Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 6VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 6’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 236.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut

Þann, er af mínum munni
margr til andar bjargar
sér megi randa rýrir
röðuls framkvæmdan öðlaz.
S… látattu sveitir,
siðskjótr, af því hljóta
gumna kind at grandi,
guð minn, laga þinna.

Þann er {margr rýrir {randa röðuls}} megi öðlaz sér til andar bjargar framkvæmdan af mínum munni. Minn guð, siðskjótr, látattu sveitir hljóta af því s… þinna laga, at grandi kind gumna.

Such [fruit] that {many a destroyer {of shields’ sun}} [SWORDS > WARRIOR] might gain benefit from for his soul’s salvation [produced] from my mouth. My God, quick to promote virtue, let not men suffer from it [a perversion?] of your laws, to the injury of the race of men.

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [4] framkvæmdan: framkvæmd B, 399a‑bˣ;    öðlaz: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘o᷎dl[...]z’ B    [5] S…: ‘s[...]’ B, 399a‑bˣ    [7] at grandi: ‘at gra[...]e’ B, ‘at granḍẹ’ corrected from ‘af granḍẹ’ 399a‑bˣ    [8] þinna: ‘þ[...]a’ B, ‘þịṇṇạ’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 151, Skj BII, 161, Skald II, 86, NN §§1387-8; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 36-7, Rydberg 1907, 12, 48, Tate 1974, 51.

Notes: [1] þann ‘such [fruit]’: The demonstrative pron. refers back to ávöxt ‘fruit’ (5/5). Snorri Sturluson calls such a concatenation of sts langlokum ‘with late conclusions’ or ‘with long enclosings’ (SnE 1999, 10-11, 124 and cf. SnSt Ht 14-15III). — [4] framkvæmdan: As it stands, the l. is unmetrical and must have had an unstressed syllable after -kvæmd. For this reason, Skj B emends to framkvæmdan ‘obtained, produced’ (cf. LP: framkvæmðr, adj. only occurrence). Skald follows Sveinbjörn Egilsson, giving framkvæmð ‘furtherance (båtnad)’, and adds an enclitic of before ǫðlaz (cf. NN §1387); this is unmetrical. — [4] öðlaz: Restoration of ‘a’ based upon 399a-bˣ. — [5] s...: Lacuna in B; a minim follows ‘s’, with perhaps the tip of a second (suggesting possible ‘u’). Judging from the space, the missing word is probably monosyllabic but could be disyllabic, in which case the suffixed pron. of látattu ‘let not’ would be dropped. (A suffixed 2nd pers. pron. is otherwise only metrically necessary in 5/1.) Sveinbjörn Egilsson conjectures svík, a nominal form of svíkja ‘to betray’; cf. Rydberg sveik (or sút ‘sorrow, affliction’). Skj B does not try to supply the missing letters, but speculates that the damaged word might mean ‘punishment’. Skald (cf. NN §1388) posits svarf (from svarfa [sverfa?] ‘to bring something out of its proper position’, i.e., here, a wrenching or twisting of the law). This proposal seems reasonable; hence ‘perversion’. As Kock (Skald) observes, the st. juxtaposes the good effects of inspired poetry (in the first helmingr) with the possible evil effects (in the second) if the poet’s prayer for divine help goes unanswered. — [6] af því ‘from it, on its account’: Lacks a noun antecedent; kvæði ‘poem’ is understood.


  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. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  6. 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.
  7. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  8. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  9. Tate, George S. 1974. ‘Líknarbraut: A Skaldic Drápa on the Cross’. Ph.D. thesis. Cornell University. DAI 35:6112A.
  10. SnE 1999 = Snorri Sturluson. 1999. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. Rpt. with addenda and corrigenda. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  11. 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.
  12. Internal references
  13. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 14’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1118.

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