Asatru proverbs: Odin’s Sayings

The following are selections from a portion of the Elder Edda, called Havamal…the words of the High One (Odin).  These are proverbs of Asatru.  (Trans. by W.H. Auden and Paul B. Taylor)

Praise be to Odin!

Young and alone on a long road.

Once I lost my way:

Rich I felt when I found another;

Man rejoices in man.

A kind word need not cost much,

The price of praise can be cheap;

With half a loaf and an empty cup

I found myself a friend.

Two wooden stakes stood on the plain,

On them I hung my clothes:

Draped in linen, they looked well-born,

But naked, I was a nobody.

Better gear than good sense

A traveller cannot carry,

Better than riches for a wretched man,

Far from his own home.

Better gear than good sense

A traveller cannot carry,

A more tedious burden than too much drink,

A traveller cannot carry.

Drink your mead, but in moderation,

Talk sense or be silent:

No man is called discourteous who goes

To bed at an early hour.

The herd knows its homing time,

And leaves the grazing ground:

But the glutton never knows how much

His belly is able to hold.

Foolish is he who frets a night,

And lies awake to worry:

A weary man when morning comes,

He finds all as bad as before.

The coward believes he will live forever,

If he holds back in the battle,

But in old age he will have no peace,

Though spears have spared his limbs.

Cattle die, kindred die,

Every man is mortal:

But the good name never dies

Of one who has done well.

It is best for a man to be middle wise,

Not over cunning or clever;

No man is able to know his future

So let him sleep in peace.

His prey escapes the prone wolf,

The sleeper is seldom victorious.

For these things give thanks at nightfall:

The day gone, a guttered torch,

A sword tested, the troth of a maid,

Ice crossed, ale drunk.

Trust not an acre early sown,

Nor praise a son too soon:

Weather rules the acre, wit the son,

Both are exposed to peril.

The best man is marred by faults,

The worst is not without worth.

The mind alone knows what is near the heart,

Each is his own judge.

The worst sickness for a wise man

Is to crave what he cannot enjoy.

Wealth may vanish in the wink of an  eye,

Gold is the falsest of friends.

It is safe to tell a secret to one,

Risky to tell it to two,

To tell it to three is thoughtless folly,

Everyone else will know.

Not all men are utterly wretched:

Some are blessed with sons,

Some with friends, some with riches,

Some with worthy works.

The halt can manage a horse,  the handless a flock,

The deaf be a doughty fighter,

To be blind is better than to burn on a pyre:

There is nothing the dead can do.

Never reproach another for his love:

It happens often enough

That beauty ensnares with desire the wise

While the foolish remain unmoved.

These things are thought the best:

Fire, the sight of the sun,

Good-health with the gift to keep it,

And a life that avoids vice.

Published on March 22, 2009 at 8:25 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Excellent article, thanks!

  2. Thanks for that awesome posting. It saved MUCH time 🙂

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