skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 20VII/8 — betri ‘better’

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.

readings

[8] betri: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]ri’ B

notes

[8] betri ‘better’: Jón Helgason (1935-6, 257) supposed that the two comparatives dýrri and betri cause difficulties of a stylistic kind. He therefore emended betri to letri, from letr ‘letter’, interpreting the final couplet as meaning that God is more holy (dýrri) than any description, but this seems not a good ground for emendation.

grammar

Strong form: in -r

note the u-mutation in certain forms

masc.fem.neut.
sing. N
A
G
D
langr
langan
langs
lǫngum
lǫng
langa
langrar
langri
langt
langt
langs
lǫngu
pl. N
A
G
D
langir
langa
langra
lǫngum
langar
langar
langra
lǫngum
lǫng
lǫng
langra
lǫngum
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