The Northern Way


The Lay of Fiölsvith.

Page 1

1. From the outward wall
he saw one ascending to
the seat of the giant race.

Along the humid ways
haste the back hence,
here, wretch! is no place for thee.

2. What monster is it
before the fore-court standing,
and hovering round the perilous flame?
Whom dost thou seek?
Of what art thou in quest?
Or what, friendless being! desirest thou to know?

3. What monster is that,
before the fore-court standing,
who to the wayfarer offers not hospitality?
Void of honest fame,
prattler! hast thou lived:
but hence hie thee home.

4. Fiölsvith is my name;
wise I am of mind,
though of food not prodigal.
Within these courts
thou shalt never come:
so now, wretch! take thyself off.

5. From the eye’s delight
few are disposed to hurry,
where there is something
pleasant to be seen.
These walls, methinks,
shine around golden halls.
Here I could live contented with my lot.
6. Tell me, youth;
of whom thou art born,
or of what race hath sprung.

7. Vindkald I am called,
Varkald was my father named,
his sire was Fiölkald.

8. Tell me, Fiölsvith!
that which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
who here holds sway,
and has power over
these lands and costly halls?

9. Menglöd is her name,
her mother her begat
with Svaf, Thorin´s son.
She here holds sway,
and has power over
these lands and costly halls.

10. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
what the grate is called,
than which among the gods
mortals never saw a greater artifice?

11. Thrymgiöll it is called,
and Solblindi´s
three sons constructed it:
a fetter fastens
eery wayfarer,
who lifts it from its opening.

12. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
what that structure is called,
than which among the gods
mortals never saw a greater artifice?

13. Gastropnir it is called,
and I constructed it
of Leirbrimir’s limbs.
I have so supported it,
that it will ever stand
while the world lasts.

14. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
what those dogs are called,
that chase away the giantesses,
and safety to the fields restore?

15. Gifr the one is called,
the other Geri,
if thou that wouldst know.
Eleven watches
they will keep,
until the powers perish.

16. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
whether any man
can enter
while those fierce assailants sleep?

17. Alternate sleep
was strictly to them enjoined,
since to the watch they were appointed.
One sleeps by night,
by day the other,
so that no wight can enter if he comes.

18. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
whether there is any food
that men can get,
such that they can run in while they eat?

19. Two repasts
lie in Vidofnir´s wings,
if thou that wouldst know:
that is alone such food
as men can give them,
and run in while they eat.
20. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
what that tree is called
that with its branches spreads itself
over every land?

21. Mimameidr it is called;
but few men know
from what roots it springs:
it by that will fall
which fewest know.
Nor fire nor iron will harm it.

22. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
to what the virtue is
of that famed tree applied,
which nor fire nor iron will harm?

23. Its fruit shall
on the fire be laid,
for labouring women;
out then will pass
what would in remain:
so it is a creator of mankind.

24. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
what the cock is called
that sits in that lofty tree,
and all-glittering is with gold?

25. Vidofnir he is called;
in the clear air he stands,
in the boughs of Mima´s tree:
afflictions only brings,
together indissoluble,
the swart bird at his lonely meal.


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