Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 63VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 63’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 58-9.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

Heðan vas ungr frá angri
— alls mest vini flesta
guð reynir svá sína —
siklingr numinn miklu.
Nú lifir hraustr í hæstri
himna valds, þars aldri,
fárskerðandi fyrða
friðarsýn, gleði týnisk.

Siklingr vas numinn ungr heðan frá miklu angri; guð reynir svá flesta vini sína alls mest. Nú lifir {hraustr fárskerðandi fyrða} í hæstri friðarsýn {valds himna}, þars gleði aldri týnisk.

The king was taken young from here, from great affliction; God tests thus most of his friends very frequently. Now {the valiant misfortune-diminisher of men} [SAINT] lives in the highest vision of peace {of the ruler of the heavens} [= God], where joy never ceases.

Mss: Flat(2va), Bb(118rb)

Readings: [2] vini: so Bb, vinir Bb;    flesta: so Bb, flestir Flat    [5] í: so Bb, af Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 471, Skj BI, 443, Skald I, 218, NN §2055; Flat 1860-8, I, 6-7, Cederschiöld 1873, 9, Chase 2005, 113, 163.

Notes: [7] fárskerðandi ‘misfortune-diminisher’: Cf. harmskerðanda ‘harm-diminisher’, st. 38/4. — [8] friðarsýn ‘vision of peace’: I.e. ‘the Heavenly Jerusalem’. The cpd is a direct translation of Lat. visio pacis, which was believed to be the meaning of the name Jerusalem (Augustinus Hipponensis, Enarrationes in Psalmos, col. 598). This etymology was well known in the Middle Ages and appears frequently in theological writings and in hymns, the most famous being Urbs beata Hierusalem, dicta pacis visio (AH 51, 119; Ordo Nidr., 292-3, 335-6). The image of the martyrs and confessors living in endless heavenly bliss, ultimately derived from Scripture (Rev. VII.13-17, XXI. 3-4, etc.), is a commonplace in hymns for the feasts of saints. Cf. Ník Jóndr 2/3 himna sýnar ‘a vision of the heavens’ and the Icel. Christmas homily:  Méttem ver þa fꜵþor oc sun oc anda helgan i eino velde. oc fagrt eþle yver engla. þar monom ver siá helga friþar sýn þa er vár bíþr meþ sinom trúlegom borgmꜵɴom ‘We will then meet the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in one kingdom. And [it will be] a beautiful homeland above the angels. There we will see the holy vision of peace which awaits us with its faithful citizens’ (HómÍsl 1993, fol. 23v).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873b. ‘Bandamanna saga’. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 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. HómÍsl 1993 = de Leeuw van Weenen, Andrea, ed. 1993. The Icelandic Homily Book: Perg. 15 4° in the Royal Library, Stockholm. Íslensk handrit/Icelandic Manuscripts Series in quarto 3. Reykjavík: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi.
  10. Internal references
  11. Not published: do not cite (RunVI)
  12. Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2007, ‘Níkulás Bergsson, Jónsdrápa postula 2’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 68.

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