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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Ník Kristdr 1III

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Níkulás Bergsson, Kristsdrápa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 299.

Níkulás BergssonKristsdrápa1

text and translation

Tveir, hykk, at ber bæri
beitnôrungar — heitnu
stund esa lífs á landi
lǫng — meðal sín á stǫngu.
Þat kníðu ber báðir
— bergr oss trúa — á krossi
— svá hefr aldin goð goldit —
Gýðingr ok heiðingi.

Hykk, at {tveir beitnôrungar} bæri ber meðal sín á stǫngu; stund esa lǫng á heitnu landi lífs. Báðir, Gýðingr ok heiðingi, kníðu þat ber á krossi; trúa bergr oss; svá hefr goð goldit aldin.
‘I believe that two ship-nourishers [SEAFARERS] carried the grape between them on a pole; time is not long in the promised land of life. Both, the Jew and the heathen, oppressed that grape on the cross; faith saves us; thus God has repaid the fruit.

notes and context

The stanza is cited as an example of parabola, i.e. the comparison of two things of a different species (samjafnan tveggja hluta í ójǫfnu kyni, TGT 1927, 88). In this particular case Christ is likened to a grape (see Notes below).

The commentary on the stanza proceeds to explain that Christ is likened to that grape which the messengers of the Jews carried from Palestine (af Jórsalalandi) when they were in the wilderness, and the Holy Cross is the pole on which they carried the grape. This refers to the story related in Nm. XIII.24. which describes how Moses sent out scouts from Canaan to explore the surrounding regions. When they came to Neelescol, they cut off a branch and its cluster of grapes, and two men carried it between them on a pole (absciderunt palmiten cum uva sua quem portaverunt in vecte duo viri).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Níkulás Bergsson, 2. Kristsdrápa(?): AI, 560, BI, 547, Skald I, 265; SnE 1848-87, II, 186-7, 427, III, 152-3, TGT 1884, 31-2, 117, 236, TGT 1927, 88, 109-10.


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