Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Lil 27VII

[5] sjaufalds anda ‘of the sevenfold Spirit’: Translates Lat. septiformis spiritus, a commonplace in liturgical and theological texts from the earliest days of Christianity. The image has its roots in Isa. XI.2-3: et requiescet super eum spiritus Domini spiritus sapientiae et intellectus spiritus consilii et fortitudinis spiritus scientiae et pietatis et replebit eum spiritus timoris Domini ‘And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord’. Cf. 80/5-6: Send mier hingat sanna gift sjaufalds anda ‘send to me here the true gift of the sevenfold Spirit’. The phrase occurs twice (on the same page) in HómÍsl: biþia os ſva ſiꜹfaldrar giftar enſ helga anda ‘we pray for the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit’ (HómÍsl 1993, 49v). The image of a sevenfold spirit is strange, but it is by no means uncommon in medieval texts, e.g. the famous hymn Veni Creator Spiritus: Tu, septiformis munere... ‘You, sevenfold with gift...’ (AH 2, 93; Brev. Nidr, P.viiv).


  1. Bibliography
  2. AH = Dreves, G. M., C. Blume and H. M. Bannister, eds. 1886-1922. Analecta hymnica medii aeui. 55 vols. Leipzig: Reisland. Rpt. 1961. New York: Johnson.
  3. HómÍsl 1993 = de Leeuw van Weenen, Andrea, ed. 1993. The Icelandic Homily Book: Perg. 15 4° in the Royal Library, Stockholm. Íslensk handrit/Icelandic Manuscripts Series in quarto 3. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi.
  4. HómÍsl = Íslensk hómilíubók (The Icelandic Homily Book).


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