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, ‘(Introduction to) 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.

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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, 568

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

8 — Sigv Nesv 8I

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 Ver drifo hvatt þar er heyra | hátt vapna brác knátti | rꜹnd klufo roðnir brandar | reiðir up a sceiþar | eɴ fyr borðuz | buiɴ fenguz scip gengo | nár flꜹt ut v eyri | ufár bondr sárir |   [KSH]  edit 
 papp18x Ver | drifo hvart þar ed heyra. hatt vapnabrak knátti, rǫnd klufo rodnir Brandar, | reiþir upp á skear, eɴ fyr Borþost Bviɴ. fenguz skip gengu. nár flꜹt | vt v Eyri, ufár bǫndor sárir,.   [KSH]  edit 
 Holm2 Ver drifum | hvatt en heyra hatt vapna brac tnatti. raund klufu roðrir brandar reiðir upp | i sceiðar. en fyrir borð þar er baurdumc bvin fenguz scip gengv nár flaut aurt v | eyri ofar buendr sarir.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 R686x Ver drifum huat en heyra, hatt | uapna bruk knatti, ravnd klufu rodnir bran | dar, reiþer upp i skeiþar, en firi bord þar er | bavrþust, buin fengust skip gengv, nar flaut | avrt uid eyri, ufar bœ́ndr sarer.   [KSH]  edit 
 972x Vier drifum huatt enn heyra hatt vapna=brak matti raund klufu rodnir brandar reidir uppi skeidar: En fyri bord þar er bordumc buin feingust skip geingo Nar flaut aurt vit eyri ufar, boendr sarir.   [KSH]  edit 
 J1x Vær | drifum huart enn heyra hatt uapna brak kna | tti raunnd klufu roðnir branðar ræiðr uppi | skeiþar enn fir borð þar ær baurduz buin feng | uz skip gengu nar flaut aurt uiþ æyri uf | ar bǫnndr sarir   [KSH]  edit 
 J2x Vær drifum hvatt enn heyra hatt vapna brac knatti rꜷnd klufu roðnir brandar reiðir upp i skeiþar enn fyr borð þar er bꜷrðuz buin fenguz scip gengu nar flꜷt ꜷrt v eyre ufar bondr sarir   [KSH]  edit 
 325VI Uær drifum hart en heyra hátt vapna brak | knátti rendr klvfu ravdra branda reidir | vpp i skeidir en firir bord þar er bǫrduz buin fen | gvz skip gengv náʀ flavt vid eyri ofár bænd⸌or⸍ | sꜳrír   [VEÞ]  edit 
 75a Ver drifvm har | t en heyra. hátt vápna brac knat | ti. rendr klufv roðner brandar. | reíðir upp iskeíðar. en fyrir borð | þar er baurðvmz. buin fenguz skip | gengo. nár flavt v́t við eyri. ó | fár bvendr sárir.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Ver drifum hart enn hæyra | hꜳtt vapnabrak mattí. | ʀenðr klufu ʀoðnir brandar | ʀæíðír vpp i skæiðir: | enn fyrir borð þar er bo᷎rðuz | buín fenguz skíp gengu. | nꜳʀr flaut vt við æyri | ófꜳ́ʀ buenðr sꜳrir. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 78ax Vær drifum hart en heyra | hatt vapna brak knatti | rendr klufu roðnir brandar | reiðir upp i skeiðir | en fyri borð þar er bǫrðuz | buin fenguz skip gengu | nárr flaut ut við eyri | ofár bændr sárir. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 68 Vær drifom | hvat eɴ heyra hat vapnabrak mátti ravnd klvfo roþnir brandar reiþar vppi skeiþar || Eɴ fyr borð þar er bavrðvz bvin fengvz skip gengv nǽr flavt avrt v eyri ofar bvendr | sarir.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 61 Ver drifum | huatt en heyra . hatt vapna brak matti . rǿnd klufu roðnir brandar | reiþir vpp ꜳ skeiðir en fyr bord þar er bo᷎rduz buinn fenguz skip gengv | nerr flaut avrt v eýri . v farr bœndr sarir.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Holm4 Ve᷎r drifum hvatt | enn heyra hátt uapna brak knatte. rønd klu | fo roðnír brandar reiðír upp i skeiðar. eɴ fyrir | borð þar er børðumz buín fengo skip gengo nár | flꜹt ut eyre ufár be᷎ndr sarír.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325V Vær drifvm hva | tt at heyra; hatt vapna brak kna | tti · ravnd klufv roðnir brandar reiðir | upp iskiðir . en firir borð þar er bavrðvz | bvin fengvz skip gengv · nær | flavt autt firir eyrí ofar gvmar sarir |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VII Ver drifum hvat at heria hat vapna brak knatte ʀꜹnd klu | fu roðner brandar ʀæiðer vpp i scæiðer en firir borð þeir er bꜹrðuz . buen fænguz scip gengo nar | flaút ꜹrt við ævre . ofáʀ ámer sareʀ.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Bb Ver || ðrifvm hvatt at heyra hatt vopna brack matti | ro᷎nd klvfv rodner brandar reidir vpp j skei | dar er fyrir bord þar er bordvmzk. bvín fengvzk | skip gengv. nęr flavt ort vid eyri ofar bvendr | sarer.   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Flat Vær drífum huatt at heyra hatt uoppna brak knattí ʀo᷎nd kl | ufu ʀodner brandar ʀeidír upp a skæidir · en firir bord þar er borduz | buín feíngu skíp dræíngir nærr flaut vt vid eyre ofaír bændr | sarír ·   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Tóm Vœ̨r drapum hvat ath | heyra ᷎ hatt uopna vopna brak knatti ᷎ ʀavnd klufv ʀodnir brandar . ʀeidir upp ꜳ̋ skeídir | Enn fyrir bord þar er baurduzt buín fíengv skíp dreingir ᷎ nar flavt aurtt vid eyrí ofar hrutv sarir |   [VEÞ]  edit 

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