Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Lay of Thrym
The Eddas (Icelandic; Ninth to Thirteenth Centuries)
From the ‘Elder Edda’: Translation of Benjamin Thorpe in ‘The Edda of Sæmund the Learned’

WROTH was Vingthor,
when he awoke,
and his hammer
his beard he shook,        5
his forehead struck,
the son of earth
felt all around him;
And first of all
these words he uttered:—        10
“Hear now, Loki!
what I now say,
which no one knows
anywhere on earth,
nor in heaven above:        15
the As’s hammer is stolen!”
They went to the fair
Freyja’s dwelling,
and he these words
first of all said:—        20
“Wilt thou me, Freyja,
thy feather-garment lend,
that perchance my hammer
I may find?”
“That I would give thee,
although of gold it were,
and trust it to thee,
though it were of silver.”
Flew then Loki—
the plumage rattled—        30
until he came beyond
the Æsir’s dwellings,
and came within
the Jötun’s land.
On a mound sat Thrym,        35
the Thursar’s lord;
for his greyhounds
plaiting gold bands,
and his horses’
manes smoothing.        40
“How goes it with the Æsir?
How goes it with the Alfar?
Why art thou come alone
to Jötunheim?”
“Ill it goes with the Æsir,
Ill it goes with the Alfar.
Hast thou Hlorridi’s
hammer hidden?”
“I have Hlorridi’s
hammer hidden        50
eight rasts
beneath the earth;
it shall no man
get again,
unless he bring me        55
Freyja to wife.”
Flew then Loki—
the plumage rattled—
until he came beyond
the Jötun’s dwellings,        60
and came within
the Æsir’s courts;
there he met Thor,
in the middle court,
who these words        65
first of all uttered:—
“Hast thou had success,
as well as labor?
Tell me from the air
the long tidings.        70
Oft of him who sits
are the tales defective,
and he who lies down
utters falsehood.”
“I have had labor
and success:
Thrym has thy hammer,
the Thursar’s lord.
It shall no man
get again,        80
unless he bring him
Freyja to wife.”
They went the fair
Freyja to find;
and he those words        85
first of all said:—
“Bind thee, Freyja,
in bridal raiment:
we two must drive
to Jötunheim.”        90
Wroth then was Freyja,
and with anger chafed;
all in Æsir’s hall
beneath her trembled;
in shivers flew the famed        95
Brisinga necklace:
“Know me to be
of women lewdest,
if with thee I drive
to Jötunheim.”        100
Straightway went the Æsir
all to council,
and the Asynjur
all to hold converse;
and deliberated        105
the mighty gods,
how they Hlorridi’s
hammer might get back.
Then said Heimdall,
of Æsir brightest—        110
he well foresaw
like other Vanir—
“Let us clothe Thor
with bridal raiment,
let him have the famed        115
Brisinga necklace.
“Let by his side
keys jingle,
and woman’s weeds
fall round his knees,        120
but on his breast
place precious stones,
and a neat coif
set on his head.”
Then said Thor,        125
the mighty As:—
“Me the Æsir will
call womanish,
if I let myself be clad
in bridal raiment.”        130
Then spake Loki,
Laufey’s son:—
“Do thou, Thor! refrain
from such-like words;
forthwith the Jötuns will        135
Asgard inhabit,
unless thy hammer thou
gettest back.”
Then they clad Thor
in bridal raiment,        140
and with the noble
Brisinga necklace;
let by his side
keys jingle,
and woman’s weeds        145
fall round his knees;
and on his breast
placed precious stones,
and a neat coif
set on his head.        150
Then said Loki,
Laufey’s son:—
“I will with thee
as a servant go;
we two will drive        155
to Jötunheim.”
Straightway were the goats
homeward driven,
hurried to the traces;
they had fast to run.        160
The rocks were shivered,
the earth was in a blaze;
Odin’s son drove
to Jötunheim.
Then said Thrym,        165
the Thursar’s lord:—
“Rise up, Jötuns!
and the benches deck,
now they bring me
Freyja to wife,        170
Njörd’s daughter,
from Noatun.
“Hither to our court let bring
gold-horned cows,
all-black oxen,        175
for the Jötuns’ joy.
Treasures I have many,
necklaces many;
Freyja alone
seemed to me wanting.”        180
In the evening
they early came,
and for the Jötuns
beer was brought forth.
Thor alone an ox devoured,        185
salmons eight,
and all the sweetmeats
women should have.
Sif’s consort drank
three salds of mead.        190
Then said Thrym,
the Thursar’s prince:—
“Where hast thou seen brides
eat more voraciously?
I never saw brides        195
feed more amply,
nor a maiden
drink more mead.”
Sat the all-crafty
serving-maid close by,        200
who words fitting found
against the Jötun’s speech:—
“Freyja has nothing eaten
for eight nights,
so eager was she        205
for Jötunheim.”
Under her veil he stooped,
desirous to salute her,
but sprang back
along the hall:—        210
“Why are so piercing
Freyja’s looks?
Methinks that fire
burns from her eyes.”
Sat the all-crafty        215
serving-maid close by,
who words fitting found
against the Jötun’s speech:—
“Freyja for eight nights
has not slept,        220
so eager was she
for Jötunheim.”
In came the Jötun’s
luckless sister;
for a bride-gift        225
she dared to ask:—
“Give me from thy hands
the ruddy rings,
if thou wouldst gain
my love,        230
my love
and favor all.”
Then said Thrym,
the Thursar’s lord:—
“Bring the hammer in,        235
the bride to consecrate;
lay Mjöllnir
on the maiden’s knee;
unite us each with other
by the hand of Vör.”        240
Laughed Hlorridi’s
soul in his breast,
when the fierce-hearted
his hammer recognized.
He first slew Thrym,        245
the Thursar’s lord,
and the Jötun’s race
all crushed;
He slew the Jötun’s
aged sister,        250
her who a bride-gift
had demanded;
she a blow got
instead of skillings,
a hammer’s stroke        255
for many rings.
So got Odin’s son
his hammer back.

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