Vlusp

1.
Hljs bi ek allar
helgar kindir,
meiri ok minni
mgu Heimdallar;
viltu at ek, Valfr,
vel fyr telja
forn spjll fira,
au er fremst of man.

Hearing I ask for from all
hallowed kindreds,
greater and lesser
offspring of Heimdallr;
You want, Valfather,
that I should well recount
ancient story of beings1
that I remember from longest ago.
2.
Ek man jtna
r of borna,
er forum mik
fdda hfu;
nu man ek heima,
nu vijur,
mjtvi mran
fyr mold nean.

I remember jǫtuns
born long ago,
those who once me
had nurtured;2
nine worlds I remember,
nine giantesses inside,3
the great Measure Tree4
down under the ground.
3.
r var alda,
ar er ekki var,
var-a sandr n sr
n svalar unnir;
jr fannsk va
n upphiminn,
gap var ginnunga
en gras hvergi.

It was early in the ages,
when nothing was,5
there was neither sand nor sea
nor cool waves;
Earth was nowhere to be found,
nor sky above,
a gap there was of yawning spaces6
and nowhere grass.
4.
r Burs synir
bjum of yppu,
eir er Migar
mran skpu;
sl skein sunnan
salar steina,
var grund grin
grnum lauki.

Before the sons of Burr
raised up the lands,
they who Migar,
the glorious, created;
the sun shone from the south
on the stones of that dwelling-place,7
Then the ground was grown-over
with the green leek. 8
5.
Sl varp sunnan,
sinni mna,
hendi inni hgri
um himinjur;
sl at n vissi,
hvar hon sali tti,
mni at n vissi,
hvat hann megins tti,
stjrnur at n vissu
hvar r stai ttu.

From the south cast Sl,9
companion of Mni,
her right hand
around the edge of the sky;10
Sl did not know
where she had halls,
Mni did not know
what power he had,
the stars did not know
where they had places.
6.
gengu regin ll
rkstla,
ginnheilg go,
ok um at gttusk;
ntt ok nijum
nfn of gfu,
morgin htu
ok mijan dag,
undorn ok aftan,
rum at telja.

Then all the regin went
to judgement seats,
the vastly holy11 gods,
and considered that;
to Ntt and her children
they gave out names,
morning they named
and midday,
afternoon12 and evening,
to reckon by years.
7.
Hittusk sir
Iavelli,
eir er hrg ok hof
htimbruu;
afla lgu,
au smuu,
tangir skpu
ok tl geru.

The sir gathered
at Iavǫllr,13
they who high-timbered
hǫrgs and hofs;
they laid down forges,
smithied wealth,
shaped tongs
and created tools.
8.
Tefldu tni,
teitir vru,
var eim vettergis
vant r gulli,
uns rjr kvmu
ursa meyjar
mttkar mjk
r Jtunheimum.

They played tafl in the enclosure,14
were happy,
they had nothing
of lack of gold,
until there came three
urs maidens
very awesomely strong
from Jǫtunheim.
-------------
9.
gengu regin ll
rkstla,
ginnheilg go,
ok um at gttusk,
hverir skyldi dverga
drttir skepja
r Brimis bli
ok r Blins leggjum.

Then all the regin went
to judgement seats,
the vastly holy gods,
and considered that:
who15 should create
companies of dwarves
from Brimir's blood
and from Blin's legs16.
10.
ar var Msognir
mztr of orinn
dverga allra,
en Durinn annarr;
eir mannlkun
mrg of geru
dvergar jru,
sem Durinn sagi.

There Msognir had
become the greatest
of all dwarves,
and Durinn the second;
they made many
in man's likeness,
dwarves in the earth17,
as Durinn said.
11.
Ni, Nii,
Norri, Suri,
Austri, Vestri,
Aljfr, Dvalinn,
Nr ok Ninn
Npingr, Dinn
Bvurr, Bvurr,
Bmburr, Nri,
nn ok narr,
inn, Mjvitnir.

Ni, Nii,
Norri, Suri,
Austri, Vestri,18
Aljfr, Dvalinn,
Nr and Ninn
Npingr, Dinn
Bvurr, Bvurr,
Bmburr, Nri,
nn and narr,
inn, Mjǫvitnir.
12.
Veggr ok Gandalfr,
Vindalfr, orinn,
rr ok rinn,
ekkr, Litr ok Vitr,
Nr ok Nrr,
n hefi ek dverga,
Reginn ok Rsvir,
rtt of tala.

Veggr and Gandalfr,
Vindalfr, orinn,
rr and rinn,
ekkr, Litr and Vitr,
Nr and Nrr,
now I have -
Reginn and Rsvir -
listed dwarves correctly.
13.
Fli, Kli,
Fundinn, Nli,
Hefti, Vli,
Hannar, Svurr,
Billingr, Brni,
Bldr ok Buri,
Frr, Hornbori,
Frgr ok Lni,
Aurvangr, Jari,
Eikinskjaldi.

Fli, Kli,
Fundinn, Nli,
Hefti, Vli,
Hannar, Svurr,
Billingr, Brni,
Bldr and Buri,
Frr, Hornbori,
Frgr and Lni,
Aurvangr, Jari,
Eikinskjaldi.
14.
Ml er dverga
Dvalins lii
ljna kindum
til Lofars telja,
eir er sttu
fr salar steini
Aurvanga sjt
til Jruvalla.

It is time to list the dwarves
in Dvalin's kindred
for the children of men
as far as Lofar,
they who sought out
from halls of stone
the seats19 of Aurvangar
to Jruvellir.
15.
ar var Draupnir
ok Dolgrasir,
Hr, Haugspori,
Hlvangr, Glinn,
Dri, ri
Dfr, Andvari
Skirfir, Virfir,
Skfir, i.

There was Draupnir
and Dolgrasir,
Hr, Haugspori,
Hlvangr, Glinn,
Dri, ri
Dfr, Andvari
Skirfir, Virfir,
Skfir, i.
16.
Alfr ok Yngvi,
Eikinskjaldi,
Fjalarr ok Frosti,
Finnr ok Ginnarr;
at mun uppi
mean ld lifir,
langnija tal
Lofars hafat.

Alfr and Yngvi,
Eikinskjaldi,
Fjalarr and Frosti,
Finnr and Ginnarr;
that will be forever held high
as long as the age20 lives,
the account of the father's line
of Lofar.
-------------
17.
Unz rr kvmu
r v lii
flgir ok stkir
sir at hsi,
fundu landi
ltt megandi
Ask ok Emblu
rlglausa.

Until three21 came
of that company
powerful and dear22
sir to a house,
found on the land
able to do little
Askr and Embla
without orlg.
18.
nd au n ttu,
au n hfu,
l n lti
n litu ga;
nd gaf inn,
gaf Hnir,
l gaf Lurr
ok litu ga.

They did not possess ǫnd,23
they did not have r,24
no softness, nor activity,25
nor good colouring;26
inn gave ǫnd,
Hnir gave r,
Lurr gave softness
and good colouring.
19.
Ask veit ek standa,
heitir Yggdrasill,
hr bamr, ausinn
hvta auri;
aan koma dggvar,
rs dala falla,
stendr yfir grnn
Urarbrunni.

I know an ash stands,
which is called Yggdrasill,
a tall tree, sprinkled27
with white clay;28
from there come the dews
which fall in the valleys,
it stands for ever over the green
Urarbrunnr.29
20.
aan koma meyjar
margs vitandi
rjr r eim s,
er und olli stendr;
Ur htu eina,
ara Verandi,
- skru ski, -
Skuld ina riju;
r lg lgu,
r lf kuru
alda brnum,
rlg seggja.

From there come maidens
knowing much,
three from the lake
which stands under the tree;
one is called Urr,
the second Verandi,
- they risted on a slip of wood -
the third Skuld;
they laid down laws,
they selected lives,
for the children of mankind,
humans' rlǫg.30
21.
at man hon folkvg
fyrst heimi,
er Gullveigu
geirum studdu
ok hll Hrs
hana brenndu,
risvar brenndu,
risvar borna,
oft, sjaldan,
hon enn lifir.

She remembers the war of peoples,
the first in the world,
when they stuck31
Gullveig with spears
and in the hall of Hrr32
burnt her,
three times burnt,
three times born,
often, not seldom,
yet she still lives.
22.
Heii hana htu
hvars til hsa kom,
vlu velspa,
vitti hon ganda;
sei hon, hvars hon kunni,
sei hon hug leikinn,
var hon angan
illrar brar.

Heir they called her
wherever she came to the houses,
a vǫlva of good prophecy,33
she magicked with magic equipment;34
she practised seir wherever she could,35
she practised seir entranced of mind,36
always she was the darling37
of the wicked wife.
23.
gengu regin ll
rkstla,
ginnheilg go,
ok um at gttusk,
hvrt skyldu sir
afr gjalda
ea skyldu goin ll
gildi eiga.

Then all the regin went
to judgement seats,
the vastly holy gods,
and considered that,
whether the sir should
pay tribute38
or all the gods should
have tribute.39
24.
Fleygi inn
ok folk of skaut,
at var enn folkvg
fyrst heimi;
brotinn var borveggr
borgar sa,
knttu vanir vgsp
vllu sporna.

inn let fly
and shot into the crowd,
it was still the first
war of peoples in the world;
breached was the plank wall
of the stronghold40 of the sir,
The Vanir, with war-magic, kicked
the field with their heels.41
25.
gengu regin ll
rkstla,
ginnheilg go,
ok um at gttusk,
hverjir hefi loft allt
lvi blandit
ea tt jtuns
s mey gefna.

Then all the regin went
to judgement seats,
the vastly holy gods,
and considered that,
who had blended destruction 42
into all the heavens
or to the race of the jǫtunn
given 's lass.
26.
rr einn ar v
runginn mi,
- hann sjaldan sitr -
er hann slkt of fregn -:
gengusk eiar,
or ok sri,
ml ll meginlig,
er meal fru.

Thor alone there struck
full of fury
- he rarely sits still
when he hears of such -:
oaths were smashed,43
words and pledges,
all the forceful pronouncements
that stood in the way.44
27. Veit hon Heimdallar
hlj of folgit
und heivnum
helgum bami,
sr hon ausask
aurgum forsi
af vei Valfrs.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat?

She knows Heimdal's
ear has been stowed away45
under the light-lacking
holy tree,
a river she sees rising
with clayey rapids
from Valfather's pledge.
Do you still seek to know - or what?
28. Ein sat hon ti,
er inn aldni kom
yggjungr sa
ok augu leit.
Hvers fregni mik?
Hv freisti mn?
Allt veit ek, inn,
hvar auga falt,
inum mra
Mmisbrunni.
Drekkr mj Mmir
morgun hverjan
af vei Valfrs.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat?

Alone she sat out,
when the old man came,
terror's son46 of the sir,
and looked into her eyes.
"What are you asking me?
Why are you testing me?47
I know everything, inn,
where you stowed your eye,48
in the great
well of Mmir.
Mmir drinks mead
every morning
from Valfather's pledge."
Do you still seek to know - or what?
29. Vali henni Herfr
hringa ok men,
fekk spjll spaklig
ok sp ganda,
s hon vtt ok of vtt
of verld hverja.

For her Herfather chose
rings and necklaces,
[he] got a wise account50
and sp of spirits, 51
she saw far and afar
in every world. 52
30. S hon valkyrjur
vtt of komnar,
grvar at ra
til Gojar;
Skuld helt skildi,
en Skgul nnur,
Gunnr, Hildr, Gndul
ok Geirskgul.
N eru talar
nnnur Herjans,
grvar at ra
grund valkyrjur.

She saw valkyries
coming from afar,
prepared to ride
to the Land of Gods;
Skuld held a shield,
and Skgul another,
Gunnr, Hildr, Gndul
and Geirskgul.
Now are recounted
the Nannas of Herjan,
prepared to ride
the earth, the valkyries.53
31.
Ek s Baldri,
blgum tvur,
ins barni,
rlg folgin;
st of vaxinn
vllum hri
mjr ok mjk fagr
mistilteinn.

I saw for Baldr,
for the bloody sacrifice,
in's child,
rlǫg stowed away;54
there stood all grown up
higher than the fields,55
slender and very beautiful,
the mistletoe.
32.
Var af eim meii,
er mr sndisk,
harmflaug httlig,
Hr nam skjta;
Baldrs brir var
of borinn snemma,
s nam ins sonr
einnttr vega.

There came to be of that pole,
which seemed slender,
a dangerous throwing weapon,
Hǫr did shoot;
Baldr's brother was
born early,
so in's son took
vengeance at one night old.
33.
hann va hendr
n hfu kembi,
r bl of bar
Baldrs andskota;
en Frigg of grt
Fenslum
v Valhallar.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat?

Nonetheless he did [not] wash his hands
or comb his hair,
before he brought death
to Baldr's slayer;
and Frigg wept at it
Fenslum in Fensalir,
the woe of Valhǫllr.
Do you still seek to know - or what?
34.
kn Vli
vgbnd sna,
heldr vru hargr
hft r rmum.

Then can Vli56 twist the battle-fetters,
they were rather hardy,
bindings made of guts.
35.
Haft s hon liggja
und Hveralundi,
lgjarns lki
Loka ekkjan;
ar sitr Sigyn
eygi of snum
ver vel glju.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat?

A captive she saw lying
under Hveralundr,
to the form of the guileful
Loki similar;
there sits Sigyn,
surely not of her
husband well content.
Do you still seek to know - or what?
36.
fellur austan
um eitrdala
sxum ok sverum,
Slr heitir s.

A river falls from the east
through dales of poison,57
with seaxes and swords,
Slr is its name.
37.
St fyr noran
Niavllum
salr r gulli
Sindra ttar;
en annarr st
klni
bjrsalr jtuns,
en s Brimir heitir.

There stood to the north
on Niavǫllr
a hall of gold,
of the kin of Sindri;
and another stood
on klnir,
the beer-hall of a jǫtunn,
and that one is called Brimir.58
38.
Sal s hon standa
slu fjarri
Nstrndu ,
norr horfa dyrr;
falla eitrdropar
inn um ljra,
s er undinn salr
orma hryggjum.

A hall she saw standing
far from the sun,
on Nstrǫnd,
the door facing north;
drops of poison fall
in through the smoke-hole,
that hall is woven
of the backs of serpents.
39.
S hon ar vaa
unga strauma
menn meinsvara
ok morvarga
ok ann er annars glepr
eyrarnu;
ar saug Nihggr
ni framgengna,
sleit vargr vera.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat?

She saw there wading
the burdensome streams
men who were forsworn
and outlaw murderers
and him who beguiles another man's
sweetheart of whispered secrets;59
There Nihǫggr sucked
corpses of the dead,
the wolf tore men.
Do you still seek to know - or what?
40.
Austr sat in aldna
Jrnvii
ok fddi ar
Fenris kindir;
verr af eim llum
einna nokkurr
tungls tjgari
trlls hami.

In the east sat the old female
in Jrnvir
and there bore60
Fenrir's kin;
there will come of them all
one particular one
a snatcher of the moon61
in a troll's form.62
41.
Fyllisk fjrvi
feigra manna,
rr ragna sjt
rauum dreyra;
svrt vera slskin
um sumur eftir,
ver ll vlynd.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat?

It fills itself with the vitals63
of the doomed64
reddens the dwellings of the regin
with red gore;
black the sunbeams become
in summers after,
the weather all shifty.
Do you still seek to know - or what?
42.
Sat ar haugi
ok sl hrpu
ggjar hirir,
glar Eggr;
gl of hnum
galgvii
fagrraur hani,
s er Fjalarr heitir.

There sat there on a barrow
and struck his harp
an ogress' herdsman,
the merry Eggr;
there crowed above him
in the gallows-wood
the bright red65 rooster
who is called Fjalarr.
43.
Gl of sum
Gullinkambi,
s vekr hla
at Herjafrs;
en annarr gelr
fyr jr nean
straur hani
at slum Heljar.

There crowed above the sir
Gullinkambi,
who wakens the warriors
at Herfather's;
and another crows
underneath the earth
a sooty-red rooster
in the halls of Hel.
44.
Geyr n Garmr mjk
fyr Gnipahelli,
festr mun slitna,
en freki renna;
fjl veit ek fra,
fram s ek lengra
um ragna rk
rmm sigtva.

Now Garmr barks a lot
in front of Gnipahellir,
the tether will break,
and the ravenous one escape;
Much I know of lore,66
I see far ahead
to the judgement of the powers67,
bitter, of the victory-gods.
45.
Brr munu berjask
ok at bnum verask,
munu systrungar
sifjum spilla;
hart er heimi,
hrdmr mikill,
skeggld, skalmld,
skildir ro klofnir,
vindld, vargld,
r verld steypisk;
mun engi mar
rum yrma.

Brothers will fight each other
and be each other's bane,
sisters' children
ravage kinship;68
in the world it is hard,
great whoredom,
an axe age, a sword age,
shields are cloven,
a wind age, a wolf age,
before the world collapses.
No one will
spare another.
46.
Leika Mms synir,
en mjtur kyndisk
at inu galla
Gjallarhorni;
htt blss Heimdallr,
horn er lofti,
mlir inn
vi Mms hfu.

Mm's sons play,
but fate's measure is lit
at the clarion call
of Gjallarhorn;
high69 blows Heimdallr,
the horn is raised aloft,
inn consults
with Mm's head.
47.
Skelfr Yggdrasils
askr standandi,
ymr it aldna tr,
en jtunn losnar;
hrask allir
helvegum
r Surtar ann
sefi of gleypir.

Shudders the ash
Yggdrasill70, standing there,
the old tree cries,
and the jǫtunn gets free;
all are frightened
on the path to Hel
before Surtr's kinsman
swallows it.71
48.72
Hvat er me sum?
Hvat er me alfum?
Gnr allr Jtunheimr,
sir ro ingi,
stynja dvergar
fyr steindurum,
veggbergs vsir.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat?

What ails the sir?
What ails the lfar?
All Jǫtunheimr resounds,
sir are in Thing,
dwarves groan
before the doors of stone,
wise in the ways of their rock walls.
Do you still seek to know - or what?
49.
Geyr n Garmr mjk
fyr Gnipahelli,
festr mun slitna
en freki renna;
fjl veit ek fra,
fram s ek lengra
um ragna rk
rmm sigtva.

Now Garmr barks a lot
in front of Gnipahellir,
the tether will break,
en freki renna;
Much I know of lore,
I see far ahead,
to the judgement of the powers,
bitter, of the victory-gods.
50.
Hrymr ekr austan,
hefisk lind fyrir,
snsk Jrmungandr
jtunmi;
ormr knr unnir,
en ari hlakkar,
sltr ni niflr
, Naglfar losnar.

Hrymr drives from the east,
lifts his shield in front of him,
Jǫrmungandr writhes
in jǫtunn-fury;
the serpent churns the waves,
and the eagle screams,73
pitch-dark-pale74, rends corpses,
Naglfar casts off.
51.
Kjll ferr austan,
koma munu Mspells
of lg lir,
en Loki strir;
fara fflmegir
me freka allir,
eim er brir
Bleists fr.

The ship75 sails from the east,
will come Mspell's
people over water,
and Loki steers;
ogre-kin76 travel
all with the ravener,
in their group
is the brother of Bleistr.77
52.
Surtr ferr sunnan
me sviga lvi,
sknn af sveri
sl valtva;
grjtbjrg gnata,
en gfr rata,
troa halir helveg,
en himinn klofnar.

Surtr travels from the south
with the destruction of switches,78
there shines from his sword
the sun of the val-gods;
the rocky cliffs clash,
and fiends are on the way,
men tread the road to Hel,
and the heavens split open.
53.
kemr Hlnar
harmr annarr fram,
er inn ferr
vi ulf vega,
en bani Belja
bjartr at Surti;
mun Friggjar
falla angan.

Then comes Hln's
second grief to pass,
when inn goes
into combat with the wolf,
and Beli's bane
bright against Surtr;
then will Frigg's
love79 fall.
54.
Geyr n Garmr mjk
fyr Gnipahelli,
festr mun slitna
en freki renna;
fjl veit ek fra,
fram s ek lengra
um ragna rk
rmm sigtva.

Now Garmr barks a lot
in front of Gnipahellir,
the tether will break,
and the ravenous one escape;
Much I know of lore,
I see far ahead,
to the judgement of the powers,
bitter, of the victory-gods.
55.
kemr inn mikli
mgr Sigfur,
Varr, vega
at valdri.
Ltr hann megi Hverungs
mundum standa
hjr til hjarta,
er hefnt fur.

Then comes the great
offspring of Sigfather,
Varr, to attack
the slaughter-beast.
With his hand he shoves home
in Hverung's offspring's80
heart the blade,
then is his father avenged.
56.
kemr inn mri
mgr Hlynjar,
gengr ins sonr
vi orm vega,
drepr af mi
Migars vurr,
munu halir allir
heimst ryja;
gengr fet nu
Fjrgynjar burr
neppr fr nari
ns kvnum.

Then comes the great
offspring of Hlyn,
in's son goes
to attack the serpent,
He strikes in fury,
Migar's hallower,81
all humans will
clear out of their homestead;
he walks nine paces,
Fjǫrgyn's son,
barely that, from the viper
that did not shrink from vileness82.
57.
Sl tr sortna,
sgr fold mar,
hverfa af himni
heiar stjrnur;
geisar eimi
ok aldrnari,
leikr hr hiti
vi himin sjalfan.

Sl is seen to blacken,
the earth sinks in the sea,
fall from the sky
the bright stars;
there rage smoke
and flame,83
the heat rises high
to the sky itself.
58.
Geyr n Garmr mjk
fyr Gnipahelli,
festr mun slitna
en freki renna;
fjl veit ek fra
fram s ek lengra
um ragna rk
rmm sigtva.

Now Garmr barks a lot
in front of Gnipahellir,
the tether will break,
and the ravenous one escape;
Much I know of lore,
I see far ahead,
to the judgement of the powers,
bitter, of the victory-gods.
59.
Sr hon upp koma
ru sinni
jr r gi
ijagrna;
falla forsar,
flgr rn yfir,
s er fjalli
fiska veiir.

She sees coming up
a second time
an earth from ocean84
again green;
waterfalls tumble,
eagles fly above,
who are in the hills
hunting fish.
60.
Finnask sir
Iavelli
ok um moldinur
mttkan dma
ok minnask ar
megindma
ok Fimbults
fornar rnir.

sir come together
at Iavǫllr
and on the earth-thong
mighty they pass judgement86
and remember there
powerful decisions87
and Fimbultr's
ancient runes.
61.
ar munu eftir
undrsamligar
gullnar tflur
grasi finnask,
rs rdaga
ttar hfu.

There will afterwards
the wondrous
golden tafl pieces
be found in the grass,
which in days of yore
they had owned.
62.
Munu snir
akrar vaxa,
bls mun alls batna,
Baldr mun koma;
ba eir Hr ok Baldr
Hrofts sigtoftir,
v valtva.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat?

Unsowed the fields
will grow,
all misfortune will be abated,
Baldr will come;
they dwell, Hǫr and Baldr,
in Hropt's victory dwellings,
the v of the slaughter-gods.88
Do you still seek to know - or what?
63.
kn Hnir
hlautvi kjsa
ok burir byggja
brra tveggja
vindheim van.
Vitu r enn - ea hvat?

Then Hnir knows how to89
choose the lots90
and they inhabit, the sons
of the two brothers,
the wide wind-home.
Do you still seek to know - or what?
64.
Sal sr hon standa
slu fegra,
gulli akan
Gimli;
ar skulu dyggvar
drttir byggja
ok um aldrdaga
ynis njta.

A hall she sees standing
fairer than the sun,
roofed with gold,
at Giml;
there are the worthy
hosts to dwell
and in all the days of their lives
enjoy bliss.
65.
kemr inn rki
at regindmi
flugr ofan,
s er llu rr.

Then comes the powerful one
to the divine judgement,
a strong one from above,
who rules over all.
66.
ar kemr inn dimmi
dreki fljgandi,
nar frnn, nean
fr Niafjllum;
berr sr fjrum,
- flgr vll yfir, -
Nihggr ni.
N mun hon skkvask.

Then comes the dusky
dragon flying,
a gleaming serpent, up
from Niafjǫll;
he carries in his feathers
- he flies over the field -
Nihǫggr, corpses.
Now she will lie down.

References:

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).