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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 43VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 43’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 613-14.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

‘Mier virðiz, sem miklu hærra
mætur guði hann Ádám sæti,
áðr eg sveik þau Évun bæði
ærusnauð í myrkr og dauða.
Satt er, að fæstir sjá við prettum;
svá mun enn um Jésúm þenna,
því treystumz eg framt að freista;
forðum hefir eg slægvitr vorðið.’

‘Mier virðiz, sem hann Ádám, mætur guði, sæti miklu hærra, áðr eg sveik þau Évun bæði, ærusnauð í myrkr og dauða. Satt er, að fæstir sjá við prettum; svá mun enn um þenna Jésúm, því treystumz eg að freista framt; forðum hefir eg vorðið slægvitr.’

‘It seems to me that this Adam, dear to God, sat much higher, before I betrayed the two of them, him and Eve bereft of honour, in darkness and death. It is true that very few watch out for deceit; it will go likewise for this Jesus; therefore I trust that I can tempt boldly; in the past I have shown myself to be wily of mind.’

Mss: Bb(114vb), 99a(9r), 622(30-31), 713(9), Vb(251), 41 8°ˣ(119), 705ˣ(11v), 4892(31v)

Readings: [1] virðiz: ‘[...]’ 713;    sem: so 99a, 705ˣ, hann Bb, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, það 713, 4892;    hærra: æðri Bb, hærri 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ    [2] mætur: hjá mætum 99a, 713, 705ˣ, 4892, og mætari Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    guði: so 99a, 713, 705ˣ, 4892, ‘gerdí’ Bb, guð 622, om. Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    hann: so 99a, 705ˣ, ef hann Bb, enn 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, er 713, enn á 4892    [3] áðr: áðr enn 99a, 705ˣ;    eg: enn 4892;    Évun (‘euann’): Évu 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892, Évam 622, 713    [4] ærusnauð: urðu snauð Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    í: uð í 99a;    myrkr: písl Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892    [5] fæstir: fæzt er 713    [6] um: vin 4892;    þenna: þennan 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [7] treystumz: treysti 99a, 713, 705ˣ, 4892;    eg: eg mier 99a, 713, 705ˣ, 4892    [8] hefir: hefi 99a, 622, 713, 4892, hef Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ;    slægvitr: slægur Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892;    vorðið: orðið Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892

Editions: Skj AII, 377, Skj BII, 401-2, Skald II, 219, NN §§1522, 1523.

Notes: [2] hann Ádám ‘this Adam (= Adam)’: This reading of the l. reflects Páll Hallsson’s 1656 translation (‘Mig siunes at Adam var langt ypperliger’ ‘it seems to me that Adam was much higher’, Holm papp 23 folˣ, 7r) and has been adopted by eds (except Kock) since Finnur Jónsson’s 1774 edn (1772-8, II). The formula hann + proper name became common in later Icel. and Norw.: see Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4: hann II.1.a-b. Kock dislikes the ‘irregular rhythm’ of this reading and emends to Mér virðiz, sem miklu hærra | mætum guði er Ádám sæti | áðr ek … ‘it seems to me, that Adam sat much higher before the good God, before I …’ (NN §1523). JH finds this a poor solution: er is superfluous, and it is necessary to understand hærra mætum guði as an ordinary dat. with a comp., meaning ‘higher than’. He suggests considering emendation of hærri to næra ‘near’ or næri ‘nearer’. — [8] hefir ‘have’: See ANG §531 on the use of the 3rd pers. sg. form for 1st pers. It occurs again at 45/1.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  5. Sigfús Blöndal. 1920-4. Islandsk-dansk ordbog / Íslensk-dönsk orðabók. Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Verslun Þórarins B. Þorlákssonar / Aschehoug.

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