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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

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

12. Lausavísur (Lv) - 30

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).

Lausavísur — Sigv LvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘ Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur’ 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. 698. <> (accessed 28 January 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30 

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 13. Lausavísur (AI, 265-75, BI, 246-54); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32

SkP info: I, 724

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Sigv Lv 19I

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.

 DG8 Drottenn hialp þu þæim er dottur , dyrr er þinn vili minni , | hæim or hæiðinum dome , hof ok namn gaf tovo . hellt und vatn hinn vitri , | varð ec þæim fæginn harðla , morne mínu barne , moðrakcr harallz broder |   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Drottín hialptu þeim er dottur dyʀr er þínn vili | vinní heim or heídnum domí hof ok nafn gaf tofu . hellt vnd vottr ínn vítrí | vard ek þeim fegínn harda morní mínu barní modrackr haralldz brodír . |   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Drottinn healp | þu þeim er dottur dyrr er þinn vile mínne heím or heídnum domi hóf | ok nafnn gaf tofu ᷎ hellt undir uatr hinn vitri uard ek þeim feginn har | da mornne mínu barnne mod rackr haralldz brodir   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Drottenn híalptv þeim er ðottur . ðyr er þínn vílí skyrí . mínne . heim vr heídnum domí . hof ok nafn | gaf tofv . hiellt vnnð uottr hínn vitri . varð ec þeim feígínn harða . morni mínu barní . moð íackr hara | lldz brodir .   [RDF]  edit 
 73ax Drottínn hialp þeim er ðottur . | dyrr er þínn wilí mínní . | heim af hæiðnum ðomí . | hof ok nafn gaf tőfu : | hielltt vnð vatn hínn vitrí . | warð ek þeim fegínn harðla | mornní mínu barní . | moð ʀackr harallðz broðír : |   [RDF]  edit 
 71x Drottinn | hialp þeim er do᷎mir , dyrr er þinn vili minni , heim af hæidn | umm , dömi , hof ok nafn gaf tofu , hielltt vid vatn hinn vitre , vard ek þæim feginn hardla , morni minu barni , modrackur | haralldz brodir .   [RDF]  edit 
 76ax Drottinn hialp þeim er dottr | dyr er þinn vili minni | heim af heidnum domi | hof ok nafn gaf Tofu | hellt und vatn hinn vitri | vard ek þeim feiginn hardla | morni mino barni | modrackr Harallds brodir. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 761bx Drottinn hialp þu þeim er dottur | dyr er þinn vili minni | heim or heiþnum domi | hof oc nafn gaf Tofu | hellt undir vatr hinn vitri | varþ ek þeim feginn harþa | morne minu barni | moþrackr Haralldz broþir |   [RDF]  edit 

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Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated