The Poetic Edda: A Study Guide
 The Speech of the Masked One
Codex Regius
MS No. 2365 4to  [R]
Arnamagnæan Codex
AM 748 I 4to [A]
1954 Guðni Jónsson
Normalized Text:

7. Sarcqua beccr heitir e IIII,
en þar svalar knegu
unnir yfir glymja;
þar þau Óðinn ok Sága
drekka um alla daga
glöð ór gullnum kerum.


7. Sökva bækr hæitir hinn fjórð,
en þar svalar knegu
unnir yfir glymja;
þar þau Óðinn ok Saga
drekka um alla daga
glöð ór gullnum kerum.


7. Sökkvabekkr heitir inn fjórði,
en þar svalar knegu
unnir yfir glymja;
þar þau Óðinn ok Sága
drekka um alla daga
glöð ór gullnum kerum.


English Translations
1797 Amos Simon Cottle
in Icelandic Poetry
The Song of Grimnir
1851 C.P. in
The Yale Magazine, Vol. 16
The Song of Grimner

VII. Saucquabeccer is the name,
The next immortal, portals claim;
There icy waters ev'ry hour,
Around in horrid diss'nance pour;
While Odin, Saga, orgies hold,
Quaffing libations out of gold.

The dismal sound of roaring waters, cold
And restless, ceaseth not in Söcqua-beck,
Where joyful Odin drinketh every day,
With Saga mirthfully draining the vases of gold.

1866 Benjamin Thorpe
in Edda Sæmundar Hinns Frôða

The Lay of Grimnir
1883 Gudbrand Vigfusson
in Corpus Poeticum Boreale

The Sayings of the Hooded One

7. Sökkvabekk the fourth is named
oe’r which the gelid waves resound;
Odin and Saga there,
joyful each day,
from golden beakers quaff.

Sunkbench the fourth is called, where the cold waves ever murmur above ; there Woden and the Seeress drink every day joyfully out of golden cups.

1908 Olive Bray
in Edda Saemundar
The Sayings of Grimnir
1923 Henry Bellows
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnismol: The Ballad of Grimnir
  7. The fourth is Falling-brook; there,
for ever,
the chill waves are rushing over ;
while day by day drink Odin and Saga,
glad-hearted, from golden cups.
7. “Falling-brook”: Sokkvabekkr has usually been rendered Sinking-bench; Detter suggests the above.

7. Sökkvabekk is the fourth,        where cool waves flow,
And amid their murmur it stands;
There daily do Othin        and Saga drink
In gladness from cups of gold.

1962 Lee M. Hollander
in The Poetic Edda
The Lay of Grimnir
1967 W. H. Auden & P. B. Taylor
in The Elder Edda
The Lay of Grimnir

7. Sokkvabekk12 called is the fourth, which cool waters   ripple round about;
   there Othin and Saga13  all their days drink,
   glad from golden cups.
12 "Sunken Hall" (?). Compare with Fensalir in "Voluspa," St. 33.
13 "Seeress," Frigg. The name is etymologically connected, but not identical, with the Norse word for "history," "story."

7. The fourth Sunk-Bench: refreshing waves
Sparkle and splash about it:
There Odin drinks all day with Saga,
Glad from golden cups.

1996 Carolyne Larrington
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnir’s Sayings
2011 Ursula Dronke
in The Poetic Edda, Vol. III: Mythological Poems 
“The Lay of Grimnir”
  7. Sokkvabekk, a fourth is called, and cool waves
resound over it;
there Odin and Saga drink everyday, joyful, from golden cups. 

7. Couch of Sunk Treasure the
fourth is called,
and there cold, overhead,
the loud waves wash.
There Óðinn and Sága
all the days through
drink gaily from casks of gold.


2011 Andy Orchard
The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore
'The Lay of Grimnir"


7. ‘Sunken Bench a fourth is called, and there cool waves
can thunder over the place;
there Odin and Sága drink every day,
gladly, from golden cups.

Oðinn's Wife : Mother Earth
The Goddess Saga

Ursula Dronke, The Poetic Edda, Volume II (1997):

Völuspá 33/6: "Fensölom [Fensalir]: no doubt a subterranean water-palace like the submarine Søkkvabekkr (Grímnismál 7). Fen, 'quagmire,' might imply great pools leading deep down into the marshes, such as those into which Egill cast his treasure and his slaughtered slaves as an offering to Óðinn (Egil  297-8). On the association of the goddesses with prophetic water-realms see ...Völuspá 20/3, Lokasenna 21/2-6.  Sága, who drinks with Óðinn in Søkkvabekkr, personifies Frigg's aspect as a 'prophetess' [Jan deVries, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, 2 Vol. (1956-57)."

Ursula Dronke, The Poetic Edda, Vol. III (2011):

"Óðinn and his lady enjoy their golden goblets in a treasure-lounge beneath the sea (7)." 

Andy Orchard, The Elder Edda, (2011) p. 282:

"It may be that 'Sunken-Bench' (Sökkvabekkr) is another name for 'Fen-halls' (Fensalir), where Frigg weeps for Baldr (Völuspá 33). Sága is an otherwise unknown goddess, according to Snorri (Gylfaginning 35) who simply paraphrases this stanza, but it is likely another name for Frigg."

Among the Germanic tribes, serving mead is considered the province of high status women. The order in which she serves the mead, indicates the rank of the gathered guests. The warlord (in this case Odin) would be served first by his wife, followed by his closest retinue (the gods and Einherjar) in order of importance. Not only does Saga serve Odin from golden cups, she does so every day. This suggests that Saga herself is a goddess of very high rank. Yet, her name is not found elsewhere in Eddic poetry. That being the case, Saga may simply be an epithet for a better known goddess. Snorri  ranks Saga second after Frigg, but then later says that Freyja holds that honor.
The Lady with a Mead Cup, 1996, by Michael J. Enright, p. 127
"The evidence indicates that a very strong correlation existed between the concept of aristocratic femininity among the Germans and the ability to distribute liquor. In the Lübscow graves, the first series to provide indisputable evidence of hierarchic demarcation, we find a certainly high-status woman buried in a new type of way and with a wine strainer in her hand. These graves depict a dramatically changed conception of rank which many archeologists now associate with foreign influence and the comitatus. Hence, it will not do to describe the strainer as simply a sign of generalized notions of open hospitality which might be connected with women. The strainer is not there to suggest commensality and an altruistic willingness to share good things. It is a notable cultural artifact which indicates an ability to provide the best for the best, a token of status but not hospitality. The secondary derivative must not be confused with the primary one. This is the clear message of the spoon strainers of the migration/Merovingian period of Central Europe and England. Serving the same function as the larger strainers, they hung on rich women’s belts with keys. They were at least the female equivalent of the long swords in warriors’ graves."
p. 286 
"Prophecy, sexuality and the distribution of liquor are not infrequently affiliated themes in the literature of the Middle Ages. Nonetheless, with some exception for the latter two, scholars have commonly discussed them separately. They have failed to recognize the complete rationale for Tacitus’ attribution of the power of prophecy to women and the cogency of his remarks on the state of inebriation and the choosing of chiefs. These are now explainable. Both weaving and the brewing of beer were women’s work. The weaving of cloth was universally regarded as closely analogous to the weaving of fate and weaving tools like the spindle and whorl were also imbued with strong sexual connotations. The goddess on 6th century braceates is depicted with large breasts and carrying a weaving beam and a weaving sword as attributes. The brewing of liquor was similarly mystical. In effect, it produced pleasure while encouraging inspiration and furthering community. So too did the woman herself, but then she also served the drink and, because of the method of service on significant occasions, formalized status. Any other result would be surprising since the adoption of thoroughly hierarchic comitatus guaranteed that the liquor offering would become a more officially symbolic statement of ranking than ever before even though fictive kinship was also created. For the mythopoetic mentality of the time, each of these associations led ineluctably to the other. Hence, the warlord, the husband and the follower all received their cup and commonly made oaths and heard wishes for the future when they drank from it."

John Lindow, The Handbook of Norse Mythology, pp. 264-5
Saga: Minor Goddess. Snorri lists her second in his catalog in Gylfaginning of goddesses among the æsir, after Frigg, and says only that she lives at the great farm Søkkvabekk [Sunken-bench]. In Grímnismál 7, Odin includes Søkkvabekk as the fourth of the residences he surveys and says that cool waves resound over it: “there Odin and Saga/drink through all the days/ happy, out of a golden cup.” The similarity of Søkkvabekk to Fensalir, Frigg’s dwelling; Odin’s open drinking with Saga; and the usual etymology of the name, which relates it to the verb sjá “to see” and understands her as a seeress, have led some scholars to understand Saga as another name for Frigg.
In Gylfaginning 35, Snorri writes:
“Then spoke Gangleri: ‘Who are the Asyniur?’
High said: ‘The highest is Frigg. She has a dwelling called Fensalir and it is very splendid. Second is Saga. She dwells at Sokkvabekk, and that is a big place.” [Faulkes’ tr.]
Snorri adds no additional information, and it would seem rather obvious that his information was in fact derived directly from Grimnismal 7.

Rudolf Simek, Dictionary of Northern Mythology, p. 274.
"It has been suggested that the name Sága is related to the Old Norse sjá (Germanic *sehwan) ‘see’. As Frigg is called a seeress in Lokasenna 21, and the names of Søkkvabekkr and Frigg’s residence Fensalir are also similar in meaning, it would appear that Sága is merely another name for Frigg. However, apart from phonetic problems—despite the vowel quantity a link is more likely with saga and segja ‘say, tell’, an identification such as this is somewhat problematic. Sága should be thought of as one of the not closer defined Asynjur (Hlin, Sjofn, Snotra, Var, Vor) who should probably be seen as the protective goddesses. Those goddesses were all responsible for specific areas of the private sphere, and yet clear differences were made between them so that they are in many ways similar to the matrons."
In regard to this, the reader should be aware that only Snorri catalogs these minor goddesses, and in some instances his catalog conflicts with the evidence from earlier heathen poems. For example, in Eddic and skaldic poetry, Hlín is a by-name for both Frigg, as in Völuspá 56, and for Earth. In verse 13 of Hávarðar saga ísfirðings, lines 5-6 read: "No man fell upon Hlin to a greater advantage for me, than this man." Here Hlin is used as a byname of Jörd. “To fall upon Hlin” means to “fall down,” “to die.” Thus Hlin is a poetic synonym for both Frigg and Jörd. In skaldic poetry, the phrase “Odin’s wife” is a common kenning for Earth, and in Eddic poetry, Frigg is Odin’s wife. I noted earlier that there is strong circumstancial evidence that Frigg is the Earth goddess. Her role in the Balder myth best demonstrates this. Thus, in heathen poetry, the names Hlin, Jord and Frigg are all epithets of Odin’s lawful wife, the Earth goddess and mother of the gods. Like all mythic figures, she has numerous names. Odin himself is said to have 49 names in all, many of which we shall encounter at the end of Grímnismál.
The Germanic folktale figure Frau Holle is most likely a memory of Odin’s wife, Frigg. She is known as Holle, Bercht and Percht in Germany. In southern Denmark, she is called Frau Frekka (cp. Frigga) and in the Netherlands, Frau Gode. Gode is simply a form of the name Odin (Wotan, Godan). Thus, Frau Gode is Mrs. Odin. In Sweden, Odin is well-known as the master of the Wild Hunt, while in German folklore Frau Holle is commonly identified as the mistress of the Wild Hunt. In Germany, Frau Holle lives in springs and pond. In a fairy-tale by Grimm, the entrance to her abode is through a well. Compare this imagery to the name of Frigg’s hall, Fensalir, “Halls of the Fen/Marsh”, to Saga’s home, Sökkvabekk, the Sunken-bench, which waves sough over. Like Frau Holle’s abode, the homes of both Frigg and Saga seem to be partially or wholly submerged.   Thus, it would seem the home of Mother Earth was conceived of as located in marshy, fertile land, dotted with ponds and lakes, areas naturally teeming with life.