Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)
11th century; volume 1; ed. Judith Jesch;
1. Víkingarvísur (Víkv) - 15
2. Nesjavísur (Nesv) - 15
3. Austrfararvísur (Austv) - 21
4. Óláfsdrápa (Óldr) - 1
5. Vestrfararvísur (Vestv) - 8
6. Poem about Erlingr Skjálgsson (Erl) - 1
7. Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson (Erlfl) - 10
8. Tryggvaflokkr (Tryggfl) - 1
9. Poem about Queen Ástríðr (Ást) - 3
10. Knútsdrápa (Knútdr) - 11
11. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga (ErfÓl) - 28
12. Lausavísur (Lv) - 30
II. Bersǫglisvísur (Berv) - 18
III. Fragments (Frag) - 2
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).
Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson —
Judith Jesch 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson’ 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. 629.
Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 7. Flokkr om Erlingr Skjalgsson, 1028-29 (AI, 244-7, BI, 228-31)
SkP info: I, 640
8 — Sigv Erlfl 8I
Cite as: Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Flokkr about Erlingr Skjálgsson 8’ 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. 640.
|Drakk eigi ek drykkju
dag þann, es mér sǫgðu
Erlings tál, at jólum
allglaðr, þess’s réð Jaðri.
|Hans mun dráp of drúpa |
dýrmennis mér kenna;
hǫfuð bôrum vér hæra
— hart morð vas þat — forðum.
Ek drakk eigi drykkju allglaðr at jólum þann dag, es sǫgðu mér tál Erlings, þess’s réð Jaðri. Dráp hans, dýrmennis, mun kenna mér of drúpa; vér bôrum hǫfuð hæra forðum; þat vas hart morð.
I did not drink my drink very happily [lit. happy] at Christmas on the day when they told me of the betrayal of Erlingr, the one who ruled Jæren. The killing of him, the splendid person, will cause me to droop; we [I] carried our head higher before; that was a harsh murder.
Mss: Flat(187va) (Flat); DG8(94r) (ÓHLeg)
Readings:  drykkju: so DG8, drekkju Flat  tál: fall DG8  ‑mennis: ‘‑nænings’ DG8; mér: om. DG8  vér: so DG8, þá Flat
Editions: Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson, 7. Flokkr om Erlingr Skjalgsson 8: AI, 246, BI, 230, Skald I, 119, NN §§1853A, 1863, 2258; Flat 1860-8, III, 244, ÓH 1941, II, 691; ÓHLeg 1922, 65, ÓHLeg 1982, 156-7; Jón Skaptason 1983, 120, 266.
Context: In Flat, the stanza is cited within the section preserving articuli from Styrmir Kárason. It appears after Ólhelg Lv 7, with no context beyond remarks that both stanzas were recited after Erlingr’s death and that Sigvatr spoke the present stanza. For ÓHLeg, see Context to st. 3, above.
Notes: [3-4]: As pointed out by Kock (NN §2258), Sigvatr is here inconsistent as to whether j alliterates as a vowel or a consonant, with jólum alliterating with Erlingr and allglaðr while Jaðri remains outside the alliterative scheme. —  þess’s réð Jaðri ‘the one who ruled Jæren’: See Notes to
sts 2/5-6 and 7/2-3 above. — [5, 6] hans, dýrmennis ‘of him, the splendid person’: The pron. and noun seem to be in apposition (Kock offers parallels in NN §1863). Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends to þess (dýrmennis) ‘that (splendid person)’. —  of drúpa ‘droop’: I.e. be bowed down in sorrow. Cf. the description of sorrowing men burying their heads in their cloaks in Sigv Berv 13/5-8II, and Note to l. 6 ad loc. Of is the expletive particle.