Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Lil 27VII/5 — anda ‘Spirit’

Leið sigrandi páfugls prýði
pentað innan firmamentum
Gabriél sem geisli sólar
gleðiligur í loft in neðri.
Sendiboði kom sjaufalds anda
— svá er greinanda — að húsi einu;
sannr meydómrinn sat þar inni
sjálft hreinlífið gimsteinn vífa.

Gabriél, sigrandi páfugls prýði, leið sem gleðiligur geisli sólar innan pentað firmamentum í in neðri loft. Sendiboði sjaufalds anda kom að einu húsi; þar inni sat sannr meydómrinn, hreinlífið sjálft, gimsteinn vífa; svá er greinanda.

Gabriel, excelling the peacock’s beauty, moved like a joyful ray of the sun through the ornamented firmament into the lower air. The messenger of the sevenfold Spirit [ANGEL = Gabriel] came to a house; therein sat the true maidenhood, purity itself, the jewel of women; so it is to be told.


[5] sjaufalds anda ‘of the sevenfold Spirit’: Translates Lat. septiformis spiritus, a commonplace in liturgical and theological texts from the earliest days of Christianity. The image has its roots in Isa. XI.2-3: et requiescet super eum spiritus Domini spiritus sapientiae et intellectus spiritus consilii et fortitudinis spiritus scientiae et pietatis et replebit eum spiritus timoris Domini ‘And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord’. Cf. 80/5-6: Send mier hingat sanna gift sjaufalds anda ‘send to me here the true gift of the sevenfold Spirit’. The phrase occurs twice (on the same page) in HómÍsl: biþia os ſva ſiꜹfaldrar giftar enſ helga anda ‘we pray for the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit’ (HómÍsl 1993, 49v). The image of a sevenfold spirit is strange, but it is by no means uncommon in medieval texts, e.g. the famous hymn Veni Creator Spiritus: Tu, septiformis munere... ‘You, sevenfold with gift...’ (AH 2, 93; Brev. Nidr, P.viiv).




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