Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kolb Jónv 5VII/5 — Hár ‘The high’

Frami gengr hátt, sás himna
herteitir þér veitir,
snardeilandi sólar
sunds, á margar lundir.
Hárs á hvern veg meiri
hyrbjóðr, an kyn þjóðar,
Alda garðs, með orðum
yðra dýrð geti skýrða.

Frami, sás himna her teitir veitir þér, gengr hátt á margar lundir, snardeilandi sólar sunds. Hár Alda garðs hyrbjóðr [e]s meiri á hvern veg, an kyn þjóðar geti skýrða yðra dýrð með orðum.

That distinction which the gladdener of the host of the heavens [(lit. ‘host-gladdener of the heavens’) ANGELS > = God (= Christ)] grants you rises high in many ways, speedy distributer of the sun of the sound [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN]. The high offerer of the fire of the fence of Alden <island> [(lit. ‘high fire-offerer of the Alden-fence’) SEA > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] is greater in every way than the family of people [MANKIND] are able to expound your glory with words.


[5] Hárs: ‘hárr er’ 649a


[6-7] hárs: The ms. reading is ‘háʀ er’. The reading ‘háʀ’ could be normalised to hárr ‘hoary, grey-haired’ (m. nom. sg.) or to hár ‘high’ (m. nom. sg.; <ʀ> appears in mss as a grapheme for [rr] or for [r], cf. Lindblad 1954, 73, 206-7). Since the adj. is part of an honorific term for S. John, all previous interpreters take ‘háʀ’ to be hár ‘high’. The reading er is evidently the predicate in the main cl., the 3rd pers. sg. indic. of vera ‘to be’. Since hár er produces a seven-syllable l., Skj B normalises to hárs. Kock (NN §2165) argues that it is implausible that John should be spoken of in the 3rd pers. in a sentence containing a subordinate cl. which addresses him in the 2nd pers. pl. (yðra dýrð ‘your glory’ 5/8) and in a st. whose first helmingr also addresses him in the 2nd pers. (þér ‘to you’ 5/2). He therefore emends the verb form to est/ert ‘you are’ (cf. the translation in Lange 1958b, 19). He indicates that the problem of the seven-syllable l. could be solved by the omission of the prep. á, which is not required by the syntax of the construction á hvern veg ‘in every way’.




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