Words for the Traveler
(Verses 1 - 40)

1
Gattir allar,
aþr gangi fram,
vm scoðaz scyli,
vm scygnaz scyli;
þviat ouist er at vita,
hvar ovinir sitia
a fleti fyr.


Through each doorway,
before one goes forth,
he should spy about,
should peer around;
since it is difficult to know,
where enemies
sit were seated in the hall.
 
   21
   Hiarðir þat vito,
   vner þér heim scolo,
   oc ganga þa af grasi;
   enn osviþr maþr
   kann evagi
   sins vm mals maga.


The herds know
when they must be home
and leave the grazing ground;
but the foolish man
never knows
the measure of his stomach.

2
Gefendr heilir!
gestr er inn kominn,
hvar scal sitia sia?
miok er braðr
sa er a bra/ndom scal
sins vm freista frama.


Greetings to the host!
a guest has come inside,
where shall he sit?
he is quite hasty
who shall in the firewood
test his luck.
   22
   Vesall maþr
   oc illa scapi
   hler at hvivetna;
   hitki hann veit,
   er hann vita þyrpti,
   at hann era vamma vanr.

The wretched man
of bad character
laughs at all kinds of things.
but he doesn't know
which he best to know,
that he is not lacking in faults.

3
Eldz er þa/rf
þeims inn er kominn
oc a kne kalinn;
matar oc vaða
er manne þa/rf
þeim er hefir vm fiall fariþ


There is need of fire
for him who is come in
with cold knees;
of food and clothes
there is need
who has fared over the rimy fell.
 
   23
   Osviþr maþr
   vakir vm allar netr
   oc hyggr at hvivetna;
   þa er móþr
   er at morgni komr,
   alt er vil sem var.


The foolish man
is awake all night
and frets over all things;
when morning comes,
his mind is weary
and all trouble is as it was.

4
Vatz er þa/rf
þeim er til verþar komr,
þerro oc þioðlaþar,
goþs vm oþis,
ef ser geta metti,
orþz oc endrþa/go.


There is need of water
to him who comes to the meal,
of a towel and of invitation,
of good disposition,
if he can get it for himself,
of conversation and of silence.
 
   24
   Osnotr maþr
   hyggr ser alla vera
   viðhloiendr vini;
   hitki hann fiþr,
   þot þeir vm hann fár lesi,
   ef hann meþ snotrom sitr.


The foolish man
thinks them all to be friends,
who laugh with him;
he does not notice,
even that they speak ill,
when he sits among wiser men.

5
Vitz er þa/rf
þeim er viþa ratar,
dolt er heima hvat;
at a/gabragði verþr
sa er ecci kann
oc meþ snotrom sitr.


There is need of sense
for the one who travels widely;
everything is easy at home.
He becomes a mockery,
who knows nothing,
and yet sits with wise men.
 
   25
   Osnotr maþr
   hyggr ser alla vera
   viðhloiendr vini;
   þa þat finnr,
   er at þingi komr,
   at hann a formelendr fá.


The foolish man
thinks them all to be friends,
who laugh with him;
then he finds
when he comes to the moot,
that he has few supporters.

6
At hyggiandi sinni
scylit maþr hrosinn vera,
heldr getinn at geði.
Þa er horscr oc þa/gull
komr heimisgarda til,
sialdan verþr víti vorom;
þviat obrigdra vin
for maþr aldregi,
enn manvit micit.


Of his mind,
a man must not be boastful
but wary in disposition;
when he, wise and silent,
comes to the homestead,
misfortune rarely befalls the wary,
because a more reliable guide
man can never have
than great common sense.
 
   26
   Osnotr maþr
   þicciz alt vita,
   ef hann a ser i va vero;
   hitki hann veit,
   hvat hann scal við qveþa,
   ef hans freista firar.


The foolish man
thinks he knows everything
while he sits in his sheltered nook;
but he does not know
how he must reply,
if men were test him.

7
Enn vari gestr,
er til verþar komr,
þvnno hlioþi þegir,
eyrom hlydir,
enn a/gom scodar;
sva nysiz froþra hverr fyr.


The wary guest
who comes for a meal
is silent with strained hearing,
listens with his ears
and examines with his eyes;
so each of the wise examines themselves.
 
   27
   Osnotr maþr
   er meþ aldir komr,
   þat er bazt at hann þegi;
   engi þat veít,
   at hann ecci kann,
   nema hann meli til mart;
   ueita maþr
   hinn er vetki ueit,
   þott hann meli til mart.


For foolish man
who comes among men,
it is best that be he silent.
so none may know
that he knows nothing,
unless he speaks too much.
The man who knows nothing
does not know it,
when he speaks too much.

8
Hinn er sell,
er sér um getr
lof oc lícnstafi;
odolla er við þat,
er maþr eiga scal
annars briostvm i.



He is fortunate
who has within himself
praise and esteem;
it is harder to deal with that
which a man must own
in the heart of another.

 
   28
   Froðr sa þycciz
   er fregna kann
   oc segia it sama;
   eyvito leyna
   mego yta seynir
   þvi er gengr vm gvma.


He seems wise,
he who knows how to ask
and to answer back;
They can conceal nothing,
the sons of men,
of what is said about them.

9
Sa er sell,
er sialfr vm a
lof oc uit, meþan lifir;
þviat ill rað
hefir maþr opt þegit
annars briostom or.


He is blessed
who has within himself
praise and sense while he lives,
because ill-counsel
many men have often received
from the dark heart of another.
 
   29
   Orna melir
   sa er eva þegir
   stadla/so stafi;
   hraðmelt tvnga,
   nema haldendr eigi,
   opt ser ogott vm gelr.


He who speaks plenty
is never silent
meaningless words;
the fast-talking tongue,
unless it has control,
often sings itself harm.

10
Byrþi betri
berrat maþr bra/to at,
enn se manuit micit;
a/ði betra
þiccir þat i okvnnom stað,
slict er valaþs vera.


A man does not bear
a better burden on the road
than great commonsense;
it is a great wealth
in an unknown place,
such is the refuge of the needy.
 
   30
   At a/gabragði
   scala maþr annan hafa,
   þott til kynniss komi;
   margr þa froþr þicciz,
   ef hann freginn erat
   oc nai hann þvrrfiallr
   þrvma.


A mockery
a man must not make of another
when he comes to visit friends;
many a man seems wise
if he is not questioned
and manages to sit quietly,
unscathed.

11
Byrdi betri
berrat maþr bra/to at,
enn se manuit micit;
vegnest verra
vegra hann velli at,
enn se ofdryccia a/ls.


Better gear
no man can bear on a journey
than great commonsense;
and he can take no worse provision
in the open field than
the deep drink of ale.
 
   31
   Fróðr þicciz
   sa er flotta tecr
   gestr at gest heðinn;
   veita gorla
   sa er vm verði glissir,
   þott hann meþ gra/mom glami.


He seems wise,
the guest that stays his wrath
from the those who taunt him;
for none can know
when he who mocks over a meal,
if he talks loudly among enemies.

12
Era sva gott,
sem gott qveþa,
a/l alda sona;
þviat fora veít,
er fleira dreccr,
sins til geds gvmi.


Ale is not as good
as it is said to be
for the sons of men;
because the man knows less,
about his own mind
the more he drinks.
 
   32
   Gvmnar margir
   erosc gagnhollir,
   enn at virþi recaz;
   aldar róg
   þat mvn e vera,
   orir gestr viþ gest.


Many men
are very friendly with each other
and yet fight at the table;
strife among men
will always be:
when guest is hostile to guest.

13
Ominnis hegri heitir
sa er yfir a/lþrom þrvmir,
hann stelr geði gvma;
þess fvgls fia/drom
ec fiotraþr varc
i garði Gvnnlaþar.


He is called the heron of forgetfulness,
he who hovers over ale-parties;
he steals the disposition of men.
By the feathers of this bird
I was fettered,
as a guest in the courts of Gunnlöth.
 
   33
   Arliga verþar
   scyli maþr opt fá,
   nema til kynnis komi;
   sitr oc snópir,
   letr sem solginn se
   oc kann fregna at fa.


A early meal
a man should take
when he goes to visit friends;
least he sit and mope hungrily,
as if he's famished,
and can neither ask nor answer.

14
Avlr ec varð,
varþ ofrolvi
at ins froða Fialars;
þvi er a/lðr baztr,
at aptr vf heimtir
hverr sitt geð gvmi.


I got drunk,
I mean really drunk,
at Fjalarr the Wise's;
an ale feast is best
when each man
recovers his mind.
 
   34
   Afhvarf micit
   er til illz vinar,
   þott a bra/to bvi;
   enn til goðs vinar
   liggia gagnvegir,
   þot hann se firr farinn.


The path winds on
to a false friend,
though he dwell by the road;
but the path to a good friend
is straight and quick,
though he may live far away.

15
Þagalt oc hvgalt
scyli þioðans barn
oc vigdiarft vera;
glaþr oc reifr
scyli gvmna hverr,
vnnz sinn biþr bana.


The son of a prince,
is silent and thoughtful
and brave in battle;
It befits a man to be
happy and cheerful
until the day of his death.
 
   35
   Ganga scal,
   scala gestr vera
   ey í einom stað;
   livfr verþr leiþr,
   ef lengi sitr
   annars fletiom á.


The guest must go,
he must not be
always in the same place;
loved becomes loathed
if he stays a long time
in the hall of another.

16
Ósniallr maþr
hyggz mvno ey lifa,
ef hann viþ uíg varaz;
enn elli gefr
hanom engi friþ,
þott hanom geirar gefi.


The foolish man
thinks he will live forever
if he avoids battle;
but old age gives
him no peace,
though spears have spared his limbs.
 
   36
   Bv er betra,
   þott litit se,
   halr er heima hverr;
   þott tver geitr eigi
   oc ta/greptan sal,
   þat er þo betra en bon.


Ones house is best,
though it be small;
each man is a free man at home;
though he own but two goats
and a hall roofed thatched with bark,
such is still better than begging.

17
Kópir afglapi,
er til kynniss komr,
þylsc hann vm eþa þrvmir;
alt er senn,
ef hann sylg um getr,
vppi er þa geþ gvma.


The fool stares
when he goes to visit a friend;
he mumbles to himself or hovers.
But if he gets a drink:
all at once
his mind is revealed.
 
   37
   Bv er betra,
   þott litit se,
   halr er heima hverr;
   bloðvgt er hiarta
   þeim er biðia scal
   ser i mál hvert matar.


Ones house is best,
though it be small;
each man is a free man at home;
he has a bloody heart,
he who must beg
food for himself every meal.

18
Sa einn veit,
er viða ratar
oc hefir fiolþ vm fariþ,
hverio geði styrir
gvmna hverr,
sa er vitandi er vitz.


He alone knows,
he who wanders widely
and has traveled much,
what manner of mind
each man possesses.
and who has commonsense.
 
   38
   Vapnom sinom
   scala maþr velli á
   feti ganga framarr;
   þviat ovíst er at vita,
   ner verþr a vegom vti
   geirs vm þa/rf gvma.


From his weapons
a man in the open wilderness must not
go more than one step
because one can't be sure
when, outside on the roads,
a spear will be needed by a warrior.

19
Haldit maþr a keri,
drecki þo at hófi mia/ð,
meli þarft eða þegi;
okynnis þess
vár þic engi maþr,
at þv gangir snemma at sofa.


Do not let a man grasp the goblet,
but let him drink mead in moderation,
let him talk sense or be silent.
No man believes
it bad manners,
if you go to sleep early.
 
   39
   Fanca ec mildan mann
   eþa sva matar goðan,
   at ei veri þiggia þegit,
   eþa sins fiar
   svagi [gia/flan],
   at leiþ se lá/n, ef þegi.


I have not found a man so generous
as to not accept
a gift in return for a gift,
or with his money so free
that it pains him
to be repaid.

20
Graþvgr halr,
nema geðs viti,
etr ser aldrtrega;
opt fer hlegis,
er meþ horscom komr,
manni heimscom magi.


A greedy man,
unless he is mindful,
brings sorrow upon himself;
The fools belly will bring him scorn,
when he comes to sit
among the wise.
 
   40
   Fiár sins,
   er fengit hefr,
   scylit maþr þa/rf þola;
   opt sparir leidom
   þaz hefir livfom hvgat,
   mart gengr verr enn varir.


A man's money;
that he has gained
ensures that he not endure want,
but often he saves for enemies
what he has intended for friends;
and things go worse than expected.

Verses  1 - 40      41 - 79      80 - 89      90 - 95       96 - 102      103 - 110      111 - 137      138 - 143      144 - 164
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