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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 14VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 14’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 940-1.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

text and translation

Meistarliga vann mentir leystar
mærin glödd af himna röddu
allar þær, er öflgir þollar
öglis stiettar hána friettu.
Spektarlauss bað spekinga þessa
spennir málms í eldi brenna,
riettvís mærin — ræsir þótti
reiðuligr — þann hvern, er sigrar.

Mærin, glödd af röddu himna, vann meistarliga allar þær mentir leystar, er {öflgir þollar {öglis stiettar}} friettu hána. {Spektarlauss spennir málms} bað þann hvern spekinga þessa, er riettvís mærin sigrar, brenna í eldi; ræsir þótti reiðuligr.
‘The maiden, gladdened by the voice from the heavens, masterfully gave answers to all of the learned questions, which the strong fir-trees of the snake’s path [GOLD > MEN] asked her. The unwise clasper of metal [MAN = Maxentius] requested that each of these sages, over whom the righteous maiden wins victory, should be burned in a fire; the king seemed angry.

notes and context

According to the prose saga, Catherine debated first with the leader of the wise men and, after she had vanquished him, the others gave up the contest, whereupon the angry emperor ordered them all to be burnt (Unger 1877, I, 406; Wolf 2003, 128): Vard hann nu sva reiðr, at hann bauð, at þa skylldi alla i elldi brenna ‘He was now so angry that he ordered that they should all be burned in a fire’.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 14: AII, 519, BII, 572-3, Skald II, 315, NN §3384, Kahle 1898, 70, 106, Sperber 1911, 46, 80.


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