Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þloft Tøgdr 7I

Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Þórarinn loftunga, Tøgdrápa 7’ 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. 861.

Þórarinn loftungaTøgdrápa

Gjǫld hefk marka
malmdyns fyr hlyn
framm fimm tega
forvíst borit,
þeiras veitti
víghagr fyr brag
mér morðstœrir,
mannbaldr es ek fann.

Hefk forvíst borit framm fyr {hlyn {malmdyns}} gjǫld fimm tega marka, þeiras {víghagr morðstœrir} veitti mér fyr brag, es ek fann mannbaldr.

I have most certainly brought forward before {the maple {of metal-din}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR] repayment for the fifty marks which {the slaying-skilled battle-increaser} [WARRIOR] gave me for a poem, when I met the outstanding man.

Mss: (34), 20dˣ(14r), 873ˣ(14v), 41ˣ(14r) (Knýtl)

Readings: [2] malm‑: malms 41ˣ    [3] tega: tigu JÓ, 20dˣ, 41ˣ, ‘tige’ 873ˣ    [6] fyr: om. 20dˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 322, Skj BI, 298, Skald I, 151, NN §§786, 787; Knýtl 1919-25, 53, ÍF 35, 125-6 (ch. 19).

Context: The stanza is quoted in Knýtl, at the conclusion of the story of Þórarinn’s ‘head-ransom’ poem (see his Biography), and is introduced, Síðan orti Þórarinn aðra drápu um Knút konung, ok er þat kǫlluð Tøgdrápa. Þar segir svá ‘Afterwards Þórarinn composed another drápa about King Knútr, and that is called Tøgdrápa. There it says this’.

Notes: [All]: Skj B (followed by Skald) presents this as the first extant stanza of Þloft Tøgdr, perhaps influenced by the introduction in Knýtl (see Context above). However, the gjǫld ‘repayment’ referred to in l. 1 seems to be the present poem, rather than the earlier Þloft Hfl, which is the bragr ‘poem’ mentioned in l. 6; this suggests that this stanza should come at the end of the present poem’s recitation, rather than at the beginning. The sequence of thought and events is thus that Þloft Hfl merited a payment of fifty marks, which in turn merited a repayment through poetic service. See also Fidjestøl (1982, 126, 172), who supports this re-ordering. — [1, 3] fimm tega marka ‘fifty marks’: Lit. ‘five tens of marks’; an enormous sum. Fidjestøl (1984b, 62) calculates that this equates to 25 pounds of high-quality silver, or the value of about 200 cows. The minor emendation of acc. pl. tigu to gen. pl. tega suggested by Kock (NN §786) is necessary since gjǫld ‘(re)payment’ takes the gen. of the thing for which recompense is made (LP: gjald 1). For the root vowel in tega, see ANG §395 Anm. 3. — [4] forvíst ‘most certainly’: (a) Skj B and LP: forvist take this as the noun forvist f. ‘care, custodianship’ (not recorded elsewhere in skaldic poetry), seemingly in apposition to gjǫld (and governing fimm tøgu/tega, hence ‘custodianship of fifty marks’), as the object of borit ‘brought’. (b) Kock, however (NN §786, followed by ÍF 35), offers the preferable interpretation that what we have is the common adv. víst ‘certainly’, preceded by the intensifying prefix for-. — [8] mannbaldr (m. acc. sg.) ‘the outstanding man’: Lit. perhaps ‘human hero’ or ‘hero of a man’, as also in SnSt Ht 36/6III. Baldr is here taken as a common noun cognate with OE bealdor ‘hero, lord’ (cf. AEW: baldr 2), and the usage may be influenced by OE (see Kock, NN §787; Hofmann 1955, 76, 94). By contrast Finnur Jónsson (Skj B; LP: mann-Baldr) assumes that this is the name of the god, giving mann-Baldr with the sense ‘a Baldr among men’.


  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. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  6. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1982. Det norrøne fyrstediktet. Universitet i Bergen Nordisk institutts skriftserie 11. Øvre Ervik: Alvheim & Eide.
  8. Fidjestøl, Bjarne. 1984b. ‘“Har du høyrt eit dyrare kvæde?”: Litt om økonomien bak den eldste fyrstediktinga’. In Fidjestøl et al. 1984, 61-73. Rpt. as ‘“Have You Heard a Poem Worth More? A Note on the Economic Background of Early Skaldic Praise-poetry’. In Fidjestøl 1997a, 117-32.
  9. ANG = Noreen, Adolf. 1923. Altnordische Grammatik I: Altisländische und altnorwegische Grammatik (Laut- und Flexionslehre) unter Berücksichtigung des Urnordischen. 4th edn. Halle: Niemeyer. 1st edn. 1884. 5th unrev. edn. 1970. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  10. ÍF 35 = Danakonunga sǫgur. Ed. Bjarni Guðnason. 1982.
  11. Hofmann, Dietrich. 1955. Nordisch-englische Lehnbeziehungen der Wikingerzeit. BA 14. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  12. Knýtl 1919-25 = Petersens, Carl af and Emil Olsen, eds. 1919-25. Sǫgur danakonunga. 1: Sǫgubrot af fornkonungum. 2: Knýtlinga saga. SUGNL 66. Copenhagen: SUGNL.
  13. Internal references
  14. Matthew Townend 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Þórarinn loftunga, Hǫfuðlausn’ 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. 849.
  15. 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.
  16. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Snorri Sturluson, Háttatal 36’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1143.

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