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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Leið 34VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 34’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 170-1.

Anonymous PoemsLeiðarvísan

text and translation

Slœm skalk upp af aumu
— eru stef liðin — hefja,
mætr ef mér vil láta
málfinni goð vinnask.
Styrk ávalt til verka,
vegs gnóttar, mik, dróttinn;
verðk at engu orði
einhlítr, nema goð beini.

Skalk hefja upp slœm af aumu, ef mætr goð vil láta málfinni vinnask mér; stef eru liðin. {Dróttinn gnóttar vegs}, styrk mik ávalt til verka; verðk einhlítr at engu orði, nema goð beini.
‘I will begin a conclusion from a state of wretchedness, if glorious God will grant that eloquence be achieved for me; the refrains are complete. Lord of the abundance of glory [= God], assist me always in [the composition of] poems; I will be fully sufficient for not one word, unless God helps [me].

notes and context

St. 34 begins the slœmr or concluding section of the poem, as the poet says. As befits a Christian skald whose inspiration comes from God alone, the Leið poet introduces a modesty topos disclaiming poetic proficiency, unless God helps him. Cf. Mgr 3/5-6 with ll. 7-8.



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: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], G [2]. Leiðarvísan 34: AI, 624, BI, 630-1, Skald I, 306; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 67, Rydberg 1907, 9, Attwood 1996a, 69, 179.


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