Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 54VII/3 — bana ‘of death’

Sôlu veittak, sættir,
— sárrs minn … —
bana hættligar benjar,
bragna kyns, fyr synðir.
Nú beiðum þik, þjóðar
þrekfœðandi, grœða
andar sôr, þaus óru
ósvífr glata lífi.

Sættir kyns bragna, veittak … sôlu hættligar benjar bana fyr synðir; sárrs minn …. Nú beiðum þik, þrekfœðandi þjóðar, grœða andar sôr, þaus ósvífr glata lífi óru.

Reconciler of the kindred of heroes [MEN > = God], I dealt … soul dangerous wounds of death because of my sins; bitter is my …. Now we [I] beg you, strength-nourisher of the people [= God], to heal the soul’s wounds which, relentless, destroy our [my] life.


[3] bana: ‘[...]na’ B, ‘[...]ana’ 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]na’ BRydberg, BFJ


[2-3] bana: B is very badly damaged, and traces of only one letter and a superscript re abbreviation are visible (fol. 13r, ll. 45-6). The 399a-bˣ copyist was able to read only one further letter in the second word ‘…ana’. Reconstruction of this word thus relies on this reading and on the fact that initial <b> is required for alliteration. Other eds have made valiant attempts to reconstruct the missing text here, which is likely to comprise two words. Sveinbjörn Egilsson (444ˣ and 1844) postulates sárr es minn hugr þinni | bana. He is followed by Kempff and Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), who construes Slu þinni veittak benjar fyr bana hættiligar synðir, sættir bragna kyns; sárr es hugr minn ‘I dealt wounds to your soul by means of my deathly dangerous sins, reconciler of the kindred of heroes; my soul is wounded’. Rydberg (1907, xxiii) rejects this interpretation on the grounds that the remaining traces of the text will not sustain it. He asserts (1907, 29 n. 9) that he once was able to read a number of letter forms no longer visible in 1907, and reconstructs the text sarr er minn tregi varri bana, construing veittak várri slu hættiligar benjar bana fyr synðir; minn tregi es sárr ‘I dealt our [my] soul dangerous death-wounds because of [my] sins; my grief is bitter’. Sveinbjörn’s reconstruction requires þinni to be construed with slu, as in Finnur’s prose arrangement. The continuation of the theme through the st., however, suggests that, as in the second helmingr, the injured soul here is not likely to be Christ’s, but rather that of the sinner-narrator, who refers to himself in the 1st pers. throughout.



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