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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Andr 3VII

Ian McDougall (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Andréasdrápa 3’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 848-9.

Anonymous PoemsAndréasdrápa

Skært ljós skugglaus birti
skein yfir krossin hreina,
þá er Andréas endi
aldr, með drottins valdi.
Sá hann guð sjálfr í dauða
sier bjóðandi þjóða
prýðir faðminn fríða;
frægð slík himinríkis.

Skært ljós skugglaus birti skein yfir hreina krossin með drottins valdi, þá er Andréas endi aldr. Hann sjálfr {prýðir þjóða} sá í dauða guð bjóðandi sier fríða faðminn; slík frægð himinríkis.

A clear light, a shadowless brightness, shone over the pure cross through the Lord’s power, when Andrew ended his life. He himself, {the adorner of nations} [HOLY MAN], saw in death God offering him his fair embrace; such [is] the fame of the heavenly kingdom.

Mss: 194 8°(36v), 669cˣ(1r-v)

Editions: Skj AII, 508, Skj BII, 558, Skald II, 306; NN §1757; Konráð Gíslason 1860, 558.

Notes: [1] skært ljós ... þá er Andréas endi aldr ‘a clear light ... when Andrew ended his life’: Cf. Passio Sancti Andreae 14 (Bonnet 1898, 33/3-4/3): Et cum haec dixisset, uidentibus cunctis splendor nimius sicut fulgor de caelo ueniens ita circumdedit eum ut penitus prae ipso splendore oculi eum non possent humani aspicere. cumque permansisset splendor fere dimidiae horae spatio, abscedente lumine emisit spiritum, simul cum ipso lumine pergens ad dominum ‘And when he had spoken these things, while all looked on, an intense brightness like lightning coming from heaven surrounded him in such a way that, on account of that same brightness, human eyes were completely unable to look at him. And when the brightness had remained for about half an hour, after the light had departed, he sent forth his spirit, proceeding to the Lord together with that same light’. Cf. Andr1Frg656 348/28-32: þa sa allir lios mikit koma, sva sem ellding væri, af himni yfir krossinn, þat var sva biart, at engi matti i gegn sia. Enn er liosit hafði verit halfa stund dags, þa andaðiz postulinn, ok for hann með þvi liosi til guðs ‘Then all saw a great light, as if it were lightning, come from heaven over the cross, which was so bright that no one could look at it. And when the light had lasted for half an hour of the day, the Apostle died, and he went with that light to God’. Cf. Andr2A 381/13-19; Andr SÁM 1 400/10-13; Andr4 411/29-32. — [5, 6, 7] hann sjálfr prýðir þjóða ‘he himself adorner of nations’: Kock (NN §1757) would read sjálfr as an indeclinable form modifying the m. acc. sg. noun guð, i.e. as a late equivalent of guð sjálfan. He would likewise read prýðir þjóða as a kenning for God, rather than Andrew, again interpreting the form as acc., which would require further emendation of prýðir to prýði. Kock suggests, further, that frægð is the direct object of bjóðandi in the cl.: sá hann guð sjálfr bjóðandi frægð slík, a late equivalent of sá hann guð sjálfan bjóðanda frægð slíka. Kock’s arguments are not entirely convincing, since he fails to take account of the clear parallelism with st. 1. The epithet prýðir þjóða ‘adorner of nations’ seems appropriate for Andrew, described in st. 1/4 as bjóðandi frið þjóðum ‘offering peace to nations’ (perhaps specifically ‘heathen nations’) (see Fritzner: þjóð 4), a possible allusion to Andrew’s life as a missionary. — [6-7] bjóðandi sier fríða faðminn ‘offering him his fair embrace’: There appears to be a deliberate parallelism here with the description in st. 1/1-3 of Andrew’s eager advance to the hæsta faðminn ‘highest embrace’ of God’s love. As the ultimate reward for ‘offering peace to nations’ (bjóðandi frið þjóðum 1/4), the Apostle is himself ‘offer[ed] [God’s] fair embrace’ (3/5-7). — [6] bjóðandi ‘offering’: Here m. acc. sg. in -i; see, e.g. ANG §435, Anm. 1.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  5. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  6. Andr SÁM 1 = Andréss saga postula. In Unger 1874, 3899-4047.

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