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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 61VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 61’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 632-3.

Anonymous PoemsLilja
606162

text and translation

Öll helvítis járnhlið skjálfa;
undraz myrkr, er ljós er styrkra;
hlaupa fjandr og ætla undan;
ódæmin þeir sögðu að kæmi.
Hræzlan flaug um heljar bygðir;
helga menn, er fjötrar spenna,
hlaut óvinrinn laust að láta
lamdr og meiddr, er valdið beiddi.

Öll járnhlið helvítis skjálfa; myrkr undraz, er ljós er styrkra; fjandr hlaupa og ætla undan; þeir sögðu, að ódæmin kæmi. Hræzlan flaug um bygðir heljar; óvinrinn, lamdr og meiddr, hlaut að láta laust helga menn, er fjötrar spenna, er valdið beiddi.
 
‘All the iron gates of hell shake; darkness is amazed that light is stronger; devils leap and think to flee; they said that the unthinkable had come to pass. Terror flew through the abodes of hell; the enemy, lamed and injured, was obliged to let loose holy men whom fetters clasp, when might commanded.

notes and context

Cf. the account of the Harrowing of Hell in Niðrst1, 4-6: þeir Satan rødoz viþ, at þeir heyra, er englar helger colloþo sva hat, at dynia þoti umb alt, oc melto sva: ‘Tollite portas, principes, vestras et elevamini porte eternales, et introibit rex glorie.’ Þa melto helvitis buar viþ Satan: ‘Far a braut nu or sætum varom; ef þu mat, þa berstu nu hart viþ dyrðar konongen. Ecki villdom ver viþ hann eiga’... Þa melte David...‘Lioter oc saurger, latet up hliþen, at rex glorie of comesc hingat’... Þa er David hafði þetta melt, þa kom konongr dyrþar at helvitis virki, hann braut þegar borg helvitis oc gørþ a hliþ miket. Hann havir vitraz i mannz asiono meþ liose miclo, svat myrcr helvites hafa þa horfit. Hverr goðr maðr hevir þa losnat or þvi bandi, sem bundinn var. Sva micell craptr oc gnyr hevir at gørzc viþ þat, er sva sciot reð (hann) um brotet helvite, at dioflar allir toco at falma oc at scialva ‘Satan and his companions talked with each other, saying that they heard holy angels call out so loudly, that it seemed to thunder everywhere, and they said: “Lift up your gates, princes, and let your eternal gates be raised, and the king of glory will come in”. Then the inhabitants of hell said to Satan: “Go away now from our homes; if you can, you should now fight hard against the king of glory. We do not want anything to do with him”... Then David said ... “Ugly and unclean ones, let the gates be opened up, so that the king of glory can come here” ... When David had said this, the king of glory came to the ramparts of hell, he broke the fortification of hell at once and made a big hole in it. He had revealed himself in the appearance of a man with great light, so that the darkness of hell had then retreated. Every good man had then been released from the bond with which he was bound. Such great force and such a din was created when he rode so quickly through the destroyed hell, that all the devils started to tremble and shake with fear’.

readings

sources

Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, Lilja 61: AII, 382-3, BII, 406, Skald II, 222.

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