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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þrándr Kredda 1I

Diana Whaley (ed.) 2012, ‘Þrándr í Gǫtu, Kredda 1’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 802.

Þrándr í GǫtuKredda1

text and translation

Gangat ek einn út;
fjórir mér fylgja         fimm goðs englar.
Berk bœn fyr mér,         bœn fyr Kristi;
syng ek salma sjau;         séi goð hluta minn.

Ek gangat út einn; fjórir, fimm englar goðs fylgja mér. Berk bœn fyr mér, bœn fyr Kristi; ek syng sjau salma; goð séi hluta minn.
‘I do not go out alone; four, five angels of God accompany me. I speak a prayer for myself, a prayer before Christ; I sing seven psalms; may God watch over my lot.

notes and context

Arrived at Þrándr’s farm, Þóra Sigmundardóttir is reunited with her nine-year-old son Sigmundr and asks him what Christian knowledge his foster-father Þrándr has taught him. He responds by singing the Pater Noster ‘Our Father’ more or less to her satisfaction, en kredda Þrándar er á þessa leið ‘but Þrándr’s creed goes like this’. After the stanza, Þóra disparages this creed, but Þrándr replies that Christ had twelve disciples each with his own version of the creed, that ‘you and I’ have our own, and there is no single correct version of such things.

The stanza contains only seven lines, and the first line fails to match the basic málaháttr pattern of alliteration seen elsewhere in the stanza, from which at least three possible deductions could be made: (a) Line 1, with its alliteration on einn and út, should be followed by a line continuing the vocalic alliteration on the first stressed syllable. Kock (Skald and NN §2463D) suggested annarr né þriði ‘a second nor a third’, as part of a theory that the numerical sequence runs right through the stanza. (b) If gangat opened the second line, a preceding line could have alliterated on g-. Gefnir eru englar góðir ‘good angels are granted’ was mentioned by Rafn in Fær 1832 on the basis of existing Faroese versions of the kredda (and cited from there in Foote 1969a, 356-7). This would be unmetrical, but gefnir eru góðir englar would be satisfactory. (c) However, the sense is complete, the stanza is written out without a break in Flat, and given the symbolic resonances of the number seven, it could be that there is no line missing (cf. Foote 1969a, 359-60).


Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Þrándr í Gǫtu, Kredda: AI, 211, BI, 202, Skald I, 106, NN §575, 2463D, 3064; Flat 1860-8, II, 400, ÍF 25, 115 (Fœr ch. 57).


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