Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

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

5. Vestrfararvísur (Vestv) - 8

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).

Vestrfararvísur (‘Verses on a Journey to the West’) — Sigv VestvI

Judith Jesch 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Vestrfararvísur’ 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. 615.

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 5. Vestrfararvísur, 1025-26 (AI, 241-3, BI, 226-8)

in texts: Flat, Fsk, Hkr, Knýtl, ÓH, ÓHHkr

SkP info: I, 615

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Vol. 1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 5. Vestrfararvísur, 1 [Vol. 1, 617] — Sigv Vestv 1I

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).

Bergr, hǫfum minzk, hvé, margan
morgin Rúðuborgar,
bǫrð létk í fǫr fyrða
fest við arm enn vestra.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 5. Vestrfararvísur 1 (AI, 241; BI, 226); dróttkvætt; ed. JJ; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 325VII, 61, 68, 73ax, 761bx, 972x, Bb, Flat, Holm2, Holm4, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 536, ÓH 98(95), ÓHHkr 92
 
2 Vol. 1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 5. Vestrfararvísur, 2 [Vol. 1, 618] — Sigv Vestv 2I

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).

Útan varðk, áðr Jóta
andspilli fekk stillis,
(meld sák hús fyr hǫlði)
húsdyrr fyrir spyrjask,
en ørendi óru
ôttungr í sal knátti
Gorms (berk opt á armi
járnstúkur) vel lúka.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 5. Vestrfararvísur 2 (AI, 241; BI, 226); dróttkvætt; ed. JJ; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 61, 68, 73ax, 761bx, 972x, Bb, Flat, Holm2, Holm4, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 537, ÓH 99(96), ÓHHkr 93
 
3 Vol. 1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 5. Vestrfararvísur, 3 [Vol. 1, 619] — Sigv Vestv 3I

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).

Ǫrr tegask Áleif gørva,
alt hefr sás, fjǫrvaltan
(konungs dauða munk kvíða)
Knútr ok Hôkun, úti;
haldisk vǫrðr, þótt vildi
varla Knútr ok jarlar,
dælla es fyrst á fjalli
fundr, ef sjalfr kømsk undan.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 5. Vestrfararvísur 3 (AI, 241-2; BI, 226); dróttkvætt; ed. JJ; group: A1; mss: 301x, 321x, 325V, 51x, 61, 68, 761bx, 972x, Bb, Flat, FskAx, FskBx, Holm2, Holm4, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 538, Fsk 150, ÓH 100(97), ÓHHkr 94
 
4 Vol. 1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 5. Vestrfararvísur, 4 [Vol. 1, 621] — Sigv Vestv 4I

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).

Átti jarl at sætta
allframr búendr gamla
ok, þeirs optast tóku,
Áleif, at því máli;
þeir hafa fyrr af fári
(framt's Eiríks kyn) meira
hǫfðum keypt, en heiptir
Hôkun, saman, munði.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 5. Vestrfararvísur 4 (AI, 242; BI, 227); dróttkvætt; ed. JJ; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 61, 68, 761bx, 972x, Bb, Flat, Holm2, Holm4, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 539, ÓH 101(98), ÓHHkr 95
 
5 Vol. 1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 5. Vestrfararvísur, 5 [Vol. 1, 622] — Sigv Vestv 5I

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).

Knútr hefr okr enn ítri
alldáðgǫfugr bôðum
hendr, es hilmi fundum,
Húnn, skrautliga búnar;
þér gaf hann mǫrk eða meira
margvitr ok hjǫr bitran
golls (ræðr gǫrva ǫllu
goð sjalfr), en mér halfa.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 5. Vestrfararvísur 5 (AI, 242; BI, 227); dróttkvætt; ed. JJ; group: A1; mss: 20dx, 20i 23x, 321x, 325V, 325VI, 325VII, 325XI 2 g, 41x, 61, 68, 73ax, 75a, 761bx, 873x, 972x, Bb, Flat, Holm2, Holm4, J2x, , Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 530, Knýtl 24, ÓH 92(89), ÓHHkr 86
 
6 Vol. 1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 5. Vestrfararvísur, 6 [Vol. 1, 623] — Sigv Vestv 6I

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).

Heim erum hingat komnir,
hygg þú at, jǫfurr skatna
(menn nemi môl sem innik
mín) stallarar þínir;
seg, hvar sess hafið hugðan
seims þjóðkonungr beimum
(allr es þekkr) með þollum
(þinn skáli mér innan).

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 5. Vestrfararvísur 6 (AI, 242-3; BI, 227); dróttkvætt; ed. JJ; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 61, 68, 73ax, 75c, 761bx, 972x, Bb, Flat, Holm2, Holm4, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 548, ÓH 110(107), ÓHHkr 104
 
7 Vol. 1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 5. Vestrfararvísur, 7 [Vol. 1, 625] — Sigv Vestv 7I

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).

Knútr spurði mik, mætra
mildr, ef hônum vildak
hendilangr sem, hringa,
hugreifum Áleifi;
einn kvaðk senn, en sǫnnu
svara þóttumk ek, dróttin
(gǫr eru gumna hverjum
gnóg dœmi) mér sœma.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 5. Vestrfararvísur 7 (AI, 243; BI, 227-8); dróttkvætt; ed. JJ; group: A1; mss: 321x, 325V, 61, 68, 73ax, 75c, 761bx, 972x, Bb, Flat, Holm2, Holm4, J2x, Kx, Tóm; texts: Flat 549, ÓH 111(108), ÓHHkr 105
 
8 Vol. 1. 37. Sigvatr Þórðarson, 5. Vestrfararvísur, 8 [Vol. 1, 626] — Sigv Vestv 8I

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).

Eið láta þú ýtir
einn, þótt værak seinni,
jarðar alla verða
ófnis mildr, an vildak;
esa fyr mál þats (mála)
mann (þú lætr her vanðan)
lǫng þǫrf mun gram gengit,
gestr Knúts vas ek, flestum.

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 5. Vestrfararvísur 8 (AI, 243; BI, 228); dróttkvætt; ed. JJ; group: A1; mss: 75c; texts: ÓH 112(108b)
 
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