Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 20VII/2 — tjalds ‘of the tent’

Skjǫldungi róm skyldir
skýja tjalds ok aldar
greitt, sem gǫfgast mætti,
grandlausum stef vanda.
Ern skóp hauðr ok hlýrni
heims valdr sem kyn beima;
ǫrrs ok ǫllu dýrri
élsetrs konungr betri.

Róm skyldir vanda greitt stef, sem gǫfgast mætti, grandlausum skjǫldungi tjalds skýja ok aldar. Ern valdr heims skóp hauðr ok hlýrni sem kyn beima; ǫrr konungr élsetrs [e]s ǫllu betri ok dýrri.

We are [I am] obliged to fashion a free-flowing refrain, as excellent as may [be], for the sinless prince of the tent of the clouds [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] and of mankind. The powerful ruler of the world [= God] created earth and heaven as well as the kinsfolk of men [MANKIND]; the generous king of the storm-seat [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] is better and more precious than all.


[1-2] skjǫldungi tjalds skýja ‘for the prince of the tent of the clouds [SKY/HEAVEN = God (= Christ)]’: Black (1971, 191) compares Isa. XL.22, where God is described as qui extendit velut nihilum caelos et expandit eos sicut tabernaculum ad inhabitandum ‘he that stretcheth out the heavens as nothing, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in’. The identical heaven-kenning occurs in 65/5-6, where God is described as vǫrðr skýtjalds ‘warden of the cloud-tent’.




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