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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 42VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 42’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 109-10.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól
414243

Ungr ‘A young’

ungr (adj.): young

kennings

Ungr eyktemjandi ǫldu
‘horse-tamer of the wave’
   = SEAFARER

A young of the horse → SHIP
of the SHIPtamer of the wave → SEAFARER
Close

Ungr ‘A young’

ungr (adj.): young

kennings

Ungr eyktemjandi ǫldu
‘horse-tamer of the wave’
   = SEAFARER

A young of the horse → SHIP
of the SHIPtamer of the wave → SEAFARER
Close

ǫldu ‘of the wave’

alda (noun f.; °; *-ur): wave

kennings

Ungr eyktemjandi ǫldu
‘horse-tamer of the wave’
   = SEAFARER

A young of the horse → SHIP
of the SHIPtamer of the wave → SEAFARER

notes

[1-2] eyktemjandi ǫldu ‘tamer of the horse of the wave [SHIP > SEAFARER]’: A similar conceit informs the ship-kenning loptbyggvir eykja unnar ‘raised deck-dweller of the horses of the wave’ in a helmingr preserved in ÓH, attributed there to Sigvatr Þórðarson and believed to be from an otherwise lost Óláfsdrápa (Sigv ÓldrI; cf. Hkr ÍF 27, 73 and 74n).

Close

eyk ‘of the horse’

eykr (noun m.; °-s/-jar, dat. -; -ir, dat. -jum): draught animal < eyktemjandi (noun m.)

kennings

Ungr eyktemjandi ǫldu
‘horse-tamer of the wave’
   = SEAFARER

A young of the horse → SHIP
of the SHIPtamer of the wave → SEAFARER

notes

[1-2] eyktemjandi ǫldu ‘tamer of the horse of the wave [SHIP > SEAFARER]’: A similar conceit informs the ship-kenning loptbyggvir eykja unnar ‘raised deck-dweller of the horses of the wave’ in a helmingr preserved in ÓH, attributed there to Sigvatr Þórðarson and believed to be from an otherwise lost Óláfsdrápa (Sigv ÓldrI; cf. Hkr ÍF 27, 73 and 74n).

Close

eyk ‘of the horse’

eykr (noun m.; °-s/-jar, dat. -; -ir, dat. -jum): draught animal < eyktemjandi (noun m.)

kennings

Ungr eyktemjandi ǫldu
‘horse-tamer of the wave’
   = SEAFARER

A young of the horse → SHIP
of the SHIPtamer of the wave → SEAFARER

notes

[1-2] eyktemjandi ǫldu ‘tamer of the horse of the wave [SHIP > SEAFARER]’: A similar conceit informs the ship-kenning loptbyggvir eykja unnar ‘raised deck-dweller of the horses of the wave’ in a helmingr preserved in ÓH, attributed there to Sigvatr Þórðarson and believed to be from an otherwise lost Óláfsdrápa (Sigv ÓldrI; cf. Hkr ÍF 27, 73 and 74n).

Close

temjandi ‘tamer’

temjandi (noun m.): [tamer] < eyktemjandi (noun m.)

kennings

Ungr eyktemjandi ǫldu
‘horse-tamer of the wave’
   = SEAFARER

A young of the horse → SHIP
of the SHIPtamer of the wave → SEAFARER

notes

[1-2] eyktemjandi ǫldu ‘tamer of the horse of the wave [SHIP > SEAFARER]’: A similar conceit informs the ship-kenning loptbyggvir eykja unnar ‘raised deck-dweller of the horses of the wave’ in a helmingr preserved in ÓH, attributed there to Sigvatr Þórðarson and believed to be from an otherwise lost Óláfsdrápa (Sigv ÓldrI; cf. Hkr ÍF 27, 73 and 74n).

Close

gífrs ‘of the troll-wife’

1. gífr (noun n.): troll-woman

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR

notes

[3] gífr ‘hag, troll-woman’: Commonly used as a heiti for a troll or, more often, a trollwife (see Vsp 52/6). By extension, gífr is often used, as here, to convey the notion of ‘enemy’, ‘danger’ or ‘bane’ and is frequently the base-word of kennings for the battle-axe (see LP: gífr).

Close

gífrs ‘of the troll-wife’

1. gífr (noun n.): troll-woman

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR

notes

[3] gífr ‘hag, troll-woman’: Commonly used as a heiti for a troll or, more often, a trollwife (see Vsp 52/6). By extension, gífr is often used, as here, to convey the notion of ‘enemy’, ‘danger’ or ‘bane’ and is frequently the base-word of kennings for the battle-axe (see LP: gífr).

Close

gǫmlum ‘an old’

gamall (adj.; °gamlan; compar. & superl. „ ellri adj.): old

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR
Close

gunn ‘of the battle’

gunnr (noun f.): battle < gunntjald (noun n.): battle-tent

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR
Close

gunn ‘of the battle’

gunnr (noun f.): battle < gunntjald (noun n.): battle-tent

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR
Close

gunn ‘of the battle’

gunnr (noun f.): battle < gunntjald (noun n.): battle-tent

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR
Close

tjalds ‘tent’

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

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR
Close

tjalds ‘tent’

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

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR
Close

tjalds ‘tent’

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

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR
Close

boða ‘messenger’

boði (noun m.; °-a; -ar): messenger, breaker

kennings

gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds
‘an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent ’
   = WARRIOR

the battle-tent → SHIELD
the troll-wife of the SHIELD → AXE
an old messenger of the AXE → WARRIOR
Close

halda ‘keep doing’

halda (verb): hold, keep

Close

hryn ‘of the ringing’

hryn- ((prefix)): roaring- < hrynvengi (noun n.): [resounding meadow]

[6] hrynvengis: ‘hrǫn[...]engiss’ B, ‘hro᷎nvengiss’ 399a‑bˣ

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN
Close

hryn ‘of the ringing’

hryn- ((prefix)): roaring- < hrynvengi (noun n.): [resounding meadow]

[6] hrynvengis: ‘hrǫn[...]engiss’ B, ‘hro᷎nvengiss’ 399a‑bˣ

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN
Close

vengis ‘land’

vengi (noun n.): land, field < hrynvengi (noun n.): [resounding meadow]

[6] hrynvengis: ‘hrǫn[...]engiss’ B, ‘hro᷎nvengiss’ 399a‑bˣ

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN
Close

vengis ‘land’

vengi (noun n.): land, field < hrynvengi (noun n.): [resounding meadow]

[6] hrynvengis: ‘hrǫn[...]engiss’ B, ‘hro᷎nvengiss’ 399a‑bˣ

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN
Close

engum ‘no’

2. engi (pron.): no, none

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN
Close

Gaut ‘Gautr’

1. gautr (noun m.; °-s; -ar): gautr

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN
Close

gǫr ‘done’

1. gera (verb): do, make

notes

[7-8] gǫr af venju ‘done out of habit’: Here this phrase is taken with the cl. nema bœti verk ‘unless he makes reparation’. Other eds (Skj B, Skald) take it with hǫnd verðr trauð ‘the hand becomes unwilling out of habit’ (l. 5), and this interpretation is also possible. It suggests that, because it is difficult to break a habit, one should begin to perform good deeds while young.

Close

grundar ‘of the earth’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN

notes

[8] mens grundar ‘of the necklace of the earth [= Miðgarðsormr]’: Finnur Jónsson offers two possible interpretations in LP. In the entry on grund, this phrase is listed among the kennings for ‘sea’, presumably based on the assumption of ON myth that the round earth was encircled by the sea. In this case it is difficult to understand what might be meant by the sea’s hrynvengi ‘ringing land’. In the entry on hrynvengi, the translation slangens klingende land ‘the serpent’s ringing-land’ is suggested. This is close to the kenning from RvHbreiðm HlIII cited above. In this case, men grundar may either be a kenning for a snake or, more likely in terms of the ON myth that placed the World Serpent in the ocean surrounding the earth, a specific allusion to Miðgarðsormr. It has been interpreted in the latter sense here.

Close

grundar ‘of the earth’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN

notes

[8] mens grundar ‘of the necklace of the earth [= Miðgarðsormr]’: Finnur Jónsson offers two possible interpretations in LP. In the entry on grund, this phrase is listed among the kennings for ‘sea’, presumably based on the assumption of ON myth that the round earth was encircled by the sea. In this case it is difficult to understand what might be meant by the sea’s hrynvengi ‘ringing land’. In the entry on hrynvengi, the translation slangens klingende land ‘the serpent’s ringing-land’ is suggested. This is close to the kenning from RvHbreiðm HlIII cited above. In this case, men grundar may either be a kenning for a snake or, more likely in terms of the ON myth that placed the World Serpent in the ocean surrounding the earth, a specific allusion to Miðgarðsormr. It has been interpreted in the latter sense here.

Close

grundar ‘of the earth’

grund (noun f.): earth, land

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN

notes

[8] mens grundar ‘of the necklace of the earth [= Miðgarðsormr]’: Finnur Jónsson offers two possible interpretations in LP. In the entry on grund, this phrase is listed among the kennings for ‘sea’, presumably based on the assumption of ON myth that the round earth was encircled by the sea. In this case it is difficult to understand what might be meant by the sea’s hrynvengi ‘ringing land’. In the entry on hrynvengi, the translation slangens klingende land ‘the serpent’s ringing-land’ is suggested. This is close to the kenning from RvHbreiðm HlIII cited above. In this case, men grundar may either be a kenning for a snake or, more likely in terms of the ON myth that placed the World Serpent in the ocean surrounding the earth, a specific allusion to Miðgarðsormr. It has been interpreted in the latter sense here.

Close

mens ‘of the necklace’

2. men (noun n.; °; dat. menjum): neck-ring

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN

notes

[8] mens grundar ‘of the necklace of the earth [= Miðgarðsormr]’: Finnur Jónsson offers two possible interpretations in LP. In the entry on grund, this phrase is listed among the kennings for ‘sea’, presumably based on the assumption of ON myth that the round earth was encircled by the sea. In this case it is difficult to understand what might be meant by the sea’s hrynvengi ‘ringing land’. In the entry on hrynvengi, the translation slangens klingende land ‘the serpent’s ringing-land’ is suggested. This is close to the kenning from RvHbreiðm HlIII cited above. In this case, men grundar may either be a kenning for a snake or, more likely in terms of the ON myth that placed the World Serpent in the ocean surrounding the earth, a specific allusion to Miðgarðsormr. It has been interpreted in the latter sense here.

Close

mens ‘of the necklace’

2. men (noun n.; °; dat. menjum): neck-ring

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN

notes

[8] mens grundar ‘of the necklace of the earth [= Miðgarðsormr]’: Finnur Jónsson offers two possible interpretations in LP. In the entry on grund, this phrase is listed among the kennings for ‘sea’, presumably based on the assumption of ON myth that the round earth was encircled by the sea. In this case it is difficult to understand what might be meant by the sea’s hrynvengi ‘ringing land’. In the entry on hrynvengi, the translation slangens klingende land ‘the serpent’s ringing-land’ is suggested. This is close to the kenning from RvHbreiðm HlIII cited above. In this case, men grundar may either be a kenning for a snake or, more likely in terms of the ON myth that placed the World Serpent in the ocean surrounding the earth, a specific allusion to Miðgarðsormr. It has been interpreted in the latter sense here.

Close

mens ‘of the necklace’

2. men (noun n.; °; dat. menjum): neck-ring

kennings

engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar
‘no Gautr of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth ’
   = MAN

the necklace of the earth → Miðgarðsormr
the ringing-land of MIÐGARÐSORMR → GOLD
no Gautr of the GOLD → MAN

notes

[8] mens grundar ‘of the necklace of the earth [= Miðgarðsormr]’: Finnur Jónsson offers two possible interpretations in LP. In the entry on grund, this phrase is listed among the kennings for ‘sea’, presumably based on the assumption of ON myth that the round earth was encircled by the sea. In this case it is difficult to understand what might be meant by the sea’s hrynvengi ‘ringing land’. In the entry on hrynvengi, the translation slangens klingende land ‘the serpent’s ringing-land’ is suggested. This is close to the kenning from RvHbreiðm HlIII cited above. In this case, men grundar may either be a kenning for a snake or, more likely in terms of the ON myth that placed the World Serpent in the ocean surrounding the earth, a specific allusion to Miðgarðsormr. It has been interpreted in the latter sense here.

Close

af ‘out of’

af (prep.): from

[8] af: á B

notes

[7-8] gǫr af venju ‘done out of habit’: Here this phrase is taken with the cl. nema bœti verk ‘unless he makes reparation’. Other eds (Skj B, Skald) take it with hǫnd verðr trauð ‘the hand becomes unwilling out of habit’ (l. 5), and this interpretation is also possible. It suggests that, because it is difficult to break a habit, one should begin to perform good deeds while young. — [8] af: B is undamaged here, and ‘a’ is clear. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 27 n. 52) suggests af, which has been adopted by all subsequent eds.

Close

af ‘out of’

af (prep.): from

[8] af: á B

notes

[7-8] gǫr af venju ‘done out of habit’: Here this phrase is taken with the cl. nema bœti verk ‘unless he makes reparation’. Other eds (Skj B, Skald) take it with hǫnd verðr trauð ‘the hand becomes unwilling out of habit’ (l. 5), and this interpretation is also possible. It suggests that, because it is difficult to break a habit, one should begin to perform good deeds while young. — [8] af: B is undamaged here, and ‘a’ is clear. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 27 n. 52) suggests af, which has been adopted by all subsequent eds.

Close

venju ‘habit’

1. venja (noun f.; °-u; -ur): custom, habit

notes

[7-8] gǫr af venju ‘done out of habit’: Here this phrase is taken with the cl. nema bœti verk ‘unless he makes reparation’. Other eds (Skj B, Skald) take it with hǫnd verðr trauð ‘the hand becomes unwilling out of habit’ (l. 5), and this interpretation is also possible. It suggests that, because it is difficult to break a habit, one should begin to perform good deeds while young.

Close

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

Gamli’s injunction to his younger hearers recalls his confession of his own early sins in st. 7. The tone is reminiscent of Solomon’s advice to his son in Eccl. XII.1 memento creatoris tui in diebis iuventutis tuae antequam veniat tempus adflictionis et adpropinquent anni de quibus dicas non mihi placent ‘remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the time of affliction come, and the years draw nigh of which thou shalt say: They please me not’.

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