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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 15VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 15’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 580-1.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

text and translation

Þrútnar, svellr og unir við illa
eingill, bann það er hafði feingið,
fyrða sveitin fædd á jörðu
fái þar vist, er sjálfr hann misti,
og bruggandi dauðans dreggjar,
duldiz hann fyrir augsjón manna;
fjölkunnigr í einum innan
ormi tók hann mál að forma.

Eingill, er hafði feingið það bann, þrútnar, svellr, og unir við illa, sveitin fyrða fædd á jörðu fái vist þar, er hann sjálfr misti, og bruggandi dauðans dreggjar, duldiz hann fyrir augsjón manna; fjölkunnigr, tók hann að forma mál innan í einum ormi.
‘The angel who had received that ban swells, puffs up, and is displeased that the company of men born on earth should receive a dwelling there where he himself lost one, and, brewing the dregs of death, he concealed himself from the sight of men; knowing magic, he set about forming speech from inside a serpent.

notes and context

Peter Foote (1982, 119-21) sees sts 15-18 as ‘not so much a translation as a re-creation in the Icelandic’ of a passage from Geoffrey of Vinsauf’s Poetria nova: Quid iste? / Vidit eos, et ad hoc formatos ut repararent / Angelicum numerum qui corruit et fruerentur / Deliciis illis quas perdidit angelus. Inde, / Quid faceret versans, serpentis imagine sumpta, / Rectus et erectus veniens clam venit ad Evam, / Affari non ausus Adam: ‘Cur, inquit, ab esu / Praefati ligni prohiberis?’ Subdidit illa: / ‘Hoc ideo ne forte per hoc moriamur.’ Ad illud / ‘Forte’ minus fortem credentem vidit; et inde / Fortior his illam vicit: ‘Non sic, ait, immo / Vescere, sicque sciens potes esse bonique malique, / Sicut dii.’ Tumefecit eam spes irrita tanti / Polliciti; vititum gustavit; idemque maritus, / Ne turbaret eam, quamvis sit conscius, egit ‘And what of Satan? He saw them, saw them fashioned for this purpose: to make up the number of the angelic host that had fallen, and to enjoy those delights which the angel lost. Then, pondering what he might do, taking the form of a serpent, advancing straight and erect, he came in secret to Eve, not daring to speak to Adam: “Why,” he said, “are you forbidden to eat of that tree which was mentioned?” She replied, “For this reason, indeed: lest perchance through it we die.” At that “perchance” he saw her unstable in faith; and then, gaining assurance, he overcame her with this: “Not so,” he said, “on the contrary, eat; and thus you can be, as the gods are, expert in good and evil.” Vain hope of a promise so great puffed her up; she tasted what was forbidden; and her husband, lest he distress her – although with full knowledge – did likewise’ (Faral 1924, 242; Nims 1967, 68). — [1-4]: Cf. the ON Eluc: hann ovunde þat es þau scvldo koma til þess uegs es hann uas fyr rekenn fyr ofmetnoþ augsjón ‘he resented that they should receive the honor he had lost because of his arrogance’ (Eluc 1992, 20-1). Stjórn (Unger 1862, 34) also tells the story: þiat hann var þegar samdægris fullr af fianda sem hann var skapadr. ok fyrir þann skylld at sua sem Lucifer uar brott rekinn af himneskri paradis. aufunadi hann manninum at uera i iardneskri paradis. uitandi þat at hann mundi þadan brott reckinn. ef hann gengi af guds bodordi ‘because he was thus filled with enmity the same day he was created, because as Lucifer was driven out of the heavenly paradise, he resented that the humans were in the earthly paradise, knowing that he would be driven away from there if he deviated from God’s command’.



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 15: AII, 368, BII, 394, Skald II, 214.


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