Svipdagsmál – Poetic Edda

Svipdagsmál The Ballad of Svipdag

Index: Poetic Edda ¦ Previous: Rígsþula ¦ Next: Grógaldr

This title, originally suggested by Bugge, covers two separate poems:

  • Grógaldr – Gróa’s Spell, The Spell of Gróa
  • Fjölsvinnsmál – Ballad of Fjölsvid, The Lay of Fjölsvid

Grógaldr – Gróa’s Spell, The Spell of Gróa

1. SON:
«Wake up, Groa!
Wake up, good woman!
At the gates of death I wake thee!
if thou rememberest,
that thou thy son badest
to thy grave-mound to come.»

2. MOTHER:
«What is now seen
with my own eyes,
with what affliction art thou burdened,
that thou thy mother calls,
who to dust is come,
and from human homes departed?»

3. SON:
«A strange vision
came before me,
that crafty woman,
that my father embraced;
she badest me go
no one knows whither,
Menglad to meet.»

4. MOTHER:
«Long is the journey,
long are the ways,
long are men’s desires.
If it so fall out,
that thou thy will obtainest,
the event must then be as it may.»

5. SON:
«Songs you more sing,
which are good.
Protect you, mother! thy son.
Dead on my way
I fear to be.
I seem too young in years.»

6. MOTHER:
«I sing to thee the first,
that song is useful,
which Rind sang to Rani,
that from thy shoulders cast
what to thee seems irksome:
let thyself thyself direct.

7. I sing to thee the second,
as thou hast to wander
joyless on thy ways.
May Urd’s words
hold thee protected,
where thou seest turpitude.

8. I sing to thee the third.
If the mighty rivers
to thy life’s peril fall,
Horn and Rud
flow down to Hel,
crossings you see there.

9. I sing to thee the fourth.
If foes assail thee ready
on the dangerous road,
their hearts shall fail them,
and to thee be power,
and their minds to peace be turned.

10. I sing to thee the fifth.
If bonds be cast on thy limbs,
friendly spells I will let
on thy joints be sung,
and the lock
from thy arms shall start,
and from thy feet the fetter.

11. I sing to thee the sixth.
If on the sea thou comest,
more stormy than men have known it,
air and water shall
in a bag attend thee,
and a tranquil course afford thee.

12. I sing to thee the seventh.
If on a mountain high
frost should assail thee,
deadly cold shall not
thy carcase injure,
nor draw thy body to thy limbs.

13. I sing to thee the eighth.
If night overtake thee,
when out on Niflroad:
no power you may have,
meet you also
Christian woman dead.

14. I sing to thee the ninth.
If with a far-famed spear-armed Jotun
thou words exchangest,
of words and wit
to thy mindful heart
abundance shall be given.

15. Go now ever where calamity may be,
and no harm shall
obstruct thy wishes.
On a stone fast in the earth
I have stood within the door,
while songs I sang to thee.

16. My son! Bear hence
thy mother’s words,
and in thy breast let them dwell;
for happiness abundant
shalt thou have in life,
while of my words thou art mindful.»

 

Fjölsvinnsmál – Ballad of Fjölsvid, The Lay of Fjölsvid

1. Outside the yard
he saw up there coming
the high wight forth:
«What’s in this flickering
that stand before the yard,
with cowls around the fire?

2. Of what art thou in quest,
what dost thou seek here,
or what, wretch, desirest thou to know?
Along the humid ways
haste thee back hence,
here, wretch! Is no place for thee.»

3. COMING MAN:
«What manikin is this
that stand before the yard,
and no hospitality offers?
Void of honest fame,
prattler! Hast thou lived:
hence thyself home!»

4. FJOLSVINN:
«Fjolsvinn is my name;
wise I am of mind,
though of food not prodigal.
Within these courts
thou shalt never come:
so now, wretch! Take thyself off.»

5. COMING MAN:
«Augna, the eye’s delight,
one wishes again to possess;
pleasant it is to be seen.
These wajls, methinks,
shine around golden halls,
here I could happily live.»

6. FJOLSVINN:
«Tell me, youth;
of whom thou art born,
or of what kin hast sprung.»
COMING MAN:
«Windcold I am called,
Springcold was my father named,
his sire was Fullcold.

7. Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
who here holds sway,
and has power over these lands
and costly halls?»

8. FJOLSVINN:
«Menglad is her name,
her mother her begat
with Svavrthorin’s son.
She here holds sway,
and has power over these lands
and costly halls.»

9. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
what the gate is called,
than which among the gods
mortals never saw a greater artifice?»

10. FJOLSVINN:
«Trymgjoll it is called,
and Solblinde’s three sons
constructed it:
a fetter fastens,
every wayfarer,
who lifts it from its opening.»

11. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
what that structure is called,
than which among the gods
never saw a greater artifice?»

12. FJOLSVINN:
«Gaststropne it is called,
and I constructed it
of Leirbrimi’s limbs.
I have so supported it,
that it will ever stand
while the world lasts.»

13. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
what those dogs are called,
that violently barks
more loudly than I ever heard?»

14. FJOLSVINN:
«Givr the one is called,
the other Gjere,
if thou that wouldst know.
Eleven watches
they will keep,
until the powers perish.»

15. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
whether any man can enter
while those fierce
assailants sleep?»

16. FJOLSVINN:
«Alternate sleep was,
strictly to them enjoined,
since to the watch they were appointed.
One sleeps by night,
by day the other,
so that no wight can enter if he comes.»

17. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
whether there is any food
that men can get,
such that they can run in while they eat?»

18. FJOLSVINN:
«Two repasts lie
in Vedovne’s wings,
if thou that wouldst know:
that is alone such food
as men can give them,
and run in while they eat.»

19. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
what that tree is called
that with its branches
spreads itself over every land?»

20. FJOLSVINN:
«Mimatree it is called;
but few men know
from what roots it springs:
it by that will fall
which fewest know.
Nor fire nor iron will harm it.»

21. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
to what the virtue is
of that famed tree applied,
which nor fire nor iron will harm?»

22. FJOLSVINN:
«Its fruit shall
on the fire be laid,
for labouring women;
out then will pass
what would in remain:
so is it a creator of mankind.»

23. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
what the cock is called
that sits in that lofty tree,
and all-glittering is with gold?»

24. FJOLSVINN:
«Vedovne he is called;
in the clear air he stands,
in the boughs of Mime’s tree:
afflictions only brings,
together indissoluble,
the swart Sinmara.»

25. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
whether there be any weapon,
before which Vedovne
may fall to Hel’s abode?»

26. FJOLSVINN:
«Levatein the twig is named,
and Lopt plucked it,
down by the gate of Death.
In an iron chest
it lies with Sinmara,
with nine locks secured.»

27. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
whether he will alive return,
who seeks after,
and will take, that rod?»

28. FJOLSVINN:
«He will return
who seeks after,
and will take,
the rod, if he bears
that which few possess
to the dame of the glassy clay.»

29. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
whether there is any treasure,
that mortals can obtain,
at which the pale maiden will rejoice?»

30. FJOLSVINN:
«The bright sickle
that lies in Vedovne’s wings,
thou in a bag shalt bear,
and to Sinmara give,
before she will think fit
to lend an arm for conflict.»

31. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
what this hall is called,
which is girt round
with a curious flickering flame?»

32. FJOLSVINN:
«Lyr it is called,
and it will long tremble
as on a lance’s point.
This sumptuous house shall,
for ages hence,
be but from hearsay known.»

33. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
which of the esir’s sons
has that constructed,
which within the court I saw?»

34. FJOLSVINN:
«Une and Ire,
Bare and Ore,
Var and Vegdrasil,
Dore and Uri,
Delling and Atvard,
Lidskjalf, Loki.»

35. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
what that mount is called,
on which I see
a splendid maiden stand?»

36. FJOLSVINN:
«Lyvjaberg ’tis called,
and long has it a solace been
to the bowed-down and sorrowful:
each woman becomes healthy,
although a year’s disease she have,
if she can but ascend it.»

37. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
how those maids are called,
who sit at Menglad’s knees
in harmony together?»

38. FJOLSVINN:
«Liv the first is called,
the second is Livtrasa,
the third Tjodvarta,
Bjart and Blid,
Blidr, Frid,
Eir and Aurboda.»

39. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
whether they protect
those who offer to them,
if it should, be needful?»

40. FJOLSVINN:
«Every summer in which
men offer to them,
at the holy place,
no pestilence so great
shall come to the sons of men,
but they will free each from peril.»

41. WINDCOLD:
«Tell me, Fjolsvinn!
That which I will ask thee,
and I desire to know:
whether there is any man
that may in Menglad’s
soft arms sleep?»

42. FJOLSVINN:
«There is no man
who may in Menglad’s
soft arms sleep,
save only Svipdag;
to him the sun-bright maid
is for wife betrothed.»

43. WINDCOLD:
«Set the doors open!
Let the gate stand wide;
here thou mayest Svipdag see;
but yet go’ learn
if Menglad will
accept my love.»

44. FJOLSVINN:
«Hear, Menglad!
A man is hither come:
go and behold the stranger;
the dogs rejoice;
the house has itself opened.
I think it must be Svipdag.»

45. MENGLAD:
«Fierce ravens shall,
on the high gallows,
tear out thy eyes,
if thou art lying,
that hither from afar is come
the youth unto my halls.

46. Whence art thou come?
Whence hast thou journeyed?
How do thy kindred call thee?
Of thy kin and name
I must have a token,
if I was betrothed to thee.»

47. SVIPDAG:
«Svipdag I am named,
Sunbright was my father named;
thence the winds
on the cold ways drove me.
Urd’s decree may no one gainsay,
however lightly ut tered.»

48. MENGLAD:
«Welcome thou art:
my will I have obtained;
greeting a kiss shall follow.
A sight unlooked-for
glad dens most person
is when one the other loves.

49. Long have I sat
on Lyvjaberg,
day and night expecting thee.
Now that is come to pass
which I have hoped, that thou,
dear youth, again to my halls art come.

50. Longing I have undergone
for thy love;
and thou,
for my affection.
Now it is certain,
that we shall pass our lives together.»

Index: Poetic Edda ¦ Previous: Rígsþula ¦ Next: Grógaldr

Svipdagsmál
Svipdagr meets his beloved in this illustration by W. G. Collingwood.