Poetic Edda/Rígsþula

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Poetic Edda
unknown, translated by Benjamin Thorpe
Rígsþula
Benjamin Thorpe, trans. "The Lay of Rig". The Elder Edda of Saemund Sigfusson and the Younger Edda of Snorre Sturleson. Eds. Rasmus B. Anderson and James W. Buel. London: Norrœna Society. 1907. pp. 78-83. http://books.google.com/books?id=s_kqAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA78


In ancient sagas it is related that one of the esir named Heimdall, being on a journey to a certain sea shore, came to a village, where he called himself Rig. In accordance with this saga is the following:

1. In ancient days, they say,
along the green ways,
went the powerful
sagacious As,
strong and active
Rig onward.

2. To a dwelling he came,
the door stood ajar.
He went in,
fire was on the floor,
the man and wife
sat there,
hoary-haired,
by the hearth,
Ai and Edda,
in old guise clad.

3. Rig would counsel
give to them both,
and himself seated
in the middle seat,
having on either side
the do mestic pair.

4. Then Edda from the ashes
took a loaf,
heavy and thick,
and with bran mixed;
more besides she laid
on the middle of the board;
there in a bowl was broth
on the table set,
there was a calf boiled,
of cates most excellent.

5. Rig knew well
wise words to speak,
thence did he rise,
made ready to sleep;
soon in the bed
himself did he lay,
and on either side
the others were.

6. Thus was he there
for three nights long,
then forward he went
on the midmost way,
and so nine months
were soon passed by.

7. Edda a child brought forth:
they with water sprinkled,
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -
its swarthy skin,
and named it Thrall.

8. It grew up,
and well it throve;
of its hands the skin
was shriveled,
the knuckles knotty,
- - - - - - - - -,
and the fingers thick;
a hideous countenance it had,
a curved back,
and protruding heels.

9. He then began
his strength to prove,
bast to' bind,
make of it loads;
then rice carried home,
the livelong day.

10. Then to the dwelling
came a woman walking,
scarred were her foot-soles,
her arms sunburnt,
her nose compressed,
her name was Tir.

11. In the middle seat
herself she placed;
by her sat
the house's son.
They spoke and whispered,
prepared a bed,
Thrall and Tir,
and days of care.

12. Children they begat,
and lived content:
Their names, I think, were
Hreimr and Fiosnir,
Klurr and Kleggi,
Kefsir, Fulnir,
Drumb, Digralde,
Drott and Hosve,
Lútr and Leggialldi.
Fences they erected,
fields manured,
tended swine,
goats they tended,
and turf they dug.

13. The daughters were
Drumba and Kumba,
Ockvinkalfa,
and Arinnefia,
Ysia and Ambatt,
Eikintiasna,
Totrughypia,
and Tranebeina,
whence are sprung
the kin of laber.

14. Rig then went on,
in a direct course,
and came to a house;
the door stood ajar:
he went in;
fire was on the floor,
man and wife sat there
engaged at work.

15. The man was planing
wood for a weaver's beam;
his beard was trimmed,
a lock was on his forehead,
his shirt close;
his chest stood on the floor.

16. His wife sat by,
plied her rock,
with outstretched arms,
prepared for clothing.
A hood was on her head,
a loose sark over her breast,
a kerchief round her neck,
studs on her shoulders.
Afi and Amma
owned the house.

17. Rig would counsel
give to them both;
[- - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -].

18. [Then took Amma]
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -].

19. [Rig would counsel
give to them both];
rose from the table,
prepared to sleep;
laid him down
in the middle of the bed,
the domestic pair
lay one on either side.

20. There he continued
three nights together.
[- - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -].
Nine months then
passed away.

21. Amma a child brought forth,
they with water sprinkled it,
and called it Karl.
The mother in linen
swathed the ruddy redhead:
its eyes twinkled.

22. It grew up,
and well throve;
learned to' tame oxen,
make a plough,
houses build,
and barns construct,
make carts,
and the plough drive.

23. Then they home conveyed
a lass with pendent keys,
and goatskin kirtle;
married her to Karl.
Snor was her name,
under a veil she sat.
The couple dwelt together,
rings exchanged,
spread couches,
and a house hold formed.

24. Children they begat,
and lived content.
named Halr and Drengr,
Haulldr, Tekn and Smith,
Breidr, Bondi,
Bundinskeggi,
Bui and Boddi,
Brattskeggr and Seggr.

25. But [the daughters] were thus called,
by other names:
Snot, Brudr, Svanni,
Svarri, Sprakki,
Fljod, Sprund and Vif,
Feima, Ristill;
whence are sprung
the kin of farmers.

26. Rig then went thence,
in a direct course,
and came to a hall:
the entrance looked southward,
the door was half closed,
a ring was on the door-post.

27. He went in;
the floor was strewed,
a couple
sat facing each other,
Father and Mother,
with fingers playing.

28. The husband sat,
and twisted string,
bent his bow,
and arrow-shafts prepared;
but the housewife
looked on her arms,
smoothed her veil,
and her sleeves fastened;

29. Her head-gear adjusted.
A clasp was on her breast;
ample her robe,
her sark was blue;
brighter was her brow,
her breast fairer,
her neck whiter
than driven snow.

30. Rig would counsel
give to them both,
and him self seated
on the middle seat,
having on either side
the domestic pair.

31. Then took Mother
a figured cloth
of white linen,
and the table decked.
She then took
thin cakes
of snow-white wheat,
and on the table laid.

32. She set forth
salvers full,
adorned with silver,
. . . . on the table
game and pork,
and roasted birds.
In a can was wine;
the cups were ornamented.
They drank and talked;
the day was fast departing,

33. Rig would counsel
give to them both.
Rig then rose,
the bed prepared;
there he then remained
three nights together,
then departed
on the mid way.
Nine months after
that passed away.

34. Mother then brought forth a boy:
in silk they wrapped him,
with water sprinkled him,
and named him Iarl.
Light was his hair,
bright his cheeks,
his eyes piercing
as a young serpent's.

35. There at home
Iarl grew up,
learned the shield to shake,
to fix the string,
the bow to bend,
arrows to shaft,
javelins to hurl,
spears to brandish,
horses to ride,
dogs to let slip,
swords to draw,
swimming to practise.

36. Thither from the forest came
Rig walking,
Rig walking:
runes he taught him,
his own name gave him,
and his own son declared him,
whom he bade possess
his alodial fields,
his alodial fields,
his ancient dwellings.

37. Iarl then rode thence,
through a murky way,
over humid fells,
till to a hall he came.
His spear he brandished,
his shield he shook,
made his horse curvet,
and his falchion drew,
strife began to raise,
the field to redden,
carnage to make;
and conquer lands.

38. Then he ruled alone
over eighteen vills,
riches distributed,
gave to all treasures
and precious things;
lank-sided horses,
rings he dispersed,
and collars cut in pieces.

39. The nobles drove
through humid ways,
came to a hall,
where Hersir dwelt;
there they found
a slender maiden,
fair and elegant,
Erna her name.

40. They demanded her,
and conveyed her home,
to Iarl espoused her;
she under the linen went.
They together lived,
and well throve,
had offspring,
and old age enjoyed.

41. Burr was their eldest,
then Barn second,
Iod and Adal,
Arfi, Mogr,
Nidr and Nidiungr
- names are playing -
Sonr and Sveinn,
swam and at tables played,
one was named Kundr,
Konr was youngest.

42. There grew up
Iarl's progeny;
horses they broke,
curved shields,
cut arrows,
brandished spears.

43. But the young Konr
understood runes,
honour-runes,
and family-runes;
he moreover knew
men to preserve,
edges to deaden,
the sea to calm.

44. Bird-chatter learned he,
flames could he lessen,
minds could quiet,
and sorrows calm;
He of eight men
had the strength and energy.

45. He with Rig Iarl
in runes contended,
more crafty he was,
and greater his wisdom;
the right he sought,
and soon he won it,
Rig to be called,
and skilled in runes.

46. The young Konr
rode through swamps and forests,
hurled forth darts,
and tamed birds.

47. Then sang the crow,
sitting lonely on a bough!
«Why are you, young Konr,
hunting the birds?
rather shouldst thou,
on horses ride
[- - - - - - - - -]
and armies overcome.

48. Danr and Danpr
halls more costly had,
nobler paternal seats,
than ye have.
They well knew
how the keel to ride,
the edge to prove,
wounds to inflict.»