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, 949

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

29 — Kálf Kátr 29VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance

 

Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 29’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 949.

Hrist fór þá með hreinu brjósti
hrings á braut og málma Gautar;
öll leyfðu þau eingla stilli
endalaust, sem guðs mær kendi.
Stendr og sitr til hægri handar
heilög Máría aldar deili;
mildingr skipar nú mána foldar
mæstr Kátrínu henni hið næsta.

{Hrist hrings} fór þá á braut með hreinu brjósti og {Gautar málma}; öll leyfðu þau {stilli eingla} endalaust, sem guðs mær kendi. Heilög Máría stendr og sitr til hægri handar {deili aldar}; {mæstr mildingr {foldar mána}} skipar nú Kátrínu hið næsta henni.

{The Hrist <valkyrie> of the ring} [WOMAN] then went away with a pure breast and [so did] {the Gautar <= Óðinn> of metal} [WARRIORS]; they all praised {the ruler of angels} [= God] endlessly, as God’s maiden taught. Holy Mary stands and sits at the right hand {of the ruler of people} [= God]; {the greatest prince {of the land of the moon}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] now places Catherine next to her.

Mss: 713(131), 399a-bˣ(16), 920ˣ(216v)

Readings: [5-8] so 920ˣ, abbrev. as ‘Stendr og sitr ti hægri h. h.’ 713, abbrev. as ‘Stendr ok sitr til hægri handar’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 29: AII, 522, BII, 576, Skald II, 317, Kahle 1898, 73, 107, Sperber 1911, 49-50, 81.

Notes: [1-4]: The reference is presumably to the emperor’s wife and the now converted knights, who, according to the prose text, kissed one another, commended themselves to God and went away from the prison, asking the guards to keep quiet about what had taken place there (Unger 1877, I, 413; Wolf 2003, 134). — [2] Gautar málma ‘Gautar <= Óðinns> of metal’: Gautar is here treated as a nom. pl. of Gautr, a heiti for the god Óðinn (so also LP), but it may simply mean ‘men’ or possibly the inhabitants of Gautland in Sweden. — [5-8]: The poet continues with the same stef as in sts 17, 21 and 25, though one might perhaps have expected the introduction of a second stef at this point. The poet also refers to pl. refrains (stef þau) in 34/1, but he must presumably mean repetitions of a single stef.

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