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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 26VIII (Bret 26)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 26 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 26)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 159.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘En fogl ept þat         ferr vestr í dal,
þanns Gálábes         gumnar kalla.
Hann mun hefjask         í it hæsta fjall,
ok þar uppi         í eikr limum
hreiðrask hegri;         hann es fogla verstr.

‘En fogl ferr vestr í dal ept þat, þanns gumnar kalla Gálábes. Hann mun hefjask í it hæsta fjall, ok hegri hreiðrask þar uppi í limum eikr; hann es verstr fogla.
‘‘But after that the bird will go westwards into the valley that people call Galabes. It [the valley] will raise itself into the highest mountain and up there the heron will nest on the branches of an oak; it is the worst of birds.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 153.185-3; cf. Wright 1988, 109, prophecy 40): At cum calamitas tanta cessauerit, adibit detestabilis ales uallem Galahes atque eam in excelsum montem leuabit. In cacumine quoque ipsius plantabit quercum atque infra ramos nidificabit ‘When this great calamity is over, the accursed bird will visit the valley of Galahes and raise it into a lofty mountain. At the summit the heron will plant an oak and nest in its branches’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 152). In Merl the heron is not credited with planting the oak, merely with nesting in it. — [6, 9]: See Introduction for readings no longer visible in Hb that could be read by earlier eds.



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 26: AII, 15, BII, 15, Skald II, 9-10; Bret 1848-9, II, 24-5 (Bret st. 26); Hb 1892-6, 274; Merl 2012, 90-1.


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