-waxed Thor, when his sleep was flown,
found his trusty hammer gone;
his brow, his beard he shook,
The son of
earth gan round him look;
the-first word, that he spoke;
what I tell thee, Loke;
neither on earth below is known,
Heaven above; my hammer's gone.
to Freyia's bower they took,
the first word, that he spoke; 10
Freyia, must lend a winged robe,
To seek my
hammer round the globe."
shouldst thou have, though 'twere of gold,
though 'twere of silver, hold."
Loke ; the wing'd robe sounds, 15
Ere he has
left the Asgard grounds,
And ere he
has reach'd the Jotunheim bounds.
High on a
mound in haughty state
Thrym the king of the
For his dogs he was
twisting collars of gold, 20
And trimming the manes
of his coursers bold.
the Asi? the Alfi how?
Why com'st thou alone to
"Ill fare the Asi; the
hammer from him thou hast torn." 25
“I have the Thunderer's hammer bound,
Fathoms eight beneath the ground;
With it shall no one homeward tread,
Till he bring me
Freyia to share my bed."
Loke; the wing'd robe sounds, 30
Ere he has left the Jotunheim bounds,
And ere he has reach'd the Asgard grounds.
At Midgard Thor met crafty Loke,
And this the first word, that he spoke;
your errand and labor done? 35
aloft the course, you run.
For * setting oft the story fails,
And lying oft the lie prevails.''
note on these lines.
is past, mine errand I bring;
Thrym has thine hammer, the giant king :
With it shall no one homeward tread,
Till he bear him
Freyia to share his bed."
Their way to lovely Freyia they took,
the first word, that he spoke;
Freyia, busk,* as a blooming bride; 45
we must, to Jotunheim ride."
Freyia with ireful look;
Asgard's hall with wonder shook;
bright necklace started wide.
ye call me a wanton bride, 50
If I with
ye to Jotunheim ride"
The Asi did
all to council crowd,
all talk'd fast and loud;
debated, and this they sought,
hammer of Thor should home be brought. 55
Up then and
spoke Heimdallar free,
Vani, wise was he;
we Thor, as a bride so fair;
that great bright necklace wear;
let ring the spousal keys, 60
maiden kirtle* hang to his knees,
on his bosom jewels rare;
And high and quaintly braid his hair."
Thor with godlike pride;
"Well may the Asi me deride, 65
If I let me
be dight,* as a blooming bride."
spoke Loke, Laufeyia's son;
" Now hush
thee, Thor; this must be done:
The giants will
strait in Asgard reign,
If thou thine hammer dost not regain." 70
they Thor, as a bride so fair,
And the great bright necklace gave him to wear;
Round him let ring the spousal keys,
And a maiden kirtle hang to his knees,
And on his bosom jewels rare; 75
and quaintly braided his hair-
Up then arose the crafty Loke,
Laufeyia's son, and thus he spoke;
I thy steps will
Together we must to Jotunheim wend." 80
the goats together hie;
the axle they swiftly fly.
mountains shook, the earth burn’d red,
son to Jotunheim sped.
the King of the Thursi said: 85
stand up; let the seats be spread:
Freyia, Niorder’s daughter down
To share my
bed from Noatun.
all gilt each coal-black beast
Is led to
deck the giant’s feast;
wealth and jewels have I stored;
I lack but
Freia to grace my board."
evening they approached,
mantling ale the giants broach’d.
of Sif ate alone 95
salmon, and an ox full-grown,
And all the
cates on which women feed
three firkins of sparkling mead.
the king of the Thursi said;
ye beheld such a hungry maid?” 100
Ne'er saw I
bride so keenly feed,
Nor drink so deep of the sparkling mead."
forward lent the crafty Loke,
And thus the giant he bespoke ;
she eat for eight long nights, 105
So did she
long for the nuptial rites."
beneath her veil to kiss,
But he started the length of the hall, I wiss.
the looks of Freyia so dire?
It seems, as her eyeballs glisten'd with fire.'* 110
forward lent the crafty Loke,
And thus the giant he bespoke;
she slept for eight long nights.
So did she long for the nuptial rites;"
Then in the
giant's sister came, 115
Who dared a
bridal gift to claim;
rings of gold from thee I crave,
If thou wilt all my fondness have,
All my love and fondness have."
the king of the Thursi said; 120
the hammer to plight the maid;
Upon her lap the bruizer lay.
And firmly plight our hands and fay.”*
The Thunderer's soul smiled in his breast,
When the hammer hard on his lap was placed; 125
the king of the Thursi he slew,
And slaughter'd all the giant crew.
He slew that giant's sister old,
Who pray'd for bridal gifts so bold.
Instead of money and rings, I wot? 130
bruises were her lot.
Thus Odin's son his hammer got.
ON THE SONG OF THRYM.
The Edda of
Saemund is a collection of old Icelandic odes, some of which are
supposed to have been written before the birth of Christ. It is
said to have been compiled by the learned Saemund, who was born
in Iceland in 1056; according to some,
1054 or 1057. The name of Saemund's Edda was affixed to the
manuscript in the seventeenth century by Bryniolfus Svenonius,
bishop of Skalholt. The prose Edda, attributed to Snorro
Sturleson, is founded upon these poems.
has published, what he calls a translation of this ode, but it
bears little resemblance to the original. Translations made,
like Dr. Percy's, by a person unacquainted with the Icelandic
language, through the medium of a Latin prose version, cannot be
expected to represent the style and spirit of the originals: but
Mr. C. has not even taken the trouble of understanding the
Latin; otherwise he never could have translated, Ex
Noathuna calls her son;" or, Illico gigantes Asgardum
habitahunt, "Know the Asgardi sons shall reign:" or, what
is more extraordinary, in the 22d stanza, Tunc profatus est
Thrymus Thursorum dynastes,
dynasts of this sphere !"
(Thor began approaching near)
and in the
profatus est Lokius Loveyia; natus ;
Thore, istorum verborum."
for that, Loveyia's son!'
quick reply begun.
three last mentioned passages Mr. C appears to have confounded
the nominative with the accusative ; which is not improbable, as
he has given Thursi for the nominative of Thursorum. In the
tenth stanza he has represented Freyia as consenting to go
instead of refusing, which destroys the sense of all, that
V. 1. Thor.
Thor was worshipped by the Norwegians, as the most powerful of
the Gods. His favorite weapon was a hammer, which was shaped
like a cross. The following passages are translated from
Peringskiold's Uplandic monuments relative to a Runestone, on
which this hammer is represented. " Johannes Magnus Goth. Sveon.
Hist. lib. 1. cap. 9. pag. 30 och brodren Olaus Magni, lib. 3.
cap. 3. pag. 100. afbilda Thor med en spira, &c." i.e..
"Johannes Magnus, &c. and his brother Olaus, &c. represent Thor
with a sceptre in his right 'hand, and twelve stars round his
head. Others give Thor also a cruciform thunderbolt in his left
hand, and seven stars over his head. Thor's hammer is described
in the Eddas with the additional name of miolner; viz. in
Sturleson's, &c. it may be seen, that Thor the son of Odin
amongst his chattels possessed the hammer miolnor, which the
Rimthussi .and mountain sorcerers knew to their cost. When Thor
dressed himself, he took the hammer miolner, lifted up and
brandished it. Thor struck the hammer against the head of the
giant Skrymner; another time Thor threw the hammer after Yme the
sorcerer, and broke his head, &c."
of the hammer with its handle up. on the Runestone at Roby is
seven spans, as the length of a moderate sceptre requires. The
ancient inhabitants of this country did not use a sceptre with
lilies, but with a cross upon it, or like the trident of Neptune. The shape of Thor's hammer in the time of
paganism was exactly a cross; for when king Hacon sacrificed
with the Heathens in Norway, and was forced to drink out of the
offering cup, he made the Christian sign of the cross before his
mouth; but this was interpreted by his heathen subjects, as if
he had made the sign of Thor's hammer before his mouth, and so
made the holy libation to the God Thor. The king's governors and
ministers had formerly permission to use the representation of
Thor's hammer or a cross, to shew the might and power entrusted
to them. In former times, when the people were convened by the
king to the public assembly and court of judicature, the hammer
of Thor was used amongst the Hea thens for sign and summons;
but, when they became Christians, a cross of wood was adopted in
its stead, which was sent round the villages.
See Angr. Jon. lib. 1.
Island, c. 7. and Stephan.
in Sax. Gram, p. 250." Peringskiold's Uplandic Monuments.
Stockh. 1710. pag. 555.
stated in the Edda (Göransori's edition, p. 22.) to have been
the son of Odin and Jorth, the earth, who was his own daughter.
V. 4. " The
son of earth." Jardar bur, one of Thor's appellations.
V. 6. "
Loke" The son of Laufey or Laufeyia, was one of the Asi.
"Freyia." The daughter of Niorder of the nation of the Vani.
"Tha er Niordur var meth Vönom, &c." i. e. “ Whilst Niorder was
amongst the Vani, he had espoused his sister; for that was
according to their law. Frey and Freyia were their children. But
amongst the Asi it was forbidden to marry such near relations."
Ynglinga Saga, c. 4.
V. 16. "
Asgard." As-gard means the abode of the Asi, who were the
countrymen of Odin. Suhm in his Historie af Danmark (v.
1. p. 17.) considers, that there were three Odins. The first,
son of Bör of the nation of the Asi, who dwelt in the old Asgard
at the mouth of the Tanais, introduced the worship of the Sun,
and after his death was deified by his countrymen. The second,
son of Heremod, a descendant of the old Odin, fled before Darius
at the time of his expedition against the Scythians, built the
new Asgard near the Duna, and inhabited the country between that
river and the Veissel. From thence he passed over into Sweden,
and waged war against all the Jotuns, who would not acknowledge
him to be their God and the offspring of the Sun. Lastly came
Odin, son of Fridleif, from old Asgard about 50 years before the
birth of Christ, stopped some time at the new Asgard, and from
thence proceded to Sweden, where he dwelt at Sigtuna, and built
a temple at Upsala, which became his principal residence. It is
the opinion of some writers, that Upsala itself is sometimes
called Asgard ; and it seems very probable, that this name was
applied to the metropolis of the Asi, in whatever country they
sojourned. In his observations
Saxo Grammaticus, which are printed in the eleventh
volume of his Samlede skrifter, Suhm is contented with
two Odins. The following passage, which gives a very plausible
solution of some of the difficulties, that occur in the Northern
mythology, is translated from thence.
"It was not
difficult for Odin to make the progress, which he did in the
North; for he gave out, that he and his companions were the very
Gods, who were already worshipped there. For this must be
observed, that I reckon more, than one Odin. Saxo himself speaks
in this place of a Mit-Odin, that is a middle Odin, from which
we may conclude, that he believed, there were three. But I hold,
that not more than two are necessary. The first inhabitants of
the North came undoubtedly out of Asia, from the countries
situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian. That is the
reason, that the name Aser is found in our old
histories, and the last Odin improperly took the name of As.
Whether some men, called Odin, Thor, and so forth, were amongst
the first, I shall not attempt to say; but thus much is certain,
that by Thor was understood the supreme Deity, and by Odin the
Sun. The last Odin, whether he bore that name before, or adopted
it after his arrival, sometimes gave himself Out to be the Deity
Odin, and, as he was the most eminent of his party, sometimes
also to be the first and Supreme God. Perhaps at the
commencement he met with people, who were acquainted with the
God Odin only; for otherwise it would have been as easy for him
to have called himself Thor; but, when he had once established
himself as Odin, it was necessary to adhere to that. Hence
sprung the diversify of notions in our mythology: for Odin
induced some to believe, that he was the supreme God; some on
the contrary could not be brought to this, but, as his exploits
were great in war, they conceived, that he was the God-of
battle, which others thought to be either Thor, or Tyr. Eut some
held him in such abhorrence, that they considered him as a God
indeed, (for they had felt his might too much to deny this) but
as a wicked God ; and they reckoned, that he was the evil, and
Thor on the other hand the good being. The seat of Thor was
principally in Norway, where it does not seem, that the arms of
Odin made great progress. The true seat of Odin was in Sweden.
Before his time, according to my opinion, the great northern
peninsula and its inhabitants had no special name amongst the
natives themselves, excepting, that the northern division was
called Nor-riget, or the north kingdom, and the southern
Sydriget, or the south kingdom; from which the names Norvegia,
Norvegi, Normanni, Suionia, Suiones, are derived; whence Norige,
corruptly Nerigon, is found in Pliny, and Suiones in Tacitus.
The large and tall people are called in our language Riser, from
which perhaps the Russians acquired their name; Jetter, which
according to different pronunciations was changed to Jyder,
Gauter, Geater, and Gother; (by which last name a German nation
near the Baltic, in. troduced by the last Odin, was particularly
called in ancient times) and Kiaemper, which the Romans changed
into Cimbri, or Kimbri. It is certain, that our old history and
mythology has been very much perplexed by confounding the elder
Odin and Thor with the later." Suhm's Samlede skrifter,
subjoined an extract from the old Icelandic Rymbegla, in which
Odin is called the son of Thor. It is not singular, that so much
diversity should appear in the accounts of Odin's parents, as
there were evidently more, than one Odin, and the object of the
last was to conceal the whole of his real history. "Upp-haf
allra frasagna i Norrainne tungu theirra," &c. i. e. "All
the accounts in the northern tongue, which adhere to truth,
commence at the time, when the Turks and Asiatics settled in the
north; whence it may be truly said, that the language, which we
call Nor. them, came with them here into the North, and spread
over Saxony, Denmark, and Sweden, Norway, and some parts of
England. The leader of these people was Odin the son of Thor; he
had many sons. Many trace their descent from Odin; he
established his sons in the country, and made them rulers over
it. One of his sons was named Skiolldur, who took to himself the
land, now called Denmark; but at that time those lands, which
the Asiatics inhabited, were called the lands of the Gods, and
the nation the people or race of the Gods. Boundaries were fixed
between Skiolldur and his brother Ingfreir, who dwelt in the
kingdom now called Sweden. Odin and his sons were very wise and
deeply learned, beautiful in countenance, and mighty in
strength. Many others of their race were men of great eminence
with various perfections; and the people took some of them to
worship and believe in, and called them their Gods." Rymbegla,
3. I. p. 316. Having mentioned the various countries, in which
was spoken the ancient language of Odin, now called the
Icelandic, it may not be improper to add the following
translation of a passage in Baron Holberg's reign of king Canute
concerning its prevalence in England. "It is to be remarked,
that various languages were used in Great Britain from the first
arrival of the Anglo. Saxons. The English tongue, or that, which
was spoken by the Angli, differed very little from the Danish,
because the Angli came from Jutland, on which account their
language was also called by ancient writers Cimbric or Gothic.
This language was spoken in the provinces, which lay north of
the river Thames, as the Saxon was in the south. Although they
differed from each other, yet the distinction was not so great,
but that each of them could be understood by both nations, the
Angli and the Saxons. These languages flourished together in the
the heptarchy was Abolished and the seven small kingdoms united;
for then the Saxon began to prevail together with the Saxon
kings, and the English or Danish fell gradually into disuse. But
afterwards, when a new swarm of Danes established in the
country, the Danish came into use again, although it was not the
same, which the Angli or South Jutlanders had brought with them;
so that there may be reckoned three distinct tongues besides the
British or Welsh language, namely the English or old Danish, the
Saxon, and the new Danish, which last was principally spoken in
Northumberland, East Anglia, and Mercia, of which the Danes had
gained possession. At last, as the Danish was the language of
the court under Canute the great and his two successors, the
other provinces, even the West Saxons,' -were forced to accustom
themselves to the Danish dialect then in fashion; so that the
old West Saxon tongue was corrupted by the Danish, as we now see
the Danish corrupted and likely to be completely changed 'by the
German, which is at present the court language of the country.
For the court is the principal school for language, as all
affect to speak the same, or at least attempt to introduce words
or expressions from iit into the general tongue. So it happened
with the Danish under the three Danish kings: but when their
rule had ended, and Edward the Confessor acceded to the throne,
the Saxon became the language of the court again, until William
the conqueror gained possession of England, and introduced the
Norman tongue, which was a mixture of Danish and French. The
English of the present day is a composition of all these
languages." Holbergs Dannemarks riges Histiorie, 1.
"Thursi.” } The situation of Jotunheim
is supposed to have been north east of the Baltic, and to have
extended from the White Sea even to the north western coast of
Norway, where Helgeland was inhabited by a nation of this race.
They were indiscriminately called by the names of Jotni, or
Jæter, and Thursi, Riser, Kiæmper, (whence the old English word
Kemp and Kemperye man, a soldier) and several others expressive
of their size and ferocity. Angrim Jonas, who was fully
convinced of the gigantic bulk of the ancient inhabitants of the
north before the time of Odin, is very desirous of establishing
their descent from the Canaanites, who were routed by Joshua,
which he has labored at length to prove in the first book of his
Crymogaea. After enumerating the most conspicuous giants of the
north, (the last of whom, fifteen cubits high, is said to have
been killed by king
Magnus Erichson in 1338) to shew how wide they extended in
earlier times he continues, "Adde, quod provincia quantum
Norvegiae seu Fiumarkiae contermina Risaland (id est, gigantum
terra, nam en rise et rese gigantem significat) antiquitus dicta
est; a qua non longe abest Jotunheimar, id est, gigantum
habitatio; (unde etiamnum en Jæt gigas dicitur) ut nihil dicam
de Jütumland, quo nomine nostratibus dicebatur olim, quae hodie
vocatur Jutland, et coropluribus etiam Cimbrorum terra sen
Chersonesus; eo quo. que nomine facto a Kemper, id est,
gigantibus pugnantibus." Crimogæa, p. 42.
who completely agrees with Angrim Jonas as to the reality of
their immense size, rejects the idea of their coming into the
north from Canaan; for which indeed there is no ground, but the
similarity of their bulk, and the letter th in their language,
which is supposed to be of Hebrew origin. Schoning reckons, that
they were descendants of the Thussagetae, which he considers to
be compounded from Thursi or Thussi (for they are sometimes
called Hrim-thussi or cold Thussi) and Jotner or Jeter; and
supposes them to have been first driven from their old
habitations at the time of the famous expedition of Darius
against the Scythians. They were originally connected with the
tribes, which Odin afterwards led to the same countries in
consequence of the violence of Mithridates, and spoke the same
language. See Schoning's Nordiske folkes oprindelse, p.
157. It is certainly probable, that the first that the first
inhabitants of the north were of superior strength and stature,
accustomed, as they must have been, from the rugged nature of
the climate and country, to a hardy and fearless life, and at
the time of their first establishment amply supplied with animal
food to encrease their bulk, and enable them to contend with the
severity of the seasons. When Odin invaded the same regions with
a second hoard of settlers, he resolved to exterminate those,
whom he could .not subdue, or win over to his party; and he
therefore represented them to his followers as miscreated
monsters and sorcerers; and all the accounts of their enormous
stature, which pro. bably had some foundation, were naturally
exaggerated by their opponents.
"Alfi The Edda of Snorro gives the following account of Alfheim,
and its inhabitants, who were inferior to the Asi or Gods, and
held the rank of secondary divinities; and from their name is
derived our word Elf. The Latin writers have thought proper to
call them Fauni, from a prevailing desire of identifying the
Roman and Scandinavian mythology. "Sa er thar stadr,"
&c. i. e. "There is a place, which is called Alfheim; there
dwell a people hight Liosalfar or Light Alfs ; but the
Dauckalfar or Dark Alfs inhabit under ground, and they are
unlike the others in appearance, and still more unlike in fact.
The Light Alfs are whiter in appearance, than the Sun; but the
Dark Alfs more swarthy, than pitch." Göransson's Edda,
p. 34. The Alfi were in fact a tribe related to the Asi, and
inhabited the province of Eahus, a part of Norway npw belonging
"Fathom," raustom. It is not known exactly, what thjs measure
is; though probably much more, than a fathom: but the precise
depth is of no importance.
"Midgard." The boundary between the Asi and Jotuns or giants.
The following account of it is given in the Edda of
Snorro.—"Kringlott er jorth," &c. i, e. The earth is circular,
and a deep sea, lies round it; and on the shores they (the sons
of Bor, viz: Odin, Vili, and Ve) gave a habitation t« the
giants; but in front within the earth they made a town against
the attacks of the giants, and for this purpose they used the
eyebrows of Yme, and called the town Midgard. They cast his
brains into the air, and made the clouds of them; as is here
stated : "Of Yme's flesh was the earth created, Of his sweat the
sea, the hills of his bones, The meadows of his hair, and of his
head the heaven, And of his eyebrows the blithe Gods made
Midgard for the sons of men, and of his brains Were all the
hard-tempered clouds created. When the sons of Bor walked on the
sea strand, they found two trees, and of these they formed
mankind. The first gave breath, the second life, the third
hearing and sight; and the man was called Askr and the woman
Emla. From them sprung mankind, to whom a habitation was given
under Midgard. After that they made Asgard in the middle of the
world. There dwelt Odin, and the race of those, from whom our
race is descended." Göransson's Edda, p. 20. See also
Schoning's Nordiske folkes oprindelse, p. 101, &c.
V. 37, and
38. "Opt sitianda saugor um fallaz, Ok. liggiandi l'ygi um
bellir." These lines are translated literally. It is
probably an old proverbial saying, and seems to mean, that, if
Loke waited till he sat down he might forget half his story;
and, if he waited till he had slept upon it, he would probably
invent a false one.
V. 53. "
Asiniæ." The wives and daughters of the Asi.
"Heimdallar." Literally, Heimdallar, the whitest of the Asi. He
was the son of Odin, from whom he received the kingdom of
Scania." Heimdallar was called the white God; he is great and
holy; he was the son of nine virgins, all sisters. He is the
sentinel of the Gods, and sits at the extremity of heaven to
guard the bridge against the mountain-giants. He requires less
sleep, than a bird; he sees by night, as well as by day, a
hundred miles (rasta) before him; he hears the grass
grow on the earth, and the wool on the flocks, and every thing,
that sounds. He has a trumpet, which is called' Giallarhorn, and
its blast is heard throughout the world." See Göransson's
Edda, p. 44. This probably meant, that he was the God of
light, which springs from the nine heavens or worlds, as they
are numbered in Vafthrudnismal, "nio kom ec heima
fyr niflhel nedan." i. e. I have visited nine worlds above
the abyss of hell.
V. 57. "
Vani." The Vani were a nation, who dwelt near the river Tanais,
which in the old northern tongue was called the Vana, and they
extended towards the Volga. See Yngl. Sag. c. 1. Before
the emigration of Odin a long war had been carried on between
the Vani and their neighbours the Asi, which, after a dubious
contest, terminated in peace and exchange of hostages. Niorder
and his son Frey were hostages from the Vani, and they
accompanied Odin into the north. See Yngl. Sag. c. 4.
The Vani had the character of superior 'wisdom and learning, as
appears also in Scirnis-for in the old Edda, where Gerdur asks
Scirner, whether he comes from the Alfi, the Asi, or the wise
Vani. "Hvat er that Alfa, ne A'sa sona, ne vi'ssa Vana?"
The same epithet is applied to them in Vafthrudnismal. Schoning
reckons, that they were a Grecian colony, and on this account
superior to their neighbours in learning. See N. F.
Oprindelse, p. 268.
60. It was customary to hang the keys to the waist of the bride,
to shew, that the management of the household was intrusted to
"Thor possesses two goats and a chariot; the goats are called
Tangmoster and Tangsnir (or Tangrisner). When he goes to
Jotunheim, Thor drives the chariot, which is drawn by them; and
on that account he is called Auko-Thor." See Göransson's
Edda, p. 38.
V. 88. "
Noatun." The habitation of Niorder. See Göransson's Edda,
p. 40. Yngl. Sag. c. S. and Grimnismal, st.
V. 91. "
Jewels." In the original menia, necklaces