The Lay of Thrym

1853 J.A.

in the Dublin University Magazine, 41: pp. 578-582.






The Story of Thrym,
And Thor and his hammer,
And Loki and Freya,
Englished by J. A.,

In some strange whim,-
From old Icelandic,
Finnish or Scandic,
With the help of Rask’ Grammar,

And a volume of Grimm.




Thor in wrath from sleep uprist,
In wrath and rage, for his mallet he missed;
His beard he shook—he smote his head.
And round his searching hands he spread,
And to Asa-Lok he said :—



This his first word—" Listen thou,
Strange event as this till now
Earth or heaven has never known:
The god is robbed—the hammer's gone."

To Freya's bright abode speed they;


And thus did Thor to Freya say—
"O lend thy plumy robe to me,
With its wings, and so shall we,
Voyaging the wide world round,
Seek where the hammer may be found."



"Twere thine though of the red gold bright,
And thine though of the silver white."

With Freya's robe see Lok upsprings—
Through air you hear the rushing wings.
He hath past away from the pleasant clime,
Of the Asi, and is at Jotunheim.



Sitting abroad on a lofty mound,
Thrym the King of the Thurs he found;
For his dogs he was twisting golden chains,
And clipping and smoothing his horses' manes.


"How fares it with the Asi now?
And with the Alfs of Alfheim how?
Why thus at Jotunheim alone?"

"The Asi grieve and the Alii groan—

Thor's hammer is gone. Is the mallet with thee?"



"The thunderer's mallet is with me,

Furlongs eight deep underground,

Where it never will be found,

But by him who brings to me Freya fair my bride to be."



Bird-like, Lok again upsprings—
Far is heard the rush of wings,
As through air be travels fast;
Now the giant's mears are past.


See him now o'er Asgard fleet I
Thor is at the gate to meet
This swift messenger of his.



"Is thy journey ended? Is
The business done? Ere yet you light
On earth, at once say, is all right?  
Speak with speed, for well I read,
Who loiters, fables will devise,
Forgets the facts, and forges lies."



"My journey is ended—the business is over;
Thrym has the hammer, which none can recove
But he who brings him Freya to be
His wife."



To Freya went Thor, and he Said—"

Goddess of Beauty, favour me,

Busk thee fast, as a bride—'twere time

That we were already at Jotunheim."



Wroth now is Freya, and at her look
The hall of the Asi in terror shook.
With her bosom's furious throes
The great red necklace fell and rose,
And all but burst, so wroth was she:
"What would the Asi think of me?—
Think of me, then ?—gods and men!—
Should I husband-hunting to Jotunheim go-
To the den of the giants ?—no, no, no!"



In council the Asi all canvass the matter;
The Asinya, too, how they clatter and chatter!
God and goddess at words and at war—
All to bring back the hammer of Thor.



In the hall of the gods did Heimdal uprise,
Brightest of all—like the Vani wise:
"Thor himself as the bride let us deck
With the great red necklace round his neck.



"With the woven flax-threads veil the bride,
Make ring the house-keys at his side;
Let a woman's gown to his knees come down;
On his breasts the large gemmed circlets spread,
And crown with a queenly tire his head."


Then in fury out spake Thor—
"What do the Asi take me for?
Merry, indeed, may goddesses wax,
At Thor in his virgin veil of flax."



Then said Lok, Lofeya's son—
"Hush! the hammer must be won;
Or hammer in hand the giant race
Will storm the Asi's dwelling-place."



Thor as a bride they then 'gan deck

With the great red necklace round his neck;

With the woven flax they veiled the bride,

Made ring the house-keys at his side;

And a woman's gown to his knees fell down;

On his breasts the large gemmed rings they spread,

And, twisted tight,
His hair they bound in folds, that wound

His temples round,
Flight, after flight, to prouder height, the braidings bright

Climbed up, and crowned
With a haughty turret spire his head.



Then said Lok, Lofeya's child—

"I also

With thee will go—
Will go with thee, thy handmaid mild;
Let's leave the heavenlv Asgard clime,
To go to the giants of Jotunhcim."




Now home came the goats of Thor from far,

And yoked are they with speed to the car;

The rocks to receive them are rent in sunder,

Flame leaps from their path, and is followed by thunder,

As Odin's son, at twilight time,

Drives to the regions of Jotunheim.



Thrym, the King of the Thurs, 'gan call

With a bridegroom's joy to his giants all

"Rise, spread the benches, and meet and bring
Freya his bride to your joyous king;
The Queen of Beauty whom I have won,
The daughter of Niord, from Noatun."



Many to-night are the lowing kine
Whose gilded horns at Jotunheim shine;
And oxen black for the feast are brought—
"Jewels I have," the giant thought,
"Jewels and rings in ample store j

But what is life

Without a wife?
Were Freya here I want no more."



At early eve came the hoped-for guest,
And ale flows free at the bridal feast.
Thor ate alone eight salmons, and
An ox; and all that came to hand
Of lesser things for ladies meet
Did Sifia's consort freely eat;
And drank alone three tuns of mead.



"Did ever woman," said Thrym, "so feed?

Saw you ever ladies such

Drink so deep and eat so much?"



The fair attendant, slim and slender,
Answered with an accent tender—
"She hath eaten nothing for eight days' time-
her heart was sighing for Jotunheim;
She longed to leave the glorious clime
Of Asgard for thee and Jotunheim."

Then Thrym bent down to kiss his bride,
And raised her veil, so large and wide;



What has he seen beneath that pall,

That back he starts the length of the hall?

"Why are her eyes so fierce?" said he;

"From her eyes fire flashed, and struck at me."



The fair attendant when she heard

The giant soon took up the word—

"She hath had no sleep for eight nights' time,

Thinking of thee and Jotunheim;

The Queen of Beauty in Asgard's clime

Thought but of thee and Jotunheim."


In came the giant's sister—she
Was fierce and old, and worse than he;
A bridal gift she sought—" Oh, give
The red rings from your hands to me 1
And in such comfort will we live 1
And I will be so fond of thee!"



Then Thrym, the King of the Thursi, cried—

"Bring in the hammer to bless the bride,

Our faith to plight

With the ancient rite,
Place on her knees the crusher now,
To strike the bargain and clench the vow."



In his heart laughed Thor when again be felt
His hammer, and soon with Thrym he dealt;
On his head let fall the heavy mawl,
Then crashed and mashed the giants all.



When Thrym and all his giants he slew,
At the vile old sister-fiend he flew;
A wedding gift from the bride she sought,
A wedding gift from the bride hath got;
It was not largess of skillings and rings,
But a down-pour of the hammer's swings,

Thick and fast, and heavy as rain.
Thus Odin's son, in the days of old,

Came to have his hammer again. The story of Thor and Thrym is told.