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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 7VII

George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 7’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 237.

Anonymous PoemsLíknarbraut

Hauðrs, veit helgar ræður,
hildingr, ok kenningar,
mána hvéls, ór mínu,
mannvandr, hugar ranni.
Öll eru orð þín gulli,
alhreinn, ok gimsteinum
vísi sæll, ór völlum,
vegs, bjartari ok fegri.

{Hildingr {hauðrs {mána hvéls}}}, mannvandr, veit helgar ræður ok kenningar ór {mínu ranni hugar}. Alhreinn, sæll vísi vegs, öll þín orð eru bjartari ok fegri gulli ok gimsteinum ór völlum.

{King {of the land {of the moon’s wheel}}} [MOON > SKY/HEAVEN > = God], exacting of man, direct holy discourses and doctrines out of {my house of thought} [BREAST]. Completely pure, blessed prince of glory, all your words are brighter and fairer than gold and gems from the fields.

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [3] hvéls: ‘huols’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 151, Skj BII, 160-17, Skald II, 86, NN §3278; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 37, Rydberg 1907, 12, 48, Tate 1974, 52.

Notes: [3] mána hvéls ‘of the moon’s wheel’: A tautological kenning in which the determinant contains the same concept as its referent: ‘moon’s wheel [MOON]’. The idea of a heavenly body as wheel may depend in part upon the celestial wheels in Ezek. I and X; cf. the common Lat. phrase solis rota ‘wheel of the sun’ and Has 36/7 sunnu hvéls ‘of the sun’s wheel’. — [4] mannvandr ‘exacting of man’: Vandr has a range of meanings, including ‘difficult, painstaking, zealous, chosen’. In this context, the cpd suggests both ‘zealous or painstaking on man’s behalf’ and ‘exacting of man’, i.e. dissatisfied until human beings become what they should become; cf. hirðvandr (of Christ) ‘careful in selecting his following’ Anon Pl 7/8. — [7, 8] sæll vísi vegs ‘blessed prince of glory’: Cf. Ps. XXIII.10 rex gloriae ‘king of glory’, with further liturgical instances in Manz 1941, 424, no. 854; as a kenning type, see Meissner, 371. NN §3278 rejects LP’s suggestion of possible tmesis (LP: vegssæll ‘blessed with glory’). — [7] ór völlum ‘from the fields’: Sveinbjörn Egilsson, followed by Rydberg, emends to gjørvøllum ‘all’, adj. modifying gimsteinum ‘gems’; Skj B and Skald emend to ok vellum ‘and (than) golden things’ (i.e. pl. redundancy with gulli). But the ms. reading makes sense if the poet is implicitly contrasting earthly riches (extracted from the ground) with the heavenly riches alluded to in such biblical passages as Jer. XLI.8 quia habemus thesauros in agro ‘for we have treasures in the field’ and Matt. XIII.44 in which the kingdom of heaven is likened to a thesauro abscondito in agro ‘treasure hidden in a field’. — [8, 5, 6] bjartari ok fegri ... gulli ok gimsteinum ‘brighter and fairer than gold or gems’: Cf. gimsteinum fegra ‘fairer than gems’ 36/2, of Christ as the ‘price of the world’ and Ps. XVIII.11 desiderabilia super aurum et lapidum pretiosum multum ‘more to be desired than gold or many precious gems’.


  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. 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. 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.
  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.
  11. Internal references
  12. Jonna Louis-Jensen and Tarrin Wills (eds) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Plácitusdrápa 7’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 186-7.
  13. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 36’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 104-5.

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