The Yale Magazine, Vol. 16, Nov. 1851, pp. 65-69.
FROM THE ICELANDIC.
We read in the Elder Edda,
in substance briefly as follows: Hrodung, king of the Goths, had two
sons; named Agnarr and Geirrod, aged, at the time the story opens,
ten and eight years respectively. One day, while fishing in their
boat, they if ere driven out to sea by a storm, and finally wrecked
in the night upon some unknown land, where they were cared for
during the winter by a peasant and his wife, who were in reality the
divinities Odin and Frigga in disguise. Frigga took under her charge
the elder brother, while Odin took pains to instruct Geirrod, the
younger, in many things; and, on their departure in the Spring, in a
boat, with which he kindly furnished them, gave him much advice
apart. When they reached the shores of their father's kingdom,
Geirrod, leaping from the prow, pushed off the boat, and, with a
malediction, bade his brother "begone where evil spirits might
possess him." On reaching the palace he found the throne vacant by
the death of his father, and, becoming king, rose to distinction.
Meantime Odin and
Frigga, sitting in Hlidskialf and scanning the world, fell into a
conversation about their foster sons, in which Odin boasted of the
prosperity of Geirrod, while Frigga threw into the other scale his
want of generosity and his stinginess. Odin disputing her
assertions, a wager was laid; whereupon Frigga sent her chief maid,
the nymph Fulla, to fill the mind of the king with fears and
suspicions which should tend to make him inhospitable, while Odin,
disguised in a blue cloak, visited in person his kingdom. He was
arrested because the dogs could not be made to touch him, (that
being a sign given by Fulla to Geirrod of the man who was to be
feared;) and because he would give no further account of himself
than that his name was Grimner, he was placed by the king between
two fires and tortured for a week. It so happened that the king had
a son named, after his uncle, Agnarr, at this time eight years old.
This child brought to Grimner a full horn and gave it him to drink,
expressing his belief that the king was wrong in torturing him, an
innocent man. The fires increasing in heat had by this time become
so fierce as to burn his cloak; and he sang as follows:
 Hot, hot, oh fire! art thou, and waxest
In fury ; though more closely round my form
I wrap my fur-bound cloak, and gather in
Its folds, 'tis burned to cinders by thy rage.
 Eight weary nights I 've borne this torturing heat
Uncomforted ; no man hath offered food
Save youthful Agnarr, Geirrod's only son,
Who only o'er the fearless Goths shall rule.
 My blessing on thee, Agnarr, for that
More rich reward thou never couldst receive
E'en hadst thou filled the horn with dew from heaven.
 Lo ! near the
Aser and the cunning Elves,
Holy the land which spreadeth before my
But Thor in glorious
Thrudheim's ancient hulls
Shall dwell, till
falleth the twilight of the gods.
 In Ydale hath
Uller made his home ;
The gods, to much
loved Freyr,—to mark the day,
When through his
infant flesh, in pearly rows,
Appeared his earliest
teeth—in the morning of days
Gave Alfheim. These
are the first and second homes
 In Asgard.
Valaskialf is the third home called,
Because, in the olden
time, Vale for himself
it; there the cheerful gods o'er all
The house have spread
untarnished silver's sheen,
'Neath which they
taste of pure unending joys.
 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.
 The fifth is
Gladsheim, where, brilliant as gold,
spacious dome, whither
Hropter daily calleth
men slain by the sword.
[9-10] Easily 'tis
known from the other palaces
By those who come to
Odin;—its roof is wrought
With spears—its walls
with hero-bucklers hung,
And coats of mail are
strewn along the seats;—
O'er the western gate
hangeth a wolf; and there
An eagle hovering
soareth aloft in pride.
 And next is
Thrymheim, where, in olden time,
Skada dwelleth there
in the ancient home
Of her Father.
 Seventh is
Breidablik, and there
Hath Balder made his
In that blest spot
where nought of roughness is,
But all is love, and
peace, and purity.
 The eighth is
Himinbib'rg, and Heimdall there,
They say, guardeth
the sacred palaces;
There dwelleth the
merry warder of the gods,
And, in his happy
home, quaffeth good mead.
 Folkvangr is
ninth, and there hath Freya power
To seat her daily
guests around the board;
Daily she chooseth
unto herself the half
Of fallen heroes, and
half Odin owneth.
 The tenth is
Glitner; there from golden shaft
And capital, the
silver arches spring,
And bear aloft th'
o'erhanging silvery dome
'Neath which Forsete
sitteth every day
In chair of judgment,
and with soothing hand
Husheth to sleep the
civil strifes of men.
 In Noatun Niord
hath made his home—
The blameless king of
men—who, first of all,
Is knelt to 'neath
the temple's holy shade.
 With thickets
overgrown, and rankest grass,
And pliant osier, is
But Vidar there
descendeth from his steed,
Active in avengeance
of his father's wrong.
These are the homes
where the powerful Aser dwell,
 Andhrimner from Eldhrimner bringeth
Saehrimner, seethed,—most excellent of meats—
And few can tell how many Einheriar feed
 Th' illustrious Father of armies, with
and Freka; but Odin, great
And noble in arms, liveth on wine alone.
 Hug-inn and Muninn, over the fields of
Fly daily; fear creepeth upon my soul,
Of Huginn, lest he come not faithfully;
But of Muninn I have greater fear than this.
 Thiothwitnis howleth at Thund, and still
Fish-like, remaineth in the river's depth ;
Too swiftly rolleth the stream its angry flood
For swift Valglaumer safely to pass the bank.
 Holy, in the plain before the holy
Standeth Valgriud; ancient the court, but few
Can tell how late shall close its clanging gates.
 Five hundred and forty the gates
And twice four
hundred Einheriar through each gate
Shall move in close
array, on that last day
When they go forth to
fight 'gainst Fenris the wolf.
 Five hundred and
forty, I think, are the spacious halls
That stretch beneath
Bilscirni'a winding roof;
Of all the
hall-filled piles which I have known,
Greatest, I know, is
the palace of my son.
 The goat, which over the hall of Heriafauthr,
Standeth, and nippeth
for food the boughs of Laerath,
Is Heithrun; Skaptker
daily shall brim with her milk,
The sparkling mead
which never can cease to flow.
 The stag, which
over the hall of Heriafauthr,
browseth for food the boughs of Laerath,
Is Esikthyrnir; and
Droppeth from his
horns the limpid dew; thence flow
 All rivers—Sith
and Vith, Saekin and Eikin,
And other ten which
roll through Asgard's plains
waves, and circle round the homes
Of joyful Aser ;
Vina, and Vegeuinn,
 And fifteen more
of darker waves which pour
streams through Midgard, near to men,
And thence, with
mighty thunderings, fall away
 Kaurrmt and
Aurmt and the two Kerlaug's,
Through whose cold
streams great Thor maketh his way
When he goeth to
Yggdrasill, the ancient ash;
 On Glathr and
Gyller, and other eight steeds are borne
The Aser, when they
too go to Yggdrasill.
 Downward from Yggdrasill three roots
Triverse; 'neath one is dark-browed Hela's home ;
Beneath the second dwell the Hrimthursi, fierce
In war; and under the third dwell learned men.
 The squirrel that runneth on lofty Yggdrasill,
And down to Nidhauggr bringeth the eagle's words,
Is Ratatoskr ; also four stags there are—
 Dainn, Dualin, Duneyrr,'and Durathror—
Who, twisting their necks, gnaw the boughs of the ash.
 Few can number the serpents that lie
The tree of ages; Goinn and Moinn, the sons
Of Grafvitner are there, and other four
Whose fate-allotted task it is to waste
Forever its branches, shooting forever anew.
 Greater labors than mortals can know,
Yggdrasill sustaineth; above, a stag
Devoureth its branches; its aged trunk is weak
With wasting sickness; and the tooth of Nidhauggr
 May Hrist and Mist, fair ones,
Fill for me the golden goblets with wine,
While Herfiötör, and other sisters ten,
With names as sweet, to happy Einheriar bear
Full bowls of sparkling sherry for their lips.
 Svalinus standeth a shield before the
Before his fiery glances; full well I know
That if it fall, the rocks, and e'en the sea,
The briny flood, shall burn with roaring flames.
 The wolf, whose eager eye followeth the
The brilliant god, unto the girding sea,
Is Skaull; but Hati, great Hrodvitner's son,
Goeth before the softly shining moon.
 From Ymer's flesh, in the dawning of
time, was made
The earth, and from his blood the raging sea,
The rocks from his bones, and from his hair the trees
And plants; his skull became the vaulted heaven;
 And Midgard, from his fringed lids, the
Kindly have fashioned for the sons of men;
And from his brain, the clouds that dress the sky
Of Summer, or dart their lightnings in the storm,
Their first substance had.
 Once Invalda's
To build Skithbladner, strove, the best of
For Asa Freyr, Niörd's all-worthy son.
 Of trees the greatest is Yggdrasill, of ships
Skithbladner, Odin of the Aser's host,
Sleipner of horses, of bridges, Bifraust, Bragi
Of poets, of hawks Habroc and Gramr of dogs.
 I tell thee,
Geirrod thou art drunk; too much
Hast thou drunken,
blinded art thou by wine;
Thou fallest from
high estate, for by my aid
In favor with th'
Einheriar hast thou stood
And with Odin.
 Much wisdom have
But in thy memory
thou retainest few
Of all my teachings.
Round thee, fallen in toils,
Thy friends stand.
Lo! falleth a sword all stained
With blood—the blood
of my friend.
 Now Yggr shall
One whom the sword
hath slain. Thy life, I know,
Passeth; the Disir
have no pity on thee.
 Now mayst thou
see Odin; such now my name;
Just now 'twas Yggr;
ere that 'twas Thundr.
Hnicarr And Vacr,
Skilfingr, Vafuthr, and Hroptatyr,
Guatr and Ialcr among
the gods Ofner
And Suafner— all
these I wot are names of mine,
[53:4] And I am Odin.
Come near me if thou canst.
King Geirrod was
sitting, with his sword half unsheathed upon his knee ; when he
heard that Odin was there he arose to lead him away from the fire:
his sword fell from his hand, hilt downward: he stumbled and fell ;
and, the sword piercing his body, he died. Then Odin disappeared,
and Agnarr was king long thereafter.