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Runic Dictionary

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Kálfr Hallsson (Kálf)

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

Kátrínardrápa (Kátr) - 51

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, ‘ 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. <> (accessed 30 November 2021)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   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   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51 

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

SkP info: VII, 940

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

13 — Kálf Kátr 13VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 13’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 940.

Heilög rödd tók hátt að mæla
harðla dýr við meyna skýra:
‘Kátrín, vit þú, að guðdóms gætir
gistir bjartr í þínu hjarta.
… Hörn hin bezta,
heiðna spekinga, orma leiðar;
unnar leið þú elda Nanna
alla þá til minnar hallar’.

Heilög rödd, harðla dýr, tók að mæla hátt við skýra meyna: ‘Kátrín, vit þú, að {gætir guðdóms} gistir bjartr í þínu hjarta. … {hin bezta Hörn {leiðar orma}}, heiðna spekinga; leið þú alla þá, {Nanna {elda unnar}}, til minnar hallar.

A holy voice, very precious, began to speak loudly to the bright maiden: ‘Catherine, know that {the guardian of the Godhead} [= God] resides bright in your heart. … {the best Hörn <goddess> {of the path of serpents}} [GOLD > WOMAN], the heathen sages; lead them all, {Nanna <goddess> {of the fires of the wave}} [GOLD > WOMAN], to my hall’.

Mss: 713(130), 399a-bˣ(8), 920ˣ(214v)

Readings: [4] hjarta: so 399a‑bˣ, 920ˣ, ‘hiart[...]’ 713    [5] …: ‘[...]’ all    [7] þú elda Nanna: ‘þ[...] e[...]da na[...]’ 713, ‘þu e(ld)a Na(nna)’(?) 399a‑bˣ, ‘þu[...]’ corrected from ‘þa[...]’ 920ˣ    [8] hallar: ‘ha[...]’ 713, ‘ha(llar)’ 399a‑bˣ, 920ˣ

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 13: AII, 519, BII, 572, Skald II, 315, Kahle 1898, 69, 106, Sperber 1911, 46, 80.

Notes: [1] heilög rödd ‘a holy voice’: According to the prose saga, this is the voice of an angel of God, advising Catherine not to fear, saying that God, being the sole source of wisdom, will not allow her to lose the contest (Unger 1877, I, 405; Wolf 2003, 128). — [5] : Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) proposed the conjectural emendation Hræz þú eigi ‘do not fear’ to fill the half-l. lacuna in all mss. In this he is followed by Kock (Skald). In the prose text, the angel’s words are Hirð eigi þu at óttaz ‘do not care about being afraid’.

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