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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Lv 27I

R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 27’ 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. 733.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonLausavísur

text and translation

Munu, þeirs mestar skynjar
munvágs Dáins kunna,
síðr at Sighvats hróðri
svinns braglǫstu finna.
Sik vill hverr, es hnekkir,
haldorðr boði skjaldar
éls, þvís allir mæla,
iflaust gera at fifli.

Munu, þeirs kunna mestar skynjar {munvágs Dáins}, síðr finna braglǫstu at hróðri svinns Sighvats. {Hverr haldorðr boði {éls skjaldar}}, es hnekkir, þvís allir mæla, vill iflaust gera sik at fifli.
‘Those who comprehend the greatest knowledge of the delightful wave of Dáinn <dwarf> [POETRY] will hardly [lit. less] find verse-flaws in the encomium of judicious Sigvatr. Every word-holding announcer of the storm of the shield [BATTLE > WARRIOR] who rejects what all say will doubtless make himself a fool.

notes and context

Sigvatr travels incognito in Denmark because of King Knútr’s enmity to those who had been friends of King Óláfr. He stays at a farm where the people are discussing poetry, and they find fault with Sigvatr’s verses (not knowing he is present). He delivers this stanza, revealing his identity and necessitating a rapid escape.

The import of this vísa is that if critics find fault with Sigvatr’s poetry, it is because their knowledge of versecraft is faulty, and their criticisms only expose their ignorance. For a discussion of some unusual formal features of Sigvatr’s verse, see Finnur Jónsson LH I, 597-8.



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 29: AI, 274, BI, 253, Skald I, 130-1, NN §§680, 2295; Fms 5, 209, Fms 12, 211, Flat 1860-8, II, 372, ÓH 1941, II, 830, 831; Jón Skaptason 1983, 211, 327-8.


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