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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 16VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 16’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 20-1.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

text and translation

Ok hagliga hugðisk
hrøkkviseiðs ins døkkva
lyngs í lopt upp ganga
látrs stríðandi síðan.
Lét, sás landfolks gætir,
líknframr himinríki
umgeypnandi opnask
alls heims fyr gram snjǫllum.

Ok {stríðandi {látrs {ins døkkva hrøkkviseiðs lyngs}}} hugðisk síðan ganga hagliga upp í lopt. {Líknframr umgeypnandi alls heims}, sás gætir landfolks, lét himinríki opnask fyr snjǫllum gram.
‘And the enemy of the lair of the dark coiling fish of the heather [SNAKE > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] thought then that he went easily up into the air. The outstandingly merciful encompasser [lit. holder in hand] of the whole world [= God], who watches over the people of the country, caused the kingdom of heaven to open before the clever king.

notes and context

Lines 5-8 occur in several mss of the Skm section of SnE among examples of kennings for Christ. Snorri comments: ‘Here kennings become ambiguous, and the person interpreting the poetry has to distinguish from the context which king is being referred to. For it is normal to call the emperor of Constantinople king of the Greeks, and similarly the king that rules Palestine, to call him king of Jerusalem ... And the kenning that was quoted above, calling Christ king of men, this kenning can be applied to any king.’ (Faulkes 1987, 127-8; cf. SnE 1998, I, 78). Snorri was aware of Einarr’s use of double entendre to associate Óláfr with Christ.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

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