The Northern Way

För Skirnis eðr Skirnismál

The Journey or Lay of Skirnir.

Page 1

Frey, son of Niörd, had one day seated himself in Hlidskjalf, and was looking over all regions, when turning his eyes to Jötunheim, he there saw a beautiful girl, as she was passing from her father´s dwelling to her bower. Thereupon he became greatly troubled in mind. Frey´s attendant was named Skirnir; him Niörd desired to speak with Frey; when Skadi said: -

1. Rise up now, Skirnir!
go and request
our son to speak;
and inquire
with whom he so sage
may be offended.

2. Harsh words I have
from your son to fear,
if I go and speak with him,
and to inquire
with whom he so sage
may be offended.

3. Tell me now, Frey,
prince of gods!
for I desire to know,
why alone thou sittest
in the spacious hall
the livelong day?

4. Why shall I tell thee,
thou young man,
my mind’s great trouble?
for the Alfs’ illuminator
shines every day,
yet not for my pleasure.

5. Thy care cannot, I think,
be so great,
that to me thou canst not tell it;
for in early days
we were young together:
well might we trust each other.

6. In Gýmir’s courts
I saw walking
a maid for whom I long.
Her arms gave forth light
wherewith shone
all air and water.

7. Is more desirable
to me that maid
than to any youth
in early days;
yet will no one,
Æsir or Alfar,
that we together live.

8. Give me but thy steed,
which can bear me through
the dusk, flickering flame,
and that sword,
which brandishes itself
against the Jötuns’ race.

9. I will give thee my steed,
which can bear thee through
the dusk, flickering flame,
and that sword,
which will itself brandish,
if he is bold who raises it.

Skirnir speaks to the horse....

10. Dark it is without,
‘tis time, I say, for us to go
across the misty fells,
over the Thursar’s land:
we shall both return,
or the all-potent Jötun
will seize us both.

Skirnir rides to Jötunheim, to Gýmir’s mansion, where fierce dogs were chained at the gate of the enclosure that was round Gýmir’s hall. He rides on to where a cowherd was sitting on a mound, and says to him:

11. Tell me, cowherd!
as on the mound thou sittest,
and watchest all the ways,
how I to the speech may come,
of the young maiden,
for Gýmir’s dogs?

12. Either thou art death-doomed,
or thou art a departed one.
Speech wilt thou
ever lack
with the good maid of Gýmir.

13. Better choices than to whine
there are for him
who is prepared to die:
for one day
was my age decreed,
and my whole life determined.

14. What is that sound of sounds,
which I now sounding hear
within our dwelling?
The earth is shaken,
and with it all
the house of Gýmir trembles.

A serving-maid.
15. A man is here without,
dismounted from his horse’s back:
he lets his steed browse on the grass.

16. Bid him enter
into our hall,
and drink of the bright mead;
although I fear
it is my brother’s slayer
who waits without.

17. Who is this of the Alfar’s,
or of the Æsir´s sons,
or of the wise Vanir’s?
Why art thou come alone,
through the hostile fire,
our halls to visit?

18. I am not of the Alfar’s,
nor of the Æsir’s sons,
nor of the wise Vanir’s;
yet I am come alone,
through the hostile fire,
your halls to visit.

19. Apples all-golden
I have here eleven:
these I will give thee, Gerd,
thy love to gain,
that thou mayest say that Frey
to thee lives dearest.

20. The apples eleven
I never will accept
for any mortal’s pleasure;
nor will I and Frey,
while our lives last,
live both together.

21. The ring too I will give thee,
which was burnt
with the young son of Odin.
Eight of equal weight
will from it drop,
every ninth night.


Index  |  harbarđslióđ - the lay of harbard page 2>  |  rígsmál - the lay of rig page 1