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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 19VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 19’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 90.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól

text and translation

Þú vast, mæztr, frá meyju,
— mikil dýrð es þat fyrðum —
hauðrs, í heim með lýðum,
hildingr, borinn mildri.
Sæll bart óstyrkð alla,
ágætr, ok meinlæti,
skrýðir skýja slóðar
skríns, á líkam þínum.

{Mæztr hildingr hauðrs}, þú vast borinn í heim með lýðum frá mildri meyju; þat es mikil dýrð fyrðum. {Ágætr skrýðir {skríns slóðar skýja}}, bart sæll alla óstyrkð ok meinlæti á líkam þínum.
‘Most precious prince of the earth [= God (= Christ)], you were born into the world amongst men of a gentle maiden; that is a great honour to mankind. Glorious adorner of the shrine of the path of the clouds [HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)], you gladly bore all weaknesses and sufferings on your body.

notes and context

[1-4]: Similar locutions for the Virgin occur in later skaldic accounts of the Annunciation and birth of Christ. Líkn 12/1-2, which most likely borrows from Leið and/or Has, has Sá baztr frá mey mæztri | mildingr beraz vildi ‘the best prince wished to be born from a most precious maiden’. The construction recurs in Anon Lil 24/5-6, where Gabriel is told fljúg ok seg það Máríu meyju | mætri ‘fly and say to the worthy maiden Mary...’, and in Gimsteinum 12/1 (ÍM II, 307) fæðist liet af meyju mætri ‘allowed himself to be born of the most honourable maiden’. — [1-4]: Cf. the account of the Nativity in Leið 23/3-4: mæztr frá meyju betri | mildingr [lét] berask hingað ‘the most praiseworthy prince [allowed] himself to be born here of the best maiden’.



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 19: AI, 565, BI, 553, Skald I, 268, NN §2926; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 19, Kempff 1867, 6, Rydberg 1907, 23, Black 1971, 188, Attwood 1996a, 226.


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