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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

‘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.

Mss: Hb(51v) (Bret)

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

Notes: [All]: 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). — [3] eirmann ‘a copper form’: Lit. ‘copper man’. The word is a hap. leg. (LP, ONP: eirmaðr). — [7] eirhesti ‘a copper horse’: The word is attested only here and in Bret (ONP: eirhestr). — [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.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  4. ONP = Degnbol, Helle et al., eds. 1989-. A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose / Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog. 1-. Copenhagen: The Arnamagnæan Commission.
  5. 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.
  6. Bret 1848-9 = Jón Sigurðsson. 1848-9. ‘Trójumanna saga ok Breta sögur, efter Hauksbók, med dansk Oversættelse’. ÅNOH 1848, 3-215; 1849, 3-145.
  7. 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.
  8. Tatlock, J. S. P. 1950. The Legendary History of Britain. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  9. Wright, Neil, ed. 1988. The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth. II. The First Variant Version: A Critical Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  10. Merl 2012 = Horst, Simone, ed. 2012. Merlínússpá. Merlins Prophezeiung. Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag.
  11. Internal references
  12. 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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