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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 20 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, 573

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

12 — Sigv Nesv 12I

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 Frýr eigi os i áre | iɴþrø̣nsc þo at lið miɴa || gert hugða ec sva snerto | snótr mœr konungs veri | bruðr man heldr at háðe | hafa drott þa er fram sóttið | folld ruðum skers ef scylldi | sceɢi aðra tveɢio |   [KSH]  edit 
 papp18x Fryr eigi oss j ári, jɴ þrǫnsk, þó at lid || miɴa, gert hugþa ek sva snerto, snótr mær konung væri, Bruþr man helldr at hade | hafa drott þá ed fram sóttit, folldruþvm skerz ef skilldi, skeɢe á þartueɢio.   [KSH]  edit 
 Holm2 Fryr eigi oss i are inn | þrø̨nsc þo at lið minna gort hvgða ec sva snerto snotr męr konungs veri. brvðr mon | helldr at haði hafa drott þa er fram sottit folld rvðom scęrs ef scyldi sceɢi aðratveɢ | gio.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Fry[…] | eige os siari, inn þrensk þo at lid minna, gior[…] | hugda sua snerto, sipotr mær-kungs ueri; bruþ[…] | mun helldr at hadi, hafdi drot þa er fram sotu | folld ruðum skers ef skylldi, skylldi skeggi aþru tu[…] | giu.   [KSH]  edit 
 972x Fryr eigi oss i ari In=þrensk þo at lid minna gort, hugda ek sua, snerto snotr mær kongs væri: brudr mun heldur at hadi hafva drott þa er fram sotti fold rudum skiers ef skyldi skieggi adra tueggio.   [KSH]  edit 
 J1x fryr æigi os iari inn þrænsk þoa | t lið minna giort hugda ek sua snari rinn | snotor mær konungs væri bruþr mun hæl | ðr at haði hafa drot sa er fram sotti folld ru | þum skers ef skylldi skeɢi aðra tueɢiu ·   [KSH]  edit 
 J2x Fryr æigi oss i ari inn þrænzk þo at liþ minna gjort hugþa ec sva svꜷrtum snotr mær konungs væri bruðr mun helldr at haþe hafa drott sa er fram sotti folld ruþum skers ef skyllde skeɢi aðra tveɢio   [KSH]  edit 
 325VI Fryʀ eigi oss i ꜳri innþrænnzsk þo at lid minna | giort hvgda ek sva snertv snotar mær konungs veri | brvdr man helldr at hádi hafa drott þa er | fram sóttí folld rvdvm skerss ef skilldi skeggi | adra tvegiv   [VEÞ]  edit 
 75a Fryr eigi oss i ari innþrei | sk þo at lið minna gert hvgða ec | sua snertu. snotar mær konungs væ | ri. brv́ðr mun helldr at haði. haf | a drott þa er fram sotti. folld | rvðvm skers ef skylldi. sceggi aðr | a tveggiv.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 68 Fryr eige oꜱ i ari | iɴþrænsk þoat liþ miɴa grat hvgþa æk sva snota sner mǽr konungs vere . brvþr mvn heldr at haþe | hafa drott þa er fraᴍ sottit fold rvþom skersef skylde seggi aþra tveɢio.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 61 Fryrr ei oss i ꜳre . inn þravngs þo at lið minna . giort | hugða ek sva snertv . snotr mær konungs veri . brvðr mun helldr af hꜳði . hafa | drott þa er fram sotti . folld ruðvm serks sem skylldi . seggi aðra tueggiv |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Holm4 Fryr eige oss i are innþrensk þo | at lið minna . gert hugða ek sva snertu. snøtr | me᷎r konungs ue᷎re. bruðr man helldr at haðe ha | fa drott þa er fram sotte folld ruðum skers | sem skyllde skegge aðra tueɢiu.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325V Flyr | eigi oss iarí. inþrænsk þo at lið minna | giort hugða ek sva snertv : snotr | mær konungs veri · brvðr mvn helldr | at haði hafa drott þa er fram sotti · | falld ruðv serks sem skylldi · sk | eɢi aðra tveɢiv ·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VII Flyr eigi oss i are innþręsk þo at liþ minna . geir hugþa ec sva snærto snotr mǽr konungs væri  | bruðr man heldr at haðe. hafa drót þa er fram sotte . folld ruðo skers sem scillde skæggi aðra tvæggio᷎ |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Bb Fryr | eigi oss íare ínnþręndsk þo at lid mínna gert hvg | da ek sva snerto. snotr mer konungs vere. brvdr mvn | helldr at hadi. hafa drótt þa er fram sottti. folld | rvdvm skers ef skyllde seggi adra tveggio. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Fl | yr æigi oss j are ínn þrænzk þo at lid mínna gert hugdag svo snertu sn | otr mær konungs uæri · brudr mun helldr at hade hafa drott þa er | fram sotti folld ʀudv skers sem skyllde · skeggi adra tueggiu ·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Tóm Flyr eigi os j | are ᷎ Jnþranks þo ath lid minna ᷎ gott hugda ec svo snerttu ᷎ snotur mœ̨r konungs vœ̨rí ᷎ | brvdur mvn helldur ath hade ᷎ hafa drottir þꜳ̋ er fram sottí ᷎ folld ʀudu skœ̨r sem skyl | lde skeggí adra tueggív   [VEÞ]  edit 
 FskBx Fryr æigi oss i are innþrænscr þo at lið minna. gort hugða ec sva snertu snotr mær konungs være bruðr man hælldr at haðe. hafa drott þa er framm sott ec folld ruðum skærs ef skylldi skeggi aðra tveggiu   [KSH]  edit 
 51x Fryr æigi oss i are inn þro᷎nscr þo at lið mína gort hugða ec sva snertu snotr mǽr konongs være bruðr man hælldr at haðe hafa drott þa er fram sottec folld ruðum skǽrs ef skylldi skeggi aðra tveggiu   [KSH]  edit 
 302x Fryr æigi oss i are innþr6᷎́nscr þo at lið mína gort hugða ec sva snertu snotr mǽr konongs være bruðr man hælldr at haðe hafa drott þa er fram sottet folld ruðum skǽrs ef skylldi skeggi aðra tveggiu.   [KSH]  edit 
 FskAx Fryr æi oss iare innþrꝍnzc þo atlið minna gort hughða ec sva snærtu snotr mær konungs være bruðr mun hældr at haðe hafa brott þa er fram sotto fold ruðum skeis ef sculde skæggium aðra tvæggia   [KSH]  edit 
 301x Fryr ei oss i | are innþrꝍnsc þo at lið minna, gort hughða ec sva | snærtu snotr mær konungs være, bruðr mun hældr | at haðe hafa drott þa er fram sotto fold ruðum | skeis ef skulde skæggium aðra tvæggia,   [KSH]  edit 

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