The Northern Way

The Poetic Edda - Bellows (1923)

Ljothatal

1. (148) The songs I know        that king’s wives know not,
Nor men that are sons of men;
The first is called help,        and help it can bring thee
In sorrow and pain and sickness. Ed em (In sickness and pain        and every sorrow.)

2. (149) A second I know,        that men shall need
Who leechcraft long to use;
-lacuna-
-lacuna-

3. (150) A third I know,         if great is my need
Of fetters to hold my foe;
Blunt do I make         mine enemy’s blade,
Nor bites his sword or staff.

4. (151) A fourth I know,        if men shall fasten
Bonds on my bended legs;
So great is the charm        that forth I may go,
The fetters spring from my feet,
Broken the bonds from my hands.

5. (152) A fifth I know                if I see from afar
An arrow fly ‘gainst the folk;
It flies not so swift        that I stop it not,
If ever my eyes behold it.

6. (153) A sixth I know,        if harm one seeks
With a sapling’s roots to send me;
The hero himself        who wreaks his hate
Shall taste the ill ere I.

7. (154) A seventh I know,        if I see in flames
The hall o’er my comrades’ heads;
It burns not so wide        that I will not quench it,
I know that song to sing.

8. (155) An eighth I know,        that is to all
Of greatest good to learn;
When hatred grows        among heroes’ sons,
I soon can set it right.

9. (156) A ninth I know,        if need there comes
To shelter my ship on the flood;
The wind I calm        upon the waves,
And the sea I put to sleep.

10. (157) A tenth I know,        what time I see
House-riders flying on high;
So can I work                that wildly they go,
Showing their true shapes,
Hence to their homes.

11. (158) An eleventh I know,        if needs I must lead
To the fight my long-loved friends;
I sing in the shields,        and in strength they go
Whole to the field of fight,
Whole from the field of fight,
And whole they come thence home.

12. (159) A twelfth I know,        if high on a tree
I see a hanged man swing;
So do I write                and colour the runes
That forth he fares,
And to me talks.

13. (160) A thirteenth I know,         if a thane full young
With water I sprinkle well;
He shall not fall,        though he fares mid the host,
Nor sink beneath the swords.

14. (161) A fourteenth I know,                if fain I would name
To men the mighty gods;
All know I well        of the gods and elves,-
Few be the fools know this.

15. (162) A fifteenth I know,         that before the doors
Of Delling sang Thjothrörir the dwarf;
Might he sang for the gods,        and glory for the elves,
And wisdom for Hroptatyr wise.

16. (163) A sixteenth I know,        if I seek delight
To win from a maiden wise;
The mind I turn        of the white-armed maid,
And thus change all her thoughts.

17. (164) A seventeenth I know,                so that seldom shall go
A maiden young from me;
-lacuna-
-lacuna-

18. (166) Long these song        thou shalt, Loddfafnir,
Seek in vain to sing;
Yet good it were         if thou mightest get them,
Well, if thou wouldst them learn,
Help, if thou hadst them.

19. (165) An eighteenth I know,         that ne’er will I tell
To maiden or wife of man,-
The best is what none                but one’s self doth know,
So comes the end of the songs,-
Save only to her        in whose arms I lie,
Or who else my sister is.

 

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