Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Líkn 15VII/3 — vörðr ‘guardian’

Þoldi halshögg hölda
hildingr með spýtingum;
vörðr hlaut fróns af fyrðum
flest skaup ok kinnhesta.
Hann bar hneyxl af mönnum
hverja lund ok stundir
— píndr var hann berr ok bundinn
barðr — viðfarar harðar.

Hildingr hölda þoldi halshögg með spýtingum; fróns vörðr hlaut af fyrðum flest skaup ok kinnhesta. Hann bar hneyxl hverja lund af mönnum ok harðar stundir viðfarar; berr var hann píndr ok barðr, bundinn.

The king of men [RULER = Christ] endured neck-blows along with spittings; earth’s guardian [RULER = Christ] received from men extreme mockery and slaps. He bore disgrace in every way from men and hard hours of mistreatment; bare, he was tortured and bound, beaten.


[3] fróns vörðr ‘earth’s guardian [RULER = Christ]’: Elsewhere kennings employing vörðr ‘guardian’ as base-word and some form of ‘land’ or ‘earth’ as determinant (e.g. vörðr foldar ‘guardian of the earth’, vörðr grundar ‘guardian of the plain’, landvörðr ‘land-guardian’, láðvörðr ‘land-guardian’) refer only to earthly kings. On the need for context to determine whether such a kenning refers to Christ or an earthly king, see Snorri Sturluson’s discussion in Skm (SnE 1998 1, 78). Typically when vörðr is used in a God-kenning it is combined with ‘heaven’ or a heaven-kenning, as in Geisl 19/3, Leið 10/1, Has 30/4. The poet uses the latter in 29/3-4 (vörðr sólar slóðar ‘guardian of the sun’s track [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]’). The poet’s choice of two kennings for ruler in this st. is probably intended to point up a contrast between the true status of Christ and his humiliation during the Flagellation. His humanity is underscored by the omission of kenning ornament in the second helmingr and by the repetition of the plain pron. hann, which is, however, unmetrical in l. 7. Stylistically the helmingr, like Christ at the Flagellation, is ‘bare’.



case: nom.


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