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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamli kanóki (Gamlkan)

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

1. Harmsól (Has) - 65

Skj info: Gamli kanóki, Islandsk gejstlig og skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 561-72, BI, 547-65).

Skj poems:
1. Jóansdrápa
2. Harmsól

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 17 May 2022)

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

SkP info: VII, 93

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

23 — Gamlkan Has 23VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 23’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 93.

Yðr nam annarr kveðja
illvirki svá, stillir
hás, þás hræddisk píslir,
hríðar nausts, með trausti:
‘minnsk þú, mildingr sunnu,
mín,’ kvað bauga tínir,
‘þ*itt — ák hag til hættan
heldr — es kemr í veldi.’

Annarr illvirki nam kveðja yðr svá með trausti, þás hræddisk píslir, {stillir {hás nausts hríðar}}: ‘{mildingr sunnu}, minnsk þú mín,’ kvað {tínir bauga}, ‘es kemr í veldi þ*itt: ák heldr til hættan hag.’

The other malefactor began to call on you thus with faith, when he dreaded torments, {ruler {of the high boatshed of the tempest}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]: ‘{prince of the sun} [= God (= Christ)], remember me,’ said {the gatherer of rings} [MAN], ‘when you come into your kingdom: I am in a rather too perilous situation’.

Mss: B(12v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] kveðja: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]edia’ B    [5] mildingr: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘milld[...]r’ B    [7] þ*itt: ‘þrott’ B

Editions: Skj: Gamli kanóki, 2. Harmsól 23: AI, 565, BI, 554, Skald I, 269; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 20, Kempff 1867, 7, Rydberg 1907, 24, Black 1971, 198, Attwood 1996a, 227.

Notes: [2-4] stillir hás nausts hríðar ‘ruler of the high boatshed of the tempest [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)]’: A similar concept – stillir + ‘abode of the storm’ – also lies behind the God-kennings stillir býrskríns ‘regulator of the shrine of the breeze’ in Pl 3/2-3 and hár stillir hreggtjalda ‘high ruler of the storm-tents’ Has 1/1-2. — [6] tínir bauga ‘gatherer of rings’: Possibly an ironic use of a variation on a conventional kenning-type (Meissner, 256), when applied to a thief. Cf. auðbrjótr ‘destroyer of riches’ in 24/2. — [7] þ*itt ‘your’: Sveinbjörn Egilsson (note to 444ˣ transcript and 1844, 20 n. 29) suggests this emendation, which has been adopted by all subsequent eds. B’s reading þrótt m. acc. sg. is undoubtedly caused by the scribe’s eye-skip forward to hring-Þrótt (where Þróttr is a name for Óðinn) in 25/2 (fol. 12v l. 41), influenced by bauga in l. 6.

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