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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Jónsdrápa — Gamlkan JóndrVII

Gamli kanóki

Beatrice La Farge 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Gamli kanóki, Jónsdrápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 133-6.


Tígnar frák þik upphaf eignask
— eigi mistir blezan Kristi —
ráðeflandi, risnu prúðan,
rekka liðs, af flærðar hnekki,
sólar ranns at siklingr unni
seima brjót* í þessum heimi
mærðar kœnn, ok móður sinni
mætra lífs, an aðrir gæti.
‘Counsel-provider of the troop of men [MANKIND > APOSTLE], I have heard that you, splendid in munificence, acquired for yourself elevation in honour from the suppressor of falsehood [= God (= Christ)] — you did not go without the blessing of Christ — that the famous lord of the hall of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] granted to the breaker of gold wires [GENEROUS MAN] and to his own mother a more worthy life in this world than others were able to obtain.
Brigð kómu þess brátt, es hugði
bǫlfyldr konungr verða skyldu,
harðla fljótt, þvít huggan veitti
hreggskríns jǫfurr frænda sínum.
Alla náði eirar stillis
ítr postoli dýrð at líta,
humra nausts þás hǫfðu flestir
hreina þollar fréttir einar.
‘Changes came about abruptly in that which the baleful king thought should happen, for the lord of the storm-shrine [HEAVEN > = God] granted comfort to his relative very quickly. The noble Apostle was able to see all the glory of the disposer of mercy [= God], of which most fir-trees of the reindeer of the boat-house of lobsters [SEA > SHIP > SEAFARERS] have only reports.
Systrungr hefr nú alt, þats æstir
ýta hilmis giptu flýti,
sólar vangs með sjǫlfum deili
synðalauss í fullu ynði.
Dróttinn valði drengja sætti
dyggra líf, an menn of hyggi,
— alla hlaut af engla stilli
Jón postoli dýrð — ok kosti.
‘The cousin of the protector of men [RULER = God (= Christ) > = John] has now all that he asks of the conveyor of grace [= God (= Christ)], sinless in perfect joy with the ruler of the meadow of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] himself; the Lord chose for the reconciler of valiant men [HOLY MAN = John] a more virtuous life and circumstances than men can imagine; John the Apostle was allotted all glory by the ruler of the angels [= God].
Hǫrðu lát mik hverju firðan,
hreinlífr faðir dróttar, meini,
— síðan mætti ór of eyðask
andar sôr — þvís ljónum grandar.
Flotna, vildak frá þér aldri,
ferðgeymandi, skiliðr verða;
uggr es mér, hvárt þá mák þiggja
þessa gipt, es heimar skiptask.
‘Pure-living Father of the host [= God], let me be removed from every hard evil which injures men; may our wounds of the soul [SINS] then be wiped out. Guardian of the troop of mariners [MANKIND > = God], I would wish never to be parted from you; I am anxious whether I shall be able to receive this grace at the time when worlds are exchanged.

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