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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 30 November 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, 935

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

5 — Kálf Kátr 5VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 5’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 935.

Alexandría hiet borg, sú er brendra
bauga Hlín með frændum sínum
stödd var í, þá er margar mæddu
mótgjörðirnar líkam snótar.
Odda flaums rieð öllum heimi
— eg nefni svá keisarann — stefnir,
Maxencíus liet meizlur vinna,
Máríu sonar er þrælar váru.

Alexandría hiet borg, sú er {Hlín brendra bauga} var stödd í með frændum sínum, þá er margar mótgjörðirnar mæddu líkam snótar. {Stefnir {flaums odda}} rieð öllum heimi — eg nefni svá keisarann — Maxencíus liet meizlur vinna, er váru {þrælar {sonar Máríu}}.

Alexandria was the name of the city, in which {the Hlín <goddess> of burnished rings} [WOMAN] lived with her relatives, when the many assaults tormented the body of the woman. {The summoner {of the stream of spear points}} [BATTLE > WARRIOR] ruled over the whole world — by this I mean the emperor — Maxentius had [those] undergo mutilation, who were {the servants {of the son of Mary}} [= Christ > CHRISTIAN PEOPLE].

Mss: 713(129), 399a-bˣ(4), 920ˣ(213v)

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 5: AII, 517, BII, 570, Skald II, 313, Kahle 1898, 68, 105, Sperber 1911, 44, 79.

Notes: [2-3] var stödd í með frændum sínum ‘[in which she] lived with her relatives’: The prose saga (Unger 1877, I, 401; Wolf 2003, 124) explains that Catherine’s father Kostus had died ok var hun eptir hans frafall med frændum sinum í þeiri ho᷎ll, er hann hafdi att ‘and she stayed after his death with her relatives in the hall which he had owned’.

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