Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Judith Jesch;

2. Nesjavísur (Nesv) - 15

Skj info: Sigvatr Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald, o. 995-o. 1045 (AI, 223-75, BI, 213-54).

Skj poems:
1. Víkingarvísur
2. Nesjavísur
3. Austrfararvísur
4. En drape om kong Olaf
5. Vestrfararvísur
6. Et kvad om Erlingr Skjalgsson
7. Flokkr om Erlingr Skjalgsson
8. Tryggvaflokkr
9. Et digt om dronning Astrid
10. Knútsdrápa
11. Bersǫglisvísur
12. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga
13. Lausavísur
14. Et par halvvers af ubestemmelige digte

Sigvatr or Sighvatr Þórðarson (Sigv) is said (ÍF 27, 54) to have been the son of Þórðr Sigvaldaskáld ‘Poet of Sigvaldi’, an Icelander who served, in succession, Sigvaldi jarl Strút-Haraldsson, leader of the Jómsvíkingar, his brother Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’, who campaigned in England, and Óláfr Haraldsson, later king of Norway (r. c. 1015-30) and saint. Þórðr is listed as one of Sigvaldi’s skalds in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 259, 268), but none of his poetry survives. The family tradition of poetry can also be traced in Óttarr svarti ‘the Black’, said to have been Sigvatr’s sister’s son (ÍF 27, 144; ÓH 1941, I, 203). Sigvatr was brought up by a certain Þorkell, at Apavatn in south-west Iceland. When nearly fully grown he sailed to what is now Trondheim, where he met up with his father and joined King Óláfr’s retinue. According to Snorri (ÍF 27, 54-6; ÓH 1941, I, 81-3), Sigvatr recited Lv 2-3 at this time, and he interceded with the king on behalf of Icelandic merchants forced to pay a heavy tax in Norway (cf. Sigv Lv 4). It is also likely that this is when Þórðr provided Sigvatr with the material for Víkv (see Introduction to Sigv Víkv), which may be the poem referred to in the prose introduction to Sigv Lv 2 (Fidjestøl 1982, 118). There is no evidence that Sigvatr ever returned to Iceland, and according to the anecdote in which Sigv Lv 11 is preserved, he died on the island of Selja in north-western Norway and was buried at Kristskirkja (Kristkirken) in Trondheim. His poetry records his various journeys to Sweden, England and the Continent, as well as incidents in Norway. We know nothing of Sigvatr’s private life, except that he had a daughter called Tófa, who had King Óláfr himself as her godfather (Sigv Lv 19).

Sigvatr’s surviving poetic oeuvre is both large and remarkably diverse, encompassing different kinds of encomia not only on King Óláfr (Sigv Víkv, Sigv Nesv, Sigv Óldr, Sigv ErfÓl), but also on King Knútr of Denmark (Sigv Knútdr) and the Norwegian nobleman Erlingr Skjálgsson (Sigv Erl, Sigv Erlfl). Sigvatr was godfather to King Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson and composed some avuncular words of advice to the boy-king (Sigv BervII). All of these patrons are recognised in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 252-4, 258, 260-2, 269), where Sigvatr is also credited with having composed for the Swedish king Ǫnundr Óláfsson (although no such poetry survives, cf. Sigv Knútdr 4/6) and the Norwegian chieftain Ívarr inn hvíti ‘the White’ (cf. Context to Sigv Lv 8). Sigvatr also composed a poem on the Norwegian pretender Tryggvi Óláfsson (Sigv Tryggfl) and is unique in having composed in dróttkvætt in praise of a woman, Óláfr Haraldsson’s widow Ástríðr Óláfsdóttir (Sigv Ást). Several of Sigvatr’s poems are more or less loosely connected sequences of stanzas rather than more formal compositions, and encompass both travelogue (Sigv Austv) and political commentary (Sigv Vestv, Sigv BervII). The latter genre is also well represented in his lausavísur, which also include some remarkably personal stanzas expressing his grief at the death of King Óláfr (Sigv Lv 22-4). Sigvatr’s status as a hǫfuðskáld ‘chief skald’ was recognised in the twelfth century (cf. Esk Geisl 12/8VII). His versatility as a poet has clearly inspired a number of anecdotes focusing on the composition of poetry, mostly of doubtful authenticity (cf. Contexts to Sigv Lv 1, 8, 11, 27; also Introduction to Ótt Hfl). Apart from two fragments preserved in SnE (Sigv Frag 1-2III), Sigvatr’s poetry is transmitted in a wide range of texts within the tradition of the kings’ sagas and is therefore edited in this volume or (in the case of the late Sigv Berv) in SkP II. For general studies of Sigvatr’s life and works, see Paasche (1917), Hollander (1940) and Petersen (1946).

Nesjavísur (‘Vísur about Nesjar’) — Sigv NesvI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Brepols, Turnhout, p. 555.

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Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 2. Nesjavísur, 1016 (AI, 228-32, BI, 217-20); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 14

SkP info: I, 575

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

14 — Sigv Nesv 14I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

lemmatised words

This information has not been reviewed and should not be referred to.

2afl (noun n.) ‘strength...’Afli 14/1

afla (verb) ‘to gain, earn, procure, acquire...’ — 14/1 var

allr (adj.) ‘all...’ǫll 14/8 var

2an (conj.) ‘than...’ — 14/8

4at (conj.) ‘that...’ — 14/5

1blakkr (noun m.) ‘horse...’blakks 14/4

dreki (noun m.) ‘dragon, dragon-ship...’dreka 14/8 var

2drekka (verb) ‘drink...’ — 14/8

efla (verb) ‘strengthen...’ — 14/1

2eiga (verb) ‘own, have...’ôttu 14/7 var

3eigi (adv.) ‘not...’ — 14/8 var

2er (conj.) ‘who, which, when...’ — 14/1 var, 14/8 var

ér (pron.) ‘you...’þér 14/3 var

1fals (noun n.) ‘[Deceit]...’ — 14/7 var

2finna (verb) ‘find, meet...’finnum 14/3 var, fundu 14/3 var, funduð 14/3

1fjall (noun n.) ‘mountain...’ — 14/8 var

fjallrekkr (noun m.)fjallrekks 14/8 var

fjǫlrekkr (noun m.) ‘man with many warriors ...’fjǫlrecka 14/8 var, fjǫlrek 14/8 var, fjǫlrekks 14/8

fleinn (noun m.) ‘spear...’fleina 14/7 var

fleiri (adj. comp.) ‘more, most...’fleira 14/7, 14/7 var

2flug (noun n.) ‘flight, ?precipice...’ — 14/7 var

folk (noun n.) ‘people...’ — 14/8 var

folkhrekkr (noun m.)folkhrekks 14/8 var

folkrekr (noun m.)folkrekks 14/8 var

fors (noun m.) ‘torrent...’foss 14/7 var

frør (noun n.) ‘[frozen, frost]...’frør 14/7

fǫr (noun f.) ‘journey, fate; movement...’ — 14/7 var

1gera (verb) ‘do, make...’gerðum 14/7 var

hann (pron.) ‘he, she, it, they, them......’þeir 14/7

hein (noun f.) ‘whetstone...’heinar 14/5 var

heinir (noun m.) ‘inhabitant of Hedemarken...’ — 14/5

herr (noun m.) ‘army, host...’herins 14/5 var

hrekkr (noun m.) ‘trick...’hrekks 14/8 var

hræ (noun n.) ‘corpse, carrion...’ — 14/6

hrælinnr (noun m.) ‘corpse-snake...’hrælinn 14/6 var, hrælinns 14/6

2inn (art.) ‘the...’hins 14/5

klakkr (noun m.) ‘ONP: høj spids klippe...’klaks 14/4 var

konungr (noun m.) ‘king...’konung 14/4, 14/4 var, konungs 14/4 var

lendingr (noun m.) ‘landsman...’lendinga 14/2 var, lendingar 14/2, lendingum 14/2 var

linnr (noun m.) ‘snake...’linn 14/6 var, linns 14/6

líkr (adj.) ‘like...’líks 14/4 var

mega (verb) ‘may, might...’megi 14/6 var, megir 14/6 var, megu 14/6, megut 14/6 var

raun (noun f.) ‘ordeal, proof, experience...’ — 14/5

rán (noun n.) ‘plunder, plundering...’ — 14/5 var

reyna (verb) ‘test, try, experience...’reyndu 14/7 var

1 (pron.) ‘that (one), those...’þat 14/1 var, þat 14/3, þeim 14/7 var

senda (verb) ‘send...’sendu 14/2 var

sendir (noun m.) ‘sender, distributor...’sendi 14/2, sendis 14/2 var

1sjá (pron.) ‘this...’þenna 14/3

2Sveinn (noun m.) ‘Sveinn...’Svein 14/3 var, 14/3, Sveins 14/3 var

2svinnr (adj.) ‘wise...’svinn 14/3 var

til (prep.) ‘to...’ — 14/4 var

upp (adv.) ‘up...’ — 14/2

upplendingr (noun m.) ‘one of the Upplendingar...’Uppledinga 14/2 var, Upplendingum 14/2 var, Upplendinga 14/2 var, Upplendingar 14/2

vaxa (verb) ‘grow, increase...’vex 14/1, vóx 14/1 var

2vera (verb) ‘be, is, was, were, are, am...’es 14/5

vér (pron.) ‘we, us, our...’ — 14/7 var

vilja (verb) ‘want, intend...’ — 14/4

2vinna (verb) ‘perform, work...’ — 14/6

2væta (verb) ‘[moisten]...’vætt 14/1 var

vætr (noun n.) ‘not a trace, nothing...’ — 14/1 var

þar (adv.) ‘there...’ — 14/1 var, 14/3 var, 14/7 var

2þá (adv.) ‘then...’ — 14/1 var

þil (noun n.) ‘[plank]...’ — 14/4

þilblakkr (noun m.)þilblakks 14/4

þilklakkr (noun m.)þilklaks 14/4 var

þinn (pron.) ‘your...’þinna 14/3 var

þriði (num. ordinal) ‘third...’þriðja 14/4 var

þú (pron.) ‘you...’þik 14/4 var

því (adv.) ‘therefore, because...’ — 14/4 var

þvílíkr (adj.) ‘such...’þvílíks 14/4 var

þvít (conj.) ‘because, since...’ — 14/1

œskja (verb) ‘[wish for]...’æskia 14/7 var

ætla (verb) ‘intend, mean, think...’ — 14/7 var

2œxla (verb) ‘augment...’ — 14/7

ǫl (noun n.) ‘ale...’ — 14/8

ǫxl (noun f.) ‘shoulder...’axla 14/7 var

unlemmatised words — fjǫl (14); rekks (14)

unlemmatised variants — faus (14); finnit (14); fol (14); fros (14); heynir (14); kræs (14); ledinga (14); recka (14); recs (14); rek (14)

 

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