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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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GunnLeif Merl I 26VIII (Bret 94)

Russell Poole (ed.) 2017, ‘Breta saga 94 (Gunnlaugr Leifsson, Merlínusspá I 26)’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 65.

Gunnlaugr LeifssonMerlínusspá I

‘Ok Rúmverjar         ræsi ugga;
megut reisa þeir         rǫnd við stilli.
Mart veitk annat         of menbrota,
en óglǫgt sék         ørlǫg konungs.

‘Ok Rúmverjar ugga ræsi; þeir megut reisa rǫnd við stilli. Veitk mart annat of {menbrota}, en ørlǫg konungs sék óglǫgt.

‘And the Romans will fear the king; they will not be able to raise a shield against the lord. I know much else about {the breaker of ring} [GENEROUS MAN = Arthur], but the fate of the king I see indistinctly.

Mss: Hb(51r) (Bret)

Editions: Skj AII, 25, Skj BII, 29, Skald II, 18; Bret 1848-9, II, 47 (Bret st. 94); Hb 1892-6, 278; Merl 2012, 146-7.

Notes: [All]: Cf. DGB 112 (Reeve and Wright 2007, 145.42; cf. Wright 1988, 102, prophecy 2): Tremebit Romulea domus saeuiciam ipsius, et exitus eius dubius erit ‘The house of Romulus will tremble before his rage, and his end shall be unknown’ (cf. Reeve and Wright 2007, 144). Gunnlaugr adds the claim to know more about Arthur (J. S. Eysteinsson 1953-7, 99). — [3-4] reisa rǫnd við ‘raise a shield against’: Meaning ‘be capable of resisting’ (CVC: reisa). Cf. Note to II 37/3‑4.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  3. CVC = Cleasby, Richard, Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and W. A. Craigie. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd edn. Oxford: Clarendon.
  4. 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.
  5. Eysteinsson, J. S. 1953-7. ‘The Relationship of Merlínússpá and Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia’. SBVS 14, 95-112.
  6. Bret 1848-9 = Jón Sigurðsson. 1848-9. ‘Trójumanna saga ok Breta sögur, efter Hauksbók, med dansk Oversættelse’. ÅNOH 1848, 3-215; 1849, 3-145.
  7. 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.
  8. Wright, Neil, ed. 1988. The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth. II. The First Variant Version: A Critical Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  9. Merl 2012 = Horst, Simone, ed. 2012. Merlínússpá. Merlins Prophezeiung. Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag.
  10. Internal references
  11. 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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