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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 46VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 46’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 113-14.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól

Enn lætk sagðan svinnum
sárklungrs viðum þungan
hôtt, þats hvern dag ættim
hræðask, framm í kvæði.
Þjóð mun sýna síðan
slœmr miskunnar dœmi,
— ek skylda þó aldri
ugglauss — þaus mik hugga.

Enn lætk sagðan framm í kvæði {svinnum viðum {sárklungrs}} þungan hôtt, þats ættim hræðask hvern dag. Slœmr mun síðan sýna þjóð dœmi miskunnar, þaus hugga mik — ek skylda þó aldri ugglauss.

Further I will relate in the poem {to the wise trees {of the wound-thorn}} [SWORD > WARRIORS], the oppressive way of life concerning that which we should fear every day. The slœmr will then show people examples of mercy, which comfort me — yet I ought never [be] without fear.

Mss: B(13r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] sárklungrs: sárklungr B    [3] þats hvern (‘þat er hvern’): so 399a‑bˣ, ‘þat [...]r’ B    [7] skylda þó: ‘[...]o’ B, ‘[...]llda þó’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...](a) þó’(?) BRydberg, ‘[...](llda) þó’(?) BFJ

Editions: Skj AI, 568-9, Skj BI, 560, Skald I, 271, NN §1207; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 28, Kempff 1867, 14, Rydberg 1907, 28, Black 1971, 254, Attwood 1996a, 233.

Notes: [3] þats ‘concerning that which’: Because the antecedent htt ‘way of life’ is m. acc. sg. and þats is n. nom. or acc. sg., the cl. cannot be a rel. one. Kock (NN §1207) suggests a nominal expression, expanded as a cl. Skj B’s ‘þats (þanns)’ in the prose order indicates uncertainty. — [6] slœmr: The concluding section of a drápa, which begins after the final stef of the middle section (stefjabálkr). — [7] skylda þó ‘ought yet’: Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 28 n. 58) suggests this reading, which has been adopted by all subsequent eds.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  6. Black, Elizabeth L. 1971. ‘Harmsól: an edition’. B. Litt. thesis. University of Oxford.
  7. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  8. Kempff, Hjalmar, ed. 1867. Kaniken Gamles ‘Harmsól’ (Sol i Sorgen): isländskt andligt qväde från medeltiden med öfversättning och förklaringar. Uppsala: Edquist & Berglund.
  9. 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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