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Þórarinn loftunga (Þloft)

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

3. Glælognskviða (Glækv) - 10

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 21 January 2022)

stanzas:  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)

SkP info: I, 865

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Þloft Glækv 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða 1’ 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. 865.

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.

context: In ÓH-Hkr and Fsk the stanza is quoted following an account of the journey of Sveinn Álfífuson from Denmark to Norway, to take up rule there after the death of Óláfr.

notes: [7-10]: The nom. sg. noun phrases hverr maðr ‘every man’ and [hverr] annarr drengr ‘each warrior’ are in apposition, and annarr … ǫðrum betri form a phrase (with vas understood: see Hkr 1893-1901, IV). The lines appear to carry through the hierarchical ordering begun in ll. 5-6: the Danes are being ranked in terms of their distinction, perhaps even in terms of the sequence of ships in their fleet (cf. anecdotes in the kings’ sagas in which the order of sailing or mooring is allied to the granting or withholding of honour, e.g. ÍF 26, 248-9). The ‘B’ redaction of Fsk, which, unlike the ‘A’ redaction, does not cite the stanza but rather summarizes it, reads (with Fsk’s nýtri for betri) Sveinn konungr hafði haft með sér mikinn Danaher; þar var enn fyrsti maðr Úlfr jarl Sprakaleggssonr, ok með hónum hverr annarr drengr ǫðrum nýtri ‘King Sveinn had gathered to himself a great army of Danes; the first man there was Úlfr jarl Sprakaleggssonr, and with him every warrior [was] more capable than the next’ (ÍF 29, 201 and n.).

texts: Flat 628, Fsk 164, ÓH 175 (171), ÓHHkr 164 (II 164), Hkr 365 (II 164)

editions: Skj Þórarinn loftunga: 3. Glælognskviða 1 (AI, 324-5; BI, 300); Skald I, 152; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 512, IV, 173-4, ÍF 27, 399 (ÓHHkr ch. 239), E 1916, 1; ÓH 1941, I, 594 (ch. 239), Flat 1860-8, II, 369; Fsk 1902-3, 183-4 (ch. 29), ÍF 29, 201 (ch. 35); Magerøy 1948, 9-10, 16, 18-19.


AM 36 folx (Kx) 481r, 20 - 481v, 2 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
AM 47 fol (E) 1v, 6 - 1v, 8 (Hkr)  image  
Holm perg 2 4° (Holm2) 70v, 19 - 70v, 20 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VI 4° (325VI) 38va, 14 - 38va, 17 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 321 4°x (321x) 268 - 268 (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 4 4° (Holm4) 66va, 22 - 66va, 25 (ÓH)  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 128ra, 2 - 128ra, 5 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 325 V 4° (325V) 84va, 17 - 84va, 20 (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 202ra - 202ra (ÓH)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 126va, 19 - 126va, 21 (ÓH)  image  image  image  
GKS 1008 fol (Tóm) 158r, 34 - 158r, 34 (ÓH)  image  
AM 303 4°x (FskAx) 192, 5 - 192, 14 (Fsk)  image  
AM 73 a folx (73ax) 207v, 6 - 207v, 6 (ÓH)  image  
AM 301 4°x (301x) 70r, 16 - 70r, 19 (Fsk)  
AM 309 4° (309) 192, 5 - 192, 14  
AM 321 4°x (321x) 268, 2 - 268, 4 (ÓH)  transcr.  image  
Thott 972 folx (972x) 545va, 14 - 545va, 17 (ÓH)  image  image  
Thott 972 folx (972x) 553va, 31 - 554va, 5 (ÓH)  image  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated