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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 2VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 2’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 230-2.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut
123

text and translation

Víst má ek hræddr, ins hæsta
heiðs algöfugr, beiða,
mér at munnshöfn dýra
mærðteitr jöfurr veiti,
ár því at ek má stórum
ungr hógsettrar tungu
frá afgerðum orða
ofsjaldan vel halda.

Víst má ek hræddr beiða, at {algöfugr mærðteitr jöfurr ins hæsta heiðs} veiti mér {dýra munnshöfn}, því at ungr má ek ofsjaldan halda {ár orða} vel frá stórum afgerðum hógsettrar tungu.
 
‘Surely I must, fearful, entreat that the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven [= God (= Christ)] grant me precious mouth-content [SPEECH], for, [being] young, I can all too seldom keep my oar of words [TONGUE] well from great offences of an easily-employed tongue.

notes and context

The st.’s concern with sins of the tongue may be inspired by Jas. I.26 and III.5-10 as well as, in a monastic context, by ch. 6 of the Benedictine Rule and the Ambrosian hymn for prime, Iam lucis orto sidere 2/1: linguam refrenans ‘bridling the tongue’ (AH 51, 40 and Ordo Nidr., 183-4, 242, 260, 264). With reference to the nautical imagery (below, and sts 33-4), see also the OIcel. ship allegory, where the tongue is likened to a rudder (rather than an oar): Styret iarteiner tungu mannz, fyr þvi at stiórnen styrer skipeno sem tunga mannz styrer ꜵllum mannenom til goþra hluta eþa illra ... Sva fyrerferr oc sá maþr ser, er illa styrer tungu sinne ... En ef han gæter væl tungu sinnar, þa styrer hann sér til himinrikis ‘The rudder signifies the tongue of man, because the rudder steers the ship just as the tongue of man steers all men (sic ‘the whole man’) to good or evil things ... Thus the man who poorly governs his tongue also perishes ... But if he governs his tongue well he then steers himself to heaven’ (Larsson 1891, 246, glossed by Marchand 1976a, 244-7).

readings

sources

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 2: AII, 150-1, BII, 160, Skald II, 85, NN §§1385, 1853B, 2584; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 35, Rydberg 1907, 11, 47, Tate 1974, 47.

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