Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

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

II. Bersǫglisvísur (Berv) - 18

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).

Bersǫglisvísur (‘Plain-speaking Vísur’) — Sigv BervII

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Bersǫglisvísur’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 11-30.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18 

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur, o. 1038 (AI, 251-6, BI, 234-9); stanzas (if different): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 13 | 15 | 18

in texts: Ágr, Flat, Fsk, Gramm, H-Hr, Hkr, MGóð, MH, ÓH, ÓTOdd, Skm, SnE, TGT

SkP info: II, 11-30

notes: ms. refs separated from first cards. In Magnúss saga ins góða.

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 1 [Vol. 2, 12-14] — Sigv Berv 1II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Fregnk, at suðr með Sygnum
Sigvatr hefr gram lattan
folkorrostu at freista;
ferk, ef þó skulum berjask;
fǫrum í vôpn ok verjum
vel (tyst) konung, lystir,
(hvé lengi skal) hringum,
(hans grund?) til þess fundar.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 9 (AI, 253-4; BI, 236-7); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 39, 61, 73ax, 761bx, 972x, Bb, E, Holm2, Holm4, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: MGóð 25, ÓH 204(199)
 
2 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 2 [Vol. 2, 14-15] — Sigv Berv 2II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Vask með gram þeims gumnum
goll bauð dróttinhollum;
nafn fekk hann, en hrǫfnum
hræ þess konungs ævi;
fullkerska sák falla
(fráneggjum sonr grônum
gaf margan val vargi)
verðung (konungs sverðum).

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 1 (AI, 251; BI, 234-5); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: Flat, H, Hr; texts: Flat 974, H-Hr 10, MH 5
 
3 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 3 [Vol. 2, 15] — Sigv Berv 3II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Fylgðak þeim, es fylgju,
fémildum gram, vildi
(nú eru þegnar frið fegnir),
feðr þínum vel, mína;
vasat á her, með hjǫrvi
hlið, þars stóðk í miðjum
hrœsinn (skal með hrísi)
hans flokki (við þjokkva).

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 2 (AI, 251; BI, 235); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: Flat, H, Hr; texts: Flat 975, H-Hr 11, MH 6
 
4 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 4 [Vol. 2, 15-16] — Sigv Berv 4II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Gekk við móð enn mikla,
Magnús, alt í gǫgnum
ferð, þars flotnar bǫrðusk,
faðir þínn liði sínu;
varði hart, en hjǫrtu
hugfull við þat skullu,
(Áleifr réð svá) jǫfra
erfðir (framm at hverfa).

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 3 (AI, 252; BI, 235); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: Flat, H, Hr; texts: Flat 976, H-Hr 12, MH 7
 
5 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 5 [Vol. 2, 16-17] — Sigv Berv 5II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Hét, sás fell á Fitjum,
fjǫlgegn ok réð hegna
heiptar rôn, en hônum,
Hôkun, firar unnu;
þjóð helt fast á fóstra
fjǫlblíðs lǫgum síðan
(enn eru af því minni)
Aðalsteins (búendr seinir).

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 4 (AI, 252; BI, 235); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 39, 61, 73ax, 972x, Bb, E, Flat, H, Holm2, Hr, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 977, H-Hr 13, MGóð 26, MH 8, ÓH 205(200)
 
6 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 6 [Vol. 2, 17-18] — Sigv Berv 6II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Rétt hykk kjósa knôttu
karlfolk ok svá jarla,
af þvít eignum lofða
Áláfar frið gôfu;
Haralds arfi lét haldask
hvardyggr ok sonr Tryggva
lǫg, þaus lýðir þôgu
laukjǫfn af þeim nǫfnum.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 5 (AI, 252; BI, 235-6); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 39, 61, 73ax, 972x, E, Flat, H, Holm2, Hr, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 978, H-Hr 14, MGóð 27, MH 9, ÓH 206(201)
 
7 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 7 [Vol. 2, 18-19] — Sigv Berv 7II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Ungr, vask með þér, þengill,
þat haust es komt austan;
einn, stillir, mátt alla
jǫrð hegna, svá fregnisk;
himin þóttisk þá heiðan
hafa, es landa krafðir,
lofðungs burr, ok lifðir,
landfolk tekit hǫndum.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 6 (AI, 252-3; BI, 236); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 325XI 3, Flat, H, Hr; texts: Flat 979, H-Hr 15, MH 10
 
8 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 8 [Vol. 2, 19] — Sigv Berv 8II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Fǫður Magnúss létk fregna
folgin jǫfurs dolga
orð, þaus eyru heyrðu
ór, á svik hvé fóru;
mál bark hvert af heilum
hug, þvít eigi brugðumk,
(ek vissa þó) ossum
(ótta) lánardrótni.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 7 (AI, 253; BI, 236); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 325XI 3, Flat, H, Hr; texts: Flat 980, H-Hr 16, MH 11
 
9 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 9 [Vol. 2, 20-1] — Sigv Berv 9II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Skalat ráðgjǫfum reiðask
(ryðr þat, konungr) yðrum
(dróttins orð til dýrðar),
dǫglingr, við bersǫgli;
hafa kveðask lǫg, nema ljúgi
landherr, búendr verri,
endr í Ulfasundum,
ǫnnur, an hézt mǫnnum.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 8 (AI, 253; BI, 236); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 301x, 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 325XI 3, 39, 51x, 61, 73ax, 972x, Bb, E, Flat, FskAx, FskBx, H, Holm2, Hr, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 981, Fsk 170, H-Hr 17, MGóð 28, MH 12, ÓH 207(202)
 
10 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 10 [Vol. 2, 21-2] — Sigv Berv 10II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Gjalt varhuga, veltir,
viðr þeims nú ferr hiðra,
þjófs, (skal hǫnd í hófi)
hǫlða kytt (of stytta);
vinr's sás, varmra benja,
vǫrnuð býðr, en hlýðið,
tármúteris teitir,
til hvat búmenn vilja.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 13 (AI, 255; BI, 237-8); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 301x, 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 325XI 3, 39, 51x, 61, 73ax, 972x, Bb, E, Flat, FskAx, FskBx, H, Holm2, Hr, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 982, Fsk 171, H-Hr 18, MGóð 31, MH 13, ÓH 210(205)
 
11 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 11 [Vol. 2, 22-3] — Sigv Berv 11II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Hverr eggjar þik hǫggva,
hjaldrgegnir, bú þegna?
ofrausn es þat jǫfri
innan lands at vinna;
engr hafði svá ungum
áðr bragningi ráðit;
rán hykk rekkum þínum,
(reiðr's herr) konungr, leiðask.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 11 (AI, 254; BI, 237); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 325XI 3, 39, 51x, 61, 73ax, 972x, Bb, E, Flat, FskBx, H, Holm2, Hr, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 983, H-Hr 19, MGóð 30, MH 14, ÓH 209(204)
 
12 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 12 [Vol. 2, 23-4] — Sigv Berv 12II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Hætt's þats allir ætlask
(áðr skal við því ráða)
hárir menn, es heyrik
hót, skjǫldungi at móti;
greypt's þat, 's hǫfðum hnepta,
heldr, ok niðr í felda
(slegit hefr þǫgn á þegna)
þingmenn nǫsum stinga.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 12 (AI, 254-5; BI, 237); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 301x, 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 325XI 3, 39, 61, 73ax, 761bx, 972x, A, Ágr, Bb, E, Flat, FskAx, H, Holm2, Hr, J2x, Kx, Tóm, W; texts: Ágr 4, Flat 984, Fsk 172, H-Hr 20, MGóð 32, MH 15, ÓH 211(206), SnE 0, TGT 112
 
13 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 13 [Vol. 2, 24-5] — Sigv Berv 13II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Hverr eggjar þik, harri
heiptar strangr, at ganga
(opt reynir þú) þínum
(þunn stôl á bak môlum?
fastorðr skyli fyrða,
fengsæll, vesa þengill,
hœfir heit at rjúfa,
hjaldrmǫgnuðr, þér aldri.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 10 (AI, 254; BI, 237); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 325XI 3, 39, 51x, 61, 73ax, 972x, Bb, E, Flat, FskBx, H, Holm2, Hr, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 985, H-Hr 21, MGóð 29, MH 16, ÓH 208(203)
 
14 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 14 [Vol. 2, 25-6] — Sigv Berv 14II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Eitt es mál, þats mæla,
mínn dróttinn leggr sína
eign á óðal þegna,
ǫfgask búendr gǫfgir;
rán mun seggr, hinns sína
selr út, í því telja,
flaums at fellidómi
fǫðurleifð konungs greifum.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 14 (AI, 255-6; BI, 238); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 325XI 3, 39, 61, 73ax, 972x, Bb, E, Flat, H, Holm2, Hr, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 986, H-Hr 22, MGóð 33, MH 17, ÓH 212(207)
 
15 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 15 [Vol. 2, 27] — Sigv Berv 15II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Syni Áleifs biðk snúðar
síð kveða aptans bíða
óframs sǫk (meðal okkar
alt's háligt), svá mála;
erum Magnús vér vægnir,
vildak með þér mildum
(Haralds varðar þú hjǫrvi
haukey) lifa ok deyja.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 18 (AI, 256; BI, 238-9); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 310, 325XI 3, F, Flat; texts: Flat 987, MH 18, ÓTOdd 2
 
16 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 16 [Vol. 2, 28-9] — Sigv Berv 16II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Áleifr lét mik, jǫfra
órýrr, framask (dýrða
urðu drjúg ens digra
dróttins þing) með hringum;
goll bark jafnt of allan
aldr ok herverk sjaldan
hrygg á hvárri tveggja
hendi flotna sendis.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 16 (AI, 256; BI, 238); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 325XI 3, Flat; texts: Flat 988, MH 19
 
17 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 17 [Vol. 2, 29] — Sigv Berv 17II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Sigvats hugr mun hittask
Hǫrða-Knúts í garði,
mildr nema mjǫk vel skaldi
Magnús konungr fagni;
fórk með feðrum þeira
(fekk mér ungum tunga
golls), vask enn með ǫllu
óskeggjaðr þá, beggja.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 17 (AI, 256; BI, 238); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 325XI 3, Flat; texts: Flat 989, MH 20
 
18 Vol. 2. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson (biog. vol. 1), Bersǫglisvísur, 18 [Vol. 2, 30] — Sigv Berv 18II

The following text is from a superseded edition and is not the work of the editor(s) named on this page. It is included for reference only. Do not refer to this site when using this text but rather consult the original edition (Skj where relevant).

Lát auman nú njóta,
Nóregs, ok gef stórum,
(môl halt) svá sem sælan,
sinjór, laga þinna.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 11. Bersǫglisvísur 15 (AI, 256; BI, 238); dróttkvætt; ed. KEG; group: A1; mss: 744x, 761bx, A, B, C, R, Tx; texts: Skm 390, Skm 416
 
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