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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, ‘ 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 28 January 2022)

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Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa (AII, 516-26, BII, 569-82)

SkP info: VII, 934-5

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

4 — Kálf Kátr 4VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 4’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 934-5.

Kæna setti Kosti dóttur
(kunni hun ung mæla tungur
allar þær) til bóknáms báru
Baldur eims (er geingu í heimi).
Ástargjörn hefir allar listir
ambátt himna drottins framdar;
fegri var sjá en flestar meyjar
falda Þrúðr og hátta prúðust.


{The Baldur {of the fire of the wave}} [GOLD > MAN] set {Kostus’s skilful daughter} [= Catherine] to book-learning; at a young age she could speak all the languages that were current in the world. {The loving handmaid {of the Lord of the heavens}} [= God > HOLY WOMAN] has performed all arts; {that Þrúðr of headdresses} [WOMAN] was more beautiful than most maidens and the best mannered.

notes: Cf. the prose legend (Unger 1877, I, 401; Wolf 2003, 124): Þessi mær svo sem hun var ættgo᷎fug, svo var hun ok agæt at speki sinni, numit hafdi hun allar þær iþrottir a bokum, er liberalis heita. Hun kunni margar tungur at skilia ok spakliga allar spurningar at leysa, þær er fyrir hana voro bornar ‘This maiden, to the extent that she was of noble birth, was equally noble in her wisdom, and had learnt all those arts from books, that are called the liberal arts. She could understand many languages and could wisely solve all questions that were brought before her’.

editions: Skj [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 4 (AII, 517; BII, 570); Skald II, 313, Kahle 1898, 67, 105, Sperber, 1911, 44, 78-9.


AM 713 4° (713) 129 - 129  transcr.  image  image  
JS 399 a-b 4°x (399a-bx) 3 - 3  
AM 920 4°x (920x) 213r - 213v  image  
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