Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 50VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 50’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 962-3.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

Öllum veitir eingla stillir
— orð sönn eru það — kristnum mönnum
dýrð háleitri, en Ullar orðum
unnar dýra biðja kunna.
Eigendur* fyr iðran fagra
jötna róms á efsta dómi
hæsta tígn með helgum Kristi
hljóti *, svá að aldri þrjóti.

{Stillir eingla} veitir öllum kristnum mönnum — það eru sönn orð — háleitri dýrð en {Ullar {dýra unnar}} kunna biðja orðum. Hljóti * {eigendur* {róms jötna}} á efsta dómi hæsta tígn með helgum Kristi, svá að aldri þrjóti, fyr fagra iðran.

{The ruler of angels} [= God] grants to all Christian men — those are true words — a more sublime glory than {the Ullar <gods> {of the animals of the wave}} [SHIPS > SEAFARERS] know how to ask for in words. May {the owners {of the speech of giants}} [GOLD > PEOPLE] receive at the Last Judgement the highest honour with holy Christ, so that it never ends, for a beautiful repentance.

Mss: 713(133-134), 399a-bˣ(27), 920ˣ(219r)

Readings: [3] Ullar: öll með all    [5] Eigendur*: Eigendurna all    [7] hæsta: hæstri all    [8] hljóti *: hljóti eg all

Editions: Skj AII, 526, Skj BII, 581-2, Skald II, 321, Kahle 1898, 77, 109, Sperber 1911, 54-5, 83.

Notes: [3] Ullar: All mss have öll með ‘all with’; Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) emend öll með to Ullar, giving a base-word in a kenning for men via the pl. form of the name of the god Ullr. Sperber suggests Ullr með and the emendation of kunna (3rd pers. pl. pres. ind.) to kunni (3rd pers. sg. pret. ind.); accordingly, he proposes the following reading of ll. 3-4: ‘a more sublime glory than Ullr <god> of the animals of the wave [SHIPS > SEAFARER] knows how to ask for with words’. — [5]: Kahle, Finnur Jónsson (Skj B), and Kock (Skald) emend eigendurna ‘the owners’ (with suffixed def. art.) to eigendur ‘owners’; Sperber emends to eigendur ná, arguing that hæstri tígn ‘the highest honour’ is the object of the verb ‘obtain’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  5. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.

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