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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 52VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 52’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 621-2.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

Er æ minnilig eftirdæmi
yfirvaldanda himins og landa;
hneigði nú sinn háls og beygði
hverjum þræl, er lysti að berja,
fátalaðr með lítillæti,
lágraustaðr með ásjón fagri,
svá bjóðandi sínum dauða
sína önd fyrir nauðsyn mína.

Eftirdæmi {yfirvaldanda himins og landa} er æ minnilig; hneigði nú háls sinn og beygði hverjum þræl, er lysti að berja, fátalaðr með lítillæti, lágraustaðr með fagri ásjón, svá bjóðandi önd sína sínum dauða fyrir nauðsyn mína.

The example {of the supreme ruler of heaven and lands} [= God (= Christ)] is forever memorable; he now bent his neck and bowed before every slave who desired to strike, saying little with humility, softly spoken with a fair face, thus offering his soul in his death on account of my need.

Mss: Bb(115ra), 99a(10v-11r), 622(32), 713(10), Vb(251), 41 8°ˣ(122), 705ˣ(13v), 4892(33r)

Readings: [1] Er: Eru 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892;    æ: om. 99a, 622, 705ˣ, 4892    [2] yfirvaldanda: yfirbjóðandi 99a, 622, 713, 705ˣ, 4892, að yfirbjóðandinn Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    himins: eingla 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ;    landa: þjóða 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ    [3] hneigði: beygði 99a;    nú: hann 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    beygði: vægði 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892    [4] þræl: þeim 622;    er: em 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ    [6] lágraustaðr: og lágraustaðr 99a, 705ˣ;    fagri: fagra 99a, 622, 713, trausta Vb, 41 8°ˣ, ‘[...]agra’ 4892    [7] bjóðandi: bjóðandi í 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    sínum: so 622, 41 8°ˣ, sáran Bb, sárum Vb, 4892, í sáran 705ˣ;    dauða: dáða 4892

Editions: Skj AII, 380, Skj BII, 404, Skald II, 220, NN §§2629F, 3397F.

Notes: [1] er ‘is’: Both Skj B and Skald choose the majority mss’ pl. verb eru ‘are’. Eftirdæmi ‘example’ could be either sg. or pl., but the pl. sense ‘there are/will always be memorable examples’ does not fit the present context, which describes Christ’s unique and supreme example of self-sacrifice. — [1] æ ‘forever’: The adv., omitted in some mss, is necessary for the rhyme scheme (æ m- : -dæm-). Those mss that omit æ all have eru, a combination that also produces correct rhyme. — [2] yfirvaldanda himins og landa ‘of the supreme ruler of heaven and earth [= God (= Christ)]’: The same formula is used in 58/8. These two instances in Lil are the only attestations of the cpd yfirvaldandi, but see Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4 for the analogous forms yfirvald and yfirvaldsmaður in MIcel. — [3] beygði ‘bowed’: So Bb. All other mss have vægði, from vægja ‘to give way, yield’. — [5] fátalaðr ‘little-speaking’: Understatement: Jesus was silent before Pilate and his accusers (Matt. XXVII.12-14, Mark XV.3-5, John XIX.9). Kock found the word too short for the metre and proposed fámálugr (NN §2629F), but later discovered that this emendation spoiled the rhyme and proposed instead fátalandi, a reading not supported by any ms. In Skald, however, he retains fátalaðr. — [6]: The rhyme is between lágr- and fagr-. For other examples of full rhyme between long and short vowels, see the use of dýrð in 14/2, 68/8, and 74/2. JH notes that the poet sporadically shortens vowels preceding a consonant cluster. — [7-8] svá bjóðandi önd sína sínum dauða ‘thus offering his soul in his death’: This reading follows 622 and 418°ˣ. Bb’s sáran is acc. and a dat. is required with bjóða in the sense of offering something to someone. Some mss add an í ‘in’ before sáran dauða, and this is adopted by both Skj B and Skald.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Sigfús Blöndal. 1920-4. Islandsk-dansk ordbog / Íslensk-dönsk orðabók. Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Kristiania (Oslo): Verslun Þórarins B. Þorlákssonar / Aschehoug.
  6. Internal references
  7. Martin Chase 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Lilja’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 544-677.
  8. Not published: do not cite (HSt SkI)

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