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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 13VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 13’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 85-6.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól

text and translation

Létk í ljós fyr gautum
láðs nǫkkurar dáðir
laxa fróns, en leyndak
lǫskum þôtt, sem máttak,
seggja kind at sýndisk,
(setrs) þokka mun betri,
(vísi hár) an værak
(vel kunnum því, sunnu).

Létk nǫkkurar dáðir í ljós fyr {gautum {fróns {laxa láðs}}}, en leyndak lǫskum þôtt sem máttak, at sýndisk {seggja kind} þokka mun betri an værak; vel kunnum því, {hár vísi {setrs sunnu}}.
‘I allowed certain deeds to come to light before the men of the land of the land of the salmon [SEA > GOLD > MEN], but I concealed my weaknesses as best I could, so that I should appear to the race of men [MANKIND] a great deal better than I was; we were [I was] well pleased with that, high king of the seat of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN > = God].

notes and context

[5-8]: There have been several attempts to interpret the second helmingr. This edn follows Finnur Jónsson in Skj B. Finnur emended væri (l. 7) to værak, and construed at sýndisk seggja kind þokka mun betri an værak, which he translated (jeg skulte min efterladenhed, sem jeg kunde,) for at jeg skulde syndes betydelig bedre end jeg var ‘[I covered my negligence as well as I could,] so that I might appear considerably better than I was’. Jón Helgason (1935-6, 255) retained væri (l. 7), taking seggja kind as the subject, translating jeg var fornøyet med at menneskene vilde synes betydelig bedre end de var, himlens høje kong ‘I was pleased that men wanted to appear considerably better than they were, high king of heaven’. Kock (NN §2930), perhaps following Kempff and Sveinbjörn Egilsson, objects to seggja kind as the subject, and interprets the helmingr in much the same way as Finnur does.



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: Gamli kanóki, 2. Harmsól 13: AI, 564, BI, 551, Skald I, 267, NN §§2926, 2930; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 17, Kempff 1867, 4, Rydberg 1907, 22, Jón Helgason 1935-6, 255, Black 1971, 172, Attwood 1996a, 225.


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