The Northern Way

Havamal

Page 3

42. To his friend
a man should be a friend,
and gifts with gifts requite.
Laughter with laughter
men should receive,
but leasing with lying.

43. To his friend
a man should be a friend,
to him and to his friend;
but of his foe
no man shall
the friend’s friend be.

44. Know, if thou has a friend
whom thou fully trustest,
and from whom thou woulds’t good derive,
thou shouldst blend thy mind with his,
and gifts exchange,
and often go to see him.

45. If thou hast another,
whom thou little trustest,
yet wouldst good from him derive,
thou shouldst speak him fair,
but think craftily,
and leasing pay with lying.

46. But of him yet further,
whom thou little trustest,
and thou suspectest his affection;
before him thou shouldst laugh,
and contrary to thy thoughts speak:
requital should the gift resemble.

47. I was once young,
I was journeying alone,
and lost my way;
rich I thought myself,
when I met another.
Man is the joy of man.

48. Liberal and brave men live best,
they seldom cherish sorrow;
but a base-minded man
dreads everything;
the niggardly is uneasy even at gifts.

49. My garments in a field
I gave away
to two wooden men:
heroes they seemed to be,
when they got cloaks:
exposed to insult is a naked man.

50. A tree withers
that on a hill-top stands;
protects it neither bark nor leaves:
such is the man
whom no one favours:
why should he live long?

51. Hotter than fire
love for five days burns
between false friends;
but is quenched
when the sixth day comes,
and friendship is all impaired.

52. Something great
is not (always) to be given,
praise is often for a trifle bought.
With half a loaf
and a tilted vessel
I got myself a comrade.

53. Little are the sandgrains,
little the wits,
little the minds of (some) men;
for all men
are not wise alike:
men are everywhere by halves.

54. Moderately wise
should each one be,
but never over-wise:
of those men
the lives are fairest,
who know much well.

55. Moderately wise
should each one be,
but never over-wise;
for a wise man’s heart
is seldom glad,
if he is all-wise who owns it.

56. Moderately wise
should each one be,
but never over-wise.
His destiny let know
no man beforehand;
his mind will be freest from care.

57. Brand burns from brand
until it is burnt out;
fire is from fire quickened.
Man to man
becomes known by speech,
but a fool by his bashful silence.

58. He should early rise,
who another’s property or life
desires to have.
Seldom a sluggish wolf
gets prey,
or a sleeping man victory.

59. Early should rise
he who has few workers,
and go his work to see to;
greatly is he retarded
who sleeps the morn away.
Wealth half depends on energy.

60. Of dry planks
and roof-shingles
a man knows the measure;
of the fire-wood
that may suffice,
both measure and time.

61. Washed and refected
let a man ride to the Thing,
although his garments be not too good;
of his shoes and breeches
let no one be ashamed,
nor of his horse,
although he have not a good one.

62. Inquire and impart
should every man of sense,
who will be accounted sage.
Let one only know,
a second may not;
if three, all the world knows.

 

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