Völuspá in skamma – The Short Voluspo

1. Eleven in number | the gods were known,
When Baldr o’er the hill | of death was bowed;
And this to avenge | was Vali swift,
When his brother’s slayer | soon he slew.

2. The father of Baldr | was the heir of Bur,
Freyr’s wife was Gerth, | the daughter of Gymir,
Of the giants’ brood, | and Aurbotha bore her;
To these as well | was Thjazi kin,
The dark-loving giant; | his daughter was Skathi.

3. Much have I told thee, | and further will tell;
There is much that I know;– | wilt thou hear yet more?

4. Heith and Hrossthjof, | the children of Hrimnir.
Of Hvethna’s sons | Haki was best by a bit,
by Hjorvarth was | Hvethna’s father.*

5. The sybils arose | from Vitholf’s race,
From Vilmeith all | the seers are,
And the workers of charms | are Svarthofthi’s children,
And from Ymir sprang | the giants all.

1. At this point begins the fragmentary and interpolated “short Voluspo” identified by Snorri. The manuscript gives no indication of the break in the poem’s continuity. Eleven: there {footnote p. 228} are various references to the “twelve” gods (including Baldr) Snorri (Gylfaginning, 20-33) lists the following twelve in addition to Othin: Thor, Baldr, Njorth, Freyr, Tyr, Bragi, Heimdall, Hoth, Vithar, Vali, Ull and Forseti; he adds Loki as of doubtful divinity. Baldr and Vali: cf. Voluspo, 32-33.

2. The fragmentary stanzas 2-5 have been regrouped in various ways, and with many conjectures as to omissions, none of which are indicated in the manuscript. The order here is as in the manuscript, except that lines 1-2 of stanza 28 of Hyndluljóð:

28. “Of Hvethna’s sons | was Haki the best,
And Hjorvarth the father | of Hvethna was;
. . . . . . . . . .

have been transposed from after line 2 of stanza 4. Bur’s heir: Othin; cf. Voluspo, 4.

3. Freyr, Gerth, Gymir: cf. Skirnismol. Aurbotha: a giantess, mother of Gerth. Thjazi and Skathi: cf. Lokasenna, 49, and Harbarthsljoth, 19. 33. Cf. Voluspo, 44 and 27.

4. Heith (“Witch”) and Hrossthjof (“Horse-thief”): the only other reference to the giant Hrimnir (Skirnismol, 28) makes no mention of his children.

* Hollander’s translation was used in part to fill in the missing Bellows translation.

5. This stanza is quoted by Snorri (Gylfaginning, 5). Of Vitholf (“Forest Wolf’), Vilmeith (“Wish-Tree”) and Svarthofthi (“Black Head”) nothing further is known. Ymir: cf. Voluspo, 3.