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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamli kanóki (Gamlkan)

12th century; volume 7; ed. Katrina Attwood;

1. Harmsól (Has) - 65

Skj info: Gamli kanóki, Islandsk gejstlig og skjald, 12. årh. (AI, 561-72, BI, 547-65).

Skj poems:
1. Jóansdrápa
2. Harmsól

Gamli kanóki ‘canon Gamli’ (where the name Gamli, ‘the old one’ may itself be a nickname) is best known as the author of the poem Harmsól ‘Sun of Sorrow’, which is explicitly ascribed to him in a marginal note at the beginning of the poem on fol. 12r, l. 42 of the sole surviving ms., AM 757 a 4° (B): Harmsol er gamle orti kanokeHarmsól, which canon Gamli composed’. Gamli is also mentioned by name in Jóns saga postula (Jón4), where the author of the prose text prefaces the quotation of four sts from Gamli’s Jónsdrápa with the information: Annan mann til óðgirðar signaðum Johanni nefnum vér Gamla kanunk austr í Þykkvabœ, hann orti drápu dyrligum Johanni ‘As the second man to have composed a poem to blessed John we [I] name canon Gamli in the east at Þykkvabœr, he composed a drápa to S. John’ (Jón4 1874, 510). In a remark before the fourth st. Gamli is referred to as bróðir Gamli ‘Brother Gamli’ (Jón4 1874, 511). Þykkvabœr was an Augustinian monastery in south-eastern Iceland founded in 1168; Gamli was thus an Augustinian canon (or canon regular) of this community. His floruit can be inferred from the date of the foundation of Þykkvabœr as being in the mid- to late C12th.

file 2006-12-15 - Gamli kanoki w. MCR corrections

Harmsól (‘Sun of Sorrow’) — Gamlkan HasVII

Katrina Attwood 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Gamli kanóki, Harmsól’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 70-132.

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Skj: Gamli kanóki: 2. Harmsól, „er gamle orti kanoke“ (AI, 562-72, BI, 548-65)

SkP info: VII, 122

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

55 — Gamlkan Has 55VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 55’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 122.

Brigðr es heimr, sás hugðak,
— hann døkkvir sið manna —
verðr lýðr á láði
lastauðigr, vinfastan.
Eykr, sás eigi rœkir
orð þín, friðar tínir,
hjǫrva þollr, en hylli
hans leitar, sér vansa.

Heimr, sás hugðak vinfastan, es brigðr; hann døkkvir sið manna; lýðr á láði … verðr lastauðigr. {Þollr hjǫrva}, sás eigi rœkir orð þín en leitar hylli hans, eykr sér vansa, {tínir friðar}.

The world, which I thought steadfast as a friend, is fickle; it darkens men’s behaviour; people on earth … become rich in sin. {The fir-tree of swords} [WARRIOR], who does not heed your words but seeks its [the world’s] favour, increases his own shame, {gatherer of peace} [= God].

Mss: B(13r), 399a-bˣ

Readings: [2] manna: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]’ B    [3] …: ‘[...]’ all;    verðr: ‘[...]dr’ B, ‘[...]erdr’ 399a‑bˣ, BRydberg, ‘[...]erdr’ BFJ    [4] vinfastan: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘vinfast[...]’ B

Editions: Skj: Gamli kanóki, 2. Harmsól 55: AI, 570, BI, 562, Skald I, 273; Sveinbjörn Egilsson 1844, 30-1, Kempff 1867, 16-17, Rydberg 1907, 29-30, Black 1971, 277, Attwood 1996a, 235.

Notes: [3] verðr lýðr á láði: Sveinbjörn Egilsson (1844, 30 n. 68) reconstructs the first word of the l. as opt ‘often’, giving the second cl. lýðr á láði opt verðr lastauðigr ‘people on earth often become rich in sin’. This suggestion is adopted by Skj B, Skald and Black. — [6] orð þín, friðar tínir ‘your words, gatherer of peace [= God]’: This l. recalls the account of the Passion of Christ in sts 23 and 24. The God-kenning, tínir friðar ‘gatherer of peace’, may be a deliberate echo of tínir bauga ‘gatherer of rings’, which characterises the penitent thief in 23/6. The diction and content also parallel the description of God’s promises, which offer the thief hope in 24/8 þín heit, veitir friðar ‘your promises, giver of peace’.

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