Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Lil 66VII

[All]: Cf. Geoffrey of Vinsauf, Poetria nova: Hostis enim primus damnaverat Evam, / Eva secunda virum, vir tertius omne quod ejus / Stirpis erat, stirps quarta Deum, Deus ultimus hostem, / Cui mors ipse fuit ‘So the condemnation justly came to a close with him from whom it began. For the enemy had first condemned Eve; Eve, secondly, condemned her husband; her husband, thirdly, condemned all his offspring; the offspring, fourthly, condemned God; God, last of all condemned the enemy whose cause of death he was’ (Nims 1967, 57-8; Faral 1924, 232; see Foote 1982, 118-9). JH notes that this st. has become garbled in the ms. tradition: none of the scribes appears to have understood it fully. The basic theme is that of the second helmingr of st. 45: the curse laid on humanity by the devil is now turned back on him. Eiríkur Magnússon (1870, 66-7) offers a step-by-step theory of how the text became corrupt. Hill points out that this st. marks a key juncture in the poem, the completion of the Atonement, while st. 67 marks the beginning of a new age. He notes that ‘Christ’s birth is described in st. 33. Thus the poet describes Christ’s life on earth through the completion of the Atonement in a sequence of thirty-three verses, which obviously corresponds to the traditional asumption that Christ lived thirty-three years on earth’ (Hill 1970, 564). The st. is dunhent ‘resounding rhymed’: it exhibits anadiplosis as well as climax or gradatio and polyptoton: see Note on 49/1-4 and cf. st. 55.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Faral, Edmond. 1924. Les Arts Poétiques du XIIe et du XIIIe Siècle. Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes 238. Paris: Champion.
  3. Foote, Peter G. 1982. ‘Latin Rhetoric and Icelandic Poetry: Some Contacts’. Saga och sed, 107-27. Rpt. in Foote 1984a, 249-70.
  4. Nims, Margaret F., trans. 1967. Poetria Nova of Geoffrey of Vinsauf. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies.
  5. Hill, Thomas D. 1970. ‘Number and patterns in Lilja’. JEGP 69, 516-7.


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