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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Alpost 6VII

Ian McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Allra postula minnisvísur 6’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 860-1.

Anonymous PoemsAllra postula minnisvísur
567

Tígnar traustan fögnuð
Tómas fullr af sóma;
sjá var ljúfr í lífi
líkastr guði ríkum.
Postuli prýddr af listum,
prófandi vartu lófa
blóði benjar rauðar
blíðr á drottins síðu.
Hier er helgað inni
háleits Tómas minni.

Tómas, fullr af sóma, tígnar traustan fögnuð; sjá var ljúfr, í lífi líkastr ríkum guði. Blíðr postuli prýddr af listum, vartu prófandi lófa benjar rauðar blóði á drottins síðu. Helgað hier inni er minni háleits Tómas.

Thomas, full of honour, exalts the reliable joy; he was beloved, in life most like almighty God. Gentle Apostle adorned with virtues, you were examining with your hand the wounds red with blood in the Lord’s side. Hallowed herein is a memorial toast for the sublime Thomas.

Mss: 721(15r-v)

Readings: [8] síðu: sidu corrected from ‘ok sidu’ 721

Editions: Skj AII, 510, Skj BII, 560, Skald II, 307; NN §§2983, 3376.

Notes: [2] Tómas ‘Thomas’: On S. Thomas the Apostle, see Cross and Livingstone 1983, 1369; Jón Þorkelsson 1888, 67; Widding, Bekker-Nielsen and Shook 1963, 333-4; Kilström 1974, 238-40; Foote 1976, 166-8; Cormack 1994, 156. — [3-4] í lífi líkastr guði ríkum ‘in life most like almighty God’: The author alludes to Thomas’s cognomen ‘Didymus’ (= δίδυμος, the Gk equivalent of Hebrew ‘Thomas’), i.e. ‘twin’, used as an alternative name for the Apostle in John XI.16, XX.24, XXI.2. This byname gave rise to a tradition that Thomas was Christi geminus ac similis saluatoris ‘a twin of Christ and like our Saviour’ (IO 73, cf. Brev. 4/1). — [5] prýddr af listum ‘adorned with virtues’: Cf. Note to 12/7, and cf. 11/4 postuli hlaðinn af kostum ‘the Apostle filled with virtues’. Here list seems to be used as a synonym of kostr ‘virtue’, although such a sense for list is not recorded in dictionaries. Perhaps read as ‘adorned with accomplishments’? — [6-8] vartu prófandi lófa benjar rauðar blóði á drottins síðu ‘you were examining with your hand the wounds red with blood in the Lord’s side’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) interprets lófa as if acc. pl. of lófi ‘palm, hand’, and regards both lófa and benjar as governed by prófandi. He translates the passage: du prøvede hænderne og de af blod røde sår i herrens side ‘you tested the hands and the wounds red with blood in the Lord’s side’, an interpretation which finds support in John XX.25 and esp. John XX.27 deinde dicit Thomae, infer digitum tuum huc et vide manus meas, et adfer manum tuam et mitte in latus meum ‘Then he saith to Thomas, Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand and put it into my side’. Kock (NN §3376) prefers to interpret lófa as dat. instr. sg.: du prövade med handen... ‘you tested with your hand...’ The latter would appear to be the correct interpretation, particularly since the image of Thomas touching Christ’s wounded side (rather than his hands) circulates as a traditional representation of the Apostle (see, e.g. Braun 1943, 774; Roeder 1956, 24; Kilström 1974, 239). The same tradition is regularly included in prayers to S. Thomas, cf. Gjerløw 1980, I, 181 (AM 241 a fol). The phrase vartu prófandi benjar ‘you were examining the wounds’ appears to recall an epithet used, for instance, in the hymn commonly sung at the Feast of S. Thomas (21 December, see Ordo Nidr. 301; cf. 495): O Thoma, Christi perlustrator lateris, per illa sancta te rogamus vulnera ... ‘O Thomas, examiner of the side of Christ, by those wounds we entreat you ...’ (AH 51, 122, no. 107, st. 3; CH, 90; DH, 113); cf. Gjerløw 1980, I, 181 [Peterborough]. The fact that Thomas is regularly referred to as Christi perlustrator lateris ‘examiner of Christ’s side’ suggests that the phrase prófandi vartu lófa blóði benjar rauðar ... á drottins síðu might alternatively be interpreted as ‘with your hand you were the examiner of the wound red with blood in the Lord’s side’. — [6] vartu ‘you were’: This is the ms. reading, retained by Finnur Jónsson (Skj B). Kock (Skald; NN §2983) emends to vart, to reduce the l. to the expected six syllables. — [8] drottins ‘the Lord’s’: See Note to 8/8. — [8] síðu ‘side’: Ms. ok síðu. Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) notes that the abbreviation Z ( = og) was perhaps intended for erasure. It must be omitted, in any case, to retain a l. of six syllables.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj A = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15a. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. A: Tekst efter håndskrifterne. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1967. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. 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.
  7. Braun, Joseph. 1943. Tracht und Attribute der Heiligen in der deutschen Kunst. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung.
  8. Brev. = [Anonymous] ‘Incipit breviarium Apostolorum ex nomine vel locis ubi praedicaverunt, orti vel obiti sunt’. In Acta Sanctorum Novembris collecta digesta illustrata II.2, 3-4.
  9. CH = Wieland, Gernot R., ed. 1982. The Canterbury Hymnal. Toronto Medieval Latin Texts 12. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
  10. Cormack, Margaret. 1994. The Saints in Iceland: Their Veneration from the Conversion to 1400. Studia Hagiographica 78. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes.
  11. Cross, F. L. and E. A. Livingstone. 1983. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 2nd edn. 4th impression. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 3rd rev. edn 2005 by E. A. Livingstone. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  12. DH = Milfull, Inge B. 1996. The Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church: A study and edition of the ‘Durham Hymnal’. Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England 17. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  13. Gjerløw, Lilli. 1980. Liturgica Islandica. 2 vols. BA 35-6. Copenhagen: Reitzel.
  14. IO = Gómez, César C., ed. 1985. [Isidore of Seville] De ortu et obitu patrum. Auteurs Latins du Moyen Age. Paris: Société d’Editions ‘Les Belles Lettres’.
  15. Jón Þorkelsson [J. Thorkelsson]. 1888. Om digtningen på Island i det 15. og 16. århundrede. Copenhagen: Høst & søns forlag.
  16. Kilström, B. I. 1974. ‘Thomas’. KLNM 18, 238-40.
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