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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 37VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 37’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 271-3.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut
363738

text and translation

Sæfðu lamb guðs lofðar
ljóst (hafa þess í brjóstum)
ok ert enn í slíku
altári (lög sára),
því at lautviðir létu
lastbundnir helgasta
linns, þá er lausn gaf mönnum,
lífs fórn á þik borna.

Lofðar sæfðu ljóst lamb guðs — hafa {þess lög sára} í brjóstum — ok ert enn altári í slíku, því at {lastbundnir{linns laut}viðir} létu helgasta fórn lífs, þá er gaf mönnum lausn, borna á þik.
 
‘Men slaughtered the radiant Lamb of God — they have its sea of wounds [BLOOD] in their breasts — and you are still an altar in such [offering], for sin-bound trees of the serpent’s dell [(lit. ‘dell-trees of the serpent’) GOLD > MEN] caused the holiest sacrifice of life, that which gave men liberation, to be placed upon you.

notes and context

The Cross as altar (altári, l. 4), on which the Lamb of God is sacrificed, is a frequent Christian image. See, e.g., the final st. of Fortunatus’ Vexilla regis which begins Salve, ara, salve victima ‘Hail, altar, hail, victim’ (Bulst 1956, 129), and st. 5 of the sequence Laudes crucis attollamus, attr. Adam of S. Victor (C12th) O quam felix, quam praeclara / Fuit haec salutis ara / Rubens agni sanguine ‘O how blessed, O how famous, was this altar of salvation, growing red with the blood of the Lamb’ (AH 54, 188; cf. AH 8, 26 and 30). The idea occurs also in Icel. liturgical mss: ara crucis ‘altar of the Cross’ in De sancta cruce missa, AM 98 I 8° (C13th, Gjerløw 1980, I, 35) and tu amara crucis ara ‘you bitter altar of the Cross’ in the hymn for Vespers, attr. Bonaventure (C13th), in AM 241 a fol (early C14th, Gjerløw 1980, I, 223); cf. Gimsteinn 104/1 Alltare erttu gudz ‘you are the altar of God’ (ÍM I.2, 327). — [5-8]: The same alliterative pattern (‘l’) occurs throughout the helmingr, echoing that of the st.’s first couplet. The recurrence of ‘l’, not only in regular alliteration but elsewhere (slíku, l. 3; altári, lög, l. 4; helgasta, l. 6), continually ties the st. back to the lamb ‘Lamb’ (l. 1).

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 37: AII, 157, BII, 170, Skald II, 89-90, NN §§1397, 2331; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 46-7, Rydberg 1907, 17-18, 51, Tate 1974, 82.

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