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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mdr 10VII/6 — allr ‘all’

Búið ástum ker kosta
konungs ertu glæst ið hæsta
smíðað bezt og bæði
byrstalls með list allri.
Þaðan flaut ilmr að ýtum
allr guðs og vel fallinn
brunnr, sá er beztr að sönnu
boðaz, eilífrar heilsu.

Ertu ið hæsta ker kosta konungs byrstalls, búið ástum, bæði smíðað bezt og glæst með allri list. Þaðan flaut allr ilmr guðs að ýtum og vel fallinn brunnr eilífrar heilsu, sá er boðaz beztr að sönnu.

You are the highest vessel of virtues of the king of the fair wind-pedestal [SKY/HEAVEN > GOD], equipped with love, both the best crafted and embellished with all artistry. Through you [lit. from there] flowed all the sweet perfume of God to men and the well-suited fountain of eternal salvation, the one which declares itself truly to be the best.


[5-6] þaðan flaut allr ilmr guðs ‘Through you [lit. from there] flowed all the sweet perfume of God’: The antiphon Assumpta est Maria in cœlum, sung at the Feast of the Assumption, includes the following verse, which derives ultimately from the Hymn to the Beloved in S. of S. I.3 : In odorem unguentorum tuorum currimus: adolescentulae dilexerunt te nimis ‘we run after the odour of your ointments: the young maidens have loved you much’. The first reading, from Eccles. XXIV.20-1, also draws on this imagery: sicut cinnamomum et aspaltum aromatizans odorem dedi quasi murra electa dedi suavitatem odoris, et quasi storax et galbanus et ungula et gutta et quasi libanus non incisus vaporavi habitationem meam et quasi balsamumno mixtum odor meus ‘I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon, and aromatical balm; I yielded a sweet odour like the best myrrh; And I perfumed my dwelling as storax, and galbanum, and onyx, and aloes, and as the frankincense not cut, and my odour is as the purest balm’.



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