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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 4VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 4’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 76.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól

text and translation

Mér vil ek ok eirar
— oss byrjar þat — hnossa
himins stillandi hollrar
hæstr miskunnar æsta,
þótt óverðum orðum,
ítr fylkir, mik lítir
víst fyr vás ok lǫstu,
veðrhallar, þik kveðja.

Ek vil æsta mér hollrar miskunnar ok eirar, {hæstr stillandi {hnossa himins}} — þat byrjar oss —, þótt lítir mik, {ítr fylkir {veðrhallar}}, kveðja þik óverðum orðum, víst fyr vás ok lǫstu.
‘I wish to ask on my own behalf for wholesome grace and clemency, highest regulator of the ornaments of heaven [HEAVENLY BODIES > = God] — that is fitting for us [me] —, though you see me, glorious king of the storm-hall [SKY/HEAVEN > = God], call on you with unworthy words, surely because of sinfulness and flaws.

notes and context

[2-4]: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) understands hnossa hollrar miskunnar ‘ornaments of wholesome mercy’ as the object of the verb æsta, which takes the gen. of the thing requested (l. 4), and he translates din kendte miskundheds goder ‘the benefits of your well-known mercy’. Jón Helgason (1935-6, 252), anticipated by Kempff (1867, 24) takes hnossa ‘ornaments’ to be part of the God-kenning stillandi hnossa himins ‘regulator of the ornaments of heaven’. This recalls the God-kenning harri fagrgims hás hreggranns ‘king of the fair jewel of the high storm-house [SKY/HEAVEN > SUN > = God]’ in Leið 2/1-4. This arrangement is adopted by Kock (NN §2927) and Black (1971, 144). In NN §2803, Kock suggests the arrangement hollrar miskunnar ok hnossa eirar ‘of wholesome mercy and treasures of clemency’, which he rejects in §2927.



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 4: AI, 562, BI, 549, Skald I, 266, NN §§2926, 2927; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 14, Kempff 1867, 2, Rydberg 1907, 20-1, Black 1971, 134, Attwood 1996a, 222.


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