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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

ek ‘I’

ek (pron.; °mín, dat. mér, acc. mik): I, me

[1] ek: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]k’ B

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hræddr ‘fearful’

1. hræddr (adj.): afraid

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ins ‘of the’

2. inn (art.): the

[1] ins: ‘[...]ss’ B, 399a‑bˣ

kennings

algöfugr mærðteitr jöfurr ins hæsta heiðs
‘the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven ’
   = God

the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven → God
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hæsta ‘highest’

hœgri (adj. comp.): higher, highest

kennings

algöfugr mærðteitr jöfurr ins hæsta heiðs
‘the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven ’
   = God

the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven → God
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heiðs ‘clear-heaven’

2. heið (noun n.; °; -): clear sky

[2] heiðs algöfugr: heiðr algöfugs B, 399a‑bˣ

kennings

algöfugr mærðteitr jöfurr ins hæsta heiðs
‘the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven ’
   = God

the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven → God

notes

[2] heiðs algöfugr ‘of clear-heaven ... completely noble’: Despite Kock’s effort (NN §1385) to maintain the ms. reading (heiðr algöfugs), there seems to be no way around the need to emend l. 2. Kock’s construction depends upon 1) an otherwise unattested sense of heiðr ‘glory’ as bistånd ‘assistance’, 2) inverting the acc. and gen. objects in the idiom at beiða e-n e-s ‘to ask someone for something’, and 3) mixing weak and strong adjectives following the def. art. (ins hæsta, göfugs). Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 35 n. (supported by Konráð Gíslason 1877, 23 n.) proposed heiðtjalls (i.e. -tjalds ‘-tent’) for B’s ‘heiðr al’; so Rydberg 1907, 47 and Skj B. While this, with the end of l. 1, would be analogous to ins hæsta hríðtjalds in Has 28/1-2, a C12th drápa from which Líkn draws various details, it is unlikely that the poet would use exactly the same sky-kenning twice (cf. heiðtjalds 25/4). A ‘king of heaven’-kenning can be achieved less radically by emending heiðr to heiðs ‘of the (highest) clear-heaven’. (An alternative would be heiðrs ‘of (the highest) glory’; i.e. rex summae gloriae.) Emendation of algöfugs ‘completely noble’ to nom. algöfugr (Skj B göfugr), while less essential, seems justified to avoid apposition of weak and strong adjs following ins ‘the’, but also by the marginal appropriateness of algöfugs as a modifier of ‘sky’.

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algöfugr ‘the completely noble’

algǫfugr (adj.): [completely noble]

[2] heiðs algöfugr: heiðr algöfugs B, 399a‑bˣ

kennings

algöfugr mærðteitr jöfurr ins hæsta heiðs
‘the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven ’
   = God

the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven → God

notes

[2] heiðs algöfugr ‘of clear-heaven ... completely noble’: Despite Kock’s effort (NN §1385) to maintain the ms. reading (heiðr algöfugs), there seems to be no way around the need to emend l. 2. Kock’s construction depends upon 1) an otherwise unattested sense of heiðr ‘glory’ as bistånd ‘assistance’, 2) inverting the acc. and gen. objects in the idiom at beiða e-n e-s ‘to ask someone for something’, and 3) mixing weak and strong adjectives following the def. art. (ins hæsta, göfugs). Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 35 n. (supported by Konráð Gíslason 1877, 23 n.) proposed heiðtjalls (i.e. -tjalds ‘-tent’) for B’s ‘heiðr al’; so Rydberg 1907, 47 and Skj B. While this, with the end of l. 1, would be analogous to ins hæsta hríðtjalds in Has 28/1-2, a C12th drápa from which Líkn draws various details, it is unlikely that the poet would use exactly the same sky-kenning twice (cf. heiðtjalds 25/4). A ‘king of heaven’-kenning can be achieved less radically by emending heiðr to heiðs ‘of the (highest) clear-heaven’. (An alternative would be heiðrs ‘of (the highest) glory’; i.e. rex summae gloriae.) Emendation of algöfugs ‘completely noble’ to nom. algöfugr (Skj B göfugr), while less essential, seems justified to avoid apposition of weak and strong adjs following ins ‘the’, but also by the marginal appropriateness of algöfugs as a modifier of ‘sky’.

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munns ‘mouth’

munnr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): mouth < munnshǫfn (noun f.)

kennings

dýra munnshöfn,
‘precious mouth-content, ’
   = SPEECH

precious mouth-content, → SPEECH
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höfn ‘content’

1. hǫfn (noun f.; °hafnar; hafnir(/hafnar(Streng 234³²)): haven, harbour < munnshǫfn (noun f.)

kennings

dýra munnshöfn,
‘precious mouth-content, ’
   = SPEECH

precious mouth-content, → SPEECH
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dýra ‘precious’

dýrr (adj.; °compar. -ri/-ari, superl. -str/-astr): precious

kennings

dýra munnshöfn,
‘precious mouth-content, ’
   = SPEECH

precious mouth-content, → SPEECH
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mærð ‘fame’

mærð (noun f.): praise < mærðteitr (adj.)

[4] mærðteitr: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘me᷎rd [...]eítr’ B

kennings

algöfugr mærðteitr jöfurr ins hæsta heiðs
‘the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven ’
   = God

the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven → God
Close

teitr ‘glad’

teitr (adj.): glad < mærðteitr (adj.)

[4] mærðteitr: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘me᷎rd [...]eítr’ B

kennings

algöfugr mærðteitr jöfurr ins hæsta heiðs
‘the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven ’
   = God

the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven → God
Close

jöfurr ‘prince’

jǫfurr (noun m.): ruler, prince

kennings

algöfugr mærðteitr jöfurr ins hæsta heiðs
‘the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven ’
   = God

the completely noble, fame-glad prince of the highest clear-heaven → God
Close

ár ‘oar’

1. ár (noun f.; °-ar, dat. u/-; -ar/-ir(LandslBorg 151b²¹)): oar

kennings

ár orða
‘oar of words ’
   = TONGUE

oar of words → TONGUE

notes

[5, 7] ár orða ‘oar of words [TONGUE]’: Restoration of ‘orð’ based upon 399a-bˣ; <rð> confirmed by skothending. The tongue-kenning mixes oddly with the plain noun tungu ‘tongue’ (l. 7) in the same helmingr. Since ár can mean ‘abundance’ (from ‘year’s yield’, Lat. annona) as well as ‘oar’, orða ár might also play off orðgnótt ‘word-abundance’ (1/4) in the previous st., in which case the poet would be contrasting his own surfeit of words – a sin of the tongue – with the true abundance of inspired words for which he has just prayed.

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stórum ‘great’

stórr (adj.): large, great

notes

[5] stórum ‘great’: Skj B construes adverbially (‘very’); Rydberg 1907, 47 and NN §2584, as here, with afgerðum ‘offences’.

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ungr ‘young’

ungr (adj.): young

notes

[6] ungr ... tungu ‘young ... tongue’: Cf. Hfr Lv 28/2V ungr vask harðr í tungu ‘young, I was hard of tongue’.

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tungu ‘tongue’

tunga (noun f.; °-u; -ur): tongue, language

notes

[6] ungr ... tungu ‘young ... tongue’: Cf. Hfr Lv 28/2V ungr vask harðr í tungu ‘young, I was hard of tongue’.

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orða ‘of words’

orð (noun n.; °-s; -): word

[7] orða: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]a’ B

kennings

ár orða
‘oar of words ’
   = TONGUE

oar of words → TONGUE

notes

[5, 7] ár orða ‘oar of words [TONGUE]’: Restoration of ‘orð’ based upon 399a-bˣ; <rð> confirmed by skothending. The tongue-kenning mixes oddly with the plain noun tungu ‘tongue’ (l. 7) in the same helmingr. Since ár can mean ‘abundance’ (from ‘year’s yield’, Lat. annona) as well as ‘oar’, orða ár might also play off orðgnótt ‘word-abundance’ (1/4) in the previous st., in which case the poet would be contrasting his own surfeit of words – a sin of the tongue – with the true abundance of inspired words for which he has just prayed.

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

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).

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