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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Pl 7VII

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.

Anonymous PoemsPlácitusdrápa

Ok annan dag unnar
elg-Þróttr í stað sótti,
fyrr þanns flærðar þverri
framlyndum goð sýndisk.
Sannhugguðr leit seggja
snildar framr á hamri
hauks í hjartar líki
hirðvandan gram standa.

Ok annan dag sótti {{unnar elg-}Þróttr} í stað, þanns goð sýndisk fyrr {framlyndum þverri flærðar}. {Sannhugguðr hauks}, framr snildar, leit {hirðvandan gram seggja} standa á hamri í líki hjartar.

And the next day {the Þróttr <= Óðinn> {of the elk of the wave}} [(lit. ‘the elk-Þróttr of the wave’) SHIP > SEAFARER] sought the place where God had shown himself previously {to the brave diminisher of falsehood} [HOLY MAN]. {The true comforter of the hawk} [WARRIOR], outstanding in courage, beheld {the ruler of men, careful chooser of his retainers} [= God], standing on a cliff in the shape of a hart.

Mss: 673b(1v)

Readings: [4] framlyndum: ‘framlund[...]’ 673b, framlyndum 673bÞH;    goð: om. 673b    [8] ‑vandan: ‑vandin 673b, bandin 673bÞH

Editions: Skj AI, 608-9, Skj BI, 608, Skald I, 296; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1833, 13-14, 42, Finnur Jónsson 1887, 231, Louis-Jensen 1998, 96.

Notes: [All]: According to the Eustace legend, the morning after Plácitus and his family had been baptised, Plácitus went back to the place where he had first encountered the Christ-hart, and was granted a second vision. It is at this point that Christ tells him that he must be tried for his faith. — [4] goð ‘God’: This emendation was proposed by Sveinbjörn Egilsson. It reflects the wording of the C version of the saga: enn um morguninn fór Evst(asius) til þess sama stadar sem gud hafdi ádur vitr[ast honum ...] (Tucker 1998, 23) ‘and the next day Eustace went to the same place where God had previously appeared to him’. — [5, 7] sannhugguðr hauks ‘the true comforter of the hawk [WARRIOR]’: Slightly unusual, in that the determinant in kennings of this type is normally an expression for raven or eagle, sometimes in the form of a kenning with haukr as its base-word; see Meissner, 310 (including examples with haukr), 346. — [7-8]: Cf. the wording of the C text síndist honum hann þar kominn í hiartarmind þeirri ‘he [God] appeared to him to have come there in the form of the hart’ (Louis-Jensen 1998, cxxii). The alliterating á hamri ‘on a cliff’ (l. 6) reflects the demands of the poetic form and is based on the location of Plácitus’s vision on a mountain (mons) in the Lat. text (cf. the A version’s fjall). The symbolic significance of the hart was particularly appropriate to the legend of the Christian convert Plácitus and would have been well understood by the poet and audience of Pl. On the one hand, the hart panting for cooling streams mentioned in Ps. XLII.1 was understood to represent the soul saved through baptism, and, on the other, the hart who tramples a serpent was understood as a type of Christ overcoming Satan according to the Physiologus. If 673b was originally part of a compilation together with 673a, there would have been a thematic connection between Pl and the Physiologus text in 673a, which includes the hart among the animals whose allegorical meaning is expounded (Halldórr Hermansson 1938, 20).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1833. Brot af Placidus-drápu. Bessastaðir: Helgi Helgason.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1887. ‘Plácítúsdrápa’. In Opuscula Philologica: Mindre Afhandlinger, 210-64.
  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. Tucker, John, ed. 1998. Plácidus saga. EA B 31. Copenhagen: Reitzel.
  7. Louis-Jensen, Jonna, ed. 1998. ‘Plácitus drápa’. In Tucker 1998, 89-130.
  8. Internal references
  9. Not published: do not cite (KrókV)
  10. Jonna Louis-Jensen and Tarrin Wills 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Plácitusdrápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 179-220.

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