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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, ‘(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.

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, 940-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

14 — Kálf Kátr 14VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 14’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 940-1.

Meistarliga vann mentir leystar
mærin glödd af himna röddu
allar þær, er öflgir þollar
öglis stiettar hána friettu.
Spektarlauss bað spekinga þessa
spennir málms í eldi brenna,
riettvís mærin — ræsir þótti
reiðuligr — þann hvern, er sigrar.


The maiden, gladdened by the voice from the heavens, masterfully gave answers to all of the learned questions, which {the strong fir-trees {of the snake’s path}} [GOLD > MEN] asked her. {The unwise clasper of metal} [MAN = Maxentius] requested that each of these sages, over whom the righteous maiden wins victory, should be burned in a fire; the king seemed angry.

notes: According to the prose saga, Catherine debated first with the leader of the wise men and, after she had vanquished him, the others gave up the contest, whereupon the angry emperor ordered them all to be burnt (Unger 1877, I, 406; Wolf 2003, 128): Vard hann nu sva reiðr, at hann bauð, at þa skylldi alla i elldi brenna ‘He was now so angry that he ordered that they should all be burned in a fire’.

editions: Skj [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 14 (AII, 519; BII, 572-3); Skald II, 315, NN §3384, Kahle 1898, 70, 106, Sperber 1911, 46, 80.


AM 713 4° (713) 130 - 130  transcr.  image  image  
JS 399 a-b 4°x (399a-bx) 8 - 8  
AM 920 4°x (920x) 214v - 214v  image  
Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated