This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

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 25 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, 875

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — Þloft Glækv 9I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða 9’ 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. 875.

Bið Ôleif,
at unni þér
— hanns goðs maðr —
grundar sinnar
— hann of getr
af goði sjalfum
ár ok frið
ǫllum mǫnnum —,
þás þú rekr
fyr reginnagla
bóka máls
bœnir þínar.


Pray to Óláfr that he grant you his ground [Norway], — he is God’s man; he obtains from God himself prosperity and peace for all peoplewhen you present your prayers before {the sacred nail {of the language of books}}. [LATIN > SAINT = Óláfr]

context: See Context to st. 2 above.

notes: In Skj and Skald, ll. 1-8 are printed as st. 9 and ll. 9-12 as st. 10, but the twelve lines are very tightly linked syntactically, with ll. 9-12 forming a subordinate clause dependent on ll. 1-2, 4, while ll. 5-8 form an independent main clause, as does l. 3. The collective evidence of the mss is equivocal in terms of stanza divisions, and in 39 and E, ll. 9-12 occur between ll. 1-4 and 5-8, while in 325V ll. 5-8 are omitted. — [11] bóka máls ‘of the language of books [LATIN]’: ON bók ‘book’ is a semantic loan from OE, and a development from an earlier meaning ‘textile, tapestry’, recorded in eddic verse (see LP, AEW: bók; Fischer 1909, 1). Though mál bóka may simply mean ‘the language of books, learned language’, the language of books, especially in early C11th Scandinavia, is specifically the Lat. language (compare OE bōclǣden ‘book-language, Latin’ and later ON bókmál ‘book-language, learned language, Latin’; see ONP: bókmál). This phrase thus supplies the first extant skaldic reference to both Lat. and books, and indicates that the poem’s genesis was in an at least partly ecclesiastical milieu.

texts: Flat 645, ÓH 184 (180), ÓHHkr 173 (II 173), Hkr 374 (II 173)

editions: Skj Þórarinn loftunga: 3. Glælognskviða 9 (AI, 327; BI, 301); Skald I, 153, NN §2017; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 521, IV, 175-6, ÍF 27, 408-9 (ÓHHkr ch. 245), E 1916, 3; ÓH 1941, I, 604 (ch. 245), Flat 1860-8, II, 377; Magerøy 1948, 16, 17-18, 30-6.


AM 36 folx (Kx) 487v, 7 - 487v, 14 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
AM 39 fol (39) 11rb, 5 - 11rb, 6 (Hkr)  transcr.  image  
AM 47 fol (E) 2r, 1 - 2r, 2 (Hkr)  image  
Holm perg 2 4° (Holm2) 71v, 40 - 72r, 1 (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VI 4° (325VI) 39vb, 14 - 39vb, 16 (ÓH)  image  
AM 321 4°x (321x) 273, 20 - 273, 21 (ÓH)  transcr.  image  
AM 61 fol (61) 128vb, 18 - 128vb, 19 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 325 V 4° (325V) 86rb, 14 - 86rb, 15 [1-4, 9-12] (ÓH)  image  
AM 325 VII 4° (325VII) 40r, 8 - 40r, 9 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 325 XI 2 n 4° (325XI 2 n) 1r, 5 - 1r, 6 (ÓH)  image  
Holm perg 1 fol (Bb) 203va - 203va (ÓH)  image  
GKS 1005 fol (Flat) 127va, 12 - 127va, 14 (ÓH)  image  image  image  
GKS 1008 fol (Tóm) 159r, 39 - 159r, 39 (ÓH)  image  
Thott 972 folx (972x) 566va, 4 - 566va, 11 (ÓH)  image  image  
AM 73 a folx (73ax) 210r, 24 - 210r, 24 (ÓH)  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated