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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þloft Glækv 9I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða 9’ 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. 875.

Þórarinn loftungaGlælognskviða

text and translation

Bið Ôleif,
at unni þér
— hanns goðs maðr —
grundar sinnar
— hann of getr
af goði sjalfum
ár ok frið
ǫllum mǫnnum —,
þás þú rekr
fyr reginnagla
bóka máls
bœnir þínar.

Bið Ôleif, at unni þér grundar sinnar — hanns maðr goðs; hann of getr af goði sjalfum ár ok frið ǫllum mǫnnum —, þás þú rekr bœnir þínar fyr {reginnagla {máls bóka}}.
‘Pray to Óláfr that he grant you his ground [Norway], — he is God’s man; he obtains from God himself prosperity and peace for all people — when you present your prayers before the sacred nail of the language of books [LATIN > SAINT = Óláfr].

notes and context

See Context to st. 2 above.

In Skj and Skald, ll. 1-8 are printed as st. 9 and ll. 9-12 as st. 10, but the twelve lines are very tightly linked syntactically, with ll. 9-12 forming a subordinate clause dependent on ll. 1-2, 4, while ll. 5-8 form an independent main clause, as does l. 3. The collective evidence of the mss is equivocal in terms of stanza divisions, and in 39 and E, ll. 9-12 occur between ll. 1-4 and 5-8, while in 325V ll. 5-8 are omitted. — [11] bóka máls ‘of the language of books [LATIN]’: ON bók ‘book’ is a semantic loan from OE, and a development from an earlier meaning ‘textile, tapestry’, recorded in eddic verse (see LP, AEW: bók; Fischer 1909, 1). Though mál bóka may simply mean ‘the language of books, learned language’, the language of books, especially in early C11th Scandinavia, is specifically the Lat. language (compare OE bōclǣden ‘book-language, Latin’ and later ON bókmál ‘book-language, learned language, Latin’; see ONP: bókmál). This phrase thus supplies the first extant skaldic reference to both Lat. and books, and indicates that the poem’s genesis was in an at least partly ecclesiastical milieu.



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 9: AI, 327, BI, 301, Skald I, 153, NN §2017; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 521, IV, 175-6, ÍF 27, 408-9 (ÓHHkr ch. 245), E 1916, 3; ÓH 1941, I, 604 (ch. 245), Flat 1860-8, II, 377; Magerøy 1948, 16, 17-18, 30-6.


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