Thrymskvitha or The Lay of Thrym is one of the best preserved parts of the Poetic Edda. It is thought that the same author may have also composed Skirnismol and Baldurs Draumar and it has been called "the finest ballad in the world."

Wild was Vingthor | when he awoke,
And when his mighty | hammer he missed;
He shook his beard, | his hair was bristling,
As the son of Jorth | about him sought.

Hear now the speech | that first he spake:
"Harken, Loki, | and heed my words,
Nowhere on earth | is it known to man,
Nor in heaven above: | our hammer is stolen."

To the dwelling fair | of Freyja went they,
Hear now the speech | that first he spake:
"Wilt thou, Freyja, | thy feather-dress lend me,
That so my hammer | I may seek?"

Freyja spake:
"Thine should it be | though of silver bright,
And I would give it | though 'twere of gold."
Then Loki flew, | and the feather-dress whirred,
Till he left behind him | the home of the gods,
And reached at last | the realm of the giants.

Thrym sat on a mound, | the giants' master,
Leashes of gold | he laid for his dogs,
And stroked and smoothed | the manes of his steeds.

Thrym spake:
"How fare the gods, | how fare the elves?
Why comst thou alone | to the giants' land?"

Loki spake:
"III fare the gods, | ill fare the elves!
Hast thou hidden | Hlorrithi's hammer?"

Thrym spake:
"I have hidden | Hlorrithi's hammer,
Eight miles down | deep in the earth;
And back again | shall no man bring it
If Freyja I win not | to be my wife."

Then Loki flew, | and the feather-dress whirred,
Till he left behind him | the home of the giants,
And reached at last | the realm of the gods.
There in the courtyard | Thor he met:
Hear now the speech | that first he spake:

"Hast thou found tidings | as well as trouble?
Thy news in the air | shalt thou utter now;
Oft doth the sitter | his story forget,
And lies he speaks | who lays himself down."

Loki spake:
"Trouble I have, | and tidings as well:
Thrym, king of the giants, | keeps thy hammer,
And back again | shall no man bring it
If Freyja he wins not | to be his wife."

Freyja the fair | then went they to find
Hear now the speech | that first he spake:
"Bind on, Freyja, | the bridal veil,
For we two must haste | to the giants' home."

Wrathful was Freyja, | and fiercely she snorted,
And the dwelling great | of the gods was shaken,
And burst was the mighty | Brisings' necklace:
"Most lustful indeed | should I look to all
If I journeyed with thee | to the giants' home."

Then were the gods | together met,
And the goddesses came | and council held,
And the far-famed ones | a plan would find,
How they might Hlorrithi's | hammer win.

Then Heimdall spake, | whitest of the gods,
Like the Wanes he knew | the future well:
"Bind we on Thor | the bridal veil,
Let him bear the mighty | Brisings' necklace;

"Keys around him | let there rattle,
And down to his knees | hang woman's dress;
With gems full broad | upon his breast,
And a pretty cap | to crown his head."

Then Thor the mighty | his answer made:
"Me would the gods | unmanly call
If I let bind | the bridal veil."

Then Loki spake, | the son of Laufey:
"Be silent, Thor, | and speak not thus;
Else will the giants | in Asgarth dwell
If thy hammer is brought not | home to thee."

Then bound they on Thor | the bridal veil,
And next the mighty | Brisings' necklace.

Keys around him | let they rattle,
And down to his knees | hung woman's dress;
With gems full broad | upon his breast,
And a pretty cap | to crown his head.

Then Loki spake, | the son of Laufey:
"As thy maid-servant thither | I go with thee;
We two shall haste | to the giants' home."

Then home the goats | to the hall were driven,
They wrenched at the halters, | swift were they to run;
The mountains burst, | earth burned with fire,
And Othin's son | sought Jotunheim.

Then loud spake Thrym, | the giants' leader:
"Bestir ye, giants, | put straw on the benches;
Now Freyja they bring | to be my bride,
The daughter of Njorth | out of Noatun.

"Gold-horned cattle | go to my stables,
Jet-black oxen, | the giant's joy;
Many my gems, | and many my jewels,
Freyja alone | did I lack, methinks."

Early it was | to evening come,
And forth was borne | the beer for the giants;
Thor alone ate an ox, | and eight salmon,
All the dainties as well | that were set for the women;
And drank Sif's mate | three tuns of mead.

Then loud spake Thrym, | the giants' leader:
"Who ever saw bride | more keenly bite?
I ne'er saw bride | with a broader bite,
Nor a maiden who drank | more mead than this!"

Hard by there sat | the serving-maid wise,
So well she answered | the giant's words:
"From food has Freyja | eight nights fasted,
So hot was her longing | for Jotunheim."

Thrym looked 'neath the veil, | for he longed to kiss,
But back he leaped | the length of the hall:
"Why are so fearful | the eyes of Freyja?
Fire, methinks, | from her eyes burns forth."

Hard by there sat | the serving-maid wise,
So well she answered | the giant's words:
"No sleep has Freyja | for eight nights found,
So hot was her longing | for Jotunheim."

Soon came the giant's | luckless sister,
Who feared not to ask | the bridal fee:
"From thy hands the rings | of red gold take,
If thou wouldst win | my willing love,
(My willing love | and welcome glad.)"

Then loud spake Thrym, | the giants' leader:
"Bring in the hammer | to hallow the bride;
On the maiden's knees | let Mjollnir lie,
That us both the band | of Vor may bless."

The heart in the breast | of Hlorrithi laughed
When the hard-souled one | his hammer beheld;
First Thrym, the king | of the giants, he killed,
Then all the folk | of the giants he felled.

The giant's sister | old he slew,
She who had begged | the bridal fee;
A stroke she got | in the shillng's stead,
And for many rings | the might of the hammer.

And so his hammer | got Othin's son.



Translated by Henry Adams Bellows. It is in the public domain and this copy of the translation was taken from: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe11.htm

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