The hell ride of Brynhild.

After the death of Brynhild were made two bales, one for Sigurd, and that was first burned; but Brynhild was burned on the other, and she was in a chariot hung about with goodly hangings.

And so folk say that Brynhild drave in her chariot down along the way to Hell, and passed by an abode where dwelt a certain giantess, and the giantess spake:

     THE GIANT-WOMAN
     "Nay, with my goodwill
     Never goest thou
     Through this stone-pillared
     Stead of mine!
     More seemly for thee
     To sit sewing the cloth,
     Than to go look on
     The love of another.

     "What dost thou, going
     From the land of the Gauls,
     O restless head,
     To this mine house?
     Golden girl, hast thou not,
     If thou listest to hearken,
     In sweet wise from thy hands
     The blood of men washen?"

     BRYNHILD
     "Nay, blame me naught,
     Bride of the rock-hall,
     Though I roved a warring
     In the days that were;
     The higher of us twain
     Shall I ever be holden
     When of our kind
     Men make account."

     THE GIANT-WOMAN
     "Thou, O Brynhild,
     Budli's daughter,
     Wert the worst ever born
     Into the world;
     For Giuki's children
     Death hast thou gotten,
     And turned to destruction
     Their goodly dwelling."

     BRYNHILD
     "I shall tell thee
     True tale from my chariot,
     O thou who naught wottest,
     If thou listest to wot;
     How for me they have gotten
     Those heirs of Giuki,
     A loveless life,
     A life of lies.

     "Hild under helm,
     The Hlymdale people,
     E'en those who knew me,
     Ever would call me.

     "The changeful shapes
     Of us eight sisters,
     The wise king bade
     Under oak-tree to bear;
     Of twelve winters was I,
     If thou listest to wot,
     When I sware to the young lord
     Oaths of love.

     "Thereafter gat I
     Mid the folk of the Goths,
     For Helmgunnar the old,
     Swift journey to Hell,
     And gave to Aud's brother
     The young, gain and glory;
     Whereof overwrath
     Waxed Odin with me.

     "So he shut me in shield-wall
     In Skata grove,
     Red shields and white
     Close set around me;
     And bade him alone
     My slumber to break
     Who in no land
     Knew how to fear.

     "He set round my hall,
     Toward the south quarter,
     The Bane of all trees
     Burning aloft;
     And ruled that he only
     Thereover should ride
     Who should bring me the gold
     O'er which Fafnir brooded.

     "Then upon Grani rode
     The goodly gold-strewer
     To where my fosterer
     Ruled his fair dwelling.
     He who alone there
     Was deemed best of all,
     The War-lord of the Danes,
     Well worthy of men.

     "In peace did we sleep
     Soft in one bed,
     As though he had been
     Naught but my brother:
     There as we lay
     Through eight nights wearing,
     No hand in love
     On each other we laid.

     "Yet thence blamed me, Gudrun,
     Giuki's daughter,
     That I had slept
     In the arms of Sigurd;
     And then I wotted
     As I fain had not wotted,
     That they had bewrayed me
     In my betrothals.

     "Ah!  For unrest
     All too long
     Are men and women
     Made alive!
     Yet we twain together
     Shall wear through the ages,
     Sigurd and I.—
     —Sink adown, O giant-wife!"

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