Sigurðarkviða hin skamma

61. “It would better beseem | thy sister fair
To follow her husband | first in death,
If counsel good | to her were given,
Or a heart akin | to mine she had.

62. “Slowly I speak,– | but for my sake
Her life, methinks, | she shall not lose;
She shall wander over | the tossing waves,
To where Jonak rules | his father’s realm.

63. “Sons to him | she soon shall bear,
Heirs therewith | of Jonak’s wealth;
But Svanhild far | away is sent,
The child she bore | to Sigurth brave.

64. “Bikki’s word | her death shall be,
For dreadful the wrath | of Jormunrek;
So slain is all | of Sigurth’s race,
And greater the woe | of Guthrun grows

65. “Yet one boon | I beg of thee,
The last of boons | in my life it is:
Let the pyre be built | so broad in the field
That room for us all | will ample be,
(For us who slain | with Sigurth are.)

66. “With shields and carpets | cover the pyre,
Shrouds full fair, | and fallen slaves,
And besides the Hunnish | hero burn me.

67. “Besides the Hunnish | hero there
Slaves shall burn, | full bravely decked,
Two at his head | and two at his feet,
A brace of hounds | and a pair of hawks,
For so shall all | be seemly done.

68. “Let between us | lie once more
The steel so keen, | as so it lay
When both within | one bed we were,
And wedded mates | by men were called.

69. “The door of the hall | shall strike not the heel
Of the hero fair | with flashing rings,
If hence my following | goes with him;
Not mean our faring | forth shall be.

70. “Bond-women five | shall follow him,
And eight of my thralls, | well-born are they,
Children with me, | and mine they were
As gifts that Buthli | his daughter gave.

71. “Much have I told thee, | and more would say
If fate more space | for speech had given;
My voice grows weak, | my wounds are swelling;
Truth I have said, | and so I die.”

61. To follow in death: this phrase is not in Regius, but is included in late paper manuscripts, and has been added in most editions.

62. Jonak: this king, known only through the Hamthesmol and the stories which, like this one, are based thereon, is another purely northern addition to the legend. The name is apparently of Slavic origin. He appears solely as Guthrun’s third husband and the father of Hamther, Sorli, and Erp (cf. introductory prose to Guthrunarhvot).

63. Svanhild: cf. stanza 55 and note.

64. Bikki: Svanhild is married to the aged Jormunrek (Ermanarich), but Eikki, one of his followers, suggests that she is unduly intimate with Jormunrek’s son, Randver. Thereupon Jormunrek has Randver hanged, and Svanhild torn to pieces by wild horses. Ermanarich’s cruelty and his barbarous slaying of his wife and son were familiar traditions long before they be came in any way connected with the Sigurth cycle (cf. introductory note to Gripisspo). 65. Line 5 is very probably spurious.

66. The manuscript indicates no gap; a suggested addition runs “Gold let there be, and jewels bright.” Fallen slaves: cf. stanzas 67 and 70. Hunnish hero: cf. stanza 4 and note.

67. In place of lines 3-4 the manuscript has one line “Two at his head, and a pair of hawks”; the addition is made from the Volsungasaga paraphrase. The burning or burying of slaves or beasts to accompany their masters in death was a general custom in the North. The number of slaves indicated in this stanza does not tally with the one given in stanza 70, wherefore Vigfusson rejects most of this stanza.

68. Cf. Gripisspo, 41 and note. After line I the manuscript adds the phrase “bright, ring-decked,” referring to the sword, but it is metrically impossible, and many editions omit it.

69. The door: The gate of Hel’s domain, like that of Mengloth’s house (cf. Svipdagsmol, 26 and note), closes so fast as to catch any one attempting to pass through. Apparently the poet here assumes that the gate of Valhall does likewise, but that it will be kept open for Sigurth’s retinue.

70. Cf. stanza 67.


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