Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 32VII/5 — englar ‘angels’

Engr mun alls á þingi
ísheims vesa þvísa
jóskreytandi ítrum
óttalauss fyr dróttni,
éla vangs þvít englar
jǫfurs skjalfa þá sjalfir
— ógn tekr môttug magnask —
mæts við ugg ok hræzlu.

Alls engr ísheims jóskreytandi mun vesa óttalauss fyr ítrum dróttni á þvísa þingi, þvít sjalfir englar mæts jǫfurs vangs éla skjalfa þá við ugg ok hræzlu; môttug ógn tekr magnask.

Not a single adorner of the horse of the ice-world [(lit. ‘horse-adorner of the ice-world’) SEA > SHIP > SEAFARER] will be fearless before the glorious Lord at this assembly, for the very angels of the worthy king of the field of storms [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] will tremble then with fear and dread; mighty terror will begin to increase.


[5-6] sjalfir englar … skjalfa ‘the very angels [of the Lord] will tremble’: Black (1971, 222) notes that HómÍsl sermon for All Saints’ Day has an interesting parallel: þar es ótte sva mikill oc andvare at þeim dóme at þa skiálfa englar guþs oc aller helger meɴ ‘there will be such great terror and trepidation at the Judgement that the angels of God and all holy men will tremble’ (HómÍsl 1872, 45). That the saints will tremble at the Second Coming is also mentioned in the sermon on the Holy Spirit: eɴda muno skiálfa aller helger. mikil mon þa ógn í heime vera. es conungr kømr reíþr ‘and so all the saints will tremble, there will be great terror in the world, when the king comes in anger’ (HómÍsl 1872, 214). That the earth, and its inhabitants, will tremble at the day of the Lord is a biblical commonplace (see, for example, Ps. CXIII.7; Joel II.1, 10).



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