Directory:EPIC & SAGA

PART OF THE LAY OF SIGRDRIFA〖This continues the first part of the lay given in Chap. xx. of the Saga and is, in fact, the original verse of Chap. xxi.〗

NOW this is my first counsel,

That thou with thy kin

Be guiltless, guileless ever,

Nor hasty of wrath,

Despite of wrong done—

Unto the dead good that doeth.

Lo the second counsel,

That oath thou swearest never,

But trusty oath and true:

Grim tormenting

Gripes troth-breakers;

Cursed wretch is the wolf of vows.

This is my third rede,

That thou at the Thing

Deal not with the fools of folk;

For unwise man

From mouth lets fall

Worser word than well he wotteth.

Yet hard it is

That holding of peace

When men shall deem thee dastard,

Or deem the lie said soothly;

But woeful is home-witness,

Unless right good thou gettest it

Ah, on another day

Drive the life from out him,

And pay the liar back for his lying.

Now behold the fourth rede:

If ill witch thee bideth,

Woe-begetting by the way,

Good going further

Rather than guesting,

Though thick night be on thee.

Far-seeing eyes

Need all sons of men

Who wend in wrath to war;

For baleful women

Bide oft by the highway,

Swords and hearts to soften.

And now the fifth rede:

As fair as thou seest

Brides on the bench abiding,

Let not love's silver

Rule over thy sleeping;

Draw no woman to kind kissing!

For the sixth thing, I rede

When men sit a-drinking

Amid ale-words and ill-words,

Deal thou naught

With the drunken fight-staves,

For wine stealeth wit from many.

Brawling and drink

Have brought unto men

Sorrow sore oft enow;

Yea, bane unto some,

And to some weary bale;

Many are the griefs of mankind.

For the seventh, I rede thee,

If strife thou raisest

With a man right high of heart,

Better fight a-field

Than burn in the fire

Within thine hall fair to behold.

The eighth rede that I give thee:

Unto all ill look thou,

And hold thine heart from all beguiling;

Draw to thee no maiden,

No man's wife bewray thou,

Urge them not unto unmeet pleasure.

This is the ninth counsel:

That thou have heed of dead folk

Whereso thou findest them a-field;

Be they sick-dead,

Be they sea-dead,

Or come to ending by war weapons.

Let bath be made

For such men fordone,

Wash thou hands and feet thereof,

Comb their hair and dry them

Ere the coffin has them;

Then bid them sleep full sweetly.

This for the tenth counsel:

That thou give trust never

Unto oaths of foeman's kin,

Be'st thou bane of his brother,

Or hast thou felled his father;

Wolf in young son waxes,

Though he with gold be gladdened.

For wrong and hatred

Shall rest them never,

Nay, nor sore sorrow.

Both wit and weapons

Well must the king have

Who is fain to be the foremost.

The last rede and eleventh:

Until all ill look thou,

And watch thy friends' ways ever.

Scarce durst I look

For long life for thee, king:

Strong trouble ariseth now already.

All Directories