Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 3VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 3’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 934.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa

... drápu að fremja
drottinn lýðs, er guðs son þýðiz;
inna skal þá elda spennir
eyja hrings frá helgri meyju.
Kátrín, frá eg, að kóngs jóð hieti
kostum prýdd, en góð verk þýddiz;
veglig jungfrú var hun og tígin
vitr og fróð að öllu góðu.

{Drottinn lýðs}, er þýðiz {guðs son}, ... að fremja drápu, þá skal {spennir {elda {hrings eyja}}} inna frá helgri meyju. Eg frá, að kóngs jóð hieti Kátrín, prýdd kostum, en þýddiz góð verk; hun var veglig jungfrú og tígin, vitr og fróð að öllu góðu.

{Lord of people} [= God], who is explained as {God’s son} [= Christ], ... to complete a drápa; then {the clasper {of the fires {of the ring of islands}}} [SEA > GOLD > MAN = Kálfur Hallson (= I)] shall tell of a holy maiden. I heard that a king’s daughter was named Catherine, endowed with virtues, and she performed good deeds; she was a noble maiden and high-born, wise and knowledgeable about all good things.

Mss: 713(129), 399a-bˣ(3), 920ˣ(213r)

Readings: [1] drápu: so 399a‑bˣ, ‘[...]rápu’ 713, ‘rapu’ 920ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 415, Skj BII, 569-70, Skald II, 312-13; NN §§1775, 3382A, B, Kahle 1898, 67, 105, Sperber 1911, 43, 78.

Notes: [1]: Finnur Jónsson (Skj A) observes that this l., which is almost illegible due to a tear in 713, may be more or less of a repetition of l. 8 in st. 2. If so, the poet is employing a rhetorical figure (anadiplosis) similar to the one that Snorri Sturluson called drǫgur ‘drawings’ in Ht (SnE 1999, 11 and n. to st. 16/9-10). Kock (Skald; NN §3383) has Dæmi gefi mér drápu at fremja ‘Give me a model to complete a drápa’. Sperber suggests Deili orðfimi drápu að fremja ‘Award word-skill to complete a drápa’, but his reading is unmetrical (the fourth, unstressed syllable cannot carry internal rhyme). The expected sense seems to require a concessional cl.: ‘assuming Christ helps me to complete a drápa, I will tell of a holy maiden …’.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj A = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15a. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. A: Tekst efter håndskrifterne. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1967. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  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. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.
  7. SnE 1999 = Snorri Sturluson. 1999. Edda: Háttatal. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. Rpt. with addenda and corrigenda. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  8. Internal references
  9. Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘Háttatal’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].

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