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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 29VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 29’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 949.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

Hrist fór þá með hreinu brjósti
hrings á braut og málma Gautar;
öll leyfðu þau eingla stilli
endalaust, sem guðs mær kendi.
Stendr og sitr til hægri handar
heilög Máría aldar deili;
mildingr skipar nú mána foldar
mæstr Kátrínu henni hið næsta.

{Hrist hrings} fór þá á braut með hreinu brjósti og {Gautar málma}; öll leyfðu þau {stilli eingla} endalaust, sem guðs mær kendi. Heilög Máría stendr og sitr til hægri handar {deili aldar}; {mæstr mildingr {foldar mána}} skipar nú Kátrínu hið næsta henni.

{The Hrist <valkyrie> of the ring} [WOMAN] then went away with a pure breast and [so did] {the Gautar <= Óðinn> of metal} [WARRIORS]; they all praised {the ruler of angels} [= God] endlessly, as God’s maiden taught. Holy Mary stands and sits at the right hand {of the ruler of people} [= God]; {the greatest prince {of the land of the moon}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] now places Catherine next to her.

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

Readings: [5-8] so 920ˣ, abbrev. as ‘Stendr og sitr ti hægri h. h.’ 713, abbrev. as ‘Stendr ok sitr til hægri handar’ 399a‑bˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 522, Skj BII, 576, Skald II, 317, Kahle 1898, 73, 107, Sperber 1911, 49-50, 81.

Notes: [1-4]: The reference is presumably to the emperor’s wife and the now converted knights, who, according to the prose text, kissed one another, commended themselves to God and went away from the prison, asking the guards to keep quiet about what had taken place there (Unger 1877, I, 413; Wolf 2003, 134). — [2] Gautar málma ‘Gautar <= Óðinns> of metal’: Gautar is here treated as a nom. pl. of Gautr, a heiti for the god Óðinn (so also LP), but it may simply mean ‘men’ or possibly the inhabitants of Gautland in Sweden. — [5-8]: The poet continues with the same stef as in sts 17, 21 and 25, though one might perhaps have expected the introduction of a second stef at this point. The poet also refers to pl. refrains (stef þau) in 34/1, but he must presumably mean repetitions of a single stef.


  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.
  8. Internal references
  9. 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Gautreks saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 241. <> (accessed 25 September 2021)

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