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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, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

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, 862

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Þloft Tøgdr 8I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 8’ 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. 862.

Gatk gollskata;
gǫrs leygs of bǫr
gǫtu gunnvita
gráps Tøgdrápa.

Gatk {gollskata}; Tøgdrápa [e]s gǫr of {bǫr {leygs {gráps {gǫtu {gunnvita}}}}}.

I have got {a gold-man} [GENEROUS RULER = Knútr]; Tøgdrápa (‘Journey drápa’) is made about {the tree {of the flame {of the hail-storm {of the path {of the battle-beacon}}}}} [SWORD > SHIELD > BATTLE > SWORD > WARRIOR].

Mss: R(33r), Tˣ(34v), W(76), A(10r), C(4v) (SnE)

Readings: [2] gǫrs (‘gꜹr er’): gǫr W, ‘g[…]’ C;    leygs: logs A, leiks C    [4] gráps: ‘grāþs’ Tˣ;    ‑drápa: so W, drôpu all others

Editions: Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 2. Tøgdrápa 8: AI, 324, BI, 299, Skald I, 152, NN §787; SnE 1848-87, I, 408-9, II, 434, 583, SnE 1931, 145, SnE 1998, I, 63, 191.

Context: The helmingr is quoted in SnE (Skm) in exemplification of the kenning gullskati ‘gold-man’, in a series of man-kennings involving gold.

Notes: [All]: The content of the helmingr suggests it is from the last stanza of the poem. The kenning in ll. 2-4 is extended to an exceptional degree but, apart from its inclusion of two sword-kennings, conforms to normal patterns. — [All]: Only in ms. A is the helmingr attributed to Þórarinn; in R and elsewhere it is simply introduced with sem hér er ‘as it stands here’ (SnE 1998, I, 63). — [1] gollskata ‘a gold-man [GENEROUS RULER = Knútr]’: This is a bland and slightly unusual kenning, but it resembles other kennings denoting men as givers, throwers or destroyers of gold, and is cited alongside them by Snorri (see Context above). Kock (NN §787) suggests OE influence and compares OE goldwine ‘gold-friend’. — [4] Tøgdrápa ‘(“Journey drápa”)’: This is the only occurrence of the cpd in skaldic verse. It is taken here as the title of the poem, and it certainly came to be used as such, but it is not certain whether Þórarinn intended it as a title or as a technical term, ‘the poem in tøgdrápa metre’. The former would appear more likely if Þórarinn’s poem predates Sigv Knútdr, the latter if Sigvatr’s poem predates Þórarinn’s (see further Introduction on this and the probable meaning of Tøgdrápa).

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