Havamal – Stanza 6
Havamal – Stanza 6

Old Norse

Að hyggjandi sinni
skyli-t maður hræsinn vera,
heldur gætinn að geði
þá er horskur og þögull
kemur heimisgarða til;
sjaldan verður víti vörum.
Því að óbrigðra vin
fær maður aldregi
en manvit mikið.

English Translations

Of his knowledge, a man should never boast,
Rather be sparing of speech
When to his house a wiser comes:
Seldom do those who are silent Make mistakes;
mother wit Is ever a faithful friend,

-Auden & Taylor

Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o’er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit.

-Bray

Of his understanding
no one should be proud,
but rather in conduct cautious.
When the prudent and taciturn
come to a dwelling,
harm seldom befalls the cautious;
for a firmer friend
no man ever gets
than great sagacity.

-Thorpe

My Understanding

Like Stanza 5, This stanza is also telling us to sit down and shut up. But I like this one a little more. 

The first 2 lines are simple enough. Don’t go around boasting about how much you know or sharing information that nobody asked for. Stay quiet. 

When someone wiser comes to your home or enters the conversation, be quiet and listen. You will be less likely to say something stupid and you might learn something. 

The last lines are speculated to have been added at a later date, but it helps to sum up the stanza. saying that wisdom is the best friend to have. It is what will keep you alive and safe. 

Basic Lessons

– Shut up and Observe –

– There’s always someone wiser than you –

– Wisdom is the greatest tool to have –

Have Questions?

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