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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Nesv 9I

Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Nesjavísur 9’ 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. 569.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonNesjavísur
8910

Ǫld vann ossa skjǫldu
(auðsætt vas þat) rauða,
(hljóms) þás hvítir kómu
(hringmiðlǫndum) þingat.
Þar hykk ungan gram gǫngu
(gunnsylgs), en vér fylgðum,
(blóðs fekk svǫrr) þars slæðusk
sverð, upp í skip gerðu.

Ǫld vann skjǫldu ossa rauða, þás kómu þingat hvítir; þat vas auðsætt {{hljóms hring}miðlǫndum}. Þar hykk ungan gram gerðu gǫngu upp í skip, þars sverð slæðusk, en vér fylgðum; {svǫrr blóðs} fekk {gunnsylgs}.

Men made our shields red, that came there white; that was obvious {to the sharers {of the sword-clamour}} [(lit. ‘sword-sharers of clamour’) BATTLE > WARRIORS]. There I think the young king made his advance up on to the ship, where swords were blunted, and we followed; {the bird of blood} [RAVEN/EAGLE] gained {a battle-draught} [BLOOD].

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

Readings: [1] vann: corrected from hef 325VI;    ossa: ‘oss a’ Holm2, 972ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 78aˣ, 68, 325VII, Tóm;    skjǫldu: skjǫldum 325VI, 75a, 78aˣ    [2] auðsætt: auðsær 325VII, ‘aut sætt’ Flat;    vas (‘var’): er 325VII;    þat: þar R686ˣ, 325V;    rauða: rauðu Bb    [3] hljóms: hljóm Holm2, R686ˣ, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 78aˣ, 68, 61, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, ‘hlom’ 325V;    þás (‘þá er’): so papp18ˣ, Holm2, R686ˣ, 972ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, Holm4, Bb, þar er Kˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm;    hvítir: hvítr R686ˣ;    kómu: komum 61    [4] hring‑: hrings 78aˣ;    ‑miðlǫndum: ‘midlǫmþom’ papp18ˣ, ‘mid lundum’ 972ˣ, 325V, miðlǫngum 325VI, 75a, 78aˣ, ‘miðluðum’ 73aˣ, 61;    þingat: ‘þingit’ 972ˣ, hingat 68    [5] Þar: om. J1ˣ, J2ˣ;    ungan: øngan Holm2, undan J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ǫngvan Tóm;    gǫngu: so Holm2, 972ˣ, gengu Kˣ, papp18ˣ, R686ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, 61, Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm    [6] gunnsylgs en vér fylgðum: gall strengr ein vá þengill R686ˣ;    ‑sylgs: ‑sylg Holm2, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 78aˣ, 68, 325V, 325VII, Bb;    en: so Holm2, R686ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 61, Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Bb, Flat, Tóm, er Kˣ, papp18ˣ, 972ˣ, 68;    vér: vit Flat    [7] blóðs: blóð R686ˣ, 972ˣ, J1ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 68, 61, gjóð Holm4, bráð 325V, 325VII, Tóm, brátt Flat;    fekk: ‘f(e)ll’(?) 61, ‘fesk’ Bb, gekk Tóm;    svǫrr: ‘su ǫr’ papp18ˣ, svanr R686ˣ, 972ˣ, 325VI, 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 325V, Flat, saur J1ˣ, J2ˣ, ‘síǫr’ 68, sjór 61, tafn Holm4, ‘gannr’ 325VII, svart Tóm;    þars (‘þar er’): þar 325VII;    slæðusk: ‘slædast’ 972ˣ, sæfðusk 325VI, 68, 61, ‘slæfðuz’ 75a, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, 325V, ‘slioðuz’ Holm4, slæður Bb, ‘slædduzt’ Tóm    [8] sverð: ‘huerd’ 972ˣ, sverðs Bb;    gerðu: ‘gerðri’ 73aˣ, gerði Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Flat, gjǫrðisk Tóm

Editions: Skj AI, 230-1, Skj BI, 218, Skald I, 114, NN §§451A, 485; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 72, IV, 122, ÍF 27, 64 (ÓHHkr ch. 50); Fms 4, 100, Fms 12, 79, ÓH 1941, I, 94 (ch. 40), Flat 1860-8, II, 44; CPB II, 128, Poole 2005d, 175-6.

Context: The stanza appears immediately after st. 8.

Notes: [2, 3, 4] þat vas auðsætt hljóms hringmiðlǫndum ‘that was obvious to the sharers of the sword-clamour [(lit. ‘sword-sharers of clamour’) BATTLE > WARRIORS]’: Sigvatr appeals to the shared experience of those who partook in the fight. An inverted kenning is assumed here, following previous eds. The cpd hringmiðlǫndum in itself would make sense as ‘ring-sharers’, with hring understood as ‘arm-ring’ or ‘finger-ring’, but in combination with the gen. hljóms ‘clamour’ it must be construed as a pars pro toto for ‘sword’ (cf. LP: 2. hringr and Note to Þhorn Harkv 1/1). The interweaving of the kenning through the helmingr is typical of Sigvatr’s highly complex handling of word order. — [2, 3] rauða; hvítir ‘red; white’: Sigvatr contrasts the reddened state of the shields after the battle with their white pristine state on arrival. The ‘white’ might refer either to the natural colour of the wood used for the shield-board or to the colour in which it was painted (Foote and Wilson 1980, 278; Steuer 2004, 83-6; see also Falk 1914b, 128-32). The imagery of the red and white shield is also found in Sjórs Lv 3II. — [5] ungan ‘young’: Óláfr’s birth can be placed at 995 (Johnsen 1916, 4), making him around twenty at the time of the battle. — [5] gǫngu ‘his advance’: The majority reading gengu, past inf. ‘to have gone’, may have arisen in well-intentioned error to supply an inf. following hykk ‘I think’, since the actual inf. gerðu ‘made’ is delayed until l. 8. — [6] en vér fylgðum ‘and we followed’: The minority reading er (normalised es) gives the equally reasonable ‘whom we followed’. — [7] svǫrr blóðs ‘the bird of blood [RAVEN/EAGLE]’: The species of the svǫrr remains unidentified (cf. NN §451A), and the rarity of this base-word evidently caused confusion in transmission. The variant svanr ‘swan’, although well represented, is probably the result of scribal emendation. Also productive of confusion is Sigvatr’s contrived placement of the two gen.-case nouns gunnsylgs ‘of battle-draught’ and blóðs ‘of blood’ in advance of the base-word svǫrr ‘bird’, so that the listener must decide which connects to svǫrr and which to fekk ‘gained’ (which in this sense takes a gen. object). The solution adopted here follows Kock (NN §485); Finnur Jónsson’s gunnsvǫrr fekk blóðs sylg ‘the battle-bird [RAVEN] got blood to drink’ (Hkr 1893-1901; Skj B) unnecessarily assumes tmesis of the cpd; Sigvatr is not otherwise known for his use of this device.

References

  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. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Foote, Peter G. and D. M. Wilson. 1980. The Viking Achievement. 2nd edn. Great Civilizations Series. London: Sidgwick & Jackson.
  10. 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.
  11. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  12. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  13. Falk, Hjalmar. 1914b. Altnordische Waffenkunde. Videnskapsselskapets skrifter, II. Hist.-filos. kl. 1914, 6. Kristiania (Oslo): Dybwad.
  14. Johnsen, Oscar Albert. 1916. Olav Haraldssons ungdom indtil slaget ved Nesjar. Kristiania [Oslo]: Dybwad.
  15. Poole, Russell. 2005d. ‘The Nesjavísur of Sigvatr Þórðarson’. MS 15, 171-98.
  16. Steuer, Heiko. 2004. ‘Schild’. In RGA, 27, 83-106.
  17. Internal references
  18. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  19. Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2009, ‘Sigurðr jórsalafari Magnússon, Lausavísur 3’ 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. 468-9.
  20. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Þorbjǫrn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál) 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. 94.
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