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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 23VII/4 — þrennra ‘of three’

Tendraz öll og tala með snilli,
tunga mín, af herra þínum!
Um stórmerkin áttu að yrkja
yfirspennanda heima þrennra.
Bjúg og sár í bandi værir,
bandi riett ins nezta fjanda,
nema hjálpræði guðs ið góða
giefið á jörð mig leystan hefði.

Tunga mín, tendraz öll og tala með snilli af herra þínum! Áttu að yrkja um stórmerkin yfirspennanda þrennra heima. Værir bjúg og sár í bandi, riett bandi ins nezta fjanda, nema ið góða hjálpræði guðs, giefið á jörð, hefði leystan mig.

My tongue, be all kindled and speak with skill of your Lord! You must compose poetry about the miracles of the over-spanner of three worlds [= God]. You would be bent and bound in a fetter, right in the fetter of the lowest devil, except that the good salvation of God, given on earth, had released me.


[4] þrennra: þrenna 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ


[4] yfirspennanda þrennra heima ‘over-spanner of three worlds [= God]’: The kenning recalls biblical texts like Isa. XL.12 (quis mensus est pugillo aquas et caelos palmo ponderavit ‘who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and weighed the heavens with his palm?’) and Ps. XCIV.4 (in cuius manu fundamenta terrae ‘In his hand are all the ends of the earth’). Cf. the following God-kennings: frónspennir fagrtjalda ‘clasper of the fair tents of the land’ (Has 44/5-6); heimspennir ‘world-spanner’ (Has 64/6); skríngeypnandi skýstalls ‘holder of the shrine of the cloud-platform’ (Has 29/7-8), umgeypnandi alls heims ‘holding the whole world in his hands’ (Geisl 16/7-8), umgaupnandi allrar skepnu ‘holding all creation’ (Anon Mgr 2), and umgeypnandi allrar skepnu ‘the holder [in his hands] of all creation’ (Kálf Kátr 36/3). The ‘three worlds’ could be either heaven, hell, and earth, or the three heavens mentioned elsewhere in the poem (11/3, 27/4, 40/2). This is the only recorded occurrence of the cpd yfirspennandi.




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