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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~


The Icelandic Rune Poem
Jump to the modern English translation below

Notice the alliteration.
The first word in each fourth line is the runes Latin equivalent,
which is followed by an Old Icelandic royal epithet.

F er frnda rg 
ok flar viti
ok grafseis gata.
aurum ylkir 

r er skja grtr 
ok skra verrir
ok hiris hatr.
umbre (imbre?) 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

Modern English Translation

(Money) is the (cause of) strife among kinsmen, 
and the fire of the flood-tide
and the path of the serpent.
gold "leader of the war-band"

(Drizzle) is the weeping of clouds,
and the diminisher of the rim of ice,
and (an object for) the herdsman's hate.
shadow (shower?) "leader"

(Thurs) is the torment of women,
and the dweller in the rocks,
and the husband of Vardh-rna (a giantess?).
Saturn "ruler of the thing"

(Ase = dhinn) is the olden-father,
and sgardhr's chieftain,
and the leader of Valhll.
Jupiter "point-leader"

(Riding) is a blessed sitting,
and a swift journey,
and the toil of the horse.
journey "worthy man"

(Sore) is the bale of children,
and a scourge,
and the house of rotten flesh.
whip "king = descendant of good kin"

(Hail) is a cold grain,
and a shower of sleet,
and the sickness (destroyer) of snakes.
hail "battle leader"

(Need) is the grief of the bondmaid,
and a hard condition to be in,
and toilsome work.
trouble "niflungr = descendant of the dead?"

(Ice) is the rind of the river,
and the roof of the waves,
and a danger for fey men.
ice "one who wears the boar-helm"

(Good harvest) is the profit of all men,
and a good summer,
and a ripened field.
year "all-ruler"

(Sun) is the shield of the clouds,
and a shining glory,
and the life-long sorrow (=destroyer) of ice.
wheel "descendant of the victorious one"

(Tyr) is the one-handed god, 
and the leavings of the wolf,
and the ruler of the temple.
Mars "director"

(Birch twig) is a leafy limb,
and a little tree,
and a youthful wood.
silver fir "protector"

(Man) is the joy of man,
and the increase of dust,
and the adornment of ships.
human "generous one"

(Wetness) is churning water,
and a wide kettle,
and the land of fish.
lake "praise-worthy one"

(Yew) is a strung bow,
and brittle iron,
and Farbauti (= a giant) of the arrow.
bow, rainbow "descendant of Yngvi"

From: "Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric Runology" by Edred Thorsson, Samuel Weiser, Inc., New York, 1987

Images: Analemma McKee Burrows
Faux stained glass originals, available at Analemmas Glass Art and Triangle Heathens Crafts.