Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 28VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 28’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 948-9.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

Helga siðu tók dreingr og dólga
dúcenti í myrku húsi
lægis — var það líkn — af fögrum
listarorðum bríma skorðu.
Porphíríus hiet princeps þessi;
pells kendi þeim guðsorð þella;
fleygir trúði sá fálka teiga
fannar hverr á drottin sannan.

Dreingr tók helga siðu og dúcenti dólga í myrku húsi af fögrum listarorðum {skorðu {bríma lægis}}; það var líkn. Porphíríus hiet þessi princeps; {þella pells} kendi þeim guðsorð; {hverr sá fleygir {fannar {fálka teiga}}} trúði á sannan drottin.

The man accepted the holy faith along with two hundred enemies in the prison [lit. dark house] because of the beautiful words of excellence {of the prop {of the fire of the sea}} [GOLD > WOMAN]; it was an act of mercy. Porphyry was the name of this chieftain; {the young pine of velvet} [WOMAN] taught them God’s word; {each distributor {of the snow-drift {of the falcon’s land}}} [ARM > SILVER > GENEROUS MAN] believed in the true Lord.

Mss: 713(131), 399a-bˣ(16), 920ˣ(216r-v)

Readings: [5] Porphíríus: so 399a‑bˣ, 920ˣ, ‘forphíríus’ 713    [8] hverr: hvern all

Editions: Skj AII, 522, Skj BII, 576, Skald II, 317, NN §2965, Kahle 1898, 73, 107, Sperber 1911, 49, 81.

Notes: [1-3]: Kahle considers dólga the gen. pl. of dólg ‘enmity’ and associates it with líkn to create the phrase ‘forgiveness of enmity’. As Sperber points out, it seems more reasonable to regard var það líkn as an independent cl. and associate dólga (gen. pl. of dólgr ‘enemy’, viz. ‘heathen’) with dúcentí (so also Skj B and Skald). Dúcenti is from Lat. ducenti ‘two hundred’, not in LP. — [5] Porphíríus: This name proved difficult for Icel. scribes. The writer of 713 wrote ‘forphíríus’ both here (where there seems to be no internal rhyme, unless it is between ‘íus’ and ‘ess’) and at 41/1. In the prose sagas, the name is given as ‘Portfirius’ in the ms. used by Unger (AM 233 a fol), but correctly (‘Porphirius’) in Holm2. — [7] fálka teiga ‘of the falcon’s land’: A kenning for the arm or possibly the hand.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. 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.
  6. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  7. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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