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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon (FoGT) 35III

Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Lausavísur, Stanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise 35’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 612.

Anonymous LausavísurStanzas from the Fourth Grammatical Treatise

text and translation

Píndr reis upp með anda
angrleystu herfangi;
hlýrna gramr til himna
heim sótti guð dróttin*.
Sendi ástaranda
alls hirðandi virðum;
sá kemr drótt að dæma
dauða lífs á hauðri.

Píndr reis upp með angrleystu herfangi anda; {gramr hlýrna} sótti guð dróttin* heim til himna. {Hirðandi alls} sendi virðum ástaranda; sá kemr að dæma drótt dauða á hauðri lífs.
‘Tortured, he rose up with the sorrow-liberated booty of souls; the prince of heavenly bodies [= God (= Christ)] came home to the Lord God in the heavens. The carer of everything [= God] sent the spirit of love to men; he will come to judge the host of the dead on the land of life.

notes and context

Stanza 35 follows st. 34 without any prose introduction. The two stanzas form a diptych and have to be understood together.

After st. 35 the prose text offers the view that sts 34-5 present avarp theologie ‘a summary of the Bible’ in two dróttkvætt stanzas. The same use of fjórðungalok appears in both, as well as a similar disposition of kennings. In st. 35 the poet balances the main events, theologically speaking, of Christ’s life on earth before the crucifixion, the subject of st. 34, with the major events that took place after it. Lines 1-2 allude to Christ’s Harrowing of Hell and his Resurrection, which lifts the burden of sin from mankind; ll. 3-4 celebrate his Ascension to heaven, ll. 5-6 the descent of the Holy Spirit to mankind at Pentecost, while ll. 7-8 are about the Last Judgement. The poet’s boast to have encapsulated avarp theologie in two stanzas is well taken. As both Björn Magnússon Ólsen (FoGT 1884, 143 n.) and Longo (FoGT 2004, 214-15) have pointed out, his model was almost certainly various commentaries on the Doctrinale and the Doctrinale itself (Reichling 1893, 177, ll. 2623-6 and nn.), where oliopomenon is said to be a figure in which a series of important events is expressed in few words, and the example is given of a series of short clauses encapsulating the history of the Trojan war.



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: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], [C]. D. Religiøse og moraliserende vers af den 4. grammatiske afhandling 11: AII, 165, BII, 182, Skald II, 95, NN §3164; SnE 1848-87, II, 234-5, III, 161, FoGT 1884, 144, 287-8, FoGT 2004, 51, 75, 147-9, FoGT 2014, 36-7, 125-6.


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