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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 23 January 2022)

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

SkP info: VII, 99

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

30 — Gamlkan Has 30VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 30’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 99.

Ítr lofar engla sveitar
allr herr salar fjalla
víst með vegsemð hæstri
vǫrð* ok menn á jǫrðu.
Ern skóp hauðr ok hlýrni
heims valdr sem kyn beima;
ǫrrs ok ǫllu dýrri
élsetrs konungr betri.

Allr ítr herr sveitar engla ok menn á jǫrðu lofar víst {vǫrð* {salar fjalla}} með hæstri vegsemð. {Ern valdr heims} skóp hauðr ok hlýrni sem {kyn beima}; {ǫrr konungr {élsetrs}} [e]s ǫllu betri ok dýrri.

All the glorious host of the company of angels and men on earth certainly praise {the guardian {of the hall of the mountains}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] with the highest honour. {The powerful ruler of the world} [= God] created earth and heaven as well as {the kinsfolk of men} [MANKIND]; {the generous king {of the storm-seat}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] is better and more precious than everything.

Mss: B(12v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [4] vǫrð*: ‘vo᷎rðr’ B    [5-8] abbrev. as ‘Ern skop haudr ok hlýr[…]’ B

Editions: Skj: Gamli kanóki, 2. Harmsól 30: AI, 566, BI, 556, Skald I, 269, NN §2926; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 22-3, Kempff 1867, 9, Rydberg 1907, 25, Black 1971, 216, Attwood 1996a, 229.

Notes: [1-4]: Kock (NN §2926) follows Jón Helgason (1935-6, 252) in construing allr herr salar fjalla lofar vǫrð sveitar engla ‘all the host of the hall of the mountains [SKY/HEAVEN > ANGELS] praises the guardian of the company of angels [= God]’. This edn follows Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) in taking vǫrðr salar fjalla, which is reminiscent of harri salar fjalla ‘lord of the hall of the mountains’ in Leið 1/2, to be the God-kenning here. The sentiment of this helmingr recalls that of the first stef in Leið, and it seems reasonable to assume some influence here, though it is impossible to say which of the two poems is the senior. — [1] lofar ‘praise’: Lit. ‘praises’. The 444ˣ copyist suggests this normalisation from B’s ‘lofuar’, which has been adopted by all eds. Note that the verb is sg. but the subject pl. (cf. NS §70). — [2] salar fjalla ‘(of the) hall of the mountains [SKY/HEAVEN]’: In addition to Leið 1/2 (see previous Note), the identical heaven-kenning occurs in a lv. in Gunnl (GunnlI Lv 8/2V [Gunnl 13]) and in a couplet from Hallv Knútdr 8/2III. — [4] vǫrð* ‘warden, guardian’: Sveinbjörn Egilsson (n. to 444ˣ transcription and 1844, 23) corrects to vǫrð, which has been accepted by all eds. — [5-8] ern skóp … konungr betri: The first l. of the stef is written out. Repetition of the stef (from st. 20) is indicated by a marginal obelos.

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