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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Berv 1II

Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Bersǫglisvísur 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. 12-14.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonBersǫglisvísur

text and translation

Fregnk, at suðr með Sygnum
Sighvatr hefr gram lattan
folkorrostu at freista;
fer, ef þó skulum berjask.
Fǫrum í vôpn ok verjum
(vel tvist, konungr) lystir
(hvé lengi skal) hringum
hans grund (til þess fundra)?

Fregnk, at Sighvatr hefr lattan gram at freista folkorrostu suðr með Sygnum; fer, ef þó skulum berjask. Fǫrum í vôpn ok verjum lystir grund hans hringum; konungr, hvé lengi skal fundra vel tvist til þess?
‘I hear that Sigvatr has [I have] dissuaded the lord from waging civil war in the south among the Sygnir; I shall go, if we nonetheless must fight. Let us put on arms and let us defend, eager, his land with swords; king, how long must one ponder so very silent on this?

notes and context

According to Hkr and ÓH, the people of Sogn were threatening to revolt against Magnús who was staying in Hordaland deliberating his next move. Sigvatr was chosen by lot to act as the spokesman for the king’s friends. In the words of Hkr (ÍF 28, 26): ok hefr hann fyrst um þat, at þeim þótti konungr of mjǫk velkja ráðin at setja bœndr aptr, þá er heituðusk at reisa ófrið í móti honum ‘and he first opens by addressing the fact that the king seemed to them to have hesitated far too long to act on the advice to restrain the farmers who threatened to wage war on him’.

Hkr gives this st. as the first st. in Berv, and from the content it is reasonable to treat it as such (see also Jón Skaptason 1983, 292). It is not clear why Finnur Jónsson changes the order of sts and gives it as st. 9 in Skj. — [7] hringum (dat. instr.) ‘with swords’: Hringr ‘ring’ referred to the rings on sword-hilts, and is used pars pro toto for ‘swords’. See LP: 2. hringr and Note to st. 16/4 below.



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, 11. Bersǫglisvísur 9: AI, 253-4, BI, 236-7, Skald I, 122-3, NN §§653, 2260; ÍF 28, 26-7 (Mgóð ch. 16), E 1916, 17; ÓH 1941, I, 625 (ch. 261); Jón Skaptason 1983, 146, 292-3.


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