Friday, December 11, 2020

The Wanderer’s Havamal by Jackson Crawford

 


People’s approval ain’t nothin’ you need.

Half the time it ain’t true.

Just be sure you think you’re right;

and that you’re comfortable in your own skin;

you’re all you can count on.

Well, here we have a gorgeous change of pace. Nordic scholar, Jackson Crawford, provides a bracing translation of the Old Norse poem, The Havamal.

He has titled his translation, “The Wanderer’s Havamal” and on each facing page of the English translation we can view the Old Norse text directly from the Codex Regius manuscript.

For those not in the know, The Havamal, is a sort of short “Code of Conduct” for Vikings. It is idiosyncratic in places but still has a vast amount of common-sense wisdom to convey.

I have read many an Old Saga in my time, but I include this one here as Mr. Crawford concludes with another iteration of The Havamal that he has limned in rangehand colloquial English in honor of his plain-spoken grandfather, June Crawford.

This translation is titled The Cowboy Havamal and reads as if drawled from the lips of The Duke himself.

A short read, a fine read, and, what’s more, possibly a vitally important read.

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