The text of the song is
- Drømde mik en drøm i nat um
- silki ok ærlik pæl
There are several interpretations of the text, as the meaning of the words silki and ærlik pæl is obscure. Traditionally, most interpretations have been variants on these readings:
- I dreamt a dream last night of silk and fine fur
- I dreamt a dream last night of silk and expensive cloth
This interpretation takes the 13th-century word silki to mean silk. It may be compared with the medieval song “Palle Boosons visa” which also speaks of “silk and fine fur”: “Han kläder sig i silke, så och i ädel päll..“.
This interpretation has been called into question, because it fails to take account of the context of the document. Codex Runicus is a lawbook that ends with a text of marginal notes. Since the song appears to be written in the same hand that completed the main body of the manuscript, it would seem more appropriate if the lyrics of the song were connected with the content of the document. One would expect a text concerning law and order rather than luxury. However, there are many examples of similar insertions of unrelated text into medieval European documents, a particularly notable one being the Old Irish poem Pangur Bán.
Alternative interpretations that better fit with this understanding of the song’s context are:
- I dreamt a dream last night of justice and fair play
- I dreamt a dream last night of equality and honest measure
The word silki could be seen as related to the old Nordic word slik meaning equality or the same as. Likewise, Ærlik pæl could be “honest measure”, since pæl and pel, are old words for “measure”, cognate with German Pegel. Ærlik is used meaning “honest” (cf. “ærlig” in Modern Danish) on the very first page of the Codex Runicus.