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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 8 December 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, 124-5

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

57 — Gamlkan Has 57VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 57’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 124-5.

Heldr dœmðu mik, hǫlða
happvinnandi, þinni
meir af miskunn dýrri,
mætastr, an réttlæti.
Lít ok virð, sem vættik,
valdr blásinna tjalda
hreggs, at hjǫlp of þiggi,
hár, óstyrkðir várar.

{Mætastr happvinnandi hǫlða}, dœmðu mik heldr meir af þinni dýrri miskunn an réttlæti. Lít ok virð óstyrkðir várar, sem vættik, at of þiggi hjǫlp, {hár valdr {blásinna tjalda hreggs}}.

{Most illustrious luck-worker of men} [= God], judge me rather more out of your precious mercy than justice. Consider and evaluate our [my] frailties, which, I expect, may receive help, {high ruler {of the windswept tents of the storm}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God].

Mss: B(13r-v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] happvinnandi þinni: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘h[...]pvin[...]e[...]’ B    [3] meir af miskunn: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘meirr[...]iskunn’ B    [4] mætastr an réttlæti: ‘[...]ętaz[...]ettlęti’ B, ‘mętaz e(n) réttlęti’(?) 399a‑bˣ    [8] hár: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘h[...]r’ B

Editions: Skj: Gamli kanóki, 2. Harmsól 57: AI, 570, BII, 563, Skald I, 273, NN §1213; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 31, Kempff 1867, 17, Rydberg 1907, 30, Black 1971, 282, Attwood 1996a, 236.

Notes: [6-7] valdr blásinna tjalda hreggs ‘ruler of the windswept tents of the storm [SKY/HEAVEN > = God]’: Cf. Geisl 7/5-6, where heaven is described as hríðblásinn salr heiða ‘storm-blown hall of the heaths’. On the frequency of heaven-kennings involving hár and hreggr in C12th drápur, see Notes to 1/1-2 and 45/1-4. — [8] óstyrkðir várar ‘our frailties’: The edn follows Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kempff (1907, 56) in adopting Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s suggestion (note to 444ˣ transcript) that this phrase is the object of Lít ok virð ‘consider and evaluate’ (l. 5). Kock (NN §1213) objects that this sense is rather unlikely, since God’s nature is not to look upon sin, and thereby to destroy it, but rather to avert his eyes from it (cf. Exod. XXXIII.20, Ps. LI.9). Kock therefore takes óstyrkðir várar as part of the at-cl., construing the entire cl. at óstyrkðir várar hjǫlp of þiggi ‘that our frailties may receive help’ as the object of Lít ok virð.

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