To Bragi

Hail to you long-bearded Bragi, quick to the feast
and life of the party, who can keep your head
no matter how deep in your cups you get,
witness of oaths and boasts, always ready
with a joke, a story, or a song, you whose father
drank from the mead of poesy, you who have
Runes graven on your tongue, you who were able
to woo Iðunn, wordsmith, even after you slew her brother
and feuded with the remaining sons of Ivaldi.
You, Bragi, greet great warriors as they arrive in Valhöll
and ensure that the names and deeds of brave kings endure
forever, if only as kennings which the poets of today
have forgotten the meanings of so many centuries later.
When conflict arises, O Bragi, between Ásgarðr
and one of the other of the Nine Realms, it is to you
and your half-brother clever Hermóðr that Óðinn looks,
sending you out as emissaries, spies, or assassins as needed.
Such an important role would not have been given you
had you not proven yourself worthy of it; something Loki
should have considered before getting on your bad side.
Once it got going no Ás, Álf or Jötunn could pry you two apart,
and before it was done he claimed you owed him weregild
for the maiming you gave him, and so, Bragi, you offered Laufey’s
son your swiftest horse, your finest sword, and an arm-ring
forged for you by Ivaldi himself, all of which Loki refused.
Instead he demanded as recompense that you compose
a praise-song for Sigyn, his beloved and steadfast wife,
and when you finished singing it before the entire divine assembly
there wasn’t a single dry eye in that hall and Loki, satisfied,
could not recall why you Gods, closest of comrades,
had started fighting at all. So hail to you Bragi,
and may many more songs flow forth from you.

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