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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 45VIII (Bret 44)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 44 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 45)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 174.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘Ok á sjalfan sik         síðan festir
léparðs hǫfuð         lofðungr at þat.
Ræðr hann lýðum         ok lofða fjǫlð;
þar þrýtr þessa         þengils sǫgu.

‘Ok lofðungr festir síðan hǫfuð léparðs á sik sjalfan at þat. Hann ræðr lýðum ok fjǫlð lofða; þar þrýtr sǫgu þessa þengils.
‘‘And with that the ruler will then fix a leopard’s head on himself. He will rule over peoples and a multitude of men; there is the end of this story of the king.

notes and context

For discussion of the stanza order see II 44 Note to [All]. Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 155.204; cf. Wright 1988, 110, prophecy 44): atque capite leonis coronabitur ‘and be crowned with a lion’s head’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 154). Having destroyed its rivals while in the semblance of a boar, the fox-king makes his final transformation – to a lion. — [5-8]: The episode is rounded off in an approximation of saga style (Poole 2009, 317).


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 44: AII, 18, BII, 19, Skald II, 12; Bret 1848-9, II, 31 (Bret st. 44); Hb 1892-6, 275; Merl 2012, 108-9.


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