The Poetic Edda

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Shopping Cart. VAT Price incl. VAT Log in Create account. The Poetic Edda. Product number: The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes By Jackson Crawford Also known as the Elder Edda, this is the essential source, in a modern and updated translation, to understand and appreciate the beliefs, motivations, and values of the Vikings. 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.

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. The gods in Ithavoll meet together. Of the terrible girdler of earth they talk, Thor, who, after slaying the serpent, is overcome by his ven- omous breath, and dies. Fjorgyn appears in both a masculine and a feminine form. In the masculine it is a name for Othin ; in the feminine, as here and in Harbarthsljoth, 56, it apparently refers to Jorth. With this stanza ends the account of the destruction.

Again the refrain-stanza cf. It is probably misplaced here.

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Here begins the description of the new world which is to rise out of the wreck of the old one. It is on this passage that a few critics have sought to base their argument that the poem is later than the introduction of Christianity [circa , but this theory has never seemed convincing cf. The third line of this stanza is not found in Regius. Ithavoll: cf. The girdler of earth: Mith- [24] Voluspo And the mighty past they call to mind, And the ancient runes of the Ruler of Gods. In wondrous beauty once again Shall the golden tables stand mid the grass, Which the gods had owned in the days of old, 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? Then Honir wins the prophetic wand, And the sons of the brothers of Tveggi abide In Vindheim now: would you know yet more? The Ruhr of Gods: Othin. The runes were both magic signs, generally carved on wood, and sung or spoken charms. The Hauksbok version of the first two lines runs: "The gods shall find there, wondrous fair, The golden tables amid the grass.

Golden tables: cf. Baldr: cf. Baldr and his brother, Hoth, who unwittingly slew him at Loki's instigation, return together, their union being a symbol of the new age of peace. Hropt: another name for Othin. His "battle-hall" is Valhall. No lacuna line 2 indicated In the manuscripts. Honir: cf. In this new age he has the gift of fore- telling the future. Tveggi "The Twofold" : another name for [25] Poetic Edda 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.

There comes on high, all power to hold, A mighty lord, all lands he rules. His brothers are Vili and Ve cf. Lohasenna, z6, and note. Little is known of them, and nothing, beyond this refer- ence, of their sons. Vindheim "Honae of the Wind" : heaven. This stanza is quoted by Snorri. Gimle: Snorri makes this the name of the hall itself, while here it appears to refer to a mountain on which the hall stands. It is the home of the happy, as opposed to another hall, not here mentioned, for the dead.

Snorri's description of this second hall is based on Voluspo, 38, which he quotes, and perhaps that stanza properly belongs after This stanza is not found in Regius, and is probably spurious. No lacuna is indicated in the Hauksbok version, but late paper manuscripts add two lines, running: "Rule he orders, and rights he fixes, Laws he ordains that ever shall live. It is not certain, how- ever, that even this stanza refers to Christianity, and if it does, it may have been interpolated long after the rest of the poem was composed. This stanza, which fits so badly with the preceding ones, [26] Voluspo may well have been interpolated.

It has been suggested that the dragon, making a last attempt to rise, is destroyed, this event marking the end of evil in the world. But in both manuscripts the final half-line does not refer to the dragon, but, as the gender shows, to the Volva herself, who sinks into the earth; a sort of conclusion to the entire prophecy. Presumably the stanza bar- ring the last half-line, which was probably intended as the con- clusion of the poem belongs somewhere in the description of the great struggle.

Nithhogg: the dragon at the roots of Yggdrasil; cf. Nithafjoll "the Dark Crags" ; nowhere else mentioned. Must I: the manuscripts have "must she. The first stanza is quoted by Snorri, and two lines of stanza 84 appear in one of the sagas. In its present shape it involves the critic of the text in more puzzles than any other of the Eddie poems. Without going in detail into the various theories, what happened seems to have been somewhat as follows. There existed from very early times a collection of proverbs and wise counsels, which were attributed to Othin just as the Biblical proverbs were to Solomon.

This collection, which presumably was always elastic in extent, was known as "The High One's Words," and forms the basis of the present poem. To it, however, were added other poems and fragments dealing with wisdom which seemed by their nature to imply that the speaker was Othin. Thus a catalogue of runes, or charms, was tacked on, and also a set of proverbs, differing essentially in form from those comprising the main collection.

Here and there bits of verse more nearly narrative crept in; and of course the loose structure of the poem made it easy for any reciter to insert new stanzas almost at will. This curious mis- cellany is what we now have as the Hovamol. Five separate elements are pretty clearly recognizable: 1 the Hovamol proper stanzas , a collection of proverbs and counsels for the conduct of life; 2 the Loddfafnismol stanzas , a collection somewhat similar to the first, but specific- ally addressed to a certain Loddfafnir; 3 the Ljothatal stanzas , a collection of charms; 4 the love-story of Othin and Billing's daughter stanzas , with an intro- ductory dissertation on the faithlessness of women in general stanzas , which probably crept into the poem first, and then pulled the story, as an apt illustration, after it; 5 the story of how Othin got the mead of poetry — the draught which gave him the gift of tongues — from the maiden Gunnloth stanzas There is also a brief passage stanzas telling how Othin won the runes, this passage being a natural introduction to the Ljothatal, and doubtless brought into the poem for that reason.

Probably, however, most of its component elements go pretty far back, although we have no way of telling how or when they first became associated. It seems all but meaningless to talk about "interpolations" in a poem which has developed almost solely through the process of piecing together originally unrelated odds and ends.

The notes, therefore, make only such suggestions as are needed to keep the main divisions of the poem distinct. Few gnomic collections in the world's literary history present sounder wisdom more tersely expressed than the Hovamol. Like the Book of Proverbs it occasionally rises to lofty heights of poetry. If it presents the worldly wisdom of a violent race, it also shows noble ideals of loyalty, truth, and unfaltering courage. 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.

Hail to the giver! Swift shall he be who with swords shall try The proof of his might to make. This stanza is quoted by Snorri, the second line being omitted in most of the Prose Edda manuscripts.

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Probably the first and second lines had originally nothing to do with the third and fourth, the last two not referring to host or guest, but to the general danger of backing one's views with the sword, [29] Poetic Edda 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. 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. 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. A man shall not boast of his keenness of mindj 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. 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.

Lines 5 and 6 appear to have been added to the stanza. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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. Some editors have combined this stanza in various ways with the last two lines of stanza 11, as in the manuscript the first two lines of the latter are abbreviated, and, if they belong there at all, are presumably identical with the first two lines of stanza 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.

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. 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. 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.

The heron: the bird of forgetfulness, referred to in line i. Gunnloth: the daughter of the giant Suttung, from whom Othin won the mead of poetry. For this episode see stanzas Fjalar: apparently another name for Suttung. This stanza, and probably 13, seem to have been inserted as illus- trative. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson

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. The foolish man for friends all those Who laugh at him will hold; [33] Poetic Edda When among the wise he marks it not Though hatred of him they speak. 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. 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.

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. Wise shall he seem who well can question, And also answer well ; Nought is concealed that men may say Among the sons of men. Often he speaks who never is still With words that win no faith ; The first two lines are abbreviated in the manuscript, but are doubtless identical with the first two lines of stanza The last two lines were probably added as a commentary on lines 3 and 4.

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. 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. 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.

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. 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. Forth shall one go, nor stay as a guest In a single spot forever; [35] Poetic Edda Love becomes loathing if long one sits By the hearth in another's home.

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. 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. 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. 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. None so free with gifts or food have I found That gladly he took not a gift. The manuscript has "little" in place of "a hut" in line i, but this involves an error in the initial-rhymes, and the emenda- tion has been generally accepted. Lines i and 2 are abbreviated in the manuscript, but are doubtless identical with the first two lines of stanza In the manuscript this stanza follows stanza 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.

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. 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. 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. The key-word in line 3 is missing in the manuscript, but editors have agreed in inserting a word meaning "generous.

In line 3 the manuscript adds "givers again" to "gift- givers. 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. 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. Young was I once, and wandered aloni. And nought of the road I knew ; Rich did I feel when a comrade I found. For man is man's delight.

Poetic Edda | Icelandic literature |

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. 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. 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?

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. 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. 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.

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. 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. A measure of wisdom each man shall have, But never too much let him know ; The first pairs of lines are abbreviated in the manu- script. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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. The fifth line is probably a spurious addition. 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.

To question and answer must all be ready Who wish to be known as wise; Tell one thy thoughts, but beware of two,- AU know what is known to three. 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. Oft for the words that to others one speaks He will get but an evil gift.

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. This stanza follows stanza 63 In the manuscript, but there are marks therein indicating the transposition. The manuscript indicates no lacuna lines i and 2. Many editors have filled out the stanza with two lines from late paper manuscripts, the passage running: "A man must be watchful and wary as well. And fearful of trusting a friend.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. The manuscript has "and a worthy life" in place of "than to lie a corpse" in line i, but Rask suggested the emendation as early as , and most editors have followed him. A son is better, though late he be bom, And his father to death have fared; Memory-stones seldom stand by the road Save when kinsman honors his kin.

Two make a battle, the tongue slays the head ; In each furry coat a fist I look for. 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.

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. Among Fitjung's sons saw I well-stocked folds, — Now bear they the beggar's staff; These seven lines are obviously a jumble. The two lines of stanza 73 not only appear out of place, but the verse- form is unlike that of the surrounding stanzas. In 74, the second line is clearly interpolated, and line 1 has little enough connec- tion with lines 3, 4 and 5. It looks as though some compiler or copyist had inserted here various odds and ends for which he could find no better place.

The word "gold" in line 2 is more or less conjectural, the manuscript being obscure. The reading in line 4 is also doubtful. Cattle die, and kinsmen die, And so one dies one's self ; But a noble name will never die, If good renown one gets. Cattle die, and kinsmen die, And so one dies one's self; One thing I know that never dies. The fame of a dead man's deeds. Certain is that which is sought from runes. That the gods so great have made, And the Master-Poet painted ; of the race of gods : Silence is safest and best. An unwise man, if a maiden's love Or wealth he chances to win. Fitjung "the Nourisher" : Earth.

This stanza is certainly in bad shape, and probably out of place here. Its reference to runes as magic signs suggests that it properly belongs in some list of charms like the Ljothatal stanzas The stanza-form is so irregular as to show either that something has been lost or that there have been inter- polations. The manuscript indicates no lacuna ; Gering fills out the assumed gap as follows: "Certain is that which is sought from runes, The runes — ," etc. 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. When the gale blows hew wood, in fair wmds 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. By the fire drink ale, over ice go on skates; Buy a steed that is lean, and a sword when tarnished. With this stanza the verse-form, as indicated in the trans- lation, abruptly changes to Malahattr.

What has happened seems to have been something like this. Stanza 80 introduces the idea of man's love for woman. Consequently some reciter or com- piler or possibly even a copyist took occasion to insert at this point certain stanzas concerning the ways of women. Thus stanza 80 would account for the introduction of stanzas 81 and 82, which, in turn, apparently drew stanza 83 in with them.

Stanza 84 suggests the fickleness of women, and is immediately followed — again with a change of verse-form — by a list of things equally untrustworthy stanzas Then, after a few more stanzas on love in the regular measure of the Hovamol stanzas , is introduced, by way of illustration, Othin's story of his [45] Poetic Edda The horse at home fatten, the hound in thy dwelHng.

Legends Summarized: The Poetic Edda

A man shall trust not the oath of a maid, Nor the word a woman speaks; For their hearts on a whirling wheel were fash- ioned, And fickle their breasts were formed. 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, 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, In a calf that is sick or a stubborn thrall, A flattering witch or a foe new slain.

Some such process of growth, whatever its specific stages may have been, must be assumed to account for the curious chaos of the whole passage from stanza 81 to stanza Lines 3 and 4 are quoted in the Fostbrathrasaga, Stanzas and 90 are in Fornyrthislag, and clearly come from a different source from the rest of the Hovamol. The stanza is doubtless incomplete. Some editors add from a late paper manuscript two lines running: "In a light, clear sky or a laughing throng, In the howl of a dog or a harlot's grief.

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. 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.

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. 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. 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. This stanza follows stanza 89 in the manuscript. Many editors have changed the order, for while stanza 89 is pretty clearly an interpolation wherever it stands, it seriously inter- feres with the sense if it breaks in between 87 and 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.

Fault with another let no man find For what touches many a man ; Wise men oft into witless fools Are made by mighty love. 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. 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. Here begins the passage stanzas illustrating the falseness of woman by the story of Othin's unsuccessful love- affair with Billing's daughter. Of this person we know nothing beyond what is here told, but the story needs little comment.

Away I hastened, hoping for joy, And careless of counsel wise; Well I believed that soon I should win Measureless joy with the maid. So came I next when night it was, The warriors all were awake; With burning lights and waving brands I learned my luckless way. At morning then, when once more I came, And all were sleeping still, A dog I found in the fair one's place. Bound there upon her bed. 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; Rask adds at the beginning of this stanza two lines from a late paper manuscript, running: "Few are so good that false they are never To cheat the mind of a man. 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. 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. The mouth of Rati made room for my passage, And space in the stone he gnawed; With this stanza the subject changes abruptly, and ap- parently the virtues of fair speech, mentioned in the last three lines, account for the introduction, from what source cannot be known, of the story of Othin and the mead of song stanzas The giant Suttung "the old giant" possessed the magic mead, a draught of which conferred the gift of poetry.

Then he flew away in the form of an eagle, leavmg Gunn- loth to her fate. While with Suttung he assumed the name of Bolverk "the Evil-Doer". Rati "the Traveller" : the gimlet with which Othin bored through the mountain to reach Suttung's home. 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. The well-earned beauty well I enjoyed, Little the wise man lacks; So Othrorir now has up been brought To the midst of the men of earth.

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. The day that followed, the frost-giants came. Some word of Hor to win, And into the hall of Hor; Probably either the fourth or the fifth line is a spurious addition. 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. 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 Hon Of runes heard I words, nor were counsel?

The giants, of course, fail to get from Othin the information they seek concerning Bol- verk, but Othin is keenly conscious of having violated the most sacred of oaths, that sworn on his ring. With this stanza begins the Loddfafnismol stanzas iii- Loddfafnir is apparently a wandering singer, who, from his "chanter's stool," recites the verses which he claims to have received from Othin. Wells of Urth: cf. Voluspo, 19 and note. Urth "the Past" is one of the three Norns. This stanza is apparently in corrupt form, and editors have tried many experi- ments with it, both in rejecting lines as spurious and in rear- ranging the words and punctuation.

It looks rather as though the first four lines formed a complete stanza, and the last four had [52] Hovamol I rede thee, Loddfafnir! 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. The phrase translated "the speech of Hor" is "Hova mol," later used as the title for the entire poem. InAsome cases e. I rede thee, Loddfafnirl 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.

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. 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. Mingled Is love when a man can speak To another all his thought; [55] Poetic Edda Nought is so bad as false to be, No friend speaks only fair.

And make no friendship with foes. Great thy gain if thou learnest: I bid thee be wary, but be not fearful ; Beware most with ale or another's wife. The Thundergod challenges the frost giant for a fishing trip, and gets the Middle World Serpent on the hook. The Ferryman is traditionally a being who takes people over to the other side after their deaths. Loki is then thrown out of the hall, but is so blinded by rage that he demands new entry. The servant Eldi [Maturity] tries to stop him, advising him to stay away, but Loki threatens to kill him too.

The goddesses are generally accused of promiscuity and adultery, whereas the gods are accused of cowardice, unmanliness and self-humiliating activities. All the while, the gods and goddesses stand up for each other and attempt to explain for Loki that he has misunderstood the real meaning and value of these stories that he is referring to in mockery and accusations.

Loki refuses to listen, always attacking the god or goddess who has stood up for another. Finally, Loki is so enraged that he reveals that he is the true murderer of Baldr, only to hear that Frigg knew it all along. Loki escapes, but is hunted down to answer for his crime of murdering Baldr.

But sometimes the cup is filled to the brim, and the wife has to empty it — and while she is away to empty it, poison drips into the face of Loki, who trembles in agony, making the whole world shake. He seeks the aid of Loki, shaman among the gods, who in his turn seeks the aid of goddess Freyia. He demands to marry Freyia in return for the hammer. The father challenges the dwarf in a contest of wisdom, where the dwarf provides valuable information about Pagan cosmology and how the various dimensions correspond and how one singular quality is perceived differently in all the different worlds.

I think it may also be a way of symbolizing transformation — from the limited dwarf form and into an enlightened being: The dwarf has to transform this way in order to reach true Power. The She-Wolf then plays the Ogress of Death: Even as she reveals all wisdom, it is her nature to demand oblivion and sleep in death.

The maidens are presented as goddesses of abundance, provisions and wisdom. The three couples live happily together for seven years. Then the women begin to tire of life as house-wives and yearn for battles. The eight year, their yearning grows stronger, and the ninth year, the valkyriur leave their husbands, flying into the Dark Forest in order to fulfill the fate of All-Wise the young.

Without their wives, the brothers feel lost. The red gold in question is a symbol of divine power, knowledge and wisdom. Then he flies away in the shape of an eagle, letting the King know of the consequences of his actions. The maidens are taken as slaves and made to draw the mill while singing songs of abundance, peace, wisdom and prosperity. But the king drives them too hard and refuses them rest, and finally, the giantesses grow weary and angry, recalling their own strength and former glory.

They begin to call upon the sleeping King Wisdom to wake up and listen to their tales, but as the household of Wisdom continues to sleep, the maiden begin to grind war, pestilence and poverty, ending the Peace of Wisdom that has long reigned. This is usually thought to be a Christian poem for the most part, with remnants of Pagan concepts within. It was probably composed after the introduction of Christianity, in the year , by a person who seems somewhat pulled between the new faith and old concepts and beliefs. A man has died, and is advising his son, telling him about his death journey, where he must sit for nine days in the Chair of the Norns in order to receive the Judgment of the Norns.

He describes his vision of the Sun as a glorious goddess to whom he bowed one last time before he died, and many other visions. The Sun-Song is composed in the style of the Edda poems, yet the poem is often not added to contemporary Edda translations because it is thought to be more of a Christian than a Pagan poem, despite the fact that it clearly explains Pagan concepts.

See a Problem?

The focus of the poem is in my opinion on Pagan issues, yet not the ones people today traditionally consider crucial to Paganism. It is my conviction that the poet who composed this poem in the year probably knew a lot more about Old Norse Pagan concepts than we do today and that his focus is, to a great degree, on Pagan issues, and that the poet is drawn between these ancient issues and the Christian faith.

Another poem composed in the Edda style that has been dismissed by many scholars as a late poem, probably written down centuries after the Conversion by someone who was well acquainted with Edda lore. This possible author has been dismissed as a hoax who tried to brag about his knowledge about the use of metaphors by making a completely unintelligible poem.

In my opinion, the most important reason for this dismissal seems to be the fact that the poem is almost impossible to understand from the traditional perspective on the myths as a kind of fairytales. There is no story and no setting, only a series of cryptic and subtle stanzas often referring to issues and concepts otherwise often, even mostly, unknown to us. From the time that people began trying to decipher the poem, one after the other has given up and dismissed the poem as unintelligible and thus a fake, invented by some hoax perhaps during the 17 th century AD.

This is why this poem also hardly ever is presented in Edda translations and collections. I found, when I tried a translation of my own, that this poem becomes deeply meaningful if the names of characters and places are interpreted and translated, and that it continuously alludes to the basic issues of the Mysteries that in this book are revealed to be at the heart and core of Edda lore. On this ground, I am firmly convinced that this poem deserves its space among the Edda poems, and I have, in some instances, used some stanzas from this poem as relevant sources.

The dead woman declares that the path is terribly dangerous and difficult, but if he succeeds, fortune will be his. The place is dark, hostile and the home of giants. She is accompanied by nine beautiful and friendly maidens. The guardian challenges the boy, saying that since he is neither dead nor dying, this is not a place for him letting us know that this is a place for the dead and the dying. The boy, now calling himself Wind-Cold, a way of indicating that he is actually dead, begins to engage the giant guardian in a word duel, asking questions to see if the guardian can answer.