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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, 260-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

30 — Anon Líkn 30VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 30’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 260-1.

Krýp ek til kross, en glæpa
knosuð bönd af því losna,
óttafullr með öllu
innan brjósts frá þjósti.
Dýrt kveð ek hræddu hjarta
huggóðs drifit blóði
grams píslartré geisla
grundar sköpum bundinn.

Með öllu óttafullr innan brjósts krýp ek til kross frá þjósti, en bönd glæpa, knosuð af því, losna. Hræddu hjarta, bundinn sköpum, kveð ek {dýrt píslartré}, drifit blóði, {huggóðs grams {grundar geisla}}.

Wholly fearful within my breast, I creep to the Cross away from anger, and the bonds of sin, torn thereby, are loosened. With a fearful heart, bound by fate, I address {the precious Passion-tree} [CROSS], besprinkled with blood, {of the benevolent king {of the land of rays}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)].

Mss: B(11v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [3] óttafullr: ‘ótta f[...]llr’ B, ‘ótta fụllr’ 399a‑bˣ;    öllu: ‘[...]llu’ B, ọ̈llu 399a‑bˣ    [6] blóði: ‘bl[...]de’ B, blọ́ði 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], C. 1. Líknarbraut 30: AII, 155-6, BII, 168, Skald II, 89, NN §1393; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 44, Rydberg 1907, 16, 50-1, Tate 1974, 75.

Notes: [All]: This st. marks the beginning of the poem’s several direct references to the liturgy for Good Friday, including the Adoration of the Cross (adoratio crucis) and the Reproaches (improperia) of Christ from the Cross (see sts 43-5), signalled by the phrase Mín þjóð ‘O my people’ 45/1, echoing the recurrent Popule meus of the rite. Between these two markers (sts 30 and 45), the poet draws occasional images from the two famous Cross hymns by Venantius Fortunatus (C6th), Pange lingua (sung during the Adoration) and Vexilla regis (the processional hymn at its conclusion); these allusions are pointed out in the Notes. On the history of the rite, see Römer 1955 and Schmidt 1956-7, II, 789-803; for Scandinavia, Gjerløw 1961 and Björkman 1957, 266-7, 282-5; on Líkn, Tate 1978. — [1] krýp ek til kross ‘I creep to the Cross’: The phrase alludes to the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday. See, e.g., the fragment (AM 266 4°, c. 1400) of the Gufudalr Ordinary, adapted from that of Nidaros: Þui næst skal prestr fara vr messu hökli ok af skoou[m] ok hosum ok kriupi til kross berrfættr ok syngia þad er til er skipat ‘Then shall the priest remove the chasuble and his shoes and hose and creep barefoot to the crucifix and sing that which is specified’ (Magnus Már Lárusson 1958, 209). The phrase ‘creep to the Cross’ only occurs in Germanic vernaculars (see OED: creep 3; cf. Swed. krypa till krysse (C16th), Ahnlund 1924, 180); Lat. employs less descriptive verbs (procedo, venio ad crucem salutandam), but more is meant by krjúpa here than LP’s ‘to prostrate oneself or fall upon one’s knees’. The verb denotes moving forward in veneration or penitence rather than static kneeling or prostration and is attested in skaldic verse as early as Þloft Glækv 8/4I (C11th). — [1-2] bönd glæpa ‘bonds of sin’: Cf. Prov. V.22 funibus peccatorum suorum constringitur ‘fettered by the bonds of his sins’. Skj B takes bönd with knosuð (l. 2) (i.e. ‘broken bonds’) and glæpa with þjósti (l. 4); NN §1393, unable to see how broken bands can then be loosened, rejects this reading. — [4] frá þjósti ‘away from anger’: Approaching the Cross (on the altar) ‘away from anger’ may allude to Christ’s exhortation in the Sermon on the Mount to put away anger and be reconciled with one’s brother before making an offering at the altar (Matt. V.22, 24-5), an injunction especially appropriate in a monastic context. The þjóst- : brjóst- rhyme also occurs in EGils Guðkv 30/2IV and Lil 48/8.

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