Audio for The Rúnatal

Four weeks after its posting as text, I now present an audio recording of my poetic translation of the Rúnatal, which is Hávamál stanzas 138-145. For those who seek after the runes, there is much essential lore in these eight stanzas.

Here is the downloadable file of me reciting the poem:
Eirik Westcoat – The Rúnatal

And here is the inline player:

Enjoy! Feel free to share the file. For details, see the Creative Commons link below.

This post is:
Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.

The linked audio file of The Rúnatal is:
Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.


The Rúnatal: A Poetic Translation

Now, for the first time on this blog, I am posting my own poetic translation of a short passage from the Poetic Edda. It is of Hávamál stanzas 138-145, which are sometimes called the Rúnatal, because they deal with Odin’s winning of the Runes. Regular readers may notice the rather odd stanza structure here. This portion of the Hávamál is rather irregular in the use of the long lines and full lines of the ljóðaháttr meter (and in stanza length), and I have followed the original pattern of lines rather than try to recast it into completely regular meter. Nonetheless, I have aimed to keep it poetic and alliterative at the expense of absolute literalness. I have tried to maintain consistency in the translation when possible. That is, when particular and important Old Norse words occur more than once in the passage, I try to translate them the same way each time. Man translates two different words, mann and þjóð, but I think it is better that way. In some cases, words were added that don’t have correspondences in the original for the sake of the meter, such as wyrd and mammoth in the first stanza. They are, however, quite appropriate for describing that tree. Translation always involves compromises, and it is at least as much art as science.

For nights all nine,
I know that I hung
on that wyrd and windy tree,
by gar wounded
and given to Odin,
myself to myself I gave,
on that mammoth tree
of which Man knows not
from where the roots do run.

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