Benjamin Thorpe
Edda Sæmundar Hinns Froða

The Edda Of Sæmund The Learned

From The Old Norse Or Icelandic With A Mythological Index


Trübner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row




Part I

The Mythological Poems


Introduction to the Voluspa

The Vala´s Prophecy

 The Lay of Vafthrúdnir

 The Lay of Grimnir

Hrafnagaldr Odins:
Odin’s Ravens’ Song

Vegtamskvida eða Baldrs Draumar
The Lay of Vegtam or Baldr's Dreams

The High One's Lay

Runatalsþáttr Oðins:
Odin's Rune Song

Hymiskviða: The Lay of Hymir

ThrymskviÞa eðr Hamarsheimt:
The Lay of Thrym or the Hammer recovered

 The Lay of the Dwarf Alvis

The Lay of Harbard

For Skirnis eðr Skirnismál:
The Journey or Lay of Skirnir

The Lay of Rig

Ægisdrekka, eða Lokasenna, eða Lokaglepsa
Ægir's Compotation or Loki's Altercation

The Lay of Fiölsvith

The Lay of Hyndla

The Incantation of Grôa

The Song of the Sun

A Mythological Index




 The Lay of Hymir.


1. Once the celestial gods
had been taking fish,
and were in compotation,
ere they the truth discovered.[1]
Rods[2] they shook,
and blood inspected,
when they found at Ægir´s
a lack of kettles.

2. Sat the rock-dweller
glad as a child,
much like the son
of Miskorblindi.
In his eyes looked
Ygg´s son[3] steadfastly.
“Thou to the Æsir shalt
oft a compotation give.”

3. Caused trouble to the Jötun
th’ unwelcomed-worded As:
he forthwith meditated
vengeance on the gods.
Sif’s husband he besought
a kettle him to bring.
“in which I beer
for all of you may brew.”

4. The illustrious gods
found that impossible,
nor could the exalted powers
it accomplish,
till from trueheartedness,
Tý to Hlorridi
much friendly counsel gave.

5. “There dwell eastward
of Elivagar
the all-wise Hýmir,
at heaven’s end.
My sire, fierce of mood,
a kettle owns,
a capacious caldron,
a rast in depth.”

6. “Knowest thou whether we
can get the liquor-boiler?”

Yes, friend! if we
stratagem employ.”
Rapidly they drove
forward that day
from Asgard,
till to the giant’s home they came.

7. Thor stalled his goats,
splendid of horn,
then turned him to the hall
that Hýmir owned.
The son his granddam found
to him most loathful;
heads she had
nine hundred.

8. But another came
all-golden forth,
fair-browed, bearing
the beer-cup to her son:

9. “Ye Jötuns’ kindred!
I will you both,
ye daring pair,
under the kettles place.
My husband is
niggard toward guests,
to ill-humour prone.”

10. But the monster,
the fierce-souled Hýmir,
late returned
home from the chase.
He the hall entered,
the icebergs resounded,
as the churl approached;
the thicket on his cheeks was frozen.

11. “Hail to thee, Hýmir!
be of good cheer:
now they son is come
to thy hall,
whom we expected
from his long journey;
him accompanies
our famed adversary,
the friend of man,
who Veor hight.

12. See where they sit
under the hall’s gable,
as if to shun thee:
the pillar stands before them.”
In shivers flew the pillar
at the Jötun’s glance;
the beam was first
broken in two.

13. Eight kettles fell,
but only one of them,
a hard-hammered cauldron,
whole from the column.
The two came forth,
but the old Jötun
with eyes surveyed
his adversary.

14. Augured to him
his mind no good,
when he saw
the giantess’s sorrow
on the floor coming.
Then were three
oxen taken,
and the Jötun bade
them forthwith be boiled.

15. Each one they made
by the head shorter,
and to the fire
afterwards bore them.
Sif’s consort ate,
ere to sleep he went,
completely, he alone,
two of Hýmir’s beeves.

16. Seemed to the hoary
friend of Hrúgnir
Hlorridi’s refection
full well large:
“We three to-morrow night
shall be compelled
on what we catch
to live.”

17. Veor said he would
on the sea row,
if the bold Jötun him
would with baits supply:
“To the herd betake thee,
(if thou in thy courage trustest,
crusher of the rock-dwellers!)
for baits to seek.

18. I expect
that thou wilt
bait from an ox
easily obtain.”
The guest in haste
to the forest went,
where stood an all-black
ox before him.

19. The Thursar’s bane
wrung from an ox
the high fastness
of his two horns.
“To me thy work seems
worse by far,
ruler of keels!
than if thou hadst sat quiet.”

20. The lord of goats
the apes’ kinsman besought
the horse of plank
farther out to move;
but the Jötun
declared his slight desire
farther to row. 


21. The mightily Hýmir drew,
he alone,
two whales up
with his hook;
but at the stern abaft
Veor cunningly
made him a line.

22. Fixed on the hook
the shield of men,
the serpent’s slayer,
the ox’s head.
Gaped at the bait
the foe of gods,
the encircler beneath
of every land.[4]

23. Drew up boldly
the mighty Thor
the worm with venom glistening,
up to the side;
with his hammer struck,
on his foul head’s summit,
like a rock towering,
the wolf’s own brother.

24. The icebergs resounded,
the caverns howled,
the old earth
shrank together:
at length the fish
back into the ocean sank.[5]

25. The Jötun was little glad,
as they rowed back,
so that the powerful Hýmir
nothing spake,
but the oar moved
in another course.

26. “Wilt thou do
half the work with me,
either the whales
home to the dwelling bear,
or the boat
fast bind?”

27. Hlorridi went,
grasped the prow,
quickly, with its hold-water, lifted
the water-steed,
together with its oars
and scoop;
bore to the dwelling
the Jötun’s ocean-swine,
the curved vessel,
through the wooded hills.

28. But the Jötun
yet ever frowned,
to strife accustomed,
with Thor disputed,
said that no one was strong,
however vigorously
he might row,
unless he his cup could break.

29. But Hlorridi,
when to his hands it came,
forthwith brake
an upright stone in twain;
sitting dashed the cup
through the pillars:
yet they brought it whole
to Hýmir back.

30. Until the beauteous
woman gave
important, friendly counsel,
which she only knew:
“Strike at the head of Hýmir,
the Jötun with food oppressed,
that is harder
than any cup.”

31. Rose then on his knee
the stern lord of goats,
clad in all
his godlike power.
Unhurt remained
the old man’s helm-block,
but the round wine-bearer
was in shivers broken.

32. “Much good, I know,
has departed from me,
now that my cup I see
hurled from my knees.”
Thus the old man spake:
I can never
say again,
beer thou art too hot.

33. Now ‘tis to be tried
if ye can carry
the beer-vessel
out of our dwelling.”
Tý twice assayed
to move the vessel,
yet at each time
stood the kettle fast.

34. Then Modi’s father
by the brim grasped it,
and trod through
the dwelling’s floor.
Sif’s consort lifted
the kettle on his head,
while about his heels
its rings jingled.

35. They had far journeyed
before Odin’s son
cast one look backward:
he from the caverns saw,
with Hýmir from the east,
a troop of many-headed
monsters coming.

36. From his shoulders he
lifted the kettle down;
Mjöllnir hurled forth
towards the savage crew,
and slew
all the mountain-giants,
who with Hýmir
had him pursued.

37. Long they had not journeyed
when of Hlorridi’s goats
one lay down
half-dead before the car.
It from the pole had sprung
across the trace;
but the false Loki
was of this the cause.

38. Now ye have heard,
- for what fabulist can
more fully tell -
what indemnity
he from the giant got:
he paid for it
with his children both.[6]

39. In his strength exulting
he to the gods’ counsel came,
and had the kettle,
which Hýmir had possessed,
out of which every god
shall beer with Ægir drink
at every harvest-tide.

[1] To wit, that they were short of kettles for brewing.

[2] That is divining rods. So Tacitus of the ancient Germans: Sortium consuetudo simplex: virgam, frugiferae arbori decisam, in surculos amputant, eosque, notis quibusdam discretos, super candidam vestem temere ac fortuito spargunt: mox, si publice consuletur, sacerdos civitatis, sin privatim, ipse paterfamiliae, precatus deos coelumque suspiciens, ter singulos tollit, sublatos secundum impressam ante notam interpretatur, Germania X. [“The use of the lots is simple. A little bough is lopped off a fruit-bearing tree, and cut into small pieces; these are distinguished by certain marks, and thrown carelessly and at random over a white garment. In public questions the priest of the particular state, in private the father of the family, invokes the gods, and, with his eyes towards heaven, takes up each piece three times, and finds in them a meaning according to the mark previously impressed on them.”—translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb.]

[3] Thor.

[4] The serpent that encircles the earth.

[5] According to the Prose Edda (p. 445), the giant, overcome with fright, took out his knife and severed Thor’s line.

[6] This strophe belongs apparently to another poem.


[Back]   Index  |  Next ]