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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 20VIII (Bret 20)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 20 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 20)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 153.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘Þat Lundúnum         líkar illa;
eykr hon þrimr hlutum         þykka veggi.
Kostar hon keppa         við konungíðnir;
ferr suðr of fjall         frægð af smíði,
en* Tems of borg         tekr at geisa.

‘Þat líkar Lundúnum illa; hon eykr þykka veggi þrimr hlutum. Hon kostar keppa við konungíðnir; frægð af smíði ferr suðr of fjall, en* Tems tekr at geisa of borg.
‘‘That will displease London; she will increase her thick walls threefold. She will attempt to compete with the king’s exploits; news of the work will travel south over the mountain and the Thames will start to surge around the city.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 153.174-6; cf. Wright 1988, 109, prophecy 37): Inuidebit ergo Lundonia et muros suos tripliciter augebit. Circuibit eam undique Tamensis fluuius, et rumor operis transcendet Alpes ‘London will be filled with envy and will increase its walls threefold. The Thames will encircle the city, and fame of this feat will travel beyond the Alps’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 152). London and Winchester were increasingly in competition in Geoffrey’s time as royal and administrative centres. — [5-6]: This idea is made more explicit than in DGB, as would have been necessary if st. 21 had originally preceded st. 20 (see Note to II 19 [All]).



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 20: AII, 14, BII, 14, Skald II, 9; Bret 1848-9, II, 21-2 (Bret st. 20); Hb 1892-6, 273; Merl 2012, 85-6.


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