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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 21 January 2022)

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

SkP info: VII, 126

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

59 — Gamlkan Has 59VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 59’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 126.

Hlut meguð hvern til gotna,
happkunnig, miskunnar
ramligs bús af ræsi
rǫðuls, Máría, ǫðlask.
Vest ávalt at trausti,
vegstýris, mér dýru,
mild, at missak aldri,
móðir *, yðvars góða.

Happkunnig Máría, meguð ǫðlask hvern hlut af {ræsi {ramligs bús rǫðuls}} til miskunnar gotna. Vest ávalt mér at dýru trausti, {mild móðir * {vegstýris}}, at missak aldri góða yðvars.

Mary, you renowned for good fortune, can obtain everything from {the king {of the strong homestead of the sun}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] for mercy for men. Always be a precious support to me, {gentle mother {of the honour-controller}} [= God (= Christ) > = Mary], so that I may never lose your goodwill.

Mss: B(13v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] hvern: ‘hu[...]n’ B, ‘hu(er)n’(?) 399a‑bˣ    [6] mér: ‘[...]’ B, ‘[...]er’ 399a‑bˣ    [8] móðir *: ‘moder guds’ B;    yðvars: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘ydu[...]’ B

Editions: Skj: Gamli kanóki, 2. Harmsól 59: AI, 571, BI, 563, Skald I, 273; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 32, Kempff 1867, 18, Rydberg 1907, 30, Jón Helgason 1935-36, 262, Black 1971, 287, Attwood 1996a, 236.

Notes: [1] happkunnig ‘renowned for good fortune’: Cf. 57/1-2, where Christ is characterised as happvinnandi hǫlða ‘luck-worker of men’. — [3] ramligs bús af ræsi: A strikingly similar l. occurs in Leið 43/7 ramligt hús, þars reistum. Jón Helgason (1935-6, 262) objects to the Christ-kenning ræsir bús rǫðuls ‘king of the dwelling of the sun’, as rǫðuls bú ‘sun’s dwelling’ is apparently without parallel in the skaldic corpus. Jón suggests that bús be emended to býs, which gives the Christ-kenning ræsir býs rǫðuls ‘king of the farm of the sun’, which occurs again at Líkn 19/3. The ms. reading is certain, and the Líkn kenning could well be an ‘embroidery’ on Has. There seems little justification for adopting Jón’s emendation here. — [8] móðir * yðvars góða: B’s guðs is metrically otiose, and also, as indicated by the prose order above, semantically so. Its inclusion in B is probably best explained as a lapse by the copyist, distracted by the coexistence of the words Máría and móðir into writing the liturgical commonplace móðir guðs ‘mother of God’.

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