Welcome to a discussion of the Havamal...stanza by stanza. Read through the following seven translations of stanza 1 of the Havamal. Look for commonalities in meaning, but just as importantly, look for differences in meaning. Use the various translations to build your own understanding of what meanings can be taken from the stanza. Keep in mind that there may be several levels of meaning, and obviously various ways that one could interpret some of these stanzas as we go. Please feel free to offer your observations and to ask questions as we go. My plan is to start by posting three stanzas at once, and then add stanzas at a rate of about once a day after that. There is no particular time-limit for when you comment on these. Comment on them as we go, or comment on them whenever you get the chance.STANZA 1 OF THE HAVAMALAuden and Taylor:
The man who stands at a strange threshold,
Should be cautious before he cross it,
Glance this way and that:
Who knows beforehand what foes may sit
Awaiting him in the hall?Bellows:
Within the gates | ere a man shall go,
(Full warily let him watch,)
Full long let him look about him;
For little he knows | where a foe may lurk,
And sit in the seats within.
- Bellow's Note: This stanza is quoted by Snorri, the second line being omitted in most of the Prose Edda manuscripts.
At every door-way,
ere one enters,
one should spy round,
one should pry round
for uncertain is the witting
that there be no foeman sitting,
within, before one on the floorChisholm:
Watch out and check all gates before faring forth.
One should spy around,
one should pry around.
Hard to know what foe
sits before you in the next room.Hollander:
Have they eyes about thee when thou enterest
be wary alway, be watchful alway,
for one never knoweth when need will be
to meet hidden foe in the hall.Terry:
At every doorway what you have to do
is look around you
and look out;
never forget: no matter where you are
you might find a foe.Thorpe:
before going forward,
should be looked to;
for difficult it is to know
where foes may sit
within a dwelling.