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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, 629-31

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60 — Anon Lil 60VII

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Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 60’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 629-31.

En í andláti Jésú sæta
oss var flutt, að gægz á krossinn
fjandinn hafi og friett að syndum,
færaglöggr, ef nökkur væri.
Hlægir mig, að hier mun teygjaz
hans forvitni honum til vansa;
eigi mun nú ormr hinn bjúgi
agn svelgjandi á króki fagna.

En í andláti sæta Jésú, var oss flutt, að færaglöggr fjandinn hafi gægz á krossinn og friett að syndum, ef nökkur væri. Mig hlægir, að hier mun forvitni hans teygjaz honum til vansa; nú mun hinn bjúgi ormr, svelgjandi agn, eigi fagna á króki.

And at the death of sweet Jesus, we were told that the opportunistic fiend has kept an eye on the Cross and asked about sins, whether there were any. I am delighted that here his curiosity would lead him to disgrace; now the coiled serpent, swallowing the bait, will not rejoice on the hook.

Mss: Bb(115rb), 99a(12r-v), 622(34), 713(11), Vb(252), 41 8°ˣ(124-125), 705ˣ(15r-v), 4892(34v)

Readings: [1] Jésú: so 41 8°ˣ, 4892, Jésús Bb, 99a, 622, 713, 705ˣ;    sæta: dauða 99a, sæti 622    [2] var: er 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892;    flutt: sagt 622;    gægz: ‘drægi[...]t’ 622, gægdiz 713;    á krossinn: om. Bb    [3] fjandinn: so 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892, om. Bb;    hafi: so 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, om. Bb, hefdi 713, 4892;    og: þá 99a    [4] færaglöggr: færaklókr Vb, 41 8°ˣ    [5] að: því 99a, þvíað 705ˣ;    mun: muni 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892    [6] forvitni: forvitnin Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    honum: sér 99a, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892;    til: að 4892    [7] eigi: því eigi 99a;    nú: sá 99a, þá 713, 4892;    bjúgi: bljúgi 705ˣ    [8] svelgjandi: svelgjanda 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ;    á: að 713, af Vb, om. 41 8°ˣ;    króki: krossi 622, 4892

Editions: Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, Lilja 60: AII, 382, BII, 406, Skald II, 222.

Notes: [All]: Niðrstigningar saga (Niðrst), the ON translation of the Gospel of Nicodemus, contains two relevant interpolations not found in the Lat. text. They relate to the idea of the Cross as a trap for the devil, which goes back to C2nd (Russell 1981, 193; Wee 1974, 4-5). The image of the baited hook, which also appears in Niðrst, first appears in the Catechetical Oration of Gregory of Nyssa (Srawley 1956, §24; see also Aulén 1951, 52-3). Augustine frequently refers to the Cross as a mousetrap (muscipula), and at least once as a hook (Sermo 265D in Morin 1930, 662). S. Ambrose uses the image in his Easter hymn Hic est dies verus Dei (AH 50, 16), and it found its way into the Moralia in Job (Adriaen 1979, 143B:1687 [33.9]) and Homiliae in euangelia (Étaix 1999, 2:25) of Gregory the Great. The Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg has a remarkable illustration of God the Father holding a fishing line while a monster gapes over the ‘baited’ Cross at the other end (Caratzas 1977, pl. 24; see also Zellinger 1928). Honorius of Autun uses the image in a homily on the Annunciation in his Speculum Ecclesiae (Honorius Augustodunensis, col. 906); cf. Peter Damian, commenting on Job XL.20 (an extrahere poteris Leviathan hamo ‘Canst thou draw out the leviathan with a hook?’) (Lucchesi 1983, 279). The Icel. homily for Easter, clearly familiar with this tradition, understands it in light of the Nordic myth of Þórr’s attempt to catch the Miðgarðsormr, told in SnE 1982, 44-5 and Hym 17-25: oc ſté haɴ þa yver eɴ forna fiánda eſ haɴ lét ofriþar meɴ beriaſc i gegn ſér. þat ſýnde drótten þa eſ haɴ mælte viþ eɴ ſǽla iób. Mon eige þu draga leviaþan [miþgarþarormr] a ǫngle eþa bora kiþr hanſ meþ báuge. Sia gléypande hvalr merker gróþgan aɴſkota þaɴ eſ ſvelga vill aʟt maɴkyn idauþa. agn eſ lagt a ǫngul en hvas broddr léyneſc. þeɴa orm tók almáttegr goþ a ǫngul. þa eſ haɴ ſende ſon ſiɴ til dáuþa ſýnelegan at líkam en oſýnelegan at goþdóme. Diaboluſ ſa agn likamſ hanſ þat eſ haɴ beit oc vilde fyrfara. en goþdomſ broddr ſtangaþe haɴ ſvaſem ǫngoʟ. a ǫngle varþ haɴ tekeɴ. ‘and he rose up over the ancient enemy when he allowed enemies to fight against him. The Lord showed that when he spoke with blessed Job: ‘Can you not draw out Leviathan [miþgarþarormr is written above the line] with a hook or pierce his cheek with a gaff?’ That gaping whale represents the greedy devil who wants to swallow up all mankind in death. Bait is placed on the hook, but the sharp barb is concealed. Almighty God took that serpent on the hook when he sent his son to death, with his body visible but his divinity invisible. The devil saw the bait of the body and bit on it and wanted to destroy it. But the barb of divinity stung him like a hook: he was taken on a hook’ (HómÍsl 1993, 35v). — [1] andláti ‘death’: The earliest attestation of the word andlát, lit. ‘giving up the spirit’, is in the C13th HómNo (cf. ONP: andlát), and it occurs almost exclusively in Christian literature. Here it echoes the gospel account: þa liet hann sinn anda ‘then he gave up his spirit’ (John XIX.30, Hið Nya Testament 1540 [Sigurður Nordal 1933]). — [1] sæta ‘sweet’: The use of sætr to describe a person first appears in ON in later Christian texts: it is likely a borrowing from Lat. dulcis. The prologue to Mar speaks of Mary’s saal miklu sætara ‘very sweet soul’ (Mar 1871, 336), and a letter from Bishop Audfinn of Bergen to Queen Isabella in 1324 refers to Mary as the sæto modor ‘sweet mother’ of Jesus (DN 2, 131). Cf. the hymn Gaude, virgo, stella maris, with its refrain, Dulcis Jesus, dulcis Maria ‘Sweet Jesus, sweet Mary’ (AH 15, 34) and Lil 63/1, 79/1, and 80/1. Fritzner has no examples of the word used to describe Jesus. — [2-3]: The Bb scribe apparently neglected to copy a l. of text from his exemplar. — [3] syndum ‘sins’: If Jesus has commited any sins, the devil can snatch his soul away to hell. Cf. the Glossa Ordinaria on Tobit VI.2: Occurrit piscis eum devorare cupiens, et Domino in cruce passo diabolus, quo movente crucifixus erat, advenit, quarens si quid peccati in eo invenisset ‘The fish came desiring to devour him [Tobit], and as the Lord suffered on the cross the devil, who had instigated the crucifixion, came to see if he could find any sin in him’ (Walafridus Strabo, Liber Tobiae, col. 728). Schottmann considers this a closer parallel than Niðrst’s ok hugðisk gleypa mundu hann ok hafa með sér ‘and thought that he would swallow him and carry him away’ (Schottmann 1973, 197). — [4] færaglöggr ‘opportunistic’: Lit. ‘clear-headed with respect to opportunity’. — [7-8]: A reference to Job XL.20. Note the similarity to the citation in the Icel. Easter homily: Mon eige þu draga leviaþan a ǫngle eþa bora kiþr hanſ meþ báuge ‘Can you not draw out Leviathan with a hook or pierce his cheek with a gaff?’ — [7] bjúgi ‘coiled, twisted’: The adj. seems appropriate in conjunction with the serpent-form Lucifer has taken on and especially given the association with the world-encircling Miðgarðsormr suggested by Niðrst. But it is not used elsewhere in either poetry or prose to describe a serpent. It tends to mean either ‘crooked, bent’ in reference to an object (e.g. a fish hook), or ‘bowed down, crippled’ in reference to a person who is sick or injured. The word occurs again in the phrase bjúgi brandrinn ódygðar ‘the recoiling sword of faithlessness’ 66/7. The connotations may be the same here: Lucifer’s plan has backfired and he becomes the victim of his own scheming. — [8] á króki ‘on the hook’: Cf. the use of the word krókr in 78/4 and 82/8. In st. 78 the hook is associated with the sin of gluttony. Here, Lucifer’s gluttony for destroying souls causes him to swallow the bait. In st. 82 Lucifer uses his ‘bitter crook’ to capture the souls of the dying and tear them to shreds. Here, he is paradoxically impaled on his own weapon (cf. st. 66).

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