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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 44VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 44’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 280.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut

‘Ér meguð undir stórar
yðars græðis sjá blæða;
þær eru sýnt, þó at sárar,
saklausum mér vaktar,
mín því at mildi raunar
mest ok yðrir lestir
veldr því, at verða skyldi
vísi lýðs fyr píslum.

‘Ér meguð sjá yðars græðis stórar undir blæða; þær eru, þó at sárar, sýnt vaktar mér saklausum, því at raunar veldr mest mín mildi ok yðrir lestir því, at vísi lýðs skyldi verða fyr píslum.

‘You may see your healer’s great wounds bleed; they are, though grievous, clearly dealt me guiltless, for in reality my mercy and your sins most cause it, that the prince of the people should be subjected to torments.

Mss: B(12r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [5] því at: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]t’ B    [8] vísi: ‘visí’ corrected from ‘vist’ B, vist 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 158, Skj BII, 172, Skald II, 90, NN §§1400, 2332; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 48-9, Rydberg 1907, 18-19, 52, Tate 1974, 89.

Notes: [2] græðis ‘healer’s’: Just as in 31/3, when lýðs læknir ‘mankind’s healer [= Christ]’ dies, the use of græðir is paradoxical here; the one who heals is himself afflicted with wounds. The nomen agentis, formed from græða ‘to grow, nourish, heal’ also resonates with the poem’s recurrent use of ár ‘(year’s) abundance’ in kennings for God or Christ. — [4] vaktar (p.p.) ‘dealt’: Vekja e-m undir lit. ‘to awaken wounds (in) someone’ is otherwise unattested; LP does not cite the occurrence, LP (1860) gives vulnera infligere cui ‘to inflict wounds on someone’. Somewhat similar, however, are vekja blóð ‘call forth blood’ and vekja víg ‘awaken battle’. Vekja can also mean ‘to rouse, begin, cause’; possibly ‘to cause someone wounds’. — [5] raunar ‘in reality’: Gen. sg. of raun ‘reality, test’ used adverbially. — [7] veldr ‘cause(s)’: The 3rd pers. sg. verb is governed by its first subject mildi ‘mercy’ even though the subject is compounded by yðrir lestir ‘your sins’ (see NS §70). — [7-8] vísi lýðs skyldi ‘the prince of the people should’: 399a-bˣ, Sveinbjörn Egilsson, Skj, and Skald all read víst ‘certainly’ for vísi ‘prince’; the scribe of B appears first to have begun to write ‘vist’ then to have corrected it to ‘visí’ with a heavy accent. Skyldi ‘should’ is 3rd pers. subj., whose subject Skj takes to be an understood hann; this, however, agrees awkwardly with mín (l. 5), hence Skj B translates at han (jeg) skulde ‘that he (I) should’. NN §2332 attempts to improve agreement by arguing that ms. ‘skullde’ simply reflects the later 1st pers. sg. (Icel. skyldi) and should be ‘normalised’ to skylda. Both the awkwardness and emendation are avoided with the reading vísi ‘prince’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  7. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Tate, George S. 1974. ‘Líknarbraut: A Skaldic Drápa on the Cross’. Ph.D. thesis. Cornell University. DAI 35:6112A.
  9. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  10. Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1844. Fjøgur gømul kvæði. Boðsrit til að hlusta á þá opinberu yfirheyrslu í Bessastaða Skóla þann 22-29 mai 1844. Viðeyar Klaustri: prentuð af Helga Helgasyni, á kostnað Bessastaða Skóla. Bessastaðir: Helgi Helgason.

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