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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Nesv 8I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur 8’ 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. 568.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonNesjavísur

Vér drifum hvatt, þars heyra
hátt vápnabrak knátti,
— rǫnd klufu roðnir brandar —
reiðir upp á skeiðar.
En fyr borð, þars bǫrðusk,
— búin fengusk skip — gengu
— nár flaut ǫrt við eyri
ófár — búendr sárir.

Vér drifum reiðir hvatt upp á skeiðar, þars knátti heyra hátt vápnabrak; roðnir brandar klufu rǫnd. En sárir búendr gengu fyr borð, þars bǫrðusk; búin skip fengusk; ófár nár flaut ǫrt við eyri.

We pressed, enraged, keenly up on to the ships, where the loud clash of weapons could be heard; reddened blades split the shield. And wounded farmers went overboard, where they fought; the well-appointed ships were captured; not a few corpses floated swiftly by the land-spit.

Mss: (252r), papp18ˣ(76r) (Hkr); Holm2(12v), R686ˣ(25v), 972ˣ(86va), J1ˣ(159r), J2ˣ(135r), 325VI(11ra), 75a(1rb), 73aˣ(35r), 78aˣ(32v), 68(11v-12r), 61(84vb), Holm4(4vb), 325V(16rb), 325VII(5r), Bb(135ra-b), Flat(83va), Tóm(102r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] drifum: so Holm2, R686ˣ, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, 61, Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, drifu Kˣ, papp18ˣ, drápum Tóm;    hvatt: ‘huart’ papp18ˣ, J1ˣ, hvat R686ˣ, 68, 325VII, Tóm, hart 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ;    þars (‘þar er’): ‘þar ed’ papp18ˣ, enn Holm2, R686ˣ, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, 61, Holm4, at 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm;    heyra: herja 325VII    [2] ‑brak: ‘bruk’ R686ˣ;    knátti: ‘tnatti’ Holm2, mátti 972ˣ, 73aˣ, 68, 61, Bb    [3] rǫnd: rendr 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ;    roðnir: ‘roðrir’ Holm2, rauðra 325VI;    brandar: branda 325VI    [4] reiðir: reiðr J1ˣ, reiðar 68;    á: í Holm2, R686ˣ, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Bb;    skeiðar: skeiðir 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 61, 325VII, Flat, Tóm, ‘skiðir’ 325V    [5] En: er Bb;    borð þars (‘borð þar er’): so Holm2, R686ˣ, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, 61, Holm4, 325V, Bb, Flat, Tóm, om. Kˣ, papp18ˣ, borð þeir er 325VII;    bǫrðusk: bǫrðumsk Holm2, 972ˣ, 75a, Holm4, Bb    [6] búin: so Holm2, R686ˣ, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, búinn Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 61;    fengusk: fengu Holm4, Flat, Tóm;    gengu: drengir Flat, Tóm    [7] nár: ‘narr’ 325VI, 78aˣ, nær 68, 61, 325V, Bb, Flat, ‘nerr’ 61;    ǫrt: so Holm2, R686ˣ, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 68, 61, 325VII, Bb, Tóm, út Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, Holm4, Flat, om. 325VI, autt 325V;    við: om. Holm4, fyrir 325V    [8] ófár: ófáir Flat;    búendr: gumar 325V, ‘ámer’ 325VII, hrutu Tóm

Editions: Skj AI, 230-1, Skj BI, 218, Skald I, 113-14, NN §§620, 2988C; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 71-2, IV, 122, ÍF 27, 63-4 (ÓHHkr ch. 50); Fms 4, 99, Fms 12, 79, ÓH 1941, I, 93 (ch. 40), Flat 1860-8, II, 44; CPB II, 128, Poole 2005d, 175.

Context: The stanza is introduced after st. 7, with the comment that Sveinn’s men suffer many casualties and some leap overboard.

Notes: [1] þars ‘where’: The variant enn, here ‘and’, has widespread ms. support and is also possible; it is adopted by Kock in Skald. — [7] ǫrt ‘swiftly’: Syntactically, the adv. could modify bǫrðusk ‘they fought’ (so Finnur Jónsson in Skj B), or gengu (fyr borð) ‘went (overboard)’, or flaut ‘floated’. On grounds of word order the latter is favoured here, following Kock (NN §620). Kock (NN §2988C) compares fljóta hvatt ‘float briskly’ in KormǪ Lv 42/1-2V (Korm 61). The reading út ‘out’ in and other mss gives equally good sense and is adopted in Hkr 1893-1901 and ÍF 27. — [7] eyri ‘the land-spit’: This has been identified with Mølen (Hkr 1893-1901, IV), a prominent location at the entrance to Nevlunghavn (see Note to st. 2/4).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Fms = Sveinbjörn Egilsson et al., eds. 1825-37. Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna fornfræða fèlags. 12 vols. Copenhagen: Popp.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  6. CPB = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and F. York Powell, eds. 1883. Corpus poeticum boreale: The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Rpt. 1965, New York: Russell & Russell.
  7. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  8. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  9. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  10. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  11. Poole, Russell. 2005d. ‘The Nesjavísur of Sigvatr Þórðarson’. MS 15, 171-98.
  12. Internal references
  13. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  14. Not published: do not cite (KormǪ Lv 42V (Korm 61))

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