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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Vestv 3I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Vestrfararvísur 3’ 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. 619.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVestrfararvísur

text and translation

Ǫrr tegask Ôleif gerva
(allt hefr sá*) fjǫrvaltan
— konungs dauða munk kvíða —
Knútr ok Hôkun (úti).
Haldisk vǫrðr, þótt vildit
varla Knútr ok jarlar,
(dælla es) fyrst á fjalli
(fundr, ef sjalfr kømsk undan).

Ǫrr Knútr ok Hôkun tegask gerva Ôleif fjǫrvaltan; sá* hefr allt úti; munk kvíða dauða konungs. Vǫrðr haldisk fyrst á fjalli, þótt Knútr ok jarlar vildit varla; dælla es, fundr, ef sjalfr kømsk undan.
‘Bold Knútr and Hákon prove themselves ready to put Óláfr in danger of his life; he [Knútr] has all [his forces] out; I will dread the death of the king. The guardian [Óláfr] should in the first instance keep himself in the mountains, even though Knútr and the jarls hardly wanted [that]; it is easier, a meeting, if he himself gets away.

notes and context

In ÓH-Hkr, Sigvatr speaks this stanza when he becomes aware of Knútr’s plans to attack Óláfr and of the strength of his support. In Fsk, Sigvatr is in England, on his way to Rome, and speaks this stanza when he hears of Knútr’s and Hákon’s intentions to sail from England to Norway in a bid for power there.

[5-8]: The analysis here largely follows ÍF 27, but the relationship between the clauses is uncertain and, as Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) noted, á fjalli ‘in the mountains’ could be construed with haldisk ‘should keep himself’ (as here), or fundr ‘meeting’, or the clause introduced by ef ‘if’. Kock (NN §632) chooses fundr but like Finnur is uncertain about the overall meaning.



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, 5. Vestrfararvísur 3: AI, 241-2, BI, 226, Skald I, 117-18, NN §§631, 632, 2257, 3223Hkr 1893-1901, II, 352, IV, 143-4, ÍF 27, 272-3, Hkr 1991, II, 450-1 (ÓHHkr ch. 146); ÓH 1941, I, 427 (ch. 136), Flat 1860-8, II, 277; Fsk 1902-3, 170 (ch. 28), ÍF 29, 190-1 (ch. 33); Jón Skaptason 1983, 106, 248-50.


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