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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

‘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.’

Mss: Hb(51r) (Bret)

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

Notes: [All]: 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).


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. 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.
  4. Bret 1848-9 = Jón Sigurðsson. 1848-9. ‘Trójumanna saga ok Breta sögur, efter Hauksbók, med dansk Oversættelse’. ÅNOH 1848, 3-215; 1849, 3-145.
  5. 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.
  6. Merl 2012 = Horst, Simone, ed. 2012. Merlínússpá. Merlins Prophezeiung. Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag.
  7. Internal references
  8. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Unattributed, Breta saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 38.

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