Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Havamal, Part 7

 Blessings Darlings!

Sorry about the late posting today - the post got eaten by the electronic Aether.

So let's move on to ..... Gold.....

The half wit does not know that gold
Makes apes of many men:
One is rich, one is poor
There is no blame in that.

How much did the average Norse person know about apes? Is this a translation issue? 

Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But the good name never dies
Of one who has done well

Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But I know one thing that never dies,
The glory of the great dead

So well known, those two stanzas! Still they bare repeating. Bodies die. Great deeds don't. VERY great and stories about you will live on. Great enough, people will name their children for you, and your name will live on.  Screw up bad enough, the stories will remain but you will remain a laughing stock forever.

Fields and flocks had Fitjung's sons,
Who now carry begging bowls:
Wealth may vanish in the wink of an eye,
Gold is the falsest of friends.

Notice - we don't know the names of the sons. 

But .... were begging bowls a feature of the Norse poor?  They were and are a feature of Buddhist monks, and could be a translation issue.  Still, back in the Great Depression as it played out here in the US, people had to bring their own bowls to soup kitchens......

In the fool who acquires cattle and lands,
Or wins a woman's love,
His wisdom wanes with his waxing pride,
He sinks from sense to conceit.

Odin sounds like the 99% here.  Remember, 1% - you didn't get there alone.  You had companions, luck, and likely privilege.  Remember.

Now is answered what you ask of the runes,
Graven by the gods,
Made by the All Father,
Sent by the powerful sage:
lt is best for man to remain silent.

Is this 'keep the conceit of the previous verse to yourself'?  Is this "to know, to dare, to try, to KEEP SILENT"? Is this "you have the right to keep silent, now work on the ability to keep silent'?

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.

Perhaps this answers my questions about the previous stanza. Keep the conceit to yourself, give thanks for what you have.  Remember.

Hew wood in wind-time,
in fine weather sail,
Tell in the night-time tales to house-girls,
For too many eyes are open by day:
From a ship expect speed, from a shield, cover,
Keenness from a sword,
but a kiss from a girl 

Drink ale by the hearth, over ice glide,
Buy a stained sword, buy a starving mare
To fatten at home: and fatten the watch-dog.

Back to common sense.

Trust not an acre early sown,
Nor praise a son too soon:
Weather rules the acre, wit the son,
Both are exposed to peril,

While you're at it, don't count your chickens before they're hatched.

A snapping bow, a burning flame,
A grinning wolf, a grunting boar,
A raucous crow, a rootless tree,
A breaking wave, a boiling kettle,
A flying arrow, an ebbing tide,
A coiled adder, the ice of a night,
A bride's bed talk, a broad sword,
A bear's play, a prince' s children,
A witch' s welcome, the wit of a slave,
A sick calf, a corpse still fresh,
A brother's killer encountered upon
The highway a house half-burned,
A racing stallion who has wrenched a leg,
Are never safe: let no man trust them.

Trust yourself. Verify all else.

Frondly, Fern

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