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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 32VIII (Bret 100)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 100 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 32)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 70.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Líðr nauðr yfir         naðr inn hvíta;
es hans kyn kvalit         ok konur ristnar.
Ræntr es hann borgum         ok búi mǫrgu,
fé hvers konar,         foldu grœnni;
eru grimmliga         gumnar drepnir.

‘Nauðr líðr yfir inn hvíta naðr; kyn hans es kvalit ok konur ristnar. Hann es ræntr borgum ok mǫrgu búi, fé hvers konar, grœnni foldu; gumnar eru grimmliga drepnir.
‘‘Hardship will overwhelm the white snake; his kindred will be tormented and his women lacerated. He will be robbed of cities and many an estate, property of every kind, the green land; men will be slaughtered savagely.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 112 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 147.51-5; cf. Wright 1988, 102, prophecy 4): Tunc infortunium albi festinabit et aedificia ortulorum eius diruentur … Ventres matrum secabuntur, et infantes abortiui erunt. Erit ingens supplicium hominum ut indigenae restituantur ‘Then the misfortune of the white will be hastened and the buildings in its gardens be destroyed … Mothers’ bellies will be cut open and infants aborted. People will suffer greatly in order that the natives be restored’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 146). The prophecy refers to the reconquest of the Britons led by King Caduallo recounted in DGB XI (Reeve and Wright 2007, 272-3). — [5-8]: Gunnlaugr expands on the implications for land and property, as occasionally elsewhere: cf. I 41 Note to [All], I 42 Note to [All], I 62 Note to [All].


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 32: AII, 26, BII, 30, Skald II, 19; Bret 1848-9, II, 49 (Bret st. 100); Hb 1892-6, 279; Merl 2012, 151.


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