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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 41VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 41’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 108-9.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól
404142

harra ‘the lord’

1. harri (noun m.; °-a): lord

kennings

harra láðs byrjar;
‘the lord of the land of the fair wind; ’
   = God

the land of the fair wind; → SKY/HEAVEN
the lord of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

ella ‘otherwise’

ella (adv.): otherwise

Close

sættask ‘to reconcile himself’

sætta (verb): reconcile, settle

Close

byrjar ‘of the fair wind’

byrr (noun m.; °-jar/-s; -ir, acc. -i/-u(SigrVal 188¹³)): favourable wind

kennings

harra láðs byrjar;
‘the lord of the land of the fair wind; ’
   = God

the land of the fair wind; → SKY/HEAVEN
the lord of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

byrjar ‘of the fair wind’

byrr (noun m.; °-jar/-s; -ir, acc. -i/-u(SigrVal 188¹³)): favourable wind

kennings

harra láðs byrjar;
‘the lord of the land of the fair wind; ’
   = God

the land of the fair wind; → SKY/HEAVEN
the lord of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

láðs ‘of the land’

2. láð (noun n.): earth, land

[3] láðs: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘la[...]’ B

kennings

harra láðs byrjar;
‘the lord of the land of the fair wind; ’
   = God

the land of the fair wind; → SKY/HEAVEN
the lord of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

láðs ‘of the land’

2. láð (noun n.): earth, land

[3] láðs: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘la[...]’ B

kennings

harra láðs byrjar;
‘the lord of the land of the fair wind; ’
   = God

the land of the fair wind; → SKY/HEAVEN
the lord of the SKY/HEAVEN → God
Close

blik ‘of the gleam’

blik (noun n.): gleam < blikvaldr (noun m.)

[4] blikvaldr: blakkvaldr B

kennings

blikvaldr tjalda þrimu
‘gleam-wielder of the tents of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the tents of battle → SHIELDS
the gleam of SHIELDS → SWORD
wielder of the SWORD → WARRIOR
Close

blik ‘of the gleam’

blik (noun n.): gleam < blikvaldr (noun m.)

[4] blikvaldr: blakkvaldr B

kennings

blikvaldr tjalda þrimu
‘gleam-wielder of the tents of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the tents of battle → SHIELDS
the gleam of SHIELDS → SWORD
wielder of the SWORD → WARRIOR
Close

valdr ‘wielder’

valdr (noun m.): ruler < blikvaldr (noun m.)valdr (noun m.): ruler < blakkvaldr (noun m.)

[4] blikvaldr: blakkvaldr B

kennings

blikvaldr tjalda þrimu
‘gleam-wielder of the tents of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the tents of battle → SHIELDS
the gleam of SHIELDS → SWORD
wielder of the SWORD → WARRIOR
Close

þrimu ‘of battle’

þrima (noun f.): battle, din

kennings

blikvaldr tjalda þrimu
‘gleam-wielder of the tents of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the tents of battle → SHIELDS
the gleam of SHIELDS → SWORD
wielder of the SWORD → WARRIOR
Close

þrimu ‘of battle’

þrima (noun f.): battle, din

kennings

blikvaldr tjalda þrimu
‘gleam-wielder of the tents of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the tents of battle → SHIELDS
the gleam of SHIELDS → SWORD
wielder of the SWORD → WARRIOR
Close

þrimu ‘of battle’

þrima (noun f.): battle, din

kennings

blikvaldr tjalda þrimu
‘gleam-wielder of the tents of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the tents of battle → SHIELDS
the gleam of SHIELDS → SWORD
wielder of the SWORD → WARRIOR
Close

tjalda ‘of the tents’

tjald (noun n.; °-s; *-): tent, awning

[4] tjalda: ‘tiallde’ B

kennings

blikvaldr tjalda þrimu
‘gleam-wielder of the tents of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the tents of battle → SHIELDS
the gleam of SHIELDS → SWORD
wielder of the SWORD → WARRIOR
Close

tjalda ‘of the tents’

tjald (noun n.; °-s; *-): tent, awning

[4] tjalda: ‘tiallde’ B

kennings

blikvaldr tjalda þrimu
‘gleam-wielder of the tents of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the tents of battle → SHIELDS
the gleam of SHIELDS → SWORD
wielder of the SWORD → WARRIOR
Close

tjalda ‘of the tents’

tjald (noun n.; °-s; *-): tent, awning

[4] tjalda: ‘tiallde’ B

kennings

blikvaldr tjalda þrimu
‘gleam-wielder of the tents of battle’
   = WARRIOR

the tents of battle → SHIELDS
the gleam of SHIELDS → SWORD
wielder of the SWORD → WARRIOR
Close

Opt ‘Often’

opt (adv.): often

Close

Ægis ‘of Ægir’

2. ægir (noun m.): ocean, sea

kennings

viðum leiptra grundar Ægis;
‘for the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir; ’
   = MEN

the plain of Ægir; → SEA
the lightnings of the SEA → GOLD
for the trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5-6] viðum leiptra grundar Ægis ‘for trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir [SEA > GOLD > MEN]’: Cf. 53/5-8, where God is characterised as láðvaldr glóða hróts leiptra ‘land-king of the fires of the roof of lightnings’.

Close

Ægis ‘of Ægir’

2. ægir (noun m.): ocean, sea

kennings

viðum leiptra grundar Ægis;
‘for the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir; ’
   = MEN

the plain of Ægir; → SEA
the lightnings of the SEA → GOLD
for the trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5-6] viðum leiptra grundar Ægis ‘for trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir [SEA > GOLD > MEN]’: Cf. 53/5-8, where God is characterised as láðvaldr glóða hróts leiptra ‘land-king of the fires of the roof of lightnings’.

Close

Ægis ‘of Ægir’

2. ægir (noun m.): ocean, sea

kennings

viðum leiptra grundar Ægis;
‘for the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir; ’
   = MEN

the plain of Ægir; → SEA
the lightnings of the SEA → GOLD
for the trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5-6] viðum leiptra grundar Ægis ‘for trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir [SEA > GOLD > MEN]’: Cf. 53/5-8, where God is characterised as láðvaldr glóða hróts leiptra ‘land-king of the fires of the roof of lightnings’.

Close

leiptra ‘of the lightnings’

1. leiptr (noun m.): [lightnings]

kennings

viðum leiptra grundar Ægis;
‘for the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir; ’
   = MEN

the plain of Ægir; → SEA
the lightnings of the SEA → GOLD
for the trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5-6] viðum leiptra grundar Ægis ‘for trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir [SEA > GOLD > MEN]’: Cf. 53/5-8, where God is characterised as láðvaldr glóða hróts leiptra ‘land-king of the fires of the roof of lightnings’.

Close

leiptra ‘of the lightnings’

1. leiptr (noun m.): [lightnings]

kennings

viðum leiptra grundar Ægis;
‘for the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir; ’
   = MEN

the plain of Ægir; → SEA
the lightnings of the SEA → GOLD
for the trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5-6] viðum leiptra grundar Ægis ‘for trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir [SEA > GOLD > MEN]’: Cf. 53/5-8, where God is characterised as láðvaldr glóða hróts leiptra ‘land-king of the fires of the roof of lightnings’.

Close

viðum ‘for the trees’

1. viðr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. -i/-; -ir, acc. -u/-i): wood, tree

kennings

viðum leiptra grundar Ægis;
‘for the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir; ’
   = MEN

the plain of Ægir; → SEA
the lightnings of the SEA → GOLD
for the trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5-6] viðum leiptra grundar Ægis ‘for trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir [SEA > GOLD > MEN]’: Cf. 53/5-8, where God is characterised as láðvaldr glóða hróts leiptra ‘land-king of the fires of the roof of lightnings’.

Close

grundar ‘of the plain’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

kennings

viðum leiptra grundar Ægis;
‘for the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir; ’
   = MEN

the plain of Ægir; → SEA
the lightnings of the SEA → GOLD
for the trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5-6] viðum leiptra grundar Ægis ‘for trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir [SEA > GOLD > MEN]’: Cf. 53/5-8, where God is characterised as láðvaldr glóða hróts leiptra ‘land-king of the fires of the roof of lightnings’.

Close

grundar ‘of the plain’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

kennings

viðum leiptra grundar Ægis;
‘for the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir; ’
   = MEN

the plain of Ægir; → SEA
the lightnings of the SEA → GOLD
for the trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5-6] viðum leiptra grundar Ægis ‘for trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir [SEA > GOLD > MEN]’: Cf. 53/5-8, where God is characterised as láðvaldr glóða hróts leiptra ‘land-king of the fires of the roof of lightnings’.

Close

grundar ‘of the plain’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

kennings

viðum leiptra grundar Ægis;
‘for the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir; ’
   = MEN

the plain of Ægir; → SEA
the lightnings of the SEA → GOLD
for the trees of the GOLD → MEN

notes

[5-6] viðum leiptra grundar Ægis ‘for trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir [SEA > GOLD > MEN]’: Cf. 53/5-8, where God is characterised as láðvaldr glóða hróts leiptra ‘land-king of the fires of the roof of lightnings’.

Close

nauðr ‘it is a necessity’

neyð (noun f.; °dat. -): need, distress

[7] nauðr: ‘[...]a[...]dr’ B, ‘[...]auðr’ 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, BFJ

notes

[7] nauðr: B is badly damaged at this point and only ‘…a…dr’ can be read. None of the previous readers of the ms. were able to supply the beginning of the word, though the scribe of the 399a-bˣ transcript read the remainder of the word with confidence as ‘…auðr’. Sveinbjörn Egilsson suggested in a note to Jón Sigurðsson’s copy (444ˣ) that the word might be trauðir m. nom. pl. of trauðr ‘reluctant’, and used the form trauðr in his 1844 edn and in his prose arrangement (preserved in 444ˣ). Kempff and Finnur Jónsson adopted this reconstruction. It is unlikely, however, that the space for the initial letter at the beginning of fol. 13r, l. 21 is sufficient to account for the loss of tr here, and Rydberg (1907, lxxii) and Jón Helgason (1935-6, 259) are agreed that there is space for only one letter before a. Furthermore, as Rydberg (1907, 27 n. 7) notes, in the following l. (fol. 13r, l. 22), the ‘a’ in trauð is abbreviated with the ω-like sign. Rydberg is in no doubt that the traces of the original letter seen by him suggest that nauðr f. ‘need, necessity’ is the correct reading here. He compares the parallel construction in Leið 15/3-4, which reads nauðr er þegnum þýðask þann veg ‘there is a need for men to receive that glory’. Kock adopts this reading (Skald) and it is also adopted here.

Close

ǫll ‘all’

allr (adj.): all

Close

eyða ‘blot out’

2. eyða (verb; °-dd-): destroy

[7] eyða: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘y[...]’ B

Close

Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

[1-4]: The ms. reads blakkvaldr þrimu tjaldi (l. 4) and it is clear from the context that this is a man-kenning. Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) assumes the man-kenning here to be blakkvaldr láðs byrjar ‘horse-steerer of the land of the wind [SEA > SHIP > SEAFARER]’. He then emends B’s þrimu to þrumu gen. sg. of þruma ‘thunder’, to form the God-kenning harri þrumu tjalda ‘king of the thunder-tents’. This makes for a rather cumbersome cl.-arrangement in the helmingr. Jón Helgason (1935-6, 258) dismisses Finnur’s interpretation of láðs byrjar ‘[of the] land of the wind’ as a sea-kenning as rather unlikely. Instead, he indicates that one would expect it to mean ‘heaven’, like, for example, byrjar vegr ‘path of the wind’, éla vangr ‘field of the storm’. If this interpretation is correct, láðs byrjar must be construed with harra acc. sg. of harri ‘lord’ (l. 1) to give a straightforward God-kenning in the acc. case. The w.o. is thus simplified considerably. Finnur’s emendation to þruma is unnecessary, since þrimu can be taken as gen. sing. of þrima ‘thunder’, which by a transfer of meaning is often used for ‘battle’ (see LP: þrima). Emendation to tjalda, gen. pl. would give blakkvaldr þrimu tjalda ‘horse-steerer of the tents of battle [SHIELDS > SHIP > SEAFARER]’. Jón Helgason (1935-6, 258) suggests that this kenning’s lack of regularity might be alleviated by a minor emendation to blikvaldr ‘gleam-wielder’. Blikvaldr þrimu tjalds (or tjalda) would provide a straightforward warrior-kenning, ‘wielder of the gleam of the tent(s) of battle [SHIELD(S) > SWORD > WARRIOR]’. Kock (NN §2933) concurs with Jón’s arrangement, and with his interpretation of láðs byrjar. However, he argues that emendation may be unnecessary, since the connection between ships and shields in poetry is so close that a kenning ‘shield’s steed’ for ‘ship’ is not impossible (cf. Black 1971, 243). Although, as Kock suggests, there are a small number of kennings for ‘shield’ which have ‘ship’ as their determinant (see Meissner, 166-9; LP: skip), this is scarcely grounds for arguing that the two entities were interchangeable, or that the poem’s original hearers would have understood blakkr tjalda þrimu ‘horse of the tents of battle’ to mean ‘ship’. There is no comparable kenning in which a shield-heiti is used as the determinant of a ship-kenning. Sword-kennings like blik þrimu tjalda on the ‘light, flame of the shield’ model are extremely common (see Meissner, 150-1; LP: blik), and blik here anticipates the man-kenning viðir leiptra grundar Ægis ‘the trees of the lightnings of the plain of Ægir’ in the second helmingr. Jón Helgason’s emendation has been adopted here. — [2-3]: Kempff, Finnur Jónsson and Kock follow Sveinbjörn Egilsson in taking hvat bíðum (l. 3) as part of the same sentence as hætts ella mjök (l. 2). Finnur translates ellers er det meget uvist hvad vi opnår ‘otherwise what we will receive is most uncertain’ (Skj B). Jón Helgason (1935-6, 259) claims that there is no reason to believe that the two clauses are connected, and suggests that hætts ella mjök should be taken to mean ‘otherwise, there is [or will be] great danger’ while hvat bíðum is construed as a straightforward question ‘what are we waiting for?’ This makes for a more straightforward w.o. than does Sveinbjörn’s arrangement, and makes a strong connection between the helmingar. Besides, as st. 39 makes clear, the poet is unlikely to imply that the fate of those who fail to reconcile themselves with God is in any way uncertain!

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