Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o’er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit.
Keep your mind about you. Do not boast or speak too loudly of your deeds and intentions. Be smart and not a motor mouth! If you enter someone’s home, do not try to be a smart-ass or shine someone on. Think before you speak. This also applies to work. Do not go off at a meeting (I fail at this lol!) or speak of things you do not.
If you hold your tongue and weigh your words and temper them with common thought, your actions will be true and you wont raise the ire of someone around you – be them a host, an employer or a leader.
This is a very simple stanza – when you are at ease, be alert. Listen to everyone, watch around you. Do not be a lump or become complacent!
Happy is he who wins for himself
fair fame and kindly words;
but uneasy is that which a man doth own
while it lies in another’s breast.
Seek for yourself, do not rely on the words of others. This is very useful in Asatru. Do not rely on books about the lore. Read it yourself. Do not rely on books of offerings, do your own research and experiment. Do not just listen to one author or speaker, listen to others and draw your own conclusions.
If you earn your own knowledge, and do right by your own actions, through experience and training, you will be a highly valued member of your family and kindred and take pride in yourself and be someone the godh wish to embrace.
Happy is he who hath in himself
praise and wisdom in life;
for oft doth a man ill counsel get
when ’tis born in another’s breast.
This goes hand-in-hand with stanza 8. Knowledge and experience you gain for yourself is better, and more worthwhile. It is richer and more meaningful and worth so much more then just getting advice from someone else.
Example, changing your own oil in a vehicle (wow this is hitting home). You can read the Haynes manual, you can watch YouTube videos and the owner’s manual. You can even ask a friend but until you do it yourself, you dont really know. And once you do know, you’re better for it and can rely on yourself. And a real Asatruar relies on themselves.
A better burden can no man bear
on the way than his mother wit;
’tis the refuge of the poor, and richer it seems
than wealth in a world untried.
This passage might be confusing. “mother wit” Might get people. What is “mother wit”. Think of it like “Father time”. Your wits come from your parents and kin, and traditionally your uncle as well. But this stanza is about journeying. So if you’re journeying you’re bringing supplies and supplies, wares and goods were the domain of the woman. She owned the property and food stuffs. So make provisions, you’re going to rely on wits of a woman or motherly sort. So it means keeping experience and wits with you on the journey.
And the second two lines refer to these wits as being tools, if not THE best tools, for the wealthy and the poor. Or even in a bad situation or good situation.