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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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ESk Geisl 33VII

Martin Chase (ed.) 2007, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Geisli 33’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 33-4.

Einarr SkúlasonGeisli
323334

Ǫld hefr opt inn mildi
unnar bliks frá miklum
— Krists mærik lim — leysta
litrauðs konungr nauðum.
Greitt má gumnum létta
guðs ríðari stríðum;
rǫskr þiggr allt, sem œskir,
Óláfr af gram sólar.

Konungr inn mildi {litrauðs bliks unnar} hefr opt leysta ǫld frá miklum nauðum; mærik {lim Krists}. {Guðs ríðari} má greitt létta stríðum gumnum; rǫskr Óláfr þiggr allt, sem œskir, af {gram sólar}.

The king, generous {with the red-coloured light of the wave} [GOLD], has often rescued men from great need; I praise {the limb of Christ} [SAINT = Óláfr]. {God’s knight} [SAINT = Óláfr] can easily alleviate afflictions for men; brave Óláfr gets all he desires from {the king of the sun} [= God].

Mss: Bb(117vb)

Readings: [2] unnar: ‘aunnar’ Bb;    miklum: miklu Bb    [3] Krists: krist Bb;    lim: ‘lin’ Bb    [5-8] abbrev. as ‘Greitt m. g. l.’ Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 465, Skj BI, 435, Skald I, 215; Cederschiöld 1873, 5, Chase 2005, 83, 148-9.

Notes: [1, 2, 4] konungr inn mildi litrauðs bliks unnar ‘the king, generous with the red-coloured light of the wave [GOLD]’: The kenning may be understood on several levels. It clearly refers to Óláfr, but the light imagery also recalls Christ, ‘the king of the sun’, whose radiance is associated with the saint. The ‘king’ in this multivalent metaphor can be the mortal Óláfr, generous with gold; the heavenly Óláfr, generous with miracles; or Christ, generous with the grace of his saints. Cederschiöld proposed emending Bb’s ‘aunnar’ (l. 2) to unnar, and this has been followed by all eds. — [2] miklum ‘great’: The ms. reads ‘miklu’, the n. dat. sg. form, which is grammatically impossible (there is no corresponding noun in the helmingr). — [3] mærik lim Krists ‘I praise the limb of Christ’: Previous eds (Cederschiöld, Skj B and Skald) have emended ms ‘lin’ to lim and ‘Krist’ to Krists, creating a kenning, ‘limb of Christ’, for Óláfr (cf. lim konungs himna sals ‘limb of the king of the hall of heaven’, 66/6). A recent suggestion in Chase 2005, 83 and 149 has been to emend to linan and construe Krist mærik linan ‘I praise merciful Christ’. However, the l. then becomes unmetrical, as the word in question must be monosyllabic (there is no resolution on a word in position 4 in an XE l. until C14th; for the terminology see Gade 1995). — [3] leysta ‘rescued’: The form is acc. sg. f., in agreement with ǫld ‘men’ (l. 1) rather than the usual sg. n. inflection. This was an accepted means of forming the perf. (ANG §541), and Einarr used it here to provide the requisite trochee at the end of the l.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873b. ‘Bandamanna saga’. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  6. Cederschiöld, Gustaf J. Chr., ed. 1873a. Geisli eða Óláfs Drápa ens Helga er Einarr orti Skúlason: efter ‘Bergsboken’ utgifven. Acta Universitatis Lundensis 10. Lund: Berling.
  7. Chase, Martin, ed. 2005. Einarr Skúlason’s Geisli. A Critical Edition. Toronto Old Norse and Icelandic Studies 1. Toronto, Buffalo and London: Toronto University Press.
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