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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Lil 58VII

[4] fellr að enni ‘grows slack at the forehead’: The idiom falla að is used of water or moisture, but it requires a subject. If an impersonal use of the verb were possible (none is attested), the image here could be of moisture (blood or sweat) falling from Christ’s forehead. JH suggests ‘the skin grows slack at the forehead’ (slappes over panden). It is somewhat difficult to imagine the skin of the forehead slackening, but cf. Julian of Norwich, A Book of Showings (Colledge and Walsh 1978, II, 362). Other translators propose ‘became wrinkled or contracted’, i.e. ‘fell’ in wrinkles (Finnur Jónsson 1772-8, II, 427; Baumgartner 1884, 58; Skj B; Paasche 1915, 75). Meissner (1922, 22) translates Die Stirn verfällt ‘the forehead slackens’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Baumgartner, Alexander, trans. 1884. Die Lilie: Isländische Mariendichtung aus dem 14. Jahrhundert. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder.
  4. Colledge, Edmund and James Walsh, eds. 1978. A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich. Studies and Texts 35. 2 vols. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
  5. Finnur Jónsson [Finnus Iohannaeus]. 1772-8. Historia Ecclesiastica Islandiae. 4 vols. Copenhagen.
  6. Meissner, Rudolf, trans. 1922. Die Lilie: Dichtung von Eysteinn Ásgrímsson. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder.


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