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A. Richard Diebold Center for Indo-European Language and Culture

Indo-European Texts

Old Norse

Douglas Simms and Jonathan Slocum

Vafðrúðnismál (Edda)

Text from Gustav Neckel & Hans Kuhn: Edda. Die Lieder des Codex regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1962-68.) Originally prepared by Douglas Simms & Carol Justus; edited by Jonathan Slocum.

The letters 'c' have been changed to 'k', "hooked 'o'" (o-with-ogonek) has been altered to 'ö', and the one oe-ligature (v. 4) is represented by simple 'oe'. The individual verses have been arranged vertically so as to accommodate the glosses to the right. Each bold word/phrase in a gloss corresponds to a single word in the source; non-bold terms indicate grammatical information.

1. Odinn:
'Ráð þú mér nú, Frigg, advise 2.sg. imp; you nom; me dat; now; Frigg.
allz mik fara tíðir since; me acc; go inf; desire 3.sg.
at vitia Vafðruðnis; to; visit inf; Vafthruthnir gen.
forvitni mikla curiosity acc; great acc.
qveð ek mér á fornom stöfom say 1.sg; I; me dat; on; ancient dat; knowledge dat.
við þann inn al-svinna iötun.' with; him acc; the acc; very-wise obl; giant acc.
'Advise me now, Frigg, since I desire to go visit Vafthruthnir. Great curiosity (there is) for me (that) I speak about ancient knowledge with the very wise giant.'
2. Frigg:
'Heima letia at-home; retain inf.
ek mynda Heria-föðr I; would 1.sg. pret; Hosts'-father acc.
í görðom goða in; enclosure dat; gods gen.
þvíat en-gi iötun for; one-not acc; giant acc.
ek hugða iafn-ramman I; thought 1.sg. pret; equal-strong acc.
sem Vafðrúðni vera.' as; Vafthruthnir dat; be inf.
'I would keep Warriors-Father at home in the gods' haven, for I have thought no giant to be as equally strong as Vafthruthnir.'
3. Odinn:
'Fiölð ek fór, much; I; traveled 1.sg.
fiölð ek freistaða, much; I; tried 1.sg.
fiölð ek reynda regin; much; I; tested 1.sg; rulers acc.
hitt vil ek vita, the acc; wish 1.sg; I; know inf.
hvé Vafðruðnis how; Vafthruthnir gen.
sala-kynni sé.' hall-type nom; is 3.sg. subj.
'Much have I traveled, much experienced, many rulers questioned; now I want to know what the palace of Vafthruthnir is like.'
4. Frigg:
'Heill þú farir, hale; you nom; go 2.sg.
heill þú aptr komir, hale; you nom; back; come 2.sg.
heill þú á sinnom sér! hale; you nom; on; journey dat; be 2.sg. subj.
oeði þér dugi, knowledge; you dat; help 3.sg.
hvars þu skalt, Alda-föðr, where; you; will 2.sg; mankind-father
orðom mæla iötun.' words dat; speak inf; giant dat.
'(May) you go safe (and) come back safe. (May) you be safe on your journey! May knowledge help you wherever you shall be, Father of mankind, speak words (converse with) to the giant.'
5. (Narrative)
Fór þá Óðinn, went 3.sg; then; Odinn
at freista orðspeki to; test inf; word-wit obl.
þess ins alsvinna iotuns; his; the gen; all-wise obl; giant gen.
at höllo hann kom, at; hall dat; he nom; come 3.sg. pret.
ok átti Íms faðir; and/which; owned; Ims gen; father nom.
inn gekk Yggr þegar. in; walked 3.sg; Odinn nom; immediately
'Then Odin went to test the oral wisdom of him, the very wise giant; he came to the hall, which Ims father had; Odinn walked in immediately.'
6. Odinn:
'Heill þú nú, Vafðrúðnir! hail; you nom; now; Vafthruthnir nom.
nú em ek í höll kominn, now; am; I; in; hall acc; come past ppl.
á þik siálfan siá; upon; you acc; self acc; see inf.
hitt vil ek fyrst vita, it acc; wish 1.sg; I; first; know inf.
ef þú fróðr sér if; you nom; wise nom; are 2.sg. subj.
eða al-sviðr, iötunn.' or; all-wise nom; giant nom.
'Hello there, Vafthruthnir! I have come to (your) hall to see you yourself (in person); I want to know first if you are knowledgeable or even very wise, giant.'
7. Vafthruthnir:
'Hvat er þat manna, what; is; that; man gen.pl.
er í mínom sal that rel.ptc; in; my dat; room dat.
verpomk orði á? throw 1.sg. mpass; word dat; at vb.ptc.
Út þú né komir out; you nom; not; come 2.sg.
órom höllom frá our dat; hall dat; from
nema þú inn snotrari sér.' unless; you 2.sg; the nom; wiser nom; be 2.sg. subj.
'What sort of person is this in my hall to whom I cast a word (i.e. whom am I addressing)? You will not come out of our hall (alive), unless you be the wiser.'
8. Odinn:
'Gagnráðr ek heiti; Gagnrad nom; I; am-called 1.sg.
nú emk af göngo kominn now; am; off; trip dat; come past ppl.
þyrstr til þinna sala; thirsty nom; to; your gen; lodgings gen.
laðar þurfi invitation gen; needy
hefi ek lengi farit have 1.sg; I; long; traveled past ppl.
ok þinna andfanga, iötunn.' and; your gen; reception gen; giant nom.
'My name is Gagnrad' (= "victory/success-counsel") 'and I have come from a journey, thirsty, with your lodgings as my goal; I have traveled for a long time (and am) in need of an invitation and your welcome, giant.'
9. Vafthruthnir:
'Hví þú þá, Gagnráðr, why; you nom; then; Gagnrad nom.
mæliz af gólfi fyrir? speak 2.sg; from; floor dat; in-front
far-ðu í sess í sal! travel-you; to; seat; in; room
þá skal freista, then; shall 3.sg; test inf.
hvárr fleira viti, which-of-two; more obl; know 3.sg. subj.
gestr eða inn gamli þulr.' guest nom; or; the nom; old; thule nom.
'Why then, Gagnrad, do you speak out front from the open floor? Go (take) a seat in the hall! Then (we) shall test which of (us) two might know more, the guest or the old seer.'
10. Odinn:
'Óauðigr maðr, un-rich nom; man nom.
er til auðigs kømr, who; to; rich gen; comes 3.sg.
mæli þarft eða þegi; speaks 3.sg; needed acc; or; is-silent 3.sg.
ofr-mælgi mikil over-talkativeness; much
hygg ek at illa geti, think 1.sg; I; that; evil; gets 3.sg.
hveim er við kaldrifiðan kømr.' whomever dat; that ptc; against; hostile acc.sg; comes 3.sg.
'A poor man who comes to a rich one, ought to speak what is necessary or be silent; much loquatiousness, it serves him ill, whoever comes against a cold-ribbed (i.e. hostile) man.'
11.
'Seg- ðu mér, Gagnráðr, say 2.sg. imp; you nom; me dat; Gagnrad nom.
allz þú á gólfi vill since; you nom; on; floor dat; want 2.sg.
þíns um freista frama, your gen; about; test inf; ablity acc.
hvé sá hestr heitir, how; that nom; horse nom; is-called 3.sg.
er hverian dregr that rel.ptc; every acc; draws 3.sg.
dag of drótt-mogo.' day acc; over; people dat.
'Tell me, Gagnrad, since you want so much to test your ability on the doorstep, what is the horse called that pulls every day over the warrior-world.'
12.
'Scinfaxi heitir, Shinfaxi nom; is-called 3.sg.
er inn scíra dregr that ptc; the acc; bright acc; pulls 3.sg.
dag um dróttmogo; day acc; across; people dat.
hesta bestr horses gen; best nom.
þykkir hann með Hreiðgotom, seems 3.sg; this nom; with; Hreid-goths dat.pl.
ey lysir mon af mari.' ever; shines 3.sg; mane nom; off; horse dat.
'Shinfaxi' (= "Shiny-mane") 'is his name, who pulls the bright day around the warrior-world; the best of horses, this one seems, among the Hreid-goths, ever shines the mane from the horse.'
13.
'Segðu þat, Gagnráðr, say-you; that; Gagnrad nom.
allz þú á gølfi vill since; you nom; on; floor dat; want 2.sg.
þíns um freista frama, your gen; about; test inf; ablity acc.
hvé sá iór heitir, how; that nom; steed nom; is-called 3.sg.
er austan dregr that ptc; from-east; pulls 3.sg.
nótt of nyt regin.' night acc; over; useful acc; advisers acc.
'Tell this, Gagnrad, you (who) will from the doorstep try your ability, what is the name of the steed that drives night from the east over the useful gods?
14.
'Hrímfaxi heitir, Hrimfaxi nom; is-called 3.sg.
er hveria dregr that ptc; every acc; pulls 3.sg.
nótt of nyt regin; night acc; over; good acc; rulers acc.
mél-dropa mouth-drops acc.
fellir hann morgin hvern, fell 3.sg; he nom; morning acc; every acc.
þaðan kømr dogg um dala.' from-there; comes 3.sg; dew nom; around; valleys acc.
'His name is Hrimfaxi' (= "Rime-frost-mane") 'who pulls every night over the useful gods; he drips foam each morning, therefrom comes dew over the valleys.'
15.
'Segðu þat, Gagnrádr, Say-you; that acc; Gagnrad nom.
allz þú á gólfi vill since; you nom; on; floor dat; want 2.sg.
þíns um freista frama, your gen; about; test inf; ablity acc.
hvé sú á heitir, how; that nom; river nom; is-called 3.sg.
er deilir með iötna sonom that ptc; separates 3.sg; between; giants gen; sons dat.
grund oc með goðom.' plain acc; and; between; gods dat.
'Tell that, Gagnrad, you on the floor(who) wants very much to prove your ability, what is that river called, that divides the sons of the giants from the gods, as well as the plain.'
16.
'Ifing heitir á, Ifing nom; is-called 3.sg; river nom.
er deilir með iötna sonom that ptc; separates 3.sg; between; giants'; sons dat.
grund oc með goðom; plain acc; and; between; gods dat.
opin renna open; flow inf.
hon scal um aldr-daga, it nom; shall 3.sg; around; life's-days acc.
verðr-at íss á á.' becomes-not 3.sg; ice nom; on; river acc.
'The river is called Ifing that separates the plain between the giants' sons and the gods; it must flow openly forever, ice does not form on the river.'
17.
'Segðu þat, Gagnrádr, Say-you; that acc; Gagnrad nom.
allz þú á gólfi vill since; you nom; on; floor dat; want 2.sg.
þíns um freista frama, your gen; about; test inf; ablity acc.
hvé sá völlr heitir, how; it nom; field nom; is-called 3.sg.
er finnaz vígi at that ptc; find 3.pl. mpass; battle dat; at
Surtr oc in sváso goð.' Surt nom; and; the nom; gentle nom.pl; gods nom.pl.
'Tell that, Gagnrad, you on the doorstep (who) wants very much to prove your ability, what the field is called (where) Surt and the gentle gods will find each other in battle.'
18.
'Vígríðr heitir vollr, Vigrid nom; is-called 3.sg; field nom.
er finnaz vígi at that ptc; find 3.pl. mpass; battle dat; at
Surtr oc in sváso goð; Surt nom; and the nom; gentle nom.pl; gods nom.pl.
hundrað rasta 100; miles gen.
hann er á hverian veg, it nom; is; in; every; way
sá er þeim völlr vitaðr.' that; is; them dat; field nom; known past ppl. nom.
'The field where Surt and the gentle gods will be in battle is called Vigrid; it is a 100 miles in every direction, the field destined for them.'
19.
'Fróðr ertu nú, gestr, wise; be 2.sg. pres; now; guest nom.sg.
far þú á bekk iötuns, go 2.sg. imp; you nom.sg; on prep+acc; bench acc; giant gen.sg.
ok mælomk í sessi saman! and; speak 1.pl. mpass; in prep+dat; seat dat.sg; together
höfði veðia head dat.sg; wager inf.
vith skolom höllo í, we nom.du; shall 1.du/pl.pres; hall dat.sg; in prep+dat.
gestr, um geðspeki.' guest nom.sg; about/for prep+acc; wisdom acc.
'Wise you are now, guest, go to the giant's bench, and we shall talk together while sitting! The two of us shall wager our heads over wisdom in this hall, guest.'

Key to gloss abbreviations:

Abbrev. Meaning
1.=1st (person)
2.=2nd (person)
3.=3rd (person)
acc.=accusative (case)
dat.=dative (case)
du.=dual (number)
gen.=genitive (case)
imp.=imperative (mood)
inf.=infinitive (verb form)
mpass.=middle/passive (voice)
nom.=nominative (case)
obl.=oblique (case)
pl.=plural (number)
ppl.=participle (verb form)
prep.=preposition
pres.=present (tense)
pret.=preterite (tense)
ptc.=particle
rel.=relative
sg.=singular (number)
subj.=subjunctive (mood)
vb.=verb