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not assume full responsibility for the faults of the translation. Whatever these may be, I trust that the book may perform some service in bringing before the Englishreading public a greater portion of Snorri's classic treatise than has previously been accessible. The reader will perceive the value of the Edda if he will compare it, for legendary and antiquarian interest, with the Mabinogion, and will also realize that the Edda is a masterpiece of style, —style that no translator can ever reproduce.

A. G. B.

Cambridge, Massachusetts
July i, 1916

PROLOGUE

--PROLOGUE

IN the beginning God created heaven and earth and all those things which are inVtKerft: and last of all, two of human kind, Adam and Eve, from 'them the races are descended. And their offspring multiplied, among themselves and were scattered throughout the'earth/But as time passed, the races of men became unlike in "natate:. some were good and believed on the right; but many mdre"tatried after the lusts of the world and slighted God's commanik Wherefore, God drowned the world in a swelling of the sea, and all living things, save them alone that were in the ark with Noah. After Noah's flood eight of mankind remained alive, who peopled the earth; and the races descended from them. And it was even as before: when the earth was full of folk and inhabited of many, then all the multitude of mankind began to love greed, wealth, and worldly honor, but neglected the worship of God. Now accordingly it came to so evil a pass that they would not name God; and who then could tell their sons of God's mighty wonders ? Thus it happened that they lost the name of God; and throughout the wideness of the world the man was not found who could distinguish in aught the trace of his Creator. But not the less did God bestow upon them the gifts of the earth: wealth and happiness, for their enjoyment in the world; He increased also their wisdom, so that they knew all earthly matters, and every phase of whatsoever they might see in the air and on the earth.

One thing they wondered and pondered over: what it might mean, that the earth and the beasts and the birds had one nature in some ways, and yet were unlike in manner of

S life. In this was their nature one: that the earth was cleft into lofty mountain-peaks, wherein water spurted up, and it was not needful to dig longer for water there than in the deep valleys; so it is also with beasts and birds: it is equally far to the blood in-the head and the feet. Another quality of the earth is,"that in each year grass and flowers grow upon the earth, and in the same year all that growth falls away and withers; it is even so with beasts and birds: hair and.feathers grow and fall away each year. This is the third nature of the earth, that when it is opened and dug up, the -grass grows straightway on the soil which is uppermost on the earth. Boulders and stones they likened to the teeth and bones of living beings. Thus they recognized that the earth was quick, and had life with some manner of nature of its own; and they understood that she was wondrous old in years and mighty in kind: she nourished all that lived, and she took to herself all that died. Therefore they gave her a name, and traced the number of their generations from her. The same thing, moreover, they learned from their aged kinsmen: that- many hundreds of years have been numbered since the same earth yet was, and the same sun and stars of the heavens; but the courses of these were unequal, some having a longer course, and some a shorter. From things like these the thought stirred within them that there might be some governor of the stars of heaven: one who might order their courses after his will; and that he must be very strong and full of might. This also they held to be true: that if he swayed the chief things of creation, he must have been before the stars of heaven; and they saw that if he ruled the courses of the heavenly bodies, he must also govern the shining of the sun, and the dews of the air, and the fruits of the earth, whatsoever grows

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