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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 22 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, 872

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Þloft Glækv 7I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða 7’ 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. 872.

En þar upp
af altári
Kristi þæg
kerti brenna.
Svá hefr Ôleifr,
áðr andaðisk,
sôlu borgit.

En þar brenna kerti, þæg Kristi, upp af altári. Svá hefr synðalauss Ôleifr borgit sôlu, áðr andaðisk.

And there candles burn, acceptable to Christ, up from the altar. So has the sinless Óláfr saved his soul before he died.

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

Readings: [1] En þar upp: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 n;    þar: þar af Tóm;    upp: om. 61    [2] af altári: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 n;    altári: ‘allteri’ Holm2    [3] Kristi þæg: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 n;    þæg: ‘[…]g’ 39, ‘kier’ Bb    [4] kerti brenna: ‘[…]na’ 325XI 2 n    [7] ‑lauss: lausan 61    [8] sôlu: slum 61, Flat, Tóm;    borgit: brugðit 325VI, 321ˣ

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 3. Glælognskviða 7: AI, 326, BI, 301, Skald I, 153; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 520, IV, 175, ÍF 27, 408 (ÓHHkr ch. 245); ÓH 1941, I, 604 (ch. 245), Flat 1860-8, II, 377; Magerøy 1948, 12, 17, 27-8.

Context: See Context to st. 2 above.

Notes: [All]: This stanza is marked by the presence of new, ecclesiastical vocabulary, unrecorded in any prior extant Old Norse sources; see Notes below. — [2] altári ‘the altar’: A loanword from Lat., probably via OS (Halldór Halldórsson 1969, 112-14). There is some uncertainty as to whether the second syllable should be short or long. — [4] kerti ‘candles’: Another loanword from Lat., probably via OS (Halldór Halldórsson 1969, 114-16). — [6] áðr andaðisk ‘before he died’: It has been suggested that andask as a middle-voice verb is a distinctively Christian term in skaldic verse (see Lange 1958a, 116, 285).  — [7] synðalauss ‘sinless’: ON synð is a loanword, probably from OS (Halldór Halldórsson 1968); synð is the older form, synd the younger. In later ON translations from Lat. the cpd synðalauss ‘sinless’ is often used to render sine culpa/debito/peccato ‘without fault/debt/sin’ (Walter 1976, 47). — [8] sôlu ‘his soul’: A loanword from OE (Fischer 1909, 25; AEW: sál). The verb bjarga takes the dat. in the sense ‘to save, help’ (Fritzner, CVC: bjarga); the dat. pl. reading sôlum in certain mss must mean that Óláfr has saved other people’s souls, rather than his own. As Magerøy (1948, 28) notes, the phrase bjarga slu also occurs in Hfr Lv 28/3, 4V (Hallfr 34) (along with the verb andask), referring to the skald’s own death.

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