MThe Poetic Edda - Bellows (1923)
1. (81) Give praise to the
day at evening,
to a woman on her pyre,
To a weapon which is tried, to a maid at wedlock,
To ice when it is crossed, to ale that is drunk.
2. (82) When the gale blows
in fair winds seek the water;
Sport with maidens at dusk, for the day’s eyes are many;
From the ship seek swiftness, from the shield protection,
Cuts from the sword, from the maiden kisses.
3. (83) By the fire drink ale,
over ice go on skates;
Buy a steed that is lean, and a sword when tarnished,
The horse at home fatten, the hound in thy dwelling.
4. (84) A man shall trust not
the oath of a maid,
Nor the word a woman speaks;
For their hearts on a whirling wheel were fashioned,
And fickle their breasts were formed.
5. (85) In a breaking bow
or a burning flame,
A ravening wolf or a croaking raven,
In a grunting boar, a tree with roots broken,
In billowy seas, or a bubbling kettle,
6. (86) In a flying arrow
or falling waters,
In ice new formed or the serpent’s folds,
In a bride’s bed-speech or a broken sword,
In the sport of bears or in sons of kings,
7. (87) In a calf that is sick
or a stubborn thrall,
A flattering witch or a foe new slain.
8. (89) In a brother’s slayer,
if thou meet him abroad,
In a half-burned house, in a horse full swift-
One leg is hurt and the horse is useless-
None had ever such faith to trust in them all.
9. (88) Hope not too surely
for early harvest,
Nor trust too soon in thy son;
The field needs good weather, the son needs wisdom,
And oft is either denied.
10. (90) The love of women
fickle of will
Is like starting o’er ice with a steed unshod,
A two-year-old restive and little tamed,
Or steering a rudderless ship in a storm,
Or, lame, hunting reindeer on slippery rocks.
11. (91) Clear now will I speak,
for I know them both,
Men false to women are found;
When fairest we speak, then falsest we think,
Against wisdeom we work with deceit.
12. (92) Soft words shall he speak
and wealth shall he offer
Who longs for a maiden’s love,
And the beauty praise of the maiden bright;
He wins whose wooing is best.
13. (93) Fault for loving let no man find
Ever with any other;
Oft the wise are fettered, where fools go free,
By beauty that breeds desire.
14. (94) Fault with another
let no man find
for what touches many a man;
Wise men oft into witless fools
Are made by mighty love.
15. (95) The head alone knows
what dwells near the heart,
A man knows his mind alone;
No sickness is worse to one who is wise
Than to lack the longed-for joy.
16. (96) This found I myself,
when I sat in the reeds,
And long my love awaited;
As my life the maiden wise I loved,
Yet her I never had.
17. (97) Billing’s daughter
I found on her bed,
In slumber bright as the sun;
Empty appeared an earl’s estate
Without that form so fair.
18. (98) “Othin, again
at evening come,
If a woman thou wouldst win;
Evil it were if others than we
Should know of such a transgression.”
19. (99) Away I hastened,
hoping for joy,
And careless of counsel wise;
Well I believed that soon I should win
Measureless joy with the maid.
20. (100) So came I next when night it was,
The warriors all were awake;
With burning lights and waving brands
I learned my luckless way.
21. (101) At morning then,
when once more I came,
And all were sleeping still,
A dog I found in the fair one’s place,
Bound there upon her bed.
22. (102) ed. emmendation (Few are so good
that false they are never
To cheat the mind of a man)
Many fair maids, if a man but tries them,
False to a lover are found;
That did I learn when I longed to gain
With wiles the maiden wise;
Foul scorn was my meed from the crafty maid,
And nought from the woman I won.
23. (103) Though glad at home,
and merry with guests,
A man shall be wary and wise;
The sage and shrewd, wide-wisdom seeking,
Must see that his speech be fair;
24. (104) A fool is he named
who nought can say,
For such is the way of the witless.
25. (105) I found the old giant,
now back have I fared,
Small gain from silence I got;
Full many a word, my will to get,
I spoke in Suttung’s hall.
26. (107) The mouth of Rati
made room for my passage,
And space in the stone he gnawed;
Above and below the giants’ paths lay,
So rashly I risked my head.
27. (106) Gunnloth gave
on a golden stool
A drink of the marvelous mead;
A harsh reward did I let her have
For her heroic heart,
And her spirit troubled sore.
28. (108) The well-earned beauty well I enjoyed,
Little the wise man lacks;
So Othrörir now has up been brought
To the midst of the men of earth.
29. (109) Hardly, methinks,
would I home have come,
And left the giants’ land,
Had not Gunnloth helped me, the maiden good,
Whose arms about me had been.
30. (110) The day that followed,
the frost-giants came,
Some word of Hor to win,
(And inot the hall of Hor;)
Of Bolverk they asked, were he back midst the gods,
Or had Suttung slain him there?
31. (111) On his ring swore Othin the oath, methinks;
Who now his troth shall trust?
Suttung’s betrayal he sought with drink,
And Gunnloth to grief he left.