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Völuspá (Prophecy of the Volva, Prophecy of the Seeress) is the first and best known poem of the Poetic Edda. It tells the story of the creation of the world and its coming end related by a völva or seeress addressing Odin. It is one of the most important primary sources for the study of Norse mythology. The poem is preserved whole in the Codex Regius and Hauksbók manuscripts while parts of it are quoted in the Prose Edda. This is James Allen Chisholm's English translation.

I bid a hearing from all holy wights,
the greater and lesser of Heimdall’s children.
It is your wish, Valfather, that I speak
the old spells of the world, the earliest I can recall.

I recall the children of Ettins,
who, in the days of yore, brought me to life.
I recall the nine worlds, the nine steads,
of the Glorious Meting Wood, beneath the ground.

It was in the earliest times that Ymir dwelled.
Neither sand nor sea, nor cold waves, nor earth
were to be found. There was neither heaven above,
nor grass anywhere, there was nothing but Ginnungagap.

Soon Bur’s sons heaved up the earth.
They shaped Midgard, the earth. The sun
shone from the south on the stones of the stead,
and green leeks grew from the ground.

From the south the sun, companion of the moon,
threw her right hand across the edge of the world
The sun did not know what hall it had.
The stars did not know what stead they had.
The moon did not know what main it had.

All the Regin went to the doom chair,
the Ginn Holy Gods mooted over this.
They gave names to night and the new moons,
they named midday, mid afternoon,
and early evening, to reckon the years.

The Aesir met on Ida Vale.
High they timbered hof and harrow,
they founded forges and smithied,
they shaped tongs and wrought tools.

They played tables in the garth and were blissful.
None of them lacked gold, until three maidens
came from the Thurses. Their might was awesome,
they came from Ettinhome.

Then all the Regin went to the doom chair.
They held moot to say who should shape
the Drighten of the dwarves
from Brim’s blood, from Blain’s bones.

There was Motsognir, the greatest in speech
of all the dwarves. But Durinn was second.
These dwarves made many man-like-bodies
out of the earth as Durinn had asked.

Nyr and Nithi, North and South,
East and West, Allthief, Entranced,
Nar and Nain, Nithing, Dain
Bifor, Bofor, Bombur, Nari,
An, and Anarr, Oinn and Meadvolf.

Veig and Gand-Elf, Windelf, Thorinn,
Thror and Thrainn, Thekk, Lit and Vit,
Nar and Nyrath, Reginn and Rathsvith.
Now are the dwarves rightly listed.

Fili, Kili, Fundinn, Nali,
Hepti, Vili, Hanarr, Sviurr,
Billing, Bruni, Bild and Buri
Frar, Hornbori, Fraeg and Loni,
Aurvang, Jari, and Oakenshield.

I speak of the dwarves in Dvalinn’s host
to tell of their kind down to Lofar,
of those who sought the abode of Aurvang
at Jorovallar from the stone of the hall.

Draupnir was there, and also Dolgthrasir,
Har, Haugsthori, Hievang, Gloi,
Dori, Ori, Duf, Andvari
Scirvir, Virvir, Skafith, and Ai.

Alf and Yngvi and Eikenskjaldi,
Fjalarr and Frosti, Finn and Ginhar.
The long line of down to Lofar
will be known while men live.

From the host came three,
mighty and powerful Aesir, to coast.
There they found an ash and an elm
of little might, and lacking orlog.

They had neither breath nor wit nor life hue
nor manner nor good looks. Odin gave them
the breath of life, Hoenir gave them wod,
Lothur gave them life and good looks.

I know an ash that stands, called Yggdrasil,
a tall tree, wet with white dews,
dews dripping down into the dales.
Ever green it stands over Urth’s well.

From there come three maidens, deep in lore,
from the water that stands under the tree.
One is called Urth, the other Verthandi,
the third Skuld. Scores they carved,
laws they laid, lives they chose.
They worked Orlog for the sons of men.

I recall the first battle in the world.
There they stabbed Gullveig with spears,
and burned her in Har’s hall.
Thrice she was burned, thrice she was born.
It happened often, and yet she lives.

She is called Heith, who comes to houses, the far
seeing spae woman. The wise volva knew gand
magic, she understood seith. She played with minds
by her seith. She was always dear to evil women.

Then all the Regin went to the doom chair.
The Ginn Holy Gods held moot
as to whether the Aesir should pay tribute
or whether all the gods should have a wassail.

Odin sped a shot into the host.
That was the first battle in the world.
The board wall was broken, the fortification
of the Ases. The fighting Vanes trod the battlefield

Then all the Regin went to the doom chair.
The Ginn Holy Gods held moot
over he who blended the sky with poison
and gave Oth’s woman to the tribe of Ettins.

Thor was then swollen with rage against the foe.
He seldom sits when he hears of such.
Oaths were broken, then word and oath,
powerful pacts made between them.

She knows where Heimdall’s hearing is hidden
under the holy sky scraping tree. Over it flow
the watery falls from Valfather’s pledge.
Do you want to know more, or what?

She sat out, all alone, there, where the old one came,
the awesome Ase looked in her eye.
“What do you ask of me? Why test me?
I know well, Odin, where your eye is hidden—
in the water of Mimir’s well. Mimir drinks mead
 each morning from Valfather’s pledge.
Do you want to know more, or what?”

Herrfather dealt her rings and a necklace
to have her spells of spae and spae magic.
She sees widely over each of the worlds.

She sees valkyries coming from afar,
ready to ride to the Gothic host.
Skuld held a shield, and Skogul another.
There were also Gunnr, Hild, Gondol and
Geirskogul. Now Herjan’s maidens are listed,
valkyries ready to ride over the earth.

I saw Baldr, the bloodied God,
son of Odin, his orlog hidden.
It stood and grew, high among the trees,
slender and fair, the mistletoe teinn.

What seemed glorious when on the boughs
turned to a deadly dart when Hoth made his cast.
Baldr’s brother was soon born.
When only one year old, Odin’s son got vengeance

He never washed his hands nor combed his hair,
until he had born Baldr’s foe to the pyre.
Frigg wept in Fensalir for Valhalla’s woe.
Would you know more, or what?

Then Vali wound war fetters.
They were real strong bonds made of guts.

She saw one lying in bonds, in the grove of kettles.
It was the hated form of guileful Loki.
Sigyn sits there, sad by her husband.
Do you want to know more, or what?

A stream of saxes and swords flows from the east
through Poison-Dales. It is called Slith.

A golden hall stood in the North
on the vales of Nitha, it was the dwelling
of the tribe of Sindra. Another stood on Okaini,
it was the beer hall of the Ettin Brim.

She saw a hall stand, quite far from the sun,
on Nastrond. The doors face north,
drops of venom fall in through the smoke hole.
The hall is wound with the spines of snakes.

She saw there oath breakers and murderers,
wading the swift stream. There were also those who
deceived the female advisers of others. Nithogg
sucks dead bodies there, and the warg rips men apart.
Do you want to know more, or what?

The old one sat in the Iron-woods in the east
and raised the brood of Fenrir.
The worst one of them all,
shall take the sun in the shape of a troll.

He fills himself on the flesh of dead men, reddens the
seat of the gods with gore. The sun turned swarthy in
the following summers. The weather grew entirely
shifty. Do you want to know more, or what?

He sat on a howe hill strumming a harp.
He was the herdsman of a giantess, he was
the glad Eggther. The fair red cock called Fjalar
sang to him from the gallows tree.

Gullinkambi sang for the Ases.
He wakes the heroes of Warfather.
But another sings beneath the earth,
a soot red cock in the halls of Hel.

Garm bays loudly before Gnipa-Cave.
The bonds are sheared and he runs hungry.
I know much lore, yet see even more,
of Ragnarok and the powerful victory Tivar.

Brothers shall battle one another and fight to the
death. Sister’s sons bring ruin on their sib.
There is hardness on the world and great whoredom
An axe age, a sword age, shields are cloven.
A wind age, a warg age, before the world falls,
no man will spare the other.

Mim’s sons play. The Meter will be set alight.
Heimdall blows loudly on old Gjallarhorn
with the horn aloft.
Odin speaks with Mim’s head.

Yggdrasil, the standing ash, is shaking.
The old tree howls, the Ettin is loose.
All who walk the Hel-roads are terrified,
right before the kin of Surt swallow it.

How fare the Ases, how fare the elves? All of
Ettinhome is in an uproar. The Aesir met in things.
The dwarves groaned before stone gates,
masters of the mountain walls.
So do you want to know more, or what?

Garm bays loudly before Gnipa-cave.
The bonds are sheared and he runs hungry.
She knows much lore, but I see more
of Ragnarok and the powerful victory Tivar.

Hrym fares from the east, bearing a linden board.
The worm Jormungand is engulfed by an ettin rage
and churns the waves. The eagle screams
and its pale beak is cutting corpses. Naglfar is loose.

The ship fares from the East.
The folk of Muspell come over the sea,
with Loki steering. Kinsmen of fools
fare with Freki, Beylast’s brother

Surt fares from the south with the bane of branches.
The sun of the slaughter Tivar shines from his sword.
Crags shake, and fiends reel.
Heroes walk the Hel-road. Heaven is cloven.

Another sort of grief comes to Hlin
when Odin fares to fight the wolf
and the illustrious Bane of Beli to battle with Surt.
Frigg’s lover will then fall.

Then comes the mighty son of Victory-father,
Vithar, to vie with the deadly beast.
He struck the heart of Hvethrung’s son
and so his father was avenged.

The fierce jaws of the earth encircling worm
gaped from the hills at the holy sky.
Then Odin´s son meets the worm,
Vithar’s kinsman slays the warg.

Then came the mighty son of Hloth (the earth).
Odin’s son strode to fight against the wolf.
In rage Midgard’s ward dropped him.
All heroes shall leave the homestead.
Fjorgyn’s son strode nine steps
back from the serpent, not worried about fame.

The sun turned dark, and the land sank into the sea
The bright stars fell from heaven.
Steam and fire ferment.
Flames leap high to heaven itself.

Garm bays loudly before Gnipa-cave.
The bonds are sheared and he runs hungry.
She knows much lore, but I see more
about Ragnarok and the Powerful Victory Tivar.

She sees another rise up, earth from the ocean,
all agreen. Torrents flow
and the eagle flies above
scanning the fells and hunting fish.

The Aesir meet in Ida-Vale
and talk of the mighty Midgard worm,
recalling the mighty doom
and Fimbulty’s ancient runes.

They will again find the wondrous
gold chess pieces in the grass,
those they had owned in the days of yore.

The unsown acres will then grow. Evil will turn
better, Baldr will return. Both Baldr and Hoth
shall live in Hropt’s victory hall, the work of the gods.
Do you want to know more, or what?

Hoenir will then handle the lot wood, his brother’s
two sons will live there in the wide wind home.
Do you want to know more, or what?

She sees a hall, standing fairer than the sun,
thatched with gold in Gimle.
There the worthy drightens
shall dwell, forever in happiness.

Then comes the strong one, to the doom of the gods,
the awesome one from above who rules all.

The dark drake comes flying,
the flashing viper from under Nitha-Fells
She sees Nithogg carrying corpses in his feathers
as he flies over the valley. Now she shall sink down.

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