Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 76VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 76’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 648-9.

Anonymous PoemsLilja

Tvá hræðumz eg: dóm og dauða;
deyr sá margr, er eingi bjargar;
mitt eitt veit eg líf hið ljóta
leiða mig í drottins reiði.
Af margfaldri synda saurgan
svíðir brjóst og hefndum kvíðir
fyrir afbrigðin flestra dygða;
fátt er það, er siðuna vátti.

Tvá hræðumz eg: dóm og dauða; margr sá deyr, er eingi bjargar; eg veit hið ljóta líf mitt eitt leiða mig í reiði drottins. Brjóst svíðir af margfaldri saurgan synda og kvíðir hefndum fyrir afbrigðin flestra dygða; fátt er það, er vátti siðuna.

Two things I fear: judgement and death; many a man dies, whom no one saves; I know that my utterly [lit. only] wicked life will bring me to the Lord’s wrath. My breast burns from the manifold defilement of sins and fears revenge for deviation from most virtues; there is little that may give evidence of good morals.

Mss: Bb(116ra), 99a(15r-v), 622(36-37), 713(12-13), Vb(254), 41 8°ˣ(129-130), 705ˣ(18v-19r), 4892(37r)

Readings: [2] deyr: dreyr 4892;    sá: svo 713;    er: að 622, 713;    eingi: einginn 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892    [4] leiða: leiði 713    [5] Af: í 99a, 705ˣ, og 622, og í 713, 4892, og af Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [6] svíðir: svíður 99a, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, ‘[...]uydr’ 4892    [7] afbrigðin: afbrigði 99a, 713, 705ˣ, 4892, afbrigðið Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [8] er: er gott 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892;    það: om. 4892;    er: om. 99a, að 622, 713, 4892;    siðuna: siðina Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    vátti: váttar 99a, 713, 705ˣ, 4892

Editions: Skj AII, 387, Skj BII, 410, Skald II, 224, NN §§1530, 2631 Anm.

Notes: [All]: The theme and diction of this st. (dauð-, bjarga, synda saurgan) are reminiscent of st. 27. — [2] sá margr ‘many a man’: I.e. ‘every man’. The point here is that all die. Flestra ‘most’ (l. 7) and fátt ‘little’ (l. 8) are likewise understated (JH). — [2] bjargar ‘saves’: The connotations of bjarga range from ‘to save or rescue from physical danger’ to ‘to redeem or save’ in the theological sense. In this context the meaning is both that there is no one who can ultimately prevent another from dying, and likewise no one who can save another from final damnation. JH notes that the present tense form bjargar (late, weak inflection) is probably the earliest occurence of this development. — [3-4]: The verb vita ‘know’ introduces an acc.-inf. construction (see NS §217a). — [3] eitt ‘only, alone’: The speaker’s life has been only, i.e. utterly and thoroughly, wicked (JH). — [6] svíðir ‘burns’: Probably the best reading, cf. svíddu 56/5 (JH). Skj B favours the strong 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. form, svíður. — [6] brjóst ‘breast’: Cf. 2/5 (and Note) and 81/4 tendrað brjóst ‘my burning breast’.


  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. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.

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