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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 100VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 100’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 676-7.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

text and translation

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.

notes and context

See Notes to st. 1. The repetition in Bb of the first two ll. of st. 1, however slap-dash and carelessly written (the word guð is left out) makes it clear that the scribe considered the poem to consist of 100 sts, ending as it began. The other mss may have assumed this to be self-evident. By bringing the written text to a close at st. 99, they leave it to the reader to return to the beginning to complete the poem – a completion that also implies a re-entry and a new beginning – thus emphasizing the theme of perfection and eternity. The textual presentation of Bb, which has become traditional since the end of Middle Ages and is followed here, repeats st. 1 as st. 100 and makes a slightly different impression: the visual impact of the repetition leaves the reader with a sense of stateliness and balance. Rather than being led back into an eternal circle, the reader can step back and regard the concluded poem as a symmetrical triptych or as an open Bible, where the central image of the Cross is framed by those of Genesis and Apocalypse, creation and new creation. — This st. is an exact repetition of st. 1, and its status is somewhat contested. The text in Bb concludes with an abbreviation stroke after the word þjóða (l. 2). Ms. 99a does not repeat the first st., but there is a colophon on fol. 19v that reads: lof Guði Lilja er úti ‘praise to God, Lilja is completed’. 622 does not repeat the first st., but the l. is filled out with the capitals A. M. E. N. Finnur Jónsson prints only l. 1 in Skj B, but in Skj A gives ll. 1-4 from AM 706 4°ˣ, with l. 4 added in the hand of ÁM. Kock (Skald) prints the whole st. in italics, a procedure he elsewhere adopts with refrain sts.



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: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, Lilja 100: AII, 395, BII, 416, Skald II, 228.


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