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                   ~ Historical & Classical Poetry  

Click to jump below to:
* Rune Poems * Poetic Edda * Icelandic Sagas * Anglo-Saxon * German *
* Norwegian * Swedish * Danish * Faroese * Modern English *

This list is intended as a representative overview over some of the best-known original old texts in their English translations,
as well as the adoption and reception of Norse mythology throughout the centuries in different countries,
especially the Scandinavian revival, and the period of renewed artistic interest in the Norse within the English-speaking world.
Contemporary reception in films, books, graphic novels and other visual arts is plentifold and increasing, deserving of a treatise of its own.
While there are numerous works and translations from 20th and 21th century, their inclusion is naturally compounded by copyright restrictions.
Being far from exhaustive, this page hope to kindle interest in further reading and exploration.
The Poetry Links will take you to the hoards of online source texts, translations, essays, books in print, and Old language resources.

The Rune Poems

* The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem         All rune poems with original and modern english translation.
* The Norwegian Rune Poem           
All these are very early, alliterative poems.
* The Icelandic Rune Poem
The Abecedarium Nordmannicum

From the Poetic Edda

* Havamal (Words of the High One)    Complete Translation by W.H.Auden
* Hail Day !                                     
The "Sigdrifumál" from the Poetic Edda
* Hail Day                                                   Sung version (MP3)
* The Waking of Angantyr                   Ghost/adventure poem from the Poetic Edda (Auden-Taylor translation)
* Hrafnagaldr Odins                           Odin´s Raven Magic
* Icelandic poetry, or the Edda of Saemund translated into English verses (1797) by Amos Simon Cottle (1768?-1800)
 A rather free translation,
written in rhyming couplets throughout. Read on Northvegr.org, or the Internet Archive, or GoogleBooks.

From the Icelandic Sagas

* Valkyries at the Grisly Loom            The "Darradarljóð" from the Njáls Saga
* Egil´s Lament for his Son                
The "Sonatorrek" from the Egilssaga
* Höfuðlausn (Head-Ransom)                Egil Skalla-Grimsson, from the Egilssaga
* Hjalmarr´s Death-Song
                        From the Saga of Arrow-Oddr
* Busla´s Curse                                  From the Bosasaga, 14th cent.
* Death Song of Ragnar Lodbrok        From the "Krákumál", end of 12th century, transl. by James Johnstone
* Ragnar Lodbrok´s Death Song          Translation by Ben Waggoner
* Hakonarmal                                   
From "Heimskringla" by Snorri Sturluson
* Vellekla                                           ca. 986 by the skald Einar Skålaglam
* Select Icelandic poetry: translated from the originals; with notes. Part First William Herbert, 1804
In endrhyme. (
The song of Thrym, The battle of Hafurs bay, The descent of Odin, The dying song of Asbiorn, Gunnlaug and Rafen,
The combat of Hialmar &c, The song of Hroke the black, The death of Hacon, Fragment of Biarkamal)

From Anglo-Saxon

* Nine Herbs Charm                               alliterative
* Beowulf  - chapter 14       
                ca. 1000 CE. Beowulf celebrates his victory over Grendel.
* Beowulf - several short excerpts     
From different chapters, selected for their beauty
* Beowulf - last chapter (41)             
Beowulf´s funeral 
* The Lay of Guthorm                            Anonymous  
* The Wanderer                                        ca. 1000 Ce, anonymous
* Deor                                             From Old English, 10th century, translated by Steve Pollington
* Widsith                                                    From Old English, 144 lines, ca. 9th c., mostly a survey of the peoples, kings, and heroes

From German

* The Two Merseburg Charms           9th c., Old High German, alliterative
* Lay of Hildebrand                          
8th c., Old High German long verse, original, transl., annotations, MP3   
* The Younger Lay of Hildebrand     
15th c. ballad, original & transl.
* Lay of Old Hildebrandt 
                     19th c. ballad, original & transl.
The Nibelungenlied                         13th c., Middle High German (1st Adventure, stanzas 1-6)
* The Ring of the Nibelung
                    19th c., Richard Wagner. (3. act, 3. scene: Wotan takes leave of Brunhilde)
Faithful Eckart                                        18th c., J.W. Goethe
* The King of Thule    
                            18th c., J.W. Goethe
* Herman and Thusnelda                  
18th c., F. G. Klopstock
* Gorm Grymme                               
19th c., Theodor Fontane
* The Last Goths                             
19th c., Felix Dahn
* Thus Spake Zarathrustra
(... to Odin ?)       19th c., Friedrich Nietzsche

From Norwegian

* Bergliot                                                   19th c., melodrama by Edvard Grieg
* Olav Tryggvason  
                                19th c., E.Grieg/Bjørnsson. Beautiful invocation to the Gods.
* Suttungs Mead                              
19th c., Johan S. Welhaven
* Asgardsreien (The Wild Hunt)        
19th c., Johan S. Welhaven
* Snorre                                          
19th c., Per Sivle
* The Hardy Norseman                     19th c.,  traditional song

From Swedish

* The Giant                                       Esaias Tegner (1782-1846), transl. by Charles Wharton Stork
* The Giant                                       Esaias Tegner, transl. by J.E.D. Bethune
* Skidbladner
                                    Esaias Tegner, transl. by J.E.D. Bethune
* Fridhtjof Comes to King Ring           Esaias Tegner, from the "Fridthjof´s Saga", transl. by Thomas A E Holcomb and Martha A Lyon Holcomb
* Balder´s Funeral Pyre                      
Esaias Tegner, from the "Fridthjof´s Saga", transl. by Thomas A E Holcomb and Martha A Lyon Holcomb
* Fridthjof and Ingeborg                     Esaias Tegner, from the "Fridthjof´s Saga", transl. by George Stephens
* Ring´s Dirge                                   Esaias Tegner, from the "Fridthjof´s Saga", transl. by George Stephens
The Viking                                              Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783-1847)
* The last Skald                                         Erik Gustaf Geijer
* The last Warrior
                                     Erik Gustaf Geijer
* The Necken
                                           Erik Gustaf Geijer
* The Merman´s Dance (Näckens polska)  Arvid August Afzelius (1785-1871), transl. by Eva Toller
* Nordens Gudar (Gods of the North)  Erik Sjöberg ("Vitalis") (1794-1828)

From Danish

* Grimilds Revenge                           Old Denish ballad, ca. 14th cent., transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier
* Sivord and Brynhild
                            Old Denish ballad, ca. 14th cent., transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier

Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger (1779-1850)
* To the Gods                                                   Transl. by Rune Bjørnsen
* The Gods of the North (Nordens Gudar) Transl. by William Edward Frye (1784-1853), as PDF. Or, read online at Archive.org
* The Gods of the North                          Transl. by G. Pigott, excerpted from "A Manual of Scandinavian Mythology"
* Creation of the world... * The Vaner * Aegir... * Njord... * Freya... * Hel...
* Frigga on Balder´s death...
* Thor and Sif... * Loki... * Thor´s Journey to Jotunheim 
* Thor´s Visit to the Giant Hymir * Thor´s Fishing * Loke´s Cunning * Thor Recovers the Hammer * The Dwarfs * Valhalla...

From Faroese

From the Sigurd Lays, ca. 14th century:
Brynhild´s Ballad                        Transl. by A. E. Petersen
* The Ballad of  Regin                 Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934  With recording
* The Ballad of  Brynhild            Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Ballad of  Hogni
             Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Ballad of Ragnar              Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Ballad of Ísmal               
Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Rime of Asla
                  Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Rime of Nornagest 
         Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Faroese Ballad of Nornagest Transl. by Nora Kershaw  With sheet music
* The Ballad of Hjalmar and Angantyr Transl. by Nora Kershaw  With sheet music
* The Ballad of Arngrim´s Sons   Transl. by Nora Kershaw  With sheet music
* Loka táttur                               Transl. by Kiyo
* The Lay of Skrymner
                Transl. by G.H. Borrow (1803–1881)

Modern English     Sorted by author´s birth year

Thomas Warton the elder (1688?-1745)
* A Runic Ode.
Another, on the Same Subject.

James Thomson (1700-1748)
* Liberty

Thomas Gray (1716-1771)
* The Fatal Sisters  
* The Descent of Odin  

Thomas Penrose (1742-1779)
* Carousal of Odin

Thomas James Mathias (1754?-1835)
   Runic Odes from the Norse Tongue:
* Ode I: The Twilight of the Gods, or, The Destruction of the World
* Ode II: The Renovation of the World, and Future Retribution
* Ode III: Dialogue at the Tomb of Argantyr

Frank Sayers (1763-1817)
* Oswald
* The Descent of Frea:
Act 1, Act 2

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
* The Saxon War Song
* Harold the Dauntless

Robert Southey (1774-1843)
* The Race of Odin
* Death of Odin
* To A.S. Cottle from Robert Southey

Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans (1793-1835)
* Valkyrjur Song

* The Wild Huntsman 

* The Sword of the Tomb

Wilhelm Wagner (1800-1886)
* The Wonderful Quern Stones in: "Asgard and the gods; tales and traditions of our northern ancestors" (1882)

George Henry Borrow (1803–1881)
* Runic Verses
* Vidrik Verlandson (From the Old Denish)
Grimhild´s Vengeance. Three Ballads. Song the First, Song the Second, Song the Third

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
* Tales of a Wayside Inn - The Musician's Tale: The Saga of King Olaf

   Part  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21

   My favorite parts:
   * Interlude  

   * The Challenge of Thor (Part 1)
   * Queen Sigrid the Haughty (Part 4)
   * The Wraith of Odin (Part 6)
* The Dwarves 
* Tegner´s Drapa  
* The Skeleton in Armor
* The Grave 

Mary Elizabeth Hewitt (1807-1884)
Finn's Saga

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
* The Norsemen

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
* Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead  

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)
* The Voyage to Vinland

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)
* The Longbeards´ Saga
* The Song of the little Baltung A.D. 395

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
* Balder Dead

George John Cayley (1826-1878?)
The Death of Baldur

Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton (1831-1891)
* The Death of King Hacon

William Morris (1834-1896)
* The House of the Wolfings
* The Prophecy of Guest the Wise
* Of the Slaying of Sigurd the Volsung 
* Of the Last Battle of King Sigmund

Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)
* Opportunity

Edmund William Gosse (1849-1928)
* King Erik, a Tragedy

* The Death of Arnkel

Walter Butler Palmer (1868-1932)
* Dear Ancestor

Donald Robert Perry Marquis (1878–1937)
* The God-maker, Man

Julia Clinton Jones (publ. 1878)
* Valhalla: The Myths of Norseland; A Saga, in Twelve Parts (PDF)
   Part  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  (HTML)

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
* Harp Song of the Dane Women  
Song of the Men´s Side 
* Song of the Red War-Boat
* Thorkild´s Song
* The Runes on Weland´s Sword
* Norman and Saxon 

Donald A. Mackenzie (1873-1936)
* Njord and Skade

G. K. Chesterton (18741936)
* The Ballad of the White Horse

Robert Frost (1874–1963)
* Fire and Ice 

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
* Viking Song

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937)
The Teuton´s Battle Song

 J.R.R.Tolkien (1892-1973)
* Lament of the Rohirrim   
From "The Lord of the Rings"

From the film "The 13th Warrior" (1999)
* Lo, there do I see... 
inspired by Ibn Fadlan's 10th c. account


Harp image: Licensed. Copyright: orla / 123RF Stock Photo