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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 43VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 43’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 958-9.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

text and translation

Reiðr gjörðiz þá ræsir skorðu
refla; beiddi lýða eflir
Hildar veðrs, að höggva skyldi
himna gætis ambátt mæta.
Blíðust fór þá björt og skærust
blessuð dyggust mæt og hyggin
fríð og fögr með píslarprýði
pella brík til himnaríkis.

Ræsir gjörðiz þá reiðr {skorðu refla}; {eflir {Hildar veðrs}} beiddi lýða, að skyldi höggva {mæta ambátt {gætis himna}}. {Blíðust, björt og skærust, blessuð, dyggust, mæt og hyggin, fríð og fögr brík pella} fór þá með píslarprýði til himnaríkis.
‘The king then became angry with the prop of wallhangings [WOMAN]; the promoter of Hildr’s <valkyrie> storm [BATTLE > WARRIOR] requested of his men that they should slay the great handmaid of the guardian of the heavens [= God > HOLY WOMAN]. The gentlest, bright and most pure, blessed, most faithful, great and intelligent, fair and beautiful screen of velvet [WOMAN] then went with the crown of martyrdom to the kingdom of the heavens.

notes and context

The poet deals succinctly with Catherine’s martyrdom in sts 43-4, while the prose text allows her a long prayer to Christ, a voice from heaven answering her prayer, and a description of her death indicating that milk flowed from her wounds in place of blood, and concluding with a passage stating that angels transported her body to a mountain þat er Syna heitir ‘which is called Sinai’, where she performs countless miracles (Unger 1877, I, 420-1; Wolf 2003, 140-1).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: [Anonyme digte og vers XIV], [B. 11]. Katrínar drápa 43: AII, 525, BII, 580, Skald II, 320, NN §3386C, Kahle 1898, 76, 108, Sperber 1911, 53, 82.


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