Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 12VII/3 — tjalds ‘tent’

Sá * baztr frá mey mæztri
mildingr beraz vildi
heiða tjalds ok holdi
hjálmprýddan sik skrýddi;
en nauð á sik síðan
sjálfráði tók dáða
víst fyr vára löstu
vísi sjálfr með píslum.

Sá * baztr mildingr heiða tjalds vildi beraz frá mæztri mey ok skrýddi sik hjálmprýddan holdi; en síðan tók vísi sjálfr, sjálfráði dáða, nauð á sik með píslum, víst fyr vára löstu.

The best prince of heaths’ tent [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] willed to be born from a most precious maiden and clothed himself, helmet-adorned, with flesh; and later the prince himself, independently with regard to his deeds, took distress upon himself with torments, certainly for our errors.


[3] heiða tjalds ‘of heaths’ tent [SKY/HEAVEN]’: This is the poem’s first use of tjald ‘tent’ in a heaven-kenning extended as a tvíkennt kenning for God or Christ; cf. 24/5-7 fróns tjald ‘earth’s tent’, 25/4 heiðtjald ‘heath-tent’, 50/8 veðra tjald ‘winds’ canopy’. The greatest concentration of this kenning type occurs in Christian poetry and especially in Líkn’s model Has 1/2, 10/4, 14/6-8, 20/2, 28/2, 31/3, 41/4, 44/5-6, and 65/6. Such kennings may be informed by the biblical idea of the heavens as a tabernacle; see Isa. XL.22 qui extendit velut nihilum caelos et expandit eos sicut tabernaculum ad inhabitandum ‘he that stretcheth out the heavens as nothing and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in’. (With respect to God’s ‘stretching out the heavens’ see -spennandi ‘who spans [the heavens]’ 9/2.) See Eisler 1910, II for comparative discussion of the Himmelszelt ‘tent of heaven’ in ancient cultures.



case: gen.


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