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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 7 December 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, 960-1

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

46 — Kálf Kátr 46VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 46’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 960-1.

Bergða eg með brjósti saurgu
blóði og holdi skapara þjóðar;
sálliga er eg í sauri öllum
synda vafðr og ilsku lyndi.
Hilmi eg fyr hneitis pálmum
hórdómi sem stuld og morði;
manndrápið verðr oftar unnið,
Yggjar báls, en runnar hyggja.


I tasted with a filthy breast the blood and flesh {of the creator of people}; [= God] I am painfully entangled in all the filth of sins and disposition to wickedness. I hide from {the palm-trees of the sword} [WARRIORS] adultery as well as theft and homicide; manslaughter is more often committed than {the trees {of Yggr’s fire}} [SWORDS > WARRIORS] think.

notes: It is doubtful whether the poet’s confession of the sins of adultery, theft and homicide, along with his partaking of the Eucharist without having been absolved from these sins, should be taken literally. For a similar statement of self-abasement, see Gamlkan Has 7-16.

editions: Skj [Anonyme digte og vers XIV]: [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 46 (AII, 525; BII, 580-1); Skald II, 320, NN §3388, Kahle 1898, 77, 108, Sperber 1911, 53-4, 83.


AM 713 4° (713) 133 - 133  transcr.  image  image  
JS 399 a-b 4°x (399a-bx) 25 - 25  
AM 920 4°x (920x) 218v - 218v  image  
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