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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 36VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 36’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 270-1.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut
353637

text and translation

Heims lézt verð ok virða
vegit gimsteinum fegra,
himna ljóss, í hvössum,
háleitr, friðar skálum.
Vág erat víst né frægri
(vétt sýnir þú rétta)
ófs til ýta gæfu
(alsetrs vera) betri.

{Háleitr, ljóss himna}, lézt vegit verð heims ok virða, fegra gimsteinum, í hvössum skálum friðar. Erat víst betri né frægri vág til ýta ófs gæfu; þú sýnir rétta vétt {alsetrs vera}.
 
‘High, radiant one of the heavens [CROSS], you weighed the price of the world and men, fairer than gems, in sharp scales of peace. Surely there is not a better or more famous balance for men’s bounteous good fortune; you show the just weight of the common seat of men [WORLD].

notes and context

Like other images in this catalogue of Cross figures (sts 31-7), the idea of the Cross as scales (skálum, l. 4; vág, l. 5) in which Christ, the ‘price of the world’ (verð heims, l. 1) is weighed, is also found in one of Fortunatus’ hymns, sung in Good Friday liturgy. St. 6 of Vexilla regis, addressed to the Cross, reads: Beata, cuius brachiis / pretium pependit saeculi, / statera facta corporis / praedam tulitque tartari ‘Blessed (tree), on whose branches the price of the world was weighed; [it was] made the scales of [Christ’s] body, and it lifted up the plunder of hell’ (Bulst 1956, 129). Pretium saeculi occurs in Pange lingua 10 as well (Bulst 1956, 128); cf. 1 Cor. VI.20 Empti enim estis pretio magno ‘For you are bought with a great price’. In a passage noted by Paasche 1914a, 130, Alan of Lille (C12th) also articulates this idea in his Distinctiones: Statera ... dicitur crux Christi, in qua ponderatum est pretium nostrae redemptionis, id est corpus Christi ‘The Cross is said to be the scales of Christ, in which has been weighed the price of our redemption, i.e. the body of Christ’ (Alanus de Insulis, col. 955). The phrase statera crucis ‘scales of the Cross’ occurs in liturgy (Manz 1941, 472, no. 942) and in hymns (e.g. AH 53, 193); on the iconography of the image see Wormald 1937-8, 276-80.

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 36: AII, 157, BII, 169, Skald II, 89, NN §§1394, 1396; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 46, Rydberg 1907, 17, 51, Tate 1974, 81.

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