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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 51 [Vol. 7, 620-1]

[5] með lyftum lófum ‘with lifted hands’: Lit. ‘with lifted palms’, lófi being the hollow or palm of the hand. The gesture was associated with prayer and would have been familiar from Scripture (Pss. XXVII.2, LXII.5, CXXXIII.3; Lam. III.41; 1 Tim. II.8). The psalmist’s formula appears in a l. from the widely-used matins hymn Rerum creator optime: Mentes manusque tollimus ‘we lift up our minds and our hands’ (AH 51, 28; Brev. Nidr., d.iiir). Liturgical books commonly use the rubric manus elevans ‘with hands upraised’ to indicate the proper posture for the priest during prayer. Cf. Geisl 9/5: Hefjum hendr ‘we lift up our hands’. These associations make lyftum preferable to the variant lyktum ‘folded’, adopted by Skj B.


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