Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 7VII/1 — gǫfgan ‘the splendid’

Nú skulum gǫfgan geisla
guðs hallar vér allir,
ítr þanns Óláfr heitir,
alstyrkan vel dyrka.
Þjóð veit hann und heiða
hríðblôsnum sal víða
— menn nemi môl, sem innik,
mín — jartegnum skína.

Nú skulum vér allir dyrka vel gǫfgan geisla guðs hallar, alstyrkan, þanns heitir ítr Óláfr. Þjóð veit hann skína jartegnum víða und hríðblôsnum sal heiða; menn nemi môl mín, sem innik.

Now we all should honour well the splendid light-beam of God’s hall [HEAVEN > = Óláfr], the all-strong one, who is called glorious Óláfr. People know he shines with miracles widely beneath the storm-blown hall of heaths [SKY/HEAVEN]; may men understand my words as I tell them.


[1, 2] gǫfgan geisla guðs hallar ‘the splendid beam of God’s hall [HEAVEN > = Óláfr]’: It is a commonplace in medieval theological and devotional writing to use the symbol of the beam of light from the sun for Christ, the Son proceeding from the Father. The use of the same image for a saint takes the symbol down a notch and emphasises the saint’s typological relationship to (and in theological terms his participation in) Christ. See Notes to st. 1.




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