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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 31VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 31’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 99-100.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól

text and translation

Enn mun ǫðru sinni
ǫðlingr koma hingat
mána tjalds inn mildi
meðr til dóms at kveðja.
Geisar eldr ok œsisk
ǫlna fold; ór moldu
ferð vaknar þá fyrða
flest við ugg inn mesta.

Enn mun {inn mildi ǫðlingr {tjalds mána}} koma hingat ǫðru sinni at kveðja meðr til dóms. Eldr geisar ok {fold ǫlna} œsisk; flest ferð fyrða vaknar þá ór moldu við inn mesta ugg.
‘Again the gentle ruler of the tent of the moon [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] will come here a second time to call men to judgement. Fire will rage and the land of the mackerel [SEA] will surge; most of the troop of men will awaken then from the grave [lit. from the soil] with the greatest terror.

notes and context

The turmoil associated with the Second Coming and Last Judgement is a recurrent theme in medieval eschatological literature and art. It is difficult to find precise parallels with Gamli’s account. The locus classicus is Rev. XX, where the account includes mention of punishing fire and of the resurrection of the dead (Rev. XX.12, 15). The account of the ‘Day of the Lord’ in the Second Epistle of Peter (2 Pet III.10-11) stresses that destruction will be by fire, not by water, as in the days of Noah. The raising of the dead is also a tenet of Pauline eschatology (1 Cor. XV.52). Turville-Petre (1953, 163) and Lange (1958a, 146) note that there are some parallels between this st. and the account of Ragnarǫk in Vsp 54. — [1-4]: B fol. 13r, l.1 is dark and badly worn (partly as a result of earlier restoration attempts). It has therefore been necessary to rely heavily on previous transcriptions of the ms., most notably that of 399a-bˣ, to reconstruct the text. Where earlier eds are uncertain of the reading (notably with kveðja in l. 4), rhyme and alliteration have been used as guides for confirmation of their reconstructions.



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 31: AI, 566, BI, 556, Skald I, 270; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 23, Kempff 1867, 9-10, Rydberg 1907, 25, Black 1971, 218, Attwood 1996a, 229.


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