Vǫlusp

 

1.
Hljs bi ek allar Hearing I ask for from all
helgar kindir, hallowed kindreds,
meiri ok minni greater and lesser
mgu Heimdallar; offspring of Heimdallr;
viltu at ek, Valfr, You want, Valfather,
vel fyr telja that I should well recount
forn spjll fira, ancient story of beings[1]
au er fremst of man. that I remember from longest ago.

2.
Ek man jtna I remember jǫtuns
r of borna, born long ago,
er forum mik those who once me
fdda hfu; had nurtured;[2]
nu man ek heima, nine worlds I remember,
nu vijur, nine giantesses inside,[3]
mjtvi mran the great Measure Tree[4]
fyr mold nean. down under the ground.

3.
r var alda, It was early in the ages,
ar er ekki var, when nothing was,[5]
var-a sandr n sr there was neither sand nor sea
n svalar unnir; nor cool waves;
jr fannsk va Earth was nowhere to be found,
n upphiminn, nor sky above,
gap var ginnunga a gap there was of yawning spaces[6]
en gras hvergi. and nowhere grass.

4.
r Burs synir Before the sons of Burr
bjum of yppu, raised up the lands,
eir er Migar they who Migar,
mran skpu; the glorious, created;
sl skein sunnan the sun shone from the south
salar steina, on the stones of that dwelling-place,[7]
var grund grin Then the ground was grown-over
grnum lauki. with the green leek.[8]

5.
Sl varp sunnan, From the south cast Sl,[9]
sinni mna, companion of Mni,
hendi inni hgri her right hand

um himinjur; around the edge of the sky;[10]
sl at n vissi, Sl did not know
hvar hon sali tti, where she had halls,
mni at n vissi, Mni did not know
hvat hann megins tti, what power he had,
stjrnur at n vissu the stars did not know
hvar r stai ttu. where they had places.

6.
gengu regin ll Then all the regin went
rkstla, to judgement seats,
ginnheilg go, the vastly holy[11] gods,
ok um at gttusk; and considered that;
ntt ok nijum to Ntt and her children
nfn of gfu, they gave out names,
morgin htu morning they named
ok mijan dag, and midday,
undorn ok aftan, afternoon[12] and evening,
rum at telja. to reckon by years.

7.
Hittusk sir The sir gathered
Iavelli, at Iavǫllr,[13]
eir er hrg ok hof they who high-timbered
htimbruu; hǫrgs and hofs;
afla lgu, they laid down forges,
au smuu, smithied wealth,
tangir skpu shaped tongs
ok tl geru. and created tools.

8.
Tefldu tni, They played tafl in the enclosure,[14]
teitir vru, were happy,
var eim vettergis they had nothing
vant r gulli, of lack of gold,
uns rjr kvmu until there came three
ursa meyjar urs maidens
mttkar mjk very awesomely strong
r Jtunheimum. from Jǫtunheim.

---------

9.
gengu regin ll Then all the regin went
rkstla, to judgement seats,
ginnheilg go, the vastly holy gods,
ok um at gttusk, and considered that:
hverir skyldi dverga who[15] should create
drttir skepja companies of dwarves
r Brimis bli from Brimir's blood
ok r Blins leggjum. and from Blin's legs[16].

10.
ar var Msognir There Msognir had
mztr of orinn become the greatest
dverga allra, of all dwarves,
en Durinn annarr; and Durinn the second;
eir mannlkun they made many
mrg of geru in man's likeness,
dvergar jru, dwarves in the earth[17],
sem Durinn sagi. as Durinn said.

11.
Ni, Nii, Ni, Nii,
Norri, Suri, Norri, Suri,
Austri, Vestri, Austri, Vestri,[18]
Aljfr, Dvalinn, Aljfr, Dvalinn,
Nr ok Ninn Nr and Ninn
Npingr, Dinn Npingr, Dinn
Bvurr, Bvurr, Bvurr, Bvurr,
Bmburr, Nri, Bmburr, Nri,
nn ok narr, nn and narr,
inn, Mjvitnir. inn, Mjǫvitnir.

12.
Veggr ok Gandalfr, Veggr and Gandalfr,
Vindalfr, orinn, Vindalfr, orinn,
rr ok rinn, rr and rinn,
ekkr, Litr ok Vitr, ekkr, Litr and Vitr,
Nr ok Nrr, Nr and Nrr,
n hefi ek dverga, now I have -
Reginn ok Rsvir, Reginn and Rsvir -
rtt of tala. listed dwarves correctly.

13.
Fli, Kli, Fli, Kli,
Fundinn, Nli, Fundinn, Nli,
Hefti, Vli, Hefti, Vli,
Hannar, Svurr, Hannar, Svurr,
Billingr, Brni, Billingr, Brni,
Bldr ok Buri, Bldr and Buri,
Frr, Hornbori, Frr, Hornbori,
Frgr ok Lni, Frgr and Lni,
Aurvangr, Jari, Aurvangr, Jari,
Eikinskjaldi. Eikinskjaldi.

14.
Ml er dverga It is time to list the dwarves
Dvalins lii in Dvalin's kindred
ljna kindum for the children of men
til Lofars telja, as far as Lofar,
eir er sttu they who sought out
fr salar steini from halls of stone
Aurvanga sjt the seats[19] of Aurvangar
til Jruvalla. to Jruvellir.

15.
ar var Draupnir There was Draupnir
ok Dolgrasir, and Dolgrasir,
Hr, Haugspori, Hr, Haugspori,
Hlvangr, Glinn, Hlvangr, Glinn,
Dri, ri Dri, ri
Dfr, Andvari Dfr, Andvari
Skirfir, Virfir, Skirfir, Virfir,
Skfir, i. Skfir, i.

16.
Alfr ok Yngvi, Alfr and Yngvi,
Eikinskjaldi, Eikinskjaldi,
Fjalarr ok Frosti, Fjalarr and Frosti,
Finnr ok Ginnarr; Finnr and Ginnarr;
at mun uppi that will be forever held high
mean ld lifir, as long as the age[20] lives,
langnija tal the account of the father's line
Lofars hafat. of Lofar.

---------

17.
Unz rr kvmu Until three[21] came
r v lii of that company
flgir ok stkir powerful and dear[22]
sir at hsi, sir to a house,
fundu landi found on the land
ltt megandi able to do little
Ask ok Emblu Askr and Embla
rlglausa. without orlg.

18.
nd au n ttu, They did not possess ǫnd,[23]
au n hfu, they did not have r,[24]
l n lti no softness, nor activity,[25]
n litu ga; nor good colouring;[26]
nd gaf inn, inn gave ǫnd,
gaf Hnir, Hnir gave r,
l gaf Lurr Lurr gave softness
ok litu ga. and good colouring.

19.
Ask veit ek standa, I know an ash stands,
heitir Yggdrasill, which is called Yggdrasill,
hr bamr, ausinn a tall tree, sprinkled[27]
hvta auri; with white clay;[28]
aan koma dggvar, from there come the dews
rs dala falla, which fall in the valleys,
stendr yfir grnn it stands for ever over the green
Urarbrunni. Urarbrunnr.[29]

20.
aan koma meyjar From there come maidens
margs vitandi knowing much,
rjr r eim s, three from the lake
er und olli stendr; which stands under the tree;
Ur htu eina, one is called Urr,
ara Verandi, the second Verandi,
- skru ski, - - they risted on a slip of wood -
Skuld ina riju; the third Skuld;
r lg lgu, they laid down laws,
r lf kuru they selected lives,
alda brnum, for the children of mankind,
rlg seggja. humans' rlǫg.[30]

21.
at man hon folkvg She remembers the war of peoples,
fyrst heimi, the first in the world,
er Gullveigu when they stuck[31]
geirum studdu Gullveig with spears
ok hll Hrs and in the hall of Hrr[32]
hana brenndu, burnt her,
risvar brenndu, three times burnt,
risvar borna, three times born,
oft, sjaldan, often, not seldom,
hon enn lifir. yet she still lives.

22.
Heii hana htu Heir they called her
hvars til hsa kom, wherever she came to the houses,
vlu velspa, a vǫlva of good prophecy,[33]
vitti hon ganda; she magicked with magic equipment;[34]
sei hon, hvars hon kunni, she practised seir wherever she could,[35]
sei hon hug leikinn, she practised seir entranced of mind,[36]
var hon angan always she was the darling[37]
illrar brar. of the wicked wife.

23.
gengu regin ll Then all the regin went
rkstla, to judgement seats,
ginnheilg go, the vastly holy gods,
ok um at gttusk, and considered that,
hvrt skyldu sir whether the sir should
afr gjalda pay tribute[38]
ea skyldu goin ll or all the gods should
gildi eiga. have tribute.[39]

24.
Fleygi inn inn let fly
ok folk of skaut, and shot into the crowd,
at var enn folkvg it was still the first
fyrst heimi; war of peoples in the world;
brotinn var borveggr breached was the plank wall
borgar sa, of the stronghold[40] of the sir,
knttu vanir vgsp The Vanir, with war-magic, kicked
vllu sporna. the field with their heels.[41]

25.
gengu regin ll Then all the regin went
rkstla, to judgement seats,
ginnheilg go, the vastly holy gods,
ok um at gttusk, and considered that,
hverjir hefi loft allt who had blended destruction[42]

lvi blandit into all the heavens
ea tt jtuns or to the race of the jǫtunn
s mey gefna. given 's lass.

26.
rr einn ar v Thor alone there struck
runginn mi, full of fury
- hann sjaldan sitr - - he rarely sits still
er hann slkt of fregn -: when he hears of such -:
gengusk eiar, oaths were smashed,[43]
or ok sri, words and pledges,
ml ll meginlig, all the forceful pronouncements
er meal fru. that stood in the way.[44]

27.
Veit hon Heimdallar She knows Heimdal's
hlj of folgit ear has been stowed away[45]
und heivnum under the light-lacking
helgum bami, holy tree,
sr hon ausask a river she sees rising
aurgum forsi with clayey rapids
af vei Valfrs. from Valfather's pledge.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat? Do you still seek to know - or what?

28.
Ein sat hon ti, Alone she sat out,
er inn aldni kom when the old man came,
yggjungr sa terror's son[46] of the sir,
ok augu leit. and looked into her eyes.
Hvers fregni mik? "What are you asking me?
Hv freisti mn? Why are you testing me?[47]
Allt veit ek, inn, I know everything, inn,
hvar auga falt, where you stowed your eye,[48]
inum mra in the great
Mmisbrunni. well[49] of Mmir.
Drekkr mj Mmir Mmir drinks mead
morgun hverjan every morning
af vei Valfrs. from Valfather's pledge."
Vitu r enn - ea hvat? Do you still seek to know - or what?

29.
Vali henni Herfr For her Herfather chose
hringa ok men, rings and necklaces,
fekk spjll spaklig [he] got a wise account[50]
ok sp ganda, and sp of spirits,[51]
s hon vtt ok of vtt she saw far and afar
of verld hverja. in every world.[52]

30.
S hon valkyrjur She saw valkyries
vtt of komnar, coming from afar,
grvar at ra prepared to ride
til Gojar; to the Land of Gods;
Skuld helt skildi, Skuld held a shield,
en Skgul nnur, and Skgul another,
Gunnr, Hildr, Gndul Gunnr, Hildr, Gndul
ok Geirskgul. and Geirskgul.
N eru talar Now are recounted
nnnur Herjans, the Nannas of Herjan,
grvar at ra prepared to ride
grund valkyrjur. the earth, the valkyries.[53]

31.
Ek s Baldri, I saw for Baldr,
blgum tvur, for the bloody sacrifice,
ins barni, in's child,
rlg folgin; rlǫg stowed away;[54]
st of vaxinn there stood all grown up
vllum hri higher than the fields,[55]
mjr ok mjk fagr slender and very beautiful,
mistilteinn. the mistletoe.

32.
Var af eim meii, There came to be of that pole,
er mr sndisk, which seemed slender,
harmflaug httlig, a dangerous throwing weapon,
Hr nam skjta; Hǫr did shoot;
Baldrs brir var Baldr's brother was
of borinn snemma, born early,
s nam ins sonr so in's son took
einnttr vega. vengeance at one night old.

33.
hann va hendr Nonetheless he did [not] wash his hands
n hfu kembi, or comb his hair,
r bl of bar before he brought death
Baldrs andskota; to Baldr's slayer;
en Frigg of grt and Frigg wept at it
Fenslum in Fensalir,
v Valhallar. the woe of Valhǫllr.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat? Do you still seek to know - or what?

34.
kn Vli Then can Vli[56]
vgbnd sna, twist the battle-fetters,
heldr vru hargr they were rather hardy,
hft r rmum. bindings made of guts.

35.
Haft s hon liggja A captive she saw lying
und Hveralundi, under Hveralundr,
lgjarns lki to the form of the guileful
Loka ekkjan; Loki similar;
ar sitr Sigyn there sits Sigyn,
eygi of snum surely not of her
ver vel glju. husband well content.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat? Do you still seek to know - or what?

36.
fellur austan A river falls from the east
um eitrdala through dales of poison,[57]
sxum ok sverum, with seaxes and swords,
Slr heitir s. Slr is its name.

37.
St fyr noran There stood to the north
Niavllum on Niavǫllr
salr r gulli a hall of gold,
Sindra ttar; of the kin of Sindri;
en annarr st and another stood
klni on klnir,
bjrsalr jtuns, the beer-hall of a jǫtunn,
en s Brimir heitir. and that one is called Brimir.[58]

38.
Sal s hon standa A hall she saw standing
slu fjarri far from the sun,
Nstrndu , on Nstrǫnd,
norr horfa dyrr; the door facing north;
falla eitrdropar drops of poison fall
inn um ljra, in through the smoke-hole,
s er undinn salr that hall is woven
orma hryggjum. of the backs of serpents.

39.
S hon ar vaa She saw there wading
unga strauma the burdensome streams
menn meinsvara men who were forsworn
ok morvarga and outlaw murderers
ok ann er annars glepr and him who beguiles another man's
eyrarnu; sweetheart of whispered secrets;[59]
ar saug Nihggr There Nihǫggr sucked
ni framgengna, corpses of the dead,
sleit vargr vera. the wolf tore men.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat? Do you still seek to know - or what?

40.
Austr sat in aldna In the east sat the old female
Jrnvii in Jrnvir
ok fddi ar and there bore[60]
Fenris kindir; Fenrir's kin;
verr af eim llum there will come of them all
einna nokkurr one particular one
tungls tjgari a snatcher of the moon[61]
trlls hami. in a troll's form.[62]

41.
Fyllisk fjrvi It fills itself with the vitals[63]
feigra manna, of the doomed[64]
rr ragna sjt reddens the dwellings of the regin
rauum dreyra; with red gore;
svrt vera slskin black the sunbeams become
um sumur eftir, in summers after,
ver ll vlynd. the weather all shifty.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat? Do you still seek to know - or what?

42.
Sat ar haugi There sat there on a barrow
ok sl hrpu and struck his harp
ggjar hirir, an ogress' herdsman,
glar Eggr; the merry Eggr;
gl of hnum there crowed above him
galgvii in the gallows-wood
fagrraur hani, the bright red[65] rooster
s er Fjalarr heitir. who is called Fjalarr.

43.
Gl of sum There crowed above the sir
Gullinkambi, Gullinkambi,
s vekr hla who wakens the warriors
at Herjafrs; at Herfather's;
en annarr gelr and another crows
fyr jr nean underneath the earth
straur hani a sooty-red rooster
at slum Heljar. in the halls of Hel.

44.
Geyr n Garmr mjk Now Garmr barks a lot

fyr Gnipahelli, in front of Gnipahellir,
festr mun slitna, the tether will break,
en freki renna; and the ravenous one escape;
fjl veit ek fra, Much I know of lore,[66]
fram s ek lengra I see far ahead
um ragna rk to the judgement of the powers[67],
rmm sigtva. bitter, of the victory-gods.

45.
Brr munu berjask Brothers will fight each other
ok at bnum verask, and be each other's bane,
munu systrungar sisters' children
sifjum spilla; ravage kinship;[68]
hart er heimi, in the world it is hard,
hrdmr mikill, great whoredom,
skeggld, skalmld, an axe age, a sword age,
skildir ro klofnir, shields are cloven,
vindld, vargld, a wind age, a wolf age,
r verld steypisk; before the world collapses.
mun engi mar No one will
rum yrma. spare another.

46.
Leika Mms synir, Mm's sons play,
en mjtur kyndisk but fate's measure is lit
at inu galla at the clarion call
Gjallarhorni; of Gjallarhorn;
htt blss Heimdallr, high[69] blows Heimdallr,
horn er lofti, the horn is raised aloft,
mlir inn inn consults
vi Mms hfu. with Mm's head.

47.
Skelfr Yggdrasils Shudders the ash
askr standandi, Yggdrasill[70], standing there,
ymr it aldna tr, the old tree cries,
en jtunn losnar; and the jǫtunn gets free;
hrask allir all are frightened
helvegum on the path to Hel
r Surtar ann before Surtr's kinsman
sefi of gleypir. swallows it.[71]

48.[72]
Hvat er me sum? What ails the sir?
Hvat er me alfum? What ails the lfar?
Gnr allr Jtunheimr, All Jǫtunheimr resounds,
sir ro ingi, sir are in Thing,
stynja dvergar dwarves groan
fyr steindurum, before the doors of stone,
veggbergs vsir. wise in the ways of their rock walls.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat? Do you still seek to know - or what?

49.
Geyr n Garmr mjk Now Garmr barks a lot
fyr Gnipahelli, in front of Gnipahellir,
festr mun slitna the tether will break,
en freki renna; and the ravenous one escape;
fjl veit ek fra, Much I know of lore,
fram s ek lengra I see far ahead,
um ragna rk to the judgement of the powers,
rmm sigtva. bitter, of the victory-gods.

50.
Hrymr ekr austan, Hrymr drives from the east,
hefisk lind fyrir, lifts his shield in front of him,
snsk Jrmungandr Jǫrmungandr writhes
jtunmi; in jǫtunn-fury;
ormr knr unnir, the serpent churns the waves,
en ari hlakkar, and the eagle screams,[73]
sltr ni niflr, pitch-dark-pale[74], rends corpses,
Naglfar losnar. Naglfar casts off.

51.
Kjll ferr austan, The ship[75] sails from the east,
koma munu Mspells will come Mspell's
of lg lir, people over water,
en Loki strir; and Loki steers;
fara fflmegir ogre-kin[76] travel
me freka allir, all with the ravener,
eim er brir in their group
Bleists fr. is the brother of Bleistr.[77]

52.
Surtr ferr sunnan Surtr travels from the south
me sviga lvi, with the destruction of switches,[78]
sknn af sveri there shines from his sword
sl valtva; the sun of the val-gods;
grjtbjrg gnata, the rocky cliffs clash,
en gfr rata, and fiends are on the way,
troa halir helveg, men tread the road to Hel,
en himinn klofnar. and the heavens split open.

53.
kemr Hlnar Then comes Hln's
harmr annarr fram, second grief to pass,
er inn ferr when inn goes
vi ulf vega, into combat with the wolf,
en bani Belja and Beli's bane
bjartr at Surti; bright against Surtr;
mun Friggjar then will Frigg's
falla angan. sweetie[79] fall.

54.
Geyr n Garmr mjk Now Garmr barks a lot
fyr Gnipahelli, in front of Gnipahellir,
festr mun slitna the tether will break,
en freki renna; and the ravenous one escape;
fjl veit ek fra, Much I know of lore,
fram s ek lengra I see far ahead,
um ragna rk to the judgement of the powers,
rmm sigtva. bitter, of the victory-gods.

55.
kemr inn mikli Then comes the great
mgr Sigfur, offspring of Sigfather,
Varr, vega Varr, to attack
at valdri. the slaughter-beast.
Ltr hann megi Hverungs With his hand he shoves home
mundum standa in Hverung's offspring's[80]
hjr til hjarta, heart the blade,
er hefnt fur. then is his father avenged.

56.
kemr inn mri Then comes the great
mgr Hlynjar, offspring of Hlyn,
gengr ins sonr in's son goes
vi orm vega, to attack the serpent,
drepr af mi He strikes in fury,
Migars vurr, Migar's hallower,[81]
munu halir allir all humans will
heimst ryja; clear out of their homestead;
gengr fet nu he walks nine paces,
Fjrgynjar burr Fjǫrgyn's son,
neppr fr nari barely that, from the viper
ns kvnum. that did not shrink from vileness[82].

57.
Sl tr sortna, Sl is seen to blacken,
sgr fold mar, the earth sinks in the sea,
hverfa af himni fall from the sky
heiar stjrnur; the bright stars;
geisar eimi there rage smoke
ok aldrnari, and flame,[83]
leikr hr hiti the heat rises high
vi himin sjalfan. to the sky itself.

58.
Geyr n Garmr mjk Now Garmr barks a lot
fyr Gnipahelli, in front of Gnipahellir,
festr mun slitna the tether will break,
en freki renna; and the ravenous one escape;
fjl veit ek fra Much I know of lore,
fram s ek lengra I see far ahead,
um ragna rk to the judgement of the powers,
rmm sigtva. bitter, of the victory-gods.

59.
Sr hon upp koma She sees coming up
ru sinni a second time
jr r gi an earth from ocean[84]
ijagrna; again green;
falla forsar, waterfalls tumble,
flgr rn yfir, eagles fly above,
s er fjalli who are in the hills
fiska veiir. hunting fish.

60.
Finnask sir sir come together
Iavelli at Iavǫllr[85]
ok um moldinur and on the earth-thong
mttkan dma mighty they pass judgement[86]
ok minnask ar and remember there
megindma powerful decisions[87]
ok Fimbults and Fimbultr's
fornar rnir. ancient runes.

61.
ar munu eftir There will afterwards
undrsamligar the wondrous
gullnar tflur golden tafl pieces
grasi finnask, be found in the grass,
rs rdaga which in days of yore
ttar hfu. they had owned.

62.
Munu snir Unsowed the fields
akrar vaxa, will grow,
bls mun alls batna, all misfortune will be abated,
Baldr mun koma; Baldr will come;
ba eir Hr ok Baldr they dwell, Hǫr and Baldr,
Hrofts sigtoftir, in Hropt's victory dwellings,
v valtva. the v of the slaughter-gods.[88]
Vitu r enn - ea hvat? Do you still seek to know - or what?

63.
kn Hnir Then Hnir knows how to[89]
hlautvi kjsa choose the lots[90]
ok burir byggja and they inhabit, the sons
brra tveggja of the two brothers,
vindheim van. the wide wind-home.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat? Do you still seek to know - or what?

64.
Sal sr hon standa A hall she sees standing
slu fegra, fairer than the sun,
gulli akan roofed with gold,
Gimli; at Giml;
ar skulu dyggvar there are the worthy
drttir byggja hosts to dwell
ok um aldrdaga and in all the days of their lives
ynis njta. enjoy bliss.

65.
kemr inn rki Then comes the powerful one
at regindmi to the divine judgement,
flugr ofan, a strong one from above,
s er llu rr. who rules over all.

66.
ar kemr inn dimmi Then comes the dusky
dreki fljgandi, dragon flying,
nar frnn, nean a gleaming serpent, up
fr Niafjllum; from Niafjǫll;
berr sr fjrum, he carries in his feathers
- flgr vll yfir, - - he flies over the field -
Nihggr ni. Nihǫggr, corpses.
N mun hon skkvask. Now she will lie down.



[1] spjǫll: both history and an account of history, news, a tale. firar: used of humans, of gods, and of both humans and gods; the last seems most appropriate here.

[2] fdda: can mean anything from "gave birth to" through "raised" to "fed", so it could be rendered "parented" or "took care of"; the ending tells us the speaker is female.

[3] vijur: a rare word for "giantesses" that begins with the prefix -, "in" - usually here rendered "rooms", but Dronke points out the poet is either punning on vir, "wood, tree" or using the word in its original precise sense, for the giantesses from whom the roots of the World Tree grow. Cleasby-Vigfsson also has "giantesses."

[4] mjǫtvi: "measure-wood," the World Tree. In Cleasby-Vigfsson this is seen as an error for mjǫtur, which occurs in verse 46. Olive Bray has "Fate Tree."

[5] ar er ekki var, reading taken from the Prose Edda; most editions follow the Codex Regius and have ar er Ymir byggi, "when Ymir dwelt," for this line.

[6] A reference to Ginnungagap; but it is unclear whether it is a reversal of the name or whether there was actually an Old Norse verb ginna, "to yawn, gape"; Dronke suspects that ginnunga- was borrowed from Old High German ginung (a word for Chaos derived from a verb "to gape") just as Muspell was borrowed from Old High German Muspilli or Mutspilli.

[7] salar: literally "hall."

[8] The leek, laukr, here deliberately chosen to stand for all plants because of its size and nobility, commonly contrasted with grass (mentioned at the end of verse 3), as Gurn says that Sigurr towered over other men like the leek over grass.

[9] Sl is both the name of the goddess and the word "sun"; however, Mni is almost always the god rather than the moon itself (Cleasby-Vigfsson). I have therefore treated both as deities, and also Ntt (night) in the following verse.

[10] The rest of the verse is only in the Prose Edda and Dronke regards it as interpolation by Snorri replacing something more about the cosmic mill turning the heavens.

[11] The first element in ginnheilg is related to that in Ginnungagap, although it is usually taken as simply an intensifier.

[12] Undorn and its cognates have shifted in meaning but appear to have originally meant mid-afternoon.

[13] Iavǫllr has been translated "Plain of Activity" or "Plain that Renews Itself"; Dronke calls it "Eddying Plain." Hollander translates it "Shining Plain."

[14] The base meaning of tn is the fenced-in plot around a farmhouse; it can be used specifically as "meadow" or "home-field."

[15] This is plural. Another manuscript variant has it as singular; and Finnur Jnsson suggested amending it to hvrt, "whether [they] should. . . ."

[16] or "arms and legs" or the bones of them.

[17] Some manuscripts have r jru, which would mean "made out of earth."

[18] North, South, East, and West.

[19] Sjt can mean both a dwelling and a host, a horde of people.

[20] The word ǫld can also mean "world."

[21] The manuscripts have a feminine form here, riar.

[22] ǫflugr is otherwise applied to none of the gods except twice to Heimdallr; stkir is a hapax legomenon, I am using Cleasby-Vigfusson's interpretation.

[23] Roughly, "breath"

[24] Roughly, "spirit"

[25] l: "the line of foam that edges the shore"; in Modern Icelandic it is used of a film on liquid. In one saga it appears to be used of complexion. Since the trees did have a skin, a hard one, I have used "softness". lti: all human behaviour.

[26] Plural; often used specifically for "complexion"

[27] ausinn: the same verb as in the vatni ausa, the sprinkling of a baby with water at name-giving

[28] aurr: wet clay or humus

[29] spring-fed pool or well of Urr.

[30] rlǫg is always (neuter) plural, so this could be that of humans in general or of individuals. (In this word, the two mutated sounds need to be distinguished, so I have used the stricter spelling. Elsewhere I follow the Old Norse text we are using in using modern Icelandic )

[31] Styia can be "to stab" or "to prop up".

[32] Hrr, "Hoary," is of course a name of inn, but so is Hr, which can mean "High One" but is also an old word for "Blind." The metre requires two syllables on the name here. Also the word used here for "hall," hǫll, is the word that appears in Valhǫll and that it has been suggested originally referrred to an underground cavern; previously in the poem the word salr has been used.

[33] This could mean either that her sp-work was good or that it always forecast nice things. vel sp is two words in the manuscript, but compound words were not usually written joined together.

[34] Vitti (written vtti by Dronke) is the past tense of an otherwise unknown vitta, presumably related to vitka, "to bewitch", vitki, "sorceror," and vtt, "equipment for magic or heathenry." In the Historia Norvegi, gandr has the specific meaning of fylgja or fetch-form, but elsewhere it is used very generally of sorcerors' equipment. So this could also be "summoned spirits."

[35] Divergent manuscript readings. In the Codex Regius this line reads sei hon kunni - "she knew seir."

[36] Again Codex Regius varies, omitting hug: "she practised seir entranced."

[37] angan, literally "sweet smell" since it derives from the verb anga, "to smell nice", occurs only here and in verse 53, both times as a metaphor.

[38] afr is a legal term for a tax paid to a king, but afr gjalda can also be an idiom for "get the short end of the stick."

[39] gildi here has also been interpreted as "an association," as in English "guild."

[40] Borg basically means a fort. It has been translated "citadel."

[41] vgsp, technically "war-sp"; knttu . . . vǫllu sporna, as Dronke says, recalls kntti . . . moldveg sporna, "kicked the earth with their heels" of the two children born healthy in "Oddrnargrtr," which suggests rebirth after they are cut down in battle. However, the two half-lines have also been read as "the Vanir worked war-magic, bestrode the field", with knttu taken with vgsp.

[42] L could be specifically "treachery" or generally "evil."

[43] the simpler interpretation; Dronke points out it could also be "oaths collided".

[44] The simpler reading here would be "that were between them [the gods and the giant-builder]", but there is a parallel passage cited by Dronke from a grammatical treatise, and it is fro, "came", not vro, "were".

[45] Hlj is a famous problem; it can be "hearing" (as in verse 1), "ear", or "voice". Folgit is past participle of fela, which can mean either "conceal, hide" or "give for safekeeping, entrust".

[46] Yggr, "the terrible", is a name of inn; the force of the ending -ungr is unclear here, but etymologically it is a patronymic, like -ing.

[47] Both these verbs are in the plural - "you all".

[48] fala again, as in 27.2.

[49] Brunnr: a pool from which a river rises.

[50] Fkk is an emendation; the manuscript has fe (f, "wealth"). Two half-lines may have been lost. There is obvious punning on spaklig and sp, in the next half-line.

[51] Ganda (genitive plural of gandr) is more clearly "spirits" here than in verse 22.

[52] Verǫld can signify "age of mankind" but here probably means "world".

[53] These last 4 halflines are usually seen as an interpolation. Note the kenning, "Nannas (females) of Herjan (Lord of Hosts, Army-Leader - another name of inn, as are of course Valfather and Her (Army)father.

[54] Tvur/Tvor is a unique word (hapax legomenon) in Old Norse but appears to be cognate with A-S tber/tfer and ON tafn, both of which mean a creature that is sacrificed, and possibly Old High German ceburhaftiu, with a similar meaning. It is probably not formed from tvar, the plural of tr, "god". Folgin: same word as folgit in verse 27.

[55] Vǫllum; same word as vǫllu in verse 24, but here plural.

[56] This half stanza only appears in the Hauksbk version of the poem, where it replaces the first half of verse 35. The manuscript actually reads vala - which would leave the verb with no subject and is thus amended to Vli.

[57] Based on literary parallels, this is often taken to mean the water is so cold it sears the flesh like poison.

[58] i.e., the jtunn; Brimir is also mentioned in stanza 9. Snorri takes Sindri as the name of the first hall.

[59] Eyrarna, "woman who whsipers in your ear", is only found here and in Hvaml.

[60] fddi: either "bore," "nursed," or "reared."

[61] Tungl can theoretically be any heavenly body, but had already become the word for the moon in ON prose; mni is only used in poetry. Also explicit mentions of the sun follow.

[62] hamr: skin, usually referring to the form one takes on when shapeshifting.

[63] fjǫr is cognate with A-S feorh, "life," and in modern Icelandic is used for "vitality," but in poetry generally refers to the body.

[64] feigr, "doomed to die." Manna means people of both sexes.

[65] fagrraur: light red as opposed to dark red.

[66] The manuscript has veit hn, "she knows".

[67] Rǫk is the same word as in rǫkstla, referring to "judgement seats." In this combination, ragna rǫk or ragnarǫk, it is usually rendered with the older word "doom," but I have kept the translation consistent to show the irony of the poet's wording.

[68] Since spilla is the common verb for "defiling" a woman sexually, this is often taken as distinct from the previous 2 halflines and about incest, not kin-killing.

[69] Either in pitch or in loudness.

[70] Literally: Yggdrasil's ash.

[71] These last 4 problematic half-lines are only in Hauksbk.

[72] From here through verse 54, the manuscripts vary considerably in the order of verses.

[73] Hlakka has connotations of exulting, screaming with joy

[74] Nifǫlr is the H and Prose Edda reading; ni is properly the dark of the moon. The Codex Regius has neffǫlr, "pale-beaked"; nfǫlr, "pale in malice", has been suggested.

[75] or "a ship".

[76] or "monster-men".

[77] Loki.

[78] sviga l: kenning for fire.

[79] Angan, as in verse 22, is a metaphorical use of a word meaning "sweet smell".

[80] Hverungr is another name for Loki, based on Ynglingatl 32, where Hel is called Hverungs mr.

[81] or perhaps "defender of the vs"

[82] N here refers to Jǫrmungand's intent, but also possibly connotes the actual poison. The line is difficult; despite agreeing in case with nari, it has often been taken as "not concerned about malice", referring to Thor being fearless or having no reason to worry about not being remembered well.

[83] In Faroese, eimi means "hot ash"; aldrnari, "saving of mankind, nourisher of life", is found only here and in the list of kennings for fire in the ulur, but the cognate and related words occur in Anglo-Saxon.

[84] A rare poetic word that is the same as gir's name.

[85] Compare the opening of verse 7; Hauksbk has the same verb, hittaz.

[86] mttkan moldinur: i.e. Jǫrmungandr. Dma can also mean "discuss, converse" in poetry.

[87] These two halflines are in Hauksbk but not in the main Codex Regius manuscript.

[88] The manuscript reads vel valtivar, so an alternative amendment is vs valtvar, "slaughter-gods of the v".

[89] Kn is sometimes just an intensifying "does".

[90] In hlautvi, hlautr presumably has its primary meaning, denoting use to draw lots or in divination, rather than the meaning given to it in Heimskringla, the blood from the blt (used in divination).