The Northern Way

The Poetic Edda - Bellows (1923)

Runattal thattr Othins
(Str. 140-147)

1. (140) I ween that I hung        on the windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded,        and offered I was
To Othin, myself to myself,
On the tree that none                may ever know
What root beneath it runs.

2. (141) None made me happy                with loaf or horn,
And there below I looked;
I took up the runes,                shrieking I took them,
And forthwith back I fell.

3. (142)Nine mighty songs                I got from the son
Of Bolthorn, Bestla’s father;
And a drink I got        of the goodly mead
Poured out from Othrörir.

4. (143) Then began I to thrive,        and wisdom to get,
I grew and well I was;
Each word led me on                to another word,
Each deed to another deed.

5. (144) Runes shalt thou find,                and fateful signs,
That the king of singers coloured,
And the mighty gods have made;
Full strong the signs,                full mighty the signs
That the ruler of gods doth write.

6. (145) Othin for the gods,                Dain for the elves,
And Dvalin for the dwarfs,
Alsvith for giants        and all mankind,
And some myself I wrote.

7. (146) Knowest how one shall write,        knowest how one shall rede?
Knowest how one shall tint,                knowest how one makes trial?
Knowest how one shall ask,                knowest how one shall offer?
Knowest how one shall send,                knowest how one shall sacrifice?

8. (147) Better no prayer        than too big an offering,
By thy getting measure thy gift;
Better is none                than too big a sacrifice,
So Thundr of old wrote        ere man’s race began,
Where he rose on high        when home he came.

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