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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 19VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 19’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 250.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut

text and translation

Hvat megi heldr of græta
hvern mann, er þat kannar,
röðla býs en ræsis
ríks píningar slíkar,
er dýrr á sik sáran
siklingr ept kvöl mikla
hreinn til hjálpar mönnum
hauðrfjörnis tók dauða?

Hvat megi heldr of græta hvern mann, er kannar þat, en slíkar píningar {ríks ræsis {röðla býs}}, er {dýrr, hreinn siklingr {hauðrfjörnis}} tók sáran dauða á sik ept kvöl mikla til hjálpar mönnum?
‘What could be more able to make weep each man who ponders it than such torments of the mighty ruler of suns’ dwelling [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)], when the precious, pure king of earth’s helmet [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] took bitter death upon himself after great torture for the salvation [lit. help] of men?

notes and context

The two kennings of this st. emphasise the theological point that humans crucified God himself when Jesus died on the Cross.



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 [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 19: AII, 154, BII, 165, Skald II, 87; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 41, Rydberg 1907, 14, 49, Tate 1974, 64.


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