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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~

Original: Brynhildur tแttur, Faroese ballad (208 stanzas). Referring to myths from the 9th century,
put to rhyme probably in the 14th century, it was written down 1851 by V. U. Hammershaimb
in the New Faroese language (in FฦRึISKE KVฦDER).

Translation from: Sigurd the Dragon-Slayer: A Faro๋se Ballad-Cycle, E.M. Smith-Dampier, 1934.
Transkription by courtesy of Jack Hart, read his annotations at Meadhall.

Oxford [Eng.] Blackwell, 1934; New York, Kraus Reprint, 1969.207 p.

The Ballad of Brynhild

Burden (refrain):
Grane bore the golden hoard,
Wroth did Sigurd swing his sword,
There he slew the Dragon grim,
Wroth did Sigurd swing his sword.

I have heard a tale of the olden time
That in greenwood wild they sing;
Now will I tell what erst befell
When Budli reigned as king.
King Budli reigned o'er the woodland,
Great store of gold had he;
& Brynhild, his only daughter,
Was a woman fair to see.
Both far & wide her fame went forth
Amid the woodland green;
No woman beauteous as Brynhild
On Middle Earth was seen.
'Tis told in ancient story,
How she dwelt on Hildar's height:
& sunshine was turned to shadow
Before her beauty bright.
On Hildar-fell doth Brynhild dwell,
In the kingdom of her sire;
Light shineth about her shoulders
Brighter than burning fire.
In lady's bower sat Brynhild
(So is the story told),
& combed her silken tresses
That shone like the red, red gold.
Oh sons of kings went there to woo,
& jarls of high degree,
But Brynhild still bethought her
None might her equal be.
It was blithe King Budli
Wrapped him in cloak of vair,
& went his way to the high-loft
To seek his daughter fair.
‘ Now harken, Brynhild, my daughter.
Great peril is in the land
For that thou slightest the suitors
Would ask thy lily-white hand.
‘ Bethink thee, Brynhild, my daughter,
Great is my grief to-day,
For that thou art asked in marriage,
& still dost answer nay! ’
‘ Now hush thee, hush thee, my father,
Let no such words be said!
The warrior comes not hither
Is worthy me to wed.
‘ He cometh not, that warrior bold.
Down thro' the wild woodland;
Afar where he dwells to the eastward
He holdeth my heart in hand.
‘ Sigurd do men name him,
Of Sigmund the son;
Hj๘rdis she that bore him,
When Sigmund's days were done. ’
‘ Great marvel is this, my daughter,
& strange this love O' thine,
That is laid, forsooth, on an outland youth
Thou never hast seen with eyne! ’
‘ Long hath it lain in my bosom,
The thread that the Norns entwine!
Sigurd, son of Sigmund,
I have loved thro' winters nine. ’
Up spake blithe King Budli,
& poured the mead again:
‘ Now wherefore is Sigurd fairer
Than any well-born swain? ’
‘ Now therefore is Sigurd fairer
Than any champion bold,
For that his saddle & byrnie
Shine bright with the burning gold.
‘ Oft, oft have I heard the tidings
That tell of Sigurd' s fame;
The warlock Worm of Glitter Heath
Alone he overcame.
‘ Alone he slew the warlock Worm
On Glitter Heath did dwell,
& won such store of treasure
As never a tongue can tell.
‘ Great fame was won by Sigmund's son
With store of gold and fee;
There's never a knight in Hunnish land
That may his equal be. ’
‘ Now harken, Brynhild, my daughter,
All for thy rede I pray;
How shall we lure this mighty man
From a land so far away? ’
‘ Oh thou shalt build a bower for me
Out in the waste-mark wide,
& there with no aid of man nor maid
Shall Budli's daughter bide.
‘ And thou shalt build me a golden bower
On waste-mark wild eftsoon,
Such as two cunning dwarfie-folk
Can raise with magic rune;
‘ Such as two cunning dwarfie-folk
By might of rune can raise,
& round my bower the reek shall lower,
& the leaping lowe shall blaze.
‘ & my bower, I ween, shall be warded well
With the leaping lowe beside,
For knight there is none save the Volsung's son
Shall dare that flame to ride! ’
So Budli built her a golden bower
All in the wild waste-mark,
& by day & by night the flame shone bright,
& the driving reek was dark.
So much he lit of the leaping lowe
To guard his kingly boon,
As two of the cunning dwarfie-folk
Could stablish with magic rune.
So much of the leaping lowe he lit
To ward the maiden well,
As none of the treacherous dwarfie-folk
Could quench by magic spell.
Now all when the early morning
Shone red on mount & moor,
So many a gallant gentleman
Rode up to Budli's door;
Full many a gallant gentleman,
With pomp & pride enow;
& Brynhild sat in the high-seat
& the red gold bound her brow.
Into the hall went Budli,
& did there tidings bring:
‘ Down from the garth of Gj๚ki
Hath ridden Gunnar the King.
‘ Gunnar the King comes hither
To ask thine hand this day;
& now, my daughter Brynhild,
Thou shalt not answer nay! ’
In midmost hall stands Budli
& leans against the board,
But Brynhild Budli's daughter
She answers never a word.
Straight doth she rise from the high-seat,
With the red gold on her brow,
& flees from her father's dwelling,
& hastens to Hildar-howe.
Grimur & H๘gni Gj๚kason
They fought in greenwood vale,
& Budli's hall was shaken all,
& Hildar's maids grew pale.
Grimur & H๘gni Gj๚kason
They fought with shining brand;
But Brynhild sat in the leaping lowe
Amidst her father's land.
A-smiling all in secret,
She sat the lowe within:
‘ The warrior bold that rides the flame
For aye my love shall win! ’
In Hildar-howe sat Brynhild
Amid her magic dower,
& Sigurd she drew from his far countrie
All in a luckless hour.
Now Sigurd arose from slumber
All in the dawning dim,
& went forth into his garden-ground
Where secrets were shown to him.
Up & spake the little bird
That sat on oaken-tree:
‘ Oh, fair is Brynhild Budli's daughter,
Hath laid her love on thee! ’
Up & spake the little bird
That sat on linden green: .
‘ She loveth thee, Brynhild Budli's daughter,
The fairest eyes have seen! ’
All in the morning early
When the sun was red to see,
He's bidden Vํggrํm Gunnarson
To saddle his steed so free.
From stall they lead the noble steed
That Sigurd wont to ride;
Housings all of scarlet
Fall down on either side.
Forth they lead the noble steed
That Sigurd loved so well;
Gold bedecked the housings
That to the fetlock fell.
Golden were the gauntlets
On Sigurd's either hand;
Thus fared the son of Sigmund
Down from his far-off land.
Thus took the son of Sigmund
A wild & waesome road,
With golden rings a-tinkling
Whene'er his war-horse trode.
Twelve rings all golden
He decked him withal,
& the ring hight the Queen's Ring
He set over all.
Fleetly fared Grane
O'er mount as O'er mead;
Never in Budli's kingdom
Was seen so wight a steed!
Now Sigurd took the nether way
By Gj๚ki's garth to ride,
& at the gate stood Grimhild
With many a man beside.
Before the gate stood Grimhild
All with a royal train,
& she stretched forth both her lily-white hands
To seize his bridle-rein.
With both her lily hands outstretched
To seize his rein she ran;
Ne'er had she seen astride a steed
A statelier-seeming man!
Up spake Sigurd Sigmundarson
With looks both high & bold:
‘ I knew not that the woman lived
Would dare my steed to hold! ’
‘ Rein in, rein in, thou Sigurd,
& speak awhile with me!
I have a beauteous daughter
Hath laid her love on thee. ’
‘ I will not stay my journey,
Nor shall my courser tire,
Until I win to Hildar-howe
Where leaps the living fire.
‘ I will not stay my journey
By waste & greenwood glade,
Till I have ridden the leaping lowe
& won the fairest maid! ’
To Hildar-howe full often
The willing wooers came,
But each & all turned backward
That saw the leaping flame.
It was the standard-bearer
In all men's hearing cried:
‘ Now whoso dares the flame to leap
Shall win a beauteous bride! ’
Grํmur he rode a-down the dale
Bearing so bold a brow,
But he turned again his horse's rein
When he saw the leaping lowe!
Then up spake Sigurd Sigmundarson:
(So do they tell the tale)
‘ Because of the sign my shield doth bear
I'll leap the burning bale. ’
Was ne'er a one but Sigmund's Son
That entered in Hildar-hall,
For Grane the steed so good at need
He leapt the fiery wall.
So lightly leapt Grane
The barrier o'er,
That the clash of his fore-feet
Rang hard on the door.
So swiftly sprang Grane
As bird in its flight,
That scarce a spire of burning fire
On Sigurd's loins did bite.
Sigurd alone the fortress won
Where all had turned the rein;
With one blow of his sword-blade
He clave the door in twain.
With one blow of his sword-blade
He lopped the lock away,
& there beheld the maiden
In coat of mail that lay.
She slept, the noble maiden,
In warrior's byrnie blue;
With one blow of his sword-blade
He clave the mail in two.
Up spake Budli's daughter
All betwixt sweven & sleep:
What warrior-hand doth wield the brand
That dares to bite so deep? ’
Up spake Budli's daughter
All betwixt sleep & sweven:
‘ What warrior bold the brand doth hold
My byrnie blue hath riven? ’
Sigurd shalt thou name me,
Of Sigmund the son;
Hj๘rdis she that bore me
After his days were done. ’
Up sat the lady Brynhild
A-smiling secretly:
‘ Now welcome, thou that comest
Hither from far countrie!
‘ But harken, Sigurd Sigmundarson,
Who told thee how to seek
& find my bower thro' the leaping flame,
& thro' the driving reek? ’
That tidings I heard from the wildwood bird
Sitting on linden-tree:
So fair is Brynhild Budli's daughter,
Hath laid her love on thee. ’
‘ Now harken, Sigurd Sigmundarson,
& to my words give heed,
Go, get thee forth to my father's garth,
& rule thee by his rede. ’
Oh, wise was Sigurd Sigmundarson,
That spake this word straightway;
‘ But little heed to thy father's rede
Hast thou been wont to pay!
‘ O'er-long, I trow, hast tarried
Thy fortune to fulfil,
& I will not forth to thy father's garth,
Nor seek to learn his will. ’
Right gladly Sigurd laid his arms
About her neck so white;
Asla, the daughter of Sigurd,
Was gotten that self-same night.
Right gladly Sigurd laid his arms
Her snow-white neck around;
‘ I swear to thee that ne' er in me
Shall aught of false be found! ’
Twelve rings of red, red gold
He laid her arms between,
& set above them all
The great ring of the Queen.
All on her lily hand
He set twelve rings of gold:
‘ Of our true love the token
Here shalt thou have & hold. ’
It was Sigurd Sigmundarson
That would no splendour spare;
Three rings of ruddy gold he twined
All in her braided hair.
It was Sigurd Sigmundarson
Kept well the oath he swore,
He tarried in the maiden's bower
Till six full months were o'er.
‘ Now bring to me my selle & shield,
& my byrnie blue withal!
For I will ride the greenwood way,
& see what will befall. ’
‘ Nay, rather sit my bower within
At play with the golden dice!
Gj๚ki the King hath a daughter
That is in withcraft wise.
‘ Tho' young thou art, & blithe of heart,
Yet short thy life will be;
Shalt wed the daughter of Gj๚ki,
& think no more on me! ’
‘ Strange is thy saying, my Brynhild,
& ne'er can it chance to me
That I lay my love on another,
& think no more on thee. ’
Up & answered Brynhild,
That felt her heart grow cold:
‘ Gj๚ki the King hath a daughter
Whose wiles are manifold.
‘ This ring of gold I'll give thee
Wilt thou but bide in bower,
Nor tempt the guile of Queen Grimhild
All in a luckless hour. ’
She followed him far along the way
To bid farewell once more:
‘ May ill-luck ever stay behind,
& good luck go before!
‘ So hale we are, so free from care,
This hour when we must part!
Forget not, Sigurd, these words o' mine,
& lay them well to heart. ’
Up & spake the warrior
That loved her passing well:
‘ Ne'er shalt thou cease, mine own true love,
In heart & mind to dwell! ’
He louted low from saddle-bow
Her rosy mouth to kiss,
& never, I ween, was fonder love,
Nor truer heart than his.
It was the son of Sigmund
Rode down thro' wild greenwood,
& it was the sire of Brynhild
That at his gateway stood.
‘ Now welcome, welcome, Sigurd,
Home to this house o' mine!
Come drink what best shall like thee,
The brown mead or the wine. ’
‘ Oh, little reck I of the mead so brown,
& less of the blood-red wine!
I pray thee to give me Brynhild,
Only daughter thine. ’
‘ I may not be thy kinsman
That fain would be thy friend;
Full well I know which way thou'lt go,
& what will be thine end.
‘ While young thou art, & blithe of heart,
Thou needs must lose thy life;
And thou wilt let my daughter be,
& take Gudrun to wife.
‘ Hast won the love of Brynhild,
Fain wouldst thou hold the boon;
But a wizard wine in the wan moonshine
Is poured by the dark Gudrun! ’
‘ Strange is thy saying, King Budli,
But I trow my heart is true,
& ne'er can I turn from Brynhild
Another maid to woo. ’
Up & answered Budli
That felt his heart grow chill:
‘ Gj๚ki the King hath a daughter
Shall wile thee to her will.
‘ But wouldst thou' scape the sorrow
& shame that must else befall,
Then turn thee from the nether way,
Nor pass by Gj๚ki's hall.
‘ For Grimhild stands by the gateway
With many a man beside,
& she hath sure foreknowledge
Of the way that thou wilt ride.
‘ Nor canst thou' scape that knowledge,
Albeit thou ride with speed;
Shalt be in her sight the noblest knight
That e'er bestrode a steed. ’
Oh, far he followed along the way
To bid farewell once more:
‘ Where' er thou ride, no ill betide,
& good luck go before! ’
It was Sigurd Sigmundarson
Rode down by greenwood vale,
And, rearing in man's likeness,
He saw the Beast of Bale.
There he beheld the Baleful Beast
That lurked 'mid shadows dim;
With fire & fume & deadly spume
It perilled life & limb.
Sigurd the warrior spurred his steed
& sought a path in vain,
For Grane foamed & Grane fought,
& still turned back again.
The furious steed must have his will
That brooks no other guide,
& Sigurd needs must choose the way
By Gj๚ki's garth to ride.
Like morning moon the portent waned
Before the warrior's e'en,
& lo, the fleeting semblance
He saw of Gj๚ki's Queen!
All by the garth of Gj๚ki
Southward did Sigurd fare,
& at the gate stood Grimhild,
& many a man with her.
She saw that stately champion
Ride by the garth again,
& she stretched forth both her lily hands
To seize his bridle-rein.
‘ Hold in, hold in, thou Sigurd,
& speak awhile with me!
I have a beauteous daughter
Hath laid her love on thee.
‘ Fair is many a maiden,
But fairer daughter mine;
The red, red rose & lily-flower
All on her cheeks do shine. ’
‘ And hast thou a beauteous daughter,
The fairer is thy fate;
But winter shall liken summer
Ere she be Brynhild's mate! ’
‘ Yet turn thou in, thou Sigurd,
To rest thy weary steed,
& drink what best shall like thee,
The red wine or the mead. ’
Now donned the lady Gudrun
Her kirtle all of blue,
& twined her raven tresses
With silken bands anew.
It was the queen of Gj๚ki
Unto her daughter said:
‘ Get thee hence to the cellar
For mead & wine so red.
‘ The red, red wine & foaming mead
Shalt mingle sup by sup,
& all so much forgetfulness
Blend thou within the cup. ’
Up & answered Gudrun,
So ready of tongue was she:
‘ Spare that which is another's
If thou wouldst prosperous be!
‘ Full many a jarl is in this land,
& knights of high degree,
But spare w hat is another's
Wouldst thou good fortune see! ’
'Twas Grimhild raised her hand & smote,
& that in all men's sight,
& the blood from Gudrun's lips ran down,
Upon her bosom white.
‘ Now hold thy peace, thou scant of wit,
Nor dare my words to scan,
& rather let the woman woo
Than lose a goodly man! ’
Gudrun she mixed the mead so brown
With the red wine in the cup
And all so much forgetfulness
Still brimmed the potion up;
All so much forgetfulness
Was mingled in the spell,
& she bore the draught to Sigurd,
& bade him pledge her well.
So deep a draught drank Sigurd
Out of that magic horn,
That kin & kind went from his mind,
& his love was lost & lorn.
So deep a draught drank Sigurd
That fated eventide, .
That kin & kind went out of mind,
& from his heart his bride.
Upon the horn he stared forlorn
(I tell ye the story true),
For nought of beauteous Brynhild
Nor of himself he knew.
She pledged him, Gjilki's daughter,
When he had drunk his fill,
& he thought on nought but her beauty,
& how to have his will.
Up spake evil Queen Grimhild,
Of women wiliest:
‘ Get hence to thy bower, my daughter,
Make ready for thy guest! ’
Now tidings came to Brynhild
All in a luckless hour,
That Sigurd, son of Sigmund,
Dwelt ever in Gudrun's bower.
From Hildar-howe went Brynhild
(Ne'er was so fair a wife),
And for that he guested Gudrun
Must Sigurd lose his life.
Up spake Budli's daughter
While fast her tears ran down:
‘ Not long shall she enjoy him,
That warrior of renown! ’
Up spake Budli's daughter,
Sore was her sorrowing:
‘ To take what is another's
Can ne'er good fortune bring! ’
Gudrun arose from slumber,
Ere well the night was spent,
For to speak with beauteous Brynhild
Was ever her fixed intent.
When red at early morning
Glimmered the first sunbeam
They went to bathe their bodies
All in the shining stream.
Out where the stream runs strongest
Their wilful way they take,
& one heart, I ween, was merry
The other like to break.
And Brynhild still was silent,
But Gudrun sought for strife:
‘ Now wherefore may Gunnar, my brother,
Not wholly win his wife? ’
‘ 'Twas Gudrun Gj๚ki's daughter
A fell despite did dare;
She washed not in the water
That ran from Brynhild's hair.
And ever she sought the strongest stream
Where fast the foss plunged down,
For that she was wed to Sigmund's son,
That warrior of renown.
And still 'twas Gj๚ki's daughter
Must first set foot on strand,
For that she was wed to Sigurd,
The noblest in the land.
‘ Behold, behold this ring of gold
Upon mine arm so white!
That ring I won from Sigmund's son,
& all in thy despite. ’
Up spake beauteous Brynhild
In piteous dule & pine:
‘ Now, if I live, shall Sigurd die,
All for that word o' thine!
‘ Little deemed I that Sigurd
Should Gudrun's bridegroom be!
My love was given to Sigurd
Or ever he looked on thee. ’
‘ Yea, Sigurd spilled thy maidenhood
On Budli shame to bring;
& yet, forsooth, for all thy love,
I won that mighty King. ’
‘ Not long, not long, oh leasing tongue,
Shalt thou my fame belie!
So sure as thou that word hast said,
So sure shall Sigurd die. ’
‘ Little reck I of thy words, I ween,
Altho' thou stirrest strife;
There's never a man in Gj๚ki's garth
Bears rule o'er Sigurd's life! ’
Right woefully went Brynhild
To lie in her bower alone;
Vainly he asked, King Gunnar,
Wherefore she made her moan.
Now when to the son of Sigmund
Those heavy news they bore,
Straightway he sought the fair ladye
He loved so well of yore.
‘ Oh, never a knight in Hunland
So light o' love would be,
His vows to break for another's sake,
Were sworn to fair ladye! ’
‘ Now lithe & listen, mine own dear love,
‘ Tis darkness all to me,
How I turned my heart to another,
& thought no more on thee. ’
It came to pass when Brynhild
Had Sigurd seen once more,
In bitter woe & weeping
A daughter fair she bore.
And these are the words of Brynhild
To the maidens that minister:
‘ Now cast the child in the waters wild,
For I will not look on her! ’
Asla, daughter of Sigurd,
Had scarce beheld the day,
When the striving stream & foaming flood
Swept her far, far away.
Oft do men stand in peril
All for a wilful wife;
E' en now doth lower the fatal hour
When Sigurd must lose his life.
He was the noblest champion
That ever couched a spear,
Yet a woman's will his life did spill,
As ye that list shall hear.
All in her bower sits Brynhild
While heavy the moments go;
She speaketh not, she resteth not,
So weary is her woe.
& now with hand on ready brand,
King Gunnar up & saith:
‘ Whoso hath done my Queen despite
Shall dree a bitter death!'
‘ 'Twas Gudrun, thy false sister,
Hath done me this despite,
For that she wedded Sigurd,
Foremost of all in fight. ’
All in her bed lies Brynhild,
& Gunnar stands beside;
Full oft the rede of evil deed
Springs from a woman's pride.
‘ Now lithe & listen, mine own dear love,
Ne'er can I deem it true .
That thou would'st seek young Sigurd
By treason to undo. ’
‘ Ne'er shalt thou come my bower within,
& ne'er my love shalt know,
Till thou riddest the realm of Sigurd,
That wrought medule & woe! ’
Up & spake King Gunnar:
‘ Nay, but this may not be!
Sigurd, my weapon-brother,
Shall ne'er be slain by me. ’
‘ Then ne'er shalt thou win love of me,
Nor to my bower return;
So long as I look on Sigurd,
So long my wrath shall bum. ’
Up spake H๘gni Gj๚kason,
& whitened where he stood:
‘ 'Tis years fifteen & more, I ween,
Since we swore brotherhood.
‘ Now harken, Brynhild Budli's daughter,
‘ Tis thou canst best devise
How we may take that warrior bold,
By cunning or surprise. ’
‘ Oh, ye shall ride by Sigurd's side
Down into greenwood brake,
& give him to eat of the salted meat,
With nought his thirst to slake.
‘ Bid ye him boun to saddle,
Bid ye him boun to steed;
&, is there treason in your hearts,
Then do as ye best may speed! ’
Queen Brynhild sits in chair of gold,
& plays with her gilded knife:
‘ Ne' er shalt thou win my bower within
Till Sigurd loseth life! ’
Now Brynhild sat in the high-seat
When Sigurd sought the hall;
Stately was he to look on,
And wiser than warriors all.
Stately he stood before her,
His shield with gold a-shine;
But Brynhild daughter of Budli
She turned away her eyne.
Thus did Sigurd the valiant
Brynhild the beauteous greet:
‘ When I ride home from the wildwood,
Then thou and I will meet. ’
Straightway Brynhild made answer,
So swift of tongue was she:
‘ Two kings in the self-same dwelling
Shall never be loved by me! ’
Straightway Brynhild made answer,
Her heart with sorrow sore:
‘ Thou, O son of Sigmund,
Shalt know my love no more. ’
In chair of gold sat Brynhild,
While word went to & fro
That now the sons of Gj๚ki
To greenwood wild should go.
Up & spake King Budli,
& that with pain & pride:
‘ Let Sigurd have both horn & helm,
& his good sword by his side! ’
‘ None loves so well another
That himself he loves not well;
No more shall Sigurd Sigmundarson
On earth with Brynhild dwell! ’
Up & spake King Budli
With the gold ring on his arm:
‘ Now harken, Brynhild, my daughter,
Why willest thou Sigurd harm?
‘ Mindest thou not, my daughter,
How once in lover's mood
Didst lure him down from the Northland
All thro' the wild greenwood?
‘ & mindest thou not, my daughter,
How in the days langsyne
Thou didst lure him down from the Northland
Into those arms O' thine? ’
Forth from the hall went Budli,
King of the wild woodland;
But silent ever sat Brynhild,
Her chin upon her hand.
With stir & shout the train rode out
Under the greenwood tree,
But ever sat Brynhild silent,
& wept right bitterly.
Right merrily those brethren twain
With Sigurd rode away;
Little he knew what treason foul
Was in their hearts that day!
Up rose beauteous Brynhild,
And looked from Budli's hall,
& saw how Sigurd the valiant
Rode foremost of them all.
In chair of gold she sat her down
With bitter dule & pain,
& all along her lily-white arms
Her tears ran down like rain.
Right long & sore wept Brynhild,
That was so fair a wife:
‘ Farewell, oh Sigurd! Never
I'll see thee more in life. ’
Oh free & gay they rode away
With Sigurd riding first,
& they gave him to cat of the salted meat,
& nought to slake his thirst.
The brethren drank from hunting-horn
Full many a time & oft,
But the hunting-horn of Sigurd
Was left in Gj๚ki's loft.
Full oft they drank, those brethren,
Nor liquor did they lack;
But Sigurd loosed his helmet-band,
& sprang from Grane's back.
Little he thought on treason
That sprang from steed of pride,
& gladly laid him down to drink
The woodland well beside.
Sigurd he laid him down to drink
With joyous heart & free—
Oh seldom doth a godly bough
Wax on an evil tree!
Sigurd he laid him down to drink
From water bubbling bright,
& it was Gunnar's sword-blade
That on his neck did bite.
'Twas Gunnar hewed, & H๘gni thrust
With sharp & shining knife;
Such nithing's work they did, those twain,
They twined him of his life.
It was the voice of the Volsung
Spake up in wrath & pain:
‘ Had I but known your treason,
I was man for more than twain! ’
Swiftly they changed their garments
hereon his life-blood ran;
But never a step stirred Grane
That had the wit of man.
Never a step stirs Grane
Tho' Gunnar mounts to ride;
Still stands the horse by his master's corse,
& lowers his crest of pride.
When he was slain, they took the swain
& laid him on his shield;
Full many a man is done to death
By power that women wield.
The bleeding corse of Sigurd
At Brynhild's feet they laid;
‘ As Gudrun had him living,
So let her have him dead! ’
The bleeding corse of Sigurd
To Gudrun's bed they bore,
Or ever the bride awakened
The sheets were drenched with gore.
Or ever the bride awakened
His blood o'er the bed did flow;
Wan stared Gj๚ki's daughter
Upon that sight of woe.
And when the bride awakened
She spake in dule & pine:
‘ How little thought I, King Gunnar,
Such treason would e'er be thine! ’
Up rose Gj๚ki's daughter,
& wiped from her brow the sweat,
& kissed the mouth of Sigurd
That with his blood was wet.
And these the words that Gudrun
Spake up for all to hear:
‘ Now if I live, my brethren,
This death shall cost ye dear! ’
Now Gudrun went to the high-loft
Away from her widowed bed;
All the days of her lifetime
She sorrowed for Sigurd dead.
‘ Lithe & listen, my daughter,
Nor sorrow for him that's dead!
Artala, King in Hunland,
Hath store of the gold so red. ’
Up & answered Gudrun
In heavy grief & sore:
‘ Vengeance I'll wreak for Sigurd
Or ever my life be o'er! ’
So many a night fair Brynhild
In Sigurd's arms had lain,
& now she died of sorrow
Because she had brought him bane.
Brynhild died of sorrow
When Sigurd lived no more;
Brighter aye grew her beauty
Because of the love she bore.
Brynhild died of sorrow
When Sigurd's corse lay cold;
But her brethren bore to Gudrun
Great store of the red, red gold.
Tender the hearts of women,
& well acquent with pain!
Far did Gudrun wander, Holding by Grane's rein.
Now shall I cease from song awhile,
& look that ye mind it well,
Ere once again I raise my strain
This three-fold tale to tell.