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Poetic Edda

The Poetic Edda (pdf file)

In Codex Regius

Völuspá - The Wise-Woman's Prophecy Edit

Völuspá (Prophecy of the Seeress) is the first and best known poem of the Poetic Edda. It tells the story of the creation of the world and its coming end related by a völva or seeress addressing Odin. It is one of the most important primary sources for the study of Norse mythology.

The prophecy commences with an address to Odin. The seeress then starts relating the story of the creation of the world in an abridged form. She explains how she came by her knowledge and that she understands the source of Odin's omniscience, and other secrets of the gods of Asgard. She deals with present and future happenings, touching on many of the Norse myths, such as the death of Baldr and the binding of Loki. Ultimately the seeress tells of the end of the world, Ragnarök, and its second coming.


[1] Hearing I ask | from the holy races, From Heimdall’s sons, | both high and low; Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

[2] I remember yet | the giants of yore, Who gave me bread | in the days gone by; Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the Tree With mighty roots | beneath the mold.

[3] Of old was the age | when Ymir lived; Sea nor cool waves | nor sand there were; Earth had not been, | nor heaven above, But a yawning gap, | and grass nowhere.

[4] Then Bur's sons lifted | the level land, Mithgarth the mighty | there they made; The sun from the south | warmed the stones of earth, And green was the ground | with growing leeks.

[5] The sun, the sister | of the moon, from the south Her right hand cast | over heaven's rim; No knowledge she had | where her home should be, The moon knew not | what might was his, The stars knew not | where their stations were.

[6] Then sought the gods | their assembly-seats, The holy ones, | and council held; Names then gave they | to noon and twilight, Morning they named, | and the waning moon, Night and evening, | the years to number.

[7] At Ithavoll met | the mighty gods, Shrines and temples | they timbered high; Forges they set, and | they smithied ore, Tongs they wrought, | and tools they fashioned.

[8] In their dwellings at peace | they played at tables, Of gold no lack | did the gods then know,-- Till thither came | up giant-maids three, Huge of might, | out of Jotunheim.

[9] Then sought the gods | their assembly-seats, The holy ones, | and council held, To find who should raise | the race of dwarfs Out of Brimir's blood | and the legs of Blain.

[10] There was Motsognir | the mightiest made Of all the dwarfs, | and Durin next; Many a likeness | of men they made, The dwarfs in the earth, | as Durin said.

[11] Nyi and Nithi, | Northri and Suthri, Austri and Vestri, | Althjof, Dvalin, Nar and Nain, | Niping, Dain, Bifur, Bofur, | Bombur, Nori, An and Onar, | Ai, Mjothvitnir.

[12] Vigg and Gandalf) | Vindalf, Thrain, Thekk and Thorin, | Thror, Vit and Lit, Nyr and Nyrath,-- | now have I told-- Regin and Rathsvith-- | the list aright.

[13] Fili, Kili, | Fundin, Nali, Heptifili, | Hannar, Sviur, Frar, Hornbori, | Fræg and Loni, Aurvang, Jari, | Eikinskjaldi.

[14] The race of the dwarfs | in Dvalin's throng Down to Lofar | the list must I tell; The rocks they left, | and through wet lands They sought a home | in the fields of sand.

[15] There were Draupnir | and Dolgthrasir, Hor, Haugspori, | Hlevang, Gloin, Dori, Ori, | Duf, Andvari, Skirfir, Virfir, | Skafith, Ai.

[16] Alf and Yngvi, | Eikinskjaldi, Fjalar and Frosti, | Fith and Ginnar; So for all time | shall the tale be known, The list of all | the forbears of Lofar.

[17] Then from the throng | did three come forth, From the home of the gods, | the mighty and gracious; Two without fate | on the land they found, Ask and Embla, | empty of might.

[18] Soul they had not, | sense they had not, Heat nor motion, | nor goodly hue; Soul gave Othin, | sense gave Hönir, Heat gave Lothur | and goodly hue.

[19] An ash I know, | Yggdrasil its name, With water white | is the great tree wet; Thence come the dews | that fall in the dales, Green by Urth's well | does it ever grow.

[20] Thence come the maidens | mighty in wisdom, Three from the dwelling | down 'neath the tree; Urth is one named, | Verthandi the next,-- On the wood they scored,-- | and Skuld the third. Laws they made there, and life allotted To the sons of men, and set their fates.

[21] The war I remember, | the first in the world, When the gods with spears | had smitten Gollveig, And in the hall | of Hor had burned her, Three times burned, | and three times born, Oft and again, | yet ever she lives.

[22] Heith they named her | who sought their home, The wide-seeing witch, | in magic wise; Minds she bewitched | that were moved by her magic, To evil women | a joy she was.

[23] On the host his spear | did Othin hurl, Then in the world | did war first come; The wall that girdled | the gods was broken, And the field by the warlike | Wanes was trodden.

[24] Then sought the gods | their assembly-seats, The holy ones, | and council held, Whether the gods | should tribute give, Or to all alike | should worship belong.

[25] Then sought the gods | their assembly-seats, The holy ones, | and council held, To find who with venom | the air had filled, Or had given Oth's bride | to the giants' brood.

[26] In swelling rage | then rose up Thor,-- Seldom he sits | when he such things hears,-- And the oaths were broken, | the words and bonds, The mighty pledges | between them made.

[27] I know of the horn | of Heimdall, hidden Under the high-reaching | holy tree; On it there pours | from Valfather's pledge A mighty stream: | would you know yet more?

[28] Alone I sat | when the Old One sought me, The terror of gods, | and gazed in mine eyes: "What hast thou to ask? | why comest thou hither? Othin, I know | where thine eye is hidden."

[29] I know where Othin's | eye is hidden, Deep in the wide-famed | well of Mimir; Mead from the pledge | of Othin each morn Does Mimir drink: | would you know yet more?

[30] Necklaces had I | and rings from Heerfather, Wise was my speech | and my magic wisdom; -lacuna- Widely I saw | over all the worlds.

[31] On all sides saw I | Valkyries assemble, Ready to ride | to the ranks of the gods; Skuld bore the shield, | and Skogul rode next, Guth, Hild, Gondul, | and Geirskogul. Of Herjan's maidens | the list have ye heard, Valkyries ready | to ride o'er the earth.

[32] I saw for Baldr, | the bleeding god, The son of Othin, | his destiny set: Famous and fair | in the lofty fields, Full grown in strength | the mistletoe stood.

[33] From the branch which seemed | so slender and fair Came a harmful shaft | that Hoth should hurl; But the brother of Baldr | was born ere long, And one night old | fought Othin's son.

[34] His hands he washed not, | his hair he combed not, Till he bore to the bale-blaze | Baldr's foe. But in Fensalir | did Frigg weep sore For Valhall's need: | would you know yet more?

[35] One did I see | in the wet woods bound, A lover of ill, | and to Loki like; By his side does Sigyn | sit, nor is glad To see her mate: | would you know yet more?

[36] From the east there pours | through poisoned vales With swords and daggers | the river Slith. -lacuna- frozen feilds | do run its course -lacuna- and never may man | by oath it take.

[37] Northward a hall | in Nithavellir Of gold there rose | for Sindri's race; And in Okolnir | another stood, Where the giant Brimir | his beer-hall had.

[38] A hall I saw, | far from the sun, On Nastrond it stands, | and the doors face north, Venom drops | through the smoke-vent down, For around the walls | do serpents wind.

[39] I saw there wading | through rivers wild Treacherous men | and murderers too, And workers of ill | with the wives of men; There Nithhogg sucked | the blood of the slain, And the wolf tore men; | would you know yet more?

[40] The giantess old | in Ironwood sat, In the east, and bore | the brood of Fenrir; Among these one | in monster's guise Was soon to steal | the sun from the sky.

[41] There feeds he full | on the flesh of the dead, And the home of the gods | he reddens with gore; Dark grows the sun, | and in summer soon Come mighty storms: | would you know yet more?

[42] On a hill there sat, | and smote on his harp, Eggther the joyous, | the giants' warder; Above him the cock | in the bird-wood crowed, Fair and red | did Fjalar stand.

[43] Then to the gods | crowed Gollinkambi, He wakes the heroes | in Othin's hall; And beneath the earth | does another crow, The rust-red bird | at the bars of Hel.

[44] Now Garm howls loud | before Gnipahellir, The fetters will burst, | and the wolf run free; Much do I know, | and more can see Of the fate of the gods, | the mighty in fight.

[45] Brothers shall fight | and fell each other, And sisters' sons | shall kinship stain; Hard is it on earth, | with mighty whoredom; Axe-time, sword-time, | shields are sundered, Wind-time, wolf-time, | ere the world falls; Nor ever shall men | each other spare.

[46] Fast move the sons | of Mim, and fate Is heard in the note | of the Gjallarhorn; Loud blows Heimdall, | the horn is aloft, In fear quake all | who on Hel-roads are.

[47] Yggdrasil shakes, | and shiver on high The ancient limbs, | and the giant is loose; To the head of Mim | does Othin give heed, But the kinsman of Surt | shall slay him soon.

[48] How fare the gods? | how fare the elves? All Jotunheim groans, | the gods are at council; Loud roar the dwarfs | by the doors of stone, The masters of the rocks: | would you know yet more?

[49] Now Garm howls loud | before Gnipahellir, The fetters will burst, | and the wolf run free Much do I know, | and more can see Of the fate of the gods, | the mighty in fight.

[50] From the east comes Hrym | with shield held high; In giant-wrath | does the serpent writhe; O'er the waves he twists, | and the tawny eagle Gnaws corpses screaming; | Naglfar is loose.

[51] O'er the sea from the north | there sails a ship With the people of Hel, | at the helm stands Loki; After the wolf | do wild men follow, And with them the brother | of Byleist goes.

[52] Surt fares from the south | with the scourge of branches, The sun of the battle-gods | shone from his sword; The crags are sundered, | the giant-women sink, The dead throng Hel-way, | and heaven is cloven.

[53] Now comes to Hlin | yet another hurt, When Othin fares | to fight with the wolf, And Beli's fair slayer | seeks out Surt, For there must fall | the joy of Frigg.

[54] Then comes Sigfather's | mighty son, Vithar, to fight | with the foaming wolf; In the giant's son | does he thrust his sword Full to the heart: | his father is avenged.

[55] Hither there comes | the son of Hlothyn, The bright snake gapes | to heaven above; -lacuna- vith venom he fills both sea and air Against the serpent | goes Othin's son.

[56] In anger smites | the warder of earth,-- Forth from their homes | must all men flee;- Nine paces fares | the son of Fjorgyn, And, slain by the serpent, | fearless he sinks.

[57] The sun turns black, | earth sinks in the sea, The hot stars down | from heaven are whirled; Fierce grows the steam | and the life-feeding flame, Till fire leaps high | about heaven itself.

[58] Now Garm howls loud | before Gnipahellir, The fetters will burst, | and the wolf run free; Much do I know, | and more can see Of the fate of the gods, | the mighty in fight.

[59] Now do I see | the earth anew Rise all green | from the waves again; The cataracts fall, | and the eagle flies, And fish he catches | beneath the cliffs.

[60] The gods in Ithavoll | meet together, Of the terrible girdler | of earth they talk, And the mighty past | they call to mind, And the ancient runes | of the Ruler of Gods.

[61] In wondrous beauty | once again Shall the golden tables | stand mid the grass, Which the gods had owned | in the days of old, -lacuna- And played at tafle, | would ye know yet more?

[62] Then fields unsowed | bear ripened fruit, All ills grow better, | and Baldr comes back; Baldr and Hoth dwell | in Hropt's battle-hall, And the mighty gods: | would you know yet more?

[63] Then Hönir wins | the prophetic wand, -lacuna- and Baldr the word of his father said And the sons of the brothers | of Tveggi abide In Vindheim now: | would you know yet more?

[64] More fair than the sun, | a hall I see, Roofed with gold, | on Gimle it stands; There shall the righteous | rulers dwell, And happiness ever | there shall they have.

[65] There comes on high, | all power to hold, A mighty lord, | all lands he rules. -lacuna- rule he orders | an rights he fixes -lacuna- laws he ordains | that ever shalt live.

[66] From below the dragon | dark comes forth, Nithhogg flying | from Nithafjoll; The bodies of men on | his wings he bears, The serpent bright: | but now must I sink.


Hávamál --The Ballad of the High One Edit

(Translation by Henry Adams Bellows.)


[1] Within the gates | ere a man shall go,
(Full warily let him watch,)
Full long let him look about him;
For little he knows | where a foe may lurk,
And sit in the seats within.
[2] Hail to the giver! | a guest has come;
Where shall the stranger sit?
Swift shall he be who, | with swords shall try
The proof of his might to make.
[3] Fire he needs | who with frozen knees
Has come from the cold without;
Food and clothes | must the farer have,
The man from the mountains come.
[4] Water and towels | and welcoming speech
Should he find who comes, to the feast;
If renown he would get, | and again be greeted,
Wisely and well must he act.
[5] Wits must he have | who wanders wide,
But all is easy at home;
At the witless man | the wise shall wink
When among such men he sits.
[6] A man shall not boast | of his keenness of mind,
But keep it close in his breast;
To the silent and wise | does ill come seldom
When he goes as guest to a house;
(For a faster friend | one never finds
Than wisdom tried and true.)
[7] The knowing guest | who goes to the feast,
In silent attention sits;
With his ears he hears, | with his eyes he watches,
Thus wary are wise men all.
[8] Happy the one | who wins for himself
Favor and praises fair;
Less safe by far | is the wisdom found
That is hid in another's heart.
[9] Happy the man | who has while he lives
Wisdom and praise as well,
For evil counsel | a man full oft
Has from another's heart.
[10] A better burden | may no man bear
For wanderings wide than wisdom;
It is better than wealth | on unknown ways,
And in grief a refuge it gives.
[11] A better burden | may no man bear
For wanderings wide than wisdom;
Worse food for the journey | he brings not afield
Than an over-drinking of ale.
[12] Less good there lies | than most believe
In ale for mortal men;
For the more he drinks | the less does man
Of his mind the mastery hold.
[13] Over beer the bird | of forgetfulness broods,
And steals the minds of men;
With the heron's feathers | fettered I lay
And in Gunnloth's house was held.
[14] Drunk I was, | I was dead-drunk,
When with Fjalar wise I was;
'Tis the best of drinking | if back one brings
His wisdom with him home.
[15] The son of a king | shall be silent and wise,
And bold in battle as well;
Bravely and gladly | a man shall go,
Till the day of his death is come.
[16] The sluggard believes | he shall live forever,
If the fight he faces not;
But age shall not grant him | the gift of peace,
Though spears may spare his life.
[17] The fool is agape | when he comes to the feast,
He stammers or else is still;
But soon if he gets | a drink is it seen
What the mind of the man is like.
[18] He alone is aware | who has wandered wide,
And far abroad has fared,
How great a mind | is guided by him
That wealth of wisdom has.
[19] Shun not the mead, | but drink in measure;
Speak to the point or be still;
For rudeness none | shall rightly blame thee
If soon thy bed thou seekest.
[20] The greedy man, | if his mind be vague,
Will eat till sick he is;
The vulgar man, | when among the wise,
To scorn by his belly is brought.
[21] The herds know well | when home they shall fare,
And then from the grass they go;
But the foolish man | his belly's measure
Shall never know aright.
[22] A paltry man | and poor of mind
At all things ever mocks;
For never he knows, | what he ought to know,
That he is not free from faults.
[23] The witless man | is awake all night,
Thinking of many things;
Care-worn he is | when the morning comes,
And his woe is just as it was.
[24] The foolish man | for friends all those
Who laugh at him will hold;
When among the wise | he marks it not
Though hatred of him they speak.
[25] The foolish man | for friends all those
Who laugh at him will hold;
But the truth when he comes | to the council he learns,
That few in his favor will speak.
[26] An ignorant man | thinks that all he knows,
When he sits by himself in a corner;
But never what answer | to make he knows,
When others with questions come.
[27] A witless man, | when he meets with men,
Had best in silence abide;
For no one shall find | that nothing he knows,
If his mouth is not open too much.
(But a man knows not, | if nothing he knows,
When his mouth has been open too much.)
[28] Wise shall he seem | who well can question,
And also answer well;
Nought is concealed | that men may say
Among the sons of men.
[29] Often he speaks | who never is still
With words that win no faith;
The babbling tongue, | if a bridle it find not,
Oft for itself sings ill.
[30] In mockery no one | a man shall hold,
Although he fare to the feast;
Wise seems one oft, | if nought he is asked,
And safely he sits dry-skinned.
[31] Wise a guest holds it | to take to his heels,
When mock of another he makes;
But little he knows | who laughs at the feast,
Though he mocks in the midst of his foes.
[32] Friendly of mind | are many men,
Till feasting they mock at their friends;
To mankind a bane | must it ever be
When guests together strive.
[33] Oft should one make | an early meal,
Nor fasting come to the feast;
Else he sits and chews | as if he would choke,
And little is able to ask.
[34] Crooked and far | is the road to a foe,
Though his house on the highway be;
But wide and straight | is the way to a friend,
Though far away he fare.
[35] Forth shall one go, | nor stay as a guest
In a single spot forever;
Love becomes loathing | if long one sits
By the hearth in another's home.
[36] Better a house, | though a hut it be,
A man is master at home;
A pair of goats | and a patched-up roof
Are better far than begging.
[37] Better a house, | though a hut it be,
A man is master at home;
His heart is bleeding | who needs must beg
When food he fain would have.
[38] Away from his arms | in the open field
A man should fare not a foot;
For never he knows | when the need for a spear
Shall arise on the distant road.
[39] If wealth a man | has won for himself,
Let him never suffer in need;
Oft he saves for a foe | what he plans for a friend,
For much goes worse than we wish.
[40] None so free with gifts | or food have I found
That gladly he took not a gift,
Nor one who so widely | scattered his wealth
That of recompense hatred he had.
[41] Friends shall gladden each other | with arms and garments,
As each for himself can see;
Gift-givers' friendships | are longest found,
If fair their fates may be.
[42] To his friend a man | a friend shall prove,
And gifts with gifts requite;
But men shall mocking | with mockery answer,
And fraud with falsehood meet.
[43] To his friend a man | a friend shall prove,
To him and the friend of his friend;
But never a man | shall friendship make
With one of his foeman's friends.
[44] If a friend thou hast | whom thou fully wilt trust,
And good from him wouldst get,
Thy thoughts with his mingle, | and gifts shalt thou make,
And fare to find him oft.
[45] If another thou hast | whom thou hardly wilt trust,
Yet good from him wouldst get,
Thou shalt speak him fair, | but falsely think,
And fraud with falsehood requite.
[46] So is it with him | whom thou hardly wilt trust,
And whose mind thou mayst not know;
Laugh with him mayst thou, | but speak not thy mind,
Like gifts to his shalt thou give.
[47] Young was I once, | and wandered alone,
And nought of the road I knew;
Rich did I feel | when a comrade I found,
For man is man's delight.
[48] The lives of the brave | and noble are best,
Sorrows they seldom feed;
But the coward fear | of all things feels,
And not gladly the niggard gives.
[49] My garments once | in a field I gave
To a pair of carven poles;
Heroes they seemed | when clothes they had,
But the naked man is nought.
[50] On the hillside drear | the fir-tree dies,
All bootless its needles and bark;
It is like a man | whom no one loves,--
Why should his life be long?
[51] Hotter than fire | between false friends
Does friendship five days burn;
When the sixth day comes | the fire cools,
And ended is all the love.
[52] No great thing needs | a man to give,
Oft little will purchase praise;
With half a loaf | and a half-filled cup
A friend full fast I made.
[53] A little sand | has a little sea,
And small are the minds of men;
Though all men are not | equal in wisdom,
Yet half-wise only are all.
[54] A measure of wisdom | each man shall have,
But never too much let him know;
The fairest lives | do those men live
Whose wisdom wide has grown.
[55] A measure of wisdom | each man shall have,
But never too much let him know;
For the wise man's heart | is seldom happy,
If wisdom too great he has won.
[56] A measure of wisdom | each man shall have,
But never too much let him know;
Let no man the fate | before him see,
For so is he freest from sorrow.
[57] A brand from a brand | is kindled and burned,
And fire from fire begotten;
And man by his speech | is known to men,
And the stupid by their stillness.
[58] He must early go forth | who fain the blood
Or the goods of another would get;
The wolf that lies idle | shall win little meat,
Or the sleeping man success.
[59] He must early go forth | whose workers are few,
Himself his work to seek;
Much remains undone | for the morning-sleeper,
For the swift is wealth half won.
[60] Of seasoned shingles | and strips of bark
For the thatch let one know his need,
And how much of wood | he must have for a month,
Or in half a year he will use.
[61] Washed and fed | to the council fare,
But care not too much for thy clothes;
Let none be ashamed | of his shoes and hose,
Less still of the steed he rides,
(Though poor be the horse he has.)
[62] When the eagle comes | to the ancient sea,
He snaps and hangs his head;
So is a man | in the midst of a throng,
Who few to speak for him finds.
[63] To question and answer | must all be ready
Who wish to be known as wise;
Tell one thy thoughts, | but beware of two,--
All know what is known to three.
[64] The man who is prudent | a measured use
Of the might he has will make;
He finds when among | the brave he fares
That the boldest he may not be.
[65] -lacuna- A man must be watchful | and wary as well,
-lacuna- And fearful of trusting a friend.
Oft for the words | that to others one speaks
He will get but an evil gift.
[66] Too early to many | a meeting I came,
And some too late have I sought;
The beer was all drunk, | or not yet brewed;
Little the loathed man finds.
[67] To their homes men would bid | me hither and yon,
If at meal-time I needed no meat,
Or would hang two hams | in my true friend's house,
Where only one I had eaten.
[68] Fire for men | is the fairest gift,
And power to see the sun;
Health as well, | if a man may have it,
And a life not stained with sin.
[69] All wretched is no man, | though never so sick;
Some from their sons have joy,
Some win it from kinsmen, | and some from their wealth,
And some from worthy works.
[70] It is better to live | than to lie a corpse,
The live man catches the cow;
I saw flames rise | for the rich man's pyre,
And before his door he lay dead.
[71] The lame rides a horse, | the handless is herdsman,
The deaf in battle is bold;
The blind man is better | than one that is burned,
No good can come of a corpse.
[72] A son is better, | though late he be born,
And his father to death have fared;
Memory-stones | seldom stand by the road
Save when kinsman honors his kin.
[73] Two make a battle, | the tongue slays the head;
In each furry coat | a fist I look for.
[74] He welcomes the night | whose fare is enough,
(Short are the yards of a ship,)
Uneasy are autumn nights;
Full oft does the weather | change in a week,
And more in a month's time.
[75] A man knows not, | if nothing he knows,
That gold oft apes begets;
One man is wealthy | and one is poor,
Yet scorn for him none should know.
[76] Among Fitjung's sons | saw I well-stocked folds,--
Now bear they the beggar's staff;
Wealth is as swift | as a winking eye,
Of friends the falsest it is.
[77] Cattle die, | and kinsmen die,
And so one dies one's self;
But a noble name | will never die,
If good renown one gets.
[78] Cattle die, | and kinsmen die,
And so one dies one's self;
One thing now | that never dies,
The fame of a dead man's deeds.
[79] Certain is that | which is sought from runes,
That the gods so great have made,
And the Master-Poet painted;
-lacuna-
-lacuna- of the race of gods:
Silence is safest and best.
[80] An unwise man, | if a maiden's love
Or wealth he chances to win,
His pride will wax, but his wisdom never,
Straight forward he fares in conceit.
[81] Give praise to the day at evening, | to a woman on her pyre,
To a weapon which is tried, | to a maid at wed lock,
To ice when it is crossed, | to ale that is drunk.
[82] When the gale blows hew wood, | in fair winds seek the water;
Sport with maidens at dusk, | for day's eyes are many;
From the ship seek swiftness, | from the shield protection,
Cuts from the sword, | from the maiden kisses.
[83] By the fire drink ale, | over ice go on skates;
Buy a steed that is lean, | and a sword when tarnished,
The horse at home fatten, | the hound in thy dwelling.
[84] A man shall trust not | the oath of a maid,
Nor the word a woman speaks;
For their hearts on a whirling | wheel were fashioned,
And fickle their breasts were formed.
[85] In a breaking bow | or a burning flame,
A ravening wolf | or a croaking raven,
In a grunting boar, | a tree with roots broken,
In billowy seas | or a bubbling kettle,
[86] In a flying arrow | or falling waters,
In ice new formed | or the serpent's folds,
In a bride's bed-speech | or a broken sword,
In the sport of bears | or in sons of kings,
[87] In a calf that is sick | or a stubborn thrall,
A flattering witch | or a foe new slain.
88. In a brother's slayer, | if thou meet him abroad,
In a half-burned house, | in a horse full swift--
One leg is hurt | and the horse is useless--
None had ever such faith | as to trust in them all.
[89] Hope not too surely | for early harvest,
Nor trust too soon in thy son;
The field needs good weather, | the son needs wisdom,
And oft is either denied.
[90] The love of women | fickle of will
Is like starting o'er ice | with a steed unshod,
A two-year-old restive | and little tamed,
Or steering a rudderless | ship in a storm,
Or, lame, hunting reindeer | on slippery rocks.
[91] Clear now will I speak, | for I know them both,
Men false to women are found;
When fairest we speak, | then falsest we think,
Against wisdom we work with deceit.
[92] Soft words shall he speak | and wealth shall he offer
Who longs for a maiden's love,
And the beauty praise | of the maiden bright;
He wins whose wooing is best.
[93] Fault for loving | let no man find
Ever with any other;
Oft the wise are fettered, | where fools go free,
By beauty that breeds desire.
[94] Fault with another | let no man find
For what touches many a man;
Wise men oft | into witless fools
Are made by mighty love.
[95] The head alone knows | what dwells near the heart,
A man knows his mind alone;
No sickness is worse | to one who is wise
Than to lack the longed-for joy.
[96]. This found I myself, | when I sat in the reeds,
And long my love awaited;
As my life the maiden | wise I loved,
Yet her I never had.
[97] Billing's daughter | I found on her bed,
In slumber bright as the sun;
Empty appeared | an earl's estate
Without that form so fair.
[98] "Othin, again | at evening come,
If a woman thou wouldst win;
Evil it were | if others than we
Should know of such a sin."
[99] Away I hastened, | hoping for joy,
And careless of counsel wise;
Well I believed | that soon I should win
Measureless joy with the maid.
[100] So came I next | when night it was,
The warriors all were awake;
With burning lights | and waving brands
I learned my luckess way.
[101] At morning then, | when once more I came,
And all were sleeping still,
A dog found | in the fair one's place,
Bound there upon her bed.
[102] Many fair maids, | if a man but tries them,
False to a lover are found;
That did I learn | when I longed to gain
With wiles the maiden wise;
Foul scorn was my meed | from the crafty maid,
And nought from the woman I won.
[103] Though glad at home, | and merry with guests,
A man shall be wary and wise;
The sage and shrewd, | wide wisdom seeking,
Must see that his speech be fair;
A fool is he named | who nought can say,
For such is the way of the witless.
[104] I found the old giant, | now back have I fared,
Small gain from silence I got;
Full many a word, | my will to get,
I spoke in Suttung's hall.
[105] The mouth of Rati | made room for my passage,
And space in the stone he gnawed;
Above and below | the giants' paths lay,
So rashly I risked my head.
[106] Gunnloth gave | on a golden stool
A drink of the marvelous mead;
A harsh reward | did I let her have
For her heroic heart,
And her spirit troubled sore.
[107] The well-earned beauty | well I enjoyed,
Little the wise man lacks;
So Othrörir now | has up been brought
To the midst of the men of earth.
[108] Hardly, methinks, | would I home have come,
And left the giants' land,
Had not Gunnloth helped me, | the maiden good,
Whose arms about me had been.
[109] The day that followed, | the frost-giants came,
Some word of Hor to win,
(And into the hall of Hor;)
Of Bolverk they asked, | were he back midst the gods,
Or had Suttung slain him there?
[110] On his ring swore Othin | the oath, methinks;
Who now his troth shall trust?
Suttung's betrayal | he sought with drink,
And Gunnloth to grief he left.
[111] It is time to chant | from the chanter's stool;
By the wells of Urth I was,
I saw and was silent, | I saw and thought,
And heard the speech of Hor.
(Of runes heard I words, | nor were counsels wanting,
At the hall of Hor,
In the hall of Hor;
Such was the speech I heard.)
[112] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,---
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Rise not at night, | save if news thou seekest,
Or fain to the outhouse wouldst fare.
[113] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Beware of sleep | on a witch's bosom,
Nor let her limbs ensnare thee.
[114] Such is her might | that thou hast no mind
For the council or meeting of men;
Meat thou hatest, | joy thou hast not,
And sadly to slumber thou farest.
[115] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Seek never to win | the wife of another,
Or long for her secret love.
[116] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
If o'er mountains or gulfs | thou fain wouldst go,
Look well to thy food for the way.
[117] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
An evil man | thou must not let
Bring aught of ill to thee;
For an evil man | will never make
Reward for a worthy thought.
[118] I saw a man | who was wounded sore
By an evil woman's word;
A lying tongue | his death-blow launched,
And no word of truth there was.
[119] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
If a friend thou hast | whom thou fully wilt trust,
Then fare to find him oft;
For brambles grow | and waving grass
On the rarely trodden road.
[120] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
A good man find | to hold in friendship,
And give heed to his healing charms.
[121] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Be never the first | to break with thy friend
The bond that holds you both;
Care eats the heart | if thou canst not speak
To another all thy thought.
[122] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Exchange of words | with a witless ape
Thou must not ever make.
[123] For never thou mayst | from an evil man
A good requital get;
But a good man oft | the greatest love
Through words of praise will win thee.
[124] Mingled is love | when a man can speak
To another all his thought;
Nought is so bad | as false to be,
No friend speaks only fair.
[125] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
With a worse man speak not | three words in dispute,
Ill fares the better oft
When the worse man wields a sword.
[126] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
A shoemaker be, | or a maker of shafts,
For only thy single self;
If the shoe is ill made, | or the shaft prove false,
Then evil of thee men think.
[127] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
If evil thou knowest, | as evil proclaim it,
And make no friendship with foes.
[128] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
In evil never | joy shalt thou know,
But glad the good shall make thee.
[129] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Look not up | when the battle is on,--
(Like madmen the sons | of men become,--)
Lest men bewitch thy wits.
[130] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
If thou fain wouldst win | a woman's love,
And gladness get from her,
Fair be thy promise | and well fulfilled;
None loathes what good he gets.
[131] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
I bid thee be wary, | but be not fearful;
(Beware most with ale or another's wife,
And third beware | lest a thief outwit thee.)
[132] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Scorn or mocking | ne'er shalt thou make
Of a guest or a journey-goer.
[133] Oft scarcely he knows | who sits in the house
What kind is the man who comes;
None so good is found | that faults he has not,
Nor so wicked that nought he is worth.
[134] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Scorn not ever | the gray-haired singer,
Oft do the old speak good;
(Oft from shrivelled skin | come skillful counsels,
Though it hang with the hides,
And flap with the pelts,
And is blown with the bellies.)
[135] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Curse not thy guest, | nor show him thy gate,
Deal well with a man in want.
[136] Strong is the beam | that raised must be
To give an entrance to all;
Give it a ring, | or grim will be
The wish it would work on thee.
[137] I rede thee, Loddfafnir! | and hear thou my rede,--
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
When ale thou drinkest) | seek might of earth,
(For earth cures drink, | and fire cures ills,
The oak cures tightness, | the ear cures magic,
Rye cures rupture, | the moon cures rage,
Grass cures the scab, | and runes the sword-cut;)
The field absorbs the flood.
[138] Now are Hor's words | spoken in the hall,
Kind for the kindred of men,
Cursed for the kindred of giants:
Hail to the speaker, | and to him who learns!
Profit be his who has them!
Hail to them who hearken!
[139] I ween that I hung | on the windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded, | and offered I was
To Othin, myself to myself,
On the tree that none | may ever know
What root beneath it runs.
[140] None made me happy | with loaf or horn,
And there below I looked;
I took up the runes, | shrieking I took them,
And forthwith back I fell.
[141] Nine mighty songs | I got from the son
Of Bolthorn, Bestla's father;
And a drink I got | of the goodly mead
Poured out from Othrörir.
[142] Then began I to thrive, | and wisdom to get,
I grew and well I was;
Each word led me on | to another word,
Each deed to another deed.
[143] Runes shalt thou find, | and fateful signs,
That the king of singers colored,
And the mighty gods have made;
Full strong the signs, | full mighty the signs
That the ruler of gods doth write.
[144] Othin for the gods, | Dain for the elves,
And Dvalin for the dwarfs,
Alsvith for giants | and all mankind,
And some myself I wrote.
[145] Knowest how one shall write, | knowest how one shall rede?
Knowest how one shall tint, | knowest how one makes trial?
Knowest how one shall ask, | knowest how one shall offer?
Knowest how one shall send, | knowest how one shall sacrifice?
[146] Better no prayer | than too big an offering,
By thy getting measure thy gift;
Better is none | than too big a sacrifice,
-lacuna-
So Thund of old wrote | ere man's race began,
Where he rose on high | when home he came.
[147] The songs I know | that king's wives know not,
Nor men that are sons of men;
The first is called help, | and help it can bring thee
In sorrow and pain and sickness.
[148] A second I know, | that men shall need
Who leechcraft long to use;
-lacuna-
-lacuna-
[149] A third I know, | if great is my need
Of fetters to hold my foe;
Blunt do I make | mine enemy's blade,
Nor bites his sword or staff.
[150] A fourth I know, | if men shall fasten
Bonds on my bended legs;
So great is the charm | that forth I may go,
The fetters spring from my feet,
Broken the bonds from my hands.
[152] A fifth I know, | if I see from afar
An arrow fly 'gainst the folk;
It flies not so swift | that I stop it not,
If ever my eyes behold it.
[152] A sixth I know, | if harm one seeks
With a sapling's roots to send me;
The hero himself | who wreaks his hate
Shall taste the ill ere I.
[153] A seventh I know, | if I see in flames
The hall o'er my comrades' heads;
It burns not so wide | that I will not quench it,
I know that song to sing.
[154] An eighth I know, | that is to all
Of greatest good to learn;
When hatred grows | among heroes' sons,
I soon can set it right.
[155] A ninth I know, | if need there comes
To shelter my ship on the flood;
The wind I calm | upon the waves,
And the sea I put to sleep.
[156] A tenth I know, | what time I see
House-riders flying on high;
So can I work | that wildly they go,
Showing their true shapes,
Hence to their own homes.
[157] An eleventh I know, | if needs I must lead
To the fight my long-loved friends;
I sing in the shields, | and in strength they go
Whole to the field of fight,
Whole from the field of fight,
And whole they come thence home.
[158] A twelfth I know, | if high on a tree
I see a hanged man swing;
So do I write | and color the runes
That forth he fares,
And to me talks.
[159] A thirteenth I know, | if a thane full young
With water I sprinkle well;
He shall not fall, | though he fares mid the host,
Nor sink beneath the swords.
[160] A fourteenth I know, | if fain I would name
To men the mighty gods;
All know I well | of the gods and elves,
Few be the fools know this.
[161] A fifteenth I know, | that before the doors
Of Delling sang Thjothrörir the dwarf;
Might he sang for the gods, | and glory for elves,
And wisdom for Hroptatyr wise.
[162] A sixteenth I know, | if I seek delight
To win from a maiden wise;
The mind I turn | of the white-armed maid,
And thus change all her thoughts.
[163] A seventeenth I know, | so that seldom shall go
A maiden young from me;
-lacuna-
-lacuna-
[164] Long these songs | thou shalt, Loddfafnir,
Seek in vain to sing;
Yet good it were | if thou mightest get them,
Well, if thou wouldst them learn,
Help, if thou hadst them.
[165] An eighteenth I know, | that ne'er will I tell
To maiden or wife of man,--
The best is what none | but one's self doth know,
So comes the end of the songs,--
Save only to her | in whose arms I lie,
Or who else my sister is.


The Ballad of Vafthrúdnir, The Lay of Vafthrúdnir, Vafthrúdnir's Sayings Edit

Translation by Henry Adams Bellows.

Othin spake:

[1] "Counsel me, Frigg, for I long to fare,
And Vafthruthnir fain would find;
fit wisdom old with the giant wise
Myself would I seek to match."

Frigg spake:

[2] "Heerfather here at home would I keep,
Where the gods together dwell;
Amid all the giants an equal in might
To Vafthruthnir know I none."

Othin spake:

[3] "Much have I fared, much have I found.
Much have I got from the gods;
And fain would I know how Vafthruthnir now
Lives in his lofty hall."

Frigg spake:

[4] "Safe mayst thou go, safe come again,
And safe be the way thou wendest!
Father of men, let thy mind be keen
When speech with the giant thou seekest."
[5] The wisdom then of the giant wise
Forth did he fare to try;
He found the hall | of the father of Im,
And in forthwith went Ygg.

Othin spake:

[6] "Vafthruthnir, hail! | to thy hall am I come,
For thyself I fain would see;
And first would I ask | if wise thou art,
Or, giant, all wisdom hast won."

Vafthruthnir spake:

[7] "Who is the man | that speaks to me,
Here in my lofty hall?
Forth from our dwelling | thou never shalt fare,
Unless wiser than I thou art."

Othin spake:

[8] "Gagnrath they call me, | and thirsty I come
From a journey hard to thy hall;
Welcome I look for, | for long have I fared,
And gentle greeting, giant."

Vafthruthnir spake:

[9] "Why standest thou there | on the floor whilst thou speakest?
A seat shalt thou have in my hall;
Then soon shall we know | whose knowledge is more,
The guest's or the sage's gray."

Othin spake:

[10] "If a poor man reaches | the home of the rich,
Let him wisely speak or be still;
For to him who speaks | with the hard of heart
Will chattering ever work ill."

Vafthruthnir spake:

[11] "Speak forth now, Gagnrath, | if there from the floor
Thou wouldst thy wisdom make known:
What name has the steed | that each morn anew
The day for mankind doth draw?"

Othin spake:

[12] "Skinfaxi is he, | the steed who for men
The glittering day doth draw;
The best of horses | to heroes he seems,
And brightly his mane doth burn."

Vafthruthnir spake:

[13] "Speak forth now, Gagnrath, | if there from the floor
Thou wouldst thy wisdom make known:
What name has the steed | that from East anew
Brings night for the noble gods?"

Othin spake:

[14] "Hrimfaxi name they | the steed that anew
Brings night for the noble gods;
Each morning foam | from his bit there falls,
And thence come the dews in the dales."

Vafthruthnir spake:

[15] "Speak forth now, Gagnrath, | if there from the floor
Thou wouldst thy wisdom make known:
What name has the river | that 'twixt the realms
Of the gods and the giants goes?"

Othin spoke:

[16] "Ifing is the river | that 'twixt the realms
Of the gods and the giants goes;
For all time ever | open it flows,
No ice on the river there is."

Vafthruthnir spake:

[17] "Speak forth now, Gagnrath, | if there from the floor
Thou wouldst thy wisdom make known:
What name has the field | where in fight shall meet
Surt and the gracious gods?"

Othin spake:

[18] "Vigrith is the field | where in fight shall meet
Surt and the gracious gods;
A hundred miles | each way does it measure.
And so are its boundaries set."

Vafthruthnir spake:

[19] "Wise art thou, guest! | To my bench shalt thou go,
In our seats let us speak together;
Here in the hall | our heads, O guest,
Shall we wager our wisdom upon."

Othin spake:

[20] "First answer me well, | if thy wisdom avails,
And thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
In earliest time | whence came the earth,
Or the sky, thou giant sage?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[21] "Out of Ymir's flesh | was fashioned the earth,
And the mountains were made of his bones;
The sky from the frost-cold | giant's skull,
And the ocean out of his blood."

Othin spake:

[22] "Next answer me well, | if thy wisdom avails,
And thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
Whence came the moon, | o'er the world of men
That fares, and the flaming sun?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[23] "Mundilferi is he | who begat the moon,
And fathered the flaming sun;
The round of heaven | each day they run,
To tell the time for men."

Othin spake:

[24] "Third answer me well, | if wise thou art called,
If thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
Whence came the day, | o'er mankind that fares,
Or night with the narrowing moon?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[25] "The father of day | is Delling called,
And the night was begotten by Nor;
Full moon and old | by the gods were fashioned,
To tell the time for men."

Othin spake:

[26] "Fourth answer me well, | if wise thou art called,
If thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
Whence did winter come, | or the summer warm,
First with the gracious gods?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[27] "Vindsval he was | who was winter's father,
And Svosuth summer begat;"
-lacuna-
-lacuna-

Othin spake:

[28] "Fifth answer me well, | if wise thou art called,
If thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
What giant first | was fashioned of old,
And the eldest of Ymir's kin?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[29] "Winters unmeasured | ere earth was made
Was the birth of Bergelmir;
Thruthgelmir's son | was the giant strong,
And Aurgelmir's grandson of old."

Othin spake:

[30] "Sixth answer me well, | if wise thou art called,
If thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
Whence did Aurgelmir come | with the giants' kin,
Long since, thou giant sage?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[31] "Down from Elivagar | did venom drop,
And waxed till a giant it was;
And thence arose | our giants' race,
And thus so fierce are we found."

Othin spake:

[32] "Seventh answer me well, | if wise thou art called,
If thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
How begat he children, | the giant grim,
Who never a giantess knew?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[33] "They say 'neath the arms | of the giant of ice
Grew man-child and maid together;
And foot with foot | did the wise one fashion
A son that six heads bore."

Othin spake:

[34] "Eighth answer me well, | if wise thou art called,
If thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
What farthest back | dost thou bear in mind?
For wide is thy wisdom, giant!"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[35] "Winters unmeasured | ere earth was made
Was the birth of Bergelmir;
This first knew I well, | when the giant wise
In a boat of old was borne."

Othin spake:

[36] "Ninth answer me well, | if wise thou art called
If thou knowest it, Vafthruthnir, now:
Whence comes the wind | that fares o'er the waves
Yet never itself is seen?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[37] "In an eagle's guise | at the end of heaven
Hræsvelg sits, they say;
And from his wings | does the wind come forth
To move o'er the world of men."

Othin spake:

[38] "Tenth answer me now, | if thou knowest all
The fate that is fixed for the gods:
Whence came up Njorth | to the kin of the gods,--
(Rich in temples | and shrines he rules,--)
Though of gods he was never begot?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[39] "In the home of the Wanes | did the wise ones create him,
And gave him as pledge to the gods;
At the fall of the world | shall he fare once more
Home to the Wanes so wise."

Othin spake:

[40] "Eleventh answer me well, | -lacuna- [if thou knowest all]
-lacuna- [The fate that is fixed for the gods:]
What men -lacuna- [are they] | in -lacuna- [Othin's] home
Each day to fight go forth?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[41] "The heroes all | in Othin's hall
Each day to fight go forth;
They fell each other, | and fare from the fight
All healed full soon to sit."

Othin spake:

[42] "Twelfth answer me now | how all thou knowest
Of the fate that is fixed for the gods;
Of the runes of the gods | and the giants' race
The truth indeed dost thou tell,
(And wide is thy wisdom, giant!)"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[43] "Of the runes of the gods | and the giants' race
The truth indeed can I tell,
(For to every world have I won;)
To nine worlds came I, | to Niflhel beneath,
The home where dead men dwell."

Othin spake:

[44] "Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
What shall live of mankind | when at last there comes
The mighty winter to men?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[45] "In Hoddmimir's wood | shall hide themselves
Lif and Lifthrasir then;
The morning dews | for meat shall they have,
Such food shall men then find."

Othin spake:

[46] "Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
Whence comes the sun | to the smooth sky back,
When Fenrir has snatched it forth?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[47] "A daughter bright | Alfrothul bears
Ere Fenrir snatches her forth;
Her mother's paths | shall the maiden tread
When the gods to death have gone."

Othin spake:

[48] "Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
What maidens are they, | so wise of mind.
That forth o'er the sea shall fare?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[49] "O'er Mogthrasir's hill | shall the maidens pass,
And three are their throngs that come;
They all shall protect | the dwellers on earth,
Though they come of the giants' kin."

Othin spake:

[50] "Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
Who then shall rule | the realm of the gods,
When the fires of Surt have sunk?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[51] "In the gods' home Vithar | and Vali shall dwell,
When the fires of Surt have sunk;
Mothi and Magni | shall Mjollnir have
When Vingnir falls in fight."

Othin spake:

[52] "Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods:
What shall bring the doom | of death to Othin,
When the gods to destruction go?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[53] "The wolf shall fell | the father of men,
And this shall Vithar avenge;
The terrible jaws | shall he tear apart,
And so the wolf shall he slay."

Othin spake:

[54] "Much have I fared, | much have I found,
Much have I got from the gods:
What spake Othin himself | in the ears of his son,
Ere in the bale-fire he burned?"

Vafthruthnir spake:

[55] "No man can tell | what in olden time
Thou spak'st in the ears of thy son;
With fated mouth | the fall of the gods
And mine olden tales have I told;
With Othin in knowledge | now have I striven,
And ever the wiser thou art."

Grimnismol - The Ballad of Grimnir Edit

Translation by Henry Adams Bellows.

King Hruthung had two sons; one was called Agnar, and the other Geirröth. Agnar was ten winters old, and Geirröth eight. Once they both rowed in a boat with their fishing-gear to catch little fish; and the wind drove them out into the sea. In the darkness of the night they were wrecked on the shore; and going up, they found a poor peasant, with whom they stayed through the winter. The housewife took care of Agnar, and the peasant cared for Geirröth, and taught him wisdom. In the spring the peasant gave him a boat; and when the couple led them to the shore, the peasant spoke secretly with Geirröth. They had a fair wind, and came to their father’s landing-place, Geirröth was forward in the boat; he leaped up on land, but pushed out the boat and said, “Go thou now where evil may have thee!” The boat drifted out to sea. Geirröth, however, went up to the house, and was well received, but his father was dead. Then Geirröth was made king, and became a renowned man.

Othin and Frigg sat in Hlithskjolf and looked over all the worlds. Othin said: “Seest thou Agnar, thy fosterling, how he begets children with a giantess in the cave? But Geirröth, my fosterling, is a king, and now rules over his land.” Frigg said: “He is so miserly that he tortures his guests if he thinks that too many of them come to him.” Othin replied that this was the greatest of lies; and they made a wager about this matter. Frigg sent her maidservant, Fulla, to Geirröth. She bade the king beware lest a magician who was come thither to his land should bewitch him, and told this sign concerning him, that no dog was so fierce as to leap at him. Now it was a very great slander that King Geirröth was not hospitable; but nevertheless he had them take the man whom the dogs would not attack. He wore a dark-blue mantle and called himself Grimnir, but said no more about himself, though he was questioned. The king had him tortured to make him speak, and set him between two fires, and he sat there eight nights. King Geirröth had a son ten winters old, and called Agnar after his father’s brother. Agnar went to Grimnir, and gave him a full horn to drink from, and said that the king did ill in letting him be tormented without cause. Grimnir drank from the horn; the fire had come so near that the mantle burned on Grimnir’s back. He spake:

[1] Hot art thou, fire! | too fierce by far;
Get ye now gone, ye flames!
The mantle is burnt, | though I bear it aloft,
And the fire scorches the fur.
[2] 'Twixt the fires now | eight nights have I sat,
And no man brought meat to me,
Save Agnar alone, | and alone shall rule
Geirröth's son o'er the Goths.
[3] Hail to thee, Agnar! | for hailed thou art
By the voice of Veratyr;
For a single drink | shalt thou never receive
A greater gift as reward.
[4] The land is holy | that lies hard by
The gods and the elves together;
And Thor shall ever | in Thruthheim dwell,
Till the gods to destruction go.
[5] Ydalir call they | the place where Ull
A hall for himself hath set;
And Alfheim the gods | to Freyr once gave
As a tooth-gift in ancient times.
[6] A third home is there, | with silver thatched
By the hands of the gracious gods:
Valaskjolf is it, | in days of old
Set by a god for himself.
[7] Sökkvabekk is the fourth, | where cool waves flow,
And amid their murmur it stands;
There daily do Othin | and Saga drink
In gladness from cups of gold.
[8] The fifth is Glathsheim, | and gold-bright there
Stands Valhall stretching wide;
And there does Othin | each day choose
The men who have fallen in fight.
[9] Easy is it to know | for him who to Othin
Comes and beholds the hall;
Its rafters are spears, | with shields is it roofed,
On its benches are breastplates strewn.
[10] Easy is it to know | for him who to Othin
Comes and beholds the hall;
There hangs a wolf | by the western door,
And o'er it an eagle hovers.
[11] The sixth is Thrymheim, | where Thjazi dwelt,
The giant of marvelous might;
Now Skathi abides, | the god's fair bride,
In the home that her father had.
[12] The seventh is Breithablik; | Baldr has there
For himself a dwelling set,
In the land I know | that lies so fair,
And from evil fate is free.
[13] Himinbjorg is the eighth, | and Heimdall there
O'er men holds sway, it is said;
In his well-built house | does the warder of heaven
The good mead gladly drink.
[14] The ninth is Folkvang, | where Freyja decrees
Who shall have seats in the hall;
The half of the dead | each day does she choose,
And half does Othin have.
[15] The tenth is Glitnir; | its pillars are gold,
And its roof with silver is set;
There most of his days | does Forseti dwell,
And sets all strife at end.
[16] The eleventh is Noatun; | there has Njorth
For himself a dwelling set;
The sinless ruler | of men there sits
In his temple timbered high.
[17] Filled with growing trees | and high-standing grass
Is Vithi, Vithar's land;
But there did the son | from his steed leap down,
When his father he fain would avenge.
[18] In Eldhrimnir | Andhrimnir cooks
Sæhrimnir's seething flesh,--
The best of food, | but few men know
On what fare the warriors feast.
[19] Freki and Geri | does Heerfather feed,
The far-famed fighter of old:
But on wine alone | does the weapon-decked god,
Othin, forever live.
[20] O'er Mithgarth Hugin | and Munin both
Each day set forth to fly;
For Hugin I fear | lest he come not home,
But for Munin my care is more.
[21] Loud roars Thund, | and Thjothvitnir's fish
joyously fares in the flood;
Hard does it seem | to the host of the slain
To wade the torrent wild.
[22] There Valgrind stands, | the sacred gate,
And behind are the holy doors;
Old is the gate, | but few there are
Who can tell how it tightly is locked.
[23] Five hundred doors | and forty there are,
I ween, in Valhall's walls;
Eight hundred fighters | through one door fare
When to war with the wolf they go.
[24] Five hundred rooms | and forty there are
I ween, in Bilskirnir built;
Of all the homes | whose roofs I beheld,
My son's the greatest meseemed.
[25] Heithrun is the goat | who stands by Heerfather's hall,
And the branches of Lærath she bites;
The pitcher she fills | with the fair, clear mead,
Ne'er fails the foaming drink.
[26] Eikthyrnir is the hart | who stands by Heerfather's hall
And the branches of Lærath he bites;
From his horns a stream | into Hvergelmir drops,
Thence all the rivers run.
[27] Sith and Vith, | Sækin and Ækin,
Svol and Fimbulthul, | Gunnthro, and Fjorm,
Rin and Rinnandi,
Gipul and Gopul, | Gomul and Geirvimul,
That flow through the fields of the gods;
Thyn and Vin, | Thol and Hol,
Groth and Gunnthorin.
[28] Vino is one, | Vegsvin another,
And Thjothnuma a third;
Nyt and Not, | Non and Hron,
Slith and Hrith, | Sylg and Ylg,
Vith and Von, | Vond and Strond,
Gjol and Leipt, | that go among men,
And hence they fall to Hel.
[29] Kormt and Ormt | and the Kerlaugs twain
Shall Thor each day wade through,
(When dooms to give | he forth shall go
To the ash-tree Yggdrasil;)
For heaven's bridge | burns all in flame,
And the sacred waters seethe.
[30] Glath and Gyllir, | Gler and Skeithbrimir,
Silfrintopp and Sinir,
Gisl and Falhofnir, | Golltopp and Lettfeti,
On these steeds the gods shall go
When dooms to give | each day they ride
To the ash-tree Yggdrasil.
[31] Three roots there are | that three ways run
'Neath the ash-tree Yggdrasil;
'Neath the first lives Hel, | 'neath the second the frost-giants,
'Neath the last are the lands of men.
[32] Ratatosk is the squirrel | who there shall run
On the ash-tree Yggdrasil;
From above the words | of the eagle he bears,
And tells them to Nithhogg beneath.
[33] Four harts there are, | that the highest twigs
Nibble with necks bent back;
Dain and Dvalin, | -lacuna-
Duneyr and Dyrathror.
[34] More serpents there are | beneath the ash
Than an unwise ape would think;
Goin and Moin, | Grafvitnir's sons,
Grabak and Grafvolluth,
Ofnir and Svafnir | shall ever, methinks,
Gnaw at the twigs of the tree.
[35] Yggdrasil's ash | great evil suffers,
Far more than men do know;
The hart bites its top, | its trunk is rotting,
And Nithhogg gnaws beneath.
[36] Hrist and Mist | bring the horn at my will,
Skeggjold and Skogul;
Hild and Thruth, | Hlok and Herfjotur,
Gol and Geironul,
Randgrith and Rathgrith | and Reginleif
Beer to the warriors bring.
[37] Arvak and Alsvith | up shall drag
Weary the weight of the sun;
But an iron cool | have the kindly gods
Of yore set under their yokes.
[38] In front of the sun | does Svalin stand,
The shield for the shining god;
Mountains and sea | would be set in flames
If it fell from before the sun.
[39] Skoll is the wolf | that to Ironwood
Follows the glittering god,
And the son of Hrothvitnir, | Hati, awaits
The burning bride of heaven.
[40] Out of Ymir's flesh | was fashioned the earth,
And the ocean out of his blood;
Of his bones the hills, | of his hair the trees,
Of his skull the heavens high.
[41] Mithgarth the gods | from his eyebrows made,
And set for the sons of men;
And out of his brain | the baleful clouds
They made to move on high.
[42] His the favor of Ull | and of all the gods
Who first in the flames will reach;
For the house can be seen | by the sons of the gods
If the kettle aside were cast.
[43] In days of old | did Ivaldi's sons
Skithblathnir fashion fair,
The best of ships | for the bright god Freyr,
The noble son of Njorth.
[44] The best of trees | must Yggdrasil be,
Skithblathnir best of boats;
Of all the gods | is Othin the greatest,
And Sleipnir the best of steeds;
Bifrost of bridges, | Bragi of skalds,
Hobrok of hawks, | and Garm of hounds.
[45] To the race of the gods | my face have I raised,
And the wished-for aid have I waked;
For to all the gods | has the message gone
That sit in Ægir's seats,
That drink within Ægir's doors.
[46] Grim is my name, | Gangleri am 1,
Herjan and Hjalmberi,
Thekk and Thrithi, | Thuth and Uth,
Helblindi and Hor;
[47] Sath and Svipal | and Sanngetal,
Herteit and Hnikar,
Bileyg, Baleyg, | Bolverk, Fjolnir,
Grim and Grimnir, | Glapsvith, Fjolsvith.
[48] Sithhott, Sithskegg, | Sigfather, Hnikuth,
Allfather, Valfather, | Atrith, Farmatyr:
A single name | have I never had
Since first among men I fared.
[49] Grimnir they call me | in Geirröth's hall,
With Asmund Jalk am I;
Kjalar I was | when I went in a sledge,
At the council Thror am I called,
As Vithur I fare to the fight;
Oski, Biflindi, | Jafnhor and Omi,
Gondlir and Harbarth midst gods.
[50] I deceived the giant | Sokkmimir old
As Svithur and Svithrir of yore;
Of Mithvitnir's son | the slayer I was
When the famed one found his doom.
[51] Drunk art thou, Geirröth, | too much didst thou drink,
-lacuna- [Greatly by me art beguiled.]
Much hast thou lost, | for help no more
From me or my heroes thou hast.
[52] Small heed didst thou take | to all that I told,
And false were the words of thy friends;
For now the sword | of my friend I see,
That waits all wet with blood.
[53] Thy sword-pierced body | shall Ygg have soon,
For thy life is ended at last;
The maids are hostile; | now Othin behold!
Now come to me if thou canst!
[54] Now am I Othin, | Ygg was I once,
Ere that did they call me Thund;
Vak and Skilfing, | Vofuth and Hroptatyr,
Gaut and Jalk midst the gods;
Ofnir and Svafnir, | and all, methinks,
Are names for none but me.

King Geirröth sat and had his sword on his knee, half drawn from its sheath. But when he heard that Othin was come thither, then he rose up and sought to take Othin from the fire. The sword slipped from his hand, and fell with the hilt down. The king stumbled and fell forward, and the sword pierced him through, and slew him. Then Othin vanished, but Agnar long ruled there as king.



Skirnismol - The Ballad of Skirnir Edit

Translation by Henry Adams Bellows.


Freyr, the son of Njorth, had sat one day in Hlithskjolf, and looked over all the worlds. He looked into Jotunheim, and saw there a fair maiden, as she went from her father’s house to her bower. Forthwith he felt a mighty love-sickness. Skirnir was the name of Freyr’s servant; Njorth bade him ask speech of Freyr. He said:

[1] "Go now, Skirnir! | and seek to gain
Speech from my son;
And answer to win, | for whom the wise one
Is mightily moved."

Skirnir spake:

[2] "Ill words do I now | await from thy son,
If I seek to get speech with him,
And answer to win, | for whom the wise one
Is mightily moved."

Skirnir spake:

[3] "Speak prithee, Freyr, | foremost of the gods,
For now I fain would know;
Why sittest thou here | in the wide halls,
Days long, my prince, alone?"

Freyr spake:

[4] "How shall I tell thee, | thou hero young,
Of all my grief so great?
Though every day | the elfbeam dawns,
It lights my longing never."

Skirnir spake:

[5] "Thy longings, methinks, | are not so large
That thou mayst not tell them to me;
Since in days of yore | we were young together,
We two might each other trust."

Freyr spake:

[6] "From Gymir's house | I beheld go forth
A maiden dear to me;
Her arms glittered, | and from their gleam
Shone all the sea and sky.
[7] "To me more dear | than in days of old
Was ever maiden to man;
But no one of gods | or elves will grant
That we both together should be."

Skirnir spake:

[8] "Then give me the horse | that goes through the dark
And magic flickering flames;
And the sword as well | that fights of itself
Against the giants grim."

Freyr spake:

[9] "The horse will I give thee | that goes through the dark
And magic flickering flames,
And the sword as well | that will fight of itself
If a worthy hero wields it."

Skirnir spake to the horse:

[10] "Dark is it without, | and I deem it time
To fare through the wild fells,
(To fare through the giants' fastness;)
We shall both come back, | or us both together
The terrible giant will take."

Skirnir rode into Jotunheim to Gymir’s house. There were fierce dogs bound before the gate of the fence which was around Gerth’s hall. He rode to where a herdsman sat on a hill, and said:

[11] "Tell me, herdsman, | sitting on the hill,
And watching all the ways,
How may I win | a word with the maid
Past the hounds of Gymir here?"

The herdsman spake:

[12] "Art thou doomed to die | or already dead,
Thou horseman that ridest hither?
Barred from speech | shalt thou ever be
With Gymir's daughter good."

Skirnir spake:

[13] "Boldness is better | than plaints can be
For him whose feet must fare;
To a destined day has mine age been doomed,
And my life's span thereto laid."

Gerth spake:

[14] "What noise is that which now so loud
I hear within our house?
The ground shakes, and the home of Gymir
Around me trembles too."

The Serving-Maid spake:

[15] "One stands without who has leapt from his steed,
And lets his horse loose to graze;"
-lacuna-
-lacuna-

Gerth spake:

[16] "Bid the man come in, and drink good mead
Here within our hall;
Though this I fear, that there without
My brother's slayer stands.
[17] "Art thou of the elves | or the offspring of gods,
Or of the wise Wanes?
How camst thou alone | through the leaping flame
Thus to behold our home?"

Skirnir spake:

[18] "I am not of the elves, | nor the offspring of gods,
Nor of the wise Wanes;
Though I came alone | through the leaping flame
Thus to behold thy home.
[19] "Eleven apples, | all of gold,
Here will I give thee, Gerth,
To buy thy troth | that Freyr shall be
Deemed to be dearest to you."

Gerth spake:

[20] "I will not take | at any man's wish
These eleven apples ever;
Nor shall Freyr and I | one dwelling find
So long as we two live."

Skirnir spake:

[21] "Then do I bring thee | the ring that was burned
Of old with Othin's son;
From it do eight | of like weight fall
On every ninth night."

Gerth spake:

[22] "The ring I wish not, | though burned it was
Of old with Othin's son;
In Gymir's home | is no lack of gold
In the wealth my father wields."

Skirnir spake:

[23] "Seest thou, maiden, | this keen, bright sword
That I hold here in my hand?
Thy head from thy neck | shall I straightway hew,
If thou wilt not do my will."

Gerth spake:

[24] "For no man's sake | will I ever suffer
To be thus moved by might;
But gladly, methinks, | will Gymir seek
To fight if he finds thee here."

Skirnir spake:

[25] "Seest thou, maiden, | this keen, bright sword
That I hold here in my hand?
Before its blade the | old giant bends,--
Thy father is doomed to die.
[26] "I strike thee, maid, | with my magic staff,
To tame thee to work my will;
There shalt thou go | where never again
The sons of men shall see thee.
[27] "On the eagle's hill | shalt thou ever sit,
And gaze on the gates of Hel;
More loathsome to thee | than the light-hued snake
To men, shall thy meat become.
[28] "Fearful to see, | if thou comest forth,
Hrimnir will stand and stare,
(Men will marvel at thee;)
More famed shalt thou grow | than the watchman of the gods!
Peer forth, then, from thy prison,
[29] "Rage and longing, | fetters and wrath,
Tears and torment are thine;
Where thou sittest down | my doom is on thee
Of heavy heart
And double dole.
[30] "In the giants' home | shall vile things harm thee
Each day with evil deeds;
Grief shalt thou get | instead of gladness,
And sorrow to suffer with tears.
[31] "With three-headed giants | thou shalt dwell ever,
Or never know a husband;
(Let longing grip thee, | let wasting waste thee,--)
Be like to the thistle | that in the loft
Was cast and there was crushed.
[32] "I go to the wood, | and to the wet forest,
To win a magic wand;
-lacuna-
I won a magic wand.
[33] "Othin grows angry, | angered is the best of the gods,
Freyr shall be thy foe,
Most evil maid, | who the magic wrath
Of gods hast got for thyself.
[34] "Give heed, frost-rulers, | hear it, giants.
Sons of Suttung,
And gods, ye too,
How I forbid | and how I ban
The meeting of men with the maid,
(The joy of men with the maid.)
[35] "Hrimgrimnir is he, | the giant who shall have thee
In the depth by the doors of Hel;
To the frost-giants' halls | each day shalt thou fare,
Crawling and craving in vain,
(Crawling and having no hope.)
[36] "Base wretches there | by the root of the tree
Will hold for thee horns of filth;
A fairer drink | shalt thou never find,
Maid, to meet thy wish,
(Maid, to meet my wish.)
[37] "I write thee a charm | and three runes therewith,
Longing and madness and lust;
But what I have writ | I may yet unwrite
If I find a need therefor."

Gerth spake:

[38] "Find welcome rather, | and with it take
The frost-cup filled with mead;
Though I did not believe | that I should so love
Ever one of the Wanes."

Skirnir spake:

[39] "My tidings all | must I truly learn
Ere homeward hence I ride:
How soon thou wilt | with the mighty son
Of Njorth a meeting make."

Gerth spake:

[40] Barri there is, | which we both know well,
A forest fair and still;
And nine nights hence | to the son of Njorth
Will Gerth there grant delight."

Then Skirnir rode home. Freyr stood without, and spoke to him, and asked for tidings:

[41] "Tell me, Skimir, | ere thou take off the saddle,
Or farest forward a step:
What hast thou done | in the giants' dwelling
To make glad thee or me?"

Skirnir spoke:

[42] "Barri there is, | which we both know well,
A forest fair and still;
And nine nights hence | to the son of Njorth
Will Gerth there grant delight."

Freyr spake:

[43] "Long is one night, | longer are two;
How then shall I bear three?
Often to me | has a month seemed less
Than now half a night of desire."


The Poem of Harbarth Edit

Thor was on his way back from a journey in the East, and came to a sound; on the other side of the sound was a ferryman with a boat. Thor called out:

[1] "Who is the fellow yonder, | on the farther shore of the sound?"

The ferryman spake:

[2] "What kind of a peasant is yon, | that calls o'er the bay?"

Thor spake:

[3] "Ferry me over the sound; | I will feed thee therefor in the morning;
A basket I have on my back, | and food therein, none better;
At leisure I ate, | ere the house I left,
Of herrings and porridge, | so plenty I had."

The ferryman spake:

[4] "Of thy morning feats art thou proud, | but the future thou knowest not wholly;
Doleful thine home-coming is: | thy mother, me thinks, is dead."

Thor spake:

[5] "Now hast thou said | what to each must seem
The mightiest grief, | that my mother is dead."

The ferryman spake:

[6] "Three good dwellings, | methinks, thou hast not;
Barefoot thou standest, | and wearest a beggar's dress;
Not even hose dost thou have."

Thor spake:

[7] "Steer thou hither the boat; | the landing here shall I show thee;
But whose the craft | that thou keepest on the shore?"

The ferryman spake:

[8] "Hildolf is he | who bade me have it,
A hero wise; | his home is at Rathsey's sound.
He bade me no robbers to steer, | nor stealers of steeds,
But worthy men, | and those whom well do I know.
Say now thy name, | if over the sound thou wilt fare."

Thor spake:

[9] "My name indeed shall I tell, | though in danger I am,
And all my race; | I am Othin's son,
Meili's brother, | and Magni's father,
The strong one of the gods; | with Thor now speech canst thou get.
And now would I know | what name thou hast."

The ferryman spake:

[10] "Harbarth am I, | and seldom I hide my name."

Thor spake:

[11] "Why shouldst thou hide thy name, | if quarrel thou hast not?"

Harbarth spake:

[12] "And though I had a quarrel, | from such as thou art
Yet none the less | my life would I guard,
Unless I be doomed to die."

Thor spake:

[13] "Great trouble, methinks, | would it be to come to thee,
To wade the waters across, | and wet my middle;
Weakling, well shall I pay | thy mocking words,
if across the sound I come."

Harbarth spake:

[14] "Here shall I stand | and await thee here;
Thou hast found since Hrungnir died | no fiercer man."

Thor spake:

[15] "Fain art thou to tell | how with Hrungnir I fought,
The haughty giant, | whose head of stone was made;
And yet I felled him, | and stretched him before me.
What, Harbarth, didst thou the while?"

Harbarth spake:

[16] "Five full winters | with Fjolvar was I,
And dwelt in the isle | that is Algrön called;
There could we fight, | and fell the slain,
Much could we seek, | and maids could master."

Thor spake:

[17] "How won ye success with your women?"

Harbarth spake:

[18] "Lively women we had, | if they wise for us were;
Wise were the women we had, | if they kind for us were;
For ropes of sand | they would seek to wind,
And the bottom to dig | from the deepest dale.
Wiser than all | in counsel I was,
And there I slept | by the sisters seven,
And joy full great | did I get from each.
What, Thor, didst thou the while?"

Thor spake:

[19] "Thjazi I felled, | the giant fierce,
And I hurled the eyes | of Alvaldi's son
To the heavens hot above;
Of my deeds the mightiest | marks are these,
That all men since can see.
What, Harbarth, didst thou the while?"

Harbarth spoke:

[20] "Much love-craft I wrought | with them who ride by night,
When I stole them by stealth from their husbands;
A giant hard | was Hlebarth, methinks:
His wand he gave me as gift,
And I stole his wits away."

Thor spake:

[21] "Thou didst repay good gifts with evil mind."

Harbarth spake:

[22] "The oak must have | what it shaves from another;
In such things each for himself.
What, Thor, didst thou the while?"

Thor spake:

[23] "Eastward I fared, | of the giants I felled
Their ill-working women | who went to the mountain;
And large were the giants' throng | if all were alive;
No men would there be | in Mithgarth more.
What, Harbarth, didst thou the while?"

Harbarth spake:

[24] "In Valland I was, | and wars I raised,
Princes I angered, | and peace brought never;
The noble who fall | in the fight hath Othin,
And Thor hath the race of the thralls."

Thor spake:

[25] "Unequal gifts | of men wouldst thou give to the gods,
If might too much thou shouldst have."

Harbarth spake:

[26] "Thor has might enough, | but never a heart;
For cowardly fear | in a glove wast thou fain to crawl,
And there forgot thou wast Thor;
Afraid there thou wast, | thy fear was such,
To fart or sneeze | lest Fjalar should hear."

Thor spake:

[27] "Thou womanish Harbarth, | to hell would I smite thee straight,
Could mine arm reach over the sound."

Harbarth spake:

[28] "Wherefore reach over the sound, | since strife we have none?
What, Thor, didst thou do then?"

Thor spake:

[29] "Eastward I was, | and the river I guarded well,
Where the sons of Svarang | sought me there;
Stones did they hurl; | small joy did they have of winning;
Before me there | to ask for peace did they fare.
What, Harbarth, didst thou the while?"

Harbarth spake:

[30] "Eastward I was, | and spake with a certain one,
I played with the linen-white maid, | and met her by stealth;
I gladdened the gold-decked one, | and she granted me joy."

Thor spake:

[31] "Full fair was thy woman-finding."

Harbarth spake:

[32] "Thy help did I need then, Thor, | to hold the white maid fast."

Thor spake:

[33] "Gladly, had I been there, | my help to thee had been given."

Harbarth spake:

[34] "I might have trusted thee then, | didst thou not betray thy troth."

Thor spake:

[35] "No heel-biter am I, in truth, | like an old leather shoe in spring."

Harbarth spoke:

[36] "What, Thor, didst thou the while?"

Thor spake:

[37] "In Hlesey the brides | of the Berserkers slew I;
Most evil they were, | and all they betrayed."

Harbarth spake:

[38] "Shame didst thou win, | that women thou slewest, Thor."

Thor spake:

[39] "She-wolves they were like, | and women but little;
My ship, which well | I had trimmed, did they shake;
With clubs of iron they threatened, | and Thjalfi they drove off.
What, Harbarth, didst thou the while?"

Harbarth spake:

[40] "In the host I was | that hither fared,
The banners to raise, | and the spear to redden."

Thor spake:

[41] "Wilt thou now say | that hatred thou soughtest to bring us?"

Harbarth spake:

[42] "A ring for thy hand | shall make all right for thee,
As the judge decides | who sets us two at peace."

Thor spake:

[43] "Where foundest thou | so foul and scornful a speech?
More foul a speech | I never before have heard."

Harbarth spake:

[44] "I learned it from men, | the men so old,
Who dwell in the hills of home."

Thor spake:

[45] "A name full good | to heaps of stones thou givest
When thou callest them hills of home."

Harbarth spake:

[46] "Of such things speak I so."

Thor spake:

[47] "Ill for thee comes | thy keenness of tongue,
If the water I choose to wade;
Louder, I ween, | than a wolf thou cryest,
If a blow of my hammer thou hast."

Harbarth spake:

[48] "Sif has a lover at home, | and him shouldst thou meet;
More fitting it were | on him to put forth thy strength."

Thor spake:

[49] "Thy tongue still makes thee say | what seems most ill to me,
Thou witless man! Thou liest, I ween."

Harbarth spake:

[50] "Truth do I speak, | but slow on thy way thou art;
Far hadst thou gone | if now in the boat thou hadst fared."

Thor spake:

[51] "Thou womanish Harbarth! | here hast thou held me too long."

Harbarth spake:

[52] "I thought not ever | that Asathor would be hindered
By a ferryman thus from faring."

Thor spake:

[53] "One counsel I bring thee now: | row hither thy boat;
No more of scoffing; | set Magni's father across."

Harbarth spake:

[54] "From the sound go hence; | the passage thou hast not."

Thor spake:

[55] "The way now show me, since thou takest me not o'er the water."

Harbarth spake:

[56] "To refuse it is little, to fare it is long;
A while to the stock, and a while to the stone;
Then the road to thy left, till Verland thou reachest;
And there shall Fjorgyn her son Thor find,
And the road of her children she shows him to Othin's realm."

Thor spake:

[57] "May I come so far in a day?"

Harbarth spake:

[58] "With toil and trouble perchance,
While the sun still shines, or so I think."

Thor spake:

[59] "Short now shall be our speech, for thou speakest in mockery only;
The passage thou gavest me not I shall pay thee if ever we meet."

Harbarth spake:

[60] "Get hence where every evil thing shall have thee!"


Hymiskviða - The Lay of Hymir Edit

1. Of old the gods | made feast together,
And drink they sought | ere sated they were;
Twigs they shook, | and blood they tried:
Rich fare in Ægir's | hall they found.
2. The mountain-dweller | sat merry as boyhood,
But soon like a blinded | man he seemed;
The son of Ygg | gazed in his eyes:
"For the gods a feast | shalt thou forthwith get."
3. The word-wielder toil | for the giant worked,
And so revenge | on the gods he sought;
He bade Sif's mate | the kettle bring:
"Therein for ye all | much ale shall I brew."
4. The far-famed ones | could find it not,
And the holy gods | could get it nowhere;
Till in truthful wise | did Tyr speak forth,
And helpful counsel | to Hlorrithi gave.
5. "There dwells to the east | of Elivagar
Hymir the wise | at the end of heaven;
A kettle my father | fierce doth own,
A mighty vessel | a mile in depth."

Thor spake:

6. "May we win, dost thou think, | this whirler of water?"

Tyr spake:

"Aye, friend, we can, | if cunning we are."
7. Forward that day | with speed they fared,
From Asgarth came they | to Egil's home;
The goats with horns | bedecked he guarded;
Then they sped to the hall | where Hymir dwelt.
8. The youth found his grandam, | that greatly he loathed,
And full nine hundred | heads she had;
But the other fair | with gold came forth,
And the bright-browed one | brought beer to her son.
9. "Kinsman of giants, | beneath the kettle
Will I set ye both, | ye heroes bold;
For many a time | my dear-loved mate
To guests is wrathful | and grim of mind."
10. Late to his home | the misshapen Hymir,
The giant harsh, | from his hunting came;
The icicles rattled | as in he came,
For the fellow's chin-forest | frozen was.
11. "Hail to thee, Hymir! | good thoughts mayst thou have;
Here has thy son | to thine hall now come;
(For him have we waited, | his way was long;)
And with him fares | the foeman of Hroth,
The friend of mankind, | and Veur they call him.
12. "See where under | the gable they sit!
Behind the beam | do they hide themselves."
The beam at the glance | of the giant broke,
And the mighty pillar | in pieces fell.
13. Eight fell from the ledge, | and one alone,
The hard-hammered kettle, | of all was whole;
Forth came they then, | and his foes he sought,
The giant old, | and held with his eyes.
14. Much sorrow his heart | foretold when he saw
The giantess' foeman | come forth on the floor;
Then of the steers | did they bring in three;
Their flesh to boil | did the giant bid.
15. By a head was each | the shorter hewed,
And the beasts to the fire | straight they bore;
The husband of Sif, | ere to sleep he went,
Alone two oxen | of Hymir's ate.
16. To the comrade hoary | of Hrungnir then
Did Hlorrithi's meal | full mighty seem;
"Next time at eve | we three must eat
The food we have | {illegible}s the hunting's spoil."
17. ...
Fain to row on the sea | was Veur, he said,
If the giant bold | would give him bait.

Hymir spake:

18. "Go to the herd, | if thou hast it in mind,
Thou slayer of giants, | thy bait to seek;
For there thou soon | mayst find, methinks,
Bait from the oxen | easy to get."
19. Swift to the wood | the hero went,
Till before him an ox | all black he found;
From the beast the slayer | of giants broke
The fortress high | of his double horns.

Hymir spake:

20. "Thy works, methinks, | are worse by far,
Thou steerer of ships, | than when still thou sittest."
...
...
21. The lord of the goats | bade the ape-begotten
Farther to steer | the steed of the rollers;
But the giant said | that his will, forsooth,
Longer to row | was little enough.
22. Two whales on his hook | did the mighty Hymir
Soon pull up | on a single cast;
In the stern the kinsman | of Othin sat,
And Veur with cunning | his cast prepared.
23. The warder of men, | the worm's destroyer,
Fixed on his hook | the head of the ox;
There gaped at the bait | the foe of the gods,
The girdler of all | the earth beneath.
24. The venomous serpent | swiftly up
To the boat did Thor, | the bold one, pull;
With his hammer the loathly | hill of the hair
Of the brother of Fenrir | he smote from above.
25. The monsters roared, | and the rocks resounded,
And all the earth | so old was shaken;
...
Then sank the fish | in the sea forthwith.
26. ...
Joyless as back | they rowed was the giant;
Speechless did Hymir | sit at the oars,
With the rudder he sought | a second wind.

Hymir spake:

27. "The half of our toil | wilt thou have with me,
And now make fast | our goat of the flood;
Or home wilt thou bear | the whales to the house,
Across the gorge | of the wooded glen?"
28. Hlorrithi stood | and the stem he gripped,
And the sea-horse with water | awash he lifted;
Oars and bailer | and all he bore
With the surf-swine home | to the giant's house.
29. His might the giant | again would match,
For stubborn he was, | with the strength of Thor;
None truly strong, | though stoutly he rowed,
Would he call save one | who could break the cup.
30. Hlorrithi then, | when the cup he held,
Struck with the glass | the pillars of stone;
As he sat the posts | in pieces he shattered,
Yet the glass to Hymir whole they brought.
31. But the loved one fair | of the giant found
A counsel true, | and told her thought:
"Smite the skull of Hymir, | heavy with food,
For harder it is | than ever was glass."
32. The goats' mighty ruler | then rose on his knee,
And with all the strength | of a god he struck;
Whole was the fellow's | helmet-stem,
But shattered the wine-cup | rounded was.

Hymir spake:

33. "Fair is the treasure | that from me is gone,
Since now the cup | on my knees lies shattered;"
So spake the giant: | "No more can I say
In days to be, | 'Thou art brewed, mine ale.'
34. "Enough shall it be | if out ye can bring
Forth from our house | the kettle here."
Tyr then twice | to move it tried,
But before him the kettle | twice stood fast.
35. The father of Mothi | the rim seized firm,
And before it stood | on the floor below;
Up on his head | Sif's husband raised it,
And about his heels | the handles clattered.
36. Not long had they fared, | ere backwards looked
The son of Othin, | once more to see;
From their caves in the east | beheld he coming
With Hymir the throng | of the many-headed.
37. He stood and cast | from his back the kettle,
And Mjollnir, the lover | of murder, he wielded;
...
So all the whales | of the waste he slew.
38. Not long had they fared | ere one there lay
Of Hlorrithi's goats | half-dead on the ground;
In his leg the pole-horse | there was lame;
The deed the evil | Loki had done.
39. But ye all have heard,-- | for of them who have
The tales of the gods, | who better can tell?
What prize he won | from the wilderness-dweller,
Who both his children | gave him to boot.
40. The mighty one came | to the council of gods,
And the kettle he had | that Hymir's was;
So gladly their ale | the gods could drink
In Ægir's hall | at the autumn-time.


LOKASENNA Loki's Wrangling Edit

Ægir had two serving-men, Fimafeng and Eldir. Glittering gold they had in place of firelight; the ale came in of itself; and great was the peace. The guests praised much the ability of Ægir's serving-men. Loki might not endure that, and he slew Fimafeng. Then the gods shook their shields and howled at Loki and drove him away to the forest, and thereafter set to drinking again. Loki turned back, and outside he met Eldir. Loki spoke to him:

1. "Speak now, Eldir, | for not one step Farther shalt thou fare; What ale-talk here | do they have within, The sons of the glorious gods?"

Eldir spake: 2. "Of their weapons they talk, | and their might in war, The sons of the glorious gods; From the gods and elves | who are gathered here No friend in words shalt thou find."

Loki spake: 3. "In shall I go | into Ægir's hall, For the feast I fain would see;

Bale and hatred | I bring to the gods, And their mead with venom I mix."

Eldir spake: 4. "If in thou goest | to Ægir's hall, And fain the feast wouldst see, And with slander and spite | wouldst sprinkle the gods, Think well lest they wipe it on thee."

Loki spake: 5. "Bethink thee, Eldir, | if thou and I Shall strive with spiteful speech; Richer I grow | in ready words If thou speakest too much to me."

Then Loki went into the hall, but when they who were there saw who had entered, they were all silent.

Loki spake: 6. "Thirsty I come | into this thine hall, I, Lopt, from a journey long, To ask of the gods | that one should give Fair mead for a drink to me.

7. "Why sit ye silent, | swollen with pride, Ye gods, and no answer give? At your feast a place | and a seat prepare me, Or bid me forth to fare."

Bragi spake: 8. "A place and a seat | will the gods prepare No more in their midst for thee; For the gods know well | what men they wish To find at their mighty feasts."

Loki spake: 9. "Remember, Othin, | in olden days That we both our blood have mixed; Then didst thou promise | no ale to pour, Unless it were brought for us both."

Othin spake: 10. "Stand forth then, Vithar, | and let the wolf's father Find a seat at our feast; Lest evil should Loki | speak aloud Here within Ægir's hall."

Then Vithar arose and poured drink for Loki; but before he drank he spoke to the gods:

11. "Hail to you, gods! | ye goddesses, hail! Hail to the holy throng! Save for the god | who yonder sits, Bragi there on the bench."

Bragi spake: 12. "A horse and a sword | from my hoard will I give, And a ring gives Bragi to boot, That hatred thou makst not | among the gods; So rouse not the great ones to wrath."

Loki spake: 13. "In horses and rings | thou shalt never be rich, Bragi, but both shalt thou lack; Of the gods and elves | here together met Least brave in battle art thou, (And shyest thou art of the shot.)"

Bragi spake: 14. "Now were I without | as I am within, And here in Ægir's hall, Thine head would I bear | in mine hands away, And pay thee the price of thy lies."

Loki spake: 15. "In thy seat art thou bold, | not so are thy deeds, Bragi, adorner of benches! Go out and fight | if angered thou feelest, No hero such forethought has."

Ithun spake: 16. "Well, prithee, Bragi, | his kinship weigh, Since chosen as wish-son he was; And speak not to Loki | such words of spite Here within Ægir's hall."

Loki spake: 17. "Be silent, Ithun! | thou art, I say, Of women most lustful in love, Since thou thy washed-bright | arms didst wind About thy brother's slayer."

Ithun spake: 18. "To Loki I speak not | with spiteful words Here within Ægir's hall; And Bragi I calm, | who is hot with beer, For I wish not that fierce they should fight."

Gefjun spake: 19. "Why, ye gods twain, | with bitter tongues Raise hate among us here? Loki is famed | for his mockery foul, And the dwellers in heaven he hates."

Loki spake: 20. "Be silent, Gefjun! | for now shall I say Who led thee to evil life; The boy so fair | gave a necklace bright, And about him thy leg was laid."


Othin spake: 21. "Mad art thou, Loki, | and little of wit, The wrath of Gefjun to rouse; For the fate that is set | for all she sees, Even as I, methinks."

Loki spake: 22. "Be silent, Othin! | not justly thou settest The fate of the fight among men; Oft gavst thou to him | who deserved not the gift, To the baser, the battle's prize."

Othin spake: 23. "Though I gave to him | who deserved not the gift, To the baser, the battle's prize; Winters eight | wast thou under the earth, Milking the cows as a maid, (Ay, and babes didst thou bear; Unmanly thy soul must seem.)"


Loki spake: 24. "They say that with spells | in Samsey once Like witches with charms didst thou work; And in witch's guise | among men didst thou go; Unmanly thy soul must seem."

Frigg spake: 25. "Of the deeds ye two | of old have done Ye should make no speech among men; Whate'er ye have done | in days gone by, Old tales should ne'er be told."

Loki spake: 26. "Be silent, Frigg! | thou art Fjorgyn's wife, But ever lustful in love; For Vili and Ve, | thou wife of Vithrir, Both in thy bosom have lain."


Frigg spake: 27. "If a son like Baldr | were by me now, Here within Ægir's hall, From the sons of the gods | thou shouldst go not forth Till thy fierceness in fight were tried."

Loki spake: 28. "Thou wilt then, Frigg, | that further I tell Of the ill that now I know; Mine is the blame | that Baldr no more Thou seest ride home to the hall."

Freyja spake: 29. "Mad art thou, Loki, | that known thou makest The wrong and shame thou hast wrought; The fate of all | does Frigg know well, Though herself she says it not."

Loki spake: 30. "Be silent, Freyja! | for fully I know thee, Sinless thou art not thyself; Of the gods and elves | who are gathered here, Each one as thy lover has lain."

Freyja spake: 31. "False is thy tongue, | and soon shalt thou find That it sings thee an evil song; The gods are wroth, | and the goddesses all, And in grief shalt thou homeward go."

Loki spake: 32. "Be silent, Freyja! | thou foulest witch, And steeped full sore in sin; In the arms of thy brother | the bright gods caught thee When Freyja her wind set free."

Njorth spake: 33. "Small ill does it work | though a woman may have A lord or a lover or both; But a wonder it is | that this womanish god Comes hither, though babes he has borne."

Loki spake: 34. "Be silent, Njorth; | thou wast eastward sent, To the gods as a hostage given; And the daughters of Hymir | their privy had When use did they make of thy mouth."

Njorth spake: 35. "Great was my gain, | though long was I gone, To the gods as a hostage given; The son did I have | whom no man hates, And foremost of gods is found."

Loki spake: 36. "Give heed now, Njorth, | nor boast too high, No longer I hold it hid; With thy sister hadst thou | so fair a son, Thus hadst thou no worse a hope."

Tyr spake: 37. "Of the heroes brave | is Freyr the best Here in the home of the gods;

He harms not maids | nor the wives of men, And the bound from their fetters he frees."

Loki spake: 38. "Be silent, Tyr! | for between two men Friendship thou ne'er couldst fashion; Fain would I tell | how Fenrir once Thy right hand rent from thee."

Tyr spake: 39. "My hand do I lack, | but Hrothvitnir thou, And the loss brings longing to both; Ill fares the wolf | who shall ever await In fetters the fall of the gods."

Loki spake: 40. "Be silent, Tyr! | for a son with me Thy wife once chanced to win; Not a penny, methinks, | wast thou paid for the wrong, Nor wast righted an inch, poor wretch."

Freyr spake: 41. "By the mouth of the river | the wolf remains Till the gods to destruction go; Thou too shalt soon, | if thy tongue is not stilled, Be fettered, thou forger of ill."

Loki spake: 42. "The daughter of Gymir | with gold didst thou buy, And sold thy sword to boot; But when Muspell's sons | through Myrkwood ride, Thou shalt weaponless wait, poor wretch."

Byggvir spake: 43. "Had I birth so famous | as Ingunar-Freyr, And sat in so lofty a seat, I would crush to marrow | this croaker of ill, And beat all his body to bits."

Loki spake: 44. "What little creature | goes crawling there, Snuffling and snapping about? At Freyr's ears ever | wilt thou be found, Or muttering hard at the mill."

Byggvir spake: 45. "Byggvir my name, | and nimble am I, As gods and men do grant; And here am I proud | that the children of Hropt Together all drink ale."

Loki spake: 46. "Be silent, Byggvir! | thou never couldst set Their shares of the meat for men; Hid in straw on the floor, | they found thee not When heroes were fain to fight."

Heimdall spake: 47. "Drunk art thou, Loki, | and mad are thy deeds, Why, Loki, leavst thou this not? For drink beyond measure | will lead all men No thought of their tongues to take."

Loki spake: 48. "Be silent, Heimdall! | in days long since Was an evil fate for thee fixed; With back held stiff | must thou ever stand, As warder of heaven to watch."

Skathi spake: 49. "Light art thou, Loki, | but longer thou mayst not In freedom flourish thy tail; On the rocks the gods bind thee | with bowels torn Forth from thy frost-cold son."

Loki spake: 50. "Though on rocks the gods bind me | with bowels torn Forth from my frost-cold son, I was first and last | at the deadly fight There where Thjazi we caught."

Skathi spake: 51. "Wert thou first and last | at the deadly fight There where Thjazi was caught, From my dwellings and fields | shall ever come forth A counsel cold for thee."

Loki spake: 52. "More lightly thou spakest | with Laufey's son, When thou badst me come to thy bed; Such things must be known | if now we two Shall seek our sins to tell."

Then Sif came forward and poured mead for Loki in a crystal cup, and said:

53. "Hail too thee, Loki, | and take thou here The crystal cup of old mead; For me at least, | alone of the gods, Blameless thou knowest to be." He took the horn, and drank therefrom:

54. "Alone thou wert | if truly thou wouldst All men so shyly shun; But one do I know | full well, methinks, Who had thee from Hlorrithi's arms,-- (Loki the crafty in lies.)"

Beyla spake: 55. "The mountains shake, | and surely I think From his home comes Hlorrithi now; He will silence the man | who is slandering here Together both gods and men."

Loki spake: 56. "Be silent, Beyla! | thou art Byggvir's wife, And deep art thou steeped in sin; A greater shame | to the gods came ne'er, Befouled thou art with thy filth."

Then came Thor forth, and spake:

57. "Unmanly one, cease, | or the mighty hammer, Mjollnir, shall close thy mouth; Thy shoulder-cliff | shall I cleave from thy neck, And so shall thy life be lost."

Loki spake: 58. "Lo, in has come | the son of Earth: Why threaten so loudly, Thor? Less fierce thou shalt go | to fight with the wolf When he swallows Sigfather up."

Thor spake: 59. "Unmanly one, cease, | or the mighty hammer, Mjollnir, shall close thy mouth; I shall hurl thee up | and out in the East, Where men shall see thee no more."

Loki spake: 60. "That thou hast fared | on the East-road forth To men shouldst thou say no more; In the thumb of a glove | didst thou hide, thou great one, And there forgot thou wast Thor."

Thor spake: 61. "Unmanly one, cease, | or the mighty hammer, Mjollnir, shall close thy mouth; My right hand shall smite thee | with Hrungnir's slayer, Till all thy bones are broken."

Loki spake: 62. "Along time still | do I think to live, Though thou threatenest thus with thy hammer; Rough seemed the straps | of Skrymir's wallet, When thy meat thou mightest not get, (And faint from hunger didst feel.)"

Thor spake: 63. "Unmanly one, cease, | or the mighty hammer, Mjollnir, shall close thy mouth; The slayer of Hrungnir | shall send thee to hell, And down to the gate of death."

Loki spake: 64. "'1 have said to the gods | and the sons of the god, The things that whetted my thoughts; But before thee alone | do I now go forth, For thou fightest well, I ween.

65. "Ale hast thou brewed, | but, Ægir, now Such feasts shalt thou make no more; O'er all that thou hast | which is here within Shall play the flickering flames, (And thy back shall be burnt with fire.)"

And after that Loki hid himself in Franang's waterfall in the guise of a salmon, and there the gods took him. He was bound with the bowels of his son Vali, but his son Narfi was changed to a wolf. Skathi took a poison-snake and fastened it up over Loki's face, and the poison dropped thereon. Sigyn, Loki's wife, sat there and held a shell under the poison, but when the shell was full she bore away the poison, and meanwhile the poison dropped on Loki. Then he struggled so hard that the whole earth shook therewith; and now that is called an earthquake.


The Lay of Thrym Edit

1. Wild was Vingthor | when he awoke, And when his mighty | hammer he missed; He shook his beard, | his hair was bristling, As the son of Jorth | about him sought.

2. Hear now the speech | that first he spake: "Harken, Loki, | and heed my words, Nowhere on earth | is it known to man, Nor in heaven above: | our hammer is stolen."

3. To the dwelling fair | of Freyja went they, Hear now the speech | that first he spake: "Wilt thou, Freyja, | thy feather-dress lend me, That so my hammer | I may seek?"

Freyja spake: 4. "Thine should it be | though of silver bright, And I would give it | though 'twere of gold." Then Loki flew, | and the feather-dress whirred, Till he left behind him | the home of the gods, And reached at last | the realm of the giants.

5. Thrym sat on a mound, | the giants' master, Leashes of gold | he laid for his dogs, And stroked and smoothed | the manes of his steeds.

Thrym spake: 6. "How fare the gods, | how fare the elves? Why comst thou alone | to the giants' land?"

Loki spake: "III fare the gods, | ill fare the elves! Hast thou hidden | Hlorrithi's hammer?"

Thrym spake: 7. "I have hidden | Hlorrithi's hammer, Eight miles down | deep in the earth; And back again | shall no man bring it If Freyja I win not | to be my wife."

8. Then Loki flew, | and the feather-dress whirred, Till he left behind him | the home of the giants, And reached at last | the realm of the gods. There in the courtyard | Thor he met: Hear now the speech | that first he spake:

9. "Hast thou found tidings | as well as trouble? Thy news in the air | shalt thou utter now; Oft doth the sitter | his story forget, And lies he speaks | who lays himself down."

Loki spake: I0. "Trouble I have, | and tidings as well: Thrym, king of the giants, | keeps thy hammer, And back again | shall no man bring it If Freyja he wins not | to be his wife."

11. Freyja the fair | then went they to find Hear now the speech | that first he spake: "Bind on, Freyja, | the bridal veil, For we two must haste | to the giants' home."

12. Wrathful was Freyja, | and fiercely she snorted, And the dwelling great | of the gods was shaken, And burst was the mighty | Brisings' necklace: "Most lustful indeed | should I look to all If I journeyed with thee | to the giants' home."

13. Then were the gods | together met, And the goddesses came | and council held, And the far-famed ones | a plan would find, How they might Hlorrithi's | hammer win.

14. Then Heimdall spake, | whitest of the gods, Like the Wanes he knew | the future well: "Bind we on Thor | the bridal veil, Let him bear the mighty | Brisings' necklace;

15. "Keys around him | let there rattle, And down to his knees | hang woman's dress; With gems full broad | upon his breast, And a pretty cap | to crown his head."

16. Then Thor the mighty | his answer made: "Me would the gods | unmanly call If I let bind | the bridal veil."

17. Then Loki spake, | the son of Laufey: "Be silent, Thor, | and speak not thus; Else will the giants | in Asgarth dwell If thy hammer is brought not | home to thee."

8. Then bound they on Thor | the bridal veil, And next the mighty | Brisings' necklace.

19. Keys around him | let they rattle, And down to his knees | hung woman's dress; With gems full broad | upon his breast, And a pretty cap | to crown his head.

20. Then Loki spake, | the son of Laufey: "As thy maid-servant thither | I go with thee; We two shall haste | to the giants' home."

21. Then home the goats | to the hall were driven, They wrenched at the halters, | swift were they to run; The mountains burst, | earth burned with fire, And Othin's son | sought Jotunheim.

22. Then loud spake Thrym, | the giants' leader: "Bestir ye, giants, | put straw on the benches; Now Freyja they bring | to be my bride, The daughter of Njorth | out of Noatun.

23. "Gold-horned cattle | go to my stables, Jet-black oxen, | the giant's joy; Many my gems, | and many my jewels, Freyja alone | did I lack, methinks."

24. Early it was | to evening come, And forth was borne | the beer for the giants; Thor alone ate an ox, | and eight salmon, All the dainties as well | that were set for the women; And drank Sif's mate | three tuns of mead.

25. Then loud spake Thrym, | the giants' leader: "Who ever saw bride | more keenly bite? I ne'er saw bride | with a broader bite, Nor a maiden who drank | more mead than this!"

26. Hard by there sat | the serving-maid wise, So well she answered | the giant's words: "From food has Freyja | eight nights fasted, So hot was her longing | for Jotunheim."

27. Thrym looked 'neath the veil, | for he longed to kiss, But back he leaped | the length of the hall: "Why are so fearful | the eyes of Freyja? Fire, methinks, | from her eyes burns forth."

28. Hard by there sat | the serving-maid wise, So well she answered | the giant's words: "No sleep has Freyja | for eight nights found, So hot was her longing | for Jotunheim."

29. Soon came the giant's | luckless sister, Who feared not to ask | the bridal fee: "From thy hands the rings | of red gold take, If thou wouldst win | my willing love, (My willing love | and welcome glad.)"

30: Then loud spake Thrym, | the giants' leader: "Bring in the hammer | to hallow the bride; On the maiden's knees | let Mjollnir lie, That us both the band | of Vor may bless."

31. The heart in the breast | of Hlorrithi laughed When the hard-souled one | his hammer beheld; First Thrym, the king | of the giants, he killed, Then all the folk | of the giants he felled.

32. The giant's sister | old he slew, She who had begged | the bridal fee; A stroke she got | in the shilling's stead, And for many rings | the might of the hammer.

33. And so his hammer | got Othin's son.


Alvíssmál: The Ballad of Alvis Edit

Alvis spake: 1. "Now shall the bride | my benches adorn, And homeward haste forthwith; Eager for wedlock | to all shall I seem, Nor at home shall they rob me of rest."

Thor spake: 2. "What, pray, art thou? | Why so pale round the nose? By the dead hast thou lain of late? To a giant like | dost thou look, methinks; Thou wast not born for the bride."

Alvis spake: 3. "Alvis am I, | and under the earth My home 'neath the rocks I have; With the wagon-guider | a word do I seek, Let the gods their bond not break."

Thor spake: 4. "Break it shall I, | for over the bride Her father has foremost right; At home was I not | when the promise thou hadst, And I give her alone of the gods."

Alvis spake: 5. "What hero claims | such right to hold O'er the bride that shines so bright? Not many will know thee, | thou wandering man! Who was bought with rings to bear thee?"

Thor spake: 6. "Vingthor, the wanderer | wide, am I, And I am Sithgrani's son; Against my will | shalt thou get the maid, And win the marriage word."

Alvis spake: 7. "Thy good-will now | shall I quickly get, And win the marriage word; I long to have, | and I would not lack, This snow-white maid for mine."

Thor spake: 8. "The love of the maid | I may not keep thee From winning, thou guest so wise, If of every world | thou canst tell me all That now I wish to know.

9. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the earth, | that lies before all, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 10. " 'Earth' to men, 'Field' | to the gods it is, 'The Ways' is it called by the Wanes; 'Ever Green' by the giants, | 'The Grower' by elves, 'The Moist' by the holy ones high."

Thor spake: 11. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the heaven, | beheld of the high one, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 12. " 'Heaven' men call it, | 'The Height' the gods, The Wanes 'The Weaver of Winds'; Giants 'The Up-World,' | elves 'The Fair-Roof,' The dwarfs 'The Dripping Hall.'"

Thor spake: 13. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men.: What call they the moon, | that men behold, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 14. "'Moon' with men, 'Flame' | the gods among, 'The Wheel' in the house of hell; 'The Goer' the giants, | 'The Gleamer' the dwarfs, The elves 'The Teller of Time."

Thor spake: 15. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the sun, | that all men see, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 16. "Men call it 'Sun,' | gods 'Orb of the Sun,' 'The Deceiver of Dvalin' the dwarfs; The giants 'The Ever-Bright,' | elves 'Fair Wheel,' 'All-Glowing' the sons of the gods."

Thor spake: 17. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the clouds, | that keep the rains, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 18. "'Clouds' men name them, | 'Rain-Hope' gods call them, The Wanes call them 'Kites of the Wind'; 'Water-Hope' giants, | 'Weather-Might' elves, 'The Helmet of Secrets' in hell."

Thor spake: 19. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the wind, | that widest fares, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 20. "'Wind' do men call it, | the gods 'The Waverer,' 'The Neigher' the holy ones high; 'The Wailer' the giants, | 'Roaring Wender' the elves, In hell 'The Blustering Blast.'

Thor spake: 21. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the calm, | that quiet lies, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 22. " 'Calm' men call it, | 'The Quiet' the gods, The Wanes 'The Hush of the Winds'; 'The Sultry' the giants, | elves 'Day's Stillness,' The dwarfs 'The Shelter of Day.'

Thor spake: 23. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the sea, | whereon men sail, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 24. " 'Sea' men call it, | gods 'The Smooth-Lying,' 'The Wave' is it called by the Wanes; 'Eel-Home' the giants, | 'Drink-Stuff' the elves, For the dwarfs its name is 'The Deep.'

Thor spake: 25. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the fire, | that flames for men, In each of all the worlds?"

Alvis spake: 26. " 'Fire' men call it, | and 'Flame' the gods, By the Wanes is it 'Wildfire' called; 'The Biter' by giants, | 'The Burner' by dwarfs, 'The Swift' in the house of hell."

Thor spake: 27. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the wood, | that grows for mankind, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 28. "Men call it 'The Wood, | gods 'The Mane of the Field,' 'Seaweed of Hills' in hell; 'Flame-Food' the giants, | 'Fair-Limbed' the elves, 'The Wand' is it called by the Wanes."

Thor spake: 29. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the night, | the daughter of Nor, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 30. "'Night' men call it, | 'Darkness' gods name it, 'The Hood' the holy ones high; The giants 'The Lightless,' | the elves 'Sleep's joy" The dwarfs 'The Weaver of Dreams."'

Thor spake: 31. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the seed, | that is sown by men, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 32. "Men call it 'Grain,' | and 'Corn' the gods, 'Growth' in the world of the Wanes; 'The Eaten' by giants, | 'Drink-Stuff' by elves, In hell 'The Slender Stem.'

Thor spake: 33. "Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all, Dwarf, of the doom of men: What call they the ale, | that is quaffed of men, In each and every world?"

Alvis spake: 34. "'Ale' among men, | 'Beer' the gods among, In the world of the Wanes 'The Foaming'; 'Bright Draught' with giants, | 'Mead' with dwellers in hell, 'The Feast-Draught' with Suttung's sons."

Thor spake: 35. "In a single breast | I never have seen More wealth of wisdom old; But with treacherous wiles | must I now betray thee: The day has caught thee, dwarf! (Now the sun shines here in the hall.)"


Völundarkviða: The Lay of Völund Edit

(Translated by W. H. Auden and P. B. Taylor)

1

Three maidens through Mirkwood flew, Fair and young, fate to endure: Winged maidens by the water's edge Peacefully retted precious flax.

2

Olrun was the first; she took Egil for lover. Swanwhite the second: she took Slagfidur. Hervor the third; she threw round Völund's White neck wanton arms.

3

So they sat for seven winters, Then in the eighth for home they longed, In the ninth their dooms drove them apart: Three maidens through Mirkwood flew, Fair and young, fate to endure.

4

The weather-wise hunters, Egil, Slagfidur, Returned from the hunt. The hall was silent: They searched all about but could see no one.

5

East after Ölrun Egil rode, South after Swanwhite Slagfidur, But Völund sat in Wolfdale alone.

6

Red rings he forged, enriched them with jewels, Rings he threaded upon ropes of bast, Faithfully waiting for the fair-haired Hervor to return to his hearth-side.

7

When the Lord of the Njars, Nidud, heard That Völund sat in Wolfdale alone, He sent warriors forth: white their shield-bosses In the waning moon, and their mail glittered.

8

They drew rein when they got to the gabled hall, In they came through the end door, Rings they saw, on ropes threaded: Seven hundred, all owned by Völund.

9

These they unthreaded, but there they left them, All but one, just one they took. Then the weather-wise hunter, Völund, came On light feet back from a long road.

10

He piled up logs, prepared for roasting A brown bear: well burned the fire Of wind-dried wood before Völund's eyes.

11

The lord of the elves lay on a bearskin, Counting his rings; a red one he missed: He deemed in his mind that the daughter of Hlovde, Hervor, had returned to his hearthside.

12

Long he sat till asleep he fell; What he knew when he woke was not joy: He saw on his hands heavy chains, His feet in fetters were fast bound.

13

'Who are the men who my hands have chained? Who have fettered my feet together?'

14

Then the lord of the Njars, Nidud, answered: 'What good have you gotten, greatest of elves, From our treasure, Völund, in Wolfdale?'

15 Then said Völund: 'Was there not gold on Grani's Road? Far thought I our realm from the Rhine hills. Greater treasure we had in olden days, At home in the hall, happy together, Hladgud and Hervor, Hlovde's children, And wise-counselling Ölrun, Kjar's daughter.'

Nidud the king gave his daughter, Bodvild, the gold ring he had taken from the bast at Völund's. And he himself wore the sword which had been Völund's.

16

Without stood the wily one, wife of Nidud, In she came through the end door, Stood there smiling and softly whispered: 'Woeful shall be he who from the wood comes.'

17

He gnashes his teeth when he notices the sword, And on Bodvild's arm beholds his ring, His eyes glare, grim as a snake's: With a knife they cut his knee-sinews, Set him on the island of Saeverstod.

There he fashioned all sorts of precious things for the king. And no man except the king dared to voyage thither.

18

'From Nidud's hip there hangs a sword, The blade I sharpened with a sure eye, The blade tempered with a true hand; Now the shining steel is stolen from me: Back to my smithy it shall be born yet.'

19

'Bitterest to bear, bitterest to behold, Bodvild wearing my wife's ring.'

20

Fierce, unsleeping, at his forge he hammered, Making for Nidud marvelous things: He saw two boys, the sons of Nidud, At the door of his smithy on Saeverstod.

21

They beheld a chest, they asked for a key. Evil was on them as in they looked. There were gems in plenty, precious stones, And red gold to gladden their eyes.

22

'Come tomorrow, but come alone, Gold and gems I will give you both. Tell not the maidens, tell not the courtiers, Let no one know of our next meeting.'

23

So they returned, the two brothers, Said to each other: 'Let us see the rings.' They beheld a chest, they asked for a key. Evil was on them as in they looked.

24

He struck off the heads of those stalwart boys, Under soot-blackened bellows their bodies hid, From both their skulls he scraped the hair And set them in silver as a sight for Nidud, Of their eyes he fashioned excellent gems For his dear neighbor, Nidud's wife, And out of the teeth which were in their mouths He forged a brooch to bring Bodvild joy.

25

Precious beyond all price to Bodvild Was the ring she had broken; she brought it to Völund: 'None but you are to know of this.'

26

'Mend it I can so the marred gold Shall appear to your father fairer still, In your mother's eyes look much much better, While to you it will seem the same as before.'

27

Ale he brought her, the artful smith: Long they sat till asleep she fell. 'Now all but one for my hurts are paid, All but the most evil of women.'

28

'I wish that my knees be well again, My limbs that were maimed by the men of Nidud.' Laughing rose Völund, aloft in the air, Weeping fled Bodvild, away from the isle, Afraid of her lover and her father's wrath.

29

Without stood the wily one, wife of Nidud, In she came through the end door. The lord of the Njars lay there resting: 'Nidud, husband, are you awake?'

30

'Awake am I ever and without joy, Little I sleep since my sons are gone, Cold is my head, cold were your whisperings, Now with Völund I wish to speak.

31

'Learn me, Völund, lord of the elves: Where are my boys? What has befallen them?'

32

'Oaths first shall you all swear me, By ship's-keel, by shield's rim, By stallion's-shoulder, by steel's-edge, That you will not harm the wife of Völund Nor cause the death of his dear bride, Who shall in the hall bring up our child.

3

3 'Go to my forge which your folly built, There find the bellows blood-bespattered. I struck off the heads of your stalwart boys, Under soot-blackened bellows their bodies hid,

34

'From both their skulls I scraped the hair And set them in silver as a sight for Nidud, Of their eyes I fashioned excellent gems For my dear neighbor, Nidud's wife,

35

'And out of the teeth which were in their mouths I forged a brooch to bring Bodvild joy, Bodvild who goes now great with child, Your only daughter, dear to you both.'

36

'Never have words brought woe more bitter. For vengeance, Völund, in vain must I long. No man is so tall to take you from your horse, No sharp-eyed archer can shoot you down, There where you hang, high in the clouds.'

37

Laughing, Völund rose aloft in the air: Sorrowing, Nidud sat there after. '

38

Thakrad, best of thralls, go quickly, Go to Bodvild, the bright-browed maiden, Bid her come forth; her father awaits her.

39

'Is it true, Bodvild, as I am told it is, That you and Völund, when you visited him On the lone island, lay together?'

40

'It is true, Nidud, as you were told it was. Völund and I, when I visited him On the lone island, lay together. A day of ill-omen, an hour of sin. Against his wiles I had no wit to struggle, Against his will I did not want to struggle.'

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