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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Judith Jesch;

2. Nesjavísur (Nesv) - 15

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).

Nesjavísur (‘Vísur about Nesjar’) — Sigv NesvI

Russell Poole 2012, ‘ Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur’ 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. 555. <> (accessed 23 September 2021)

 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15 

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 2. Nesjavísur, 1016 (AI, 228-32, BI, 217-20); stanzas (if different): 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 14

SkP info: I, 572

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

11 — Sigv Nesv 11I

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.

 Kx Þes get ec meiʀ at missi | morð áʀ sa er for norðan | harða margr i hǫrðum | heimqvamo styr þeima | sꜹcc af syndi blacci | suɴo morg til gruɴa | satt ær at sveini mø̣ttum | sám knuta ver uti |   [KSH]  edit 
 papp18x þess get ec meir at missi, morþ ár | sá er for norþan, harþa margor j hǫrþom, heimqvamo styr þeima. sǫcc | af sinþi blacki suɴo morg til grunna. satt ær at sueyni mǫttom, | samknvta var vti.   [KSH]  edit 
 Holm2 Þess gecc ec meiʀ at missi morð[...] | sa er com norðaʀ harða margr ihavrðum heimkamo styr [...] blacki svnnom | morgt til grvnna satt er at sveini mattom sa[...]vta ver vti.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x þæss get ek me[…] | at missi, morþ arr sa er kom norþan, harda ma[…] | gr i haurgum, heimquamo styr þeima; savkk af | sunda blakki, sunnu margr till grunna, satt | er at sueini mattum, samknuta uer uti.   [KSH]  edit 
 972x Þess gett ek meir ad missi mord=ar sa er kom nordan harda margur i haurdum heim kuamo styr þeima: sauck af sunda blacki sunnu morg till grunna satt var at sveini mættum sann knuta vier uti   [KSH]  edit 
 J1x Þæss get ek | mæir at missi morð aʀ sa ær kom niorðan | harða margr i haurdum hæimqvamv styr | þeima saukk af sunnda blakki sunnu margr | til grunna satt Var at su eini mattum sam | knuta uer uti   [KSH]  edit 
 J2x Þess get ec mæiʀ at missi morð aʀ sa er kom norðann harða margr i hꜷrðum heimqvamu styr þeima sꜷck af sunda blacki sunnu margr til grunna satt var at Sveine mattum samknuta ver uti   [KSH]  edit 
 325VI Þess get ek (meíʀ) missi mordar sa er kom nordann | hardla margr i hordvm heimkvamv styr þeím | a savck af svnda blacki svnnv margr til grvnna | sátt er at sveini mattum samknvta ver vti |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 75a Þess get ek meíʀ at missi. morðarsa | er kom norðan. harðla margr ihꜹ́ | rðvm. heím quamv styr þeíma. savkk | af svnnda blakki. svnnv margr til grvnna. || satt at sueini mattum samknuta | ver úti.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax þers get ek mæíʀ at missi | morð ꜳʀ sa er kom norðan. || harðla margr i ho᷎rðum | hæímkuamu styr þæíma: | so᷎ck af sunda blackí | sunnu margr til grunna ∙ | satt er at suæíní mættum | samknuta ver vtí. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 78ax Þess get ek meirr at missi | morðit sa er kom norðan | harðla margr i hǫrðum | heim kvamu styr þeima | sauck af sunda blacki | sunnu margr til grunna | satt er at Sveini mattum | samknuta vær uti. ||   [VEÞ]  edit 
 68 Þeꜱ get æk meiʀ | at missi morþáʀ sa er for norþan harþa margr i havrþom heimqvamo styr þeima  savk af || svnda blacke svɴo m⸌or⸍g til grvɴa satt var at sveine mættom sam knvta ver vti.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 61 Þess get ek meir at missi . morð | ꜳʀ sa er for norþan . harða margr i ho᷎rdum . heim kvamv styr þeima . sꜹck | af sunda blacki . sunnu mo᷎rg til grvɴa . satt var at sueíni mættum . sam | knuta ver uti.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Holm4 Þess | get ec meiʀ at misse morðáʀ sa er kom nor | ðan . harða margr i hørðom heimquamo styr | þeima . søkk af sunda blacke sunno morg til | grunna . satt er sueíne me᷎ttum . sam knuta | ve᷎r ute.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325V Þess get ek me⸌i⸍ʀ at missi | morð arr sa er for norðan harða || magr ihavrðvm heim kvamo styr | þeíma · savck af svnda black · svn | nvm morg til grunna · satt er at sveini | mattvm · sannknvta vær uti   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VII Þess get ec meirr at misse morðáʀ sa er for norðan ᷎ harða margr i horðum | heimquamo styr þæíma ᷎ sꜹkk af sunda blakke. sunnu morg til grvnna ᷎ satt er at svæine mąttum sannknúta | ver ute.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Bb þat var þess get ek meír at mísse mord ár sa er | for nordan harda margr j hordvm heimkvomo styʀ | þenna sock af svndi blacki. svnnvm margr til grvnna sartt | er at sveíní mę́ttv. samknvta vér v́tí   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Þess get ek mæírr at misse mord ár sa er for nordan | harda ma⸌r⸍grr i ho᷎rdum heim kuomu styr þeíma so᷎ck af sunda blackí | sunnu mo᷎rg til grunna satt er at suæíní mattu sann knuta ver vti ·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Tóm Þess get ec meír ath míssí ᷎ mord ar | sꜳ̋ er for nordann ᷎ harda margr j hordvm ᷎ heim kuomu styr þeima ᷎ sauck af sunnda blackí sv | nnvm mavrg til grunna ᷎ satt er ath sueíne mattvm sannknvta uœ̨r vtí   [VEÞ]  edit 

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