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, 596

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

9 — Sigv Austv 9I

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 Katr var ec opt þa er uti aurðict veðr afiorðum visa segl i vasi vind | blasit scof strindar . hestr oð kapps at kostom kilir ristu haf lista ut þa er eisa letom un | dan sceiðr at sundi .   [RDF]  edit 
 325V Katr var ek opt þa er vti . avrþigt ve | dr afiordvm . visa segl i uasi . vind bl | asit skof strindar . hestr od kafs af | kavstvm . kilir hristv haf lista . vt þa | er eisa letvm vndan skeid at svndi .   [RDF]  edit 
 R686x Katr uar ek opp þa er uti, avr | þigt ueþr a fiorþum, visa segl i uasi, uindblasit skok | strindar, hestr od kafs af | kostum, kilir ristu haf lista, | ut þa er eisa letum, undan skeiþar at sundi   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Katr var ek opt þa er uti | Ordigt vedr a fiordum | Visa segl i vasi | Vindblasid skok strindar: | hestr od kafs af kostum | Kilir ristu haf lista | ut þa er eysa letum | undan skeidar at Sundi |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Katr var ek opt tha er u | ti aurdikt veder a fiordum | visa segel i vasi vind blasit | skof strindar hestar od kaps | at kostom kilir ristu haf | lista ut tha er eisa letom | undan skeidar at sund   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Kátr uar ek opt þa er uti aurþígt ueþr a fiordum . uísa segl i uási uíndblásít skok strindar hestr uóþ ka | ps af kostum . kilir ristu haf lista ut þa er eisa le | tum unnda skeidr af sunndi .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Kátr uar ek opt þa er úti . aurðigt u | eðr afiaurðum . visa segl i uási . uindbl | ásit skók strindar . hestr vóð kafs af | kostom . kilir ristu haf lista . ut þa er eisa | letum . undan skeiðr af svndi .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Katur var ek opt þa | er uti . aurdigt vedr a fiaurdum . uisa segl i uasi . uindo᷎l asit skok strindar . || hefur vod kaps af kostom . kilir ristu haf lista . ut þa er eisa letum . | undan skeidur af sundi .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax kátr var ek opt þa er vtí | o᷎rðigt veðr ꜳ fio᷎rðum . | visa segl í uási | vínð blꜳsín skok strínðar : | hestr voð kafs af kostum | kilír ʀistu haf lista . | v́t þara er æisa lietum vnðan skæidr af sunðí . |   [RDF]  edit 
 78ax Katr var ek opt þa er uti | aurðigt veðr a fiorðum | visa segl i vasi | vindblasit skok strindar | hestr voð kaps af kostum | kilir ristu haf lista | ut þa er eisa letum undan skeiðr af sundi . |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Katr var æk opt þa vti avrþict | veðr a fiorþvm visa segl i vasi viɴdblasit skóc strinda  hestr oð kaps af kostom kilir risto | haf lista vt þa er eisa letom vndan skeiðr at svɴde .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Kátr var ek opt þa er uti | o᷎rðigt ueðr ꜳ fio᷎rðum . visa segl i vasi víndblasin skok iɴan | hestr oð kafs ꜳ ko᷎stu . kilir ristu haf lista . ut þa er eisa | letum undan skeiðr ꜳ sundi .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Katr var | ek opt þa er ute ꜹrðict veðr afiorðum ui | sa segl iuase uindblasít skok strinda . hestr | oð kafs at kostum . kilir hristu men lista | ut þa er eisa letum undan skeiðr at sunde |   [RDF]  edit 
 75c Kátr var ek opt þa er vti | aurð[…]t veðr afiorðum . visa segl i vasi . vindblasin skof strindar . hestr | […] at kostum kilir ristu haf list[…] letum vnda skeiðr || at sundi .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Katr var ec opt þa er uti ærþekt væðr afiorðum . visa segl i vasi | vindblasin s[…] strindar  hæstr oþ kafs at kostum . kilir ʀistu haf lista . ut þa er æisa letum . undan | skæiðr at sundi .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Katr uar ek opt þaer vti ordigt uedr afíor | dum uisa segls j vase uínd blasin skof strindar hestr od kafs af ko | stum kilir ʀistu haf lista vt þaer æisa letu unda skæidr af sunde .   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Katr uar ec oppt þꜳ er utí . aurd | ígt vedr ꜳ́ fíordvm . vísa sex j uosí . uínd blasin skof strindar hestr od kaps ath ko || stum . kilir ʀistu haf lísta vt[…] þꜳ̋ er eísa letvm unda skeids ꜳ̋ sunde   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Kátr var ec opt þa er uti | ꜹrðict veðr a fiorðum | visa segl i váse | vind blásit scóf strinda || hestr óð kafs at kostum | kilir hristo men lista | ut þar er eísa létom | undan sceiðr at suɴdi   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Katr var ek opt þa er vti . ꜹrdickt vedr a fi | ordum . visa segl i vósí . vindblasit skof strindar | hestr od kaps at kostvm . kilir ristu haf | lista . vt þa er risa letvm . vndan skeidr | atsvndi .   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Katr var ek opt þa er uti | o᷎rþigt veþra fio᷎rþum | visa segl i vasi | vindblasin skok innan | hestr oþ kafs a ko᷎stu | kilir ristu haf lista | ut þa er eisa letum | undan skeiþr a sundi . |   [RDF]  edit 

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