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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 22VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 22’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 252-3.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut
212223

Kvaliðr ‘The tormented’

kvelja (verb): torment, torture

kennings

Kvaliðr ítr gramr dægra láðs,
‘The tormented glorious king of days’ land, ’
   = God

days’ land, → SKY/HEAVEN
The tormented glorious king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
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sté ‘descended’

stíga (verb): step

Close

öllum ‘than all’

allr (adj.): all

[1] öllum æðri: ‘o᷎ll[...] ed[...]’ B, ‘öll[...]’ 399a‑bˣ

notes

[1] öllum æðri ‘higher than all’: A plausible conjecture by Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 42, adopted by all subsequent eds. In B only <e> for <æ> is visible, but the hook ‘e᷎’ was likely lost in the split above the letter.

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æðri ‘higher’

œðri (adj. comp.): nobler, higher

[1] öllum æðri: ‘o᷎ll[...] ed[...]’ B, ‘öll[...]’ 399a‑bˣ

notes

[1] öllum æðri ‘higher than all’: A plausible conjecture by Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 42, adopted by all subsequent eds. In B only <e> for <æ> is visible, but the hook ‘e᷎’ was likely lost in the split above the letter.

Close

ítr ‘glorious’

ítr (adj.): glorious

kennings

Kvaliðr ítr gramr dægra láðs,
‘The tormented glorious king of days’ land, ’
   = God

days’ land, → SKY/HEAVEN
The tormented glorious king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

gramr ‘king’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

kennings

Kvaliðr ítr gramr dægra láðs,
‘The tormented glorious king of days’ land, ’
   = God

days’ land, → SKY/HEAVEN
The tormented glorious king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[2, 6] gramr ‘king’: The same noun appears, unusually, as base-word of a Christ-kenning in each helmingr, each time in the second l. Of Christ in the context of the Harrowing, the choice is also somewhat odd; deriving from the adj. gramr ‘angry, hostile’, the pl. is often used substantively of ‘fiends’ (cf. djöfla rann, l. 4), the very beings his radiance overcomes.

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dægra ‘of days’’

dœgr (noun n.; °-s; -): day and night; 24h period

kennings

Kvaliðr ítr gramr dægra láðs,
‘The tormented glorious king of days’ land, ’
   = God

days’ land, → SKY/HEAVEN
The tormented glorious king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[3] dægra láðs ‘of days’ land’: Just as gramr could be associated either with Christ or devils, dægr, a twelve-hour period, may technically refer either to day or night, though more typically the former. While dagr ‘day’ is common in heaven-kennings (e.g. dags reitr ‘day’s path’ 32/6, dags grund ‘day’s land’ Leið 24/8), dægr, first used thus here, occurs subsequently in only two C14th heaven-kennings (dægra sæti ‘days’ seat’ Mgr 9/4 and dægra stallr ‘days’ ridge’ Arngr Gd 41/4IV).

Close

dægra ‘of days’’

dœgr (noun n.; °-s; -): day and night; 24h period

kennings

Kvaliðr ítr gramr dægra láðs,
‘The tormented glorious king of days’ land, ’
   = God

days’ land, → SKY/HEAVEN
The tormented glorious king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[3] dægra láðs ‘of days’ land’: Just as gramr could be associated either with Christ or devils, dægr, a twelve-hour period, may technically refer either to day or night, though more typically the former. While dagr ‘day’ is common in heaven-kennings (e.g. dags reitr ‘day’s path’ 32/6, dags grund ‘day’s land’ Leið 24/8), dægr, first used thus here, occurs subsequently in only two C14th heaven-kennings (dægra sæti ‘days’ seat’ Mgr 9/4 and dægra stallr ‘days’ ridge’ Arngr Gd 41/4IV).

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láðs ‘land’

2. láð (noun n.): earth, land

kennings

Kvaliðr ítr gramr dægra láðs,
‘The tormented glorious king of days’ land, ’
   = God

days’ land, → SKY/HEAVEN
The tormented glorious king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[3] dægra láðs ‘of days’ land’: Just as gramr could be associated either with Christ or devils, dægr, a twelve-hour period, may technically refer either to day or night, though more typically the former. While dagr ‘day’ is common in heaven-kennings (e.g. dags reitr ‘day’s path’ 32/6, dags grund ‘day’s land’ Leið 24/8), dægr, first used thus here, occurs subsequently in only two C14th heaven-kennings (dægra sæti ‘days’ seat’ Mgr 9/4 and dægra stallr ‘days’ ridge’ Arngr Gd 41/4IV).

Close

láðs ‘land’

2. láð (noun n.): earth, land

kennings

Kvaliðr ítr gramr dægra láðs,
‘The tormented glorious king of days’ land, ’
   = God

days’ land, → SKY/HEAVEN
The tormented glorious king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[3] dægra láðs ‘of days’ land’: Just as gramr could be associated either with Christ or devils, dægr, a twelve-hour period, may technically refer either to day or night, though more typically the former. While dagr ‘day’ is common in heaven-kennings (e.g. dags reitr ‘day’s path’ 32/6, dags grund ‘day’s land’ Leið 24/8), dægr, first used thus here, occurs subsequently in only two C14th heaven-kennings (dægra sæti ‘days’ seat’ Mgr 9/4 and dægra stallr ‘days’ ridge’ Arngr Gd 41/4IV).

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djöfla ‘of devils’

djǫfull (noun m.; °djǫfuls, dat. djǫfli; djǫflar/djaflar): devil

kennings

rann djöfla.
‘the house of devils. ’
   = HELL

the house of devils. → HELL
Close

rann ‘the house’

rann (noun n.): house, hall

kennings

rann djöfla.
‘the house of devils. ’
   = HELL

the house of devils. → HELL
Close

Leysti ‘freed’

leysa (verb): release, loosen, redeem

notes

[5, 6, 7] leysti ... allan sinn lýð ‘freed all his people’: Cf. the late medieval Niðurstigningsvísur 35/6 leyste alla lydi sin and þu leyster alla lydi 37/3 (ÍM I.2, 234).

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sinn ‘his’

3. sinn (pron.; °f. sín, n. sitt): (refl. poss. pron.)

notes

[5, 6, 7] leysti ... allan sinn lýð ‘freed all his people’: Cf. the late medieval Niðurstigningsvísur 35/6 leyste alla lydi sin and þu leyster alla lydi 37/3 (ÍM I.2, 234).

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at ‘’

3. at (prep.): at, to

[5] at sönnu: ‘[...]t s[...]nnu’ B, ‘at sẹ⸜o᷎⸝nnu’ 399a‑bˣ

notes

[5] sönnu ‘in truth, truly’: Restoration based upon 399a-bˣ, including superscript notation; either <o> (<o᷎>) or <e> is possible from the remnants.

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sönnu ‘truly’

1. sannr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i;): true

[5] at sönnu: ‘[...]t s[...]nnu’ B, ‘at sẹ⸜o᷎⸝nnu’ 399a‑bˣ

notes

[5] sönnu ‘in truth, truly’: Restoration based upon 399a-bˣ, including superscript notation; either <o> (<o᷎>) or <e> is possible from the remnants.

Close

sól ‘of sun’s’

sól (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u/-; -ir): sun < sólhǫll (noun f.)

[6] sólhallar: ‘[...]hallar’ B, ‘s[...]hallar’ 399a‑bˣ

kennings

Líknarstyrkr gramr sólhallar
‘The mercy-strong king of sun’s hall ’
   = God

sun’s hall → SKY/HEAVEN
The mercy-strong king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

sól ‘of sun’s’

sól (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -u/-; -ir): sun < sólhǫll (noun f.)

[6] sólhallar: ‘[...]hallar’ B, ‘s[...]hallar’ 399a‑bˣ

kennings

Líknarstyrkr gramr sólhallar
‘The mercy-strong king of sun’s hall ’
   = God

sun’s hall → SKY/HEAVEN
The mercy-strong king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

hallar ‘hall’

1. hǫll (noun f.; °hallar, dat. -u/-; hallir): hall < sólhǫll (noun f.)

[6] sólhallar: ‘[...]hallar’ B, ‘s[...]hallar’ 399a‑bˣ

kennings

Líknarstyrkr gramr sólhallar
‘The mercy-strong king of sun’s hall ’
   = God

sun’s hall → SKY/HEAVEN
The mercy-strong king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

hallar ‘hall’

1. hǫll (noun f.; °hallar, dat. -u/-; hallir): hall < sólhǫll (noun f.)

[6] sólhallar: ‘[...]hallar’ B, ‘s[...]hallar’ 399a‑bˣ

kennings

Líknarstyrkr gramr sólhallar
‘The mercy-strong king of sun’s hall ’
   = God

sun’s hall → SKY/HEAVEN
The mercy-strong king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

gramr ‘king’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

kennings

Líknarstyrkr gramr sólhallar
‘The mercy-strong king of sun’s hall ’
   = God

sun’s hall → SKY/HEAVEN
The mercy-strong king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

allan ‘all’

allr (adj.): all

notes

[5, 6, 7] leysti ... allan sinn lýð ‘freed all his people’: Cf. the late medieval Niðurstigningsvísur 35/6 leyste alla lydi sin and þu leyster alla lydi 37/3 (ÍM I.2, 234).

Close

lýð ‘people’

lýðr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -; -ir): one of the people

notes

[5, 6, 7] leysti ... allan sinn lýð ‘freed all his people’: Cf. the late medieval Niðurstigningsvísur 35/6 leyste alla lydi sin and þu leyster alla lydi 37/3 (ÍM I.2, 234).

Close

lífs ‘the life’

líf (noun n.; °-s; -): life < lífstré (noun n.)

kennings

lífstré þjóðar.
‘the life-tree of mankind.’
   = CROSS

the life-tree of mankind. → CROSS
Close

tré ‘tree’

tré (noun n.; °-s; tré/trjó, gen. trjá, dat. trjóm/trjám): tree < lífstré (noun n.)

kennings

lífstré þjóðar.
‘the life-tree of mankind.’
   = CROSS

the life-tree of mankind. → CROSS
Close

þjóðar ‘of mankind’

þjóð (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir): people

kennings

lífstré þjóðar.
‘the life-tree of mankind.’
   = CROSS

the life-tree of mankind. → CROSS
Close

líknar ‘The mercy’

líkn (noun f.; °-ar; gen. -a): grace, mercy < líknarstyrkr (adj.)

kennings

Líknarstyrkr gramr sólhallar
‘The mercy-strong king of sun’s hall ’
   = God

sun’s hall → SKY/HEAVEN
The mercy-strong king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[8] líknarstyrkr ... frá myrkrum ‘mercy-strong ... from darkness’: Cf. Leið 31/8, also of the Harrowing.

Close

styrkr ‘strong’

1. styrkr (noun m.; °-s/-jar, dat. -; -ir): strength < líknarstyrkr (adj.)

kennings

Líknarstyrkr gramr sólhallar
‘The mercy-strong king of sun’s hall ’
   = God

sun’s hall → SKY/HEAVEN
The mercy-strong king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[8] líknarstyrkr ... frá myrkrum ‘mercy-strong ... from darkness’: Cf. Leið 31/8, also of the Harrowing.

Close

frá ‘from’

frá (prep.): from

notes

[8] líknarstyrkr ... frá myrkrum ‘mercy-strong ... from darkness’: Cf. Leið 31/8, also of the Harrowing.

Close

myrkrum ‘darkness’

1. myrkr (noun n.; °myrkrs/myrks; -): darkness

notes

[8] líknarstyrkr ... frá myrkrum ‘mercy-strong ... from darkness’: Cf. Leið 31/8, also of the Harrowing.

Close

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

A frequent motif in representations of the Harrowing of Hell is that of light – associated here with Christ through sól ‘sun’ (l. 6) and perhaps dægra láð ‘days’ land’ (l. 3) in the kennings – penetrating the darkness (myrkrum, dat. pl., l. 8) as it moves from the highest realm to the lowest. See, e.g., Niðrst1 I.7: Cristr ferr her nu oc rekr a braut meþ liose guþdoms sins dauþa myrcr... ‘Now Christ goes here and dispels the darkness of death with the light of his godhead...’ (Hms II, 6).

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