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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Anonymous Poems, Lilja, 73 [Vol. 7, 645-6]

[All]: The st. has many overtones of the description of the traditional nine torments of hell in the ON Eluc: j þeim stad ero .ix. hofvd pisler. En fẏsta er svo akafligvr elldr. at eigi mvnde slokna þott j felli avll votn og sior. Sa elldr brenner og lẏser eigi. og þeim mvn heitare en vor elldr. sem sia se likneske skrifad epter hinvm. Avnnvr er frost svo mikid. at elldligt fiall mvndi verda at svelli ef þangat felle. Vm þessar písler er ritad. þar er gratvr og gnotrvn tanna. þviat reẏkvr af elldi giorer grat a[v.][-]na. En frost tanna gnotrvn. Þridía kvol erv hrædiliger ormar og drekar [o...][-]leger j sẏn og j roddv. þeir er svo lifa j ellde sem fiskar j vatne. Fiorda kvol er leidiligvr davn. Fimta grimlegr bardage. Setta mẏrkvr þat er þreifa ma vm. sem ritad er. Mẏrkra iord og meina. þar er bẏgger margr híte og eilif hræsla. siovnda er sẏnda skemd. þviat þar man ecke liott verk leẏnast. Atta er hræsla ogvrligrar sẏnar diofla og dreka. þeirra er blasa elldi og brennv steine. og vesalig heẏrn grasz og diofla hlatvrs. Nivn[-]da kvol er elldlig bond er þravnga ollvm lidvm ‘In this (sic) place there are nine main torments. The first is such extreme fire that it could not be extinguished even if all lakes and the ocean would cover it. That fire burns but does not shine, and it will be to the same extent hotter than regular fire as fire is hotter than a picture painted of it. The second is frost, so great that a mountain of fire would turn into ice if it covered it. About this torment is written: There is weeping and gnashing of teeth, because the smoke of the fire makes the “eyes” weep and the frost makes the teeth gnash. The third torment is terrible snakes and dragons, “horrible” in appearance and in voice, which live in fire just as fish live in water. The fourth torment is repulsive stench. The fifth is fierce battle. The sixth is darkness that can be touched, as is written: The earth of darkness and disease where much heat lives and eternal fear [Job X.22]. The seventh is the disgrace of sin, because no ugly deed can be hidden there. The eighth is fear of the dreadful sight of devils and dragons which spew fire and brimstone, and the miserable noise of weeping and the laughter of devils. The ninth torment is fiery fetters which bind all members’ (Eluc 1992, 80, 81).


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