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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, 942

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

16 — Kálf Kátr 16VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 16’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 942.

Bragnar lietu í báli heitu
blessað líf, en fór* með vífi
lík heilög í láði að hylja
lýða sveit með allri prýði.
Hárið kunni ei heldr að brenna
hrannar bliks á viðum en annað;
ýtendr lofuðu eingla gæti
öldu fress af tákni þessu.

Bragnar lietu blessað líf í heitu báli, en sveit lýða fór* með vífi að hylja í láði heilög lík með allri prýði. Hárið kunni ei heldr að brenna en annað á {viðum {bliks hrannar}}; {ýtendr {fress öldu}} lofuðu {gæti eingla} af tákni þessu.

The men lost their blessed life in the hot fire, but a host of people went with the woman to cover in earth the holy bodies with all pomp. Neither the hair nor anything else could burn on {the woods {of the gleam of the wave}} [GOLD > MEN]; {the launchers {of the bear of the wave}} [SHIP > SEAFARERS] praised {the guardian of angels} [= God] for this miracle.

Mss: 713(130), 399a-bˣ(9), 920ˣ(214v-215r)

Readings: [2] fór*: fóru all    [6] viðum: viði all

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 16: AII, 519-20, BII, 573, Skald II, 315, NN §2958B, Kahle 1898, 70, 107, Sperber 1911, 46, 80.

Notes: [All]: In the prose text the martyrdom of the wise men is preceded by lengthy dialogue between them and Catherine; details of their corpses’ invulnerability to fire are the same in both texts (Unger 1877, I, 407; Wolf 2003, 130): ...ok fundu likami þeira oskadda, sva at eigi var helldr brunnit hárit af þeim en annat ‘...and they found their bodies unscathed, so that neither their hair nor anything else of them was burnt’.

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