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.

Runic Dictionary

login: password: stay logged in: help

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, 860

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — Þloft Tøgdr 6I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 6’ 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. 860.

Þá gaf sínum
snjallr gǫrvallan
Nóreg nefa
njótr veg-Jóta.
Þá gaf sínum
— segik þat — megi
dals døkksali
Danmǫrk svana.

Þá gaf {snjallr njótr veg-Jóta} nefa sínum gǫrvallan Nóreg. Þá gaf megi sínum Danmǫrk, døkksali {dals svana}; segik þat.

Then {the bold enjoyer of the glory-Jótar} [DANISH KING = Knútr] gave his nephew the whole of Norway. Then he gave his son Denmark, the dark halls {of the dale of swans} [SEA]; I declare it.

Mss: (428v) (Hkr); Holm2(57r), J2ˣ(206v) (ll. 5-8, 1-4), Bæb(2vb), 68(56v), Holm4(54va), 61(115vb), 325V(67va-b), 325VII(31r), 325XI 2 g(3va) (ll. 4-8), Flat(118vb), Tóm(146r) (ÓH); DG8(96r) (ÓHLeg)

Readings: [1] gaf: so all others, ‘ga[…]’ Kˣ    [2] snjallr: sjalfr 68, snjallt Tóm;    gǫrvallan: so all others, ‘g[…]vallan’ Kˣ    [3] nefa: so all others, ‘[…]fa’ Kˣ    [4] veg‑: né Tóm;    Jóta: so 325V, 325VII, ‘iotra’ Kˣ, Holm2, 68, Holm4, Flat, DG8, ‘rotar’ J2ˣ, ‘‑hrotar’ Bæb, ‘‑riota’ 61, ‘iot’ 325XI 2 g, ‘giot(ra)’(?) Tóm    [5] Þá: sá Holm2, Bæb, 68, ok Holm4, 61, 325V, Flat, Tóm, DG8, ‘sa’(?) 325XI 2 g;    gaf: gaf ok 68;    sínum: ‘sinr’ 325XI 2 g    [6] þat: ‘þ[...]’ 325XI 2 g;    megi: ‘[…]gi’ 325XI 2 g    [7] dals: dags 61, Flat, Tóm, dal 325VII;    døkksali: ‘d[…]cksalar’ Kˣ, døkksalar Holm2, 68, 325XI 2 g, djúpliga J2ˣ, 61, ‘do᷎ckualar’ Bæb, ‘døggsala’ Holm4, djúpsala 325V, djúps sala 325VII, Tóm, DG8, djúpsvala Flat    [8] svana: svala Flat, svá svana DG8

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 2. Tøgdrápa 7: AI, 324, BI, 299, Skald I, 152, NN §§789, 1792; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 398, IV, 153-4, ÍF 27, 310 (ÓHHkr ch. 172); ÓH 1941, I, 476 (ch. 166), Flat 1860-8, II, 307; ÓHLeg 1922, 72, ÓHLeg 1982, 170-1.

Context: See Context to st. 1 above.

Notes: [3] nefa ‘nephew’: As regent in Norway Knútr appointed Hákon Eiríksson, who was his sister’s son: Hákon’s father, Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson of Hlaðir (Lade), married Knútr’s sister Gyða. According to John of Worcester (Darlington and McGurk 1995-, II, 510-1), Hákon was also Knútr’s nephew-in-law, having married Gunnhildr, the daughter of another of Knútr’s sisters. However, Hákon died at sea in 1029 (or 1030, as recorded in ASC s. a.), at which point Óláfr Haraldsson chose to return from exile, leading to his death in battle at Stiklastaðir (Stiklestad). — [4] njótr veg-Jóta ‘enjoyer of the glory-Jótar [DANISH KING = Knútr]’: As can be seen from the Readings, the element Jóta ‘of the Jótar, the people of Jutland’, generated considerable scribal uncertainty. Moreover, it is unclear whether the first element of the cpd is vegr ‘path, land’ or vegr ‘honour, glory’, both m. nouns. (a) Kock (NN §789), assuming ‘honour, glory’, suggests that veg-Jótar is paralleled by (and perhaps modelled on) OE constructions such as Ār-Scyldingas ‘glory-Danes’ in Beowulf ll. 464, 1710 (Beowulf 2008, 18, 58, 471); this is followed in ÍF 27, and also here. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: Veg-Jótar), assuming ‘path, land’, construes the kenning as the inverted veg-njótr Jóta ‘enjoyer/owner of the land of the Jótar’, lit. ‘land-enjoyer of the Jótar’. This is followed by ÓHLeg 1982, but the syntax seems uncharacteristic of Tøgdr . — [5] þá ‘then’: The variant ok has strong ms. support and gives better sense, as it suggests concurrent actions rather than successive ones, and þá could well be a dittographic repetition from the start of the first helmingr; nonetheless, þá, as the reading of the main ms., is retained here. — [6] megi ‘son’: The son to whom Knútr entrusted Denmark is likely to have been Hǫrðaknútr, his only son by Emma of Normandy (see Lund 1994, 39). — [7, 8] døkksali dals svana ‘the dark halls of the dale of swans [SEA]’: As can be seen from the Readings, scribes made various attempts to make sense of this difficult phrase. (a) The solution adopted here is based on that of Kock (NN §1792; Skald), who assumes (reasonably) that njótr ‘enjoyer’ (l. 4) is the subject of gaf ‘gave’ in both ll. 1 and 5, and suggests emendation to acc. pl. sali rather than the gen. sg. ‑ar or gen. pl. ‑a implied by the mss. This gives døkksali dals svana ‘dark halls of the dale of swans’, where dalr svana is a satisfactory kenning for ‘sea’, and the phrase is thus in apposition with Danmǫrk, and according to Kock offers a description of the country’s ‘forest-covered islands in the sea’ (skogbevuxna öarna i havet). For a similarly unusual description of the land, see Gsind Hákdr 3/3. A possible variation on this analysis would be to prefer the reading in djúp- rather than døkk-, as djúpr ‘deep’ is used in Akv 14/2 (NK 242), as an adj. for an aristocratic residence. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: døkksalr) emends this cpd to dagvélir, in which the first element is ‘day, sun’ and the second ‘enticer, destroyer’, hence ‘destroyer of the sun of the dale of swans [SEA > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Knútr]’; this nom. case kenning can then act as the subject of the verb gaf. (c) Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27, striving to avoid emendation, suggests an ingenious solution which, however, he readily admits is a ‘desperate interpretation’ (örþrifaskýring).

© 2008-