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:

Saðr ok Svipall
ok Sanngetall,
Herteitr ok Hnikarr,
Bileygr, Báleygr,
Bölverkr, Fjölnir,
Grímr ok Grímnir,
Glapsviðr ok Fjölsviðr;

Saðr ok Svipall
ok Sanngetall,
Herteitr ok Hnikarr,
Bileygr, Báleygr,
Bölverkr, Fjölnir,
Grímr ok Grímnir,
Glapsviðr ok Fjölsviðr;

Saðr ok Svipall
ok Sanngetall,
Herteitr ok Hnikarr,
Bileygr, Báleygr,
 Bölverkr, Fjölnir,
Grímr ok Grímnir,
Glapsviðr ok Fjölsviðr;
Additional variants of these names appear in manuscripts of Snorri's Edda, Gylfaginning 20, which quotes Grímnismál 46-49.
English Translations
1797 Amos Simon Cottle
in Icelandic Poetry
The Song of Grimnir
1866 Benjamin Thorpe
in Edda Sæmundar Hinns Frôða
The Lay of Grimnir
  XLV. When in the nations I am seen,
Mortals who to my fanes convene
Shall hail me with a thousand names,
[1] "Shall hail &c." --- The names of Odin are the following: Grimer, Gangler, Herian, Hialmber, Theccer, Thrid, Thud, Uder, Helblind, Harr, Sader, Snipal, Sann-getal, Herteiter, Hnicarr, Bileyger, Bal-eyger, Baulvercer, Fiolner, Grimar, Grimner, Glapsuid, Fiolsuid, Sithaviter, Sidsceggar, Sigfander, Henikuder, Alfander, Valfander, Atrid, Farmat, Jale, Rialer, Vider, Osci, Omi, Jafnhar, Biflinder, Gondler, Harbard, Suidur, Suidner, Ygger, Thunder, Vacer, Hropter, Gauten, Jalcer, Ofner, Suafner.
47. Sad and Svipall,
and Sanngetall,
Herteit and Hnikar
Bileyg, Baleyg, 
Bölverk, Fjölnir,
Grim and Grimnir,
Glapsvid and Fjölsvid,
1871 Frederic G. Bergmann
Dits de Grimnir
"Grimnir's Poem"
1908 Olive Bray
in Edda Saemundar
The Sayings of Grimnir
  47. Véritable, et Volage, et Devinant-juste,
Joyeux-de-troupe, et Grand-Hennisseur,
Œil-instantané, Œil-de-bûcher, Malfaisant et Très-Versé, Déguisé, et Versé-en-tromperies;

True (Saðr), and Fickle (Svipall), and Just-Guessing (Sanngetall), Joy-of-the-Troop (Herteitr), and Grand-Neigher (Hnikarr),
Instantaneous-eye (Bileygr), Eye-of- fire (Bâleygr), Harmful (Bölverkr) and Well-versed (Fiölnir), Disguised (Glapsviðr), and Versed-in-Deception (Fiölsviðr);
50. They have called me Soothsayer, True
and Fickle,
On-driver, Eager in War,
Flashing-eyed, Flaming-eyed,
Bale-worker, Shape-shifter,
Veiled One, Masked One,
Wile-wise and Much-wise,


1923 Henry Bellows
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnismol: The Ballad of Grimnir
1962 Lee M. Hollander
in The Poetic Edda
The Lay of Grimnir
  47. Sath and Svipal         
and Sanngetal,
Herteit and Hnikar,
Bileyg, Baleyg,        
Bolverk, Fjolnir,
Grim and Grimnir,        
Glapsvith, Fjolsvith
48. Sath(75) and Svipal(76)
and Sanngetal(77),
Herteit(78) and Hnikar(79), 
Bileyg(80), Baleyg (81), 
Bolverk,(82) Fjolnir,(83)     
Grim and Grimnir,   
Glapsvith, Fjolsvith,

75. "The Truthful." 
76. "The Changeable."
77. "Truthfinder."
78. "Glad in Battle." 
79. "[Spear-] Thruster."
80. "One-Eyed."
81. "Fiery-Eyed." 
82. "Bale-Worker." 
83. "The Concealer."
1967 W. H. Auden & P. B. Taylor
in The Elder Edda
The Lay of Grimnir
1996 Carolyne Larrington
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnir’s Sayings
  46. Truth, Change,
and Truth-Getter,
Battle-Glad, Abaser,
Death-Worker, Hider,
One-Eye, Fire-Eye,
Lore-Master, Masked,
47. Sad and Svipal
and Sanngetal,
War-merry and Hnikar,
Weak-eyed, Flame-eyed,
Bolverk, Fiolnir,
Mask and Masked One,
Maddener and Much-wise;


2011 Ursula Dronke
in The Poetic Edda, Vol. III: Mythological Poems 
“The Lay of Grimnir”
2011 Andy Orchard
The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore
'The Lay of Grimnir"
  47. Steadfast and Shifty
and Sure Guesser,
War Happy and Hoaxer,
Failing Eye, Fiery Eye,
trouble Worker, Hider,
Mask and Masked,
Great Seducer and Great Sage,
47. ‘Truth and Fleeting,
and Truth-getter,
Host-glad, Inciter,
Feeble-eye, Blaze-eye,
Bale-worker, Hider,
Battle-mask and Masked One,
Seducer and Much-wise,
2014 Carolyne Larrington
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnir’s Sayings
2015 Jackson Crawford
in The Poetic Edda
The Words of Odin in Disguise"
  47. Steady and Svipal
and Sanngetal,
War-merry and Hnikar,
Weak-eyed, Flame-eyed,
Bolverk, Fiolnir,
Mask and Masked One,
Glapsvid and Much-wise;
47. Truth and Swift,
and True Father,
Battle-Merry, Battle-Stirrer,
Curse-Eye and Fire-Eye,
Evildoer, Spellcaster,
Masked and Shadowed-Face,
Fool and Wiseman.

The 1851 translation signed C.P. in The Yale Magazine, Vol. 16, omits verses 45-50.

In 1985, Einar Haugen in "The Edda as Ritual "corrects" the Auden/Taylor translation, where he thinks they "missed the meaning."

Auden/ Taylor Translation 1967

Einar Haugen Translation 1983

46. Truth, Change, and Truth-Getter, Battle-Glad, Abaser, Death-Worker, Hider, One-Eye, Fire-Eye, Lore-Master, Masked, Deceitful.

46. Truthful, Changeable,
Battle-happy, Overthrower,
Death-Worker, Many-Shaped,
One-Eyed, Fire-Eyed,
Lore-Master, Masked,
and Deceitful.

Haugen remarks:

The contradictions and ambiguities are only too apparent; How can Odin be both "truthful" and "deceitful"? The list of names in this poem alone runs to about 50, and someone has counted up 125 in all. Odin says himself:
Grm. 48/5-7 By a single name I was never known
Since I first fared among men.
"I am called..."

Saðr: also Sannr "the true one".  A name for Odin in Grímnismál 47, in Einarr Gilsson and in the þular.
Svipall: "Changeable", "Capricious". A name for Odin in Grímnismál 47 and in the þular, probably referring to Odin frequently changing his name and appearance, a trait which both Saxo Grammaticus (Danish History, Book 8) and Snorri Sturluson (Ynglingasaga 6) expressly mention.
Sanngetall: "the one who guesses the truth", "the true investigator", "the truth seeker". A name for Odin in Grímnismál 47 and in the þular which refers to the fact that Odin is repeatedly the winner of knowledge contests (Vafthrudnismal, Baldrs draumar and Hervarar Saga).  
Herteitr:  "the one who likes armies". cp. Herföðr, Hertýr, Herjaföðr.
Hnikarr:  "Instigator", "Inciter", "Inflamer".  A name for Odin in Grímnismál 47, Reginsmál 18 and 19, in the þular and in skaldic kennings such as veðr Hnikars, "weather of Hnikar" for "battle".
Bileygr:  "the one with poor sight", "weak-eyed", probably referring to Odin having lost one eye.
Báleygr:  "one with the flaming eye".  A name for Odin in Grímnismál 47, in poems by Hallfreðr Vandræðaskáld (Hákonardrápa 6) and Gisli Illugason's Erfikvæði um Magnús berfœtt  1, as well as in the þular.
Bölverkr:  "Evil-doer". A name Gunnlödd's kin, the Sons of Suttung, give to Odin after he steals the mead of poetry from them in Hávamál 109. An assumed name of Odin in Snorri's Edda.
Fjölnir:  "the one who knows much". A name for Odin in Grímnismál 47, Reginsmál 18, Gylfaginning 2 and 19, as well as in the þular.
Grímr:    In the Medieval Swedish Ballad Stolt Herr Alf, the title Asa-grim for Odin as "Leader of the Aesir", contains the hapax legomenon  ('only said once') -grimmr for 'leader', 'ruler' found on Runestone Sö 126, where  it appears as the second element in the word folksgrimʀ, ‘grimmʀ of the people.’  Sophus Bugge (Runverser 161) writes that skaldic poets used the noun gramr (literally ‘wrath’) to mean ‘king’ or ‘warrior’ and that the related adjective grimmr was most likely used in a similar fashion. A name for Óðinn and for a dwarf in þulur.
Grímnir:  "the masked one". A name for Odin in Grímnismál 46, 47 and the Prose Introduction, Þórsdrápa 4, Húsdrápa, Hallfreðr vandræðaskáld's lausavísur, Rögnvaldr kali Kolsson's lausavísur, and the þulur.
Glapsviðr: "Experienced Deceiver", "Skilled Seducer". A name for Odin in Grímnismál 47  in the þular.
Fjölsviðr: "Very-wise". Odin appears as Fjölsviðr,  in Svipdagsmál —The Lay of Svipdag. He welcomes the hero Svipdag into the gates of Asgard, described poetically as a giant's gard. The castle sits in the shade of Mimir's Tree (v. 20) and is guarded day and night by two wolves Geri and Gifr, one of which bears the name of one of Odin's wolfhounds, Geri and Freki.  Fjölviðr says he built the castle himself from the limbs of the giant Leir-Brimnir (Mud-Brimir). Just as Odin and his brothers kill the giant Ymir, also called Brimir in Voluspa 9 and Aurgelmir (Muck-roarer) in Vafthrudnismal, and use his corpse to fashion heaven and earth.
        In the poem Fjölsvinnsmál (the Speech of Fjölsviðr), Odin introduces himself as the gatekeeper of the castle and engages the hero Svipdag (Swift-day) in a series of questions concerning his adventures before arriving at the gate in search of the beautiful Menglad, kept safely within the castle walls. Only the one who brings a feared sword from the underworld, powerful enough to kill the golden rooster on Mimir's Tree can enter the castle. In the course of conversation, it becomes clear that Svipdag is destined to be her husband. Thus, he must have brought the sword as a bride-price for her. Odin, disguised as Fjölsviðr, tests him before allowing him to enter. We later find the same weapon in the hands of Freyr's servant Skirnir ("Shining" cp. Svipdag), sent as a bride-price for the giantess Gerd. Lokasenna 42 tells us that Freyr exchanged his sword for Gerd and will sorely regret that baragian when Ragnarok arrives. Then Surt himself will wield the terrible weapon designated as "sol val-tiva", the "sun of the god(s) of the slain" and "the bane of branches" (a kenning for fire)  by the Völuspá poet. Surt uses the sword to set the entire world alight. Flames play against heaven itself. The earth is burnt and sinks into the sea.

      Near the end of the poem Fjölsvinsmál, the beautiful "giantess" Menglad, who is clearly characterized as a goddess, coyly says that if Fjölsviðr (Odin) is lying to her regarding her lover Svipdag's return, then may "wise ravens pluck out your eyes as you hang on the gallows". Odin of course is the one-eyed, god of ravens and of the gallows. His ravens, Thought and Memory by name, can especially be considered wise. The poet is clearly revealing the characters he intends from behind his poetic veil. Svipdagsmal is a riddle poem, where few things are called by their proper names.  Menglad "the necklace lover" has long been recognized as the goddess Freyja, owner of Brisinga-men, "the fire-necklace".  Powerful and lovely maidens including Eir, the goddess of healing sit at her feet. Men build altars to her, and any woman who seeks her is cured of disease no matter how long she has suffered. The poem Fjölsvinsmál (The Speech of Fjolsviðr) appears to preserve the myth of the arrival of Freyja's husband, "the man called Óðr," to Asgard. Odin greets him at the gate.

The Texts of Grougaldur and Fjolsvinnsmál
"Once the eye has beheld
so delightful a spectacle,
it ever yearns to return;
these gleaming walls
surround golden halls, I think;
here would I gladly dwell."
—Svipdag, st. 5.

Fjölsviður eg heiti
"Wise ravens
shall tear out your eyes
on the high gallows,
if you are lying
that from afar has come
the youth to my halls."
—Menglöð, st. 45