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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 22VIII (Bret 22)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 22 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 22)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 155.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘En bjarnígull         býr of vélar;
leynir hann eplum         Lundúnum í.
Grefr í grundu         gǫtur háligar
fýstr til fengjar         fláráðugt dýr.

‘En bjarnígull býr of vélar; hann leynir eplum í Lundúnum. Fláráðugt dýr, fýstr til fengjar, grefr háligar gǫtur í grundu.
‘‘But the hedgehog will engineer contrivances; he will hide the apples in London. The treacherous beast, eager for booty, will dig lofty passages in the ground.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 153.176-7; cf. Wright 1988, 109, prophecy 37): Occultabit infra illam hericius poma sua et subterraneas uias machinabitur ‘The hedgehog will hide his apples there and devise pathways beneath the earth’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 152). Gunnlaugr plays up the notion of the hedgehog-king’s perfidy, on lines similar to his characterisation of the fox-king (II 27-45). — [7]: The idea of the hedgehog-king’s eagerness for plunder is another of Gunnlaugr’s additions.


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 22: AII, 14, BII, 14-15, Skald II, 9; Bret 1848-9, II, 22 (Bret st. 22); Hb 1892-6, 273; Merl 2012, 87-8.


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