Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

Anon Líkn 5VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 234-5.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut

Dreifðu, láðs ok lofða
lífstýrir, mér dýru,
leyfðar kendr, í lyndis
láð himnesku sáði,
ár svá at ávöxt færak,
alls kannandi, sannan,
elsku kuðr, af yðru
óþornuðu korni.

{Lífstýrir láðs ok lofða}, kendr leyfðar, dreifðu mér í {lyndis láð} dýru himnesku sáði, svá at færak ár, sannan ávöxt af yðru óþornuðu korni, {kannandi alls}, elsku kuðr.

{Ruler of land and the life of men} [(lit. ‘life-ruler of land and men’) = God], acknowledged in praise, sprinkle my {mind’s land} [BREAST] with precious heavenly seed, so that I may bring forth an abundance, true fruit from your unwithered seed, {tester of all} [= God], renowned for love.

Mss: B(11r-v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [3] kendr: ‘[...]dr’ B, ‘[...]ndr’ 399a‑bˣ    [7] elsku: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘elsk[...]’ B    [8] korni: ‘ko[...]i’ B, ‘korṇẹ’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 151, Skj BII, 161, Skald II, 86; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 36, Rydberg 1907, 12, 48, Kock and Meissner 1931, I, 91, Tate 1974, 50.

Notes: [All]: The st.’s dominant image, that of God as sower whose seed is his word, depends upon such passages as I Cor. III.7-9 (God as husbandman who gives increase, cf. ár below) and the parable of the sower in Mark IV.3-20. See the OIcel. homily on ember-days (HómÍsl 1993, 16v-17r; HómÍsl 1872, 36): sva scolom vér nu haʟda þa. at vér náem andlego áre í hiortom rom ... Þa keomr orþa sáþ hans i hugscoz iorþ óra ‘thus we should now hold them [i.e. ember-days] that we might receive a spiritual abundance in our hearts ... Then the seed of his word will come into our mind’s ground’ (cf. lyndis láð below). With reference to this st., Paasche 1914a, 127, who noted this homiletic analogue, has also assembled relevant appellatives of Christ from church Lat.: e.g. verus et summus agricola ‘true and supreme husbandman’, sator universi ‘sower of the universe’, auctor spritualium fructum ‘creator of spiritual fruits’; cf. liturgical agricola caelestis ‘celestial husbandman’ (Manz 1941, 60, no. 34). — [1] dreifðu ‘sprinkle you’: One of only two instances in the poem (cf. látattu 6/5) of B’s several suffixed 2nd pers. pronouns necessary for a six-syllable l. — [3] kendr ‘acknowledged, known’: Restoration of ‘ken’ based upon Jón Sigurðsson’s note in 399a-bˣ, supported by an ascender of possible ‘k’ and an ‘n’ that was visible to Jón and to Rydberg 1907, 12; Jón’s suggestion has been accepted by all eds. — [3-4] lyndis láð ‘mind’s land [BREAST]’: According to Guðrún Nordal 2001, 258, ‘the poetic imagery that supposes that the mind resides in the chest is dominant in chest-kennings in the thirteenth century’, but already we find vilja byrgi ‘enclosure of desire’ in Þjóð Yt 4/2I (C10th); cf. rann hugar ‘house of the mind’ 7/4 and tún hyggju ‘field of the mind’ 40/3. — [5] ár ‘(year’s) abundance’: Cf. Lat. annona ‘year’s yield’. Skj B (cf. LP) and Kock and Meissner 1931, II, 10 construe ár as adv. ‘soon, quickly’, giving the sense svát ár færak sanna ávöxt ‘so that I may bring forth early (i.e. promptly) true fruit’. Though this is possible, the frequency of ár as ‘year’ or ‘year’s abundance’ in the poem, especially in kennings for God or Christ (10/2, 17/1, 20/5, 46/3, 47/3), together with the sowing imagery of the st., argues against it. A similar joint occurrence of ár and ávöxtr as synonyms is found in the ONorw. homily on the parable of the sower: þa fec hann þar mikit ár ok margfaldan á-vöxt ‘then he received a great abundance and manifold yield’ (HómNo, 70). — [6] kannandi alls ‘tester of all [= God]’: On the idea of God as tester, cf. reynir munka ‘tester of monks’ Anon Hafg 1IV, possibly the earliest of all ON Christian kennings; see Lange 1958a, 59 on the surprise the kenning must have evoked, even though reynir had a long history in pagan kennings. — [7] elsku kuðr ‘renowned for love’: Restoration of ‘u’ based upon 399a-bˣ and occurrence of elsku kuðr in Has 16/5, one of the chief models for Líkn; cf. elsku kunnr, Arngr Gd 32/2IV. — [8] korni ‘seed’: Restoration based upon 399a-bˣ and aðalhending.


  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. 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.
  5. Guðrún Nordal. 2001. Tools of Literacy: The Role of Skaldic Verse in Icelandic Textual Culture of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press.
  6. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Tate, George S. 1974. ‘Líknarbraut: A Skaldic Drápa on the Cross’. Ph.D. thesis. Cornell University. DAI 35:6112A.
  8. HómÍsl 1872 = Wisén, Theodor, ed. 1872. Homiliu-bók: Isländska homilier efter en handskrift från tolfte århundredet. Lund: Gleerup.
  9. HómÍsl 1993 = de Leeuw van Weenen, Andrea, ed. 1993. The Icelandic Homily Book: Perg. 15 4° in the Royal Library, Stockholm. Íslensk handrit/Icelandic Manuscripts Series in quarto 3. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi.
  10. HómNo = Indrebø, Gustav. 1931. Gamal norsk homiliebok, Cod. AM 619, 4°. Det norske historiske Kjeldeskrift Fond, Skrifter 54. Oslo: Dybwad. Rpt. 1966. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
  11. Kock, Ernst Albin and Rudolf Meissner, eds. 1931. Skaldisches Lesebuch. 2 vols. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 17-18. Halle: Niemeyer.
  12. Lange, Wolfgang. 1958a. Studien zur christlichen Dichtung der Nordgermanen 1000-1200. Palaestra 222. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
  13. Manz, Georg. 1941. Ausdrucksformen der lateinischen Liturgiesprache bis ins elfte Jahrhundert. Texte und Arbeiten herausgegeben durch die Erzabtei Beuron. Abteilung I, Beiheft I. Beiträge zur Ergründung des älteren lateinischen christlichen Schrifttums und Gottesdienstes 1. Beuron in Hohenzollern: Beuroner Kunstverlag.
  14. Paasche, Fredrik. 1914. Kristendom og kvad: En studie i norrøn middelalder. Christiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. in Paasche 1948, 29-212.
  15. 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.
  16. Internal references
  17. Not published: do not cite (Anon Hafg 1IV)
  18. George S. Tate 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Líknarbraut’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 228-86.
  19. Not published: do not cite (Arngr Gd 32IV)
  20. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 16’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 87-8.
  21. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 4’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 14.

Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.