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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 29VIII (Bret 29)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 29 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 29)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 161.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘Brœðr vill hann sína         beita vélum;
tekr horshǫfuð         hildingr á sik.
En hoddskata         hræðask báðir;
flýja barmar         brott ór landi.

‘Hann vill beita brœðr sína vélum; hildingr tekr horshǫfuð á sik. En báðir hræðask {hoddskata}; barmar flýja brott ór landi.
‘‘It will attack its brothers with tricks; the ruler will put on a horse’s head. And both [brothers] will fear the treasure-chieftain [MAN]; the brothers will flee from the land.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 153.189-91; cf. Wright 1988, 109, prophecy 41): et asininum caput gestabit. Monstro igitur assumpto, terrebit fratres suos ipsosque in Neustriam fugabit ‘and wear the head of an ass. Taking on the form of a monster, therefore, it will frighten its brothers and drive them off to Normandy’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 152). Gunnlaugr omits the mention of Neustria (Normandy) as the brothers’ place of refuge, perhaps because the wild boar whose aid they enlist in the following stanza is more to be associated with Cornwall. Cf. Note to II 31/7-8.


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 29: AII, 15, BII, 16, Skald II, 10; Bret 1848-9, II, 26 (Bret st. 29); Hb 1892-6, 274; Merl 2012, 93.


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