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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, 855

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Þloft Tøgdr 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 3’ 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. 855.

Ok fyr Lista
liðu framm viðir
Hádýrs of haf
hart kolsvartir.
Byggt vas innan
allt brimgaltar
suðr sæskíðum
sund Eikunda.

Ok fyr Lista liðu kolsvartir viðir hart framm of haf Hádýrs. Innan {brimgaltar} vas allt Eikundasund suðr byggt {sæskíðum}.

And off Lista the coal-black ships travelled hard forwards over the sea of Hådyret. On the landward side {of the surf-boar} [SHIP] the entire Eigersund to the south was inhabited {by sea-skis} [SHIPS].

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

Readings: [3] Há‑: haf‑ Holm2, 68, 325V, 325XI 2 g, DG8, FskAˣ, hrann‑ Bæb, haf corrected from ‘há’ 325VII, hag Flat, Tóm;    ‑dýrs: ‑gjalfrs Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, DG8, ‘gialbrs’ 61, dýr FskAˣ;    of (‘um’): í Bæb, Holm4, 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, FskAˣ    [5] Byggt: lukt FskAˣ    [6] ‑galtar: galta 61, Flat    [7] suðr: sverð 325V, suð DG8;    sæ‑: sær 68, sum 61;    ‑skíðum: skíða J2ˣ, DG8, ‘skridu’ or ‘skidu’ 61    [8] Eikunda: ‘eykund’ 61

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 2. Tøgdrápa 4: AI, 323, BI, 299, Skald I, 152, NN §§788, 2016; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 398, IV, 152-3, ÍF 27, 309 (ÓHHkr ch. 172); ÓH 1941, I, 475 (ch. 166), Flat 1860-8, II, 306; ÓHLeg 1922, 71-2, ÓHLeg 1982, 168-9; Fsk 1902-3, 172 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 192-3 (ch. 33).

Context: See Context to st. 1 above.

Notes: [1] Lista ‘Lista’: Modern Lista (ON nom. sg. Listi) is on the coast of Vest-Agder. The p. n. is also used in a representative sense for ‘land’ in Sigv Austv 9/6. — [2] liðu ‘travelled’: Þórarinn uses the verb líða repeatedly in Tøgdr to express movement across the sea (also at sts 4/2 and 5/5); on the verb see further Jesch (2001a, 175). — [2] viðir ‘the ships’: Although viðr means ‘wood’, it can function as a pars pro toto for ‘ship’ (see LP: viðr 5; Jesch 2001a, 134 and n. 30, 144). — [3] Hádýrs ‘of Hådyret’: It is clear from the range of ms. readings that the name caused problems for many scribes. (a) Hádýr is identified here with modern Hådyret, the name of a mountain to the east of Eigersund, Rogaland (so also ÍF 27 and ÍF 29, following Birkeland and Olsen 1913). This gives good sense for the helmingr and is in keeping with the precision over place names which characterises this journey-poem. There are two further possibilities. (b) The cpd could be construed as a ship-kenning hádýr ‘rowlock-animal’ (also found in Refr Frag 5/2III, though there it seems to have an extra determinant, hranna ‘of waves’). This is assumed by Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901, IV, who takes hádýrs to qualify viðir, hence ‘the timbers of the rowlock-animal’. This also gives good sense, and the single ship identified would presumably be the same as the king’s ship in l. 6. (c) In Skj B Finnur Jónsson adopts instead the reading hafgjalfrs from several mss (as does Skald), to create a different kenning, viðir hafgjalfrs ‘timbers of the sea-roar [SHIPS]’; in the process this creates samhending ‘identical rhyme’ on haf within the line, a practice not found elsewhere in the poem. — [4] kolsvartir ‘coal-black’: Jesch (2001a, 144) suggests this may be an allusion to the tarring of ships. — [6] brimgaltar (m. gen. sg.) ‘of the surf-boar’: The position and meaning of this cpd within the helmingr is hard to construe, since the remaining words readily fall into place without it. (a) Innan is here taken as a prep., ‘on the inner side of’, with the gen. brimgaltar, so giving the sense that all the sea on the inner (landward) side of Knútr’s ship was filled with his fleet. Three further possibilities have been proposed. (b) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27 (followed by ÍF 29) takes Hádýr to be a p. n. (see Note to l. 3), and further proposes that brimgaltar (m. nom. sg. brimgǫltr) is here to be understood as an ofljóst designation for Hádýr: brimgǫltr is a ship-kenning, and hence equivalent to hádýr ‘rowlock-animal’, which is another ship-kenning but is also the p. n. Hádýr (Hådyret), already named in l. 3; thus innan brimgaltar means innan Hádýrs ‘within Hådyret’. However, such abstruse complexity would be uncharacteristic of the poem as a whole. (c) Finnur Jónsson’s solution in Skj B is to take innan sæ ‘in the sea’ as a prepositional phrase, and skíðum brimgaltar ‘skis of the surf-boar’ as a ship-kenning, and in Hkr 1893-1901, IV he points out the parallel between viðir hádýrs ‘the timbers of the rowlock-animal’ and skíð brimgaltar ‘the skis of the surf-boar’. However, as Kock observes (NN §788), the separation of the elements innan and is dubious, and skíð brimgaltar seems unsatisfactory as a kenning: skíð must be the base-word of a ship-kenning, but brimgǫltr ‘surf-boar’ is already a perfectly acceptable ship-kenning without it; see also Meissner 220. (d) Kock therefore emends to dat. pl. brimgǫltum, in apposition with sæskíðum (both kennings for ‘ships’), and with innan standing alone as an adv. ‘within’. However, a solution without recourse to emendation seems preferable.

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