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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Lv 28I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 28’ 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. 734.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonLausavísur

Heim sóttir þú hættinn
hǫnd, en vel mátt lǫndum
— þinn stoðak môtt — sem mǫnnum,
Magnús konungr, fagna.
Fœrak víst, þvít vôrum
varðr at þér, í Garða;
skrifnask skírinafna
skript, þjóðkonungr, niptar.

Hættinn sóttir þú heim hǫnd, Magnús konungr, en mátt fagna vel lǫndum sem mǫnnum; stoðak môtt þinn. Víst fœrak í Garða, þvít vôrum varðr at þér; skript niptar skrifnask skírinafna, þjóðkonungr.

Bold, you came back home, King Magnús, and you can be most glad of [your] lands as well as [your] people; I support your power. Certainly, I would have travelled to Russia, since we were [I was] closely connected to you; a document of [your] kinswoman is written to [my] godson, great king.

Mss: (500r), 39(13va), F(38rb), J2ˣ(242v), E(4v) (Hkr); 761bˣ(311v)

Readings: [3] sem: með J2ˣ, 761bˣ    [6] varðr at: so 39, F, varðat Kˣ, vǫrðr at J2ˣ, E, 761bˣ    [7] skrifnask: ‘scrifnaþz’ 39, ‘skipnask’ J2ˣ, E, 761bˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 274, Skj BI, 253, Skald I, 131, NN §§152, 681, 1878, 1879; Hkr 1777-1826, III, 13, VI, 126, Hkr 1868, 522 (MGóð ch. 10), Hkr 1893-1901, III, 20-1, IV, 185, ÍF 28, 18-19, Hkr 1991, 567 (MGóð ch. 9), F 1871, 173-4, E 1916, 13; Konráð Gíslason 1892, 41, 191-2, 232, Jón Skaptason 1983, 212, 328-9.

Context: Magnús Óláfsson comes to Sweden from Russia, to much rejoicing. Sigvatr is there with Magnús’s stepmother the queen, Ástríðr Óláfsdóttir, and speaks this stanza.

Notes: [All]: Jesch (1994a) adduces parallels between Lv 28-30 and Sigv Ást, arguing that whereas the two sets of vísur are separate compositions, they were composed on the same occasion, to welcome Magnús to Norway and celebrate his enthronement. — [1, 2] sóttir þú heim hǫnd ‘you came back home’: The hand (hǫnd) referred to in the idiom was originally a literal one, as when the same expression is used to describe the way that the hammer Mjǫllnir, when cast, returns to the hand of Þórr (SnE 1998, I, 42). The kernel of the expression is thus sóttir . . . hǫnd ‘sought the hand’, heim functioning as the equivalent of ‘again’. On the basis of comparison to heim nam hon Helga | hǫnd at sœkia ‘she took Helgi’s hand’ (HHund II 14/3-4, NK 153), Kock (NN §1878) suggests the sense ‘you decisively grasped the hand outstretched to you from Norway’. — [2] en ‘and’: If the sense of the word is adversative (as it often is), the implied opposition is that even though it was bold of Magnús to return, he need have no fear. — [4] Magnús konungr ‘King Magnús’: Son of Óláfr Haraldsson and Álfhildr (on whom, see Note to Lv 30/2), a young boy at the time of his return from exile in Russia. — [6] varðr at ‘closely connected to’: The meaning ‘concerned about’ is proposed by Björn Magnússon Ólsen (1913, 58-9), on the assumption that poetic vǫrð ‘woman’ originally meant ‘mindful, assiduous’ (about one’s husband and house). Kock (NN §152) takes the sense to be that Sigvatr was on his way to Magnús in Russia, on the basis of perceived parallels in ME and MLG (and cf. ModEngl. toward). — [7] skrifnask ‘is written’: The unexampled verb is assumed to have been formed by analogy to the derivation of, e.g., hlotnask ‘to fall to one’s lot’ from hlotinn ‘allotted’, with a similar semantic relation (ÍF 28). — [7] skírinafna ‘godson’: So also ÍF 28. How Sigvatr came to be the godfather of Magnús is related in ÓHHkr ch. 122 (ÍF 27, 209-11). — [8] skript ‘a document’: It is unknown what document is referred to here. It is usually assumed (e.g. in ÍF 28) to be a letter from Ástríðr to Magnús in Russia, resulting in his return to Sweden. In Hkr 1991 it is tentatively suggested that the document is Ástríðr’s written affirmation of Magnús’s right to the throne. Björn Magnússon Ólsen (1913, 57-8) would make skript the direct object of fœrðak ‘I brought’ in l. 4, emended from fœrak. Kock (NN §§681, 1879) discerns instead a reference to Sigvatr’s penitential pilgrimage to Rome (cf. Lv 23), on the basis of perceived parallels in early English. Finnur Jónsson makes no attempt to translate ll. 7-8 in Skj B, though he had made tentative suggestions in Hkr 1893-1901, IV.


  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. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Jesch, Judith. 1994a. ‘In Praise of Ástríðr Óláfsdóttir’. SBVS 24, 1-18.
  6. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  7. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  8. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  9. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  10. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  11. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  12. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  13. 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.
  14. Björn Magnússon Ólsen. 1913. ‘Zu den Gedichten von Sighvatr Þorðarson’. ZDP 45, 56-9.
  15. Konráð Gíslason, ed. 1892. Udvalg af oldnordiske skjaldekvad, med anmærkninger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  16. Hkr 1777-1826 = Schöning, Gerhard et al., eds. 1777-1826. Heimskringla edr Noregs konunga-sögor. 6 vols. Copenhagen: Stein.
  17. Hkr 1868 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1868. Heimskringla eller Norges kongesagaer af Snorre Sturlassøn. Christiania (Oslo): Brøgger & Christie.
  18. Internal references
  19. Not published: do not cite (MGóðII)
  20. Not published: do not cite (ÓHHkrI)
  21. Judith Jesch 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Poem about Queen Ástríðr’ 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. 645.
  22. Not published: do not cite ()

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