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Early Indo-European Texts

Old Norse

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old Norse with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old Norse Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old Norse language and its speakers' culture.

from the Vǫluspá

1 Hlióðs bið ec allar helgar kindir,
        meiri oc minni, mǫgo Heimdalar;
        vildo, at ec, Valfǫðr, vel fyrtelia
        forn spioll fira, þau er fremst um man.

2 Ec man iotna, ár um borna,
        þá er forðom mic fœdda hǫfðo;
        nío man ec heima, nío íviðior,
        miotvið mœran fyr mold neðan.

3 Ár var alda, þat er Ymir bygði,
        vara sandr né sær né svalar unnir;
        iorð fannz æva né upphiminn,
        gap var ginnunga, enn gras hvergi.

4 Áðr Burs synir bioðom um ypþo,
        þeir er miðgarð, mœran, scópo;
        sól scein sunnan á salar steina,
        þá var grund gróin grœnom lauki.

5 Sól varp sunnan, sinni mána,
        hendi inni hœgri um himinioður;
        sól þat né vissi, hvar hon sali átti,
        stiornor þat né visso, hvar þær staði átto,
        máni þat né vissi, hvat hann megins átti.

6 Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz:
        nótt oc niðiom nǫfn um gáfo,
        morgin héto oc miðian dag,
        undorn oc aptan, árom at telia.

7 Hittuz æsir á Iðavelli,
        þeir er hǫrg oc hof há timbroðo;
        afla lǫgðo, auð smíðoðo,
        tangir scópo oc tól gorðo.

8 Teflðo í túni, teitir vóro,
        var þeim vættergis vant ór gulli,
        unz þriár qvómo þursa meyiar,
        ámátcar mioc, ór iotunheimom.

9 Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz,
        hverr scyldi dverga dróttin scepia,
        ór Brimis blóði oc ór Bláins leggiom.

10 Þar var Mótsognir mæztr um orðinn
        dverga allra, enn Durinn annarr;
        þeir manlícon mǫrg um gorðo,
        dvergar, ór iorðo, sem Durinn sagði.

11 Nýi oc Niði, Norðri oc Suðri,
        Austri oc Vestri, Alþiófr, Dvalinn,
        Bívǫrr, Bávǫrr, Bǫmburr, Nóri,
        Án oc Ánarr, Ái, Miǫðvitnir.

12 Veigr oc Gandálfr, Vindálfr, Þráinn,
        Þeccr oc Þorinn, Þrór, Vitr oc Litr,
        Már oc Nýráðr -- nú hefi ec dverga
        -- Reginn oc Ráðsviðr -- rétt um talða.

13 Fíli, Kíli, Fundinn, Náli,
        Hepti, Víli, Hánarr, Svíurr,
        Frár, Hornbori, Frægr oc Lóni,
        Aurvangr, Iari, Eikinscialdi.

14 Mál er, dverga í Dvalins liði
        lióna kindom til Lofars telia,
        þeir er sótto frá salar steini
        aurvanga siǫt til Iorovalla.

15 Þar var Draupnir oc Dólgþrasir,
        Hár, Haugspori, Hlévangr, Glói,
        Scirvir, Virvir, Scáfiðr, Ái,

16 Álfr oc Yngvi, Eikinscialdi,
        Fialarr oc Frosti, Finnr oc Ginnarr;
        þat mun uppi, meðan ǫld lifir,
        langniðia tal Lofars hafat.

17 Unz þrír qvómo ór því liði,
        ǫfligir oc ástgir, æsir, at húsi;
        fundo á landi, lítt megandi,
        Asc oc Emblo, ørlǫglausa.

18 Ǫnd þau né átto, óð þau né hǫfðo,
        lá né læti né lito góða;
        ǫnd gaf Óðinn, óð gaf Hœnir,
        lá gaf Lóðurr oc lito góða.

19 Asc veit ec standa, heitir Yggdrasill,
        hár baðmr, ausinn hvítaauri;
        þaðan koma dǫggvar, þærs í dala falla,
        stendr æ yfir, grœnn, urðar brunni.

20 Þaðan koma meyiar, margs vitandi,
        þriár, ór þeim sæ, er und þolli stendr;
        Urð héto eina, aðra Verðandi
        -- scáro á scíði --, Sculd ina þriðio;
        þær lǫg lǫgðo, þær líf kuro
        alda bornom, ørlǫg seggia.

21 Þat man hon fólcvíg fyrst í heimi,
        er Gullveigo geirom studdo
        oc í hǫll Hárs hána brendo;
        þrysvar brendo, þrysvar borna,
        opt, ósialdan, þó hon enn lifir.

22 Heiði hana héto, hvars til húsa kom,
        vǫlo velspá, vitti hon ganda;
        seið hon, hvars hon kunni, seið hon hugleikin,
        æ var hon angan illrar brúðar.

23 Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz,
        hvárt scyldo æsir afráð gialda
        eða scyldo goðin ǫll gildi eiga.

24 Fleygði Óðinn oc í fólc um scaut,
        þat var enn fólcvíg fyrst í heimi;
        brotinn var borðveggr borgar ása,
        knátto vanir vígspá vǫllo sporna.

25 Þá gengo regin ǫll á rǫcstóla,
        ginnheilog goð, oc um þat gættuz,
        hverir hefði lopt alt lævi blandit
        eða ætt iotuns Óðs mey gefna.

Translation

1 For audience I bid you all, hallowed beings,
great and small, kin of Heimdall;
you, Valfothr, desire that I well recount
the old tales of men, which I first remember.
2 I recall the giants, born long ago,
who had fed me ages prior;
nine regions I recall, nine giantesses,
the famous measure-tree beneath the soil.
3 It was early in time, when Ymir settled,
there was no sand nor sea nor cold waves;
no earth was to be found nor heavens above,
there was a chasm of void, still grass nowhere.
4 First the sons of Bur raised the earth,
the ones who shaped the great Midgard;
the sun shone from the south along the ground's stones,
then was the soil overgrown with green plants.
5 The sun, the moon's companion, cast from the south
its right hand round heaven's rim;
the sun knew not where she held lodging,
the stars knew not where they had dwellings,
the moon knew not what deal of strength he had.
6 Then all the powers went to the seats of judgement,
sacred gods, and deliberated on that:
to night and the moon's phases they gave names,
they named morning and midday,
afternoon and evening, to count out the years.
7 The Aesir met in Ithavale,
where they constructed high houses and sanctuary,
set hearths, forged treasures,
shaped tongs and fashioned tools.
8 They played tables on the stead, were merry,
they had no lack of anything golden,
until came three of the giants' maids,
quite powerful, from Giantland.
9 Then all the powers went to the seats of judgement,
sacred gods, and deliberated on that,
who should fashion the dwarfs' lord,
from Brimir's blood and from Blain's limbs.
10 There Motsognir became the greatest
of all the dwarfs, and Durin second;
they fashioned many a human form
from the earth, those dwarfs, as Durin said.
11 New-moon and Waned-moon, North and South,
East and West, Great-thief, Delayer,
Bivor, Bavor, Bombur, Nori,
An and Anar, Great-grandfather, Mead-wolf.
12 Liquor and Staff-elf, Wind-elf and Thrain,
Known and Thorin, Thror, Color and Wise,
Corpse and New-counsel -- now I have
-- Regin and Counsel-sharp -- rightly reckoned the dwarfs.
13 Fili, Kili, Foundling, Nali,
Haft, Vili, Hanar, Sviur,
Frar, Hornbori, Fraeg and Sea-pool,
Mudfield, Iari, Oakenshield.
14 It is time to tally the dwarfs in Dvalin's
line, the lineages in families up to Lofar,
those who sought from the hall's stone
the seats of muddy fields at Stonyvales.
15 There was Draupnir and Dolgthrasir,
Greyhair, Mound-river, Lee-plain, Glow,
Skirvir, Virvir, Skafith, Great-grandfather,
16 Elf and Yngvi, Oakenshield,
Fjalar and Frosty, Finn and Betrayer;
that reckoning, as long as mankind lives,
of Lofar's forefathers will be remembered.
17 Until three of that retinue came,
strong and benevolent gods, to the home;
they found on the land, with little strength,
fateless Ash and Embla.
18 Neither owned they breath, nor had they voice,
blood nor bent, nor good bearing;
Odin gave breath, Hoenir gave voice,
Lothur gave blood and good bearing.
19 I know an ash to stand, it's name Yggdrasil,
a high tree, watered with white-mud;
thence comes the dew, which falls in the dale,
green it stands ever over the well of fate.
20 Thence come three maids, knowing much,
from the sea which stands under the tree;
Fate they called one, Becoming the second
-- they scribbled on staves --, Shall the third;
they fixed the fates, they cut the course
for the ages' children, the destinies of warriors.
21 She remembers that fight first in the land,
when they studded Gullveig with spears
and in Grey-hair's hall burned her;
thrice they burned her, thrice reborn
again and again, though she still lives.
22 The called her Bright, where she came to houses,
right-speaking seeress, spirits she conjured;
she prophesied, wherever she could, crazed she prophesied,
ever was she the delight of a wicked wife.
23 Then all the powers went to the seats of judgement,
sacred gods, and deliberated on that,
whether the Aesir should pay tribute
or whether all the gods should receive offerings.
24 Odin let loose and shot among the people,
that was the first fight in the land;
broken was the board wall of the Aesir's barricade,
the death-proclaiming Vanir could tread the vale.
25 Then all the powers went to the seats of judgement,
sacred gods, and deliberated on that,
who had mixed all the air with misfortune
or given Od's maid to the giant's race.