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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 7VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 7’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 12-13.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli

Nú skulum gǫfgan geisla
guðs hallar vér allir,
ítr þanns Óláfr heitir,
alstyrkan vel dyrka.
Þjóð veit hann und heiða
hríðblôsnum sal víða
— menn nemi môl, sem innik,
mín — jartegnum skína.

Nú skulum vér allir dyrka vel {gǫfgan geisla {guðs hallar}}, alstyrkan, þanns heitir ítr Óláfr. Þjóð veit hann skína jartegnum víða und {hríðblôsnum sal heiða}; menn nemi môl mín, sem innik.

Now we all should honour well {the splendid light-beam {of God’s hall}} [HEAVEN > = Óláfr], the all-strong one, who is called glorious Óláfr. People know he shines with miracles widely beneath {the storm-blown hall of heaths} [SKY/HEAVEN]; may men understand my words as I tell them.

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

Editions: Skj AI, 460, Skj BI, 428, Skald I, 211-12; Flat 1860-8, I, 2, Cederschiöld 1873, 2, Chase 2005, 57, 131-2.

Notes: [1] nú skulum ... geisla ‘now we should ... beam’: The skothending depends on hearing the s of skulum together with nu (‘nus-’) to rhyme with geis-, a reminder that skaldic poetry was meant for the ear, not the eye. — [1, 2] gǫfgan geisla guðs hallar ‘the splendid beam of God’s hall [HEAVEN > = Óláfr]’: It is a commonplace in medieval theological and devotional writing to use the symbol of the beam of light from the sun for Christ, the Son proceeding from the Father. The use of the same image for a saint takes the symbol down a notch and emphasises the saint’s typological relationship to (and in theological terms his participation in) Christ. See Notes to st. 1.


  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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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