English translation

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Yggr's Horse

I know an ash tree sprinkled,
it's called Yggr's horse,
a high tree, holy,
it stands forever over the green
by the well of Fate, by the well of Fate
The ash tree of Yggr's horse,
it's the tallest of trees,
it endures more
trouble than humans know.
By the well of Fate,
a stag often bites,
and on the side it decays.
By the well of Fate,
Níðhöggr1 diminishes (from) below.
With the white mud,
thence come the dew-falls
that fall into the valley,
it stands forever over the green.
By the well of Fate, by the well of Fate.
By the well of Fate, by the well of Fate.
More worms/serpents lie,
under the ash tree of Yggr's horse,
than any stupid
ape would think.
By the well of Fate
By the well of Fate
I assume that Góinn
and Móinn, Ófnir
and Sváfnir forever should
blunten twigs of the tree.
By the well of Fate,
a stag often bites,
and on the side it decays.
By the well of Fate.
Níðhöggr diminishes (from) below.
With the white mud
thence come the dew-falls
that fall into the valley,
it stands forever over the green
by the well of Fate, by the well of Fate,
by the well of Fate, by the well of Fate.
I know an ash tree sprinkled,
by the well of Fate.
A high tree, holy,
by the well of Fate
By the well of Fate
By the well of Fate
By the well of Fate
By the well of Fate
  • 1. possibly means "libel striker"
Old Norse
Original lyrics


Click to see the original lyrics (Old Norse)

Ja LarsJa Lars    Fri, 23/08/2019 - 10:32

It's not literal HORSE it's the name of the world tree... yggdrasil dude look it up and call it YGGDRASIL NOT YGGDR HORSE

   Fri, 23/08/2019 - 19:17

Thanks for your comment! But I know that, I intentionally translated it literally so that readers can see what it actually means.
I could add a footnote but it didn't seem necessary.

I don't know about the historic background of that name, though, perhaps you know more about that? I thus far only encountered some contemporary esoteric interpretations of it, which I enjoy but which aren't actually scientific.

By the way - your translation is almost identical to mine. That isn't allowed, please read the website rules.

Jason LarsenJason Larsen    Tue, 29/10/2019 - 16:57

That's actually pretty ridiculous to use that as an excuse; well... Two actually; one for messing up your Google translation AND for taking my translation down... (Edit. I couldn't care less about that just fix it I can't imagine youre actually serious about leaving it like that lol)
Yggdrasil is the proper noun- the name of the tree and, SOLELY AS THE TREE YGGDRASIL, the obvious subject of the entire song.
"YGGDRASIL" IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE READ AS "YDDR'S HORSE" ANY IDIOT KNOWS THAT. You're completely skewing the meaning of the song. Nobody understands how a song about a strong eternal tree would be called someone's horse!
Put it in the FOOTNOTES like actual translators do and fix it instead of making sorry excuses for your copy paste job.

Ww WwWw Ww
   Tue, 29/10/2019 - 17:03

A gentleman conducts himself so at all times. Here, on LT we DON'T USE ALL CAPS because it denotes yelling and aggression. Your accusations/insinuations may be tolerated elsewhere, but not here. Everything from insults to copy and paste. There are some mutual misunderstandings. However they have been addressed via the PM system here with respect and confidentiality. It would behoove you to be keep a civil tongue here. At this point I would reconsider your comment and perhaps edit it so that you have a better standing in this cyber community. If not, then it will be brief. You need to affect these results directly. If you amend your comments civilly this comment will vanish.

Jason LarsenJason Larsen    Wed, 30/10/2019 - 11:31

Or it could be italicised in lieu of a more expediting way to ACTUALLY type italics(on a phone)? lol... Actually I'll concede; I WAS in fact yelling in my head as I italicised. I will, however, take responsibility for leaving them on by mistake but I continued typing anyway. That was lazy... You know- like getting called out for erroneously using the root meaning of the proper name YGGDRASIL; thus concealing the naturally flowing context of the lyrics beneath mounds of confusion... Instead of just fixing it.

   Wed, 30/10/2019 - 21:45

[@Jason Larsen] you named a translation of yours taken down: are you talking about [@Ja Lars]' translation of this same song?

Jason LarsenJason Larsen    Tue, 29/10/2019 - 16:54

Think about it: this isn't a song that goes into the story behind the name, it's clearly a song about YGGDRASSIL the tree itself... The context undoubtedly being it's own proper noun.
You dont break down any other names like this... why would you here?
Put an asterisk like you should have, where you can discuss the etymology of the trees name.

   Sat, 02/11/2019 - 17:41

If you disagree with my unpublishing of your translation, please contact the admins instead of accusing me of breaking website rules that you have no proof I would have broken.

Since Yggdrasil was still a perfectly transparent word formation in Old Norse, readers/listeners of this poem at that time understood it as "Yggr's horse" (which is a metaphor) and as a name simultaneously. That cannot be easily mimicked in an English translation, so any way to translate it is a compromise. I chose this one since the literal name can be found in the original text. About the other names, I agree that it would be best to also translate them, but I don't know for sure the meanings of most of them. If you have further information on them, please provide it! I did change "Urðr" to "Fate" now, though (albeit it might be a slightly different notion than our modern notion of fate, I don't really know).

And why an asterisk? It's neither reconstructed nor ungrammatical? Or do you mean, adding a footnote?

   Mon, 02/09/2019 - 16:22

The source lyrics lines division has been updated. Please review your translation.

   Sat, 07/09/2019 - 16:48

Thanks! I've updated my translation accordingly.
It's just punctuation, capitalization and linebreaks, though - and they don't make sense to me, why did you change them in that way? Now it's inconsistent.

   Sat, 07/09/2019 - 17:11

"Urðar brunni" is dative, so it doesn't stand alone, it needs a subject and a verb. Hence, something is doing something by the well: in the first case, the Yggdrasil "stands by the well", in the second "I know an oak by the well" and in the third "(I know) a high tree by the well". Seeing "Urðar brunni" separated from said lines may lead to think they are split, while their meaning is to be linked together. That's why I joined and separated the lines accordingly.

   Sat, 07/09/2019 - 18:08

Yes, thus far I understand, but why did you also put them in the same line in the 3rd paragraph from the last? There they are still forming their own "sentence", or at least you didn't replace that dot with a comma.

Also, that whole text here is taken from an attested poem, but with the lines mixed up, so having half-sentences in it is no surprise.

   Sat, 07/09/2019 - 18:29

Right you are about the third stanza. I changed the commas to full stops (I suppose that's what you meant to say).
It's true that some of these lines don't quite make sense (like...sprinkled with what!?), but "stendr hann æ yfir grænn Urðar brunni", "Ask veit ek, Urðar brunni" and "Hárr baðmr, heilagr, Urðar brunni" do, so why forcing them not to?

BTW, may I ask you if you could take a look at this translation of mine, please? https://lyricstranslate.com/en/valfreyjudr%C3%A1pa-freyja-slain-poem.html

ReDeRReDeR    Thu, 23/01/2020 - 17:49

Yggdrasil is an ash tree, not an "oak", where did you even get "I know an oak"? Ask = Ash. This translation is horrible And later you make the same mistake...

   Sat, 25/01/2020 - 09:23

Ah thanks for pointing that out! In my native language, those two tree names are pronounced almost identically, so I confuse them sometimes.
What other mistakes are in the translation, making you come to the conclusion that it would be horrible? I am certainly not fluent in Old Norse, so I'm eager to improve!

Why would it be worse that I make the same mistake on every occurrence? Seems worse to me if I had been aware of that mistake during part of the translating and not noticed it during other parts.

AtomskAtomsk    Wed, 20/05/2020 - 20:48

I'm just here to thank you for your attempt at a translation, which to me is better than nothing. I also understand that our knowledge of Old Norse is reconstructed throughout the centuries and there's so much we can't be sure of.
Kudos to Sciera for staying civil. Props. Wouldn't have been able to hold my tongue lol.

   Thu, 21/05/2020 - 06:22

Thanks ^^
Heh, "attempt at a translation" almost made me think that now the next one showed up to criticize this xD Sure the oak/ash confusion was a dumb mistake on my part but I'm pretty sure the rest is basically correct, at least if the dictionaries I used can be trusted, so I wouldn't have called in an attempt, lol.

And yah, it's pretty difficult to make me angry so I just took those comments there with humor ;)

Sypher98Sypher98    Sat, 30/07/2022 - 02:29

Pretty on point translation, aside from what's already said. My only issue is that "Níðhöggr" doesn't mean 'libel striker', it's the name of the dragon that gnaws on the roots of the mighty Yggdrasils.