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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 25VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 25’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 94-5.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól

Hollostu gefr hæsta
hring-Þrótt með sér dróttinn
saðr, þeims sinna iðrask
synða, lausn ok ynði.
Ern skóp hauðr ok hlýrni
heims valdr sem kyn beima;
ǫrrs ok ǫllu dýrri
élsetrs konungr betri.

Saðr dróttinn gefr {hring-Þrótt}, þeims iðrask synða sinna, hæsta hollostu, lausn ok ynði með sér. {Ern valdr heims} skóp hauðr ok hlýrni sem {kyn beima}; {ǫrr konungr {élsetrs}} [e]s ǫllu betri ok dýrri.

The true Lord gives {the ring-Þróttr <= Óðinn>} [MAN] who repents of his sins the highest faith, absolution and delight with him. {The powerful ruler of the world} [= God] created earth and heaven as well as {the kinsfolk of men} [MANKIND]; {the generous king {of the storm-seat}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] is better and more precious than everything.

Mss: B(12v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] hæsta: ‘[...]’ B, ‘ḥẹṣta’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘h(æs)ta’(?) BRydberg, ‘h(e᷎sta)’(?) BFJ    [3] saðr: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘sad[...]’ B;    þeims (‘þeim er’): so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]m er’ B    [5-8] abbrev. as ‘Ern skop haudr […] hlyrni’ B

Editions: Skj AI, 565, Skj BI, 555, Skald I, 269, NN §1193; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 21, Kempff 1867, 8, Rydberg 1907, 24, Black 1971, 203, Attwood 1996a, 228.

Notes: [1-4]: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) construes saðr dróttinn gefr hring-Þrótt, þeims íðrask, hæsta hollostu með sér, lausn synða sinna ok ynði ‘the true Lord gives the man, the one who repents, the highest favour with him, freedom from his sins and delight’. The prose arrangement adopted here, which accords with those of Kock (NN §1193) and Black (1971, 203), makes for a smoother w.o. — [1] hæsta ‘highest’: There is a hole in the ms. at this point, and nothing is legible, except for a possible ascender to the left of the hole. 399a-bˣ reads ‘hesta’, but indicates uncertainty about the first three letters. Rydberg was certain of the <h> and the final <ta>, and reconstructed to ‘hæsta’. Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) was sure only of the <h>, but accepted Rydberg’s reconstruction, which has been adopted by all subsequent eds. — [2] hring-Þrótt ‘ring-Þróttr’: See Note to 11/4. The allusion to a repentant sinner as a ‘ring-god’ may be intended to remind one of the description of the penitent thief as tínir bauga ‘gatherer of rings’ (23/6) and auðbrjótr ‘destroyer of riches’ (24/2), and may tie Gamli’s more general moralisation into the meditation on the Crucifixion scene. — [5-8]: The first l. of the stef is written out. Although the scribe of B usually indicates repetition of a stef (in this case, from st. 20) by means of a marginal obelos, the mark is omitted here.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj A = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15a. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. A: Tekst efter håndskrifterne. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1967. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  7. Black, Elizabeth L. 1971. ‘Harmsól: an edition’. B. Litt. thesis. University of Oxford.
  8. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  9. Kempff, Hjalmar, ed. 1867. Kaniken Gamles ‘Harmsól’ (Sol i Sorgen): isländskt andligt qväde från medeltiden med öfversättning och förklaringar. Uppsala: Edquist & Berglund.
  10. 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.

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