Ask me of these olden words — nor let your soul be hidden,
or be secret what you know most deeply!
I don’t wish to speak to you of my hidden matters,
if you veil your crafty thought from me, and the ideas of your heart.
Wise men must trade their songs. Man must first praise God
fairly, with “Our Father!” because he formed us at first,
our life and loaned desires—he wishes to remind us of the requital.
The Measurer must exist in glory: man must be on earth—
the young must grow old. God will be with us eternally,
never do outcomes change him, nor do troubles afflict him at all,
neither disease nor old age—the Almighty—
nor does he wither in spirit, yet he is as he ever was,
a Lord long-suffering. He grants us understanding,
a mindful variety, many manners of speech.
Many a broad island embraces many ensouled creatures.
The Measurer reared up roomy habitations
for mankind, Almighty God—as many of both
nations and customs. A conclave must be held
aged with aged—their spirits are similar—
they always settle disputes, teach concord,
when the miserable have earlier borne it away.
Counsel must be with the wise, righteousness too,
good deeds must be with the good. The two shall be paired:
a woman must be with a man, engendering in the world
children with their birth. A tree must stand in the earth
losing its leaves—the bare branches must mourn.
The eager must venture forth, fated to die
and contend every day against their parting
from middle-earth. The Measurer alone knows
from what direction death will come, who departs from this country.
Children multiply, then infant disease takes them—
in this way so many of the race of men come into being,
nor would there be any limit to the children across the earth,
if he who formed this world did not diminish their number.
Foolish is the one who knows not his lord, death often comes unheeded to him.
Wise men bolster up their souls, holding their truth with righteousness.
Blessed is the one who thrives in his homeland, wretched he who his friends betray.
Never must he thrive whose food fails him—he must be bound by need at times.
Happy must be a heart void of evil. A blind man must do without his eyes,
he is deprived of clear vision, nor can they keep watch of the stars above,
the sky-bright sun nor the moon—he is pained in his mind,
anxious when he alone knows it, he does not believe that its return will come.
The Sovereign ordained his torment, who can grant him recovery,
health for his head-gems, if he knows his heart is clean.
A sick man needs a doctor. A man must teach a younger man,
strengthened and urged to know good, until that man has restrained him,
given him food and clothing, until that man leads him into his wits.
Neither must a man chide the child-young, before he can disclose himself—
by this he must prosper among his people, so that he should be bold of resolve.
A man must direct his strong mind. The sea often brings a storm,
the ocean in grim seasons—they begin to be driven furiously
dusky a distance from land, whether or not it stands firmly.
The cliff-walls hold out against them—the winds are against them too.
So the sea will be serene—
when the winds do not rouse them—
so the nations shall be united, when they have come together,
sitting together in harmonious conclave, and when they keep their companionship,
keen men have a powerful nature. The king will be eager for authority—
hateful is he who claims the land, beloved he who offers more.
Majesty must be with pride, bravery with ferocity—
they must both be prompt to make war.
An earl must ride upon a horse’s back, the cavalry must ride forth together,
the infantrymen must stand firmly. It suits a woman to be at her table—
a wandering woman gives rise to words, often a man smears her with stains,
men speak of her slanderously, often her beauty is impaired.
A shameful man must go in the shadows, the light suits a brighter man.
The hand must labor for the head, the hoard must await the treasure—
the kingly throne must stand ready—for when men should distribute gifts.
Greedy is he who is taken by gold, man on the high seat has enough of it—
there must be reward, if we do not wish to lie, for those who show us mercy.
Frost must freeze, and fire burn up wood,
the earth must blossom, the ice build bridges,
water must wear its helmet, locking down wondrously
the sprouts of the earth. The One must unbind
the fetters of frost—the supremely powerful God—
winter must cast down, the weather soon arrives,
summer must be hot in heaven, the waters unquiet.
Deep are the deadly waves—what is hidden shall be longest
the holly must be burned, the heritage of a dead man
must be shared out. Glory is the greatest.
The king must procure his wife with her price,
with cups and rings—both must be first
gracious with gifts. War must be in an earl,
valor increasing, and prospering with a wife—
beloved by their people—they must be light-minded,
holding their secrets, being ample-hearted
with horses and holdings, with the mead as well
for his cherished companions, always and everywhere—
a hedge for his noble friends, greeting them first,
at the start, with a filled vessel to the master’s hand—
offering it straightaway, and giving them counsel
to the hall-owners, both of them together.
A ship must be nailed tight, a shield bound fast,
the light linden boards—a welcome cherished
by the Frisian woman, when the ship is ported—
his boat will have arrived and her husband is home,
her own livelihood, and she leads him inside,
washes his soiled garments and gives him new clothes,
is mild to him on land who his love winds tight.
A woman must keep her pledge with a man,
often a man smears with stains—
many are loyal-minded, many are too curious,
she keeps her peace with a strange man,
when hers has gone far away. A sailor is long on a journey—
yet a man must always look for his dear one,
waiting for who he cannot compel. When the time arrives,
he will come home, if he endures in health, unless the ocean prevents him,
the sea keep the joy of being a husband clutched tight.
A prosperous man then purchases a kingly home
for his men, when he arrives sailing—
making use of wood and water, when he is permitted a home
buying food, if he needs more, before he becomes too weary.
He will become sick who eats too seldom. Although he be led into the sun,
he cannot survive by the weather, even though it may be warm in summer—
he will be overcome before he dies, if he knows not who will sustain his life.
A man must support his strength with food, murder consigned to the earth,
down below the ground, by one endeavoring to conceal their crime—
that will not be a fitting death, when it is kept secret.
The humble must bow down, those inclined must fall—
the righteous grow stronger. Good counsel is the most useful,
evil most unavailing, which seizes the miserable.
Good prevails, and is the company of God.
The mind must be controlled, the hand wielded—
the pupil must be in the eye, wisdom in the breast.
there are the mindful thoughts of that man.
Every mouth needs food, meals must go on time.
Gold is suitable on a man’s sword,
the best for triumphal garb, treasure on a queen,
a good singer is fitting for men, spear-hate for warriors,
keeping the peace of their homes against battle.
A shield must be for the fighter, the shaft for the reaver,
a ring must be for the bride, books for the scholar,
the Host for a holy man, and for the heathens sin.
Woden worked idols, the All-Wielder glory
and a spacious sky—that is a powerful God,
the Truth-King himself, the Savior of Souls,
who forgave us all so that we might live onwards,
and again at the very end, he controls us,
all of mankind. That is the Measurer himself.
A man must speak good counsel, write in runes,
sing poetry, merit praise,
relate judgment—move swiftly by day.
A good man needs a good and tame horse,
known and proven, steel-shod—
no man can acquire too much.
A man must keep his friend well in every way—
often a man passes around a town, where no friend is known.
Friendless, a miserable man will take a wolf for his companions,
a very shifty animal. Very often such friends tear at him—
terror must be for the cowardly, the grave for dead men—
and it moans hungrily, not at all wound up in lamentation,
nor indeed does the grey wolf weep for the dead,
the slaughtering of men, yet it wishes for ever more.
A bandage must be wound, vengeance for harsh men.
The bow must be for the arrow, they shall be like
a close pair together. Treasure becomes others—
a man must give out gold. God can grant
blessed possessions and also take them back.
The hall must tower high, itself enduring the years.
A tree lying flat grows the least.
The trees must grow tall and truth grow firm,
the heart must flush forth within the merciful.
A man is pledge-free and imprudent,
malicious and faithless,
who does not care for God.
The Measurer made much that came to be of old,
ordaining that they exist ever on.
Sagacious words befit every pledge—
songs to minstrels, and wisdom to men.
So many men are upon the earth, so are their ideas—
each of them has its own mind.
He longs the less when he knows a multitude of songs,
or knows how to touch the harp with his hands—
he holds the gift of music that God gave to him.
Wretched is he who must live alone,
abide friendless—events have ordained this for him—
it would be better for him that he had a brother, both of one father,
the heirs of an earl, if a boar must attack them
or a bear bear them down—that is a cruel-pawed beast.
These warriors must always ordain and lead
and sleep together in death —
man may never spread tales,
before death separates them.
Those two must sit about playing at dice,
from there their misery recedes,
forgetting the harshness of the world,
having themselves some fun at the table—
the idle hand is enough for the leisurely
for the dicing of men, when they’re casting stones.
Seldom in the broad boat, unless its running under sail,
will the weary man row against the wind—
very often a man urges on the weak with threats,
he loses his courage—his oar dries on board.
Deceit must stay with depravity,
skill with what is fitting—
when the stolen token is taken.
Often they cast their words away,
before they separate back to back—
a fate-reading man remains ready—
Feuding happened for the kindred
of men, since Abel’s blood
was swallowed at that time by the earth.
Did this happen just once? No—
from the woeful drops there sprung widely
a great bale for much of humankind,
the deadly mixture of hate.
He struck his own dear brother,
Cain, spared by that killing—
Afterwards it was widely known
that perpetual malice injured the human race
So the citizens of this homeland endured
the struggle of weapons wide through the world,
finding and founding the mangling blade.
Ready must be the battle-shield, the shaft for the spear,
the edge on the sword, and the point for the javelin—
the man has a penetrating mind.
Helmets must be for the keen—
and for the abjected spirit
the least extraordinary hoard.