The Words of Odin the High One
from the Elder or Poetic Edda (Sæmund's Edda) translated by Olive Bray and edited by
D. L. Ashliman Return to: Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts. Germanic Myths, Legends, and Sagas. Odin's Home Page.
1. Wisdom for Wanderers and Counsel to Guests (verses 1-79) 2. Maxims for All Men(verses 80-88) 3. Lessons for Lovers (verses 89-93) 4. Odin's Love Quests (verses 94-100) 5. Odin's Quest after the Song Mead (verses 101-108) 6. The Counseling of the Stray-Singer (verses 109-136) 7. Odin's Quest after the Runes (verses 137-144) 8. The Song of Spells (verses 145-164)
Wisdom for Wanderers and Counsel to Guests
1. At every door-way,
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ere one enters, one should spy round, one should pry round for uncertain is the witting that there be no foeman sitting, within, before one on the floor 2. Hail, ye Givers! a guest is come; say! where shall he sit within? Much pressed is he who fain on the hearth would seek for warmth and weal. 3. He hath need of fire, who now is come, numbed with cold tothe knee; food and clothing the wanderer craves who has fared o'er the rimy fell. 4. He craves for water, who comes for refreshment, drying and friendly bidding, marks of good will, fair fame if 'tis won, and welcome once and again. 5. He hath need of his wits who wanders wide, aught simple will serve at home; but a gazing-stock is the fool who sits mid the wise, and nothing knows. 6. Let no manglory in the greatness of his mind, but rather keep watch o'er his wits. Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling; to the heedful comes seldom harm, for none can find a more faithful friend than the wealth of mother wit. 7. Let the wary stranger who seeks refreshment keep silent with sharpened hearing; with his ears let him listen, and look with his eyes; thus each wise man spies out the way.8. Happy is he who wins for himself fair fame and kindly words; but uneasy is that which a man doth own while it lies in another's breast.
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9. Happy is he who hath in himself praise and wisdom in life; for oft doth a man ill counsel get when 'tis born in another's breast. 10. A better burden can no man bear onthe way than his mother wit; 'tis the refuge of the poor, and richer it seems than wealth in a world untried. 11. A better burden can no man bear on the way than his mother wit: and no worse provision can he carry with him than too deep a draught of ale. 12. Less good than they say for the sons of men is the drinking oft of ale: for the more they drink, the less can they think and keep a watch o'ertheir wits. 13. A bird of Unmindfulness flutters o'er ale feasts, wiling away men's wits: with the feathers of that fowl I was fettered once in the garths of Gunnlos below. 14. Drunk was I then, I was over drunk in that crafty Jötun's court. But best is an ale feast when man is able to call back his wits at once. 15. Silent and thoughtful and bold in strife the prince's bairn should be. Joyous andgenerous let each man show him until he shall suffer death. 16. A coward believes he will ever live if he keep him safe from strife: but old age leaves him not long in peace though spears may spare his life. 17. A fool will gape when he goes to a friend,
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and mumble only, or mope; but pass him the ale cup andall in a moment the mind of that man is shown. 18. He knows alone who has wandered wide, and far has fared on the way, what manner of mind a man doth own who is wise of head and heart. 19. Keep not the mead cup but drink thy measure; speak needful words or none: none shall upbraid thee for lack of breeding if soon thou seek'st thy rest. 20. A greedy man, if he be not mindful, eats to his own...
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