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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 46VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 46’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 616-17.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

text and translation

Þessu næst hins kæra Kristi
kenning tók um bygð að renna;
lífþjónandi lærisveina
leitar, finnr og þar með veitir
blindum, hrjúfum, dumbum, daufum,
dauðum, krömdum, ærum, lömdum:
augu, græðing, orð, að hlýða,
andir, heilsu, vizku, að standa.

Þessu næst tók kenning hins kæra Kristi að renna um bygð; leitar lífþjónandi lærisveina, finnr, og veitir þar með blindum, hrjúfum, dumbum, daufum, dauðum, krömdum, ærum, lömdum: augu, græðing, orð, að hlýða, andir, heilsu, vizku, að standa.
‘After this news of the dear Christ began to spread through the district; he seeks life-serving disciples, finds [them], and thereby gives the blind, lepers, the dumb, the deaf, the dead, the plagued, the insane, the lame: eyes, healing, words, hearing [lit. to hear], spirits, health, wisdom, [strength] to stand.

notes and context

[1-2]: Cf. the account of the beginning of Christ’s ministry in Luke IV.14: et regressus est Iesus in virtute Spiritus in Galilaeam et fama exiit per universam regionem de illo ‘And Jesus returned in the power of the spirit, into Galilee, and the fame of him went out through the whole country’. The biblical allusion makes clear that kenning refers to Christ’s reputation and not his teaching, the sense in which it is taken in Skj B. — [4-8]: Cf. Matt. XI.5/Luke VII.22: caeci vident claudi ambulant leprosi mundantur surdi audiunt mortui resurgunt pauperes evangelizantur ‘The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, to the poor the gospel is preached’. These ll. are an elegant example of the rhetorical figure versus rapportati (Lausberg 1998, §716; Curtius 1953, 291) combined with zeugma (Lausberg 1998, §§692-708). Bede defines zeugma ‘yoking’ as a figure in which one word (here veitir) governs two or more parts of a sentence (Hurst and Fraipoint 1975, 144). The two phrases governed by veitir are, first, a series of adjectives in the dat., used substantively, and then a parallel series of nouns (or verbs used substantively) in the acc. The strict symmetry holds the two periods together. See Laugesen 1966, 298-9 for a discussion of this and related examples from Everardus Alemannus, Quintilian, Cicero, and Geoffrey of Vinsauf. Laugesen notes that zeugma is also discussed in TGT (TGT 1884-6, I, 92-3), but he maintains that the Lil poet learned his technique from Lat. sources and not there. — [4-5]: It is highly unusual for the syntax of the last l. of the first helmingr of a st. and the first l. of the second to be so closely bound (JH).



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 46: AII, 378, BII, 402, Skald II, 219, NN §2630.


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