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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 24VIII (Bret 92)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 92 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 24)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 63.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

‘Mun þar í líki         lofðungr koma
— sás vegligastr —         villigaltar.
Hann fulltingir         fárôðum her
ok und fótum trøðr         ferðir Saxa.

‘Lofðungr mun koma þar í líki villigaltar; sás vegligastr. Hann fulltingir fárôðum her ok trøðr ferðir Saxa und fótum.

‘A king will come there in the likeness of a wild boar; he is the most glorious. He will help the bewildered army and will tread the armies of the Saxons underfoot.

Mss: Hb(51r) (Bret)

Editions: Skj AII, 25, Skj BII, 28-9, Skald II, 18; Bret 1848-9, II, 47 (Bret st. 92); Hb 1892-6, 278; Merl 2012, 145.

Notes: [All]: Cf. DGB 112 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 145.39-40; cf. Wright 1988, 102, prophecy 2): Aper etenim Cornubiae succursum praestabit et colla eorum sub pedibus suis conculcabit ‘The boar of Cornwall will lend his aid and trample the foreigners’ necks beneath his feet’ (Reeve and Wright 2007, 144). The reference is to King Arthur. Gunnlaugr rationalises the animal allegory by describing the king as in a boar’s likeness rather than an actual boar. Geoffrey’s reference to Cornwall is omitted. — [3]: J. S. Eysteinsson (1953-7, 99) argues that this recognition of Arthur’s key role amongst British kings must stem from DGB proper (IX-XI), not the Prophecies in isolation; but see Introduction on Gunnlaugr’s possible use of commentary material.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. Hb 1892-6 = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1892-6. Hauksbók udgiven efter de Arnamagnæanske håndskrifter no. 371, 544 og 675, 4° samt forskellige papirshåndskrifter. Copenhagen: Det kongelige nordiske oldskrift-selskab.
  4. Eysteinsson, J. S. 1953-7. ‘The Relationship of Merlínússpá and Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia’. SBVS 14, 95-112.
  5. Bret 1848-9 = Jón Sigurðsson. 1848-9. ‘Trójumanna saga ok Breta sögur, efter Hauksbók, med dansk Oversættelse’. ÅNOH 1848, 3-215; 1849, 3-145.
  6. Reeve, Michael D., and Neil Wright. 2007. Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain. An Edition and Translation of De gestis Britonum [Historia regum Britanniae]. Woodbridge: Boydell.
  7. Wright, Neil, ed. 1988. The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth. II. The First Variant Version: A Critical Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  8. Merl 2012 = Horst, Simone, ed. 2012. Merlínússpá. Merlins Prophezeiung. Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag.
  9. Internal references
  10. 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Unattributed, Breta saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 38.

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