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skaldic

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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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
434445

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).

sources

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.

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