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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þloft Hfl 1I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Hǫfuðlausn 1’ 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. 850.

Þórarinn loftungaHǫfuðlausn1

text and translation

Knútr verr grund sem gætir
Gríklands himinríki.

Knútr verr grund sem {gætir Gríklands} himinríki.
‘Knútr defends the land as the guardian of Greece [= God] [defends] the heavenly kingdom.

notes and context

The stanza follows the ‘head-ransom’ narrative summarised in the Introduction above.

These lines, which are said in ÓH-Hkr to be the stef ‘refrain’ for Þórarinn’s poem, bear an obvious resemblance to the refrains of other poems for Knútr. Sigvatr Þórðarson views Knútr as being und himnum ‘under the heavens’ (Sigv Knútdr 3/1, 7/1), while the refrain of Þórarinn’s own Tøgdr (1/1), though incomplete, has the similar und sólar ‘under the sun’s …’. But by far the closest resemblance is to the stef of Hallvarðr Háreksblesi’s Knútdr (Hallv Knútdr 8/8III): Knútr verr jǫrð sem ítran | alls dróttinn sal fjalla ‘Knútr defends the earth as the lord of all [defends] the splendid hall of the mountains [HEAVEN]’. Since the likely date for this poem is c. 1029, it appears to be Hallvarðr who is the borrower here. As Frank (1994b, 116-17) notes, these four refrains depict Knútr ‘in cosmic high relief’, and in their association of God and king they may show influence from Anglo-Saxon royal ideology (see also Fidjestøl 1993b, 106, 118-19).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

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