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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 26 June 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, 719

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — Sigv Lv 16I

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 Vt byþr all | valldr sveitom englanz en ver fengvm lítt se ec lofþung ottaz lid fęr ok scip smæri . raþ | ero liot ef lata laɴz menn konung þenna lętr einvrþ fe firþa ferþ lid þrota verþa .   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Ut by̋dr allval | der Sveitom Engla, en ver | fengum lit se ek lofdungs ot | tas lid fa̋r ock skipsiner, rad | ero lint ef lata landzma̋n | konungs thenna la̋tr einurd | fa̋ fimta fa̋rd lid trotta wer | da. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Utbydr alvaldr sveitum | Einglands en vier feingum | litt se ek lofdung atta | Lid færri ok skip smærri: | rad eru liot ef lata | landsmen konung þenna | latr einud fe sk firþa | ferd lid-þrota verda. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 J2x Vt byþr alvalldr sveitom | Englandz enn ver fengum | litt se ec lofþung ottaz | liþ fær oc scip smæri | rað ero liot ef lata | landz menn konung þenna | lætr einurð fe finna | ferð liðþrota verþa |   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Vt bydr allvalldr sueitum . eng | land enn ver fengum . litt se ek lofdung ottaz . lid færa skip | smærri , rad er sott ef ottaz landz menn kong þenna , lætr ein | ord fe finna , ferd lid þrota verda .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 Bæb Ut byðr allualldr suæitum eng | lanðz enn ver fengum . lítt séé ek lofðung | ottaz lið fǽra skip smæri  ʀꜳð ero liot | ef lꜳta liðs menn konung þenna . letr æinurð fee | fyrða ferð lið þroti verða .   [RDF]  edit 
 73ax Ut biðr aluallðr suæitum . | englanðz enn ver fengum . | lítt séé ec løfðung ottaz . | lið fæ̋ra skip smæ̋rí : | ʀꜳð ero liot ef lꜳta . | lids menn konung þenna . | letr æínurð féé fyrða . | ferð lið þrotí verða : |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Ut byðr allvaldr sveitvm englandz eɴ ver | fengiom litt se æk lofþvng ottaz liþfærʀ ok skip smærí  raþ ero líot ef láta lanðzmenn konung þeɴa lætvr | einorþ fe fyrþa ferþ liþ þrota verþa .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Ut byðr allualldr sueitum . englannz eɴ ve᷎r feng | um . lítt se ec lofðung ottaz liðfe᷎r . ok skip | smę᷎re . rað ero liot ef láta landz menn konung þenna | letr einorð fe fyrða ferð lið þrota verða |   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Vth bydr allvalldr sueitum eín | glanndz en vær fengum lítt se ek lo᷎fþung ottaz | lidfæd ok skip smæri | rꜳd ero liot ef lata landz menn | konung þenna lætr einord fe fyrda ferd lidþrota verda |   [RDF]  edit 
 325V Vt byðr allvalldr | sveitvm englanðz enn ver fengum . litt se ec | lofðvng óttaz lið fæð ok skip smæri | rað erv liot ef lata landz menn konung þeɴa . | lætr einvrð fe fyrðv ferð lið þrota | verða .   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Ut bydr | allvalldr sveítvm eínglandz en ver fengvm lítt | se ek lofdvng ottazk lid fęd ok skip smærí | rad erv liot ef lata landz menn konung þenna lętr | eínvrd fe fyrda fd lid þrota verda .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Vt bydr allualldr su | æítum æínglanndz en uer fengum ᷎ litt se ek lofdung ottazst lid fæd ok skíp | smærri ʀad eru liot ef lata lanndz menn konung þenna lætr æínord fe fyrda | ferd lidþrota uerda ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Vt bydr alualldr suorttvm ᷎ eínglanndz enn uꜽr fengum ᷎ lítt se ec | lífðung ottazt ᷎ lid fꜽð ok skíp smꜽrí ᷎ ʀað ero líot ef lata ᷎ lannðz menn konung þenna ᷎ suikr eínurð þo | þo fyrða þeir pyrir[?] lid þrota uerða ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Vt byðr allvaldr sveitom | englanz eɴ ver fengum | lítt sé ec lofþung óttaz | liðfæð ok scip smæri | rað ero liót ef láta | landzmenn konung þeɴa || lætr einorðe fe firða | ferð lið þrota verða |   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Ut byþr allvalldr sveitum | Englandz en vær fengum | litt seek lofþung ottaz | liþfæþ oc skip smæri | raþ ero liot ef lata | landz menn konung þenna | lætr einorð fe fyrþa | ferþ liþþrota verþa . |   [RDF]  edit 

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