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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Pét 23VII

David McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Pétrsdrápa 23’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 815-16.

Anonymous PoemsPétrsdrápa

Svaraði Símón dýrum
sólranns kóngi þannveg
einarðar- fystr -orði
— orð það er þarfligast vorðið —
‘Þú ert Kristr inn kæsti
kunnr af hjálpar brunni
lifandi sonr guðs sendur
sannr og eins nie annars’.

Fystr svaraði Símón {dýrum kóngi {sólranns}} einarðarorði þannveg — það orð er vorðið þarfligast — : ‘Þú ert inn kæsti Kristr, kunnr af brunni hjálpar, sendur sannr sonr lifandi og eins guðs nie annars’.

Simon first answered {the precious king {of the sun-hall}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] with a statement of sincerity thus — that remark has become most salutary — : ‘You are the most beloved Christ, known for the spring of salvation, sent [as] the true son of the living and one God and of no other’.

Mss: 621(58v)

Readings: [5] ert: er 621    [7] sendur: sendi 621    [8] nie: ‘mier’ 621

Editions: Skj AII, 504, Skj BII, 550, Skald II, 302, NN §§1724, 2876, 2997C; Kahle 1898, 83.

Notes: [All]: Cf. Matt. XVI.16: respondens Simon Petrus dixit tu es Christus Filius Dei vivi ‘answering Simon Peter said:  Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God’; Pétr 5/33-6/1: Sæll Petrus svaraði einn fyrir alla: ‘Þu ert Kristr son guðs lifanda’. ‘Blessed Peter answered alone for all: “You are Christ, Son of the living God”.’ — [2] kóngi ‘king’: Ms. ‘k̄ḡī’. Kock (Skald) prints konungi. Cf. Note to st. 18/6. — [3-4]: Both Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) take ms. fystr as p.p. of fýsa ‘to urge’ (cf. LP: fýsa: part. f. einarðar omtr. = einarðr). Finnur translates einarðar fýstr: opflammet af sin djærvhed ‘spurred by his boldness’, though ‘roused to boldness’ or ‘urged to frankness’ would fit the construction better (cf. Fritzner: fýsa: ‘tilskynde en til noget [e-n e-s]’). Finnur also silently omits the word orði in l. 3, and merely translates Svaraði Símón ... þannveg: Simon svarede således ‘Simon answered thus’. Taking einarðar ... orði as a tmetic form of einarðarorð ‘a sincere, truthful statement’ (see Fritzner) and ms. fystr as the scribe’s normal spelling of fyrstr ‘first’ provides a more satisfactory reading. The tmesis of einarðarorð introduces the emphatic use of dunhenda ‘echoing rhyme’ in the repetition of orð at the end of l. 3 and the beginning of l. 4 and, more importantly, highlights the fact that Peter is the first to acknowledge that Jesus is ‘the Christ’, the son of the living God. (Note the triumphal framing of the superlatives fystr and þarfligast in ll. 3 and 4.) The beginning of st. 23 has to be read in conjunction with the end of the preceding st. (22/7-8): ‘No one dared to give a response to the Lord except Peter’ (23/1-3) ‘Simon first answered ... with a statement of sincerity’. Patristic parallels for the passage are legion: cf., e.g., Hilary of Poitiers: hoc in Petro considerandum est, fide eum caeteros anteisse: nam ignorantibus caeteris, primus respondit: Tu es Filius Dei vivi ‘this ought to be observed in Peter – that he went before the others in faith: for while the rest knew not, he first answered: Thou art the Son of the living God’ (Hilarius Pictaviensis, Commentarius, col. 1002); Ambrose: licet caeteri apostoli sciant, Petrus tamen respondit prae caeteris: Tu es Christus ... ‘though the other apostles may know, Peter however answers before the others: Thou art Christ …’ (Ambrosius Mediolanensis, Expositio, col. 1693). — [4] vorðið ‘become’: As Kock notes (NN §2876), Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of the late form vorðit to orðit (Skj B) is unnecessary. See ANG §490, Anm. 3, and cf., e.g., Anon Lil 3/6 vorðin : orðin. — [5] þú ert ‘you are’: Ms. er is more likely an error for ert than a rare 2nd pers. sg. form (cf. ANG §532, Anm. 1). Both Finnur Jónsson and Kock emend to ert. — [6]: With kunnr af (with dat. object) cf. perhaps the use of kunnr with dat. in the sense ‘renowned for (something)’; e.g. Anon Mgr 1/3 kunnr mildi ‘renowned for mercy’. With brunnr hjálpar ‘the spring of salvation’, cf. fons salutis ‘fount of salvation’; Fritzner: hjalparæðr; Schottmann 1973, 59; Note to st. 40/6 brunnr lífs ‘the well of life’. — [7] sonr lifandi guðs ‘son of the living God’: Kock (NN §1724) objects to this interpretation (adopted here from Skj B), and insists that either the translation or the form of lifandi must be changed. He takes lifandi as nom. sg. with sonr: ‘the living son of God’. Lines 5-7, however, clearly follow the texts of Matt. XVI.16 and Pétr 5/33-6/1 closely (see Note to [All] above), and lifandi is more likely the late gen. sg. form of the pres. part. with guðs. — [7] sendur ‘sent’: Kock (NN §1724) reads sendi and construes this with sonr guðs (l. 7) (sände sonen till ... guden ‘the sent son of God’) but does not say why the form is weak. The -i in ms. ‘sendi’ is more likely the result of miscopying of final r-rotunda in a form sendr for disyllabic sendur. — [8]: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) notes only that the l. is corrupt and does not attempt to translate it. Kock (NN §1724) emends ms. ‘sannr’ to sanns, which he construes with guðs (l. 7) (den sande och ende guden ‘the true and only God’). He further emends ms. ‘mier’ to , and with eins né annars compares st. 2/5 (see NN §2997C), and Hávm 63/4-5: einn ... né annarr ‘one ... nor another’. Cf. too Pétr 7/22-3: Þessi en engi annarr er minn son ‘This and no other is my son’.


  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. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  7. Schottmann, Hans. 1973. Die isländische Mariendichtung. Untersuchungen zur volkssprachigen Mariendichtung des Mittelalters. Münchner germanistische Beiträge 9. Munich: Fink.
  8. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  9. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.
  10. Internal references
  11. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Drápa af Máríugrát 1’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 759-60.
  12. Not published: do not cite ()
  13. Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 3’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 565-6.

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