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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Víkv 15I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Víkingarvísur 15’ 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. 554.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVíkingarvísur

text and translation

Ríkr kvað sér at sœkja
Sauðungs konungr nauðir
fremðar gjarn í fornu
fund Hôkunar sundi.
Strangr hitti þar þengill
þann jarl, es vas annarr
œztr ok ætt gat bezta
ungr á danska tungu.

Ríkr konungr, gjarn fremðar, kvað sér nauðir at sœkja fund Hôkunar í fornu Sauðungssundi. Strangr þengill hitti þar þann jarl, es ungr vas annarr œztr ok gat bezta ætt á danska tungu.
‘The powerful king, eager for glory, said there was need for him to seek a meeting with Hákon in ancient Sauesund. The strong prince met there that jarl who, [when] young, was the second highest and had the best kin in the Danish-speaking world.

notes and context

Óláfr uses an ingenious naval trap to capture his young rival Hákon jarl Eiríksson and lets him go on condition he swears never to oppose the king.

[5-8]: Most commentators are agreed that the rel. clause qualifies þann jarl ‘that jarl’, and hence that the praise in the second helmingr refers to Hákon rather than Óláfr. If Hákon is the second best, presumably Óláfr is best, so there is also indirect praise of him. Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) thought it impossible that Hákon jarl could be praised so highly in a poem about Óláfr, and took the rel. clause to refer to Óláfr, suggesting that the poet had Óláfr Tryggvason in mind as the best ruler.



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, 1. Víkingarvísur 15: AI, 228, BI, 216, Skald I, 113, NN §617; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 40, IV, 117-18, ÍF 27, 38-9, Hkr 1991, I, 275-6 (ÓHHkr ch. 30); ÓH 1941, I, 65 (ch. 32), Flat 1860-8, II, 33; Fell 1981b, 122, Jón Skaptason 1983, 67, 227.


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