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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 3 July 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, 717

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

15 — Sigv Lv 15I

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.

 Holm2 Gorþiz hilmis | hǫrþa huskarlaar þa jarli er vid olafs fiorvi of vegir fe þęgi . hird era hans at verþa | halict fyr þvi mali | dęlla er oꜱ ef allir ero ver of svic scirir .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Giordiz hilmis haurda | hus-karlar þa Iarli | er vid Olafs fiorfi | ovægir fie þægi: | hird er a hans at verda | halikt fyri þui mali | dælla er oss ef allir | erum vid of suik skyrir. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Giordis hilmis hörda hu | skarlar tha Iarli er vid | Olof fiorvi of veger fa̋ | da̋gi. Hird era hans at ver | da halikt fy̋r tvi mali | da̋la er oss ef aller ero ver | of svik skirer. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 321x Giordiz hilmis haurda . huskarlar | þa jarli . ef vid olafs fiorvi ofrægir fe þægi . hird era hans at verda . haligt fyrir þvi mali . | dælla er oss ef allir . erum ver um suik skærir . |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Gorðíz hilmís ho᷎rða . | huskallar þa íarlí . | o᷎r v olafs fio᷎rúi . | of vægir féé þæ̋gíur : | hírð erat hans at verða . | hꜳlæítt fyr þuí mꜳlí . | dælla er oss ef allír | erom vęr vm suik scíęrir . |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Gorþiz hilmis havrþa | hvskarlar þa jarli er v Olafs fiorvi ovægir fe þǽgi . hirþ era hans at virþa haleítt fra þvi máli dælla er oꜱ | ef allir erom ver vm svik skirir . |   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Gørðuz hilmis hørða huskarlar þa jarli er v Olafs fior | ue of uę᷎gir fe þę᷎ge . hirð era hans at uarða hal | ict . fire þui male . dę᷎lla er oss ef allir ero ue᷎r vm | suik skirir .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Giordi hilmir huskarla þa jarli of vid olafs fioruí | u uæygir fe þeygi hird nam hans at verda hale | ɢs fyr þui mali dælla er oss ef allir norex vm | suik slikir .   [RDF]  edit 
 75c Geyrði hil | mir harða huskarlar þa jarli ok er v olafs fiorvi uvægir fe þægi  hirð nam hans at verða | haleit fyrir þui mali . dælla er oss ef allir . eru ver of suik skírir .   [RDF]  edit 
 325V Geyrðv | hilmir huskallar þa iarli er v olafs | fiorvi of vægir fe þægi . hirð er hans || at verða haleit fyr þvi mali dælla er os ef | allir erv ver of svik skirir .   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Giordi hilmir | harda huskarlar þa jarlí | ef vid olafs fiorví o vęgir fe þęgi hird nam hans at verda | haleit firr þvi mali . della er oꜱs ef allir ervm ver kymrir | svik kyrir .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Geordi hilmir hardann huskalla þa jalla ef vid olaf fíoruí ouægír | fe þægi hírd nam hans at uerda halæit firir þui male dælla er oss er al | lír erum uer um suik skirir   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Giorde | hilmir haurda . hvskarlar þꜳ̋ jarli . er v olaf fíoruí ovꜽgínn . fe þꜽgí . hird er hanns ath vírða | haleit j þuí malí . dꜽlla er oss of aller . erum vꜽr vm suik skꜽrir .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Gǫrðiz hilmis hꜹrða | huscarlar þar jarli | er v Olafs fiorvi | ofvægs fe þægi | hirð er hans at verþa | hálict fyr þvi máli | dǫlla er os ef allir | ero ver um scírir . |   [RDF]  edit 
 J2x Gǫrþiz hilmis hꜹrða | huscarlar þa jarle | er v Olafs fiorvi | ofvægir fe þægi | hirð er hans at verða | hálict fyr þvi mali | dǫlla er oss ef allir | ero ver um scirir |   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Giorþi hilmir haurþa | huskarla þa iarli | of viþ Olaf : fiorvi | uvæygir fe þeygi | hirþ nam hans at verþa | ha leggs fyrir þvi mali | dælla er oss ef allir | Norex um svik slikir . |   [RDF]  edit 

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