The Northern Way

Hymiskviða

The Lay of Hymir.

Page 2

21. The mightily Hýmir drew,
he alone,
two whales up
with his hook;
but at the stern abaft
Veor cunningly
made him a line.

22. Fixed on the hook
the shield of men,
the serpent’s slayer,
the ox’s head.
Gaped at the bait
the foe of gods,
the encircler beneath
of every land.

23. Drew up boldly
the mighty Thor
the worm with venom glistening,
up to the side;
with his hammer struck,
on his foul head’s summit,
like a rock towering,
the wolf’s own brother.

24. The icebergs resounded,
the caverns howled,
the old earth
shrank together:
at length the fish
back into the ocean sank.

25. The Jötun was little glad,
as they rowed back,
so that the powerful Hýmir
nothing spake,
but the oar moved
in another course.

26. “Wilt thou do
half the work with me,
either the whales
home to the dwelling bear,
or the boat
fast bind?”

27. Hlorridi went,
grasped the prow,
quickly, with its hold-water, lifted
the water-steed,
together with its oars
and scoop;
bore to the dwelling
the Jötun’s ocean-swine,
the curved vessel,
through the wooded hills.

28. But the Jötun
yet ever frowned,
to strife accustomed,
with Thor disputed,
said that no one was strong,
however vigorously
he might row,
unless he his cup could break.

29. But Hlorridi,
when to his hands it came,
forthwith brake
an upright stone in twain;
sitting dashed the cup
through the pillars:
yet they brought it whole
to Hýmir back.

30. Until the beauteous
woman gave
important, friendly counsel,
which she only knew:
“Strike at the head of Hýmir,
the Jötun with food oppressed,
that is harder
than any cup.”

31. Rose then on his knee
the stern lord of goats,
clad in all
his godlike power.
Unhurt remained
the old man’s helm-block,
but the round wine-bearer
was in shivers broken.

32. “Much good, I know,
has departed from me,
now that my cup I see
hurled from my knees.”
Thus the old man spake:
I can never
say again,
beer thou art too hot.

33. Now ‘tis to be tried
if ye can carry
the beer-vessel
out of our dwelling.”
Tý twice assayed
to move the vessel,
yet at each time
stood the kettle fast.

34. Then Modi’s father
by the brim grasped it,
and trod through
the dwelling’s floor.
Sif’s consort lifted
the kettle on his head,
while about his heels
its rings jingled.

35. They had far journeyed
before Odin’s son
cast one look backward:
he from the caverns saw,
with Hýmir from the east,
a troop of many-headed
monsters coming.

36. From his shoulders he
lifted the kettle down;
Mjöllnir hurled forth
towards the savage crew,
and slew
all the mountain-giants,
who with Hýmir
had him pursued.

37. Long they had not journeyed
when of Hlorridi’s goats
one lay down
half-dead before the car.
It from the pole had sprung
across the trace;
but the false Loki
was of this the cause.

38. Now ye have heard,
- for what fabulist can
more fully tell -
what indemnity
he from the giant got:
he paid for it
with his children both.

39. In his strength exulting
he to the gods’ counsel came,
and had the kettle,
which Hýmir had possessed,
out of which every god
shall beer with Ægir drink
at every harvest-tide.

 

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