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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 56VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 56’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 626-7.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

text and translation

Þó griet hun nú, sárra súta
sverði nist í bringu og herðar;
sitt einbernið, sjálfan drottin,
sá hun hanganda á nöglum stangaz.
Armar sviddu á brýndum broddum;
brjóst er mætt með þessum hætti;
særðiz bæði sonr og móðir
sannheilög fyrir græðing manna.

Þó griet hun nú, nist í bringu og herðar sverði sárra súta; einbernið sitt, sjálfan drottin, sá hun hanganda, stangaz á nöglum. Armar sviddu á brýndum broddum; brjóst er mætt með þessum hætti; særðiz bæði sannheilög sonr og móðir fyrir græðing manna.
‘Nevertheless she now wept, pierced in breast and back by a sword of grievous sorrows; her only begotten child, the Lord himself, she saw hanging, being pierced on nails. The arms burned from the sharpened points; the breast is enervated in this way; the truly holy son and mother are both wounded for the salvation of men.

notes and context

[1-2]: An allusion to Simeon’s prophecy to Mary (Luke II.35): et tuam ipsius animam pertransiet gladius ut revelentur ex multis cordibus cogitationes ‘and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed’, echoed in the popular sequence Stabat Mater Dolorosa: Cuius animam gementem / Contristantem et dolentem / Pertransivit gladius ‘whose groaning soul, sorrowing and weeping, a sword pierced’ (AH 54, 312). — [5-8]: The third cl. of this sentence draws together the first two: The son suffers the pain of crucifixion; the mother, as Simeon predicted, the pain of beholding it. Cf. the Meditaciones Vite Christi: Et hec omnia dicuntur et fiunt presente mestissima matre sua: cuius compassio multum augmentat filii passionem et e conuerso. Ipsa cum filio pendebat in cruce; et pocius elegisset mori cum ipso quam amplius uiuere ... Viri fratres, rogo uos propter Deum altissimum, ne me amplius uexare uelitis in dilectissimo filio meo ‘And all these things are said and done in the presence of his most sorrowful mother, whose own suffering greatly increased her son’s suffering, as his did hers.Virtually she was hanging on the cross with her son ... [Mary says] “Fellow men, I beg you in the name of the most high God, not to torment me any longer in the person of my most beloved son”’ (Stallings-Taney 1997, 272-3, 277; Taney 2000, 254, 257).



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


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