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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 83VIII (Bret 151)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 151 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 83)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 119.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

text and translation

‘Upp renn síðan         — sék þat fyrir —
traust í turni         tré Lundúna;
þrír eru kvistir         þeim lundi á,
en hann laufi þekr         land með hringum.

‘Traust tré renn upp síðan í turni Lundúna; sék þat fyrir. Þrír kvistir eru á þeim lundi, en hann þekr laufi land með hringum.
‘‘A sturdy tree will shoot up then in the tower of London: I foresee that. There are three branches on that tree and with its foliage it completely shelters the land.

notes and context

Cf. DGB 115 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 151.131-3; cf. Wright 1988, 106, prophecy 27): Exin super turrim Lundoniarum procreabitur arbor, quae tribus solummodo ramis contenta superficiem tocius insulae latitudine foliorum obumbrabit ‘Then a tree will sprout above the tower of London, whose three branches in themselves will shade the surface of the entire island with the breadth of their foliage’ (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 83: AII, 33, BII, 41, Skald II, 25-6; Bret 1848-9, II, 68 (Bret st. 151); Hb 1892-6, 282; Merl 2012, 193-4.


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