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, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

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

SkP info: I, 585

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

2 — Sigv Austv 2I

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 Let ec til eiðs þvi at oðomc aptr hvarf dregin carfa | ver stilltum sva valltan vatr til gløps a bati . taki hløgi scip hauga heʀ sacaða ec far veʀa let | ec til heims a hruti hętt for betr en ec vętta .   [RDF]  edit 
 R686x Let ek till | Eidz þui at oþumz aptr huorf dregin karfa, uer stilltum sua | ualltan, uatr till glǫps a bati, taki hlǫgi skip hauga, herr | saka ek far uerra, let ek till heims a hruti, hætt fǫr bættr | en ek væitta .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x let ek till Eidz, tvi at odoms ap | ter hvarf dreigin karfa, ver skil | tum sva valltan vater till glőps | a bati. Taki hlőgi skip hauga her | skada ek far vera let ek till hneis | a hruti ha̋tt for ba̋tter en ek | va̋tta. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Let ek til eids þviat oþumz | aptr huarf dreginn karfa uær stilltvm sua ualltan | uátr til glæps a báti taki hlægi skip hauga heʀ | sakat ek far ueʀa læt ek til heims a hruti hæ | tt faur betr en ek uætta .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Lét ek til eiðs þviat oðumz . aptr | huarf dreginn karfa . uer stilltum | sua ualltan . uátr til glø᷎ps a bá | ti . taki hlø᷎gi skip hauga . herr sak | at ek far uerra . lét ek til heims | á hrúti . hætt fáur betr en | ek vætta .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Let ek til eids þviat odumz . aptr huarf dreginn karfa . ver stilltum sva | valltan uatr til glø᷎ps a bati . taki hlø᷎gi skip hauga herr sakat ek | far verra . let ek til heims a hruti . hætt faur betr en ek vætta .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 68 Let æk til eiþs þviat oþvz aptr hvarf dregiɴ | karfa ver stiltvm sva valltan | vátr til glæps a báti  taki hlǽgi skip havrga Herʀ saka æk far verra let til heims a hrvti | hǽt fǫr betvr eɴ æk vætta .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Let ek til eiðs þviat oðumz aptr huarf dregin | karfua . ver stiltum sua valtan . vátr til glæps ꜳ báti taki hlægi skip hauga . | herr sꜳkat ekki far verra . let ek til hafs ꜳ hruti . hætt for betr en ek uætta . |   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Let ek til eiðs þuiat oðumz aptr hvarf dregiɴ karfa . ver | stilltum sva ualltan uatr til glø᷎ps abate . ta | ke hle᷎ge skíp hauga : heʀ saka ek far verra . | let ek til heims ahrute he᷎tt for betr en ec | ve᷎tta .   [RDF]  edit 
 75c Lę́t ek til eiðs þviat oðomz . aftr | huarf dregiɴ karfa | ver stilltum sva valtan . vátr til glę́ps abáti taki hlægi skip hauga . herr saka | ek far verra . læt ek til heims ahrúti . hætt for betr en ek vę́tta .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Læt ec eigi eiðs þvi at oðumc aptr hvarf dræginn karfa . ver stillum sva valltan valltan . vatr til | glǿ̨ps a bate . her ⸌taci⸍ lægi scip hauga hærʀ saka ec far uerʀa  lęt ec til hæims a hrute hǽtt fór betr en ec vetta |   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Let ek til æids þuiat odumzst aptr huarf dr | egínn karfa uær stilltum suo ualltan uotr til glæps a bati taki hl | ægis skip hauga herr sakag far uerra let ek til hæíms ahrutí | hætt fór betr en ek uættag .   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Leít [or Heít ?] ec til eíds . þviat odunzt aptr huarf dregínn karfa . vær stilltum svo ualltan natt til glꜽps | ꜳ̋ batí takí hlꜽde skíp hauka herr saka ec far verra lꜽt ec til heíms a hrauti hꜽtt | faur betr enn ec vꜽtta .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Let ec til eiðs þviat oðumzc | aptr hvarfs dregiɴ karfa | ver stilltum sva valltan | vátr til gløps a báti | taki hlægi scip hꜹ́ga | herr eigi far verra | lét ec til heims a hrvti | hætt fórsc betr eɴ ec vǽtta |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Let ek til eids þvi at | odvmmzt aptr hvarf dreckín[?] karfa | ver stilltvm | sva valltan vátr til glops a bati . taki hlę | gi skipphꜹga her saka ek far veʀa . let | ek heims ꜳ́ hrvti . hętt for betr en ek | vętta .   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Let ek til eiþs þviat oþumz | aptr hvarf dregin karfa | ver stiltum sva valtan | vátr til glæps a báti | taki hlægi skip hauga | herr sákat ek far verra | let ek til hafs a hruti | hætt for betr en ek vætta |   [RDF]  edit 

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