Völuspá by Lee M. Hollander

This is Lee M. Hollander’s English translation of Völuspá .

Lee M Hollander was Professor Emeritus of Germanic Languages at the University of Texas at Austin and an authority in Nordic language and literature”

While Hollander’s translation may feel Bloated and Pedantic to the uninitiated, mainly due to his usage or archaic words, his goal was maintaining the original alliteration and metre. It is slow going if you are unfamiliar with the Lexicon, but pays off well in the end. Of the 4 extant English translations, this remains to be a Favourite. Each of the translator’s focused on a different aspect of the work.

1.
Hear me, all ye hallowed beings,
Both high and low of Heimdall's children:
Thou wilt, Valfather, that I well set forth
The fates of the world which as first I recall.
2.
I call to mind the kin of etins
Which long ago did give me life.
Nine worlds I know, the nine abodes
Of the glorious world-tree the ground beneath.
3.
In earliest times did Ymir live:
Was not sea nor land nor salty waves,
Neither earth was there nor upper heaven,
But a gaping nothing, and green things nowhere.
4.
Was the land then lifted aloft by Bur's sons
Who made Mithgarth, the matchless earth;
Shone from the south the sun on dry land,
On the ground then grew the greensward soft.
5.
From the south the sun, by the side of the moon,
Heaved his right hand over heaven's rim;
The sun knew not what seat he had,
The stars knew not what stead they held,
The moon knew not what might she had.
6.
Then gathered together the gods for counsel,
The holy hosts, and held converse;
To night and new moon their names they gave,
The morning named, and midday also,
Forenoon and evening, to order the year.
7.
On Itha Plain met the mighty gods;
Shrines and temples they timbered high,
They founded forges to fashion gold,
Tongs they did shape and tools they made;
8.
Played at draughts in the garth: right glad they were,
Nor aught lacked they of lustrous gold --
Till maidens three from the thurses came,
Awful in might from etin-home.
9.
Then gathered together the gods for counsel,
The holy hosts, and held converse:
Who the deep-dwelling dwarfs was to make
Of Brimir's blood and Bláin's bones.
10.
Mótsognir rose, mightiest ruler
Of the kin of dwarfs, but Durin next;
Molded many manlike bodies
The dwarfs under earth, as Durin bade them.

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