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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 42VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 42’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 278.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut
414243

sína ‘his’

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

kennings

sína sigrstoð
‘his victory-post, ’
   = CROSS

his victory-post, → CROSS
Close

dróttar ‘of the host’

1. drótt (noun f.): troop

kennings

Konungr dróttar
‘The king of the host ’
   = RULER = Christ

The king of the host → RULER = Christ
Close

sigr ‘victory’

sigr (noun m.; °sigrs/sigrar, dat. sigri; sigrar): victory < sigrstoð (noun f.)

kennings

sína sigrstoð
‘his victory-post, ’
   = CROSS

his victory-post, → CROSS

notes

[2] sigrstoð ‘victory-post [CROSS]’: Cf. -stólpi ‘pillar’ 41/3. The kenning (cited by Meissner, 432) may well be a translation of Lat. trop(h)aeum ‘victory memorial’ (originally a tree trunk bedecked with captured arms), a common appellative of the Cross. (Cf. the Gk cognate σταυρου̂ τρόπαιον ‘trophy of the Cross’ in Eusebius’ account of Constantine’s dream, by which sign the emperor was instructed to conquer [De vita Constantini I, 28 in Winkelmann 1991, 30]. See, e.g., Fortunatus’ Pange lingua, st. 2: et super crucis trophaeo dic triumphum nobilem ‘and over the trophy of the Cross, sound the noble triumph’ (Bulst 1956, 128), in which trophaeo alliterates (with triumphum) just as does sigrstoð (with sétt and sína). (In his Genesis commentary, Alcuin also refers to crucis trophaeum. Alcuinus, Epistolae XCVII, col. 307.) On the early history of the Cross as trophaeum, see Reijners 1965, 192-3.

Close

stoð ‘post’

stoð (noun f.; °-ar; stoðir, stoðar, stoðr, steðr, støðr): support, post < sigrstoð (noun f.)

kennings

sína sigrstoð
‘his victory-post, ’
   = CROSS

his victory-post, → CROSS

notes

[2] sigrstoð ‘victory-post [CROSS]’: Cf. -stólpi ‘pillar’ 41/3. The kenning (cited by Meissner, 432) may well be a translation of Lat. trop(h)aeum ‘victory memorial’ (originally a tree trunk bedecked with captured arms), a common appellative of the Cross. (Cf. the Gk cognate σταυρου̂ τρόπαιον ‘trophy of the Cross’ in Eusebius’ account of Constantine’s dream, by which sign the emperor was instructed to conquer [De vita Constantini I, 28 in Winkelmann 1991, 30]. See, e.g., Fortunatus’ Pange lingua, st. 2: et super crucis trophaeo dic triumphum nobilem ‘and over the trophy of the Cross, sound the noble triumph’ (Bulst 1956, 128), in which trophaeo alliterates (with triumphum) just as does sigrstoð (with sétt and sína). (In his Genesis commentary, Alcuin also refers to crucis trophaeum. Alcuinus, Epistolae XCVII, col. 307.) On the early history of the Cross as trophaeum, see Reijners 1965, 192-3.

Close

konungr ‘The king’

konungr (noun m.; °dat. -i, -s; -ar): king

kennings

Konungr dróttar
‘The king of the host ’
   = RULER = Christ

The king of the host → RULER = Christ
Close

roðna ‘reddened’

rjóða (verb): to redden

Close

blik ‘of the radiance’

blik (noun n.): gleam < blikmeiðandi (noun m.)

kennings

láðs bauga blik meiðundum.
‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’
   = GENEROUS MEN

the land of rings. → ARM
the radiance of the ARM → GOLD
harmers of the GOLD → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[3-4] blikmeiðundum láðs bauga ‘radiance-diminishers of the land of rings [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: In the context of the blood-reddened Cross, ‘arm’s radiance’ might also suggest the light or blood (sometimes called ‘gem’) of Christ’s arms. Meiðundum (dat. pl.) ‘diminishers’ or ‘injurers’ could then refer to the crucifiers. It is typically at the Last Judgement that the Cross appears before men (see st. 27); here the kenning may be flexible enough to suggest both good (generous) and evil (violent) men – i.e. to be understood in bono or in malo.

Close

blik ‘of the radiance’

blik (noun n.): gleam < blikmeiðandi (noun m.)

kennings

láðs bauga blik meiðundum.
‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’
   = GENEROUS MEN

the land of rings. → ARM
the radiance of the ARM → GOLD
harmers of the GOLD → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[3-4] blikmeiðundum láðs bauga ‘radiance-diminishers of the land of rings [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: In the context of the blood-reddened Cross, ‘arm’s radiance’ might also suggest the light or blood (sometimes called ‘gem’) of Christ’s arms. Meiðundum (dat. pl.) ‘diminishers’ or ‘injurers’ could then refer to the crucifiers. It is typically at the Last Judgement that the Cross appears before men (see st. 27); here the kenning may be flexible enough to suggest both good (generous) and evil (violent) men – i.e. to be understood in bono or in malo.

Close

meiðundum ‘of harmers’

meiða (verb): maim, wound < blikmeiðandi (noun m.)

kennings

láðs bauga blik meiðundum.
‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’
   = GENEROUS MEN

the land of rings. → ARM
the radiance of the ARM → GOLD
harmers of the GOLD → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[3-4] blikmeiðundum láðs bauga ‘radiance-diminishers of the land of rings [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: In the context of the blood-reddened Cross, ‘arm’s radiance’ might also suggest the light or blood (sometimes called ‘gem’) of Christ’s arms. Meiðundum (dat. pl.) ‘diminishers’ or ‘injurers’ could then refer to the crucifiers. It is typically at the Last Judgement that the Cross appears before men (see st. 27); here the kenning may be flexible enough to suggest both good (generous) and evil (violent) men – i.e. to be understood in bono or in malo.

Close

blóði ‘with blood’

blóð (noun n.; °-s): blood

Close

bauga ‘of rings’

baugr (noun m.; °dat. -i/-; -ar): ring

kennings

láðs bauga blik meiðundum.
‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’
   = GENEROUS MEN

the land of rings. → ARM
the radiance of the ARM → GOLD
harmers of the GOLD → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[3-4] blikmeiðundum láðs bauga ‘radiance-diminishers of the land of rings [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: In the context of the blood-reddened Cross, ‘arm’s radiance’ might also suggest the light or blood (sometimes called ‘gem’) of Christ’s arms. Meiðundum (dat. pl.) ‘diminishers’ or ‘injurers’ could then refer to the crucifiers. It is typically at the Last Judgement that the Cross appears before men (see st. 27); here the kenning may be flexible enough to suggest both good (generous) and evil (violent) men – i.e. to be understood in bono or in malo.

Close

bauga ‘of rings’

baugr (noun m.; °dat. -i/-; -ar): ring

kennings

láðs bauga blik meiðundum.
‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’
   = GENEROUS MEN

the land of rings. → ARM
the radiance of the ARM → GOLD
harmers of the GOLD → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[3-4] blikmeiðundum láðs bauga ‘radiance-diminishers of the land of rings [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: In the context of the blood-reddened Cross, ‘arm’s radiance’ might also suggest the light or blood (sometimes called ‘gem’) of Christ’s arms. Meiðundum (dat. pl.) ‘diminishers’ or ‘injurers’ could then refer to the crucifiers. It is typically at the Last Judgement that the Cross appears before men (see st. 27); here the kenning may be flexible enough to suggest both good (generous) and evil (violent) men – i.e. to be understood in bono or in malo.

Close

bauga ‘of rings’

baugr (noun m.; °dat. -i/-; -ar): ring

kennings

láðs bauga blik meiðundum.
‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’
   = GENEROUS MEN

the land of rings. → ARM
the radiance of the ARM → GOLD
harmers of the GOLD → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[3-4] blikmeiðundum láðs bauga ‘radiance-diminishers of the land of rings [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: In the context of the blood-reddened Cross, ‘arm’s radiance’ might also suggest the light or blood (sometimes called ‘gem’) of Christ’s arms. Meiðundum (dat. pl.) ‘diminishers’ or ‘injurers’ could then refer to the crucifiers. It is typically at the Last Judgement that the Cross appears before men (see st. 27); here the kenning may be flexible enough to suggest both good (generous) and evil (violent) men – i.e. to be understood in bono or in malo.

Close

láðs ‘of the land’

2. láð (noun n.): earth, land

kennings

láðs bauga blik meiðundum.
‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’
   = GENEROUS MEN

the land of rings. → ARM
the radiance of the ARM → GOLD
harmers of the GOLD → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[3-4] blikmeiðundum láðs bauga ‘radiance-diminishers of the land of rings [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: In the context of the blood-reddened Cross, ‘arm’s radiance’ might also suggest the light or blood (sometimes called ‘gem’) of Christ’s arms. Meiðundum (dat. pl.) ‘diminishers’ or ‘injurers’ could then refer to the crucifiers. It is typically at the Last Judgement that the Cross appears before men (see st. 27); here the kenning may be flexible enough to suggest both good (generous) and evil (violent) men – i.e. to be understood in bono or in malo.

Close

láðs ‘of the land’

2. láð (noun n.): earth, land

kennings

láðs bauga blik meiðundum.
‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’
   = GENEROUS MEN

the land of rings. → ARM
the radiance of the ARM → GOLD
harmers of the GOLD → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[3-4] blikmeiðundum láðs bauga ‘radiance-diminishers of the land of rings [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: In the context of the blood-reddened Cross, ‘arm’s radiance’ might also suggest the light or blood (sometimes called ‘gem’) of Christ’s arms. Meiðundum (dat. pl.) ‘diminishers’ or ‘injurers’ could then refer to the crucifiers. It is typically at the Last Judgement that the Cross appears before men (see st. 27); here the kenning may be flexible enough to suggest both good (generous) and evil (violent) men – i.e. to be understood in bono or in malo.

Close

láðs ‘of the land’

2. láð (noun n.): earth, land

kennings

láðs bauga blik meiðundum.
‘radiance-harmers of the land of rings’
   = GENEROUS MEN

the land of rings. → ARM
the radiance of the ARM → GOLD
harmers of the GOLD → GENEROUS MEN

notes

[3-4] blikmeiðundum láðs bauga ‘radiance-diminishers of the land of rings [ARM > GOLD > GENEROUS MEN]’: In the context of the blood-reddened Cross, ‘arm’s radiance’ might also suggest the light or blood (sometimes called ‘gem’) of Christ’s arms. Meiðundum (dat. pl.) ‘diminishers’ or ‘injurers’ could then refer to the crucifiers. It is typically at the Last Judgement that the Cross appears before men (see st. 27); here the kenning may be flexible enough to suggest both good (generous) and evil (violent) men – i.e. to be understood in bono or in malo.

Close

Sjá ‘see’

1. sjá (pron.; °gen. þessa dat. þessum/þeima, acc. þenna; f. sjá/þessi; n. þetta, dat. þessu/þvísa; pl. þessir): this

[5] Sjá: ‘[...]’ B, ‘[...]a’ 399a‑bˣ

notes

[5] sjá má hverr í heimi: The restoration of sjá, proposed marginally by Jón Sigurðsson in 399a-bˣ and adopted by all eds, is supported by an accent indicating possible <í> followed by trace of possible <a>. Skothending is achieved by eliding the <á> of sjá and the <m> of to rhyme with heimi.

Close

‘may’

mega (verb): may, might

notes

[5] sjá má hverr í heimi: The restoration of sjá, proposed marginally by Jón Sigurðsson in 399a-bˣ and adopted by all eds, is supported by an accent indicating possible <í> followed by trace of possible <a>. Skothending is achieved by eliding the <á> of sjá and the <m> of to rhyme with heimi.

Close

hverr ‘Each’

2. hverr (pron.): who, whom, each, every

kennings

Hverr brjótr hnossa
‘Each breaker of treasures ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

Each breaker of treasures → GENEROUS MAN

notes

[5] sjá má hverr í heimi: The restoration of sjá, proposed marginally by Jón Sigurðsson in 399a-bˣ and adopted by all eds, is supported by an accent indicating possible <í> followed by trace of possible <a>. Skothending is achieved by eliding the <á> of sjá and the <m> of to rhyme with heimi.

Close

í ‘in’

í (prep.): in, into

notes

[5] sjá má hverr í heimi: The restoration of sjá, proposed marginally by Jón Sigurðsson in 399a-bˣ and adopted by all eds, is supported by an accent indicating possible <í> followed by trace of possible <a>. Skothending is achieved by eliding the <á> of sjá and the <m> of to rhyme with heimi.

Close

heimi ‘the world’

heimr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar): home, abode; world

notes

[5] sjá má hverr í heimi: The restoration of sjá, proposed marginally by Jón Sigurðsson in 399a-bˣ and adopted by all eds, is supported by an accent indicating possible <í> followed by trace of possible <a>. Skothending is achieved by eliding the <á> of sjá and the <m> of to rhyme with heimi.

Close

hnossa ‘of treasures’

1. hnoss (noun f.; °; -ir): treasure

kennings

Hverr brjótr hnossa
‘Each breaker of treasures ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

Each breaker of treasures → GENEROUS MAN

notes

[6] brjótr hnossa ‘breaker of hammered ornaments’: Cf. hodda brjótr ‘breaker of treasure’ Geisl 37/7. Hnoss ‘hammered ornament’ (CVC probably from OE hnossian ‘to hammer’) recalls the theme of hammering introduced with viðum hnossa ‘trees of hammered ornament [MEN]’ in the stef (13/6, 17/6, 21/6, 25/6 and 29/6) and made central at the Crucifixion in st. 16. The two ‘generous man’-kennings, though built upon ideal princely conduct, are ironic in their insufficiency when set against the boundless munificence of Christ’s mercy. Through his embrace he offers, not hammered gold, but himself hammered to the Cross.

Close

brjótr ‘breaker’

brjótr (noun m.): breaker

kennings

Hverr brjótr hnossa
‘Each breaker of treasures ’
   = GENEROUS MAN

Each breaker of treasures → GENEROUS MAN

notes

[6] brjótr hnossa ‘breaker of hammered ornaments’: Cf. hodda brjótr ‘breaker of treasure’ Geisl 37/7. Hnoss ‘hammered ornament’ (CVC probably from OE hnossian ‘to hammer’) recalls the theme of hammering introduced with viðum hnossa ‘trees of hammered ornament [MEN]’ in the stef (13/6, 17/6, 21/6, 25/6 and 29/6) and made central at the Crucifixion in st. 16. The two ‘generous man’-kennings, though built upon ideal princely conduct, are ironic in their insufficiency when set against the boundless munificence of Christ’s mercy. Through his embrace he offers, not hammered gold, but himself hammered to the Cross.

Close

dyggr ‘the faithful’

dyggr (adj.; °dyggvan/dyggan; compar. -vari/-ari/-ri, superl. -vastr/-astr/-str): trustworthy

kennings

dyggr gramr sólstéttar
‘the faithful king of the sun’s path ’
   = God

the sun’s path → SKY/HEAVEN
the faithful king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

hvé ‘how’

hvé (adv.): how

Close

faðm ‘embrace’

faðmr (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i/-; -ar): embrace

notes

[7] faðm ‘embrace’: Cf. faðm miskunnar ‘embrace of mercy’ 45/5-8.

Close

sól ‘of the sun’s’

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

kennings

dyggr gramr sólstéttar
‘the faithful king of the sun’s path ’
   = God

the sun’s path → SKY/HEAVEN
the faithful king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[8] gramr sólstéttar ‘king of the sun’s path’ [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]’: ‘Sun’s path’ in a kenning for Christ on the Cross may evoke the patristic idea that his proffered embrace was cosmic in scope, encompassing the whole world (see Rahner 1963, 51; Reijners 1965, 195-6). Moving from active (placing the victory-pillar) to passive (stretched upon on the Cross), the st. thus juxtaposes Christ’s justice and mercy.

Close

sól ‘of the sun’s’

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

kennings

dyggr gramr sólstéttar
‘the faithful king of the sun’s path ’
   = God

the sun’s path → SKY/HEAVEN
the faithful king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[8] gramr sólstéttar ‘king of the sun’s path’ [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]’: ‘Sun’s path’ in a kenning for Christ on the Cross may evoke the patristic idea that his proffered embrace was cosmic in scope, encompassing the whole world (see Rahner 1963, 51; Reijners 1965, 195-6). Moving from active (placing the victory-pillar) to passive (stretched upon on the Cross), the st. thus juxtaposes Christ’s justice and mercy.

Close

stéttar ‘path’

stétt (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): path < sólstétt (noun f.)

kennings

dyggr gramr sólstéttar
‘the faithful king of the sun’s path ’
   = God

the sun’s path → SKY/HEAVEN
the faithful king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[8] gramr sólstéttar ‘king of the sun’s path’ [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]’: ‘Sun’s path’ in a kenning for Christ on the Cross may evoke the patristic idea that his proffered embrace was cosmic in scope, encompassing the whole world (see Rahner 1963, 51; Reijners 1965, 195-6). Moving from active (placing the victory-pillar) to passive (stretched upon on the Cross), the st. thus juxtaposes Christ’s justice and mercy.

Close

stéttar ‘path’

stétt (noun f.; °-ar; -ir): path < sólstétt (noun f.)

kennings

dyggr gramr sólstéttar
‘the faithful king of the sun’s path ’
   = God

the sun’s path → SKY/HEAVEN
the faithful king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[8] gramr sólstéttar ‘king of the sun’s path’ [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]’: ‘Sun’s path’ in a kenning for Christ on the Cross may evoke the patristic idea that his proffered embrace was cosmic in scope, encompassing the whole world (see Rahner 1963, 51; Reijners 1965, 195-6). Moving from active (placing the victory-pillar) to passive (stretched upon on the Cross), the st. thus juxtaposes Christ’s justice and mercy.

Close

gramr ‘king’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

kennings

dyggr gramr sólstéttar
‘the faithful king of the sun’s path ’
   = God

the sun’s path → SKY/HEAVEN
the faithful king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God

notes

[8] gramr sólstéttar ‘king of the sun’s path’ [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]’: ‘Sun’s path’ in a kenning for Christ on the Cross may evoke the patristic idea that his proffered embrace was cosmic in scope, encompassing the whole world (see Rahner 1963, 51; Reijners 1965, 195-6). Moving from active (placing the victory-pillar) to passive (stretched upon on the Cross), the st. thus juxtaposes Christ’s justice and mercy.

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