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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 28 May 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, 870

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Þloft Glækv 5I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða 5’ 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. 870.

Þar svá hreinn
með heilu liggr
lofsæll gramr
líki sínu,
svát þar kná
sem á kvikum manni
hár ok negl
hônum vaxa.

Lofsæll gramr liggr þar svá hreinn með heilu líki sínu, svát þar hár ok negl kná vaxa hônum, sem á kvikum manni.

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.

Mss: (487r), 39(11ra) (Hkr); Holm2(71v), 325VI(39vb), 321ˣ(273), 61(128vb), 325V(86rb), 325VII(40r), 325XI 2 n(1r) (ll. 7-8), Bb(203rb), Flat(127va), Tóm(159r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] svá: so 39, Holm2, 61, Tóm, svá at Kˣ, 325VI, 325V, 325VII, Bb, sá at 321ˣ, er Flat;    hreinn: corrected from heill Kˣ, heill 325VI, hann 61, Flat, Tóm    [2] heilu: ‘heil[…]’ 39;    liggr: ‘[…]igr’ 39    [3] lof‑: líf 321ˣ;    gramr: konungr Bb    [4] sínu: ‘[…]’ 39    [5] svát (‘sua at’): so Holm2, 325VI, 61, 325V, Bb, Tóm, ok Kˣ, 39, om. Flat    [6] á: ‘[…]’ 39;    kvikum: kykum Holm2, 321ˣ    [7] hár: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 n;    ok: ‘o[…]’ 39    [8] hônum: á hnum Bb;    vaxa: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 n

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 3. Glælognskviða 5: AI, 326, BI, 300-1, Skald I, 153; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 520, IV, 175, ÍF 27, 407 (ÓHHkr ch. 245); ÓH 1941, I, 604 (ch. 245), Flat 1860-8, II, 377; Magerøy 1948, 11, 17, 22-4.

Context: See Context to st. 2 above.

Notes: [All]: The syntax of the stanza as preserved in is unique among the extant mss, with svát in l. 1 and ok in l. 5. Holm2 and 61, as well as Tóm (representing the A and C classes of ÓH mss), have svá in l. 1 and svát in l. 5. As this yields much better sense, it is adopted here (as also in Magerøy 1948). The stanza is thus marked in ll. 1 and 5 by a syntactic and lexical correlation that appears pleonastic (þar svá ‘there so’ … svát þar ‘(so) that there’), unless the first þar refers to Óláfr’s shrine and the second to his body. As mentioned in the Note to st. 4 [All], however, the syntax of the end of the previous stanza and the start of this one must remain uncertain, owing to the loss of lines. — [5, 8] kná vaxa ‘grow’: Kná (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic.; inf. kná), like its pl. counterpart kneigu in st. 6/2, appears to be a pleonastic auxiliary here, lacking its fuller sense ‘to be able’. The usage is characteristic of kviðuháttr poetry. The use of a sg. verb form with a cpd subject (here hár ok negl ‘hair and nails’, l. 7) is also not unusual. — [6] á kvikum manni ‘on a living man’: Skj B, Skald, Magerøy and ÍF 27 all omit á ‘on’ here, to achieve a four-syllable line; but the prep. is present in all mss, even though the parallel construction with hnum ‘on him’ indicates that it is unnecessary. — [7-8]: Continuing growth of hair and nails after death is a common sign of sanctity. The continued growth of Óláfr’s hair is recorded also in Sigv ErfÓl 23, which precedes the quotation of Glækv 2-10 in ÓH-Hkr .

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