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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 36VIII (Bret 104)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 104 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 36)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 73.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Kemr bardagi         buðlungs himins
ákafr of her,         ári steypir.
Kvelr inn harði         helverkr fira;
megut dauðan her         dróttir hylja.
Líðr sultr ok sótt         at sigrviðum
— missir manna —         mǫrg stríð hǫfug.

‘Ákafr bardagi {buðlungs himins} kemr of her, steypir ári. Inn harði helverkr kvelr fira; dróttir megut hylja dauðan her. Sultr ok sótt líðr at {sigrviðum}, mǫrg hǫfug stríð; missir manna.
‘‘The violent scourge of the king of heaven [= God] will come over the people, will ruin the harvest. The harsh torment of Hell will afflict men; men will not be able to bury the dead people. Hunger and sickness will advance on victory-trees [WARRIORS], [and] many grievous hardships; there is loss of men.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 112 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 147.58-9; cf. Wright 1988, 103, prophecy 5): Superueniet itaque ultio Tonantis, quia omnis ager colonos decipiet. Arripiet mortalitas populum cunctasque nationes euacuabit ‘Upon it will come the retribution of the Thunderer, for every field will disappoint its cultivators. Pestilence will smite the people and empty every region’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 146). — [9-12]: A composite subject, with sg. verb governed by the first component of the subject, as happens sporadically elsewhere in Merl (cf. NS §66). Kock (FF §63) notes the parallel construction in ll. 9 and 12.



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 36: AII, 27, BII, 31, Skald II, 19, FF §63; Bret 1848-9, II, 51 (Bret st. 104); Hb 1892-6, 279; Merl 2012, 154-5.


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