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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 46VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 46’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 960-1.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

text and translation

Bergða eg með brjósti saurgu
blóði og holdi skapara þjóðar;
sálliga er eg í sauri öllum
synda vafðr og ilsku lyndi.
Hilmi eg fyr hneitis pálmum
hórdómi sem stuld og morði;
manndrápið verðr oftar unnið,
Yggjar báls, en runnar hyggja.

Eg bergða með saurgu brjósti blóði og holdi {skapara þjóðar}; eg er sálliga vafðr í öllum sauri synda og ilsku lyndi. Eg hilmi fyr {pálmum hneitis} hórdómi sem stuld og morði; manndrápið verðr oftar unnið en {runnar {Yggjar báls}} hyggja.
‘I tasted with a filthy breast the blood and flesh of the creator of people [= God]; I am painfully entangled in all the filth of sins and disposition to wickedness. I hide from the palm-trees of the sword [WARRIORS] adultery as well as theft and homicide; manslaughter is more often committed than the trees of Yggr’s <= Óðinn> fire [SWORDS > WARRIORS] think.

notes and context

It is doubtful whether the poet’s confession of the sins of adultery, theft and homicide, along with his partaking of the Eucharist without having been absolved from these sins, should be taken literally. For a similar statement of self-abasement, see Gamlkan Has 7-16.


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 46: AII, 525, BII, 580-1, Skald II, 320, NN §3388, Kahle 1898, 77, 108, Sperber 1911, 53-4, 83.


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