This is a text and translation of the Old Norse poem Hávamál, the Sayings of that in Anthony Faulkes put together a glossary and index to Hávamál as. The Havamal known as “The Words of Odin” is a poem from the Poetic Edda. A collection of wisdom that details Odin’s own experiences and advice. Sam Flegal is raising funds for Fateful Signs: The Illustrated Havamal on Kickstarter! A meditation on the wisdom of the ancient Norse text, “The.

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There will be more introductory material as time permits. Lines in italics in the text and translation are repeated from earlier verses. Verses are a long harangue to Loddfafnir, and most of them begin with a refrain of four lines telling Loddfafnir that it would be better if he took the advice: If you are viewing this page on a Macintosh, the non-modern English characters will probably not appear correctly: Notes on the translation: The translation starts out from a literal translation I made while studying Old Norse at Cambridge, but I have been changing it in two directions since.

Firstly, I have made some changes from a literal translation to one that “sounds better”, i.

For instance, line I have given instead “though spears might spare him”: I have sometimes rendered the verb skulu which means “must” and not “shall” as “should”: Asterisks in the translation are links to further discussion in the notes. Secondly, I have tried to rearrange the translation so that each line of English follows pretty closely the havamap of Old Norse text beside it. This sometimes produces a more stilted English word-order, but I hope it will help those interested in but with no knowledge of Old Norse to puzzle out the meaning of havvamal original.

Seasoned students of Old Norse will know that the word order is often too convoluted to follow so simply. One of the most complicated examples in this text is the first three lines of verse Converted into modern English word-order, this would read: Editorial help seems called for in this case, so I have prefixed numbers in square brackets to parts of translation which come from a different line of the text. The passage appears in text and translation as:.

This tells the reader that “No man must” is a translation of words in line 2 of the Norse, “ever” is from line 3, “mock” from line 1, “another’s” from line 3, and “love” from line 1 again. It is a compromise between helping the student of the original and producing a readable translation.

Fateful Signs: The Illustrated Havamal by Sam Flegal — Kickstarter

When I get a moment, I will probably add an optional switch to make these numbers invisible, so that readers less bothered about the Norse can read a less-cluttered translation.

The edition I used in the preparation of the translation as will be apparent from some of the notes is: What I want to include next: There is precedent for this in verses Thanks to Serge Boffa for this suggestion.

Literally something more like “the clever maid sought to bring her scorn on me”, but “heaped her scorn” is tighter, brings the alliteration closer to the original, and fits the sense of the following line.

See David Evans, p. On the other hand, this might be Othinn congratulating himself for the carefully deceitful behaviour the “well-purchased appearance”?

See David Evans, pp. This charm, which prevents fetters from holding a prisoner, is presumably what the Mercians were looking for in the clothing of the Northumbrian Imma, who was captured after the Battle of Trent in but could not be chained see Bede’s Ecclesiastical HistoryIV.

Bede explains that in his case, the effect was caused by Imma’s uavamal Tunna, an abbot who thought that Imma was dead and was offering Masses for the repose of his soul. Greetings to the hosts, a guest is come. He is very impatient, the one hzvamal must sit on the firewood, to test his luck.

There is need of fire for him who is come in with cold knees; [5] there is need [4] of food and clothes for the man who has journeyed on the mountainside. There is need of water, for the one who ek for a meal, of towel and friendly intonation; of good disposition, if he can get it, of speech and silence in return. Sense is needed for the one who travels widely; everything is easy at home.


The wary guest who comes for a meal is silent with strained hearing, listens with ears and examines with eyes; so each of the wise searches about himself.

He is blessed who has within himself praise and esteem; it is harder to deal with that which a man must own in the breast of another. He is blessed who has within himself praise and sense while he lives, because [5] man has often received [4] ill-counsel from the breast of another. A man does not bear a better burden on the road than is great commonsense; it seems a greater wealth in an unknown place — such is the refuge of the needy.

A man does not bear a better burden on the road than is great commonsense; he does not carry a worse journey-provision in the open field than is the over-drinking of ale. Ale is not as good as it is said to be good for the sons of men; because the man knows less — he who drinks more — of his disposition. He is called the heron of forgetfulness, he who hovers over ale-parties; he steals the disposition of men.

I got drunk, really drunk, at Fjalarr hvamal Wise’s; it is the best ale-feast when each man recovers his disposition. A ruler’s son must be silent and havamap and brave in battle; each man must be happy and cheerful until he suffers death.

The foolish man thinks he will live forever if he avoids battle; but old age gives him no peace, though spears might spare him. The fool stares when he comes on a visit to acquaintances; he mumbles to himself or hovers. Everything happens at once if he gets a drink: He alone knows, he who wanders widely and has travelled a great deal, what disposition each man possesses. He is knowing in commonsense.

Do not let a man hold on to a goblet, but let him drink mead in moderation, let him talk sense or be silent. No man blames you of bad manners, that you go early to sleep.

A greedy man, unless he knows his mind, often causes his life’s sorrow by eating; often the stomach gains ridicule, when he comes among wise men, for the foolish man. The herds know when they must be home and leave the pasture then; but the unwise man never knows the measure of his stomach. The wretched man of bad character laughs at all kinds hvamal things.

On the other hand he doesn’t know what he ought to know, that he is not lacking in faults. The unwise man is awake all night and thinks of all sorts of things; then he is tired when morning comes, and all the trouble is as it was.

The unwise man thinks them all to be his friends, those who laugh at him; he does not notice even if they express malice against him when he sits among wise men. The unwise man thinks them all to be his friends, those who laugh at him; then he finds when he comes to the Thing assembly that he has few supporters. The unwise man thinks he knows everything if he has refuge for himself in a corner.

For the unwise man who comes among men, it is best that be he silent. None know that he knows nothing, unless he should speak too much. He seems wise, he who knows how to ask and to speak likewise; they can conceal nothing, the sons of men, of what is said about men. He seems wise, the guest who takes flight from the mocking guest; he does not know for certain, he who mocks over a meal, whether he talks loudly among enemies. Many men are most friendly with each other and yet fight over food; strife among men will always be: It is a great roundabout way to a bad friend, though he dwell on the road; but to a good friend there lead direct routes, though he be gone farther away.

The guest must go, he must not be always in the same place; loved becomes loathed if he stays a long time in the hall of another. The dwelling is better, though it be small; each man is a free man at home; though he own two she-goats and a hall roofed with withies, it is still better than begging.


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The dwelling is better, though it be small; each man is a free man at home; he has a bloody heart, the one who must beg food for himself every meal-time. Know, if you have a friend in whom you have faith, and you wish to get something good from him, you must share with his mind and exchange gifts, and go often to seek him out.

If you have another whom you mistrust, but you want to get something good from him, you must yavamal fair to him, and think deceitful thoughts, and give deception in return for a lie. There is more about the one whom you mistrust and whose disposition you suspect: There should be repayment for such gifts. Long ago I was young, I travelled on my own, then I turned astray in my paths: I thought myself rich sl I found another, man is man’s entertainment.

Generous, valiant men live best, and seldom nourish sorrow; but the cowardly man fears all sorts of things and the niggard is always troubled about gifts. My clothes I gave in a field to two wooden men: The fir decays, the one that stands in the hamlet: So is a man, who is loved by no-one: Friendship among bad friends burns hotter than fire for five days; but it is extinguished when the sixth day comes and the whole friendship spoils.

Firewood from firewood burns, until it is burnt, flame kindles from flame; from man, man becomes wise in speech, but too foolish from folly. He must rise early, the one who wants to have another’s wealth or life; seldom does a lying wolf get a ham or hsvamal sleeping man victory. He must rise early, the one who has few workers, and go to visit his work; much will delay the one who sleeps through the morning; wealth is half in the hands of the active.

Here and there I would be invited home if I needed no food at meals; or two hams would hang at a loyal friend’s where I had eaten one. Fire is best for the sons of men and the sight of the sun; his health, if he can keep it, and to live without shame.

A man is not wholly wretched, though he be in rotten health; one is blessed with sons, another with kinsmen, another with plenty of money, another with deeds well done. The lame man rides a horse, the one-armed man drives the herd, the deaf man fights and is useful; it is better to be blind than burnt: A son is better, though he be late-begotten, after a man is gone; memorial stones seldom stand by the road unless havama kinsman should raise [them] to kin.

Two men are the destroyers of one: He becomes happy at night who trusts his journey-provisions; a haamal sailyards are short; an autumn-night is changeable.

The weather changes in many ways in five days, and more in a month. He does not know, he who knows nothing: Cattle die, kinsmen die, the self dies likewise; but the renown [6] havxmal the one who gets good fame [5] dies never. Cattle die, kinsmen die, the self dies likewise; I know one thing that never dies: Then that is proven when you consult the runes, originated by the gods, those which the gods made and the mighty sage coloured, that it is best if he is silent.

The day must be praised in the evening, a woman, when she is cremated, a sword, when it is proven, a maiden, when she is given away, ice, when it is crossed, ale, when it is drunk. Wood must be hewed in the wind, row havmaal to sea in good weather, talk with maidens in the dark, many are the eyes of the day. A ship must be used for a swift journey and a shield for protection, a sword for a blow and a maiden for kisses.

A cracking bow, a burning flame, a gaping wolf, a screaming crow, a grunting pig, a rootless tree, a rising sea, a boiling kettle.