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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 19 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, 857

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Þloft Tøgdr 4I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 4’ 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. 857.

Ok fyr fornan
friðmenn liðu
haug Hjǫrnagla
hvasst griðfastir.
Þás stóð fyr Stað
stafnklifs drifu,
vasa eyðilig
ǫrbeiðis fǫr.

Ok griðfastir friðmenn liðu hvasst fyr fornan haug Hjǫrnagla. Þás {stóð {stafnklifs}} drifu fyr Stað, vasa fǫr {ǫrbeiðis} eyðilig.

And the protection-secure men of peace travelled keenly past the ancient mound of Tjernagel. When {the stud-horses {of the prow-cliff}} [SEA > SHIPS] sped past Stad, the journey {of the arrow-demander} [WARRIOR] was not wasted.

Mss: (428r-v) (Hkr); Holm2(57r), Bæb(2va), 68(56v), Holm4(54va), 61(115vb), 325V(67va), 325VII(31r), 325XI 2 g(3rb), Flat(118va), Tóm(145v) (ÓH); DG8(96r) (ÓHLeg); FskAˣ(180-181) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] Ok: enn FskAˣ;    fornan: norðan 68, ‘for(an)’(?) Tóm    [3] Hjǫrnagla: ‘hiarn æla’ 325VII;    Hjǫr‑: ‘hꜹr‑’ Holm2, ‘hrór‑’ Bæb, ‘hiar‑’ Holm4, 61, ‘biar‑’ Flat, Tóm    [4] hvasst: haust 61, ‘h[…]’ 325XI 2 g, ‘hafuazst’ Flat, hraust FskAˣ;    grið‑: ‘gid’ Tóm    [5] Þás (‘þa er’): so Holm4, 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, DG8, FskAˣ, þar er Kˣ, Holm2, Bæb, 68, 325XI 2 g;    stóð: stór Bæb, Holm4, 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, FskAˣ    [6] ‑klifs: klif Holm4, 61, 325V, Flat, Tóm, DG8, FskAˣ, ‘skrif’ 325VII, ‘kvig[…]’ 325XI 2 g    [7] vasa (‘vara’): ‘varað’ 325VII, varð FskAˣ;    eyðilig: ‘eyþiðig’ 325V, ‘æðeleg’ 325VII, œgilig FskAˣ    [8] ǫrbeiðis: ‘audbeydir’ 61, ‘aurbelldis’ Tóm

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 2. Tøgdrápa 5: AI, 323, BI, 299, Skald I, 152, NN §1129; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 398, IV, 153, ÍF 27, 309 (ÓHHkr ch. 172); ÓH 1941, I, 475 (ch. 166), Flat 1860-8, II, 306; ÓHLeg 1922, 72, ÓHLeg 1982, 168-71; Fsk 1902-3, 172-3 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 193 (ch. 33).

Context: See Context to st. 1 above.

Notes: [All]: The relationship between the two helmingar is problematic. The most normal configuration would be that the clause beginning at l. 5 þás ‘when’ (variant þars ‘where’) is subordinate to the clause in ll. 1-4, i.e. the main clause precedes the subordinate clause. However, this produces the meaning that the ships travelled past Tjernagel, when/where they sped past Stad, which cannot be the case since Stad is some 200 kilometres north of Tjernagel. The clause in ll. 5-6 must therefore be subordinate to the following clause (ll. 7-8), although that is not the standard configuration (see Kuhn 1983, 190). — [3] haug Hjǫrnagla ‘mound of Tjernagel’: Tjernagel is in southern Hordaland. As LP: haugr notes, haugr ‘mound’ in skaldic poetry can either indicate a natural hill or a man-made one (i.e. a grave-mound), and it is often unclear which is intended. The use of the adj. forn ‘old’ here may possibly suggest that the haugr Hjǫrnagla was (or was believed to be) man-made. — [4] griðfastir friðmenn ‘the protection-secure men of peace’: Grið n. normally means ‘truce, protection, quarter’ on a more individual basis than friðr f. ‘peace’ (on the two terms in OE and ON, see Fell 1982-3). The reference here could be to the Danes’ situation as former enemies of Norway: they keep their promises of truce (cf., e.g., heitfastr, eiðfastr ‘oath-firm, true to one’s oath’) and bring protection to Norway. Alternatively, the emphasis may be on the way in which Knútr’s followers enjoy the protection, friendship and peace conferred on his household and supporters (cf. LP: griðfastr; ÍF 27; IF 29). — [5] Stað ‘Stad’: This is on the prominent peninsula Stadlandet in modern Sogn og Fjordane, at the border with Møre og Romsdal. It is also mentioned in Ólhelg Lv 4/2, Anon Liðs 9/8. — [7] eyðilig ‘wasted’: The adj. has the sense ‘empty, desolate’, and hence in this context could mean either ‘wasted, without purpose’ or ‘lacking in splendour’; cf. the related auðligr in Arn Hardr 13/2II (eigi varð) auðligr ‘(was not) unadorned’ and Note ad loc. for discussion of possible meanings. A further possibility here is that the journey was not ‘destructive’ (see Fritzner: eyðiligr 2), particularly if the sense of griðfastir (l. 4, see Note) is that the Danes bring protection. — [8] fǫr ǫrbeiðis ‘the journey of the arrow-demander [WARRIOR]’: This interpretation is most consonant with skaldic style (so also Skj B; LP: 2. ǫrbeiðir; ÍF 27; ÍF 29; ÓHLeg 1982). Kock (NN §1129C) suggests that ǫrbeiðir here has the same meaning as in st. 2/2, with ǫr from adj. ǫrr ‘eager’, and that what Knútr is the ‘eager desirer’ of is the stóð stafnklifs ‘stud-horses of the prow-cliff [SEA > SHIPS]’ of ll. 5-6, even though (as he points out) the two phrases are not in a direct grammatical relationship.

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