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Runic Dictionary

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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, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

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, 873

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Þloft Glækv 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða 8’ 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. 873.

Þar kømr herr,
es heilagr es
konungr sjalfr,
krýpr at gangi.
En beiðendr
blindir sœkja
þjóðir máls,
en þaðan heilir.

Herr kømr þar, es heilagr konungr sjalfr es, krýpr at gangi. En þjóðir, beiðendr máls, blindir, sœkja, 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.

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

Readings: [1] Þar kømr herr: en herr manns 39, ok þar kømr sá 325VII;    herr: hverr 325VI, Flat, Tóm, hveim 61, ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 n    [2] es heilagr es: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 n;    heilagr es (‘heilagr er’): heilagr Holm2, 325VI, 321ˣ    [4] krýpr: krýpr sér 325VI, 321ˣ, krýpum 325VII;    gangi: ‘gangni’ 39, gagni 325VI, 321ˣ, 61, 325VII, Flat, Tóm    [5] En: ok 39, Holm2, 325VI, 321ˣ, 61, 325VII, 325XI 2 n, Flat, Tóm    [6] blindir: blindr 321ˣ;    sœkja: ganga Tóm    [7] þjóðir: so 61, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, þjóðar Kˣ, 39, Holm2, 325VI, 321ˣ, 325XI 2 n;    máls: ‘mal[…]’ 39, ‘mass’ 321ˣ, mál Flat    [8] en þaðan heilir: ‘e[…]’ 325XI 2 n;    en: er 61, sem Flat

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 3. Glælognskviða 8: AI, 326-7, BI, 301, Skald I, 153, NN §§1130, 2988I; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 521, IV, 175, ÍF 27, 408 (ÓHHkr ch. 245); ÓH 1941, I, 604 (ch. 245), Flat 1860-8, II, 377; Magerøy 1948, 12-15, 17, 29-30.

Context: See Context to st. 2 above.

Notes: [All]: As Magerøy (1948, 30) notes, this stanza’s theme of the healing of the sick is also found in Sigv ErfÓl 24, with some lexical parallels. — [1] þar kømr herr ‘a host comes there’: (a) This, the reading of and most other mss, produces the construction kømr ... krýpr ‘comes ... [and] bows down’. (b) The 39 reading en herr manns ‘and a host of people’ gives the helmingr only one main verb, and this is adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B), but this is a minority reading and may be derived from Snorri’s prose (ÍF 27, 409): til ins helga Óláfs konungs kom herr manns ‘a host of people came to the holy King Óláfr’. — [2, 3]: Omission of the second es, ‘is’, in certain mss has the apparent result of making konungr the subject of krýpr ‘bows down’ rather than herr ‘host’. — [4] krýpr ‘bows down’: Krjúpa, like its Engl. cognate, means ‘to creep, crawl’, but in ecclesiastical contexts also ‘to kneel’ or ‘to humble oneself’ (CVC: krjúpa). — [4] gangi ‘access’: Although gangi is the minority form, it is found in the two most authoritative mss, and Holm2; most mss read gagni ‘gain, benefit’ (and indeed Skj B, Skald and ÍF 27 all print gagni). Gangi supplies less obvious sense than gagni when preceded by krýpr at ‘bows down for/to’. However, it can be construed, as here, as dat. sg. of gang n. ‘way, access’ (Fritzner: gang) or of gangr m. ‘motion, course’, perhaps referring to the suppliants’ approach to the shrine. Magerøy (1948, 29), preferring gangr ‘motion’, assumes at has a purposive sense here (cf. ONP: at I.D.17), in a miraculous paradox: the people bow down in order to be able to walk, making the healing of the lame a parallel to the healing of the blind and dumb in the second helmingr. The purposive sense of at is retained in this edn, but gang ‘way, access’ preferred as the object. — [5, 6] beiðendr … blindir ‘petitioners … the blind’: The second helmingr clearly refers to healings at Óláfr’s shrine, but the expression is somewhat cryptic and the syntax uncertain. (a) The construal above requires ‘and’ to be understood, but avoids the problems of (b) below, and unlike (c) takes beiðendr máls ‘petitioners for speech’ in its obvious sense as a reference to the dumb, forming a pair with blindir ‘the blind’. (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B also assumes that these two types of petitioner are paired, choosing ok ‘and’ rather than en ‘but, and’ as the conj. in l. 5 and taking it as a link between the two phrases. However, its position before both phrases at the beginning of the helmingr would suggest instead that it links clauses and helmingar. (c) Kock (NN §1130) takes blindir to be an adj. qualifying beiðendr, and takes beiðendr máls together, hence ‘blind petitioners for speech’. The apparent anomaly of blind people asking for speech (máls, l. 7) is avoided by assuming that máls refers to a conversation or interview, rather than the gift of speech, but this is less plausible in the context of healing miracles. See Note to l. 7 for Magerøy’s view of this word. — [7] þjóðir ‘people’: Both ms. readings, þjóðir and þjóðar, are problematic. (a) Skj B and Skald both emend to þjóðan, acc. sg. of þjóðann ‘prince, ruler’, hence ‘petitioners … seek the king’. (b) Magerøy (1948, 14-15) endeavours to retain gen. sg. þjóðar ‘of people’, as evidenced in the best mss, by reading mál (Flat only) rather than máls and arguing that mál here has the sense more of ‘assembly’, as in cognate OE mæðel, hence ‘petitioners … seek the assembly of people’, i.e. the crowd around Óláfr’s shrine; this suggestion is based on Fritzner (1883). (c) Mss 61, Flat and Tóm, apparently sensing the problem, read nom. pl. þjóðir ‘people’, presumably in apposition with beiðendr. This leaves sœkja ‘visit, make one’s way’ intransitive, while it normally takes an acc. object or a directional adverbial (Fritzner: sœkja 4), as recognised in Flat’s consequent reading of mál ‘speech’. This, however, is acceptable if one retains máls, qualifying beiðendr (giving ‘petitioners for speech’) and takes sœkja as intransitive ‘make their way [there]’, with the sense ‘there’ understood from l. 1 and reinforced by l. 8. This solution is adopted here, but it remains far from satisfactory, not least because it follows an apparent rationalisation by less authoritative mss. — [8] en þaðan heilir ‘and [go] from there whole’: As Kock (NN §§1130 Anm., 2988I) notes, it is necessary here to assume ellipsis of a verb of motion.

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