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discussion and analysis presented after these
translated stanzas is our
opinion. Read the translations for yourself and our analysis, but also seek
out varied sources and come to your own conclusions.
STANZA 19 OF THE
Auden & Taylor:
Drink your mead, but in moderation,
sense or be silent:
No man is called discourteous who goes
bed at an early hour
Shun not the mead, | but drink in
Speak to the point or be still;
For rudeness none |
shall rightly blame thee
If soon thy bed thou seekest.
Keep not the mead cup but drink thy measure;
speak needful words or none:
none shall upbraid thee for
lack of breeding
if soon thou seek'st thy rest.
A man should not refrain form the
though he drink mead in the hof let him say
needful or be silent. No man
shall call you ignorant if you go to
The cup spurn not, yet be sparing
say what is needful or naught;
breedingupbraids thee no man
if soon thou goest to sleep.
Don't cling to the cup but drink your
speak useful words or be silent;
no one will blame you
for bad manners
if you go to bed early.
Let a man hold the cup,
yet of the mead
speak sensibly or be silent.
As of a fault
no man will admonish thee,
if thou goest betimes to sleep.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
OF STANZA 19
This hits on some themes we've seen earlier
in the Havamal a couple of
It is alright to drink...but don't
drink too much.
Be silent unless you have something
wise/useful/important to say.
No one will blame you for turning
to bed early.
I think the last idea, about turning to be
early, prompts me to think of the opposite of this stanza.
Let's turn this stanza completely on its head, just to make it
perfectly clear what this stanza is
Stay up late into the night,
And say a bunch of foolish
In many ways this is just common sense.
But, common sense is in short supply now...and was probably in short
supply then. Advice like this being included in the Havamal,
suggests that it was advice that needed to be given...or that some
In modern Heathenry, when we get together in
our kindreds or at larger gatherings...there will sometimes be
social drinking. Sometimes this amounts to a beer at a kindred
BBQ. Other times, it involves some drinking after the Feast
and Symbel have concluded at a gathering. If you have no
problems with alcohol, then doing some social drinking can be fun
and help build bonds with other folks. Social drinking means a few
drinks over a few hours, but keeping control and keeping
What you don't want to do, is drink in
excess...stay up late...and disrupt these trying to sleep with loud
foolish behavior. Our gatherings are family-oriented, so
public drunkeness and absolutely foolish drunken behavior is not
acceptable. If you are the loud late-night drunk, you can be
sure that people will be talking about you the next day. And
it won't be polite talk. Your reputation will suffer, and
people will use you as the example of "what not to be." And
that's never a good place
I was taught by another Chieftain when I was
a new Chieftain, that drinking socially with you kindred and other
kindreds is good. But, that a Chieftain should never be
drunk. At Lightning Across the Plains, when people offer me a
taste of mead or beer, I sip at it. I don't gulp it
down. I moderate my consumption. I maintain my
wits. Each night, I stay up later than nearly everyone.
But, not because I am drunk and loud. I stay up late to ensure
all the guests get safely to bed. I stay up late to ensure the
camp remains peaceful and safe for the families that have come to
our event. I stay up late, walking from campfire to campfire
making sure everyone is comfortable and happy. I usually go to
bed at around 2 or 3 in the morning, when the rest of the camp is
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