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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 31VII/3 — af ‘through’

Heill ver kross, er kallaz,
Krists mark, himins vistar
lýðs af læknis dauða
lykill mannkyni syknu;
örr því at upp lauk* harri
élskríns fyr þik sínum,
áðr þá er læst var lýðum,
lífs höll vinum öllum.

Heill ver kross, Krists mark, er kallaz lykill himins vistar mannkyni syknu af dauða lýðs læknis; því at örr harri élskríns lauk* upp fyr þik lífs höll öllum sínum vinum þá er áðr var læst lýðum.

Hail Cross, Christ’s sign [CROSS], which is called the key of heaven’s dwelling for mankind, acquitted through the death of mankind’s healer [= Christ]; for the generous lord of the storm-shrine [HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] opened by means of you life’s hall [SKY/HEAVEN] for all his friends, which was earlier locked to men.

notes

[3] af dauða lýðs læknis ‘from the death of mankind’s [lit. people’s] healer [= Christ]’: The letter form of <a> in af is unusual, like an alpha; Rydberg 1907, 16 reads of but emends to af (51). Christ is also called læknir ‘healer, physician’ in Geisl 57/8 and Mdr 14/1. This common appellation is based upon Christ’s reference to himself as medicus ‘physician’ in Matt. IX.12 (Mark II.17, Luke V.31). For liturgical occurrences see Manz 1941, 292, no. 588-91 (medicus bonus, m. caelistis, m. salutaris, m. verus); Augustine’s use of the metaphor is discussed by Arbesmann 1954, 1-28. It is, of course, a sacred paradox that the physician heals by means of his own death. (On the Cross as healer, see Note to 40/1.)

grammar

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