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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 9VII/1 — Gerðak ‘acted’

Gerðak opt í orðum,
eljunsterkr, sem verkum,
hreggs bjartloga, ok hyggju,
hróts, í gǫgn þér, dróttinn.
Þræll hefr þinn í allan
þann, lífgjafi manna,
ófs grǫndugrar andar
ástsnauðr hratat dauða.

Gerðak opt í gǫgn þér í orðum, sem verkum ok hyggju, eljunsterkr dróttinn bjartloga hróts hreggs. Lífgjafi manna, ástsnauðr þræll þinn hefr hratat í allan þann dauða ófs grǫndugrar andar.

I often acted against you in words, as in deeds and thought, energy-strong lord of the bright flame of the roof of the storm [SKY/HEAVEN > SUN > = God]; lifegiver of men [= God], your love-bereft servant has stumbled into the total death of an excessively sinful soul.

notes

[1-4] gerðak opt í gǫgn þér í orðum, sem verkum ok hyggju ‘I often acted against you in words, as in deeds and thought’: Confession of sins in thought, word and deed is an article of the Confiteor: Confiteor Deo omnipotenti … quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opera, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa ‘I confess to almighty God … that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault’ (Lefebure 1924, 7). Gamli’s re-ordering of the articles of confession, which is required by the alliterative demands of his st., informs the subject-matter of the three following sts: in st. 10, he confesses to swearing oaths, a sin ‘in word’, st. 11 concerns his sins ‘in deed’, and st. 12 his sinful thoughts, which rendered him technically unfit to take part in the Eucharist.

grammar

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