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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 89VII/3 — geisli ‘light-beam’

Þú ert hreinlífis dygðar dúfa,
dóttir guðs, og lækning sótta,
giftu vegr, og geisli lofta,
gimsteinn brúða og drotning himna,
guðs herbergi og gleyming sorga,
gleðinnar past og eyðing lasta,
líknar æðr og lífgan þjóða,
loflig mær, þú ert einglum hæri.

Þú ert dúfa dygðar hreinlífis, dóttir guðs og lækning sótta, vegr giftu og geisli lofta, gimsteinn brúða og drotning himna, herbergi guðs og gleyming sorga, past gleðinnar og eyðing lasta, æðr líknar og lífgan þjóða, loflig mær, þú ert hæri einglum.

You are the dove of the virtue of chastity, daughter of God and healing of sicknesses, path of good fortune and light-beam of the skies, jewel of women and queen of the heavens, God’s lodging and forgetting of sorrows, nourishment of gladness and elimination of sins, vein of mercy and life-giver of peoples, praiseworthy maiden, you are higher than the angels.


[3] geisli: geislin 99a, 705ˣ, gimsteinn 41 8°ˣ(420)


[3] geisli lofta ‘light-beam of the skies’: This epithet is likewise unusual. The image of a ray or beam of light is normally associated with Christ, in ON as well as in Lat. literature (cf. geisli miskunnar sólar ‘beam of the sun of mercy’ Geisl 1/6 etc.). In Lil 27/3, geisli sólar ‘ray of the sun’ is used of the archangel Gabriel. The meaning is more metaphorical (something like ‘shining example’) when geisli brúða ‘light-beam of women’ refers to S. Anastasia in Mey 42/6 and Íslands gǫfugr geisli ‘Iceland’s splendid beam’ to Bishop Guðmundr in Árni Gd, 67/1IV; perhaps it should be understood in a similar way here.



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