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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Leið 44VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Leiðarvísan 44’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 177-8.

Anonymous PoemsLeiðarvísan
434445

Mœðask ‘become exhausted’

2. mœða (verb): weary

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óði ‘the poem’

1. óðr (noun m.): poem

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þarf ‘is needed’

2. þurfa (verb): need, be necessary

[2] þarf: ‘[...]arf’ B, ‘(þ)arf’(?) 399a‑bˣ

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brands ‘the sword-blade’s’

brandr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): sword, prow; fire

kennings

ôrr brands
‘the sword-blade’s messenger ’
   = MAN

the sword-blade’s messenger → MAN

notes

[3] brands ‘of the sword-blade’: Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 70) considered this to be the pers. n. Brandr, and construed (with emendation) Brandr hefr ǫrr kveðit drápa til enda ‘Brandr has spoken the poem to the end’. He argued that the poet is giving his own name here, as he has named his mentor in 43/8. In the introduction to his 1844 edn (vi) and in 444(3)ˣ, Sveinbjörn identified this Brandr as Brandr Jónsson, Abbot of Þykkvabœr 1247-62 and Bishop of Skálholt 1263-4. Brandr is credited with authorship of several religious texts, most notably Gyðinga saga (Wolf 1995). If, however, Leið can be dated to the mid to late C12th, as is argued in the Introduction, this attribution becomes chronologically implausible. Finnur Jónsson (LH II, 118) pointed out that Sveinbjörn’s emendation is unnecessary, since rr brands ‘the messenger of the sword-blade’ makes a perfectly acceptable man-kenning (LP: 2. brandr).

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ôrr ‘messenger’

1. árr (noun m.; °dat. ár; ǽrir/árar, acc. áru): messenger

kennings

ôrr brands
‘the sword-blade’s messenger ’
   = MAN

the sword-blade’s messenger → MAN
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enda ‘the end’

endi (noun m.): end

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orð ‘My word’

orð (noun n.; °-s; -): word < orðvápn (noun n.)

kennings

Orðvôpn*
‘My word-weapons ’
   = ORGANS OF SPEECH

My word-weapons → ORGANS OF SPEECH
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vôpn* ‘weapons’

vápn (noun n.; °-s; -): weapon < orðvápn (noun n.)

[4] ‑vôpn*: ‘vo᷎pns’ B

kennings

Orðvôpn*
‘My word-weapons ’
   = ORGANS OF SPEECH

My word-weapons → ORGANS OF SPEECH
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eld ‘of the fire’

eldr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-(HómÍsl¹‰(1993) 24v²⁴); -ar): fire < eldviðr (noun m.): sword-tree

[5] eldviðir: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘e[...]d u[...]ir’ B

kennings

Ǫldu eldviðir
‘fire-trees of the wave’
   = MEN

the fire of the wave → GOLD
Trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5] ǫldu eldviðir ‘the trees of the fire of the wave [ (lit. ‘the fire-trees of the wave’) GOLD > MEN]’: The identical kenning occurs in a verse spoken by Skarphéðinn Njálsson in Nj (Skarp Lv 9/7V) and in a lv. preserved in Víga-Glúms saga and attributed to Víga-Glúmr (VGl Lv 4/3V).

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eld ‘of the fire’

eldr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-(HómÍsl¹‰(1993) 24v²⁴); -ar): fire < eldviðr (noun m.): sword-tree

[5] eldviðir: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘e[...]d u[...]ir’ B

kennings

Ǫldu eldviðir
‘fire-trees of the wave’
   = MEN

the fire of the wave → GOLD
Trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5] ǫldu eldviðir ‘the trees of the fire of the wave [ (lit. ‘the fire-trees of the wave’) GOLD > MEN]’: The identical kenning occurs in a verse spoken by Skarphéðinn Njálsson in Nj (Skarp Lv 9/7V) and in a lv. preserved in Víga-Glúms saga and attributed to Víga-Glúmr (VGl Lv 4/3V).

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viðir ‘Trees’

1. viðr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. -i/-; -ir, acc. -u/-i): wood, tree < eldviðr (noun m.): sword-tree

[5] eldviðir: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘e[...]d u[...]ir’ B

kennings

Ǫldu eldviðir
‘fire-trees of the wave’
   = MEN

the fire of the wave → GOLD
Trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5] ǫldu eldviðir ‘the trees of the fire of the wave [ (lit. ‘the fire-trees of the wave’) GOLD > MEN]’: The identical kenning occurs in a verse spoken by Skarphéðinn Njálsson in Nj (Skarp Lv 9/7V) and in a lv. preserved in Víga-Glúms saga and attributed to Víga-Glúmr (VGl Lv 4/3V).

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ǫldu ‘of the wave’

aldr (noun m.; °aldrs, dat. aldri; aldrar): life, age

kennings

Ǫldu eldviðir
‘fire-trees of the wave’
   = MEN

the fire of the wave → GOLD
Trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5] ǫldu eldviðir ‘the trees of the fire of the wave [ (lit. ‘the fire-trees of the wave’) GOLD > MEN]’: The identical kenning occurs in a verse spoken by Skarphéðinn Njálsson in Nj (Skarp Lv 9/7V) and in a lv. preserved in Víga-Glúms saga and attributed to Víga-Glúmr (VGl Lv 4/3V).

Close

ǫldu ‘of the wave’

aldr (noun m.; °aldrs, dat. aldri; aldrar): life, age

kennings

Ǫldu eldviðir
‘fire-trees of the wave’
   = MEN

the fire of the wave → GOLD
Trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5] ǫldu eldviðir ‘the trees of the fire of the wave [ (lit. ‘the fire-trees of the wave’) GOLD > MEN]’: The identical kenning occurs in a verse spoken by Skarphéðinn Njálsson in Nj (Skarp Lv 9/7V) and in a lv. preserved in Víga-Glúms saga and attributed to Víga-Glúmr (VGl Lv 4/3V).

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al ‘the very’

al- ((prefix)): very < alljóss (adj.)

notes

[6] alljósan brag ‘very bright poem’: Cf. 4/2 ljósum brag ‘bright poem’.

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ljósan ‘bright’

ljóss (adj.; °compar. -ari, superl. -astr): bright < alljóss (adj.)

notes

[6] alljósan brag ‘very bright poem’: Cf. 4/2 ljósum brag ‘bright poem’.

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brag ‘poem’

bragr (noun m.; °-ar): poem, poetry

notes

[6] alljósan brag ‘very bright poem’: Cf. 4/2 ljósum brag ‘bright poem’.

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kalla ‘call’

kalla (verb): call

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hafi ‘derive’

hafa (verb): have

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þekt ‘pleasure’

þekkr (adj.): pleasing

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Leiðarvísan ‘Leiðarvísan’

leiðarvísan (noun f.): leiðarvísan

notes

[8] Leiðarvísan: Lit. ‘Way-guidance’. The poem’s title draws attention to the conceit of the Christian life as a journey, possibly a pilgrimage, for which the poet has provided guidance concerning penitence, sinless living and Sunday observance. On the title, see the Introduction. Has 64/2 also gives the name of the poem in the penultimate st., as do the anonymous poets of Sól and Lil.

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