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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Lilja (Lil) - 100

not in Skj

Lilja (‘Lily’) — Anon LilVII

Martin Chase 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Lilja’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 544-677.

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Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson: Lilja (AII, 363-95, BII, 390-416)

SkP info: VII, 563-5

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2 — Anon Lil 2VII

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Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 2’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 563-5.

Æski eg þín hin mikla miskunn
— mier veitiz, ef eg eftir leita
klökkum hug — því að inniz ekki
annað gott, en af þier til, drottinn.
Hreinsa brjóst og leið með listum
líflig orð í stuðla skorðum
steflig gjörð, að vísan verði
vunnin yðr af þessum munni.

Eg æski hin mikla miskunn þín — veitiz mier, ef eg leita eftir klökkum hug — því að ekki inniz annað gott til, en af þier, drottinn. Hreinsa brjóst og leið með listum, líflig orð í skorðum stuðla, steflig gjörð, að vísan verði vunnin yðr af þessum munni.

I ask for your great mercy — may it be granted to me, if I seek with a humble spirit — because there cannot be talk of anything good other than from you, Lord. Cleanse my heart and lead with artistry lively words, within the supports of the stuðlar, a belt with refrains, so that a poem comes about, uttered for you from this mouth.

Mss: Bb(113va), 99a(1r), 622(23), 713(5-6), 720b(1v), Vb(246), 41 8°ˣ(103-104), 705ˣ(2r)

Readings: [1] eg: eg að Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    þín hin: so 99a, 705ˣ, þína Bb, þinnar einu 622, þinnar 713, þín Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    mikla: miklu 622, 713, ‘mickl[...]un mier’ 720b    [2] veitiz: veitaz 720b, veitust 705ˣ;    ef: en 99a, 705ˣ, er Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [3] klökkum: af klökkum 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ;    því: þín 99a, svá Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    að: om. 99a, eg 622    [4] en: nema 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ    [5] Hreinsa: so 99a, 713, 720b, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, hreinsað Bb, 622;    leið: líðað 622    [6] líflig: loflig 99a, 622, 713, 720b, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ;    í: úr 713;    skorðum: skorðu Vb    [7] steflig: stefnlig 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ;    að: svá 99a, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, svá að 622

Editions: Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, Lilja 2: AII, 364, BII, 390-1, Skald II, 212, NN §1514.

Notes: [1-4]: The transmission of the helmingr is confused, and no ms. offers an acceptable reading. The reading here follows Guðbrandur Jónsson (1951, 155) and Gunnar Finnbogason (1988, 15), the latter of whom has Æski ég þín hin mikla miskunn | mér veitist, ef ég eftir leita | klökkum hug ‘I ask that your great mercy be granted to me, if I seek it with a humble spirit’. A variety of possible readings have been suggested: JH proposes an acc.-inf. construction: ek æski hina miklu miskunn þína veitaz mér ‘I ask that your great mercy be granted to me’. Finnur Jónsson’s translation implies the reading æskig þína miklu miskunn, | mér veitiz, ef ek eptir leita klǫkkum hug ‘I ask for your great mercy, that [it] may be granted me, if I seek with a humble spirit’ (Skj B). Skald has a similar understanding. Eiríkur Magnússon (1870, 2) offers the conjectural reading œski ek veitir mér þína mikla miskun ‘I ask that you might grant me your great mercy’. Cf. the invocation of Rósa: Bidur eg þig þo at brioſtid hrædizt | biarttuʀ gud med klocku hiartta ‘I now pray you, bright God, with a supple heart, that my breast be made fearful’ (ÍM I.2, 6). — [1] æski eg ‘I ask’: The verb normally takes a gen. object of what is asked for. — [5-8]: An echo of the liturgical prayer prayed by the deacon or priest before reading the gospel and preaching the sermon at mass: Munda cor meum, ac labia mea, omnipotens Deus … ut sanctum Evangelium tuum digne valeam nuntiare ‘Lord, cleanse my heart and my lips, … that I might worthily proclaim your holy gospel’ (Innocentius III, Ordo Missae, col. 766; Eisenhofer and Lechner 1960, 291). — [5] brjóst ‘heart’: Lit. ‘breast’. In ON homiletic and devotional literature the noun is used with the metaphorical meanings ‘mind, soul, understanding, disposition, courage’ (ONP: brjóst 5). The Lil skald frequently uses it in reference to himself, perhaps regarding it as the equivalent of Lat. anima. Cf. 54/5, 56/6, 76/7, 78/2, 81/4. He also uses it to refer to Lucifer and his devils (45/8, 48/8) and, in a more literal sense, to Mary’s breast (28/7, 87/1). In the penultimate st. of Lil he uses it to refer to the poem’s audience (99/1). — [5] listum (dat. pl.) ‘with artistry’: The word list ‘art, craft, ability, learning’ appears several times in Lil in reference to the art of poetry. In st. 51/1, where the skald again invokes Christ and asks for his help as he begins the second half of the poem, he addresses him with the epithet yfirmeistarinn allra lista ‘the highest master of all arts’. Later, in st. 93, the poet imagines that all creation is moved by artistry (hrærð af list) to sing Mary’s praise. — [6] líflig orð ‘lively words’: The reading of Bb. Other mss have loflig ‘laudatory, praising’, and this reading is adopted by Skj B and Skald, though LP allows for both possible readings. Lífligr can mean both ‘lively’, ‘living’ and ‘life-giving’. Cf. 95/5. — [6] skorðum (dat. pl.) ‘supports’: From skorða f. ‘stay, prop’, usually used (in both prose and poetry) in the context of setting up supports for a ship. Here and in 96/6 the word becomes a poetic term, a reference to the support given to the metre by the stuðlar or alliterating letters in the odd ll. of a st. The word stuðill itself also has the meaning ‘supporting timber’ for a ship. A similar image occurs in Árni Gd 3/6IV: veglig orð, með stuðlum skorðuð ‘ magnificent words, supported with stuðlar’. — [7]: It is not uncommon in skaldic poetry that part of a subordinate cl. be positioned before a conj. (here, ) (JH). — [7] stefligstef-ly, with refrains’: The reading of Bb alone. The adj. occurs again at 51/4. The only other instance of the adj. is Árni Gd 24/5IV. The other mss have stefnlig, glossed in LP as som styrer i en bestemt og god retning ‘which steers in a certain and good direction’, understanding stefnlig vísa to mean ‘a good poem’. In this sense, adopted by both Skj B and Skald, the adj. would be hap. leg. in poetry. The more common meaning of stefnligr is ‘appropriate, suitable’ (cf. Fritzner: stefnliga, adv.; Heggstad, Hødnebø and Simensen 1997: stefnligr). — [7] gjörð ‘belt, girdle’: The poem is compared to a belt, presumably in consideration of its circular form, ornamented at intervals with refrains.

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