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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 36VIII (Bret 36)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 36 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 36)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 166.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘Sék vé vaða,         verðr †mitt† skaða;
syngr sára klungr         snyrtidrengjum.
En á leið fara         lægjǫrn ara
jóð ok ylgjar         enn til sylgjar;
hrapa hernumin         hvártveggja bǫrn.

‘Sék vé vaða, †mitt† verðr skaða; {klungr sára} syngr snyrtidrengjum. En lægjǫrn jóð ara ok ylgjar fara enn á leið til sylgjar; bǫrn hvártveggja hrapa hernumin.
‘‘I see the standards advance, … will harm; the thorn of wounds [SWORD] sings to brave men. And the treacherous children of the eagle and the she-wolf go on their way to the drinking once more; the offspring of both will tumble down, taken in battle.

notes and context

See II 31 Note to [All]. Note the end-rhymes (ll. 1-2, 5-8) in this stanza, possibly imitated from such poems as Egill HflV(Eg). As elsewhere in his battle descriptions, Gunnlaugr reaches for special stylistic devices associated with traditional skaldic poetry.



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 36: AII, 17, BII, 17, Skald II, 11, NN §2163D, E; Bret 1848-9, II, 28-9 (Bret st. 36); Hb 1892-6, 275; Merl 2012, 100-1.


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