The Northern Way

The Anglo-Saxon Metrical Charms

Metrical Charm 4: For a Sudden Stitch


Against a sudden stitch, feverfew and the red nettle, that grows through a house, and plantain; boil in butter.


They were loud, lo! loud, when over the hill they rode,
They were fierce when over the land they rode.
Shield yourself now, to survive this violence.
Out, little spear, if you are in here!
I stood under linden, under a light shield,
Where the mighty women gathered their main strength,
And sent their yelling spears;
I will send another after them
An arrow flying in their faces.
Out little spear, if you are in here!
A smith sat, wrought a small knife,
???? iron, wondrously smitten.
Six smiths sat, working war-spears.
Out spear, not in, spear!
If there is anything in here of iron,
Made by hags, it shall melt. Or were shot in the blood,
Or were shot in a limb, may your life never be harmed;
If it was the shot of Aesir, or if it was the shot of elves,
Or it was the shot of hags, I will help you now.
This to cure you of Aesir-shot, this to cure you of elf-shot,
This to cure you of hag-shot; I will help you.
Hurry then to the head of the mountain.
Be you whole, may the Lord help you.


Take then the knife; plunge it into the liquid.


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