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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 8VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 8’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 570-1.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

Fýstiz hann með ofsa æstum
að viðrlíkjaz yfrið ríkum
guðs eingetnum syni, en síðan,
sier nægjandi en eingum vægja.
Fúll metnaðrinn er með öllu;
óvarliga, svá ritning próvar;
ætlar sier við dýran drottin
deila megni, hversu er vegnar.

Með æstum ofsa fýstiz hann að viðrlíkjaz {guðs yfrið ríkum eingetnum syni}, en síðan, nægjandi sier, en vægja eingum. Fúll metnaðrinn er óvarliga með öllu; svá próvar ritning; ætlar sier deila megni við dýran drottin, hversu er vegnar.

With raging hubris he wanted to match himself with {God’s abundantly powerful only-begotten son} [= Christ], and then, sufficient to himself, to yield to no one. Foul presumption is utterly careless; thus Scripture proves; he intends to pit his strength against the splendid Lord however it turns out.

Mss: Bb(113va-b), 99a(2r-v), 622(24), 713(6), Vb(247), 41 8°ˣ(105-106), 705ˣ(3v), 4892(25v)

Readings: [1] ofsa: opsa 41 8°ˣ    [2] viðrlíkjaz: viðlíkjaz 622, 713;    yfrið: dróttni 622    [3] guðs: hans 622;    en: og 622, 713, om. Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892    [4] nægjandi: ‘nægiandist’ 705ˣ, ‘næandi’ 4892;    en: om. 705ˣ;    eingum: eingu 4892;    vægja: ‘væga’ 713, ‘væa’ 4892    [5] metnaðrinn: metnaður Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    er: eru 4892;    öllu: öllum Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [6] óvarliga: ‘oforligr’ 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, ‘ogurliga’ 622;    svá: sem 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892;    próvar: próvar hann 99a    [7] ætlar: að ætla Vb, 41 8°ˣ, hann ællir 4892;    dýran drottin: drottin dýran 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ    [8] deila: deila af 622, deil 4892;    megni: so 622, 713, megn Bb, mega 4892;    hversu: so 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892, en hversu Bb, 99a;    er: so 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892, om. Bb, 99a, að 622;    vegnar: vegar 4892

Editions: Skj AII, 365-6, Skj BII, 392, Skald II, 213, NN §3308.

Notes: [2-3] að viðrlíkjaz guðs yfrið ríkum eingetnum syni ‘to match himself with God’s abundantly powerful only-begotten son [= Christ]’: Cf. Stjórn: at hann uilldi iafnaz edr uidrlikiaz sealfan gud ‘that he would be the same as or match himself with God himself’ (Unger 1862, 7). Schottman (1973, 199) notes that the only occurrence of the verb viðrlíkja in poetry is in this st. (cf. 17/8: við … líkjaz), and the only occurrence in prose is the cited text from Stjórn. — [4] nægjandi sier ‘content with himself, enough in himself’: The angel wants to be like God, who is ærinn sér ‘sufficient in himself’ (6/6). In De Civitate Dei, Augustine discusses how the sin of pride is related to a desire for self-sufficiency: Relicto itaque Deo esse in semet ipso, hoc est sibi placere, non iam nihil esse est, sed nihilo propinquare. Vnde superbi secundum scripturas sanctas alio nomine appellantur sibi placentes ‘To abandon God and exist in oneself, that is, to live to please oneself, is not to cease existing and become nothing, but it is a step in that direction. Hence the Holy Scriptures refer to the proud as satisfying themselves’ (Dombart and Kalb 1955, I, 47:435 [14.13]). — [5] metnaðrinn ‘[the] presumption’: Stjórn (Unger 1862, 8) and Mich (Unger 1877, I, 678) use the word ofmetnaðr ‘exceeding presumption’ to describe Lucifer. In HómNo it is used in a discussion of Mary’s humility: En alla gøzko ſina varðveite Maria með litil-læti ſva at henne grandaðe alldrigi ofmetnaðr ‘And Mary kept all her virtues with humility, so that arrogance never harmed her’ (HómNo, 133). — [6] svá ritning próvar ‘thus Scripture proves’: Perhaps a reference to Prov. XVI.18: contritionem praecedit superbia et ante ruinam exaltatur spiritus ‘pride goeth before destruction: and the spirit is lifted up before a fall’. — [7-8] deila megni við dýran drottin ‘to challenge the splendid Lord’: On the sense of deila here see ONP deila 8.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Unger, C. R., ed. 1877. Heilagra manna søgur. Fortællinger og legender om hellige mænd og kvinder. 2 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Bentzen.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Unger, C. R., ed. 1862. Stjorn. Gammelnorsk bibelhistorie fra verdens skabelse til det babyloniske fangenskab. Christiania (Oslo): Feilberg og Landmarks forlag.
  6. Dombart, Alphonsus and Bernardus Kalb, eds. 1955. [Augustine of Hippo] De civitate Dei. 2 vols. CCSL 47-8.
  7. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  8. HómNo = Indrebø, Gustav. 1931. Gamal norsk homiliebok, Cod. AM 619, 4°. Det norske historiske Kjeldeskrift Fond, Skrifter 54. Oslo: Dybwad. Rpt. 1966. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
  9. Internal references
  10. Not published: do not cite ()

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