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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 29 June 2022)

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, 131-2

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

65 — Gamlkan Has 65VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 65’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 131-2.

Án lát engan þína,
angrlestandi, mesta
mann — deilir þat máli
miskunn, jǫfurr sunnu.
Vǫrðr, laða skatna skírða,
skýtjalds, saman alla,
ítr, þars aldri þrjóti
unaðsgnótt ok frið, dróttinn.—


Let no man [be] without your very great mercy, {sorrow-injuring prince of the sun}; [= God (= Christ)] that is of prime importance. Glorious Lord, {warden {of the cloud-tent}}, [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] invite together all baptised men, to where an abundance of happiness and peace will never end.

notes: [2-3]: Jón Helgason (1935-6, 262) expands B’s ‘mn’ (l. 3) to menn (acc. pl.) and assumes the intercalated phrase to be þat deilir menn mestu máli, taking þat deilir máli to mean ‘that settles the case, is of importance’. This requires emendation of the ms.’s mesta to mestu ‘great’, to agree with máli dat. sg. Although the intercalated phrase often encompasses the third l. of a helmingr in its entirety (as at 8/3, 17/3, 22/3 and 35/3), it does not always do so (cf., e.g., 61/3). The ms. reading mesta may be preserved here by taking it as qualifying miskunn ‘mercy’ (l. 4) and, in agreement with Sveinbjörn Egilsson, Finnur Jónsson and Black, expanding ‘mn’ to mann, and construing this as part of the main cl.

editions: Skj Gamli kanóki: 2. Harmsól 65 (AI, 572; BI, 565); Skald I, 274; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 34, Kempff 1867, 20, Konráð Gíslason 1897, 253-4, Rydberg 1907, 32, Jón Helgason 1935-6, 262, Black 1971, 301, Attwood 1996a, 238.


AM 757 a 4° (B) 13v, 16 - 13v, 18  transcr.  image  image  image  image  
Lbs 444 4°x (444x) -  
JS 399 a-b 4°x (399a-bx) -  
AM 757 a 4° (BRydberg) -  
AM 757 a 4° (BFJ) -  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated