This is a text and translation of the Old Norse poem Hvaml, the Sayings of the High One. There will be more introductory material as time permits.

Lines in italics in the text and translation are repeated from earlier verses. Verses 112-37 are a long harangue to Loddfafnir, and most of them begin with a refrain of four lines telling Loddfafnir that it would be better if he took the advice: this refrain is italicized on second and subsequent occurrences to make it easier to skip to the new material in each verse.

If you are viewing this page on a Macintosh, the non-modern English characters will probably not appear correctly: see Cathy Ball's notes on "Working with Old English text on the Web" for help to solve this problem.

Notes on the translation:
The translation starts out from a literal translation I made while studying Old Norse at Cambridge, but I have been changing it in two directions since.

Firstly, I have made some changes from a literal translation to one that "sounds better", i.e., more closely mirrors the compressed and alliterative nature of the Norse text. For instance, line 16.6, tt honum geirar gefi, literally means "though spears might give him [peace, understood, from the previous line]". I have given instead "though spears might spare him": this is not a literal translation, but it gives the sense and also something of the feel of the original. I have sometimes rendered the verb skulu (which means "must" and not "shall") as "should": this would be marked wrong in a literal translation, but is used here to make the translation more alliterative. For line 103.6, opt skal gs geta, literally "he must often speak of good things", I have given instead "he should often speak of good things"; for line 93.2, skyli engi mar, I have given "No man must". Asterisks in the translation are links to further discussion in the notes.

Secondly, I have tried to rearrange the translation so that each line of English follows pretty closely the line of Old Norse text beside it. This sometimes produces a more stilted English word-order, but I hope it will help those interested in but with no knowledge of Old Norse to puzzle out the meaning of the original. For instance, from the parallel beginnings of verses 3-5, it becomes evident that er rf means "it is necessary", and eldr "fire", vatn "water", vit "sense [ModE wit]".

Seasoned students of Old Norse will know that the word order is often too convoluted to follow so simply. One of the most complicated examples in this text is the first three lines of verse 93:

star firna
skyli engi mar
annan aldregi

Converted into modern English word-order, this would read: Engi mar skyli line2 aldregiline3 firnaline1 annanline 3 starline1, or "No man must ever mock another's love". Editorial help seems called for in this case, so I have prefixed numbers in square brackets to parts of translation which come from a different line of the text. The passage appears in text and translation as:

star firna
skyli engi mar
annan aldregi
[2] No man must
[3] ever [1] mock
[3] another's [1] love

This tells the reader that "No man must" is a translation of words in line 2 of the Norse, "ever" is from line 3, "mock" from line 1, "another's" from line 3, and "love" from line 1 again. It is a compromise between helping the student of the original and producing a readable translation. When I get a moment, I will probably add an optional switch to make these numbers invisible, so that readers less bothered about the Norse can read a less-cluttered translation.

The edition I used in the preparation of the translation (as will be apparent from some of the notes) is: David A. H. Evans, Hvaml, Viking Society for Northern Research, Text series, 7 (London, 1986). On looking at the Viking Society web page, I see that in 1987 Anthony Faulkes put together a glossary and index to Hvaml as volume 7(ii). I worked through my initial translation with Cleasby-Vigfusson and the glossary to Gordon, though on checking it over for the online version, I used Beatrice La Farge and John Tucker, Glossary to the Poetic Edda, Based on Hans Kuhn's Kurzes Wrterbuch (Heidelberg: Winter, 1992).

For copyright reasons, the text given below is based on Finnur Jnsson's earlier edition (Copenhagen, 1924), which gives both original and normalized texts. Since Jnsson's normalizations are different from the ones that would be followed by someone brought up on Gordon's An Introduction to Old Norse, I have not always followed them (e.g., "um" remains "um", instead of becoming "of"; "er" remains "er", instead of becoming " 's").

Other versions of Hvaml on the web:

What I want to include next:
- add glossing, so that putting the mouse pointer over a word will bring up a definition
- add links to a grammar of Old Norse

Text and translation

Gttir allar
r gangi fram
um skoask skyli
um skygnask skyli
v at vst
er at vita
hvar vinir
sitja fleti fyrir

[2] Before one would advance
[1] through each doorway,
one must look about
and peer around,
because one can't know for sure
where enemies
sit in the hall beforehand.
Gefendr heilir
gestr er inn kominn
hvar skal sitja sj?
Mjk er brr
s er brndum skal
sns um freista frama

Greetings to the hosts,
a guest is come.
where must this one sit?
He is very impatient,
the one who must sit on the firewood, 
to test his luck.
Elds er rf
eims inn er kominn
ok kn kalinn
matar ok va
es manni rf
eims hefir um fjall farit

There is need of fire
for him who is come in
with cold knees;
[5] there is need [4] of food and clothes
for the man
who has journeyed on the mountainside.
Vats er rf
eims til verar kmr
erru ok jlaar
gs um œis
ef sr geta mtti
ors ok endrgu

There is need of water,
for the one who comes for a meal, 
of towel and friendly intonation;
of good disposition,
if he can get it,
of speech and silence in return.
Vits er rf
eims via ratar
dlt er heima hvat
at augabragi verr 
s er ekki kann
ok me snotrum sitr

Sense is needed
for the one who travels widely;
everything is easy at home.
[5] He who knows nothing
[6] and sits with wise men
[4] becomes a mockery.
At hyggjandi sinni
skylit mar hrœsinn vera
heldr gtinn at gei
er horskr ok gull
kmr heimisgara til
sjaldan verr viti vrum
v at brigra vin
fr mar aldregi
en manvit mikit

[2] A man must not be boastful
[1] in his mind,
but wary in disposition;
when he, wise and silent,
comes to the homestead,
misfortune rarely befalls the wary,
because [8] man can never have
[7] a more reliable guide
than great common sense.
Hinn vari gestr
er til verar kmr
unnu hlji egir
eyrum hlir
en augum skoar
sv nsisk frra hverr fyrir

The wary guest
who comes for a meal
is silent with strained hearing,
listens with ears
and examines with eyes;
so each of the wise searches about himself.
Hinn er sll
er sr of getr
lof ok lknstafi
dlla er vi at
er mar eiga skal
annars brjstum

He is blessed
who has within himself
praise and esteem;
it is harder to deal with that
which a man must own
in the breast of another.
S er sll
er sjalfr of
lof ok vit mean lifir
v at ill r
hefr mar opt egit
annars brjstum r

He is blessed
who has within himself
praise and sense while he lives,
because [5] man has often received
[4] ill-counsel
from the breast of another.
Byri betri
berrat mar brautu at
en s manvit mikit
aui betra
ykkir at kunnum sta
slkt er vlas vera

A man does not bear
a better burden on the road
than is great commonsense;
it seems a greater wealth
in an unknown place --
such is the refuge of the needy.
Byri betri
berrat mar brautu at
en s manvit mikit

vegnest verra
vegra hann velli at
an s ofdrykkja ls

A man does not bear
a better burden on the road
than is great commonsense;

he does not carry a worse journey-provision
in the open field than is
the over-drinking of ale.
Era sv gtt
sem gtt kvea
l alda sonum
v at fra veit
er fleira drekkr
sns til ges gumi

Ale is not as good
as it is said to be good
for the sons of men;
because the man knows less
-- he who drinks more --
of his disposition.
minnishegri heitir
s er yfir lrum rumir
hann stelr gei guma
ess fugls fjrum
ek fjtrar vask
gari Gunnlaar

He is called the heron of forgetfulness,
he who hovers over ale-parties;
he steals the disposition of men.
By the feathers of this bird
I was fettered,
in the courts of Gunnlth.
lr ek var
var ofrlvi
at hins fra Fjalars
v er lr bazt
at aptr of heimtir
hverr sitt ge gumi

I got drunk,
really drunk,
at Fjalarr the Wise's;
it is the best ale-feast
when each man recovers his disposition
agalt ok hugalt
skyli jans barn
ok vgdjarft vera
glar ok reifr
skyli gumna hverr
unz snn br bana

A ruler's son must be
silent and thoughtful
and brave in battle;
each man must be
happy and cheerful
until he suffers death.
snjallr mar
hyggsk munu ey lifa
ef hann vi vg varask
en elli gefr
honum engi fri
tt honum geirar gefi

The foolish man
thinks he will live forever
if he avoids battle;
but old age gives
him no peace,
though spears might spare him.
Kpir afglapi
er til kynnis kmr
ylsk hann umbea rumir
alt er senn
ef hann sylg um getr
uppi er ge guma

The fool stares
when he comes on a visit to acquaintances;
he mumbles to himself or hovers.
Everything happens at once
if he gets a drink:
then his disposition is revealed.
S einn veit
er va ratar
ok hefr fjl um farit
hverju gei
strir gumna hverr
s er vitandi er vits

He alone knows,
he who wanders widely
and has travelled a great deal,
what disposition
each man possesses.
He is knowing in commonsense.
Haldit mar keri
drekki at hfi mj
mli arft ea egi
kynnis ess 
var ik engi mar
at gangir snemma at sofa

Do not let a man hold on to a goblet,
but let him drink mead in moderation,
let him talk sense or be silent.
No man blames you
of bad manners, 
that you go early to sleep.
Grugr halr
nema ges viti
etr sr aldrtrega
opt fr hlœgis
er me horskum kmr
manni heimskum magi

A greedy man,
unless he knows his mind,
often causes his life's sorrow by eating;
often the stomach gains ridicule,
when he comes among wise men,
for the foolish man. 
Hjarir at vitu
nr r heim skulu
ok ganga af grasi
en svir mar
kann vagi
sns um ml maga

The herds know
when they must be home
and leave the pasture then;
but the unwise man
never knows
the measure of his stomach. 
Vesall mar
ok illa skapi
hlr at hvvetna
hitki hann veit
er hann vita yrpti
at hann era vamma vanr

The wretched man
of bad character
laughs at all kinds of things.
On the other hand he doesn't know
what he ought to know,
that he is not lacking in faults.
svir mar
vakir um allar ntr
ok hyggr at hvvetna
er mr
er at morni kmr
alt er vil sem var

The unwise man
is awake all night
and thinks of all sorts of things;
then he is tired
when morning comes,
and all the trouble is as it was.
snotr mar
hyggr sr alla vera
vihljendr vini
hitki hann fir
tt eir um hann fr lesi
ef hann me snotrum sitr

The unwise man
thinks them all to be
his friends, those who laugh at him;
he does not notice
even if they express malice against him
when he sits among wise men. 
snotr mar
hyggr sr alla vera
vihljendr vini
at fir
er at ingi kmr
at hann formlendr f

The unwise man
thinks them all to be
his friends, those who laugh at him;
then he finds
when he comes to the Thing (assembly)
that he has few supporters.
snotr mar
ykkisk alt vita
ef hann sr v veru
hitki hann veit
hvat hann skal vi kvea
ef hans freista firar

The unwise man
thinks he knows everything
if he has refuge for himself in a corner.
but he does not know 
what he must say in reply,
if men test him. 
snotr mar
er me aldir kmr
at er bazt at hann egi
engi at veit
at hann ekki kann
name hann mli til mart
veita mar
hinn er vtki veit
tt hann mli til mart

For the unwise man
who comes among men,
it is best that be he silent.
None know
that he knows nothing,
unless he should speak too much. *
The man does not know it,
he who knows nothing,
whether he speaks too much.
Frr s ykkisk
er fregna kann
ok segja hit sama
eyvitu leyna
megu ta synir
v er gengr of guma

He seems wise,
he who knows how to ask
and to speak likewise;
they can conceal nothing,
the sons of men,
of what is said about men. 
Œrna mlir
s er eva egir
stalausu stafi
hramlt tunga
nema haldendr eigi
opt sr gtt um gelr

[2] He who is never silent
[1] speaks plenty
of meaningless words;
the fast-talking tongue,
unless it have controllers,
often sings itself harm.
At augabragi
skala mar anna hafa
tt til kynnis komi
margr frr ykkisk
ef hann freginn erat
ok ni hann urrfjallr ruma

[2] A man must not make 
[1] a mockery [2] of another
when he comes to visit acquaintances;
many a man seems wise
if he is not questioned
and manages to sit quiet, unscathed. 
Frr ykkisk
s er fltta tekr
gestr at gest hinn
veita grla
s er of veri glissir
tt hann me grmum glami

He seems wise,
the guest who takes flight
from the mocking guest;
he does not know for certain,
he who mocks over a meal,
whether he talks loudly among enemies. 
Gunnar margir
erusk gagnhollir
en at viri vrekask
aldar rg
at mun vera
rir gestr vi gest

Many men
are most friendly with each other
and yet fight over food;
strife among men
will always be:
guest will be hostile to guest. 
rliga verar
skyli mar opt f
nema til kynnis komi
sitr ok snpir
ltr sem solginn s
ok kann fregna at f

[2] A man should often take 
[1] a meal early,
unless he comes to visit friends;
[else] he sits and looks around hungrily,
behaves as though he's famished,
and can talk about little. 
Afhvart mikit
er til ills vinar
tt brautu bi
en til gs vinar
liggja gagnvegir
tt hann s firr farinn

It is a great roundabout way
to a bad friend,
though he dwell on the road;
but to a good friend
there lead direct routes,
though he be gone farther away.
Ganga skal
skala gestr vera
ey einum sta
ljfr verr leir
ef lengi sitr
annars fletjum

The guest must go,
he must not be
always in the same place;
loved becomes loathed
if he stays a long time
in the hall of another. 
B er betra
tt ltit s
halr er heima hverr
tt tvr geitr
eigi ok taugreptan sal
at er betra an bœn

The dwelling is better,
though it be small;
each man is a free man at home;
though he own two she-goats
and a hall roofed with withies,
it is still better than begging.
B er betra
tt ltit s
halr er heima hverr
blugt er hjarta
eims bija skal
sr ml hvert matar

The dwelling is better,
though it be small;
each man is a free man at home;
he has a bloody heart,
the one who must beg
food for himself every meal-time. 
Vpnum snum
skala mar velli
feti ganga framar
v at vist er at vita
nr verr vegum ti
geirs um rf guma

[2] A man in the open country must not 
[3] go more than one step
[1] from his weapons;
because one can't be sure 
when, outside on the roads,
a spear will be needed by a warrior. 
Fanka ek mildan mann
ea sv matar gan
at vrit iggja egit
ea sns far
sv gjflan
at lei s laun ef iggr

I have not found a man so liberal
or so generous with food
that to accept was not accepted,
or [5] so free *
[4] with his money
that the reward is unwelcome if he gets one. 
Far sns
er fengit hefir
skylit mar rf ola
opt sparir leium
ats hefir ljfum hugat
mart gengr verr en varir

[3] A man should not endure want
[2] when he has gained
[1] his money;
often he saves for enemies
what he has intended for friends;
much goes worse than expected. 
Vpnum ok vum
skulu vinir glejask
at er sjalfum snst
vir gefendr ok endrgefendr
erusk vinir lengst,
ef at br at vera vel

[2] Friends must gladden each other
[1] with weapons and clothes,
which are most evident on themselves.
givers in return and repeat-givers
are friends the longest
if it endures to turn out well. 
Vin snum
skal mar vinr vera
ok gjalda gjf vi gjf
hltr vi hltri
skyli hlar taka
en lausung vi lygi

[2] A man must be a friend
[1] to his friend
and give gift for gift.
[5] Men should use
[4] mockery in return for mockery,
and deception in return for a lie. 
Vin snum
skal mar vinr vera
eim ok ess vinr
en vinar sns
skyli engi mar
vinar vinr vera

[2] A man must be a friend
[1] to his friend,
for himself and for the friend,
[5] but no man must 
[6] be a friend of a friend
[4] of his foe. 
Veiztu ef vin tt
anns vel trir
ok vill af honum gtt geta
gei skalt vi ann
blanda ok gjfum skipta
fara at finna opt

Know, if you have a friend
in whom you have faith,
and you wish to get something good from him,
you must share with his mind
and exchange gifts,
and go often to seek him out. 
Ef t annan
anns illa trir
vildu af honum gtt geta
fagrt skalt vi ann mla
en fltt hyggja
ok gjalda lausung vi lygi

If you have another
whom you mistrust,
but you want to get something good from him,
you must speak fair to him,
and think deceitful thoughts,
and give deception in return for a lie. 
at er enn of ann
er illa trir
ok r er grunr at hans gei
hlja skaltu vi eim
ok um hug mla
glk skulu gjld gjfum

There is more about the one
whom you mistrust
and whose disposition you suspect:
you should laugh with him
and speak other than your thought.
There should be repayment for such gifts. 
Ungr var ek forum
fr ek einn saman
var ek villr vega
auigr ttumk
er ek annan fann
mar er manns gaman

Long ago I was young,
I travelled on my own,
then I turned astray in my paths:
I thought myself rich 
when I found another,
man is man's entertainment. 
Mildir frœknir
menn bazt lifa
sjaldan st ala
en snjallr mar
uggir hotvetna
stir glggr vi gjfum

Generous, valiant
men live best,
and seldom nourish sorrow;
but the cowardly man
fears all sorts of things
and the niggard is always troubled about gifts. 
Vir mnar
gaf ek velli at
tveim trmnnum
rekkar at ttusk
er eir ript hfu
neiss er nkkvir halr

My clothes
I gave in a field
to two wooden men:
they thought themselves warriors
when they had clothing:
a naked man is shamed. 
Hrrnar ll
s er stendr orpi
hlrat henni brkr n barr
sv er mar 
s er mangi ann
hvat skal hann lengi lifa?

The fir decays,
the one that stands in the hamlet:
neither bark nor foliage protects it.
So is a man,
who is loved by no-one:
how should he live a long time? 
Eldi heitari
brinn me illum vinum
frir fimm daga,
en sloknar
es hinn stti kmr
ok versnar allr vinskapr

Friendship among bad friends
burns hotter than fire
for five days;
but it is extinguished
when the sixth day comes
and the whole friendship spoils.
Mikit eitt
skala manni gefa
opt kaupir sr ltlu lof
me hlfum hleifi
ok me hllu keri
fekk ek mr flaga

[2] One should not give a man
[1] a single large gift:
often one can obtain for onself with a little praise:
with half a loaf
and with a sloping goblet
I got myself a comrade. 
Ltilla sanda
ltilla sva
ltil eru ge guma
v at allir menn
urut jafnspakir
hlf er ld hvar

? [of small sands,]
? [of small seas,]
Small are the minds of men,
because all men
have not turned out equally wise,
? mankind is everywhere halved. 
skyli manna hverr
va til snotr s
eim er fyra
fegrst at lifa
er vel mart vitut

[2] Each man must be
[1] moderately wise,
but never too wise;
for those people
it is most pleasant to live
when they don't know a great many things. * 
skyli manna hverr
va til snotr s
v at snotrs manns hjarta
verr sjaldan glatt,
ef s er alsnotr er

[2] Each man must be
[1] moderately wise,
but never too wise;
because the wise man's heart
is seldom glad,
if he who owns it is completely wise. 
skyli manna hverr
va til snotr s
rlg sn
viti engi fyrir
eim er sorgalausastr sefi

[2] Each man must be
[1] moderately wise,
but never too wise;
[5] no-one should know beforehand
[4] his fate;
for that one is the mind most free from care. 
Brandr af brandi
brinn unz brunninn er
funi kveykisk af funa
mar af manni
verr at mli kur
en til dœlskr af dul

Firewood from firewood
burns, until it is burnt,
flame kindles from flame;
from man, man
becomes wise in speech,
but too foolish from folly. 
r skal rsa
s er annars vill
f ea fjr hafa
sjaldan liggjandi lfr
lr um getr
n sofandi mar sigr

He must rise early,
the one who wants to have another's
wealth or life;
seldom does a lying wolf
get a ham
or a sleeping man victory. 
r skal rsa
s er yrkendr f
ok ganga sns verka vit
mart um dvelr
ann er um morgin sefr 
hlfr er aur und hvtum

He must rise early,
the one who has few workers,
and go to visit his work;
much will delay
the one who sleeps through the morning;
wealth is half in the hands of the active. 
urra ska
ok akinna nfra
ess kann mar mjt
ok ess viar
er vinnask megi
ml ok misseri

[3] Man knows the measure of this,
[1] of dry sticks
[2] and of birch-bark for roofing,
and of this, of wood
which will last
for the short and long seasons. 
veginn ok mettr
ri mar ingi at
tt hann st vddr til vel
ska ok brka
skammisk engi mar
n hests in heldr
tt hann hafit gan

[2] A man should ride to the Thing
[1] washed and fed,
though he be not clothed too well;
[5] let no man be ashamed
[4] of shoes and breeches,
nor of horse either,
even if he hasn't a good one. 
Snapir ok gnapir
er til svar kmr
rn aldinn mar
sv er mar
er me mrgum kmr
ok formlendr f

[3] The eagle [1] snatches and stretches
when it comes to the sea,
[3] the ancient sea;
so is a man
who comes among crowds
and has few supporters. 
Fregna ok segja
skal frra hverr
s er vill heitinn horskr
einn vita
n annarr skal
j veit ef rr ro

[2] Each of the wise must
[1] ask and reply,
he who wishes to be called wise;
one alone must know
but not another;
the people knows if there are three [who know]. 
Rki sitt
skyli rsnotra
hverr hfi hafa
hann at finnr 
er me frœknum kmr 
at engi er einna hvatastr

[3] Each [2] of the prudent must
[3] hold in moderation
[1] his power;
then he finds it,
when he comes among valiant men,
that none is keenest of all. 
Ora eira
er mar rum segir
opt hann gjld um getr

[3] Often a man gets a repayment
[1] for the words
[2] which he says to another. 
Mikilsti snemma
kom ek marga stai 
en til s suma
l var drukkit 
sumt var lagat
sjaldan hittir leir li

[2] I came to many places
[1] very much too soon,
and too late to some;
sometimes the ale was drunk,
sometimes it wasn't ready;
the unwelcome one seldom hits the spot. 
Hr ok hvar 
myndi mr heim of boit
ef yrftak at mlungi mat 
ea tvau lr hengi
at ins tryggva vinar
ars ek hafa eitt etit

Here and there
I would be invited home
if I needed no food at meals;
or two hams would hang
at a loyal friend's
where I had eaten one. 
Eldr er beztr
me ta sonum
ok slar sn 
heilyndi sitt
ef mar hafa nir 
n vi lst at lifa

Fire is best
for the sons of men
and the sight of the sun;
his health,
if he can keep it,
and to live without shame.
Erat mar alls vesall 
tt hann s illa heill 
sumr er af sonum sll 
sumr af frndum 
sumr af f œrnu 
sumr af verkum vel

A man is not wholly wretched,
though he be in rotten health;
one is blessed with sons,
another with kinsmen,
another with plenty of money,
another with deeds well done. 
Betra er lifum
en s lifum 
ey getr kvikr k
eld s ek upp brenna
augum manni fyrir 
en ti var daur fyr durum

It is better for the living
than for the dead, *
the living man always gets the cow;
I saw the fire burn up
before a rich man,
but death was outside the door. 
Haltr rr hrossi 
hjr rekr handarvanr 
daufr vegr ok dugir
blindr er betri
en brenndr s
ntr manngi ns

The lame man rides a horse,
the one-armed man drives the herd,
the deaf man fights and is useful;
it is better to be blind
than burnt:
no-one is helped by a corpse. 
Sonr er betri 
tt s s of alinn 
eptir genginn guma
sjaldan bautarsteinar
standa brautu nr
nema reisi nir at ni

A son is better,
though he be late-begotten,
after a man is gone;
memorial stones seldom
stand by the road
unless a kinsman should raise [them] to kin. 
Tveir ro eins herjar
tunga er hfus bani
er mr hein hvern
handar vni

Two men are the destroyers of one:
the tongue is the head's slayer;
[4] I expect a fist
[3] in every fur cloak. 
Ntt verr feginn
s er nesti trir
skammar ro skips rr
hverf er haustgrma
fjl um virir
fimm dgum 
en meira mnui

He becomes happy at night
who trusts his journey-provisions;
a ship's sailyards are short;
an autumn-night is changeable.
The weather changes in many ways
in five days,
and more in a month. 
Veita hinn
er vttki veit 
margr verr af aurum api
mar er auigr 
annarr auigr
skylit ann vtka vr

He does not know, 
he who knows nothing:
many a man becomes a fool through ores [money];
one man is rich,
another poor;
he must not blame his woe on him. 
Deyr f 
deyja frndr 
deyr sjlfr it sama 
en orstrr
deyr aldregi
hveim er sr gan getr

Cattle die,
kinsmen die,
the self dies likewise;
but the renown
[6] for the one who gets good fame
[5] dies never. 
Deyr f 
deyja frndr 
deyr sjlfr it sama 
ek veit einn
at aldri deyr 
dmr um dauan hvern

Cattle die,
kinsmen die,
the self dies likewise;
I know one thing
that never dies:
the repute of each of the dead. 
Fullar grindr 
s ek fyr Fitjungs sonum 
n bera eir vnarvl 
sv er aur
sem augabrag 
hann er valtastr vina

[2] I saw [1] the full cattle-pens
of the sons of Fitjung,
now they are beggars:
thus wealth is
like the blink of an eye --
it is the most unreliable of friends. 
snotr mar 
ef eignask getr
f ea fljs munu 
metnar honum rask
en mannvit aldregi 
fram gengr hann drjgt  dul

[2] If [1] the foolish man
gains possession of
money or a woman's love,
pride grows in him
but never commonsense;
he heads straight for haughtiness. 
at er reynt
er at rnum spyrr 
inum reginkunnum 
eim er geru ginnregin
ok fi fimbululr 
hefir hann bazt ef hann egir

Then that is proven
when you consult the runes,
originated by the gods,
those which the gods made
and the mighty sage coloured,
that it is best if he is silent. 
At kveldi skal dag leyfa 
konu er brennd er 
mki er reyndr er 
mey er gefin er 
s er yfir kmr 
l er drukkit er

The day must be praised in the evening,
a woman, when she is cremated,
a sword, when it is proven,
a maiden, when she is given away,
ice, when it is crossed,
ale, when it is drunk. 
vindi skal vi hggva 
veri sj ra 
myrkri vi man spjalla 
mrg eru dags augu
skip skal skriar orka 
en skjld til hlfar 
mki hggs 
en mey til kossa

Wood must be hewed in the wind,
row out to sea in good weather,
talk with maidens in the dark,
many are the eyes of the day.
A ship must be used for a swift journey
and a shield for protection,
a sword for a blow
and a maiden for kisses.
Vi eld skal l drekka 
en si skra 
magran mar kaupa
en mki saurgan 
heima hest feita
en hund bi

Drink ale by the fire
and skate on the ice,
buy a lean steed
and a dirty sword, *
fatten a horse at home
and farm out a dog. 
Meyjar orum
skyli manngi tra
n v er kver kona 
v at  hverfanda hvli
vru eim hjrtu skpu 
brig brjst um lagit

[2] No-one should trust 
[1] in the words of a maid,
nor in what a woman says,
[4] for [5] their hearts were shaped
[4] on a (potter's) turning wheel,
and fickleness placed in their breasts. 
Brestanda boga 
brennanda loga 
gnanda lfi 
galandi krku 
rtanda svni 
rtlausum vii 
vaxanda vgi 
vellanda katli

A cracking bow,
a burning flame,
a gaping wolf,
a screaming crow,
a grunting pig,
a rootless tree,
a rising sea,
a boiling kettle,
fljganda fleini 
fallandi bru 
si einnttum 
ormi hringlegnum 
brar bemlum
ea brotnu sveri 
bjarnar leiki
ea barni konungs

a flying spear,
a falling wave,
ice one night old,
a coiled snake,
a bride's bed-talk
or a broken sword,
a bear's game
or a king's son,
sjkum klfi 
sjlfra rli 
vlu vilmli 
val nfeldum

a sick calf,
a self-willed thrall,
the favouring speech of a seeress,
the newly slain, 
akri rsnum
tri engi mar
n til snemma syni 
ver rr akri
en vit syni 
htt er eira hvrt

a field sown early
no man should trust, 
nor too quickly in his son;
weather rules the field 
and the mind of the son,
each of these is unreliable. 
Brurbana snum 
tt brautu mœti 
hsi hlfbrunnu 
hesti alskjtum 
er jr ntr
ef einn ftr brotnar 
verit mar sv tryggr
at essu tri llu

In his brother-slayer,
though he is met on the road,
in a half-burnt house,
in a horse too-speedy --
a steed is useless
if he breaks a foot --
a man should not be so trustful
that he trusts all these.
Sv er frir kvenna 
eira er fltt hyggja 
sem aki j bryddum
si hlum 
teitum tvvetrum 
ok s tamr illa 
ea byr um
beiti stjrnlausu 
ea skyli haltr henda
hrein fjalli

The love of women
who are deceitful in spirit
is like riding a smooth-shod horse
on slippery ice,
a spirited two-year-old
and one badly trained,
or [8] on a rudderless boat
[7] in a raging wind,
or like a lame man trying to catch
a reindeer on a thawing mountainside.
Bert ek n mli 
v at ek bi veit 
brigr er karla hugr konum 
vr fegrst mlum
er vr flst hyggjum 
at tlir horska hugi

Now I will speak openly,
because I know both:
men's hearts are fickle with women;
when we speak most fair
then we think most false.
It deceives the heart of the wise. 
Fagrt skal mla
ok f bja
s er vill fljs st f 
lki leyfa
ins ljsa mans 
s fr er frar

Fairly must he speak
and offer gifts,
he who wants to win a woman's love;
praise the figure
of the fair maiden;
he wins who flatters. 
star firna
skyli engi mar
annan aldregi 
opt f horskan
er heimskan ne f
lostfagrir litir

[2] No man must
[3] ever [1] mock
[3] another's [1] love.
often [6] ravishingly fair looks
[4] capture the wise man
[5] when they do not capture the fool. 
Eyvitar firna
er mar annan skal
ess er um margan gengr guma 
heimska r horskum
grir hla sonu
s inn mtki munr

[2] A man must
[1] in no way mock [2] another,
for what happens to many a man;
[6] love the mighty
makes [4] fools of the wise
[5] among the sons of men. 
Hugr einn at veit
er br hjarta nr 
einn er hann sr um sefa 
ng er stt verri
hveim snotrum manni
en sr ngu at una

Only the mind knows
what lives near the heart;
a man is alone with his own spirit.
There is no sickness worse
for any wise man
than to have nothing to love. 
at ek reynda
er ek reyri sat
ok vttak mns munar 
hold ok hjarta
var mr in horska mr 
eygi ek hana at heldr hefik

That I proved
when I sat in the reeds
and waited for my love;
[5] the wise maid to me
[4] was body and soul --
but still I do not have her. 
Billings mey
ek fann bejum
slhvta sofa 
jarls yni
tti mr ekki vera 
nema vi at lk at lifa

[2] I found her in bed,
[1] Billingr's kinswoman,
sun-white, asleep;
a jarl's delight
seemed nothing to me,
unless I could live with that body. 
Auk nr apni 
skaltu inn koma
ef vilt r mla man
alt eru skp
nema einir viti
slkan lst saman

"So towards evening,
Othinn, you must come,
if you want to win the maid for yourself;
all is amiss,
unless we alone know
of such shame." 
Aptr ek hvarf
ok unna ttumk 
vsum vilja fr 
hitt ek huga 
at ek hafa mynda
ge hennar alt ok gaman

Back I turned
and seemed [3] out of my head
[2] with love;
I thought
that I would have
it all, her heart and pleasure. 
Sv kom ek nst 
at in nta var
vgdrtt ll um vakin
me brennandum ljsum
ok bornum vii 
sv var mr vlstgr of vitar

When I came next,
the able [3] warriors
[2] were [3] all awake;
with burning lights
and brands raised high, *
so was my wretched path marked out. 
Ok nr morni 
er ek var enn um kominn 
var saldrtt um sofin
grey eitt ek fann
innar gu konu
bundit bejum

And towards morning,
when I came back again,
the hall retainers were asleep.
Then I found only 
the good woman's [4] bitch
bound to the bed. 
Mrg er g mr 
ef grva kannar 
hugbrig vi hali 
ek at reynda
er it rspaka
teyga ek flrir flj 
hungar hverrar
leitai mr it horska man 
ok hafa ek ess vttki vfs

Many a good maid,
if you look closely,
is fickle-minded towards men;
I learned that 
when [6] I tried to seduce
the [5] wise [6] woman to wantonness,
[8] the clever maid heaped *
[7] her scorn [8] on me,
and I got nothing from this woman.
Heima glar gumi
ok vi gesti reifr 
svir skal um sik vera 
minnigr ok mlugr 
ef hann vill margfrr vera 
opt skal gs geta 
fimbulfambi heitir
s er ftt kann segja 
at er snotrs aal

At home a man [3] must be [1] glad
and cheerful with guests,
knowing about himself,
mindful and fluent,
if he wants to be well-informed;
he should often speak of good things.
He is called a monstrous fool,
the one who knows how to say almost nothing:
it is the character of the unwise.
Inn aldna jtum ek stta 
n em ek aptr um kominn
ftt gat ek egjandi ar 
mrgum orum
mlta ek minn frama
Suttungs slum

I sought the old giant,
now I have come back again.
I got little from being silent there.
With many words
I spoke to my own advantage
in Suttungr's hall. 
Gunnl mr um gaf
gullnum stli
drykk ins dra mjaar 
ill igjld
lt ek hana eptir hafa
sns ins heila hugar 
sns ins svra sefa

Gunnloth gave to me
[3] a drink of the precious mead
[2] on her golden throne;
A bad reward
I gave her afterwards
for her whole heart,
for her sorrowful spirit.

Rata munn 
ltumk rms um f
ok um grjt gnaga 
yfir ok undir
stumk jtna vegir 
sv htta ek hfi til

[2] I let [1] the mouth of the gimlet
make space
and gnaw through stone;
over and under
me stood the giants' paths (rocks):
thus I risked my head. 
Vel keypts litar
hefi ek vel notit
fs er frum vant
v at rerir
er n upp kominn
alda vs jarar

[2] I have taken great advantage
[1] ? from the well-purchased appearance; *
little is lacking to the wise,
because Othrerir
has now come up
? to Othinn's sanctuary. * 
Ifi er mr
at ek vra enn kominn
jtna grum r 
ef ek Gunnlaar ne nytak 
innar gu konu 
eirar er lgumk arm yfir

Doubtful it is to me
that I could have come again
out of the giant's court,
if I had not enjoyed Gunnloth,
the good woman,
over whom I laid my arm. 
Ins hindra dags
gengu hrmursar
Hva rs at fregna
Hva hllu  
at Blverki eir spuru 
ef hann vri me bndum kominn
ea hefi honum Suttungr of sit

On the next day
the frost giants went
to ask for Har's advice
in Har's hall:
they asked about Bolverkr (the Evil-doer, Othinn),
whether he had come back among the gods,
or whether Suttungr had sacrificed him. 
Baugei inn
hygg ek at unnit hafi
hvat skal hans tryggum tra?
Suttung svikinn
hann lt sumbli fr
ok grœtta Gunnlu

Othinn, [2] I think, has sworn
[1] an oath on the sacred ring --
who shall trust in his troth?
[5] he had [4] Suttungr cheated
of his mead,
and made Gunnloth grieve. 
Ml er at ylja
ular stli
Urar brunni at 
s ek ok agak 
s ek ok hugak 
hldda ek manna ml 
of rnar heyra ek dœma
n um rum gu
Hva hllu at 
Hva hllu  
heyra ek segja sv

It is time to recite
from the sage's throne
at Urthr's well;
I saw and stayed silent,
I saw and reflected,
I listened to the speech of men,
I heard and learned about runes,
nor were they silent in counsels
at Har's hall,
in Har's hall,
thus I heard it said --
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
ntt rsat 
nema  njsn sr
ea leitir r innan t staar

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
don't get up at night,
unless you are on guard
or are seeking a place outside for yourself. 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
fjlkunnigri konu
skalattu fami sofa
sv at hon lyki ik lium

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] you must not sleep in the embrace
[5] of a woman skilled in magic
so that she locks you in her limbs -- 
Hon sv grir
at gir eigi
ings n jans mls 
mat villat
n mannskis gaman 
ferr sorgafullr at sofa

-- she will make sure
that you do not heed
the speech of either Thing (assembly) or king;
you will not desire food
or mankind's pleasure;
you will go sorrowfully to sleep. 
(cf. Mthhild? *) 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
annars konu
teygu r aldregi
eyrarnu at

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never seduce
[5] another's wife
to be your mistress. 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
fjalli ea firi
ef ik fara tir 
fsktu at viri vel

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] if you long to travel
[5] over mountain or fjord,
be sure you have ample food. 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
illan mann
lttu aldregi
hpp at r vita
v at af illum manni
fr aldregi
gjld ins ga hugar

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never allow
[5] a bad man
to know of your misfortune,
because from a bad man
you will never get
a good return for your good will.
Ofarla bta
ek s einum hal
or illrar konu;
flr tunga
var honum at fjrlagi
ok eygi um sanna sk

[2] I saw a man 
[1] deeply bitten
by the word of a bad woman;
her deceit-crafty tongue *
was the death of him,
and yet the charge was not true.
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
veiztu ef vin tt 
anns vel trir 
faru at finna opt 
v at hrsi vex
ok hvu grasi
vegr er vttki trr

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
know this, if you have a friend
whom you trust well,
go to visit him often,
for [9] the path which no-one treads
[7] grows with underbrush
[8] and high grass.
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
gan mann
teygu r at gamanrnum
ok nem lknargaldr mean lifir

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] draw [5] a good man
to you with pleasant conversation,
and learn healing charms while you live. 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr
vin num
ver aldregi
fyrri at flaumslitum 
sorg etr hjarta
ef segja ne nir
einhverjum allan hug

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never be
[7] the first to make a breach
[5] with your friend.
Sorrow eats the heart
if you cannot tell
someone your whole mind.
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
orum skipta
skalt aldregi
vi svinna apa

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] you must never
[5] bandy words
with a stupid fool --

v at af illum manni
mundu aldregi
gs laun um geta 
en gr mar
mun ik grva mega
lknfastan at lofi

-- because [2] you can never
[3] get a reward for good
[1] from a bad man,
but a good man
can make you 
beloved through praise. 
Sifjum er blandat 
hverr er segja rr
einum allan hug
alt er betra
en s brigum at vera 
era s vinr rum 
er vilt eitt segir

Peace and trust are exchanged
when one can tell 
another his whole mind.
Anything is better
than to be faithless:
he is not another's friend 
who says only what the friend wants to hear. 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
rimr orum senna
skalattu r vi verra mann
opt inn betri bilar
er inn verri vegr

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] you must not [5] dispute even three words
with a man less worthy than you:
often the better man is defeated
when the worser attacks.
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
sksmir verir
n skeptismir 
nema  sjlfum r sr 
skr er skapar illa
ea skapt s rangt 
er r bls beit

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
be [6] not [5] a shoe-maker
or a shaft-maker,
except for yourself alone;
if the shoe is badly made
or the shaft bent,
then misfortune is in store for you.
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
hvars bl kannt 
kveu at blvi at
ok gefat num fjndum fri

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
when you come upon misdeeds
speak out about those misdeeds, *
and give your enemies no peace. 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
illu feginn
veru aldregi
en lt r at gu getit

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never be
[5] glad in evil,
but let yourself be pleased by good. 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
upp lta
skalattu orrostu
gjalti glkir
vera gumna synir
sr itt um heilli halir

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] you must not [5] look up
in battle 
-- [8] the sons of men become
[7] like men terror-crazed --
lest men cast spells upon you. *
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
ef vilt r ga konu
kveja at gamanrnum
ok f fgnu af 
fgru skaltu heita
ok lta fast vera 
leiisk manngi gott ef getr

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
if you want [6] to attract
[5] a good woman to you [6] with pleasant talk
and take pleasure with her,
you must make a fair promise
and stick fast to it
-- no one loathes the good, if he gets it.
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
varan bi ek ik vera
en eigi ofvaran
ver vi l varastr
ok vi annars konu
ok vi at it rija 
at jfar ne leiki

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
wary I bid you be,
but not too wary: *
with ale be the most wary
and with another's woman,
and with a third thing,
that thieves do not trick you.
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
at hi n hltri
hafu aldregi
gest n ganganda

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
never mock or laugh
at a guest or traveller. 
Opt vitu grla
eir er sitja inni fyrir 
hvers eir ro kyns er koma 
erat mar sv gr
at galli ne fylgi 
n sv illr at einugi dugi

Often they don't precisely know,
those who sit first in a house,
whose kinsmen they are who come (later):
no man is so good
that no fault follows him,
nor so bad that he is of no use. 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
at hrum ul 
hlu aldregi 
opt er gott at er gamlir kvea 
opt r skrpum belg
skilin or koma 
eim er hangir me hm
ok skollir me skrm
ok vfir me vlmgum

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never laugh
[5] at a gray-haired sage
often what an old man says is good,
often [9] clear words come
[8] out of shrivelled skin,
from the one who hangs among the hides
and dangles among the dried skins
and moves among the entrails.
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
gest ne geyja
n grind hrekir 
get vluum vel

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
do not revile a guest
nor drive him away from your gates;
treat the wretched well. 
Rammt er at tr
er ra skal
llum at upploki 
baug gef
ea at bija mun
r ls hvers liu

Powerful is that beam
that must move from side to side
to open for all;
give a ring,
or it will call down
every evil on your limbs. 
Rumk r Loddffnir 
en r nemir 
njta mundu ef nemr 
r munu g ef getr 
hvars l drekkr 
kjs r jarar megin 
v at jr tekr vi lri 
en eldr vi sttum 
eik vi abbindi 
ax vi fjlkynngi 
hll vi hrgi
heiptum skal mna kveja
beiti vi bitsttum 
en vi blvi rnar 
fold skal vi fl taka

I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
when you drink ale,
choose for yourself the might of the earth,
because earth fights against beer,
and fire against sickness,
oak against constipation,
an ear of corn against sorcery,
the hall-tree against domestic strife, *
-- one must invoke the moon against wrathful deeds --
alum against bite-sickness
and runes against misfortune;
the earth must contend against the sea.
Veit ek at ek hekk
vindga meii
ntr allar nu 
geiri undar
ok gefinn ni 
sjlfr sjlfum mr 
eim meii
er manngi veit
hvers hann af rtum renn

I know that I hung
upon a windy tree
for nine whole nights,
wounded with a spear
and given to Othinn,
myself to myself for me;
on that tree
I knew nothing
of what kind of roots it came from. 
Vi hleifi mik sldu
n vi hornigi 
nsta ek nir 
nam ek upp rnar 
œpandi nam 
fell ek aptr aan

They cheered me with a loaf
and not with any horn,
I investigated down below,
I took up the runes,
screaming I took them,
and I fell back from there. 
Fimbullj nu
nam ek af inum frgja syni
Blrs Bestlu fur 
ok ek drykk of gat
ins dra mjaar 
ausinn reri

[2] I took [1] nine mighty spells
from the famous son
of Bolthorr, the father of Bestla,
and I got a drink 
of the precious mead,
poured from Othrerir. 
nam ek frvask
ok frr vera
ok vaxa ok vel hafask 
or mr af ori
ors leitai 
verk mr af verki
verks leitai

Then I began [2] to be
[1] fruitful [2] and wise,
to grow and to flourish;
speech fetched my speech for speech,
action fetched my action for action. 
Rnar munt finna
ok rna stafi 
mjk stra stafi 
mjk stinna stafi 
er fi fimbululr
ok gru ginnregin
ok reist Hroptr rgna

You can find runes
and meaning staves,
very mighty staves,
very strong staves,
which a mighty sage coloured
and mighty powers made,
and Hroptr of the gods carved. 
inn me sum 
en fyr lfum Dinn 
ok Dvalinn dvergum fyrir 
svir jtnum fyrir 
ek reist sjlfr sumar

Othinn among the gods,
Dainn for the elves
and Dvalinn for the dwarves,
Asvithr for the giants
-- I myself carved some. 
Veiztu hv rsta skal?
Veiztu hv ra skal?
Veiztu hv f skal?
Veiztu hv freista skal?
Veiztu hv bija skal?
Veiztu hv blta skal?
Veiztu hv senda skal?
Veiztu hv sa skal?

Do you know how you must cut [them]?
Do you know how you must interpret?
Do you know how you must colour?
Do you know how you must try?
Do you know how you must invoke?
Do you know how you must sacrifice?
Do you know how you must send?
Do you know how you must kill? 
Betra er beit
en s ofbltit 
ey sr til gildis gjf 
betra er sent
en s ofsit
sv undr um reist
fyr ja rk 
ar hann upp um reis
er hann aptr of kom

It is better that it be not invoked
than over-sacrificed,
the gift is always for the repayment,
it is better that it be not sent
than over-immolated.
So Thundr carved
before the history of the peoples,
when he rose up
and when he came back. 
Lj ek au kann
er kannat jans kona
ok mannskis mgr 
hjlp heitir eitt 
en at r hjlpa mun
vi skum ok sorgum
ok stum grvllum

I know the songs
that no ruler's wife knows,
nor anyone's son:
the first is called "Help",
and it will help you
with disputes and griefs
and absolutely all sorrows. 
at kann ek annat
er urfu ta synir 
eir er vilja lknar lifa

I know a second
which the sons of men need,
those who want to live as physicians. 
at kann ek it rija 
ef mr verr rf mikil
hapts vi mna heiptmgu 
eggjar ek deyfi
minna andskota 
btat eim vpn n velir

I know the third:
if great need befalls me
for a fetter for my enemy,
I can blunt the edges
of my enemies,
that weapons and staves do not bite for them. 
at kann ek it fjra 
ef mr fyrar bera
bnd at bglimum 
sv ek gel
at ek ganga m 
sprettr mr af ftum fjturr
en af hndum hapt

I know the fourth:
if men put
fetters on my limbs,
I sing so that
I can go:
fetter springs from my feet
and bond from my hands. (cf. Imma *) 
at kann ek it fimmta 
ef ek s af fri skotinn
flein flki vaa 
flgra hann sv stinnt
at ek stvigak 
ef ek hann sjnum of sk

I know the fifth:
if I see [3] a spear, [2] shot in malice
to fly into a host,
it does not fly so strongly
that I cannot stop it,
if I catch sight of it. 
at kann ek it stta 
ef mik srir egn
rtum rams viar 
ok ann hal
er mik heipta kver 
ann eta mein heldr en mik

I know the sixth:
if a warrior wounds me
with the root of a strong tree * 
and calls forth hatreds from me,
then the harms eat the man and not me.

at kann ek it sjaunda 
ef ek s hvan loga
sal um sessmgum 
brennrat sv breitt
at ek honum bjargigak 
ann kann ek galdr at gala

I know the seventh:
if I see a high [3] hall
[2] to burn [3] around my table-companions,
it does not burn so bright
that I cannot save it,
when I can sing the spell. 
at kann ek it tta 
er llum er
nytsamligt at nema
hvars hatr vex
me hildings sonum 
at m ek bœta brtt

I know the eighth,
which [3] is useful [2] for all
to take:
wherever hatred grows
among the sons of the prince,
I can quickly cure it. 
at kann ek it nunda 
ef mik naur um stendr
at bjarga fari mnu floti 
vind ek kyrri
ok svfik allan s

I know the ninth: 
if I need
to save my ship afloat
I can calm the wind
on the wave
and lull the whole sea to sleep. 
at kann ek it tunda 
ef ek s tnriir
leika lopti  
ek sv vinnk 
at eir villir fara
sinna heimhama 
sinna heimhuga

I know the tenth:
if I see witches
playing in the air,
I can so arrange it
that they go astray
from their proper shapes
and proper thoughts. 
at kann ek it ellipta 
ef ek skal til orrostu
leia langvini 
undir randir ek gel 
en eir me rki fara
heilir hildar til 
heilir hildi fr 
koma eir heilir hvaan

I know the eleventh:
if I must [3] lead old friends
[2] to battle,
I sing under the shields,
and they go victoriously:
safe to the battle,
safe from the battle,
they come safe from everywhere. 
at kann ek it tlpta 
ef ek s tr uppi
vfa virgiln 
sv ek rst
ok rnum fk
at s gengr gumi
ok mlir vi mik

I know the twelfth:
if I see up in a tree
a hanged corpse swinging,
I carve
and colour the runes
that the man moves
and speaks with me. 
at kann ek it rettnda 
ef ek skal egn ungan
verpa vatni  
munat hann falla 
tt hann flk komi 
hngra s halr fyr hjrum

I know the thirteenth:
if I will [3] throw water
[2] on a young warrior,
he cannot fall,
though he may come to battle 
the man does not fall before swords. 
at kann ek it fjrtnda 
ef ek skal fyra lii
telja tva fyrir 
sa ok lfa
ek kann allra skil 
fr kann snotr sv

I know the fourteenth:
if I must [3] reckon up
[2] a troop [3] before gods [2] and men,
[5] I know the details of all
[4] the sir and the Elves --
the unwise man knows that not at all. 
at kann ek it fimmtnda
er gl jreyrir 
dvergr fyr Dellings durum 
afl gl hann sum
en lfum frama 
hyggju Hroptat

I know the fifteenth, 
which Thjothreyrir sang,
the dwarf, before the doors of Dellingr:
He sang the might of the gods,
the courage of the elves,
the understanding of Hroptatyr. 
at kann ek it sextnda 
ef ek vil ins svinna mans
hafa ge alt ok gaman 
hugi ek hverfi
hvtarmri konu
ok sn ek hennar llum sefa

I know the sixteenth:
if I wish [3] to have all the heart and pleasure
[2] of a cunning girl,
I turn the feelings
of the white-armed woman,
and I change the whole of her mind. 
at kann ek it sjautjnda
at mik mun seint firrask
it manunga man
lja essa
mun Loddffnir
lengi vanr vera
s r g ef getr
nt ef nemr
rf ef iggr

I know the seventeenth, 
that [3] the youthful maid
[2] will never avoid me;
[5] Loddfafnir, you will 
[6] be lacking [4] these charms
[6] for a long time,
though it be good for you if you get them,
useful if you take them,
needful if you receive them. 
at kann ek it tjnda
er ek va kennik
mey n manns konu 
alt er betra 
er einn um kann
at fylgir lja lokum 
nema eiri einni
er mik armi verr
ea mn systir s

I know the eighteenth,
which I never teach 
to maid or man's wife,
-- everything is better
when one person understands it,
it belongs at the ending of spells --
to none but she alone
who is wrapped in my arm
or is my sister. * 
N era Hva ml 
kvein Hva hllu
allrf ta sonum
rf jtna sonum
heill s er kva
heill s er kann
njti s er nam
heilir eirs hlddu

Now the sayings of Har are spoken
in Har's hall,
very needful to the sons of men,
harmful to the sons of giants.
Hail to him who spoke!
Hail to him who understands!
Let him benefit who took them!
Blessings on those who listened!


The sentiment recalls the Latin tag praestat tacere et stultus haberi quam edicere et omne dubium removere, "It's better to be silent and appear stupid than to speak up and remove all doubt".

The manuscript has svagi at lei se la/n ef egi. Jnsson (p. 49) reads svgi glggvan at..., "so-not stingy that...", while also admitting the possibility that the gi was not meant to be attached to sv but was an abbreviation of or scribal error for gjflan, which would give sv gjflan at..., "so free that...". Evans prefers to read sv gjflan.

54.6: mart vitu
I follow David Evans's emendation from mart vitu, "they know a great many things", which doesn't make sense in the context, to mart vitut, "they don't know a great many things". There is precedent for this in verses 12.1 and 22.6, already emended in Jnsson's edition from an original er (it/he is) to era (it/he is not) to make sense of the verse.

The manuscript has ok sel lifom, nonsensically; Jnsson (p. 75) records the suggested emendation adopted here, en s lif�um.

83.4: en mki saurgan, literally a "dirty" sword, but perhaps meaning something more like a well-used sword, a sword which has proven its worth by not breaking, which has survived to be stained. (Thanks to Serge Boffa for this suggestion.)

100.5: me ... bornum vii "with brands raised high".
Literally "with carried timber", but often taken to go with the brennandum ljsum of the previous line, hence torches, here called brands to alliterate with burning.

102.7-8: it horska man leitai hverrar hungar mr "the clever maid heaped her scorn on me".
Literally something more like "the clever maid sought to bring her scorn on me", but "heaped her scorn" is tighter, brings the alliteration closer to the original, and fits the sense of the following line.

107.1: vel keypts litar
This line is probably corrupt as it stands. See David Evans, p. 121, for commentary. It is tempting to follow Corpus Poeticum Boreale and read litar as something to do with mead, because the rest of the verse does seem to refer to the benefits of the acquisition of the vlkeypts mjaar, "fraud-bought mead". On the other hand, this might be Othinn congratulating himself for the carefully deceitful behaviour (the "well-purchased appearance"?) which enabled him to steal the mead in the first place.

107.6: alda vs iarar
This is the manuscript reading, and clearly corrupt. See David Evans, pp. 121-2, for discussion and options -- I am following Jonsson's emendation v alda jaars, "to the sacred place of the lord of men (Othinn)", i.e. "to Othinn's sanctuary".

114.6: ferr sorgafullr at sofa
It is tempting to compare the hapless victim of the woman skilled in magic going sorrowfully to sleep with Mhild in the Old English poem Deor, of whom it was said "sorrowful love deprived her of all sleep" (t him seo sorglufu slp ealle binom).

118.4: flr
A longer but clearer unpacking of fl-rr would be "deceitfully counselling", but "deceit-crafty" is in the right sort of register and packs more of the punch of the original.

127.6: qveu ' ba/lvi at
Evans, p. 127, notes that Bugge in his first edition of the poem expanded ' as r in his main text and as at in his appendix, and the variants have existed side by side ever since.

129.9: sr itt of heilli halir
Jnsson, p. 128, suggests that itt here would make more sense as ik, and Evans emends to ik.

131.6: oc eigi of vran
The manuscript text would translate "wary I bid you be, and not too wary"; "but not too wary" would make more sense, so perhaps ok (and) should be emended to en (but), as it had to be in the corrupt verse

137.11: hll vi hrgi
As it stands, this says "the hall, against domestic strife", but this seems inexplicable. See David Evans, pp. 132-3, for other possible solutions to this cryptic remark.

149: at kann ek it fjra...
This charm, which prevents fetters from holding a prisoner, is presumably what the Mercians were looking for in the clothing of the Northumbrian Imma, who was captured after the Battle of Trent in 679 but could not be chained (see Bede's Ecclesiastical History, IV.22). Bede explains that in his case, the effect was caused by Imma's brother Tunna, an abbot who thought that Imma was dead and was offering Masses for the repose of his soul.

151.3: rotom rs viar
"With the root of a green/sappy tree", but see Evans, pp. 138-9, on the difficulty with rs here, and a note of the several editors who have settled on the emendation rams ("strong") as a solution.

163.8-9: er mik armi verr ea mn systir s
This odd exception, that Othinn will only reveal the last charm to the one who is his wife or sister, suggests a parallel to Jupiter's relations with Juno, who was et soror et coniunx (neid, I.47).