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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;

12. Lausavísur (Lv) - 30

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).

Lausavísur — Sigv LvI

R. D. Fulk 2012, ‘(Introduction to) Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur’ 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. 698.

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Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson: 13. Lausavísur (AI, 265-75, BI, 246-54); stanzas (if different): 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32

SkP info: I, 727

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

22 — Sigv Lv 22I

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.

 Kx Geng ec um þvert fra þengils | þroaz ecki mer recka | þvi em ec sem bast i briosti | bleicr verþungar leiki || miɴumz ek hvar manna | miɴ drottinn lec sinna | opt a oðals toptum | orðsæll ok ver forðum |   [RDF]  edit 
 39 Geng ec | vm þuertt fra þengils þroazc ecki mer recka er | ek sem bast ibriosti blæicr verþungar leiki | miɴumz ec hvar manna minn drottinn lec | sinna opt aoþal toptom orþ sęll oc vær forðom . |   [RDF]  edit 
 F Geng ek vm þvert fra þengils þroaz ecki mer | recka em ek sem bast i briosti bleíkr verþungar leiki . | miɴomz ek hvar maɴa míɴ drottiɴ lek síɴa óppt a oðal top | tom orð sæll ok var forðom .   [RDF]  edit 
 J2x Geng ec um þvert fra þengils | þroaz ecki mer recka | em ec sem bast i briosti | bleikr verþungar leike | minnumz ec hvar manna | minn drottinn lec sinom | opt a oþals toptum | orðsæll oc var forðum |   [RDF]  edit 
 E Geng ek | um þvert fra þengils þroazt ecki mer recka em ek sem bast í briosti bleíkr uerðunngar leiki || minumz ek huar manna . minn drottinn lek sinu opt á oðals toptvm orð sæll ok var forðom .   [RDF]  edit 
 Flat Gæíng ek um þuert fra þæingils þr | oazst ecki mer ʀecka em ek sem bazst j briosti blæikr verdungar læike | minnumzst ek híns hue manna minn drottinn let sinnum oft a odals toftum | ordsælstr er uar fordum   [RDF]  edit 
 Tóm Geck ec | um þuert fra þeíngíls þroazt eckí mer enn ʀecka . em ek semm bast j bríostí . bleikr vex þyngð | af leiki munnda ec hínn hue manna . mínr drottinn líek sínum oft ꜳ̋ aðal toftum . orð sællst| er var forðum .   [RDF]  edit 
 73ax Geng ek vm þuert fra þengíls . | þroaz eckí mer ʀecka . | er ek sem bast í bríostí . | blæikr verðungar læikí [altered from sæikí] : | mínnumz híns hue manna . | mínn ðrottínn líet sínnum . | opt ꜳ̋ oðals toptir . | orðsælstr ok vęr forðum . |   [RDF]  edit 
 71x geng ek om þuertt frä | þængils , þröazst ecki mer ʀecka , er ek sem basti briösti , | blæykr werþungar læiki , minnumz hinns hue manna , minn drottinn liet sinnumm , opt ꜳ ödals topttir , ordsælstr || oc wær fordum .   [RDF]  edit 
 76ax Geng ek um þvert fra þengils | þroast ecki mier recka | er ek sem bast i briosti | bleikr verdungar leiki | minnunst hins hve manna | minn drottinn let sinum | opt ꜳ odals toptir | ordsælstr ok vier fordum |   [VEÞ]  edit 
 761bx Geing ek um þvert fra þeingils | þroaz ecki mer recka | er ek sem bazt i briosti | bleikr verþungar leiki | minnumz ek hins hve manna | minn drottinn let sinnum | oft a oþals toftum | orþsalstr er var forþum ||   [RDF]  edit 

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