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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Skáldþ Lv 1III

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2017, ‘Skáldþórir, Lausavísa 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 353.

SkáldþórirLausavísa1

Dýrkleifar kom dúfa
dags ok krisma lagði
meginskjǫldungi mildum
mæt í hattar stræti.

Mæt dúfa kom ok lagði krisma í {stræti hattar} {mildum meginskjǫldungi {dýrkleifar dags}}.

A worthy dove came and laid chrism on {the hood’s street} [HEAD] {of the generous powerful ruler {of day’s precious cliff}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = Christ].

Mss: W(169) (SnE)

Readings: [1] ‑kleifar: ‘gleifar’ W

Editions: Skj AI, 573, Skj BI, 567, Skald I, 274; SnE 1848-87, II, 499, III, 178-9.

Context: The helmingr is cited to illustrate a kenning for ‘head’ (stræti hattar ‘the hood’s street’).

Notes: [2] krisma ‘chrism’: This is sanctifying ointment. Annointing with chrism is the act by which the gifts of the Holy Spirit are said to be conferred upon the initiate in the sacrament of Confirmation (a rite therefore called cresima in Italian). Chrism is also dispensed after baptism, however, and this seems more relevant to the present context, since the most immediate association of the Holy Spirit with Christ in the Bible is made directly after his baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan (Mark I.10): et statim ascendens de aqua vidit apertos caelos et spiritum tamquam columbam descendentem et manentem in ipso ‘and at once arising from the water, he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit like a dove descending and remaining on him’. The present lines would thus appear to allude to Christ’s baptism, and therefore they may have formed part of a poem about the baptism of Christ. As noted by Sveinbjörn Egilsson (SnE 1848-87, III), the helmingr has verbal correspondences with Anon Leið 24VII, which also describes the baptism of Christ. At all events, the fragment lacks the characteristics of typical lausavísur (such as present tense verbs, deictic adverbs, self-reference to the poet and address to persons present), though Skj tentatively identifies this helmingr as belonging to a lausavísa. It certainly is not to be associated with Heilags anda drápa (Anon HeildrVII), which is addressed directly to the Holy Spirit and is not a narrative.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Internal references
  5. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 24’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 162-3.
  6. Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Heilags anda drápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 450-67.
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