We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Edda is a term used to describe two Icelandic manuscripts that were copied down and compiled in the 13th century CE. Together they are the main sources of Norse mythology and skaldic poetry that relate the religion, cosmogony, and history of Scandinavians and Proto-Germanic tribes. The Prose or Younger Edda dates to circa 1220 CE and was compiled by Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet and historian. The Poetic or Elder Edda was written down circa 1270 CE by an unknown author.

Etymology of 'Edda'

Snorri Sturluson's work was the first of the two manuscripts to be called Edda, however, scholars are uncertain how this exactly came about. Snorri himself did not name it. The term, 'Edda', was later ascribed to Snorri's work by a different author in a manuscript from the early 14th century CE, the Codex Upsaliensis, which contained a copy of Snorri's Edda within it. Gudbrand Vigfusson, in The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue, quotes the Codex Upsaliensis as saying, “This Book is called Edda, which Snorri Sturlason put together according to the order set down here: First, concerning the Æsir and Gylfi.” The first use of the word 'Edda', that has thus far been located, was in a poem called the Lay of Righ (Háttatal), which was authored by Snorri. In this poem, the word 'Edda' is used as a title for “great-grandmother.” Multiple theories exist, but one suggests that the term may have become associated with Snorri's manuscript because, like a great-grandmother, it carries a breadth of ancient knowledge and wisdom. Another theory that is more widely accepted by scholars today proposes that 'Edda' is closely associated with the word Oddi, which is the Icelandic town where Snorri grew up.

The Prose Edda

Snorri Sturluson's Edda was later called the Prose Edda, due to his addition of prose explanations of the difficult alliterative verse and symbolism. It appears that Snorri designed the manuscript as a textbook on skaldic poetry. However, it has been most highly prized for the songs and poems that record an incredible array of mythology, heroes, and battles. His verse was reflective of older styles of court poetry and was esteemed as a high standard for other poets. It was a standard perhaps unattainable by future generations of poets, as it was considered by many as overly cryptic and difficult.

The Prose Edda is highly prized for its songs & poems that record an incredible array of mythology, heroes, & battles.

Snorri's Edda was later nicknamed the 'Younger Edda' because much of it derives from older sources. What those sources were is a matter of speculation. Some researchers believe Snorri based it largely on folkloric oral traditions that he may have heard, while others think he used an elder written Edda. However, experts agree that he did add many of his own details. As a result, he gives readers a more elaborate version of Norse mythology that at times reveals his Christian influence.

Contents of the Prose Edda

  • Prologue: Snorri reveals his Christian influence by giving an account of the Biblical version of creation with the stories of Adam and Eve, the Great Flood and Noah's Ark.
  • Gylfaginning: Here Begins the Beguiling of Gylfi - Perhaps truest to ancient sources, this book is a mythological story in the form of Odinic poems that explain the origin of the Norse cosmos and the chaos that will ensue.
  • Skáldskaparmál: The Poesy of Skalds - This text continues with mythological stories of the Norse gods but weaves educational explanations on skaldic poetry into the narrative.
  • Háttatal: The Enumeration of Metres - Includes three distinct songs that celebrate King Hákon and Skúli Bárdsson, the powerful father-in-law of the king. Snorri added comments and definitions between stanzas to ease the reader's difficulty of interpretation.

Poetry From the Prose Edda

The following excerpt from the first book in the Prose Edda, 'Gylfaginning', connects the Poetic and Prose Edda together. In it, Snorri references the 3rd stanza of Völuspá, the most famous poem of the Poetic Edda that details the mythological creation and destruction of the Norse cosmos. This story in the Prose Edda is about King Gylfi of Scandinavia who travels to investigate the wise and cunning leaders of the east. The king pretends to be an old man, Gangleri, who asks many questions of the leaders.

Love History?

Sign up for our free weekly email newsletter!

Gangleri said: 'What was the beginning, or how began it, or what was before it?' Hárr answered: 'As is told in Völuspá

Erst was the age | when nothing was:

Nor sand nor sea, | nor chilling stream-waves;

Earth was not found, | nor Ether-Heaven,—

A Yawning Gap, | but grass was none.

(Gylfaginning: Chapter IV)

An Elder Edda Surfaces

In 1643 CE, a highly respected Icelandic collector of numerous works on Norse literature, Bishop Brynjólfur Sveinsson, obtained a copy of an older manuscript. No scholar knows where it came from or if it originally had a name, however, it was evident that the newly discovered compendium and Snorri's Edda had some common origins. Although the bishop attributed this manuscript to the priest and author, Saemundur Sigfússon (1056-1153 CE), and called it Saemundur's Edda, today, scholars agree that this was incorrect. The author/compiler is still unknown. However, Bishop Brynjólfur believed the manuscript to be the Elder Edda. Completely written in verse, the Elder Edda later became known as the Poetic Edda to distinguish it from Snorri's prose counterpart.

In 1662 CE, Bishop Brynjólfur gifted many of his important literary collections to the King of Denmark, Frederick III, to place in the new Royal Library. The Poetic Edda was among those gifts. It became known as the Codex Regius ('King's or Royal Book') and remained safeguarded in Denmark until it was returned to Iceland in 1971 CE.

The Codex Regius is a cherished artefact containing ancient myths and stories of heroes that cannot be found elsewhere. Older copies of the Codex Regius and its sources that may have once existed were lost or destroyed. It currently contains 90 pages, but 16 of those went missing sometime after it went to Denmark. The Poetic Edda took a bit of an evolutionary divergence from the Codex Regius as other poems were added to the Poetic Edda over the years. Today, many people refer to the oldest King's Book as the Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda to distinguish it from a different volume of Codex Regius, which contains a copy of Snorri's Edda and dates to the first half of the 14th century CE. The contents of any modern Poetic Edda vary and depend on the author.

Contents of the Poetic Edda (Codex Regius)

Mythological Poems:

  • Völuspá - The Seeress's Prophecy
  • Hávamál - Sayings of the High One
  • Vafþrúðnismál - The Ballad of Vafthrúdnir
  • Grímnismál - The Lay of Grímnir
  • Skírnismál - The Lay of Skírnir
  • Hárbarðsljóð - The Lay of Hárbard
  • Hymiskviða - The Lay of Hymir
  • Lokasenna - Loki's Wrangling
  • Þrymskviða - The Lay of Thrym
  • Völundarkviða - The Lay of Völund
  • Alvíssmál - The Lay of Alvís

Heroic Poems:

Three lays of Helgi

  • Helgakviða Hundingsbana I or Völsungakviða
  • Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar
  • Helgakviða Hundingsbana II or Völsungakviða in forna
  • Frá dauða Sinfjötla - A short prose text
  • Grípisspá - Grípir's Prophecy, The Prophecy of Grípir
  • Reginsmál - The Lay of Regin
  • Fáfnismál - The Lay of Fáfnir
  • Sigrdrífumál - The Lay of Sigrdrífa
  • Brot af Sigurðarkviðu - Fragment of a Sigurd Lay
  • Guðrúnarkviða I - The First Lay of Gudrún
  • Sigurðarkviða hin skamma - The Short Lay of Sigurd
  • Helreið Brynhildar - Brynhild's Ride to Hel
  • Dráp Niflunga - The Slaying of The Niflungs
  • Guðrúnarkviða II - The Second Lay of Gudrún
  • Guðrúnarkviða III - The Third Lay of Gudrún
  • Oddrúnargrátr - Oddrún's Lament
  • Atlakviða - The Lay of Atli
  • Atlamál hin groenlenzku - The Greenlandic Poem of Atli
  • The Jörmunrekkr Lays
  • Guðrúnarhvöt - Gudrún's Lament
  • Hamðismál - The Lay of Hamdir

Poems Added That Are Not in the Codex Regius

  • Baldrs draumar - Baldr's Dreams
  • Gróttasöngr - The Song of Grotti
  • Rígsþula - The Lay of Ríg
  • Hyndluljóð - The Lay of Hyndla
  • Völuspá - Short Prophecy of the Seeress
  • Svipdagsmál - The Lay of Svipdag
  • Grógaldr - Gróa's Spell
  • Fjölsvinnsmál - The Lay of Fjölsvid
  • Hrafnagaldr Óðins - Odins's Raven Song

Poetry from the Poetic Edda

One of the most important mythological poems is Hávamál, in which Odin explains how he acquired the runes by sacrificing himself to himself on the Yggdrasil tree. As translated by Olive Bray, stanzas 137 and 138 explain:

I trow I hung on that windy Tree

nine whole days and nights,

stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,

myself to mine own self given,

high on that Tree of which none hath heard

from what roots it rises to heaven.

None refreshed me ever with food or drink,

I peered right down in the deep;

crying aloud I lifted the Runes

then back I fell from thence.

Preservation of Germanic History

It was by good fortune that the Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda was preserved. Widespread destruction of pagan manuscripts occurred in the 18th century CE across Europe. Additionally, in 1728 CE the Great Fire in Copenhagen tragically burned at least one-third of the city including over 35,000 volumes of books and a large collection of historical documents at the University of Copenhagen library.

Today, the Eddas are a key to the ancient world of Germanic history. More than just a vast source of mythology, the Eddas reveal the intimate relationships between humans, gods, and nature, and the deep reverence that was built upon these beliefs. This is especially significant in light of a resurgence of Icelandic Pagan religion. Additionally, the extensive usage of the Eddas across the world as resources for Norse studies testifies to their scholastic relevance. Both the Prose and Elder Eddas are national treasures that have captured history within their poetic pages and are a testament to the tenacity of the Icelanders to remember and preserve their precious heritage.

The Prose Edda was written by the Icelandic chieftain, poet, and historian Snorri Sturluson, probably in 1222–23. It is a textbook on poetics intended to instruct young poets in the difficult metres of the early Icelandic skalds (court poets) and to provide for a Christian age an understanding of the mythological subjects treated or alluded to in early poetry. It consists of a prologue and three parts. Two of the sections— Skáldskaparmál (“The Language of Poetry”), dealing with the elaborate, riddle-like kennings and circumlocutions of the skalds, and Háttatal (“A Catalog of Metres”), giving examples of 102 metres known to Snorri—are of interest chiefly to specialists in ancient Norse and Germanic literature. The remaining section, Gylfaginning (“The Beguiling of Gylfi”), is of interest to the general reader. Cast in the form of a dialogue, it describes the visit of Gylfi, a king of the Swedes, to Asgard, the citadel of the gods. In answer to his questions, the gods tell Gylfi the Norse myths about the beginning of the world, the adventures of the gods, and the fate in store for all in the Ragnarǫk (Doom [or Twilight] of the Gods). The tales are told with dramatic artistry, humour, and charm.

The Poetic Edda is a later manuscript dating from the second half of the 13th century, but containing older materials (hence its alternative title, the Elder Edda). It is a collection of mythological and heroic poems of unknown authorship, composed over a long period ( ad 800–1100). They are usually dramatic dialogues in a terse, simple, archaic style that is in decided contrast to the artful poetry of the skalds.

The mythological cycle is introduced by luspá (“Sibyl’s Prophecy”), a sweeping cosmogonic myth that reviews in flashing scenes the history of the gods, men, and dwarfs, from the birth of the world to the death of the gods and the world’s destruction.

It is followed by Hávamál (“Sayings of the High One”), a group of disconnected, fragmentary, didactic poems that sum up the wisdom of the wizard-warrior god, Odin. The precepts are cynical and generally amoral, evidently dating from an age of lawlessness and treachery. The latter part contains the strange myth of how Odin acquired the magical power of the runes (alphabetical characters) by hanging himself from a tree and suffering hunger and thirst for nine nights. The poem ends with a list of magic charms.

One of the finest mythological poems is the humorous Thrymskvida (“Lay of Thrym”), which tells how the giant Thrym steals the hammer of the thunder god Thor and demands the goddess Freyja in marriage for its return. Thor himself journeys to Thrym, disguised as a bride, and the humour derives from the “bride’s” astonishing manners at the wedding feast, where she eats an ox and eight salmon, and drinks three vessels of mead.


THERE is scarcely any literary work of great importance which has been less readily available for the general reader, or even for the serious student of literature, than the Poetic Edda. Translations have been far from numerous, and only in Germany has the complete work of translation been done in the full light of recent scholarship. In English the only versions were long the conspicuously inadequate one made by Thorpe, and published about half a century ago, and the unsatisfactory prose translations in Vigfusson and Powell's Corpus Poeticum Boreale, reprinted in the Norrœna collection. An excellent translation of the poems dealing with the gods, in verse and with critical and explanatory notes, made by Olive Bray, was, however, published by the Viking Club of London in 1908. In French there exist only partial translations, chief among them being those made by Bergmann many years ago. Among the seven or eight German versions, those by the Brothers Grimm and by Karl Simrock, which had considerable historical importance because of their influence on nineteenth century German literature and art, and particularly on the work of Richard Wagner, have been largely superseded by Hugo Gering's admirable translation, published in 1892, and by the recent two volume rendering by Genzmer, with excellent notes by Andreas Heusler, 194-1920. There are competent translations in both Norwegian and Swedish. The lack of any complete and adequately annotated English rendering in metrical form, based on a critical text, and profiting by the cumulative labors of such scholars as Mogk, Vigfusson,

Finnur Jonsson, Grundtvig, Bugge, Gislason, Hildebrand, Lüning, Sweet, Niedner, Ettmüller, Müllenhoff, Edzardi, B. M. Olsen, Sievers, Sijmons, Detter, Heinzel, Falk, Neckel, Heusler, and Gering, has kept this extraordinary work practically out of the reach of those who have had neither time nor inclination to master the intricacies of the original Old Norse.

On the importance of the material contained in the Poetic Edda it is here needless to dwell at any length. We have inherited the Germanic traditions in our very speech, and the Poetic Edda is the original storehouse of Germanic mythology. It is, indeed, in many ways the greatest literary monument preserved to us out of the antiquity of the kindred races which we call Germanic. Moreover, it has a literary value altogether apart from its historical significance. The mythological poems include, in the Voluspo, one of the vastest conceptions of the creation and ultimate destruction of the world ever crystallized in literary form in parts of the Hovamol, a collection of wise counsels that can bear comparison with most of the Biblical Book of Proverbs in the Lokasenna, a comedy none the less full of vivid characterization because its humor is often broad and in the Thrymskvitha, one of the finest ballads in the world. The hero poems give us, in its oldest and most vivid extant form, the story of Sigurth, Brynhild, and Atli, the Norse parallel to the German Nibelungenlied. The Poetic Edda is not only of great interest to the student of antiquity it is a collection including some of the most remark able poems which have been preserved to us from the period before the pen and the printing-press. replaced the poet-singer and oral tradition. It is above all else the desire

to make better known the dramatic force, the vivid and often tremendous imagery, and the superb conceptions embodied in these poems which has called forth the present translation.

Even if the poems of the so-called Edda were not so significant and intrinsically so valuable, the long series of scholarly struggles which have been going on over them for the better part of three centuries would in itself give them a peculiar interest. Their history is strangely mysterious. We do not know who composed them, or when or where they were composed we are by no means sure who collected them or when he did so finally, we are not absolutely certain as to what an "Edda" is, and the best guess at the meaning of the word renders its application to this collection of poems more or less misleading.

A brief review of the chief facts in the history of the Poetic Edda will explain why this uncertainty has persisted. Preserved in various manuscripts of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries is a prose work consisting of a very extensive collection of mythological stories, an explanation of the important figures and tropes of Norse poetic diction,--the poetry of the Icelandic and Norwegian skalds was appallingly complex in this respect,--and a treatise on metrics. This work, clearly a handbook for poets, was commonly known as the "Edda" of Snorri Sturluson, for at the head of the copy of it in the Uppsalabok, a manuscript written presumably some fifty or sixty years after Snorri's death, which was in 1241, we find: "This book is called Edda, which Snorri Sturluson composed." This work, well known as the Prose Edda, Snorri's Edda or the

Younger Edda, has recently been made available to readers of English in the admirable translation by Arthur G. Brodeur, published by the American-Scandinavian Foundation in 1916.

Icelandic tradition, however, persisted in ascribing either this Edda or one resembling it to Snorri's much earlier compatriot, Sæmund the Wise (1056-1133). When, early in the seventeenth century, the learned Arngrimur Jonsson proved to everyone's satisfaction that Snorri and nobody else must have been responsible for the work in question, the next thing to determine was what, if anything, Sæmund had done of the same kind. The nature of Snorri's book gave a clue. In the mythological stories related a number of poems were quoted, and as these and other poems were to all appearances Snorri's chief sources of information, it was assumed that Sæmund must have written or compiled a verse Edda--whatever an "Edda" might be--on which Snorri's work was largely based.

So matters stood when, in 1643, Brynjolfur Sveinsson, Bishop of Skalholt, discovered a manuscript, clearly written as early as 1300, containing twenty-nine poems, complete or fragmentary, and some of them with the very lines and stanzas used by Snorri. Great was the joy of the scholars, for here, of course, must be at least a part of the long-sought Edda of Sæmund the Wise. Thus the good bishop promptly labeled his find, and as Sæmund's Edda, the Elder Edda or the Poetic Edda it has been known to this day.

This precious manuscript, now in the Royal Library in Copenhagen, and known as the Codex Regius (R2365), has been the basis for all published editions of the Eddic poems. A few poems of similar character found elsewhere

have subsequently been added to the collection, until now most editions include, as in this translation, a total of thirty-four. A shorter manuscript now in the Arnamagnæan collection in Copenhagen (AM748), contains fragmentary or complete versions of six of the poems in the Codex Regius, and one other, Baldrs Draumar, not found in that collection. Four other poems (Rigsthula, Hyndluljoth, Grougaldr and Fjolsvinnsmol, the last two here combined under the title of Svipdagsmol), from various manuscripts, so closely resemble in subject-matter and style the poems in the Codex Regius that they have been included by most editors in the collection. Finally, Snorri's Edda contains one complete poem, the Grottasongr, which many editors have added to the poetic collection it is, however, not included in this translation, as an admirable English version of it is available in Mr. Brodeur's rendering of Snorri's work.

From all this it is evident that the Poetic Edda, as we now know it, is no definite and plainly limited work, but rather a more or less haphazard collection of separate poems, dealing either with Norse mythology or with hero-cycles unrelated to the traditional history of greater Scandinavia or Iceland. How many other similar poems, now lost, may have existed in such collections as were current in Iceland in the later twelfth and thirteenth centuries we cannot know, though it is evident that some poems of this type are missing. We can say only that thirty-four poems have been preserved, twenty-nine of them in a single manuscript collection, which differ considerably in subject-matter and style from all the rest of extant Old Norse poetry, and these we group together as the Poetic Edda.

But what does the word "Edda" mean? Various guesses have been made. An early assumption was that the word somehow meant "Poetics," which fitted Snorri's treatise to a nicety, but which, in addition to the lack of philological evidence to support this interpretation, could by no stretch of scholarly subtlety be made appropriate to the collection of poems. Jacob Grimm ingeniously identified the word with the word "edda" used in one of the poems, the Rigsthula, where, rather conjecturally, it means "great-grand mother." The word exists in this sense no where else in Norse literature, and Grimm's suggestion of "Tales of a Grandmother," though at one time it found wide acceptance, was grotesquely. inappropriate to either the prose or the verse work.

At last Eirikr Magnusson hit on what appears the likeliest solution of the puzzle: that "Edda" is simply the genitive form of the proper name "Oddi." Oddi was a settlement in the southwest of Iceland, certainly the home of Snorri Sturluson for many years, and, traditionally at least, also the home of Sæmund the Wise. That Snorri's work should have been called "The Book of Oddi" is altogether reasonable, for such a method of naming books was common--witness the "Book of the Flat Island" and other early manuscripts. That Sæmund may also have written or compiled another "Oddi-Book" is perfectly possible, and that tradition should have said he did so is entirely natural.

It is, however, an open question whether or not Sæmund had anything to do with making the collection, or any part of it, now known as the Poetic Edda, for of course the seventeenth-century assignment of the work to him is negligible. p. xvii We can say only that he may have made some such compilation, for he was a diligent student of Icelandic tradition and history, and was famed throughout the North for his learning. But otherwise no trace of his works survives, and as he was educated in Paris, it is probable that he wrote rather in Latin than in the vernacular.

All that is reasonably certain is that by the middle or last of the twelfth century there existed in Iceland one or more written collections of Old Norse mythological and heroic poems, that the Codex Regius, a copy made a hundred years or so later, represents at least a considerable part of one of these, and that the collection of thirty-four poems which we now know as the Poetic or Elder Edda is practically all that has come down to us of Old Norse poetry of this type. Anything more is largely guesswork, and both the name of the compiler and the meaning of the title "Edda" are conjectural.


There is even less agreement about the birthplace, authorship and date of the Eddic poems themselves than about the nature of the existing collection. Clearly the poems were the work of many different men, living in different periods clearly, too, most of them existed in oral tradition for generations before they were committed to writing. 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 1000. 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 Olsen's 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 1100, but most of them probably date back at least to the century and a half following 900. It is a reasonable guess that the years between 850 and 1050 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 900.

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 Völund 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 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 875 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.


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 850 and 1300. 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, 872, 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 885 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 1014.

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 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 1000, 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 875 and 1100 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 1100 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 1150.

After 1250 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 1320. 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 1150 and 1250 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.


Most of the poems of the Poetic Edda have unquestionably reached us in rather bad shape. During the long period of oral transmission they suffered all sorts of interpolations, omissions and changes, and some of them, as they now stand, are a bewildering hodge-podge of little related fragments. To some extent the diligent twelfth century compiler to whom we owe the Codex Regius--Sæmund or another--was himself doubtless responsible for the patchwork process, often supplemented by narrative prose notes of his own but in the days before written records existed, it was easy to lose stanzas and longer passages from their context, and equally easy to interpolate them where they did not by any means belong. Some few of the poems, however, appear to be virtually complete and unified as we now have them.

Under such circumstances it is clear that the establishment of a satisfactory text is a matter of the utmost difficulty. As the basis for this translation I have used the text

prepared by Karl Hildebrand (1876) and revised by Hugo Gering (1904). Textual emendation has, however, been so extensive in every edition of the Edda, and has depended so much on the theories of the editor, that I have also made extensive use of many other editions, notably those by Finnur Jonsson, Neckel, Sijmons, and Detter and Heinzel, together with numerous commentaries. The condition of the text in both the principal codices is such that no great reliance can be placed on the accuracy of the copyists, and frequently two editions will differ fundamentally as to their readings of a given passage or even of an entire-poem. For this reason, and because guesswork necessarily plays so large a part in any edition or translation of the Eddic poems, I have risked overloading the pages with textual notes in order to show, as nearly as possible, the exact state of the original together with all the more significant emendations. I have done this particularly in the case of transpositions, many of which appear absolutely necessary, and in the indication of passages which appear to be interpolations.


The many problems connected with the verse-forms found in the Eddic poems have been analyzed in great detail by Sievers, Neckel, and others. 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. All of these forms group the lines normally in four-line stanzas. In the so-called Fornyrthislag ("Old Verse"), for convenience sometimes referred to in the notes as four-four measure, these lines have all the same

structure, each line being sharply divided by a cæsural pause into two half-lines, and each half-line having two accented syllables and two (sometimes three) unaccented ones. The two half-lines forming a complete line are bound together by the alliteration, or more properly initial-rhyme, of three (or two) of the accented syllables. The following is an example of the Fornyrthislag stanza, the accented syllables being in italics:

VreiÞr vas VingÞórr, | es vaknaÞi
ok síns hamars | of saknaÞi
skegg nam hrista, | skor nam ja,
Þ JarÞar burr | umb at Þreifask.

In the second form, the Ljothahattr ("Song Measure"), the first and third line of each stanza are as just described, but the second and fourth are shorter, have no cæsural pause, have three accented syllables, and regularly two initial-rhymed accented syllables, for which reason I have occasionally referred to Ljothahattr as four-three measure. The following is an example:

Ar skal sa | sás annars vill
eÞa fior hafa
liggjandi ulfr | sjaldan láer of getr
sofandi maÞr sigr.

In the third and least commonly used form, the Malahattr ("Speech Measure"), a younger verse-form than either of the other two, each line of the four-line stanza is divided into two half-lines by a cæsural pause, each half line having two accented syllables and three (sometimes

four) unaccented ones the initial rhyme is as in the Fornyrthislag. The following is an example:

Horsk vas húsfreyja, | hugÞi at mannviti,
lag heyrÞi òrÞa, | hvat á laun máeltu
Þá vas vant vitri, | vildi Þeim hjalÞa:
skyldu of sáe sigla, | en sjolfkvamskat.

A poem in Fornyrthislag is normally entitled -kvitha (Thrymskvitha, Guthrunarkvitha, etc.), which for convenience I have rendered as "lay," while a poem in Ljothahattr is entitled -mol (Grimnismol, Skirnismol, etc.), which I have rendered as "ballad." It is difficult to find any distinction other than metrical between the two terms, although it is clear that one originally existed.

Variations frequently appear in all three kinds of verse, and these I have attempted to indicate through the rhythm of the translation. In order to preserve so far as possible the effect of the Eddic verse, I have adhered, in making the English version, to certain of the fundamental rules governing the Norse line and stanza formations. The number of lines to each stanza conforms to what seems the best guess as to the original, and I have consistently retained the number of accented syllables. in translating from a highly inflected language into one depending largely on the use of subsidiary words, it has, however, been necessary to employ considerable freedom as to the number of unaccented syllables in a line. The initial-rhyme is generally confined to two accented syllables in each line. As in the original, all initial vowels are allowed to rhyme interchangeably, but I have disregarded the rule which lets certain groups of consonants rhyme only with themselves

(e.g., I have allowed initial s or st to rhyme with sk or sl). In general, I have sought to preserve the effect of the original form whenever possible without an undue sacrifice of accuracy. For purposes of comparison, the translations of the three stanzas just given are here included:

Wild was Vingthor | when he awoke,
And when his mighty | hammer he missed
He shook his beard, | his hair was bristling,
To groping set | the son of Jorth.

He must early go forth | who fain the blood
Or the goods of another would get
The wolf that lies idle | shall win little meat,
Or the sleeping man success.

Wise was the woman, | she fain would use wisdom,
She saw well what meant | all they said in secret . .
From her heart it was hid | how help she might render,
The sea they should sail, | while herself she should go not.

The forms in which the proper names appear in this translation will undoubtedly perplex and annoy those who have become accustomed to one or another of the current methods of anglicising Old Norse names. The nominative ending -r it has seemed best to, omit after consonants, although it has been retained after vowels in Baldr the final -r is a part of the stem and is of course retained. I

have rendered the Norse Þ by "th" throughout, instead of spasmodically by "d," as in many texts: e.g., Othin in stead of Odin. For the Norse ø I have used its equivalent, "ö," e.g., Völund for the o I have used "o" and not "a," e.g., Voluspo, not Valuspa or Voluspa. To avoid confusion with accents the long vowel marks of the Icelandic are consistently omitted, as likewise in modern Icelandic proper names. The index at the end of the book indicates the pronunciation in each case.

That this translation may be of some value to those who can read the poems of the Edda in the original language I earnestly hope. Still more do I wish that it may lead a few who hitherto have given little thought to the Old Norse language and literature to master the tongue for themselves. But far above either of these I place the hope that this English version may give to some, who have known little of the ancient traditions of what is after all their own race, a clearer insight into the glories of that extraordinary past, and that I may through this medium be able to bring to others a small part of the delight which I myself have found in the poems of the Poetic Edda.


Heimdallr (also known as Heimdall, Heimdal, Heimdali, Rig, Hallinskiði, Gullintanni, and Vindlér or Vindhlér) is the Nordic god who is tasked with the protection of Bifröst bridge against the arrival of Giants who are foretold to destroy Asgard and Earth during the apocalyptic events of Ragnarok. He plays a vital role in Ragnarok and therefore has been bestowed with great importance in many Nordic myths that have been recorded in literary works of Poetic Edda and Prose Edda.

Modern scholars don’t have a clear picture of Heimdall because much of his surviving descriptions and attestations are incomplete, conflicting and collected from different ages. Historical information of Heimdall is today found in expansive work recorded in Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, the poetry of skalds (poets who worked at the Scandinavian and Icelandic medieval courts).

According to all the collective records, Heimdall is one of the most important gods in the Norse pantheon. Blessed with the power of foreknowledge, extraordinary sight and hearing, he was tasked to protect the Bifröst from his fortress of Himinbjörg that was located at the place where the shimmering rainbow bridge connected with the lands of Asgard. According to the prophecies known by the Aesir gods, Heimdall would be the first of the gods who will saw the signs of the upcoming Ragnarok, and was preordained to die in battle while killing Loki.

His appearance was of majestic beauty and light. He was armed with a flashing sword, horn Gjallarhorn (which he used to warn the Asgard gods of the upcoming danger that he could spot from far away), golden-maned horse Gulltoppr, and white armor that shone with bright light. According to some tales, he was a son of Odin and had Nine Mothers who are in the Norse myths depicted as sisters and personification of sea waves. They nursed him as a baby by enhancing him with the power of the Earth, the moisture of the sea and the heat of the Sun. This enabled him to gain the power of foreknowledge, keen hearing and eyesight. To be a better guardian of Asgard, he even requires less sleep than a bird. Some stories paint him to be a personification or closely connected with the world tree Yggdrasil.

The name Heimdallr cannot be fully traced to its true origin, but the historians agree that its name most likely can be translated to “the one who illuminates the world.” In surviving poems and stories, he is also notably called with three different names – Hallinskiði (no translation), Gullintanni (“the one with the golden teeth”) and Vindlér or Vindhlér (“the one protecting against the wind” or “the one protecting against the wind-sea”). Stories about him under these names have provided modern historians with valuable knowledge about his looks and exploits.

In Poetic Edda, Heimdall is referenced in six poems (Völuspá, Grímnismál, Lokasenna, Þrymskviða, Rígsþula, and Hrafnagaldr Óðins), while in Prose Edda, he is mentioned in three books (Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál, and Háttatal). He was also described in 13th-century Heimskringla Old Norse saga from Iceland and in the 10th-century Saltfleetby spindle whorl inscription that was recently found in England.

What happened to Etta Place?

Etta (Ethel) Place, girlfriend of Harry A. Longabaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid, is a mystery woman.

We know from her photo she was a beautiful gal. Author Donna Ernst, whose husband is kin to the Sundance Kid, says she was called Ethel, but it’s unlikely Etta, Ethel or Place was her real name.

We don’t know where she came from, although some historians have theorized she was a Texas teacher or prostitute. We also don’t know how she hooked up with members of the Wild Bunch, famous for robbing American banks and trains.

By 1901, she was thick with Sundance Kid and his pal Butch Cassidy. The trio headed to South America, where they tried going straight, running a ranch. But when the law was closing in, they went back to the outlaw trail.

In 1906, she apparently returned from South America and landed in San Francisco, California. At that point, she disappeared. To this day, researchers continue to try to track her down.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian.
His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.

If you have a question, write:
Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008,
Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at
[email protected]

Related Posts

Robert Garcia Phoenix, Arizona True. The blood ritual has been around for centuries in the&hellip

What happened to Chuck Connors? Dan Clutter Denison, Iowa Born in 1921, Chuck Connors is&hellip

The enigmatic Etta, (Ethel) Place is one of the Old West’s most enthralling mysteries. We&hellip


Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Ragnarök, (Old Norse: “Doom of the Gods”), in Scandinavian mythology, the end of the world of gods and men. The Ragnarök is fully described only in the Icelandic poem Völuspá (“Sibyl’s Prophecy”), probably of the late 10th century, and in the 13th-century Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson (d. 1241), which largely follows the Völuspá. According to those two sources, the Ragnarök will be preceded by cruel winters and moral chaos. Giants and demons approaching from all points of the compass will attack the gods, who will meet them and face death like heroes. The sun will be darkened, the stars will vanish, and the earth will sink into the sea. Afterward, the earth will rise again, the innocent Balder will return from the dead, and the hosts of the just will live in a hall roofed with gold.

What happens during Ragnarök?

In Scandinavian mythology, Ragnarök is a series of events and catastrophes that will ultimately lead to the end of the world. Ragnarök culminates in a final battle between the gods and the demons and giants, ending in the death of the gods. In some versions, the earth will then sink and rise again with two human survivors who will reemerge out of the world tree and repopulate the world.

Where does the story of Ragnarök come from?

The story of Ragnarök is prominently featured in two works of literature: Völuspá, an Icelandic poem of the 10th century, and Prose Edda, a poetry collection about Norse mythology written by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century.

What inspired the story of Ragnarök?

Some researchers believe that the story of Ragnarök is inspired by natural events and catastrophes. There are striking similarities between the events of Ragnarök and the effects of a severe volcanic eruption, such as the darkening of the sky from ash and the earth trembling.

Did Ragnarök happen?

In 2014 media outlets reported that the Viking calendar placed Ragnarök and the subsequent end of the world on February 22, 2014. The initial prediction was made by the JORVIK Viking Centre museum, with the predicted date coinciding with their annual festival. Ragnarök, however, did not happen.

Disjointed allusions to the Ragnarök, found in many other sources, show that conceptions of it varied. According to one poem two human beings, Lif and Lifthrasir (“Life” and “Vitality”), will emerge from the world tree (which was not destroyed) and repeople the earth. The title of Richard Wagner’s opera Götterdämmerung is a German equivalent of Ragnarök meaning “twilight of the gods.”

Rudolf Hess

FAMOUS FOR: Deputy Fuehrer until 1941 — the year he was arrested in England after a rogue mission there. Remained imprisoned until his suicide by hanging on Aug. 17, 1987.

SON: Wolf Rudiger Hess, born to Ilse Hess on Nov. 18, 1937.

Wolf was only 3½ when his father was arrested in England. He communicated with him over the years by letter, even learning chess from him, and always believed in his father’s innocence.

In 1959, he rejected compulsory military service by arguing that his father was imprisoned for creating that very draft, which was regarded as “an act against peace.”

He eventually won his case as a conscientious objector and became a civil engineer. But his mission to defend his father was just getting started.

“Wolf created the Committee to Free Rudolf Hess and launched a petition that was signed by more than 350,000 people, including two former presidents of West Germany [and] two Nobel Prize winners.”

Wolf “dedicated his life to his father,” writing three books about him: “My Father Rudolf Hess” (1986), “Who Murdered My Father, Rudolf Hess?” (1989), and “Rudolf Hess: No Regrets” (1994). When asked about his life, he would reply, “I never had time for myself: I spent all my free time on my father.”

He believed until the end that his father was assassinated by the British, even forming an organization in 1988 dedicated to promoting this theory. He had three sons, the first of whom, also named Wolf, was born on Hitler’s birthday.

Wolf died from kidney failure in October 2001.


The etymology of "Edda" remains uncertain there are many hypotheses, but little agreement. Some argue that the word derives from the name of Oddi, a town in the south of Iceland where Snorri was raised. Edda could therefore mean "book of Oddi." However, this assumption is generally rejected. Faulkes in his English translation of the Prose Edda commented that this is "unlikely, both in terms of linguistics and history" since Snorri was no longer living at Oddi when he composed his work.

Another connection was made with the word "óðr", which means "poetry or inspiration" in Old Norse. According to Faulkes, though such a connection is plausible semantically, it is unlikely that "Edda" could have been coined in the 13th century on the basis of "óðr", because such a development "would have had to have taken place gradually", and "Edda" in the sense of "poetics" is not likely to have existed in the preliterary period.

Edda also means "great-grandparent", a word used by Snorri himself in the Skáldskaparmál. That is, with the same meaning, the name of a character in the Rigsthula and other medieval texts. This hypothesis has attracted François-Xavier Dillmann, author of a French translation of the Edda, who said "it seems likely that this person's name was chosen as the title of the work due to the fact that it was a collection of ancient knowledge" or, in the words of Régis Boyer, the "grandparent of all sacred knowledge".

A final hypothesis is derived from the Latin "edo", meaning "I write". It relies on the fact that the word "kredda" (meaning "belief") is certified and comes from the Latin "credo", "I believe." It seems likely Snorri would have been able to invent the word. Edda in this case could be translated as "Poetic Art". This is the meaning that the word was then given in the Middle Ages.

The name Sæmundar Edda was given by the Bishop Brynjólfur Sveinsson to the collection of poems contained in the Codex Regius, many of which are quoted by Snorri. Brynjólfur, along with many others of his time incorrectly believed that they were collected by Sæmundr fróði (therefore before the drafting of the Edda of Snorri), and so the Poetic Edda is also known as the Elder Edda.


1. All door-ways, before going forward, should be looked to for difficult it is to know where foes may sit within a dwelling.

2. Givers, hail! A guest is come in: where shall he sit? In much haste is he, who on the ways has to try his luck.

3. Fire is needful to him who is come in, and whose knees are frozen food and raiment a man requires, wheo'er the fell has travelled.

4. Water to him is needful who for refection comes, a towel and hospitable invitation, a good reception if he can get it, discourse and answer.

5. Wit is needful to him who travels far: at home all is easy. A laughing-stock is he who nothing knows, and with the instructed sits. [Pg 30]

6. Of his understanding no one should be proud, but rather in conduct cautious. When the prudent and taciturn come to a dwelling, harm seldom befalls the cautious for a firmer friend no man ever gets than great sagacity.

7. A wary guest,[15] who to refection comes, keeps a cautious silence, with his ears listens, and with his eyes observes: so explores every prudent man.

8. He is happy, who for himself obtains fame and kind words: less sure is that which a man must have in another's breast.

9. He is happy, who in himself possesses fame and wit while living for bad counsels have oft been received from another's breast.

10. A better burthen no man bears on the way than much good sense that is thought better than riches in a strange place such is the recourse of the indigent.

11. A worse provision on the way he cannot carry than too much beer-bibbing so good is not, as it is said, beer for the sons of men.

12. A worse provision no man can take from table than too much beer-bibbing: for the more he drinks the less control he has of his own mind.

13. Oblivion's heron 'tis called that over potations hovers he steals the minds of men. With this bird's pinions I was fettered in Gunnlods dwelling. [Pg 31]

14. Drunk I was, I was over-drunk, at that cunning Fialar's. It's the best drunkenness, when every one after it regains his reason.

15. Taciturn and prudent, and in war daring, should a king's children be joyous and liberal every one should be until his hour of death.

16. A cowardly man thinks he will ever live, if warfare he avoids but old age will give him no peace, though spears may spare him.

17. A fool gapes when to a house he comes, to himself mutters or is silent but all at once, if he gets drink, then is the man's mind displayed.

18. He alone knows who wanders wide, and has much experienced, by what disposition each man is ruled, who common sense possesses.

19. Let a man hold the cup, yet of the mead drink moderately, speak sensibly or be silent. As of a fault no man will admonish thee, if thou goest betimes to sleep.

20. A greedy man, if he be not moderate, eats to his mortal sorrow. Oftentimes his belly draws laughter on a silly man, who among the prudent comes.

21. Cattle know when to go home, and then from grazing cease but a foolish man never knows his stomach's measure.

22. A miserable man, and ill-conditioned, sneers at every thing: one thing he knows not, which he ought to know, that he is not free from faults.

23. A foolish man is all night awake, pondering over everything he then grows tired and when morning comes, all is lament as before. [Pg 32]

24. A foolish man thinks all who on him smile to be his friends he feels it not, although they speak ill of him, when he sits among the clever.

25. A foolish man thinks all who speak him fair to be his friends but he will find, if into court he comes, that he has few advocates.

26. A foolish man thinks he knows everything if placed in unexpected difficulty but he knows not what to answer, if to the test he is put.

27. A foolish man, who among people comes, had best be silent for no one knows that he knows nothing, unless he talks too much. He who previously knew nothing will still know nothing, talk he ever so much.

28. He thinks himself wise, who can ask questions and converse also conceal his ignorance no one can, because it circulates among men.

29. He utters too many futile words who is never silent a garrulous tongue, if it be not checked, sings often to its own harm.

30. For a gazing-stock no man shall have another, although he come a stranger to his house. Many a one thinks himself wise, if he is not questioned, and can sit in a dry habit.

31. Clever thinks himself the guest who jeers a guest, if he takes to flight. Knows it not certainly he who prates at meat, whether he babbles among foes.

32. Many men are mutually well-disposed, yet at table will torment each other. That strife will ever be guest will guest irritate.

34. Long is and indirect the way to a bad friend's, though by the road he dwell but to a good friend's the paths lie direct, though he be far away.

35. A guest should depart, not always stay in one place. The welcome becomes unwelcome, if he too long continues in another's house.

36. One's own house is best, small though it be at home is every one his own master. Though he but two goats possess, and a straw-thatched cot, even that is better than begging.

37. One's own house is best, small though it be, at home is every one his own master. Bleeding at heart is he, who has to ask for food at every meal-tide.

38. Leaving in the field his arms, let no man go a foot's length forward for it is hard to know when on the way a man may need his weapon.

39. I have never found a man so bountiful, or so hospitable that he refused a present or of his property so liberal that he scorned a recompense.

40. Of the property which he has gained no man should suffer need for the hated oft is spared what for the dear was destined. Much goes worse than is expected.

41. With arms and vestments friends should each other gladden, those which are in themselves most sightly. Givers and requiters are longest friends, if all [else] goes well.[16]

43. To his friend a man should be a friend to him and to his friend but of his foe no man shall the friend's friend be.

44. Know, if thou hast a friend whom thou fully trustest, and from whom thou woulds't good derive, thou shouldst blend thy mind with his, and gifts exchange, and often go to see him.

45. If thou hast another, whom thou little trustest, yet wouldst good from him derive, thou shouldst speak him fair, but think craftily, and leasing pay with lying.

46. But of him yet further, whom thou little trustest, and thou suspectest his affection before him thou shouldst laugh, and contrary to thy thoughts speak: requital should the gift resemble.

47. I was once young, I was journeying alone, and lost my way rich I thought myself, when I met another. Man is the joy of man.

48. Liberal and brave men live best, they seldom cherish sorrow but a base-minded man dreads everything the niggardly is uneasy even at gifts.

49. My garments in a field I gave away to two wooden men: heroes they seemed to be, when they got cloaks: exposed to insult is a naked man.

50. A tree withers that on a hill-top stands protects it neither bark nor leaves: such is the man whom no one favours: why should he live long?

52. Something great is not [always] to be given, praise is often for a trifle bought. With half a loaf and a tilted vessel I got myself a comrade.

53. Little are the sand-grains, little the wits, little the minds of [some] men for all men are not wise alike: men are everywhere by halves.

54. Moderately wise should each one be, but never over-wise: of those men the lives are fairest, who know much well.

55. Moderately wise should each one be, but never over-wise for a wise man's heart is seldom glad, if he is all-wise who owns it.

56. Moderately wise should each one be, but never over-wise. His destiny let know no man beforehand his mind will be freest from' care.

57. Brand burns from brand until it is burnt out fire is from fire quickened. Man to' man becomes known by speech, but a fool by his bashful silence.

58. He should early rise, who another's property or wife desires to have. Seldom a sluggish wolf gets prey, or a sleeping man victory.

59. Early should rise he who has few workers, and go his work to see to greatly is he retarded who sleeps the morn away. Wealth half depends on energy.

60. Of dry planks and roof-shingles a man knows the measure of the fire-wood that may suffice, both measure and time.

61. Washed and refected let a man ride to the [Pg 36] Thing,[17] although his garments be not too good of his shoes and breeches let no one be ashamed, nor of his horse, although he have not a good one.

62. Inquire and impart should every man of sense, who will be accounted sage. Let one only know, a second may not if three, all the world knows.

63. Gasps and gapes, when to the sea he comes, the eagle over old ocean so is a man, who among many comes, and has few advocates.

64. His power should every sagacious man use with discretion for he will find, when among the bold he comes, that no one alone is doughtiest.

65. Circumspect and reserved every man should be, and wary in trusting friends. Of the words that a man says to another he often pays the penalty.

66. Much too early I came to many places, but too late to others: the beer was drunk, or not ready: the disliked seldom hits the moment.

67. Here and there I should have been invited, if I a meal had needed or two hams had hung, at that true friend's, where of one I had eaten.

68. Fire is best among the sons of men, and the sight of the sun, if his health a man can have, with a life free from vice.

69. No man lacks everything, although his health be bad: one in his sons is happy, one in his kin, one in abundant wealth, one in his good works.

70. It is better to live, even to live miserably a living man can always get a cow. I saw fire consume the rich man's property, and death stood without his door. [Pg 37]

71. The halt can ride on horseback, the one-handed drive cattle the deaf fight and be useful: to be blind is better than to be burnt[18] no one gets good from a corpse.

72. A son is better, even if born late, after his father's departure. Gravestones seldom stand by the way-side unless raised by a kinsman to a kinsman.

73. Two are adversaries: the tongue is the bane of the head: under every cloak I expect a hand. * * *

74. At night is joyful he who is sure of travelling entertainment. [A ship's yards are short.][19] Variable is an autumn night. Many are the weather's changes in five days, but more in a month.

75. He [only] knows not who knows nothing, that many a one apes another. One man is rich, another poor: let him not be thought blameworthy.

76. Cattle die, kindred die, we ourselves also die but the fair fame never dies of him who has earned it.

77. Cattle die, kindred die, we ourselves also die but I know one thing that never dies,&mdashjudgment on each one dead.

78. Full storehouses I saw at Dives' sons': now bear they the beggar's staff. Such are riches as is the twinkling of an eye: of friends they are most fickle.

79. A foolish man, if he acquires wealth or woman's love, pride grows within him, but wisdom never: he goes on more and more arrogant.

80. Then 'tis made manifest, if of runes thou questionest him, those to the high ones known, which the [Pg 38] great powers invented, and the great talker[20] painted, that he had best hold silence.

81. At eve the day is to be praised, a woman after she is burnt, a sword after it is proved, a maid after she is married, ice after it has passed away, beer after it is drunk.

82. In the wind one should hew wood, in a breeze row out to sea, in the dark talk with a lass: many are the eyes of day. In a ship voyages are to be made, but a shield is for protection, a sword for striking, but a damsel for a kiss.

83. By the fire one should drink beer, on the ice slide buy a horse that is lean, a sword that is rusty feed a horse at home, but a dog at the farm.

84. In a maiden's words no one should place faith, nor in what a woman says for on a turning wheel have their hearts been formed, and guile in their breasts been laid

85. In a creaking bow, a burning flame, a yawning wolf, a chattering crow, a grunting swine, a rootless tree, a waxing wave, a boiling kettle,

86. A flying dart, a falling billow, a one night's ice, a coiled serpent, a woman's bed-talk, or a broken sword, a bear's play, or a royal child,

87. A sick calf, a self-willed thrall, a flattering prophetess, a corpse newly slain, [a serene sky, a laughing lord, a barking dog, and a harlot's grief]

88. An early sown field let no one trust, nor prematurely in a son: weather rules the field, and wit the son, each of which is doubtful [Pg 39]

89. A brother's murderer, though on the high road met, a half-burnt house, an over-swift horse, (a horse is useless, if a leg be broken), no man is so confiding as to trust any of these.

90. Such is the love of women, who falsehood meditate, as if one drove not rough-shod, on slippery ice, a spirited two-years old and unbroken horse or as in a raging storm a helmless ship is beaten or as if the halt were set to catch a reindeer in the thawing fell.[21]

91. Openly I now speak, because I both sexes know: unstable are men's minds towards women 'tis then we speak most fair when we most falsely think: that deceives even the cautious.

92. Fair shall speak, and money offer, who would obtain a woman's love. Praise the form of a fair damsel he gets who courts her.

93. At love should no one ever wonder in another: a beauteous countenance oft captivates the wise, which captivates not the foolish.

94. Let no one wonder at another's folly, it is the lot of many. All-powerful desire makes of the sons of men fools even of the wise.

95. The mind only knows what lies near the heart, that alone is conscious of our affections. No disease is worse to a sensible man than not to be content with himself.

96. That I experienced, when in the reeds I sat, awaiting my delight. Body and soul to me was that discreet maiden: nevertheless I possess her not. [Pg 40]

97. Billing's lass[22] on her couch I found, sun-bright, sleeping. A prince's joy to me seemed naught, if not with that form to live.

98. "Yet nearer eve must thou, Odin, come, if thou wilt talk the maiden over all will be disastrous, unless we alone are privy to such misdeed."

99. I returned, thinking to love, at her wise desire. I thought I should obtain her whole heart and love.

100. When next I came the bold warriors were all awake, with lights burning, and bearing torches: thus was the way to pleasure closed.

101. But at the approach of morn, when again I came, the household all was sleeping the good damsel's dog alone I found tied to the bed.

102. Many a fair maiden, when rightly known, towards men is fickle: that I experienced, when that discreet maiden I strove to seduce: contumely of every kind that wily girl heaped upon me nor of that damsel gained I aught.

103. At home let a man be cheerful, and towards a guest liberal of wise conduct he should be, of good memory and ready speech if much knowledge he desires, he must often talk on good.

104. Fimbulfambi he is called who' little has to say: such is the nature of the simple.

105. The old Jotun I sought now I am come back: little got I there by silence in many words I spoke to my advantage in Suttung's halls.

107. Rati's mouth I caused to make a space, and to gnaw the rock over and under me were the Jotun's ways: thus I my head did peril.

108. Of a well-assumed form I made good use: few things fail the wise for Odhrærir is now come up to men's earthly dwellings.

109. 'Tis to me doubtful that I could have come from the Jotun's courts, had not Gunnlod aided me, that good damsel, over whom I laid my arm.

110. On the day following came the Hrimthursar, to learn something of the High One, in the High One's hall: after Bolverk they inquired, whether he with the gods were come, or Suttung had destroyed him?

111. Odin, I believe, a ring-oath[23] gave. Who in his faith will trust? Suttung defrauded, of his drink bereft, and Gunnlod made to weep!

112. Time 'tis to discourse from the preacher's chair. By the well of Urd I silent sat, I saw and meditated, I listened to men's words.

113. Of runes I heard discourse, and of things divine, nor of graving them were they silent, nor of sage counsels, at the High One's hall. In the High One's hall. I thus heard say:

114. I counsel thee, Loddfafnir, to take advice: thou wilt profit if thou takest it. Rise not at night, unless to explore, or art compelled to go out. [Pg 42]

115. I counsel thee, Loddfafnir, to take advice, thou wilt profit if thou takest it. In an enchantress's embrace thou mayest not sleep, so that in her arms she clasp thee.

116. She will be the cause that thou carest not for Thing or prince's words food thou wilt shun and human joys sorrowful wilt thou go to sleep.

117. I counsel thee, etc. Another's wife entice thou never to secret converse.

118. I counsel thee, etc. By fell or firth if thou have to travel, provide thee well with food.

119. I counsel thee, etc. A bad man let thou never know thy misfortunes for from a bad man thou never wilt obtain a return for thy good will.

120. I saw mortally wound a man a wicked woman's words a false tongue caused his death, and most unrighteously.

121. I counsel thee, etc. If thou knowest thou hast a friend, whom thou well canst trust, go oft to visit him for with brushwood over-grown, and with high grass, is the way that no one treads.

122. I counsel thee, etc. A good man attract to thee in pleasant converse and salutary speech learn while thou livest.

123. I counsel thee, etc. With thy friend be thou never first to quarrel. Care gnaws the heart, if thou to no one canst thy whole mind disclose.

124. I counsel thee, etc. Words thou never shouldst exchange with a witless fool

125. For from an ill-conditioned man thou wilt never get a return for good but a good man will bring thee favour by his praise. [Pg 43]

126. There is a mingling of affection, where one can tell another all his mind. Everything is better than being with the deceitful. He is not another's friend who ever says as he says.

127. I counsel thee, etc. Even in three words quarrel not with a worse man: often the better yields, when the worse strikes.

128. I counsel thee, etc. Be not a shoemaker, nor a shaftmaker, unless for thyself it be for a shoe if ill made, or a shaft if crooked, will call down evil on thee.

129. I counsel thee, etc. Wherever of injury thou knowest, regard that injury as thy own and give to thy foes no peace.

130. I counsel thee, etc. Rejoiced at evil be thou never but let good give thee pleasure.

131. I counsel thee, etc. In a battle look not up, (like swine the sons of men then become) that men may not fascinate thee.

132. If thou wilt induce a good woman to pleasant converse, thou must promise fair, and hold to it: no one turns from good if it can be got.

133. I enjoin thee to be wary, but not over wary at drinking be thou most wary, and with another's wife and thirdly, that thieves delude thee not.

134. With insult or derision treat thou never a guest or wayfarer. They often little know, who sit within, of what race they are who come.

135. Vices and virtues the sons of mortals bear in their breasts mingled no one is so good that no failing attends him, nor so bad as to be good for nothing. [Pg 44]

136. At a hoary speaker laugh thou never often is good that which the aged utter, oft from a shriveled hide discreet words issue from those whose skin is pendent and decked with scars, and who go tottering among the vile.

137. I counsel thee, etc. Rail not at a guest, nor from thy gate thrust him treat well the indigent they will speak well of thee.

138. Strong is the bar that must be raised to admit all. Do thou give a penny, or they will call down on thee every ill in thy limbs.

139. I counsel thee, etc. Wherever thou beer drinkest, invoke to thee the power of earth for earth is good against drink, fire for distempers, the oak for constipation, a corn-ear for sorcery, a hall for domestic strife. In bitter hates invoke the moon the biter for bite-injuries is good but runes against calamity fluid let earth absorb.


[14] Odin is the "High One." The poem is a collection of rules and maxims, and stories of himself, some of them not very consistent with our ideas of a supreme deity.

[15] In the Copenhagen paper Ms. F. this strophe begins with the following three lines:&mdash

They are printed in the Stockholm edition of the original Afzelius and Bask, and in the Swedish translation by Afzelius.

[16] The sense of this line seems doubtful I have adopted the version of Finn Magnusen.

[18] That is dead on the funeral pyre.

[19] This line is evidently an interpolation.

[21] From this line it appears that the poem is of Norwegian or Swedish origin, as the reindeer was unknown in Iceland before the middle of the 18th century, when it was Introduced by royal command.

[22] The story of Odin and Billing's daughter is no longer extant but compare the story of Odin and Rinda in Saxo, p. 126, edit. Muller & Veleschow.

[23] In the pagan North oaths were taken on a holy ring or bracelet, as with us on the Gospels, a sacred ring being kept in the temple for the purpose.

The Children of History’s Monsters

Nobody gets to choose their parents. In many cases, everything turns out well. But some people have the misfortune to be born to tyrants or infamous figures from history. They have to live with their family name for the rest of their lives, for good or bad. In some cases, the children of dictators of war criminals have done all they can to break with their dark past. But sometimes they go the other way, refusing to condemn their parents, no matter what atrocities they might have committed.

So, from the doting daughters of Nazi mass murderers and the pampered sons of African tyrants to the offspring who have tried to make amends for their dark past, here we have 20 cases of children struggling to live with infamous relatives:

Itanian Duce Mussolini with his daughter and her husband, who he executed. NY Post.

1. Edda Mussolini loved her infamous dictator father, until he had her husband shot

Beautiful, graceful, athletic and well-spoken: Edda Mussolini was presented as the ideal Fascist woman. Adding to her propaganda value, of course, was the fact that she was the daughter of the ‘Duce&rsquo or leader of Fascist Italy, Benito Mussolini. However, their relationship went from being one of mutual admiration to being strained and then broken completely.

Edda was born to Mussolini and Rachele Guidi in 1910. Her parents did not marry for another 15 years, by which point her father was making a name for himself as a political agitator. By 1922, he was Prime Minister and three years later, Dictator. Along with her brothers and sisters, Edda moved to Rome. She frequently appeared in magazine articles and newspaper pieces, both at home and abroad, and was presented as the perfect young woman for a new Italy. Away from the cameras, however, she was a rebel, drinking and fraternizing with ‘undesirable men&rsquo.

When she finally fell in love and married in 1930, Mussolini was extremely relieved. She took Count Ciano as her husband. He was an aristocrat and the Duce made him an ambassador. Edda followed him to China and then back to Rome. Even though he was serially unfaithful (Edda too took lovers outside her marriage), she backed him when he and the Duce came to loggerheads: Mussolini wanted to support Hitler in the upcoming war, Ciano cautioned against it. Italy did end up allying itself with Nazi Germany, and Mussloni never forgot this perceived betrayal.

After Mussolini came to power for the second time as a puppet ruler of the Nazis, he had Ciano executed for treason, despite his own daughter begging him to show mercy. She denounced her father and the name Mussolini and escaped to Switzerland. After the war, she was briefly interred before she moved back to Rome to pen her memoirs. Aside from her writing, she carried on working in the fashion industry until her death in 1995.

Watch the video: EDDA-Háromszor


  1. Chibale

    The charming message

  2. Medoro

    Enter we are going to talk on the matter.

  3. Fenton

    Of course. This was and with me. We can communicate on this topic.

  4. Zulabar

    It completely agree with told all above.

Write a message