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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Líknarbraut (Líkn) - 52

not in Skj

Líknarbraut (‘The Way of Grace’) — Anon LíknVII

George S. Tate 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Líknarbraut’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 228-86.

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Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: C. 1. Líknarbraut (AII, 150-9, BII, 160-74)

SkP info: VII, 241-3

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Anon Líkn 11VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 11’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 241-3.

Kosti alls af ástum
— einsætt er þat — hreinum
(magn stýri því) meira
maðr hverr (svika þverris);
þvít margfalda mildi,
minn lausnari, þína
hverja stund at höndum
hlífrunnum lætr svífa.

Hverr maðr kosti alls meira af hreinum ástum; þat er einsætt; magn {þverris svika} stýri því; þvít, minn lausnari, lætr þína margfalda mildi svífa hverja stund at höndum {hlífrunnum}.

Let each man strive all the more out of pure loves; that is the only choice; may the power {of the diminisher of falsehoods} [VIRTUOUS RULER = Christ] govern it; because, my Saviour, you allow your manifold mercy to glide every hour into the hands {of shield-bushes} [WARRIORS].

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] ástum: ástar 399a‑bˣ    [2] einsætt: ‘eíns(e)t’(?) B, einsæt 399a‑bˣ;    hreinum: hreinan B, 399a‑bˣ    [4] þverris: ‘þu[...]e’ B, ‘þuerre’ 399a‑bˣ    [5] mildi: ‘[...]llde’ B, ‘ṃiḷḷde’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 11: AII, 152, BII, 163, Skald II, 86; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 38, Rydberg 1907, 13, 48, Tate 1974, 56.

Notes: [All]: At 11v l. 13 of ms. B full vel ‘very well’ appears as a marginal comment in a later hand. — [1-4]: The first helmingr presents difficulties, and none of the several possibilities is fully satisfactory. Sveinbjörn Egilsson and Rydberg maintain the ms. readings of hreinan (l. 2) and þverri (l. 4); Sveinbjörn also emends af (l. 1) to of and reads ástar for ms. ástum (l. 1). His arrangement, given in LP (1860): kosta, is hverr maðr kosti alls meira (= öllu fremr) ástar of hreinan svíka þverri, which, using a sense of kosta otherwise unattested, he translates loosely as ‘let each man show love (amorem erga quem exhibere, aliquem amare) all the more for the pure diminisher of falsehoods’. Without emendation, Rydberg construes as follows: hverr maðr kosti hreinan svíka þverri alls meira af ástum – þat er einsætt – magn stýri því ‘let each man prove/cost (?) the pure diminisher of falsehoods all the more out of love(s) – that is the only choice – may might govern it (?)’. The crux is the verb kosta (related to kjósa ‘to choose’). In the meaning ‘to try, put to the test’ it takes a gen. object (or inf. ‘to try to’); if ‘to cost’ or ‘defray expenses’ it takes acc. ‘Let each man cost Christ all the more out of love’ make no sense. If, however, an acc. object could work for ‘try, prove’, there would be a good biblical analogue in Mal. III.10 in which the Lord invites his people to try him (probate me) to see if he will not bless them abundantly. Another issue is whether stýri (l. 3) could be, rather than subj. of stýra ‘to rule, govern’, the acc. of stýrir in a Christ-kenning magnstýrir ‘might-ruler’ (or even magnstýrir alls ‘might-ruler of all/the universe’ (ll. 3,1)); cf. lífstýrir ‘life-ruler’ 5/2, himinstýrir ‘ruler of heaven’ 38/4, and vegstýrir ‘glory-ruler’ Has 59/6. Assuming, again, an acc. object of kosta and taking magnstýri in apposition to svíka þverri (l. 4), this would give hverr maðr kosti því meira hreinan magnstýri alls, svíka þverri, af ástum – þat er einsætt ‘let each man the more prove the pure might-ruler of all, the diminisher of falsehoods, out of loves – that is the only choice’. Not having found another attestation of kosta ‘try, prove’ with acc. object, however, this ed. reluctantly follows Skj B and Skald in emending ms. hreinan to hreinum and þverri to gen. þverris and in construing the helmingr with the w.o. above. — [1] ástum ‘loves’: The pl. may result from the skaldic practice of occasionally substituting pl. for sg. (or vice versa) or might allude to the two loves (of God and of neighbour) in Matt. XX.37-9; cf. tvennrar ástar ‘of twofold love’ in 34/3. — [2] hreinum ‘pure’: Skj B and Skald emend from ms. hreinan for agreement with ástum. — [4] þverris svika ‘diminisher of falsehoods [VIRTUOUS RULER = Christ]’: Restoration of ‘err’ based upon 399a-bˣ, supported by traces of the missing letters around the lacuna and by aðalhending. Skj B, followed by Skald, emends ms. acc. (or dat.) to gen. þverris. Cf. angrþverrir ‘grief-diminisher’ (of the Holy Ghost) Heildr 15/2 and þverrir flærðar ‘diminisher of falsehood’ Pl 7/3 (both C12th). — [5] mildi ‘mercy, tenderness’: Restoration based upon 399a-bˣ, supported by alliteration. The noun occurs again in 44/5; an important theme of the poem is that of Christ’s tender mercy. — [6] minn : þína: The short/long rhyme i : í also occurs at 47/2 (þíns : inna) and 52/2 (minn : skína).

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