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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 9 [Vol. 7, 571-2]

[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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