Rune Poems

                Rune Poems

                           Icelandic Rune Poem

The Icelandic Runic Poem which is supposed to date from the 15th century, is somewhat more elaborate than its Norwegian prototype. It consists of 16 short stanzas dealing in succession with the letter names of the Scandinavian Runic alphabet. In each of these stanzas are contained three kenningar---the elaborate periphrases which is commonly found in Icelandic literature.

The first and second lines are connected by alliteration, the third has two alliterating syllables of its own. The Icelandic Runic alphabet contained several more letters at this time; but only the sixteen current in the Viking Age are treated here. It is suggested that this poem is based on an earlier original now lost to us.

The Poem is taken from four MSS. in the Arnamagnaean Library at Copenhagen.

1. AM 687,4to, parchment of the fifteenth century and containing the runic charecters, but not the names.

2. AM.461,12mo, parchment of the sixteenth century, with names only.

3. AM.749, 4to, paper of the seventeenth century, with names and letters in alphabetical order, followed by "dotted runes."

4. AM.413,folio,pp.130-5,140ff.,from parchments of the sixteenth century copied in Jon Olafsson of Grunnavik's MS.Runologia (1732-52)

(a) with names and letters in alphabetical order,

(b) with names and letters in runic order except that logr precedes mar.

Cf.Kalund, Smastykker, pp. 16 ff.; Wimmer, Die Runenschrift,pp.281 ff.

  Old Norse                         Modern English

F er frnda rg

ok flar viti
ok grafseis gata
aurum fylkir.

r er skja grtr

ok skra verrir
ok hiris hatr.
umbre vsi

urs er kvenna kvl

ok kletta bi
ok varrnar verr.
Saturnus engill.

ss er algingautr

ok sgars jfurr,
ok valhallar vsi.
Jupiter oddviti.

Rei er sitjandi sla

ok snig fer
ok jrs erfii.
iter rsir.

Kaun er barna bl

ok bardaga [fr]
ok holdfa hs.
flagella konungr.

Hagall er kaldakorn

ok krapadrfa
ok snka stt.
grando hildingr.

Nau er jar r

ok ungr kostr
ok vssamlig verk.
opera niflungr.

ss er rbrkr

ok unnar ak
ok feigra manna fr.
glacies jfurr.

r er gumna gi

ok gott sumar
algrinn akr.
annus allvaldr.

Sl er skja skjldr

ok sknandi rull
ok sa aldrtregi.
rota siklingr.

Tr er einhendr ss

ok ulfs leifar
ok hofa hilmir.
Mars tiggi.

Bjarkan er laufgat lim

ok ltit tr
ok ungsamligr vir.
abies bulungr.

Mar er manns gaman

ok moldar auki
ok skipa skreytir.
homo mildingr.

Lgr er vellanda vatn

ok vir ketill
ok glmmungr grund.
lacus lofungr.

r er bendr bogi

ok brotgjarnt jrn
ok ffu frbauti.
arcus ynglingr.



source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.


lamentation of the clouds
and ruin of the hay-harvest
and abomination of the shepherd.


torture of women
and cliff-dweller
and husband of a giantess.


aged Gautr
and prince of sgarr
and lord of Vallhalla.


joy of the horsemen
and speedy journey
and toil of the steed.


disease fatal to children
and painful spot
and abode of mortification.


cold grain
and shower of sleet
and sickness of serpents.


grief of the bond-maid
and state of oppression
and toilsome work.


bark of rivers
and roof of the wave
and destruction of the doomed.


boon to men
and good summer
and thriving crops.


shield of the clouds
and shining ray
and destroyer of ice.


god with one hand
and leavings of the wolf
and prince of temples.


leafy twig
and little tree
and fresh young shrub.


delight of man
and augmentation of the earth
and adorner of ships.


eddying stream
and broad geysir
and land of the fish.


bent bow
and brittle iron
and giant of the arrow.


[Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem]  [Norwegian Rune Poem]


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