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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þloft Glækv 8I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Glælognskviða 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. 873.

Þórarinn loftungaGlælognskviða

Þar kømr herr,
es heilagr es
konungr sjalfr,
krýpr at gangi.
En beiðendr
blindir sœkja
þjóðir máls,
en þaðan heilir.

Herr kømr þar, es heilagr konungr sjalfr es, krýpr at gangi. En þjóðir, beiðendr máls, blindir, sœkja, en þaðan heilir.

A host comes there, where the holy king himself is, [and] bows down for access. And people, petitioners for speech [and] the blind, make their way [there], and [go] from there whole.

Mss: (487r-v), 39(11ra) (Hkr); Holm2(71v), 325VI(39vb), 321ˣ(273), 61(128vb), 325VII(40r), 325XI 2 n(1r), Flat(127va), Tóm(159r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] Þar kømr herr: en herr manns 39, ok þar kømr sá 325VII;    herr: hverr 325VI, Flat, Tóm, hveim 61, ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 n    [2] es heilagr es: ‘[…]’ 325XI 2 n;    heilagr es (‘heilagr er’): heilagr Holm2, 325VI, 321ˣ    [4] krýpr: krýpr sér 325VI, 321ˣ, krýpum 325VII;    gangi: ‘gangni’ 39, gagni 325VI, 321ˣ, 61, 325VII, Flat, Tóm    [5] En: ok 39, Holm2, 325VI, 321ˣ, 61, 325VII, 325XI 2 n, Flat, Tóm    [6] blindir: blindr 321ˣ;    sœkja: ganga Tóm    [7] þjóðir: so 61, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, þjóðar Kˣ, 39, Holm2, 325VI, 321ˣ, 325XI 2 n;    máls: ‘mal[…]’ 39, ‘mass’ 321ˣ, mál Flat    [8] en þaðan heilir: ‘e[…]’ 325XI 2 n;    en: er 61, sem Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 326-7, Skj BI, 301, Skald I, 153, NN §§1130, 2988I; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 521, IV, 175, ÍF 27, 408 (ÓHHkr ch. 245); ÓH 1941, I, 604 (ch. 245), Flat 1860-8, II, 377; Magerøy 1948, 12-15, 17, 29-30.

Context: See Context to st. 2 above.

Notes: [All]: As Magerøy (1948, 30) notes, this stanza’s theme of the healing of the sick is also found in Sigv ErfÓl 24, with some lexical parallels. — [1] þar kømr herr ‘a host comes there’: (a) This, the reading of and most other mss, produces the construction kømr ... krýpr ‘comes ... [and] bows down’. (b) The 39 reading en herr manns ‘and a host of people’ gives the helmingr only one main verb, and this is adopted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B), but this is a minority reading and may be derived from Snorri’s prose (ÍF 27, 409): til ins helga Óláfs konungs kom herr manns ‘a host of people came to the holy King Óláfr’. — [2, 3]: Omission of the second es, ‘is’, in certain mss has the apparent result of making konungr the subject of krýpr ‘bows down’ rather than herr ‘host’. — [4] krýpr ‘bows down’: Krjúpa, like its Engl. cognate, means ‘to creep, crawl’, but in ecclesiastical contexts also ‘to kneel’ or ‘to humble oneself’ (CVC: krjúpa). — [4] gangi ‘access’: Although gangi is the minority form, it is found in the two most authoritative mss, and Holm2; most mss read gagni ‘gain, benefit’ (and indeed Skj B, Skald and ÍF 27 all print gagni). Gangi supplies less obvious sense than gagni when preceded by krýpr at ‘bows down for/to’. However, it can be construed, as here, as dat. sg. of gang n. ‘way, access’ (Fritzner: gang) or of gangr m. ‘motion, course’, perhaps referring to the suppliants’ approach to the shrine. Magerøy (1948, 29), preferring gangr ‘motion’, assumes at has a purposive sense here (cf. ONP: at I.D.17), in a miraculous paradox: the people bow down in order to be able to walk, making the healing of the lame a parallel to the healing of the blind and dumb in the second helmingr. The purposive sense of at is retained in this edn, but gang ‘way, access’ preferred as the object. — [5, 6] beiðendr … blindir ‘petitioners … the blind’: The second helmingr clearly refers to healings at Óláfr’s shrine, but the expression is somewhat cryptic and the syntax uncertain. (a) The construal above requires ‘and’ to be understood, but avoids the problems of (b) below, and unlike (c) takes beiðendr máls ‘petitioners for speech’ in its obvious sense as a reference to the dumb, forming a pair with blindir ‘the blind’. (b) Finnur Jónsson in Skj B also assumes that these two types of petitioner are paired, choosing ok ‘and’ rather than en ‘but, and’ as the conj. in l. 5 and taking it as a link between the two phrases. However, its position before both phrases at the beginning of the helmingr would suggest instead that it links clauses and helmingar. (c) Kock (NN §1130) takes blindir to be an adj. qualifying beiðendr, and takes beiðendr máls together, hence ‘blind petitioners for speech’. The apparent anomaly of blind people asking for speech (máls, l. 7) is avoided by assuming that máls refers to a conversation or interview, rather than the gift of speech, but this is less plausible in the context of healing miracles. See Note to l. 7 for Magerøy’s view of this word. — [7] þjóðir ‘people’: Both ms. readings, þjóðir and þjóðar, are problematic. (a) Skj B and Skald both emend to þjóðan, acc. sg. of þjóðann ‘prince, ruler’, hence ‘petitioners … seek the king’. (b) Magerøy (1948, 14-15) endeavours to retain gen. sg. þjóðar ‘of people’, as evidenced in the best mss, by reading mál (Flat only) rather than máls and arguing that mál here has the sense more of ‘assembly’, as in cognate OE mæðel, hence ‘petitioners … seek the assembly of people’, i.e. the crowd around Óláfr’s shrine; this suggestion is based on Fritzner (1883). (c) Mss 61, Flat and Tóm, apparently sensing the problem, read nom. pl. þjóðir ‘people’, presumably in apposition with beiðendr. This leaves sœkja ‘visit, make one’s way’ intransitive, while it normally takes an acc. object or a directional adverbial (Fritzner: sœkja 4), as recognised in Flat’s consequent reading of mál ‘speech’. This, however, is acceptable if one retains máls, qualifying beiðendr (giving ‘petitioners for speech’) and takes sœkja as intransitive ‘make their way [there]’, with the sense ‘there’ understood from l. 1 and reinforced by l. 8. This solution is adopted here, but it remains far from satisfactory, not least because it follows an apparent rationalisation by less authoritative mss. — [8] en þaðan heilir ‘and [go] from there whole’: As Kock (NN §§1130 Anm., 2988I) notes, it is necessary here to assume ellipsis of a verb of motion.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  6. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  8. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  9. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  10. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  11. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  12. Fritzner, Johan. 1883. ‘Þing eðr þjóðarmál (Hávamál 114)’. ANF 1, 22-32.
  13. Magerøy, Hallvard, ed. 1948. Glælognskviða av Toraren Lovtunge. Bidrag til nordisk filologi av stederende ved Universitet i Oslo 12. Oslo: Aschehoug.
  14. Internal references
  15. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  16. Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 24’ 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. 693.

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