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Something interesting in the Eddas

Discussion of folklore and myths.

Something interesting in the Eddas

Postby JuniperBerry » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:38 pm

From Bellows translation, here are stanzas 1 and 2, in the way they are meant to be read:

1. Hearing I ask | from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons, | both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate
Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

2. I remember yet | the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread | in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the tree
With mighty roots | beneath the mold.


But look at this (bolded portion):

1. Hearing I ask | from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons, | both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate
Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

2. I remember yet | the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread | in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the tree
With mighty roots | beneath the mold.

Or reversed:

1. Hearing I ask | from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons, | both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate
Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

2. I remember yet | the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread | in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the tree
With mighty roots | beneath the mold.


Now this:

1. Hearing I ask | from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons, | both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate
Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

2. I remember yet | the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread | in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the tree
With mighty roots | beneath the mold.

And:

1. Hearing I ask | from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons, | both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate
Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

2. I remember yet | the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread | in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the tree
With mighty roots | beneath the mold.

Or:

1. Hearing I ask |
From Heimdall's sons, |
Thou wilt, Valfather, |
Old tales I remember |

1.| from the holy races,
| both high and low;
| that well I relate
| of men long ago.



2. I remember yet |,
Who gave me bread |
Nine worlds I knew, |
With mighty roots |

2. | the giants of yore,
| in the days gone by;
| the nine in the tree
| beneath the mold.


And it goes on and on like this. I don't know, I just find it interesting that no matter how it's pieced together it still makes sense and it still tells the same story. I mean, it must have been some poetic genius, right? Or am I over-thinking it?
The Gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that. A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson



As believers in the folk-religion we are studying, we seek after mysteries that expand the scope of our gods and our understanding of them, not reductionist theories that reduce them to manageable and socially productive "functions".

-Our Troth
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Re: Something interesting in the Eddas

Postby Traumwandlerin » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:18 pm

That's probably why poets were also magicians those days. People put a lot of effort in it. It was their life. I'm pretty sure this was intended. I'm astonished that this works in the translation as well, because people might have not looked at this aspect while translating.
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Re: Something interesting in the Eddas

Postby JuniperBerry » Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:44 pm

Yes, poetry was very important to the gods and Teutonic people. The myth goes that after the Aesir-Vanir war, both tribes mixed their spit in a vessel. From this spit Kvasir was born and he was the personficiation of divine wisdom. He was killed and his blood mixed into mead, which became the mead of wisdom/poetry that Odin stole.

It's also been said that poetry was how the most important messages were relayed. There's a very specific rhythm and beat to the poems, which make for better memorization and expression. So...I'm really curious if there's anything important to the styling I see in the stanza's. You say it's on purpose. Why do you think so?


Thorpe translated the Edda's before Bellows and I wouldn't say it's the greatest version. In my opinion, he didn't take as much care in preserving the verse-form.



Here's the original Icelandic text:

Hljóðs bið ek allar .... helgar kindir,
meiri ok minni .... mögu Heimdallar.
Viltu at ek, Valföðr, .... vel fyr telja
forn spjöll fira, .... pau er fremst um man.



Bellows acknowledges those breaks and constructs his translation in much the same sense. Here's a translation of the text above by Chilsom that doesn't:

1.
I bid a hearing from all holy wights,
the greater and lesser of Heimdall’s children.
It is your wish, Valfather, that I speak
the old spells of the world, the earliest I can recall.

And of course, Bellows from above:

1. Hearing I ask | from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons, | both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate
Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

I can see though that the syntax has been adjusted for the english speaker, since in sz. 1 l.2 of the original, Heimdallar is mentioned in the last beat rather than the first. So I'm probably making a big deal out of nothing. :D
The Gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that. A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson



As believers in the folk-religion we are studying, we seek after mysteries that expand the scope of our gods and our understanding of them, not reductionist theories that reduce them to manageable and socially productive "functions".

-Our Troth
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JuniperBerry
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