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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þórarinn loftunga (Þloft)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Matthew Townend;

3. Glælognskviða (Glækv) - 10

Skj info: Þórarinn loftunga, Islandsk skjald, 11. årh. (AI, 322-7, BI, 298-301).

Skj poems:
1. Hǫfuðlausn
2. Tøgdrápa
3. Glælognskviða

Few biographical facts are known about Þórarinn loftunga ‘Praise-tongue’ (Þloft). In introducing Þórarinn’s service to King Knútr inn ríki Sveinsson (Cnut the Great), Snorri Sturluson (ÍF 27, 307; cf. ÓH 1941, I, 473) records in general terms that he was an Icelander and a great poet (skáld mikit) who had spent a great deal of time with kings and other chieftains. Knýtl (ÍF 35, 124) gives a similar portrait, and adds that Þórarinn was gamall ‘old’ when he first came to Knútr. However, all of Þórarinn’s extant poetry derives from his service to Knútr and his son Sveinn, and these are the only monarchs for whom Þórarinn is recorded as a poet in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 258, 267). Þorm Lv 10/1-2 also refers to Knútr rewarding Þórarinn with gold over a long period (for the anecdote in which it is quoted see ÓHLeg 1982, 124-8; ÓH 1941, II, 799-804), and his pre-Knútr career must remain hypothetical. Parts of three poems are preserved: Hǫfuðlausn (Hfl) and Tøgdrápa (Tøgdr) for Knútr, and Glælognskviða (Glækv) for Sveinn, probably composed in this order, and between c. 1027 and 1034; for circumstances of composition and preservation see individual Introductions below. The evidence of the poems suggests that Þórarinn entered Knútr’s service in either England or Denmark, accompanied him on his journey to Norway in 1028, and after 1030 remained at Sveinn’s court in Norway at least until c. 1032. For previous discussions of Þórarinn’s career see LH I, 601-3, Malcolm (1993), and Townend (2005, 256-7).

Glælognskviða — Þloft GlækvI

Matthew Townend 2012, ‘ Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 863. <> (accessed 4 July 2022)

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 

for reference only:  10x 

Skj: Þórarinn loftunga: 3. Glælognskviða, 1032 (AI, 324-7, BI, 300-1)

in texts: Flat, Fsk, Hkr, ÓH, ÓHHkr

SkP info: I, 863

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


1 Þats dullaust,
hvé Danir gerðu
dyggva fǫr
með dǫglingi.
Þar vas jarl
fyrst at upphafi,
ok hverr maðr,
es honum fylgði,
annarr drengr
ǫðrum betri.
It is without concealment, how the Danes made a faithful journey with the monarch [= Sveinn]. There the jarl [= Haraldr Þorkelsson] was first and foremost, and every man who followed him, each warrior, [was] better than the next.
2 Nú hefr sér
til sess hagat
í Þrándheimi.
Þar vill æ
ævi sína
bauga brjótr
byggðum ráða.
Now the great king [= Sveinn] has arranged himself on the throne in Trøndelag. There the breaker of rings [GENEROUS MAN] will rule the settlements always throughout his life.
3 Þars Ôleifr
áðan byggði,
áðr hann hvarf
til himinríkis,
ok þar varð,
sem vitu allir,
ór konungmanni.
Where Óláfr previously dwelt, before he departed to the heavenly kingdom, and there, as all know, he became enshrined alive, having been king.
4 Hafði sér
harðla ráðit
Haralds sonr
til himinríkis,
áðr seimbrjótr
at sætti varð.
The son of Haraldr [= Óláfr] had powerfully taken himself to the heavenly kingdom, before the treasure-breaker [GENEROUS MAN] became a mediator.
5 Þar svá hreinn
með heilu liggr
lofsæll gramr
líki sínu,
svát þar kná
sem á kvikum manni
hár ok negl
hônum vaxa.
The praise-blessed prince lies there so pure, with his body incorrupt, that there hair and nails grow on him, as on a living man.
6 Þar borðveggs
bjǫllur kneigu
of sæing hans
sjalfar hringjask,
ok hvern dag
heyra þjóðir
klokkna hljóð
of konungmanni.
There bells in the wooden structure ring by themselves above his bed, and every day people hear the sound of bells above the king.
7 En þar upp
af altári
Kristi þæg
kerti brenna.
Svá hefr Ôleifr,
áðr andaðisk,
sôlu borgit.
And there candles burn, acceptable to Christ, up from the altar. So has the sinless Óláfr saved his soul before he died.
8 Þar kømr herr,
es heilagr es
konungr sjalfr,
krýpr at gangi.
En beiðendr
blindir sœkja
þjóðir máls,
en þaðan heilir.
A host comes there, where the holy king himself is, [and] bows down for access. And people, petitioners for speech [and] the blind, make their way [there], and [go] from there whole.
9 Bið Ôleif,
at unni þér
— hanns goðs maðr —
grundar sinnar
— hann of getr
af goði sjalfum
ár ok frið
ǫllum mǫnnum —,
þás þú rekr
fyr reginnagla
bóka máls
bœnir þínar.
Pray to Óláfr that he grant you his ground [Norway], — he is God’s man; he obtains from God himself prosperity and peace for all people — when you present your prayers before the sacred nail of the language of books [LATIN > SAINT = Óláfr].
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