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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 5VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 11.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

Sonr sté upp með ynði
auðar mildr frá hauðri,
jǫfra beztr, til œztrar
alls ráðanda hallar.
Lofaðr sitr englum efri
— ǫðlinga hnígr þingat
dǫglings hirð — á dýrðar
dagbóls konungr stóli.

{Sonr {alls ráðanda} mildr auðar}, beztr jǫfra, sté upp með ynði frá hauðri til œztrar hallar. {Lofaðr konungr {dagbóls}} sitr efri englum á stóli dýrðar; {hirð {dǫglings ǫðlinga}} hnígr þingat.

{The son {of the ruler of all} [= God], generous with riches} [= Christ], the best of princes, ascended with joy from earth to the highest hall. {The praised king {of the day-home}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] sits above the angels on the throne of majesty; {the cohort {of the prince of princes}} [= God > THE BLESSED] bows down to him [lit. to there, to it].

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

Readings: [5] englum: ǫllum Bb    [7] dýrðar: so Bb, ‘dyran’ Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 460, Skj BI, 428, Skald I, 211; Flat 1860-8, I, 1, Cederschiöld 1873, 1, Chase 2005, 55, 129-30.

Notes: [5] sitr ‘sits’: The image of Christ seated in majesty was commonly depicted on the east wall of medieval Scandinavian and Icel. churches. — [6] hnígr ‘bows down’: An allusion to the book of Revelation, where the twenty-four elders, the angels, and the blessed are said to fall down before the King of Kings (Rev. IV.10, V.8, VII.11). — [6, 7] dǫglings ǫðlinga ‘of the prince of princes [= God]’: Kennings of this type (‘king of kings’) signify Viking kings in earlier skaldic poetry (see Meissner, 371). Their use as God-kennings in Geisl (cf. dróttinn harra 25/7) and Anon Heildr (hæsta konungr jǫfra ‘the highest king of kings’ 12/3-4) may be either a borrowing from skaldic tradition or an imitation of the biblical variations on the theme (cf. Ezek. XXVI.7; 2 Macc. XIII.4; 1 Tim. VI.15; Rev. I.5, XVII.14, XIX.16). The figure appears frequently in Lat. and OE poetry. — [7] dýrðar (gen. sg.) ‘of majesty’: Bb’s reading, dýrðar ‘honour, majesty’, followed by both Skj B and Skald, gives the construction á stóli dýrðar ‘on the throne of majesty’. The Flat reading, ‘dyran’, is grammatically impossible and metrically difficult.


  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. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  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. Internal references
  10. Not published: do not cite ()
  11. Not published: do not cite (MberfII)
  12. Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Heilags anda drápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 450-67.
  13. Martin Chase 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Einarr Skúlason, Geisli’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 5-65.

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