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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Pét 30VII/8 — anda ‘Spirit’

Útan bækr hefir ítra
öll ritninga vitni;
kann því mætr í máta
megnstærir fólk læra.
Breyzku holdi og hetskum
heims stríðandi fjanda
mettaz saðning sætri,
sanndyggr, heilags anda.

Hefir útan bækr öll vitni ítra ritninga; því kann mætr megnstærir læra fólk í máta. Sanndyggr stríðandi breyzku holdi og hetskum fjanda heims mettaz sætri saðning heilags anda.

He knows by heart [lit. without books] all the testimonies of glorious scriptures; therefore the excellent increaser [APOSTLE] of strength can instruct people properly. The truly worthy fighter against the frail flesh and the malignant enemy of the world [= Devil] is sated with the sweet feast of the Holy Spirit.

notes

[7] mettaz sætri saðning heilags anda ‘is sated with the sweet feast of the Holy Spirit’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends ‘meti at’ to mettar and reads mætter hann ... med den hellige ånds søde føde ‘he satiates ... with the sweet nourishment of the Holy Spirit’. Kock (NN §§1732, 2997C) argues that ms. ‑i is miscopied from an original ‑r, and proposes emendation to metr, which he takes as 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of metja ‘to lap up (food)’, a rare verb usually applied to animals. Finnur’s interpretation is nearer the mark, but the ms. sequence ‘meti at’ is more likely a mistranscription of an original reading mettaz (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. passive refl. of metta / mettaðr, the late weak 2 verb derived from mettr, part. adj.; see CVC: metta; Sigfús Blöndal 1920-4: metta). Miscopying of <t> as <i> is a common scribal error, especially in the sequence ‑tt-, and mistranscription of <z> as <t> is equally commonplace. Miscopying of original mettaz as meti at may have been prompted by the separation of the first four letters of the word from the last two by a l.-division in the copyist’s exemplar. The parallel use of metta / mettr with dat. obj. is paralleled at, e.g., Sturl Hakkv 7/7-8II elris garm eski mettan ‘the hound of the alder [FIRE] sated with ash-wood’; cf. Finnur Jónsson 1926-8, metta: Bósarímur (ed. Jiriczek 1894) VI.6 metta hjarta angri ‘to fill the heart with sorrow’. On endingless ō-stem dat. sg. saðning, see ANG §376. Mettaz is used with saðning ... heilags anda as an alimentary metaphor traditionally applied to the study of scripture (see, e.g., Curtius 1953, 134-6), and ll. 7-8 complete the idea introduced in ll. 1-2: Peter knows the scriptures ‘without books’ because ‘he is sated with the feast of the Holy Spirit’. The satiety that is normally experienced by the student of scripture through reading – rumination on and ‘digestion’ of a text – comes to Peter through the divine gift of the Holy Spirit.

grammar

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