Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 5VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 567.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

Skapan og fæðing, skírn og prýði,
skynsemd full, að betri er gulli,
dreyrinn Krists af síðusári,
syndalíkn og dagligt yndi,
háleit ván á himnasælu,
hrygðin jarðar neztu bygðar
bjóða mier í frásögn færa
fögr stórmerkin drottins verka.

Skapan og fæðing, skírn og prýði, full skynsemd, að betri er gulli, dreyrinn af síðusári Krists, syndalíkn og dagligt yndi, háleit ván á himnasælu, hrygðin neztu bygðar jarðar bjóða mier færa fögr stórmerkin drottins verka í frásögn.

Creation and birth, baptism and glory, complete reason, which is better than gold, the gore from the wound in Christ’s side, mercy for sins and daily happiness, exalted hope of heavenly bliss, the sorrow of the lowliest dwelling on earth compel me to present the beautiful wonders of the Lord’s deeds in a narrative.

Mss: Bb(113va), 99a(1v-2r), 622(23-24), 713(6), 720b(1v), Vb(247), 41 8°ˣ(104-105), 705ˣ(2v-3r), 4892(25r)

Readings: [1] Skapan: fyrir skapan 99a, ‘skopun’ 622, 720b;    og: om. Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    fæðing: fæðinginn 4892;    skírn og prýði: skírnaprýði Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [2] skynsemd: skynsemi 99a, 622, 713, 720b, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892;    að: sú 99a, sem 622, 713, 720b, 705ˣ, 4892, om. Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    er: en 622, 713, 720b, 4892, om. Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    gulli: gullið 622, 720b    [3] dreyrinn: og dreyrinn 99a, 705ˣ    [5] ván: ván er 720b    [6] bygðar: bygða 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ    [7] frásögn: frásögur Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [8] stórmerkin: stórmerki Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892

Editions: Skj AII, 365, Skj BII, 391, Skald II, 212-13.

Notes: [1] skírn ‘baptism’: It is not clear whether the reference is to Christ’s baptism or the poet’s. — [2] skynsemd ‘reason, discernment’: The attribute which gives humans the ability to perceive the spiritual gifts listed here. The majority of mss have skynsemi, which means the same as Bb’s skynsemd. — [2] ‘which’: Here functioning as a rel. particle; cf. NS §267b. Most mss have the rel. particle sem here. — [3] dreyrinn ‘the gore’: An allusion to the blood and water, often interpreted as a type of the Eucharist, which flowed from Christ’s wounded side (John XIX.34).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.

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