments.
‘Mín snúz þjóð ok þjóna
— þat er ráðuligt — dáðum
glæpum vön frá greypu
grandi mér til handa.
Því býð ek faðm, at feðmik
fúss ok glaðr með saðri
ást, hvern er iðraz lasta,
unninna, miskunnar.’
 
‘‘My people, accustomed to sins, turn away from fierce injury to me and serve with deeds; that is advisable. Therefore I offer the embrace of mercy, because, willing and glad, I embrace with true love each one who repents of sins committed.’
Minnumz á hvat unni
öðlingr í píningu
árs, þá er orð slík heyrum,
oss deyjandi á krossi.
Leiðum hörð á hauðri
hjarta várs með tárum,
systkin mín, fyr sjónir
siðgætis meinlæti.
 
‘Let us remember, when we hear such words, how the prince of the year’s abundance [= Christ], dying on the Cross, loved us in his Passion. My brothers and sisters, let us bring the hard torments of the faith-guardian [= God (= Christ)] on earth before our heart’s eyes with tears.
Réðum krapt í kvæði
kross þíns fyr þjóð inna,
árs, þó at, eflir, værak
allítt til þess fallinn.
Sízt em ek samr of baztan
sýnt — öngrumz því löngum —
fyr lundfasta löstu,
líknfæðir, þik ræða.
 
‘Strengthener of year’s abundance [= God (= Christ)], we [I] undertook to relate to the people the power of your Cross in a poem, even though I was poorly equipped to do so. Clearly I am least suited, begetter [= God (= Christ)] of grace, to speak of you, the best, on account of mind-fixed sins; for that reason we are [I am] continuously troubled.
Bæn heyr, bragningr, mína,
bila muntat þú vilja
veita vægð at móti,
veðrskríns, lofi þínu.
Sjálfr eggjar þú seggja
sveit á þik at heita
(þat viðr), gumna gætir,
(gerbænan mik) hverja.
 
‘King of the storm-shrine [HEAVEN > = God], hear my prayer; you will not desire to fail to grant mercy in return for praise of you [lit. your praise]. You yourself urge each host of men to call upon you, guardian of men [= God]; that makes me prayer-eager.
Vilda ek af þér, aldar
angrstríðandi, síðarr
enn fyr óðgerð mína
eiga gjöld með leigum.
Áðr hefi ek önnur gæði,
eirsamr, hlotit meiri
þín, en ek þér fá launat
— þat óttumz ek — dróttinn.
 
‘Grief-fighter of mankind, I would like still later to gain recompense with interest from you for my poetry-making. Previously I have received other and greater blessings from you, than I can repay you, merciful Lord; that frightens me.
Æsti ek öllu trausti,
ítr, þik er görst kant líta
með réttvísi, ræsir
regnsals, hvat er mér gegnir.
Lát mik laun fyr þetta
lof þitt, konungr, hitta
víst, þau er varðar mestu,
veðra tjalds, of aldir.
 
‘Glorious lord of the rain-hall [SKY/HEAVEN > = God], in all trust I ask of you, who can most perfectly see with justice, whatever is fitting for me. King of the storms’ pavilion [SKY/HEAVEN > = God], let me certainly attain for this your encomium those rewards which are of greatest worth forever.
Framm bar ek foldar humra
(fæ ek heitis svá leitat)
leiðar (ljósu kvæði)
Líknarbraut fyr gauta.
Sæll lát oss ok allri
angrskerðandi verða
þjóð, sem þurft vár beiðir
þenna hróðr at góðu.
 
‘I have presented ‘Líknarbraut’ — thus I find a name for the bright poem — before men of the path of the realm of lobsters [SEA > SEA PATH > SEAFARERS]. Blessed grief-diminisher [= Christ], let this encomium be for the good of us and all people, as our need entreats.
Mæztr, lát merki crúcis,
minn lausnari, skína,
örr, í atferð várri
alla stund á grundu,
svá at eilífrar, jöfra,
óttlaust með þér, dróttinn,
eigniz æztan fögnuð
unaðs vistar lið kristit.
 
‘My most glorious, bountiful Saviour, let the sign of the Cross shine in our conduct every hour on earth, so that the Christian host might obtain without fear along with you, lord of princes [= God], the highest joy of the eternal abode of happiness.
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Information about a text: poem, sequence of stanzas, or prose work

This page is used for different resources. For groups of stanzas such as poems, you will see the verse text and, where published, the translation of each stanza. These are also links to information about the individual stanzas.

For prose works you will see a list of the stanzas and fragments in that prose work, where relevant, providing links to the individual stanzas.

Where you have access to introduction(s) to the poem or prose work in the database, these will appear in the ‘introduction’ section.

The final section, ‘sources’ is a list of the manuscripts that contain the prose work, as well as manuscripts and prose works linked to stanzas and sections of a text.