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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 24VIII (Bret 92)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 92 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 24)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 63.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Mun þar í líki         lofðungr koma
— sás vegligastr —         villigaltar.
Hann fulltingir         fárôðum her
ok und fótum trøðr         ferðir Saxa.

‘Lofðungr mun koma þar í líki villigaltar; sás vegligastr. Hann fulltingir fárôðum her ok trøðr ferðir Saxa und fótum.
‘‘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.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 112 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 145.39-40; cf. Wright 1988, 102, prophecy 2): Aper etenim Cornubiae succursum praestabit et colla eorum sub pedibus suis conculcabit ‘The boar of Cornwall will lend his aid and trample the foreigners’ necks beneath his feet’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 144). The reference is to King Arthur. Gunnlaugr rationalises the animal allegory by describing the king as in a boar’s likeness rather than an actual boar. Geoffrey’s reference to Cornwall is omitted. — [3]: J. S. Eysteinsson (1953-7, 99) argues that this recognition of Arthur’s key role amongst British kings must stem from DGB proper (IX-XI), not the Prophecies in isolation; but see Introduction on Gunnlaugr’s possible use of commentary material.


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: Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínússpá II 24: AII, 25, BII, 28-9, Skald II, 18; Bret 1848-9, II, 47 (Bret st. 92); Hb 1892-6, 278; Merl 2012, 145.


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