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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 72VIII (Bret 140)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 140 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 72)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 108.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Mun villigǫltr         vígdjarfr koma
ór kynstórri         Kónus ætt
sá vigra konr         Vallandi á.
Høggr yngva sonr         eikr ór skógi;
þó mun hilmir         hollr smáviði.

‘Villigǫltr, sá konr vigra, mun koma vígdjarfr ór kynstórri ætt Kónus á Vallandi. Sonr yngva høggr eikr ór skógi; þó mun hilmir hollr smáviði.
‘‘A wild boar, that scion of pigs, will issue, daring in combat, from the mighty lineage of Conan in France. The prince’s son hews down oaks from the forest; yet the ruler will be kindly to small trees.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 115 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 149.114-17; cf. Wright 1988, 105-6, prophecy 21): Ex Conano procedet aper bellicosus, qui infra Gallicana nemora acumen dentium suorum exercebit. Truncabit namque quaeque maiora robora, minoribus uero tutelam praestabit ‘From Conanus will come forth a warlike boar, who will exercise the sharpness of his tusks on the forests of France. He will cut short all the tallest trees, but give protection to the smaller’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 148). Geoffrey envisages the resurgent British monarchy gaining power in France. Gunnlaugr amplifies on the glory of the boar king’s lineage, probably with Arthur, the greatest of the boar kings, in mind: cf. I 24/4.



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 72: AII, 32, BII, 38, Skald II, 24; Bret 1848-9, II, 64 (Bret st. 140); Hb 1892-6, 281; Merl 2012, 184-5.


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