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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Lv 12I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 12’ 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. 714.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonLausavísur

text and translation

Hafa allframir jǫfrar
út sín hǫfuð Knúti
fœrð ór Fífi norðan
— friðkaup vas þat — miðju.
Seldi Ôleifr aldri
(opt vá sigr) inn digri
haus í heimi (þvísa
hann) engum svá manni.

Allframir jǫfrar hafa fœrð Knúti hǫfuð sín út norðan ór miðju Fífi; þat vas friðkaup. Ôleifr inn digri seldi aldri haus svá engum manni í heimi; hann vá opt sigr þvísa.
‘The most outstanding lords have presented their heads to Knútr from the north out of mid Fife; it was the price of peace. Óláfr the Stout never surrendered his skull thus to anyone in the world; he has often won victory for that reason.

notes and context

Ambassadors from Denmark convey the message that King Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) demands King Óláfr’s submission and control of all of Norway, and Óláfr refuses, pledging to resist to the last. Sigvatr asks the departing ambassadors the outcome of their audience, and they say that Óláfr has foolishly rejected Knútr’s demand. It would be wise for Óláfr to submit, because Knútr is gracious and forgiving, and he will accept the fealty of those who have resisted him, as he did recently when he agreed to let two kings from Fife in Scotland hold their land in fief. Sigvatr responds with this stanza.



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, 13. Lausavísur 15: AI, 269-70, BI, 249-50, Skald I, 129, NN §1874; Fms 4, 293, Fms 12, 88, ÓH 1853, 132, 280, ÓH 1941, I, 343 (ch. 120), Flat 1860-8, II, 254; Hkr 1777-1826, II, 215, VI, 91, Hkr 1868, 378 (ÓHHkr ch. 140), Hkr 1893-1901, II, 287, IV, 140, ÍF 27, 225, Hkr 1991, I, 413 (ÓHHkr ch. 131); Konráð Gíslason 1892, 38, 180, Jón Skaptason 1983, 197, 321-2.


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