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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 34VIII (Bret 102)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 102 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 34)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 71.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Sá, es slíkt gerir,         mun sjalfr taka
eirmann á sik,         aldar stjóri;
ok of hô hliði         hilmir síðan
eirhesti á         ítarligr sitr.
Gætir Lundúna         lofsæll konungr.

‘{Sá stjóri aldar}, es gerir slíkt, mun sjalfr taka eirmann á sik; ok hilmir sitr síðan ítarligr á eirhesti of hô hliði. Lofsæll konungr gætir Lundúna.
‘‘That ruler of the people [KING = Caduallo] who does this will take a copper form upon himself, and thenceforward the ruler will sit in splendour on a copper horse above the high gate. The renowned king will watch over London.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 112 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 147.55-6; cf. Wright 1988, 102, prophecy 4): Qui faciet haec aeneum uirum induet et per multa tempora super aeneum equum portas Londoniae seruabit ‘He who achieves this will don a man of bronze and for many years guard the gates of London upon a bronze steed’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 146). This prophecy alludes to the placing of the body of King Caduallo inside a bronze effigy, narrated in DGB XI (Reeve and Wright 2007, 276-7). The effigy combined with its mount would have made up an equestrian statue (cf. Tatlock 1950, 375). — [9-10]: The <G> in Gætir is majuscule in the ms., presumably to indicate that in the belief of the copyist a new stanza began at this point. But the grouping of the narrative material speaks for the division of stanzas adopted here and by all previous eds.


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 34: AII, 26, BII, 30-1, Skald II, 19; Bret 1848-9, II, 50 (Bret st. 102); Hb 1892-6, 279; Merl 2012, 152-3.


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