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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigvatr Þórðarson (Sigv)

11th century; volume 1; ed. Judith Jesch;

3. Austrfararvísur (Austv) - 21

Skj info: Sigvatr Þórðarson, Islandsk skjald, o. 995-o. 1045 (AI, 223-75, BI, 213-54).

Skj poems:
1. Víkingarvísur
2. Nesjavísur
3. Austrfararvísur
4. En drape om kong Olaf
5. Vestrfararvísur
6. Et kvad om Erlingr Skjalgsson
7. Flokkr om Erlingr Skjalgsson
8. Tryggvaflokkr
9. Et digt om dronning Astrid
10. Knútsdrápa
11. Bersǫglisvísur
12. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga
13. Lausavísur
14. Et par halvvers af ubestemmelige digte

Sigvatr or Sighvatr Þórðarson (Sigv) is said (ÍF 27, 54) to have been the son of Þórðr Sigvaldaskáld ‘Poet of Sigvaldi’, an Icelander who served, in succession, Sigvaldi jarl Strút-Haraldsson, leader of the Jómsvíkingar, his brother Þorkell inn hávi ‘the Tall’, who campaigned in England, and Óláfr Haraldsson, later king of Norway (r. c. 1015-30) and saint. Þórðr is listed as one of Sigvaldi’s skalds in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 259, 268), but none of his poetry survives. The family tradition of poetry can also be traced in Óttarr svarti ‘the Black’, said to have been Sigvatr’s sister’s son (ÍF 27, 144; ÓH 1941, I, 203). Sigvatr was brought up by a certain Þorkell, at Apavatn in south-west Iceland. When nearly fully grown he sailed to what is now Trondheim, where he met up with his father and joined King Óláfr’s retinue. According to Snorri (ÍF 27, 54-6; ÓH 1941, I, 81-3), Sigvatr recited Lv 2-3 at this time, and he interceded with the king on behalf of Icelandic merchants forced to pay a heavy tax in Norway (cf. Sigv Lv 4). It is also likely that this is when Þórðr provided Sigvatr with the material for Víkv (see Introduction to Sigv Víkv), which may be the poem referred to in the prose introduction to Sigv Lv 2 (Fidjestøl 1982, 118). There is no evidence that Sigvatr ever returned to Iceland, and according to the anecdote in which Sigv Lv 11 is preserved, he died on the island of Selja in north-western Norway and was buried at Kristskirkja (Kristkirken) in Trondheim. His poetry records his various journeys to Sweden, England and the Continent, as well as incidents in Norway. We know nothing of Sigvatr’s private life, except that he had a daughter called Tófa, who had King Óláfr himself as her godfather (Sigv Lv 19).

Sigvatr’s surviving poetic oeuvre is both large and remarkably diverse, encompassing different kinds of encomia not only on King Óláfr (Sigv Víkv, Sigv Nesv, Sigv Óldr, Sigv ErfÓl), but also on King Knútr of Denmark (Sigv Knútdr) and the Norwegian nobleman Erlingr Skjálgsson (Sigv Erl, Sigv Erlfl). Sigvatr was godfather to King Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’ Óláfsson and composed some avuncular words of advice to the boy-king (Sigv BervII). All of these patrons are recognised in Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 252-4, 258, 260-2, 269), where Sigvatr is also credited with having composed for the Swedish king Ǫnundr Óláfsson (although no such poetry survives, cf. Sigv Knútdr 4/6) and the Norwegian chieftain Ívarr inn hvíti ‘the White’ (cf. Context to Sigv Lv 8). Sigvatr also composed a poem on the Norwegian pretender Tryggvi Óláfsson (Sigv Tryggfl) and is unique in having composed in dróttkvætt in praise of a woman, Óláfr Haraldsson’s widow Ástríðr Óláfsdóttir (Sigv Ást). Several of Sigvatr’s poems are more or less loosely connected sequences of stanzas rather than more formal compositions, and encompass both travelogue (Sigv Austv) and political commentary (Sigv Vestv, Sigv BervII). The latter genre is also well represented in his lausavísur, which also include some remarkably personal stanzas expressing his grief at the death of King Óláfr (Sigv Lv 22-4). Sigvatr’s status as a hǫfuðskáld ‘chief skald’ was recognised in the twelfth century (cf. Esk Geisl 12/8VII). His versatility as a poet has clearly inspired a number of anecdotes focusing on the composition of poetry, mostly of doubtful authenticity (cf. Contexts to Sigv Lv 1, 8, 11, 27; also Introduction to Ótt Hfl). Apart from two fragments preserved in SnE (Sigv Frag 1-2III), Sigvatr’s poetry is transmitted in a wide range of texts within the tradition of the kings’ sagas and is therefore edited in this volume or (in the case of the late Sigv Berv) in SkP II. For general studies of Sigvatr’s life and works, see Paasche (1917), Hollander (1940) and Petersen (1946).

Austrfararvísur (‘Verses on a Journey to the East’) — Sigv AustvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Austrfararvísur’ 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. 578.

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Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 3. Austrfararvísur, 1019 (AI, 233-40, BI, 220-5)

SkP info: I, 587

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

3 — Sigv Austv 3I

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Note: The following transcriptions have been entered to aid the editing process. These may not have been fully reviewed and checked and may therefore not be reliable. You may wish to consult the manuscript images. Any corrections can be notified to the database editor.

 Holm2 Vara fyrst en ec | rann rastir reiðr of scog fra eíðom menn of veit at męttom meini .xii. oc eina . hycc afott enfleccom | fell sar á íl hvara hvast gengom þo þingat þann dag konungs manni .   [RDF]  edit 
 R686x Uara fyrst er ek ran rastir, reiþr um skog fra Eidum, menṅ of | ueit at mǫtum, meini xii oc eina ; hykk a fot en flekkum, fell sar a il huara, huast gengum þo þangat, þan dag kongs | manni ᷎ ||   [RDF]  edit 
 972x Vara | fy̋rst en ek ran raster reider of | skogs fra Eidom men of veit | at ma̋ttom menni xii ors eina | hy̋k a fott en sleckom fell sara il | huara haust, gengom tho tegat | than dags konungs manni. |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 325VI Vara fyrst er | ek rann rastir reidr um skog fra eidum . menn | ueíta fauʀ mætum meiní xi ok eína . hyck a fot || en flestum fell sár a íl huára . huatt gán | gum þo þíngat þann dag konungs monnum .   [RDF]  edit 
 75a Vara fyrst er ek rann rastir . reiðr | um skóg fra eiðum . menn ueíta fau | r mætum . meíni .xii. ok eína . hy | k á fot en fleum fell sár á | íl huára . huast gaungum þo þin | gat . þann dag konungs manni .   [RDF]  edit 
 321x Vara fyrst er ek rann rastir | reidr um skog fra eidum . menn veita faur mætum , meini xij ok eina . | hyk á fot en flekkum . fell sar a jl huara huast gaungum þo þingat . | þann dag konungs manni .   [VEÞ]  edit 
 73ax Varat fyrst er ek ʀann ʀastir | ʀæiðr vm skog fra æiðum . | menn uæíta fo᷎r mætum | mæíní tolf ok æína : | hyck ꜳ fót enn fleckum | féll sꜳ́r ꜳ il huara . | huast gengum þo þíngat | þann ðag konungs manní . |   [RDF]  edit 
 68 Vara æk fyrst er æk raɴ | rastir reiþvr vm skog fra eiþom menn vm veit æk at mættom meini .xii. ok eina . hycc a fot eɴ || fleckom fell sár a íl hvára . huast gengom þo þingat þaɴ dag . konung margir .   [RDF]  edit 
 61 Vara fyrst er ek rann rastir . reiðr um skog fra | eiðum . menn ueit at ek mæti meíni .xí. ok eína . hyck ꜳ fot en fleckum . fell | sar ꜳ il huara . hvat gegnir þat þangat . þann dag konung manna .   [RDF]  edit 
 Holm4 Vara fyrst er ek raɴ rastír . reiðe um skog fra | eiðum . menn of ueít at me᷎ttum meíne xíi. ok eí | na . hyck afot eɴ fleckum fell sár a il hvara | hvatt gengum þo þingat þann dag konung monnum .   [RDF]  edit 
 75c Uárafyrst er ek raɴ rastir . reiðr um skog fra eiðum | menn ofveit at męttum . meini .xii. ok eína . hyɢ afot enflestum . fell sár | a il huara . huatt gingum þo þingat . þann dag konungs monnum .   [RDF]  edit 
 325VII Uara fyrst en ec rann raster ræiðr vm scog fra æiðum . menn of væíti[?] at mǿt | tum meini xii ok æína  hygg a fót en flæstum fell sár a il vara . huatt gingum þo þingat þann dag konungs mannom |   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Varat fyrst er ek ʀann rastír reidr um skog at æidum men | of uæit at mætum meíne tolf ok æínum hygg ek a fot en flestum fell | sar a íl uara huatt gengu þo þíngat þann dag konungs manna ᷎   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Vara fyrst er ec rann | rastar . ʀeidr um skog fra eídum . menn ǫf ueít ath mꜽtvm . meíní tolf oc eína . hýɢ̇ á fot enn fl | estum . fíell sar aíl huarra . hatt gengv þo þíngat þann dag konungs monnum .   [RDF]  edit 
 Kx Vara fyrst er ec raɴ rastir | reiþr vm scóg fra eiðom | maðr vm veit at ec mætta | meinum xí ok eina | hycc a fót eɴ fleccum | fell sár a il hvara | hvast gengum þo þingat | þaɴ dag konungs monnum |   [RDF]  edit 
 Bb Uara fyrst er ek rann rastar . reidr vm | skog fra eidvm menn of veit at męttvm mei | ní xíi athok⸍ eína . hyck ath fot en flec | kvm [long space] fell sár a tilhvora . hvast | gengvm þo þingat . þan dag konung monnvm . |   [RDF]  edit 
 761bx Vara fyrst er ek rann rastir | reiþr um skog fra Eiþum | menn veit at ek mæti | meini tolf oc eina || hyck a fot en fleckum | fell sar a il hvara | hvat gegnir þat þangat | þann dag konung manna . |   [RDF]  edit 

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