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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Víkv 4I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Víkingarvísur 4’ 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. 539.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVíkingarvísur
345

Enn kvôðu gram Gunnar
galdrs upphǫfum valda
— dýrð frák, þeims vel varðisk,
vinnask — fjórða sinni,
þás ólítill úti
jǫfra liðs á miðli
friðr gekk sundr í slíðri
Suðrvík Dǫnum kuðri.

Enn kvôðu gram valda upphǫfum {galdrs Gunnar} fjórða sinni — frák dýrð vinnask, þeims varðisk vel —, þás ólítill friðr á miðli liðs jǫfra gekk sundr úti í slíðri Suðrvík, kuðri Dǫnum.

Further, they said the prince caused the beginnings {of a chant of Gunnr <valkyrie>} [BATTLE] for the fourth time — I heard that glory was achieved for the one who defended himself well —, when the not little peace among the army of the rulers was sundered out in dangerous Søndervig, known to the Danes.

Mss: (223v-224r) (Hkr); Holm2(6v), R686ˣ(11r), J2ˣ(120v-121r), 325VI(6ra), 73aˣ(18v), 78aˣ(17v), 68(5v), 61(79va), 325V(7vb), Bb(126ra-b), Flat(80ra), Tóm(96r) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] kvôðu: kvǫddu R686ˣ;    gram: gil 78aˣ    [2] galdrs: galdr J2ˣ, gjalds 325V, Flat, Tóm    [3] dýrð: dýr J2ˣ, om. 325VI;    frák: om. 61;    þeims vel (‘þeim er vel’): vel þeim er J2ˣ, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, er þeim vel 61    [5] þás (‘þa er’): þá 325VI, Tóm;    ólítill: ólítil R686ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ, ólítin J2ˣ, 325V, ólítit 61, ólítlum Flat, ‘olitum’ Tóm    [6] liðs: lið 68;    á: í R686ˣ, J2ˣ, 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ    [7] friðr: frið R686ˣ, fiðr Flat;    í: með 325VI, 73aˣ, 78aˣ;    slíðri: suðri 325VI, Tóm, saðri 61    [8] kuðri: ‘kvedri’ Bb

Editions: Skj AI, 224, Skj BI, 214, Skald I, 111; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 14, IV, 108, ÍF 27, 12, Hkr 1991, I, 259 (ÓHHkr ch. 10); ÓH 1941, I, 41 (ch. 22), Flat 1860-8, II, 18; Fell 1981b, 112-13, Jón Skaptason 1983, 56, 221.

Context:

Óláfr sails to Denmark where he is joined by Þorkell inn hávi. Together they take on numerous ships of vikings at a place called Suðrvík (Søndervig on the Jutland coast), winning the battle and much booty. The briefer account in ÓH does not mention Þorkell.

Notes: [1] kvôðu ‘they said’: It is not clear who this refers to, but Sigvatr elsewhere in this poem (sts 1/5-6, 11/5) stresses the fact that his information is based on hearsay, rather than experience. — [5] ólítill ‘not little’: The possibility of adopting the variant ólítinn with an adverbial sense ‘greatly’ is suggested by Finnur Jónsson in Hkr 1893-1901, IV, Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27, and Fell (1981b) (‘violently’). — [6-7] friðr á miðli liðs jǫfra gekk sundr ‘peace among the army of the rulers was sundered’: This implies the transition from peace to war within an attacking host led by two or more leaders, and would fit the situation described by Snorri (see Context), in which Óláfr is associated with Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’ Strút-Haraldsson, brother of the Dane Sigvaldi jarl. Á miðli tends to mean ‘among’ (a large group, or more than two parties) and í miðli tends to mean ‘between’ (two parties), although the distinction is not absolute and many mss have variants with í and á respectively for these (LP: miðli). — [7] slíðri ‘dangerous’: The adj. is rare as a simplex, though occurring in compounds such as slíðrhugaðr ‘ruthless-minded’ (Anon Liðs 6/5). The range of senses seems to be ‘terrible, cruel, fearsome, dangerous’ (cf. AEW: slíðr 2), but ‘dangerous’ seems appropriate in most cases. It is not clear why Suðrvík is described as ‘dangerous’ or ‘cruel’; Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27) speculates that it was thought to be ‘dangerous to vikings’. — [8] Suðrvík ‘Søndervig’: Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27, 475) identifies this with Søndervig on the west coast of Jutland, and explains kuðri Dǫnum ‘known to the Danes’ as ‘in Denmark’. ÓHLeg (1982, 42-3) does not cite the stanza, but places the battle in England, presumably identifying Suðrvík with Southwark (see st. 6/8 and Note, below). Fell (1981b) points out that ‘a town or port in England might equally well be ... described’ as kuðri Dǫnum ‘known to the Danes’.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  4. 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.
  5. Fell, Christine E. 1981b. ‘Víkingarvísur’. In Dronke et al. 1981, 106-22.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  9. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  10. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  11. Jón Skaptason. 1983. ‘Material for an Edition and Translation of the Poems of Sigvat Þórðarson, skáld’. Ph.D. thesis. State University of New York at Stony Brook. DAI 44: 3681A.
  12. Internal references
  13. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Legendary Saga of S. Óláfr / Helgisaga Óláfs konungs Haraldssonar (ÓHLeg)’ 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. clxxiii.
  14. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ 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. clxxvi-clxxix.
  15. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  16. Russell Poole (ed.) 2012, ‘Anonymous Poems, Liðsmannaflokkr 6’ 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. 1023.
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