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, 593

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Sigv Austv 7I

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 For ec finna baro friðs vęt | ta ec mer siþan briot þann er bragnar leto blics villdastan miclo . grefs let við mer gøtir gerst þa er illr en | versti litt reiði ec lof lyða laust ef sa er enn bazti .   [RDF]  edit 
 R686x For ek en finna bádum, friþs uænti ek mer sidan, | briot þan en burgnar letv, bliks uilldastan mikklu, | gerfs let ⸌uid⸍ mer giætir, gest þa er illr en uersti, lit reidi ek | lof lyþa, laist ef sia er enn basti .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x For ek enn finna baru | frids vænti ek mier sidan | briot þaun er brognar leto | bliks vildastan miklo: | grefs leit vit mier giætir | gest þa er illr enn vesti | litt ræidi ek lof lýþa | last ef sa er inn bazti. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x For ek finna baro fridz va̋tta ek | mer sider briot ther er hran | gnar leto bliks vildastan miklo | Grefs let vider mer goter ges | ter tha er ille en versti litt | reidi ek lidh ly̋da laust ef sa er | en basti.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 J2x For ec finna baru | friþs vetta ec mer siþan | briot þann er bragnar letu | blics vildostann miklu | greps let v mer gætir | gerzt þa er illr enn versti | lit reiðe ec lof lyþa | lꜹst ef sia er hinn beztti |   [RDF]  edit 
 325VI For ek at finna barv . frids vætta | ek mer sidan . briot þann er bragnar hętv . bl | iks villdaztan myklv . grefs leit við mer | gettir . gestr þa er illr hinn verstí . litt reiði ec | þo lyða . laust ef sia er hinn bezti .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Fór ek en finna báðo . fríðs uætta | ek mer siðan . briót þann er bragnar léto . | blis villdastan milu . grefs lét | uiðr mer gætir . gerstr þa er illr enn uersti . | lítt reiði ek lof lyða . lest ef sia er enn | bezti .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x For ek enn finna bádo frids uætta ek mer sidan . briot | þann er bragnar leco. blikks uilldastann mikklu . grefs let uidr mer gæter | gerstr þa er jllr enn verste . litt reide ek lof lijda . lest ef sia er en bezti . |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax for ek at finna bꜳru | fríðs venta ek mer siðan . | bríot þann er bragnar letu | bliks willdazstan micklu : | grefs læít við mer gíętir | gæstr þá er illr hínn vestí . | lítt ʀæidi ek þo lyða | last ef sea er hínn bazstí . |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 For æk at finɴa baro friþs vænta æk mer siþan briot þaɴ er bragnar leto blics vildastan | miclo  graps leit v mer gætir gestr sa var illr eɴ versti litt reiþi æk þo lyþa lavst ef sia er hiɴ | bezti .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 For ek at | finna báru . friðs uætta ek mer siþan . briot þann er bragnar letu . bliks uilldastan | miclu . grefs leit v mer giætir . gestr þa er illr hinn versti . litt reiði ek þo lyða | last ef sea er hinn bazti .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 For ekat finna baro friðs ve᷎tta ek mer siðan . | briot þann er bragnar leto bliks villdazstan | miklo . ɢrefs leít v mer ge᷎tir . gerstr þa er il | lr eɴ verste . litt reiðe ek þo lyða lꜹst ef sea | er hiɴ bazste .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII For ec at finna baro frið vætta [⸌g⸍ added later] mer siþan . briót þanz bragnar letu blics uil | dastan myclu . græfs lé⸌i⸍t við mer gǽtir . gæstr [with ⸌r⸍ added later] þa er illr iɴ uerste . litt reiðe ec þo lyða . laust ef sia er hinn bezti |   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat For ek at fínna báru frid uættag mer sidan brio | t þann er bragnar letu bliks uilldazstan myklu greps let vít | mer gætir gestr þa er illr hinn uesti litt ʀeyfui ek þa lyda lost ef | sia er hinn bazsti ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm For ec ath fínna boru . frid vꜽtta ec mier sidan . bríot þann er brag | nar letv . bliks villdaztan myklv . grefs leít v mier gꜽttir . gestr þa er illr enn vestí . lít ʀe | de ec þo lyda laust ef sia er hínn beztí .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx For ec at fiɴa báro | friþs vætta ec mer siþan | briot þaɴ er bragnar léto | blics villdastan miclo | grefs leit v mer gætir | gerstr þa er illr hiɴ versti | lítt reiði ec þo lyþa | lꜹst ef sia er hiɴ bazti |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb For ek ath fínna barv frid vętta | ek mer sidan . briot þan er bragnar letv blicks | villdaztan mycklv greps let vid mer gięter | gestr þa er illr en versti . litt reidi ek þo | lyda lꜹst ef sia er en bezti .   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx For ek at finna baru | friþs vætta ek mer siþan | briot þann er bragnar letu | bliks villdaztan miklu | grefs leit viþ mer giætir | gestr þa er illr hinn versti | litt reiþr [altered to reiþi] ek þo lyþa | last ef sea er hinn bazsti . |   [RDF]  edit 

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