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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 23 January 2022)

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

SkP info: I, 608

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

18 — Sigv Austv 18I

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 Þic bað solar solar søckvir sinn hallda vel rinar hvern er hingat | arnar hvscarll nefi iarla . en hveʀ er avstr vill sinna iafnvist er þat lista þengill þinna dren | gia þar a halld vnd ravgnvalldi .   [RDF]  edit 
 325V Þ ik bað solar savkkvir | sín hallda vel rinar ᷎ hvern er hingat | arnar hvskarll nefi iarla Enn hverr | er austr vill sina : iafn vist er þat lista | þengill þiɴa drengia ᷎ þar a halld | vnd ʀavngialldi᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Þik bad solar | sokkiur sinn hallda uel rina, huern er hingat arna, || huskarll nefi iarlla; enn huern er austr uill sina, iafn | uist er þar lista, þengill þinna drenþar, a halld und Raugn | ualldi .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Tik bad solar sőker sin | halda vel rinner hvern er hingat | armur hustkarl nefi Iarla. En | huer er auster vil sina iafnvist | er that lista Thorgill thenna dren | gia thar ahald und Raug⸌n⸍valdi   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Þik bad solar sauckvir | sin halda vel rinar | huern er hingat arnar | huskarl nefi Iarla: | enn huer er austr vil sinna | Iafnvist er þat lista | þeingill þinna dreingia | þar a hald und Ragnvalldi. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Þik bad solar sauckuir . sinn halda vel rínar . | huern er hingat arnar . huskarl nefi jarla | enn hverr er austr vill sinna . iafn vist er þat list | a . þeingill hímna dreíngia . þar a halld vnd | raugnualldi .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Þik bað solar sauuir . sinn hallda | uel rínar . huern er hingat arnar . | huskarl nefi iarlar . en huern er au | str uill sinna . all uist er þat lista . þen | gill þinna dreingia . þar er halld und ʀꜹgnvalldi . |   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Þik bad solar saukkuir | sinn hallda vel rínar . huern er hingat arnar . huskarl nefi jarlar | en huern er austr uill sinna . alluı̈st er þat lista · þengill þinna dreingia · | þar er halld vid Raugvalld   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax þick bað sólar so᷎ckuír | sín hallda vel ʀínar . | huern er híngat arnar | huskarl nefí iarlar : | enn huerr austr vill nenna | allvist er þat lista . | þengill þínna drengia | þar er halld med ʀo᷎gnualldí . |   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Þik bað sta | la sto᷎ckuir . sin hallda uel rinar huern þann er hingat arnar huskarl nefi iarla | enn huerr er austr uill sinna . iafn uist er þat lista . þengill þinna drengia | þar ꜳ halld und ʀo᷎gnualldi .   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Þik baþ | solar savckvir síɴ halda vel rínar hverɴ er hingat arnar huscarl nefi jarla  Eɴ hverʀ er avstr vill siɴa | iafnvist er þat lista þengill þiɴa drengia þar a hald vnd ravgnvaldi .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Þik bað solar søckuír sín halldít | halldít uel rínar . hverr er hingat arnar hus | karrl nefe . jarla . eɴ hverr ꜹstr uill sinna iafn | vist er þat lista . þengill þinna drengia þar a halld | und ʀøgnuallde .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Þic bað solar sekvir . sín halldin væl rínar . hvern er hingat árnar huskarll næfi iarlla  en huerr er austr | vill sinna iafnvíst er þat lista þængill þiɴna drængia þar a halld und ʀognvallde .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Þig bid ek solar sokkuír sín halldín vel ʀínar | huernn er hríngat þarnnar huskalla nefui íallar en huerr er austr uill | sína iafnn uistir þat lista þæingill þinna dreíngia þar a h | alld und ʀo᷎gnnuallde ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm þic bíd ec solar socknar . sín halldin | vel ʀínar . huern er híngat arnar . hus karl nefí jarla . enn hver er austr vill sína jafn uist er þat | lísta . þeíngíll þínna dreíngía . þar ꜳ̋ halld vnnd ʀaugnvallde   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Þic bað solar sǫcqvir | siɴ halda vel rínar | hvern er hingat arnar | huscarl nefi iarla || eɴ hverr er ꜹstr vill siɴa | iafnvist er þat lista | þengill þiɴa drengia | þar a halld und Rognvalldi |  edit 
 51x hværr er austr vill sinna | iafnmællt er þat stafne | þengill þinna drengia | þar a halld und Rognvallde. |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Þik bad solar sok kvís sinn hallda vel rínar | hvern er hingat arnar hvskarll nefi jarlla . en | hver er ꜹstr vill sínna iamvist er þat lista . þen | gill þínna dreingia þar ꜳ halld vndir ʀꜹngvalldi |   [RDF]  edit 
 FskAx enn Qvær er austr vill sinna | jam in ætt er þat stafne | þængill þinna drængia | þer a halld und Rognvalde |   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Þik baþ stala sto᷎ckvir | sin hallda vel rinar | hverr þann er hingat arnar | huskarl nefi iarla | enn hverr er aust vill sinna | iafn vist er þat lista | þengill þinna drengia | þar a halld und Ro᷎gnvalldi .   [RDF]  edit 
 301x enn hvær er | austr vill sinna jam mælt er þat stafne þængill þinna | drængia þer a halld und Rognvallde . |   [VEÞ]  edit 

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