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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 92VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Lilja 92’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 666-7.

Anonymous PoemsLilja
919293

text and translation

Tungusætr ef einnhverr ýta,
orðum hygz í kvæði að skorða
mjúkan dikt að makligleikum,
mín drotning, af heiðri þínum,
því er líkast, sem rasi og reiki
ráðlauss seggr að ýmsum veggjum
fældr og byrgðr, og feti þó hvergi
fúss í burt ór völundarhúsi.

Ef einnhverr ýta, tungusætr, hygz að makligleikum að skorða orðum mjúkan dikt af heiðri þínum í kvæði, mín drotning, er líkast því sem ráðlauss seggr rasi og reiki, fældr og byrgðr, að ýmsum veggjum, og feti hvergi í burt ór völundarhúsi, þó fúss.
 
‘If some man, sweet of tongue, intends fittingly to support with words a supple poem about your honour in verse, my queen, it would be as if a bewildered man should stumble and stagger, panic-stricken and hemmed in, from wall to wall and was not at all able to make his way away out of a labyrinth, although he was eager to.

notes and context

Hallvard Lie (1952, 77-80) reads sts 92-4 (cf. also sts 26, 38, and 64) as a sincere expression of the skald’s frustration with the limitations of traditional skaldic verse-forms, which limit his ability to praise Mary as she deserves. He sees the ‘natural psychological consequence’ of feelings like those expressed in this st. as a move towards a ‘more ethical’ form of poetry, which expresses only what is essential. But this is more likely a conventional use of the topic of inexpressibility (Curtius 1953, 159-62).

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 92: AII, 392, BII, 414, Skald II, 227.

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