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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sveinn tjúguskegg Haraldsson (Svtjúg)

10th century; volume 1; ed. Matthew Townend;

Lausavísa (Lv) - 1

not in Skj

On the Danish king Sveinn (Svtjúg, r. 986-1014), who also reigned in England 1013-14, see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume. As noted below, the sole stanza attributed to him is of doubtful authenticity.

under Anon X (Tillæg 3)

Lausavísa — Svtjúg LvI

Matthew Townend 2012, ‘ Sveinn tjúguskegg Haraldsson, Lausavísa’ 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. 379. <> (accessed 18 January 2022)


in texts: Flat, ÞorlJ

SkP info: I, 379

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files


This stanza (Svtjúg Lv) is the only one attributed to the Danish king, and the likelihood of it being genuinely his work must be negligible, both on circumstantial grounds and on stylistic ones (see Note to l. 8 léons, and cf. Note to ll. 5-6, interpretation (c)). It is preserved in Þorleifs þáttr jarlaskálds (ÞorlJ), found only in Flat (ms. Flat; for versions in derivatives of this ms. see ÞorlJ 1987). The story tells how the Icelandic poet Þorleifr jarlsskáld Rauðfeldarson (Þjsk) takes revenge in the form of poetic abuse (níð) on Hákon jarl Sigurðarson for burning his ship and killing his ship-mates; see further skald Biography of Þorleifr and Context to his Jarlsníð (Þjsk Jarl). Þorleifr is supported in his revenge by King Sveinn, to whose court he returns after successfully outwitting Hákon. Impressed by this, Sveinn bestows on him the ironic nickname of jarlsskáld ‘jarl’s poet’ and speaks this stanza. 
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