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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Leið 18VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 18’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 156-7.

Anonymous PoemsLeiðarvísan

Fylgði lýðr af láði
lagavísum Móísi;
sundr sprakk vágr fyr vendi;
vas þat sunnudag unnit.
Þusti hafs með hreysti
heiðit folk á leiðir;
brátt vann lǫgr inn ljóti
líftjón Pharaóni.

Lýðr fylgði lagavísum Móísi af láði; vágr sprakk sundr fyr vendi; þat vas unnit sunnudag. Heiðit folk þusti með hreysti á leiðir hafs; brátt vann inn ljóti lǫgr Pharaóni líftjón.

The people followed law-wise Moses from the land; the sea burst apart before the staff; that was accomplished on a Sunday. The heathen people rushed with valour onto the ocean’s paths; quickly the ugly sea brought about a loss of life for Pharaoh.

Mss: B(10v), 624(88)

Editions: Skj AI, 621, Skj BI, 626-7, Skald I, 304-5; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 62, Rydberg 1907, 6-7, Attwood 1996a, 64, 175.

Notes: [All]: Sts 18-20 tell of events in the Old Testament book of Exodus. The account of the exodus from Egypt is in Exod. XII.31-42. The Egyptians’ pursuit of the Israelites, and the subsequent drowning of the Pharaonic army in the Red Sea is described in Exod. XIV.23-8. — [2] lagavísum Móísi (dat.) ‘law-wise Moses’: Moses is lagavíss ‘law-wise’, since it was he who received the law from God on Mt Sinai (Exod. XIX-XXXI). Although, according to biblical chronology, this event took place some three months after the exodus (Exod. XIX.1), the Leið-poet’s use of this adj. to describe Moses here anticipates the subject-matter of st. 19. On the form of the name Moses, see Note to 19/4.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  4. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1844. Fjøgur gømul kvæði. Boðsrit til að hlusta á þá opinberu yfirheyrslu í Bessastaða Skóla þann 22-29 mai 1844. Viðeyar Klaustri: prentuð af Helga Helgasyni, á kostnað Bessastaða Skóla. Bessastaðir: Helgi Helgason.
  6. Internal references
  7. Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Leiðarvísan’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 137-78.

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