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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl II 7VIII (Bret 7)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 7 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá II 7)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 140.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá II

text and translation

‘Illr es annarr;         allir svelta,
þeirs af bekki         bergja drekku.
Þós inn þriðja         þyngst at reyna;
deyja þeir allir,         es þar drekka af;
né hræ guma         hyljask foldu.

‘Annarr es illr; allir svelta, þeirs bergja drekku af bekki. Þós inn þriðja þyngst at reyna; allir deyja, þeir es þar drekka af; né hyljask hræ guma foldu.
‘‘The second is bad; all those who taste a drink from the stream will die. Yet the third is most grievous to try; all those who drink from it will die; nor will men’s corpses be covered with earth.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 116 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 151.149-51; cf. Wright 1988, 107, prophecy 31): Qui bibet de altero indeficienti fame peribit, et in facie ipsius pallor et horror sedebit. Qui bibet de tercio subita morte periclitabitur, nec corpus ipsius subire poterit sepulchrum ‘Whoever drinks from the second will die of a thirst that cannot be quenched, and a ghastly pallor will appear on his face. Whoever drinks from the third will die a sudden death, and no one will be able to bury his body’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 150). The notion of pallor et horror is not represented in Merl.



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 7: AII, 11, BII, 11, Skald II, 7; Bret 1848-9, II, 16 (Bret st. 7); Hb 1892-6, 272; Merl 2012, 71-2.


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