Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.



Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Menu Search

GunnLeif Merl II 44VIII (Bret 45)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 45 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 44)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 173.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘Ok svíns at þat         á sik hami
brigðr ok brœðra         bíðr slœgliga.
En, es þeir koma         kosti at fœra,
bítr hann báða tvá         ok banar hlýrum.

‘Ok brigðr á sik hami svíns at þat ok bíðr brœðra slœgliga. En, es þeir koma at fœra kosti, bítr hann báða tvá ok banar hlýrum.
‘‘And with that he will take on the form of the boar and wait slyly for the brothers. But when they come to bring their offerings he will bite both of them and will slay the siblings.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 155.202-4; cf. Wright 1988, 110, prophecy 44): Exin transuertet sese in aprum et quasi sine membris expectabit germanos. Sed et ipsos postquam aduenerint subito dente interficiet ‘Next it will disguise itself as the boar and as if without its members await its brothers. But when they arrive, it will swiftly bite them also to death’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 154). In other words, the fox, now de facto a king, takes on the semblance of the deposed and assassinated boar-king in order to dispose of its brothers, the bear and the wolf. This stanza and II 45 appear in reverse order in Hb, followed by Bret 1848-9, Skj B and Skald, but the announcement of the end of the saga þengils ‘story of the king’ in II 45/5-8 should logically come at the point when indeed nothing remains to be added to his story. The reversal of stanza-order can be explained on the basis of eye-skip from one helmingr-initial ok to another, followed by retrospective insertion of the missing stanza (Poole 2009, 316-17; cf. Merl 2012).


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 45/5-8: AII, 8, BII, 19, Skald II, 12; Bret 1848-9, II, 31-2 (Bret st. 45); Hb 1892-6, 275; Merl 2012, 108.


Log in

This service is only available to members of the relevant projects, and to purchasers of the skaldic volumes published by Brepols.
This service uses cookies. By logging in you agree to the use of cookies on your browser.


Stanza/chapter/text segment

Use the buttons at the top of the page to navigate between stanzas in a poem.

Information tab

Interactive tab

The text and translation are given here, with buttons to toggle whether the text is shown in the verse order or prose word order. Clicking on indiviudal words gives dictionary links, variant readings, kennings and notes, where relevant.

Full text tab

This is the text of the edition in a similar format to how the edition appears in the printed volumes.

Chapter/text segment

This view is also used for chapters and other text segments. Not all the headings shown are relevant to such sections.