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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 16VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 16’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 942.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

text and translation

Bragnar lietu í báli heitu
blessað líf, en fór* með vífi
lík heilög í láði að hylja
lýða sveit með allri prýði.
Hárið kunni ei heldr að brenna
hrannar bliks á viðum en annað;
ýtendr lofuðu eingla gæti
öldu fress af tákni þessu.

Bragnar lietu blessað líf í heitu báli, en sveit lýða fór* með vífi að hylja í láði heilög lík með allri prýði. Hárið kunni ei heldr að brenna en annað á {viðum {bliks hrannar}}; {ýtendr {fress öldu}} lofuðu {gæti eingla} af tákni þessu.
‘The men lost their blessed life in the hot fire, but a host of people went with the woman to cover in earth the holy bodies with all pomp. Neither the hair nor anything else could burn on the woods of the gleam of the wave [GOLD > MEN]; the launchers of the bear of the wave [SHIP > SEAFARERS] praised the guardian of angels [= God] for this miracle.

notes and context

In the prose text the martyrdom of the wise men is preceded by lengthy dialogue between them and Catherine; details of their corpses’ invulnerability to fire are the same in both texts (Unger 1877, I, 407; Wolf 2003, 130): ...ok fundu likami þeira oskadda, sva at eigi var helldr brunnit hárit af þeim en annat ‘...and they found their bodies unscathed, so that neither their hair nor anything else of them was burnt’.



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 16: AII, 519-20, BII, 573, Skald II, 315, NN §2958B, Kahle 1898, 70, 107, Sperber 1911, 46, 80.


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