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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 19VIII (Bret 87)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 87 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 19)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 61.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Seg, Merlínus,’         kvað menbroti,
‘— est þú fróðari         fyrðum ǫðrum —,
hvat tákna mun         tveggja orma
ógurligt víg         aldar bǫrnum.’

‘Seg, Merlínus,’ kvað {menbroti}, ‘— þú est fróðari ǫðrum fyrðum —, hvat ógurligt víg tveggja orma mun tákna bǫrnum aldar.’
‘‘Say, Merlin,’ said the neck-ring breaker [GENEROUS MAN = Vortigern], ‘— you are wiser than other men —, what the fearsome battle of the two snakes will mean for the children of men.’

notes and context

Cf. DGB 111 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 145.31-2): praecepit rex Ambrosio Merlino dicere quid proelium draconum portendebat ‘the king commanded Ambrosius Merlin to tell him what the battle of the serpents presaged’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 144).


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 II 19: AII, 24, BII, 27-8, Skald II, 17; Bret 1848-9, II, 45 (Bret st. 87); Hb 1892-6, 278; Merl 2012, 142.


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