Ungr skyldi þat ǫldu
gífrs es gǫmlum hœfir
gunntjalds boða at halda.
Trauð verðr hǫnd, en hlýða
hrynvengis má engum
Gaut, nema gǫr verk bœti,
grundar mens, af venju.
Ungr eyktemjandi ǫldu skyldi fremja þat es hœfir gǫmlum boða gífrs gunntjalds at halda. Hǫnd verðr trauð, en engum Gaut hrynvengis mens grundar má hlýða, nema bœti verk gǫr af venju.
A young tamer of the horse of the wave [(lit. ‘horse-tamer of the wave’) SHIP > SEAFARER] should do what it befits an old messenger of the troll-wife of the battle-tent [SHIELD > AXE > WARRIOR] to keep doing. The hand becomes unwilling, but no Gautr <= Óðinn> of the ringing-land of the necklace of the earth [= Miðgarðsormr > GOLD > MAN] may be saved, unless he makes reparation for deeds done out of habit.
[7-8] gǫr af venju ‘done out of habit’: Here this phrase is taken with the cl. nema bœti verk ‘unless he makes reparation’. Other eds (Skj B, Skald) take it with hǫnd verðr trauð ‘the hand becomes unwilling out of habit’ (l. 5), and this interpretation is also possible. It suggests that, because it is difficult to break a habit, one should begin to perform good deeds while young.
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