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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 55VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 55’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 624-6.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

text and translation

Rödd eingilsins kvenmann kvaddi;
kvadda af eingli drottinn gladdi;
gladdiz mær, þá er föðurinn fæddi;
fæddan sveininn reifum klæddi.
Klæddan með sier laungum leiddi;
leiddr á krossinn faðminn breiddi;
breiddr á krossinn gumna græddi;
græddi hann oss, en helstríð mæddi.

Rödd eingilsins kvaddi kvenmann; drottinn gladdi kvadda af eingli; mær gladdiz, þá er fæddi föðurinn; fæddan sveininn klæddi reifum. Klæddan leiddi með sier laungum; leiddr á krossinn breiddi faðminn; breiddr á krossinn græddi gumna; hann græddi oss, en helstríð mæddi.
‘The voice of the angel greeted the woman; she who was greeted by the angel, the Lord made glad; the maiden rejoiced when she gave birth to the Father, the boy who was born, she clothed in swaddling clothes. The one clothed in swaddling, she carried with her for a long time. Led onto the cross, he opened his embrace; arms opened on the cross, he healed men; he healed us, but agony harmed him.

notes and context

This summarizing st. exhibits anadiplosis as well as climax or gradatio and polyptoton: see Note on 49/1-4 and cf. st. 66. The consistent end rhyme reflects the influence of the Lat. hymn tradition. The image of enclosure in the first helmingr contrasts with that of Christ’s opened arms in the second (see Laugesen 1966, 297-8). — [1]: Cf. st. 28. — [2]: Cf. Luke I.46-7: Og Maria sagdi / Ond min mycklar dróttinn / og gladdizt andi minn i gudi heilsu giafara minum ‘And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord / And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour’ (Hið Nya Testament 1540 [Sigurður Nordal 1933]). — [3]: Medieval authors loved this paradox: cf. the hymn Patrem parit filia ‘The Daughter Bears the Father’ (AH 20, 221). — [4]: Cf. st. 35/1-4. — [7-8]: Laugesen identifies in these ll. the figure versus caudati ventrini: the ll. rhyme at the end of each colon (Laugesen 1966, 298; see Everard’s Laborintus, ed. Faral 1924, ll. 717-20; NB l. 721 is misnumbered as 720). — [8]: The paradox is a well-known topos. Cf. Isa. LIII.5: ipse autem vulneratus est propter iniquitates nostras adtritus est propter scelera nostra disciplina pacis nostrae super eum et livore eius sanati sumus ‘But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed’.



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 55: AII, 381, BII, 405, Skald II, 221.


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