Джерело: Corpus Poeticum Boreale. The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue from the earliest times to the thirteenth century. Vol. I. Eddic Poetry. Gudbrand Vigfusson and F. York Powell. Oxford. Claderon Press. 1883.
This Lay, the highest spiritual effort of the heathen poetry of the North, is found in three texts. The first two leaves of R contain one; a stray leaf of Hauks-bók, c. 1310 (H), a second. This latter copy would almost appear to be the work of one who had learnt the poem from a sister-text to R, and written it down when it had a little faded from his memory, as he omits important passages such as that relating to Balder, 11. 87-93, 98-107, 211-212, inserts a few lines which are clearly mere stopgaps, being totally out of keeping with the rest, and adopts a confused arrangement. But we have a third text (incomplete it is true, but presenting both a better wording and a better order than either of the other two) in Snorri's Edda, which gives quotations as well as paraphrase for 11. 9-12, 19-21, 35-40, 49-52, 70-77, 85-89, 110-117, 130-134, 137-140, 143-158, 161-178, 199-202, 207-210, 213-217, some 90 lines out of 220, and paraphrases of 11. 24-34, 41-48, 181-195, 199-206, some 30 lines more.
The transpositions here made in the text are the following:–
11. 20-21, 144-155, placed as in Snorri's text.
11. 203-217 removed from after 1. 109, according to the context and Snorri's paraphrase. Further –
11. 83-86, 87-93, 94-97 have been interchanged.
11. 143-146 from their former position after 1. 154.
The Mnemonic Verses (p. 79), relating to the names of the Dwarves, Fates and Walkyries, have been removed as most certainly extraneous, though they had crept even into Snorri's text.
Four lines after 1. 103, taken from the Doom of Balder (11. 41-44), of which they give a duplicate text, have been restored to their proper place in that poem, (see p. 183, 1. 41 sqq.)
1. 187 in H is genuine, as proved by Snorri's text.
In the Notes the central part of both texts, R and H, is given for the sake of reference.
The readings of the Wormianus MS. of Edda (W) have proved of the greatest weight in the determination of the words of the text.
The title of the poem comes from Edda. Neither R nor H has any legible superscription.
The earliest quotation of the poem is 1. 175, cited by Arnor the Earl's poet, c. 1064, in his dirge on Earl Thorfinn. Gunnlaug the monk (1140-1219) in his prophecy of Merlin (a paraphrase of Geoffrey's famous prediction) imitates and uses phrases and words of Volospa; see, for instance, 11. 131, 134, 176, 177. Ari, in Yngl. S., ch. 4, treats of or even paraphrases 11. 64-69 of our poem; 1. 65 may be hence restored.
Volospa falls into two great divisions, the first part relating to the past (unfortunately fragmentary in many places), giving the Genesis, and the second which deals with the future, setting forth the Eschatology of the author. The scene in each case is different; in the first the Wola or Sibyl is giving answers from her Sibyl's seat in the midst of the assembly of the Gods; in the second she is 'sitting out' performing her enchantments and answering the anxious consultation of Woden.
The structure of the latter part is strophical, with recurring burdens of couplets put in at regular intervals in a way which greatly heightens the effect of the words.