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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 23VIII (Bret 91)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 91 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 23)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 63.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Farask mun krístni,         kirkjur falla;
sás harmr hǫfugr;         herr es í landi.
Þá mun enn eflask         in auma þjóð;
áðr es harðla hnekt         hennar kosti.

‘Krístni mun farask, kirkjur falla; sás hǫfugr harmr; herr es í landi. Þá mun in auma þjóð enn eflask; kosti hennar es áðr harðla hnekt.
‘‘Christianity will vanish, churches collapse; that is a grievous sorrow; the [invading] army is in the land. Then the miserable people will gain strength once more; prior to that their welfare is sorely checked.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 112 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 145.38-9; cf. Wright 1988, 102, prophecies 1 and 2): Cultus religionis delebitur, et ruina ecclesiarum patebit. Praeualebit tandem oppressa et saeuiciae exterorum resistet ‘Religious observance will be destroyed and churches stand in ruins. At last the oppressed will rise up and resist the foreigners’ fury’ (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 23: AII, 25, BII, 28, Skald II, 18; Bret 1848-9, II, 46 (Bret st. 91); Hb 1892-6, 278; Merl 2012, 144-5.


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