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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

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

3. Austrfararvísur (Austv) - 21

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).

Austrfararvísur (‘Verses on a Journey to the East’) — Sigv AustvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Sigvatr Þórðarson, Austrfararvísur’ 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. 578. <> (accessed 5 July 2022)

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Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 3. Austrfararvísur, 1019 (AI, 233-40, BI, 220-5)

SkP info: I, 583

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

1 — Sigv Austv 1I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


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.

 Holm2 Hvgstora bið ec hey | ra hress fors iofurs þessar þolða ec vas hve visor verðvng um for gerðac . sendr var ec upp | af avndrvm austr svaf ec fatt i havsti til sviðioðar siþan svanfangs i for langa .   [RDF]  edit 
 325V Hvgstora bið ek heyra ᷎ hress | fo᷎rs iofvʀ þessar ᷎ þolda ek vás hve | visvr verðvng vm favr giorðak ᷎ sendr | var ek vpp af avnðrvm ᷎ austr svaf ec | fatt i havsti : til sviþioðar siðan ᷎ sv | anvagnz ifaur langa᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Hugstora læt | ek heyra, hres fǫrs iofurs þæssar, þolda ek uas hue uisur, | uerþung um for giorþ t., sendr uar ek up af avndrum, austr | suaf ek lit i hausti, til Suiþiodar sidan, suanuangs i favr | langa .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Hug=stora bid ek heýra | hress fors Iofurs þessar | þolda ek vas hue visor | verdung um for gerdar, | sendr var ek upp af aundrum | austr svaf ek fatt i hausti | till Sviþiodar sidan | Svan vangs i for langa. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Hugstora bid | ek heýra hress fors iofurs thessar | tolda ek bas hue visor verdűng | um for gerdack sender var ek upp | af aundrum auster svaf ek fatt | i hausti till Svidiodar sider svar | fangs i for langa. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Hugstora bid ek heyra . hress lyndz iofurs þe | ssar . þolda ek vas en visur . verdumc of | for gerdak . sendr var ek vpp af ǫndrum . av | str suaf ek fatt j hausti til suidiodar sidan | suan vangs j fǫr langa .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Hugstóra let ek heyra . hress faur || iofurs þessa . þolða ek uás hué h | ué vísir . uerðung ⸌um⸍ faur gerðac . sendr | uar ek upp af aundrum . austr suaf | ek fast i háusti . til suiþioðar siðan . | suan uángs í faur langa .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x hugstora let ek heyra . hress faur jofurs þessa . þolda ek val hve | visir . uerdung faur gerdac . sendr var ek upp af aundrum . austr suaf ek | fast i hausti . til Suiþiodar siþan . suanuangs i faur langa .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 68 Hvgstora bið æk heyra hvers fors iofurs þessar þolþa æk vas hve visur verþung vm for gorþak . || sendr var æk upp fra avndrom avstr svaf æk fátt i hausti til sviþioþar siþan svanfangs i favr langa |   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Hugstoran bið ek heyra huers forst io᷎fur | þessar þolða ek vas ok visur verðung um for gerþag . sendr uar ek upp af | o᷎ndrum . austr suaf ek fatt i hausti til suiþiodar siþan . suanfangs i | fo᷎r langa .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Hugstora bið ek | heyra hresslyndr iofuʀ þessar . þolða ek | vas hue visur verðung um for gerðag . sen | dr var ec upp af øndrum . ꜹstr suaf ek fatt | i hauste til suiðioðar siðan suanvangs ifør | langa .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Hugstora⸌n⸍ (later alteration) bið ec hæyra hresslyndr iꜹfur þæssar þolþa ec vas hue visur verþung of fꜹr gerðac . sendr var ec upp | af aunndrum . austr svaf ec fatt i hauste til sviþioþar siþan svanfangs i for langa .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Hugstora bid ek heyra hres lundr jofurr þessar þolda ek uós firir visur | verdung ok fo᷎r gerdag sendr uar ek upp af o᷎ndrum austr suaf ek fa | tt j hausti til suiþiodar sidan suan fangs j fo᷎r langa .   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Hug stora bid ec heyía . hreslyn | ndr jofur þessar þolda egh uas . hue uísur verdung vm faur gíorua . sendur var ec vpp af au | ndrum . austr suaf ec fatt j hausti til suidíodar sidan . svanfangs j faur langa .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Hugstora bið ec heyra | hress føʀ jofurr þessar | þolda ec vás hve visur | verþung um før gerþat | sendr var ec upp af ꜹndrom | ꜹstr svaf ec fátt a hꜹsti | til sviþióðar siþan | svanvangs i fǫr langa |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Hvg stora bid ek heyra | hress dyr iofrss þessar þolda vos hve | visvr verdvng of ford giordak . sendr var ek | upp af ondrvm . ꜹstr svaf ek fát j hꜹsti | til svidiodar sidan svanvógns j fór langa . |   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Hugstoran biþ ek heyra | hvers forst iofurr þessar | þolda ek vas oc visur | verþung um for gerþak | sendr var ek upp at o᷎ndrum | austr svaf ek fatt i hausti | til Sviþioþar siþan | svanfangs i fo᷎r langa . |   [RDF]  edit 

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