Sigurðarkviða hin skamma

21. It was easy to rouse | the reckless one.
. . . . . . . . . .
The sword in the heart | of Sigurth stood.

22. In vengeance the hero | rose in the hall,
And hurled his sword | at the slayer bold;
At Gotthorm flew | the glittering steel
Of Gram full hard | from the hand of the king.

23. The foeman cleft | asunder fell,
Forward hands | and head did sink,
And legs and feet | did backward fall.

24. Guthrun soft | in her bed had slept,
Safe from care | at Sigurth’s side;
She woke to find | her joy had fled,
In the blood of the friend | of Freyr she lay.

25. So hard she smote | her hands together
That the hero rose up, | iron-hearted:
“Weep not, Guthrun, | grievous tears,
Bride so young, | for thy brothers live.

26. “Too young, methinks, | is my son as yet,
He cannot flee | from the home of his foes;
Fearful and deadly | the plan they found,
The counsel new | that now they have heeded.

27. “No son will ride, | though seven thou hast,
To the Thing as the son | of their sister rides;
Well I see | who the ill has worked,
On Brynhild alone | lies the blame for all.

28. “Above all men | the maiden loved me,
Yet false to Gunnar | I ne’er was found;
I kept the oaths | and the kinship I swore;
Of his queen the lover | none may call me.

29. In a swoon she sank | when Sigurth died;
So hard she smote | her hands together
That all the cups | in the cupboard rang,
And loud in the courtyard | cried the geese.

30. Then Brynhild, daughter | of Buthli, laughed,
Only once, | with all her heart,
When as she lay | full loud she heard
The grievous wail | of Gjuki’s daughter.


21. No gap is indicated in the manuscript, and many editors combine stanza 21 with stanza 22, but it seems likely that not only two lines, but one or more stanzas in addition, have been lost; cf. Brot, 4, and also the detailed account of the slaying of Sigurth in the Volsungasaga, wherein, as here, Sigurth is killed in his bed (cf. stanza 24) and not in the forest.

22. Some editions combine lines 3-4 with stanza 23. Gram: {Sigurth’s sword (cf. Reginsmol, prose after stanza 14)); the word here, however, may not be a proper name, but may mean “the hero.”

23. A line may well have been lost from this stanza.

24. Freyr: if the phrase “the friend of Freyr” means any thing more than “king” (cf. Rigsthula, 46 etc.), which I doubt, it has reference to the late tradition that Freyr, and not Othin, was the ancestor of the Volsungs (cf. Helgakvitha Hundingsbana I, 57 – Bellows original translation and note).

25. Müllenhoff thinks this stanza, or at any rate lines 1-2, a later addition based on stanza 29.

26. My son: Sigmund; cf. stanza 12 and note, and also Brot, 9 and note.

27. Sigurth means that although Guthrun may have seven sons by a later marriage, none of them will equal Sigmund, “son of their (i.e., Gunnar’s and Hogni’s) sister.” Thing: council.

28. Sigurth’s protestation of guiltlessness fits perfectly with the story of his relations with Brynhild used in this poem, but not, of course, with the alternative version, used in the Gripisspo and elsewhere, wherein Sigurth meets Brynhild before he woos her for Gunnar, and they have a daughter, Aslaug.

29. Cf. Guthrunarkvitha I, 115.

30. Cf. Brot, 10.

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