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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Has 7VII

Katrina Attwood (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Harmsól 7’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 78-80.

Gamli kanókiHarmsól
678

Ungr ‘as a young man’

ungr (adj.): young

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vǫndumk ‘developed the habit’

vanda (verb): fashion, execute

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yngvi ‘Prince’

Yngvi (noun m.): Yngvi, prince

kennings

Yngvi þjóðar,
‘Prince of the people, ’
   = God

Prince of the people, → God

notes

[1] yngvi: B’s text reads ‘yng’ with a superscript ‘i’ above the ‘g’, which may be understood as either yngvi or yngri. Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) understood it as yngvi, which makes sense in context, while Sveinbjörn Egilsson read yngri, which he emended to yngvi (note in 444ˣ and 1844 edn).

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opt ‘often’

opt (adv.): often

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djarf*liga ‘presumptuously’

djarfligr (adj.; °compar. -ri, superl. -st-): [presumptuously]

[2] djarf*liga: ‘erfilega’ B

notes

[2] djarf*liga ‘boldly, presumptuously’: It is not possible to make sense of B’s reading opt erfiliga ‘often with difficulty’ in this context, and various suggestions for emendation have been made. Finnur Jónsson modifies Sveinbjörn Egilsson’s ofderfilega (1844, adopted by Kempff 1867, 2) to ofderfil*a, hap. leg., which he glosses dristigt ‘boldly, audaciously’ (LP). Kock (NN §2928) suggests ofherfliga ‘very wickedly’, comparing Gamli’s confession of sinful behaviour in 53/3-4 þótt atferðin ór yrði stórum herfilig ‘even though my behaviour were to become very shameful’. Jón Helgason (1935-6, 253-4) observes that the poet often uses phrases with opt, and suggests a further emendation of Finnur’s text to opt derfila ‘often presumptuously’. Since derfila is not otherwise attested, he makes two alternative suggestions: óþerfila ‘useless, inconvenient’ and opt djarfliga ‘often presumptuously’. Although emendation to opt djarfliga necessitates a further emendation, to hvarfa, to satisfy the aðalhending in l. 2, this edn, with Black (1971, 154), follows Jón’s suggestion, on the ground that it preserves B’s opt.

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hvarfa ‘wandering’

2. hvarfa (verb): stroll, wander

[2] hvarfa: hverfa B

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gáðak ‘I paid’

gœða (verb): endow

[3] gáðak (‘gáði ek’): so 399a‑bˣ, ‘ga[...]ek’ B, ‘ga(...)æk’(?) BRydberg, ‘ga(da) ek’(?) BFJ

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þjóðar ‘of the people’

þjóð (noun f.; °-ar, dat. -/-u; -ir): people

kennings

Yngvi þjóðar,
‘Prince of the people, ’
   = God

Prince of the people, → God
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ept ‘according to’

eptir (prep.): after, behind

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snørak ‘turned’

snúa (verb): turn

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jafnan ‘always’

jafnan (adv.): always

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inni ‘inwardly’

2. inni (adv.): in, inside, indoors

[5] inni: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]ne’ B

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Repentance for sins committed in youth is a common feature of biblical confessions. Job, for example, mentions the possibility that his sufferings are intended as a punishment for youthful sins: scribis enim contra me amaritudines et consumere me vis peccatis adulescentiae meae ‘for thou writest bitter things against me, and wilt consume me for the sins of my youth’ (Job XIII.26). Perhaps a more likely source for Gamli’s inspiration is the Penitential Psalm XXIV, which contains the verse delicta iuventutis meae et ignorantias meas ne memineris secundum misericordiam tuam memento mei tu; propter bonitatem tuam Domine ‘the sins of my youth and my ignorances do not remember. According to thy mercy remember thou me: for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord’ (Ps. XXIV.7).

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