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                   ~ Historical & Classical Poetry  

Click to jump below to:
* Rune Poems * Poetic Edda * Icelandic Sagas * Anglo-Saxon * German *
* Norwegian * Swedish * Danish * Faroese * Modern English * Of kindred spirit *

This list is intended as an overview over the original texts, and their adoption throughout the centuries.
I´ve chosen a representative "Best of" to awaken interest in further reading.
There is far more material 'out there' - check the Poetry Links.

The Rune Poems

* The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem         All rune poems with original and modern english translation.
* The Norwegian Rune Poem           
All these are very early, alliterative poems.
* The Icelandic Rune Poem
The Abecedarium Nordmannicum

From the Poetic Edda

* Havamal (Words of the High One)    Complete Translation by W.H.Auden
* Hail Day !                                     
The "Sigdrifumál" from the Poetic Edda
* Hail Day                                                   Sung version (MP3)
* The Waking of Angantyr                   Ghost/adventure poem from the Poetic Edda (Auden-Taylor translation)
* Hrafnagaldr Odins                           Odin´s Raven Magic
* Icelandic poetry, or the Edda of Saemund translated into English verses (1797) by Amos Simon Cottle (1768?-1800)
 A rather free translation,
written in rhyming couplets throughout. Read on Northvegr.org, or the Internet Archive, or GoogleBooks.

From the Icelandic Sagas

* Valkyries at the Grisly Loom            The "Darradarljóð" from the Njáls Saga
* Egil´s Lament for his Son                
The "Sonatorrek" from the Egilssaga
* Höfuðlausn (Head-Ransom)                Egil Skalla-Grimsson, from the Egilssaga
* Hjalmarr´s Death-Song
                        From the Saga of Arrow-Oddr
* Busla´s Curse                                  From the Bosasaga, 14th cent.
* Death Song of Ragnar Lodbrok        From the "Krákumál", end of 12th century, transl. by James Johnstone
* Ragnar Lodbrok´s Death Song          Translation by Ben Waggoner
* Hakonarmal                                   
From "Heimskringla" by Snorri Sturluson
* Vellekla                                           ca. 986 by the skald Einar Skålaglam
* Select Icelandic poetry: translated from the originals; with notes. Part First William Herbert, 1804
In endrhyme. (
The song of Thrym, The battle of Hafurs bay, The descent of Odin, The dying song of Asbiorn, Gunnlaug and Rafen,
The combat of Hialmar &c, The song of Hroke the black, The death of Hacon, Fragment of Biarkamal)

From Anglo-Saxon

* Nine Herbs Charm                               alliterative
* Beowulf  - chapter 14       
                ca. 1000 CE. Beowulf celebrates his victory over Grendel.
* Beowulf - several short excerpts     
From different chapters, selected for their beauty
* Beowulf - last chapter (41)             
Beowulf´s funeral 
* The Lay of Guthorm                            Anonymous  
* The Wanderer                                        ca. 1000 Ce, anonymous
* Deor                                             From Old English, 10th century, translated by Steve Pollington
* Widsith                                                    From Old English, 144 lines, ca. 9th c., mostly a survey of the peoples, kings, and heroes

From German

* The Two Merseburg Charms           9th c., Old High German, alliterative
* Lay of Hildebrand                          
8th c., Old High German long verse, original, transl., annotations, MP3   
* The Younger Lay of Hildebrand     
15th c. ballad, original & transl.
* Lay of Old Hildebrandt 
                     19th c. ballad, original & transl.
The Nibelungenlied                         13th c., Middle High German (1st Adventure, stanzas 1-6)
* The Ring of the Nibelung
                    19th c., Richard Wagner. (3. act, 3. scene: Wotan takes leave of Brunhilde)
* The Nibelungs                             
19th c., Agnes Miegel
Faithful Eckart                                        18th c., J.W. Goethe
* The King of Thule    
                            18th c., J.W. Goethe
* Herman and Thusnelda                  
18th c., F. G. Klopstock
* Gorm Grymme                               
19th c., Theodor Fontane
* The Last Goths                             
19th c., Felix Dahn
* Thus Spake Zarathrustra
(... to Odin ?)       19th c., Friedrich Nietzsche
* Put out my eyes, and I can see you still 19th c., Rainer Maria Rilke

From Norwegian

* Bergliot                                                   19th c., melodrama by Edvard Grieg
* Olav Tryggvason  
                                19th c., E.Grieg/Bjørnsson. Beautiful invocation to the Gods.
* Suttungs Mead                              
19th c., Johan S. Welhaven
* Asgardsreien (The Wild Hunt)        
19th c., Johan S. Welhaven
* Snorre                                          
19th c., Per Sivle
* The Hardy Norseman                     19th c.,  traditional song

From Swedish

* Who Can Sail Without the Wind        Swedish Folk song
* The Giant                                       Esaias Tegner (1782-1846)
* The Giant                                       Esaias Tegner, transl. by J.E.D. Bethune
* Skidbladner
                                    Esaias Tegner, transl. by J.E.D. Bethune
* Fridhtjof Comes to King Ring           Esaias Tegner, from the "Fridthjof´s Saga"
* Balder´s Funeral Pyre                      
Esaias Tegner, from the "Fridthjof´s Saga"
* Fridthjof and Ingeborg                     Esaias Tegner, from the "Fridthjof´s Saga"
* Ring´s Dirge                                   Esaias Tegner, from the "Fridthjof´s Saga"
The Viking                                              Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783-1847)
* The last Skald                                         Erik Gustaf Geijer
* The last Warrior
                                     Erik Gustaf Geijer
* The Necken
                                           Erik Gustaf Geijer
* The Merman´s Dance (Näckens polska)  Arvid August Afzelius (1785-1871)
* Nordens Gudar (Gods of the North)  Erik Sjöberg ("Vitalis") (1794-1828)
* The Pyre of Balder                         Viktor Rydberg (1828-1895)
* The New Song of Grotte                 Viktor Rydberg
* Snowfrid                                                  Viktor Rydberg
* Finn's Saga: From the Swedish.        Mary Elizabeth Hewitt (1807-1884)

From Danish

* Grimilds Revenge                           Old Denish ballad, ca. 14th cent.
* Sivord and Brynhild
                            Old Denish ballad, ca. 14th cent.

Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger (1779-1850)
* To the Gods                                                   Transl. by Rune Bjørnsen
* The Gods of the North (Nordens Gudar)  Transl. by William Edward Frye (1784-1853), as PDF
                                                                              Or, read online at Archive.org

* The Gods of the North - Transl. by G. Pigott, excerpted from "A Manual of Scandinavian Mythology"
* Creation of the world... * The Vaner * Aegir... * Njord... * Freya... * Hel...
* Frigga on Balder´s death...
* Thor and Sif... * Loki... * Thor´s Journey to Jotunheim 
* Thor´s Visit to the Giant Hymir * Thor´s Fishing * Loke´s Cunning (Thrymskvida)       
* Thor Recovers the Hammer
* The Dwarfs (Loki & Sif´s hair) * Valhalla...

From Faroese

From the Sigurd Lays, ca. 14th century:
Brynhild´s Ballad                        Transl. by A. E. Petersen
* The Ballad of  Regin                 Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934  With recording
* The Ballad of  Brynhild            Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Ballad of  Hogni
             Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Ballad of Ragnar              Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Ballad of Ísmal               
Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Rime of Asla                  
Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Rime of Nornagest         
 Transl. by E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934
* The Faroese Ballad of Nornagest Transl. by Nora Kershaw  With sheet music
* The Ballad of Hjalmar and Angantyr Transl. by Nora Kershaw  With sheet music
* The Ballad of Arngrim´s Sons        Transl. by Nora Kershaw  With sheet music
* Loka táttur                            Transl. by Kiyo
* The Lay of Skrymner
            Transl. by G.H. Borrow (1803–1881)

Modern English     Sorted by author´s birth year

Thomas Warton the elder (1688?-1745)
* A Runic Ode.
Another, on the Same Subject.

James Thomson (1700-1748)
* Liberty

Thomas Gray (1716-1771)
* The Fatal Sisters  
* The Descent of Odin  

Thomas Penrose (1742-1779)
* Carousal of Odin

Thomas James Mathias (1754?-1835)
   Runic Odes from the Norse Tongue:
* Ode I: The Twilight of the Gods, or, The Destruction of the World
* Ode II: The Renovation of the World, and Future Retribution
* Ode III: Dialogue at the Tomb of Argantyr

Frank Sayers (1763-1817)
* Oswald
* The Descent of Frea:
Act 1, Act 2

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
* The Saxon War Song
* Harold the Dauntless

Robert Southey (1774-1843)
* The Race of Odin
* Death of Odin
* To A.S. Cottle from Robert Southey

Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans (1793-1835)
* Valkyrjur Song
* The Wild Huntsman 
* The Sword of the Tomb

Wilhelm Wagner (1800-1886)
* The Wonderful Quern Stones in: "Asgard and the gods; tales and traditions of our northern ancestors" (1882)

George Henry Borrow (1803–1881)
* Runic Verses
* Vidrik Verlandson (From the Old Denish)
Grimhild´s Vengeance. Three Ballads. Song the First, Song the Second, Song the Third

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
* Tales of a Wayside Inn - The Musician's Tale: The Saga of King Olaf

   Part  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21

   My favorite parts:
   * Interlude  

   * The Challenge of Thor (Part 1)
   * Queen Sigrid the Haughty (Part 4)
   * The Wraith of Odin (Part 6)
* The Dwarves 
* Tegner´s Drapa  
* The Skeleton in Armor
* The Grave 

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
* The Norsemen

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
* Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead  

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)
* The Voyage to Vinland

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)
* The Longbeards´ Saga
* The Song of the little Baltung A.D. 395


Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
* Balder Dead

George John Cayley (1826-1878?)
The Death of Baldur

Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton (1831-1891)
* The Death of King Hacon

William Morris (1834-1896)
* The House of the Wolfings
* The Prophecy of Guest the Wise
* Of the Slaying of Sigurd the Volsung 
* Of the Last Battle of King Sigmund

Edmund William Gosse (1849-1928)
* King Erik, a Tragedy

* The Death of Arnkel

Donald Robert Perry Marquis (1878–1937)
* The God-maker, Man

Julia Clinton Jones (publ. 1878)
* Valhalla: The Myths of Norseland; A Saga, in Twelve Parts (PDF)
   Part  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  (HTML)

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
* Harp Song of the Dane Women  
Song of the Men´s Side 
* Song of the Red War-Boat
* Thorkild´s Song
* The Runes on Weland´s Sword
* Norman and Saxon 

Donald A. Mackenzie (1873-1936)
* Njord and Skade

G. K. Chesterton (18741936)
* The Ballad of the White Horse

Robert Frost (1874–1963)
* Fire and Ice 

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
* Viking Song

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937)
The Teuton´s Battle Song

 J.R.R.Tolkien (1892-1973)
* Lament of the Rohirrim   
From "The Lord of the Rings"

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
* Cliche Came Out Of Its Cage

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936)
* The Gold and the Grey  
* Lay of the Norse Gods  
* The Song of Horsa's Galley  
* Thor´s Son

Christopher Logue (1926- )
* Come to the Edge

From the film "The 13th Warrior" (1999)
* Lo, there do I see...       
inspired by Ibn Fadlan´s 10th c. account


Less directly Norse-related, but of kindred spirit:

* Your tombstone stands among the rest  Author unknown. A wonderful ancestor poem.
* How did you die ?                               Edmund Vance Cooke (1866-1932)
* If                                                  
    Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
* Opportunity                                      
Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)
L'ENVOI: The Poet and his Songs       Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
* To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence     James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)
* In the black season of deep winter      
Celtic poem, 11th century
* I prize no meat or drink  
                       Bertran de Born (1140-1215)
* The two Crows                                 
Traditional, originally Scottish
* Bivouac of the Dead                           Theodore O'Hara (1820-1867)

Harp image: Licensed from 123rf.com