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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 2VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 2’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 563-5.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

text and translation

Æski eg þín hin mikla miskunn
— mier veitiz, ef eg eftir leita
klökkum hug — því að inniz ekki
annað gott, en af þier til, drottinn.
Hreinsa brjóst og leið með listum
líflig orð í stuðla skorðum
steflig gjörð, að vísan verði
vunnin yðr af þessum munni.

Eg æski hin mikla miskunn þín — veitiz mier, ef eg leita eftir klökkum hug — því að ekki inniz annað gott til, en af þier, drottinn. Hreinsa brjóst og leið með listum, líflig orð í skorðum stuðla, steflig gjörð, að vísan verði vunnin yðr af þessum munni.
‘I ask for your great mercy — may it be granted to me, if I seek with a humble spirit — because there cannot be talk of anything good other than from you, Lord. Cleanse my heart and lead with artistry lively words, within the supports of the stuðlar, a belt with refrains, so that a poem comes about, uttered for you from this mouth.

notes and context

[1-4]: The transmission of the helmingr is confused, and no ms. offers an acceptable reading. The reading here follows Guðbrandur Jónsson (1951, 155) and Gunnar Finnbogason (1988, 15), the latter of whom has Æski ég þín hin mikla miskunn | mér veitist, ef ég eftir leita | klökkum hug ‘I ask that your great mercy be granted to me, if I seek it with a humble spirit’. A variety of possible readings have been suggested: JH proposes an acc.-inf. construction: ek æski hina miklu miskunn þína veitaz mér ‘I ask that your great mercy be granted to me’. Finnur Jónsson’s translation implies the reading æskig þína miklu miskunn, | mér veitiz, ef ek eptir leita klǫkkum hug ‘I ask for your great mercy, that [it] may be granted me, if I seek with a humble spirit’ (Skj B). Skald has a similar understanding. Eiríkur Magnússon (1870, 2) offers the conjectural reading œski ek veitir mér þína mikla miskun ‘I ask that you might grant me your great mercy’. Cf. the invocation of Rósa: Bidur eg þig þo at brioſtid hrædizt | biarttuʀ gud med klocku hiartta ‘I now pray you, bright God, with a supple heart, that my breast be made fearful’ (ÍM I.2, 6). — [5-8]: An echo of the liturgical prayer prayed by the deacon or priest before reading the gospel and preaching the sermon at mass: Munda cor meum, ac labia mea, omnipotens Deus … ut sanctum Evangelium tuum digne valeam nuntiare ‘Lord, cleanse my heart and my lips, … that I might worthily proclaim your holy gospel’ (Innocentius III, Ordo Missae, col. 766; Eisenhofer and Lechner 1960, 291).



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 2: AII, 364, BII, 390-1, Skald II, 212, NN §1514.


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