Völuspá in skamma – The Short Voluspo

The additional stanzas that remain appear in “Hyndluljóð“. In his translation of “Hyndluljóð“, Henry Adams Bellows comments that the preserved fragment of “Völuspá hin skamma” shows that it was a “late and very inferior imitation of the great Voluspo“, and he dates it to the 12th century. He further suggests that its appearance in “Hyndluljóð” is due to the blunder of a copyist who confused the two poems, and he does not consider them to be of any great value either as poetry or as mythology.

aka The Short Völuspá, The Short Seeress’ Prophecy, Short Prophecy of the Seeress


Bellows’s notes on the poem

Introductory Note:

Inserted bodily in the Hyndluljoth proper is a fragment of fifty-one lines, taken from a poem of which, by a curious chance, we know the name. Snorri quotes one stanza of it, calling it “the short Voluspo.” The fragment preserved gives, of course, no indication of the length of the original poem, but it shows that it was a late and very inferior imitation of the great Voluspo. Like the Hyndluljoth proper, it apparently comes from the twelfth century; but there is nothing whatever to indicate that the two poems were the work of the same man, or were ever connected in any way until some blundering copyist mixed them up. Certainly the connection did not exist in the middle of the thirteenth century, when Snorri quoted “the short Voluspo.”

Neither poem is of any great value, either as mythology or as poetry. The author of “the short Voluspo” seems, indeed, to have been more or less confused as to his facts; and both poets were too late to feel anything of the enthusiasm of the earlier school.

For the purpose of studying the poem fragment without distraction it has been separated from the Hyndluljóð; the numbering of the stanzas will be different than Bellows’ original numbering.