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Runic Dictionary

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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

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

II. Bersǫglisvísur (Berv) - 18

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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 19 May 2022)

stanzas:  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


Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

1. Kx - 504r/15-504r/22 (LG)
Fregn ec a suðr með sygnum | sigvatr hefer gram lattan | folc oʀosto at fresta | fer ec ef svo sculum beraz | fǫrom i vapn ok veriom | veltvist konungr lyster | hve lengi scal hringum | hans grund til þess fundar |
39 - 14va/20-14va/20 (LG)
Fregn ec at suðr m suignum sighuatr hefir | gram lattan folc oʀostu at fræista fer ec ef þo | scal beriazc. forum ivapn ok ueriom væl tvist konungr lystir | hue lengi scal hringom hans grund til þeꜱ fvndra |
Holm2 - 74r/27-74r/29 (LG)
Fregn ec at suðr m syg | nom sighvatr hefir gram lattan folcoʀostu at freista feʀ ef þo scolum beriaz forum ivapn ok veriom | veltvist konungr lystir hve lengi scal hringum hans grund til þeꜱ fundra.
321x - 282/16-282/19 (VEÞ)
Fregn ek at sydr med sygnum. Sighvatur hefir | gram lattann. folk orrosto at fresta ferr ef so skom berjaz farim | i vapn ok verium vel tvist kong lystir hve leingi skal hringum | hans grund til þess fundar
325VII - 41v/20-41v/22 (TW)
Frægn ec at suðr m sygnum sigvatr hæfer gram lattan folk | orrvstur at fræista færr æf þo skulum beriaz · forum ivapn oc væriumc væl tvist konung lyster hve længi skal ringum hans grundar | til þæss fundra ·
2. Hr - 5vb/28-5vb/28 (TW)
Var ek m gram þeíms gum|num gull bauð drottín hollum· vopn fíc?ck hann en hraufnum hræ̨ þess konungs æ̨|fi fullkeskum sꜳ ek falla fran eygium son granum· gaf margan val | vargi verðung konungs sverðum
5. Kx - 504r/24-504v/2 (LG)
Het sa er fell a fitium | fiǫlgegn ok reð hegna | heiptar rán enn hánom | Hacon firar unno | þioð helt fast a fostra fiolbliðs logom siþan. | eɴ ero af þvi er miɴir | Aþalsteins boendr seinir |
39 - 14va/24-14va/24 (LG)
Het sa er fell | afitiom fiolgegn ok reð hegna hæiptar ran ok ha | nom hacon firar uɴo. þioð hellt fast afostra fiolbli | ðs logom siþan er ero afþvi er miɴir aþalsteins bændr | sǽinir.
321x - 282/20-282/22 (VEÞ)
Het sa er fell a fitium. fiolgogn ok red hegna. heiptar rän ok | hanum. hacon firar mundu. þiod hellt fast a fostra fiolbliðs | laugum sidan. enn ero. af þui minni. Adalsteins buendr seinir. |
325VII - 41v/22-41v/23 (TW)
Het sa er fell a fitium fiꜹlgegn oc reð þægna hæiptar ran oc hanum ha[...] fir[...] | nu þioð helt fast a fostra fiꜹlbliþs [...]gum siþan eɴ eru af þui er minir aþalsteins buendr sæinir ·
6. Kx - 504v/3-504v/10 (LG)
Rett hyɢ ec kiosa knatto | carl folc ẹṇḍṛ ṣẹịṇir ok sva jarla | af þvi at eignom lofða | Oláfar frið gáfo | haraldz arfi let haldaz | hvar dyɢr ok sonr Tryɢva | lǫg þꜹ er lyðar þágo | lꜹc jofn af þeim nꜹfnúm |
39 - 14va/28-14va/28 (LG)
Rǽtt hu̇gg ec kiosa knatto. carl folc oc sva | iarla af þui at eignom lofða olafar frið gafo. | harallz arfi let halldaz hvar dyggr oc son tryggva | laug þau lyþar hofðo lauc iaufn af þeim | naufnom.
321x - 282/23-282/26 (VEÞ)
Rett hyɢ ek kiosa knattu. karlfolk ok sva jarla af þui er | eignum lofda. olafar frid gafu harallds arfi let hallda | hvardyɢur ok sonur ᴛyɢva. Laug þau er lydir þagu. laugjaufn | af þeim nofnom. ||
325VII - 41v/23-41v/25 (TW)
Rett hygg ec kiosa | knatte · kallsflokk oc sva iarlar af þuiat æignum lofþa olafar friþ gafe hart arfi let halda hvardyggr oc [...] tryggva | lꜹg þau er lyþar þagu lauc iꜹfn af þæim nꜹfnum
9. Kx - 504v/11-504v/18 (LG)
Scolot raðgiofum reiðaz | ryðr þat konungr yðrom | drottins orð til dyrðar | dꜹglingr v bersǫgli | hafa qveðaz lꜹg nema liúgi | landheʀ bǫndr veʀi | endr i ulfa sundúm | ꜹnnur eɴ þu hetz monnum |
39 - 14va/32-14va/32 (LG)
Scolot raðgiofom reiðaz ryðr þat konungr | yðrom drottinns orð til dyrðar dogglingr v ber | sogli hafa queþaz laug nema lívgi land heʀ konungr | verri enndr iulfa sundom øɴor en(?) þu hæzt | monnum.
321x - 283/1-283/4 (VEÞ)
Skulut radgiafar reidaz. rydr þad Konungr ydrir. drottins ord | til dyrdar. dauglingr vid bersaugli. hafa kvedaz laug ne | ma. liugi land herr buendr verri. endr i ulfa sundum. aunnr | enn þu hetz ᴍonnom.
325VII - 41v/25-41v/26 (VEÞ)
Scoluþ raþgiavar ræiðaz ryðr þat konungr yðrir drotni orð til dyrðar dog | lingr við bersꜹgli · hafa qveþaz lꜹg næma liugi land h-r konungr værri ǽndr i ulfa sundum ꜹnnur en þu hezt mavnum ·
10. Kx - 505r/7-505r/14 (LG)
Gialltu varhuga velltir | viðr þeim er nú feʀ heðra | þíofs scal hund i hófi | hꜹlda qvitt um stytta | vin er sa er varmra benia | varnaðr byðr eɴ hlyþit | tár mutaris teitit | til hvat bú menn vilia |
39 - 14vb/5-14vb/5 (LG)
Gialltu varhuga velltir viðr þeim er […] ferrr heðra þiofar | scal hund ihofi holþa qvitt of sty[…]a vinr er sa var | mra benia vornoð byð[…] lyþi tar muterris | téttir til huat bu menn vilia.
321x - 283/10-283/13 (VEÞ)
Gialltu varhugan velltir. vidr þeim er nu feʀ hedra. þiod | skal huerr i hofi. haulda kvitt of stytta vinr em ek varmra | benia. varnat byd ek enn þeir hlydit. tar muteris teiti. til huat | buinn vilia.
325VII - 41v/28-41v/30 (TW)
Gialtu varhvga | velltir viþr þeim er nu ferr heþra · þiofs skal hund i hofi havlþa quitt of stytta · vinr sa er v[...]ra bæn[...] | yðr en ec hlyþ[...]taris teitir til hvatt bu menn vilia
11. Kx - 504v/27-505r/6 (LG)
Hveʀ eɢiar þic hǫɢva | hialdr gegner bu þegna || ofrꜹsn er þat jǫfri | iɴan landz at vinna | engr hafþi sva ungum | aðr bragningi ráþit | ran hyɢ ec reckum þínom | reiðr er herr konungr leiðaz |
39 - 14vb/7-14vb/14 (LG)
Hverrr eggiar þic hogva | hialdr gegnir bu þegna of rꜹn er þat iofri innan landz | at vinna. engr hafði sva vngom aðr bragningi | raðit ran hygg ec reccom þinom reiþr herr konungrleiðaz. |
321x - 283/7-283/9 (VEÞ)
hverr eɢiar þik hau | ɢva. hialldr gegnir bu þegna. ofrausn er þad jofri jnnann | lands at vinna. eingi hø᷎fdi sva ungum. adur bragningi rada. |
325VII - 41v/27-41v/28 (TW)
Hverr eggiar þic h[...] hialdr gegniɴ bu þegna ofrausn er þat iofri iɴan land at [...]a · | engr hafði sva ungum aðr bragninge raðit ran hygg ec rækum þinom ræiðr herr konungr læiðaz ·
12. 39 - 14vb/8-14vb/8 (LG)
12. Hæt e[…] þat er allr hæitazc | aþr scal vþvi raða harir […] er ec heyri hot sciol | dungi at moti. gr[…] þat […]fðom hnepra | helldr ok niðr i f[…]lda slegit hof þ[…]gn aþegna þing | menn nausom stinga.
321x - 283/13-283/16 (VEÞ)
Hætt er þeir er allir ætla. adr skal vid þvi rada. | harir ᴍenn er ek heyri. hot skiolldundungi at moti. greypt | er þat er haufdum hnepta. helldr ok nidr i fellda. slegit | hefer þaugn a þegna. þyngmenn nausum stynga. |
325VII - 41v/30-41v/32 (TW)
Hætt er þat er [...]lar aðr skal við [...] | menn en ec hæy[...]o[...] sciolldunge at mote græypt er þat er hofðum hnæypta hældr oc niðr ⸌en⸍ ifelde [...] | þaugn a þeg[...]a þ[...]g menn nꜹsum stin[...]ga ·
Ágr - 14va/16-14va/24 (TW)
Hætt er | þat er allir ætla· aþr scal uiþ | þui raþa· harer menn er ec | hayri· hꜹtt scioldungi á | móti· Gnæyst er þat er hꜹ|fþom· hnistir heldr oc niþr | í feldi· slǽgit hęifir þꜹgɴ | a þegna· þing menn nꜽsom | stinga·
A - 7v/21-7v/22 (VEÞ)
hǽtr þat ær allir ætla aðr scal v þvi raða | hárir menn ænn ek hæyri hót skiǫlldvngi at moti .
W - 110/2-110/3 (TW)
Het þat er aller ætla aðr | skal við því rꜳða. harer mer en ek hæyrí hot skiolldvngi motí.
13. 39 - 14va/36-14vb/0 (LG)
Hverrr eggia⸌r⸍ þic harri hæiptar strangr at | ganga. opt reynir þv þinom þvnn stál abac malom. fast or | ðr scyli fyrða fengsæll veraþ engill hæfir hǽit at || rivfa hialldr mꜹgnaðr þvi aldri.
321x - 283/1-283/4 (VEÞ)
hveʀ eɢiar þik harre. heiptar strangr | at ganga. opt reyner þu þinum. þunn stal a bak malum. fast | ordr skyli fyrda. feingsæll vera þeingill. hø᷎fir heit at | riufa. hialldr maugnudr þeir alldri.
325VII - 41v/26-41v/27 (TW)
Hver eg[...] | þig harre · h[...]iptar strangr at [...]
14. 39 - 14vb/12-14vb/12 (LG)
E[…]t er mal […] mæla minn dro | ttinn leggr eign aoðal þegna aufgaz bændr gof | gir. ran man segr hinn er s[…] seli(?) ut iþvi telia | flaums at felli domi […]fd konungs greipom.
321x - 283/17-283/20 (VEÞ)
Eitt er mal þad er mæla. minn drottinn leggr sina. eign a | odul þegna. aufgast buendr gaufger. raun mun | seɢr er sina. setr vt i þvi telia flaums at felli domi | faudr leifd Konungs greiopum.
325VII - 41v/32-41v/33 (TW)
Æítt mal þat mun æ mæla minn drottiɴ læggi sina æign a oþal þæg[...] | gaz buendr [...]fgir [...]an mun seggr hinn er sina sælr oðr[...] þat tælia flꜹmms at falli i dome fꜹður leifþ · konungs g[...]v[...] |
18. A - 15v/10-15v/10 (VEÞ)
lát ꜹman nv nióta .
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