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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 14VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 14’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 86-7.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól
131415

Hendak ‘I seized’

henda (verb): catch, seize

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Hlakkar ‘of Hlǫkk’s’

2. Hlǫkk (noun f.): Hlǫkk

kennings

meiðum Hlakkar borðs,
‘trees of Hlǫkk’s board, ’
   = WARRIORS

Hlǫkk’s board, → SHIELD
trees of the SHIELD → WARRIORS
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Hlakkar ‘of Hlǫkk’s’

2. Hlǫkk (noun f.): Hlǫkk

kennings

meiðum Hlakkar borðs,
‘trees of Hlǫkk’s board, ’
   = WARRIORS

Hlǫkk’s board, → SHIELD
trees of the SHIELD → WARRIORS
Close

borðs ‘board’

borð (noun n.; °-s; -): side, plank, board; table

kennings

meiðum Hlakkar borðs,
‘trees of Hlǫkk’s board, ’
   = WARRIORS

Hlǫkk’s board, → SHIELD
trees of the SHIELD → WARRIORS
Close

borðs ‘board’

borð (noun n.; °-s; -): side, plank, board; table

kennings

meiðum Hlakkar borðs,
‘trees of Hlǫkk’s board, ’
   = WARRIORS

Hlǫkk’s board, → SHIELD
trees of the SHIELD → WARRIORS
Close

þorðak ‘I dared’

þora (verb): dare

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meiðum ‘trees’

meiðr (noun m.): beam, tree

kennings

meiðum Hlakkar borðs,
‘trees of Hlǫkk’s board, ’
   = WARRIORS

Hlǫkk’s board, → SHIELD
trees of the SHIELD → WARRIORS
Close

minn ‘my’

minn (pron.; °f. mín, n. mitt): my

kennings

lífgjafi minn.
‘my life-giver. ’
   = God

my life-giver. → God
Close

líf ‘life’

líf (noun n.; °-s; -): life < lífgjafi (noun m.): life-giver

kennings

lífgjafi minn.
‘my life-giver. ’
   = God

my life-giver. → God
Close

gjafi ‘giver’

gjafi (noun m.): giver < lífgjafi (noun m.): life-giver

kennings

lífgjafi minn.
‘my life-giver. ’
   = God

my life-giver. → God
Close

óttuðumk ‘I feared’

2. ótta (verb): fear

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yðra* ‘your’

þú (pron.; °gen. þín, dat. þér, acc. þik): you

[5] yðra*: ‘ydrar’ B

notes

[5] yðra* ‘your’: Sveinbjörn Egilsson (note to 444ˣ transcript) suggests emendation of B’s ‘ydrar’ to yðra, which has been accepted by all subsequent eds.

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gramr ‘king’

1. gramr (noun m.): ruler

kennings

gramr tjalda hyrjar heiðs;
‘king of the tents of the fire of the clear sky; ’
   = God

the fire of the clear sky; → SUN
the tents of the SUN → SKY/HEAVEN
king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

tjalda ‘of the tents’

tjald (noun n.; °-s; *-): tent, awning

kennings

gramr tjalda hyrjar heiðs;
‘king of the tents of the fire of the clear sky; ’
   = God

the fire of the clear sky; → SUN
the tents of the SUN → SKY/HEAVEN
king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

tjalda ‘of the tents’

tjald (noun n.; °-s; *-): tent, awning

kennings

gramr tjalda hyrjar heiðs;
‘king of the tents of the fire of the clear sky; ’
   = God

the fire of the clear sky; → SUN
the tents of the SUN → SKY/HEAVEN
king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

því ‘in that regard’

því (adv.): therefore, because

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hag ‘a fair’

1. hagr (noun m.; °-s; -ir): situation, condition < hagskiptr (adj./verb p.p.)

[7] hagskipt: ‘h[...]g[...]ppt’ B, ‘hagṣḷẹppt’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘hag s(l)[...]pt’(?) BRydberg, ‘hagsleppt’ BFJ

notes

[7] hagskipt ‘a fair exchange’: B is very badly worn, and only ‘h[...]g[…]ppt’ can now be read with certainty. Although Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) does not indicate any uncertainty about his reading, previous transcribers of B are uncertain as to precisely what remains (see Readings). Skj B follows Sveinbjörn Egilsson and Kempff in reconstructing hagslept, from hagsleppr, adj. There are, however, some difficulties in assigning a meaning to hagsleppr here. Sveinbjörn (LP (1860)) suggests two possibilities: the first interprets hagsleppr as a cpd of hagr ‘state, condition’ and an adj. derived from the verb sleppa ‘to slip, miss, escape’. The n. form hagslept is glossed as amissio commodi ‘loss of advantage, profit’. The cl. því vasa hagslept would then mean ‘for that reason there was no loss of advantage’. For this to make sense in context, it would surely have to be understood ironically. Sveinbjörn’s second suggestion is that the adj. means ‘easily thrown away, abandoned’, with the sense that Gamli is declaring that he could not easily abandon his godless ways. In Skj B, Finnur Jónsson translates det kunde jeg ikke let holde op med ‘I could not easily stop that’, while LP: hagsleppr, gesturing towards hagr ‘advantage’, suggests det kunde jeg ikke med fordel slippe ‘I could not escape that with advantage’. Although this is a possible interpretation, it does seem, as Jón Helgason (1935-6, 255) contends, to be the opposite of Gamli’s intention here, since the sinner’s neglect of God’s anger in favour of men’s approval can only be to his advantage, at least in the short term. Jón therefore reconstructs hagskipt, which he derives from hagskipti ‘a fair or advantageous exchange’. Jón’s interpretation, which is followed by Kock (NN §2926), Black (1971, 176) and here, implies that the poet’s exchanging his concern for God’s wrath for a greater concern for men’s approval is not profitable for his soul.

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skipt ‘exchange’

1. skipt (noun f.): [exchange] < hagskiptr (adj./verb p.p.)

[7] hagskipt: ‘h[...]g[...]ppt’ B, ‘hagṣḷẹppt’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘hag s(l)[...]pt’(?) BRydberg, ‘hagsleppt’ BFJ

notes

[7] hagskipt ‘a fair exchange’: B is very badly worn, and only ‘h[...]g[…]ppt’ can now be read with certainty. Although Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) does not indicate any uncertainty about his reading, previous transcribers of B are uncertain as to precisely what remains (see Readings). Skj B follows Sveinbjörn Egilsson and Kempff in reconstructing hagslept, from hagsleppr, adj. There are, however, some difficulties in assigning a meaning to hagsleppr here. Sveinbjörn (LP (1860)) suggests two possibilities: the first interprets hagsleppr as a cpd of hagr ‘state, condition’ and an adj. derived from the verb sleppa ‘to slip, miss, escape’. The n. form hagslept is glossed as amissio commodi ‘loss of advantage, profit’. The cl. því vasa hagslept would then mean ‘for that reason there was no loss of advantage’. For this to make sense in context, it would surely have to be understood ironically. Sveinbjörn’s second suggestion is that the adj. means ‘easily thrown away, abandoned’, with the sense that Gamli is declaring that he could not easily abandon his godless ways. In Skj B, Finnur Jónsson translates det kunde jeg ikke let holde op med ‘I could not easily stop that’, while LP: hagsleppr, gesturing towards hagr ‘advantage’, suggests det kunde jeg ikke med fordel slippe ‘I could not escape that with advantage’. Although this is a possible interpretation, it does seem, as Jón Helgason (1935-6, 255) contends, to be the opposite of Gamli’s intention here, since the sinner’s neglect of God’s anger in favour of men’s approval can only be to his advantage, at least in the short term. Jón therefore reconstructs hagskipt, which he derives from hagskipti ‘a fair or advantageous exchange’. Jón’s interpretation, which is followed by Kock (NN §2926), Black (1971, 176) and here, implies that the poet’s exchanging his concern for God’s wrath for a greater concern for men’s approval is not profitable for his soul.

Close

hyrjar ‘of the fire’

hyrr (noun m.): fire

kennings

gramr tjalda hyrjar heiðs;
‘king of the tents of the fire of the clear sky; ’
   = God

the fire of the clear sky; → SUN
the tents of the SUN → SKY/HEAVEN
king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

hyrjar ‘of the fire’

hyrr (noun m.): fire

kennings

gramr tjalda hyrjar heiðs;
‘king of the tents of the fire of the clear sky; ’
   = God

the fire of the clear sky; → SUN
the tents of the SUN → SKY/HEAVEN
king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

hyrjar ‘of the fire’

hyrr (noun m.): fire

kennings

gramr tjalda hyrjar heiðs;
‘king of the tents of the fire of the clear sky; ’
   = God

the fire of the clear sky; → SUN
the tents of the SUN → SKY/HEAVEN
king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

heiðs ‘of the clear sky’

2. heið (noun n.; °; -): clear sky

kennings

gramr tjalda hyrjar heiðs;
‘king of the tents of the fire of the clear sky; ’
   = God

the fire of the clear sky; → SUN
the tents of the SUN → SKY/HEAVEN
king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

heiðs ‘of the clear sky’

2. heið (noun n.; °; -): clear sky

kennings

gramr tjalda hyrjar heiðs;
‘king of the tents of the fire of the clear sky; ’
   = God

the fire of the clear sky; → SUN
the tents of the SUN → SKY/HEAVEN
king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

heiðs ‘of the clear sky’

2. heið (noun n.; °; -): clear sky

kennings

gramr tjalda hyrjar heiðs;
‘king of the tents of the fire of the clear sky; ’
   = God

the fire of the clear sky; → SUN
the tents of the SUN → SKY/HEAVEN
king of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

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