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The Völuspa


Heiði hana hétu,
hvars til húsa kom,
völu velspá,
vitti hon ganda,
seið hon hvars hon kunni,
seið hon hugleikin,
æ var hon angan
illrar brúðar.

Ein sat hon úti,
þá er inn aldni kom
yggjungr ása
ok í augu leit.
Hvers fregnið mik?
hví freistið mín?
alt veit ek, Óðinn!
hvar þú auga falt.

Valði henni Herföðr
hringa ok men,
féspjöll spaklig
ok spáganda;
sá hon vítt ok um vítt
of veröld hverja.

Hljóðs bið ek allar
helgar kindir,
meiri ok minni
mögu Heimdallar;
viltu, at ek, Valföðr!
vel framtelja
forn spjöll fíra,
þau er fremst um man.

Ek man jötna
ár um borna,
þá er forðum
mik fœdda höfðu;
níu man ek heima,
níu íviði,
mjötvið mœran
fyr mold neðan.

Ár var alda
þar er Ýmir bygði,
vara sandr né sær
né svalar unnir,
jörð fannsk æva
né upphiminn,
gap var ginnunga,
en gras hvergi.

Áðr Burs synir
bjöðum um ypðu,
þeir er Miðgarð
mœran skópu;
sól skein sunnan
á salar steina,
þá var grund gróin
grœnum lauki.

Sól varp sunnan,
sinni mána,
hendi inni hœgri
um himinjódyr;
sól þat ne vissi
hvar hon sali átti,
máni þat ne vissi
hvat hann megins átti,
stjörnur þat ne vissu
hvar þær staði áttu.

Þá gengu regin öll
á rökstóla,
ginnheilug goð,
ok um þat gættusk;
nátt ok niðjum
nöfn um gáfu,
morgin hétu
ok miðjan dag,
undorn ok aptan,
árum at telja.

Hittusk æsir
á Iðavelli,
þeir er hörg ok hof
hátimbruðu,
afla lögðu,
auð smíðuðu,
tangir skópu
ok tól görðu.

Tefldu í túni,
teitir váru,
var þeim vettugis
vant ór gulli;
unz þrjár kvámu
þursa meyjar
ámátkar mjök
ór jötunheimum.

Þá gengu regin öll
á rökstóla,
ginnheilug goð,
ok um þat gættusk:
hverr skyldi dverga
drótt um skepja
ór brimi blóðgu
ok ór Bláins leggjum.

Þar var Móðsognir
mæztr um orðinn
dverga allra,
en Durinn annarr;
þeir mannlíkun
mörg um görðu
dvergar í jörðu,
sem Durinn sagði.

Nýi, Niði,
Norðri, Suðri,
Austri, Vestri,
Alþjófr, Dvalinn,
Nár ok Náinn,
Nípingr, Dáinn,
Bifurr, Bafurr,
Bömburr, Nori,
Ánn ok Ánarr,
Óinn, Mjöðvitnir.

Veggr ok Gandálfr,
Vindálfr, Þorinn,
Þrár ok Þráinn,
Þekkr, Litr ok Vitr,
Nýr ok Nýráðr,
nú hefi ek dverga,
Reginn ok Ráðsviðr,
rétt um talða.

Fili, Kili,
Fundinn, Nali,
Hepti, Vili,
Hanarr, Svíurr,
Billingr, Brúni,
Bildr ok Buri,
Frár, Hornbori,
Frægr ok Lóni,
Aurvangr, Jari,
Eikinskjaldi.

Mál er dverga
í Dvalins liði
ljóna kindum
til Lofars telja,
þeir er sóttu
frá salar steini
Aurvanga sjöt
til Jöruvalla.

Þar var Draupnir
ok Dólgþrasir,
Hár, Haugspori,
Hlévangr, Glóinn,
Dori, Ori,
Dúfr, Andvari,
Skirfir, Virfir,
Skafiðr, Ai.

Álfr ok Yngvi,
Eikinskjaldi,
Fjalarr ok Frosti,
Finnr ok Ginnarr;
þat man æ uppi,
meðan öld lifir,
langniðja tal
Lofars hafat.

Unz þrír kvámu
ór því liði
öflgir ok ástkir
æsir at húsi,
fundu á landi
lítt megandi
Ask ok Emblu
örlöglausa.

Índ þau ne áttu,
óð þau ne höfðu,
lá né læti
né litu góða;
önd gaf Óðinn,
óð gaf Hœnir,
lá gaf Lóðurr
ok litu góða.

Ask veit ek standa,
heitir Yggdrasill
hár baðmr, ausinn
hvíta auri;
þaðan koma döggvar
þærs í dala falla;
stendr æ yfir grœnn
Urðar brunni.

Þaðan koma meyjar
margs vitandi
þrjár, ór þeim sal
er und þolli stendr;
Urð hétu eina,
aðra Verðandi,
skáru á skíði,
Skuld ina þriðju;
þær lög lögðu,
þær líf kuru
alda börnum,
örlög seggja.

Veit hon Óðins
auga folgit:
í inum mœra
Mímis brunni;
drekkr mjöð Mímir
morgin hverjan
af veði Valföðrs.
Vituð ér enn eða hvat?

Veit hon Heimdallar
hljóð um fólgit
undir heiðvönum
helgum baðmi;
á sér hon ausask
aurgum forsi
af veði Valföðrs.
Vituð ér enn eða hvat?

Þat man hon fólkvíg
fyrst í heimi,
er Gullveig
geirum studdu
ok í höll Hárs
hana brendu;
þrysvar brendu
þrysvar borna,
opt, ósjaldan,
þó hon enn lifir.

Þá gengu regin öll
á rökstóla,
ginnheilug goð,
ok um þat gættusk:
hvárt skyldu æsir
afráð gjalda,
eða skyldu goðin öll
gildi eiga.

Fleygði Óðinn
ok í fólk um skaut,
þat var enn fólkvíg
fyrst í heimi;
brotinn var borðveggr
borgar ása,
knáttu vanir vígská
völlu sporna.

Þá gengu regin öll
á rökstóla,
ginnheilug goð,
ok um þat gættusk:
hverr hefði lopt allt
lævi blandit
eða ætt jötuns
Óðs mey gefna.

Þórr einn þar vá
þrunginn móði,
hann sjaldan sitr
er hann slíkt um fregn;
á gengust eiðar,
orð ok sœri,
mál öll meginlig
er á meðal fóru.

Sá hon valkyrjur
vítt um komnar
görvar at ríða
til Goðþjóðar:
Skuld hélt skildi,
en Skögul önnur,
Gunnr, Hildr, Göndul
ok Geirskögul;
nú eru talðar
nönnur Herjans,
görvar at ríða
grund valkyrjur.

Ek sá Baldri,
blóðgum tívur,
Óðins barni
örlög fólgin:
stóð um vaxinn
völlum hæri
mjór ok mjök fagr
mistilteinn.

Varð af þeim meiði,
er mér sýndisk,
harmflaug hættlig,
Höðr nam skjóta.
Baldrs bróðir
var of borinn snemma,
sá nam Óðins sonr
einnættr vega.

Þó hann æva hendr
né höfuð kembði,
áðr á bál um bar
Baldrs andskota.
En Frigg um grét
í Fensölum
vá Valhallar.
Vituð ér enn eða hvat?

  .   .   .   .
.   .   .   .   .   .
.   .   .   .   .   .
.   .   .   .   .   .
Þá kná Vala
vígbönd snúa,
heldr váru harðgör
höpt ór þörmum.

Hapt sá hon liggja
undir hvera lundi
lægjarnlíki
Loka áþekkjan;
þar sitr Sigyn
þeygi um sínum
ver vel glýjuð.
Vituð ér enn eða hvat?

Á fellr austan
um eitrdala
söxum ok sverðum,
Slíðr heitir sú.

Stóð fyr norðan
á Niðavöllum
salr ór gulli
Sindra ættar;
en annarr stóð
á Ókólni,
bjórsalr jötuns,
en sá Brímir heitir.

Sal sá hon standa
sólu fjarri
Náströndu á,
norðr horfa dyrr;
féllu eitrdropar
inn um ljóra,
sá er undinn salr
orma hryggjum.

Sá hon þar vaða
þunga strauma
menn meinsvara
ok morðvarga
ok þanns annars glepr
eyrarúnu;
þar saug Níðhöggr
nái framgengna,
sleit vargr vera.
Vituð ér enn eða hvat?

Austr sat in aldna
í Járnviði
ok fœddi þar
Fenris kindir;
verðr af þeim öllum
einna nökkurr
tungls tjúgari
í trolls hami.

Fyllisk fjörvi
feigra manna,
rýðr ragna sjöt
rauðum dreyra;
svört verða sólskin
um sumur eptir,
veðr öll válynd.
Vituð ér enn eða hvat?

Sat þar á haugi
ok sló hörpu
gýgjar hirðir
glaðr Egðir;
gól um hánum
í gaglviði
fagrrauðr hani,
sá er Fjalarr heitir.

Gól um ásum
Gullinkambi,
sá vekr hölða
at Herjaföðrs;
en annarr gelr
fyr jörð neðan
sótrauðr hani
at sölum Heljar.

Geyr Garmr mjök
fyr Gnípahelli;
festr man slitna,
en freki renna.
Fjöld veit hon frœða,
fram sé ek lengra,
um ragnarök
römm sigtíva.

Brœðr munu berjask
ok at bönum verðask,
munu systrungar
sifjum spilla;
hart er í heimi,
hórdómr mikill,
skeggjöld, skálmöld,
skildir ’ru klofnir,
vindöld, vargöld,
áðr veröld steypisk;
man engi maðr
öðrum þyrma.

Leika Míms synir,
en mjötuðr kyndisk,
at inu gamla
Gjallarhorni;
hátt blæss Heimdallr,
horn er á lopti;
mælir Óðinn
við Míms höfuð.

Skelfr Yggdrasils
askr standandi,
ymr it aldna tré,
en jötunn losnar;
hræðask allir
á helvegum,
áðr Surtar þann
sefi of gleypir.

Hvat er með ásum?
hvat er með álfum?
gnýr allr jötunheimr,
æsir ’ru á þingi;
stynja dvergar
fyr steindurum
veggbergs vísir.
Vituð ér enn eða hvat?

Geyr nú Garmr mjök
fyr Gnípahelli;
festr man slitna,
en freki renna.

Hrymr ekr austan,
hefisk lind fyrir.
Snýsk jörmungandr
í jötunmóði:
ormr knýr unnir,
en ari hlakkar,
slítr nái niðfölr.
Naglfar losnar.

Kjóll ferr austan,
koma munu Muspells
um lög lýðir,
en Loki stýrir;
fara fíflmegir
með freka allir,
þeim er bróðir
Byleists í för.

Surtr ferr sunnan
með sviga lævi,
skínn af sverði
sól valtíva.
Grjótbjörg gnata,
en gífr hrata;
troða halir helveg,
en himinn klofnar.

Þá kemr Hlínar
harmr annarr fram,
er Óðinn ferr
við úlf vega,
en bani Belja
bjartr at Surti;
þar man Friggjar
falla angan.

Geyr nú Garmr mjök
fyr Gnípahelli;
festr man slitna,
en freki renna.

Þá kemr inn mikli
mögr Sigföður
Viðarr vega
at valdýri;
lætr hann megi hveðrungs
mund um standa
hjör til hjarta;
þá er hefnt föður.

Þá kemr inn mœri
mögr Hlóðynjar,
gengr Óðins sonr
við orm vega;
drepr hann af móði
Miðgarðs véurr;
munu halir allir
heimstöð ryðja;
gengr fet níu
Fjörgynjar burr
neppr frá naðri
níðs ókvíðnum.

Sól tér sortna,
sígr fold í mar,
hverfa af himni
heiðar stjörnur;
geisar eimi
ok aldrnari,
leikr hár hiti
við himin sjálfan.

Geyr nú Garmr mjök
fyr Gnípahelli;
festr man slitna,
en freki renna.

Sér hon upp koma
öðru sinni
jörð ór œgi
iðjagrœna;
falla forsar,
flýgr örn yfir,
sá er á fjalli
fiska veiðir.

Finnask æsir
á Iðavelli
ok um moldþinur
mátkan dœma
ok minnask þar
á megindóma
ok á Fimbultýs
fornar rúnar.

Þar munu eptir
undrsamligar
gullnar töflur
í grasi finnask,
þærs í árdaga
áttar höfðu.

Munu ósánir
akrar vaxa,
böls man alls batna,
Baldr man koma;
búa þeir Höðr ok Baldr
Hropts sigtoptir
vel valtívar.
Vituð ér enn eða hvat?

Þá kná Hœnir
hlut við kjósa
ok burir byggja
brœðra tveggja
vindheim víðan.
Vituð ér enn eða hvat?

Sal sér hon standa
sólu fegra
gulli þakðan
á Gimlé;
þar skulu dyggvar
dróttir byggja
ok um aldrdaga
ynðis njóta.

Þá kemr inn ríki
at regindómi
öflugr ofan,
sá er öllu ræðr.

Þar kemr inn dimmi
dreki fljúgandi,
naðr fránn neðan
frá Niðafjöllum;
berr sér í fjöðrum
— flýgr völl yfir —
Niðhöggr nái.
Nú man hon sökkvask.

Heidi men call me
when their homes I visit,
A far seeing Volva,
wise in talismans.
Caster of spells,
cunning in magic.
To wicked women
welcome always.

Outside I sat by myself
when you came,
Terror of the gods,
and gazed in my eyes.
What do you ask of me?
Why tempt me?
Odhinn, I know
where your eye
is concealed.

Hidden away
in the well of Mimir:
Mimir each morning
his mead drinks
From Valfather's pledge.
Well would you know more?

Arm rings and necklaces,
Odhinn you gave me
To learn my lore,
to learn my magic:
Wider and wider
through all worlds I see.

Of Heimdal too
and his horn I know.
Hidden under
the holy tree
Down on it pours
a precious stream
from Valfather's pledge
Well would you know more?

Silence I ask
of the sacred folk,
Silence of the kith
and kin of Heimdal:
At your will Valfather,
I shall well relate
The old songs of men
I remember best.

I tell of giants
from times forgotten.
Those who fed me
in former days:
Nine worlds I can reckon,
nine roots of the tree.
The wonderful ash,
way under the ground

When Ymir lived long ago
Was no sand or sea,
no surging waves.
Nowhere was there
earth nor heaven above.
Bur a grinning gap
and grass nowhere.

The sons of Bur
then built up the lands.
Moulded in
magnificence middle-Earth:
Sun stared from the south
on the stones
of their hall,
From the ground
there sprouted
green leeks.

Sun turned from the south,
sister of Moon,
Her right arm rested
on the rim of Heaven;
She had no inkling
where her hall was,
Nor Moon a notion
of what might he had,
The planets knew not
where their places were.

The high gods
gathered in council
In their hall of judgement.
all the rulers:
To Night and to Nightfall
their names gave,
The Morning they named
and the Mid-Day,
Mid-Winter,
Mid-Summer,
for the assigning of years.

At Ida's Field
the Aesir met:
Temple and altar
they timbered
and raised,
Set up a forge
to smithy treasures,
Tongs they fashioned
and tools wrought;

Played chess
in the court
and cheerful were;
Gold they lacked not,
the gleaming metal
Then came three,
the Thurs maidens,
Rejoicing
in their strength,
from Giant-home.

The high Gods
gathered in council.
In their
hall of judgement:
Who of the dwarves
Should mould man
by master craft
From Brimir's blood
and Blain' s limbs?

Motsognir was
their mighty ruler,
Greatest of dwarves,
and Durin
after him :
The dwarves did
as Durin directed,
Many man forms
made from
the earth.

Nyi, Nidi
Nordri, Sudri
Austri, Vestri
Althjof, Dvalin
Bivor, Bavor
Bombur, Nori
An and Anar
Oin, Miodvitnir

Veignr and Gandalf,
Vindalf, Thorin
Thror and Thrain
Thekkr, Litr and Vitur
Nar and Nyradur
Fili, Kili
Fundin, Nali
Hefti, Vili
Hanar, Sviur
Billing, Bruni
Bildur and Buri
Frar, Hornbori
Fraegur and Loni
Aurvangur, Jari
Eikinskjaldi:

All Durin's folk
I have duly named,
I must tell of
the dwarves in Dvalin' s host;
Like lions they were
in Lofar's time:
In Juravale's marsh
they made their dwelling,
From their Stone hall
set out on journeys,

There was Draupnir
and Dolgthrasir
Har, Haugspori
Hlevangur, Gloin
Dori, Ori
Dufur, Andvari,
Skirvir, Virvir
Skafidur, Ai

Alf and Yngvi,
Eikinskjaldi
Fjalar and Frosti
Finn and Ginnar:
Men will remember
while men live
The long line
of Lofar's forbears.

Then from the host three came,
Great, merciful,
from the God's home:
Ash and Elm
on earth
they found,
Faint, feeble,
with no fate assigned them

Breath they had not,
nor blood nor senses,
Nor language possessed,
nor life-hue:
Odhinn gave them breath,
Haenir senses,
Blood and life
hue Lothur gave.

I know an ash tree,
named Yggdrasil:
Sparkling showers
are shed on its leaves
That drip dew,
into the dales below,
By Urd's well
it waves evergreen,
Stands over
that still pool,
Near it a bower
whence now there come
The Fate Maidens,
first Urd,
Skuld second,
scorer of runes,
Then Verdandi,
third of the Norns:
The laws
that determine
the lives of men
They fixed forever
and their fate sealed.

The first war
in the world
I well remember,
When Gullveig
was spitted on spear-points
And burned
in the hall of
the high god:
Thrice burned,
thrice reborn,
Often laid low,
she lives yet,

The gods hastened
to their hall of judgement,
Sat in council
to discover who
Had tainted all
the air with corruption
And Odhinn's maid
offered to the giants,

At the host Odhinn
hurled his spear
In the first world-battle;
broken was the plankwall
Of the gods fortress:
the fierce Vanes
Caused war
to occur in the fields.

One Thorr
felled in his fierce rage;
Seldom he sits
when of such
he hears:
Oaths were broken,
binding vows,
Solemn agreements
sworn between them.

Valkyries I saw,
coming from afar,
Eagerly riding
to aid the Goths;
Skuld bore
one shield,
Skogul another
Gunn, Hild,
Gondul and Spearskogul:
Duly have I named
the daughters of Odhinn,
The valiant riders
the Valkyries.

Baldur I saw
the bleeding God,
His fate
still hidden,
Odhinn's Son:
Tall on the plain
a plant grew,
A slender marvel,
the mistletoe.

From that
fair shrub,
shot by Hodur,
Flew the fatal dart
that felled the god.
But Baldur' s brother
was born soon after:
Though one night old,
Odhinn's Son
Took a vow
to avenge that death.

His hands
he washed not
nor his hair combed.
Till Baldur's bane
was borne to the pyre:
Deadly the bow drawn by Vali,
The strong string
of stretched gut,
But Frigga wept
in Fensalir
For the woe of Valhalla.
Well, would you know more?

I see one
in bonds by
the boiling springs;
Like Loki
he looks,
loathsome to view:
There Sigyn sits,
sad by her husband,
In woe by her man.
Well would you know more?

From the east
through Venom Valley runs
Over jagged
rocks the River Gruesome.

North,
in Darkdale,
stands the dwelling place
Of Sindri's kin,
covered with gold;
A hall also
in Everfrost,
The banquet hall
of Brimir the giant.

A third I see,
that no sunlight reaches,
On Dead Man's Shore:
the doors face northward,
Through its smoke
vent venom drips,
Serpent skins
enskein that hall.

Men wade
there tormented
by the stream,
Vile murderers,
men forsworn
And artful seducers
of other mens wives:
Nidhogg sucks blood
from the bodies
of the dead
The wolf rends them.
Well, would you know more?

In the east dwells
a crone,
in Ironwood:
The brood of Fenris
are bred there
Wolf-monsters,
one of whom
Eventually shall
devour the sun.

The giants watchman,
joyful Eggthur
Sits on his howe
and harps well:
The red cock,
called All-Knower
Boldly crows
from Birdwood.

Goldencomb
to the gods crows
Who wakes the warriors
in Valhalla:
A soot red hen
also calls
From Hel's hall,
deep under the ground.

Loud howls Garm
before Gnipahellir,
Bursting his fetters,
Fenris runs:
Further in the future
afar I behold
The twilight of the gods
who gave victory.

Brother shall strike
brother and both fall,
Sisters' sons defiled
with incest;
Evil be on earth,
an age of whoredom,
Of sharp sword-play
and shields clashing,
A wind-age,
a wolf-age
till the world ruins:
No man to another
shall mercy show.

The waters are troubled,
the waves surge up:
Announcing now
the knell of Fate,
Heimdal winds
his horn aloft,
On Hel's road
all men tremble

Yggdrasil trembles,
the towering ash
Groans in woe;
the wolf is loose:
Odhinn speaks
with the head of Mimir
Before he is swallowed
by Surt's kin.

From the east
drives Hrym,
lifts up his shield
The squamous serpent
squirms with rage
The great worm
with the waves contending
The pale-beaked eagle
pecks at the dead,
Shouting for joy:
the ship Naglfar

Sails out from the east,
at its helm Loki
With the children
of darkness,
the doom-bringers
Offspring of monsters,
allies of the wolf,
All who Byleists's
brother follow.

What of the gods?
What of the elves?
Gianthome groans
the gods are in council
The dwarves grieve
before their door of stone,
Masters of walls.
Well, would you know more?

Surt with the bane
of branches comes
From the south,
on his sword
the sun of the Valgods,
Crags topple,
the crone
falls headlong,
Men tread Hel's road,
the Heavens split open.

A further woe
falls upon Hlin
As Odhinn comes forth
to fight the wolf;
The killer of Beli
battles with Surt:
Now shall fall Frigga's beloved.

Now valiant comes
Valfather's son,
Vidar, to vie
with Valdyr in battle,
Plunges his sword
into he son of Hvedrung,
Avenging his father
with a fell thrust.

Now the son of
Hlodyn and Odhinn comes
To fight with Fenris;
fiercest of warriors
He mauls in his rage
all Middle-Earth;
Men in fear all flee
their homesteads;
Nine paces back steps
Bur's son
Retreats from the worm
of taunts unafraid.

Now death
is the portion of
doomed men,
Red with blood
the buildings of gods,
The sun turns black
in the summer after,
Winds whine.
Well, would know more?

Earth sinks
in the sea,
the sun turns black,
Cast down
from Heaven are
the hot stars,
Fumes reek,
into flames burst,
The sky itself
is scorched with fire.

I see Earth
rising a second time
Out of the foam,
fair and green;
Down from the fells
fish to capture,
Wings the eagle;
waters flow.

At lda's Field
the Aesir meet:
They remember
the worm of Middle-Earth,
Ponder again
the great twilight
And the ancient runes
of the high god

Boards shall be found
of a beauty to wonder at,
Boards of gold
in the grass long after,
The chess boards
they owned in
the olden days,

Unsown acres
shall harvests bear,
Evil be abolished,
Baldur return
And Hropt's hall
with Hod rebuild,
Wise gods.
Well, would you know more?

Haenir shall wield
the wand of prophecy,
The sons two brothers
set up their dwelling
In wide Windhome.
Well, would you know more?

Fairer than sunlight,
I see a hall
A hall thatched
with gold
in Gimle:
Kind Lords shall live
there in delight
for ever.

Now rides the
Strong One to
Rainbow Door,
Powerful from heaven,
the All-Ruler:
From the depths below
a drake
comes flying
The dark dragon
from Darkfell,
Bears on his opinions
the bodies of men,
Soars overhead
I sink now.

(W H Auden & P B Taylor Translation)

Note: The left column shows the reconstructed Völuspa, the Translation does not necessarily follow the same order.

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