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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to GunnLeif Merl II 56VIII (Bret 56)

[All]: Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 159.285-; cf. Wright 1988, 114, prophecy 71): Fulgor auri oculos intuentium excaecabit. Candebit argentum in circuitu et diuersa torcularia uexabit. Imposito uino, inebriabuntur mortales postpositoque caelo in terram respicient ‘The glint of gold will blind the eyes of those who behold it. Silver will gleam as it passes round and trouble various wine-presses. When the wine has been served, mortals befuddled with drink will neglect the heavens and gaze at the ground’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 158). From this point Geoffrey draws upon the dire cosmological prodigies and the astrologer’s prophecies in Lucan’s Pharsalia I 522-695 (Tatlock 1950, 405-6, citing Rydberg 1881). Whereas Geoffrey constructs a progression from the circulation of the silver cup to the drunkenness of the company and their neglect of the heavens in favour of earthly things, Gunnlaugr appears to treat drunkenness as a separate issue, obscuring its relation to the silver of the cup: for a later instance of invective against silver cf. Nik (Unger 1877 II, 101): silfrpenningar blinduðu þin augu steypandi þik fram i þvilika glæpsku ‘silver pennies blinded your eyes, plunging you into such sin [i.e. avarice]’.


  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. Reeve, Michael D., and Neil Wright. 2007. Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain. An Edition and Translation of De gestis Britonum [Historia regum Britanniae]. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  4. Tatlock, J. S. P. 1950. The Legendary History of Britain. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  5. Wright, Neil, ed. 1988. The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth. II. The First Variant Version: A Critical Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  6. Rydberg, Viktor. 1881. ‘Astrologien och Merlin’. NT 4, 377-409; 447-80.


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