Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 18VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 18’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 943.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

Hilmir, segi eg, að hugðiz tæla
himna gætis ambátt mæta;
mýgir bauðz þá fljóði fögru
fannar lófa að eiginmanni.
‘Allir skulu’, kvað odda spillir,
‘elda Lofn, í mínu veldi
heiðra þig sem helga gyðju,
hnyssings teigs, ef mig vill eiga’.

Eg segi, að hilmir hugðiz tæla {mæta ambátt {gætis himna}}; {mýgir {fannar lófa}} bauðz þá fögru fljóði að eiginmanni. ‘Allir í mínu veldi’, kvað {spillir odda}, ‘skulu heiðra þig, {Lofn {elda {hnyssings teigs}}}, sem helga gyðju, ef vill eiga mig’.

I say that the prince intended to entice {the great handmaid {of the guardian of the heavens}} [= God > HOLY WOMAN]; {the crusher {of the snowdrift of the palm}} [SILVER > GENEROUS MAN] then offered himself to the beautiful maiden as husband. ‘All in my realm’, said {the destroyer of swords’ points} [WARRIOR] ‘shall honour you, {Lofn <goddess> {of the fires {of the whale’s land}}} [SEA > GOLD > WOMAN], as a holy goddess, if you will marry me’.

Mss: 713(130-131), 399a-bˣ(10), 920ˣ(215r)

Editions: Skj AII, 520, Skj BII, 573-4, Skald II, 315, Kahle 1898, 70-1, 107, Sperber 1911, 47, 80.

Notes: [All]: Maxentius’s offer of marriage to Catherine in the prose text gives detail about how his most skilful craftsmen will make an image of her which will be worshipped throughout his kingdom (Unger 1877, I, 408; Wolf 2003, 130). — [8] hnyssings (m. gen. sg.) ‘whale, fish’: LP explains hnyssingr as ‘a kind of fish (whale?)’, rejecting Sperber’s suggestion that it is a derivative of hnoss ‘treasure’ and that hnyssings teigr ‘land of treasure’ = ‘hand’. In Sperber’s view, hnyssings teigs elda ‘hand of fire’ is a kenning for ‘gold’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Unger, C. R., ed. 1877. Heilagra manna søgur. Fortællinger og legender om hellige mænd og kvinder. 2 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Bentzen.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  5. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  6. Wolf, Kirsten, ed. 2003. Heilagra meyja sögur. Íslenzk trúarrit 1. Reykjavík: Bókmenntafræðistofnun Háskóla Íslands.
  7. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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