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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 1VII

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

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

text and translation

Eins má óð ok bœnir
— alls ráðanda ins snjalla
vels fróðr, sás getr góða —
guðs þrenning mér kenna.
Gǫfugt ljós boðar geisli
gunnǫflugr miskunnar
— ágætan býðk ítrum
Óláfi brag — sólar,

Þrenning eins guðs má kenna mér óð ok bœnir; vels fróðr, sás getr góða {ins snjalla ráðanda alls}. {Gunnǫflugr geisli {sólar miskunnar}} boðar gǫfugt ljós — býðk ágætan brag ítrum Óláfi
‘The Trinity of one God can teach me poetry and prayers; he is indeed wise who gets the goodwill of the eloquent ruler of all [= God]. The battle-strong beam of the sun of mercy [= God > = Christ/Óláfr] proclaims a splendid light — I offer the excellent poem to glorious Óláfr —,

notes and context

Lines 1-4 of st. 1 are cited by Óláfr Þórðarson in TGT (c. 1250) in illustration of the rhetorical figure of parenthesis, which Óláfr defines as ‘the interruption of a sentence by an interpolated clause’ and (referring to Einarr’s st.) ‘here a second clause is interpolated and brought to a conclusion, before the first clause is ended’. He says that this figure always occurs in the verse-type that ‘we’ call stælt ‘inlaid’ or álagsháttr ‘extension form’, both terms Snorri Sturluson employs in Ht (SnE 1999, 10 and 16).

In the reading of sts 1-2 offered here, st. 2 is syntactically in apposition to sólar (gen. sg.) ‘of the sun’ of 1/8, and the two sts (to 2/4) thus constitute a single complex sentence interspersed with intercalary clauses.



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.

editions and texts

Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 6. Geisli 1: AI, 459, BI, 427, Skald I, 211, NN §924; Flat 1860-8, I, 1, Cederschiöld 1873, 1, Chase 2005, 51, 123-5; TGT 1884-6, I, 112-13, TGT 1998, 228-9.


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