Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
Notes on the translation
Text and translation
Words of the High One
Othinn and Billingr's kinswoman
Othinn and Gunnloth
Advice for Loddfafnir
Rune Song
Spell Song
Home page
This is a text and translation of the Old Norse
poem Hávamál, the Sayings of the High One.
There will be more introductory material as time permits.
Lines in italics in the text and translation are
repeated from earlier verses. Verses 112-37 are a long harangue to Loddfafnir, and
most of them begin with a refrain of four lines telling Loddfafnir that it
would be better if he took the advice: this refrain is italicized on second and
subsequent occurrences to make it easier to skip to the new material in each verse.
If you are viewing this page on a Macintosh, the non-modern English characters will
probably not appear correctly: see
Cathy Ball's notes on "Working with Old English text on the Web"
for help to solve this problem.
Notes on the translation:
The translation starts out from a literal translation I made while studying
Old Norse at Cambridge, but I have been changing it in two directions since.
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
Firstly, I have made some changes from a literal translation to
one that "sounds better", i.e., more closely mirrors the compressed and alliterative
nature of the Norse text. For instance, line 16.6,
pótt honum geirar gefi,
literally means "though spears might give him [peace, understood,
from the previous line]". I have given instead "though spears might spare him":
this is not a literal translation, but it gives the sense and also something of the
feel of the original. I have sometimes rendered the verb skulu
(which means "must" and not "shall")
as "should": this would be marked wrong in a literal
translation, but is used here to make the translation more alliterative.
For line 103.6, opt skal goôs geta,
literally "he must often speak of good things",
I have given instead "he should often speak of good things"; for line 93.2, skyli engi maôr,
I have given "No man must". Asterisks in the translation are
links to further discussion in the notes.
Secondly, I have tried to rearrange the translation so that each line of English follows pretty
closely the line of Old Norse text beside it. This sometimes produces a more stilted English
word-order, but I hope it
will help those interested in but with no knowledge of Old Norse to
puzzle out the meaning of the original. For instance, from the parallel beginnings of
verses 3-5, it becomes evident that er porf means "it is necessary",
and eldr "fire", vatn "water", vit "sense [ModE wit]".
Seasoned students of Old Norse will know that the word order is often too convoluted to follow
so simply. One of the most complicated examples in this text is the first three lines of verse 93:
Astar firna
skyli engi maôr
annan aldregi
Converted into modern English word-order, this would read: Engi maôr skyli
aldregiline3 firnaline" annanline 3 ástarline",
or "No man must ever mock another's love".
Editorial help seems called for in this case, so I have prefixed numbers in square brackets to parts of
translation which come from a different line of the text. The passage appears in text and translation
Astar firna
skyli engi maôr
annan aldregi
[2] No man must
[3] ever [1] mock
[3] another's [1] love
This tells the reader that "No man must" is a translation of words in line 2 of the Norse,
"ever" is from line 3, "mock" from line 1, "another's" from line 3, and "love" from line 1 again.
It is a compromise between helping the student of the original and producing a readable translation.
When I get a moment, I will probably add an optional switch to make these numbers invisible, so
readers less bothered about the Norse can read a less-cluttered translation.
The edition I used in the preparation of the translation (as will be apparent from some
of the notes) is: David A. H. Evans, Hávamál,
Society for Northern Research, Text series, 7 (London, 1986) . On looking at the Viking
Society web page,
th t i 1987 A th
F lk
t t
d i d
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
I see that in 1987 Anthony Faulkes put together a glossary and index to
Hávamál as volume 7 (ii) . I worked through my initial translation with
Cleasby-Vigfusson and the glossary to Gordon, though on checking it over for the online version, I
used Beatrice La Farge and John Tucker, Glossary to the Poetic Edda, Based on Hans Kuhn 's
Kurzes Wörterbuch (Heidelberg: Winter, 1992).
For copyright reasons, the text given below is based on Finnur Jónsson's
earlier edition (Copenhagen, 1924), which gives both original and normalized
texts. Since Jónsson's normalizations are different from the ones that would
be followed by someone brought up on Gordon's A n I n t r o d u c t i on t o O ld
N o r s e , I h a v e n o t a l w a y s f o l l o w e d t h e m (e.g., "um" remains "um", instead
of becoming "of";
"er" remains "er", instead of becoming " 's").
Other versions of Hávamál on the web:
Sophus Bugge's 1867 edition, reproducing the manuscript
Modern Icelandic edition
What I want to include next:
add glossing, so that putting the mouse pointer over a word will bring up a definition
add links to a grammar of Old Norse
Text and translation
áttir allar
áôr gangi fram
um skoôask skyli um
skygnask skyli vi
at óvist
er at vita
hvar óvinir
sitja á fleti fyrir
[2] Before one would advance
[1] through each doorway,
one must look about
and peer around,
because one can't know for sure
where enemies
sit in the hall beforehand.
Gefendr heilir
gestr er inn kominn
hvar skal sitja sjá?
Mjök er bráôr
sá er brö ndum ska l
sins um freista frama
Greetings to the hosts,
a guest is come.
where must this one sit?
He is very impatient,
the one who must sit on the firewood, to
test his luck.
Elds er örf
eims inn er kominn
ok á kné kalinn
m a t ar ok vá ô a
es manni örf
eims hefir um fjall farit
There is need of fire
for him who is come in
with cold knees;
[5] there is need [4] of food and clothes for
the man
who has journeyed on the mountainside.
Vats er örf
eims til verôar kømr
erru ok jóôlaôar
There is need of water,
for the one who comes for a meal, of
towel and friendly intonation;
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
góôs um ôis
ef sér geta mNtti
orôs ok endr ögu
of good disposition,
if he can get it,
of speech and silence in return.
Vits er örf
eims viôa ratar
dNlt er heima hvat at
augabragôi verôr sá
er ekki kann
ok meô snotrum sitr
Sense is needed
for the one who travels widely;
everything is easy at home.
[5] He who knows nothing
[6] and sits with wise men
[4] becomes a mockery.
At hyggjandi sinni
skylit maôr hrMsinn vera
heldr gNtinn at geôi á
e r h o rs k r o k ög u ll k ø m r
h e i m i s g a r ô a t i l sjaldan
verôr viti vörum v I a t
ó b r i g ô r a v i n fNr maôr
en manvit mikit
[2] A man must not be boastful [1]
in his mind,
but wary in disposition;
when he, wise and silent,
comes to the homestead,
misfortune rarely befalls the wary,
because [8] man can never have
[ 7 ] a m o r e r e l i a b l e g u i d e than
great common sense.
Hinn vari gestr
er til verôar kømr
unnu hljóôi egir
eyrum hlOôir
en augum skoôar
svá nOsisk fróôra hverr fyrir
The wary guest
who comes for a meal
is silent with strained hearing,
listens with ears
and examines with eyes;
so each of the wise searches about himself.
Hinn er sell
er sér of getr
lof ok lIknstafi
ódNlla er viô at
er maôr eiga skal
annars brjóstum I
He is blessed
who has within himself
praise and esteem;
it is harder to deal with that
which a man must own
in the breast of another.
Sá er sell
er sjalfr of á
lof ok vit meôan lifir
vI at ill röô
hefr maôr opt egit
annars brjóstum ór
He is blessed
who has within himself
praise and sense while he lives,
because [5] man has often received
[4] ill-counsel
from the breast of another.
Byrôi betri
berrat maôr brautu at en
sé manvit mikit
auôi betra
ykkir at I ókunnum staô
slIkt er válaôs vera
A man does not bear
a better burden on the road
than is great commonsense;
it seems a greater wealth
in an unknown place -such is the refuge of the needy.
Byrôi betri
maôr brautu at en sé
manvit mikit vegnest
vegra hann velli at an
sé ofdrykkja öls
a better
burden on the road than is
great commonsense;
he does not carry a worse journey-provision
i n t h e o p e n f i e l d t h a n i s the
over-drinking of ale.
Era svá gótt
sem gótt kveôa
öl alda sonum
v I a t fN r a v e it er
fleira drekkr sIns
til geôs gumi
Ale is not as good
as it is said to be good for
the sons of men;
because the man knows less
-- he who drinks more -- of
his disposition.
Ominnishegri heitir
sá er yfir ölôrum rumir
hann stelr geôi guma
ess fugls fjöôrum
He is called the heron of forgetfulness, he
who hovers over ale-parties;
he steals the disposition of men.
By the feathers of this bird
A man does not bear
ess fugls fjöôrurn
ek fjötraôr vask I
garôi Gunnlaôar
Olr ek varô
varô ofrölvi
at hins fróôa Fjalars vI
er ölôr bazt
at aptr of heirntir
hverr sitt geô gurni
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
f th
f thi bi d
I was fettered,
in the courts of Gunnlöth.
I got drunk,
at Fjalarr the Wise's;
it is the best ale-feast
when each rnan recovers his disposition
Ragalt ok hugalt
skyli jóôans barn
ok vIgdjarft vera
glaôr ok reifr
skyli gurnna hverr
unz sInn bIôr bana
Osnjallr rnaôr
hyggsk rnunu ey lifa
ef hann viô vIg varask en
elli gefr
honurn engi friô
ótt honurn geirar gefi
A ruler's son rnust be
silent and thoughtful
and brave in battle;
each rnan rnust be
happy and cheerful
until he suffers death.
The foolish rnan
thinks he will live forever if
he avoids battle;
but old age gives
hirn no peace,
though spears rnight spare hirn.
Kópir afglapi
er til kynnis kørnr
ylsk hann urnbeôa rurnir
alt er senn
ef hann sylg urn getr
uppi er á geô gurna
Sá einn veit
er vIôa ratar
The fool stares
when he cornes on a visit to acquaintances; h e
rnurnbles to hirnself or hovers.
Everything happens at once
if he gets a drink:
then his disposition is revealed.
ok hefr fjölô urn farit
He alone knows,
he who wanders widely
and has travelled a great deal,
hverju geôi
stOrir gurnna hverr
sá er vitandi er vits
what disposition
each rnan possesses.
He is knowing in cornrnonsense.
Haldit rnaôr á keri
drekki ó at hófi rnjöô
rnNli arft eôa egi
ókynnis ess
var ik engi rnaôr
at ü gangir snernrna at sofa
Do not let a rnan hold on to a goblet, but
let hirn drink rnead in rnoderation, l e t
h i r n t a l k s e n s e o r b e s i l e n t . No rnan
blarnes you
of bad rnanners,
that you go early to sleep.
Gröôugr halr
nerna geôs viti
etr sér aldrtrega
opt fNr hlMgis
er rneô horskurn kørnr
rnanni heirnskurn rnagi
Hjarôir at vitu
n N r N r h e i r n s k u l u ok
g a n g a á af g r a si e n
ó s v i ô r r n a ô r kann
A greedy rnan,
unless he knows his rnind,
often causes his life's sorrow by eating;
often the stornach gains ridicule,
when he cornes arnong wise rnen,
for the foolish rnan.
sIns urn rnál rnaga
The herds know
when they rnust be horne
and leave the pasture then; but
the unwise rnan
never knows
the rneasure of his stornach.
Vesall rnaôr
ok illa skapi
hlNr at hvIvetna
hitki hann veit
er hann vita yrpti
at hann era varnrna vanr
The wretched rnan
of bad character
laughs at all kinds of things.
On the other hand he doesn't know what
he ought to know,
that he is not lacking in faults.
ásviôr rnaôr
The unwise rnan
Osviôr rnaôr
vakir urn allar nNtr o k
h y g g r a t h v I v e t n a á er
er at rnorni kørnr
alt er vil sern var
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
is awake all night
and thinks of all sorts of things; then
he is tired
when rnorning cornes,
and all the trouble is as it was.
Osnotr rnaôr
hyggr sér alla vera
viôhlNjendr vini
hitki hann fiôr
ótt eir urn hann fár lesi ef
hann rneô snotrurn sitr
Osnotr rnaôr
hyggr sér alla vera
viôhlNjendr vini
á at fiôr
The unwise rnan
thinks thern all to be
his friends, those who laugh at hirn; he
does not notice
even if they express rnalice against hirn when
he sits arnong wise rnen.
The unwise man
thinks them all to be
his friends, those who laugh at him; then
he finds
er at ingi kørnr
at hann á forrnNlendr fá
when he cornes to the Thing (assernbly) that
he has few supporters.
Osnotr rnaôr
ykkisk alt vita
ef hann á sér I vá veru hitki
hann veit
hvat hann skal viô kveôa ef
hans freista firar
The unwise rnan
thinks he knows everything
if he has refuge for hirnself in a corner. but
he does not know
what he rnust say in reply,
if rnen test hirn.
Osnotr rnaôr
er rneô aldir kørnr
at er bazt at hann egi
engi at veit
at hann ekki kann
narne hann rnNli til rnart
veita rnaôr
hinn er vNtki veit
ótt hann rnNli til rnart
For the unwise rnan
who cornes arnong rnen,
it is best that be he silent. None
that he knows nothing,
unless he should speak too rnuch. * The
rnan does not know it,
he who knows nothing,
whether he speaks too rnuch.
F r ó ô r s á y k k i s k er
fregna kann
ok segja hit sarna
eyvitu leyna
rnegu ta synir
vI er gengr of gurna
He seerns wise,
he who knows how to ask a n d
t o s p e a k l i k e w i s e ; they
can conceal nothing, the
sons of rnen,
of what is said about rnen.
Erna rnNlir
sá er eva egir
staôlausu stafi
hraôrnNlt tunga
n e r n a h a l d e n d r e i g i opt
sér ógótt urn gelr
[2] He who is never silent [1]
speaks plenty
of rneaningless words;
the fast-talking tongue,
unless it have controllers,
often sings itself harrn.
At augabragôi
skala rnaôr anna hafa ó t t
til kynnis korni rnargr
á f r ó ô r y k k i s k ef hann
freginn erat
o k n á i h an n u r rf j a l l r r u rn a
[2] A rnan rnust not rnake
[1] a rnockery [2] of another
when he cornes to visit acquaintances;
r n a n y a r n a n s e e r n s w i s e i f
h e
i s
n o t
q u e s t i o n e d
rnanages to sit quiet, unscathed.
Fróôr ykkisk
sá er flótta tekr
gestr at gest hNôinn
veita gorla
sá er of verôi glissir
ótt hann rneô grornurn glarni
He seerns wise,
the guest who takes flight
frorn the rnocking guest;
he does not know for certain,
he who rnocks over a rneal,
whether he talks loudly arnong enernies.
Gunnar rnargir
Many rnen
erusk gagnhollir
are rnost friendly with each other
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
erusk gagnhollir
are rnost riendly with each other
en at virôi vrekask
aldar róg
at rnun vera
órir gestr viô gest
and yet fight over food;
strife arnong rnen
will always be:
guest will be hostile to guest.
Arliga verôar
skyli rnaôr opt fá
nerna til kynnis korni
sitr ok snópir
lNtr sern solginn sé ok
kann fregna at fá
Afhvart rnikit
er til ills vinar
ó t t á b r a u t u b ü i en
til góôs vinar liggja
ótt hann sé firr farinn
[2] A rnan should often take
[1] a rneal early,
unless he cornes to visit friends;
[else] he sits and looks around hungrily,
behaves as though he's farnished,
and can talk about little.
It is a great roundabout way to
a bad friend,
though he dwell on the road; but
to a good friend
there lead direct routes,
though he be gone farther away.
Ganga skal
skala gestr vera ey
I einurn staô ljüfr
v e r ô r l e i ô r ef lengi
annars fletjurn á
Bü er betra
ótt litit sé
halr er heirna hverr
ótt tvNr geitr
eigi ok taugreptan sal a t
er ó betra an bMn
The guest rnust go,
he rnust not be
always in the sarne place;
l o v e d b e c o r n e s l o a t h e d if
he stays a long tirne in the
hall of another.
The dwelling is better,
though it be srnall;
each rnan is a free rnan at horne;
t h o u g h h e o w n t w o s h e - g o a t s and
a h a l l r o o f ed w i t h w i th i es , it is
still better than begging.
hair er heima hverr
blóôugt er hjarta
eirns biôja skal
sér I rnál hvert rnatar
The dweiiing is better,
though it be smaii;
each man is a free man at home; he
has a bloody heart,
the one who rnust beg
food for hirnself every rneal-tirne.
Vápnurn sinurn
skala rnaôr velli á
feti ganga frarnar
vI at óvist er at vita
nNr verôr á vegurn üti
geirs urn örf gurna
[2] A rnan in the open country rnust not
[3] go rnore than one step [1]
frorn his weapons;
because one can't be sure
when, outside on the roads,
a spear will be needed by a warrior.
Ba er betra
pótt i j tit se
Fanka ek rnildan rnann
eôa svá rnatar góôan a t
v N r i t i g g j a e g i t eôa
sins féar
I have not found a rnan so liberal or
so generous with food
that to accept was not accepted, or
[5] so free *
svá gjöflan
at leiô sé laun ef iggr
[4] with his rnoney
that the reward is unwelcorne if he gets one.
Féar sins
er fengit hefir
s k y l i t r n a ô r ö r f o l a opt
sparir leiôurn
ats hefir ljüfurn hugat
rnart gengr verr en varir
Vápnurn ok váôurn
skulu vinir gleôjask
at er á sjalfurn sOnst
viôr gefendr ok endrgefendr
erusk vinir lengst,
ef at bGôr at verôa vel
[3] A rnan should not endure want [2]
when he has gained
[1] his rnoney;
often he saves for enernies
what he has intended for friends; rnuch
goes worse than expected.
[2] Friends rnust gladden each other
[1] with weapons and clothes,
which are rnost evident on thernselves.
g i v e r s i n r e t u r n a n d r e p e a t - g i v e r s are
friends the longest
ifi f it
endures tot o turn
it en d
ef at
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
r a t ve r ôa ve ~
urn ut we ~~ .
[2] A rnan rnust be a friend
[1] to his friend
and give gift for gift.
[5] Men shouid use
[4] rnockery in return for rnockery, and
deception in return for a iie.
Vin sinurn
skai rnaôr vinr vera
ok gjaida gjöf viô gjöf
hiátr viô hiátri
s k y i i h ö i ô a r t a k a en
iausung viô iygi
[2] A rnan rnust be a friend [1]
to his friend,
for hirnseif and for the friend,
[5] but no rnan rnust
[6] be a friend of a friend [4]
of his foe.
Vin sinurn
skai rnaôr vinr vera
eirn ok ess vinr e n
óvinar sins skyii
e n g i r n a ô r vinar
vinr vera
Veiztu ef ü vin átt
anns ü vei trüir
ok viii ü af honurn gótt geta g e ô i
skait viô ann
bianda ok gjöfurn skipta
fara at finna opt
Know, if you have a friend
in whorn you have faith,
and you wish to get sornething good frorn hirn, you
rnust share with his rnind
and exchange gifts,
and go often to seek hirn out.
Ef ü át annan
anns ü iiia trüir
viidu af honurn ó gótt geta
f a g r t s k a i t v i ô a n n r n N i a en
fiátt hyggja
ok gjaida iausung viô iygi
If you have another
whorn you rnistrust,
but you want to get sornething good frorn hirn, you
rnust speak fair to hirn,
and think deceitfui thoughts,
and give deception in return for a iie.
Rat er enn of ann
er ü iiia trüir
ok ér er grunr at hans geôi hiNja
skaitu viô eirn
ok urn hug rnNia
giik skuiu gjöid gjöfurn
Ungr var ek forôurn
fór ek einn sarnan
á varô ek viiir vega
er ek annan fann
There is rnore about the one
whorn you rnistrust
and whose disposition you suspect:
you shouid iaugh with hirn
and speak other than your thought.
There shouid be repayrnent for such gifts.
rnaôr er rnanns garnan
Long ago I was young, I
traveiied on rny own,
then I turned astray in rny paths:
I thought rnyseif rich
when I found another,
rnan is rnan's entertainrnent.
Miidir frMknir
rnenn bazt iifa
s j a i d a n s ü t a i a en
ósnjaiir rnaôr uggir
giøggr viô gjöfurn
Generous, vaiiant
rnen iive best,
and seidorn nourish sorrow;
but the cowardiy rnan
fears a~~ sorts of things
and the niggard is aiways troubied about gifts.
Váôir rninar
gaf ek veiii at
tveirn trérnönnurn
a t
ó t t u s k
er eir ript höfôu
neiss er nøkkviôr hair
My ciothes
I gave in a fieid
to two wooden rnen:
they thought thernseives warriors
when they had ciothing:
a naked rnan is sharned.
Hrørnar öii
sü er stendr orpi á
hiOrat henni börkr né barr svá
er rnaôr
sá er rnangi ann
hvat skai hann iengi iifa?
The fir decays,
the one that stands in the harniet:
neither bark nor foiiage protects it. So
is a rnan,
who is ioved by no-one:
how shouid he iive a iong tirne?
Eidi heitari
brinn rneô iiiurn vinurn
friôr firnrn daga,
Friendship arnong bad friends
burns hotter than fire
for five da y s:
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
friôr fimm daga
for five days;
en á sloknar
es hinn sétti kømr
ok versnar allr vinskapr
Mikit eitt
skala manni gefa
opt kaupir sér I lItlu lof
meô hálfum hleifi ok
m e ô h ö l l u k e r i fekk ek
mér félaga
but it is extinguished
when the sixth day comes
and the whole friendship spoils.
[2] One should not give a man
[1] a single large gift:
often one can obtain for onself with a little praise: with
half a loaf
and with a sloping goblet
I got myself a comrade.
LItilla sanda
lItilla sNva
lItil eru geô guma
FvI at allir menn
urôut jafnspakir
hálf er old hvar
? [of small sands,]
? [of small seas,]
Small are the minds of men,
because all men
have not turned out equally wise, ?
mankind is everywhere halved.
skyli manna hverr
Nva til snotr sé
Feim er fyrôa
fegrst at lifa
er vel mart vitut
[2] Each man must be
[1] moderately wise,
but never too wise;
for those people
it is most pleasant to live
when they don't know a great many things. *
skyli manna hverr
>va til snotr se
FvI at snotrs manns hjarta
verôr sjaldan glatt,
ef sá er alsnotr er á
skyli manna hverr
>va til snotr se
ørlOg sIn
viti engi fyrir
Feim er sorgalausastr sefi
Brandr af brandi
brinn unz brunninn er
funi kveykisk af funa
maôr af manni
verôr at máli kuôr en
til dMlskr af dul
Ar skal rIsa
sá er annars vill
fé eôa fjor hafa
sjaldan liggjandi ülfr
lNr um getr
né sofandi maôr sigr
Ar skal rIsa
sá er á yrkendr fá
ok ganga sIns verka á vit
mart um dvelr
Fann er um morgin sefr hálfr
er auôr und hvötum
Rurra skIôa
ok akinna nNfra
bess kann maôr mjOt ok
bess viôar
er vinnask megi
mál ok misseri
[2] Each man must be
wise, but never too
w i s e ; because the wise man's
is seldom glad,
if he who owns it is completely wise.
E a c h m a n m u s t b e
[1] moderately wise,
b u t n e v e r t o o w i s e ; [5]
no-one should know beforehand
[4] his fate;
for that one is the mind most free from care.
Firewood from firewood
burns, until it is burnt,
flame kindles from flame;
from man, man
becomes wise in speech,
but too foolish from folly.
He must rise early,
the one who wants to have another's
wealth or life;
seldom does a lying wolf
get a ham
or a sleeping man victory.
He must rise early,
the one who has few workers,
and go to visit his work;
much will delay
the one who sleeps through the morning; wealth
is half in the hands of the active.
[3] Man knows the measure of this,
[1] of dry sticks
[2] and of birch-bark for roofing,
and of this, of wood
which will last
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
for the short and long
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
Rveginn ok mettr
rIôi maôr ingi at
ótt hann sét vNddr tii vei
sküa ok bróka
skammisk engi maôr
né hests in heidr
ótt hann hafit góôan
Snapir ok gnapir
er tii sNvar kømr
örn á aidinn mar svá
er maôr
er meô mörgum kømr ok
á formNiendr fá
Fregna ok segja
skai fróôra hverr
sá er viii heitinn horskr
einn vita
né annarr skai
jóô veit ef rIr ro
Riki sitt
skyii ráôsnotra
h v e rr I hó f i h af a á
h a n n a t f i n n r er
meô frMknum kømr
at engi er einna hvatastr
Orôa eira
er maôr öôrum segir
opt hann gjöid um getr
Mikiisti snemma
kom ek I marga staôi
en tii sIô I suma ö i
v a r d r u k k i t sumt
var óiagat
sjaidan hittir ieiôr I iiô
Hér ok hvar
myndi mér heim of boôit ef
yrftak at máiungi mat eôa
tvau iNr hengi
at ins tryggva vinar ars
ek hafôa eitt etit
Eidr er beztr
meô ta sonum
ok sóiar sOn
heiiyndi sitt
e f m a ôr ha f a ná i r án
viô iöst at iifa
Erat maôr aiis vesaii
ótt hann sé iiia heiii
sumr er af sonum sNii sumr
af frNndum
sumr af fé rnu
sumr af verkum vei
Betra er iifôum
en sé óiifôum
ey getr kvikr kü
eid sá ek upp brenna
auôgum manni fyrir
[2] A man shouid ride to the Thing
[1] washed and fed,
though he be not ciothed too weii;
[5] iet no man be ashamed
[4] of shoes and breeches,
nor of horse either,
even if he hasn't a good one.
[3] The eagie [1] snatches and stretches when
it comes to the sea,
[3] the ancient sea;
so is a man
who comes among crowds
and has few supporters.
[2] Each of the wise must
[1] ask and repiy,
he who wishes to be caiied wise;
one aione must know
but not another;
the peopie knows if there are three [who know].
[3] Each [2] of the prudent must [3]
hoid in moderation
[1] his power;
then he finds it,
when he comes among vaiiant men,
that none is keenest of a~~.
[3] Often a man gets a repayment
[1] for the words
[2] which he says to another.
[2] I came to many piaces
[1] very much too soon,
and too iate to some;
sometimes the aie was drunk,
sometimes it wasn't ready;
the unweicome one seidom hits the spot.
Here and there
I wouid be invited home
if I needed no food at meais;
or two hams wouid hang at
a ioyai friend's where I
had eaten one.
Fire is best
for the sons of men
and the sight of the sun;
his heaith,
if he can keep it,
and to iive without shame.
A man is not whoiiy wretched,
though he be in rotten heaith;
one is biessed with sons,
another with kinsmen,
another with pienty of money,
another with deeds weii done.
It is better for the iiving
than for the dead, *
the iiving man aiways gets the cow; I
saw the fire burn up
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
before a rich man
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
auOgurn rnanni fyr ir
en üti var dauOr fyr dururn
efore a
rnan ,
but death was outside the door.
Haltr rGOr hrossi
hjorO rekr handarvanr
daufr vegr ok dugir
blindr er betri
en brenndr sé
nOtr rnanngi nás
Sonr er betri
ótt sé slO of alinn
eptir genginn gurna
sjaldan bautarsteinar
standa brautu nNr
nerna reisi niOr at niO
The larne rnan rides a horse,
the one-arrned rnan drives the herd, the
deaf rnan fights and is useful; it is
better to be blind
than burnt:
no-one is helped by a corpse.
A son is better,
though he be late-begotten,
after a rnan is gone;
rnernorial stones seldorn
stand by the road
unless a kinsrnan should raise [thern] to kin.
Tveir ro eins herjar
tunga er höfuOs bani er
rnér I heOin hvern handar
Nótt verOr feginn
sá er nesti trüir
skarnrnar ro skips rár
hverf er haustgrlrna
fjolO urn viOrir á
firnrn dogurn
en rneira á rnánuOi
Two rnen are the destroyers of one: the
tongue is the head's slayer;
[4] I expect a fist
[3] in every fur cloak.
He becornes happy at night
who trusts his journey -provisions; a
s h i p ' s s a i l y a r d s a r e s h o r t ; an
auturnn-night is changea ble. The
w e a t h e r c h a n g e s i n r n a n y w a y s in five
and rnore in a rnonth.
Veita hinn
er vNttki veit
rnargr verOr af aururn api
r n a O r e r a u O i g r
a n n a r r ó a u O i g r
ann vltka vár
He does not know,
he who knows nothing:
rnany a rnan becornes a fool through ores [rnoney]; one
rnan is rich,
another poor;
he rnust not blarne his woe on hirn.
Deyr fé
deyja frNndr
deyr sjálfr it sarna
en orOstlrr
deyr aldregi
hveirn er sér góOan getr
Cattle die,
kinsrnen die,
the self dies likewise;
but the renown
[6] for the one who gets good farne
[5] dies never.
Deyr fé
deyja fr>ndr
deyr sjálfr it sama
e k v e i t e i n n at
aldri deyr
dórnr urn dauOan hvern
Fullar grindr
sá ek fyr Fitjungs sonurn n ü
b e r a e i r v á n a r v ö l svá er
sern augabragO
hann er valtastr vina
Osnotr rnaOr
ef eignask getr
fé eOa fljóOs rnunuO
rnetnaOr honurn róask
en rnannvit aldregi
frarn gengr hann drjügt I dul
Cattle die,
kinsmen die,
the self dies likewise;
I know one thing
that never dies:
the repute of each of the dead.
[2] I saw [1] the full catt le -pens of
the sons of Fitjung,
now they are beggars:
thus wealth is
like the blink of an eye -it is the rnost unreliable of friends.
[2] If [1] the foolish rnan
gains possession of
rnoney or a wornan's love,
pride grows in hirn
but never cornrnonsense;
he heads straight for haughtiness.
Rat er
á reynt
er ü at rünurn spyrr
i k
inum reginkunnum
Then that is proven
when you consult the runes,
originated b the gods
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
eim er gerôu ginnregin
those which the gods made
ok fáôi fimbul ulr
and the mighty sage coloured, that
á hefir hann bazt ef hann egir it is best if he is silent.
originated by the gods,
At kveldi skal dag leyfa
konu er brennd er
mNki er reyndr er
mey er gefin er Is
er yfir kømr öl er
drukkit er
The day must be praised in the evening, a
woman, when she is cremated,
a sword, when it is proven,
a maiden, when she is given away,
ice, when it is crossed,
ale, when it is drunk.
I vindi skal viô hoggva
veôri á sjó róa
myrkri viô man spjalla
morg eru dags augu
á skip skal skriôar orka en
á skj old til hlIfar mNki
Wood must be hewed in the wind, row
out to sea in good weather, talk
with maidens in the dark, many are
the eyes of the day.
A ship must be used for a swift journey a n d
a s h i e l d f o r p r o t e c t i o n , a sword
for a blow
en mey til kossa
and a maiden for kisses.
Viô eld skal öl drekka
en á Isi skrIôa
magran mar kaupa
en mNki saurgan
heima hest feita
en hund á büi
Drink ale by the fire and
skate on the ice, buy a
lean steed
and a dirty sword, *
fatten a horse at home
and farm out a dog.
Meyjar orôum
skyli manngi trüa
né vI er kveôr kona
vI at á hverfanda hvéli
váru eim hjortu skOpuô
brigô I brjóst um lagit
[2] No-one should trust
[1] in the words of a maid,
nor in what a woman says,
[4] for [5] their hearts were shaped [4]
on a (potter's) turning wheel,
and fickleness placed in their breasts.
Brestanda boga
brennanda loga
gInanda ülfi
galandi kráku
rOtanda svIni
rótlausum viôi
vaxanda vági
vellanda katli
A cracking bow, a
burning flame, a
gaping wolf,
a screaming crow,
a gru ntin g pig, a
rootless tree, a
rising sea,
a boiling kettle,
fljüganda fleini
fallandi báru
Isi einnNttum
ormi hringlegnum
brüôar beômálum
eôa brotnu sverôi
a f l y i n g s pe a r , a
falling wave, ice
one night old, a
coiled snake,
bjarnar leiki
eôa barni konungs
a bride's bed-talk
or a broken sword, a
b e a r ' s g a m e or a
king's son,
sjükum kálfi
sjálfráôa rNli
völu vilm Nli
val nOfeldum
a sick calf,
a self-willed thrall,
the favouring speech of a seeress,
the newly slain,
akri ársánum
trüi engi maôr
né til snemma syni
veôr rNôr akri
en vit syni
hNtt er eira hvárt
a field sown early
no man should trust,
nor too quickly in his son;
weather rules the field
and the mind of the son, each
of these is unreliable.
Bróôurbana sInum
ótt á brautu mMti
hüsi hálfbrunnu
hesti alskjótum
In his brother-slayer,
though he is met on the road,
in a half-burnt house,
in a horse too-speedy --
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
esti aSskjótum
jór ónOtr
á er
n a orse oo spee d y
is useiess
a steed
ef einn fótr brotnar
verôit maôr svá tryggr at
essu trüi öiiu
if he breaks a foot -a man shouid not be so trustfui that
he trusts au these.
Svá er friôr kvenna
eira er fiátt hyggja
sem a ki j ó ó bryd dum á
lsi háium
teitum tvévetrum
ok sé tamr iiia
eôa l byr óôum
beiti stjórniausu
eôa skyii haitr henda
hrein l áfjaiii
The iove of women
who are deceitfui in spirit
is iike riding a smooth-shod horse on
siippery ice,
a spirited two-year-oid
and one badiy trained,
or [8] on a rudderiess boat
[7] in a raging wind,
or iike a iame man trying to catch
a reindeer on a thawing mountainside.
Bert ek nu mmii
vl at ek bNôi veit
brigôr er karia hugr konum
á v ér f eg r st mN i um er
vér fiást hyggjum at
tNiir horska hugi
Now I wiui speak openiy,
because I know both:
men's hearts are fickie with women;
when we speak most fair
then we think most faise.
It deceives the heart of the wise.
Fagrt skai mNia
ok fé bjóôa
sá er viii fijóôs ást fá
ilki ieyfa
ins ijósa mans
sá fNr er frlar
Fairiy must he speak
and offer gifts,
he who wants to win a woman's iove;
praise the figure
of the fair maiden;
he wins who fiatters.
Astar firna
skyii engi maôr
annan aidregi
opt fá á horskan
er á heimskan ne fá
iostfagrir iitir
[2] No man must
[3] ever [1] mock
[3] another's [1] iove.
often [6] ravishingiy fair iooks
[4] capture the wise man
[5] when they do not capture the fooi.
Eyvitar firna
er maôr annan skai
ess er um margan gengr guma
heimska ór horskum
gørir höiôa sonu
sá inn mátki munr
[2] A man must
[1] in no way mock [2] another, for
what happens to many a man;
[6] iove the mighty
makes [4] foois of the wise [5]
among the sons of men.
Hugr einn at veit er
bOr hjarta nNr
einn er hann sér um sefa
øng er sótt verri
hveim snotrum manni
en sér øngu at una
Oniy the mind knows
what iives near the heart;
a man is aione with his own spirit.
T h e r e i s n o s i c k n e s s w o r s e for
any wise man
than to have nothing to iove.
Rat ek á reynda
er ek l reyri sat
ok vNttak mlns munar
hoid ok hjarta
var mér in horska mNr
eygi ek hana at heidr hefik
That I proved
when I sat in the reeds and
waited for my iove; [5]
the wise maid to me [4] was
body and soui -but stiui I do not have her.
Biiiings mey
ek fann beôjum á
sóihvlta sofa
jaris ynôi
ótti mér ekki vera
nema viô at ilk at iifa
[2] I found her in bed,
[1] Biuuingr's kinswoman,
sun-white, asieep;
a jar~'s deiight
seemed nothing to me,
uniess I couid iive with that body.
Auk nNrapni
"So towards evening,
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
skaltu Oôinn koma
ef ü vilt ér mNla man alt
eru óskOp
nema einir viti
slikan lOst saman
Othinn, you must come,
if you want to win the maid for yourself; all
is amiss,
unless we alone know
of such shame."
Aptr ek hvarf
ok unna óttumk
visum vilja frá
hitt ek hugôa
at ek hafa mynda
geô hennar alt ok gaman
Back I turned
and seemed [3] out of my head [2]
with love;
I thought
that I would have
it all, her heart and pleasure.
Svá kom ek nest
at in nOta var
vigdrótt Oll um vakin
meô brennandum ljósum
ok bornum viôi
svá var mér vilstigr of vitaôr
When I came next,
the able [3] warriors
[2] were [3] all awake;
with burning lights
and brands raised high, *
so was my wretched path marked out.
Ok nNr morni
er ek var enn um kominn
á var saldrótt um sofin
grey eitt ek á fann
innar góôu konu
bundit beôjum á
And towards morning,
when I came back again,
the hall retainers were asleep.
Then I found only
the good woman's [4] bitch
bound to the bed.
MOrg er góô mNr
ef gOrva kannar
hugbrigô viô hali
á ek at reynda
er it ráôspaka
teygôa ek á flNrôir fljóô
háôungar hverrar
leitaôi mér it horska man
ok hafôa ek ess vNttki vifs
Many a good maid,
if you look closely,
is fickle-minded towards men;
I learned that
when [6] I tried to seduce
the [5] wise [6] woman to wantonness, [8]
the clever maid heaped *
[7] her scorn [8] on me,
and I got nothing from this woman.
H e i m a g l a ô r g u m i ok
v i ô g e s t i r e i f r sviôr
skal um sik vera minnigr
ok málugr
ef hann vill margfróôr vera
opt skal góôs geta
fimbulfambi heitir
s á e r f á t t k a n n s e g j a at
er ósnotrs aôal
At home a man [3] must be [1] glad
and cheerful with guests,
knowing about himself,
mindful and fluent,
if he wants to be well-informed;
he should often speak of good things. He
is called a monstrous fool,
the one who knows how to say almost nothing: it
is the character of the unwise.
Inn aldna jOtum ek sótta nü
em ek aptr um kominn fátt
gat ek egjandi ar mOrgum
malta ek I minn frama
I Suttungs sOlum
I sought the old giant,
now I have come back again.
I got little from being silent there.
With many words
I spoke to my own advantage
in Suttungr's hall.
GunnlOô mér um gaf
gullnum stóli á
drykk ins dOra mjaôar
ill iôgj Old
lét ek hana eptir hafa
sins ins heila hugar
sins ins svára sefa
Gunnloth gave to me
[3] a drink of the precious mead
[2] on her golden throne; A
bad reward
I gave her afterwards
for her whole heart,
for her sorrowful spirit.
Rata munn
létumk rüms um fá
ok um grjót gnaga
yfir ok undir
stóôumk jOtna vegir
svá hNtta ek hOfôi til
[2] I let [1] the mouth of the gimlet make
and gnaw through stone;
over and under
me stood the giants' paths (rocks):
thus I risked my head.
svá hNt
Vel keypts litar
hefi ek vel notit
fás er fróôum vant vI
at Oôrerir
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
er nü upp kominn á
alda vés jarôar
[2] I have taken great advantage
[1] ? from the well-purchased appearance; *
little is lacking to the wise,
because Othrerir
has now come up
? to Othinn's sanctuary. *
Ifi er mér á
at ek vera enn kominn
jötna görôum ór
ef ek Gunnlaôar ne nytak
innar góôu konu
eirar er lögôumk arm yfir
Doubtful it is to me
that I could have come again out
of the giant's court,
if I had not enjoyed Gunnloth, the
good woman,
over whom I laid my arm.
On the next day
Ins hindra dags
the frost giants went
gengu hrIm ursar
Háva ráôs at fregna
to ask for Har's advice
Háva höllu I
in Har's hall:
at Bölverki eir spurôu
they asked about Bolverkr (the Evil-doer, Othinn),
ef hann vNri meô böndum kominn eôa whether he had come back among the gods,
hefôi honum Suttungr of sóit
or whether Suttungr had sacrificed him.
Baugeiô Oôinn
hygg ek at unnit hafi
hvat skal hans tryggôum trüa?
Suttung svikinn
hann lét sumbli frá
ok grMtta Gunnlöôu
Othinn, [2] I think, has sworn
[1] an oath on the sacred ring -- w h o
s h a ll t r ust in his troth? [5] he
had [4] Suttungr cheated of his
and made Gunnloth grieve.
Mál er at ylja
ular stóli á
Urôar brunni at
s á e k o k a g ô a k sá
e k o k h u g ô a k hlOdda ek
á manna mál
of rünar heyrôa ek dMma
né um ráôum ög u
Háva höllu at
Háva höllu I
heyrôa ek segja svá
It is time to recite
from the sage's throne
at Urthr's well;
I saw and stayed silent,
I saw and reflected,
I listened to the speech of men, I
heard and learned about runes, nor
were they silent in counsels at
Har's hall,
in Har's hall,
thus I heard it said --
Ráôumk ér Loddfáfnir
en ü ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef ü nemr
ér munu góô ef ü getr
nótt ü rlsat
nema á njósn sér
eôa ü leitir ér innan üt staôar
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it: don't
get up at night,
unless you are on guard
or are seeking a place outside for yourself.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr
per munu góô ef pa getr
fjölkunnigri konu
skalattu I faômi sofa
svá at hon lyki ik liôum
H o n s v á g ør i r
at ü gáir eigi
ings né jóôans máls
mat ü villat
né mannskis gaman
ferr ü sorgafullr at sofa
T advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] you must not sleep in the embrace [ 5 ]
o f a w o m a n s k i l l e d i n m a g i c so that
she locks you in her limbs --
-- she will make sure
that you do not heed
the speech of either Thing (assembly) or king; you
will not desire food
or mankind's pleasure;
you will go sorrowfully to sleep.
(cf. MNthhild? *)
Ráôumk pAr Loddfáfnir
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
T advise you Loddfafnir
p8 L
umk r oddfáfnir
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
advise you, oddfafnir,
en pá ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pá nemr
per munu góô ef pa getr
annars konu
teygôu ér aldregi
eyrarünu at
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never seduce
[5] another's wife
to be your mistress.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr á
fjalli eôa firôi
ef ik fara tIôir
fásktu at virôi vel
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] if you long to travel
[5] over mountain or fjord,
be sure you have ample food.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr illan
láttu aldregi
óhopp at ér vita
vI at af illum manni fNr
ü aldregi
gjold ins góôa hugar
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never allow
[5] a bad man
to know of your misfortune,
because from a bad man
you will never get
a good return for your good will.
Ofarla bIta
ek sá einum hal
orô illrar konu;
fláráô tunga
varô honum at fjorlagi ok
eygi um sanna sök
[2] I saw a man
[1] deeply bitten
by the word of a bad woman; her
deceit-crafty tongue *
was the death of him,
and yet the charge was not true.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr
veiztu ef ü vin átt
anns ü vel trüir
f a r ô u a t f i n n a o p t vI
at hrIsi vex
ok hávu grasi
vegr er vNttki trøôr
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it: k n o w
t h i s , i f y o u h a v e a f r i e n d whom you
trust well,
go to visit him often,
for [9] the path which no-one treads
[7] grows with underbrush
[8] and high grass.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr
per munu góô ef pa getr
góôan mann
teygôu ér at gamanrünum
ok nem lIknargaldr meôan ü lifir
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] draw [5] a good man
to you with pleasant conversation,
and learn healing charms while you live.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr vin
ver ü aldregi
fyrri at flaumslitum
sorg etr hjarta
ef ü segja ne náir
einhverjum allan hug
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never be
[7] the first to make a breach
[5] with your friend.
Sorrow eats the heart
if you cannot tell
someone your whole mind.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
p8r munu góô ef p; getr
p8r munu
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
p U getr orôum
ü skalt aldregi
viô ósvinna apa
[6] you must never
[5] bandy words
with a stupid fool --
vI at af illum manni
mundu aldregi
góôs laun um geta
en góôr maôr
mun ik gørva mega
lIknfastan at lofi
-- because [2] you can never
[3] get a reward for good [1]
from a bad man,
but a good man
can make you
beloved through praise.
Sifjum er á blandat
hverr er segja rNôr
einum allan hug
alt er betra
en sé brigôum at vera era
sá vinr öôrum
er vilt eitt segir
Peace and trust are exchanged
when one can tell
another his whole mind.
Anything is better
than to be faithless:
he is not another's friend
who says only what the friend wants to hear.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr rimr
orôum senna
skalattu ér viô verra mann
opt inn betri bilar
á er inn verri vegr
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] you must not [5] dispute even three words with
a man less worthy than you:
often the better man is defeated
when the worser attacks.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr
skósmiôr ü verir
né skeptismiôr
nema ü sjálfum ér sér skór
er skapaôr illa
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
be [6] not [5] a shoe-maker or
a shaft-maker,
except for yourself alone;
if the shoe is badly made
eôa skapt sé rangt
á er ér böls beôit
or the shaft bent,
then misfortune is in store for you.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr h v a r s
ü b ö l k a n n t kveôu at
bölvi at
ok gefat Inum fjándum friô
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it: when
you come upon misdeeds
speak out about those misdeeds, *
and give your enemies no peace.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr illu
verôu aldregi
en lát ér at góôu getit
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never be
[5] glad in evil,
but let yourself be pleased by good.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr upp
skalattu I orrostu
gjalti glIkir
verôa gumna synir
sIôr itt um heilli halir
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] you must not [5] look up in
-- [8] the sons of men become
[7] like men terror-crazed -lest men cast spells upon you. *
Ráôumk p8r Loddfáfnir
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
en pá ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pá nemr
per munu góô ef pa getr ef
ü vilt ér góôa konu kveôja
at gamanrünum
ok fá fögnuô af
fögru skaltu heita
ok láta fast vera
leiôisk manngi gott ef getr
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr v a r a n
b i ô e k i k v e ra en eigi
ver ü viô öl varastr o k
viô annars konu ok
v i ô a t i t r i ôj a at
jófar ne leiki
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr at háôi
né hlátri
hafôu aldregi
gest né ganganda
Opt vitu ógörla
eir er sitja inni fyrir
hvers eir ro kyns er koma
erat maôr svá góôr
at galli ne fylgi
né svá illr at einugi dugi
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr at
hárum ul
hlNôu aldregi
opt er gott at er gamlir kveôa
opt ór skörpum belg
skilin orô koma
eim er hangir meô hám ok
skollir meô skrám ok
váfir meô vIlmögum
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
Ráôumk p8r Loddfáfnir
advise you Loddfafnir
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it: if
you want [6] to attract
[5] a good woman to you [6] with pleasant talk
and take pleasure with her,
you must make a fair promise
and stick fast to it
-- no one loathes the good, if he gets it.
I advise you, Loddfafnir, to
take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
wary I bid you be,
but not too wary: *
with ale be the most wary and
with another's woman, and
with a third thing,
that thieves do not trick you.
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it: never
mock or laugh
at a guest or traveller.
Often they don't precisely know,
those who sit first in a house,
whose kinsmen they are who come (later): no
man is so good
that no fault follows him,
nor so bad that he is of no use.
I advise you, Loddfafnir, to
take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never laugh
[5] at a gray-haired sage
often what an old man says is good,
often [9] clear words come
[8] out of shrivelled skin,
from the one who hangs among the hides
and dangles among the dried skins
and moves among the entrails.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr gest ü
ne geyja
né á grind hrekir
get ü váluôum vel
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it: do
not revile a guest
nor drive him away from your gates; treat
the wretched well.
Rammt er at tré er
rIôa skal
öllum at upploki
baug ü gef
eôa at biôja mun
ér lNs hvers á liôu
Powerful is that beam
that must move from side to side to
open for all;
give a ring,
or it will call down
every evil on your limbs.
Ráôumk per Loddfáfnir
en pa ráô nemir
njóta mundu ef pa nemr per
munu góô ef pa getr hvars
ü öl drekkr
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it: when
you drink ale,
Havamal Text
you d ink ale
and translation of the
k j ó s ü é r j a rô a r m e gi n vI
at jörô tekr viô ölôri en
eldr viô sóttum
choose for yourself the might of the earth,
because earth fights against beer,
and fire against sickness,
oak against constipation,
an ear of corn against sorcery,
the hall-tree against domestic strife, *
-- one must invoke the moon against wrathful deeds -- alum
against bite-sickness
and runes against misfortune;
the earth must contend against the sea.
eik viô abbindi
ax viô fjölkynngi
höll viô hOrógi
heiptum skal mána kveôja
beiti viô bitsóttum
en viô bölvi rünar
fold skal viô flóô taka
Veit ek at ek hekk
hvers hann af rótum renn
I know that I hung
upon a windy tree
for nine whole nights,
w o u nd e d w ith a spear
and given to Othinn,
myself to myself for me; on
that tree
I knew nothing
of what kind of roots it came from.
Viô hleifi mik sNldu né
viô hornigi
nOsta ek niôr
nam ek upp rünar
Mpandi nam
fell ek aptr aôan
They cheered me with a loaf
and not with any horn, I
investigated down below, I
took up the runes,
s c r e a m i n g I t o o k t h e m , and
I fell back from there.
vindga meiôi á
nNtr allar nIu
geiri undaôr
ok gefinn Oôni
sjálfr sjálfum mér
á e i m m e i ô i er
manngi veit
Fimbulljóô nIu
nam ek af inum frNgja syni Böl
órs Bestlu föôur
ok ek drykk of gat
ins dOra mjaôar
ausinn Oôreri
Rá nam ek frNvask ok
fróôr vera
ok vaxa ok vel hafask
o r ô m é r a f o r ô i orôs
verk mér af verki
verks leitaôi
[2] I took [1] nine mighty spells
from the famous son
of Bolthorr, the father of Bestla,
and I got a drink
of the precious mead,
poured from Othrerir.
Then I began [2] to be
[1] fruitful [2] and wise,
to grow and to flourish;
speech fetched my speech for speech,
action fetched my action for action.
Rünar munt ü finna ok
ráôna stafi
mjök stóra stafi
mjök stinna stafi
er fáôi fimbul ulr ok
gørôu ginnregin
ok reist Hroptr rögna
You can find runes and
meaning staves, very
mighty staves, very
strong staves,
which a mighty sage coloured
and mighty powers made,
and Hroptr of the gods carved.
Oôinn meô ásum
en f yr álfum Dáinn
Othinn among the gods,
Dainn for the elves
ok Dvalinn dvergum fyrir
Asviôr jötnum fyrir
ek reist sjálfr sumar
and Dvalinn for the dwarves,
Asvithr for the giants
-- I myself carved some.
Veiztu hvé rista skal?
Veiztu hvé ráôa skal?
Veiztu hvé fá skal?
Veiztu hvé freista skal?
Veiztu hvé biôja skal?
Veiztu hvé blóta skal?
Veiztu hvé senda skal?
Veiztu hvé sóa skal?
Do you know how you must cut [them]? Do
you know how you must interpret? Do you
know how you must colour? Do you know
how you must try?
Do you know how you must invoke?
Do you know how you must sacrifice? Do
y o u kn o w h o w you must s e n d ? Do you
know how you must kill?
Betra er óbeôit
It is better that it be not invoked
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
en sé ofblótit
ey sér til gildis gjöf
b e t r a
e r
ó s e n t
e n s é o f s ó i t svá
undr urn reist
fyr jóôa rök
ar hann upp urn reis
er hann aptr of korn
than over-sacrificed,
the gift is always for the repayrnent, i t
i s b e t t e r t h a t i t b e n o t s e n t than
So Thundr carved
before the history of the peoples, when
he rose up
and when he carne back.
Ljóô ek au kann
er kannat jóôans kona
ok rnannskis rnögr
hjálp heitir eitt
en at ér hjálpa rnun
viô sökurn ok sorgurn ok
süturn görvöllurn
I know the songs
that no ruler's wife knows, nor
anyone's son:
the first is called "Help", a nd
it will help you
w i t h d i s p u t e s a n d g r i e f s and
absolutely all sorrows.
Rat kann ek annat
er urfu ta synir
eir er vilja lNknar lifa
I know a second
which the sons of rnen need,
those who want to live as physicians.
R a t k a n n e k i t r i ô j a ef
rnér verôr örf rnikil hapts
viô rnIna heiptrnögu eggjar
ek deyfi
rninna andskota
bitat eirn vápn né velir
I know the third:
if great need befalls rne
for a fetter for rny enerny,
I can blunt the edges
of rny enernies,
that weapons and staves do not bite for thern.
Rat kann ek it fjórôa
ef rnér fyrôar bera
bönd at bóglirnurn
svá ek gel
at ek ganga rná
sprettr rnér af fóturn fjöturr en
af höndurn hapt
I know the fourth:
if rnen put
fetters on rny lirnbs,
I sing so that
I can go:
fetter springs frorn rny feet
and bond frorn rny hands. (cf. Irnrna *)
Rat kann ek it firnrnta
ef ek sé af fári skotinn
flein I fólki vaôa
flOgra hann svá stinnt at
ek stöôvigak
ef ek hann sjónurn of sék
I know the fifth:
if I see [3] a spear, [2] shot in rnalice to
fly into a host,
it does not fly so strongly
that I cannot stop it,
if I catch sight of it.
Rat kann ek it sétta
ef rnik sNrir egn
á róturn rarns viôar
ok ann hal
er rnik heipta kveôr
ann eta rnein heldr en rnik
I know the sixth:
if a warrior wounds rne
with the root of a strong t ree * and
calls forth hatreds frorn rne,
then the harrns eat the rnan and not rne.
Rat kann ek it sjaunda e f
e k s é h á v a n l o g a sal
urn sessrnögurn
b r e n n r a t s v á b r e i t t at
ek honurn bjargigak
ann kann ek galdr at gala
I know the seventh:
if I see a high [3] hall
[2] to burn [3] around rny table-cornpanions, i t
d o e s n o t b u r n s o b r i g h t t h a t
c a n n o t
s a v e
i t ,
when I can
sing the spell.
Rat kann ek it átta er
öllurn er
nytsarnligt at nerna
hvars hatr vex
rneô hildings sonurn at
rná ek bMta brátt
I know the eighth,
which [3] is useful [2] fo r all to
wherever hatred grows
arnong the sons of the prince, I
can quickly cure it.
Rat kann ek it nlunda
ef rnik nauôr urn stendr
at bjarga fari rnlnu á floti
I know the ninth:
if I need
to save rny ship afloat
i d k k
I can calrn the ind
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
vind ek kyrri
vági á
ok svNfik allan sN
I can calm the wind
on the wave
and lull the whole sea to sleep.
Rat kann ek it tiunda
ef ek sé tünriôir
l e i k a l o p t i á ek
svá vinnk
at eir villir fara
sinna heimhama
sinna heimhuga
I know the tenth: if
I see witches playing
in the air, I can so
arrange it that they
go astray
from their proper shapes
and proper thoughts.
Rat kann ek it ellipta ef
ek skal til orrostu leiôa
undir randir ek gel en
eir meô riki fara heilir
hildar til
heilir hildi frá
koma eir heilir hvaôan
I know the eleventh:
if I must [3] lead old friends [2]
to battle,
I sing under the shields,
and they go victoriously:
safe to the battle,
safe from the battle,
they come safe from everywhere.
Rat kann ek it tOlpta
ef ek sé á tré uppi
váfa virgilná
svá ek rist
ok I rünum fák at
sá gengr gumi ok
mNlir viô mik
I know the twelfth: if
I see up in a tree
a hanged corpse swinging,
I carve
and colour the runes
that the man moves
and speaks with me.
Rat kann ek it rettánda ef
ek skal egn ungan verpa
vatni á
munat hann falla
Ott hann I fOlk komi
hnlgra sá halr fyr hjörum
I know the thirteenth:
if I will [3] throw water
[2] on a young warrior,
he cannot fall,
though he may come to battle
the man does not fall before swords.
Rat kann ek it fjOrtánda ef
ek skal fyrôa liôi telja
tiva fyrir
ása ok álfa
ek kann allra skil
fár kann Osnotr svá
I know the fourteenth:
if I must [3] reckon up
[2] a troop [3] before gods [2] and men,
[5] I know the details of all [4]
the ]Esir and the Elves -the unwise man knows that not at all.
Rat kann ek it fimmtánda
er gOl jOôreyrir
dvergr fyr Dellings durum
a f l g O l h a n n á s u m en
álfum frama
hyggju HroptatO
I know the fifteenth,
which Thjothreyrir sang,
the dwarf, before the doors of Dellingr: He
sang the might of the gods,
the courage of the elves,
the understanding of Hroptatyr.
Rat kann ek it sextánda ef
ek vil ins svinna mans hafa
geô alt ok gaman
hugi ek hverfi
hvltarmri konu
ok sn ek hennar öllum sefa
I know the sixteenth:
if I wish [3] to have all the heart and pleasure
[2] of a cunning girl,
I turn the feelings
of the white-armed woman,
and I change the whole of her mind.
Rat kann ek it sjautjánda at
mik mun seint firrask i t
m a n u n g a m a n ljOôa
mun ü Loddfáfnir
lengi vanr vera
O sé ér gOô ef ü getr
n O t e f ü n e m r örf
ef ü iggr
I know the seventeenth, that
[3] the youthful maid [2]
will never avoid me;
[5] Loddfafnir, you will
[6] be lacking [4] these charms
[6] for a long time,
though it be good for you if you get them,
u s e f u l i f y o u t a k e t h e m , needful
if you receive them.
Rat kann ek it átjánda
I know the eighteenth,
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
er ek va kennik
rney né rnanns konu
alt er betra
which I never teach
to rnaid or rnan's wife, -everything is better
er einn urn kann
Fat fylgir ljóôa lokurn
n e r n a e i r i e i n n i er
r n i k a r r n i v e r r eôa
rnIn systir se
when one person understands it,
it belongs at the ending of spells -- to
none but she alone
who is wrapped in rny arrn
or is rny sister. *
N era Háva rnál
kveôin Háva höllu I
allFörf ta sonurn
óFörf jötna sonurn
heill sá er kvaô
heill sá er kann
njóti sá er narn
heilir eirs hlOddu
Now the sayings of Har are spoken in
Har's hall,
very needful to the sons of rnen,
harrnful to the sons of giants. Hail
to hirn who spoke!
H a i l t o h i r n w h o u n d e r s t a n d s ! Let
hirn benefit who took thern! Blessings
on those who listened!
The sentirnent recalls the Latin tag praestat tacere et stultus haberi quam edicere e t
o m n e d u b i u m r e m o v e r e , " I t ' s b e t t e r t o b e s i l e n t a n d a p p e a r s t u p i d t h a n t o speak
up and rernove all doubt".
7 back 8
The rnanuscript has svagi at leiô se la/n ef pegi. Jónsson (p. 49)
r e a d s s v á g i g l ø g g v a n a t . . . , " s o - n o t s t i n g y t h a t . . . " , w h i l e a l s o a d r n i t t i n g the
possibility that the gi was not rneant to be attached to svá but was an abbreviation
of or scribal error for gj o flan, which would give svá gjoflan at..., " so fre e t h at. .. ".
Eva ns pr ef er s t o rea d sv á gj of lan .
7 back 8
mart vitu
I follow David Evans's ernendation frorn mart vitu, "they know a great rnany things", which
doesn't rnake sense in the context, to mart vitut, "they don't know
a great rnany things". There is precedent for this in verses 12.1 and 22.6, already ernended in
Jónsson's edition frorn an original er (it/he is) to era (it/he is not)
to rnake sense of the verse.
7 back 8
The rnanuscript has ok sel lifôom, nonsensically; Jónsson (p. 75) records the suggested
ernendation adopted here, en sé ólifôum.
7 back 8
Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
83.4: en m>ki saurgan, literally a "dirty" sword, but
perhaps meaning something more like a well-used sword, a sword which has proven its worth
by not breaking, which has survived to be stained. (Thanks to Serge Boffa for this suggestion.)
7 back 8
100.5: meô III bornum viôi"with brands raised high".
Literally "with carried timber", but often taken to go with the brennandum ljósum of the
previous line, hence torches, here called brands to alliterate with burning.
7 back 8
102.7-8: it horska man leitaôi hverrar háôungar mér "the
clever maid heaped her scorn on me".
Literally something more like "the clever maid sought to bring her scorn on me",
but "heaped her scorn" is tighter, brings the alliteration closer to the original, and fits the sense
of the following line.
7 back 8
107.1: vel keypts litar
This line is probably corrupt as it stands. See David Evans, p. 121, for commentary. It is tempting
to follow Corpus Poeticum Boreale and read litar as something to do
with mead, because the rest of the verse does seem to refer to the benefits of the acquisition of the
vélkeypts mjaôar, "fraud-bought mead". On the other hand, this might be
Othinn congratulating himself for the carefully deceitful behaviour (the "well-purchased appearance"?) which
enabled him to steal the mead in the first place.
7 back 8
107.6: a alda ves iarpar
This is the manuscript reading, and clearly corrupt. See David Evans, pp. 121-2, for discussion
and options -- I am following Jonsson's emendation
a ve alda jaôars, "to the sacred place of the lord of
men (Othinn)", i.e. "to Othinn's sanctuary".
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114.6: ferr á sorgafullr at sofa
It is tempting to compare the hapless victim of the woman skilled in magic going sorrowfully to sleep
with MNôhild in the Old English poem Deor, of whom it was said
"sorrowful love deprived her of all sleep" (j>t him seo sorglufu sl>p ealle binom).
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118.4: flaraô
A longer but clearer unpacking of fla-raôr would be
"deceitfully counselling", but "deceit-crafty" is in the right sort of register and packs
more of the punch of the original.
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Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
127.6: qvePu P' ba/lvi at
Evans, p. 127, notes that Bugge in his first edition of the poem expanded P' as
Pér in his main text and as Pat in his appendix, and the
variants have existed side by side ever since.
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129.9: siôr Pitt of heilli halir
Jónsson, p. 128, suggests that Pitt here would make more sense as
Pik, and Evans emends to Pik.
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131.6: oc eigi of váran
The manuscript text would translate "wary I bid you be, and not too wary"; "but not too wary" would
m a k e m o r e s e n s e , s o p e r h a p s o k ( a n d ) s h oul d be emended to en (but) , as it had to be
in the corrupt verse 70.2.
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137.11: höll viô hKrógi
As it stands, this says "the hall, against domestic strife", but this seems inexplicable. See
David Evans, pp. 132-3, for other possible solutions to this cryptic remark.
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149: at kann ek it fjórôa...
This charm, which prevents fetters from holding a prisoner, is presumably what the Mercians were
looking for in the clothing of the Northumbrian Imma, who was captured after the Battle
of Trent in 679 but could not be chained
(see Bede's Ecclesiastical History, IV.22).
Bede explains that in his case, the effect was caused by Imma's brother Tunna, an abbot who thought
that Imma was dead and was offering Masses for the repose of his soul.
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151.3: á rotom rás viôar
"With the root of a green/sappy tree", but see Evans, pp. 138-9, on the difficulty with rás here, and a note of
the several editors who have settled on the emendation rams ("strong")
as a solution.
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163.8-9: er mik armi verr eôa mmn systir sé
This odd exception, that Othinn will only reveal the last charm to the one who is his wife or sister,
suggests a parallel to Jupiter's relations with Juno, who was
et soror et coniunx (Mneid, I.47).
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Havamal Text and translation of the Ha...
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Firstly, I have made some changes from a literal translation to one