Poetic Edda and Yggdrasil

Völuspá

Lays of the Gods

  1. Soul they had not, | sense they had not,
    Heat nor motion, | nor goodly hue;
    Soul gave Othin, | sense gave Hönir,
    Heat gave Lothur | and goodly hue.
  2. An ash I know, | Yggdrasil its name,
    With water white | is the great tree wet;
    Thence come the dews | that fall in the dales,
    Green by Urth’s well | does it ever grow.
  3. Thence come the maidens | mighty in wisdom,
    Three from the dwelling | down ‘neath the tree;
    Urth is one named, | Verthandi the next,–
    On the wood they scored,– | and Skuld the third.
    Laws they made there, and life allotted
    To the sons of men, and set their fates.

Hávamál

The Ballad of the High One

139
I ween that I hung | on the windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded, | and offered I was
To Othin, myself to myself,
On the tree that none | may ever know
What root beneath it runs.

140
None made me happy | with loaf or horn,
And there below I looked;
I took up the runes, | shrieking I took them,
And forthwith back I fell.

141
Nine mighty songs | I got from the son
Of Bolthorn, Bestla’s father;
And a drink I got | of the goodly mead
Poured out from Othrörir.

142
Then began I to thrive, | and wisdom to get,
I grew and well I was;
Each word led me on | to another word,
Each deed to another deed.

143
Runes shalt thou find, | and fateful signs,
That the king of singers colored,
And the mighty gods have made;
Full strong the signs, | full mighty the signs
That the ruler of gods doth write.

144
Othin for the gods, | Dain for the elves,
And Dvalin for the dwarfs,
Alsvith for giants | and all mankind,
And some myself I wrote.