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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gunnlaugr Leifsson (GunnLeif)

13th century; volume 8; ed. Russell Poole;

VIII. 1. Merlínusspá I (Merl I) - 103

Skj info: Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Islandsk munk, d. 1218 (AII, 10-36, BII, 10-45).

Skj poems:
Merlínússpá I
Merlínússpá II

Gunnlaugr Leifsson (GunnLeif, d. 1218 or 1219) was a monk at the Benedictine house of Þingeyrar, a monastery near the shores of Húnaflói, in northern Iceland, that maintained close relations with the seat of the bishop at Hólar (Turville-Petre 1953, 135). Nothing is known concerning Gunnlaugr’s place of birth, upbringing or social origins. He was regarded in his own time as a man of singular Latin learning (LH II, 394-5) and worked in a distinguished historiographic and hagiographic milieu (de Vries 1964-7, II, 246). In a rare personal anecdote, perhaps apocryphal, Arngrímr Brandsson, a Benedictine monk and abbot at Þingeyrar (d. 1361 or 1362), tells that Gunnlaugr attempted to recite his new history of Saint Ambrose at the church at Hólar but was rebuffed by Bishop Guðmundr Arason (LH II, 394-5; Ciklamini 2008, 1). The two men were evidently on good terms at an earlier stage, however (Ciklamini 2004, 66), and, while bishop at Hólar, Guðmundr commissioned Gunnlaugr to prepare a life of Jón helgi ‘the Saint’ Ǫgmundarson and an account of portents and miracles pertaining to Þorlákr Þórhallsson, both in Latin (LH II, 394-5). 

Works ascribed to Gunnlaugr that survive in one form or other include the Latin life of Jón helgi, represented by a close Icelandic translation; the account of Þorlákr’s miracles; a Latin expansion of Gunnlaugr’s Þingeyrar colleague Oddr Snorrason’s life of King Óláfr Tryggvason, extant in the shape of excerpts translated into Icelandic; an Icelandic original version of Þorvalds þáttr víðfǫrla ‘The Tale of Þorvaldr the Far-traveller’ that may at one time have formed part of the life of Óláfr; and a now entirely lost life of Saint Ambrose (LH II, 394-403; Turville-Petre 1953, 194-200; Bekker-Nielsen 1958; de Vries 1964-7, II, 245-7; Würth 1998, 205-6; Ciklamini 2004, 66; Katrín Axelsdóttir 2005). The only work ascribed to Gunnlaugr that appears to survive in a relatively complete state is Merlínusspá ‘The Prophecies of Merlin’ (Merl I and II). It is also the sole medieval instance of a direct verse translation into Icelandic from Latin prose (Würth 1998, 206).

notes
no FJ abbr

Merlínusspá I (‘The Prophecies of Merlin I’) — GunnLeif Merl IVIII (Bret)

Russell Poole 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 38.

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Skj: Gunnlaugr Leifsson: Merlínússpá II (AII, 22-36, BII, 24-45)

in texts: Bret

SkP info: VIII, 38

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Nú skalk flotnum,
þats forðum vas,
— hlýði fróðir mér
fyrðar — segja,
at buðlungr sat
Bretlandi at;
hét vellskati
Vortígernus.
Listen to me, wise men; now I shall tell men what once was, that a king resided in Britain; the generous man was called Vortigern.
2 Jǫrð vas forðum
fyrr kend Bretum,
sús Englum es
eignuð síðan,
þvíat in enska þjóð
áðan vélti
breks ósama
brezka lýði.
The land, which has since been assigned to the English, was previously called after the Britons in former days, for the English people beforehand deceived the British people, [who were] averse to the extortion of land.
3 Ok láð þeira
með liði miklu
sjǫlf eignaðisk
í sǫgum fornum.
Ok, þars kristnir
kœnir byggja,
áðr tók heiðin þjóð
hallir smíða.
And according to the ancient stories, they themselves took possession of their land with a great army. And where wise Christians settle, heathen people had previously taken to constructing halls.
4 Es áttbogi
enskrar þjóðar
saxneskr sagaðr
í sǫgum fornum.
Þaðan eflðusk þeir
til þrimu geira
landi at ræna
lofðung Breta.
The lineage of the English people is said in ancient stories to be Saxon. From there they strengthened themselves for the clash of spears [BATTLE] to deprive the king of the Britons of the land.
5 En hers jaðarr
halda máttit
brezkri jǫrðu
né bauga fjǫlð.
Alt fór inn heiðni
herr it eystra
eldi ok jarni
eylands jaðar.
And the leader of the army [RULER = Vortigern] could not hold the British land nor the mass of treasures. The heathen army overran the edge of the island, all the east, with fire and iron.
6 En hertogi
hœlis leitar;
gerisk traustan turn
tyggi at smíða.
Ok þangat til
þeirar gerðar
samnar mǫrgum
mildingr smiðum.
But the duke searches for a stronghold; the lord sets about building a trusty tower. And the king assembles many craftsmen there for that work.
7 Kómu til smíðar
spakir vǫlundar
— þats ýtum sagt —
uppi í fjalli.
En, þats drengir
á degi gerðu,
sá þess engan stað
annan morgin.
Skilful builders came to the work up on the mountain; that is told to men. But what the men achieved by day, nowhere was it to be seen the next morning.
8 Kalla lét fylkir
fróða seggi;
frá gunnþorinn
gramr hvat olli,
es gǫrla hvarf
grundvǫllr sá brott,
se*m grund gǫmul
gleypði steina
eða †hamloðin
harmin seldi†.
The king had wise men summoned; the battle-bold lord inquired what was the cause, when that foundation completely vanished, as if the ancient earth swallowed stones or … .
9 Einn vas maðr sá,
es myrkva frétt
fyr skata skýrum
skynja kunni.
Hét yngva vinr
Ambrósíus,
en inn ágæti
ǫðru nafni
Merlínus sá
maðr kallaðisk.
That man was [the] only [one], who could explain the obscure portent to the wise king. The friend of the king was called Ambrosius but that excellent man was known by another name, Merlin.
10 Þat kvað valda
verdags hǫtuðr,
at þar undir vas
ólítit vatn.
Bauð grund grafa
gumna stjóri;
reynisk spaklig
spámanns saga.
The hater of the sea-day [GOLD > GENEROUS MAN = Merlin] said the cause was that a not small lake lay underneath. The commander of men [RULER = Vortigern] ordered the ground to be dug up; the prophet’s account turns out to be percipient.
11 Ok inn fróði halr
frétti lofða,
hvat und vatni
væri niðri.
Ok, es engi þat
annarr vissi,
sagði fylki
fleinþollr spǫkum:
And the wise man asked people what was further down beneath the lake. And, when nobody else knew that, the spear-fir [WARRIOR = Merlin] said to the sagacious king:
12 ‘Sofa þar í dimmu
djúpi niðri
tvennir ormar
tveim hellum í.
Þeir eru lindar
lands ólíkir;
sék rauða seil
rás ok hvíta.
‘Two snakes sleep there in the dark depth down in two caves. Those girdles of the land [SNAKES] are unlike [one another]; I see a red and a white rope of the earth [SNAKE].
13 ‘Lát grund grafa,
gera skorninga,’
sagði Merlínus
menja deili.
‘Veitið vatni,
ok vitið síðan,
hvat spát hafi
spillir bauga,
— þat es nýlunda —
niðr ór fjalli.’
‘Have the earth dug, form channels,’ Merlin said to the sharer of neck-rings [GENEROUS MAN = Vortigern]. ‘Drain the lake down from the mountain and then find out what the despoiler of rings [GENEROUS MAN = Merlin] has prophesied; that is a novelty.’
14 Gerðu greppar,
þats gumnum bauð;
varð vatni niðr
veitt ór fjalli.
Ok seimgefendr
snáka þekðu
tryggðarlausa,
sem Týr firum
hafði Hristar
hugspár sagat.
Men did as he ordered them; the lake was drained down from the mountain. And the givers of treasure [GENEROUS MEN] could see the treacherous snakes, just as the prophetic-minded Týr <god> of Hrist <valkyrie> [WARRIOR = Merlin] had said to men.
15 Ok drjúgligir
drekar vǫknuðu;
gerðusk báðir
brott úr rúmi.
Rennask síðan
snart at móti
fróns fásýnir
frœknir baugar.
And the mighty serpents woke; both moved away from their resting-places. The rarely-seen ferocious rings of the earth [SNAKES] then swiftly run towards each other.
16 Gerisk sókn mikil
snáka tveggja;
gapa grimmliga
grundar belti.
Hǫggvask hœknir
hauðrs gyrðingar,
blásask eitri á
ok blôm eldi.
A great fight commences between the two snakes; the belts of the ground [SNAKES] gape savagely. The vicious girdles of the earth [SNAKES] strike each other, blow venom and blue fire on each other.
17 Forflótti vas
fránn inn rauði;
bar inn ljósi hann
liðr at bakka.
En hann hagliga
hrøkkr at móti;
elti hann inn hvíta
hugtrúr dreka.
The red serpent took flight, the white snake drove it to the bank. But it [the red snake] nimbly twists to resist; valiant, it pursued the white serpent.
18 Þeir víg gera
vatns farveg í,
ok lengi hvatt
linnar berjask.
Mega ormar þar
ýmsir meira
ok ýmsir þar
undan leggja.
They wage battle in the lake’s outlet and the snakes fight each other fiercely for a long time. Now one snake, now the other has the advantage there; now one, now the other takes refuge there.
19 ‘Seg, Merlínus,’
kvað menbroti,
‘— est þú fróðari
fyrðum ǫðrum —,
hvat tákna mun
tveggja orma
ógurligt víg
aldar bǫrnum.’
‘Say, Merlin,’ said the neck-ring breaker [GENEROUS MAN = Vortigern], ‘— you are wiser than other men —, what the fearsome battle of the two snakes will mean for the children of men.’
20 Grét gumna vinr,
es hann greiða bað
þengill gǫfugr
þessa hegju.
Ok eptir þat
aldar snytrir
rǫkstælta spá
rekkum sagði.
The friend of men wept when the noble king bade him explain this happening. And after that the teacher of the people [PROPHET = Merlin] spoke well-grounded prophecy to the men.
21 ‘Táknar inn rauði
rás fagrsili,’
kvað bjóðr bragar,
‘brezka lýði,
en inn hvíti naðr
ina heiðnu þjóð,
es byggja mun
brezkar jarðir.
‘The red fine rope of the earth [SNAKE],’ said the offerer of poetry [POET = Merlin], ‘stands for the British people, and the white snake for the heathen folk who will settle the British lands.
22 ‘Es harmr mikill
hǫlðum at segja;
segik sigr hafa
snák inn hvíta.
Láð mun leggjask
ok lýða fjǫlð;
munu dreyrgar ár
ór dǫlum falla.
‘A great sorrow is to be told to men; I say the white snake has the victory. The land and the multitude of people will be subjugated; blood-stained rivers will fall from the valleys.
23 ‘Farask mun krístni,
kirkjur falla;
sás harmr hǫfugr;
herr es í landi.
Þá mun enn eflask
in auma þjóð;
áðr es harðla hnekt
hennar kosti.
‘Christianity will vanish, churches collapse; that is a grievous sorrow; the [invading] army is in the land. Then the miserable people will gain strength once more; prior to that their welfare is sorely checked.
24 ‘Mun þar í líki
lofðungr koma
— sás vegligastr —
villigaltar.
Hann fulltingir
fárôðum her
ok und fótum trøðr
ferðir Saxa.
‘A king will come there in the likeness of a wild boar; he is the most glorious. He will help the bewildered army and will tread the armies of the Saxons underfoot.
25 ‘Fersk undir hann
foldu grœnni
ok eyja fjǫlð
í úthafi,
Íra ok Engla
ok Út-Skota,
víðum lǫndum
valskra þjóða,
Nóregs síðu
ok Norðr-Dana.
‘Under him is brought the green land and a multitude of islands in the outer ocean, of the Irish and the English and the outlying Scots, extensive territories of the French people, the coast of Norway and [lands] of the northern Danes.
26 ‘Ok Rúmverjar
ræsi ugga;
megut reisa þeir
rǫnd við stilli.
Mart veitk annat
of menbrota,
en óglǫgt sék
ørlǫg konungs.
‘And the Romans will fear the king; they will not be able to raise a shield against the lord. I know much else about the breaker of ring [GENEROUS MAN = Arthur], but the fate of the king I see indistinctly.
27 ‘Hann munu tígna
tungur lýða;
sá mun gramr vera
gumnum tíðastr.
Ey mun uppi
ǫðlings frami
ok hans hróðr fara
með himinskautum.
‘The tongues of men will honour him; that king will be the most renowned among men. The lord’s prowess will always be remembered and his glory will travel to the corners of heaven.
28 ‘Ok ôttungar
ins ítra grams
laða at lofðungi
landi ok þegnum.
En eptir þat
orms ins hvíta
verðr meira vald
en verit hafði.
‘And the descendants of the illustrious king will attract land and subjects to the ruler. But after that the power of the white snake will become greater than it had been.
29 ‘Honum fulltingir
Fenrir sjóvar,
þeims Affríkar
útan fylgja.
Verðr kristnibrot
of kyni þjóðar;
þó munu sjalfir
síðar nøkkvi
enskir lýðir
allir skírask.
‘The Fenrir <mythical wolf> of the sea, which Africans follow from overseas, will help it. There will be a breakdown of Christianity among the kindred of the people; yet the English people will themselves all be baptised somewhat later.
30 ‘Líðr byskups stóll
Lundúnum ór
í ina breiðu
borg Kantara.
Ok langa tígn
Légíónum
taka mun in mæta
Menelógía.
‘The bishop’s seat will move from London to the broad Canterbury. And the splendid Menelogia will take over the long-held distinction of Caerleon.
31 ‘Stór verða rǫk,
rignir blóði,
hár snarpr at þat
sultr mannkyni.
En inn rauði snákr
eflisk síðan;
fær hann af miklu
mátt erfiði.
‘Great wonders will occur, it will rain with blood, acute famine will thereupon afflict mankind. But the red snake gathers strength afterwards; he will acquire power from great exertion.
32 ‘Líðr nauðr yfir
naðr inn hvíta;
es hans kyn kvalit
ok konur ristnar.
Ræntr es hann borgum
ok búi mǫrgu,
fé hvers konar,
foldu grœnni;
eru grimmliga
gumnar drepnir.
‘Hardship will overwhelm the white snake; his kindred will be tormented and his women lacerated. He will be robbed of cities and many an estate, property of every kind, the green land; men will be slaughtered savagely.
33 ‘Hníga fyr brezkum
bragninga kon
siklingar sjau,
sigri numnir.
Ok heilagr verðr
herja deilir
einn af enskum
ǫðlingum sjau.
‘Seven kings, deprived of victory, will fall before the British scion of kings [KING = Caduallo]. And the commander of armies [LEADER = S. Oswald], one of the seven English lords, will become a saint.
34 ‘Sá, es slíkt gerir,
mun sjalfr taka
eirmann á sik,
aldar stjóri;
ok of hô hliði
hilmir síðan
eirhesti á
ítarligr sitr.
Gætir Lundúna
lofsæll konungr.
‘That ruler of the people [KING = Caduallo] who does this will take a copper form upon himself, and thenceforward the ruler will sit in splendour on a copper horse above the high gate. The renowned king will watch over London.
35 ‘Þá gerisk þat
of þjóð Breta,
es þeim enn hefir
áðr of grandat,
at þeir sjalfir sízt
sáttir verða.
Deila þeir of veldi
ok of víða fold;
eru kappsamar
kindir brezkar.
‘Then it will come about for the British people, as has also harmed them in the past, that they themselves will not at all be in harmony. They will compete for power and for the wide territory; the British peoples will be in rivalry.
36 ‘Kemr bardagi
buðlungs himins
ákafr of her,
ári steypir.
Kvelr inn harði
helverkr fira;
megut dauðan her
dróttir hylja.
Líðr sultr ok sótt
at sigrviðum
— missir manna —
mǫrg stríð hǫfug.
‘The violent scourge of the king of heaven [= God] will come over the people, will ruin the harvest. The harsh torment of Hell will afflict men; men will not be able to bury the dead people. Hunger and sickness will advance on victory-trees [WARRIORS], [and] many grievous hardships; there is loss of men.
37 ‘Láð munu láta
þeirs lifa eptir;
ferr in þingdjarfa
þjóð ór landi.
Býr blezaðr gramr
— sás brezkr jǫfurr —
skip sín á brott,
ok hann skjótla verðr
taliðr tírgǫfugr
í tolfta hǫll
sæll með sælum
settr guðs vinum.
‘Those who survive will abandon the land; the battle-daring people will go from the territory. A blessed king — he is the British leader — prepares his ships for departure and he will soon become reckoned glorious, seated in the twelfth hall, blessed among the blessed friends of God.
38 ‘Svá tœmir láð
lýða bǫrnum,
— drífr hryggr heðan
herr ór landi —
at skógar þar
skjótla vaxa,
es ársamir
akrar vôru
fyrr með fyrðum
á fold Breta.
‘Thus the land will be emptied of the children of men [MANKIND] — the grieving people will stream from here out of the land — so that the forests will quickly grow there where previously among men there were fertile fields in the land of the Britons.
39 ‘Þá mun inn hvíti
hjarlþvengr fara
snót saxneska
snarráðr laða.
Ok með miklum
mannfjǫlða kemr
fjarðbyggs Skǫgul
fold at byggja.
‘Then the white thong of the earth [SNAKE] will travel, with swift resolution, to invite the Saxon woman. And the Skǫgul <valkyrie> of fjord-barley [JEWEL (steinn ‘stone’) > WOMAN] will come with a great multitude of men to settle the land.
40 ‘Mun sáð koma
sinni ǫðru
útlent yfir
óra garða.
En samt yfir
á svǫlum barmi
eylands þrumir
ormr inn rauði;
fær hann lítit
af landinu.
‘Foreign seed will come a second time over our precincts. And still the red snake remains on the cool fringe of the island; he will gain little from the land.
41 Þá kórónask
kapps hvítdreki,
ok saxneskir
seggir ríkja.
En eirjǫfurr
ofan at stíga
verðr af brǫttum
borgararmi.
Then the white serpent of belligerence will be crowned and Saxon men will rule. And the copper lord has to climb down from the sheer city wall.
42 ‘Eru laufviðar
ljósum fjǫtri
takmǫrk gefin
í tali ára.
Munat hann ríkja
of in rǫmmu skǫp
né því inu fagra
fróni ráða.
‘Limits are set to the white fetter of the leafy tree [SNAKE] as to number of years. He will not govern the mighty fates nor rule that fair land.
43 ‘Vera mun* ára
í aga miklum
fimtán tigi
foldar belti.
En tírœð
tíri gǫfgaðr
hundruð þrjú
hann mun sitja
Lundúnum at
ok lýða fjǫlð.
‘The belt of the earth [SNAKE] will be in great strife for fifteen decades. But for three hundred years, counted decimally, he will reign in London, endued with glory, and a multitude of people [with him].
44 ‘Þá mun grimmum
ganga at móti
landnyrðingr hvass
lundar fjǫtri
ok blóma þá
á brott reka,
es vestrœnir
vindar grœddu.
‘Then a sharp northeast wind will come against the savage fetter of the grove [SNAKE], and drive away the flowers that the westerly winds fostered.
45 ‘Mun gull glóa
guðs húsum á,
en lǫgðis veðr
lægir þeygi.
Mun trautt taka
tálsamr dreki
híð sín mega,
þvíat honum nálgask
víti fyr vélar,
þats hann verðr bera.
‘Gold will shine in God’s houses, but the storm of the sword [BATTLE] will not cease. The treacherous dragon will scarcely manage to reach its lairs, since retributions for its machinations will come upon it, that it will have to endure.
46 ‘Fá mun hann uppgang
afarlitla stund;
hnekkir hônum
hringserkjat lið.
Kømr sunnan sú
sveit of ægi,
es hann ríki mun
ræna miklu.
‘He will obtain success for a very short time; the mail-shirted army will check him. That band will come from the south across the sea, which will rob him of his great kingdom.
47 ‘Sá mun lofðungr,
es liði stýrir,
brátt brezkum her
byggva jarðir.
Mun sáð tekit
snáks ins hvíta
endr ór órum
aldingǫrðum.
‘The lord who leads the army will swiftly settle the lands with British people. The white snake’s seed will be taken once more out of our orchards.
48 ‘Þá mun hann gjalda
grimmra ráða;
es hans tíundat
tálaukit kyn.
Verðr hann grœna
grund at vinna,
ok hann upp frá því
aldri ríkir.
Tekr hann svá fyr svik
sárar hefnðir.
‘Then he will pay for his savage actions; his treacherous kindred will be decimated. He will have to work the green earth and from that time onwards he will reign no more. Thus he will incur grievous retributions for his treachery.
49 ‘Ríkir enn at þat
ormar tvennir;
missir annarr þar
aldrs fyr skeyti,
en annarr mun
aptr of hverfa
und skugga nafns
at skǫpum vinna.
‘After that two more snakes will rule; one will lose his life there to an arrow, but the other will return under the cover of a name to contend against the fates.
50 ‘Þá mun ríkja
réttlætis dýr,
þats eyverskir
ormar hræðask.
Ok fyr sunnan sæ
sjalfir ugga
víz rammligir
valskir turnar.
‘Then the beast of justice will rule, which the island-dwelling serpents will dread. And south across the sea the French towers themselves, redoubtable on every side, will be fearful.
51 ‘Þá mun gull snarat
af grasi mǫrgu;
flýtr ór klaufum
kalfs ættar silfr.
Eru fagrbúin
fljóð í landi;
verðrat snótum
siðbót at því.
‘Then gold will be wrung from many a herb; silver will flow from the hooves of the kindred of the calf [CATTLE]. There will be finely dressed women in the land; there will not be moral reform for the ladies on account of that.
52 ‘Sprett es í miðju
mótpenningum;
mun gǫrst gleðu
glatask ránsemi.
Tennr munu gylðis
trausti numnar,
ok léons vargar
verða at fiskum
hvassir hvelpar
hvaltúnum í.
‘There will be a split down the middle of stamped pennies; the thieving ways of the kite will completely come to a stop. The wolf’s teeth will be deprived of their strength, and the lion’s wolves, keen cubs, will become fish in the whale-enclosures [SEA].
53 ‘Verðr meinliga
mæki brugðit;
sék blóði ben
blása móður;
líðr mart hǫfugt
of lýða kyn.
Rýðr varðar blóð
Venedócíam,
ok síðan sex
snarpir lifra
kynsmenn drepa
Kórínéus.
‘The sword will be drawn with ill intent; I see the wound spurt with the mother’s blood. Much hardship will come over the race of men. The blood of the woman will redden Venedotia and then bold kinsmen of Corineus will slay six brothers.
54 ‘Þá munu gumnar
gráta á nóttum
ok þjóð gera
þægjar bœnir.
Þá munu hǫlðar
til himins kosta;
fá it langa líf
lǫfðar nýtir.
‘Then men will weep at night and people will say acceptable prayers. Then men will strive after heaven; worthy men will obtain the long life.
55 ‘Enn munu í skógi
skœðir síðan
vargar vakna
veiða í borgum.
Þeir munu sína
sjalfir dolga
fella eða fjǫtra;
fáir munu verða,
þeirs treystask þeim
telja at móti.
‘Then once more will vicious wolves awaken in the forest, hunt in the cities. They will themselves kill or shackle their foes; few will there be, who have confidence to complain against them.
56 ‘Einn sitr nýtastr
Néústríe
Englandi at
auðar skelfir.
Þó ’ro siklingar
sunnan komnir
fimm eða fleiri
foldu at ráða.
‘The one worthiest shaker of riches [GENEROUS MAN] of Neustria will preside over England. Yet five kings or more have come from the south to rule the land.
57 ‘Sá bjartar brýtr
borgir Íra
ok foldar til
fellir skóga.
Gerir ræsir eitt
ríki margra;
tekr léónis
lávarðr hǫfuð.
‘He will destroy the splendid cities of the Irish and fell the forests to the ground. The leader will create one kingdom out of many; the lord will take on the head of a lion.
58 ‘Es í reiðingu
ráð þjóðkonungs
inn fyrra hlut
fylkis ævi.
En inn øfri aldr
auðvarpaðar
líkar helgum
himinstilli vel.
‘The behaviour of the mighty king will waver for the first part of the leader’s life. But the later life of the wealth-flinger [GENEROUS MAN] will please the holy ruler of heaven [= God] well.
59 ‘Mun hann byskupa
borgum skrýða
ok helgan stað
hefja margan.
Tígnar borgir
tvær pallío;
gefr hann þýjum Krists
þægjar hnossir.
‘He will endue bishops with cities and elevate many a holy place. He will honour two cities with the pallium; he will give acceptable treasures to the servant-women of Christ.
60 ‘Verðr af slíku
sverðéls hǫtuðr
himna ferðar
hugþekkr grami.
Ok at þetta líf
þingdjarfr konungr
taliðr es tyggja
tungls með englum.
‘The hater of the sword-storm [BATTLE > HOLY MAN] will be dear to the lord of the host of the heavens [ANGELS > = God] because of such [deeds]. And the king bold in encounters will be counted after this life with the angels of the lord of the moon [= God].
61 ‘Glíkt mun gaupu
grams jóð vesa;
vill þat sinni þjóð
sjalfri steypa.
En af þeim sǫkum
þermlask bæði
Íra ok Engla
auðgrar jarðar
Néústría
ok numin tígnum.
‘The king’s son will resemble a lynx; it will wish to destroy its own people. And for those reasons Neustria will be stripped of the rich land of both the Irish and the English and deprived of honours.
62 ‘En eptir þat
óðals á vit
fara fráliga
fyrðar brezkir.
Þó es illa áðr
ært í landi;
eru ósáttar
enskar þjóðir.
‘But the British people will go back swiftly after that to their ancestral land. Yet there has been a poor harvest previously in the land; the English peoples will be at odds with one another.
63 ‘Ríðr inn prúði
til Peritónis ár
hvítum hesti
hvatr ǫldurmaðr.
Ok hvítum þar
hann markar staf
aldrœnn yfir
ô kvernar hús.
‘The splendid man, a bold lord, will ride a white horse to the river Periron. And there he, the aged [man], will mark out a mill-house above the river with a white staff.
64 ‘Kalla mun Kónan
Káðvaládrus
ok skilfinga*
Skotlandi af.
Rýkr af grimmu
Gǫndlar éli;
verðr it mikla
malmþing háit.
‘Cadwallader will summon Conan and kings from Scotland. Smoke will rise from the savage storm of Gǫndul <valkyrie> [BATTLE]; the great metal-encounter [BATTLE] will be waged.
65 ‘Svífr it hvassa
hagl tvíviðar
— hnígr hǫlða lið —
hart af strengjum.
En geyst hinig
gaflok fara;
megut Skǫglar ský
við skotum halda.
‘The cutting hail of the bow [ARROWS] flies hard from the strings; the troop of men sinks down. And javelins travel this way ferociously; the clouds of Skǫgul <valkyrie> [SHIELDS] cannot withstand the volleys.
66 ‘Bresta brynjur,
bíta malmar,
eru dreyrfáið
dǫrr á lopti,
fleinn á flaugun,
folk í dreyra,
bíldr í benjum,
broddar á skildi,
hjalmr á hǫfði,
hlíf fyr brjósti,
geirr á gangi,
guðr í vexti.
‘Mail-shirts split, weapons bite; blood-stained darts are in the air, the spear in flight, the army in blood, the arrow in wounds, spear-points in the shield, the helmet on the head, the shield before the breast, the spear in motion, battle on the increase.
67 ‘Hittisk targa
ok inn togni hjǫrr,
hjalmr ok hneitir,
hlíf ok ǫrvar,
brynja in brezka
ok brandr roðinn,
manns môttug hǫnd
ok meðalkafli,
hvítmýlingar
ok hǫlða brjóst.
‘Shield and the drawn sword meet, helmet and sword, shield and arrows, the British mail-shirt and red-stained sword, a man’s strong hand and a sword-grip, white-muzzled arrows and the breasts of men.
68 ‘Hrapa hræva gǫr,
hátt gjalla spjǫr,
es malmþrima
mest á hjarli.
Verðr einn við einn
valkǫstr hlaðinn;
munu blóðgar ár
af bjǫðum falla,
en vígroða
verpr á hlýrni.
‘Heaps of corpses tumble, spears scream loudly, the weapon-tumult [BATTLE] is greatest on the earth. One pile of slain is built up beside another; bloody rivers will fall from the lands, and the redness of battle is cast up into heaven.
69 ‘Falla fyrðar
í fleindrífu;
verðr enskri þjóð
aldrspell skipat.
Es vǫllr roðinn
en víg boðin;
hlýtr hôvan sigr
helmingr Breta.
‘Men will fall in the arrow-blizzard [BATTLE]; loss of life will be allotted for the English people. The field will be stained red and killing proffered; the forcè of Britons will win a great victory.
70 ‘Yppir fjǫllum
fljótt Valbreta;
munu Brútus þau
bera kórónu.
Grœnask ǫflgar
eikr Kornbreta;
fagnar slíku
fús Kambría.
‘The mountains of French Britons will be swiftly raised up; they will bear the crown of Brutus. The mighty oaks of the Cornish Britons will grow green; eager Cambria rejoices at that.
71 ‘Eyðisk eyjar
it enska nafn;
mun hon Anglía
eigi kǫlluð.
Hlýtr hon at halda
heiti inu forna;
kend es við Brútum
Brítannía.
‘The English name of the island is expunged; it will not be called Anglia. It gets to retain the old name; it is called Britain after Brutus.
72 ‘Mun villigǫltr
vígdjarfr koma
ór kynstórri
nus ætt
sá vigra konr
Vallandi á.
Høggr yngva sonr
eikr ór skógi;
þó mun hilmir
hollr smáviði.
‘A wild boar, that scion of pigs, will issue, daring in combat, from the mighty lineage of Conan in France. The prince’s son hews down oaks from the forest; yet the ruler will be kindly to small trees.
73 ‘Munu Rábítar
ræsi ugga
út í heimi
ok Affríkar.
Fǫr mun vísi
víðlendr gera
á it ýtra œgr
Ispáníam.
‘The Arabs and Africans will fear the leader out in the world. The awe-inspiring leader with extensive territories will make an expedition to Spain on its farther side.
74 ‘Sitr ept hilmi
hafr at lǫndum;
hans esat skilja
skap frá vífni.
Berr hann á hǫfði
horn ór gulli;
es skegg skata
skapat ór silfri.
‘A he-goat will preside over the lands after the king; his temperament cannot be separated from desire for women. He will bear on his head horns of gold; the leader’s beard will be formed from silver.
75 ‘Blæs Mistar vinr
ór nǫsum †tiossa†
þoku þvílíkri,
at þekr of ey.
Friðr es of fylkis
fastr lífdaga;
brestr eigi þá
ár í landi.
‘The friend of Mist <valkyrie> [WARRIOR] blows such a fog out of his nostrils … that it covers the island. Peace is fixed throughout the king’s lifetime; prosperity does not fail then in the land.
76 ‘Þá munu á foldu
fǫgr víf draga;
blístrar meyjum
metnuðr í spor.
Munu kvensemi
kastra smíðuð;
svíkr gumna vin
girnð in ranga.
‘Then beautiful women will make their way on the ground: pride hisses in the maidens’ trail. Castles of desire for women will be built; the wrongful concupiscence betrays the friend of men [RULER].
77 ‘Verðr at blóði
brunnr inn fagri;
þós á grundu
gnótt hvers konar.
En á holmi
hildingar tveir
berjask of brúði
bjarthaddaða;
sús í víðri
Vaðbatúli.
‘The fine spring turns to blood; yet there is every kind of bounty on the earth. And two leaders fight on an island over a bright-haired woman; she is in broad Vadum batuli.
78 ‘Sjá þessi rǫk
þrennar aldir,
— þó es lýða ráð
ljótt fyr dróttni —
unz landrekar
Lundúnum í
grafnir ór grundu
gumnum vitrask.
‘Three ages witness these wonders — yet the conduct of men is odious before the Lord —, until kings disinterred from the ground in London are revealed to men.
79 ‘Kømr árgalli
enn inn mikli
ok meinliga
manndauðr of her;
eyðask borgir
við bragna tjón.
Es nauðr mikil
nýtra manna;
flýr margr á brott
maðr ór landi.
‘Once more there will come a great failure of the harvest and mortality [with it], hurtfully over the people; cities will be devastated with the loss of men. There will be great adversity for valiant men; many a man will flee away from the land.
80 ‘Kømr kaupskapar
kappgóðr þinig
villigalti
virðum samna,
þeims af fróni
flýðu áðan.
Lætr hann byggva þá
brezkar jarðir,
borgir eyddar,
ból góligust.
‘The wild boar of commerce, exceedingly good, will come there to gather men who had previously fled from the land. He causes them to settle the British lands, the devastated cities, the choicest estates.
81 ‘Mun hans brjóst vesa
brǫgnum fœzla,
þeims fátt hafa
fjár með hǫndum.
Ok in tállausa
tunga hilmis
sløkkvir þorsta
þjóðans liði.
‘His breast will be sustenance for men who have little property at their disposal. And the ruler’s tongue, free of deception, will slake thirst for the following of the lord.
82 ‘Falla ór orða
almærri vǫk
dynjandi ár
dróttar stýris.
Þær munu dǫggva
dýrar jarðir
geðs í glæstum
gollorheimi
ok þurrar kverkr
þjóðar margrar.
‘Resounding rivers will fall from the much-famed gap of words [MOUTH] of the ruler of the entourage [PRINCE]. They will spread dew on the beloved lands of the mind [HEARTS] in the splendid home of the pericardium [BREAST] and on the dry throats of many a people.
83 ‘Upp renn síðan
— sék þat fyrir —
traust í turni
tré Lundúna;
þrír eru kvistir
þeim lundi á,
en hann laufi þekr
land með hringum.
‘A sturdy tree will shoot up then in the tower of London: I foresee that. There are three branches on that tree and with its foliage it completely shelters the land.
84 ‘Kømr þar af lœgi
landnyrðingr hvass;
lýstr hann illum byl
einn af stofni.
Þar munu kvistir,
es þruma eptir,
þess rúm taka;
þat sék gǫrla.
‘A sharp northeast wind will come there from the sea; it will knock one [branch] from the trunk with a malevolent gust. The branches that remain afterwards will take up its space there; I see that clearly.
85 ‘Hylja þeir alla
ey með laufi,
unz annarr þar
ǫðrum bœgir
ok eyðir hans
ǫllu laufi;
tekr hann þrjú rúm
þrekstórr hafa.
‘They will cover the entire island with foliage until one [branch] subdues the other there and destroys all its foliage; very vigorous it will commence to have the three places.
86 ‘Ok hann síðan þekr
þykku laufi
einn of alla
eybarms fjǫru.
Megut þá fljúga
foglar í landi,
þvíat hann œgir þeim,
en hann enn til sín
laðar fogla fljótt
ferð útlendra.
‘And then it alone will cover with its dense foliage the entire foreshore of the island’s fringe. The birds within the land will then be unable to fly, because he will frighten them, but yet he will quickly entice a host of foreign birds to himself.
87 ‘Þá mun illingar
asni ríkja;
sás fljótr taka
fé gullsmiða.
Es lofða vinr
latr at hefna
gylðis barna
gramr ránsemi.
‘Then will the ass of evil reign; he will be quick to take the property of goldsmiths. The fierce friend of men [RULER] will be slow to avenge the rapacity of the children of the wolf [WOLVES].
88 ‘Ok á hans dǫgum
harðla brenna
ófs rammligar
eikr ór skógum.
Enn á lítlum
lindar kvistum
vex ǫrliga
akarn í lundi.
‘And in his days exceedingly mighty oaks from the forests will burn fiercely. Once more an acorn will grow rapidly on the slender twigs of the lime-tree in the grove.
89 ‘Ok Ránar vegr
renn of ósa
Sábrínus sjau;
sék þat fyrir.
En Óskarô
— þat es undr mikit —
mun mánuðr sjau
môttug vella.
Gervisk fiskum
fjǫrtjón at því,
en ór sjǫlfum þeim
snákar verða.
‘And the path of Rán <sea-goddess> [SEA] will run through seven mouths of the Severn; I foresee that. And the river Usk will boil powerfully for seven months; that is a great marvel. Loss of life for the fish will come of that, and snakes will be engendered out of them.
90 ‘Munu Bádónis
borgar verða
— líðr mart yfir —
laugar kaldar.
Ok hennar vǫtn
heilnæm firum
gera þá dauða
drjúgt mannkyni.
‘The baths of the city of Bath will become cold: many a thing will come to pass. And her waters, beneficial to men, will then cause deaths relentlessly for mankind.
91 ‘Verðr tuttugu
tjón þúsunda
ljóna ferðar
Lundúnum í.
Þeir munu drengir
drepnir allir;
gerir karla tjón
Tems at blóði.
‘The loss of twenty thousand of the host of men will come to pass in London. Those men will all be slain; the loss of men will turn the Thames to blood.
92 ‘Munu kapps mǫnnum
kvánfǫng boðin:
eru ekkjur þar
orðnar margar.
En á kǫldum
kall þeira næst
menn Mundíu
montum heyra.’
‘Marriages will be offered to men of bravery: many [women] have become widows there. But men will hear their cry afterwards on the cold mountains of the Alps.’
93 Hér munk létta
ljóð at semja
ok spásǫgu
spillis bauga.
Þó eru fleiri orð
ins fróða manns;
hefk sumt af þeim
samit í kvæði.
Here I will leave off composing the song and the prophetic tale of the destroyer of rings [GENEROUS MAN = Merlin]. Yet there are more words of the wise man; I have arranged some of them in a poem.
94 Þau eru ǫnnur ljóð
upp frá þessum;
†alvisk† eigi
auðs berdraugar
— biðk þjóðir þess —
við þenna brag,
þó at ek mynt hafa
mál at hætti,
þeims spár fyrir
spjǫllum rakði
malmþings hvǫtuðr,
í mǫrgum stað.
There are other songs following on from these; may bearing logs of wealth [MEN] not … with this poem — this I ask of people —, although I have formed my sayings in many a place after the style in which the whetter of the metal-meeting [BATTLE > WARRIOR = Merlin] recited prophecies in speeches.
95 Viti bragnar þat,
þeirs bók lesa,
hvé at spjǫllum sé
spámanns farit,
ok kynni þat
kjaldýrs viðum,
hverr fyrða sé
framsýnna hôttr
môl at rekja,
þaus menn vitut.
May men, who read the book, know that, how the prophet’s sayings have been rendered, and teach that to trees of the keel-beast [SHIP > SEAFARERS], what the style of prophetic persons is in narrating matters that men do not know.
96 Lesi sálma, spjǫll
lesi spámanna,
lesi bjartar þeir
bœkr ok roðla,
ok finni þat,
at inn fróði halr
hefr horskliga
hagat spásǫgu,
sem fyr hônum
fyrðar helgir.
Let them read the psalms, read the sayings of the prophets, let them read bright books and rolls, and discover that the wise man has devised his prophecy sagaciously, like holy men before him.
97 Virði engi
þat vitlausu,
þótt hann hoddskǫtum
heiti gæfi
viðar eða vatna
eða veðrs mikils
eða alls konar
orma eða dýra.
Táknar eðli
talðrar skepnu
spjǫrráðanda
spjǫll eða kosti.
Let nobody think it nonsense if he gives treasure-chieftains [RULERS] the name of a wood or lakes or a great storm or all kinds of serpents or beasts. The nature of the creature described signifies the flaws or strengths of the wielders of the spear [WARRIORS].
98 Segir Dáníel
drauma sína
margháttaða
merkjum studda.
Kvezk drjúglig sjá
dýr á jǫrðu,
þaus tôknuðu
tyggja ríki,
þaus á hauðri
hófusk síðan.
Daniel tells his diverse dreams, supported by miracles. He says that he sees mighty animals on earth that signified the realms of kings that later came into being on earth.
99 Rekr inn dýri
Dávíð konungr
margfalda spô,
ok mælir svá:
‘Fjǫll munu fagna
ok inn fríði skógr,
en skœðar ár
skella lófum,
ok dalir ymna
dróttni syngja.’
The noble King David utters manifold prophecy and speaks thus: ‘The mountains and the fair forest will rejoice, and dangerous rivers clap their hands and the valleys sing hymns to the Lord.’
100 Hirtisk hǫlðar
at hæða bœkr;
nemi skynsemi
ok skili gǫrla,
hvat táknat mun
í tǫlu þessi;
esat enn liðin
ǫll spásaga;
þó eru mǫrgum myrk
môl própheta.
Let men be chary of scorning books; let them learn wisdom and understand fully what is signified in this narration; the entire prophecy has not yet come to pass; yet the words of the prophets are obscure to many.
101 Frétti fyrðar,
þeirs á fold búa
enn at óra
ævi liðna,
hvat of her gerisk
ok huga leiði.
Beri in nýju spjǫll
við spásǫgu;
sé síðan þat,
hvé saman falli.
Let men who remain on earth after our lifetime has passed find out what becomes of men and pay heed. Let them compare the new tidings with the prophecy; then let them see how the two coincide.
102 Varð sú in enska
ætt fyr stundu
veldis missa;
nús valskr konungr.
Þós þeygi enn
þeira hætti
liðit af láði,
né lýðs Breta
hvǫssum mæki
hjarl eignaðisk.
The English people had to lose their dominion some time ago; now there is a French king. Yet their character has still in no way vanished from the land, neither has the land of the people of the British been taken over by the sharp sword.
103 Heilir allir,
þeirs hlýtt hafa,
fleinvarpaðir
frœði þessu.
Geri gótt gumar
en glati illu,
bíði bráða
bót afruna,
hafi hylli guðs
ok himinríki.
Hail all barb-throwers [WARRIORS] who have listened to this lore. Let men do good and shun evil, experience a speedy remedy for their errors, have the grace of God and the heavenly kingdom.
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