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Havamal, translated by Olive Bray
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Introduction

Below is a reworked version of Olive Bray's translation of the Norse teaching poem Havamal.

Olive Bray

The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 28, No. 4, Oct., 1929 reviewed Olive Bray's translation of The Poetic Edda [from 1908, and which includes her translation of Havamal], stating:

Miss Bray's work is eminently satisfactory: she possesses a scholar's knowledge of the subject (though she was by no means a specialist in the field); and she had poetic ability of a high order. She nearly always succeeded in reproducing the poetry and the spirit of the old lays and she adhered to the metrical form; to do these things she did not hesitate, to depart from rules of alliteration or sometimes to disregard alliteration entirely."

About Verses

The verses are here arranged so as to be in line with many other translations to make comparisons easier - since there are verses that differ markedly from each other in different translations. An example here is verse 25:

The foolish man for friends all those
Who laugh at him will hold;
But the truth when he comes to the council he learns,
That few in his favor will speak.
Tr. Henry A. Bellows

The unwise man weens all who smile
and flatter him are his friends;
but when he shall come into court he shall find
there are few to defend his cause.
— Tr. Olive Bray

The basic meaning is:
The groggy man think well of everyone.
Only when he gets into sharp disputes over legal rights it dawns on him:
Few will defend the unwise. The fool lacks in helping kin.

Juxtaposing Translations

By putting Bray's and Bellow's translations side by side on the screen and reading them alongside each other thus, we may detect a wider or better range of meanings inherent in the Norse poem fairly well. [Page-handling tips] - T. Kinnes

Twig

Havamal

1
At every door-way,
before one enters,
one should spy round,
one should pry round
for uncertain is the witting
that there be no foeman sitting,
within, before one on the floor

2
Hail, you givers! a guest is come;
say! where shall he sit within?
Much pressed is he who fain on the hearth
would seek for warmth and weal.

3
He has need of fire, who now is come,
numbed with cold to the knee;
food and clothing the wanderer craves
who has fared over the rimy fell.

4
He craves for water, who comes for refreshment,
drying and friendly bidding,
marks of good will, fair fame if it is won,
and welcome once and again.

5
He has need of his wits who wanders wide,
anything simple will serve at home;
but a gazing-stock is the fool who sits
mid the wise, and nothing knows.

6
Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch over his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit.

7
Let the wary stranger who seeks refreshment
keep silent with sharpened hearing;
with his ears let him listen, and look with his eyes;
thus each wise man spies out the way.

8
Happy is he who wins for himself
fair fame and kindly words;
but uneasy is that which a man owns
while it lies in another's breast.

9
Happy is he who has in himself
praise and wisdom in life;
for often does a man ill counsel get
when it is born in another's breast.

10
A better burden can no man bear
on the way than his mother wit;
it is the refuge of the poor, and richer it seems
than wealth in a world untried.

11
A better burden can no man bear
on the way than his mother wit:
and no worse provision can he carry with him
than too deep a draught of ale.

12
Less good than they say for the sons of men
is the drinking often of ale:
for the more they drink, the less can they think
and keep a watch over their wits.

13
A bird of unmindfulness flutters over ale feasts,
wiling away men's wits:
with the feathers of that fowl I was fettered once
in the garths of Gunnlos below.

14
Drunk was I then, I was over drunk
in that crafty Jotun's court.
But best is an ale feast when man is able
to call back his wits at once.

15
Silent and thoughtful and bold in strife
the prince's bairn should be.
Joyous and generous let each man show him
till he shall suffer death.

16
A coward believes he will ever live
if he keep him safe from strife:
but old age leaves him not long in peace
though spears may spare his life.

17
A fool will gape when he goes to a friend,
and mumble only, or mope;
but pass him the ale cup and all in a moment
the mind of that man is shown.

18
He knows alone who has wandered wide,
and far has fared on the way,
what manner of mind a man owns
who is wise of head and heart.

19
Keep not the mead cup but drink your measure;
speak needful words or none:
none shall upbraid you for lack of breeding
if soon you seek'st your rest.

20
A greedy man, if he be not mindful,
eats to his own life's hurt:
often the belly of the fool will bring him to scorn
when he seeks the circle of the wise.

21
Herds know the hour of their going home
and turn them again from the grass;
but never is found a foolish man
who knows the measure of his maw.

22
The miserable man and evil minded
makes of all things mockery,
and knows not that which he best should know,
that he is not free from faults.

23
The unwise man is awake all night,
and ponders everything over;
when morning comes he is weary in mind,
and all is a burden as ever.

24
The unwise man weens all who smile
and flatter him are his friends,
nor notes how often they speak him ill
when he sits in the circle of the wise.

25
The unwise man weens all who smile
and flatter him are his friends;
but when he shall come into court he shall find
there are few to defend his cause.

26
The unwise man thinks all to know
while he sits in a sheltered nook;
but he knows not one thing, what he shall answer,
if men shall put him to proof.

27
For the unwise man it is best to be mute
when he come amid the crowd,
for none is aware of his lack of wit
if he wastes not too many words;
for he who lacks wit shall never learn
though his words flow never so fast.

28
Wise he is deemed who can question well,
and also answer back:
the sons of men can no secret make
of the tidings told in their midst.

29
Too many unstable words are spoken
by him who never holds his peace;
the hasty tongue sings its own mishap
if it be not bridled in.

30
Let no man be held as a laughing-stock,
though he come as guest for a meal:
wise enough seem many while they sit dry-skinned
and are not put to proof.

31
A guest thinks him witty who mocks at a guest
and runs from his wrath away;
but none can be sure who jests at a meal
that he makes not fun among foes.

32
Often, though their hearts lean towards one another,
friends are divided at table;
ever the source of strife it will be,
that guest will anger guest.

33
A man should take always his meals betimes
unless he visit a friend,
or he sits and mopes, and half famished seems,
and can ask or answer nothing.

34
Long is the round to a false friend leading,
even if he dwell on the way:
but though far off fared, to a faithful friend
straight are the roads and short.

35
A guest must depart again on his way,
nor stay in the same place ever;
if he bide too long on another's bench
the loved one soon becomes loathed.

36
One's own house is best, though small it may be;
each man is master at home;
though he have but two goats and a bark-thatched hut
it is better than craving a boon.

37
One's own house is best, though small it may be,
each man is master at home;
with a bleeding heart will he beg, who must,
his meat at every meal.

38
Let a man never stir on his road a step
without his weapons of war;
for unsure is the knowing when need shall arise
of a spear on the way without.

39
Let no man stint him and suffer need
of the wealth he has won in life;
often is saved for a foe what was meant for a friend,
and much goes worse than one weens.

40
Found none so noble or free with his food,
who was not gladdened with a gift,
nor one who gave of his gifts such store
but he loved reward, could he win it.

41
With raiment and arms shall friends gladden each other,
so has one proved oneself;
for friends last longest, if fate be fair
who give and give again.

42
To his friend a man should bear him as friend,
and gift for gift betow,
laughter for laughter let him exchange,
but leasing pay for a lie.

43
To his friend a man should bear him as friend,
to him and a friend of his;
but let him beware that he be not the friend
of one who is friend to his foe.

44
Have you got a friend that you trust well,
from whom you crave good?
Share your mind with him, gifts exchange with him,
fare to find him often.

45
But have you one whom you trust ill
yet from whom you crave good?
You shall speak him fair, but falsely think,
and leasing pay for a lie

46
Yet further of him whom you trusted ill,
and whose mind you misdoubtS;
though shall laugh with him but withhold your thought,
for gift with like gift should be paid.

47
Young was I once, I walked alone,
and bewildered seemed in the way;
then I found me another and rich I thought me,
for man is the joy of man.

48
Most blest is he who lives free and bold
and nurses never a grief,
for the fearful man is dismayed by anything,
and the mean one mourns over giving.

49
My garments once I gave in the field
to two land-marks made as men;
heroes they seemed when once they were clothed;
it is the naked who suffer shame!

50
The pine tree wastes which is perched on the hill,
nor bark nor needles shelter it;
such is the man that no one loves;
what should he live longer for?

51
Fiercer than fire among ill friends
for five days love will burn;
but anon it is quenched, when the sixth day comes,
and all friendship soon is spoiled.

52
Not great things alone must one give to another,
praise often is earned for nothing;
with half a loaf and a tilted bowl
I have found me many a friend.

53
Little the sand if little the seas,
little are minds of men,
for never in the world were all equally wise,
it is shared by the fools and the sage.

54
Wise in measure let each man be;
but let him not wax too wise;
for never the happiest of men is he
who knows much of many things.

55
Wise in measure should each man be;
but let him not wax too wise;
seldom a heart will sing with joy
if the owner be all too wise.

56
Wise in measure should each man be,
but never let him wax too wise:
who does not look forward to learn his fate
unburdened heart will bear.

57
Brand kindles from brand till it be burned,
spark is kindled from spark,
man unfold him by speech with man,
but grows over secret through silence.

58
He must rise betimes who fain of another
or life or wealth would win;
scarce falls the prey to sleeping wolves,
or to slumberers victory in strife.

59
He must rise betimes who has few to serve him,
and see to his work himself;
who sleeps at morning is hindered much,
to the keen is wealth half-won.

60
Of dry logs saved and roof-bark stored
a man can know the measure,
of fire-wood too which should last him out
quarter and half years to come.

61
Fed and washed should one ride to court
though in garments none too new;
you shall not shame you for shoes or breeks,
nor yet for a sorry steed.

62 (Bray?)
As the eagle who comes to the ocean shore,
Sniffs and hangs her head,
Dumfounded is he who finds at the Thing
No supporters to plead his case.

63 (Amended?)
Each man who is wise and would wise be called
must ask and answer aright.
Let one know your secret, but never a second, -
if three a thousand shall know.

64
A wise counselled man will be mild in bearing
and use his might in measure,
lest when he come his fierce foes among
he find others fiercer than he.

65
Each man should be watcfhful and wary in speech,
and slow to put faith in a friend.
for the words which one to another speaks
he may wind reward of ill.

66
At many a feast I was far too late,
and much too soon at some;
drunk was the ale or yet unserved:
never hits he the joint who is hated.

67
Here and there to a home I had haply been asked
had I needed no meat at my meals,
or were two hams left hanging in the house of that friend
where I had partaken of one.

68
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame.

69
Not reft of all is he who is ill,
for some are blest in their bairns,
some in their kin and some in their wealth,
and some in working well.

70
More blest are the living than the lifeless,
it is the living who come by the cow;
I saw the hearth-fire burn in the rich man's hall
and himself lying dead at the door.

71
The lame can ride rose, the handless drive cattle,
the deaf one can fight and prevail,
it is happier for the blind than for him on the bale-fire,
but no man has care for a corpse.

72
Best have a son though he be late born
and before him the father be dead:
seldom are stones raised on the wayside
save by kinsmen to kinsmen.

73
Two are hosts against one, the tongue is the head's bane,
'neath a rough hide a hand may be hid.

74
He is glad at night fall who knows of his lodging,
short is the ship's berth,
and changeful the autumn night,
much veers the wind before the fifth day
and blows round yet more in a month.

75
He who learns nothing will never know
how one is the fool of another, CHECK
for if one be rich another is poor
and for that should bear no blame.

76
Full-stocked folds had the Fatling's sons,
who bear now a beggar's staff:
brief is wealth, as the winking of an eye,
most faithless ever of friends.

77
Cattle die and kinsmen die,
yourself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I think, will die, -
fair fame of one who has earned.

78
Cattle die and kinsmen die,
yourself too soon must die,
but one thing will never die, I think -
the doom on each one dead.

79
All will prove true that you ask of runes -
those that are come from the gods,
which the high Powers wrought, and which Odin painted:
then silence is surely best.

80
If haply a fool should find for himself
wealth or a woman's love,
pride waxes in him but wisdom never
and onward he fares in his folly.

81
Praise day at even, a wife when dead,
a weapon when tried, a maid when married,
ice when it is crossed, and ale when it is drunk.

82
Hew wood in wind, sail the seas in a breeze,
woo a maid in the dark, - for day's eyes are many, -
work a ship for its gliding, a shield for its shelter,
a sword for its striking, a maid for her kiss;

83
Drink ale by the fire, but slide on the ice;
buy a steed when it is lanky, a sword when it is rusty;
feed your horse neath a roof, and your hound in the yard.

84
The speech of a maiden should no man trust
nor the words which a woman says;
for their hearts were shaped on a whirling wheel
and falsehood fixed in their breasts.

85
Breaking bow, or flaring flame,
ravening wolf, or croaking raven,
routing swine, or rootless tree,
waxing wave, or seething cauldron,

86
flying arrows, or falling billow,
ice of a night time, coiling adder,
woman's bed-talk, or broken blade,
play of bears or a prince's child,

87
sickly calf or self-willed thrall,
witch's flattery, new-slain foe,

88
Brother's slayer, though seen on the highway,
half burned house, or horse too swift -
be never so trustful as these to trust.

89
Let none put faith in the first sown fruit
nor yet in his son too soon;
whim rules the child, and weather the field,
each is open to chance.

90
Like the love of women whose thoughts are lies
is the driving un-roughshod over slippery ice
of a two year old, ill-tamed and gay;
or in a wild wind steering a helmless ship,
or the lame catching reindeer in the rime-thawed fell.

91
Now plainly I speak, since both I have seen;
unfaithful is man to maid;
we speak them fairest when thoughts are falsest
and wile the wisest of hearts.

92
Let him speak soft words and offer wealth
who longs for a woman's love,
praise the shape of the shining maid -
he wins who thus wooes.

93
Never a whit should one blame another
whom love has brought into bonds:
often a witching form will fetch the wise
which does not hold the heart of fools.

94
Never a whit should one blame another
for a folly which many befalls;
the might of love makes sons of men
into fools who once were wise.

95
The mind knows alone what is nearest the heart
and sees where the soul is turned:
no sickness seems to the wise so sore
as in nothing to know content.

96
This once I felt when I sat without
in the reeds, and looked for my love;
body and soul of me was that sweet maiden
yet never I won her as wife.

97
Billing's daughter I found on her bed,
fairer than sunlight sleeping,
and the sweets of lordship seemed to me nothing,
save I lived with that lovely form.

98
"Yet nearer evening come you, Odin,
if you will woo a maiden:
all were undone save two knew alone
such a secret deed of shame."

99
So away I turned from my wise intent,
and deemed my joy assured,
for all her liking and all her love
I thought that I yet should win.

100
When I came before long the war troop bold
were watching and waking all:
with burning brands and torches borne
they showed me my sorrowful way.

101
Yet nearer morning I went, once more, -
the housefolk slept in the hall,
but soon I found a barking dog
tied fast to that fair maid's couch.

102
Many a sweet maid when one knows her mind
is fickle found towards men:
I proved it well when that prudent lass
I sought to lead astray:
shrewd maid, she sought me with every insult
and I won therewith no wife.

103
In your home be joyous and generous to guests
discreet shall you be in your bearing,
mindful and talkative, would you gain wisdom,
often making me mention of good.
He is "Simpleton" named who has nothing to say,
for such is the fashion of fools.

104
I sought that old Jotun, now safe am I back,
little served my silence there;
but whispering many soft speeches I won
my desire in Suttung's halls.

105
I bored me a road there with Rati's tusk
and made room to pass through the rock;
while the ways of the Jotuns stretched over and under,
I dared my life for a draught.

106
It was Gunnlod who gave me on a golden throne
a draught of the glorious mead,
but with poor reward did I pay her back
for her true and troubled heart.

107
In a wily disguise I worked my will;
little is lacking to the wise,
for the Soul-stirrer now, sweet Mead of Song,
is brought to men's earthly abode.

108
I misdoubt me if ever again I had come
from the realms of the Jotun race,
had I not served me of Gunnlod, sweet woman,
her whom I held in mine arms.

109
Came forth, next day, the dread Frost Giants,
and entered the High One's Hall:
they asked - was the Baleworker back mid the Powers,
or had Suttung slain him below?

110
A ring-oath Odin I trow had taken -
how shall one trust his troth?
it was he who stole the mead from Suttung,
and Gunnlod caused to weep.

111
It is time to speak from the Sage's Seat;
hard by the Well of Weird
I saw and was silent, I saw and pondered,
I listened to the speech of men.
Of runes they spoke, and the reading of runes
was little withheld from their lips:
at the High One's hall, in the High One's hall,
I thus heard the High One say:

112
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
rise never at night time, except you are spying
or seekest a spot without.

113
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
you shall never sleep in the arms of a sorceress,
lest she should lock your limbs;

114
So shall she charm that you shall not heed
the council, or words of the king,
nor care for your food, or the joys of mankind,
but fall into sorrowful sleep.

115
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
seek not ever to draw to yourself
in love-whispering another's wife.

116
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
should you long to fare over fell and firth
provide you well with food.

117
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
tell not ever an evil man
if misfortunes you befall,
from such ill friend you need never seek
return for your trustful mind.

118
Wounded to death, have I seen a man
by the words of an evil woman;
a lying tongue had bereft him of life,
and all without reason of right.

119
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
have you a friend whom you trustest well,
fare you to find him often;
for with brushwood grows and with grasses high
the path were no foot passes.

120
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
in sweet converse call the righteous to your side,
learn a healing song while you live.

121
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
be never the first with friend of thine
to break the bond of fellowship;
care shall gnaw your heart if you cannot tell
all your mind to another.

122
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
never in speech with a foolish knave
should you waste a single word.

123
From the lips of such you need not look
for reward of thine own good will;
but a righteous man by praise will render you
firm in favour and love.

124
There is mingling in friendship when man can utter
all his whole mind to another;
there is nothing so vile as a fickle tongue;
no friend is he who but flatters.

125
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
often the worst lays the best one low.

126
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
be not a shoemaker nor yet a shaft maker
save for yourself alone:
let the shoe be misshapen, or crooked the shaft,
and a curse on your head will be called.

127
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
when in peril you see you, confess you in peril,
nor ever give peace to your foes.

128
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
rejoice not ever at tidings of ill,
but glad let your soul be in good.

129
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
look not up in battle, when men are as beasts,
lest the wights bewitch you with spells.

130
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
would you win joy of a gentle maiden,
and lure to whispering of love,
make fair promise, and let it be fast, -
none will scorn their weal who can win it.

131
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
I pray you be wary, yet not too wary,
be wariest of all with ale,
with another's wife, and a third thing eke,
that knaves outwit you never.

132
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
hold not in scorn, nor mock in your halls
a guest or wandering wight.

133
They know but unsurely who sit within
what kind of man is come:
none is found so good, but some fault attends him,
or so ill but he serves for somewhat.

134
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
hold never in scorn the hoary singer;
often the counsel of the old is good;
come words of wisdom from the withered lips
of him left to hang among hides,
to rock with the rennets
and swing with the skins.

135
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
growl not at guests, nor drive them from the gate
but show yourself gentle to the poor.

136
Mighty is the bar to be moved away
for the entering in of all.
Shower your wealth, or men shall with you
every ill in your limbs.

137
I counsel you, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be your boon if you obey them,
they will work your weal if you win them:
when ale you quaffest, call upon earth's might -
it is earth drinks in the floods.
Earth prevails over drink, but fire over sickness,
the oak over binding, the earcorn over witchcraft,
the rye spur over rupture, the moon over rages,
herb over cattle plagues, runes over harm.

138
Now the sayings of the High One are uttered in the hall
for the weal of men, for the woe of Jotuns,
Hail, you who have spoken! Hail, you that knowest!
Hail, you that have hearkened! Use, you who have learned!

139
I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none has heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.

140
None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.

141
Nine mighty songs I learned from the great
son of Bale-thorn, Bestla's sire;
I drank a measure of the wondrous Mead,
with the Soulstirrer's drops I was showered.

142
Before long I bare fruit, and throve full well,
I grew and waxed in wisdom;
word following word, I found me words,
deed following deed, I wrought deeds.

143
Hidden Runes shall you seek and interpreted signs,
many symbols of might and power,
by the great Singer painted, by the high Powers fashioned,
graved by the Utterer of gods.

144
For gods graved Odin, for elves graved Dan,
Dvalin the Dallier for dwarfs,
All-wise for Jotuns, and I, of myself,
graved some for the sons of men.

145
Do you now how to write, know how to read,
know how to paint, know how to prove,
know how to ask, know how to offer,
know how to send, know how to spend?

146
Better ask for too little than offer too much,
like the gift should be the boon;
better not to send than to overspend.
Thus Odin graved before the world began;
Then he rose from the deep, and came again.

147
Those songs I know, which nor sons of men
nor queen in a king's court knows;
the first is Help which will bring you help
in all woes and in sorrow and strife.

148
A second I know, which the son of men
must sing, who would heal the sick.

149
A third I know: if sore need should come
of a spell to stay my foes;
when I sing that song, which shall blunt their swords,
nor their weapons nor staves can wound.

150
A fourth I know: if men make fast
in chains the joints of my limbs,
when I sing that song which shall set me free,
spring the fetters from hands and feet.

151
A fifth I know: when I see, by foes shot,
speeding a shaft through the host,
flies it never so strongly I still can stay it,
if I get but a glimpse of its flight.

152
A sixth I know: when some thane would harm me
in runes on a moist tree's root,
on his head alone shall light the ills
of the curse that he called upon mine.

153
A seventh I know: if I see a hall
high over the bench-mates blazing,
flame it never so fiercely I still can save it, -
I know how to sing that song.

154
An eighth I know: which all can sing
for their weal if they learn it well;
where hate shall wax 'mid the warrior sons,
I can calm it soon with that song.

155
A ninth I know: when need befalls me
to save my vessel afloat,
I hush the wind on the stormy wave,
and soothe all the sea to rest.

156
A tenth I know: when at night the witches
ride and sport in the air,
such spells I weave that they wander home
out of skins and wits bewildered.

157
An eleventh I know: if haply I lead
my old comrades out to war,
I sing 'neath the shields, and they fare forth mightily
safe into battle,
safe out of battle,
and safe return from the strife.

158
A twelfth I know: if I see in a tree
a corpse from a halter hanging,
such spells I write, and paint in runes,
that the being descends and speaks.

159
A thirteenth I know: if the new-born son
of a warrior I sprinkle with water,
that youth will not fail when he fares to war,
never slain show he bow before sword.

160
A fourteenth I know: if I needs must number
the Powers to the people of men,
I know all the nature of gods and of elves
which none can know untaught.

161
A fifteenth I know, which Folk-stirrer sang,
the dwarf, at the gates of Dawn;
he sang strength to the gods, and skill to the elves,
and wisdom to Odin who utters.

162
A sixteenth I know: when all sweetness and love
I would win from some artful wench,
her heart I turn, and the whole mind change
of that fair-armed lady I love.

163
A seventeenth I know: so that even the shy maiden
is slow to shun my love.

164
These songs, Stray-Singer, which man's son knows not,
long shall you lack in life,
though your weal if you win them, your boon if you obey them
your good if haply you gain them.

165
An eighteenth I know: which I never shall tell
to maiden or wife of man
save alone to my sister, or haply to her
who folds me fast in her arms;
most safe are secrets known to but one-
the songs are sung to an end.


Havamal translated by Olive Bray, Literature  

Bray, Olive, tr. The Elder or Poetic Edda (Sæmund's Edda), Part I: The Mythological Poems. London: The Viking Club, 1908: 61-111.

Other Havamal versions on-site:

  • English: Havamal, tr. Henry A. Bellows, moderated by T. Kinnes.
  • German: Havamal, tr. by Karl Simrock (in the public domain).
  • Swedish: Håvamål, den höges sång, vid Erik Brate (in the public domain).
  • Norwegian: Havamal in Nynorsk Norwegian, tr. T. Kinnes. —— With an extensive list of on-line Havamal versions.

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