Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 5VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 77.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól

Þú býðr ǫll* með iðran,
einn Kristr, viðum Mistar
linns fyr lærðum mǫnnum
lýti sín at tína,
ok, hábrautar, heitið
hreggvǫrðr, þegar seggjum
sannri líkn ok syknu,
snjallr, fyr vás ok galla.

Þú, einn Kristr, býðr {viðum {linns Mistar}} at tína ǫll* lýti sín með iðran fyr lærðum mǫnnum, ok heitið þegar seggjum, {snjallr {hábrautar hregg}vǫrðr}, sannri líkn ok syknu fyr vás ok galla.

You, the one Christ, command {trees {of the snake of Mist <valkyrie>}} [SWORD > WARRIORS] to enumerate all their faults with repentence before learned men; and you promise straight away to men, {excellent warden {of the high path of the storm}} [(lit. ‘storm-warden of the high path’) SKY/HEAVEN > = God], true mercy and acquittal for sinfulness and flaws.

Mss: B(12r-v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] ǫll*: ‘o᷎lld’ B    [2] Mistar: ‘m[...]s[...]’ B, ‘mist(ar)’(?) 399a‑bˣ, ‘mi(st)[...]’(?) BRydberg, ‘mis(tar)’(?) BFJ    [5] brautar heitið: ‘habra[...]ítid’ B, hábrautar heit(ir)(?) 399a‑bˣ, ‘habra[...](hæ)itið’(?) BRydberg, ‘habra(utar h)eitið’(?) BFJ    [7] sannri: so 399a‑bˣ, BFJ, ‘s[...]nnre’ B, ‘s(annræ)’ BRydberg

Editions: Skj AI, 562, Skj BI, 549, Skald I, 266; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 14, Kempff 1867, 2, Rydberg 1907, 21, Black 1971, 148, Attwood 1996a, 223.

Notes: [1] ǫll*: B reads ‘o᷎lld’. With all previous eds of the text, the present edn adopts Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s correction, which is suggested in a marginal note to the 444ˣ transcript. — [5-8]: Compare 1 John I.9 si confiteamur peccata nostra fidelis est et iustus ut remittat nobis peccata et emundet nos ab omni iniquitate ‘If we confess our sins he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all iniquity’. — [7] syknu ‘acquittal’: This is the only occurrence of sykna f. ‘freedom from guilt, blamelessness, declared innocence’ in skaldic verse. The adj. sykn ‘acquitted’ occurs only in Líkn 31/4, in the context of a description of the Redemption of mankind through the Crucifixion. In prose, it occurs frequently in legal texts (Fritzner: sykn, sykna; CVC: sykn).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  4. Attwood, Katrina. 1996a. ‘The Poems of MS AM 757a 4to: An Edition and Contextual Study’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Leeds.
  5. Black, Elizabeth L. 1971. ‘Harmsól: an edition’. B. Litt. thesis. University of Oxford.
  6. Rydberg, Hugo, ed. 1907. ‘Die geistlichen Drápur und Dróttkvættfragmente des Cod. AM 757 4to.’. Ph.D. thesis. University of Lund. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  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.
  10. Internal references
  11. George S. Tate (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Líknarbraut 31’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 261-2.

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