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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Pét 32VII

David McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Pétrsdrápa 32’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 824-5.

Anonymous PoemsPétrsdrápa

text and translation

Völd gaf vísi alda
víngarðs efli sínum
hæst; því hlaut í fystu
hann forræði manna.
Alt kvað laust, það er lystir
lund, á himni bundið,
manndýrða, iels jörðu
jöfurr kalligra palla.

{Vísi alda} gaf hæst völd {sínum efli víngarðs}; því hlaut hann í fystu forræði manna. {Jöfurr {iels kalligra palla}} kvað alt, það er lystir {lund manndýrða} laust, bundið á himni, jörðu.
‘The prince of men [= God (= Christ)] gave the highest powers to his strengthener of the vineyard [APOSTLE]; therefore he obtained for the first time authority over men. The king of the storm’s cold seats [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] said that everything which the tree of human virtues [HOLY MAN = Peter] wishes is loose [and] bound in heaven [and] on earth.

notes and context

[5-8]: The interpretation here follows Finnur Jónsson, who takes iels ... palla (ll. 7-8) as a heaven-kenning (cf. Meissner, 433, 378), and kalligra as a form of kaldligr ‘cold’ (cf. ANG §275 and, e.g., ǪnÓf Lv 4/8V Kallbak, Þul Jǫtna II 2/2III, Kaldgrani, var. kallgrani]). See LP: pallr, kaldligr; cf. Skj B, where jöfurr iels kalligra palla is paraphrased: den snekolde himmels konge ‘the king of snow-cold heaven’. Finnur treats jörðu (l. 7) as parallel with himni (l. 6): løst på jorden, og bundet i himlen ‘loosed on earth and bound in heaven’. Kock (NN §1734) takes jöfurr kalligra palla on its own as a God-kenning (kalla sätens furste ‘the prince of cold seats’) and iels jörðu (l. 7) as a heaven-kenning in apposition with himni. Kahle translates ll. 5-8: ‘The prince of the land of the storm (that is, of heaven), said: let everything bound in heaven be loose that the tree of the benches of manly virtues (Peter) desires’, and suggests that the author of Pét may have simply misunderstood the scriptural parallel. This seems intrinsically unlikely, and Kahle’s rendering does not fit the text as it stands: his God-kenning (‘prince of the land of the storm’) requires emendation of ms. ‘jordu’ to jarðar, and his Peter-kenning (‘tree of the benches of manly virtues’) does not accommodate kalligra (l. 8), unless männlich ‘manly’ is meant to render both the first element of manndýrða (l. 7) and kalligra, taken as gen. pl. of karlligr ‘male, manly, virile’ (cf. ANG §272.1). One might perhaps read (though the syntax is very awkward): Jöfurr iels kvað alt það er lund kalligra palla manndýrða lystir laust, bundið á himni, jörðu ‘The king of the storm [= God] said that everything which the tree of the manly steps of human virtues [HOLY MAN = Peter] wishes is loose [and] bound in heaven [and on] earth’. Pallar manndýrða might then be compared with st. 8/8 pallr siðlætis (see Note ad loc.), st. 31/4 siðapallr, and, interpreting kalligra as a form of karlligr, might perhaps suggest an etymological pun on vir-tus (cf. Maltby 1991, 649: virtus ... a virilitate, etc.).


Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 7]. En drape om apostlen Peder 32: AII, 505, BII, 552, Skald II, 303, NN §§1734, 3374, 3397L; Kahle 1898, 85, 111.


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