Grímnismál – The Ballad of Grimnir

21. Loud roars Thund, | and Thjothvitnir’s fish
joyously fares in the flood;
Hard does it seem | to the host of the slain
To wade the torrent wild.

22. There Valgrind stands, | the sacred gate,
And behind are the holy doors;
Old is the gate, | but few there are
Who can tell how it tightly is locked.

23. Five hundred doors | and forty there are,
I ween, in Valhall’s walls;
Eight hundred fighters | through one door fare
When to war with the wolf they go.

24. Five hundred rooms | and forty there are
I ween, in Bilskirnir built;
Of all the homes | whose roofs I beheld,
My son’s the greatest meseemed.

25. Heithrun is the goat | who stands by Heerfather’s hall,
And the branches of Lærath she bites;
The pitcher she fills | with the fair, clear mead,
Ne’er fails the foaming drink.

21. Thund (“The Swollen” or “The Roaring”): the river surrounding Valhall. Thjothvitnir’s fish: presumably the sun, which was caught by the wolf Skoll (cf. Voluspo, 40), Thjothvitnir meaning “the mighty wolf.” Such a phrase, characteristic of all Skaldic poetry, is rather rare in the Edda. The last two lines refer to the attack on Valhall by the people of Hel; cf. Voluspo, 51.

22. Valgrind (“The Death-Gate”): the outer gate of Valhall; cf. Sigurtharkvitha en skamma, 68 and note.

23. This and the following stanza stand in reversed order in Regius. Snorri quotes stanza 23 as a proof of the vast size of Valhall. The last two lines refer to the final battle with Fenrir and the other enemies.

24. This stanza is almost certainly an interpolation, brought in through a confusion of the first two lines with those of stanza 23. Its description of Thor’s house, Bilskirnir (cf. stanza 4 and {footnote p. 94} note) has nothing to do with that of Valhall. Snorri quotes the stanza in his account of Thor.

25. The first line in the original is, as indicated in the translation, too long, and various attempts to amend it have been made. Heithrun: the she-goat who lives on the twigs of the tree Lærath (presumably the ash Yggdrasil), and daily gives mead which, like the boar’s flesh, suffices for all the heroes in Valhall. In Snorri’s Edda Gangleri foolishly asks whether the heroes drink water, whereto Har replies, “Do you imagine that Othin invites kings and earls and other noble men, and then gives them water to drink?”

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