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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þloft Glækv 1I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða 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. 865.

Þórarinn loftungaGlælognskviða

text and translation

Þats dullaust,
hvé Danir gerðu
dyggva fǫr
með dǫglingi.
Þar vas jarl
fyrst at upphafi,
ok hverr maðr,
es honum fylgði,
annarr drengr
ǫðrum betri.

Þats dullaust, hvé Danir gerðu dyggva fǫr með dǫglingi. Þar vas jarl fyrst at upphafi, ok hverr maðr, es fylgði honum, annarr drengr, betri ǫðrum.
‘It is without concealment, how the Danes made a faithful journey with the monarch [= Sveinn]. There the jarl [= Haraldr Þorkelsson] was first and foremost, and every man who followed him, each warrior, [was] better than the next.

notes and context

In ÓH-Hkr and Fsk the stanza is quoted following an account of the journey of Sveinn Álfífuson from Denmark to Norway, to take up rule there after the death of Óláfr.

[7-10]: The nom. sg. noun phrases hverr maðr ‘every man’ and [hverr] annarr drengr ‘each warrior’ are in apposition, and annarr … ǫðrum betri form a phrase (with vas understood: see Hkr 1893-1901, IV). The lines appear to carry through the hierarchical ordering begun in ll. 5-6: the Danes are being ranked in terms of their distinction, perhaps even in terms of the sequence of ships in their fleet (cf. anecdotes in the kings’ sagas in which the order of sailing or mooring is allied to the granting or withholding of honour, e.g. ÍF 26, 248-9). The ‘B’ redaction of Fsk, which, unlike the ‘A’ redaction, does not cite the stanza but rather summarizes it, reads (with Fsk’s nýtri for betri) Sveinn konungr hafði haft með sér mikinn Danaher; þar var enn fyrsti maðr Úlfr jarl Sprakaleggssonr, ok með hónum hverr annarr drengr ǫðrum nýtri ‘King Sveinn had gathered to himself a great army of Danes; the first man there was Úlfr jarl Sprakaleggssonr, and with him every warrior [was] more capable than the next’ (ÍF 29, 201 and n.).



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.

editions and texts

Skj: Þórarinn loftunga, 3. Glælognskviða 1: AI, 324-5, BI, 300, Skald I, 152; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 512, IV, 173-4, ÍF 27, 399 (ÓHHkr ch. 239), E 1916, 1; ÓH 1941, I, 594 (ch. 239), Flat 1860-8, II, 369; Fsk 1902-3, 183-4 (ch. 29), ÍF 29, 201 (ch. 35); Magerøy 1948, 9-10, 16, 18-19.


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