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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 30VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 30’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 260-1.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut

text and translation

Krýp ek til kross, en glæpa
knosuð bönd af því losna,
óttafullr með öllu
innan brjósts frá þjósti.
Dýrt kveð ek hræddu hjarta
huggóðs drifit blóði
grams píslartré geisla
grundar sköpum bundinn.

Með öllu óttafullr innan brjósts krýp ek til kross frá þjósti, en bönd glæpa, knosuð af því, losna. Hræddu hjarta, bundinn sköpum, kveð ek {dýrt píslartré}, drifit blóði, {huggóðs grams {grundar geisla}}.
‘Wholly fearful within my breast, I creep to the Cross away from anger, and the bonds of sin, torn thereby, are loosened. With a fearful heart, bound by fate, I address the precious Passion-tree [CROSS], besprinkled with blood, of the benevolent king of the land of rays [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)].

notes and context

This st. marks the beginning of the poem’s several direct references to the liturgy for Good Friday, including the Adoration of the Cross (adoratio crucis) and the Reproaches (improperia) of Christ from the Cross (see sts 43-5), signalled by the phrase Mín þjóð ‘O my people’ 45/1, echoing the recurrent Popule meus of the rite. Between these two markers (sts 30 and 45), the poet draws occasional images from the two famous Cross hymns by Venantius Fortunatus (C6th), Pange lingua (sung during the Adoration) and Vexilla regis (the processional hymn at its conclusion); these allusions are pointed out in the Notes. On the history of the rite, see Römer 1955 and Schmidt 1956-7, II, 789-803; for Scandinavia, Gjerløw 1961 and Björkman 1957, 266-7, 282-5; on Líkn, Tate 1978.



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 30: AII, 155-6, BII, 168, Skald II, 89, NN §1393; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 44, Rydberg 1907, 16, 50-1, Tate 1974, 75.


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