Poetic Edda and Yggdrasil


Lays of the Gods

  1. Soul they had not, | sense they had not,
    Heat nor motion, | nor goodly hue;
    Soul gave Othin, | sense gave Hönir,
    Heat gave Lothur | and goodly hue.
  2. An ash I know, | Yggdrasil its name,
    With water white | is the great tree wet;
    Thence come the dews | that fall in the dales,
    Green by Urth’s well | does it ever grow.
  3. Thence come the maidens | mighty in wisdom,
    Three from the dwelling | down ‘neath the tree;
    Urth is one named, | Verthandi the next,–
    On the wood they scored,– | and Skuld the third.
    Laws they made there, and life allotted
    To the sons of men, and set their fates.


The Ballad of the High One


  1. I ween that I hung | on the windy tree,

Hung there for nights full nine;

With the spear I was wounded, | and offered I was

To Othin, myself to myself,

On the tree that none | may ever know

What root beneath it runs.


  1. None made me happy | with loaf or horn,

And there below I looked;

I took up the runes, | shrieking I took them,

And forthwith back I fell.


  1. Nine mighty songs | I got from the son

Of Bolthorn, Bestla’s father;

And a drink I got | of the goodly mead

Poured out from Othrörir.


  1. Then began I to thrive, | and wisdom to get,

I grew and well I was;

Each word led me on | to another word,

Each deed to another deed.


  1. Runes shalt thou find, | and fateful signs,

That the king of singers colored,

And the mighty gods have made;

Full strong the signs, | full mighty the signs

That the ruler of gods doth write.


  1. Othin for the gods, | Dain for the elves,

And Dvalin for the dwarfs,

Alsvith for giants | and all mankind,

And some myself I wrote.