A Quick Daily Study: Stanza 18

It’s quite early for me to be up on Sunday but I wanted to make sure the muffins were done before my daughter had to head to work. That’s IF we can get the car to start in these temps. I decided while they are baking I’m going to take a moment and get a stanza study in. I’m still in the Gestaþáttr or the guest section of the Havamal. So far the advice given ranges from being cautious in new surroundings, be a gracious host but also a gracious guest and don’t drink too much to which you lose cognitive ability and understanding (moderation). Don’t be boastful and overconfident without knowledge and also listen to the older, wiser, or more experienced people surrounding you. Keep a good head on your shoulders and learn what you can when you can from experiences and other. Here’s the next:

Pocket Translation (Stanza 18): 

He alone knows who wanders wide,
and has much experienced, by what
disposition each man is ruled, who
common sense possesses.

Chisholm:

He alone knows, who has wandered widely
and has fared over the fells
what mind stirs in each man
if he himself has wits.

I think so far Chisholm is one of my favorite translators of the text. OTOOHG has given two interpretations which are basically: A. Those who have traveled and seen things have the skills to judge other’s intentions OR B. Gaining experience and street smarts not just book smarts. I think that life experiences help form your ‘gut instincts’. Example, when my husband rode with a club I knew what the men were thinking or when tension was going to give way to a fight. I knew when someone reached in my vest I better have what they are needing because it could mean the difference between life and death. I ALSO knew when that situation was going to happen. I knew sitting at a table with women who were the snake in reeds due to their mannerisms and who was genuine. I think this stanza, for me, says trust what you have learned and experienced and that it’s not necessarily about judging. It’s about being fully aware.

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