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The 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 22 OF THE HAVAMAL

Auden & Taylor:

An ill tempered, unhappy man
Ridicules all he hears,
Makes fun of others, refusing always
To see the faults in himself

Bellows:

A paltry man | and poor of mind
At all things ever mocks;
For never he knows, | what he ought to know,
That he is not free from faults.

Bray:

The miserable man and evil minded
makes of all things mockery,
and knows not that which he best should know,
that he is not free from faults.

Chisholm:

Ill tempered the wretch,
who laughs at everyone.
He cannot recognize, as he should,
that he is not without faults.

Hollander:

The ill-minded man who meanly thinks,
fleers at both foul and fair;
he does not know, as know he ought,
that he is not free from flaws.

Terry:

An evil-tempered, small-minded man
is scornful of what he sees;
he alone is unaware
that he's not free from faults.

Thorpe:

A miserable man,
and ill-conditioned,
sneers at every thing;
one thing he knows not,
which he ought to know,
that he is not free from faults.


DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF STANZA 22

OK.  Who are we talking about here?  We're talking about a man who is miserable, small-minded, evil-tempered, ill-minded, mean-thinking, and paltry.

And what does this ill-tempered man do?  The man sneers and is scornful of everything and everyone, regardless of whether it is deserved or not.  He mocks and ridicules everything he sees.

But, why is this jerk so clueless?  Well, though he's in the best place to know he's not perfect, he is completely unaware that he has faults. 

He's a bitter, cranky, grump about everyone and everything, whether it is deserved or not...but he is completely blind to his own faults.  In other words, he thinks he's perfect and (pardon my language) his own "shit doesn't stink."

I think we've all known people...and we're certainly all encountered people on-line...who spend all their time criticizing and attacking others as though they are perfect and everyone else is worthless.  I think the stanza refers to this sort of person. 

I think it is further suggesting that our time is better spent addressing our own faults, and working on those, rather than inflicting unjust criticisms on everyone and everything around us. 

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