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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, 571-2

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9 — Anon Lil 9VII

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Cite as: Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 9’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 571-2.

Svá er greinanda; á samri stundu
sem eingillinn tók að spillaz,
söktiz hann með sínum grönnum
sem blývarða í djúpleik jarðar,
blindan þar sem föður sinn fjandann
feikt ofbeldið kvelr í eldi;
fávíss er sá, er feðgin þessi
faðma vill en siðunum spilla.

Svá er greinanda, á samri stundu sem eingillinn tók að spillaz, söktiz hann sem blývarða með grönnum sínum í djúpleik jarðar, þar sem feikt ofbeldið kvelr blindan föður sinn, fjandann, í eldi; fávíss er sá, er vill faðma þessi feðgin en spilla siðunum.

So it is to tell at the very moment when the angel began to destroy himself, he sank down like a plumb bob with his comrades into the depth of the earth, where terrible pride torments her blind father, the fiend, in fire; ignorant is he who wants to embrace this father and daughter and destroy his morals.

Mss: Bb(113vb), 99a(2v), 622(24), 713(6), Vb(247), 41 8°ˣ(106), 705ˣ(3v-4r), 4892(25v-26r)

Readings: [1] er: om. 622;    greinanda: greinandi 99a, 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892;    á: í 99a, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892;    samri: so 99a, 622, 713, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 705ˣ, 4892, sömu Bb    [3] grönnum: gronnuz 622    [5] þar sem: fann þar 99a, 4892, þar fann 622, 713;    fjandann: fjanda 99a    [6] feikt: er feikn 99a, feikið 622, feikna Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892, feikn 705ˣ;    kvelr: kvelst 4892    [7] víss: í fávíss 99a;    er: verð 4892;    sá: en 4892;    er: so 713, eð Bb, om. 99a, 705ˣ, að 622, Vb, 41 8°ˣ, 4892    [8] en: og 4892;    siðunum: siðum 4892

Editions: Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, Lilja 9: AII, 366, BII, 392-3, Skald II, 213.

Notes: [2] tók að spillaz ‘began to destroy himself’: Alternatively ‘began to be destroyed’, so Skj B. The sense of tók að here is probably something like ‘undertook’; cf. Fritzner: taka 14. — [4] blývarða (hap. leg.) ‘plumb bob’: An echo of Exod. XV.10, which describes the fate of Pharaoh’s army pursuing the Israelites into the Red Sea: submersi sunt quasi plumbum in aquis vehementibus ‘they sunk as lead in the mighty waters’. — [5-6] feikt ofbeldið kvelr blindan föðr sinn fjandann ‘terrible pride torments her blind father, the fiend’: Cf. John VIII.44, where the devil is called ‘Father of Lies’. Medieval authors use such analogous epithets as pater superbiae ‘Father of Pride’ and pater invidiae ‘Father of Envy’. Cf. 7/7 and 79/2. — [6] feikt (n. sg. nom.) ‘terrible, deadly’: Bb has the reduced form of the adj. feikn, viz. feikr, where the middle one of three consonants disappears (ANG §291, 9). — [7] feðgin ‘father and daughter’: JH argues that although in early ON the word can also mean ‘parents’, it must here mean ‘father and daughter’, as it does in later Icel. Although the personified noun denoting the daughter, ofbeldið (l. 6), is grammatically n., he presumes that the poet has the Lat. f. noun superbia in mind (but cf. 18/8, where feðgin refers to Adam and Eve, the parents of humankind). Finnur Jónsson’s translation (Skj B) moder og søn ‘mother and son’ is a careless error (JH). Mich tells the story of Lucifer and his daughter named Drambsemi ‘Pride’: for hann til ok horaðiz gerandi ser dottur, er dramsemi heitir æ siðan … Þvilika framfærslu feck dramsemi feðr sinum, at hon fletti hann or himnarikis fegrð ok setti niðr i diupp helvitis til endalausrar pislar. ‘he [Lucifer] went there and whored, creating a daughter for himself, who ever since has been called Pride … Pride obtained such support for her father, in that she stripped him of the beauty of heaven and put him down in the depth of hell for endless torment’ (Unger 1877, I, 677-8; for a discussion of the background and possible sources of this text, see Fell 1965). Book I of the Revelaciones of S. Birgitta has a chapter ‘regarding two ladies, one of whom was called Pride and the other Humility’ (de duabus dominis, quarum una nominabatur Superbia et altera Humilitas). The Virgin Mary, as Humility, tells Birgitta that Super primam est dominus ipse diabolus, quia sibi dominatur ‘the devil is master of the first lady [Superbia] because he has dominion over her’ (Revelaciones 1.29 in Searby 2006, 101; Undhagen and Jönsson 1977-2001, I, 324). See Bloomfield 1952, 183 on the motif in C14th English literature.

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