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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 40VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 40’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 956.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

‘Hvern býð eg’, kvað hinn heimskugjarni,
‘hjörva lund að missa fjörvi,
veðra, hválfs að vísi heiðrar,
vella njótr, en hafnar blótum.’
Ýtar kváðuz eingla gæti
jötna róms hafa hugað að þjóna;
meiðar tóku dapran dauða
Drafnar elds í Jésú nafni.

‘Eg býð’, kvað hinn heimskugjarni, ‘að {hvern lund hjörva} missa fjörvi, að heiðrar {vísi {hválfs veðra}}, en hafnar blótum, {njótr vella}’. {Ýtar {róms jötna}} kváðuz hafa hugað að þjóna {gæti eingla}; {meiðar {elds Drafnar}} tóku dapran dauða í nafni Jésú.

‘I order’, spoke the stupidity-inclined one, ‘that {each tree of swords} [MAN] shall lose his life, who honours {the king {of the vault of the winds}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = God] and abandons sacrifices, {user of gold} [MAN]’. {The launchers {of the speech of giants}} [GOLD > MEN] said that they had decided to serve {the guardian of angels} [= God]; {the trees {of the fire of Dröfn <wave>}} [GOLD > MEN] died a sad death in the name of Jesus.

Mss: 713(132-133), 399a-bˣ(22), 920ˣ(217v)

Readings: [3] veðra: so 399a‑bˣ, veðrar 713, veðrar 920ˣ    [4] hafnar: hafna all    [7] meiðar: meiðir all

Editions: Skj AII, 524, Skj BII, 579, Skald II, 319, Kahle 1898, 75, 108, Sperber 1911, 52, 82.

Notes: [3] ‘who’: The use of as a rel. conj. was relatively common in C14th poetry; cf. NS §259. — [7-8] meiðar elds Drafnar ‘the trees of the fire of Dröfn <wave> [GOLD > MEN]’: It is just possible that meiðar should be understood as ‘maimers’, in which case this is a kenning for generous men.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  4. NS = Nygaard, Marius. 1906. Norrøn syntax. Kristiania (Oslo): Aschehoug. Rpt. 1966.
  5. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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