Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Líkn 33VII

[5] hjá bárum böls ‘past the waves of evil’: 399a-bˣ (so also Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 45) reads barmi ‘brim’; in a marginal note 444 has bárum (so all other eds). Together with boðar lasta ‘billows of vices’ the phrase, possibly a kenning-like circumlocution for sin, evokes the widespread idea that this world is like a perilous sea, its surging waves and raging storms representing various aspects of evil, by which mankind is easily shipwrecked. For discussion see Rahner 1964, 272-303 and 432-72; cf. the common liturgical phrase mare saeculi ‘sea of the world’ (Manz 1941, 291, no. 586). Fortunatus’ Pange lingua evokes this tradition in the ll.: Sola digna tu fuisti ferre pretium saecli / atque portum praeparare nauta mundo naufrago ‘You alone were worthy to bear the price of the world (Christ) and, like the seaman, to make ready a haven for a shipwrecked world’ (Bulst 1956, 128, st. 10); in later liturgical use nauta was replaced by arca ‘ark’ to strengthen the idea of the Cross as ship (see Connelly 1957, 85).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Bulst, Walther, ed. 1956. Hymni latini antiquissimi LXXV, Psalmi III. Heidelberg: Kerle.
  3. Connelly, Joseph. 1957. Hymns of the Roman Liturgy. Westminster, Maryland: Newman.
  4. Manz, Georg. 1941. Ausdrucksformen der lateinischen Liturgiesprache bis ins elfte Jahrhundert. Texte und Arbeiten herausgegeben durch die Erzabtei Beuron. Abteilung I, Beiheft I. Beiträge zur Ergründung des älteren lateinischen christlichen Schrifttums und Gottesdienstes 1. Beuron in Hohenzollern: Beuroner Kunstverlag.
  5. Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1844. Fjøgur gømul kvæði. Boðsrit til að hlusta á þá opinberu yfirheyrslu í Bessastaða Skóla þann 22-29 mai 1844. Viðeyar Klaustri: prentuð af Helga Helgasyni, á kostnað Bessastaða Skóla. Bessastaðir: Helgi Helgason.


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