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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Nesv 1I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur 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. 558.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonNesjavísur
12

Fór ‘set forth’

fara (verb; ferr, fór, fóru, farinn): go, travel

notes

[1-4]: On the trope of two forces approaching each other from different directions, see Note to Sigv Tryggfl 1/1-4. — [1] fór … ór ‘set forth … out of’: In TGT the repetition of sounds in these two opening words is used to illustrate one variety of the rhetorical vice of cacenphaton, Gk ‘ill-sounding’. 

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Fór ‘set forth’

fara (verb; ferr, fór, fóru, farinn): go, travel

notes

[1-4]: On the trope of two forces approaching each other from different directions, see Note to Sigv Tryggfl 1/1-4. — [1] fór … ór ‘set forth … out of’: In TGT the repetition of sounds in these two opening words is used to illustrate one variety of the rhetorical vice of cacenphaton, Gk ‘ill-sounding’. 

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ór ‘out of’

3. ór (prep.): out of

notes

[1] fór … ór ‘set forth … out of’: In TGT the repetition of sounds in these two opening words is used to illustrate one variety of the rhetorical vice of cacenphaton, Gk ‘ill-sounding’. 

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á ‘in’

3. á (prep.): on, at

[1] á: at 51ˣ, 302ˣ

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válaust ‘without doubt’

válauss (adj.): [without doubt]

notes

[2] válaust ‘without doubt’: The function of the adv., lit. ‘without calamity or danger’, is probably to vouch for the truth of the statement, as it does in ESk Geisl 37/6VII, but it could alternatively characterise the king’s action as decisive.

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austan ‘from the east’

austan (adv.): from the east

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knyðu ‘’

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kníðu ‘urged’

knýja (verb): press forward, urge, drive

[3] kníðu: so 51ˣ, 302ˣ, ‘knyðu’ FskBˣ, knúðu FskAˣ, 301ˣ

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blô ‘black’

blár (adj.): black

notes

[3, 4] blô borð ‘the black planks’: Black probably because tarred. This is among the few references to the colour of ships’ hulls in the skaldic corpus (Jesch 2001a, 144).

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borð ‘planks’

borð (noun n.; °-s; -): side, plank, board; table

notes

[3, 4] blô borð ‘the black planks’: Black probably because tarred. This is among the few references to the colour of ships’ hulls in the skaldic corpus (Jesch 2001a, 144).

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norðan ‘from the north’

norðan (adv.): from the north

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Kannk ‘I am able’

3. kanna (verb): know, be able

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below).

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sigr ‘the victory’

sigr (noun m.; °sigrs/sigrar, dat. sigri; sigrar): victory < sigrviðr (noun m.)sigr (noun m.; °sigrs/sigrar, dat. sigri; sigrar): victory

kennings

sigrviðum,
‘the victory-trees, ’
   = WARRIORS

the victory-trees, → WARRIORS

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below).

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viðrum ‘’

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viðum ‘trees’

1. viðr (noun m.; °-ar, dat. -i/-; -ir, acc. -u/-i): wood, tree < sigrviðr (noun m.)

[5] ‑viðum: ‘vidrum’ 301ˣ

kennings

sigrviðum,
‘the victory-trees, ’
   = WARRIORS

the victory-trees, → WARRIORS

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below).

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segja ‘to tell’

segja (verb): say, tell

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below).

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sund* ‘the sea’

sund (noun n.; °-s; -): sound, strait; swimming

[6] sund*: sunds all

notes

[6] sund* ‘the sea’: Various interpretations address the problems of the helmingr: the function of sunds, and the fact that skôru ‘cut’ seems to lack an object. (a) Following ÍF 29, the minor emendation of sunds to sund ‘sea’ is adopted here. This provides an object for skôru ‘cut’, which would be normal (cf. ESk Run 10/1II skark sund súðum ‘I cut the sea with ship-sides’, LP: skera 1, and Jesch 2001a, 177). Although the word order is convoluted this is often a feature of Sigvatr’s style, and it might well account for the presumed corruption. (b) Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) emends more drastically: sunds to n. nom. pl. sund ‘inlets’, and skôru ‘cut’ (l. 8) to m. v. skôrusk, producing sund skôrusk ‘inlets were cut’. (c) Ms. sunds could be retained as a gen. defining fundir ‘encounters’, hence ‘encounters of the sea, naval encounters’. Skôru ‘cut’ is then left without formal object, but this finds a partial parallel in Hharð Gamv 2II súð sneið ‘the hull sliced’ (noted by Jesch 2001a, 177); or an object is provided if sund ‘the sea’ is understood from sunds; cf. interpretation (a) in Note to st. 2/7. (d) Sunds could alternatively be construed as an adverbial gen. of location, ‘at sea’ (cf. Poole 2004).

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hvé ‘as to how’

hvé (conj.): how

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fundir ‘encounters’

fundr (noun m.): discovery, meeting

[6] fundir: fyndir all

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o᷎rem ‘’

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æirinn ‘’

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œrin ‘sufficient’

œrinn (adj.): ample, sufficient

[7] œrin: so corrected from ‘[…]en’ 51ˣ, ‘æirinn’ FskBˣ, ‘o᷎rem’ 302ˣ, œrinn FskAˣ, 301ˣ

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below).

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skil ‘information’

skil (noun n.; °; -): knowledge

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below).

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þeims ‘those’

2. er (conj.): who, which, when

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below).

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ôrum ‘with their oars’

1. ár (noun f.; °-ar, dat. u/-; -ar/-ir(LandslBorg 151b²¹)): oar

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below). — [7] ôrum ‘with their oars’: The interpretation of ms. orom as dat. pl. of ár ‘oar’ is due to Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8) and renders unnecessary the very complex interpretations by Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), Kock (NN §618) and Bjarni Einarsson (ÍF 29).

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ôrum ‘with their oars’

1. ár (noun f.; °-ar, dat. u/-; -ar/-ir(LandslBorg 151b²¹)): oar

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below). — [7] ôrum ‘with their oars’: The interpretation of ms. orom as dat. pl. of ár ‘oar’ is due to Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8) and renders unnecessary the very complex interpretations by Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), Kock (NN §618) and Bjarni Einarsson (ÍF 29).

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bæcusz ‘’

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breculz ‘’

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bôrusk ‘took’

3. bera (verb; °berr; bar, báru; borinn): bear, carry

[8] bôrusk: ‘breculz’ FskAˣ, ‘bæcusz’ 301ˣ

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þar ‘there’

þar (adv.): there

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below).

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skôru ‘who cut’

skera (verb): cut

[8] skôru: so FskAˣ, 301ˣ, vôru FskBˣ, 51ˣ, 302ˣ

notes

[5, 6, 7, 8] kannk segja sigrviðum, þeims skôru sund* þar ôrum, œrin skil ‘I am able to tell the victory-trees [WARRIORS], those who cut the sea there with their oars, sufficient information’: Sigvatr asserts his entitlement to give an authoritative account of the engagement in front of an audience of persons who had themselves participated. Finnur Jónsson’s emendation of ôrum to órut in l. 7 (Skj B) gives þeims órut þar ‘who were not there’, producing a contrast with the skald, but emendation is unnecessary, as shown by Fidjestøl (1982, 227-8: see Note to l. 7 below).

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

In Fsk, the citation of st. 1 is preceded by a summary of the battle at Nesjar, noting that Óláfr had the victory and that Sveinn jarl narrowly evaded capture, thanks to Einarr þambarskelfir. It is followed by a comment that Sigvatr composed the poem (kvæðit) when the events were of recent occurrence (ný orðin), and that he had been present at the battle; further stanzas are announced. In TGT, the first line is cited to illustrate cacenphaton (see Note to l. 1).

Although st. 3 has already been cited in Fsk, this stanza is stated there to be first in the poem: Sigvatr hefr svá Nesjavísur ‘Sigvatr begins Nesjavísur thus’.

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