Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 36VII/3 — hvössum ‘sharp’

Heims lézt verð ok virða
vegit gimsteinum fegra,
himna ljóss, í hvössum,
háleitr, friðar skálum.
Vág erat víst né frægri
(vétt sýnir þú rétta)
ófs til ýta gæfu
(alsetrs vera) betri.

Háleitr, ljóss himna, lézt vegit verð heims ok virða, fegra gimsteinum, í hvössum skálum friðar. Erat víst betri né frægri vág til ýta ófs gæfu; þú sýnir rétta vétt alsetrs vera.

High, radiant one of the heavens [CROSS], you weighed the price of the world and men, fairer than gems, in sharp scales of peace. Surely there is not a better or more famous balance for men’s bounteous good fortune; you show the just weight of the common seat of men [WORLD].


[3-4] hvössum skálum friðar ‘in sharp scales of peace’: The adj. hvass typically means ‘sharp, acute’, here referring to Christ’s suffering. Fríðar ‘of peace’ seems more suitable with skálum ‘scales’ than with himna ljóss (see below), both because of proximity and because it is through the balance of the Cross that the atonement (at-one-ment) is effected, whereby peace is won for mankind.



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