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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv Vestv 3I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Vestrfararvísur 3’ 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. 619.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonVestrfararvísur
234

Ǫrr ‘Bold’

ǫrr (adj.): generous, brave

[1] Ǫrr: ‘Ort’ Flat

notes

[1] ǫrr ‘bold’: This adj. can mean either ‘bold’, appropriate to this context of Knútr preparing to attack Óláfr, or ‘generous’, which would tally with references to Knútr’s generosity in sts 5 and 7.

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tegask ‘prove themselves ready’

tega (verb): prove ready

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Ola ‘’

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Ôleif ‘Óláfr’

Óláfr (noun m.): Óláfr

[1] Ôleif: ‘ol̄’ Holm2, Holm4, 325V, Óláfr 972ˣ, 321ˣ, ‘Ol̄’ Bb, Flat, ‘Ola’ FskAˣ

notes

[1, 2] gerva Ôleif fjǫrvaltan ‘to put Óláfr in danger of his life’: Literally, ‘to make Óláfr life-unsteady’, cf. Sigvatr’s use of the adj. valtr of his rickety boat in Austv 2/3.

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gerva ‘to put’

1. gera (verb): do, make

notes

[1, 2] gerva Ôleif fjǫrvaltan ‘to put Óláfr in danger of his life’: Literally, ‘to make Óláfr life-unsteady’, cf. Sigvatr’s use of the adj. valtr of his rickety boat in Austv 2/3.

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allt ‘all [his forces]’

allr (adj.): all

notes

[2, 4] sá* hefr allt úti ‘he [Knútr] has all [his forces] out’: The word order is highly problematic if ms. ‘sa er’ (normalised sás), rel. pron. ‘who’, is retained in l. 2, since it is preceded not only by the object of the clause, allt ‘everything’, here ‘all [his forces]’, but also by the finite verb hefr ‘has’. Kock proposed two solutions: the present one in NN §631 (except that he takes úti with the main clause), and another in NN §§2257, 3223 and Skald, in which sás ‘who’ is followed by the verb fór ‘went’, but this is the reading of a single ms. and fjǫr-, in the cpd fjǫrvaltan ‘in danger of his life’, is likely to be the original reading. The clause could mean literally that Knútr has the whole of his fleet at sea, ready for the attack, or more metaphorically that he has used all available means to make the attack happen, cf., perhaps, the ModIcel. expression hafa allar klær úti ‘have all one’s claws out’ cited in Hkr 1893-1901, IV and ÍF 27.

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hefr ‘has’

hafa (verb): have

notes

[2, 4] sá* hefr allt úti ‘he [Knútr] has all [his forces] out’: The word order is highly problematic if ms. ‘sa er’ (normalised sás), rel. pron. ‘who’, is retained in l. 2, since it is preceded not only by the object of the clause, allt ‘everything’, here ‘all [his forces]’, but also by the finite verb hefr ‘has’. Kock proposed two solutions: the present one in NN §631 (except that he takes úti with the main clause), and another in NN §§2257, 3223 and Skald, in which sás ‘who’ is followed by the verb fór ‘went’, but this is the reading of a single ms. and fjǫr-, in the cpd fjǫrvaltan ‘in danger of his life’, is likely to be the original reading. The clause could mean literally that Knútr has the whole of his fleet at sea, ready for the attack, or more metaphorically that he has used all available means to make the attack happen, cf., perhaps, the ModIcel. expression hafa allar klær úti ‘have all one’s claws out’ cited in Hkr 1893-1901, IV and ÍF 27.

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sá* ‘he [Knútr]’

1. sá (pron.; °gen. þess, dat. þeim, acc. þann; f. sú, gen. þeirrar, acc. þá; n. þat, dat. því; pl. m. þeir, f. þǽ---): that (one), those

[2] sá*: sá er all

notes

[2, 4] sá* hefr allt úti ‘he [Knútr] has all [his forces] out’: The word order is highly problematic if ms. ‘sa er’ (normalised sás), rel. pron. ‘who’, is retained in l. 2, since it is preceded not only by the object of the clause, allt ‘everything’, here ‘all [his forces]’, but also by the finite verb hefr ‘has’. Kock proposed two solutions: the present one in NN §631 (except that he takes úti with the main clause), and another in NN §§2257, 3223 and Skald, in which sás ‘who’ is followed by the verb fór ‘went’, but this is the reading of a single ms. and fjǫr-, in the cpd fjǫrvaltan ‘in danger of his life’, is likely to be the original reading. The clause could mean literally that Knútr has the whole of his fleet at sea, ready for the attack, or more metaphorically that he has used all available means to make the attack happen, cf., perhaps, the ModIcel. expression hafa allar klær úti ‘have all one’s claws out’ cited in Hkr 1893-1901, IV and ÍF 27.

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fjǫr ‘of his life’

fjǫr (noun n.): life < fjǫrvaltr (adj.)fjǫr (noun n.): lifefjǫr (noun n.): life

[2] fjǫr‑: fór 325V

notes

[1, 2] gerva Ôleif fjǫrvaltan ‘to put Óláfr in danger of his life’: Literally, ‘to make Óláfr life-unsteady’, cf. Sigvatr’s use of the adj. valtr of his rickety boat in Austv 2/3.

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valtad ‘’

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valltar ‘’

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valtan ‘in danger’

valtr (adj.): unsteady, in danger < fjǫrvaltr (adj.)

[2] ‑valtan: ‘valtad’ 972ˣ, ‘‑valltar’ 321ˣ, valdi FskAˣ

notes

[1, 2] gerva Ôleif fjǫrvaltan ‘to put Óláfr in danger of his life’: Literally, ‘to make Óláfr life-unsteady’, cf. Sigvatr’s use of the adj. valtr of his rickety boat in Austv 2/3.

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konungs ‘of the king’

konungr (noun m.; °dat. -i, -s; -ar): king

[3] konungs: konung J2ˣ

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munk ‘I will’

munu (verb): will, must

[3] munk (‘mun ec’): má FskBˣ, megum FskAˣ

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kvíða ‘dread’

3. kvíða (verb): fear

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‘Há’

3. hár (adj.; °-van; compar. hǽrri, superl. hǽstr): high < Hákon (noun m.): Hákon

notes

[4] Hôkun ‘Hákon’: Hákon jarl Eiríksson; see Introduction, and see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

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kun ‘kon’

1. kyn (noun n.; °-s; -): kin < Hákon (noun m.): Hákon

notes

[4] Hôkun ‘Hákon’: Hákon jarl Eiríksson; see Introduction, and see ‘Ruler biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.

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úti ‘out’

úti (adv.): out, outdoors, out at sea, abroad

notes

[2, 4] sá* hefr allt úti ‘he [Knútr] has all [his forces] out’: The word order is highly problematic if ms. ‘sa er’ (normalised sás), rel. pron. ‘who’, is retained in l. 2, since it is preceded not only by the object of the clause, allt ‘everything’, here ‘all [his forces]’, but also by the finite verb hefr ‘has’. Kock proposed two solutions: the present one in NN §631 (except that he takes úti with the main clause), and another in NN §§2257, 3223 and Skald, in which sás ‘who’ is followed by the verb fór ‘went’, but this is the reading of a single ms. and fjǫr-, in the cpd fjǫrvaltan ‘in danger of his life’, is likely to be the original reading. The clause could mean literally that Knútr has the whole of his fleet at sea, ready for the attack, or more metaphorically that he has used all available means to make the attack happen, cf., perhaps, the ModIcel. expression hafa allar klær úti ‘have all one’s claws out’ cited in Hkr 1893-1901, IV and ÍF 27.

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Haldisk ‘keep himself’

halda (verb): hold, keep

[5] Haldisk: haldit Bb, haldi Flat, Haralds Tóm, hallisk FskBˣ

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vǫrðr ‘The guardian’

vǫrðr (noun m.; °varðar, dat. verði/vǫrð; verðir, acc. vǫrðu): guardian, defender

[5] vǫrðr: landvǫrðr Flat

notes

[5] vǫrðr ‘the guardian [Óláfr]’: This is common as a base-word in kennings for ‘king’, as when Sigvatr calls Óláfr vǫrðr Nóregs ‘guardian of Norway’ in Austv 13/7-8 (and see LP: vǫrðr 1), but in the absence of a gen. phrase to act as determinant, it appears that vǫrðr is, uniquely, used here as a half-kennning.

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þótt ‘even though’

þótt (conj.): although

[5] þótt (‘þo at’): sem FskBˣ, FskAˣ

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vildit ‘wanted’

vilja (verb): want, intend

[5] vildit: vildi 972ˣ, Tóm, virðit J2ˣ, valdit 61, 325V, Bb, Flat, vildu FskBˣ, FskAˣ

notes

[5-6] vildit varla ‘hardly wanted [that]’: The enclitic -t and varla lit. ‘hardly’ (or by litotes, ‘at all’) produce a double negative; cf., e.g., Gizsv Lv 1/1. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27) suggests that vildi ‘wanted’ would be more correct. Jón Skaptason (1983, 249-50) takes varla ‘hardly’ as a form of varliga ‘cautiously’ and construes it with haldisk vǫrðr á fjalli, giving ‘let the king keep cautiously to the mountains’, but this is not justified.

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varla ‘hardly’

varla (adv.): hardly

notes

[5-6] vildit varla ‘hardly wanted [that]’: The enclitic -t and varla lit. ‘hardly’ (or by litotes, ‘at all’) produce a double negative; cf., e.g., Gizsv Lv 1/1. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson (ÍF 27) suggests that vildi ‘wanted’ would be more correct. Jón Skaptason (1983, 249-50) takes varla ‘hardly’ as a form of varliga ‘cautiously’ and construes it with haldisk vǫrðr á fjalli, giving ‘let the king keep cautiously to the mountains’, but this is not justified.

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Knútr ‘Knútr’

Knútr (noun m.): Knútr

[6] Knútr: Knúts 61, 325V

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jarlar ‘the jarls’

jarl (noun m.; °-s, dat. -i; -ar): poet, earl

[6] jarlar: jarli 61, 325V, Bb, jarla Flat

notes

[6] jarlar ‘the jarls’: No other jarl is mentioned in this context, so despite the pl., this must refer to Hákon Eiríksson, cf. the expression kyn Eireks ‘Eiríkr’s kin’ referring to Hákon in st. 4/6, and Note to st. 6/4, 6. 

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dælla ‘easier’

dæll (adj.; °dǽlan; compar. dǽlli/dǽllri(FriðB 48¹ˆ), superl. dǽlstr): easy

notes

[7, 8] dælla es, fundr ‘it is easier, a meeting’: LP: dæll notes the expression dælla es ‘it is easier, better’, and ÍF 27, ÍF 29 suggest the sense líklegra er, vera má ‘it is more likely, it can be’. As dælla is the n. nom. sg. form of the comp. adj., it cannot directly qualify the m. noun fundr, but rather qualifies the unexpressed subject of es, ‘it’ in the English translation (cf. also Sigv Lv 15/7). For a similar, though not identical, quasi-adverbial usage of dælla, see Fritzner: dælla adv. What sort of a meeting is meant by fundr, and between whom, is not clear, and deliberate ambiguity cannot be ruled out. Bjarni Einarsson in ÍF 29 thinks it refers to the impending battle, though why this should be more likely if the king gets away is not clear. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27 suggests it is between the poet and the king, which at least fits with the more personal tone of l. 3.

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es ‘it is’

2. vera (verb): be, is, was, were, are, am

notes

[7, 8] dælla es, fundr ‘it is easier, a meeting’: LP: dæll notes the expression dælla es ‘it is easier, better’, and ÍF 27, ÍF 29 suggest the sense líklegra er, vera má ‘it is more likely, it can be’. As dælla is the n. nom. sg. form of the comp. adj., it cannot directly qualify the m. noun fundr, but rather qualifies the unexpressed subject of es, ‘it’ in the English translation (cf. also Sigv Lv 15/7). For a similar, though not identical, quasi-adverbial usage of dælla, see Fritzner: dælla adv. What sort of a meeting is meant by fundr, and between whom, is not clear, and deliberate ambiguity cannot be ruled out. Bjarni Einarsson in ÍF 29 thinks it refers to the impending battle, though why this should be more likely if the king gets away is not clear. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27 suggests it is between the poet and the king, which at least fits with the more personal tone of l. 3.

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fyrst ‘should in the first instance’

fyrst (noun f.): first(ly)

notes

[7] fyrst ‘in the first instance’: For the meaning ‘in the first instance, in the immediate future’, see Fritzner: fyrst 2. 

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á ‘in’

3. á (prep.): on, at

[7] á: at á Holm2, at 972ˣ, 321ˣ, af 68, Tóm

notes

[7] á fjalli ‘in the mountains’: Kock (NN §632) suggests this is an expression for ‘Norway’, but it may just be intended to suggest an inaccessible, and therefore safe, place.

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fjalli ‘the mountains’

1. fjall (noun n.): mountain

[7] fjalli: falli 972ˣ, 321ˣ

notes

[7] á fjalli ‘in the mountains’: Kock (NN §632) suggests this is an expression for ‘Norway’, but it may just be intended to suggest an inaccessible, and therefore safe, place.

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fundr ‘a meeting’

fundr (noun m.): discovery, meeting

[8] fundr: fund 325V

notes

[7, 8] dælla es, fundr ‘it is easier, a meeting’: LP: dæll notes the expression dælla es ‘it is easier, better’, and ÍF 27, ÍF 29 suggest the sense líklegra er, vera má ‘it is more likely, it can be’. As dælla is the n. nom. sg. form of the comp. adj., it cannot directly qualify the m. noun fundr, but rather qualifies the unexpressed subject of es, ‘it’ in the English translation (cf. also Sigv Lv 15/7). For a similar, though not identical, quasi-adverbial usage of dælla, see Fritzner: dælla adv. What sort of a meeting is meant by fundr, and between whom, is not clear, and deliberate ambiguity cannot be ruled out. Bjarni Einarsson in ÍF 29 thinks it refers to the impending battle, though why this should be more likely if the king gets away is not clear. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson in ÍF 27 suggests it is between the poet and the king, which at least fits with the more personal tone of l. 3.

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ef ‘if’

3. ef (conj.): if

[8] ef: er FskAˣ

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sjalfr ‘he himself’

sjalfr (adj.): self

[8] sjalfr: sjalf 321ˣ, om. Bb

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kømsk ‘gets’

koma (verb; kem, kom/kvam, kominn): come

[8] kømsk: ‘coms’ FskAˣ

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Interactive view: tap on words in the text for notes and glosses

In ÓH-Hkr, Sigvatr speaks this stanza when he becomes aware of Knútr’s plans to attack Óláfr and of the strength of his support. In Fsk, Sigvatr is in England, on his way to Rome, and speaks this stanza when he hears of Knútr’s and Hákon’s intentions to sail from England to Norway in a bid for power there.

[5-8]: The analysis here largely follows ÍF 27, but the relationship between the clauses is uncertain and, as Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV) noted, á fjalli ‘in the mountains’ could be construed with haldisk ‘should keep himself’ (as here), or fundr ‘meeting’, or the clause introduced by ef ‘if’. Kock (NN §632) chooses fundr but like Finnur is uncertain about the overall meaning.

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