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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 17VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 17’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 88-9.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól
161718

Hverr es greppr, sás gerra,
grunnúðigr, þér unna,
— slíkr hǫfum synða auki
sótt — heimstǫðu dróttinn.
Þú biðr ǫlð, en aðrir,
almáttigr guð, sátta,
ýta ferð at yrði
aldýr, sǫkum valda.

Hverr greppr, sás gerra unna þér, es grunnúðigr, {dróttinn heimstǫðu}; slíkr auki synða hǫfum sótt. Almáttigr guð, þú biðr ǫlð sátta, at {ýta ferð} yrði aldýr, en aðrir valda sǫkum.

Every man who does not love you is simple-minded, {Lord of the world} [= God]; such an increase of sins has visited us [me]. Almighty God, you ask mankind for settlement, so that {the race of men} [MANKIND] might become blessed, but others cause offences.

Mss: B(12v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] gerra: ‘geira’ B    [3] synða: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘synd[...]’ B    [8] aldýr: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘alldy[...]’ B

Editions: Skj AI, 564, Skj BI, 552, Skald I, 268, NN §2931; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 18, Kempff 1867, 5-6, Nj 1875-8, II, 253, Rydberg 1907, 23, Jón Helgason 1935-6, 256-7, Black 1971, 183, Attwood 1996a, 226.

Notes: [1] gerra ‘does not’: B’s ‘geira’ does not make sense in context. The emendation to gerra, 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of gera ‘to make, do, perform’ with suffixed negative –a was first proposed in Skj B. — [3] synða ‘of sins’: 399a-bˣ’s reading has been followed here. Both Skj B and Skald supply the gen. sg. synðar. — [7-8] ýta ferð at yrði aldýr ‘so that the race of men might become blessed’: There have been several attempts to interpret this cl. Finnur Jónsson construes þú biðr ǫlð sátta, almáttigr goð, en aðrir valda sǫkum, at ýta ferð yrði aldýr, translating du beder menneskeheden om forlig, almægtige gud, men andre volder, at menneskeheden blev meget dyr ‘you ask mankind for a settlement, almighty God, but others bring it about that mankind became very costly’. His implication is presumably that, as a result of sin, mankind became very costly for God to redeem (by the Crucifixion). The main problem with this, as Jón Helgason explains (1935-6, 256; see also Black 1971, 184) is in the interpretation of aldýr. Konráð Gíslason (and Eiríkur Jónsson 1875-89, II, 253) objects to the use of aldýr here to refer to men, as it is used elsewhere in Has (as at 29/6, for example) only to refer to God. As Black (1971, 184) points out, the distinction seems to be between alldýrr, in which the prefix all- is an intensifier, meaning ‘very’, and aldýrr, where al- (cognate with OE eall) means ‘wholly’. The B scribe retains this distinction, writing almáttigr and aldýrr, and al- is required here for aðalhending with valda. Jón Helgason (1935-6, 256-7) follows Sveinbjörn Egilsson in construing the at-clause with sátta, but objects to his translation of aldýr as præstantissimus, egregrius ‘most excellent’ (LP (1860): aldýr). Instead, Jón quotes the expressions eilíf dýrð ‘eternal glory’ and at fara til dýrðarlífs ‘to go to the life of glory’ (Unger 1877, I, 289; see Fritzner: dýrð), and the angel-kenning drótt dýrðar ‘company of glory’ in Has 36/1-2 in support of his interpretation of aldýr as meaning ‘members of the company of the blessed’.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Unger, C. R., ed. 1877. Heilagra manna søgur. Fortællinger og legender om hellige mænd og kvinder. 2 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Bentzen.
  3. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. Nj 1875-89 = Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson. 1875-89. Njála: Udgivet efter gamle håndskrifter. Íslendingasögur udgivne efter gamle haandskrifter af Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskrift-selskab 4. Copenhagen: Thiele.
  5. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  7. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  8. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  9. Black, Elizabeth L. 1971. ‘Harmsól: an edition’. B. Litt. thesis. University of Oxford.
  10. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  11. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  12. Jón Helgason. 1935-6. ‘Til skjaldedigtningen’. APS 10, 250-64.
  13. Kempff, Hjalmar, ed. 1867. Kaniken Gamles ‘Harmsól’ (Sol i Sorgen): isländskt andligt qväde från medeltiden med öfversättning och förklaringar. Uppsala: Edquist & Berglund.
  14. Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1844. Fjøgur gømul kvæði. Boðsrit til að hlusta á þá opinberu yfirheyrslu í Bessastaða Skóla þann 22-29 mai 1844. Viðeyar Klaustri: prentuð af Helga Helgasyni, á kostnað Bessastaða Skóla. Bessastaðir: Helgi Helgason.
  15. Internal references
  16. Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Gamli kanóki, Harmsól’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 70-132.
  17. Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 36’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 104-5.
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