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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 22VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 22’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 92-3.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól
212223

text and translation

Þjófr annarr tók þannig,
þrifvaldr gǫfugr, aldar
— sôl vas hans ófs ok ælig
ósæl — við gram mæla:
‘Nú sýn afl, ins eina
alls þú guðs sonr kallask,
ok með ǫflgu ríki,
oss, stíg niðr af krossi!’

Annarr þjófr — sôl hans vas ófs ósæl ok ælig — tók mæla þannig við {gram aldar}, {gǫfugr þrifvaldr}: ‘Nú sýn oss afl, alls þú kallask sonr ins eina guðs, ok stíg niðr af krossi með ǫflgu ríki!’
 
‘One thief — his soul was excessively wretched and vile — began to speak thus to the prince of men [= God (= Christ)], noble promoter [= God (= Christ)] of well-being: ‘Now show us your might, since you call yourself the son of the one God, and step down from the Cross with your mighty power!’

notes and context

The story of the two thieves, one repentant, the other not, is found only in S. Luke’s Gospel (XXIII.39-43). The other synoptic gospels state baldly that both thieves joined the bystanders in mocking Christ (cf. Matt. XXVII.44, Mark XV.32). Gamli appears to be conflating the thief’s words si tu es Christus salvum fac temet ipsum et nos ‘if thou be Christ, save thyself and us’ (Luke XXIII.39) with the more specific jibes of the bystanders: si Filius Dei es descende de cruce ‘if thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross’ (Matt. XXVII.40; cf. Matt. XXVII.42, Mark XV.30). The effect is to heighten the dramatic irony of the taunt.

readings

sources

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 22: AI, 565, BI, 555, Skald I, 268, NN §1192; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 20, Kempff 1867, 7, Rydberg 1907, 24, Black 1971, 196, Attwood 1996a, 227.

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