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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 35VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 35’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 953.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

‘Hygg að þú nú, heiðinn tiggi’,
hæð mælti, ‘sá öllu er æðri,
hvárn mundir þú, eða heimsku gjarnan’,
hafnarljósa, ‘fyrri kjósa’?
‘Heldur kjöri eg’, kvað hristir skjalda,
‘hverjum frægra en öllum lægra;
eigi skil eg, hví öðling Sága
elda síks hefir friett að slíku.’

‘Hygg þú nú að, heiðinn tiggi’, mælti {hæð {hafnarljósa}}, ‘hvárn mundir þú fyrri kjósa, sá er æðri öllu eða gjarnan heimsku?’ ‘Eg kjöri heldur’, kvað {hristir skjalda}, ‘hverjum frægra en öllum lægra; eg skil eigi, hví {Sága {elda síks}} hefir friett öðling að slíku’.

‘Now consider, heathen king’ said {the height {of the harbour-light}} [GOLD > WOMAN], ‘whom you would rather choose, one who is higher than anything else or one eager for folly?’ ‘I choose rather’ said {the the shaker of shields} [WARRIOR], ‘the one who is more famous than all others than the one who is inferior to all others; I do not understand, why {the Sága <goddess> {of the fires of the channel}} [GOLD > WOMAN] has asked the king about such a matter’.

Mss: 713(132), 399a-bˣ(19), 920ˣ(217r)

Readings: [2] er: om. all    [7] hví: þvi all

Editions: Skj AII, 523, Skj BII, 578, Skald II, 318, NN §§2967, 3397M, Kahle 1898, 74, 107, Sperber 1911, 51, 81.

Notes: [All]: This st. summarises a long dialogue between Maxentius and Catherine in the prose text (Unger 1877, I, 414-15; Wolf 2003, 135-6). — [2] (m. nom. sg.) ‘one’: One would expect acc. sg. as object of kjósa ‘choose’ (l. 4), but this is an instance where the demonstrative takes the case required by the rel. cl. in which it functions as the subject, i.e. hvárn (acc. object to kjósa) mundir þú fyrri kjósa, sá (subject of rel. cl. with er omitted) er æðri ǫllu, eða gjarnan heimsku. See NS §§260, 264.


  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. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  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. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  8. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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