Grímnismál – The Ballad of Grimnir

36. Hrist and Mist | bring the horn at my will,
Skeggjold and Skogul;
Hild and Thruth, | Hlok and Herfjotur,
Gol and Geironul,
Randgrith and Rathgrith | and Reginleif
Beer to the warriors bring.

37. Arvak and Alsvith | up shall drag
Weary the weight of the sun;
But an iron cool | have the kindly gods
Of yore set under their yokes.

38. In front of the sun | does Svalin stand,
The shield for the shining god;
Mountains and sea | would be set in flames
If it fell from before the sun.

39. Skoll is the wolf | that to Ironwood
Follows the glittering god,
And the son of Hrothvitnir, | Hati, awaits
The burning bride of heaven.

40. Out of Ymir’s flesh | was fashioned the earth,
And the ocean out of his blood;
Of his bones the hills, | of his hair the trees,
Of his skull the heavens high.

36. Snorri quotes this list of the Valkyries, concerning whom cf. Voluspo, 31 and note, where a different list of names is given. Hrist: “Shaker.” Mist: “Mist.” Skeggjold: “Ax-Time.” Skogul: “Raging” (?). Hild: “Warrior.” Thruth: “Might.” Hlok: “Shrieking.” Herfjotur: “Host-Fetter.” Gol: “Screaming.” Geironul: “Spear-Bearer.” Randgrith: “Shield-Bearer.” Rathgrith: Gering guesses “Plan-Destroyer.” Reginleif: “Gods’-Kin.” Manuscripts and editions vary greatly in the spelling of these names, and hence in their significance.

37. Müllenhoff suspects stanzas 37-41 to have been interpolated, and Edzardi thinks they may have come from the Vafthruthnismol. Snorri closely paraphrases stanzas 37-39, and quotes 40-41. Arvak (“Early Waker”) and Alsvith (“All Swift”): the horses of the sun, named also in Sigrdrifumol, 15. According to Snorri: “There was a man called Mundilfari, who had two children; they were so fair and lovely that he called his son Mani and his daughter Sol. The gods were angry at this presumption, and took the children and set them up in heaven; and they bade Sol drive the horses that drew the car of the sun {footnote p. 100} which the gods had made to light the world from the sparks which flew out of Muspellsheim. The horses were called Alsvith and Arvak, and under their yokes the gods set two bellows to cool them, and in some songs these are called ‘the cold iron.'”

38. Svalin (“The Cooling”): the only other reference to this shield is in Sigrdrifumol, 15.

39. Skoll and Hati: the wolves that devour respectively the sun and moon. The latter is the son of Hrothvitnir (“The Mighty Wolf,” i. e. Fenrir); cf. Voluspo, 40, and Vafthruthnismol, 46-47, in which Fenrir appears as the thief. Ironwood: a conjectural emendation of an obscure phrase; cf. Voluspo, 40.

40. This and the following stanza are quoted by Snorri. They seem to have come from a different source from the others of this poem; Edzardi suggests an older version of the Vafthruthnismol. This stanza is closely parallel to Vafthruthnismol, 21, which see, as also Voluspo, 3. Snorri, following this account, has a few details to add. The stones were made out of Ymir’s teeth and such of his bones as were broken. Mithgarth was a mountain-wall made out of Ymir’s eyebrows, and set around the earth because of the enmity of the giants.