Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 76VII/2 — bjargar ‘saves’

Tvá hræðumz eg: dóm og dauða;
deyr sá margr, er eingi bjargar;
mitt eitt veit eg líf hið ljóta
leiða mig í drottins reiði.
Af margfaldri synda saurgan
svíðir brjóst og hefndum kvíðir
fyrir afbrigðin flestra dygða;
fátt er það, er siðuna vátti.

Tvá hræðumz eg: dóm og dauða; margr sá deyr, er eingi bjargar; eg veit hið ljóta líf mitt eitt leiða mig í reiði drottins. Brjóst svíðir af margfaldri saurgan synda og kvíðir hefndum fyrir afbrigðin flestra dygða; fátt er það, er vátti siðuna.

Two things I fear: judgement and death; many a man dies, whom no one saves; I know that my utterly [lit. only] wicked life will bring me to the Lord’s wrath. My breast burns from the manifold defilement of sins and fears revenge for deviation from most virtues; there is little that may give evidence of good morals.


[2] bjargar ‘saves’: The connotations of bjarga range from ‘to save or rescue from physical danger’ to ‘to redeem or save’ in the theological sense. In this context the meaning is both that there is no one who can ultimately prevent another from dying, and likewise no one who can save another from final damnation. JH notes that the present tense form bjargar (late, weak inflection) is probably the earliest occurence of this development.



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