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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Kálf Kátr 38VII

Kirsten Wolf (ed.) 2007, ‘Kálfr Hallsson, Kátrínardrápa 38’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 954-5.

Kálfr HallssonKátrínardrápa
373839

Æðin hljóp í plátu prýði;
pína bauð hann drotning sína;
brjóstin skáru blóta lystir
baugs spennandar lífs af henni.
Tiggi liet þá tróðu höggva
tálgjarnastur Iðja mála;
sálin giet eg, að hennar hvíli
himna Krists í dýrðarvistum.

Æðin hljóp í {prýði plátu}; hann bauð drotning sína pína; {blóta lystir spennandar baugs} skáru brjóstin af henni lífs. Tálgjarnastur tiggi liet þá {tróðu {mála Iðja}} höggva; eg giet, að sálin hennar hvíli í dýrðarvistum Krists himna.

Anger overtook {the adorner of harness} [WARRIOR]; he requested that his queen be tortured; {the sacrifice-keen squanderers of the ring} [GENEROUS MEN] cut the breasts off her while she was alive. The very deceit-inclined king then had {the stick {of the speech of Iði <giant>}} [GOLD > WOMAN] slain; I expect that her soul rests in the glorious abodes of Christ’s heavens.

Mss: 713(132), 399a-bˣ(21), 920ˣ(217v)

Readings: [1] plátu: ‘platons’ all    [6] Iðja: ‘idju’ all    [7] sálin: sálu 713, 399a‑bˣ, sálu 920ˣ

Editions: Skj AII, 523-4, Skj BII, 578-9, Skald II, 319, Kahle 1898, 75, 108, Sperber 1911, 51-2, 82.

Notes: [1] plátu (f. gen. sg.) ‘harness, plate armour’: Finnur Jónsson (Skj B) and Kock (Skald) emend all mss’ ‘platons’ to plátu; Sperber takes the ms. form as a proper noun and regards Plátons prýðir (which he translates as ‘worshipper of Platon’, i.e. the Greek philosopher Plato, considered as a representative of heathen learning) as a kenning for ‘heathen’.  Pláta occurs elsewhere in poetry only in rímur, as a determinant in man (or warrior)-kennings (e.g. plátu runn ‘bush of armour’ in Friðþjófsrímur II, 13/1(Finnur Jónsson 1905-22, I, 420), a poem Finnur (LH, III, 52) considered likely to be composed by Vitulus vates). Plata f. is attested in prose (ONP word-list: plata; Fritzner: plata 2; Fritzner IV: pláta) and the form ‘Platonis’ occurs in the prose saga of S. Catherine (Unger 1877, 404; Wolf 2003, 126) to refer to Plato the philosopher. — [3-4] blóta lystir spennandar baugs ‘the sacrifice-keen squanderers of the ring [GENEROUS MEN]’: An ironic expression for Maxentius’s heathen followers, based on the kenning-type ‘distributor of gold/rings [GENEROUS MAN]’. — [5-6] tróðu mála Iðja ‘the stick of the speech of Iði <giant> [GOLD > WOMAN]’: The pers. n. Iði (Iðja gen. sg.) for mss’ ‘idju’ was first suggested by Kahle following Jón Þorkelsson. According to the Skm section of SnE (1998, I, 3), Iði was the name of a very rich giant who, along with his two brothers, measured out their inheritance in mouthfuls of gold. From that myth, according to Snorri, poets could construct kennings for gold that referred to it as ‘speech or words or talk’ of these giants. A similar kenning appears in st. 39/1-2 ýtir raddar Iðja (also by emendation, where the mss have the same form iðju, possibly understood by the scribes as from iðja f. ‘activity, work’). The poet appears to refer once more to the myth underlying these relatively uncommon kennings (cf. Meissner, 227) in 40/5-6 ýtar róms jötna ‘launchers of the speech of giants’ and again in 50/5-6 eigendur jötna róms ‘owners of the speech of giants’. The gold-kenning Iðja rödd ‘voice of Iði <giant>’ also appears in Völsungs rímur III, 20/4 (Finnur Jónsson 1905-22, I, 329). — [8] í dýrðarvistum himna Krists ‘in the glorious abodes of Christ’s heavens’: Possibly a kenning-like periphrasis for Paradise.

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. Unger, C. R., ed. 1877. Heilagra manna søgur. Fortællinger og legender om hellige mænd og kvinder. 2 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Bentzen.
  3. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  4. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. Meissner = Meissner, Rudolf. 1921. Die Kenningar der Skalden: Ein Beitrag zur skaldischen Poetik. Rheinische Beiträge und Hülfsbücher zur germanischen Philologie und Volkskunde 1. Bonn and Leipzig: Schroeder. Rpt. 1984. Hildesheim etc.: Olms.
  6. Sperber, Hans, ed. 1911. Sechs isländische Gedichte legendarischen Inhalts. Uppsala Universitets årsskrift, filosofi, språkvetenskap och historiska vetenskaper 2. Uppsala: Akademische Buchdruckerei Edv. Berling.
  7. Wolf, Kirsten, ed. 2003. Heilagra meyja sögur. Íslenzk trúarrit 1. Reykjavík: Bókmenntafræðistofnun Háskóla Íslands.
  8. Fritzner = Fritzner, Johan. 1883-96. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog. 3 vols. Kristiania (Oslo): Den norske forlagsforening. 4th edn. Rpt. 1973. Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget.
  9. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  10. Kahle, Bernhard, ed. 1898. Isländische geistliche Dichtungen des ausgehenden Mittelalters. Heidelberg: Winter.
  11. LH = Finnur Jónsson. 1920-4. Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie. 3 vols. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Gad.
  12. Fritzner IV = Hødnebø, Finn. 1972. Ordbog over det gamle norske sprog af Dr. Johan Fritzner: Rettelser og tillegg. Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø: Universitetsforlaget.
  13. Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1905-22. Rímnasafn: Samling af de ældste islandske rimer. 2 vols. SUGNL 35. Copenhagen: Møller.
  14. Internal references
  15. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ 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].
  16. Not published: do not cite (SkmIII)
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