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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 66VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 66’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 637-8.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

text and translation

Þú fyrirdæmdir auma Évam,
Éva mann fyrir epli bannað,
maðr bannsettr um allar ættir,
ættin Krist, er spjóti nisti.
Kristr þig þó, er fant í fystu
fystan prett og manndráp settir;
svá ódygðar brandrinn bjúgi
beygiz aftr í þína kjafta.

Þú fyrirdæmdir auma Évam, Éva mann fyrir bannað epli, maðr bannsettr um allar ættir, ættin Krist, er nisti spjóti. Kristr þig þó, er í fystu fant fystan prett og settir manndráp; svá beygiz bjúgi brandrinn ódygðar aftr í kjafta þína.
‘You doomed to death wretched Eve, Eve [doomed] the man with the forbidden apple, man was cursed through all his descendants, his descendants [doomed] Christ, whom they pierced with a spear. Christ nevertheless [doomed] you, who, in the beginning, conceived the first fraud and established murder; thus the recoiling sword of faithlessness is turned back into your mouth.

notes and context

Cf. Geoffrey of Vinsauf, Poetria nova: Hostis enim primus damnaverat Evam, / Eva secunda virum, vir tertius omne quod ejus / Stirpis erat, stirps quarta Deum, Deus ultimus hostem, / Cui mors ipse fuit ‘So the condemnation justly came to a close with him from whom it began. For the enemy had first condemned Eve; Eve, secondly, condemned her husband; her husband, thirdly, condemned all his offspring; the offspring, fourthly, condemned God; God, last of all condemned the enemy whose cause of death he was’ (Nims 1967, 57-8; Faral 1924, 232; see Foote 1982, 118-9). JH notes that this st. has become garbled in the ms. tradition: none of the scribes appears to have understood it fully. The basic theme is that of the second helmingr of st. 45: the curse laid on humanity by the devil is now turned back on him. Eiríkur Magnússon (1870, 66-7) offers a step-by-step theory of how the text became corrupt. Hill points out that this st. marks a key juncture in the poem, the completion of the Atonement, while st. 67 marks the beginning of a new age. He notes that ‘Christ’s birth is described in st. 33. Thus the poet describes Christ’s life on earth through the completion of the Atonement in a sequence of thirty-three verses, which obviously corresponds to the traditional asumption that Christ lived thirty-three years on earth’ (Hill 1970, 564). The st. is dunhent ‘resounding rhymed’: it exhibits anadiplosis as well as climax or gradatio and polyptoton: see Note on 49/1-4 and cf. st. 55.



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 66: AII, 384, BII, 407, Skald II, 223, NN §§1528, 1529, 2594.


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