Concerning Overworking

As busy as the Master Builder

burdening Svadilfari with stone,[1]

the book-grove dweller,[2] the brain-gilder,[3]

will one day reduce to weary bone.

Hurry to Heimdall’s[4] peaceful mead-hall,

to Himinbjorg,[5] when giant’s wind[6] howls

in the brow-fortress;[7] to Baldur’s[8] hall,

fair Breidablik,[9] when mind-trouble prowls.


1 | These first two lines refer to a story from Gylfaginning, where a smith comes from Jotunheim (the home of the Giants) and offers to build the gods a wall around Asgard–but there was a catch: if he could complete this project in one winter’s time, then he would have Freyja’s hand in marriage as payment for his labor. The only help he was allowed to have was his trusty horse, a stallion named Svadilfari, who carried the stones for him. ^

2 | book-grove dweller: a kenning for someone who spends a lot of time with their nose in books, such as a scholar. ^

3 | brain-gilder: a kenning for someone who enriches the mind, such as a teacher. ^

4 | The watchman of the gods. ^

5 | Heimdall’s hall. According to stanza 13 from The Lay of Grimnir, his hall is known for its comfortable lodging and good mead. ^

6 | giant’s wind: a kenning for ‘thought’. ^

7 | brow-fortress: a kenning for ‘head’. ^

8 | The god of goodness, mercy, and rebirth. Read more about him in this Lore Tome. ^

9 |Baldur’s hall. According to stanza 12 of The Lay of Grimnir, his hall is regarded as a land free from strife. ^


fjorn-patreonMy sincerest thanks go to Fjörn’s Fellowship for their gracious support. Without your companionship, this Hall would be nothing. Here are the names (taken from Patreon) of those who supported me while I wrote this post: Anasasia Haysler, Froggy, Jonas Lau Markussen, Kathleen Phillips, Patch, and Sarah Dunn. Þakka ykkur kærlega fyrir!