Buku The Prose Edda (Penguin Classics) by Byock Jesse L

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The Prose Edda (Penguin Classics) by Byock Jesse L

Author:Byock, Jesse L. [Byock, Jesse L.]

Language: eng

Format: azw3

ISBN: 9780141912745

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 2005-07-27T16:00:00+00:00

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The Prose Edda (Penguin Classics) by Byock Jesse L

2

Kvasir and the Mead of Poetry

Ægir continued, ‘What is the origin of the accomplishment you call poetry?’

 

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The Prose Edda (Penguin Classics) by Byock Jesse L

Author:Byock, Jesse L. [Byock, Jesse L.] , Date: June 6, 2019

,Views: 46

Author:Byock, Jesse L. [Byock, Jesse L.]

Language: eng

Format: azw3

ISBN: 9780141912745

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 2005-07-27T16:00:00+00:00
2

Kvasir and the Mead of Poetry

Ægir continued, ‘What is the origin of the accomplishment you call poetry?’

Bragi replied, ‘It originated when the gods were at war with that people called the Vanir, and the two sides agreed to hold a peace meeting. They reconciled their differences by the following procedure: both sides went to a vat and spat into it. At their parting, the gods, not wanting to lose this mark of the truce, took the spittle and from it they created a man called Kvasir. He was so wise that no one could ask him a question that he could not answer.

‘Kvasir travelled throughout the world, teaching men knowledge. Once he came as a guest to the dwarves Fjalar and Galar. They asked him for a word in private, but instead they killed him, letting his blood flow into two vats called Son and Bodn, and into a kettle named Odrerir. The dwarves blended honey with the blood and from this mixture came the mead that makes whoever drinks it a poet or a scholar. They told the Æsir that Kvasir had choked on his own knowledge because there was no one there learned enough to ask him questions.

‘The dwarves then invited the giant Gilling and his wife to come and visit them. They asked Gilling to row out to sea with them, and while travelling down the coast the dwarves rowed the boat on to some rocks just under the surface, overturning it. Gilling could not swim and was lost, but the dwarves righted their ship and rowed back to land. When they told Gilling’s wife what had happened, she took the news badly and cried loudly. Fjalar asked her if it would lighten her spirits to look out to sea to the spot where Gilling had drowned, and she wanted to do so. Then Fjalar told his brother Galar to climb up over the door and, as she went out, to drop a millstone on to her head. Fjalar said that he was tired of her wailing, so Galar did this.

‘When Suttung, Gilling’s son,1 learned what had happened, he travelled there and seized the dwarves. He ferried them out to sea and stranded them on some rocks that would be covered at high tide. The dwarves begged Suttung for their lives. They offered him the valuable mead as compensation for his father, and that offer became the basis of their agreement. Suttung took the mead home with him. For safekeeping, he put it in the place called Hnitbjorg and set his daughter Gunnlod to watch over it.

‘For this reason we call poetry Kvasir’s blood, the drink or intoxication of the dwarves, or some kind of liquid of Odrerir, Bodn or Son. The mead is also called the ship of the dwarves because it provided the ransom that floated them off the rocks. It is also called Suttung’s mead or Hnitbjorg’s liquid.’

Then Ægir said, ‘It seems to me that calling poetry by these names obscures the truth. But

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