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Runic Dictionary

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Þórarinn loftunga (Þloft)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Matthew Townend;

2. Tøgdrápa (Tøgdr) - 8

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).

Tøgdrápa — Þloft TøgdrI

Matthew Townend 2012, ‘ Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa’ 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. 851. <> (accessed 17 September 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

Skj: Þórarinn loftunga: 2. Tøgdrápa, 1028 (AI, 322-324, BI, 298-299); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

SkP info: I, 852

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Þloft Tøgdr 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 1’ 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. 852.

Knútrs und sólar.
Siðnæmr með lið
fór mjǫk mikit
minn vinr þinig.
Fœrði ór -firði
fimr gramr Lima-
út ólítinn
otrheims flota.

Knútrs und sólar … Siðnæmr vinr minn fór þinig með mjǫk mikit lið. Fimr gramr fœrði ólítinn flota {otrheims} út ór Limafirði.

Knútr is under the sun’s … My custom-practised friend went there with a very great force. The skilful lord brought no small fleet {of the otter-world} [SEA] out from Limfjorden.

Mss: (428r) (Hkr); Holm2(57r), J2ˣ(206r-v), Bæb(2va), 68(56v), Holm4(54va), 61(115va), 75c(38v), 325V(67va) (ll. 1-6), 325VII(31r), 325XI 2 g(3rb), Flat(118va), Tóm(145v) (ÓH); DG8(96r) (ÓHLeg); FskAˣ(179-180) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] Knútrs (‘Knutr er’): knútr var 61, Flat, Tóm, DG8, ‘Kn[…]’ 75c;    und: ‘[…]nd’ 75c;    sólar: himnum FskAˣ    [2] Sið‑: siðr DG8, hlið FskAˣ;    ‑næmr: nær Flat, ‘neme’ Tóm    [4] minn: ‘[…]’ 75c;    vinr: vin Holm2;    þinig: þannig Tóm    [5] Fœrði: ferði Bæb, fœrðr Flat;    ór: ok 68, ‘yr’ 75c;    ‑firði: ‘firþ̄’ 68    [6] fimr gramr Lima‑: flot heims gota 325V;    fimr: fira 61, 75c, 325VII, Flat, Tóm    [7] út ólítinn: ‘óólitin’ DG8    [8] otrheims: ‘otreims’ Holm2, ‘ortreins’ 325XI 2 g

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 2. Tøgdrápa 2: AI, 322, BI, 298, Skald I, 151, NN §§2516, 2782, 3080; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 397, IV, 152, ÍF 27, 308 (ÓHHkr ch. 172); ÓH 1941, I, 474 (ch. 166), Flat 1860-8, II, 306; ÓHLeg 1922, 71, ÓHLeg 1982, 168-9; Fsk 1902-3, 171 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 191-2 (ch. 33).

Context: Stanzas 1-6 are quoted continuously, with no intermediate prose, in ÓH-Hkr and ÓHLeg; Fsk only has sts 1-4, also continuously. In each case the citation follows, and authenticates, an account (of varying fullness) of King Knútr’s journey from Denmark north along the Norwegian coast, and in ÓH-Hkr it forms part of a chapter featuring Þórarinn.

Notes: [All]: In ÓHLeg the stanzas are cited from a drápa about Knútr, while Fsk designates the poem as a kvæði. ÓH-Hkr follows an account of Þórarinn’s earlier poem Hfl with Þórarinn orti aðra drápu um Knút konung, er kǫlluð er Tøgdrápa. Í þeiri drápu er sagt frá þessum ferðum Knúts konungs, er hann fór ór Danmǫrku sunnan til Nóregs, ok er þetta einn stefjabálkr ‘Þórarinn composed another drápa about King Knútr, which is called Tøgdrápa. In that drápa these journeys of King Knútr are told about, when he went from Denmark north to Norway, and this is one stefjabálkr’ (ÍF 27, 308). — [1] Knútrs und sólar ‘Knútr is under the sun’s’: This is the first half of the klofastef ‘split refrain’ for the poem, but the second half is not extant, nor does this line recur in the poem as preserved. The obvious comparison is with the klofastef of Sigv Knútdr: Knútrs und himnum | hǫfuðfremstr jǫfurr ‘Knútr is the most eminent king under the heavens’ (see Note to Sigv Knútdr 3/1). Sveinbjörn Egilsson (quoted in ÍF 27) proposed setri hveim betri as the completion of Þórarinn’s klofastef, but this is hypermetrical. — [2] siðnæmr ‘custom-practised’: ON siðr can mean ‘custom, manners’ or ‘religious faith’. The cpd is a hap. leg. in poetry, though it occurs in prose in Konungs skuggsjá (see Fritzner: siðnæmr), and suggests Knútr’s Christian courtliness. — [4] vinr minn ‘my friend’: Hofmann (1955, 94-5) suggests OE influence here, citing such parallels as wine mīn in Beowulf ll. 457 and 1704 (Beowulf 2008, 18, 57). — [4] þinig ‘there’: That is, to Norway (so ÍF 27 and 29). The use of this adv. suggests that the poem was not composed or recited in Norway itself, though it is possible that þinig can mean ‘(to) here’ as well as ‘(to) there’ (see Fritzner, LP: þinig). — [5, 6] Limafirði ‘Limfjorden’: For the use of tmesis to accommodate a p. n. in skaldic lines, see Note to Hfr Óldr 2/7, 8; for another probable play on the p. n. Limafjǫrðr, see Glúmr Gráf 11/4 and Note. Limfjorden is a major fjord in northern Jutland. This stanza would seem to add to the evidence that it was navigable to the west at this period; see Note to Sigv Knútdr 8/8. — [8] otrheims ‘of the otter-world [SEA]’: This it taken here with flota ‘fleet’, to refer to sea-going ships, and this interpretation is favoured by Kock (NN §2782, also ÍF 27 and 29). These eds also mention the alternative possibility (adopted in Skj B) that otrheims has the sense ‘to sea’, as an adverbial gen. of direction (on which, see NS §141; Poole 2004).

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