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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 40VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 40’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 275-6.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut
394041

text and translation

Veit mér líkn, er læknar
ljóna kind frá blindi
hyggju túns ok hreinsar,
heims prýði, kyn lýða.
Ert fyr hvers manns hjarta
hreins við öllum meinum
hæstr ok harðri freistni
hlífiskjöldr í lífi.

{Heims prýði}, veit mér líkn, er læknar ljóna kind frá blindi {hyggju túns} ok hreinsar kyn lýða. Ert hæstr hlífiskjöldr fyr hjarta hvers hreins manns við öllum meinum ok harðri freistni í lífi.
 
‘World’s adornment [CROSS], grant me mercy, you who heal men’s offspring from blindness of thought’s enclosure [BREAST] and purify the race of men. You are the highest protective-shield before the heart of each pure man against all injuries and hard temptation in life.

notes and context

[1]: The consonance of líkn ‘grace’ and lækn- ‘heal’ calls attention to their conceptual relationship, for it is through grace that healing is effected. (On Christ as læknir ‘healer’ see 31/3.) The subject of læknar is ambiguous, either líkn ‘mercy’ or the implied 2nd pers. þú ‘you’ (ms. veittu), but the tradition of the Cross as healer or medicine makes the latter perhaps more likely. In this st., the poet continues to draw upon the Icel. homily De sancta cruce (HómÍsl 1993, 18r; HómÍsl 1872, 39; cf. HómNo, 105), in which the Cross is called læcning viþ sóttom ‘a cure/medicine for illnesses’; cf. AH 8, 24 where the Cross is medicina corporalis / christianis et mentalis ‘physical and spiritual medicine for Christians’. These ideas probably depend upon Num. XXI.9, in which the brazen serpent with its healing power is a type of the Crucifixion; cf. Veraldar saga’s allegorical reading: Eitrormr sa er i tre hieck er hver vard heill er til leit. merkir Jesvm Christvm hanganda a krossinvm, er græder oll sär anda vora ‘The brazen serpent which hung on the wood, as each one was healed who looked upon it, signifies Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross, who heals all the wounds of our souls’ (Jakob Benediktsson 1944, 84). — [3-8]: The ‘h’-alliteration extends for 6 ll.; cf. 33/1-4, 37/5-8 (and 1-2).

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 40: AII, 157, BII, 170-1, Skald II, 90; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 47, Rydberg 1907, 18, 52, Tate 1974, 85.

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