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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 6VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 6’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 77-8.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól
567

Oss verðr ey, nema þessum
aldr várn boðum haldim
(menn búisk mǫrgu sinni)
meiri ógn (við þeiri),
hver þvít hætt rôð bǫrva
hlms á øfsta dómi
upp fyr allri skepnu
ósǫgð koma lǫgðis.

Oss verðr ey meiri ógn, nema haldim þessum boðum aldr várn; menn búisk við þeiri mǫrgu sinni, þvít hver ósǫgð hætt rôð {bǫrva {hlms lǫgðis}} koma upp fyr allri skepnu á øfsta dómi.

Our terror will always increase unless we keep these commands during our lives; let men prepare themselves for it many a time, since all unconfessed, dangerous counsels {of the trees {of the sound of the sword}} [BATTLE > WARRIORS] will become known before all creation at the Last Judgement.

Mss: B(12v), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [1] ey: ‘[...]’ B, BRydberg, (ei)(?) 399a‑bˣ, BFJ    [2] haldim: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘halldi[...]’ B, ‘halldi(m)’(?) BRydberg, BFJ    [5] bǫrva: horfa B    [6] hlms: ‘hl[...]’ B, ‘hl(ioms)’(?) 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, ‘hlioms’ BFJ    [7] skepnu: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘sk[...]pnu’ B

Editions: Skj AI, 563, Skj BI, 550, Skald I, 266; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 15, Kempff 1867, 2, Rydberg 1907, 21, Black 1971, 151, Attwood 1996a, 223.

Notes: [1] ey ‘always’: B is badly worn, and no traces of the word are now visible. All previous eds have accepted 399a-bˣ’s reading ei, even though the transcript indicates some uncertainty here. — [5-8]: There have been several attempts to interpret the second helmingr, which is a continuation of the exhortation to repentance begun in st. 5. B’s horfa overloads the h-alliteration in the l. Even so, Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 15 n. 6) retains this reading. He takes horfa as gen. pl. of horfir which is not otherwise attested in poetry, but is presumably a nomen agentis from horfa ‘to look’ and would mean ‘one who looks’. Sveinbjörn understands a man-kenning horfir hljóms lǫgðis ‘spectator of the din of the sword, spectator of battle’, and glosses horfir as præliator ‘spectator, eyewitness’ (LP (1860): horfir). Apart from this, Sveinbjörn’s prose arrangement, detailed in his working notes in 444ˣ, is identical to the one presented above. Kempff (1867, 25-6) takes hætt rð ‘dangerous counsels’ (l. 5) to be the subject of horfa upp ‘to face upwards, come to light’ (cf. Fritzner: horfa). He construes þvíat hætt rð horfa á efsta dómi upp fyr allri skepnu ‘because dangerous counsels will come to light at the Last Judgement in the presence of all creation’. Kempff arranges the second cl. hver koma hljóms lǫgðis [er] ósǫgð, which he glosses hvarje strid kommer obodad ‘every battle arrives unbidden’. It seems likely that Kempff’s interpretation is influenced by S. Paul’s assertion that dies Domini sicut fur in nocte ita veniet ‘the day of the Lord shall so come, as a thief in the night’ (1 Thess. V.2), but it is unlikely that Gamli would suggest that the antagonism of God towards sinners will come unannounced. This edn follows Kock and Black in adopting Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of horfa (l. 5) to bǫrva, gen. pl. of bǫrr ‘tree’. This is a paleographically straightforward emendation, and bǫrva then forms the base-word of a man-kenning bǫrvar hljóms lǫgðis ‘trees of the sound of the sword’. — [8] ósǫgð ‘unconfessed, unsaid’: The adj. is taken in apposition to hætt ‘dangerous’ (l. 5), qualifying rð ‘counsels’. Ósǫgð hætt rð are men’s unconfessed designs, which will become known (koma upp) at Judgement.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. LP (1860) = Sveinbjörn Egilsson, ed. 1860. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis. Copenhagen: Societas Regia antiquariorum septentrionalium.
  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.
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