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The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson
by Saemund Sigfusson and Snorre Sturleson
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THE ELDER EDDAS

OF SAEMUND SIGFUSSON.

Translated from the Original Old Norse Text into English

BY

BENJAMIN THORPE,

AND THE

YOUNGER EDDAS

OF SNORRE STURLESON.

Translated from the Original Old Norse Text into English

BY

I.A. BLACKWELL.



HON. RASMUS B. ANDERSON, LL.D.,

EDITOR IN CHIEF.



J. W. BUEL, Ph.D.,

MANAGING EDITOR.

PUBLISHED BY THE

NORROENA SOCIETY,

LONDON STOCKHOLM COPENHAGEN BERLIN NEW YORK

1906



(After a painting by B. Guth.)

Gunnar, Gunther, or Gunter, King of Burgundy, was probably a real personage of the troubled times with which his name is associated—a period distinguished as much for heroic characters as for tragic events. Gunther represents the best type of kinghood of his age; a man swayed by his affections rather than by ambition, who scrupled at misdeeds, yet yielded to the mastering passions of love; one whose instincts were loyalty to friends and country, and who shrank from cruelties to gain his ends, but who fell a victim to woman's fascinations. History accordingly praises him more for a lover than for a sovereign.



LIST OF PHOTOGRAVURES.

(ELDER AND YOUNGER EDDAS.)

Frontispiece—Gunnar (Gunther) Page

Siegfried Awakens Brynhild 159

Death of Atli 247

A Feast in Valhalla 331



CONTENTS.

THE ELDER EDDAS OF SAEMUND.

Page

Preface by the Translator ix Introduction to the Voluspa xv The Vala's Prophecy 1 The Lay of Vafthrudnir 9 The Lay of Vegtam, or Baldur's Dream 26 The High One's Lay 29 Odin's Rune Song 44 The Lay of Hymir 48 The Lay of Thrym, or the Hammer Recovered 53 The Lay of the Dwarf Alvis 57 The Lay of Harbard 63 The Journey, or Lay of Skirnir 71 The Lay of Rig 78 Egir's Compotation, or Loki's Altercation 84 The Lay of Fiolsvith 95 The Lay of Hyndla 102 The Incantation of Groa 109 The Song of the Sun 111 The Lay of Volund 121 The Lay of Helgi Hiorvard's Son 127 The First Lay of Helgi Hundingcide 137 The Second Lay of Helgi Hundingcide 144 Sinfiotli's End 155 The Lay of Sigurd, or Gripir's Prophecy 157 The Lay of Fafnir 172 The Lay of Sigrdrifa 180 Fragments of the Lay of Sigurd and Brynhild 186 The Third Lay of Sigurd Fafnicide 194 Fragments of the Lay of Brynhild 203 The First Lay of Gudrun 206 Brynhild's Hel-ride 210 The Slaughter of the Niflungs 212 The Second Lay of Gudrun 213 The Third Lay of Gudrun 219 Oddrun's Lament 221 The Lay of Atli 226 The Groenland Lay of Atli 233 Gudrun's Incitement 248 The Lay of Hamdir 251

THE YOUNGER EDDAS OF STURLESON.

The Deluding of Gylfi 256 Of the Primordial State of the Universe 259 Origin of the Frost-Giants 260 Of the Cow Audhumla, and Birth of Odin 262 The Making of Heaven and Earth 263 Creation of Man and Woman 265 Night and Day, Sun and Moon 266 Wolves that Pursue the Sun and Moon 267 The Way that Leads to Heaven 268 The Golden Age 269 Origin of the Dwarfs, and Norns of Destiny 270 The Ash Yggdrasill and Mimer's Well 271 The Norns that Tend Yggdrasill 273 The Wind and the Seasons 275 Thor and His Hammer 277 Balder and Njord 278 Njord and His Wife Skadi 279 The God Frey and Goddess Freyja 280 Tyr and Other Gods 281 Hodur the Blind, Assassin of Baldur 283 Loki and His Progeny 284 Binding the Wolf Fenrir 285 The Goddesses and their Attributes 289 Frey, and Gerda the Beautiful 291 The Joys of Valhalla 293 The Wonderful Horse Sleipnir 297 The Ship Adapted to Sail on Sea or Land 299 Thor's Adventures in the Land of Giants 300 The Death of Baldur 315 Baldur in the Abode of the Dead 319 Loki's Capture and Punishment 321 Destruction of the Universe 323 Restoration of the Universe 327 How Loki Carried Away Iduna 329 The Origin of Poetry 331 Odin Beguiles the Daughter of Baugi 333

Glossary 335



PREFACE.

Saemund, son of Sigfus, the reputed collector of the poems bearing his name, which is sometimes also called the Elder, and the Poetic, Edda, was of a highly distinguished family, being descended in a direct line from King Harald Hildetonn. He was born at Oddi, his paternal dwelling in the south of Iceland, between the years 1054 and 1057, or about 50 years after the establishment by law of the Christian religion in that island; hence it is easy to imagine that many heathens, or baptized favourers of the old mythic songs of heathenism, may have lived in his days and imparted to him the lays of the times of old, which his unfettered mind induced him to hand down to posterity.

The youth of Saemund was passed in travel and study, in Germany and France, and, according to some accounts, in Italy. His cousin John Ogmundson, who later became first bishop of Holum, and after his death was received among the number of saints, when on his way to Rome, fell in with his youthful kinsman, and took him back with him to Iceland, in the year 1076. Saemund afterwards became a priest at Oddi, where he instructed many young men in useful learning; but the effects of which were not improbably such as to the common people might appear as witchcraft or magic: and, indeed, Saemund's predilection for the sagas and songs of the old heathen times (even for the magical ones) was so well known, that among his countrymen there were some who regarded him as a great sorcerer, though chiefly in what is called white or innocuous and defensive sorcery, a repute which still clings to his memory among the common people of Iceland, and will long adhere to it through the numerous and popular stories regarding him (some of them highly entertaining) that are orally transmitted from generation to generation.[1] Saemund died at the age of 77, leaving behind him a work on the history of Norway and Iceland, which is now almost entirely lost.

The first who ascribed to Saemund the collection of poems known as the Poetic Edda,[2] was Brynjolf Svensson, bishop of Skalholt. This prelate, who was a zealous collector of ancient manuscripts, found in the year 1643, the old vellum codex, which is the most complete of all the known manuscripts of the Edda; of this he caused a transcript to be made, which he entitled Edda Saemundi Multiscii. The transcript came into the possession of the royal historiographer Torfaeus; the original, together with other MSS., was presented to the King of Denmark, Frederick. III., and placed in the royal library at Copenhagen, where it now is.[3] As many of the Eddaic poems appear to have been orally transmitted in an imperfect state, the collector has supplied the deficiencies by prose insertions, whereby the integrity of the subject is to a certain degree restored.

The collection called Saemund's Edda consists of two parts, viz., the Mythological and the Heroic. It is the former of those which is now offered to the public in an English version. In the year 1797, a translation of this first part, by A.S. Cottle, was published at Bristol. This work I have never met with; nor have I seen any English version of any part of the Edda, with the exception of Gray's spirited but free translation of the Vegtamskvida.

The Lay of Volund (Volundarkvida) celebrates the story of Volund's doings and sufferings during his sojourn in the territory of the Swedish king Nidud. Volund (Ger. Wieland, Fr. Veland and Galans) is the Scandinavian and Germanic Vulcan (Hephaistos) and Daedalus. In England his story, as a skillful smith, is traceable to a very early period. In the Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf we find that hero desiring, in the event of his falling in conflict with Grendel, that his corslets may be sent to Hygelac, being, as he says, the work of Weland; and king AElfred, in his translation of Boethius de Consolatione, renders the words fidelis ossa Fabricii, etc. by Hwaet (hwaer) Welondes? (Where are now the bones of the famous and wise goldsmith Weland?), evidently taking the proper name of Fabricius for an appellative equivalent to faber. In the Exeter Book, too, there is a poem in substance closely resembling the Eddaic lay. In his novel of Kenilworth, Walter Scott has been guilty of a woeful perversion of the old tradition, travestied from the Berkshire legend of Wayland Smith. As a land-boundary we find Weland's smithy in a Charter of king Eadred A.D. 955.

On the Lay of Helgi Hiorvard's Son there is nothing to remark beyond what appears in the poem itself.

The Lays of Helgi Hundingcide form the first of the series of stories relating to the Volsung race, and the Giukungs, or Niflungs.

The connection of the several personages celebrated in these poems will appear plain from the following tables:

Sigi, king of Hunaland, said to be a son of Odin Rerir Volsung = a daughter of the giant Hrimnir Sigmund = Signi = Borghild = Hiordis Hamund. Sinfiotli. Helgi = Sigrun Sigurd = Gudrun Sigmund, Svanhild. m Jornmnrek.

Giuki = Grimhild. _____ Gunnar=Glaumvor. Hogni=Kostbera. Guthorm. Gudrun,=1 Sigurd. 2 Atli. Solar. Giuki. Snaevar. 3 Jonakr.



Budli. Atli = Gudrun: Brynhild = Gunnar. Oddrun. Beckhild = Heimir. Erp. Eitil Alsvid.

Jonakr = Gudrun Erp Hamdir. Sorli.

The Eddaic series of the Volsung and Niflung lays terminates with the Lay of Hamdir; the one entitled Gunnar's Melody is no doubt a comparatively late composition; yet being written in the true ancient spirit of the North is well deserving of a place among the Eddaic poems. Nor, indeed, is the claim of the Lay of Grotti to rank among the poems collected by Saemund, by any means clear, we know it only from its existence in the Skalda; yet on account of its antiquity, its intrinsic worth, and its reception in other editions of the Edda, both in original and translation, the present work would seem, and justly so, incomplete without it.

The Prose, or Younger Edda, is generally ascribed to the celebrated Snorre Sturleson, who was born of a distinguished Icelandic family, in the year 1178, and after leading a turbulent and ambitious life, and being twice the supreme magistrate of the Republic, was killed A.D. 1241,[4] by three of his sons-in-law and a stepson. When Snorre was three years old, John Loptson of Oddi, the grandson of Saemund the Wise, took him into fosterage. Snorre resided at Oddi until his twentieth year, and appears to have received an excellent education from his foster father, who was one of the most learned men of that period. How far he may have made use of the manuscripts of Saemund and Ari, which were preserved at Oddi, it is impossible to say, neither do we know the precise contents of these manuscripts; but it is highly probable that the most important parts of the work, now known under the title of "The Prose Edda," formed a part of them, and that Snorre—who may be regarded as the Scandinavian Euhemerus—merely added a few chapters, in order to render the mythology more conformable to the erroneous notions he appears to have entertained respecting its signification. Be this as it may, the Prose Edda, in its present form, dates from the thirteenth century, and consists of—1. Formali (Fore discourse); or the prologue. 2. Gylfa-ginning (The deluding of Gylfi). 3. Braga-roedur (Conversations of Bragi). 4. Eptirmali (After discourse); or Epilogue. The Prologue and Epilogue were probably written by Snorre himself, and are nothing more than an absurd syncretism of Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and Scandinavian myths and legends, in which Noah, Priam, Odin, Hector, Thor, AEneas, &c, are jumbled together much in the same manner as in the romances of the Middle Ages. These dissertations, utterly worthless in themselves, have obviously nothing in common with the so-called "Prose Edda," the first part of which, containing fifty-three chapters, forms a complete synopsis of Scandinavian mythology, derived principally from the Poetical Edda.

THE TRANSLATOR.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: The following, the first among many, may serve as a specimen.

Saemund was residing, in the south of Europe, with a famous Master, by whom he was instructed in every kind of lore; while, on the other hand, he forgot (apparently through intense study) all that he had previously learned, even to his own name; so that when the holy man John Ogmundson came to his abode, he told him that his name was Koll; but on John insisting that he was no other than Saemund Sigfusson, born at Oddi in Iceland, and relating to him many particulars regarding himself, he at length became conscious of his own identity, and resolved to flee from the place with his kinsman. For the purpose of deceiving the master, John continued some time in the place, and often came to visit him and Saemund; till at last, one dark night, they betook themselves to flight. No sooner had the Master missed them than he sent in pursuit of them; but in vain, and the heavens were too overcast to admit, according to his custom, of reading their whereabouts in the stars. So they traveled day and night and all the following day. But the next night was clear, and the Master at once read in the stars where they were, and set out after them at full speed. Then Saemund, casting his eyes up at the heavens, said, "Now is my Master in chase of us, and sees where we are." And on John asking what was to be done, he answered: "Take one of my shoes off, fill it with water, and set it on my head." John did so, and at the same moment, the Master, looking up at the heavens, says to his companion: "Bad news; the stranger John has drowned my pupil; there is water about his forehead." And thereupon returned home. The pair now again prosecute their journey night and day; but, in the following night, the Master again consults the stars, when, to his great amazement, he sees the star of Saemund directly above his head, and again sets off after the fugitives. Observing this, Saemund says: "The astrologer is again after us, and again we must look to ourselves; take my shoe off again, and with your knife stab me in the thigh; fill the shoe with blood, and place it on the top of my head." John does as directed, and the Master, again gazing at the stars, says: "There is blood now about the star of Master Koll, and the stranger has for certain murdered him," and so returns home. The old man now has once more recourse to his art; but on seeing Saemund's star shining brightly above him, he exclaimed: "My pupil is still living; so much the better. I have taught him more than enough; for he outdoes me both in astrology and magic. Let them now proceed in safety; I am unable to hinder their departure."]

[Footnote 2: Bishop P.E. Muller supposes the greater number of the Eddaic poems to be of the 8th century. Sagabibliothek II, p, 131.]

[Footnote 3: Codex Regius, No. 2365, 4to. The handwriting of this MS. is supposed to be of the beginning of the 14th century.]

[Footnote 4: Snorre, at the death of John Loptson (A.D. 1197), does not appear to have possessed any property whatever, though he afterwards became the wealthiest man in Iceland. His rise in the world was chiefly owing to his marriage with Herdisa, the daughter of a priest called Bersi the Rich,—a very enviable surname, which no doubt enabled the Rev. gentleman to brave the decrees of Popes and Councils, and take to himself a wife—who brought him a very considerable fortune. If we may judge from Snorre's biography, Christianity appears to have effected very little change in the character of the Icelanders. We have the same turbulent and sanguinary scenes, the same loose conduct of the women, and perfidy, and remorseless cruelty of the men, as in the Pagan times.]



INTRODUCTION TO THE VOLUSPA.

As introductory to the Voluspa, the following description of a wandering Vala or prophetess may be thought both desirable and interesting: "We find them present at the birth of children, when they seem to represent the Norns. They acquired their knowledge either by means of seid, during the night, while all others in the house were sleeping, and uttered their oracles in the morning; or they received sudden inspirations during the singing of certain songs appropriate to the purpose, without which the sorcery could not perfectly succeed. These seid-women were common over all the North. When invited by the master of a family, they appeared in a peculiar costume, sometimes with a considerable number of followers, e.g. with fifteen young men and fifteen girls. For their soothsaying they received money, gold rings, and other precious things. Sometimes it was necessary to compel them to prophesy. An old description of such a Vala, who went from guild to guild telling fortunes, will give the best idea of these women and their proceedings":—

"Thorbiorg, nicknamed the little Vala, during the winter attended the guilds, at the invitation of those who desired to know their fate, or the quality of the coming year. Everything was prepared in the most sumptuous manner for her reception. There was an elevated seat, on which lay a cushion stuffed with feathers. A man was sent to meet her. She came in the evening dressed in a blue mantle fastened with thongs and set with stones down to the lap; round her neck she had a necklace of glass beads, on her head a hood of black lambskin lined with white catskin; in her hand a staff, the head of which was mounted with brass and ornamented with stones; round her body she wore a girdle of agaric (knoske), from which hung a bag containing her conjuring apparatus; on her feet were rough calfskin shoes with long ties and tin buttons, on her hands catskin gloves, white and hairy within. All bade her welcome with a reverent salutation; the master himself conducted her by the hand to her seat. She undertook no prophecy on the first day, but would first pass a night there. In the evening of the following day she ascended her elevated seat, caused the women to place themselves round her, and desired them to sing certain songs, which they did in a strong, clear voice. She then prophesied of the coming year, and afterwards, all that would advanced and asked her such questions as they thought proper, to which they received plain answers."

* * * * *

In the following grand and ancient lay, dating most probably from the time of heathenism, are set forth, as the utterances of a Vala, or wandering prophetess, as above described, the story of the creation of the world from chaos, of the origin of the giants, the gods, the dwarfs, and the human race, together with other events relating to the mythology of the North, and ending with the destruction of the gods and the world, and their renewal.



VOeLUSPA. THE VALA'S PROPHECY.

1. For silence I pray all sacred children, great and small, sons of Heimdall,[5] they will that I Valfather's deeds recount, men's ancient saws, those that I best remember.

2. The Joetuns I remember early born, those who me of old have reared. I nine worlds remember, nine trees, the great central tree, beneath the earth.

3. There was in times of old, where Ymir dwelt, nor sand nor sea, nor gelid waves; earth existed not, nor heaven above, 'twas a chaotic chasm, and grass nowhere.

4. Before Bur's sons raised up heaven's vault, they who the noble mid-earth shaped. The sun shone from the south over the structure's rocks: then was the earth begrown with herbage green.

5. The sun from the south, the moon's companion, her right hand cast about the heavenly horses. The sun knew not where she[6] a dwelling had, the moon knew not what power he possessed, the stars knew not where they had a station.

6. Then went the powers all to their judgment-seats, the all-holy gods, and thereon held council: to night and to the waning moon gave names; morn they named, and mid-day, afternoon and eve, whereby to reckon years.

7. The AEsir met on Ida's plain; they altar-steads and temples high constructed; their strength they proved, all things tried, furnaces established, precious things forged, formed tongs, and fabricated tools;

8. At tables played at home; joyous they were; to them was naught the want of gold, until there came Thurs-maidens three, all powerful, from Joetunheim.

9. Then went all the powers to their judgment-seats, the all-holy gods, and thereon held council, who should of the dwarfs the race create, from the sea-giant's blood and livid bones.

10. Then was Motsognir created greatest of all the dwarfs, and Durin second; there in man's likeness they created many dwarfs from earth, as Durin said.

11. Nyi and Nidi, Nordri and Sudri, Austri and Vestri, Althiof, Dvalin Nar and Nain, Niping, Dain, Bivoer, Bavoer, Boembur, Nori, An and Anar, Ai, Miodvitnir,

12. Veig and Gandalf, Vindalf, Thrain, Thekk and Thorin, Thror, Vitr, and Litr, Nur and Nyrad, Regin and Radsvid. Now of the dwarfs I have rightly told.

13. Fili, Kili, Fundin, Nali, Hepti, Vili, Hanar, Svior, Billing, Bruni, Bild, Buri, Frar, Hornbori, Fraeg and Loni, Aurvang, Iari, Eikinskialdi.

14. Time 'tis of the dwarfs in Dvalin's band, to the sons of men, to Lofar up to reckon, those who came forth from the world's rock, earth's foundation, to Iora's plains.

15. There were Draupnir, and Dolgthrasir, Har, Haugspori, Hlaevang, Gloi, Skirvir, Virvir, Skafid, Ai, Alf and Yngvi, Eikinskialdi,

16. Fialar and Frosti, Finn and Ginnar, Heri, Hoeggstari, Hliodolf, Moin: that above shall, while mortals live, the progeny of Lofar, accounted be.

17. Until there came three mighty and benevolent AEsir to the world from their assembly. They found on earth, nearly powerless, Ask and Embla, void of destiny.

18. Spirit they possessed not, sense they had not, blood nor motive powers, nor goodly colour. Spirit gave Odin, sense gave Hoenir, blood gave Lodur, and goodly colour.

19. I know an ash standing Yggdrasil hight, a lofty tree, laved with limpid water: thence come the dews into the dales that fall; ever stands it green over Urd's fountain.

20. Thence come maidens, much knowing, three from the hall, which under that tree stands; Urd hight the one, the second Verdandi,—on a tablet they graved—Skuld the third. Laws they established, life allotted to the sons of men; destinies pronounced.

21. Alone she[7] sat without, when came that ancient dread AEsir's prince; and in his eye she gazed.

22. "Of what wouldst thou ask me? Why temptest thou me? Odin! I know all, where thou thine eye didst sink in the pure well of Mim." Mim drinks mead each morn from Valfather's pledge.[8] Understand ye yet, or what?

23. The chief of hosts gave her rings and necklace, useful discourse, and a divining spirit: wide and far she saw o'er every world.

24. She the Valkyriur saw from afar coming, ready to ride to the god's people: Skuld held a shield, Skoegul was second, then Gunn, Hild Goendul, and Geirskoegul. Now are enumerated Herian's maidens, the Valkyriur, ready over the earth to ride.

25. She that war remembers, the first on earth, when Gullveig[9] they with lances pierced, and in the high one's[10] hall her burnt, thrice burnt, thrice brought her forth, oft not seldom; yet she still lives.

26. Heidi they called her, whithersoe'r she came, the well-foreseeing Vala: wolves she tamed, magic arts she knew, magic arts practised; ever was she the joy of evil people.

27. Then went the powers all to their judgment-seats, the all-holy gods, and thereon held council, whether the AEsir should avenge the crime,[11] or all the gods receive atonement.

28. Broken was the outer wall of the AEsir's burgh. The Vanir, foreseeing conflict, tramp o'er the plains. Odin cast [his spear], and mid the people hurled it: that was the first warfare in the world.

29. Then went the powers all to their judgment-seats, the all-holy gods, and thereon held council: who had all the air with evil mingled? or to the Joetun race Od's maid had given?

30. There alone was Thor with anger swollen. He seldom sits, when of the like he hears. Oaths are not held sacred; nor words, nor swearing, nor binding compacts reciprocally made.

31. She knows that Heimdall's horn is hidden under the heaven-bright holy tree. A river she sees flow, with foamy fall, from Valfather's pledge. Understand ye yet, or what?

32. East sat the crone, in Iarnvidir, and there reared up Fenrir's progeny: of all shall be one especially the moon's devourer, in a troll's semblance.

33. He is sated with the last breath of dying men; the god's seat he with red gore defiles: swart is the sunshine then for summers after; all weather turns to storm. Understand ye yet, or what?

34. There on a height sat, striking a harp, the giantess's watch, the joyous Egdir; by him crowed, in the bird-wood, the bright red cock, which Fialar hight.

35. Crowed o'er the AEsir Gullinkambi, which wakens heroes with the sire of hosts; but another crows beneath the earth, a soot-red cock, in the halls of Hel.

36. I saw of Baldr, the blood-stained god, Odin's son, the hidden fate. There stood grown up, high on the plain, slender and passing fair, the mistletoe.

37. From that shrub was made, as to me it seemed, a deadly, noxious dart. Hoedr shot it forth; but Frigg bewailed, in Fensalir, Valhall's calamity. Understand ye yet, or what?

38. Bound she saw lying, under Hveralund, a monstrous form, to Loki like. There sits Sigyn, for her consort's sake, not right glad. Understand ye yet, or what?

39. Then the Vala knew the fatal bonds were twisting, most rigid, bonds from entrails made.

40. From the east a river falls, through venom dales, with mire and clods, Slid is its name.

41. On the north there stood, on Nida-fells, a hall of gold, for Sindri's race; and another stood in Okolnir, the Joetuns beer-hall which Brimir hight.

42. She saw a hall standing, far from the sun, in Nastroend; its doors are northward turned, venom-drops fall in through its apertures: entwined is that hall with serpents' backs.

43. She there saw wading the sluggish streams bloodthirsty men and perjurers, and him who the ear beguiles of another's wife. There Nidhoegg sucks the corpses of the dead; the wolf tears men. Understand ye yet, or what?

44. Further forward I see, much can I say of Ragnaroek and the gods' conflict.

45. Brothers shall fight, and slay each other; cousins shall kinship violate. The earth resounds, the giantesses flee; no man will another spare.

46. Hard is it in the world, great whoredom, an axe age, a sword age, shields shall be cloven, a wind age, a wolf age, ere the world sinks.

47. Mim's sons dance, but the central tree takes fire at the resounding Giallar-horn. Loud blows Heimdall, his horn is raised; Odin speaks with Mim's head.

48. Trembles Yggdrasil's ash yet standing; groans that aged tree, and the joetun is loosed. Loud bays Garm before the Gnupa-cave, his bonds he rends asunder; and the wolf runs.

49. Hrym steers from the east, the waters rise, the mundane snake is coiled in joetun-rage. The worm beats the water, and the eagle screams: the pale of beak tears carcases; Naglfar is loosed.

50. That ship fares from the east: come will Muspell's people o'er the sea, and Loki steers. The monster's kin goes all with the wolf; with them the brother is of Byleist on their course.

51. Surt from the south comes with flickering flame; shines from his sword the Val-gods' sun. The stony hills are dashed together, the giantesses totter; men tread the path of Hel, and heaven is cloven.

52. How is it with the AEsir? How with the Alfar? All Joetunheim resounds; the AEsir are in council. The dwarfs groan before their stony doors, the sages of the rocky walls. Understand ye yet, or what?

53. Then arises Hlin's second grief, when Odin goes with the wolf to fight, and the bright slayer of Beli with Surt. Then will Frigg's beloved fall.

54. Then comes the great victor-sire's son, Vidar, to fight with the deadly beast. He with his hands will make his sword pierce to the heart of the giant's son: then avenges he his father.

55. Then comes the mighty son of Hlodyn: (Odin's son goes with the monster to fight); Midgard's Veor in his rage will slay the worm. Nine feet will go Fioergyn's son, bowed by the serpent, who feared no foe. All men will their homes forsake.

56. The sun darkens, earth in ocean sinks, fall from heaven the bright stars, fire's breath assails the all-nourishing tree, towering fire plays against heaven itself.

57. She sees arise, a second time, earth from ocean, beauteously green, waterfalls descending; the eagle flying over, which in the fell captures fish.

58. The AEsir meet on Ida's plain, and of the mighty earth-encircler speak, and there to memory call their mighty deeds, and the supreme god's ancient lore.

59. There shall again the wondrous golden tables in the grass be found, which in days of old had possessed the ruler of the gods, and Fioelnir's race.

60. Unsown shall the fields bring forth, all evil be amended; Baldr shall come; Hoedr and Baldr, the heavenly gods, Hropt's glorious dwellings shall inhabit. Understand ye yet, or what?

61. Then can Hoenir choose his lot, and the two brothers' sons inhabit the spacious Vindheim. Understand ye yet, or what?

62. She a hall standing than the sun brighter, with gold bedecked, in Gimill: there shall be righteous people dwell, and for evermore happiness enjoy.

64. Then comes the mighty one to the great judgment, the powerful from above, who rules o'er all. He shall dooms pronounce, and strifes allay, holy peace establish, which shall ever be.

65. There comes the dark dragon flying from beneath the glistening serpent, from Nida-fels. On his wings bears Nidhoegg, flying o'er the plain, a corpse. Now she will descend.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 5: In the Rigsmal we are informed how Heimdall, under the name of Rig, became the progenitor of the three orders of mankind.]

[Footnote 6: In the Germanic tongues, as in the Semitic, the sun is fem., the moon masc.]

[Footnote 7: The Vala here speaks of herself in the third person.]

[Footnote 8: His eye here understood to signify the sun.]

[Footnote 9: A personification of gold. With the introduction of gold was the end of the golden age.]

[Footnote 10: i.e., Odin's: his hall is the world.]

[Footnote 11: Of introducing the use of gold.]



THE LAY OF VAFTHRUDNIR.

Odin visits the Giant (Joetun) Vafthrudnir, for the purpose of proving his knowledge. They propose questions relative to the Cosmogony of the Northern creed, on the conditions that the baffled party forfeit his head. The Joetun incurs the penalty.

Odin.

1. Counsel thou me now, Frigg! as I long to go Vafthrudnir to visit; great desire, I say, I have, in ancient lore with that all-wise Joetun to contend.

Frigg.

2. At home to bide Haerfather I would counsel, in the gods' dwellings; because no Joetun is, I believe, so mighty as is Vafthrudnir.

Odin.

3. Much have I journeyed, much experienced, mighty ones many proved; but this I fain would know, how in Vafthrudnir's halls it is.

Frigg.

4. In safety mayest thou go, in safety return; in safety on thy journeyings be; may thy wit avail thee, when thou, father of men! shalt hold converse with the Joetun.

5. Then went Odin the lore to prove of that all-wise Joetun. To the hall he came which Im's father owned. Ygg went forthwith in.

Odin.

6. Hail to thee, Vafthrudnir! to thy hall I am now come, thyself to see; for I fain would know, whether thou art a cunning and all-wise Joetun.

Vafthrudnir.

7. What man is this, that in my habitation by word addresses me? Out thou goest not from our halls, if thou art not the wiser.

Odin.

8. Gagnrad is my name, from my journey I am come thirsty to thy halls, needing hospitality,—for I long have journeyed—and kind reception from thee, Joetun!

Vafthrudnir.

9. Why then, Gagnrad! speakest thou from the floor? Take in the hall a seat; then shall be proved which knows most, the guest or the ancient talker.

Gagnrad.

10. A poor man should, who to a rich man comes, speak usefully or hold his tongue: over-much talk brings him, I ween, no good, who visits an austere man.

Vafthrudnir.

11. Tell me, Gagnrad! since on the floor thou wilt prove thy proficiency, how the horse is called that draws each day forth over human kind?

Gagnrad.

12. Skinfaxi he is named, that the bright day draws forth over human kind. Of coursers he is best accounted among the Reid-goths. Ever sheds light that horse's mane.

Vafthrudnir.

13. Tell me now, Gagnrad! since on the floor thou wilt prove thy proficiency, how that steed is called, which from the east draws night o'er the beneficent powers?

Gagnrad.

14. Hrimfaxi he is called, that each night draws forth over the beneficent powers. He from his bit lets fall drops every morn, whence in the dales comes dew.

Vafthrudnir.

15. Tell me, Gagnrad! since on the floor thou wilt prove thy proficiency, how the stream is called, which earth divides between the Joetuns and the Gods?

Gagnrad.

16. Ifing the stream is called which earth divides between the Joetuns and the Gods: open shall it run throughout all time. On that stream no ice shall be.

Vafthrudnir.

17. Tell me, Gagnrad! since on the floor thou wilt prove thy proficiency, how that plain is called, where in fight shall meet Surt and the gentle Gods?

Gagnrad.

18. Vigrid the plain is called where in fight shall meet Surt and the gentle Gods; a hundred rasts it is on every side. That plain is to them decreed.

Vafthrudnir.

19. Wise art thou, O guest! Approach the Joetuns bench, and sitting let us together talk; we will our heads in the hall pledge, guest! for wise utterance.

Gagnrad.

20. Tell me first, if thy wit suffices, and thou, Vafthrudnir! knowest, whence first came the earth, and the high heaven, thou, sagacious Joetun?

Vafthrudnir.

21. From Ymir's flesh the earth was formed, and from his bones the hills, the heaven from the skull of that ice-cold giant, and from his blood the sea.

Gagnrad.

22. Tell me secondly, if thy wit suffices, and thou, Vafthrudnir! knowest, whence came the moon, which over mankind passes, and the sun likewise?

Vafthrudnir.

23. Mundilfoeri hight he, who the moon's father is, and eke the sun's: round heaven journey each day they must, to count years for men.

Gagnrad.

24. Tell me thirdly, since thou art called wise, and if thou, Vafthrudnir! knowest, whence came the day, which over people passes, and night with waning moons?

Vafthrudnir.

25. Delling hight he who the day's father is, but night was of Noervi born; the new and waning moons the beneficent powers created, to count years for men.

Gagnrad.

26. Tell me fourthly, since they pronounce thee sage, and if thou, Vafthrudnir! knowest, whence winter came, and warm summer first among the wise gods?

Vafthrudnir.

27. Vindsval hight he, who winter's father is, and Svasud summer's; yearly they both shall ever journey, until the powers perish.

Gagnrad.

28. Tell me fifthly, since they pronounce thee sage, and if thou, Vafthrudnir! knowest, which of the AEsir earliest, or of Ymir's sons, in days of old existed?

Vafthrudnir.

29. Countless winters, ere earth was formed, was Bergelmir born; Thrudgelmir was his sire, his grandsire Aurgelmir.

Gagnrad.

30. Tell me sixthly, since thou art called wise, and if thou, Vafthrudnir! knowest, whence first came Aurgelmir, among the Joetun's sons, thou sagacious Joetun?

Vafthrudnir.

31. From Elivagar sprang venom drops, which grew till they became a Joetun; but sparks flew from the south-world: to the ice the fire gave life.

Gagnrad.

33. Tell me seventhly, since thou are called wise, and if thou knowest, Vafthrudnir! how he children begat, the bold Joetun, as he had no giantess's company?

Vafthrudnir.

33. Under the armpit grew, 'tis said, of the Hrimthurs, a girl and boy together; foot with foot begat, of that wise Joetun, a six-headed son.

Gagnrad.

34. Tell me eighthly, since thou art called wise, and if thou knowest, Vafthrudnir! what thou doest first remember, or earliest knowest? Thou art an all-wise Joetun.

Vafthrudnir.

35. Countless winters, ere earth was formed, Bergelmir was born. That I first remember, when that wise Joetun in an ark was laid.

Gagnrad.

36. Tell me ninthly, since thou art called wise, and if thou knowest, Vafthrudnir! whence the wind comes, that over ocean passes, itself invisible to man?

Vafthrudnir.

37. Hraesvelg he is called, who at the end of heaven sits, a Joetun in an eagle's plumage: from his wings comes, it is said, the wind, that over all men passes.

Gagnrad.

38. Tell me tenthly, since thou all the origin of the gods knowest, Vafthrudnir! whence Nioerd came among the AEsir's sons? O'er fanes and offer-steads he rules by hundreds, yet was not among the AEsir born.

Vafthrudnir.

39. In Vanaheim wise powers him created, and to the gods a hostage gave. At the world's dissolution, he will return to the wise Vanir.

Gagnrad.

40. Tell me eleventhly, since all the condition of the gods thou knowest, Vafthrudnir! what the Einheriar do in Haerfather's halls, until the powers perish?

Vafthrudnir.

41. All the Einheriar in Odin's halls each day together fight; the fallen they choose, and from the conflict ride; beer with the AEsir drink, of Saehrimnir eat their fill, then sit in harmony together.

Gagnrad.

42. Tell me twelfthly, as thou all the condition of the gods knowest, Vafthrudnir! of the Joetuns' secrets, and of all the gods', say what truest is, thou all-knowing Joetun!

Vafthrudnir.

43. Of the secrets of the Joetuns and of all the gods, I can truly tell; for I have over each world travelled; to nine worlds I came, to Niflhel beneath: here die men from Hel.

Gagnrad.

44. Much have I journeyed, much experienced, mighty ones many proved. What mortals will live, when the great "Fimbul"-winter shall from men have passed?

Vafthrudnir.

45. Lif and Lifthrasir; but they will be concealed in Hoddmimir's holt. The morning dews they will have for food. From, them shall men be born.

Gagnrad.

46. Much have I journeyed, much experienced, mighty ones many proved. Whence will come the sun in that fair heaven, when Fenrir has this devoured?

Vafthrudnir.

47. A daughter shall Alfroedull bear, ere Fenrir shall have swallowed her. The maid shall ride, when the powers die, on her mother's course.

Gagnrad.

48. Much have I journeyed, etc. Who are the maidens that o'er the ocean travel, wise of spirit, journey?

Vafthrudnir.

49. O'er people's dwellings three descend of Moegthrasir's maidens, the sole Hamingiur who are in the world, although with Joetuns nurtured.

Gagnrad.

50. Much have I journeyed, etc. Which of the AEsir will rule o'er the gods' possession, when Surt's fire shall be quenched?

Vafthrudnir.

51. Vidar and Vali will the gods' holy fanes inhabit, when Surt's fire shall be quenched. Modi and Magni will Mioellnir possess, and warfare strive to end.

Gagnrad.

52. Much have I journeyed, etc. What of Odin will the life's end be, when the powers perish?

Vafthrudnir.

53. The wolf will the father of men devour; him Vidar will avenge: he his cold jaws will cleave, in conflict with the wolf.

Gagnrad.

54. Much have I journeyed, etc. What said Odin in his son's ear, ere he on the pile was laid?

Vafthrudnir.

55. That no one knoweth, what thou in days of old saidst in thy son's ear. With dying mouth my ancient saws I have said, and the gods' destruction. With Odin I have contended in wise utterances: of men thou ever art the wisest!



THE LAY OF GRIMNIR.

The subject is wholly mythological.

King Hraudung had two sons, one named Agnar, the other Geirroed. Agnar was ten, and Geirroed eight winters old. They both rowed out in a boat, with their hooks and lines, to catch small fish; but the wind drove them out to sea. In the darkness of the night they were wrecked on the shore, and went up into the country, where they found a cottager, with whom they stayed through the winter. The cottager's wife brought up Agnar, and the cottager, Geirroed, and gave him good advice. In the spring the man got them a ship; but when he and his wife accompanied them to the strand, the man talked apart with Geirroed. They had a fair wind, and reached their father's place. Geirroed was at the ship's prow: he sprang on shore, but pushed the ship out, saying, "Go where an evil spirit may get thee." The vessel was driven out to sea, but Geirroed went up to the town, where he was well received; but his father was dead. Geirroed was then taken for king, and became a famous man.

Odin and Frigg were sitting in Hlidskialf, looking over all the world. Odin said, "Seest thou Agnar, thy foster-son, where he is, getting children with a giantess in a cave? while Geirroed, my foster-son, is a king residing in his country." Frigg answered, "He is so inhospitable that he tortures his guests, if he thinks that too many come." Odin replied that that was the greatest falsehood; and they wagered thereupon. Frigg sent her waiting-maid Fulla to bid Geirroed be on his guard, lest the trollmann who was coming should do him harm, and also say that a token whereby he might be known was, that no dog, however fierce, would attack him. But that King Geirroed was not hospitable was mere idle talk. He, nevertheless, caused the man to be secured whom no dog would assail. He was clad in a blue cloak, and was named Grimnir, and would say no more concerning himself, although he was questioned. The king ordered him to be tortured to make him confess, and to be set between two fires; and there he sat for eight nights. King Geirroed had a son ten years old, whom he named Agnar, after his brother. Agnar went to Grimnir and gave him a full horn to drink from, saying that the king did wrong in causing him to be tortured, though innocent. Grimnir drank from it. The fire had then so approached him that his cloak was burnt; whereupon he said:—

1. Fire! thou art hot, and much too great; flame! let us separate. My garment is singed, although I lift it up, my cloak is scorched before it.

2. Eight nights have I sat between fires here, and to me no one food has offered, save only Agnar, the son of Geirroed, who alone shall rule over the land of Goths.

3. Be thou blessed, Agnar! as blessed as the god of men bids thee to be. For one draught thou never shalt get better recompense.

4. Holy is the land, which I see lying to AEsir and Alfar near; but in Thrudheim Thor shall dwell until the powers perish.

5. Ydalir it is called, where Ullr has himself a dwelling made. Alfheim the gods to Frey gave in days of yore for a tooth-gift.

6. The third dwelling is, where the kind powers have with silver decked the hall; Valaskialf 'tis called, which for himself acquired the As in days of old.

7. Soekkvabekk the fourth is named o'er which the gelid waves resound; Odin and Saga there, joyful each day, from golden beakers quaff.

8. Gladsheim the fifth is named, there the golden-bright Valhall stands spacious, there Hropt selects each day those men who die by weapons.

9. Easily to be known is, by those who to Odin come, the mansion by its aspect. Its roof with spears is laid, its hall with shields is decked, with corslets are its benches strewed.

10. Easily to be known is, by those who to Odin come, the mansion by its aspect. A wolf hangs before the western door, over it an eagle hovers.

11. Thrymheim the sixth is named, where Thiassi dwelt that all-powerful Joetun; but Skadi now inhabits, the bright bride of gods, her father's ancient home.

12. Breidablik is the seventh, where Baldr has built for himself a hall, in that land, in which I know exists the fewest crimes.

13. Himinbioerg is the eighth, where Heimdall, it is said, rules o'er the holy fanes: there the gods' watchman, in his tranquil home, drinks joyful the good mead.

14. Folkvang is the ninth, there Freyia directs the sittings in the hall. She half the fallen chooses each day, but Odin th' other half.

15. Glitnir is the tenth; it is on gold sustained, and eke with silver decked. There Forseti dwells throughout all time, and every strife allays.

16. Noatun is the eleventh, there Nioerd has himself a dwelling made, prince of men; guiltless of sin, he rules o'er the high-built fane.

17. O'ergrown with branches and high grass is Vidar's spacious Landvidi: There will the son descend, from the steed's back, bold to avenge his father.

18. Andhrimnir makes, in Eldhrimnir, Saehrimnir to boil, of meats the best; but few know how many Einheriar it feeds.

19. Geri and Freki the war-wont sates, the triumphant sire of hosts; but on wine only the famed in arms, Odin, ever lives.

20. Hugin and Munin fly each day over the spacious earth. I fear for Hugin, that he come not back, yet more anxious am I for Munin.

21. Thund roars; joyful in Thiodvitnir's water lives the fish; the rapid river seems too great for the battle-steed to ford.

22. Valgrind is the lattice called, in the plain that stands, holy before the holy gates: ancient is that lattice, but few only know how it is closed with lock.

23. Five hundred doors, and forty eke, I think, are in Valhall. Eight hundred Einheriar will at once from each door go when they issue with the wolf to fight.

24. Five hundred floors, and forty eke, I think, has Bilskirnir with its windings. Of all the roofed houses that I know, is my son's the greatest.

25. Heidrun the goat is called, that stands o'er Odin's hall, and bites from Laerad's branches. He a bowl shall fill with the bright mead; that drink shall never fail.

26. Eikthyrnir the hart is called, that stands o'er Odin's hall, and bites from Laerad's branches; from his horns fall drops into Hvergelmir, whence all waters rise:—

27. Sid and Vid, Soekin and Eikin, Svoel and Gunnthro, Fioerm and Fimbulthul, Rin and Rennandi, Gipul and Goepul, Goemul and Geirvimul: they round the gods' dwelling wind. Thyn and Vin, Thoell and Hoell, Grad and Gunnthorin.

28. Vina one is called, a second Vegsvin, a third Thiodnuma; Nyt and Noen and Hroen, Slid and Hrid, Sylg and Ylg, Vid and Van, Voend and Stroend, Gioll and Leipt; these (two) fall near to men, but fall hence to Hel.

29. Koermt and Ormt, and the Kerlaugs twain: these Thor must wade each day, when he to council goes at Yggdrasil's ash; for the As-bridge is all on fire, the holy waters boil.

30. Glad and Gyllir, Gler and Skeidbrimir, Sillfrintopp and Sinir, Gisl and Falhofnir, Gulltopp and Lettfeti; on these steeds the AEsir each day ride, when they to council go, at Yggdrasil's ash.

31. Three roots stand on three ways under Yggdrasil's ash: Hel under one abides, under the second the Hrimthursar, under the third mankind.

32. Ratatoesk is the squirrel named, which, has to run in Yggdrasil's ash; he from above the eagle's words must carry, and beneath to Nidhoegg repeat.

33. Harts there are also four, which from its summits, arch-necked, gnaw. Dain and Dvalin, Duneyr and Durathror.

34. More serpents lie under Yggdrasil's ash, than any one would think of witless mortals: Goin and Moin,—they are Grafvitnir's sons—Grabak and Grafvoellud, Ofnir and Svafnir, will, I ween, the branches of that tree ever lacerate.

35. Yggdrasil's ash hardship suffers greater than men know of; a hart bites it above, and in its side it rots, Nidhoegg beneath tears it.

36. Hrist and Mist the horn shall bear me Skeggoeld and Skoegul, Hloekk and Herfiotur, Hildi and Thrudi, Goell and Geiroelul, Randgrid and Radgrid, and Reginleif, these bear beer to the Einheriar.

37. Arvakr and Alsvid, theirs 'tis up hence fasting the sun to draw: under their shoulder the gentle powers, the AEsir, have concealed an iron-coolness.

38. Svalin the shield is called, which stands before the sun, the refulgent deity; rocks and ocean must, I ween, be burnt, fell it from its place.

39. Skoell the wolf is named, that the fair-faced goddess to the ocean chases; another Hati hight, he is Hrodvitnir's son; he the bright maid of heaven shall precede.

40. Of Ymir's flesh was earth created, of his blood the sea, of his bones the hills, of his hair trees and plants, of his skull the heaven;

41. And of his brows the gentle powers formed Midgard for the sons of men; but of his brain the heavy clouds are all created.

42. Ullr's and all the gods' favour shall have, whoever first shall look to the fire; for open will the dwelling be, to the AEsir's sons, when the kettles are lifted off.[12]

43. Ivaldi's sons went in days of old Skidbladnir to form, of ships the best, for the bright Frey, Nioerd's benign son.

44. Yggdrasil's ash is of all trees most excellent, and of all ships, Skidbladnir, of the AEsir, Odin, and of horses, Sleipnir, Bifroest of bridges, and of skallds, Bragi, Habrok of hawks, and of dogs, Garm, [Brimir of swords.]

45. Now I my face have raised to the gods' triumphant sons, at that will welcome help awake; from all the AEsir, that shall penetrate, to Oegir's bench, to Oegir's compotation.[13]

46. I am called Grim, I am called Gangleri, Herian and Hialmberi, Thekk and Thridi, Thund and Ud, Helblindi and Har,

47. Sad and Svipall, and Sanngetall, Herteit and Hnikar Bileyg, Baleyg, Boelverk, Fioelnir, Grim and Grimnir, Glapsvid and Fioelsvid,

48. Sidhoett, Sidskegg Sigfoedr, Hnikud, Alfodr, Valfoedr, Atrid and Farmatyr; by one name I never have been called, since among men I have gone.

49. Grimnir I am called at Geirroed's, and at Asmund's Jalk and Kialar, when a sledge I drew; Thror at the public meetings, Vidur in battles, Oski and Omi, Jafnhar and Biflindi, Gondlir and Harbard with the gods.

50. Svidur and Svidrir I was at Soekkmimir's called, and beguiled that ancient Joetun, when of Midvitnir's renowned son I was the sole destroyer.

51. Drunken art thou, Geirroed, thou hast drunk too much, thou art greatly by mead beguiled. Much didst thou lose, when thou wast of my help bereft, of all the Einheriar's and Odin's favour.

52. Many things I told thee, but thou hast few remembered: thy friends mislead thee. My friend's sword lying I see, with blood all dripping.

53. The fallen by the sword Ygg shall now have; thy life is now run out: Wroth with thee are the Disir: Odin thou now shalt see: draw near to me if thou canst.

54. Odin I now am named, Ygg I was called before, before that, Thund, Vakr and Skilfing, Vafudr and Hroptatyr, with the gods, Gaut and Jalk, Ofnir and Svafnir, all which I believe to be names of me alone.

King Geirroed was sitting with his sword lying across his knees, half drawn from the scabbard, but on finding that it was Odin, he rose for the purpose of removing him from the fires, when the sword slipt from his hand with the hilt downwards; and the king having stumbled, the sword pierced him through and killed him. Odin then vanished, and Agnar was king for a long time after.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 12: What in this strophe is said of Ullr has apparently reference to a lost myth. It would seem that, through the intervention of the kettles, the AEsir were unable to see Odin's unpleasant position between the two fires.]

[Footnote 13: My version of this strophe is not in accordance with those of other interpreters. Odin raises his countenance to heaven, in full confidence that when seen help will forthwith be afforded him. Under the name of Oegir, Gierrod is generally understood: I rather think the meaning to be, that all the AEsir who [sit at] Oegir's compotation will forthwith come to his aid.]



THE LAY OF VEGTAM, OR BALDR'S DREAMS.

1. Together were the AEsir all in council, and the Asyniur all in conference, and they consulted, the mighty gods, why Baldr had oppressive dreams.

2. [To that god his slumber was most afflicting; his auspicious dreams seemed departed. They the Joetuns questioned, wise seers of the future, whether this might not forebode calamity?

3. The responses said that to death destined was Ullr's kinsman, of all the dearest: that caused grief to Frigg and Svafnir, and to the other powers—On a course they resolved:

4. That they would send to every being, assurance to solicit, Baldr not to harm. All species swore oaths to spare him; Frigg received all their vows and compacts.

5. Valfather fears something defective; he thinks the Hamingiur may have departed; the AEsir he convenes, their counsel craves: at the deliberation much is devised.]

6. Uprose Odin lord of men and on Sleipnir he the saddle laid; rode thence down to Niflhel. A dog he met, from Hel coming.

7. It was blood-stained on its breast, on its slaughter-craving throat, and nether jaw. It bayed and widely gaped at the sire of magic song:—long it howled.

8. Forth rode Odin—the ground rattled—till to Hel's lofty house he came. Then rode Ygg to the eastern gate, where he knew there was a Vala's grave.

9. To the prophetess, he began a magic song to chant, towards the north looked, potent runes applied, a spell pronounced, an answer demanded, until compelled she rose, and with deathlike voice she said:

Vala.

10. "What man is this, to me unknown, who has for me increased an irksome course? I have with snow been decked, by rain beaten, and with dew moistened: long have I been dead."

Vegtam.

11. "Vegtam is my name, I am Valtam's son. Tell thou me of Hel: from, earth I call on thee. For whom are those benches strewed o'er with rings, those costly couches o'erlaid with gold?"

Vala.

12. "Here stands mead, for Baldr brewed, over the bright potion a shield is laid; but the AEsir race are in despair. By compulsion I have spoken. I will now be silent."

Vegtam.

13. "Be not silent, Vala! I will question thee, until I know all. I will yet know who will Baldr's slayer be, and Odin's son of life bereave."

Vala.

14. "Hoedr will hither his glorious brother send, he of Baldr will the slayer be, and Odin's son of life bereave. By compulsion I have spoken; I will now be silent."

Vegtam.

15. "Be not silent, Vala! I will question thee, until I know all. I will yet know who on Hoedr vengeance will inflict, or Baldr's slayer raise on the pile."

Vala.

16. "Rind a son shall bear, in the western halls: he shall slay Odin's son, when one night old. He a hand will not wash, nor his head comb, ere he to the pile has borne Baldr's adversary. By compulsion I have spoken; I will now be silent."

Vegtam.

17. "Be not silent, Vala! I will question thee, until I know all. I will yet know who the maidens are, that weep at will, and heavenward cast their neck-veils? Tell me but that: till then thou sleepest not."

Vala.

18. "Not Vegtam art thou, as I before believed; rather art thou Odin, lord of men!"

Odin.

19. "Thou art no Vala, nor wise woman, rather art thou the mother of three Thursar."

Vala.

20. "Home ride thou, Odin! and exult. Thus shall never more man again visit me, until Loki free from his bonds escapes, and Ragnaroek all-destroying comes."



THE HIGH ONE'S[14] LAY.

1. All door-ways, before going forward, should be looked to; for difficult it is to know where foes may sit within a dwelling.

2. Givers, hail! A guest is come in: where shall he sit? In much haste is he, who on the ways has to try his luck.

3. Fire is needful to him who is come in, and whose knees are frozen; food and raiment a man requires, wheo'er the fell has travelled.

4. Water to him is needful who for refection comes, a towel and hospitable invitation, a good reception; if he can get it, discourse and answer.

5. Wit is needful to him who travels far: at home all is easy. A laughing-stock is he who nothing knows, and with the instructed sits.

6. Of his understanding no one should be proud, but rather in conduct cautious. When the prudent and taciturn come to a dwelling, harm seldom befalls the cautious; for a firmer friend no man ever gets than great sagacity.

7. A wary guest,[15] who to refection comes, keeps a cautious silence, with his ears listens, and with his eyes observes: so explores every prudent man.

8. He is happy, who for himself obtains fame and kind words: less sure is that which a man must have in another's breast.

9. He is happy, who in himself possesses fame and wit while living; for bad counsels have oft been received from another's breast.

10. A better burthen no man bears on the way than much good sense; that is thought better than riches in a strange place; such is the recourse of the indigent.

11. A worse provision on the way he cannot carry than too much beer-bibbing; so good is not, as it is said, beer for the sons of men.

12. A worse provision no man can take from table than too much beer-bibbing: for the more he drinks the less control he has of his own mind.

13. Oblivion's heron 'tis called that over potations hovers; he steals the minds of men. With this bird's pinions I was fettered in Gunnlods dwelling.

14. Drunk I was, I was over-drunk, at that cunning Fialar's. It's the best drunkenness, when every one after it regains his reason.

15. Taciturn and prudent, and in war daring, should a king's children be; joyous and liberal every one should be until his hour of death.

16. A cowardly man thinks he will ever live, if warfare he avoids; but old age will give him no peace, though spears may spare him.

17. A fool gapes when to a house he comes, to himself mutters or is silent; but all at once, if he gets drink, then is the man's mind displayed.

18. He alone knows who wanders wide, and has much experienced, by what disposition each man is ruled, who common sense possesses.

19. Let a man hold the cup, yet of the mead drink moderately, speak sensibly or be silent. As of a fault no man will admonish thee, if thou goest betimes to sleep.

20. A greedy man, if he be not moderate, eats to his mortal sorrow. Oftentimes his belly draws laughter on a silly man, who among the prudent comes.

21. Cattle know when to go home, and then from grazing cease; but a foolish man never knows his stomach's measure.

22. A miserable man, and ill-conditioned, sneers at every thing: one thing he knows not, which he ought to know, that he is not free from faults.

23. A foolish man is all night awake, pondering over everything; he then grows tired; and when morning comes, all is lament as before.

24. A foolish man thinks all who on him smile to be his friends; he feels it not, although they speak ill of him, when he sits among the clever.

25. A foolish man thinks all who speak him fair to be his friends; but he will find, if into court he comes, that he has few advocates.

26. A foolish man thinks he knows everything if placed in unexpected difficulty; but he knows not what to answer, if to the test he is put.

27. A foolish man, who among people comes, had best be silent; for no one knows that he knows nothing, unless he talks too much. He who previously knew nothing will still know nothing, talk he ever so much.

28. He thinks himself wise, who can ask questions and converse also; conceal his ignorance no one can, because it circulates among men.

29. He utters too many futile words who is never silent; a garrulous tongue, if it be not checked, sings often to its own harm.

30. For a gazing-stock no man shall have another, although he come a stranger to his house. Many a one thinks himself wise, if he is not questioned, and can sit in a dry habit.

31. Clever thinks himself the guest who jeers a guest, if he takes to flight. Knows it not certainly he who prates at meat, whether he babbles among foes.

32. Many men are mutually well-disposed, yet at table will torment each other. That strife will ever be; guest will guest irritate.

33. Early meals a man should often take, unless to a friend's house he goes; else he will sit and mope, will seem half-famished, and can of few things inquire.

34. Long is and indirect the way to a bad friend's, though by the road he dwell; but to a good friend's the paths lie direct, though he be far away.

35. A guest should depart, not always stay in one place. The welcome becomes unwelcome, if he too long continues in another's house.

36. One's own house is best, small though it be; at home is every one his own master. Though he but two goats possess, and a straw-thatched cot, even that is better than begging.

37. One's own house is best, small though it be, at home is every one his own master. Bleeding at heart is he, who has to ask for food at every meal-tide.

38. Leaving in the field his arms, let no man go a foot's length forward; for it is hard to know when on the way a man may need his weapon.

39. I have never found a man so bountiful, or so hospitable that he refused a present; or of his property so liberal that he scorned a recompense.

40. Of the property which he has gained no man should suffer need; for the hated oft is spared what for the dear was destined. Much goes worse than is expected.

41. With arms and vestments friends should each other gladden, those which are in themselves most sightly. Givers and requiters are longest friends, if all [else] goes well.[16]

42. To his friend a man should be a friend, and gifts with gifts requite. Laughter with laughter men should receive, but leasing with lying.

43. To his friend a man should be a friend; to him and to his friend; but of his foe no man shall the friend's friend be.

44. Know, if thou hast a friend whom thou fully trustest, and from whom thou woulds't good derive, thou shouldst blend thy mind with his, and gifts exchange, and often go to see him.

45. If thou hast another, whom thou little trustest, yet wouldst good from him derive, thou shouldst speak him fair, but think craftily, and leasing pay with lying.

46. But of him yet further, whom thou little trustest, and thou suspectest his affection; before him thou shouldst laugh, and contrary to thy thoughts speak: requital should the gift resemble.

47. I was once young, I was journeying alone, and lost my way; rich I thought myself, when I met another. Man is the joy of man.

48. Liberal and brave men live best, they seldom cherish sorrow; but a base-minded man dreads everything; the niggardly is uneasy even at gifts.

49. My garments in a field I gave away to two wooden men: heroes they seemed to be, when they got cloaks: exposed to insult is a naked man.

50. A tree withers that on a hill-top stands; protects it neither bark nor leaves: such is the man whom no one favours: why should he live long?

51. Hotter than fire love for five days burns between false friends; but is quenched when the sixth day comes, and-friendship is all impaired.

52. Something great is not [always] to be given, praise is often for a trifle bought. With half a loaf and a tilted vessel I got myself a comrade.

53. Little are the sand-grains, little the wits, little the minds of [some] men; for all men are not wise alike: men are everywhere by halves.

54. Moderately wise should each one be, but never over-wise: of those men the lives are fairest, who know much well.

55. Moderately wise should each one be, but never over-wise; for a wise man's heart is seldom glad, if he is all-wise who owns it.

56. Moderately wise should each one be, but never over-wise. His destiny let know no man beforehand; his mind will be freest from' care.

57. Brand burns from brand until it is burnt out; fire is from fire quickened. Man to' man becomes known by speech, but a fool by his bashful silence.

58. He should early rise, who another's property or life desires to have. Seldom a sluggish wolf gets prey, or a sleeping man victory.

59. Early should rise he who has few workers, and go his work to see to; greatly is he retarded who sleeps the morn away. Wealth half depends on energy.

60. Of dry planks and roof-shingles a man knows the measure; of the fire-wood that may suffice, both measure and time.

61. Washed and refected let a man ride to the Thing,[17] although his garments be not too good; of his shoes and breeches let no one be ashamed, nor of his horse, although he have not a good one.

62. Inquire and impart should every man of sense, who will be accounted sage. Let one only know, a second may not; if three, all the world knows.

63. Gasps and gapes, when to the sea he comes, the eagle over old ocean; so is a man, who among many comes, and has few advocates.

64. His power should every sagacious man use with discretion; for he will find, when among the bold he comes, that no one alone is doughtiest.

65. Circumspect and reserved every man should be, and wary in trusting friends. Of the words that a man says to another he often pays the penalty.

66. Much too early I came to many places, but too late to others: the beer was drunk, or not ready: the disliked seldom hits the moment.

67. Here and there I should have been invited, if I a meal had needed; or two hams had hung, at that true friend's, where of one I had eaten.

68. Fire is best among the sons of men, and the sight of the sun, if his health a man can have, with a life free from vice.

69. No man lacks everything, although his health be bad: one in his sons is happy, one in his kin, one in abundant wealth, one in his good works.

70. It is better to live, even to live miserably; a living man can always get a cow. I saw fire consume the rich man's property, and death stood without his door.

71. The halt can ride on horseback, the one-handed drive cattle; the deaf fight and be useful: to be blind is better than to be burnt[18] no one gets good from a corpse.

72. A son is better, even if born late, after his father's departure. Gravestones seldom stand by the way-side unless raised by a kinsman to a kinsman.

73. Two are adversaries: the tongue is the bane of the head: under every cloak I expect a hand. * * *

74. At night is joyful he who is sure of travelling entertainment. [A ship's yards are short.][19] Variable is an autumn night. Many are the weather's changes in five days, but more in a month.

75. He [only] knows not who knows nothing, that many a one apes another. One man is rich, another poor: let him not be thought blameworthy.

76. Cattle die, kindred die, we ourselves also die; but the fair fame never dies of him who has earned it.

77. Cattle die, kindred die, we ourselves also die; but I know one thing that never dies,—judgment on each one dead.

78. Full storehouses I saw at Dives' sons': now bear they the beggar's staff. Such are riches; as is the twinkling of an eye: of friends they are most fickle.

79. A foolish man, if he acquires wealth or woman's love, pride grows within him, but wisdom never: he goes on more and more arrogant.

80. Then 'tis made manifest, if of runes thou questionest him, those to the high ones known, which the great powers invented, and the great talker[20] painted, that he had best hold silence.

81. At eve the day is to be praised, a woman after she is burnt, a sword after it is proved, a maid after she is married, ice after it has passed away, beer after it is drunk.

82. In the wind one should hew wood, in a breeze row out to sea, in the dark talk with a lass: many are the eyes of day. In a ship voyages are to be made, but a shield is for protection, a sword for striking, but a damsel for a kiss.

83. By the fire one should drink beer, on the ice slide; buy a horse that is lean, a sword that is rusty; feed a horse at home, but a dog at the farm.

84. In a maiden's words no one should place faith, nor in what a woman says; for on a turning wheel have their hearts been formed, and guile in their breasts been laid;

85. In a creaking bow, a burning flame, a yawning wolf, a chattering crow, a grunting swine, a rootless tree, a waxing wave, a boiling kettle,

86. A flying dart, a falling billow, a one night's ice, a coiled serpent, a woman's bed-talk, or a broken sword, a bear's play, or a royal child,

87. A sick calf, a self-willed thrall, a flattering prophetess, a corpse newly slain, [a serene sky, a laughing lord, a barking dog, and a harlot's grief];

88. An early sown field let no one trust, nor prematurely in a son: weather rules the field, and wit the son, each of which is doubtful;

89. A brother's murderer, though on the high road met, a half-burnt house, an over-swift horse, (a horse is useless, if a leg be broken), no man is so confiding as to trust any of these.

90. Such is the love of women, who falsehood meditate, as if one drove not rough-shod, on slippery ice, a spirited two-years old and unbroken horse; or as in a raging storm a helmless ship is beaten; or as if the halt were set to catch a reindeer in the thawing fell.[21]

91. Openly I now speak, because I both sexes know: unstable are men's minds towards women; 'tis then we speak most fair when we most falsely think: that deceives even the cautious.

92. Fair shall speak, and money offer, who would obtain a woman's love. Praise the form of a fair damsel; he gets who courts her.

93. At love should no one ever wonder in another: a beauteous countenance oft captivates the wise, which captivates not the foolish.

94. Let no one wonder at another's folly, it is the lot of many. All-powerful desire makes of the sons of men fools even of the wise.

95. The mind only knows what lies near the heart, that alone is conscious of our affections. No disease is worse to a sensible man than not to be content with himself.

96. That I experienced, when in the reeds I sat, awaiting my delight. Body and soul to me was that discreet maiden: nevertheless I possess her not.

97. Billing's lass[22] on her couch I found, sun-bright, sleeping. A prince's joy to me seemed naught, if not with that form to live.

98. "Yet nearer eve must thou, Odin, come, if thou wilt talk the maiden over; all will be disastrous, unless we alone are privy to such misdeed."

99. I returned, thinking to love, at her wise desire. I thought I should obtain her whole heart and love.

100. When next I came the bold warriors were all awake, with lights burning, and bearing torches: thus was the way to pleasure closed.

101. But at the approach of morn, when again I came, the household all was sleeping; the good damsel's dog alone I found tied to the bed.

102. Many a fair maiden, when rightly known, towards men is fickle: that I experienced, when that discreet maiden I strove to seduce: contumely of every kind that wily girl heaped upon me; nor of that damsel gained I aught.

103. At home let a man be cheerful, and towards a guest liberal; of wise conduct he should be, of good memory and ready speech; if much knowledge he desires, he must often talk on good.

104. Fimbulfambi he is called who' little has to say: such is the nature of the simple.

105. The old Jotun I sought; now I am come back: little got I there by silence; in many words I spoke to my advantage in Suttung's halls.

106. Gunnlod gave me, on her golden seat, a draught of the precious mead; a bad recompense I afterwards made her, for her whole soul, her fervent love.

107. Rati's mouth I caused to make a space, and to gnaw the rock; over and under me were the Jotun's ways: thus I my head did peril.

108. Of a well-assumed form I made good use: few things fail the wise; for Odhraerir is now come up to men's earthly dwellings.

109. 'Tis to me doubtful that I could have come from the Jotun's courts, had not Gunnlod aided me, that good damsel, over whom I laid my arm.

110. On the day following came the Hrimthursar, to learn something of the High One, in the High One's hall: after Bolverk they inquired, whether he with the gods were come, or Suttung had destroyed him?

111. Odin, I believe, a ring-oath[23] gave. Who in his faith will trust? Suttung defrauded, of his drink bereft, and Gunnlod made to weep!

112. Time 'tis to discourse from the preacher's chair. By the well of Urd I silent sat, I saw and meditated, I listened to men's words.

113. Of runes I heard discourse, and of things divine, nor of graving them were they silent, nor of sage counsels, at the High One's hall. In the High One's hall. I thus heard say:

114. I counsel thee, Loddfafnir, to take advice: thou wilt profit if thou takest it. Rise not at night, unless to explore, or art compelled to go out.

115. I counsel thee, Loddfafnir, to take advice, thou wilt profit if thou takest it. In an enchantress's embrace thou mayest not sleep, so that in her arms she clasp thee.

116. She will be the cause that thou carest not for Thing or prince's words; food thou wilt shun and human joys; sorrowful wilt thou go to sleep.

117. I counsel thee, etc. Another's wife entice thou never to secret converse.

118. I counsel thee, etc. By fell or firth if thou have to travel, provide thee well with food.

119. I counsel thee, etc. A bad man let thou never know thy misfortunes; for from a bad man thou never wilt obtain a return for thy good will.

120. I saw mortally wound a man a wicked woman's words; a false tongue caused his death, and most unrighteously.

121. I counsel thee, etc. If thou knowest thou hast a friend, whom thou well canst trust, go oft to visit him; for with brushwood over-grown, and with high grass, is the way that no one treads.

122. I counsel thee, etc. A good man attract to thee in pleasant converse; and salutary speech learn while thou livest.

123. I counsel thee, etc. With thy friend be thou never first to quarrel. Care gnaws the heart, if thou to no one canst thy whole mind disclose.

124. I counsel thee, etc. Words thou never shouldst exchange with a witless fool;

125. For from an ill-conditioned man thou wilt never get a return for good; but a good man will bring thee favour by his praise.

126. There is a mingling of affection, where one can tell another all his mind. Everything is better than being with the deceitful. He is not another's friend who ever says as he says.

127. I counsel thee, etc. Even in three words quarrel not with a worse man: often the better yields, when the worse strikes.

128. I counsel thee, etc. Be not a shoemaker, nor a shaftmaker, unless for thyself it be; for a shoe if ill made, or a shaft if crooked, will call down evil on thee.

129. I counsel thee, etc. Wherever of injury thou knowest, regard that injury as thy own; and give to thy foes no peace.

130. I counsel thee, etc. Rejoiced at evil be thou never; but let good give thee pleasure.

131. I counsel thee, etc. In a battle look not up, (like swine the sons of men then become) that men may not fascinate thee.

132. If thou wilt induce a good woman to pleasant converse, thou must promise fair, and hold to it: no one turns from good if it can be got.

133. I enjoin thee to be wary, but not over wary; at drinking be thou most wary, and with another's wife; and thirdly, that thieves delude thee not.

134. With insult or derision treat thou never a guest or wayfarer. They often little know, who sit within, of what race they are who come.

135. Vices and virtues the sons of mortals bear in their breasts mingled; no one is so good that no failing attends him, nor so bad as to be good for nothing.

136. At a hoary speaker laugh thou never; often is good that which the aged utter, oft from a shriveled hide discreet words issue; from those whose skin is pendent and decked with scars, and who go tottering among the vile.

137. I counsel thee, etc. Rail not at a guest, nor from thy gate thrust him; treat well the indigent; they will speak well of thee.

138. Strong is the bar that must be raised to admit all. Do thou give a penny, or they will call down on thee every ill in thy limbs.

139. I counsel thee, etc. Wherever thou beer drinkest, invoke to thee the power of earth; for earth is good against drink, fire for distempers, the oak for constipation, a corn-ear for sorcery, a hall for domestic strife. In bitter hates invoke the moon; the biter for bite-injuries is good; but runes against calamity; fluid let earth absorb.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 14: Odin is the "High One." The poem is a collection of rules and maxims, and stories of himself, some of them not very consistent with our ideas of a supreme deity.]

[Footnote 15: In the Copenhagen paper Ms. F. this strophe begins with the following three lines:—

Wit is needful to him who travels far: harm seldom befalls the wary:

They are printed in the Stockholm edition of the original Afzelius and Bask, and in the Swedish translation by Afzelius.]

[Footnote 16: The sense of this line seems doubtful; I have adopted the version of Finn Magnusen.]

[Footnote 17: The public meeting.]

[Footnote 18: That is dead on the funeral pyre.]

[Footnote 19: This line is evidently an interpolation.]

[Footnote 20: Odln.]

[Footnote 21: From this line it appears that the poem is of Norwegian or Swedish origin, as the reindeer was unknown in Iceland before the middle of the 18th century, when it was Introduced by royal command.]

[Footnote 22: The story of Odin and Billing's daughter is no longer extant; but compare the story of Odin and Rinda in Saxo, p. 126, edit. Muller & Veleschow.]

[Footnote 23: In the pagan North oaths were taken on a holy ring or bracelet, as with us on the Gospels, a sacred ring being kept in the temple for the purpose.]



ODIN'S RUNE-SONG.[24]

140. I know that I hung, on a wind-rocked tree, nine whole nights, with a spear wounded, and to Odin offered, myself to myself; on that tree, of which no one knows from what root it springs.

141. Bread no one gave me, nor a horn of drink, downward I peered, to runes applied myself, wailing learnt them, then fell down thence.

142. Potent songs nine from the famed son I learned of Bolthorn, Bestla's sire, and a draught obtained of the precious mead, drawn from Odhraerir.

143. Then I began to bear fruit, and to know many things, to grow and well thrive: word by word I sought out words, fact by fact I sought out facts.

144. Runes thou wilt find, and explained characters, very large characters, very potent characters, which the great speaker depicted, and the high powers formed, and the powers' prince graved:

145. Odin among the AEsir, but among the Alfar, Dain, and Dvalin for the dwarfs, Asvid for the Jotuns: some I myself graved.

146. Knowest thou how to grave them? knowest thou how to expound them? knowest thou how to depict them? knowest thou how to prove them? knowest thou how to pray? knowest thou how to offer? knowest thou how to send?[25] knowest thou how to consume?

147. 'Tis better not to pray than too much offer; a gift ever looks to a return. 'Tis better not to send than too much consume. So Thund graved before the origin of men, where he ascended, to whence he afterwards came.

148. Those songs I know which the king's wife knows not nor son of man. Help the first is called, for that will help thee against strifes and cares.

149. For the second I know, what the sons of men require, who will as leeches live. * * * *

150. For the third I know,[26] if I have great need to restrain my foes, the weapons' edge I deaden: of my adversaries nor arms nor wiles harm aught.

151. For the fourth I know, if men place bonds on my limbs, I so sing that I can walk; the fetter starts from my feet, and the manacle from my hands.

152. For the fifth I know, if I see a shot from a hostile hand, a shaft flying amid the host, so swift it cannot fly that I cannot arrest it, if only I get sight of it.

153. For the sixth I know, if one wounds me with a green tree's roots;[27] also if a man declares hatred to me, harm shall consume them sooner than me.

154. For the seventh I know, if a lofty house I see blaze o'er its inmates, so furiously it shall not burn that I cannot save it. That song I can sing.

155. For the eighth I know, what to all is useful to learn: where hatred grows among the sons of men—that I can quickly assuage.

156. For the ninth I know, if I stand in need my bark on the water to save, I can the wind on the waves allay, and the sea lull.

157. For the tenth I know, if I see troll-wives sporting in air, I can so operate that they will forsake their own forms, and their own minds.

158. For the eleventh I know, if I have to lead my ancient friends to battle, under their shields I sing, and with power they go safe to the fight, safe from the fight; safe on every side they go.

159. For the twelfth I know, if on a tree I see a corpse swinging from a halter, I can so grave and in runes depict, that the man shall walk, and with me converse.

160. For the thirteenth I know, if on a young man I sprinkle water, he shall not fall, though he into battle come: that man shall not sink before swords.

161. For the fourteenth I know, if in the society of men I have to enumerate the gods, AEsir and Alfar, I know the distinctions of all. This few unskilled can do.

162. For the fifteenth I know what the dwarf Thiodreyrir sang before Delling's doors. Strength he sang to the AEsir, and to the Alfar prosperity, wisdom to Hroptatyr.

163. For the sixteenth I know, if a modest maiden's favour and affection I desire to possess, the soul I change of the white-armed damsel, and wholly turn her mind.

164. For the seventeenth I know, that that young maiden will reluctantly avoid me. These songs, Loddfafnir! thou wilt long have lacked; yet it may be good if thou understandest them, profitable if thou learnest them.

165. For the eighteenth I know that which I never teach to maid or wife of man, (all is better what one only knows. This is the closing of the songs) save her alone who clasps me in her arms, or is my sister.

166. Now are sung the High-one's songs, in the High-one's hall, to the sons of men all-useful, but useless to the Jotuns' sons. Hail to him who has sung them! Hail to him who knows them! May he profit who has learnt them! Hail to those who have listened to them!

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 24: The first eight strophes of this composition require an explanation which I am incompetent to afford. They have had many interpreters and as many interpretations. The idea of Odin hanging on a tree would seem to have been suggested by what we read of the grove at Upsala, or Sigtuna, in which the victims offered to that deity were suspended from the trees. In the guise of an unknown wanderer, Odin may be supposed to have been captured and thus offered to himself. It no doubt refers to some lost legend.]

[Footnote 25: Probably, send them (the runes) forth on their several missions.]

[Footnote 26: The miraculous powers here ascribed by Odin to himself bear, in many instances, a remarkable similarity to those attributed to him by Snorri.]

[Footnote 27: The ancient inhabitants of the North believed that the roots of trees were particularly fitted for hurtful trolldom, or witchcraft, and that wounds caused thereby were mortal. In India a similar superstition prevails of the hurtfulness of the roots of trees.]



THE LAY OF HYMIR.

1. Once the celestial gods had been taking fish, and were in compotation, ere they the truth discovered.[28] Rods[29] they shook, and blood inspected, when they found at Oegir's a lack of kettles.

2. Sat the rock-dweller glad as a child, much like the son of Miskorblindi. In his eyes looked Ygg's son steadfastly. "Thou to the AEir shalt oft a compotation give."

3. Caused trouble to the Jotun th' unwelcome-worded As: he forthwith meditated vengeance on the gods. Sif's husband he besought a kettle him to bring, "in which I beer for all of you may brew."

4. The illustrious gods found that impossible, nor could the exalted powers it accomplish, till from true-heartedness, Ty to Hlorridi much friendly counsel gave.

5. "There dwells eastward of Elivagar the all-wise Hymir, at heaven's end. My sire, fierce of mood, a kettle owns, a capacious cauldron, a rast in depth."

Thor.

6. "Knowest thou whether we can get the liquor-boiler?"

Ty.

"Yes, friend! if we stratagem' employ." Rapidly they drove forward that day from Asgard, till to the giant's home they came.

7. Thor stalled his goats, splendid of horn, then turned him to the hall that Hymir owned. The son his granddam found to him most loathful; heads she had nine hundred.

8. But another came all-golden forth, fair-browed, bearing the beer-cup to her son:

9. "Ye Jotuns' kindred! I will you both, ye daring pair, under the kettles place. My husband is oftentimes niggard towards guests, to ill-humour prone."

10. But the monster, the fierce-souled Hymir, late returned home from the chase. He the hall entered, the icebergs resounded, as the churl approached; the thicket on his cheeks was frozen.

11. "Hail to thee, Hymir! be of good cheer: now thy son is come to thy hall, whom we expected from his long journey; him accompanies our famed adversary, the friend of man, who Veor hight.

12. See where they sit under the hall's gable, as if to shun thee: the pillar stands before them." In shivers flew the pillar at the Jotun's glance; the beam was first broken in two.

13. Eight kettles fell, but only one of them, a hard-hammered cauldron, whole from the column. The two came forth, but the old Jotun with eyes surveyed his adversary.

14. Augured to him his mind no good, when he saw the giantess's sorrow on the floor coming. Then were three oxen taken, and the Jotun bade them forthwith be boiled.

15. Each one they made by the head shorter, and to the fire afterwards bore them. Sif's consort ate, ere to sleep he went, completely, he alone, two of Hymir's beeves.

16. Seemed to the hoary friend of Hrungnir Hlorridi's refection full well large: "We three to-morrow night shall be compelled on what we catch to live."

17. Veor said he would on the sea row, if the bold Jotun him would with baits supply: "To the herd betake thee, (if thou in thy courage trustest, crusher of the rock-dwellers!) for baits to seek.

18. I expect that thou wilt bait from an ox easily obtain." The guest in haste to the forest went, where stood an all-black ox before him.

19. The Thursar's bane wrung from an ox the high fastness of his two horns. "To me thy work seems worse by far, ruler of keels! than if thou hadst sat quiet."

20. The lord of goats the apes' kinsman besought the horse of plank farther out to move; but the Jotun declared his slight desire farther to row.

21. The mighty Hymir drew, he alone, two whales up with his hook; but at the stern abaft Veor cunningly made him a line.

22. Fixed on the hook the shield of men, the serpent's slayer, the ox's head. Gaped at the bait the foe of gods, the encircler beneath of every land.[30]

23. Drew up boldly the mighty Thor the worm with venom glistening, up to the side; with his hammer struck, on his foul head's summit, like a rock towering, the wolf's own brother.

24. The icebergs resounded, the caverns howled, the old earth shrank together: at length the fish back into ocean sank.[31]

25. The Jotun was little glad, as they rowed back, so that the powerful Hymir nothing spake, but the oar moved in another course.

26. "Wilt thou do half the work with me, either the whales home to the dwelling bear, or the boat fast bind?"

27. Hlorridi went, grasped the prow, quickly, with its hold-water, lifted the water-steed, together with its oars and scoop; bore to the dwelling the Jotun's ocean-swine, the curved vessel, through the wooded hills.

28. But the Jotun yet ever frowned, to strife accustomed, with Thor disputed, said that no one was strong, however vigorously he might row, unless he his cup could break.

29. But Hlorridi, when to his hands it came, forthwith brake an upright stone in twain; sitting dashed the cup through the pillars: yet they brought it whole to Hymir back.

30. Until the beauteous woman gave important, friendly counsel, which she only knew: "Strike at the head of Hymir, the Jotun with food oppressed, that is harder than any cup."

31. Rose then on his knee the stern lord of goats, clad in all his godlike power. Unhurt remained the old man's helm-block, but the round wine-bearer was in shivers broken.

32. "Much good, I know, has departed from me, now that my cup I see hurled from my knees." Thus the old man spake: "I can never say again, beer thou art too hot.

33. "Now 'tis to be tried if ye can carry the beer-vessel out of our dwelling." Ty twice assayed to move the vessel, yet at each time stood the kettle fast.

34. Then Modi's father by the brim grasped it, and trod through the dwelling's floor. Sif's consort lifted the kettle on his head, while about his heels its rings jingled.

35. They had far journeyed before Odin's son cast one look backward: he from the caverns saw, with Hymir from the east, a troop of many-headed monsters coming.

36. From his shoulders he lifted the kettle down; Miollnir hurled forth towards the savage crew, and slew all the mountain-giants, who with Hymir had him pursued.

37. Long they had not journeyed when of Hlorridi's goats one lay down half-dead before the car. It from the pole had sprung across the trace; but the false Loki was of this the cause.

38. Now ye have heard,—for what fabulist can more fully tell—what indemnity he from the giant got: he paid for it with his children both.[32]

39. In his strength exulting he to the gods' council came, and had the kettle, which Hymir had possessed, out of which every god shall beer with Oegir drink at every harvest-tide.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 28: To wit, that they were short of kettles for brewing.]

[Footnote 29: That is divining rods.]

[Footnote 30: The great serpent that encircles the earth.]

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