Havamal – Stanza 7
Havamal – Stanza 7

Old Norse

Inn vari gestur
er til verðar kemur
þunnu hljóði þegir,
eyrum hlýðir,
en augum skoðar.
Svo nýsist fróðra hver fyrir.

English Translations

A guest should be courteous
When he comes to the table
And sit in wary silence,
His ears attentive,
his eyes alert:
So he protects himself,

-Auden & Taylor

Let the wary stranger who seeks refreshment
keep silent with sharpened hearing;
with his ears let him listen, and look with his eyes;
thus each wise man spies out the way.

-Bray

A way guest
who to refection comes,
keeps a cautious silence,
(Or/Wit is needful
to him who travels far:
harm seldom befalls the wary;)
with his ears listens,
and with his eyes observes:
so explores every prudent man. 

-Thorpe

My Understanding

Like Stanza 5, this is another “Shut up and Listen” stanza. It addresses the wary guest and advises them to sit in silence. To watch with their eyes, hear with their ears, and stay sharp.

A quiet guest is able to stay safe and protect themselves by being cautious and aware of their surroundings. Being quiet and careful allows the guest to observe the people around them and get to know them. You will learn who to trust, who not to, what their interests and politics are, etc before opening your mouth and causing offense.

Basic Lessons

– Be cautious with your words –

– Watch and listen to others before speaking –

– Shut up & Listen –

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