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, 943-4

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

19 — Kálf Kátr 19VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 19’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 943-4.

Kátrín sagðiz kóngi heitin
kraftafull, þeim er alt gott skafti;
öllum neitti ófnis palla
orðum fylkis heilög skorða.
Reiðir skipaði geima glóða
græðara heims að fletta klæðum
fyrðum sínum fast að berja
falda strönd og kvelja í böndum.

Kraftafull sagðiz Kátrín heitin kóngi, þeim er alt gott skafti; {heilög skorða {palla ófnis}} neitti öllum orðum fylkis. {Reiðir {glóða geima}} skipaði fyrðum sínum að fletta {strönd falda {græðara heims}} klæðum, að berja fast og kvelja í böndum.

Full of strength Catherine said that she was betrothed to that king who created all good things; {the holy prop {of the benches of the serpent}} [GOLD > WOMAN] said no to all the words of the king. {The spreader {of red-hot embers of the sea}} [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN] commanded his men to strip {the beach of the headdress {of the Saviour of the world}} [= God (= Christ) > HOLY WOMAN] of her clothes, beat her hard, and torture her in fetters.

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

Readings: [5] Reiðir: Reiðr 713, 399a‑bˣ, ‘Reidir’ corrected from ‘Reidur’ 920ˣ    [8] böndum: so 399a‑bˣ, 920ˣ, ‘bon[...]um’ 713

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 19: AII, 520, BII, 574, Skald II, 316, Kahle 1898, 71, 107, Sperber 1911, 80.

Notes: [All]: Catherine’s long speeches of reproach and attempted instruction to Maxentius in the prose text (Unger 1877, I, 408-9; Wolf 2003, 130-1) are reduced to essentials here (barring the kennings), but ll. 5-8 follow the prose closely (Unger 1877, I, 409; Wolf 2003, 131): Ok fyrir þa søk let hann færa hana af klæðum ok beria lengi ‘And for that reason he had her stripped of her clothes and beaten for a long time’. — [3, 4] heilög skorða ... palla ófnis ‘the holy prop of the benches of the serpent [GOLD > WOMAN]’: ‘The benches of the serpent’ is a somewhat strained kenning for gold, on the model of ‘lair of the serpent’ etc.

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