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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 23VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 23’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 589-90.

Anonymous PoemsLilja
222324

Tendraz öll og tala með snilli,
tunga mín, af herra þínum!
Um stórmerkin áttu að yrkja
yfirspennanda heima þrennra.
Bjúg og sár í bandi værir,
bandi riett ins nezta fjanda,
nema hjálpræði guðs ið góða
giefið á jörð mig leystan hefði.

Tunga mín, tendraz öll og tala með snilli af herra þínum! Áttu að yrkja um stórmerkin {yfirspennanda þrennra heima}. Værir bjúg og sár í bandi, riett bandi ins nezta fjanda, nema ið góða hjálpræði guðs, giefið á jörð, hefði leystan mig.

My tongue, be all kindled and speak with skill of your Lord! You must compose poetry about the miracles {of the over-spanner of three worlds} [= God]. You would be bent and bound in a fetter, right in the fetter of the lowest devil, except that the good salvation of God, given on earth, had released me.

Mss: Bb(114ra-b), 720a VIII(2v), 99a(5v), 622(27), 713(7), Vb(249), 41 8°ˣ(112), 705ˣ(7r), 4892(28r)

Readings: [1] tala: talar 720a VIII, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892    [2] tunga: tungan 720a VIII, 99a, 705ˣ;    þínum: sínum 99a, 622, 713, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892, fínum Vb    [3] áttu: á hun 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, á eg 622, 4892    [4] yfirspennanda: yfirspennandi 720a VIII, 99a, 622, 705ˣ, yfirspennandans Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892;    heima: heim að 720a VIII;    þrennra: þrenna 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ    [5] Bjúg: bjúgr 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892;    bandi: banni Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892;    værir: væri 720a VIII, 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892    [6] bandi: og bandi Vb, 705ˣ, 4892;    riett: þess 4892    [7] nema: útan 4892;    hjálpræði: hjálpræðið 720a VIII, 99a, 713, Vb, 705ˣ, hjálpinn 4892;    ið: ins 720a VIII, 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892    [8] giefið: hann giefi 720a VIII, giefur 713, giefi Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, giefinn 4892;    mig: eg Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    hefði: verði Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892

Editions: Skj AII, 370-1, Skj BII, 396, Skald II, 215-16, NN §3312.

Notes: [All]: The order of sts 22 and 23 is reversed in Bb. — [1-5]: The various mss treat these ll. as either the poet’s direct address to his tongue and poetic faculty (so Bb, Skald, NN §3312 and this edn), or (much less likely) as a 3rd-pers. statement about the same subject (so Skj B and various mss, though not consistently). This difference affects the following words: tala ‘speak’ (talar ‘it speaks’) (l. 1); þínum ‘your’ (sínum ‘its’) (l. 2); áttu ‘you must’ (á hon ‘it [the tongue] must’) (l. 3); værir ‘you would be’ (væri ‘it would be’) (l. 5). The apostrophe to the tongue is reminiscent of the many Lat. passion hymns beginning with the topos pange, lingua ‘sing, tongue’, e.g. the passion hymn Pange lingua, gloriosi / proelium certaminis ‘Sing, tongue, the strife of the glorious battle’ (AH 2, 44) and the Nordic hymn to S. Óláfr, Pange lingua, gloriose / Diei solemnia / Regum jubar pretiose / Rex Olave … ‘Sing, tongue, the solemnity of the glorious day, the precious splendour of kings, King Óláfr …’ (AH 11, 206). — [4] yfirspennanda þrennra heima ‘over-spanner of three worlds [= God]’: The kenning recalls biblical texts like Isa. XL.12 (quis mensus est pugillo aquas et caelos palmo ponderavit ‘who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and weighed the heavens with his palm?’) and Ps. XCIV.4 (in cuius manu fundamenta terrae ‘In his hand are all the ends of the earth’). Cf. the following God-kennings: frónspennir fagrtjalda ‘clasper of the fair tents of the land’ (Has 44/5-6); heimspennir ‘world-spanner’ (Has 64/6); skríngeypnandi skýstalls ‘holder of the shrine of the cloud-platform’ (Has 29/7-8), umgeypnandi alls heims ‘holding the whole world in his hands’ (Geisl 16/7-8), umgaupnandi allrar skepnu ‘holding all creation’ (Anon Mgr 2), and umgeypnandi allrar skepnu ‘the holder [in his hands] of all creation’ (Kálf Kátr 36/3). The ‘three worlds’ could be either heaven, hell, and earth, or the three heavens mentioned elsewhere in the poem (11/3, 27/4, 40/2). This is the only recorded occurrence of the cpd yfirspennandi. — [7] hjálpræði ‘salvation’: The word originally meant ‘help’ or ‘assistance’, but in religious literature it took on grander connotations. Cf. HómÍsl, where it is used in reference to the promise of paradise to the good thief of Luke XXIII.43 (HómÍsl 1993, 32v), to the salvation people sought from John the Baptist (6r) and to God’s redemption of the fallen world (103r).

References

  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. AH = Dreves, G. M., C. Blume and H. M. Bannister, eds. 1886-1922. Analecta hymnica medii aeui. 55 vols. Leipzig: Reisland. Rpt. 1961. New York: Johnson.
  6. 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.
  7. HómÍsl = Íslensk hómilíubók (The Icelandic Homily Book).
  8. Internal references
  9. Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 36’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 953-4.
  10. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Drápa af Máríugrát 2’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 760-1.
  11. Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 16’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 20-1.
  12. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 29’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 97-8.
  13. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 44’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 112-13.
  14. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 64’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 130-1.
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