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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 14VIII (Bret 14)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 14 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 14)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 147.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘Hjǫrtr drepr hana,         hinns tvenna fimm
hvassa hausi         hornkvistu berr.
En hafa kórónu         kvistir fjórir,
en sex aðrir         sjalfir verða
at vísundar         verstum hornum.

‘Hjǫrtr drepr hana, hinns berr tvenna fimm hvassa hornkvistu hausi. En fjórir kvistir hafa kórónu, en sex aðrir verða sjalfir at verstum hornum vísundar.
‘‘A hart will slay her, he who bears twice five sharp antler-branches on his head. And four branches will have a crown while the other six for their part will turn into the worst horns of a bison.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 153.162-4; cf. Wright 1988, 108, prophecy 34): Interficiet eam ceruus decem ramorum, quorum quatuor aurea diademata gestabunt, sex uero residui in cornua bubalorum uertentur ‘She will be killed by a stag with ten branches, four of which will wear golden crowns, while the remaining six will become the horns of buffaloes’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 152). — [7]: The quantity of the <i> in vísundr appears to have been variable. In its present metrical position it is required to be long, although Skj B and Skald give this example as short. The vowel is short in Sigv ErfÓl 3/8I and Arn Magndr 6/4II. LP, AEW: visundr both give the vowel as short, perhaps in view of the word’s West Germanic cognates, while ONP and most other dictionaries of medieval and modern Icelandic have it as long.



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 I 14: AII, 12-13, BII, 13, Skald II, 8, NN §§96, 2992A, 3004; Bret 1848-9, II, 19 (Bret st. 14); Hb 1892-6, 273; Merl 2012, 79-80.


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