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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 17VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 17’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 248.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut

Árstillir vann alla
oss, þá er hekk á krossi
(eitt er um þat) dróttinn,
(almæli) fullsæla.
Krists vinnr krapt ins hæsta
krossmark viðum hnossa
alls bezt; lofar æztan
öll dýrð konung fyrða.

{Árstillir} vann oss alla fullsæla, þá er dróttinn hekk á krossi; eitt almæli er um þat. Krossmark ins hæsta Krists vinnr krapt alls bezt {viðum hnossa}; öll dýrð lofar {æztan konung fyrða}.

{The instituter of abundance} [= God] made us all fully fortunate, when the Lord hung on the Cross; all agree about that. The Cross-sign of the most-high Christ gains power best of all {for trees of treasures} [MEN]; all glory exalts {the highest king of men} [RULER = Christ].

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [5-8] abbrev. as ‘Kristr var krapt ins h‑’ B, 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 153, Skj BII, 165, Skald II, 87; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 40, Rydberg 1907, 14, 49, Tate 1974, 62.

Notes: [1] Árstillir ‘instituter of abundance’: The kenning is able to bear both meanings of both its elements: ár ‘year’ and ‘abundance or fruitfulness’; stillir from stilla ‘to calm’ or ‘to institute or rule’, of which LP (1860) favours the former (moderator) and LP the latter (styrer ‘ruler’). ‘Ruler of year’s fruitfulness’ accords well with the biblical dominus messis ‘Lord of the harvest’ (Matt. IX.38, Luke X.2). — [3, 4] eitt almæli er um þat ‘all agree about that’: Lit. ‘there is one common saying about that’. — [4] fullsæla ‘fully fortunate, blessed’: In poetry only here and 35/4. The word can have the technical sense of ‘saved’, possessing fullsæla ‘salvation’ (Fritzner).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  4. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  5. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Tate, George S. 1974. ‘Líknarbraut: A Skaldic Drápa on the Cross’. Ph.D. thesis. Cornell University. DAI 35:6112A.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. 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.

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