samedi 18 octobre 2014

Havamal


Havamal
(The Sayings of Hár)
The numbers are in reference to stanzas in Hollander Translation
1
The man who stands at a strange threshold,
Should be cautious before he cross it,
Glance this way and that:
Who knows beforehand what foes may sit
Awaiting him in the hall?
2
Greetings to the host,
The guest has arrived,
In which seat shall he sit?
Rash is he who at unknown doors
Relies on his good luck,
3
Fire is needed by the newcomer
Whose knees are frozen numb;
Meat and clean linen a man needs
Who has fared across the fells,
4
Water, too, that he may wash before eating,
Handcloth's and a hearty welcome,
Courteous words, then courteous silence
That he may tell his tale,
5
Who travels widely needs his wits about him,
The stupid should stay at home:
The ignorant man is often laughed at
When he sits at meat with the sage,
6
Of his knowledge a man should never boast,
Rather be sparing of speech
When to his house a wiser comes:
Seldom do those who are silent Make mistakes;
mother wit Is ever a faithful friend,
7
A guest should be courteous
When he comes to the table
And sit in wary silence,
His ears attentive,
his eyes alert:
So he protects himself,
8
Fortunate is he who is favored in his lifetime
With praise and words of wisdom:
Evil counsel is often given
By those of evil heart,
9
Blessed is he who in his own lifetime
Is awarded praise and wit,
For ill counsel is often given
By mortal men to each other,
10
Better gear than good sense
A traveler cannot carry,
Better than riches for a wretched man,
Far from his own home,
11
Better gear than good sense
A traveler cannot carry,
A more tedious burden than too much drink
A traveler cannot carry,
12
Less good than belief would have it
Is mead for the sons of men:
A man knows less the more he drinks,
Becomes a befuddled fool,
13
I forget is the name men give the heron
Who hovers over the fast:
Fettered I was in his feathers that night,
When a guest in Gunnlod's court
14
Drunk I got, dead drunk,
When Fjalar the wise was with me:
Best is the banquet one looks back on after,
And remembers all that happened,
15
Silence becomes the Son of a prince,
To be silent but brave in battle:
It befits a man to be merry and glad
Until the day of his death,
16
The coward believes he will live forever
If he holds back in the battle,
But in old age he shall have no peace
Though spears have spared his limbs
17
When he meets friends, the fool gapes,
Is shy and sheepish at first,
Then he sips his mead and immediately
All know what an oaf he is,
18
He who has seen and suffered much,
And knows the ways of the world,
Who has traveled', can tell what spirit
Governs the men he meets,
19
Drink your mead, but in moderation,
Talk sense or be silent:
No man is called discourteous who goes
To bed at an early hour
20
A gluttonous man who guzzles away
Brings sorrow on himself:
At the table of the wise he is taunted often,
Mocked for his bloated belly,
21
The herd knows its homing time,
And leaves the grazing ground:
But the glutton never knows how much
His belly is able to hold,
22
An ill tempered, unhappy man
Ridicules all he hears,
Makes fun of others, refusing always
To see the faults in himself
23
Foolish is he who frets at night,
And lies awake to worry'
A weary man when morning comes,
He finds all as bad as before,
24
The fool thinks that those who laugh
At him are all his friends,
Unaware when he sits with wiser men
How ill they speak of him.
25
The fool thinks that those who laugh
At him are all his friends:
When he comes to the Thing and calls for support,
Few spokesmen he finds
26
The fool who fancies he is full of wisdom
While he sits by his hearth at home.
Quickly finds when questioned by others .
That he knows nothing at all.
27
The ignorant booby had best be silent
When he moves among other men,
No one will know what a nit-wit he is
Until he begins to talk;
No one knows less what a nit-wit he is
Than the man who talks too much.
28
To ask well, to answer rightly,
Are the marks of a wise man:
Men must speak of men's deeds,
What happens may not be hidden.
29
Wise is he not who is never silent,
Mouthing meaningless words:
A glib tongue that goes on chattering
Sings to its own harm.
30
A man among friends should not mock another:
Many believe the man
Who is not questioned to know much
And so he escapes their scorn.
31
The wise guest has his way of dealing
With those who taunt him at table:
He smiles through the meal,
not seeming to hear
The twaddle talked by his foes
32
The fastest friends may fall out
When they sit at the banquet-board:
It is, and shall be, a shameful thing
When guest quarrels with guest,
33
An early meal a man should take
Before he visits friends,
Lest, when he gets there,
he go hungry,
Afraid to ask for food.
34
To a false friend the footpath winds
Though his house be on the highway.
To a sure friend there is a short cut,
Though he live a long way off.
35
The tactful guest will take his leave Early,
not linger long:
He starts to stink who outstays his welcome
In a hall that is not his own.
36
A small hut of one's own is better,
A man is his master at home:
A couple of goats and a corded roof
Still are better than begging.
37
A small hut of one's own is better,
A man is his master at home:
His heart bleeds in the beggar who must
Ask at each meal for meat.
38
A wayfarer should not walk unarmed,
But have his weapons to hand:
He knows not when he may need a spear,
Or what menace meet on the road.
39
No man is so generous he will jib at accepting
A gift in return for a gift,
No man so rich that it really gives him
Pain to be repaid.
40
Once he has won wealth enough,
A man should not crave for more:
What he saves for friends, foes may take;
Hopes are often liars.
41
With presents friends should please each other,
With a shield or a costly coat:
Mutual giving makes for friendship
So long as life goes well,
42
A man should be loyal through life to friends,
And return gift for gift,
Laugh when they laugh,
but with lies repay
A false foe who lies.
43
A man should be loyal through life to friends,
To them and to friends of theirs,
But never shall a man make offer
Of friendship to his foes.
44
If you find a friend you fully trust
And wish for his good-will,
exchange thoughts,
exchange gifts,
Go often to his house.
45
If you deal with another you don't trust
But wish for his good-will,
Be fair in speech but false in thought
And give him lie for lie.
46
Even with one you ill-trust
And doubt what he means to do,
False words with fair smiles
May get you the gift you desire.
47
Young and alone on a long road,
Once I lost my way:
Rich I felt when I found a another;
Man rejoices in man.
48
The generous and bold have the best lives,
Are seldom beset by cares,
But the base man sees bogies everywhere
And the miser pines for presents.
49
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
50
The young fir that falls and rots
Having neither needles nor bark,
So is the fate of the friendless man:
Why should he live long?

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