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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 18 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, 867

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Þloft Glækv 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða 3’ 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. 867.

Þars Ôleifr
áðan byggði,
áðr hann hvarf
til himinríkis,
ok þar varð,
sem vitu allir,
ór konungmanni.

Þars Ôleifr áðan byggði, áðr hann hvarf til himinríkis, ok þar, sem allir vitu, varð kykvasettr 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.

Mss: (486v), 39(11ra) (Hkr); Holm2(71v), 325VI(39vb), 321ˣ(273), 61(128vb), 325V(86rb), 325VII(40r), Bb(203rb), Flat(127va), Tóm(159r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] Þars (‘þar er’): þar 61, 325VII, Tóm, þá er 325V    [2] áðan: óðal 325VII    [3] hann: om. 325VII;    hvarf: ‘h[…]’ 39    [4] himin‑: ‘him[…]’ 39, himi‑ Bb, Flat, Tóm    [5] varð: var Holm2, 325VI, 321ˣ    [6] vitu: vita 39    [7] kykvasettr: kvikva settr Holm2, kvika sett 325VI, 321ˣ, ‘kykkuaz hatur’ or ‘kykkuar hatur’ 61, ‘kvikas havttr’ 325V, ‘kyqvaþ har’ 325VII, ‘kvikva setr’ Bb, ‘kuikligr hattr’ Flat, ‘kykkuazt hatur’ Tóm    [8] ór: um 39, af 61, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, á 325V;    konung‑: konungs 325V

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 3. Glælognskviða 3: AI, 325, BI, 300, Skald I, 152, NN §965; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 520, IV, 174-5, ÍF 27, 406-7 (ÓHHkr ch. 245); ÓH 1941, I, 603 (ch. 245), Flat 1860-8, II, 377; Magerøy 1948, 11, 16, 20-1.

Context: See Context to st. 2 above.

Notes: [1] þars ‘where’: The reference is to Þrándheimr (Trøndelag), mentioned in st. 2/4. The variant þar ‘there’ produces simpler syntax, in which the first clause of st. 3 is not subordinate to st. 2/5-8, but although it is represented in classes B and C of ÓH, þars has stronger support, appearing in the remaining ÓH mss and the two Hkr mss. — [4] himinríkis ‘the heavenly kingdom’: A loan-translation from OE heofonrice, of identical meaning (Fischer 1909, 5). In skaldic verse prior to the C12th, the term is only found in the works of Þórarinn: here, in st. 4/4 and in Þloft Hfl 1/2. Himi- appears to be an acceptable variant (see LP: himinríki). — [5] þar ‘there’: That is, in Þrándheimr rather than in heaven (himinríki). These lines refer to Óláfr’s translation to a shrine in Clemenskirkja (Clemenskirken, S. Clement’s Church). — [7] kykvasettr ‘enshrined alive’: Kykr and kvikr ‘alive, living’ are variant forms (Fritzner, CVC: kvikr); kvikr appears at st. 5/6. As can be seen from the Readings, the cpd kykvasettr posed problems for scribes. It is a p. p. from kviksetja ‘to place alive, bury alive’ (Fritzner: kviksetja), but it refers here to a Christian saint who lives on in the grave; cf. also Þstf Stuttdr 6/4II kviksettra (with gen. pl. ‑ra by emendation) ‘holy ones’ and Note. Here the meaning appears to be that Óláfr has been placed in a shrine in the church, but as a saint he is still alive (kykva), as witnessed by the miraculous growth of his hair and nails (st. 5). For discussion of the term see Magerøy (1948, 21) and Rainford (1995, 111). Kock (NN §965; Skald) prints instead kykvasætr, a proposed cpd noun meaning ‘living seat’, referring to the saint’s shrine and its contents, in support of a rather forced interpretation of Þstf Stuttdr 6/4II .

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated