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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Lv 11I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 11’ 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. 712.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonLausavísur

Seinn þykki mér sunnan
sókndjarfr Haralds arfi;
langrs, en lýðum þrøngvir
lífs sorg, konungs morginn.
Hvatkis heiðis gatna
hyrtælanda sælan
— nú hefk vætt í dag dróttins —
dvelr, bíðk hans í Selju.

{Sókndjarfr arfi Haralds} þykki mér seinn sunnan; langrs morginn konungs, en sorg lífs þrøngvir lýðum. Hvatkis dvelr {sælan {{heiðis gatna} hyr}tælanda}, bíðk hans í Selju; nú hefk vætt dróttins í dag.

{The attack-brave heir of Haraldr} [= Óláfr] seems late to me [in coming] from the south; long is the king’s morning, and life’s sorrow presses on men. Whatever delays {the fortunate destroyer {of the flame {of the paths of the hawk}}} [ARMS > GOLD > GENEROUS MAN], I await him in Selja; now I have been expecting [my] lord today.

Mss: Flat(129vb), Tóm(163r), 73aˣ(224r), 71ˣ(196r), 76aˣ(245v) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] Seinn: Sveinn Tóm;    þykki: so 73aˣ, 71ˣ, ‘þiki’ Flat, Tóm    [3] langrs (‘langr er’): ‘laung er’ Tóm;    en lýðum: so 73aˣ, 71ˣ, at lýða Flat, Tóm, ‘enn lydinn’ 76aˣ;    þrøngvir: so 73aˣ, 71ˣ, þengils Flat, þengil Tóm, þreyngir 76aˣ    [4] konungs: þat Tóm    [5] Hvatkis (‘huatkí er’): so Tóm, 73aˣ, 71ˣ, hvatka ek Flat, 76aˣ;    heiðis: hilmi 73aˣ, 71ˣ, 76aˣ;    gatna: gǫtva Flat, Tóm, gotna 73aˣ, 71ˣ, 76aˣ    [6] ‑tælanda: ‑tælandi Tóm, tælandann 73aˣ, 71ˣ, ‘‑talandann’ 76aˣ;    sælan: sæla 73aˣ, 71ˣ    [7] vætt: vátt Tóm    [8] bíðk: býð ek 76aˣ;    hans: hann Tóm

Editions: Skj AI, 269, Skj BI, 249, Skald I, 129Fms 5, 211, Fms 12, 111, Flat 1860-8, II, 394, ÓH 1941, II, 840, 841; Jón Skaptason 1983, 196, 321.

Context: After King Óláfr’s death, Sigvatr, while anchored by an island called Selja, is composing a drápa about him. On the mainland nearby a farmer is ill, and his wife cares for him as his strength diminishes. The king appears to her in a dream, telling her that he will tend her husband if she will go to Sigvatr and tell him to intercalate the poem with allusions to Uppreistarsaga (perhaps the story of Creation; Flat and Tóm add that this was to replace allusions to the story of Sigurðr). She does so, and when she returns, the saint has healed her husband. Sigvatr does as he has been told, and then he falls ill. The king appears to him and tells him to come with him, and he names the day when that will happen. When the day comes, Sigvatr delivers this stanza. Then he dies.

Notes: [All]: By placing this stanza in the middle of Sigvatr’s lausavísur, previous eds presumably signal their belief that it alludes to an event earlier in Sigvatr’s life than the prose Context would suggest. — [2] arfi Haralds ‘heir of Haraldr [= Óláfr]’: The reference is most likely to be to Óláfr’s father Haraldr grenski ‘from Grenland’, though a claim of descent from Haraldr hárfagri (so Jón Skaptason 1983, 321) is also possible; cf. Note to Sigv Knútdr 3/2, 3. — [3, 4] langrs morginn konungs ‘long is the king’s morning’: Cf. Anon Mhkv 13/8III for this expression. — [3] en … þrøngvir lýðum ‘and … presses on men’: There is a general consensus that only the Bæb reading represented in 73aˣ and 71ˣ gives sense here (Skj B; Skald; Jón Skaptason 1983, 196). — [5] gatna ‘of the paths’: The emendation is defended by Björn Magnússon Ólsen (1902, 204) against the argument of Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson (Nj 1875-8, II, 86) that gǫtva in Flat is perhaps correct, representing the gen. pl. of an otherwise unattested f. noun from the stem *gatva-. — [8] Selju ‘Selja’: An island off the west coast of Norway, south of Stadlandet in northern Sogn og Fjordane, identified as the place where Óláfr Haraldsson landed on return from his English campaigns (see Note to Ótt Hfl 15/8). It became the site of a C12th Benedictine foundation and was associated with S. Sunnifa (see Note to Anon Mey 53VII [All]).


  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. Nj 1875-89 = Konráð Gíslason and Eiríkur Jónsson. 1875-89. Njála: Udgivet efter gamle håndskrifter. Íslendingasögur udgivne efter gamle haandskrifter af Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskrift-selskab 4. Copenhagen: Thiele.
  5. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  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. 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.
  9. Björn Magnússon Ólsen. 1902. ‘Strøbemærkninger til norske og islandske skjaldedigte’. ANF 18, 195-210.
  10. Internal references
  11. Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Anonymous Poems, Heilagra meyja drápa 53’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 924-5.
  12. Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 13’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1228.
  13. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Óttarr svarti, Hǫfuðlausn 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. 760.
  14. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 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. 653.

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