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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 October 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, 575

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

14 — Sigv Nesv 14I

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 Afli vex þvi at efla | uplendingar sendi | sveiɴ fundut þat þeɴa | þilblaks konung vilia | rꜹn er hins at heinir | hræliɴz megut viɴa | ver gerþum fꜹr fleira | folcreks eɴ ǫl drecka |   [KSH]  edit 
 papp18x Afli vex þvi at efla, Vpplendingar sendi, sueiɴ fundud þat þena | þilblackz konungz vilia, Rꜹn er hinz at heinir, hræ linz megut viɴa, ver | gerþom fꜹr fleyra, folk reckz, eɴ ꜹl drecka.   [KSH]  edit 
 Holm2 Afli vętt þvi at efla upplendinga sendi sveins funnvt þar þenna þilblacs konung vilia. | ravn er herins (hins) at heinir hrelinnz megv vinna þeir attv flvg fleina folrecs en avl | drecka.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Afli uatr þui at efla, upplændingum sendi, su[…] | funnuð þar þænna, þilklaks kung⸌onvng⸍ uilia, ravn ær hin[…] | at heinar, hrælins megu uinna, þeir reyndu flug flei[…] | fiꜹl reks en ol dreka.   [KSH]  edit 
 972x Afli vætt þui at efla Upplendingar sendo sveins fundut þar þinna þilblacks konung vilia: raun er hins at heinar hrælins meigo vinna þar attu flug fleina fiolrek’s en aul drecka.   [KSH]  edit 
 J1x af | li uætr þui at efla upplændingum sænndi s | ueins funndut þar þænna þilblaks konung | uilia ran ær hins at hæinir hrælinns mægu || uinna þeir attu flugflæina fiolkræs ær aull dr | ekka   [KSH]  edit 
 J2x Afli vetr þvi at efla upplendingum sendi sveins fundut þar þenna þilblaks konung vilia rán er hins at hæinir hrælinns megu vinna þeir attu flug fleina fiolrekks æigi ꜷl drecka   [KSH]  edit 
 325VI Afli vex þa er efla vpplendin | ga sendi sveins funnvt þar þenna þil blacks | konungr vilia ravn er hins at hæínir hrælinnz me | ghi vinna þeir attv flvg fleína fiallrecks en | avl drecka ᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 
 75a Afli vex þa er efla. | uppledinga sendi. sveins fvnnvt | þar þenna. þic blakks konungs vilia. rꜹn | er hins at hæinir hrælinn megi vinn | a. þeim attu flvg fleína. fiallrekks en | aul drekka.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 68 Afli vex þat er afla | vplendingar sendo sveiɴ fvɴot þat þeɴa þil blacs konungs vilia  ravn er hins at heinir hræliɴ mego | viɴa þeir atto flvg fleina fiolrecs eɴ ol drecka.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 61 Afli uex þar er efla . upp lendíngar sendi . svinn finnvm þat þenna . þriðia til konungs | uilia . raun er hins at heynir . hrœlinn megv vinna . þeir attu flvg | fleína . folk hrekks en aul drecka.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Holm4 Afle uox | þvi at efla upplendinga sendis . sueinn fun | dut þer þenna þilblaks konungr uilea. raun er | hins at heinir hre᷎linz mego uinna . þeir e᷎t | la flug fleira fiolreks enn øl drecka.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325V Afli uex þvi at | efla· upplendingar . sendi Sveinn fv | ndvt þat þenna · þilblacks . konungs vilia· | ravn er hins at heinir · hrælinz | megv vinna · þeir æskia fals fleira· | fiolreks enn aul drecka |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VII Afli vex þui at æfla upplenndingar sænðe. svæin fvnnuð þar þænna þilblacs konungr vilia  ʀaun er hins | at hæimr hrælinz mægu vinna . þeir æxla faus flǽirri fiol ʀæks en ꜹl drækka᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Bb Afli vex þvi at efla . vpplendíngar sen | di. sveínn fínnít þat þenna . þilblaks konvngs vilia . ravn er | híns at heínír . hręlíns megv vinna . þeir attv flvg | fleina . fiolrek enn ól drecka.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Afli u | ex þuiat efla upplendíngar sende suæín fundu þer þenna þil bla | ks konungs uilia · ʀaun er híns at hæinir hrælinn megu vínna þeir ęxl | a foss fleira fiolreks en o᷎l drecka ·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Tóm Afli uex þviat efla vpplenndíngar sennde ᷎ suein funndut | þier þenna ᷎ þviliks konungs uílía ᷎ ʀaun er hinz ath heínir hrœ̨línn megir vínna ᷎ axla fros | fleina fiolrecks enn avl drecka ᷎   [VEÞ]  edit 

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