The Northern Way

Havamal

Page 7

131. I counsel thee, etc.
In a battle
look not up,
(like swine
the sons of men become)
that men may not fascinate thee.

132. If thou wilt induce a good woman
to pleasant converse,
thou must promise fair,
and hold to it;
no one turns from good if it can be got.

133. I enjoin thee to be wary,
but not over wary;
at drinking be thou most wary,
and with another’s wife;
and thirdly,
that thieves delude thee not.

134. With insult or derision
treat thou never
a guest or wayfarer,
they often little know,
who sit within,
or what race they are who come.

135. Vices and virtues
the sons of mortals bear
in their breasts mingled;
no one is so good
that no failing attends him,
nor so bad as to be good for nothing.

136. At a hoary speaker
laugh thou never;
often is good that which the aged utter,
oft from a shriveled hide
discreet words issue;
from those whose skin is pendent
and decked with scars,
and who go tottering among the vile.

137. I counsel thee, etc.
Rail not at a guest,
nor from thy gate thrust him;
treat well the indigent;
they will speak well of thee.

138. Strong is the bar
that must be raised
to admit all.
Do thou give a penny,
or they will call down on thee
every ill in thy limbs.

139. I counsel thee, etc.
Wherever thou beer drinkest,
invoke to thee the power of earth;
for earth is good against drink,
fire for distempers,
the oak for constipation,
a corn-ear for sorcery
a hall for domestic strife.
In bitter hates invoke the moon;
the biter for bite-injuries is good;
but runes against calamity;
fluid let earth absorb.

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RunatalsÞáttr Oðins.

Odin´s Rune-song.

140. I know that I hung,
on a wind-rocked tree,
nine whole nights,
with a spear wounded,
and to Odin offered,
myself to myself;
on that tree,
of which no one knows
from what root it springs.

141. Bread no one gave me,
nor a horn of drink,
downward I peered,
to runes applied myself,
wailing learnt them,
then fell down thence.

142. Potent songs nine
from the famed son I learned
of Bölthorn, Bestla’s sire,
and a draught obtained
of the precious mead,
drawn from Odhrærir.

143. Then I began to bear fruit,
and to know many things,
to grow and well thrive:
word by word
I sought out words,
fact by fact
I sought out facts.

144. Runes thou wilt find,
and explained characters,
very large characters,
very potent characters,
which the great speaker depicted,
and the high powers formed,
and the powers’ prince graved:

145. Odin among the Æsir,
but among the Alfar, Dáin,
and Dvalin for the dwarfs,
Ásvid for the Jötuns:
some I myself graved.

146. Knowest thou how to grave them?
knowest thou how to expound them?
knowest thou how to depict them?
knowest thou how to prove them?
knowest thou how to pray?
knowest thou how to offer?
knowest thou how to send?
knowest thou how to consume?

147. ‘Tis better not to pray
than too much offer;
a gift ever looks to a return.
‘Tis better not to send
than too much consume.
So Thund graved
before the origin of men,
where he ascended,
to whence he afterwards came.

148. Those songs I know
which the king’s wife knows not
nor son of man.
Help the first is called,
for that will help thee
against strifes and cares.

149. For the second I know,
what the sons of men require,
who will as leeches live.

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150. For the third I know,
if I have great need
to restrain my foes,
the weapons’ edge I deaden:
of my adversaries
nor arms nor wiles harm aught.

 

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