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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 48VIII (Bret 48)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 48 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 48)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 176.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

‘Verða síðar         á sama landi
léparðar sjau         linni bornir.
Þeir hafa brúsa         bǫlgjǫrn hǫfuð;
eru dáðlausir         dǫglings synir.

‘Sjau léparðar verða bornir linni síðar á sama landi. Þeir hafa bǫlgjǫrn hǫfuð brúsa; synir dǫglings eru dáðlausir.

‘Seven leopards will be born to the snake later in that same land. They will have the baleful heads of he-goats; the king’s sons will be bereft of [noble] deeds.

Mss: Hb(50r) (Bret)

Readings: [3] léparðar: ‘lꝍpartar’ Hb

Editions: Skj AII, 19, Skj BII, 20, Skald II, 12-13, NN §1281; Bret 1848-9, II, 33 (Bret st. 48); Hb 1892-6, 276; Merl 2012, 111-12.

Notes: [All]: Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 157.228-9; cf. Wright 1988, 111, prophecy 53): Egredientur ex eo septem leones capitibus hircorum turpati ‘From it will emerge seven lions, disfigured with the heads of goats’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 156). Prophecies 47 to 52 inclusive are not represented in Merl; for the possibility that there is an extensive lacuna at this point in Hb see Merl 2012, 39-44). — [3] léparðar ‘leopards’: Emended thus in Skald from ms. ‘lꝍpartar’ (printed as lœpartar in Skj B, but contrast LP: léparðr). Again Geoffrey has ‘lion’ here: for Gunnlaugr’s confusion of leopards and lions, see Note to II 45/3. — [5] brúsa ‘of he-goats’: This edn follows Kock (NN §1281; cf. Merl 2012), who construes brúsa as gen. pl. rather than sg. (cf. Geoffrey’s text and contrast Skj B). — [7] dáðlausir ‘bereft of [noble] deeds’: This edn follows Kock (NN §1281), who compares II 64/5 drýgjum dáð ‘let us practise [good] deeds’. Finnur Jónsson explains as ‘without renowned deeds’ (LP: dáðlauss; cf. Merl 2012), and that might also be correct.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Hb 1892-6 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1892-6. Hauksbók udgiven efter de Arnamagnæanske håndskrifter no. 371, 544 og 675, 4° samt forskellige papirshåndskrifter. Copenhagen: Det kongelige nordiske oldskrift-selskab.
  7. Bret 1848-9 = Jón Sigurðsson. 1848-9. ‘Trójumanna saga ok Breta sögur, efter Hauksbók, med dansk Oversættelse’. ÅNOH 1848, 3-215; 1849, 3-145.
  8. Reeve, Michael D., and Neil Wright. 2007. Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain. An Edition and Translation of De gestis Britonum [Historia regum Britanniae]. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  9. Wright, Neil, ed. 1988. The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth. II. The First Variant Version: A Critical Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  10. Merl 2012 = Horst, Simone, ed. 2012. Merlínússpá. Merlins Prophezeiung. Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag.
  11. Internal references
  12. 2017, ‘ Unattributed, Breta saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 38. <> (accessed 27 September 2021)

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