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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 13VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 13’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 244-5.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut
121314

Vilda ‘would like’

vilja (verb): want, intend

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vitra ‘of wise’

vitr (adj.): wise

kennings

hvargóðum gæti* vegs vitra hölda,
‘to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, ’
   = God

to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, → God

notes

[1-2] gæti* vitra hölda vegs (dat.) ‘guardian of the way of wise men’: The ms. has gen. -gætis for gæti ‘guardian’ (dat. sg.). All eds emend: Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 39 to nom. gætir (speculating in a note that the <s> may derive from misreading an abbreviation stroke in an earlier ms.); all others to dat. gæti. Two strained readings are possible if the ms. gen. were retained. 1) the kenning could modify meinlætum ‘tribulations’ (l. 2) (as the scribe may have assumed), giving ‘I would like to offer a high refrain to that ever-good one who met with the hard torments of the guardian of the way of wise men’ (i.e. redundantly ‘to Christ who suffered Christ’s torments’. 2) The kenning could modify stef ‘refrain’ (l. 4), i.e. ‘I would like to offer the sublime stef of the guardian of the way of wise men who suffered hard torments’. In this case, ‘the guardian of the way of wise men’ might refer to the Cross. Both readings seem unsatisfactory.

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hölda ‘men’

hǫlðr (noun m.; °-s; -ar): man

kennings

hvargóðum gæti* vegs vitra hölda,
‘to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, ’
   = God

to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, → God

notes

[1-2] gæti* vitra hölda vegs (dat.) ‘guardian of the way of wise men’: The ms. has gen. -gætis for gæti ‘guardian’ (dat. sg.). All eds emend: Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 39 to nom. gætir (speculating in a note that the <s> may derive from misreading an abbreviation stroke in an earlier ms.); all others to dat. gæti. Two strained readings are possible if the ms. gen. were retained. 1) the kenning could modify meinlætum ‘tribulations’ (l. 2) (as the scribe may have assumed), giving ‘I would like to offer a high refrain to that ever-good one who met with the hard torments of the guardian of the way of wise men’ (i.e. redundantly ‘to Christ who suffered Christ’s torments’. 2) The kenning could modify stef ‘refrain’ (l. 4), i.e. ‘I would like to offer the sublime stef of the guardian of the way of wise men who suffered hard torments’. In this case, ‘the guardian of the way of wise men’ might refer to the Cross. Both readings seem unsatisfactory.

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vegs ‘of the way’

1. vegr (noun m.; °-s/-ar, dat. -i/-; -ar/-ir, gen. -a/-na, acc. -a/-i/-u): way, path, side

[2] vegs gæti*: ‘vegsge᷎tiss’ B, 399a‑bˣ

kennings

hvargóðum gæti* vegs vitra hölda,
‘to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, ’
   = God

to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, → God

notes

[1-2] gæti* vitra hölda vegs (dat.) ‘guardian of the way of wise men’: The ms. has gen. -gætis for gæti ‘guardian’ (dat. sg.). All eds emend: Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 39 to nom. gætir (speculating in a note that the <s> may derive from misreading an abbreviation stroke in an earlier ms.); all others to dat. gæti. Two strained readings are possible if the ms. gen. were retained. 1) the kenning could modify meinlætum ‘tribulations’ (l. 2) (as the scribe may have assumed), giving ‘I would like to offer a high refrain to that ever-good one who met with the hard torments of the guardian of the way of wise men’ (i.e. redundantly ‘to Christ who suffered Christ’s torments’. 2) The kenning could modify stef ‘refrain’ (l. 4), i.e. ‘I would like to offer the sublime stef of the guardian of the way of wise men who suffered hard torments’. In this case, ‘the guardian of the way of wise men’ might refer to the Cross. Both readings seem unsatisfactory.

Close

gæti* ‘guardian’

gætir (noun m.): guardian

[2] vegs gæti*: ‘vegsge᷎tiss’ B, 399a‑bˣ

kennings

hvargóðum gæti* vegs vitra hölda,
‘to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, ’
   = God

to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, → God

notes

[1-2] gæti* vitra hölda vegs (dat.) ‘guardian of the way of wise men’: The ms. has gen. -gætis for gæti ‘guardian’ (dat. sg.). All eds emend: Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 39 to nom. gætir (speculating in a note that the <s> may derive from misreading an abbreviation stroke in an earlier ms.); all others to dat. gæti. Two strained readings are possible if the ms. gen. were retained. 1) the kenning could modify meinlætum ‘tribulations’ (l. 2) (as the scribe may have assumed), giving ‘I would like to offer a high refrain to that ever-good one who met with the hard torments of the guardian of the way of wise men’ (i.e. redundantly ‘to Christ who suffered Christ’s torments’. 2) The kenning could modify stef ‘refrain’ (l. 4), i.e. ‘I would like to offer the sublime stef of the guardian of the way of wise men who suffered hard torments’. In this case, ‘the guardian of the way of wise men’ might refer to the Cross. Both readings seem unsatisfactory.

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mætti ‘met with’

mega (verb): may, might

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hvar ‘to the ever’

hvar (adv.): where < hvargóðr (adj.)

kennings

hvargóðum gæti* vegs vitra hölda,
‘to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, ’
   = God

to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, → God
Close

góðum ‘good’

góðr (adj.): good < hvargóðr (adj.)

kennings

hvargóðum gæti* vegs vitra hölda,
‘to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, ’
   = God

to the ever-good guardian of the way of wise men, → God
Close

stef ‘refrain’

stef (noun n.; °; -): refrain

notes

[4] stef ‘refrain’: The word is also used formally to introduce the first stef of the stefjabálkr in Leið 13/1 (as here hátt stef), Has 20/4, Pl 11/4 and Geisl 18/4.

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Krists ‘Christ’

Kristr (noun m.; °-s/-, dat. -i; -ar): Christ

[5] Krists: Kristr B, 399a‑bˣ

notes

[5] Krists: Kristr in ms. B; all eds assume a scribal error (because of vinnr: i.e. Kristr vinnr krapt), repeated in subsequent incipits of the stef (17/5, 21/5, 25/5, 29/5).

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krapt ‘power’

1. kraftr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/- ; -ar): power

notes

[5] krapt ‘power’: The word may have a richer theological connotation, for in the ON Elucidarium Lat. gratia ‘grace’ is sometimes translated as kraptr (Salvesen 1968, 42; cf. Walter 1976, 43).

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ins ‘of the’

2. inn (art.): the

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viðum ‘for trees’

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

kennings

viðum hnossa;
‘for trees of treasures; ’
   = MEN

for trees of treasures; → MEN

notes

[6] viðum hnossa ‘trees of hammered ornament’: Hnoss (< hnjóða ‘to hammer’) as also used as determinant in 42/6 (hnossa brjótr ‘breaker of hammered ornament [GENEROUS MAN]’). On the theme of hammering see commentary to 16/7.

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hnossa ‘of treasures’

1. hnoss (noun f.; °; -ir): treasure

kennings

viðum hnossa;
‘for trees of treasures; ’
   = MEN

for trees of treasures; → MEN

notes

[6] viðum hnossa ‘trees of hammered ornament’: Hnoss (< hnjóða ‘to hammer’) as also used as determinant in 42/6 (hnossa brjótr ‘breaker of hammered ornament [GENEROUS MAN]’). On the theme of hammering see commentary to 16/7.

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alls ‘of all’

allr (adj.): all

notes

[7] alls bezt ‘best of all’: Skj B, Skald, and Kock and Meissner include with the rest of ll. 7-8 as a single syntactic unit.

Close

bezt ‘best’

betri (adj. comp.; °superl. beztr/baztr; pos. „ góðr adj.): better, best

notes

[7] alls bezt ‘best of all’: Skj B, Skald, and Kock and Meissner include with the rest of ll. 7-8 as a single syntactic unit.

Close

æztan ‘the highest’

œðri (adj. comp.): nobler, higher

kennings

æztan konung fyrða.
‘the highest king of men.’
   = RULER = Christ

the highest king of men. → RULER = Christ
Close

öll ‘all’

allr (adj.): all

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dýrð ‘glory’

dýrð (noun f.; °-ar/-a(NoDipl(1279) 44²ˆ); -ir): glory

notes

[8] dýrð : fyrða: Ms. fýrða; Skj B shortens dýrð to dyrð. This same rhyme (dýrð- : fyrð-) of long and short ‘y’ occurs also 28/2 as well as in Geisl 24/2, 45/2, Mdr 33/8 and Lil 68/8, 74/2; cf. 1/6 styrki : dýrka.

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konung ‘king’

konungr (noun m.; °dat. -i, -s; -ar): king

kennings

æztan konung fyrða.
‘the highest king of men.’
   = RULER = Christ

the highest king of men. → RULER = Christ
Close

fyrða ‘of men’

2. fyrðr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -): man

kennings

æztan konung fyrða.
‘the highest king of men.’
   = RULER = Christ

the highest king of men. → RULER = Christ

notes

[8] dýrð : fyrða: Ms. fýrða; Skj B shortens dýrð to dyrð. This same rhyme (dýrð- : fyrð-) of long and short ‘y’ occurs also 28/2 as well as in Geisl 24/2, 45/2, Mdr 33/8 and Lil 68/8, 74/2; cf. 1/6 styrki : dýrka.

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

Having alluded to the Nativity in st. 12, the poet, as if present, now offers Christ a hátt stef ‘sublime refrain’ as a gift as he begins the refrain section (stefjabálkr). — [5]: A marginal ms. obelos (†) indicates occurrence of the stef here and at later occurrences.

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