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Runic Dictionary

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Gamli kanóki (Gamlkan)

12th century; volume 7; ed. Katrina Attwood;

1. Harmsól (Has) - 65

Gamli kanóki ‘canon Gamli’ (where the name Gamli, ‘the old one’ may itself be a nickname) is best known as the author of the poem Harmsól ‘Sun of Sorrow’, which is explicitly ascribed to him in a marginal note at the beginning of the poem on fol. 12r, l. 42 of the sole surviving ms., AM 757 a 4° (B): Harmsol er gamle orti kanokeHarmsól, which canon Gamli composed’. Gamli is also mentioned by name in Jóns saga postula (Jón4), where the author of the prose text prefaces the quotation of four sts from Gamli’s Jónsdrápa with the information: Annan mann til óðgirðar signaðum Johanni nefnum vér Gamla kanunk austr í Þykkvabœ, hann orti drápu dyrligum Johanni ‘As the second man to have composed a poem to blessed John we [I] name canon Gamli in the east at Þykkvabœr, he composed a drápa to S. John’ (Jón4 1874, 510). In a remark before the fourth st. Gamli is referred to as bróðir Gamli ‘Brother Gamli’ (Jón4 1874, 511). Þykkvabœr was an Augustinian monastery in south-eastern Iceland founded in 1168; Gamli was thus an Augustinian canon (or canon regular) of this community. His floruit can be inferred from the date of the foundation of Þykkvabœr as being in the mid- to late C12th.

file 2006-12-15 - Gamli kanoki w. MCR corrections

Harmsól (‘Sun of Sorrow’) — Gamlkan HasVII

Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘ Gamli kanóki, Harmsól’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 70-132. <> (accessed 30 November 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51   52   53   54   55   56   57   58   59   60   61   62   63   64   65 

Skj: Gamli kanóki: 2. Harmsól, „er gamle orti kanoke“ (AI, 562-72, BI, 548-65)

SkP info: VII, 89

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

18 — Gamlkan Has 18VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 18’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 89.

Ítr, lýstir þú ástar,
élserkjar gramr, merki
láðs við lyptimeiða
linns í hérvist þinni.
Guð, rétt guðdóm yðvarn
(glatask mein af því) hreinan
(hǫlða liðs) at hylja,
hár, manndómi vôrum.

{Ítr gramr {élserkjar}}, þú lýstir merki ástar við {lyptimeiða {láðs linns}} í hérvist þinni. Hár guð, rétt at hylja yðvarn hreinan guðdóm manndómi vôrum; {mein liðs hǫlða} glatask af því.

{Glorious prince {of the storm-shirt}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)], you showed a sign of your love towards {the lifting-poles {of the land of the serpent}} [GOLD > MEN] in your sojourn here. Exalted God, you decided to cover your pure divinity with our humanity; {the harm of the race of men} [SIN] is destroyed by that.

Mss: B(12v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [3] við: til 399a‑bˣ    [6] hreinan: hreina B

Editions: Skj: Gamli kanóki, 2. Harmsól 18: AI, 564, BI, 553, Skald I, 268; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 18-19, Kempff 1867, 6, Nj 1875-8, II, 256, Rydberg 1907, 23, Black 1971, 186, Attwood 1996a, 226.

Notes: [2] élserkjar ‘of the storm-shirt’: Gamli’s choice of serkr (m.) ‘shirt’ as the base-word of this hap. leg. heaven-kenning is particularly appropriate in a st. which concentrates on Christ’s clothing (hylja, l. 7) his godhead in humanity. — [3] láðs við lyptimeiða: Cf. Leið 4/3: láðs fyr lyptimeiðum. The identical man-kenning, lyptimeiðar láðs linns, also occurs in Leið 4/2-3. — [3] við ‘towards’: B’s reading, understanding lyptimeiða as acc. pl. Both Skj B and Skald choose 399a-bˣ’s til, understanding lyptimeiða as gen. pl. — [6] hreinan ‘pure’: Konráð Gíslason (and Eiríkur Jónsson 1875-89, II, 256) suggested emendation to hreinan (acc.), which has been adopted by all eds.

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