Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 38VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 38’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 607-8.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

Finn eg, alt að manvit manna
mæðiz, þegar er um skal ræða
máttrinn þinn, inn mikli drottinn;
meiri er hann en gjörvalt annað.
Sie þier dýrð með sannri prýði,
sunginn heiðr af öllum tungum
eilífliga með sigri og sælu;
sæmd og vald það minkaz aldri.

Eg finn, að alt manvit manna mæðiz, þegar er um skal ræða máttrinn þinn, inn mikli drottinn; hann er meiri en gjörvalt annað. Sie þier dýrð með sannri prýði, heiðr sunginn af öllum tungum, eilífliga með sigri og sælu; sæmd og það vald minkaz aldri.

I find that all the understanding of men becomes exhausted as soon as your might shall be spoken about, great Lord; it is greater than all else. Let there be to you glory with true beauty, honour sung from all tongues, eternally with victory and blessing; honour and that power will never be diminished.

Mss: Bb(114vb), 99a(8r), 622(30), 713(9), Vb(250), 41 8°ˣ(117-118), 705ˣ(10v), 4892(30v-31r)

Readings: [1] alt að: að alt Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [2] er: að 99a, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, eð 622, om. 4892    [3] máttrinn: máttinn 99a, Vb, 705ˣ, 4892;    mikli: mildi 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892;    drottinn: drottins Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [4] meiri: því meiri 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, meir 4892;    hann: gann 4892;    en: so all others, om. Bb;    gjörvalt: örvallt 4892    [5-8] abbrev. as ‘Se þer dyrd med sannri prydi;’ Bb, ‘Sie þier dyrd med sannri:’ 99a, ‘Sie þier dyrd med sannrj prydi:’ 622, ‘Se þier’ 713, ‘sie þier dyrd med sannri prydi.’ 705ˣ    [7] eilífliga: æfinliga 41 8°ˣ, ælífliga 4892;    sigri: sigr Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [8] það: þitt Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892;    minkaz: minkiz Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892

Editions: Skj AII, 376, Skj BII, 400, Skald II, 218.

Notes: [1-2] að alt manvit manna mæðiz ‘that all the understanding of men becomes exhausted’: A topic of inexpressibility: see Curtius 1953, 159-62. — [2] skal ræða ‘it must speak’: The subject of the verb is taken to be manvit ‘understanding’ (l. 1), although it could be taken as impersonal ‘one must speak’ (so Skj B). — [5-8]: The second repeat of the refrain; see sts 26/5-8 and 32/5-8. Vb, 41ˣ and 4892 write the ll. in full.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Curtius, Ernst R. 1953. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Trans. Willard R. Trask. Bollingen Ser. 36. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Originally published 1948. Europäische literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter. Bern: Francke.

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