Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Nesv 13I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur 13’ 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. 575.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonNesjavísur

Né hœfilig, hreifa,
hykk dróttinssvik þóttu,
elds, þeims allvel heldu
orð sín, viðir, forðum.

Né hykk, {viðir {elds hreifa}}, dróttinssvik þóttu hœfilig, þeims heldu orð sín allvel forðum.

I do not think, {trees {of the fire of the hand}} [GOLD > MEN], betrayal of one’s lord seemed becoming to those who kept their word very well in the past.

Mss: FskBˣ(43v), 51ˣ(39v), 302ˣ(66r), FskAˣ(164-165), 301ˣ(60v) (Fsk)

Readings: [1] hreifa: ‘ræifa’ all    [2] þóttu: so all others, corrected from ‘varo’ FskBˣ    [3] elds: ‘ællz’ corrected from ‘ælz’ 301ˣ    [4] viðir: viðr gram FskAˣ, 301ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 232, Skj BI, 220, Skald I, 114; Fsk 1902-3, 153 (ch. 27), ÍF 29, 177 (ch. 29); Poole 2005d, 177.

Context: In Fsk, where it is uniquely attested, st. 13 follows immediately after st. 12 and is itself followed by the observation that it describes how the people of Trøndelag failed to abide by the oaths they had sworn to Óláfr.

Notes: [1, 3, 4] viðir elds hreifa ‘trees of the fire of the hand [GOLD > MEN]’: The nom. pl. produces an apostrophe, presumably to the same listeners as those called sigrviðum (dat. pl.) ‘trees of victory [WARRIORS]’ in st. 1/5. Previous eds have emended, with some support from the variant reading viðr gram, to dat. pl. viðum, which provides an indirect object for þóttu ‘seemed’. — [2] dróttinssvik ‘betrayal of one’s lord’: Sigvatr’s advocacy of Óláfr here focuses on the alleged perjury or treachery of Óláfr’s rivals based in Trøndelag.  — [2] þóttu ‘seemed’: Lit. ‘to have seemed’, a past inf. governed by hykk ‘I think’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Fsk 1902-3 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1902-3. Fagrskinna: Nóregs kononga tal. SUGNL 30. Copenhagen: Møller.
  4. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  5. Poole, Russell. 2005d. ‘The Nesjavísur of Sigvatr Þórðarson’. MS 15, 171-98.
  6. Internal references
  7. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.

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