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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 2 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, 962-3

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

50 — Kálf Kátr 50VII

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 50’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 962-3.

Öllum veitir eingla stillir
— orð sönn eru það — kristnum mönnum
dýrð háleitri, en Ullar orðum
unnar dýra biðja kunna.
Eigendur* fyr iðran fagra
jötna róms á efsta dómi
hæsta tígn með helgum Kristi
hljóti *, svá að aldri þrjóti.

{Stillir eingla} veitir öllum kristnum mönnum — það eru sönn orð — háleitri dýrð en {Ullar {dýra unnar}} kunna biðja orðum. Hljóti * {eigendur* {róms jötna}} á efsta dómi hæsta tígn með helgum Kristi, svá að aldri þrjóti, fyr fagra iðran.

{The ruler of angels} [= God] grants to all Christian men — those are true words — a more sublime glory than {the Ullar <gods> {of the animals of the wave}} [SHIPS > SEAFARERS] know how to ask for in words. May {the owners {of the speech of giants}} [GOLD > PEOPLE] receive at the Last Judgement the highest honour with holy Christ, so that it never ends, for a beautiful repentance.

Mss: 713(133-134), 399a-bˣ(27), 920ˣ(219r)

Readings: [3] Ullar: öll með all    [5] Eigendur*: Eigendurna all    [7] hæsta: hæstri all    [8] hljóti *: hljóti eg all

Editions: Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 50: AII, 526, BII, 581-2, Skald II, 321, Kahle 1898, 77, 109, Sperber 1911, 54-5, 83.

Notes: [3] Ullar: All mss have öll með ‘all with’; Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) emend öll með to Ullar, giving a base-word in a kenning for men via the pl. form of the name of the god Ullr. Sperber suggests Ullr með and the emendation of kunna (3rd pers. pl. pres. ind.) to kunni (3rd pers. sg. pret. ind.); accordingly, he proposes the following reading of ll. 3-4: ‘a more sublime glory than Ullr <god> of the animals of the wave [SHIPS > SEAFARER] knows how to ask for with words’. — [5]: Kahle, Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), and Kock (Skald) emend eigendurna ‘the owners’ (with suffixed def. art.) to eigendur ‘owners’; Sperber emends to eigendur ná, arguing that hæstri tígn ‘the highest honour’ is the object of the verb ‘obtain’.

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