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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 4VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 4’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 10.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

Upp rann allrar skepnu
iðvandr á dag þriðja
Kristr með krapti hæstum
kunnr réttlætis sunnu.
Veitk, at mildr frá moldu
meginfjǫlði reis hǫlða
— iflaust má þat efla
ossa vôn — með hônum.

Iðvandr Kristr, kunnr allrar skepnu, rann upp með hæstum krapti sunnu réttlætis á þriðja dag. Veitk, at mildr meginfjǫlði hǫlða reis frá moldu með hônum; iflaust má þat efla ossa vôn.

Carefully-acting Christ, known to all creation, rose up with the utmost strength of the sun of righteousness on the third day. I know that a worthy great assembly of men rose from earth with him; beyond doubt that can strengthen our hope.

Mss: Flat(2ra), Bb(117ra)

Readings: [1] allrar: engla Bb    [2] á: of Bb    [3] með: ræðr Bb    [4] kunnr: kunn Bb;    sunnu: sunna Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 459, Skj BI, 427, Skald I, 211; Flat 1860-8, I, 1, Cederschiöld 1873, 1, Chase 2005, 54, 129.

Notes: [1-4]: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) adopt the five Bb readings engla (l. 1), of (l. 2), ræðr (l. 3), kunn and sunna (l. 4) and construe: Réttlætis sunna, kunn engla skepnu, rann upp of þriðja dag; iðvandr Kristr ræðr hæstum krapti ‘The sun of righteousness, known by the host of angels (kendt af englenes skare), rose up on the third day; Christ, careful in his doings, possesses the greatest power’. This relies on an unlikely gen. construction and a forced understanding of skepna ‘creation, created thing’. In the Flat version, kunnr allrar skepnu ‘known to all creation’ (ll. 1, 4), the gen. is objective. According to Scripture (e.g. Rom. XVI.25-6), the Resurrection made the hidden mystery of Christ’s saving power known to all nations. — [4] sunnu réttlætis ‘the sun of righteousness’: Another kenning-like periphrasis based on Lat. iustitiæ sol oriens ‘the rising sun of righteousness’ (cf. Mal. IV.2) is a name for Christ in the sequence Deus Pater piissime (AH 15, 13), and Jón4 spells out the metaphor when it speaks of sialf rettlætis solin lukt i likam, drottinn vꜳr Jesus Cristus ‘the sun of righteousness itself, our Lord Jesus Christ, enclosed in a human body’ (Jón4 1874, 466). In ON prose the image is usually associated with the Incarnation and Nativity, but the Norw. homily Jn die ſancto paſce ‘On the holy day of Easter’ links it to the rising sun of Easter: At upp-runnínní ſolo ſáo þǽr ængil hia grof. þvi at þa megom vér ſcilia himneſca luti ef ret-lǽtes ſol ſkin í hiortum vaorum ‘At the rising of the sun they saw an angel by the grave, because then we may understand heavenly things if the sun of righteousness shines in our hearts’ (HómNo, 82).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873b. ‘Bandamanna saga’. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. AH = Dreves, G. M., C. Blume and H. M. Bannister, eds. 1886-1922. Analecta hymnica medii aeui. 55 vols. Leipzig: Reisland. Rpt. 1961. New York: Johnson.
  6. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873a. Geisli eða Óláfs Drápa ens Helga er Einarr orti Skúlason: efter ‘Bergsboken’ utgifven. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10. Lund: Berling.
  7. Chase, Martin, ed. 2005. Einarr Skúlason’s Geisli. A Critical Edition. Toronto Old Norse and Icelandic Studies 1. Toronto, Buffalo and London: Toronto University Press.
  8. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  9. HómNo = Indrebø, Gustav. 1931. Gamal norsk homiliebok, Cod. AM 619, 4°. Det norske historiske Kjeldeskrift Fond, Skrifter 54. Oslo: Dybwad. Rpt. 1966. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
  10. Internal references
  11. Not published: do not cite ()

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