Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 35VII/8 — minnilig ‘memorable’

Þó var ei svá rík, að reifa
ríkust móðir ætti góða;
því var kóngrinn hörðu heyvi
huldr, að mætti firraz kulda.
Umsníðningar Jésú prýði
átti dagr að fæðing váttar
æsiz blóð á líkam ljósan;
lagaz minnilig tár af kinnum.

Þó var ríkust móðir ei svá rík, að ætti góða reifa; því var kóngrinn huldr hörðu heyvi, að mætti firraz kulda. Átti dagr að fæðing váttar prýði Jésú umsníðningar; blóð æsiz á ljósan líkam; minnilig tár lagaz af kinnum.

Yet the richest mother was not so rich that she had good swaddling clothes; therefore the king was covered with harsh hay, so that he could be kept from the cold. The eighth day after the birth shows the glory of Jesus’ circumcision; blood spurts over the bright body; memorable tears run down his cheeks.


[8] minnilig: innilig 713, 4892


[8] minnilig tár lagaz af kinnum ‘memorable tears run down his cheeks’: Minniligr can mean both ‘memorable, i.e. worthy of memory’, or ‘loving’ (see Fritzner: minniligr). The context here suggests that the emphasis is on remembering and meditating on the event. Cf. the Meditaciones Vite Christi of Iohannis de Caulibus: Plorauit ergo puer Iesus hodie propter dolorem quem sensit in carne sua; nam ueram carnem et passibilem habuit sicut ceteri homines ... Et sic faciebat quocies plorabat; quod forte sepe puerorum more faciebat ad ostendendam miseriam nature humane quam uere assumpserat, et ad occultandum se, ne a demonio cognosceretur. Cantat namque de ipso Ecclesia: Vagit infans inter arcta, etc. ‘The boy Jesus cried out today because of the pain which he felt in his flesh; for he had real flesh subject to pain just as other people … That was something he would perhaps often do, to show the misery of the human nature he had truly taken on and to conceal his true identity, lest he be recognized by the devil. For the Church sings of him, “within the confines of his crib the little infant cries plaintively”, etc.’ (Stallings-Taney 1997, 38; Taney 2000, 30-1).



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