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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 29 May 2022)

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

SkP info: I, 605

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — Sigv Austv 16I

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 Bua hilmis sal hialmom hirðmen þeir er svan grenna . her se ec bens | oc bryniom beɢia cost aveɢiom . Þvi at ungr konungr engi vɢlavst er þat dyɢva husbunaði at hro | sa haull er dyr m aullo   [RDF]  edit 
 325V [...] | se ek bens ok brynivm ᷎ beɢia kost a | veɢiom ᷎ þviat vngr konungr engi ᷎ yɢ lav | st er þat dyɢva ᷎ hvsbvadi at hrosa : | havll er dyr með avllo᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Bua hilmis sal hialmum, hirdmen þeir er | suan grenna, her se bens og bryniur, beggia kost a veggium; | þui at ungr kongr engi, ugg laust er þad dyggua, husbunadi | at hrosa, haull er dyrst med avllu .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Bua hilmis sal hialmum | hirdmenn þeir er suan grenna | her se ek bens ock brynior | beggia kost a veggiom: | þvi at ungr kongr eingi | ýgglaust er þat tryggra, || husbunadi a hrosa | haull er dyrst med ollo.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Bua hilmis sal hialmom hirdmen | ther er svan grenna her se ek | bens oc bry̋niom beggia kost || a veggiom. Tvi at unger konung engin | uglaust er that dy̋gra husbunadi at | hrosa haull er dy̋r med aullo. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 J2x Bua hilmis sal hialmum | hirð menn þeir er svan grenna | her se ec bems ok bryniom | beɢia kost a veɢiom | þi at ungr konungr engi || yɢlꜹst er þat dyɢra | husbunaðe at hrosa | hǫll er dyr með øllu |   [RDF]  edit 
 325VI Bva hilmis | sal hialmvm hirdmenn þeir er suan grenna her | se ek bens ok brynív . beggia kost ꜳ veggívm . || þviat vngr konungr eingi . ygglaust er þat dyggra | hvs bunadi at hrosa . hǫll er dyr med aullv |   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Birta hilmis sal híalmum . hirðmenn | þeir er suan grenna . her se ek bens ok b | rynium . beɢia kost a veɢium . þvi at | ungs konungs eingi . yɢglaust er þat dy | ɢgra . hús bunaði hrosar . haull er | dyr meðr aullu .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Birta hilmis sal hialmum . hirdmenn þeir er suan grenna , her se ek | bens ok brynjum . beɢia kost a veggium . þviat ungs kongs eingi . yɢg | laust er þat dygra . hus bunadi hrosar . haull er dyr medr aullo .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Bua hílmís sal hialmum | hirð menn þeir er suan grenna . | her sé ek bens ok bryníum beɢ̇ia kost ꜳ veɢ̇ium : | þviat vngs konungs engí | yɢ̇laust er þat dyɢ̇ra . | husbunaði hrosar | ho᷎ll er dyr med o᷎llu .   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Bva hilmis sal hialmom | hirþ menn þeir er svan greɴa her se æk bens ok bryniom beɢia cost a veɢiom  þviat vngr konvngr engi | yglavst er þat dyɢra hvsbvnaþi at hrosa holl er dyr meþ ollo .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Bua hilmis sal hialmum hirð menn þeir er ual greɴa | her se ek bens ꜳ bunum beggia kost ꜳ ueggium . þviat ungr konungr enghi | yɢlaust er þat dyɢra hus bunaði at hrosa . ho᷎ll er dyr m o᷎llu .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Bua hilmis || sal hialmum hirðmeɴ þeir er svangrenna . Her se | ek bens ok brynio beɢia kost aueɢíum . þuiat | ungr konungr enge vɢ̇lꜹst er þat dyɢ̇ra husbuna | ðe at hrosa hꜵll er dyr m øllo .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Bua hilmis sal hialmum hirðmenn þeir er svangrenna . her se ec bens ok brynio | bæggia kost a væggium . þviat ungr konungr engi ygglaust er þat dyggra husbunaðe at [altered to a] hrosa hꜹll er dyr m allo .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Bua hilmis sal hialmum | hirdmenn þeir er suan grenna her se ek bens | ok bryníu beggia kost aueggium ᷎ þuiat ungr konungr | æínge ugglaust er þyggra husbunade at hrosa || ho᷎ll er dyr med ollu ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Bua | hilmís sal hialmvm . hird menn þeir er suann grenna . hier síe ec bens ok bryníum . beggía kost ꜳ̋ | vegívm . þviat konungr vngr eíngí . ygglaust er þat dyggra hus bunade ath hrosa haull er dyr med | aullv .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Bua hilmis sal hiálmum | hirðmenn þeir er svan greɴa | her qveþ ec bens ok brynio | beɢia cost a veɢiom || þvi a ungr konungr engi | uɢlꜹst er þat dyɢr | husbunaðe at hrosa | hꜹll er dyr með ǫllo |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Bva hilm | is sal hialmmvm hirdmenn þeir er svan grenna || her se ek bens ok briynívm beggia kost ꜳ́ | veggíom . þvi a vngr konungr eíngi . vgglavst er þat | dyggra hvsbvnadi ath hrosa holl er dyr | med ollv .   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Bua hilmis sal hialmum | hirþmenn þeir er val grenna | her se ek bens a bunu | beggia kost a veggium | þviat ungr konungr | engi | ygglaust er þat byggva | husbunaþi at hrosa | ho᷎ll er dyr meþ ollu .   [RDF]  edit 

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