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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~

Original: Faroese ballad (212 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 FÆRÖISKE KVÆDER).

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

The Ballad of Høgni

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.

Gudrun abides in Gjúki's hall,
& sore she sorroweth;
Never a man might win her love
After young Sigurd's death.
King Artala cried through bower & hall:
" Go saddle my steed eftsoon!
For I will down to Gjúki's garth
& woo the fair Gudrun. "
Now when the early morning
Shone red on mount & moor,
They saw so gallant a champion
Ride up to Gjúki's door.
To & fro went the henchmen
That gave him welcome kind,
& by the board sat Gudrun
With many thoughts in mind.
Up she rose, Queen Gudrun,
& stood upon her feet:
" I will go forth to the gateway
This warrior proud to meet. "
Up & spake Queen Gudrun:
" Methinks with the red, red gold
His garments shine as brightly
As Sigurd's wont of old. "
And now with Gjúki's daughter
He sits in Gjúki's hall;
Comely the King to look on,
& wise is he withal.
Up & spake Queen Gudrun
Her woman's weird to dree: (1)
" Now whence hast thou ridden hither,
& what is thy will with me? "
Up spake King Artala,
& that with royal mien:
" Now therefore am I come hither,
To woo thee for my Queen. "
Behind the board sat Gudrun,
Glowing in gold so red:
" No man has e'er had love of me
Since Sigurd the brave fell dead. "

He stood on his feet in Gjúki's hall,
& he was a stalwart swain:
" Now answer me yea, or answer me nay,
For I shall not ask again! "
Long sat Gjúki's daughter,
& thought on her grievous wrong,
& how she vowed the dead to 'venge
If she should live so long.
Up spake Gjúki's daughter
That thought on death & shame:
" Whence comest thou, bold warrior,
& how do men name thy name? "
Up & spake the warrior
With the gold rings on his hand:
" The name men name is Artala,
King in the Hunnish land. "
Up rose Gjúki's daughter,
& stretched forth her lily-white hand:
" Full fain am I to follow thee
Home to the Hunnish land! "
Oh, she has stretched her lily-white hand
To him across the board;
Right courteously they spake together
With many a wooing word.
Artala, King of Hunland,
(In Bragdar tale 'tis told)
Thus won the lady Gudrun
That Sigurd loved of old.
All in the morning early,
With the gold rings on his hand,
He bore the fair dame Gudrun
Home to the Hunnish land.
All in the morning early,
From the land where Sigurd died,
Artala, King in Hunnish land,
Hath borne his beauteous bride.
She dwelt with him in Hunland
Till many a day was done;
Babes right fair she bore him,
& never a boy but one.

Long she dwelt in Hunland,
Again her cheeks grew red;
But ever she thought in secret,
On vengeance for the dead.
" Tis Gudrun Gjúki's daughter
That breweth and blendeth mead;
& she's sent to call her brethren all,
& bidden them come with speed.
Artala., King in Hunland,
Sent courteous words & kind
Little they guessed, those brethren bold.
What peril lurked behind!
'Twas Gunnar, son of Gjúki,
That cried thro' bower & hall:
" Now will we ride to Hunland,
To hold high festival! "
Up spake Grimhild his mother:
" Wild are thy words & vain,
For they that ride to Hunland
Will ne'er return again. "
'Twas. Gunnar, son of Gjúki,
That thus did speak & say:
" Yet will we ride to Hunland,
Let come of it what may! "
" And wilt thou drink Gudrun's red wine,
& hence to Hunland ride,
Yet Gislar & Hjarnar thy brethren young,
Shall with their mother bide. "
But Gislar & young Hjarnar
Would neither hold nor heed,
Forth they fared to Hunland
Against their mother's rede.
Gislar the young & Hjarnar
(For none can flee from fate)
Bade gay farewell to GrimhiJct
Stood weeping by the gate.
All by the gate stood Grimhild,
So woefuf & wise was she:
" An if thou wilt ride to Hunland,
Then let me ride with thee! "

" So wild is the wind, my mother,
I hear not thy dule & pine;
The spray doth break on thy rosy cheek
Till I see not thy weeping eyne. "
Up & spake Queen Grimhild:
" Take thou this runic spell,
& bind it fast about thy loins,
& see that thou guard it well.
" Take thou to thee this runic belt
About thy loins to bind;
Its power can loosen every lock,
& comfort every mind. "
Bright shone the sun on the heathland.
& reddened the shields they bore,
When they rode away, the blithesome band,
That ne'er turned homeward mote.
It was Høgni Gjúkason
Rode down by salt sea-strand,
& there he met a Mermaiden
All on the snow-white sand.
" Now hail, all hail, thou wise sea-wife!
Speak thou & tell me plain,
If I fare forth to Hunnish land,
Shall I come home again? "
" Now harken, Høgni Gjúkason,
For this I tell thee plain,
They that fare forth to Hunnish land
Will ne'er return again.
It was Høgni Gjúkason .
That drew his brand so bnght;
Body from head he sundered,
So strongly did he smite.
The blood-stained head he's taken,
And hurled far into the sound;
The body he threw thereafter,
And both sank down to ground.
" Now lie thou there, thou leasing tongue,
The deep blue sea within!
I trow, an I ride to Hunnish realm,
Great honour I shall win. "

It was Høgni Gjúkason
That rode along the strand,
& there he met a Merman bold
All on the snow-white sand.
Now hail, all hail, my Merman bold!
Speak, for I fain would learn,
If I may ride to Hunnish realm,
& whole & hale return? "
Now harken, Høgni Gjúkason,
To what thou fain wouldst learn,
Well mayst thou ride to Hunnish realm.
& whole & hale return! "
Oh Høgni hoisted sail on mast,
& sped away from shore,
& weeping went Queen Grimhild
Homeward to Gjúki's door.
Weeping right sore, Queen Grimhild
Turned back to Gjúki's garth:
No more, no more, dear sons o' mine,
We meet on Middle Earth! "
Up & spake Queen Grimhild
That saw her sons depart:
" Right well I know that my daughter
Brews evil in her heart! "
Now when they sailed in midmost sea
So wild the wind did blow,
That Høgni took to him oars of iron,
& bent himself to row.
The while in King Artala's hall
They tell these tidings new:
Behold a ship far out at sea
With sails o' the gold & blue! "
Up & spake Queen Gudrun
Whose garb with gold did shine:
" 'Tis my brethren Gunnar & Høgni,
That come to this house o' mine! "
The Queen goes forth to a grassy garth
Under a wind-blown tree,
& she's risted a bough with evil runes,
& cast it out to sea.

Ho, then waxed wind & weather,
& white the foam-wreaths flew!
The sand lay thick on the good ship's deck,
So broke the billows blue.
So wildly waxed the storm-wind
A -blowing off the land,
That both the oars of iron
Were reft from Høgni's hand.
He's ta'en his runic girdle
To float it overboard;
Nor sea nor land could long withstand
The working of that Word.
Oh, the spin-drift blown & the driving sand
Reeked up from shore & sea,
Yet safe they reached the Hunnish realm,.
A woeful weird to dree.
It was Gunnar Gjúkason
That first set foot on land,
'Twas Gislar & young Hjarnar
Stood next on snow-white sand.
Netherward went those brethren,
(So have I heard the tale)
In from the sea-fowls' pasture,
Down to the grass-grown dale.
Amid the garth they clad them
In costly armour all;
So fared the sons of Gjúki
To Gudrun's festival.
It was Gunnar & Høgni
Did to the homestead fare,
& it was Gjúki's daughter
Went forth to meet them there.
Artala, King of Hunland,
Blends wine & mead within,
While Gudrun stands by the gateway
To welcome home her kin.
Up speaks Gjúki's daughter,
That well can smile at need:
" Now come to the hall, my brothers,
& drink the foaming mead! "

It was Høgni Gjúkason
That heard her greeting kind,
But well he knew when he looked on her
That evil lurked behind.
Up & spake Queen Gudrun:
" Now lay by shield & sword!
He thinks no more on battle
That drinks with Hunland's lord. "
Up & spake Queen Gudrun
With courteous-seeming word:
" Now lay by brand & byrnie,
& seat ye at the board! "
Up spake Høgni Gjúkason,
& fast he gripped his knife:
" Ne' er will I yield or sword or shield
While I draw breath of life! "
Up & spake King Gunnar,
& gripped his brand so boun:
" Behold, I will hide my weapon,
But yield it up to none. "
But Queen Gudrun made answer
In sorrows manifold:
" A mightier .man was Sigurd
That ye laid on his shield of gold. "
With woe in her heart a-burning,
Queen Gudrun up & said:
" & think ye not on young Sigurd
Ye laid in my bosom, dead?'
Up spake Høgni Gjúkason,
Her golden ring that eyed:
" Small joy, I trow, hath the brent o' brow.
Thinking how Sigurd died! "
'Twas Gudrun Gjúki's daughter
That spake in sorrow sore:
" & mind ye not how Sigurd
Home to my bower ye bore? "
Up spake Høgni Gjúkason
That saw the red ring shine:
" The blood-stained corse of Sigurd
Is ever before her eyne! "

Early rose Gjúki's daughter,
Not yet was her anger cold;
The board was spread with silken cloth,
& ale in cups of gold.
'Twas Gudrun Gjúki's daughter
Took cup of silver fine,
& hied her to the cellar
To seek for mead & wine.
Wine & mead she mingled
All in the silver cup,
& ever with dim forgetfulness
She brimmed the potion up,
Ever with dim forgetfulness
That layeth sorrow to sleep;
& she bore the cup to Høgni,
& bade him pledge her deep.
Now Høgni wore a ring of price,
& thereon gazed secretly,
& lo, a sweat broke out on it
Was red as blood to see.
It was Høgni Gjúkason
Had little thought of thirst;
He prayed Gudrun his sister
To drink from the goblet first.
Red as fire grew Gudrun,
That answered never a word;
She raised her hand to the goblet,
& struck it from the board.
But now the King his place hath ta'en,
& none may stir nor chide;
Gunnar & Høgni & brethren all
He seated by his side.
Long they dwelt in Hunland,
& merry at heart were they,
A-drinking out the darkness,
& drinking in the day.
Deep they drank in Hunland
With merry hearts & free,
& sore it irked Queen Gudrun
That nought might mar their glee.

She eggeth on her only son
By favour & by fear:
" Both gold & fee I'll give to thee,
Wilt thou spoil Høgni's cheer! "
Young is the lad & witless,
Thrall to his mother's word,
Straightway he fares to Høgni,
That sits beside the board.
Young is the lad & witless
That fears his mother's might,
Yet fears not Høgni Gjúkason
Upon the face to smite!
Oh, fast & sore the red, red gore
Ran down from Høgni's cheek;
Unwary was the warrior,
Nor wont for guile to seek.
'Twas Høgni thrust the board away,
& started from his seat;
The blood-red wine & foaming mead
Were mingled at their feet.
All into midmost hall he sprang
Across the rocking board-
Raging, he tumed upon the boy
& drew his doughty sword. "
Raging, he turned upon the boy,
& drew his brand so bright;
Body from head he sundered,
So strongly did he smite.
" I drink no more in Hunland
.My wine with right goodwill-
Shame on my mother's daughter
That nurtured her son so ill! "
Unto the King went Gudrun,
& thus she spake & said:
" Now all by the fault of Høgni
Our only son lies dead.

" No more, no more in Hunland,
Will I with thee abide,
If thou honour not thine own dear son,
That hath so foully died! "
" Now lithe & listen, Gudrun my wife,
To deem I will not deign
That thou wouldst choose such guile to use,
& bring thy brethren bane.
" For when they slew young Sigurd,
& all to work thee woe,
Gislar & Hjarnar were but babes
That never dealt a blow. "
Up & spake Queen Gudrun:
" Little of that reck I!
Gislar & Hjarnar & brethren all
For that foul deed must die. "
" Now rede me this, Gudrun my wife,
& waste not idle breath;
Say, how shall Høgni the mighty
Be made to taste of death? .
" To deal with Høgni the mighty
Would cost the doughtiest dear;
Whene'er he comes from battle
A head adorns his spear. "
" Now let three full-grown ox-hides
Be steeped in blood of men;
Bid Høgni leap athwart the hides,
& he shall not 'scape us then!
" Take heed, & bid thy henchmen
To soak the hides in gore,
& nail them by the threshold,
& bar with iron the door. "
It was King Artala .
Bade bar with iron the door,
&steep the hides in blood of men,
& nail them down before.
" Tis Gudrun speaks a word of doom,
& stands the board beside;
" Now shall Gislar, brother mine,
Leap first athwart the hide. "
'Twas Høgni straight from board uprose,
Nor spared he speech withal;
Alone he strove her heart to move
Amid those brethren all.

In heavy mood rose Høgni,
& spake with earnest voice:
" Gislar & Hjarnar home shall fare
Their mother to rejoice.
" For both were but guiltless bairns, I wis,
All at their mother's side,
When Gunnar & Høgni dealt the blow
Whereof young Sigurd died. "
Up spake Gjúki's daughter:
" Little of that reck I!
Gislar & Hjarnar & brethren all
For that foul deed must die! "
Now Gislar with young Hjamar
That perilous passage tries,
& well may all see how they fall,
But none may see,them rise.
'Twas Gudrun stood beside the board
& spake a word of woe:
" Now shall Gunnar, brother mine,
Athwart the ox-hides go. "
'Twas Gudrun Gjúki's daughter
Willed him that peril sore;
Yet Gjúki's son, he well-nigh won
His way thro' castle-door.
Little of fear knew Gunnar,
Mighty in weapon-play;
He brast the bars of iron,
& reft the door away.
Yet all in vain King Gunnar
That treacherous footing tries;
For all men well saw how he fell,
But no man saw him rise.
'Twas Gudrun said a word of dread,
& stood the board beside:
" Now shall Høgni, brother mine,
Leap last athwart the hide. "
Up spake Høgni Gjúkason
With ready brand ashine:
" Better it were in Gjúki's garth
To drink the blood-red wine! "

It was Høgni Gjúkason
Thought on his mother dear;
So great as was his peril,
So little was his fear.
He took his brand in stalwart hand
To stay his steps withal:
" Now will I leap athwart the hides,
& let what will befall!'
Over the hides sprang Høgni
Like wild-bird on the wing;
No foot of his could slide, I wis,
So mighty was the spring.
Over the hides sprang Høgni;
Not there his fate was sealed,
His stand he made in greenwood glade
To fight with sword & shield.
Over the hides sprang Høgni,
But little peace he found,
For all Artala's men-at-arms
Stood boun on battle-ground. "
His stand he made in greenwood glade,
& bound his helmet fast:
" Oh, we shall have blood for wine to drink
Or ever this day be past!'
So hard upon the host he hewed,
So mightily he thrust,
That all Artala's following
In Hunland bit the dust.
The host of King Artala
Lay dead in Hunland all;
& then did Høgni Gjúkason
Leap back to castle-wall.
All, all were slain, did none remain,
(I tell ye the tale aright)
& long had the gloaming fallen
Or ever they ceased from fight.
Forth fared Gudrun when sunrise
Shone bright as burning bale,
& saw him walk unwounded
Within the blood-stained vale.

Up & spake Queen Gudrun
In that red morning-tide:
" Now harken, Høgni, my brother,
To greenwood shalt thou ride.
" Thro' wild greenwood, by Hildar's flood,
I rede thee turn thy rein;
The living shall meet there with the dead,
The slayer with the slain. "
So Høgni rode thro' the greenwood
Eastward by Hildar's shore,
Tryst to hold with the dead & cold,
Whose blood he spilt of yore.
The warrior stood in wild greenwood
That woeful tryst to hold;
Oh fair to see, the Budlung's corse,
Laid on his shield of goldl
In wild greenwood the warrior stood
To see a sign of doom;
With furious speed the spectral steed
Came storming thro' the gloom.
The warrior stood in wild greenwood,
& thought on mickle woe,
When he beheld the gory head
Bound to the saddle-bow.
Up spake the head of the hero,
(& still it seemed to bleed):
" When thou betrayedst me, Høgni,
Thou didst an evil deed. .
" More love had Budli's daughter,
The fairest seen with eye,
& more the daughter of Gjúki,
& therefore I needs must die.
So well did Brynhild love me,
Her brow in death grew cold,
But Gudrun with thee shared the Treasure,
Great store of the red, red gold.
" Return, return, oh living man,
To hall & warm hearthside!
Thro' dark & cold, by wood & wold,
The homeless ghost must ride. "

Grim was the wrath of Gudrun
All in the morning dim,
When Høgni came from the greenwood
Yet whole in every limb.
Little on peace thought Høgni,
& much on war's alarm;
Waiting he saw & weaponed
King Artala's men-at-arms.
They fell before his sword-strokes
By twenty & by ten,
He found no other footing
Than on the forms of men.
Loud howls the wolf of the greenwood,
& loud the eagle cries,
So many fall on that red field
That never more shall rise.
'Twas still Gudrun that urged them on
As waves by stormy wind,
For still, the more fell down before,
The more came on behind.
And aye a two-fold toil was his
By might of magic rune,
For whoso fell dead when sun shone red,
She raised beneath the moon.
Up spake Høgni Gjúkason:
" This life hath little mirth!
Weary am I in Hunnish land
Of hewing thrills to earth. "
Grim was the wrath of Gudrun
All in the morning red,
For Høgni yet stood hale & whole
Among the countless dead.
'Twas Gudrun Gjúki's daughter
Called to her trusty swain:
" Get hence, seek Geva Long-man,
& bid him come amain! "
Oh, fleet of foot the messenger
That hasted from her bower;
She bade them broider his garments all
With rose & lily-flower.

" Now harken, Geva Long-man,
Nor let my words be vain!
All by the fault of Høgni
Mine only son lies slain.
" And harken, Geva Long-man,
Thou champion good at need,
Whoso slays Høgni Gjúkason
Will do a manly deed. "
Up spake Geva Long-man
When as he knew her will:
" 'Tis more than one man's work, I ween,
That warrior's blood to spill! "
Right well at sight of Geva
Might the boldest turn the rein,
But Høgni drew his biting brand
& spurred his steed amain.
But Høgni spurred his steed amain
& rushed upon the foe;
Body from head he sundered
So fearful was the blow.
Gudrun went forth at dawning,
& grim was her wrath, to see
How Høgni yet stood hale & whole
Beneath the greenwood tree.
'Twas Gudrun blended mead & wine
As for high festival,
& she's bidden Tidrik Tattnarson
Home to Artala's hall.
Oh, fleet of foot her messenger
That neither stayed nor stood,
But hastened forth to Tattnar's garth
Deep in the wild greenwood.
" Now welcome, welcome, thou little page,
Home to this house o' mine!
Come drink with me what liketh thee,
The brown mead or the wine. "
" Little I reck of the mead so brown,
& less of the blood-red wine!
Another errand have I to thee,
& other thoughts are mine.

" Another errand is mine, I wis,
Nor is your wine for me;
" 'Tis Gudrun Gjúki's daughter
That fain would speak with thee.'
Oh this do they tell of Tattnarson,
That in warlock's wise eftsoon
He vanished away from the greenwood vale,
& stood before Gudrun.
" Now welcome, Tidrik Tattnarson!
All in thy power I trust;
Great praise for valour shall be thine
When Høgni bites the dust. "
" Nay, toil & tene will be mine, oh Queen,
And evil will be my plight!
Not swiftly is that warrior slain
On whom no sword will bite. "
" Great store of gold & silver
Shall by that wight be won,
Who severs head from body
Of Høgni Gjilkason! "
Up stood Tidrik Tattnarson,
& drew his sword, & cried:
" Now will I dare the upper air
& see what will betide! "
Oh, few like Tidrik Tattnarson
In warlock arts were wise;
Over the tops of the greenwood trees
He flew in dragon's guise.
It was Høgni Gjúkason
Right well his peril knew;
He cast aloft his biting brand
To pierce him thro' & thro'.
Venom he spued, the fire-drake fell,
Like rain from a raging sky,
& the warrior that no sword could wound
By magic art must die.
A waesome weird full many a man
On Middle Earth must dree!
The venom that filled his byrnie blue
Was a foe that none could flee.

He turned from fight who ne'er had turned,
Betrayed by magic art,
For the venom that filled his byrnie blue
Seeped into the hero's heart.
It was Høgni Gjúkason
Home to the hall that hied,
& it was King Artala
That stood the gate beside.
" I pray not peace of thee, oh King
Nor wound nor scar have I,
But I ask of thee a Jarl's daughter
Within mine arms to lie. "
They gave to him a Jarl's daughter
(So ran the tale of yore)
& Høgni gat with her a son
Or ever the night was o'er.
" Now harken, Helvik Jarl's daughter,
For soon will my days be done:
King Artala hath begotten
This self-same night a son.
" Take heed now, Helvik Jarl's daughter,
Or great will be thy blame;
If thou dost bear a boy to me,
Then call him by my name.
" Gudrun will seize upon thy babe
To work him dule & pine,
But take thou her own to thy cradle,
& lay him in place of thine.
" All guile is known to Gudrun,
Doth still for vengeance thirst!
She'll bid thee, Helvik Jarl's daughter,
Go thro' the doorway first.
" But she that wears the head-dress high
Must fitly go before,
& she whose coil is lower
Should follow thro' the door.
" And if a boy thou bear me,
Be it thus & so,
That he avenge his father's death,
Should he to manhood grow.

" Now take to thee this runic belt,
& round thy body bind;
Its power can loosen every lock,
& lighten every mind.
" And harken, Helvik Jarl's daughter,
Such power the belt doth wield,
Shalt give it to our own young son
When first he rides afield.
" Now here I give thee store of gold,
With many a ring so red;
& think thou well, my Jarl's daughter,
On vengeance for the dead! "
Up spake Høgni Gjúkason:
" No longer may I bide'-
For the venom swart was in his heart,
& thus the hero died.
'Twas Helvik told those tidings
In haste thro' bower & hall,
& the henchman heaped a lordly howe
For Høgni's burial.
Full oft, I ween, have mortals seen
That after pain comes joy:
Helvik lay down in high-loft
& bore a goodly boy.
She wrapped him well in swaddling-bands
When to this earth he came,
A gallant child & fair to see,
& Høgni was his name.
A boy she bore, Queen Gudrun,
All to her dule & pain;
She wrapped him well in swaddling-bands,
& bade them call him Sweyn.
In bower they dwelt, those fair ladyes,
Till full two months were o'er;
" Rise up, thou young Jarl's daughter!
I bid thee go before. "
Up spake Helvik Jarl's daughter:
" I may not have it so;
Who wears the highest head-gear
Should first thro' doorway go. "

Now Helvik hid her bonnie babe
When she was left alone,
& she took Gudrun's from his cradle
& laid him in her own.
'Twas Gudrun Gjúki's daughter
That did a deed of shame;
Forth from the bower she hastened,
& back to the bower she came.
" Tis Gudrun Gjúki's daughter
A deadly deed has done,
Head from neck she's sundered,
& slain her only son!
Right well waxed young Høgni,
Stalwart of limb,
Artala, King in Hunland,
Fosterèd him. (1)
Now Høgni sprang to saddle,
& rode in good greenwood;
& he met with his own dear mother
Eastward by Hildar's flood.
A-smiling all in secret,
She looked the lad upon:
" I know in the blood of my body
Thou art mine own dear son. "
Up & spake young Høgni:
" Little of that reck I!
Ne' er have I seen a false woman
Could tell so foul a lie. "
" Thy knife, I ween, is sharp & keen;
Pierce thou mine arm,' quoth she;
& learn in thy heart, if thou feel the smart,
The truth 'twixt me & thee. "
His hunting-blade he's taken,
That was both keen & bright,
& deep in his heart he felt the smart
When he scored her arm so white.
A -smiling all in secret,
Quoth Høgni: 'Now & here,
I feel in the blood of my body
Thou art my mother dear. "

" Now harken, Høgni, son o' mine,
For I waste not idle breath;
Høgni thy sire, if thou shouldst live,
Bade thee avenge his death.
" And take to thee this runic belt,
About thy loins to bind;
Its power can loosen every lock,
& lighten every mind.
" Keep thou the belt with honour,
Guard thou the belt with pride!
I had it from thy father's hands
All on the night he died.
" I give to thee both gold & fee,
& store of rings so red;
Take them to thee, thou son o' mine,
& think upon the dead! "
Home to the hall goes Høgni
When first the faint stars shine,
& the King with all his merry men
Sits biding at the wine.
Into the hall goes Høgni
To tend the torches there,
& behold, one fell his foot beside
Or ever the lad was ware.
With the torch by his foot a-burning,
He stood in midmost hall;
Loud laughed King Artala,
& loud his warriors all.
It was King Artala
That laughed, and could not tire:
" Whereon dost think so deep, thou swam,
That stirrest not for fire? "
" Methinks great honour is thine, oh King
& store of gold so red,
But methinks thou'lt cry, ere thy days be done,
For water & eke for bread! "
" Great store of gold is mine, I trow,
& honour is in my hall,
& ne'er shall I beg, ere my days be done,
For water, & bread withal. "

All in the morning early,
When sun shone far & wide:
" Listeth thee now, King Artala,
In good greenwood to ride? "
Up spake King Artala
& answered him so free:
" Full fain am I with thee to ride
Under the greenwood tree. "
Red as blood the sunbeams
That shone upon the wold,
When Artala sought his treasure-house
To count his red, red gold.
It was King Artala
That thus did speak & say:
" Now lithe & listen, warrior Sweyn,
" Tis thou shalt lead the way! "
Up & answered Høgni:
" I will not have it so,
For he that wears the royal crown
Must first thro' doorway go. "
It was King Artala
That entered in before,
& Høgni turned the heavy key,
& swiftly barred the door.
Glad was the heart of Høgni,
A-thinking on the past;
By virtue of his runic belt
He sealed the doorway fast.
" Great store of fee is given to thee,
& honour is in thine hall,
But wilt thou not beg, King Artala,
For water, & bread withal? "
" Great honour is mine my hall within,
& store of the gold so red,
But. I shall cry now in vain, I trow,
For water & eke for bread! "
Yea, both those twain did cry in vain
Among the gold so red;
Thus did Høgni Høgnason
In vengeance for the dead.

It was Høgni Høgnason
Great riches gained thereby,
But he entered not in the treasure-house
Till Artala's bones were dry.
He bade farewell to his mother dear
All at the eventide,
& down to the realm of the Danish king
In haste did Høgni ride.