10 Norse Proverbs And Old Sayings You Should Definitely Know

The Hávamál (‘The Sayings of the High One’ in translation) is a long poem written in Old Norse which has been preserved in the Codex Regius (or Konungsbók as it is known in Icelandic), meaning ‘The Royal Book’, a collection of Old Norse poems from the Viking Age. Codex Regius is an index of poems in Old Norse likely written during the late part of the 13th century (specifically sometime during the 1270s). Below, extracted from this Icelandic literary work, are a series of notable proverbs and old sayings you should definitely know.

‘The Stranger at the Door’ by English artist W.G. Collingwood. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The Hávamál is itself a combination of different poems written in a gnomic style that highlight wisdom of living and the character of life. All verses within the poem are attributed to the Norse god Odin.

‘Guests from Overseas’ by Russian painter Nicholas Roerich. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Below you can read a selection of ten proverbs from the Hávamál (listed in no particular order as follows):

  • ‘Generous and brave men live the best.’ (stanza 48);
  • ‘Happy is he who hath in himself praise and wisdom in life.’ (stanza 5);
  • ‘A gift should be repaid with a like one.’ (stanza 46);
  • ‘A wise man’s heart is seldom cheerful.’ (stanza 55);
  • ‘About his intelligence no man should be boastful, rather cautious of mind.’ (stanza 6);
  • ‘Let the wary stranger who seeks refreshment keep silent with sharpened hearing.’ (stanza 7);
  • ‘No better burden can a man carry on the road than a store of common sense.’ (stanza 10);
  • ‘The man that walks his own road, walks alone.’ (stanza 58);
  • ‘The summer moments always pass quickly.’ (stanza 113);
  • ‘Let none put faith in the first sown field.’ (stanza 88).

Documentation sources and external links:

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9 Responses to 10 Norse Proverbs And Old Sayings You Should Definitely Know

  1. William gregory says:

    Very enjoyable read…

  2. […] Origen: 10 Viking Proverbs You Should Know […]

  3. einar sigurdur-fenrirshon says:

    not “norsemen”!!!

    • Victor Rouă says:

      I get your sense of humour here, Einar! Thank you for your readership and for your time on The Dockyards as well for this hilarious comment of yours! Have a wonderful day! Skål, noregsman! 😀

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