The Northern Way

The Poetic Edda - Bellows (1923)

Loddfafnismal
(Str. 112-139)

1. (112) It is time to chant        from the chanter’s stool;
By the wells of Urth I was,
I saw and was silent,        I saw and thought,
And heard the speech of Hor.

2. (113) (Of runes heard I words,        nor were counsels wanting,
At the hall of Hor,
In the hall of Hor;
Such was the speech I heard.)

3. (114) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Rise not at night,        save if news thou seekest,
Or fain to the outhouse wouldst fare.

4. (115) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Beware of sleep        on a witch’s bosom,
Nor let her limbs ensnare thee.

5. (116) Such is her might        that thou hast no mind
For the council or meeting of men;
Meat thou hatest,        joy thou hast not,
And sadly to slumber thou farest.

6. (117) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Seek never to win        the wife of another,
Or long for her secret love.

7. (118) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
If o’er mountains or gulfs        thou fain wouldst go,
Look well to thy food for the way.

8. (119) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
An evil man        thou must not let
Bring aught of ill to thee;
For an evil man        will never make
Reward for a worthy thought.

9. (120) I saw a man        who was wounded sore
By an evil woman’s word;
A lying tongue        his death-blow launched,
And no word of truth there was.

10. (121) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
If a friend thou hast        whom thou fully wilt trust,
Then fare to find him oft;
Fro brambles grow        and waving grass
On the rarely trodden road.

11. (122) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
A good man find        to hold in friendship,
And give heed to his healing charms.

12. (123) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Be never the first        to break with thy friend
The bond that holds you both;
Care eats the heart        if thou canst not speak
To another all thy thought.

13. (124) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Exchange of words        with a witless ape
Thou must not ever make.

14. (125) For never thou mayst         from an evil man
A good requital get;
But a good man oft        the greatest love
Through words of praise will win thee.

15. (126) Mingled is love        when a man can speak
To another all his thought;
Nought is so bad        as false to be,
No friend speaks only fair.

16. (127) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
With a worse man speak not        three words in dispute,
Ill fares better oft
When the worse man wields a sword.

17. (128) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
A shoemaker be,        or a maker of shafts,
For only thy single self;
If the shoe is made ill,                or the shaft prove false
Then evil of thee men think.

18. (129) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
If evil thou knowest,                as evil proclaim it,
And make no friendship with foes.

19. (130) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
In evil never        joy shalt thou know,
But glad the good shall make thee.

20. (131) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Look not up                when the battle is on,-
(Like madmen the sons        of men become,-)
Lest men bewitch thy wits.

21. (132) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
If thou fain wouldst win        a woman’s love,
And gladness get from her,
Fair be thy promise                and well fulfilled;
None loathes what good he gets.

22. (133) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
I bed thee be wary,        but be not fearful;
(Beware most with ale        or another’s wife,
And third beware        lest a thief outwit thee.)

23. (134) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Scorn or mocking        ne’er shalt thou make
Of a guest or a journey-goer.

24. (135) ed.em. (Evil and good        do men’s sons ever
Mingled bear in their breasts.)
Oft scarcely he knows        who sits in the house
What kind is the man who comes;
None so good is found        that faults he has not,
Nor so wicked that nought he is worth.

25. (136) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Scorn not ever        the grey-haired singer,
Oft do the old speak good;
(Oft from shriveled skin        come skillful counsels,
Though it hang with the hides,
And flap with the pelts,
And is blown with the bellies.)

26. (137) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
Curse not thy guest,                nor show him thy gate,
Deal well with a man in want.

27. (138) Strong is the beam        that raised must be
To give an entrance to all;
Give it a ring,                or grim will be
The wish it would work on thee.

28. (139) I rede thee, Loddfafnir!         and hear thou my rede,-
Profit thou hast if thou hearest,
Great thy gain if thou learnest:
When ale thou drinkest,        seek might of earth,
(For earth cures drink,        and fire cures ills,
The oak cures tightness,        the ear cures magic,
Rye cures rupture,                the moon cures rage,
Grass cures the scab,                and runes the sword-cut;)
The field absorbs the flood.
Now are Hor’s words                spoken in the hall,
Kind for the kindred of men,
Cursed for the kindred of giants:
Hail to the speaker,         and to him who learns!
Profit be his who has them!
Hail to them who hearken!

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