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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Heilags anda drápa — Anon HeildrVII

Anonymous Poems

Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Heilags anda drápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 450-67.

 

… lífgaðra anda.
Blíðr, lífgar þrif þjóðar
þinn blástr, frömuðr ástar,
lemið synd … eykr yndi,
endrbornar hér, forna*.
 
‘… of revived souls. Blessed promoter of love [= God], your breath stimulates the prosperity of reborn people here; you suppress ancient sin … it [Holy Spirit] augments joy.
Fæsk, en frá líða lestir,
friðr, þeim er synda iðrask;
hljóta menn af mætum
miskunn lífsins brunni.
Greindr skínn orð ok andi

 
‘Peace is obtained for those who who repent their sins, and flaws pass away; men receive mercy from the worthy spring of life. The discerning spirit shines and the word …
Hugfyldra, blést, hölda
heilagra guð fögrum
vitr, þeim er vísdóm betrir
vandan, spektaranda.
Sú hefr einkagjöf grænkat
geðfjöll liði snjöllu
(erat seggja trú) tryggva
(tóm) siðferðar blómi.
 
‘Wise God of courageous holy men, you inspired the beautiful spirit of understanding which improves hard-won wisdom. That true, unique gift has made green the mind-mountains [SOULS] for wise people with the bloom of moral conduct; the faith of men is not empty.
Aflnægir seðr öflgu
jóð — huggari þjóðar,
átt, þann er aldri fættisk,
auð — skilningar brauði,
því er oss með hug hvössum
hrein brjóst ok trú fóstrar;
glöð lætr guðdóms eðli
guma kyn föður skynja.
 
‘The strength-granter satisfies his children with the powerful bread of understanding — you, comforter of people, have the wealth that never diminishes — which fosters in us pure hearts [lit. breasts] along with keen thought and faith; it allows the cheerful race of men [MANKIND] to comprehend the divine nature of the Father.
Ok völdum her, hölda,
h*ugar skóg, frömuðr, nógu,
regns hátunnu rennir
ranns, aldini faldið,
því er illlífis æfa
andvígr hiti grandar
— fremd er í gipt — grimdar
greypr élreki steypir.
 
‘And promoter of men [= God], impeller of the house of the high barrel of rain [CLOUD > SKY/HEAVEN > = God], you cover the forest of the mind [SOUL] for the chosen army with abundant fruit, which the pernicious heat of a wicked life’s term will never damage nor the violent storm-driver [WIND] of wrath throw down; there is honour in grace.
Enn móð í styr stríðum,
sterkr græðari, skæðu
eflið ýgra djöfla,
aldar … fyri valdi.
Prýðir önd í andar
orrostu mannkostum,
né drengjum þar þröngva
þrír óvinir skírum.
 
‘Mighty healer of mankind, you still strengthen courage … in the harsh battle against the dangerous power of vicious devils. You equip the soul with virtues in the battle of the spirit, neither do the three enemies subdue pure men there.
Réttvísum kant, ræsir
regnbýs, hugum lýsa,
svát skynjar veg vizku
vakr herr með trú spakri;
glaðir hrinda því grandi
guðs menn, þeir er vel renna
— fremsk helgat lið — lymsku,
lífs braut, djöfuls skrauti.
 
‘King of the rain-dwelling [SKY/HEAVEN > = God], you are able to illuminate righteous minds, so that the watchful army understands the way of wisdom with serene faith; therefore, cheerful men of God, who run life’s way well, cast away harm, the devil’s treacherous finery; the holy troop gains honour.
Hvert mein þváið, hirtir
hugar sjúks, liði mjúku,
gegn, sá er góðu magnar,
glöðum brunni miskunnar.
Siðlátum eykr sætan
sá bekkr, þeim er af drekka,
(linar brysti þrá) þo*sta
(þekkr elskugi) rekkum.
 
‘Fitting chastiser, who strengthens righteousness, you wash every stain of the sick mind with gentle help in the clear spring of mercy. That spring intensifies sweet thirst in those morally upright men who drink from it; delightful love alleviates longing in the breast.
Mærr valdi gefr mildi
meinlausum her beinan
guðs, þeim er grimmu niðrar
grandi hræzlu, anda.
Sú er prýðigjöf góðum
grundvöllr stöðugr undir
(náir gipt, er krefr) kröptum
(Krist af hjarta tvistu).
 
‘The great ruler of mercy [= God] gives the sinless army, which supresses terrible damage through fear, the helpful spirit of God. That magnificent gift is a secure foundation beneath good powers; he will obtain grace who calls on Christ from a repentant [lit. sorrowful] heart.
Rakkr dróttinn fremr rekka
ríkr ástgjöfum slíkum
(þeim er sigr ok sómi)
sólar fróns (at þjóna).
Syngr óskalof lengi
landherr spökum anda

 
‘The mighty, bold lord of the land of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] assists men with such love-gifts, which are a victory and an honour to gain. The army on earth [i.e. Christians] sings for a long time wished for-praise to the wise spirit …
Kom nú, hreinskapaðr himna,
hlutvandr föður andi;
yðvarra frem, errinn,
alsælan hug þræla.
Himneskrar fremr háska
hjálp unnin* miskunnar
gumna brjóst í grimmum
guðs kraptr, þau er þú skaptir.
 
‘Come now, pure creator of the heavens, upright spirit of the father; powerful one, further the altogether-blessed minds [lit. mind] of your servants. God’s power, help of heavenly mercy, won in terrible danger, strengthen the breasts [lit. breast] of men, which you created.
Sanndyggra, mátt, seggja
snjallr huggari, kallask
harðla traust ins hæsta
heiðgjöf konungs jöfra.
Eldr ert elsku mildrar
eilífr brunnr ok heilagr
hinn er, andar sára
einsmurning, vit hreinsar.
 
‘Wise comforter of truly faithful men, you can be called the very trusty honour-gift of the highest king of kings [= God]. You are the fire of gracious love, the everlasting and holy spring, which purifies the conscience, the unique unction of wounds of the soul.
Þinn er, salkonungs sólar,
sjauskiptr frami gipta,
(vandask) hægri handar
hreinn fingr (bragar greinir).
Prýðir rausnar ræður,
ríkr andi, þér líkaz;
fyrirtígnari, fegra*,
föður, kverkr meginverkum.
 
‘Pure finger of the right hand of the king of the hall of the sun [(lit. ‘the sun’s hall-king’) SKY/HEAVEN > = God], your distinction of grace [lit. good fortunes] is sevenfold; the poem’s branches are elaborately crafted. Powerful spirit, you adorn speeches of magnificence; proclaiming messenger of the Father, it pleases you to beautify throats with mighty works.
Tendra ljós í leyndum,
lundgóðr, vitum þjóðar,
böls hirtir (vek björtum)
björt (elskuga hjörtu).
Hagr, efl, hallar fegrir,
— hverr er leystr, er þér treystisk —
várn líkama veykan,
vagns, eilífu magni.
 
‘Benevolent chastiser of sin, kindle bright lights in the secret consciousnesses of people; rouse hearts with bright love. Skilful beautifier of the hall of the wagon [SKY/HEAVEN], strengthen our weak body with everlasting strength; everyone is redeemed who trusts himself to you.
Út rek óvin sleitinn,
angrþverrir, veg langan,
giptu framr, en gumnum
gef traustan veg hraustum.
Ver þú, at vér megim forðask,
víss leiðtogi, píslir
lengr ok löst, á þröngum
lífs veg, siða fegrir.
 
‘Harm-destroyer, outstanding in grace, drive the aggressive fiend a long way away, but give valiant men trustworthy honour. Beautifier of conduct [lit. conducts], be a true guide on life’s narrow way, that we may for a long time escape torments and vice.
Veit, at vér megim réttan,
vits brunnr, fyr þik kunna
föður í fylking saðri,
friðskýrðr, ok son dýrðar;
ok kæran þik þeira,
þrifa eggjandi, beggja
anda allar stundir,
alstyrkr, með trú dyrkim.
 
‘Peace-glorified spring of wisdom, grant that we may, through you, come to know the true Father and the Son in the true crowd of glory; and [that] we may worship you, almighty encourager of well-being, dear spirit of both of them for all time with faith.
Vegr sé feðr ok fögrum,
fljótt, óskmegi dróttins;
lofi huggara hygginn
hirðprúðra kyn virða;
en salkonungs sólar
sonr eingetinn hreinar
sendi oss með anda
ört vingjafir björtum.
 
‘Glory be to the Father and to the beautiful beloved Son of the Lord [= Christ]; may the kin of courtly men swiftly praise the thoughtful comforter, and may the only son of the king of the hall of the sun [(lit. ‘son of the sun’s hall-king’) SKY/HEAVEN > = God > = Christ] graciously send us pure gifts of friendship along with the radiant spirit.
Fróns veitti sá sínum
sauðum líf ept dauða
hirðir framr, er himna
heldr eilífu veldi.
Greindr skínn orð ok andi

 
‘May that outstanding shepherd of the earth [= God], who controls the eternal realm of the heavens, grant to his sheep life after death. The discerning spirit shines and the word …
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