Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Don't say, 'It's a good day', till nightfall.Page warns (p. 30, n. 42):
Don't say, 'She's a good wife', till she's buried.
Don't say, 'It's a good sword', till you've tested it.
Don't say, 'She's a good daughter', till she's married off.
Don't say, 'The ice is safe', till you've crossed it.
Don't say, 'This is Real Ale', till you've drunk it down.
At kveldi skal dag leyfa, kono, er brennd er,
mæki, er reyndr er, mey, er gefin er,
ís, er yfir kømr, ǫl, er drukkit er.
The translation should not be used as a crib. It contains occasional idiosyncrasies of wording.Another translation, by D.E. Martin Clarke in The Hávamál: With Selections from Other Poems of the Edda (1923; rpt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 63:
Praise no day until evening, no wife until she is burnt,For the idea, cf. the Latin proverb "Omnia tunc bona sunt clausula quando bona est," no. 89 in Renzo Tosi, Dictionnaire des sentences latines et grecques, tr. Rebecca Lenoir (Grenoble: Jérôme Millon, 2010), p. 108.
no sword until tested, no maid until given in marriage,
no ice until crossed, no ale until it has been drunk.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.