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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 50VIII (Bret 50)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 50 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 50)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 177.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

Langt es at tína,         þats lofða vinr
of aldar far         ýtum sagði.
Es fæst í því         fagrt at heyra;
lætk líða þat         ok lok segja.

Es langt at tína, þats vinr lofða sagði ýtum of far aldar. Fæst es fagrt at heyra í því; lætk þat líða ok segja lok.
‘It is long to compile what the friend of the people told men concerning the course of the age. Very little of it is pleasant to hear; I will let it go by and tell the conclusion.

notes and context

From this point in Merl the use of the prophecies in DGB becomes more selective. Cf. I 93/7-8, which states that sumt ‘some’ of the prophecies to be found in Gunnlaugr’s source are translated, but not all of them. — [5-6]: Perhaps in particular an allusion to prophecy 54, which describes a battle between a dragon and a naked giant (Reeve and Wright 2007, 156‑7); similar motifs occur in subsequent prophecies.


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 50: AII, 19, BII, 20, Skald II, 13; Bret 1848-9, II, 33 (Bret st. 50); Hb 1892-6, 276; Merl 2012, 113.


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