THE INCANTATION OF GROA

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THE ELDER EDDAS OF SAEMUND SIGFUSSON.

Translated from the Original Old Norse Text into English BY BENJAMIN THORPE


THE INCANTATION OF GROA.


Son.

1. Wake up, Groa! wake up, good woman! at the gates of death I wake thee! if thou rememberest, that thou thy son badest to thy grave-mound to come.

Mother.

2. What now troubles my only son? With what affliction art thou burthened, that thou thy mother callest, who to dust is come, and from human homes departed?

Son.

3. A hateful game thou, crafty woman, didst set before me, whom my has father in his bosom cherished, when thou badest me go no one knows whither, Menglod to meet.

Mother.

4. Long is the journey, long are the ways, long are men's desires. If it so fall out, that thou thy will obtainest, the event must then be as it may.

Son.

5. Sing to me songs which are good. Mother! protect thy son. Dead on my way I fear to be. I seem too young in years.

Mother.

6. I will sing to thee first one that is thought most [Pg 110]useful, which Rind sang to Ran; that from thy shoulders thou shouldst cast what to thee seems irksome: let thyself thyself direct.

7. A second I will sing to thee, as thou hast to wander joyless on thy ways. May Urd's protection hold thee on every side, where thou seest turpitude.

8. A third I will sing to thee. If the mighty rivers to thy life's peril fall, Horn and Rud, may they flow down to Hel, and for thee ever be diminished.

9. A fourth I will sing to thee. If foes assail thee ready on the dangerous road, their hearts shall fail them, and to thee be power, and their minds to peace be turned.

10. A fifth I will sing to thee. If bonds be cast on thy limbs, friendly spells I will let on thy joints be sung, and the lock from thy arms shall start, [and from thy feet the fetter].

11. A sixth I will sing to thee. If on the sea thou comest, more stormy than men have known it, air and water shall in a bag attend thee, and a tranquil course afford thee.

12. A seventh I will sing to thee. If on a mountain high frost should assail thee, deadly cold shall not thy carcase injure, nor draw thy body to thy limbs.

13. An eighth I will sing to thee. If night overtake thee, when out on the misty way, that the dead Christian woman no power may have to do thee harm.

14. A ninth I will sing to thee. If with a far-famed spear-armed Jotun thou words exchangest, of words and wit to thy mindful heart abundance shall be given.

15. Go now ever where calamity may be, and no [Pg 111]harm shall obstruct thy wishes. On a stone fast in the earth I have stood within the door, while songs I sang to thee.

16. My son! bear hence thy mother's words, and in thy breast let them dwell; for happiness abundant shalt thou have in life, while of my words thou art mindful.