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, 948-9

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

28 — Kálf Kátr 28VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 28’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 948-9.

Helga siðu tók dreingr og dólga
dúcenti í myrku húsi
lægis — var það líkn — af fögrum
listarorðum bríma skorðu.
Porphíríus hiet princeps þessi;
pells kendi þeim guðsorð þella;
fleygir trúði fálka teiga
fannar hverr á drottin sannan.


The man accepted the holy faith along with two hundred enemies in the prison [lit. dark house] because of the beautiful words of excellence {of the prop {of the fire of the sea}}; [GOLD > WOMAN] it was an act of mercy. Porphyry was the name of this chieftain; {the young pine of velvet} [WOMAN] taught them God’s word; {each distributor {of the snow-drift {of the falcon’s land}}} [ARM > SILVER > GENEROUS MAN] believed in the true Lord.

notes: [1-3]: Kahle considers dólga the gen. pl. of dólg ‘enmity’ and associates it with líkn to create the phrase ‘forgiveness of enmity’. As Sperber points out, it seems more reasonable to regard var það líkn as an independent cl. and associate dólga (gen. pl. of dólgr ‘enemy’, viz. ‘heathen’) with dúcentí (so also Skj B and Skald). Dúcenti is from Lat. ducenti ‘two hundred’, not in LP.

editions: Skj [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 28 (AII, 522; BII, 576); Skald II, 317, NN §2965, Kahle 1898, 73, 107, Sperber 1911, 49, 81.


AM 713 4° (713) 131 - 131  transcr.  image  image  
JS 399 a-b 4°x (399a-bx) 16 - 16  
AM 920 4°x (920x) 216r - 216v  image  
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