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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 9VII/3 — blíðan ‘joyful’

Hróðr stofna ek heiðar
hjálmspennanda þenna
bæði hryggr ok blíðan
bjartr ok glaðr í hjarta,
ok mun árum þykkja
eggmóts, of hvárttveggja
vísi ljóss ef vissi,
vera sök til þess nökkur.

Bæði hryggr ok bjartr ok glaðr í hjarta stofna ek þenna blíðan hróðr heiðar hjálmspennanda, ok mun þykkja árum eggmóts vera nökkur sök til þess, ef ljóss vísi vissi of hvárttveggja.

Both sorrowful and bright and glad at heart, I begin this joyful encomium for him who spans the heath’s helmet [(lit. ‘helmet-spanner of the heath’) SKY/HEAVEN > = God], and it will seem to messengers of the edge-meeting [BATTLE > WARRIORS] that there is some cause for this, if a bright prince might know of both [i.e. sorrow and joy].

readings

[3] blíðan: bliðr 399a‑bˣ

notes

[3] blíðan ‘joyful’: 399a-bˣ and all previous eds, except Rydberg (1907, 13 and 48), read the superscript <n> (for ‑an, i.e. acc. m. adj.; cf. æztan 13/7, sáran 16/2) as an ‘r/er’-abbreviation, i.e. blíðr or (so Skald) blíðir. To avoid having the l. then end with a stressed syllable (blíðr), Sveinbjörn Egilsson, followed by Konráð Gíslason (in Nj 1875-8, II.1, 30) and Skj B, transposes to blíðr ok hryggr bæði, thus allowing the l. to end with a trochee. Konráð Gíslason and Skj B also add a second ok (between hryggr and bæði) to give the l. six syllables. NN §1390 (cf. Skald), choosing blíðir (construed as an otherwise unattested m. noun ‘joyful one’) over blíðr, maintains the ms. word order, which allows six syllables and a final trochee. Sensing the need for contrasting pairs, Konráð Gíslason also emends glaðr ‘glad’ (l. 4) to myrkr ‘dark’ (i.e. blíðr ok hryggr | bjartr ok myrkr ‘joyful and sorrowful, bright and dark’); Skj B follows this thinking but prefers dapr ‘downcast’. Although the symmetry is appealing, the point seems to be that the joy (bjartr ok glaðr ‘bright/happy and glad’ and blíðan hróðr ‘joyful encomium’) outweighs the sorrow, though the subject of the Crucifixion causes the poet to experience both (cf. Árni Gd 1/2IV dyggur ok bjartur í mínu hjarta, amplified in 24/5-8).

grammar

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