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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 77VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 77’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 649-50.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

text and translation

Vindi fult hefir veslan anda
várn ofbeldið laungum feldan;
blár og ljótr í öfundar eitri
jafnan hefir eg næsta kafnað.
Reiðigall með sárum sullum
sviðrar mier um blásin iðrin;
hrygðin slítr af hjartarótum
harðan styrk í sútamyrkri.

Vindi fult ofbeldið hefir laungum feldan veslan anda várn; blár og ljótr hefir eg jafnan næsta kafnað í eitri öfundar. Reiðigall sviðrar mier með sárum sullum um blásin iðrin; hrygðin slítr harðan styrk af hjartarótum í sútamyrkri.
‘Puffed-up [lit. full of wind] pride has long felled our [my] wretched soul; black and ugly, I have constantly nearly choked on the venom of envy. The gall of wrath burns me with painful ulcers in my swollen bowels; sorrow tears the hard strength from the roots of the heart in the darkness of despair.

notes and context

The theme of sts 77-8 is the seven deadly or capital sins (see Kilström 1962b). Lists of capital sins appear frequently in ON religious literature: notable examples include HómNo (1-31, 35-8), HómÍsl (HómÍsl 1993, 29v-31r) and Konungs Skuggsjá (Holm-Olsen 1983, 80). The number of sins and the order in which they appear vary in these texts and others. The list in Lil follows a later tradition and corresponds to the one established by Gregory the Great in his Moralia in Iob: superbia ‘pride’ (or inanis gloria ‘vainglory’), invidia ‘envy’, ira ‘wrath’, tristitia ‘sloth, sadness’, avaritia ‘avarice’, ventris ingluvies ‘gluttony’, and luxuria ‘lust’ (Adriaen 1979, 143B:1610-13 [31.45]). It may be derived from a manual for priests by William of Pagula entitled Oculus sacerdotis, which was widely circulated in Europe and the British Isles. ON versions survive in the C15th mss AM 626 4° and AM 672 4° (see Widding 1960 and Þorvaldur Bjarnarson 1878, 159-61). St. 77 deals with the sins of pride (ofbeldi), envy (öfund), wrath (reiðigall), and spiritual despair (hrygð).



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 77: AII, 387-8, BII, 410, Skald II, 225.


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