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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 40VIII (Bret 40)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 40 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 40)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 170.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘En hraustir brœðr         hugga galta;
kveðask sár munu         sjalfir grœða.
“Fara skulum báðir         fótar at leita
hlustar ok hala þér;         hér bíð þú, galti!”

‘En hraustir brœðr hugga galta; kveðask sjalfir munu grœða sár. “Skulum báðir fara at leita fótar hlustar ok hala þér; hér bíð þú, galti!”
‘‘But the brave brothers will comfort the boar; they will say they themselves will heal its wounds. “We will both go to find your foot, ear, and tail; you wait here, boar!”

notes and context

Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 155.198-200; cf. Wright 1988, 110, prophecy 43): Qui ut causam inierint, promittent ei duos pedes et aures et caudam et ex eis porcina membra component. Acquiescet ipse promissamque restaurationem expectabit ‘Plotting together, they will promise it two feet and ears and a tail to replace the boar’s members. The boar will consent and await their promised restitution’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 154). Merl differs from Geoffrey in being consistent about the number of feet and ears to be replaced. Altogether, the treatment in Merl is notably free, especially in its incorporation of direct speech, and suggests that Gunnlaugr had contemporary beast epic in mind (see Introduction).


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 40: AII, 17, BII, 18, Skald II, 11; Bret 1848-9, II, 30 (Bret st. 40); Hb 1892-6, 275; Merl 2012, 105.


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