The Northern Way

Havamal

Page 4

63. Gasps and gapes,
when to the sea he comes,
the eagles over old ocean;
so is a man,
who among many comes,
and has few advocates.

64. His power should
every sagacious man
use with discretion;
for he will find,
when among the bold he comes,
that no one alone is the doughtiest.

65. Circumspect and reserved
every man should be,
and wary in trusting friends.
Of the words
that a man says to another
he often pays the penalty.

66. Much too early
I came to many places,
but too late to others;
the beer was drunk,
or not ready:
the disliked seldom hits the moment.

67. Here and there I should
have been invited,
if I a meal had needed;
or two hams had hung,
at that true friend’s,
where of one I had eaten.

68. Fire is best
among the sons of men,
and the sight of the sun,
if his health
a man can have,
with a life free from vice.

69. No man lacks everything,
although his health be bad:
one in his sons is happy,
one in abundant wealth,
one in his good works.

70. It is better to live,
even to live miserably;
a living man can always get a cow.
I saw fire consume
the rich man’s property,
and death stood without his door.

71. The halt can ride on horseback,
the one-handed drive cattle;
the deaf fight and be useful:
to be blind is better
than to be burnt:
no ones gets good from a corpse.

72. A son is better,
even if born late,
after his father’s departure.
Gravestones seldom
stand by the way-side
unless raised by a kinsman to a kinsman.

73. Two are adversaries:
the tongue is the bane of the head:
under every cloak
I expect a hand.

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74. At night is joyful
he who is sure of travelling enjoyment.
(A ship’s yards are short.)
Variable is an autumn night.
Many are the weather’s changes
in five days,
but more in a month.

75. He (only) knows not
who knows nothing,
that many a one apes another.
One man is rich,
another poor:
let him not be thought blameworthy.

76. Cattle die,
kindred die,
we ourselves also die;
but the fair fame
never dies
of him who has earned it.

77. Cattle die,
kindred die,
we ourselves also die;
but I know one thing
that never dies, -
judgement on each one dead.

78. Full storehouses I saw
at Dives’ sons’:
now bear they the beggar’s staff.
Such are riches;
as is the twinkling of an eye:
of friends they are most fickle.

79. A foolish man,
if he acquires
wealth or a woman’s love,
pride grows within him,
but wisdom never:
he goes on more and more arrogant.

80. Then ‘tis made manifest,
if of runes thou questionest him,
those to the high ones known,
which the great powers invented,
and the great talker painted,
that he had best hold silence.

81. At eve the day is to be praised,
a woman after she is burnt,
a sword after it is proved,
a maid after she is married,
ice after it has passed away,
beer after it is drunk.

82. In the wind one should hew wood,
in a breeze row out to sea,
in the dark talk with a lass:
many are the eyes of day.
In a ship voyages are to be made,
but a shield is for protection,
a sword for striking,
but a damsel for a kiss.

83. By the fire one should drink beer,
on the ice slide;
but a horse that is lean,
a sword that is rusty;
feed a horse at home,
but a dog at the farm.

84. In a maiden’s words
no one should place faith,
nor in what a woman says;
for on a turning wheel
have their hearts been formed,
and guile in their breasts been laid;

 

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