Hymiskviða – The Lay of Hymir

16. To the comrade hoary | of Hrungnir then
Did Hlorrithi’s meal | full mighty seem;
“Next time at eve | we three must eat
The food we have | {illegible}s* the hunting’s spoil.”

17. . . . . . . . . . .
Fain to row on the sea | was Veur, he said,
If the giant bold | would give him bait.

Hymir spake:

18. “Go to the herd, | if thou hast it in mind,
Thou slayer of giants, | thy bait to seek;
For there thou soon | mayst find, methinks,
Bait from the oxen | easy to get.”

19. Swift to the wood | the hero went,
Till before him an ox | all black he found;
From the beast the slayer | of giants broke
The fortress high | of his double horns.

Hymir spake:

20. “Thy works, methinks, | are worse by far,
Thou steerer of ships, | than when still thou sittest.”
. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .

* Bellows for what ever reason gave up trying to translate this; the literal translation is as follows: “We should at evening next time of food from the hunt make our meal” Where to “hunt” can also refer to fishing.

16. The comrade of Hrungnir: Hymir, presumably simply because both are giants; cf. Harbarthsljoth, 14 and note.

17. The manuscripts indicate no lacuna, and many editors unite stanza 17 with lines 1 and 2 of 18. Sijmons and Gering assume a gap after these two lines, but it seems more probable that the missing passage, if any, belonged before them, supplying the connection with the previous stanza.

18. The manuscripts have no superscription. Many editors combine lines 3 and 4 with lines 1 and 2 of stanza 19. In Snorri’s extended paraphrase of the story, Hymir declines to go fishing with Thor on the ground that the latter is too small a person to be worth bothering about. “You would freeze,” he says, “if you stayed out in mid-ocean as long as I generally do.” Bait (line 4): the word literally means “chaff,” hence any small bits; Hymir means that Thor should collect dung for bait.

19. Many editors combine lines 3 and 4 with stanza 20. Fortress, etc.: the ox’s head; cf. introductory note concerning the diction of this poem. Several editors assume a lacuna after stanza 19, but this seems unnecessary.

20. The manuscripts have no superscription. Steerer of ships: probably merely a reference to Thor’s intention to go fishing. The lacuna after stanza 20 is assumed by most editors.

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