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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 12VII/6 — heims ‘of the world’

Svá er líðandi maðr af móður-
moldu — þó er með skæru holdi —
Ádám nefndur, er alls í heimi
átti ráð með frelsi og náðum.
Höfginn rann svá hægr á þenna
heims stýranda; fekk hann skýra
andagift, og síðan sýndi,
svá vorðinna spádómsorða.

Svá er maðr líðandi af móður-moldu, nefndur Ádám — þó er með skæru holdi —, er átti ráð alls í heimi með frelsi og náðum. Svá rann höfginn hægr á þenna stýranda heims; fekk hann skýra andagift, og sýndi síðan, spádómsorða svá vorðinna.

Thus a man proceeds from mother-earth, named Adam, though he is with unsullied flesh, who had power over everything in the world, with freedom and peace. Then a light slumber came upon that ruler of the world [= Adam]: he received a clear spiritual gift — and later demonstrated [it] — of prophetic words which came to fulfilment.

readings

[6] heims: heim 622, Vb

notes

[6] stýranda heims ‘ruler of the world [= Adam]’: The kenning is analogous to kennings for God (stýrandi lífs ‘ruler of life’ Arngr Gd 1/2IV; stýrandi hallar heims ‘ruler of the hall of the world’ Anon Leið 21/3-4; stýrandi himna ‘ruler of the heavens’ Arngr Gd 59/8IV; stýrandi alls ‘ruler of all’ Mark Eirdr 31/2II; Anon Leið 41/7). It alludes to Gen. I.26 (... praesit piscibus maris et volatilibus caeli et bestiis universaeque terrae ... ‘... let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth ...’) and in a more general sense is a reminder of Adam’s exalted state before the Fall. Cf. the ON Eluc: Iþui hafþe hann ok gliking Goðs at hann skylde sua styra ollo aiorþo sem Goþ ręþr ollo ahimne ‘For that reason he took on the shape of God, so that he could rule everything on earth as God rules over everything in heaven’ (Eluc 1992, 16-17).

kennings

grammar

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