Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anonymous Poems (Anon)

VII. Hugsvinnsmál (Hsv) - 151

not in Skj

Hugsvinnsmál (‘Sayings of the Wise-Minded One’) — Anon HsvVII

Tarrin Wills and Stefanie Gropper 2007, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Hugsvinnsmál’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 358-449.

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for reference only:  56x   65x 

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII]: [C. E/5]. Hugsvinnsmál, Isl. oversættelse af Catonis Disticha. (AII, 167-97, BII, 185-210); stanzas (if different): 51/1-3, 67/1-3 | 52 | 53/4-6 | 53/1-3, 51/4-6 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 66 | 67 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78/1-3 | 78 [var], 78/4-6 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 146 | 147 | 148

SkP info: VII, 358-449

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance references search files

 

1 Heyri seggir,
þeir er vilja at sið lifa
ok góð verk gera,
horsklig ráð,
þau er heiðinn maðr
kendi sínum syni.
Men who want to live with good conduct and do good works should listen to the wise advice that a heathen man taught his son.
2 Ástsamlig ráð
kenni ek þér, minn einkason;
mun þú þau eptir öll;
gálauss þú verðr,
ef þú gleyma vilt,
því er þarf horskr at hafa.
I will teach you, my only son, loving advice; remember all of it; you will be careless if you forget what a wise [man] needs to have.
3 Þarflátr ok þakklátr
skaltu fyrir þínum guði
ok vammalauss vera;
föður ok móður
unn þú fróðhugaðr;
ræktu þína alla ætt.
You must be humble and thankful and unblemished before your God; love your father and mother as a man with intelligence; take care of all your family.
4 Ef þér góðan grip
gefa hollir vinir,
eiga þú skalt ok unna allvel;
góðu þú fylg,
en gakk illu frá;
hvergi þú fyrir ráð rasir.
If loyal friends give you a precious thing, you must own it and enjoy it well; follow good and keep away from evil; by no means rush in headlong.
5 Hreinlífr þú vert,
ok hræztu þinn læriföður;
halt þú heiðsæi.
Be pure of life and fear your teacher; preserve your reverence.
6 Bragna hvern,
er þú á brautu finnr,
kveð þú hann kunnliga;
ófróðr er sá,
er einskis spyrr,
ef finnr at máli mann.
Each man whom you meet on the road, greet him intimately; he who does not ask is unwise, if he finds a man to talk to.
7 Afli deila
þú skalt aldrigi
þér við máttugra mann;
athuga öflgann
skaltu við alt hafa,
ok ræk þín hús ok hjú.
You must never test your strength with a mightier man; you must have strengthened attention for everything, and take care of your house and household.
8 Blíðmæltr vera skalt
við bragna lið,
ok hirð þitt fengit fé;
minni ok mannvit
nem þú á margan veg,
ok kenn þat síðan sonum.
You must be affably spoken with a company of men, and take care of the money you have gained; learn in many a way memory and understanding, and teach it later to your sons.
9 Hatri þú hafna,
ok hlæ þú at öngum;
gjalt gjöf við gjöf;
vakr þú vera skalt,
ok ver nær staddr
lýða lögskilum.
Abandon hatred and laugh at no-one; repay a gift with a gift; you must be alert and be situated near people’s legal proceedings.
10 Sjaldan þú sitja
skalt sumblum at,
ok drekk varliga vín;
eiginkonu þinni
þú skalt unna vel;
hyggðu fyrir hverri gjöf.
You must seldom attend banquets, and drink wine cautiously; you must love your wife dearly; take heed of every gift.
11 Oddi ok eggju
ver þú þína óðaljörð,
ok eigi auðtryggr ver;
fyrir orðum ok eiðum
hyggðu öllum vel,
ok halt við fyrða heit.
Defend your native land with point and edge and do not be credulous; think well about all your words and oaths and keep promises to people.
12 Bækr ok rúnir
kenn þú blíðliga;
ger þú við góða vel;
illra kvenna
firr þú þik öllu lagi,
ok ráð hverjum heilt.
Teach with kindness books and runes; treat the good well; keep away from bad women by all means, and give everybody good advice.
13 Ráðhollr ok réttdæmr
ok í reiði stiltr,
mæltu eigi við ýta ilt;
kostum þú safna,
ok kynn þik við góða menn;
vinn eigi löst né lygi.
Loyal in advice and just in judgement and moderate in anger, do not speak evil to men; gather virtues and make friends with good men; cultivate neither vices nor lies.
14 Ókunna menn
né ölmosur
skaltu eigi at hlátri hafa,
þótt fornmannligir
fyrðar sé;
þolinmóðr þú vert,
ok bregð eigi af þeim lögum,
sem sjálfr settir þú.
You must not make a laughing stock of unknown men or beggars, even though they are old-fashioned men; be patient and do not break the rules that you yourself made.
15 Af afli þínu
vertu óhræsinn,
ok launa þú góðu gott;
annars eign
girnztu aldrigi;
unn, þeim er elskar þik.
Do not be boastful about your strength, and return good with good; never desire somebody else’s property; love the one who loves you.
16 Fámálugr þú vert,
er með fyrðum kemr
ok at sumblum sitr;
annan fýsa
skaltu eigi illra hluta;
mæl þú gott ok ger.
Be reticent when you come among men and sit at banquets; you must not encourage another [to do] bad things; speak and do good.
17 Allra ráða
tel ek þat einna bezt
at göfga æztan guð;
með hreinu hjarta
skaltu á hann trúa
ok elska af öllum hug.
I consider this the best of all advice to worship the highest God; you must believe in him with a pure heart and love him with all your mind.
18 Ofsvefni tæla
láttu þik aldrigi;
kosta vakr at vera;
leti ok lasta
verðr, þeim er lengi sefr,
auðit iðugliga.
Never let too much sleepiness entice you; try to stay awake; laziness and vices frequently fall to the lot of the one who sleeps for a long time.
19 Ómálugr skal
ok stilla orðum vel,
sá er vill guðs ást geta;
æðra krapt
fær maðr aldrigi,
en hann sé með tungu trúr.
He must [be] close-mouthed and control words well, who wants to gain the love of God; a man never obtains more strength than by being true with his tongue.
20 Ýmisgjarn
vertu aldrigi,
ok sáttr vertu við sjálfan þik;
seggjum öngum
verðr samhuga,
ef hann er sundrþykkr við sik.
Never be wayward, and be at peace with yourself; [one] comes to agreement with no-one, if he is not in agreement with himself.
21 Ef at ýta lífi
hyggr þú öllu saman
ok sér þeira siðu,
þat þú þá finnr,
er fira reynir:
fár er vamma varr.
If you consider men’s life altogether and look at their customs, then you notice that, when you try people: few are free of blemishes.
22 Ef þú eyri átt,
þann er þér ekki stóðar,
eða þú hlýtr ógagn af,
gef þú hann burt,
þótt þér góðr þykki;
mart er fríðara en fé.
If you own money which is not of any use to you or which leads to harm for you, give it away, even though it may seem good to you; much is better than money.
23 Blíðr þú vert
en stundum bráðskapaðr,
ef geraz þarfir þess;
vel má þat verða
at skipti vitr maðr geði,
þótt hann lastvarr lifi.
Be friendly but sometimes of hasty disposition if it becomes necessary; it can well happen, that a wise man becomes angry, although he lives virtuously.
24 Konu þinnar
hlýð þú eigi kveinstöfum,
þótt hon þræla saki;
opt hon þann hatar,
er þér hollr geriz,
reyndu, hvat it sanna sé.
Do not listen to your wife’s complaints, although she may blame the servants; often she hates him who is loyal to you; test out what is the truth.
25 Ef þú vin átt,
þann er þér vildr sé,
fýs þú hann gott at gera;
orða þinna
þótt hann kunni öngva þökk,
þó skaltu hann við vammi vara.
If you have a friend who is agreeable to you, encourage him to do good; although he might be ungrateful for your words, you must nonetheless warn him against wrongdoing.
26 Hirtu eigi at senna,
þótt þú satt vitir,
við hvassorðan hal;
málskálp mikit
er mörgum gefit;
fár er at hyggju horskr.
Take care not to quarrel with a sharp-worded man, even though you may know the truth; great loquacity is granted to many; few are wise in mind.
27 Þann dugnað veitt
vinum þínum,
sem eigi fylgir mein til mikit;
annars illsku
láttu aldrigi
standa þér fyrir þrifum.
Give your friends that [kind of] assistance which is not accompanied by too much harm; never let another’s ill will stand in the way of your wellbeing.
28 Öll tíðindi,
þau er upp koma,
ræð þú eigi fyrstr með firum;
betra er at þegja
en þat at segja,
sem lýðum reyniz at lygi.
Do not be the first to discuss with men all the news that comes up; it is better to keep silent than to say what proves in public to be a lie.
29 Öðrum heita
skaltu eigi því,
er undir öðrum átt;
opt þik tælir,
sá er þú trúat hefir;
brigð eru beggja heit.
You must not promise another what you have lent to somebody else; that one may often trick you, whom you have trusted; the promises of both are fickle.
30 Metnað þinn,
þótt þik menn lofi,
lát eigi magnaz til mjök;
hælins manns orði
þarftu eigi hverju at trúa;
sjálfr kunn þú sjálfan þik.
Do not let your pride become too great, even though people are praising you; you do not need to believe every word of a boastful man; you yourself [must] know yourself.
31 Allan þann dugnað,
er þér annarr gerir,
mun þú ok mörgum seg;
vinum þínum
þótt þú vel dugir,
hirð þú eigi at hrósa því.
All that assistance which another provides you with, remember [it] and tell it to many; even if you help your friends well, do not care about praising it.
32 Ungr skal venjaz
því er þarf aldraðr at hafa;
varaztu við löst, meðan lifir;
ávítunarlaust
máttu eigi elligar
dæma um seggja siðu.
When young one must get used to what is needed when old; beware of faults while you are alive; otherwise you cannot judge men’s morals without blame.
33 Einmæli manna
ræk þú aldrigi;
þarftu eigi til þess at hlera;
um sik ræða
ætla seggja hverr,
hinn er veit á sik sakir.
Never pay attention to men’s private conversation; you do not need to listen to it; every man who knows he is guilty thinks [people] are talking about him.
34 Við meinum varna
skaltu á margan veg,
þótt þú sért fullsterkr at fé;
margr er sá aumr,
er aurum ræðr;
ilt er auði at trúa.
You must beware of harm in many a way, although you are very well off with money; many a one is poor who possesses money; it is bad to trust in wealth.
35 Af annars dauða
væntu aldrigi,
at þér gagn geriz;
aldrlagi sínu
ræðr engi maðr;
nær stendr hölðum hel.
Never hope that you may profit from another’s death; nobody controls his own life’s end; death is close to men.
36 Ef þér litla gjöf
gefr af léttum hug
vinr, sá sem válaðr er,
þiggja þú skalt
ok þakklátr geraz;
ást fylgir aums gjöfum.
If a friend who is poor gives you a small gift from a happy disposition, you must accept it and be grateful; love accompanies the gifts of a poor person.
37 Öreign þína
lát þér eigi gera
harðan hugtrega;
minztu þess,
er þik móðir bar,
svát þér fylgdi eigi fé.
Do not let your destitution cause you severe heartbreak; remember this, that your mother bore you [i.e. gave birth to you] in such a way that no money came with you.
38 Aldrlagi sínu
kvíði engi maðr
né um þat önn ali;
dugir eigi dægr,
þeim er dauða forðaz;
enginn feigð um flýr.
Nobody should dread his death or nourish fear about it; a day and night are not enough for him who wants to avoid death; no one escapes a fated death.
39 Vinir þínir
þótt þér verr dugi,
en þú þykkiz verðr vera,
þess meins völd
kenn þú eigi þínum guði,
saka þú heldr sjálfan þik.
Although your friends may help you less than you think you deserve, do not fault your God for the cause of that evil; you should instead blame yourself.
40 Aura afla
skaltu á alla vegu,
sem drengmanni dugir;
aura þinna
skaltu eigi til ónýts hafa,
þótt þú þik vel auðgan vitir.
You must acquire money in all ways which befit an independent man; you must not use your money for something useless, although you know yourself [to be] very wealthy.
41 Sinni optar
heittu eigi seggjum gjöf,
þeirri er þú veita vilt;
símálugs orð
þykkja snotrum hal
vindi lík vera.
Do not promise people more than once the gift that you intend to give; to a wise man the words of a long-winded man seem like the wind.
42 Fláráðs manns orði,
þótt fagrt mæli,
þarftu eigi þeim at trúa;
glyslig orð
lát þú í gegn koma,
ok gjalt svá líku líkt.
You need not believe the word of a deceitful man, even though he may speak fair; let specious words counter them, and thus repay like with like.
43 Ef þér erfingja
auðit verðr,
ok ertu fáskrúðigr at fé,
jóðum þínum
kenn þú íþróttir,
þær er þeim fæzlu fái.
If you come to have an heir and you are poor in possessions, teach your children the skills which may provide them with food.
44 Fé þik eigi tæla lát,
þótt þér fagrt sýniz,
né til síngirnu snúi;
annars eign
girniz illr at hafa;
sæll er, sá er sínu unir.
Do not let money entice you nor turn [you] to covetousness, although it may seem attractive to you; a bad person desires to own another’s possession; he is fortunate, who is content with his own.
45 Ljótlig vömm
ef þú lasta vilt,
drýgðu eigi sjálfr in sömu;
annan samir þér
eigi at lasta,
ef þú ert syndauðigr sjálfr.
If you want to censure ugly faults, do not commit the same yourself; it does not beseem you to blame another if you are sinful yourself.
46 Einskis biðja
samir þér annan þess,
er gengr af réttri rifi;
ósvinnr maðr
biðr þess iðugliga,
er hann þarf hvergi at hafa.
It befits you to ask another for nothing which departs from right reason; an unwise man frequently asks for that which he does not need to have.
47 Ókunnan mann
virð þú öngu framar
en þinn vísan vin;
margr er sá illr,
er læz alldyggr vera;
brigð eru útlenzk orð.
Do not value an unknown man any more than your certain friend; many a one is bad who pretends to be very trustworthy; foreign words are fickle.
48 Hvern dag,
er þú heilsu náir,
vertu þér at nokkru nýtr;
sótt ok dauði
kemr, þá er sízt varir;
brigt er lýða líf.
Every day in which you enjoy good health, be useful to yourself in something; sickness and death come when one least expects them; humans’ life is fickle.
49 Þjarka eða þræta
skaltu eigi við þína liða;
heldr skaltu væginn vera;
sanna elsku
gerir samþykki,
en þverúð af þrætum vex.
You must not dispute or argue with your followers; you should rather be balanced; concord makes true love, but discord grows from disputes.
50 Gjafir launa
skaltu við góðan hug,
þær er þér veita vinir;
rækt ok elska
helz með rekka liði
þeim, er at þurftum dugir.
You must with good intentions repay gifts which friends give you; affection and love stay with the company of men who support [each other] in need.
51 Þrælum þínum
reiðz þú eigi þungliga,
svát þú þeim grand gerir;
þvít sjálfum sér
aflar síns skaða
hverr, sem meiðir mann.
Do not become violently angry with your servants, so that you cause them an injury, because everbody who injures a man causes harm to himself.
52 Fyrir öðrum vægja
samir þér iðugliga,
þótt þú meira megir;
friðsamr við annan
skyldi fyrða hverr,
sá er vill hæstan tír hafa.
It often befits you to yield to others, although you may be capable of more; every man who wants to have the highest renown must [be] peaceful with another.
53 Þolinmóðr þú skalt vera
við þegna lið;
svá gerir sá, er vill hæverskan sið hafa.
You must be patient with a host of men; he who wants to have courtly manners does this.
54 Aura þína
skaltu eigi til ónýtis hafa;
heldr neyt með hagspeki;
válaðr verðr,
sá er eigi vinna má,
ef hann hefr aurum amat.
You must not have your money for no use; rather use it with sense; he who cannot work becomes poor if he has squandered his money.
55 Örr af þurftum
skaltu við ýta lið,
ok dugi vel vinum;
sá mun þrífaz,
er þarfr geriz
sér ok sínu liði.
You must [be] open-handed with a host of men if needed, and help your friends well; he will prosper who is useful for himself and his men.
56 Allsnotr maðr
ef íþróttir nema vill
ok vel mart vita,
bækr hann lesi,
þær er gerðu bragnar spakir,
þeir er kendu fróðleik firum,
þvít á fornum bókum
stendr til flestra hluta
ráðafjölð ritin.
If a very wise man wants to learn accomplishments and know many things well, let him read the books which wise men who taught people knowledge wrote, because a great deal of advice stands written on most things in ancient books.
57 Gæzku safna
skal gumna hverr,
sá er vill hyggindi hafa;
æðri speki
fær maðr aldrigi,
en hann við syndum sjái.
Every man who wants to have wisdom must accumulate virtues; a man never gets more wisdom than [if] he guards himself against sins.
58 Ókunnum samir þér
opt at duga,
ef þú vilt vinsæll vera;
veldi betra
þykkir vitrum hal
at eiga víða vini.
It befits you to help an unknown man often, if you want to be popular; to a wise man it seems better than power to have friends far and wide.
59 Áhyggju bera
skaltu fyrir öngum hlut,
þeim er leynir guð gum*a,
þvít himneska skepnu
megu eigi höldar vita,
þeir er á jörðu búa.
You must not be concerned about anything which God conceals from men, because men who live on earth cannot know heavenly creation.
60 Einskis þræta
skaltu óráðins hlutar
reiðr við rekka lið,
þvít reiðr maðr
fylliz rangs hugar;
eigi hann satt um sér.
[When you are] angry, you must not debate undecided things with a host of men, because an angry man is filled with a wrong mind; he does not see the truth.
61 Fengins fjár
neyttu framarliga,
ok vert þíns mildr matar;
aura njóta
láttu auma fira,
ef geraz þarfir þess.
Use valiantly the property you gained, and be generous with your food; let poor men have benefit of money if it becomes necessary.
62 Litlu láni
fagni lýða hverr,
ok hafi eigi metnað mikinn;
í litlum polli
haldaz lengi skip,
er síðan brýtr hregg í hafi.
Let every man rejoice at small benefits, and let him not have great arrogance; ships stay safe for a long time in a small pool, which a storm at sea later wrecks.
63 Ill tíðendi,
þótt þú einn vitir,
gerz þú þagmælskr af þeim;
allir þann lasta,
ef einn geriz
flærðar frumkveðill.
Even if you alone know of some bad news, be discreet about it; everyone blames him, if he alone becomes the originator of falsehood.
64 Ódyggra manna
skaltu eigi atferð nema,
þótt þeim verði flærð at frama;
löstum eigi
megu þeir lengi leyna;
upp koma um síðir svik.
You must not learn the behaviour of unreliable people, although deceit may advance them; they cannot conceal vices for long; in time treachery comes out.
65 Engan þú fyrirlít,
þótt aflvani sé
eða ljótr ok lágskapaðr;
margr er hygginn,
þótt herviligr sé,
ok mjök lítit megi.
You should not look down on anybody, although he may be deficient in strength or ugly and short; many a one is intelligent, although he may be wretched and is capable of very little.
66 Friðsamr við annan
skyldi firða hverr,
þótt hann meira megi;
opt sá hefniz,
er halloki verðr,
ok vegr síðan sigr.
Every man should be peaceable towards another, although he may be stronger; often he who is defeated avenges himself, and later wins victory.
67 Forlögu sinnar
skal maðr eigi frétt reka
né um þat önn ala;
guð veit bezt,
hverjum hann giptu ann,
ok vita þat eigi fyrðar fyrir.
A man must not enquire about his future fate nor worry about it; God knows best to whom he grants luck and men do not know that beforehand.
68 Öfund ok þrætur
skal ýta hverr
forðaz, sem mest megi;
þvít öfundsamt hjarta
mæða ofrtregar,
ok eigi hann satt um sér.
Every man must flee envy and disputes as much as he can, because too many sorrows exhaust the envious heart and he does not see the truth.
69 Ef þik ríkir menn
dæma rangliga,
lát eigi þinn hryggja hug;
litla stund
fagna því lýða synir,
ef þeir sælaz á svikum.
If powerful men judge you wrongly, do not let it distress your mind; the sons of men rejoice in it for a short time, if they become happy from treachery.
70 Liðnar heiptir
skaltu eigi lengi muna;
vertu í trygðum trúr;
sakir at sækja,
þær er sættar eru,
þat kveða ódyggs manns eðli.
You must not remember past wrath for long; be faithful to your plighted oath; it is said to be the nature of an unreliable man to pursue actions which have been settled.
71 Sjálfan sik
skal eigi seggja hverr
lasta mjök né lofa;
þat gera þeir,
er göfgir þykkjaz
ok vilja heims skraut hafa.
Every man must neither blame nor praise himself a lot; those who seem noble and want to have the finery of the world do that.
72 Af hyggjandi sinni
skyldi maðr óhræsinn vera,
nema geraz þarfir þess;
opt at haldi
hefr ýtum komit,
ef leyniz spakr at speki.
A man should not be boastful [lit. should be unboastful] of his intelligence, unless need of it arises; often it has become a help to people, if a wise man conceals his wisdom.
73 Fégirni rangri
skaltu forða þér;
ljót er líkams munúð;
orðstír hærra
getr engi maðr,
en hann við syndum sjái.
You must save yourself from wrongful avarice; desire of the body is ugly; a man gets no better reputation than if he avoids sins.
74 Sögvísum manni
skaltu sjaldan trúa,
þeim er með rógi rennr,
þvít málugs manns
reynaz margar sögur
lýða kind at lygi.
You must seldom believe a tattling man who runs with slander, because many stories of a talkative man prove to be lies for the race of men.
75 Ofdrukkinn maðr,
ef hann ilt geri,
er eigi várkunnar vert;
sjálfr því veldr,
ef hann svá drekkr,
at eigi at geð síns gáir.
If a man who has drunk too much does wrong, it does not deserve excusing; he causes it himself if he drinks so much that he is not aware of his senses.
76 Mál hvert, eigi
er skyldu margir vita,
ber þú fyrir ómálgan upp;
hygginn maðr,
ef vill heilsu taka,
lætr eptir góðum læknum gera.
Tell to a taciturn person every matter that not many should know; the intelligent man sends for good doctors if he wants to gain health.
77 Optlig mein
skal maðr eigi illa bera,
ef hann er vítis verðr.
A man must not bear frequent misfortunes badly, if he is deserving of punishment.
78 Búinn við meinum
skal bragna hverr,
þótt gangi at óskum alt;
sterklig stríð,
trú ek, standaz megi
hverr, er þeira bíðr búinn.
Every man must be prepared for misfortunes, although everything goes as wished; I believe everyone can endure serious calamities who waits prepared for them.
79 Margsnotr maðr,
sá er fyrir meinum verðr,
láti sinn eigi hryggja hug;
góðs at vænta
skal gumna hverr,
þótt hann sé til dauða dæmdr.
A very wise man who meets with misfortunes should not let them distress his mind; every man must expect good, although he may be sentenced to death.
80 Hársíðan mann
sá ek í hölða liði;
þó var honum skalli skapaðr;
svá er sá maðr,
sem mart á fjár
ok verðr síðan snauðr.
I saw a man with long hair in a host of men; he was, however, destined to be bald; like this is the man who has a lot of money but becomes poor later.
81 Um lítaz
þarf maðr á alla vegu
ok við villu varaz;
glöggþekkinn
skyldi gumna hverr
ok fróðr ok forsjáll vera.
A man has to look around in all directions and beware of falsehood; every man should be clear-sighted and wise and foresighted.
82 Áts né drykkju
neyt þú aldrigi,
svát þitt minkiz megn;
afl ok heilsu
þarft þú við alt at hafa;
lif þú eigi mart at munúð.
Never enjoy eating nor drinking to such an extent that your strength decreases; you need to have strength and health for everything; do not live [too] much for pleasure.
83 Alþýðuróm
lasta þú aldrigi,
þann er lýðir lofa;
öngum sá hugnar,
er öllum vill
gagnmálugr geraz.
Never blame general acclamation which people praise; he who wants to become the opponent of everyone pleases nobody.
84 Dagráðs leita
þarf eigi til dugnaðar,
sá er vill heilindi hafa;
stundir eigi ráða,
þótt komi stríð um her;
allar eru tíðir trúar.
He who wants to have good health need not look for a convenient time for aid; hours do not determine whether strife spreads among the population; all times are appropriate.
85 Draumum sínum
skulu eigi dróttir trúa;
tæla þeir ýta opt;
sofanda manni þykkir
þat, er sjálfr, þegar at vakir,
æskir sér eða óaz.
Men should not believe their dreams; they often deceive people; what he wishes for himself or fears when awake, appears to a man when asleep.
86 Örr at kenna
skalt þú öðrum gott
ok svá nýtr at nema;
mörgum dugir,
sá er at mannviti kenniz;
veitir gott ráð gum*um.
You must be generous in teaching good to others and also capable in learning; he helps many, who acknowledges reason; he gives people good advice.
87 Manndáð meiri
getr eigi fyrir mold ofan,
en kenna góð ráð gum*um;
ódyggt líf
mundu ýtar hafa,
ef bætti engi yfir.
There is no greater act of prowess on earth than to teach men good advice; people would have a worthless life if nobody were to improve it.
88 Löstum leyna
skaltu, sem lengst má,
þeim er þú veiz með vinum;
halt trú til þess,
ok lát af hljóði fara,
þat er sjálfan sakir.
You must, as long as possible, hide the vices you know that friends have; be faithful to that, and let what is harmful to oneself dissipate in silence.
89 Illa áleitni
ræk þú aldrigi,
ef þú lastvarr lifir;
eigi er auðgætt,
þat er öllum líki;
ger þú, svát góðr lofi.
Never worry about evil rebuke if you live as a virtuous person; it is not easy [to do] what pleases everyone; behave in such a way that a good person praises [you].
90 Blíðum orðum
þótt þik bragnar kveði,
þarftu eigi þeim at trúa;
opt sá fagrt mælir,
er hefir flátt hugat;
ráð er at sjá við svikum.
Although men may greet you with pleasant words, you need not believe them; he often speaks fair, who has considered deceit; it is advisable to look out for treachery.
91 Eigi skaltu lataz,
ef þú vilt líf hafa,
þat er drengmanni dugir;
því fleira lýtir,
sem færra nennir
gott at vinna gumi.
You must not be lazy if you want to have a life which suits a good man; a man will blame the more, as he is inclined to do less [that is] good.
92 Höfugt erfiði
ef þér at höndum kemr,
vertu glaðmæltr gumi;
fagnandi maðr
neytir flest at vinna;
öll eru lostverk létt.
If a difficult problem comes your way, be a cheerfully-speaking man; a joyful man manages to achieve most things; all labours of love are easy.
93 Eigi skaltu hlæja,
ef þú vilt horskr vera,
at annars óförum;
opt þeir hefnaz,
er hlegnir eru,
ok gjalda líku líkt.
You must not laugh at another’s ill-luck, if you want to be wise; they who are laughed at often take revenge and repay like with like.
94 Aldraðr maðr
ef fyrir aurum ræðr
ok dregr sekk saman,
vinum sínum
skal sá vel duga
ok vera góðr gjafa.
If an elderly man has command of wealth and gathers together a hoard, he must help his friends well and be generous with gifts.
95 Gott ráð nema
skal gumna hverr,
þótt kenni þý eða þræll;
ánauðgan mann
hygg ek opt vera
frjálsum fróðara.
Every person must take good advice, even if a female or male slave teaches it; I think an enslaved man is often wiser than a free one.
96 Aura tjón
skal maðr eigi illa bera,
þótt honum verði skapaðr skaði;
hitt hann huggar,
ef hann halda má:
sæll er, sá er sínu unir.
A man must not bear badly the loss of his wealth, although it may cause harm for him; what [remains] will comfort him, if he can keep it; he is fortunate who is content with what he has.
97 Algegn maðr
með aurafjölð
vill sér kjósa konu;
þat þá reynir,
ef hann reyna skal
mundargjöld til mikin.
A very upright man with a lot of money will want to choose a wife for himself; that [his wealth] is then put to the test, if he must test too great a bride-price settlement.
98 Góðra dæma
leiti gumna hverr,
sá er vill hyggindi hafa;
annars víti
láti sér at varnaði,
ok geriz svá góðum líkr.
Every man who wants to have wisdom, should look for good examples; he should let the punishment of another [be] a warning to him and thus become like good people.
99 Upp at hefja
sómir þér eigi vel
meiri iðn, en þú megir;
algers verks,
þá er unnit er;
æ spyrr lýðr at lokum.
It does not befit you to start a bigger business than you can manage; people always find out about the results of a completed work when it is finished.
100 Eigi skaltu þegja,
þóttu sért þess beðinn,
um annars ósiðu;
illr þykkir sá,
er með öðrum hefir
ljótu ráði leynt.
You must not keep silent about another’s immorality, although you may be asked to [keep silent]; he is considered bad, who has hidden a bad action [carried out] by another.
101 Liðs skal biðja,
þá er ráða lögskilum,
ef maðr er lýtum loginn;
röngu verz,
ef réttu náir,
maðr, sá er dómendr duga.
If a man is unjustly accused of faults, he must ask for help from those who have command of legal procedure; a man whom the judges help, defends himself against something wrong, if he gets his rights.
102 Unnins vítis
dyli engi maðr,
ef veit á sik sakir;
sinna verka
mun seggja hverr
laun með leigum taka.
No man may conceal a deserved punishment if he knows he is guilty; every man will take the reward for his deeds with interest.
103 Gamansamlig ljóð
skaltu af greppum nema
ok mörg fræði muna,
þvít ágætlig ljóð
bera fyrir ýta sonu
skáld til skemtanar.
You must learn entertaining poems from poets and remember much knowledge, because poets deliver excellent poems as entertainment to the sons of men.
104 Fámálugr vera
skyldi fyrða hverr,
er at samkundum sitr;
manvits vant
verðr þeim, er mart talar;
hljóðr er hygginn maðr.
Every man who is attending a feast should be taciturn; good sense is lacking in the one who speaks a lot; a wise man is silent.
105 Reiðrar konu
skaltu eigi rógi trúa
né at því gaum gefa;
kaldráð kona,
hygg ek, klökkvandi
biði opt óþarfra hluta.
You must not believe the slander of an angry woman nor pay attention to it; I think a calculating, crying woman may often ask for unnecessary things.
106 Á aura neyzlu
skaltu allri hafa
hóf ok hagspeki;
annars þurfi
verðr sá iðugliga,
er sínum hefr aurum amat.
You must have moderation and economy in all use of money; he who has squandered his money frequently becomes dependent on another.
107 Bana sinn hræðaz
skal eigi bragna hverr,
þvít hann er endir ills;
góðum mönnum,
þeim er grand varaz,
dauði ok líf dugir.
Every man must not fear his death, because it is the end of evil; death and life help good men who are wary of sin.
108 Föður ok móður
unn þú fróðhugaðr
jöfnum ástarhug;
hvárkis þeira
ræki maðr hylli svá,
at týni annars ást.
Love, wise-minded, your father and mother with equal affection; a man should not care for the favour of one of them such that he loses the other’s love.
109 Á engum hlut
láttu þér elsku vera,
þeim er aðrir eiga;
sínu láni
skal seggja hverr
una, því er eignaz hefir.
Do not let there be love for you in anything which others own; every man must be content with his property, which he has acquired.
110 Aumr maðr
telr sér einskis vant,
ef sér atvinnu á,
en inn fégjarni sýtir,
þótt fullsælu hafi,
ok þykkiz válaðr vera.
A poor man thinks he lacks nothing if he has means of subsistence for himself, but the avaricious person complains even if he has great wealth, and thinks he is poverty-stricken.
111 Gálauss maðr,
sá er eigi vill gott nema,
kann eigi við víti varaz;
ógæfu sinni
veldr hann einn saman;
engum er ilt skapat.
The careless man who does not want to learn good cannot guard against punishment; he alone causes his bad luck; nobody is destined to something bad.
112 Líkama sinn
ræki lýða hverr;
heilsa er hölðum framar;
aura njóta
þykkiz engi maðr,
nema hann heilsu hafi.
Every man should look after his body; health is very important to men; nobody thinks to enjoy his money, unless he is healthy.
113 Þat skaltu gera,
sem þér gegnir vel,
ok við villu varaz;
mildr af þurftum
vertu í mörgum hlutum;
gott er dyggum at duga.
You must do what suits you well and beware of error; be in many things generous as necessary; it is good to help the trustworthy.
114 Föður ok móður
gremz eigi fróðhugaðr
orðum ok ávítum;
reiðr er þér betri,
sá er rækja vill,
en hinn, sem er hrekkvíss í hugum.
Do not, wise-minded, become angry at the words and reprimands of your father and mother; he who is willing to look after you is better for you angry, than the one who is mischievous in his thoughts.
115 Fljóta raun
skaltu við flest hafa,
þat er grunsamligt geriz;
leyndir lestir,
þeir er lengi felaz,
gera mörgum mein.
You must have a quick test for everything that is suspicious; secret vices which have been hidden for a long time do many people harm.
116 Ofdrykkju forðaz;
* hon drýgir erfiði;
svá skal við vífin varaz;
líkams lestir
tæla lýða hvern,
er í sællífi sitr.
Avoid too much drinking; * it causes hardship; thus one must guard against women; vices of the body entrap every man who keeps to a wealthy way of life.
117 Afl ok eljan
ef þú eignaz vilt,
nem þú hyggindi hugar;
beztr sá þykkir,
er bæði má
vitr ok sterkr vera.
If you want to acquire strength and energy, learn wisdom of mind; he appears best, who can be both intelligent and strong.
118 Upptekna sýslu
ef þú eigi
orka mátt einsamall,
tryggvan vin
bið þú ténaðar;
vel kveða dyggva duga.
If you cannot manage alone a job [you have] started, ask a loyal friend for help; they say that reliable people help well.
119 Blót né fórnir
þarf eigi til batnaðar at hafa
fyrir afgerðir ýta;
heimskr er sá,
er ætlar sér til hjálpar,
þótt hann sæfi smala,
þvít eins guðs elska
ok aldyggvir siðir
bæta um gervan glæp.
It is not necessary to have sacrifices nor offerings as atonement for men’s transgressions; he is foolish who thinks it is a help for him when he sacrifices [small] livestock, because the one God’s love and very trustworthy morals compensate for a misdeed performed.
120 Trúnaðarmanns
leita þú trúliga,
ef þú vilt góðan vin geta;
at fésælu
kjós eigi fulltrúa
heldr at sönnum siðum.
Look faithfully for a confidant, if you want to get a good friend; do not choose a confidant on the basis of wealth, rather according to sound morals.
121 Almanna lof
ef þú eignaz vilt
ok heita góðr með gum*um,
annars ógæfu
fagna þú aldrigi;
sé þín æ at góðu getit.
If you want to acquire general praise and be called good among men, never rejoice in another’s misfortune; always be mentioned as good.
122 Eigi skaltu hlæja,
ef þú vilt horskr vera,
at öldruðum afa;
opt þat ellibjúgr man,
sem ungr veit eigi,
ok kennir gott gum*um.
You must not laugh at an elderly grandfather, if you want to be wise; often one bowed down with age remembers what a young person does not know, and teaches men well.
123 Íþróttir margar
þótt þú öðlaz hafir,
kosta þú at vinna vel;
erfiði drýgja
þurfu alda synir,
meðan þeir heilsu hafa.
Try to work well, even if you have attained many accomplishments; the sons of men need to endure hardship while they have their health.
124 Málum hlýðir,
ef með mörgum kemr
hölðum, hygginn maðr;
af orðum kennaz
ýta hagir;
þokka hylr, sá er þegir.
A wise man listens to conversations, if he comes among many men; the affairs of men are known through words; the one who keeps silent conceals his thought.
125 Íþróttum safna
skalt á alla vegu,
sem drengmanni dugir;
þær þér tjá,
þótt þú týnt hafir
afli ok öllu fé.
You must acquire accomplishments in all ways which are useful to a good man; they will serve you, even if you have lost strength and all your money.
126 Örlög sín
viti engi fyrir
né um þat önn ali;
flestir þat vita,
at mun flærðvörum
dauði ok líf duga.
Let no-one know his destiny beforehand, nor show concern about it; most know that death and life will help the deceit-wary.
127 Hyggindi þína
láttu at haldi koma
þér ok þínum vinum;
æðri sýslu
máttu eigi hafa,
en kenna nýtt ok nema.
Let your wisdom come to be a support for you and your friends; you cannot have a more important job than to teach and learn something useful.
128 Illa láta
skaltu yfir engum hlut,
þeim er þú hælt hefir,
né þat lasta,
sem þú lofat hefir;
ilt er vályndum at vera.
You must express disapproval about nothing that you have boasted about, nor deride what you have praised; it is bad to be fickle-minded.
129 Vertu eigi svá aumr,
at þú eigi gáir
at vænta ins vildara hlutar,
né svá auðugr,
at þér örvænt sé
meins á marga vega.
Do not be so miserable that you do not remember to expect the more pleasant fate, nor so wealthy that you are not dismayed by injury in many ways.
130 Mikit mæla
skaltu eigi um margan hlut;
lasta þú fátt né lofa;
þvít á einni stundu
bregz, þat er ætlat hafa
gott ok ilt gum*ar.
You must not talk too much about many a thing; blame little and do not praise, because in a short while that which people have regarded as good and evil changes.
131 Fyrir augum vaxa
lát þér aldrigi
at kenna nýtt ok nema,
þvít holla speki
lofa hyggnir menn
en lasta heimskan hal.
Never let yourself shrink from teaching and learning something useful, because wise men praise wholesome wisdom and censure a foolish man.
132 Ill er ofdrykkja;
ferr hon eigi einsömul;
fylgir henni mart til meins
angr ok þrætur
ok óstilt lostasemi
sótt ok synda fjölð.
Too much drinking is bad; it does not come alone; much harm accompanies it: grief and quarrels and unsatisfied carnal lust, sickness and a multitude of sins.
133 Mikit vatn
gerir mörgum skaða,
þótt eigi falli straumar strítt;
svá er seggr
slægr ok langþögull;
þarf æ við þeim at sjá.
A large river does harm to many, although the currents do not run strong; so too is a sly and long-silent man; it is always necessary to beware of that one.
134 Fávíss maðr
ef verðr á firði staddr,
ok getr eigi beinan byr,
liðligra er honum
til lands at halda
en sigla foldu frá.
If a not very wise man is stuck in a fjord and does not get a direct wind [for sailing], it is more useful for him to keep to the shore than to sail away from the land.
135 Um engar sakir
skaltu aldri deila
við hygginn hal;
gjöld af guði
hygg ek garpa taka
fyrir reiði rangs hugar.
You must never argue with an intelligent man for the sake of nothing; I think that bold men get repayment from God for the anger of a wrong mind.
136 Engi oftreysti,
þótt eigi sé gamall,
at muni lengi lifa;
skugga sinn
hygg ek eigi mega skatna flýja
né heldr forðaz feigð.
Nobody may trust too much that he will live long, even if he is not old; I think that men cannot escape their shadow nor avoid the approach of death.
137 Hjarðir sæfa
þarf eigi til hylli guðs;
beit þú yxn fyrir arðr;
reykelsis ilm,
þann er kemr af réttum siðum,
vill hann fyrir tafn taka.
It is not necessary to kill herds for the honour of God; harness oxen to a plough; He will accept in place of sacrifice the fragrance of incense which comes from correct religious observances.
138 Óreiðinn
skal ýta hverr
ok sjá sem gerst við grunum;
hugsjúkr maðr
kvíðir hvervetna;
aldri honum dagr um dugir.
Every man must [be] calm and be careful of suspicion as much as possible; an anxious man is afraid everywhere; the day never helps him.
139 Meinlæti drýgja
skal sá, er misgert hefir,
ok bæta syndir svá;
sárar atgerðir
þarf inn sjúki maðr
sér til heilsu at hafa.
The one who has transgressed must practise self-chastisement and thus atone for sins; the sick man needs to have painful treatments for his health.
140 Heiptarorða
gerz þú eigi hefnisamr;
heldr skaltu væginn vera;
af þeiri gæzku
máttu þér gera
vísa fjándmenn at vinum.
Do not become vengeful because of words; of hate you must rather be yielding; from this kindness you can make certain enemies into friends for yourself.
141 Bölgjörnum manni,
ef þér brugðiz hefir,
skaltu eigi grand gera,
þvít af annars gæzku
batnar sá iðugliga,
sá er hefir óvinauðigr verit.
You must not do harm to a malicious man if he has deceived you, because the one who has not been rich in friends frequently improves from another’s kindness.
142 Vel skaltu vinna,
ef þú átt í verkum hlut,
ok geraz hölðum hollr;
sinni sýslu
týnir slægr maðr;
ilt er verkþjófr at vera.
If you take part in work, you must work well and become loyal to men; a sly man forgets his work; it is bad to be a work-thief.
143 Miskunnsamr
skaltu við menn vera,
ef þú átt þræla þér,
þvít jarðligt eðli
hygg ek jafnt hafa
þý sem þjóðans mögr.
You must be merciful with men if you own slaves, because I think a bondwoman has the same earthly nature as the kinsman of a prince.
144 Ódyggra manna
skaltu aldrigi
fagna bráðum bana;
hitt er sýnna,
at sælir munu
dyggvir menn, þótt deyi.
You must never rejoice at the sudden death of wicked men; it is obvious that worthy men will [be] blessed when they die.
145 Þessi *ljóð,
ef þú þekkjaz vilt,
efla þik til þrifa,
en sá halr,
sem hafna vill,
stríðir sjálfum sér.
This poem [lit. these poems] will help you to prosperity, if you want to receive it, but the man who wants to reject it, will harm himself.
146 At hyggnum mönnum
nem þú horsklig ráð
ok lát þér í brjósti búa;
örþrífsráða
verðr sá aldrigi,
sem girniz margt at muna.
Learn wise advice from intelligent men and let it live inside your breast; that one never becomes at a loss for what to do who is eager to remember much.
147 Í ljóðum þessum
megu lýðir nema,
þat er drengmanni dugir:
gæzku ok mildi
glæpa viðrsjá
ráð ok rétta siðu.
In this poem [lit. these poems] men may learn what helps a good man: kindness and generosity, shunning of sins, advice and correct morals.
148 Ástsamlig ráð
mun þú, einkason,
þau er ek hefi í kvæði kent;
fræði þessi
láttu fylgja þér
alt til endadags.
Remember, my only son, the affectionate advice which I have taught in the poem; let this knowledge accompany you to the very last day.
149 Hugsvinnsmál
læt ek fyrir hölðum kveðin,
ok kenda ek rekkum ráð;
hyggins manns
lýsta ek hugspeki;
hér er nú ljóðum lokit.
I let ‘Hugsvinnsmál’ be recited before people, and I taught men advice; I illuminated the foresight of a wise man; here the poem is now finished.
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