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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 61VIII (Bret 129)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 129 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 61)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 98.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Glíkt mun gaupu         grams jóð vesa;
vill þat sinni þjóð         sjalfri steypa.
En af þeim sǫkum         þermlask bæði
Íra ok Engla         auðgrar jarðar
Néústría         ok numin tígnum.

‘Jóð grams mun vesa glíkt gaupu; þat vill steypa þjóð sinni sjalfri. En af þeim sǫkum þermlask Néústría auðgrar jarðar bæði Íra ok Engla, ok numin tígnum.
‘‘The king’s son will resemble a lynx; it will wish to destroy its own people. And for those reasons Neustria will be stripped of the rich land of both the Irish and the English and deprived of honours.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 115 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 149.105-7; cf. Wright 1988, 105, prophecy 18): Egredietur ex eo linx penetrans omnia, quae ruinae propriae gentis imminebit. Per illam enim utramque insulam amittet Neustria et pristina dignitate spoliabitur ‘From him will emerge a lynx, which will penetrate through everything and threaten to destroy its own people. Because of it Normandy will lose both islands and be stripped of its former honour’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 148). The lynx appears as a simile rather than allegorically in Merl and the idea that the lynx’s preternaturally acute sight enables it to see through into the viscera of animals, hinted at in DGB, is not carried over.



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 61: AII, 30, BII, 36, Skald II, 23, NN §§104, 3143B, 3258C; Bret 1848-9, II, 60 (Bret st. 129); Hb 1892-6, 280-1; Merl 2012, 174-5.


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