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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;

12. Lausavísur (Lv) - 30

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).

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 25 October 2021)

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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, 708

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

7 — Sigv Lv 7I

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 Nv ero męllt en mala meiʀ cvnnom scil fleiri orð þau er oss of verða | allz mest konungr flestraa guð lati þic geta geðharðr konungr iarðar vist hefec þann þvi at þinnar þv ert | til borenn vilia .   [RDF]  edit 
 R686x Nu eru mællt en mala , mer kunum skil fleri , ord þav er ossum | uarda , Allz mest kongr flesta ; Guð lati þik gæta , gedbarz kongr | iarþar , uist hefr ek þann þui at þinnar , þu er till borin uilia . |   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Nu | a̋ro ma̋lt en mala kom mer meir | kunnom skil fleiri ord tau er oss of | verda alltz mest konungs flestra || Gud lati tik geta gedharder konungs | iardar vist hef ek than tvi at | tinnar tu ert, till boren vilia. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 972x Nu eru mælt en mala | meir kunnum skil fleiri | ord þau er oss mun varda | alls mest kongr flestra: | Gud lati þig giæta | ged-hardr kongr Iardar || Viit hefi ek þan þvi at þinnar | þu ert til borinn, vilia. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Nu eru mællt hue mála | meíʀ kunnum skil fleiri orþ þau er oss of verða | allz mest konungr flestra gud lati þik gæta geþhardr | konungr iarþar uist hefig þann þuiat þinnar þu ert til bor | inn uilia .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Nu ero mællt hve mala . meiʀ k | unnum skil fleiri . orð þav er oss | of verða . allz mest konungr flestra . | guð láti þik giæta . geð harðr konungr | iarðar . uíst hefi ek þann þvi at þinn | ar . þú ert til borinn uilia .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Nu ero mællt hue | mala . meiʀ bunnum skyl fleyri . ord þau er oss verda allz mest Konungr | flestra . gud lati þik giæta . gedhardr konungr jardar . uist hefi ek þaɴn þvi at | þinnar . þu ert til borinn vilia .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 68 Nv ero mǽllt eɴ mala meiʀ kvɴom skil fleiri orþ þav er oꜱ vm verþa allz mest | konungr flestra  gvþ lati þik gǽta geþ harðr konungr iarþar vist hevi æk þaɴ þviat þiɴar þv ert til boriɴ | vilia .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Nu ero mal þau er męla meiʀ | kunnvm skil fleiri . orð þau er oss of uarða . allz mest konungr flestra . guð latí | þik gæta . geð harðr konungr iarðar . uist hefigh þann þviat þiɴar þu ert til borinn | vilia .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Nv ero mę᷎llt enn mala . meíʀ kunnum skilfleíre | orð þꜹ er oss um uarða . allz mest konungr flestra | Guð late þik ge᷎ta geð harðr konungr iarðar . víst | hefe ek þaɴ þuiat þinnar . þu ert til boreɴ vi | lea .   [RDF]  edit 
 75c Nu eru męlt en mala . meiʀ kunnum skil fleiri . | orð þau er oss um varða allz mest konungr flestra Guð lati þik geta . geð harðr konungr | iarðar . vist hefik þann þviat þinnar . þu ert til boriɴ vilia .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Nu ero mællt en mala meíʀ kunnom skil flæiri . orþ þau er oss vm verða allz mæst | konungr flestra . guð late þek (or ‘þøk’ ?) gæta geðharðr konungr iarðar vist hæf ec þann þuiat þinnar þuert til borenn vilia |   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Nu eru mællt | en mala meírr kunnum skil fleire ord þau er oss mun verda allz mest | konungr flestra gud lati þíg gæta ged hardr konungr jardar uist hefig þann | þuiat þínnar þu ert til borinn uilea .   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Nu ero mꜽlt enn mala meír kunnum skil fleírí . orð þꜳ̋ er | oss vm verða allz mestr konungr flestra . gvð latí þic gꜽta . geð harðr konungr jarðar . víst he | fe ec þann þviat þínar . þu ert til borínn vílía   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Nu ero mællt eɴ mála | meíʀ kuɴum scil fleiri | orð þꜹ er os vm varða | allz mest konungr flestra | Gv́ð láti þic gæta | geðharðr konungr jarðar | vist hefi ec þaɴ þvi at þiɴar | þu ert til boriɴ vilia |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Nv erv męllt en ma | la meir kvnvm skil fleiri od þꜹ er oss | of varda allz mest konungr flestra . gvð lati | þik gieta gedhardr konungr jardar . vist | hefi ek þín þvi at þínar . þu ert til borin || vília .   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Nu ero mal þau er mæla | meirr kunnum skil fleiri | orþ þau er oss of varþa | allz mest konungr flestra | guþ lati þik gæta | geþharþr konungr iarþar | vist hefik þann þviat þinnar | þu ert til borinn vilia . |   [RDF]  edit 

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