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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálfr Hallsson (Kálf)

14th century; volume 7; ed. Kirsten Wolf;

Kátrínardrápa (Kátr) - 51

not in Skj

The name of the poet of Kátrínardrápa can be deduced from sts 1, 49 and 51 as Kálfr Hallsson (Kálfr would have been Kálfur in C14th). In st. 1/8 he describes himself as ‘the son of Hallur’ (arfi Halls) and at the end of the poem gives his name in both Icelandic (Kálfr [= ‘calf’] 49/1) and Lat. (Vitulus [= Kálfur] 51/3) and says he is now a monk (frater, st. 51/4). The implication of sts 45-51 is that Kálfr had previously led a sinful secular life, but this may be stereotypical self-deprecation. The Lat. phrase Vítulus vátes ‘the poet Kálfr’ by which the poet refers to himself in st. 51/3-4 also appears in Völsungs rímur hins óborna and this has led some scholars to propose that Kálfr Hallsson was the author of both poems (see Note to st. 51). Nothing is known of Kálfr’s monastic affiliation nor his precise dates, though the mid-C14th seems a likely floruit (Vésteinn Ólason 1993, 316).

Kátrínardrápa (‘Drápa about S. Catherine’) — Kálf KátrVII

Kirsten Wolf 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 931-64.

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Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa (AII, 516-26, BII, 569-82)

SkP info: VII, 944-5

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

20 — Kálf Kátr 20VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 20’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 944-5.

Berja frá eg staungum stórum
stillis rekka ljótrar villu
milda ambátt mána foldar
mildings frægs og vöndum gildum.
Blóðið flaut af búki hvítum
bragnings meyjar sólar vagna;
síðan byrgðu seggir heiðnir
svanna guðs í myrku ranni.

Eg frá rekka stillis ljótrar villu berja {milda ambátt {frægs mildings {foldar mána}}} stórum staungum og gildum vöndum. Blóðið flaut af hvítum búki {meyjar {bragnings {vagna sólar}}}; síðan byrgðu heiðnir seggir svanna guðs í myrku ranni.

I heard that the men of the ruler in ugly delusion hit {the gentle handmaid {of the famous prince {of the land of the moon}}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God > HOLY WOMAN] with large sticks and thick rods. The blood poured from the white body {of the maiden {of the prince {of the wagons of the sun}}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God > HOLY WOMAN]; subsequently, heathen men locked the woman of God in a dark house.

Mss: 713(131), 399a-bˣ(11), 920ˣ(215r-v)

Readings: [1] frá eg staungum stórum: so 920ˣ, ‘frá eg stön[...] stó[...]’ 713, ‘hana stokkum stórum’ 399a‑bˣ    [2] stillis: so 399a‑bˣ, 920ˣ, ‘[...]illis’ 713    [5] búki hvítum: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘buk[...]uitum’ 713, búknum hvita 920ˣ    [6] bragnings: so 399a‑bˣ, 920ˣ, ‘[...]gnings’ 713    [8] guðs í myrku: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘gud[...]rku’ 713, ‘gud(s...j. s)tyrku’ 920ˣ

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 20: AII, 520, BII, 574, Skald II, 316, Kahle 1898, 71, 107, Sperber 1911, 47, 80.

Notes: [1-6]: This account of Catherine’s torture is not paralleled in the prose text, which is more restrained. — [6] vagna sólar ‘of the wagons of the sun’: See LP: vagn, vagna(r) sólar and Notes to Ník Jóndr 3/6 and Anon Pét 14/7-8. The reference is probably to the constellations Charles’s Wain, Ursa Major, and the Lesser Wain, Ursa Minor, but, if so, the poet rather confusingly introduces the determinant sól ‘sun’, when what he needs is a word meaning ‘land, bridge’ etc. — [7-8]: Cf. Unger 1877, I, 409; Wolf 2003, 131: En siðan let hann byrgia hana i myrkvastofu ... ‘And afterwards he had her locked in a dark room [prison] ...’.

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