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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 55VIII (Bret 55)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 55 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 55)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 181.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘Hǫfugt es at heyra,         þats of her gerisk;
lifa fénaðar         fyrðar lífi.
Hyggja á þennan         þrágjarnan heim
ok hvers konar         hafna gœzku.

‘Hǫfugt es at heyra, þats gerisk of her; fyrðar lifa lífi fénaðar. Hyggja á þennan þrágjarnan heim ok hafna hvers konar gœzku.
‘‘It is grievous to hear what becomes of the people; men will live the life of beasts. They will think of this obdurate world and forsake goodness of every kind.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 157.230-1; cf. Wright 1988, 111, prophecy 53): quia more pecudum lasciuient ‘because they will rut like animals’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 156). Gunnlaugr characteristically tones down this sexual reference.


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 55: AII, 20, BII, 21, Skald II, 13; Bret 1848-9, II, 35 (Bret st. 55); Hb 1892-6, 276; Merl 2012, 117.


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