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, 611

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

20 — Sigv Austv 20I

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 Spacr let ulfr meðal yccar olafr tekit malom þau | fengum svor setta sacar leɢit it beɢia . þer let þiofa ryrir þęr sem avngar veri riptar recnar heiptir | ravgnvalldr gefit alldar .   [RDF]  edit 
 325V Spakr let | vlfr meþal [blank space] yckar olaf tekit | malvm ᷎ þav fvɴdvm svor setta ᷎ sakar | leɢi þiᴛ beɢia ᷎ þer let ek þiofa ryrir ||   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Spakr let ylfr meþalykkar, Olafr tekit malum, þau fengum suaur; sætta, satt leggi, þit beggia; þer let þiofa | ryrer, þær sem engar ueri, riptr ræknar heiptr, Raugnualldr ge | fan alldir,   [RDF]  edit 
 972x spaker | let Ulfer medal y̋ckar olafer | tekit malom taufengum svor, | setta sakar leggit it beggia. Ter | let tiofa ry̋rer tha̋r sem aunger | veri ripter rekner heipter Raug | vallder gefin alldar. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Spakt let Ulfr medal ýckar | Alafr tekit malum | þau feingom svor sætta | sakar leggit it beggia; | þar let þiofa rijrir | þær sem ongar væri | riptar reknar heiptir | Ragnvalldr gefit alldar. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Spakr lęt vlfr m | edal yckar . olafr rekít malvm . þav fengvm | svaur sættar . sakar leggi þit beggia . þer lęt | þiofa ryrir þær sem eíngar væri . riptar rek | nar he⸌i⸍ptir . raugnvalldr quedit alldar .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Spakr lét ulfs meðan yar . | olafr tekit malum . þau fengum | svaur sætta . sakir leɢgit ið beɢgia . þer | lét þiofa ryrir . þær sem eingar uæri . | riptar reknar heíptir . ʀaugnualldr || gefit alldar .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Spakr let ulfs medan ykkar . olafr tekit malum . þau fengum svaur sætta | sakir leɢit id beggia þer let þiofa ryrir . þær sem eingar uæri . riptar reknar | heiptir . Raugnualldr gefit alldar .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Spackr liet vlfs meðal yckar . | olafr tekít mꜳlum . þau fengum suo᷎r sætta | sakir leɢ̇i þít beɢ̇ía : | þer liet þiofa ʀyrir | þær sem ongar vęrí . | ʀiptar ʀeknar hæiptir | ʀo᷎gnualldr gefít alldar . |   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Spackr letz vlfr mal yckar . Olafr | rekit malum . þau fengu uer þangat þat ero suo᷎r konungr gerua . þa er let iofra | ryrir þær sem o᷎nguar værí . riptar reknar heiptir . ʀo᷎gnualldr gefit alldar .   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Spakvr let vlfvr meþal yckar Olafvr tekit malom | þꜹ fengom svor sǽtta sa kar leɢit þit beɢia  þer let iofra ryrir þǽr sem avngar være riptar recnar heiptir | ravgnvaldr gefir aldar .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Spakr let ulfr | meðal ykkar olafr tekit malum . þꜹ fengum | svꜹr sę᷎ttar sakar leggi þít beɢia . Þer let | þiofa ryrir þe᷎r sem engar uę᷎re . riptar rec | nar heiptir . ʀꜹgnualldr qveðit alldar .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Spakr let ulf mæþal yckar . Olafr te | kit malum . þau fengum svór séttar sakar læggi þið beggia  þér let þiofa ryrir þǽr sem ængar veri | riptar ræknar hæiptir regnvalldr qveþit alldar .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Spakr let ulfr medal yckar olafr tekit malum þau feng | gu suo᷎r sætta sakar leggi þid beggia . þar let þíofa ryrir þær sem o᷎ngar | uærí riptar reknar heiftir ʀognualldr kuedit alldar ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Spakr let | ulfr medal yckar olafr tekít malum . þav fíengu suor sꜽtta . sackar leggí þít beggia . þar let | þiofa ʀyrir . þær semm værí . ríptar ʀeknar heiptir ʀaugnualldr kvedit alldar |   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Spacr lét ulfr meðal okkar | olafr tekit malum | þétt fengum svǫr satta | sacar leɢit þit beɢia | þer let þiofa ryrir | þær sem engar væri | riptar reknar heiptir | Rognvaldz gefit aldar |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Spakr let | vvllr medal okkar olafr tekit malvm þꜹ fe | ngv ver sętta sakar leggit id beggia þer | let þiofa ryrer . þęr sem o⸌n⸍gvar vęri ripp | tar sok reknar heptir ʀꜹgnvalldr gefít alldar .   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Spackr letz Ulfr meþal yckar | Olafr rekit malum | þau fengu ver þangat | þat ero svor konungr gerva | þa er let þegna ryrir | þær sem o᷎ngvar væri || riptar reknar heiptir | ro᷎gnvalldr gefit alldar . |   [RDF]  edit 

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