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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 79VIII (Bret 147)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 147 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 79)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 116.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Kømr árgalli         enn inn mikli
ok meinliga         manndauðr of her;
eyðask borgir         við bragna tjón.
Es nauðr mikil         nýtra manna;
flýr margr á brott         maðr ór landi.

‘Enn kømr inn mikli árgalli ok manndauðr meinliga of her; borgir eyðask við tjón bragna. Es mikil nauðr nýtra manna; margr maðr flýr á brott ór landi.
‘‘Once more there will come a great failure of the harvest and mortality [with it], hurtfully over the people; cities will be devastated with the loss of men. There will be great adversity for valiant men; many a man will flee away from the land.

notes and context

 Cf. DGB 115 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 151.127-8; cf. Wright 1988, 106, prophecy 25): Redibit iterum fames, redibit mortalitas; et desolationem urbium dolebunt ciues ‘Hunger will return, plague will return, and the natives will lament the desolation of their cities’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 150).



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 79: AII, 33, BII, 40, Skald II, 25; Bret 1848-9, II, 66-7 (Bret st. 147); Hb 1892-6, 282; Merl 2012, 190-1.


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