Источник: English Writers. A History of English Literature. Volume II. From Cædmon to the Conquest. Henry Morley. Cassell & Company Limited. London – Paris – New York & Melbourne. 1888.
Of the poems of the Elder Edda, to which additions have been made from other MSS, than the Codex Regius at Copenhagen, some refer to the gods and some to heroes. First in the series is the "Völuspa," a "spae" wife's inspired vision of the life and death of the world, according to the old faith of our forefathers. "Spá" is the Scottish "spae," a sight beyond our human ken, and "völu" is the genitive of "völva," of which word there is a suggestion that it may possibly have been picked up by the Greeks from outlying tribes in an earlier form, "svölva," and become their σίβυλλα. The "völva," or wise woman, had a recognised place in the old Scandinavian life. She went through the country with a following of maidens, at the autumn feasts and sacrifices, sat on a high seat at the feasts, sang magic songs of fate, and told men secrets of the future. In the first poem of the elder Edda the conception is of a sublime Völva on her high seat, prophesying at the Feast of the Gods, and addressing her chant first to Odin, then to gods and men.
1. They called her Heið, where she came to a house,
The witchwoman cunning in words;
She dealt in sorcery, she worked her spells,
Everywhere, with mind intent,
She worked her spells;
Always she had the love
Of the had bride.
2. Alone she sat without, when there came
The old one, the Frowner, and looked in her eye;
"Why do you ask me, why do you tempt me?
Odin, I know all, know where your eye was lost."
3. The father of hosts gave her necklace and rings
To fetch wise spells, prophetic charms,
* * * * *
She saw wide and broad over all the worlds.
4. Listen, of all holy children I ask,
Of the great and the small, of the race of Heimda
Thou wilt. Father of Slain, that I tell forth thy cra
with many more. There are here three stanzas ot the names of dwarfs that seem to stand for outward forces touching human life: Full-Moon and New-Moon, North and South, East and West, All-thief and Tarry [Night and Twilight?]. Through the disguise of alliterative jingle there still glimmer suggestions of this under-thought, as Twist-elf [lightning] and Thunder. And at the close of the sixteenth stanza the spae woman says –
Now have I told of the dwarfs,
Gods and strong Counsellors,
Well counted up.
Then follows another list of names –
and so forth, through whose masks the living eyes seem still to peep with suggestions in this stanza that appear to play about the works of men, as plank and stream, or axe and house. The mythical spae woman goes on to tell of the dwarfs in Dwalin's people, down to Lofar. Still we are among mythical suggestions of the world about us and within us. Lofar, who ends the list, is Loki, the evil principle, who will fall when the gods fall, destroying and destroyed, in the last conflict between good and evil, which leads in the Scandinavian mythology to the ideal of a new heaven, a new earth, and one Supreme God who is all in all.
So runs the "Völuspa," the first, and probably the oldest, poem in the Edda, though in its date later than "Beowulf." It may be of the ninth century. It opens to us the heart of the old faith of the Northmen in a myth of creation that shapes gods, dwarfs, giants, and monsters as forces of the world without us and within; that paints lost innocence, with growth of evil deed and evil speech. The growth of evil leads to a great struggle of conflicting powers, out of which breaks through the storm a new sun bringing a new day. There rises a brighter earth under a brighter heaven, through which the lost spirit of evil flies, bearing with it on its wings the dead spirit of hate. The prophetess then sinks back in her seat. She sees no more.
The whole mythology of which this is the groundwork was rich in wisdom, coloured by a thousand fancies that played over the stir of energetic life. The spiritual teacher of the Norseman spoke by parable; the priest was poet, and the poet was a man of action able to advise the warriors and the chief. In a world of fighting men he saw the ills of war, but allowed the warrior a heaven of his own, which gave him courage in the fight, for it was a heaven earned only by those who fell upon the battle-field. There was another place for those who left this world by a "straw death" upon their beds at home. But for all who could follow his thought there was a clear glance forward to "the far runes of Fimbultyr," to the end of the mere warrior's heaven, in a world at peace, where God should be truly known, and should be all in all. Read by the light of these bright flashes from the higher heaven of their aspiration, we may find, perhaps, some traces of a playful ridicule in the Walhalla that was painted as the soldier's paradise. Every morning when the heroes have dressed they go out into the yard and fight and kill one another, that – says Hár in the younger Edda – is their play; and then the chopped-up champions gather their pieces together and ride home to Walhalla to eat and drink. Their drink is mead from the teats of the she-goat Heiðrun, who fills a stoup every day so great that all the champions are full drunken out of it. Their meat is the boiled flesh of the boar Særimnir, who is sodden every day and eaten up, and whole again every evening ready to be boiled again next day. The heroes eat and are drunken, sleep, fight, cut one another up, come together, go to their mead and boiled pork in Walhalla, and so forth daily; not only happy in boiled pork for dinner every day, but – sacred monotony! – every day it is pork from the same old pig. Surely the shapers of this Paradise of Warriors laughed over their conception, for they are the earnest men who are the readiest with kindly mirth; and they went to the heart of the incomplete world, noisy with stupidities of strife that serve their purpose for the growth of man, and therefore are not all so stupid as they seem. At the heart of all they found, with the latest of our great poets,
One God, one law, one element,
And one far-off Divine event,
To which the whole creation moves.
They shaped a day when there should be no more war, no more Walhalla, but man at peace with man, and the last Heaven uniting man to his Creator.
The poems in the Elder Edda deal with myths of gods and myths of heroes.
 Odin had a single eye, type of the Heavens with one eye, the Sun. The other was left in pledge for a draught from Mimir's Well, the waters of wisdom, that lie under one of the roots of the ash Yggdrasil.
is variously interpreted. Cleasby in his Icelandic Dictionary suggests doubtfully that "íviðjur" means ogresses, and thinks that perhaps they refer to the nine giantesses who were the mothers of Heimdal. Benjamin Thorpe translated them into trees, and read in the next line "miötvið" as the mid tree, Yggdrasil; whilst Cleasby held that "miötvið"' was miswritten for "miötuð," equivalent to the First-English "Metod," Measurer or Dispenser, as a name for God. As to the question between ogresses and trees, "íviðja," feminine, means an ogress, probably akin to "inwid," fraud; but "viðr," kin to First-English "wudu," is a tree, or wood, or timber, whence a derivative may mean prop or pillar, and so Ettmüller reads "íviðjur " as props, and "miötvið" the mid prop, Yggdrasil; while for the nine homes he cites an old song that makes them (l) the Blue; (2) the Home of the Winds; (3) the Wide Blue Sky; (4) the Far Surrounding; (5) the Cold; (6) the Warm: (7) the Immeasurable; (8) the Sender of Storm; (9) the All Surrounding.
 Or, on the horses of heaven. "Himin-ioður" the horizon, "jaðar," an edge or border, forms "joðurr." "Himin-jóðuyr " could be from "jór" (Old High German, "ehu," Latin "equus"), a horse, which yields "jóðyr," meaning draught animals.
 "Ginnheilug goð." "Heilug" is neuter (m. helgir, f. helgar, n. heilög and heilug). God in our old heathen times was neuter, and almost always plural; not to suggest plurality, but majesty and mystery. The "ginnheilug goð" are heavenly powers, without special name, ruling the universe. After the introduction of Christianity the word "goð" became masculine singular, but never took the masculine suffix "r," and the root vowel was changed to "u." The neuter, without change to "u," was then used, in the singular and plural, of false gods only, as "solar goð," Apollo.
 " Nótt ok niðjum." "Nið" was the waning, "ný" the new or waxing moon, up to and including the full moon; so "ný ok nið " was alliterative for full moon and no moon. "Niða myrkr " was darkness with no moon, and used to mean pitch dark without sense of any reference to the moon.
 "Undorn" was a term used in all Teutonic languages for a light mid meal between the chief meals, and then derived to the sense of a time of day – morning at nine, or afternoon at three. Here it means three o'clock, and so is placed between midday and evening.
 The Idavöll was in the midst of the divine abode.
 "Teflðu i túni." .Playing at tables or draughts was very ancient, and is often mentioned in the old Norse poems. "Tún," town, was an enclosed home. The word "town" has a very limited meaning in our oldest literature. There was no town in Norway before Niðaros was founded by St. Olave in the tenth century; but the real founder of towns in Norway was Olave the Quiet (1067—1093). In 1752 the only "town"in Iceland, Reykjavik, was a single isolated farm. Cleasby and Vigfusson, under the word "tún." Of this excellent Icelandic-English Dictionary let it be said that anyone with that volume and Wimmer's "Altnordische Grammatik" (translated by Sievers from the Danish into German, Halle, 1871) may tind his own way into much enjoyment of old Scandinavian literature.
 Gods, nom. áss, gen. ásar, dat. æsi, plural nom. æsir. Therefore garðr being yard, enclosure, or home, Asgard was home of the gods.
 Gods opposed to the Æsir, but afterwards reconciled.
 Thrym, one of the Eotens, when the walls of Asgard were broken, had offered to rebuild them, asking as his price Freyja, the bride of Oður, with the sun and moon. By advice of Loki, the gods agreed, on condition that the Eoten completed the work in a year with no labour but that of himself and his horse. The Eoten succeeded, and the gods became angry with Loki, but Loki thwarted the giant by borrowing the wings of Freyja, and personating her as Thrym's willing bride. This bride ate an ox at the wedding breakfast, also eight salmon, and all the sweets provided for the ladies of the party, and she drank also three tubs of mead. Thrym was surprised: but pleased to hear that for eight days the bride had eaten or drunk nothing through desire for him. Then Thrym would kiss his bride, and her eyes glared fire. That was because for eight nights she had had no sleep, through desire for him. When Thrym called for Thor's hammer (that he had stolen) to be used in the marriage ceremony, Thor recovered it and struck the giant dead. This can be read as a myth of the year. In the "Voluspa" it is alluded to among signs of the lost innocence. There is another version of the tale in the "Thrymskvidha."
 Valkyri, choosers of the slain, sent by Odin to all battle fields to choose those who shall fall and bring them to Walhalla. The names next given suggest shield, shaft, war, entangled clue, and spear shaft.
 When Balder the Good was in danger, the Æsir charmed all things that they should not hurt him, but overlooked the slender mistletoe, which has no root in the earth. Then they amused themselves with throwing at him stones, hatchets, and so forth, that fell from him harmless. Loki, finding that the mistletoe had not been charmed, contrived to get the blind Höður to throw it, and by this Balder was pierced to death. It was simple blindness warring against light, upon prompting of the Spirit of Evil.
 This is Odin's son Wali, who represents the swiftness of the Spirit of revenge.
 When Loki was caught and bound by the gods he was bound on the points of rocks by cords made from his own intestines.
 Sigyn, the wife of Loki, stood by him in his punishment and caught in a cup the drops of venom that fell from a serpent poised above. As the cup was filled she emptied it, but whenever she did so some drops fell upon Loki, which caused him to twist his body violently, and so cause earthquakes.
 Sindri is elsewhere named as one of the dwarfs who shaped the jewels of the gods, and Brimir was a giant. Náströnd, next mentioned, is the strand of the corpses (nár, a corpse), to which those went who died in their beds; as those who died in battle to Walhalla. In Náströnd is a house of torment for the wicked, not conceived as a place of fire, but of wading in poison stream, &c.
 Iarnviðr, a mythical wood whose trees had iron leaves. It was peopled by ogresses called Iarnvidjur. The "old one" is the giant wife of the wolf Fenrir, whose offspring are like wolves, one of whom, called Managarm, will one day swallow the moon.
 Egðir occurs nowhere else as a proper name in Scandinavian mythology. It is a name for the eagle, and I take him to be only a half personification of the eagle joyous in the prospect of slaughter.
 Golden comb, the cock that wakes the heroes in Walhalla to their daily fight. The third cock, next mentioned, is dark red, and will hereafter call the people of the underworld to war against the gods.
 Gnipahell was a narrow cavern, at the mouth of which was chained the dog Garm, who in the last struggle would break loose at the same time with the wolf Fenrir. Garm would destroy, and be destroyed by, the god Tyr.
 The head of the wise Mimir, who kept the fountain at the root of Yggdrasil (see note to stanza 2) spoke with Odin after it had been cut off by the giants and sent by them to the Æsir.
 Surtur, a black giant born of fire, was to come to the last conflict with sons of Muspel, and purge the world with fire. He is black as smoke, and the fire flashing from the smoke is Surtur's sword.
 Hrym is a Frost Giant who will steer Naglfar, the ship of the dead. Loki will steer the ship that brings the sons of Muspel, sons of fire.
 Jörmungandr, the Great Monster, is a name for the Midgard Serpent, begotten by Loki, and bred by the Eotens, till Thor threw him into the deep Ocean that surrounds the World. There he grew till he himself, holding his tail in his mouth, encircled all. In the last struggle he will be killed by, and kill, Thor.
 Naglfar was said to be a ship made of the parings of dead men's nails. Heed was taken, therefore, to the paring of nails before death, that the building of Naglfar might be delayed.
 Loki, who had two brothers, Bileistr and Helblindi.
 Hlín was a goddess appointed by Freyja as the protectress of all who are in peril. Thence came a saying, Lean upon Hlín when the need comes.
 Beli was the bellowing storm wind, slain by Freyr, who represents sunshine and the fruitfulness of peace. His sister Freyja was goddess of love. In the last battle Freyr was to contend with Surtur, as Odin with the wolf Fenrir, and Thor with the Midgard Serpent.
 Widarr, who signifies, perhaps, the renewing power, after the wolf Fenrir, power of annihilation, has prevailed over Odin, engages with the wolf, plants his shoed foot in his throat, and tears his jaws asunder. From this belief grew a custom of preserving bits of leather from the toes and heels of shoes, which were to go to the making of Widarr's shoe. There was old treatment of the shoe as a type of good works that enable us to tread safely the rough, thorny ways of evildoing.
 Son for grandson. The Eoten Hwedrung was father to Fenrir's mother, Angirboda.
 Thor's mother, Jördh, was called also Hlódyn and Fiörgyn. The stanza goes on to Thor's fight with the Midgard Serpent.