FREYA

The songs I know    that king’s wives know not,
Nor men that are sons of me;
The first is called help,    and help it can bring thee
In sorrow and pain and sickness.
A second I know,    that men shall need
Who leechcraft long to use.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
A third I know,     if great is my need
Of fetters to hold my foe;
Blunt do I make    mine enemy’s blade,
Nor bites his sword or staff.
A fourth I know,    if men shall fasten
Bonds to my bended legs;
So great is the charm    that forth I may go,
The fetters spring from my feet,
Broken the bonds from my hands.
A fifth I know,    if I see from afar
An arrow fly ‘gainst the folk;
If flies not so swift    that I stop it not,
If ever my eyes behold it.
A sixth I know,    if harm one seeks
With a sapling’s roots to send me;
The hero himself    who wreaks his hate
Shall taste the ill ere I.
A seventh I know,    if I see in flames
The hall o’er my comrades’ heads;
It burns not so wide    that I will not quench it,
I know that song to sing.
An eighth I know,    that is to all
Of greatest good to learn;
When hatred grows    among heroes’ sons,
I soon can set it right.
A ninth I know,    if need there comes
To shelter my ship on the flood;
The wind I calm    upon the waves,
And the sea I put to sleep.
A tenth I know,    what time I see
House-riders flying on high;
So can I work    that wildly they go,
Showing their true shapes,
Hence to their own homes.
An eleventh I know,    if needs I must lead
To the fight my long-loved friends;
I sing in the shields,     and in strength they go
Whole to the field of fight,
Whole from the field of fight,
And whole they come thence home.
A twelfth I know,    if high on a tree
I see a hanged man swing;
So do I write    and colour the runes
That forth he fares,
And to me talks.
A thirteenth I know,    if a thane full young
With water I sprinkle well;
He shall not fall,    though he fares mid the host,
Nor sink beneath the swords.
A fourteenth I know,    if fain I would name
To men the mighty gods;
All know I well    of the gods and elves,–
Few be the fools know this.
A fifteenth I know,    that before the doors
Of Delling sang Thjothrorir the dwarf;
Might he sang for the gods,    and glory for elves,
And wisdom for Hroptatyr wise.
A sixteenth I know,    if I seek delight
To win from a maiden wise;
The mind I turn    of the white-armed maid,
And thus change all her thoughts.
A seventeenth I know,    so that seldom shall go
A maiden young from me;
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
An eighteenth I know,    that ne’er will I tell
To maiden or wife of man,–
The best is what none    but one’s self doth know,
So comes the end of the songs,–
Save only to her    in whose arms I lie,
Or else my sister is.
Images:
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~ by meanderingsofthemuse on June 16, 2011.

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