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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 65VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 65’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 636-7.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

text and translation

Hví stundaðir, inn forni fjandi
fremdar snauðr, á Jésú dauða?
Eða þóttiz þú meiri að mætti,
máttrinn hans er guðdóm váttar?
Eða hugðir þú líkams lygðir?
Líkam tók hann meyjar ríkrar;
óverðugan hann fleingdu fyrðar
flekklaustan; hann vann til ekki.

Hví stundaðir á Jésú dauða, inn forni fjandi, snauðr fremdar? Eða þóttiz þú meiri að mætti, er máttrinn hans váttar guðdóm? Eða hugðir þú lygðir líkams? Hann tók líkam ríkrar meyjar; fyrðar fleingdu hann óverðugan, flekklaustan; hann vann ekki til.
‘Why were you zealous for Jesus’ death, old fiend, bereft of honour? Or did you think yourself greater in strength, when his power attests to divinity? Or did you believe the lies of the body? He took the body of a powerful maiden; men whipped him, not deserving, spotless; he had not earned it.

notes and context

The st. contrasts Lucifer’s inflated idea of his power with the greater might of both Jesus and Mary. Peter Foote (1982, 118) points out that much of the content of this st. and the following is ‘clearly a verbatim transfer of the Poetria nova’ of Geoffrey of Vinsauf. Cf. Geoffrey on subjectio and gradatio: Serpens invidiae nostraeque propaginis auctor, / Cur cruce damnasti Christum? Meruitne? Sed expers / Omnis erat maculae. Corpus fantasma putasti? / Sed veram carnem sumpsit de virgine. Purum / Credebas hominem? Sed de virtute probavit / Esse Deum. Quare merita damnare ‘Serpent of envy and foe of our race, why did you seek Christ’s death on the cross? Did he deserve it? But he was free of all guilt. Did you think his body a phantom? But he assumed true flesh of a virgin. Did you think him mere man? But by his power he proved himself God...’ (Nims 1967, 57; Faral 1924, 232). — [4]: Skj B reads máttrinn hans at guðdóm váttar and translates uagtet hans styrke vidner om goddomsnatur? ‘although his strength attests to his divine nature?’. JH points out that ‘although’ is Finnur’s editorial addition and suggests that Bb’s er is preferable to the of 622. He translates når hans magt vidner om guddom ‘when his might attests to divinity’.



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 65: AII, 384, BII, 407, Skald II, 223, NN §2629 E.


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