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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 15 [Vol. 7, 580-1]

[All]: Peter Foote (1982, 119-21) sees sts 15-18 as ‘not so much a translation as a re-creation in the Icelandic’ of a passage from Geoffrey of Vinsauf’s Poetria nova: Quid iste? / Vidit eos, et ad hoc formatos ut repararent / Angelicum numerum qui corruit et fruerentur / Deliciis illis quas perdidit angelus. Inde, / Quid faceret versans, serpentis imagine sumpta, / Rectus et erectus veniens clam venit ad Evam, / Affari non ausus Adam: ‘Cur, inquit, ab esu / Praefati ligni prohiberis?’ Subdidit illa: / ‘Hoc ideo ne forte per hoc moriamur.’ Ad illud / ‘Forte’ minus fortem credentem vidit; et inde / Fortior his illam vicit: ‘Non sic, ait, immo / Vescere, sicque sciens potes esse bonique malique, / Sicut dii.’ Tumefecit eam spes irrita tanti / Polliciti; vititum gustavit; idemque maritus, / Ne turbaret eam, quamvis sit conscius, egit ‘And what of Satan? He saw them, saw them fashioned for this purpose: to make up the number of the angelic host that had fallen, and to enjoy those delights which the angel lost. Then, pondering what he might do, taking the form of a serpent, advancing straight and erect, he came in secret to Eve, not daring to speak to Adam: “Why,” he said, “are you forbidden to eat of that tree which was mentioned?” She replied, “For this reason, indeed: lest perchance through it we die.” At that “perchance” he saw her unstable in faith; and then, gaining assurance, he overcame her with this: “Not so,” he said, “on the contrary, eat; and thus you can be, as the gods are, expert in good and evil.” Vain hope of a promise so great puffed her up; she tasted what was forbidden; and her husband, lest he distress her – although with full knowledge – did likewise’ (Faral 1924, 242; Nims 1967, 68).


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