And Fimbultyr said: Let Ymer be slain and let order be established. And straightway Odin and his brothers−−−the bright sons of Bure−−−gave Ymer a mortal. Utrecht Manuscript of the Prose Edda, ed. Anthony Faulkes, Copenhagen. ( Early Icelandic Manuscripts in Facsimile XV). Th: Thott 4to, Royal Library. The Younger Edda (also called Snorre's Edda, or the Prose Edda), of which we now have the pleasure of presenting our readers an English version, contains.
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Syioy^a 'ot u.v\-u, c^^vx -^.v- THE PROSE EDDA BY SNORRI STURLUSON a TRANSLATED FROM THE ICELANDIC WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ARTHUR . The Prose Edda is a text on Old Norse Poetics, written about by the .. Snorri's familiarity with the Elder or Poetic Edda is demonstrated by his frequent. Translating the Poetic Edda into English 21 TRANSLATING THE POETIC EDDA INTO ENGLISH1 CAROLYNE LARRINGTON Early Knowledge of Norse.
Hu- ginn' and Muninn. Therefore men call him Raven-God, as is said: Or is water drunk there? I know, by my faith! I can tell thee a different tale of this. The she-goat, she who is called Heidrun, stands up in Valhall and bites the needles from the limb of that tree which is very famous, and is called Laeradr; and from her udders mead runs so copiously, that she fills a tun every day.
Those fall about the abodes of the iEsir; these also are recorded: A wondrous great house Valhall must be; it must often be exceeding crowded before the doors. If thou hearest that told, then thou wilt say that it is strange indeed if whosoever will may not go out and in; but it may be said truly that it is no more crowded to find place therein than to enter into it; here thou mayest read in Grimnismal: Five hundred doors and forty more So I deem stand in Valhall; Eight hundred champions go out at each door When they fare to fight with the Wolf.
Now what is the sport of the champions, when they are not fighting? That is their sport ; and when the time draws near to undern-meal, they ride home to Val- hall and sit down to drink, even as is said here: All the Einherjar in Odin's court Deal out blows every day; The slain they choose and ride from the strife, — Sit later in love together. But what thou hast said is true: Odin is of great might. Many examples are found in proof of this, as is here said in the words of the iEsir themselves: Ash Yggdrasill's trunk of trees is foremost.
It was early in the first days of the gods' dwelling here, when the gods had established the Midgard and made Valhall; there came at that time a cer- tain wright and offered to build them a citadel in three sea- sons, so good that it should be staunch and proof against the Hill-Giants and the Rime-Giants, though they should 54 PROSE EDDA come in over Midgard.
But he demanded as wages that he should have possession of Freyja, and would fain have had the sun and the moon.
Poetic Edda (Old Norse-English diglot)
Then the iSsir held parley and took counsel together; and a bargain was made with the wright, that he should have that which he demanded, if he should succeed in completing the citadel in one win- ter. On the first day of summer, if any part of the citadel were left unfinished, he should lose his reward ; and he was to receive help from no man in the work.
When they told him these conditions, he asked that they would give him leave to have the help of his stallion, which was called Sva- dilfari; and Loki advised it, so that the Wright's petition was granted. He set to work the first day of winter to make the citadel, and by night he hauled stones with the stal- lion's aid ; and it seemed very marvellous to the iEsir what great rocks that horse drew, for the horse did more rough work by half than did the wright.
But there were strong witnesses to their bargain, and many oaths, since it seemed unsafe to the giant to be among the iEsir without truce, if Thor should come home. But Thor had then gone away into the eastern region to fight trolls. Wheii it lacked three days of summer, the work had almost reached the gate of the stronghold. Then the gods sat down in their judg- ment seats, and sought means of evasion, and asked one another who had advised giving Freyja into Jotunheim, or so destroying the air and the heaven as to take thence the sun and the moon and give them to the giants.
But when he became frightened, then he swore oaths, that he would so contrive that the wright should lose his wages, cost him what it might. The stallion, perceiving what manner of horse this was, straightway be- came frantic, and snapped the traces asunder, and leaped over to the mare, and she away to the wood, and the wright after, strivihg to seize the stallion.
These horses ran all night, and the wright stopped there that night; and after- ward, at day, the work was not done as it had been before.
When the wright saw that the work could not be brought to an end, he fell into giant's fury.
Now that the iEsir saw surely that the hill-giant was come thither, they did not regard their oaths reverently, but called on Thor, who came as quickly. And straightway the hammer Mjollnir was raised aloft; he paid the wright's wage, and not with the sun and the moon.
Nay, he even denied him dwelling in Jotunheim, and struck but the one first blow, so that his skull was burst into small crumbs, and sent him down below under Niflhel. But Loki had such dealings with Sva- dilfari, that somewhat later he gave birth to a foal, which was gray and had eight feet; and this horse is the best among gods and men.
So is said in V'dluspa: Then all the Powers strode to the seats of judgment. The most holy gods council held together: Who had the air all with evil envenomed. Or to the Ettin-race Odr's maid given.
He seldom sits still when such he hears of. Is there no ship equally great?
Certain dwarves, sons of Ivaldi, made Skidbladnir and gave the ship to Freyr. Then spake Gangleri: Has Thor never experienced such a thing, that he has found in his path somewhat so mighty or so powerful that it has overmatched him through strength of magic?
Though there may have been some- thing so powerful or strong- that Thor might not have succeeded in winning the victory, yet it is not necessary to speak of it; because there are many examples to prove, and because all are bound to believe, that Thor is mighti- est. Then spake Jafnharr: Therefore thou must believe that he will not lie for the first time now, who never lied before.
Oku-Thor drove forth with his he-goats and chariot, and with him that As called Loki ; they came at evening to a husbandman's, and there received a night's lodging. About evening, Thor took his he-goats and slaughtered them both; after that they were flayed and borne to the caldron. When the cooking was done, then Thor and his companion sat down to supper. Thor invited to meat with him the hus- bandman and his wife, and their children: Then Thor laid the goat-hides farther away from the fire, and said that the husbandman and his servants should cast the bones on the goat-hides.
Thjalfi, the husbandman's son, was holding a thigh-bone of the goat, and split it with his knife and broke it for the marrow. Thor discovered this, and declared that the husbandman or his household could not have dealt wisely with the bones of the goat: There is no need to make a long story of it ; all may know how frightened the husbandman must have been when he saw how Thor let his brows sink down before his eyesj but when he looked at the eyes, then it seemed to him that he must fall down before their glances alone.
Thor clenched his hands on the hammer-shaft so that the knuckles whitened; and the husbandman and all his household did what was to be expected: But when he saw their terror, then the fury de- parted from him, and he became appeased, and took of them in atonement their children, Thjalfi and Roskva, who then became his bond-servants; and they follow him ever since.
Then, when they had walked a little while, there stood before them a great forest; they walked all that day till dark. Thjalfi was swiftest-footed of all men ; he bore Thor's bag, but there was nothing good for food.
As soon as it had become dark, they sought them- selves shelter for the night, and found before them a cer- tain hall, very great: But about midnight there came a great earthquake: Thor sat down in the doorway, but the others were farther in from him, and they were afraid ; but Thor gripped his hammer-shaft and thought to defend himself. Then they heard a great humming sound, and a crashing.
Then Thor thought he could perceive what kind of noise it was which they had heard during the night. He girded himself with his belt of strength, and his divine power waxed; and on the instant the man awoke and rose up swiftly; and then, it is said, the first time Thor's heart failed him, to strike him with the hammer. But what? Hast thou dragged away my glove?
Skrymir asked whether Thor would have his company, and Thor assented to this. Then Skrymir took and unloosened his provision- wallet and made ready to eat his morning meal, and Thor and his fellows in another place.
Then Skrymir said to Thor that he would lay him down to sleep, — 'and do ye take the provision-bag and make ready for your supper. Skrfmir awoke, and asked whether a leaf had fallen upon his head ; or whether they had eaten and were ready for bed? Thor replied that they were just then about to go to sleep; then they went under another oak. It must be told thee, that there was then no fearless sleeping.
Did some acorn fall on my head? Or what is the news with thee, Thor? Art thou awake, Thor? It will be time to arise and clothe us ; but now ye have no long journey forward to the castle called tFtgardr.
I have heard how ye have whispered among yourselves that I am no little man in stature ; but ye shall see taller men, if ye come into tFtgardr. Now I will give you wholesome advice: But if not so, then turn back, and I think it were better for you to do that ; but if ye will go forward, then turn to the east.
As for me, I hold my way north to these hills, which ye may now see. XL VI. Then they saw a castle standing in a certain plain, and set their necks down on their backs before they could see up over it. They went to the castle; and there was a grating in front of the castle- gate, and it was closed. Thor went up to the grating, and did not succeed in opening it; but when they struggled to make their way in, they crept between the bars and came in that way.
They saw a great hall and went thither; the door was open; then they went in, and saw there many men on two benches, and most of them were big enough. Thereupon they came before the king tFtgarda-Loki and saluted him; but he looked at them in his own good time, and smiled scornfully over his teeth, and said: What manner of accomplishments are those, which thou and thy fellows think to be ready for?
Then a trough was taken and borne in upon the hall-floor and filled with flesh; Loki sat down at the one end and Logi at the other, and each ate as fast as he could, and they met in the middle of the trough. By that time Loki had eaten all the meat from the bones, but Logi likewise had eaten all the meat, and the bones with it, and the trough too; and now it seemed to all as if Loki had lost the game. Then tJtgarda-Loki arose and went out; and there was a good course to run on over the level plain.
Then tFtgarda-Loki called to him a certain lad, who was named Hugi, and bade him run a match against Thjalfi. Then said tJtgarda-Loki: Then spake tJtgarda-Loki: But it will be made manifest presently, when they run the third heat. Then all said that that game had been proven. Then Thor answered that he would most willingly undertake to con- tend with any in drinking. Straightway the serving-lad came forward with the horn and put it into Thor's hand.
Then said tFtgarda-Loki: Still he was very thirsty ; he took and drank, and swallowed enor- mously, and thought that he should not need to bend oftener to the horn. But when his breath failed, and he raised his i 64 PROSE EDDA head from jhc horn and looked to see how it had gone with the drinking, it seemed to him that there was very little space by which the drink was lower now in the horn than before.
Then said Ctgarda-Loki: But I know that thou wilt wish to drink it oiFin - another draught. When he took the horn from his mouth and looked into it, it seemed to him then as if it had decreased less than the former time; but now there was a clearly apparent lowering in the horn. Thou wilt not shrink from one more drink than may be well for thee? Then he gave up the horn and would drink no more.
It may readily be seen that thou gettest no advantage hereof. But what game will ye now offer me? But the cat bent into an arch just as Thor stretched up his hands ; and when Thor reached up as high as he could at the very utmost, then the cat lifted up one foot, and Thor got this game no further advanced.
She has thrown such men as have seemed to me no less strong than Thor. Then Ctgarda-Loki said that she should grapple with Asa-Thor. There is no need to make a long matter of it: Yet it was not long before Thor fell to his knee, on one foot. Then tJtgarda-Loki went up and bade them cease the wrestling, saying that Thor should not need to challenge more men of his body-guard to wrest- ling.
By then it had passed toward night; tJtgarda-Loki showed Thor and his companions to a seat, and they tar- ried there the night long in good cheer. XL VII. Then came there Ctgarda-Loki and caused a table to be set for them ; there was no lack of good cheer, meat and drink. So soon as they had eaten, he went out from the castle with them; and at parting tJtgarda-Loki spoke to Thor and asked how he thought his journey had ended, or whether he had met any man mightier than him- self.
And this I know, by my troth! But I made ready against thee eye-illusions ; and I came upon you the first time in the wood, and when thou wouldst have unloosed the provision-bag, I had bound it with iron, and thou didst not find where to undo it. Where thou sawest near my hall a saddle-backed mountain, cut at the top into three square dales, and one the deepest, those were the marks of thy hammer.
I brought the saddle-back before the blow, but thou didst not see that. So it was also with the games, in which ye did contend against my henchmen: But when Thjalfi ran the race with him called Hugi, that was my "thought," and it was not to be expected of Thjalfi that he should match swiftness with it. But now, when thou comest to the sea, thou shalt be able to mark what a diminishing thou hast drunk in the sea: That cat was not as it appeared to thee: So high didst thou stretch up thine arms that it was then but a little way more to heaven.
It was also a great marvel concerning the wrestling-match, when thou didst withstand so long, and didst not fall more than on one knee, wrestling with Elli; since none such has ever been and none shall be, if he become so old as to abide " Old Age," that she shall not cause him to fall.
Another time I will defend my castle with similar wiles or with others, so that ye shall get no power over me.
Then he turned back to the castle, purposing to crush it to pieces ; and he saw there a wide and fair plain, but no castle. So he turned back and went his way, till he was come back again to Thrudvangar. But it is a true tale that then he resolved to seek if he might bring about a meet- ing between himself and the Midgard Serpent, which after- ward came to pass. Now I think no one knows how to tell thee more truly concerning this journey of Thor's.
Now did Thor ever take vengeance for this? He went out over Midgard in the guise of a young lad, and came one evening at twilight to a cer- tain giant's, who was called Hymir. Thor abode as guest there overnight; but at dawn Hymir arose and clothed him- self and made ready to row to sea a-fishing. Then Thor sprang up and was speedily ready, and asked Hymir to let him row to sea with him. Thor became so enraged at the giant that he was forthwith ready to let his hammer crash against him; but he forced himself to for- bear, smce he purposed to try his strength in another quar- ter.
He asked Hymir what they should have for bait, but Hymir bade him get bait for himself. By that time Hymir had shoved out the boat.
Hymir rowed for- ward in the bow, and the rowing proceeded rapidly; then Hymir said that they had arrived at those fishing-banks where he was wont to anchor and angle for flat-fish. But Thor said that he desired to row much farther, and they took a sharp pull; then Hymir said that they had come so far that it was perilous to abide out farther because of the Midgard Serpent.
Thor replied that they would row a while yet, and so he did ; but Hymir was then sore afraid. Now as soon as Thor had laid by the oars, he made ready a very strong fishing-line, and the hook was no less large and strong.
Then Thor was angered, and took upon him his divine strength, braced his feet so strongly that he plunged through the ship with both feet, and dashed his feet against the bottom ; then he drew the Serpent up to the gunwale. And it may be said that no one has seen very fearful sights who might not see that: Then, it is said, the giant Hymir grew pale, became yel- low, and was sore afraid, when he saw the Serpent, and how the sea rushed out and in through the boat.
In the very moment when Thor clutched his hammer and raised it on high, then the giant fumbled for his fish-knife and hacked off Thor's line at the gunwale, and the Serpent sank down into the sea. Thor hurled his hammer after it; and men say that he struck off its head against the bottom ; but I think it were true to tell thee that the Midgard Ser- pent yet lives and lies in the encompassing sea.
But Thor swung hiis fist and brought it against Hymir's ear, so that he plunged overboard, and Thor saw the soles of his feet. And Thor waded to land. A very great deed of valor did Thor achieve on that journey. When he told these dreams to the JEsiTj then they took counsel together: And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents.
He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the Ms'ir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and more- over, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: I have taken oaths of them all. Then spake Loki to him: I will direct thee where he staiids ; shoot at him with this wand. But Odin bore that misfortune by so much the worst, as he had most perception of how great harm and loss for the iEsir were in the death of Baldr.
And heisnamedHermodr the Bold, Odin's son, who under- took that embassy. Then Sleipnir was taken, Odin's steed, and led forward ; and Hermodr mounted on that horse and galloped oflF. Hringhorni is the name of Baldr's ship: When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped oiFthe steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkin went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled.
Thor became angry and clutched his ham- mer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her. Then Thor stood by and hallowed the pyre with MjoUnir; and before his feet ran a certain dwarf which was named Litr; Thor kicked at him with his foot and thrust him into the fire, and he burned.
People of many races visited this burn- ing: First is to be told of Odin, how Frigg and the Val- kyrs went with him, and his ravens ; but Freyr drove in his chariot with the boar called Gold-Mane, or Fearful- Tusk, and Heimdallr rode the horse called Gold-Tpp, and Freyja drove her cats.
Thither came also much people of the Rime-Giants and the Hill-Giants. Odin laid on the pyre that gold ring which is called Draupnir; this quality attended it, that every ninth night there dropped from it eight gold rings of equal weight.
Baldr's horse was led to the bale-fire with all his trappings. Why ridest thou hither on Hel-way? Hast thou per- chance seen Baldr on Hel-way? Then Hermodr rode home to the hall and dismounted from his steed, went into the hall, and saw sitting there in the high-seat Baldr, his brother; and Hermodr tarried there overnight.
At morn Hermodr prayed Hel that Baldr might ride home with him, and told her how great weep- ing was among the iEsir. But Hel said that in this wise it should be put to the test, whether Baldr were so all-be- loved as had been said: And Nanna sent Frigg a linen smock, and yet more gifts, and to Fulla a golden finger-ring.
Thereupon the iEsir sent over all the world mes- sengers to pray that Baldr be wept out of Hel; and all men did this, and quick things, and the earth, and stones. Then, when the messengers went home, having well wrought their errand, they found, in a cer- tain cave, where a giantess sat: They prayed her to weep Baldr out of Hel ; she answered: Thokk will weep waterless tears For Baldr's bale- fare; Living or dead, I loved not the churl's son; Let Hel hold to that she hath!
And men deem that she who was there was Loki Laufey- arson, who hath wrought most ill among the JEs'ir. Was any vengeance taken on him for this? When the gods had become as wroth with him as was to be looked for, he ran off and hid himself in a certain mountain ; there he made a house with four doors, so that he could see out of the house in all directions.
But when he sat in the house, he took twine of linen and knitted meshes as a net is made since; but a fire burned before him. He leaped up at once and out into the river, but cast the net into the fire.
Straightway they took hold, and made themselves a net after the pattern of the one which they perceived, by the burnt-out ashes, that Loki had made. But Loki darted ahead and lay down between two stones; they drew the net over him, and perceived that something living was in front of it.
A second time they went up to the fall and cast out the net, having bound it to something so heavy that nothing should be able to pass. Then Loki swam ahead of the net; but when he saw that it was but a short dis- tance to the sea, then he jumped up over the net-rope and ran into the fall. Now Loki saw a choice of two courses: And so he did: Thor clutched at him and got hold of him, and he slipped in Thor's hand, so that the hand stopped at the tail; and for this reason the salmon has a tapering back.
Thereupon they took three flat stones, and set them on edge and drilled a hole in each stone. Then were taken Loki's sons, Vali and Nari or Narfi ; the iEsir changed Vali into the form of a wolf, and he tore asunder Narfi his brother. And the iEsir took his entrails and bound Loki with them over the three stones: Then Skadi took a venomous serpent and fastened it up over him, so that the venom should drip from the serpent into his face. But Sigyn, his wife, stands near him and holds a basin under the venom-drops; and when the basin is full, she goes and pours out the venom, but in the meantime the venom drips into his face.
Then he writhes against it with such force that all the earth trembles: Never before have I heard aught said of this. The first is this, that there shall come that winter which is called the Awful Winter: Those winters shall proceed three in succession, and no summer between ; but first shall come three other winters, such that over all the world there shall be mighty battles.
In that time brothers shall slay each other for greed's sake, and none shall spare father or son in manslaughter and in incest; so it says in Vbluspd: An axe-age, a sword-age, shields shall be cloven ; A wind-age, a wolf-age, ere the world totters.
Then shall happen what seems great tidings: Then the other wolf shall seize the moon, and he also shall work great ruin ; the stars shall vanish from the heavens. Then shall come to pass these tidings also: Then shall Fenris-Wolf get loose; then the sea shall gush forth upon the land, because the Midgard Serpent stirs in giant wrath and advances up onto the land.
Then that too shall hap- pen, that Naglfar shall be loosened, the ship which is so named. It is made of dead men's nails ; wherefore a warn- ing is desirable, that if a man die with unshorn nails, that man adds much material to the ship Naglfar, which gods and men were fain to have finished late.
Yet in this sea- flood Naglfar shall float. Hrymr is the name of the giant who steers Naglfar. Fenris-Wolf shall advance with gap- ing mouth, and his lower jaw shall be against the earth, but the upper against heaven, — he would gape yet more if there were room for it ; fires blaze from his eyes and nos- trils.
The Midgard Serpent shall blow venom so that he shall sprinkle all the air and water; and he is very terri- ble, and shall be on one side of the Wolf. In this din shall the heaven be cloven, and the Sons of Muspell ride thence: The Sons of Muspell shall go forth to that field which is called Vigridr; thither shall come Feiiris- Wolf also and the Midgard Serpent; then Loki and Hrymr shall come there also, and with him all the Rime-Giants.
All the cham- pions of Hel follow Loki; and the Sons of Muspell shall have a company by themselves, and it shall be very bright. The field Vigridr is a hundred leagues wide each way. Then Odin shall ride to Mimir's Well and take counsel of Mimir for himself and his host.
Then the Ash of Ygg- drasill shall tremble, and nothing then shall be without fear in heaven or in earth. Then shall the iEsir put on their war-weeds, and all the Champions, and advance to the field: Odin rides first with the gold helmet and a fair birnie, and his spear, which is called Gungnir. He shall go forth against Fenris-Wolf, and Thor stands forward on his other side, and can be of no avail to him, because he shall have his hands full to fight against the Midgard Serpent.
Freyr shall contend with Surtr, and a hard encounter shall there be between them before Freyr falls: Then shall the dog Garmr be loosed, which is bound before Gnipa's Cave: The Wolf shall swallow Odin; that shall be his ending But straight thereafter shall Vidarr stride forth and set one foot upon the lower jaw of the Wolf: They are the scraps of leather which men cut out of their shoes at toe or heel; therefore he who desires in his heart to come to the iEsir's help should cast those scraps away.
With one hand he shall seize the WolPs upper jaw and tear his gullet asunder; and that is the death of the Wolf. Loki shall have battle with Heimdallr, and each be the slayer of the other. Then straightway shall Surtr cast fire over the earth and burn all the world; so is said in Voluspa: High blows Heimdallr, the horn is aloft; Odin communes with Mimir's head; Trembles Yggdrasill's towering Ash-, The old tree wails when the Ettin is loosed.
What of the iEsir? What of the Elf-folk? All Jotunheim echoes, the iEsir are at council; The dwarves are groaning before their stone doors. Wise in rock- walls; wit ye yet, or what? Then to the Goddess a second grief cometh. Odin's son goeth to strife with the Wolf, — Vidarr, speeding to meet the slaughter-beast; The sword in his hand to the heart he thrusteth Of the fiend's offspring; avenged is his Father.
Now goeth Hlodyn's glorious son Not in flight from the Serpent, of fear unheeding; All the earth's oflFspring must empty the homesteads. When furiously smiteth Midgard's defender. The sun shall be darkened, earth sinks in the sea, — Glide from the heaven the glittering stars; Smoke-reek rages and reddening fire: The high heat licks against heaven itself. And here it says yet so: Vigridr hight the field where in fight shall meet Surtr and the cherished gods; An hundred leagues it has on each side: Unto them that field is fated.
Have ye not said before, that every man shall live in some world throughout all ages? Moreover, there is plenteous abundance of good drink, for them that esteem that a pleasure, in the hall which is called Brimir: That too is a good hall which stands in Nida Fells, made of red gold ; its name is Sindri.
In these halls shall dwell good men and pure in heart. I know a hall standing far from the sun. In Nastrand: There are doomed to wade the weltering streams Men that are mansworn, and they that murderers are.
The Younger Edda; Also called Snorre's Edda, or The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson
But it is worst in Hvergelmir: There the cursed snake tears dead men's corpses. Vidarr and Vali shall be living, inasmuch as neither sea nor the fire of Surtr shall have harmed them; and they shall dwell at Ida-Plain, where Asgard was before.
And then the sons of Thor, Modi and Magni,shall come there,and they shall have Mjollnir there. After that Baldr shall come thither, and Hodr, from Hel; then all shall sit down together and hold speech with one another, and call to mind their secret wisdom, and speak of those happenings which have been before: Then they shall find in the grass those golden chess-pieces which the iSsir had had; thus is it said: In the place called Hoddmimir's Holt there shall lie hidden during the Fire of Surtr two of mankind, who are called thus: Lif and Lifthrasir, and for food they shall have the morning-dews.
From these folk shall come so numerous an offspring that all the world shall be peopled, even as is said here: Lif and Lifthrasir, these shall lurk hidden In the Holt of Hoddmimir; The morning dews their meat shall be; Thence are gendered the generations.
The Elfin-beam shall bear a daughter, Ere Fenris drags her forth; That maid shall go, when the great gods die. To ride her mother's road.
Thereupon Gangleri heard great noises on every side of him ; and then, when he had looked about him more, lo, he stood out of doors on a level plain, and saw no hall there and no castle. Then he went his way forth and came home into his kingdom, and told those tidings which he had seen and heard; and after him each man told these tales to the other. But the iEsir sat them down to speak together, and took counsel and recalled all these tales which had been told to him.
And they gave these same names that were named before to those men and places that were there, to the end that when long ages should have passed away, men should not doubt thereof, that those iEsir that were but now spoken of, and these to whom the same names were then given, were all one. There Thor was so named, and he is the old Asa-Thor. All reject what follows: He is Oku-Thor, and to him are ascribed those mighty works which Hector wrought in Troy. But this is the belief of men: He dwelt on the island which is now called Hler's Isle,' and was deeply versed in black magic.
And at evening, when it was time for drinking, Odin had swords brought into the hall, so bright that light radiated from them: It seemed glo- rious to Mgir to look about him in the hall: The man seated next to -Sgir was Bragi, and they took part together in drink- ing and in converse: But when they came down into a cer- tain dale, they saw a herd of oxen, took one ox, and set about cooking it.
Now when they thought that it must be cooked, they broke up the fire, and it was not cooked. Then they heard a voice speaking in the oak up above them, declar- ing that he who sat there confessed he had caused the lack of virtue in the fire. They looked thither, and there sat an eagle; and it was no small one. Then the eagle said: Then he let him- self float down from the tree and alighted by the fire, and forthwith at the very first took unto himself the two hams of the ox, and both shoulders.
Then Loki was angered, snatched up a great pole, brandished it with all his strength, and drove it at the eagle's body. The eagle plunged vio- lently at the blow and flew up, so that the pole was fast to the eagle's back, and Loki's hands to the other end of the pole. The eagle flew at such a height that Loki's feet down below knocked against stones and rock-heaps and trees, and he thought his arms would be torn from his shoulders.
He cried aloud, entreating the eagle urgently for peace; but the eagle declared that Loki should never be loosed, unless he would give him his oath to induce Idunn to come out of Asgard with her apples. Loki as- sented, and being straightway loosed, went to his com- panions; nor for that time are any more things reported concerning their journey, until they had come home. But at the appointed time Loki lured Idunn out of As- gard into a certain wood, saying that he had found such apples as would seem to her of great virtue, and prayed that she would have her apples with her and compare them with these.
Then Thjazi the giant came there in his eagle's plumage and took Idunn and flew away with her, oflF into Thrymheimr to his abode. There- upon Loki was seized and brought to the Thing, and was threatened with death, or tortures; when he had become well frightened, he declared that he would seek after Idunn in Jotunheim, if Freyja would lend him the hawk's plum- age which she possessed. And when he got the hawk's plumage, he flew north into Jotunheim, and came on a cer- tain day to the home of Thjazi the giant.
Thjazi had rowed out to sea, but Idunn was at home alone: Loki turned her into the shape of a nut and grasped her in his claws and flew his utmost.
Now when Thjazi came home and missed Idunn, he took his eagle's plumage and flew after Loki, making a mighty rush of sound with his wings in his flight. But when the iEsir saw how the hawk flew with the nut, and where the eagle was flying, they went out below Asgard and bore burdens of plane-shavings thither. As soon as the hawk flew into the citadel, he swooped down close by the castle- wall; then the JEsir struck fire to the plane-shavings.
Meaning of "Prose Edda" in the English dictionary
But the eagle could not stop himself when he missed the hawk: Now Skadi, the daughter of the giant Thjazi, took helm and birnie and all weapons of war and proceeded to Asgard, to avenge her father. The iEsir, however, oflFered her recon- ciliation and atonement: Then she saw the feet of one man, passing fair, and said: She had this article also in her bond of reconcil- iation: Then Loki did this: Thereupon re- conciliation was made with her on the part of the iEsir. It is so said, that Odin did this by way of atonement to Skadi: Then said JEgir: He was very rich in gold; but when he died and his sons came to divide the inheritance, they determined upon this measure for the gold which they divided: One of them was Thjazi, the second Idi, the third Gangr.
And we have it as a metaphor among us now, to call gold the mouth-tale of these giants ; but we conceal it in secret terms or in poesy in this way, that we call it Speech, or Word, or Talk, of these giants. Then at parting the gods took that peace- token and would not let it perish, but shaped thereof a man. This man is called Kvasir, and he was so wise that none could question him concerning anything but that he knew the solution. He went up and down the earth to give instruction to men; and when he came upon invita- tion to the abode of certain dwarves, Fjalar and Galarr, they called him into privy converse with them, and killed him, letting his blood run into two vats and a kettle.
The kettle is named Odrerir, and the vats Son and Bodn; they blended honey with the blood, and the outcome was that mead by the virtue of which he who drinks becomes a skald or scholar. Next the dwarves invited Gillingr to row upon the sea with them; but when they had gone out from the land, the dwarves rowed into the breakers and capsized the boat. Gillingr was unable to swim, and he perished ; but the dwarves righted their boat and rowed to land.
They reported this accident to his wife, but she took it grievously and wept aloud. Then Fjalar asked her whether it would ease her heart if she should look out upon the sea at the spot where he had perished; and she desired it.
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Then he spoke softly to Galarr his brother, bidding him go up over the doorway, when she should go out, and let a mill-stone fall on her head, saying that her weeping grew wearisome to him; and even so he did. They besought Suttungr to grant them respite of their lives, and as the price of reconciliation offered him the precious mead in satisfaction of his father's death.
And that became a means of reconciliation between them. Sut- tungr carried the mead home and concealed it in the place called Hnitbjorg, placing his daughter Gunnlod there to watch over it. Odin departed from home and came to a certain place where nine thralls were mowing hay.
He asked if they de- sired him to whet their scythes, and they assented. Then he took a hone from his belt and whetted the scythes; it seemed to them that the scythes cut better by far, and they asked that the hone be sold them. But he put such a value on it that whoso desired to download must give a consider- able price: He cast the hone up into the air; but since all wished to lay their hands on it, they became so intermingled with one another that each struck with his scythe against the other's neck.
Odin called himself B61 verier in Baugi's presence j he offered to under- take nine men's work for Baugi, and demanded for his wages one drink of Suttungr's Mead.
In general, the mythological poems seem strongly marked by pagan sincerity, although efforts have been made to prove them the results of deliberate archaizing; and as Christianity became generally accepted throughout the Norse world early in the eleventh century, it seems altogether likely that most of the poems dealing with the gods definitely antedate the year The earlier terminus is still a matter of dispute.
The general weight of critical opinion, based chiefly on the linguistic evidence presented by Hoffory, Finnur Jonsson and others, has indicated that the poems did not assume anything closely analogous to their present forms prior to the ninth century. On the other hand, Magnus Olsens interpretation of the inscriptions on the Eggjum Stone, which he places as early as the seventh century, have led so competent a scholar as Birger Nerman to say that we may be warranted in concluding that some of the Eddic poems may have originated, wholly or partially, in the second part of the seventh century.
As for the poems belonging to the hero cycles, one or two of them appear to be as late as , but most of them probably date back at least to the century and a half following It is a reasonable guess that the years between and saw the majority of the Eddic poems worked into definite shape, but it must be remembered that many changes took place during the long subsequent period of oral transmission, and also that many of the legends, both mythological and heroic, on which the poems were based certainly existed in the Norse regions, and quite possibly in verse form, long before the year As to the origin of the legends on which the poems are based, the whole question, at least so far as the stories of the gods are concerned, is much too complex for discussion here.
How much of the actual narrative material of the mythological lays is properly to be called Scandinavian is a matter for students of comparative mythology to guess at. The tales underlying the heroic lays are clearly of foreign origin: the Helgi story comes from Denmark, and that of Vlund from Germany, as also the great mass of traditions centering around Sigurth Siegfried , Brynhild, the sons of Gjuki, Atli Attila , and Jormunrek Ermanarich.
The introductory notes to the various poems deal with the more important of these questions of origin. Of the men who composed these poems wrote is obviously the wrong word we know absolutely nothing, save that some of them must have been literary artists with a high degree of conscious skill.
The Eddic poems are folk-poetry, whatever that may be, only in the sense that some of them strongly reflect racial feelings and beliefs; they are anything but crude or primitive in workmanship, and they show that General Introduction not only the poets themselves, but also many of their hearers, must have made a careful study of the art of poetry. Where the poems were shaped is equally uncertain. Any date prior to would normally imply an origin on the mainland, but the necessarily fluid state of oral tradition made it possible for a poem to be composed many times over, and in various and far-separated places, without altogether losing its identity.
Thus, even if a poem first assumed something approximating its present form in Iceland in the tenth century, it may none the less embody language characteristic of Norway two centuries earlier. Oral poetry has always had an amazing preservative power over language, and in considering the origins of such poems as these, we must cease thinking in terms of the printing-press, or even in those of the scribe.
The claims of Norway as the birthplace of most of the Eddic poems have been extensively advanced, but the great literary activity of Iceland after the settlement of the island by Norwegian emigrants late in the ninth century makes the theory of an Icelandic home for many of the poems appear plausible. The two Atli lays, with what authority we do not know, bear in the Codex Regius the superscription the Greenland poem, and internal evidence suggests that this statement may be correct.
Certainly in one poem, the Rigsthula, and probably in several others, there are marks of Celtic influence. During a considerable part of the ninth and tenth centuries, Scandinavians were active in Ireland and in most of the western islands inhabited by branches of the Celtic race.
Some scholars have, indeed, claimed nearly all the Eddic poems for these Western Isles. However, as Iceland early came to be the true cultural center of this Scandinavian island world, it may be said that the preponderant evidence concerning the development of the Eddic poems in anything like their present form points in that direction, and certainly it was in Iceland that they were chiefly preserved.
The Edda and Old Norse literature Within the proper limits of an introduction it would be impossible to give any adequate summary of the history and literature with which the Eddic poems are indissolubly connected, but a mere mention of a few of the salient facts may be of some service to those who are unfamiliar with the subject.
Old Norse literature covers approximately the period between and During the first part of that period occurred the great wanderings of the Scandinavian peoples, and particularly the Norwegians. A convenient date to remember is that of the sea-fight of Hafrsfjord, , when Harald the Fair-Haired broke the power of the independent Norwegian nobles, and made himself overlord of nearly all the country.
Many of the defeated nobles fled overseas, where inviting refuges had been found for them by earlier wanderers and plunder-seeking raiders. This was the time of the inroads of the dreaded Northmen in France, and in Hrolf Gangr Rollo laid siege to Paris itself. Many Norwegians went to Ireland, where their compatriots had already built Dublin, and where they remained in control of most of the island till Brian Boru shattered their power at the battle of Clontarf in Of all the migrations, however, the most important were those to Iceland.
Here grew up an active civilization, fostered by absolute independence and by remoteness from the wars which wracked Norway, yet kept from degenerating into provincialism by the roving General Introduction life of the people, which brought them constantly in contact with the culture of the South. Christianity, introduced throughout the Norse world about the year , brought with it the stability of learning, and the Icelanders became not only the makers but also the students and recorders of history.
The years between and were the great spontaneous period of oral literature. Most of the military and political leaders were also poets, and they composed a mass of lyric poetry concerning the authorship of which we know a good deal, and much of which has been preserved.
Narrative prose also flourished, for the Icelander had a passion for story-telling and story-hearing. After came the day of the writers.
These sagamen collected the material that for generations had passed from mouth to mouth, and gave it permanent form in writing. The greatest bulk of what we now have of Old Norse literature and the published part of it makes a formidable library originated thus in the earlier period before the introduction of writing, and was put into final shape by the scholars, most of them Icelanders, of the hundred years following After came a rapid and tragic decline.
Iceland lost its independence, becoming a Norwegian province. Later Norway too fell under alien rule, a Swede ascending the Norwegian throne in Pestilence and famine laid waste the whole North; volcanic disturbances worked havoc in Iceland. Literature did not quite die, but it fell upon evil days; for the vigorous native narratives and heroic poems of the older period were substituted translations of French romances.
The poets wrote mostly doggerel; the prose writers were devoid of national or racial inspiration. The mass of literature thus collected and written down largely between and maybe roughly divided into four groups. The greatest in volume is made up of the sagas: narratives mainly in prose, ranging all the way from authentic history of the Norwegian kings and the early Icelandic settlements to fairy-tales. Embodied in the sagas is found the material composing the second group: the skaldic poetry, a vast collection of songs of praise, triumph, love, lamentation, and so on, almost uniformly characterized by an appalling complexity of figurative language.
There is no absolute line to be drawn between the poetry of the skalds and the poems of the Edda, which we may call the third group; but in addition to the remarkable artificiality of style which marks the skaldic poetry, and which is seldom found in the poems of the Edda, the skalds dealt almost exclusively with their own emotions, whereas the Eddic poems are quite impersonal. Finally, there is the fourth group, made up of didactic works, religious and legal treatises, and so on, studies which originated chiefly in the later period of learned activity.
Copenhagen: Nordisk forlag, De gamle Eddadigte. Copenhagen: Gads, De islandske grammatiks historie til o. Historisk-filologiske Meddelelser Copenhagen: Levin and Munksgaard, Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. Copenhagen: Villadsen and Christensen, Photographic reprint Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, Altnordische Saga-Bibliothek 3.
Bogi Th. Grammatik for det islandske oldsprog. Copenhagen: Thieles bogtrykkeri, Copenhagen: Samfund til udgivelse af gammel nordisk litteratur, Copenhagen: Bianco Lunos, Ordbog til de af Samfund til udg. Snorra Edda Sturlusonar. Copenhagen: Gyldendalske boghandel and Nordisk forlag, Florence: The Florentine Typographical Society, Samnlung kurzer Grammatiken germanischer Dialekte.
Wilhelm Braune. Halle: Niemeyer; Leiden: Brill, Kiel: Kiel University, Halle: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, Leipzig: Hinrichs, Altnordische Heilkunde. Haarlem: Bohn, Margaret Clunie argues that personal honor was very important for the Icelandic culture: Then the gods sat down in their judg- ment seats, and sought means of evasion, and asked one another who had advised giving Freyja into Jotunheim, or so destroying the air and the heaven as to take thence the sun and the moon and give them to the giants.
During the first part of that period occurred the great wanderings of the Scandinavian peoples, and particularly the Norwegians. These sagamen collected the material that for generations had passed from mouth to mouth, and gave it permanent form in writing.
The three verse-forms exemplified in the poems need only a brief comment here, however, in order to make clear the method used in this translation. The introductory notes to the various poems deal with the more important of these questions of origin.
Untold ages ere earth was shapen. London: University of California Press. Next they fashioned a house, wherein they placed a forge, and made besides a hammer, tongs, and anvil, and by means of these, all other tools.
Copenhagen: Samfund til udgivelse af gammel nordisk litteratur,
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