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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Ást 1I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Poem about Queen Ástríðr 1’ 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. 646.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonPoem about Queen Ástríðr

text and translation

Hrein getum hôla launa
hnossfjǫlð lofi ossu
Ôleifs dœtr, es átti
jǫfurr sigrhvatastr digri.
Þings beið herr á Hǫngrum
hundmargr Svía grundar
austr, es Ástríðr lýsti
Ôleifs sonar môlum.

Getum hôla launa lofi ossu {dœtr Ôleifs}, es sigrhvatastr, digri jǫfurr átti, hrein hnossfjǫlð. Hundmargr herr grundar Svía beið þings á Hǫngrum austr, es Ástríðr lýsti môlum {sonar Ôleifs}.
‘We [I] will repay splendidly with our [my] praise Óláfr’s daughter [= Ástríðr], to whom the most victorious stout prince [Óláfr Haraldsson] was married, for an abundance of bright treasures. A massive army from the land of the Swedes attended the assembly at Hangrar in the east, when Ástríðr proclaimed the cause of Óláfr’s son [= Magnús].

notes and context

At an assembly in Sweden, the dowager Queen Ástríðr makes a speech to persuade the Swedes to help Magnús Óláfsson gain his kingdom. The three stanzas of Ást are cited without a break.

[1-2]: The two branches of the Hkr stemma diverge here. (a) The readings of , 39 and F, hrein and ossu, are chosen here as in other modern eds, both because they are the reading of the main ms., and because it is most natural for the poss. adj. ossu (n. dat. sg.) ‘our’ to agree with the immediately preceding noun lofi ‘praise’, and for hrein ‘bright, pure’ to be n. acc. pl. agreeing with hnossfjǫlð ‘abundance of treasures’. While the simplex fjǫlð ‘abundance, multitude’ is normally f. sg., Finnur Jónsson assumed a unique instance of a n. pl. form in this cpd (LP: fjǫlðhnossfjǫlð), and such a form fits the common pattern of alternation between f. sg. and n. pl. in a collective noun (Beito 1954, 95, 180; Janzén 1965, 359). (b) It appears that the scribes of J2x and E (or of their archetype) made the lines grammatically ‘correct’ with two minor emendations, producing a question, Hveim getum hôla launa hnossfjǫlð ossa lofi? ‘Whom do we splendidly repay for our abundance of treasures with praise?’ This would be answered in the second couplet. However, although Sigvatr occasionally uses rhetorical questions beginning with an interrog. pron. (Sigv Berv 11/1-3II, 13/1-4II, both beginning a stanza, and Sigv ErfÓl 17/3), he is never so unsubtle as to answer them.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson, 9. Et digt om dronning Astrid 1: AI, 248, BI, 231, Skald I, 120, NN §2775Hkr 1893-1901, III, 6, IV, 179, ÍF 28, 5-6, Hkr 1991, II, 558-9 (MGóð ch. 1), F 1871, 169, E 1916, 8; Jón Skaptason 1983, 124, 275-6.


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