Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 1VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 1’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 562-3.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

Almáttigr guð allra stietta,
yfirbjóðandi eingla og þjóða,
ei þurfandi staða nie stunda,
staði haldandi í kyrrleiks valdi,
senn verandi úti og inni,
uppi og niðri og þar í miðju,
lof sie þier um aldr og æfi
eining sönn í þrennum greinum.

Almáttigr guð allra stietta, {yfirbjóðandi eingla og þjóða}, ei þurfandi staða nie stunda, haldandi staði í valdi kyrrleiks, senn verandi úti og inni, uppi og niðri og þar í miðju, sie þier lof um aldr og æfi, sönn eining í þrennum greinum.

Almighty God of all orders of things, {supreme ruler of angels and peoples} [= God], not dependent on places or times, holding places in the power of tranquility, at once being without and within, above and below and there in the middle, praise be to you forever and ever, true unity in three parts.

Mss: Bb(113va), 99a(1r), 622(23), 713(5), 720b(1v), Vb(246), 41 8°ˣ(103), 705ˣ(2r)

Readings: [1] Almáttigr: Almáttugr 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    allra: so 99a, 622, 713, 720b, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, allrar Bb;    stietta: so 99a, 622, 713, 720b, Vb, 705ˣ, stiettar Bb    [2] ‑bjóðandi: so 99a, 622, 713, 720b, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, ‘bioandinn’ Bb    [3] ei: eigi 99a;    staða: so 99a, staði Bb, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, stað 622, 713, 720b, ‘stadane’ 705ˣ    [4] staði: stað 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    í: om. 99a    [8] eining: einn og 622;    sönn: sannr 622

Editions: Skj AII, 363-4, Skj BII, 390, Skald II, 212, NN §1513.

Notes: [All]: Cf. the ON Eluc: Iollom stoþom. segesc Goþ allr vesa. þuiat hann es iammottogr íollom stoþom slict íhelvite sem íhiminriki. Allr saman segesc hann vesa þuiat hann stýrer ollom senn íaustre oc ivestre. Of valt segesc hann vesa íollom stoþom. þuiat hann stvrer ollo iamt áhverre tiþ. Iengom staþ segesc hann vesa. þuiat hann es ólicamlegr oc ma eige licamlegr staþr halda á Goþe. enn hann heldr samann ollom hlutom oc livom ver ihonom oc erom ‘God is said to be One in all places at once because He is equally powerful everywhere, in hell as well as in heaven. He is said to be One because He rules everything at once in the East and in the West. He is said to be in all places always because He rules over everything at the same time. He is said to be in no particular place because He has no physical body, and no physical place can comprehend God. He holds together the whole universe and in Him we live and have our being’ (Eluc 1992, 4-7). Cf. also the ON translation of the Dialogues of Gregory the Great: Gvþ er allr i ollom ſtoþom ſen ‘God is all in all places at once’ (Þorvaldur Bjarnarson 1878, 65). Paasche (1915, 36) says of this st.: ‘God is apart from time and place; he lives in his own “powerful peace”; he is the centre of all things and fills all depths and reaches all heights. He is at once outside and within all things. He is without time or place, he stands still ... he is here, he is there, he is far, he is near, he is deep, he is high’. He suggests that the model may have been Alpha et O, magne Deus, the popular hymn on the Trinity by Hildebert of Lavardin (Scott 2001, 46-7; AH 50, 409; see also Paasche 1948, 238 and Schottmann 1973, 195). The st. celebrates the eternal Trinity, which is paradoxically both transcendent and immanent. — [1] stietta (gen. pl.) ‘orders’: The noun is etymologically related to stíga ‘to ascend’, and its basic meaning is ‘stairstep’ (AEW). It can refer to a path or a way; a stepping-stone; a generation in a family tree; a rank, situation, or social class; or simply the condition of someone or something. Here, it emphasises God’s omnipotence over all classes of people and animals, all orders of angels and spiritual beings, and the spheres or layers of the universe. Cf. stiettar eingla ‘orders of angels’ 6/4, a specific reference to the nine orders of angels. — [2] yfirbjóðandi ‘supreme ruler’: This is the only occurrence of this word as a noun in ON: it is used as a pres. part. in Nik2 (Unger 1877, II, 157) and in Mar 1871, 617; see Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4 for its use in MIcel. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) construes yfirbjóðandi as a pres. part. with allra stétta engla ok þjóða, translating Almægtige gud, som hersker over alle engles og folks skarer ‘Almighty God, who rules over all angels’ and peoples’ flocks’. — [3] ei þurfandi ‘not dependent on’: Lit. ‘not needing’. So JH, glossing ikke afhængig af. — [6]: Cf. Arngr Gd 59/2IV: uppi ok niðri ok þess í miðju ‘up and down and in between. — [7] um aldr og æfi ‘forever and ever, through all ages’: An echo of the biblical formulas um allder og ad eylifu ‘through ages and in eternity’ (Biblia... 1584, Ps. XLV.17 etc.), um alldr og æfi ‘through age and eternity’ (Biblia... 1584, Ps. XXXIII.11 etc.), and the liturgical formula for concluding prayers, einn gud um alldir allda ‘one God, through ages of ages’ (Gradvale... 1594, passim). Cf. 74/7-8 and 66/3.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Unger, C. R., ed. 1877. Heilagra manna søgur. Fortællinger og legender om hellige mænd og kvinder. 2 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Bentzen.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  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. Eluc 1992 = Firchow, Evelyn S., ed. and trans. 1992. The Old Norse Elucidarius: Original Text and English Translation. Medieval Texts and Translations: Studies in German Literature, Linguistics and Culture. Columbia, SC.: Camden House.
  8. Schottmann, Hans. 1973. Die isländische Mariendichtung. Untersuchungen zur volkssprachigen Mariendichtung des Mittelalters. Münchner germanistische Beiträge 9. Munich: Fink.
  9. Scott, Brian, ed. 2001. [Hildebert of Lavardin] Hildebertus Cenomannensis Episcopus Carmina Minora. Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana. 2nd edn. Munich: Saur.
  10. Sigfús Blöndal. 1920-4. Islandsk-dansk ordbog / Íslensk-dönsk orðabók. Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Verslun Þórarins B. Þorlákssonar / Aschehoug.
  11. Þorvaldur Bjarnarson, ed. 1878. Leifar fornra kristinna fræða íslenzkra: Codex AM 677 4to auk annara enna elztu brota af íslenzkum guðfræðisritum. Copenhagen: Hagerup.
  12. Eluc = Elucidarius.
  13. Paasche, Fredrik. 1948. Hedenskap og kristendom: Studier i norrøn middelalder. Oslo: Aschehoug.
  14. Internal references
  15. Not published: do not cite (Arngr Gd 59IV)

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