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Hávamál ("Sayings of the high one") is presented as a single poem in the Poetic Edda. The poem, itself a combination of different poems, largely presents advice for living and survival composed around the central figure of Odin. Composed in the metre Ljóðaháttr, a metre associated with wisdom verse, Hávamál is both practical and metaphysical in content. This is particularly apparent towards the end of the poem, as the poem shifts into an account of Odin's obtaining of the runic alphabet and obscure text relating to various charms and spells Odin knows.
The only surviving source for Hávamál is contained within the 13th century Codex Regius, and is thought to be no older than from around the year 800 AD (though derived from an earlier oral tradition). An early reference to the poem is by Eyvindr skáldaspillir, found in Hákonarmál from around the year 960 AD.
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?
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...
Better gear than good sense
A traveler cannot carry,
A more tedious burden than too much drink
A traveler cannot carry...
An ill tempered, unhappy man
Ridicules all he hears,
Makes fun of others, refusing always
To see the faults in himself...
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.
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. ...
The following day the Frost Giants came,
Walked into Har's hall To ask for Har's advice:
Had Bolverk they asked, come back to his friends,
Or had he been slain by Suttung?...
Never lift your eyes and look up in battle,
Lest the heroes enchant you,
who can change warriors
Suddenly into hogs...
Be not over wary, but wary enough,
First, of the foaming ale,
Second, of a woman wed to another,
Third, of the tricks of thieves.
Mock not the traveler met On the road,
Nor maliciously laugh at the guest:
The sitters in the hall seldom know
The kin of the new-comer:
The best man is marred by faults,
The worst is not without worth.
Originally posted by Adaven
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