SAYINGS FROM THE HAVAMAL

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Danish seamen, painted mid-twelfth century. Th...

Danish seamen, painted mid-twelfth century. The Viking Age saw Norseman explore, raid, conquer and trade through wide areas of the West. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moderately wise
a man should be
not too crafty or clever.
A learned man’s heart
whose learning is deep
seldom sings with joy.

The unwise man
is awake all night
worries over and again.
When morning rises
he is restless still,
his burden as before.

It is fortunate
to be favored
with praise and popularity.
It is dire luck
to be dependent
on the feelings of your fellow man.

A guest needs
Giving water
Fine towels and friendliness.
A cheerful word
A chance to speak
Kindness and concern.

The cautious guest
Who comes to the table
Speaks sparingly.
Listens with ears
Learns with eyes.
Such is the seeker of knowledge.

Ale
Has too often
Been praised by poets.
The longer you drink
The less sense
Your mind makes of things.

At a feast
The fool chatters
Or he stares and stammers.
Just as soon as
His jug is full
Ale unviels his mind.

Wake early
if you want
another man’s life or land.
No lamb
for the lazy wolf.
No battle’s won in bed.

Do not ever
Mock other
Men at a meeting.
They pass for wise
Who pass unnoticed.
Stay dry in the storm.

Often it’s best
For the unwise man
To sit in silence.
His ignorance
Goes unnoticed
Unless tells too much.
It’s the ill fortune
Of unwise men
That they can not keep silent

The inquisitive man
Appears clever,
If he can ask and answer well.
Gossip, thus,
Gathers speed,
Cannot be kept still.

Much nonsence
A man utters
Who talks without tiring.
A ready tongue
unrestrained
Brings bad reward.

It makes sense
To set off home
When guest mocks guest.
Who can tell
At the table
If he laughs with angry men?

A true friend
Whom you trust well
And wish for his good will:
Go to him often
Exchange gifts
And keep him company.

Load no man
With lavish gifts.
Small presents often win great praise.
With a loaf cut
And a cup shared
I found fellowship.

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