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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigm Lv 1II

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2009, ‘Sigmundr ǫngull, Lausavísur 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 626-7.

Sigmundr ǫngullLausavísur

text and translation

Ér berið aptr, es várar,
orð þau Skǫgul borða
fjallrifs fægiþellu
fleyvangs til Orkneyja,
at engr, þars slǫg sungu,
seggr und kastals veggi,
ár, þótt ellri væri,
ítr drengr framar gengi.

Berið ér aptr, es várar, {fleyvangs} til Orkneyja, þau orð {Skǫgul borða}, {fægiþellu {fjallrifs}}, at engr seggr, ítr drengr, þótt væri ellri, gengi framar und veggi kastals, þars slǫg sungu ár.
‘Carry back, when it is spring, across the ship-plain [SEA] to the Orkneys, these words to the Skǫgul <valkyrie> of the trimming [WOMAN], the polishing fir-tree of the mountain rib [STONE > WOMAN], that no man, splendid fellow, even if he were older, went further forward under the wall of the castle where weapons sang early.

notes and context

Chs 86-7 of Orkn describe at length the crusaders’ siege of a castle in Galicia, culminating in an attack on the tenth day of Christmas. Sigmundr is said to have been one of the most eager attackers, always going ahead of Rǫgnvaldr, despite his youth (ÍF 34, 216). For other sts recited on this occasion, see Rv Lv 17-19. Sigmundr’s st. is cited after the last of these, during a lull in the fighting. Afterwards, Sigmundr is said to have entered the defeated castle along with Rǫgnvaldr.

The attack is said to have happened on 3 January 1153 (Taylor 1938, 310). — [1]: The Flat variant (þér 2nd pers. pl. nom. ‘you’) would leave this l. without alliteration. On the alliterative pattern, see NN §2088. — [1-4]: Kock (NN §492) points out that the emendations proposed by Konráð Gíslason (Nj 1875-8, 608-9) and accepted by Finnur Jónsson in Skj B are unnecessary and that the st. is essentially unproblematic. — [2]: Kock (NN § 492) points to the similarity between this l. and KormǪ Lv 56/6V. — [6]: The Flat reading would give too many syllables in this l.



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: Sigmundr ǫngull, Lausavísur 1: AI, 532, BI, 512-13, Skald I, 251, NN §§492, 806, 988, 1853A, 1853H, 2088; Flat 1860-8, II, 482, Orkn 1887, 166, Orkn 1913-16, 241-2, ÍF 34, 217-18 (ch. 87), Bibire 1988, 234.


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