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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 71VIII (Bret 139)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 139 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 71)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 107.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Eyðisk eyjar         it enska nafn;
mun hon Anglía         eigi kǫlluð.
Hlýtr hon at halda         heiti inu forna;
kend es við Brútum         Brítannía.

‘It enska nafn eyjar eyðisk; hon mun eigi kǫlluð Anglía. Hon hlýtr at halda inu forna heiti; es kend Brítannía við Brútum.
‘‘The English name of the island is expunged; it will not be called Anglia. It gets to retain the old name; it is called Britain after Brutus.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 115 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 149.114; cf. Wright 1988, 105, prophecy 20): Nomine Bruti uocabitur insula, et nuncupatio extraneorum peribit ‘The island will be called by Brutus’ name and the naming conferred on it by the foreigners will perish’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 148). — [7-8]: The idea is familiar, but Gunnlaugr may have taken it either from a commentary or perhaps directly from DGB I (21.459-60: Reeve and Wright 2007, 28‑9). He spells out more explicitly than Geoffrey that this represents a reversion to the ancient name.


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 71: AII, 32, BII, 38, Skald II, 24; Bret 1848-9, II, 63-4 (Bret st. 139); Hb 1892-6, 281; Merl 2012, 183.


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