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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Lv 30I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 30’ 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. 736.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonLausavísur

Ástríði lát œðri,
Alfhildr, an þik sjalfa,
þér þótt þinn hagr stórum
— þat vildi goð — batni.

Alfhildr, lát Ástríði œðri an þik sjalfa, þótt hagr þinn batni þér stórum; goð vildi þat.

Álfhildr, set Ástríðr higher than yourself, though your position is improving for you greatly; God willed it.

Mss: (500v), 39(13va-b), F(38rb), J2ˣ(243r), E(4v) (Hkr); 761bˣ(311v)

Readings: [2] ‑hildr: ‑hildi E    [3] þér þótt: þér 39, om. F;    hagr: hagr hefir F    [4] batni: batnat F

Editions: Skj AI, 275, Skj BI, 254, Skald I, 131; Hkr 1777-1826, III, 14, VI, 127, Hkr 1868, 522 (MGóð ch. 10), Hkr 1893-1901, III, 21, IV, 186, ÍF 28, 20, Hkr 1991, 568 (MGóð ch. 9), F 1871, 174, E 1916, 13; Konráð Gíslason 1892, 42, 192-3, Jón Skaptason 1983, 214, 330.

Context: As for Lv 29. In Norway, after Queen Ástríðr and Álfhildr, the queen mother, have an exchange of words, Sigvatr speaks this helmingr.

Notes: [1] Ástríði ‘Ástríðr’: A daughter of the Swedish King Óláfr and stepmother of Magnús Óláfsson through her marriage to King Óláfr Haraldsson of Norway; see, e.g., Fsk (ÍF 29, 179) and Hkr (ÍF 27, 146). She promoted Magnús’s interests and is the subject of a poem by Sigvatr (Sigv Ást). See also Note to Lv 28 [All]. — [2] Alfhildr ‘Álfhildr’: Mother of Magnús Óláfsson. According to Hkr (ÍF 27, 209), she was known as konungs ambôtt ‘the king’s servant or concubine’, though of good family, and belonged to King Óláfr’s household. The tension between Álfhildr and Queen Ástríðr once Álfhildr arrives at Magnús’s court is described in Hkr (ÍF 28, 14). — [3] þér ‘for you’: Konráð Gíslason (1892) explains the word, which might otherwise seem pleonastic, as an intensifier, signifying Sigvatr’s warning to Álfhildr that the improvement in her circumstances (since she is now mother to a king) should be matched by an improvement in her attitude. — [4] goð vildi þat ‘God willed it’: The verb vildi may instead be subjunctive, producing the sense ‘God would wish it’, as observed by Jón Skaptason (1983, 214).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  4. Hkr 1893-1901 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1893-1901. Heimskringla: Nóregs konunga sǫgur af Snorri Sturluson. 4 vols. SUGNL 23. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Hkr 1991 = Bergljót S. Kristjánsdóttir et al., eds. 1991. Heimskringla. 3 vols. Reykjavík: Mál og menning.
  6. F 1871 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1871. Fríssbók: Codex Frisianus. En samling af norske konge-sagaer. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. E 1916 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1916. Eirspennill: AM 47 fol. Nóregs konunga sǫgur: Magnús góði – Hákon gamli. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske historiske kildeskriftskommission.
  8. ÍF 29 = Ágrip af Nóregskonunga sǫgum; Fagrskinna—Nóregs konungatal. Ed. Bjarni Einarsson. 1985.
  9. 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.
  10. Konráð Gíslason, ed. 1892. Udvalg af oldnordiske skjaldekvad, med anmærkninger. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  11. Hkr 1777-1826 = Schöning, Gerhard et al., eds. 1777-1826. Heimskringla edr Noregs konunga-sögor. 6 vols. Copenhagen: Stein.
  12. Hkr 1868 = Unger, C. R., ed. 1868. Heimskringla eller Norges kongesagaer af Snorre Sturlassøn. Christiania (Oslo): Brøgger & Christie.
  13. Internal references
  14. Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Heimskringla (Hkr)’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  15. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘Fagrskinna (Fsk)’ 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, pp. clix-clxi.
  16. Not published: do not cite (MGóðII)
  17. 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.

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