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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, 93-4

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

24 — Gamlkan Has 24VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 24’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 93-4.

Hlaut af yðr sem aðrir
auðbrjótr meginskjóta,
láðs, þeirs lǫstum eyða,
líkn, skepjandi ríkis.
Sókndeili* hézt sælu,
sannvíss, paradísar,
— gæf reyndusk þau þjófi
þín heit — friðar veitir.

{Auðbrjótr} hlaut meginskjóta líkn af yðr, {skepjandi {ríkis láðs}}, sem aðrir, þeirs eyða lǫstum. {Sannvíss veitir friðar} hézt {sókndeili*} sælu paradísar; þau heit þín reyndusk þjófi gæf.

{The destroyer of riches} [GENEROUS MAN] received very swift mercy from you, {creator {of the kingdom of the land}} [EARTH > = God (= Christ)], like those others who leave off sins. {Truly certain giver of peace} [= God (= Christ)] you promised {the battle-dealer} [WARRIOR] the bliss of Paradise; those promises of yours proved beneficial to the thief.

Mss: B(12v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] aðrir: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘adr[...]’ B    [3] láðs: ‘ladr’ B    [4] ríkis: ríki B    [5] ‑deili*: ‘‑deilerr’ B;    zt: ‘he[...]’ B, ‘het’ 399a‑bˣ, BFJ, ‘h(æt)’(?) BRydberg

Editions: Skj: Gamli kanóki, 2. Harmsól 24: AI, 565, BI, 555, Skald I, 269; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 20-1, Kempff 1867, 7, Rydberg 1907, 24, Jón Helgason 1935-6, 257, Black 1971, 200, Attwood 1996a, 90-1, 227.

Notes: [3] láðs ‘of the land’: Sveinbjörn Egilsson (note to 444ˣ and 1844, 20 n. 30) suggested emendation to gen. láðs, which has been adopted by all subsequent eds. — [4] ríkis ‘of the kingdom’: In his prose arrangement in 444ˣ Sveinbjörn Egilsson retains B’s reading, ríki, which he takes to be the weak m. nom. sg. form of ríkr ‘powerful’, qualifying skepjandi. Kempff (1867, 37) also adopts this interpretation. There is no other example of the weak form of the adj. in such a vocative expression elsewhere in Has. In MIcel., too, the strong form is invariably used, as, for example, in such expressions as almáttigur guð ‘Almighty God’ or guð minn góður ‘my good God’. This edn therefore follows Finnur Jónsson in taking the ms.’s ‘ríki’ to represent ríki n. ‘kingdom, empire’ and emends to ríkis, governed by skepjandi (l. 4). Although there is not an exact parallel to the resultant earth-kenning láðs ríki (LP: ríki), a similar concept is found in common expressions like himinríki ‘kingdom of heaven’ and in the God-kenning konungr fróns ‘king of earth’ in Líkn 33/1-2, and there is no difficulty in characterising God as the creator (skepjandi) of either heaven or earth. — [5] sókndeili* (dat. sg.) ‘the battle-dealer’: Sveinbjörn Egilsson (note to 444ˣ and 1844, 21 n. 31) first proposed this emendation of B’s sókndeilir, which has been followed by all subsequent eds. — [5] zt ‘you promised’: This edn follows Jón Helgason (1935-6, 257) in taking veitir friðar ‘giver of peace’ as vocative, rather than as the subject of the verb heita, and reconstructs to hézt 2nd pers. sg. pret. of heita ‘to promise’, rather than the 3rd sg. hét. This arrangement makes for a better parallel with the first helmingr, where the appellation – as commonly in Has – is again vocative. — [6] paradísar ‘of paradise’: The first occurrence of this loan word in skaldic poetry (see LP: paradís). — [8] þín heit friðar veitir: A strikingly similar l. – sín heit friðar veitir – occurs at Pl 31/8.

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