Fragments of the lay of Brynhild

     "What hath wrought Sigurd
     Of any wrong-doing
     That the life of the famed one
     Thou art fain of taking?"

     "To me has Sigurd
     Sworn many oaths,
     Sworn many oaths,
     And sworn them lying,
     And he bewrayed me
     When it behoved him
     Of all folk to his troth
     To be the most trusty."

     "Thee hath Brynhild
     Unto all bale,
     And all hate whetted,
     And a work of sorrow;
     For she grudges to Gudrun
     All goodly life;
     And to thee the bliss
     Of her very body."


     Some the wolf roasted,
     Some minced the worm,
     Some unto Guttorm
     Gave the wolf-meat,
     Or ever they might
     In their lust for murder
     On the high king
     Lay deadly hand.

     Sigurd lay slain
     On the south of the Rhine
     High from the fair tree
     Croaked forth the raven,
     "Ah, yet shall Atli
     On you redden edges,
     The old oaths shall weigh
     On your souls, O warriors."

     Without stood Gudrun,
     Giuki's daughter,
     And the first word she said
     Was even this word:
     "Where then is Sigurd,
     Lord of the Warfolk,
     Since my kin
     Come riding the foremost?

     One word Hogni
     Had for an answer:
     "Our swords have smitten
     Sigurd asunder,
     And the grey horse hangs drooping
     O'er his lord lying dead."

     Then quoth Brynhild,
     Budli's daughter;
     "Good weal shall ye have
     Of weapons and lands,
     That Sigurd alone
     Would surely have ruled
     If he had lived
     But a little longer.

     "Ah, nothing seemly
     For Sigurd to rule
     Giuki's house
     And the folk of the Goths,
     When of him five sons
     For the slaying of men,
     Eager for battle,
     Should have been begotten!"

     Then laughed Brynhild—
     Loud rang the whole house—
     One laugh only
     From out her heart:
     "Long shall your bliss be
     Of lands and people,
     Whereas the famed lord
     You have felled to the earth!"

     Then spake Gudrun,
     Giuki's daughter;
     "Much thou speakest,
     Many things fearful,
     All grame be on Gunnar
     The bane of Sigurd!
     From a heart full of hate
     Shall come heavy vengeance."

     Forth sped the even
     Enow there was drunken,
     Full enow was there
     Of all soft speech;
     And all men got sleep
     When to bed they were gotten;
     Gunnar only lay waking
     Long after all men.

     His feet fell he to moving,
     Fell to speak to himself
     The waster of men,
     Still turned in his mind
     What on the bough
     Those twain would be saying,
     The raven and erne,
     As they rode their ways homeward.

     But Brynhild awoke,
     Budli's daughter,
     May of the shield-folk,
     A little ere morning:
     "Thrust ye on, hold ye back,
     —Now all harm is wrought,—
     To tell of my sorrow,
     Or to let all slip by me?"

     All kept silence
     After her speaking,
     None might know
     That woman's mind,
     Or why she must weep
     To tell of the work
     That laughing once
     Of men she prayed.

     "In dreams, O Gunnar,
     Grim things fell on me;
     Dead-cold the hall was,
     And my bed was a-cold,
     And thou, lord, wert riding
     Reft of all bliss,
     Laden with fetters
     'Mid the host of thy foemen."

     "So now all ye,
     O House of the Niblungs,
     Shall be brought to naught,
     O ye oath-breakers!

     "Think'st thou not, Gunnar,
     How that betid,
     When ye let the blood run
     Both in one footstep?
     With ill reward
     Hast thou rewarded
     His heart so fain
     To be the foremost!

     "As well was seen
     When he rode his ways,
     That king of all worth,
     Unto my wooing;
     How the host-destroyer
     Held to the vows
     Sworn beforetime,
     Sworn to the young king.

     "For his wounding-wand
     All wrought with gold,
     The king beloved
     Laid between us;
     Without were its edges
     Wrought with fire,
     But with venom-drops
     Deep dyed within."

Thus this song telleth of the death of Sigurd, and setteth forth how that they slew him without doors; but some say that they slew him within doors, sleeping in his bed. But the Dutch Folk say that they slew him out in the wood: and so sayeth the ancient song of Gudrun, that Sigurd and the sons of Giuki were riding to the Thing whenas he was slain. But all with one accord say that they bewrayed him in their troth with him, and fell on him as he lay unarrayed and unawares.


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