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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, 248-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

18 — Anon Líkn 18VII

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Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 18’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 248-9.

Guðs var mær ok móðir
na hauðrs við dauða
hýr með hjarta sáru
hildings ok píningar.
Víst bar víf it hæsta
vátar kiðr af gráti,
sonr, þá er sárr af benjum
siðnenninn dó hennar.

{Hýr mær ok móðir guðs} var með sáru hjarta við dauða ok píningar {hildings {mána hauðrs}}. Víst bar it hæsta víf kiðr vátar af gráti, þá er hennar siðnenninn sonr dó, sárr af benjum.

{The mild maiden and mother of God} [= Mary] was with a sore heart at the death and torments {of the king {of the moon’s land}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]. Certainly the highest woman bore cheeks wet from weeping when her virtue-striving son died, sore from wounds.

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] na hauðrs: ‘má[...]hau[...]s’ B, ‘m[...]a hauð̣ṛs’ 399a‑bˣ    [6] gráti: ‘[...]e’ B, ‘gráte’ 399a‑bˣ    [7] sonr: son B, 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 18: AII, 153-4, BII, 165, Skald II, 87; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 40-1, Rydberg 1907, 14, 49, Tate 1974, 63.

Notes: [All]: Mary standing at the foot of the Cross weeping (stabat mater dolorosa) is a recurrent motif in poetry of the Passion. — [1] mær ok móðir ‘maiden and mother’: This is the first pairing of these alliterative appellatives in ON poetry. The pair appears in the C14th in Lil 3/1, 34/3 (mey), Anon Pét 6, 3/4, and Anon Mv II 22/1-2, later also in Náð 5/1-2, Máría móðirin skæra 1/1-2, Máríublóm 40/1, etc. (ÍM II, 5; II, 48; I.2. 180). — [2] na hauðrs ‘moon’s land [SKY/HEAVEN]’: Restoration based upon 399a-bˣ (including Jón Sigurðsson’s note ‘likely mánahauðrs’) as well as <ð> for aðalhending. The same kenning recurs (and, as here, hauð- is rhymed with dauð-) in Mgr 30/2 and 34/8, again with reference to Mary’s weeping at Jesus’s death. The alliterative linkage of máni ‘moon’ with Mary (mær ok móðir ‘maiden and mother’ (l. 1)) may evoke the widespread association of Mary with the moon in the patristic period (as the Christmas moon from whose radiance Christ as ‘sun of justice’ proceeds, Rahner 1963, 161-7) and with the growth of Marian devotion in the C12th-13th (see Salzer 1886-93, 377-84). In his Sermon on the Nativity of our Lady, S. Anthony of Padua (early C13th) writes, e.g., that Mary is called the full moon (luna plena) of Eccles. L.6 quia ex omni parte perfecta ‘because she is in every way perfect’ (Costa, Frasson and Luisetto 1979, II, 107-8). Cf. the Speculum Beatae Mariae Virginis of Conrad of Saxony (C13th), long attributed to Bonaventure; commenting on pulchra ut luna ‘fair as the moon’ in Cant. VI.9, he writes: Luna ergo est Maria.... Lunae plenae bene Maria comparata est, quae lumine sapientiae et veritatis a sole aeterno plene illuminata est ‘The moon is therefore Mary.... Well is Mary likened to the full moon, which is fully illuminated by the eternal sun with the light of wisdom and truth’ (VII.1; Martinez 1975, 269-70, cf. 378). Mary is also often identified with the radiant woman standing on the moon (et luna sub pedibus eius) in Rev. XII.1 (see Kirschbaum et al. 1968-76, I, 146-8). — [3] hýr ‘mild’: Construing the adj. as predicate and translating it as ‘glad’, Skj B and Skald add the neg. particle ‘-a’ to var ‘was’ (l. 1), i.e., ‘[Mary] was not happy at the death ...’. This is unnecessary if the adj. is considered attributive to mær ‘maid’; and, indeed, adding the particle runs the danger of making l. 1 seem initially to suggest that ‘God’s mother was not a maiden’. The sense ‘mild’ or ‘kindly disposed’ is not uncommon; hýrr can be synonymous with mildr and hlýrr, both of which qualify Mary elsewhere (e.g. Mdr 1/1 and Geisl 32/6-7). This meaning is also found in the OIcel. homily on the Circumcision: bergia oc siá hve hyʀ drótteɴ es ‘taste and see how mild/kind the Lord is’ (HómÍsl 1993, 27v; HómÍsl 1872, 56). — [6] gráti ‘weeping’: Restoration based upon 399a-bˣ and aðalhending (‘át’); there is also in B only space for an abbreviation (‘ra’). — [7] sonr ‘son’: Final <r> is frequently omitted in C14th mss, but has been restored here, as Líkn is a C13th poem. Rydberg, Skj B, and Skald all emend to sonr. — [8] siðnenninn ‘virtue-striving’: Occurs as a cpd only here; cf. ástnenninn ‘love-striving’ Has 62/8 and dáðnenninn ‘deed-striving’ Mdr 12/4.

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