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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 26 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, 858

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Þloft Tøgdr 5I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 5’ 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. 858.

Knôttu súðir
svangs mjǫk langar
byrrǫmm bera
brimdýr fyr Stim.
Svá liðu sunnan
svalheims valar,
at kom norðr í Nið
nýtr herflýtir.

{Byrrǫmm brimdýr} knôttu bera mjǫk langar súðir svangs fyr Stim. {Valar svalheims} liðu svá sunnan, at {nýtr herflýtir} kom norðr í Nið.

{The wind-strong surf-animals} [SHIPS] brought the very long planks of the hull past Stemmet. {The steeds of the cool world [sea]}} [SEA > SHIPS] travelled in such a way from the south, that {the capable army-speeder came north into Nidelven.

Mss: (428v) (Hkr); Holm2(57r), Bæb(2va-b), 68(56v), Holm4(54va) (ll. 1-4), 61(115vb), 325V(67va), 325VII(31r), 325XI 2 g(3rb) (ll. 1-3), Flat(118va-b), Tóm(145v-146r) (ÓH); DG8(96r) (ÓHLeg); 301ˣ(66r marg) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] Knôttu: ‘Knattu⸜ð⸝’ 61, Flat, ‘K[…]ttv’ 325XI 2 g, ‘Knauttud’ Tóm;    súðir: suðr 68, 325VII    [2] svangs: svans 325XI 2 g, svang DG8;    langar: langir 68    [3] ‑rǫmm: raukn Bæb, Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Tóm, 301ˣmarg, raun 68, ‘ra⸜o⸝kn’ 61, ‘rav[…]’ 325XI 2 g, ‘roknn’ Flat, ‘ronn’ DG8;    bera: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 g    [4] ‑dýr: kǫld 325VII, ‘dy’ DG8    [5] Svá liðu: ‘S[...]’ 301ˣmarg    [6] sval‑: svǫl 61, 325V, Flat, ‘saul’ Tóm;    valar: valir Bæb, 68, vǫlur 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, ‘valurr’ DG8, valur 301ˣmarg    [7] at: om. 325VII    [8] nýtr: ‘nyþr’ 301ˣmarg;    herflýtir: so Holm2, Bæb, 68, 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, ‘h[…]flyter’ Kˣ, ‘hærr flyti’ DG8

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 2. Tøgdrápa 6: AI, 323-4, BI, 299, Skald I, 152, NN §§2016, 3080; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 398, IV, 153, ÍF 27, 309-10 (ÓHHkr ch. 172); ÓH 1941, I, 475 (ch. 166), Flat 1860-8, II, 307; ÓHLeg 1922, 72, ÓHLeg 1982, 170-1; Fsk 1902-3, 173 n.

Context: See Context to st. 1 above.

Notes: [1] súðir ‘planks’: On this term see Jesch (2001a, 139-40). — [2] svangs ‘of the hull’: (a) Following ÍF 27, this preserves the ms. form by interpreting svangs as gen. sg. of *svangr, a strong variant of svangi, ‘(taut) belly’, and assuming that this qualifies súðir ‘planks’. The same approach is taken by CVC: svangi, which suggests ‘belly-boards’ for the phrase. (b) Skj B and Skald both emend to svǫng (n. nom. pl. adj.) ‘slim, slender’ agreeing with brimdýr ‘sea-animals [SHIPS]’. Though giving excellent sense, this has no ms. support. — [3] byrrǫmm ‘wind-strong’: A number of scribes have interpreted the second element of this cpd as raukn ‘draught animal(s)’, thus producing a kenning for ‘ships’ (cf., e.g., borðraukn ‘gunwale-animal’, sundraukn ‘inlet-animal’ in LP). Kock (Skald; NN §2016) also prefers this reading, construing byrraukn ‘wind-beasts’ in apposition to brimdýr ‘sea-animals’. — [4] Stim ‘Stemmet’: A mountain on the border between Nordmøre and Romsdalen. — [6] svalheims ‘of the cool world [sea]’: This expression for ‘sea’ is of a rare type, with an adj. rather than a noun as first element, but there are seeming parallels in ÞKolb Eirdr 4/2 glæheimr ‘the glistening world’ and later in Rv Lv 21/4II svalteigr ‘cool plot’, and the determinants of a number of sea-kennings stress aspects of coldness, in terms of ice or wind (see Meissner 93). CVC also records a noun sval n. ‘a cool breeze’, but no illustrative quotations are offered and the word is not in Fritzner or ONP. ÓHLeg 1982 suggests instead a kenning ‘swallow-world [SEA]’ with svala ‘swallow’ (the bird) as the first element, but this is unconvincing. — [6] valar ‘the steeds’: Valr, also a noun meaning ‘falcon’, occurs as the name of a legendary steed of one Vésteinn in a þula of horse-names in Anon Kálfv 2/1III; cf. also Þul Hesta 2/2III. It frequently functions as the base-word of ship-kennings on the pattern ‘horse of the sea’ (see LP: 1. valr and 2. Valr). Whether it is to be taken as a proper name or a common noun is often unclear. Meissner 211-2 takes it to be a simplex for ‘horse’, and no longer a proper name, as does ÍF 27, and this seems appropriate in the present context, where the noun is pl.  — [7] at ‘that’: This line has five syllables, rather than the usual four in tøglag. Kock (NN §3080) regards the inclusion of this element as a metrical fault, and it is accordingly omitted in Skald. — [7] Nið ‘Nidelven’: The river on which the city of Trondheim stands.

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