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Main Texts of the Nibelungenlied
Handscrift A: Hohenems-Münchener Handschrift um 1280
Handscrift B: St. Galler Handschrift um 1250
Handscrift C: Hohenems-Laßbergische Handschrift um 1230
Ausgabe von Karl Bartsch: Leipzig 1870/80

The Nibelungenlied

in English

George Henry Needler



The Lay of the Nibelungs
Original 1190/1200
Text C (ca. 1230) - Hohenems-Laßberg Manuscript
Buoch I
Adventure 1Âventüre — von den Nibelungen
Kriemhild’s Dream.
Adventure 2Âventüre — von Sîvride
Adventure 3Âventüre — wie Sîvrit ze Wormze kom
How Siegfried Came to Worms.
Adventure 4Âventüre — wie er mit den Sahsen streit
How Siegfried Fought with the Saxons.
Adventure 5Âventüre — wie Sîvrit Kriemhilt êrste gesach
How Siegfried first Saw Kriemhild.
Adventure 6Âventüre — wie Gunthęr gên Islande nâch Prünhilt vuor
How Gunther Fared to Isenland to Brunhild.
Adventure 7Âventüre — wie Gunthęr Prünhilde gewan
How Gunther Won Brunhild.
Adventure 8Âventüre — wie Sîvrit nâch den Nibelungen vuor
How Siegfried Fared to his Knights, the Nibelungen.
Adventure 9Âventüre — wie Sîvrit gesant wart
How Siegfried was Sent to Worms.
Adventure 10Âventüre — wie Prünhilt ze Wormze enpfangen wart
How Brunhild was Received at Worms.
Adventure 11Âventüre — wie Sîvrit heim ze lande mit sînem wîbe kom
How Siegfried Came Home with his Wife.
Adventure 12Âventüre — wie Gunthęr Sîvriden zuo der hôchgezît bat
How Gunther Bade Siegfried to the Feast.
Adventure 13Âventüre — wie si ze der hôchgezît vuoren
How They Fared to the Feast.
Adventure 14Âventüre — wie die küneginne ein ander schulten
How the Queens Berated Each Other.
Adventure 15Âventüre — wie Sîvrit verrâten wart
How Siegfried was Betrayed.
Adventure 16Âventüre — wie Sîvrit erslagen wart
How Siegfried was Slain.
Adventure 17Âventüre — wie Sîvrit beklaget und begraben wart
How Kriemhild Mourned for Siegfried.
Adventure 18Âventüre — wie Sigemunt wider ze lande vuor
How Sigmund Fared Home Again.
Adventure 19Âventüre — wie der Nibelunge hort ze Wormez kom
How the Nibelungen Hoard was Brought to Worms.
Buoch II
Adventure 20Âventüre — wie künec Ezel ze Burgonden nâch Kriemhilde sande
How King Etzel Sent for Kriemhild.
Adventure 21Âventüre — wie Kriemhilt gên den Hiunen vuor
How Kriemhild Fared to the Huns.
Adventure 22Âventüre — wie si zen Hiunen wart enpfangen
How Etzel Kept the Wedding-feast.
Adventure 23Âventüre — wie Kriemhilt ir leit gedâht ze rechen
How Kriemhild Thought to Avenge Her Wrong.
Adventure 24Âventüre — wie Werbel und Swemmel die botschaft wurben
How Werbel and Schwemmel Brought the Message.
Adventure 25Âventüre — wie die künege zuo den Hiunen vuoren
How the Knights all Fared to the Huns.
Adventure 26Âventüre — wie Gelfrât erslagen wart von Dankwarte
How Gelfrat was Slain by Dankwart.
Adventure 27Âventüre — wie si ze Bechelâren kômen
How They Came to Bechelaren.
Adventure 28Âventüre — wie Kriemhilt Hagenen enpfie
How the Burgundians Came to Etzel’s Castle.
Adventure 29Âventüre — wie Hagene und Volkêr vor Kriemhilde sal sâʐen
How He Arose not before Her.
Adventure 30Âventüre — wie si der schiltwaht pflâgen
How They Kept Guard.
Adventure 31Âventüre — wie die hêrren ze kirchen giengen
How They Went to Mass.
Adventure 32Âventüre — wie Blœdel mit Dancwart an der herberge streit
How Bloedel was Slain.
Adventure 33Âventüre — wie Dancwart diu mære ze hove sînen hêrren brâhte
How the Burgundians Fought with the Huns.
Adventure 34Âventüre — wie si die tôten abe wurfen
How They Cast Out the Dead.
Adventure 35Âventüre — wie Îrinc erslagen wart
How Iring was Slain.
Adventure 36Âventüre — wie diu künegin den sal vereiten lieʐ
How the Queen Bade Set Fire to the Hall.
Adventure 37Âventüre — wie der marcgrâve Rüedegêr erslagen wart
How the Margrave Ruediger was Slain.
Adventure 38Âventüre — wie hêrn Dietrîches man alle erslagen wurden
How All Sir Dietrich’s Knights were Slain.
Adventure 39Âventüre — wie Gunthęr unde Hagene unde Kriemhilt wurden erslagen
How Gunther and Hagen and Kriemhild were Slain.


English translation, 1904

Book I

von den Nibelungen
{ 1 }
Kriemhild’s Dream.
To us in olden story / are wonders many told
Of heroes rich in glory, / of hardships manifold:
Of joys and days of feasting, / of weeping and of woe,
Of noble warriors battling, / shall ye now many a wonder know.
1There once grew up in Burgundy / a maid of noble birth,
Nor might there be a fairer / than she in all the earth:
Kriemhild hight the maiden, / and grew a dame full fair,
Through whom high thanes a many / to lose their lives soon dooméd were.

’Twould well become the highest / to love the winsome maid,
Keen knights did long to win her, / and none but homage paid.
Beauty without measure, / that in sooth had she,
And virtues wherewith many / ladies else adorned might be.
2Three noble lords did guard her, / great as well in might,
Gunther and Gernot, / each one a worthy knight,
And Giselher their brother, / a hero young and rare.
The lady was their sister / and lived beneath the princes’ care.
3These lords were free in giving, / and born of high degree;
Undaunted was the valor / of all the chosen three.
It was the land of Burgundy / o’er which they did command,
And mighty deeds of wonder / they wrought anon in Etzel’s land.
4At Worms amid their warriors / they dwelt, the Rhine beside,
And in their lands did serve them / knights of mickle pride,
Who till their days were ended / maintained them high in state.
They later sadly perished / beneath two noble women’s hate.
5A high and royal lady, / Ute their mother hight,
Their father’s name was Dankrat, / a man of mickle might.
To them his wealth bequeathed he / when that his life was done,
For while he yet was youthful / had he in sooth great honor won.
6In truth were these three rulers, / as I before did say,
Great and high in power, / and homage true had they
Eke of knights the boldest / and best that e’er were known,
Keen men all and valiant, / as they in battle oft had shown.
7There was of Tronje Hagen, / and of that princely line
His brother valiant Dankwart; / and eke of Metz Ortwein;
Then further the two margraves, / Gere and Eckewart;
Of Alzei was Volker, / a doughty man of dauntless heart.
8Rumold the High Steward, / a chosen man was he,
Sindold and Hunold / they tended carefully
Each his lofty office / in their three masters’ state,
And many a knight beside them / that I the tale may ne’er relate.
9Dankwart he was Marshal; / his nephew, then, Ortwein
Upon the monarch waited / when that he did dine;
Sindold was Cup-bearer, / a stately thane was he,
And Chamberlain was Hunold, / masters all in courtesy.
10Of the kings’ high honor / and their far-reaching might,
Of their full lofty majesty / and how each gallant knight
Found his chiefest pleasure / in the life of chivalry,
In sooth by mortal never / might it full related be.
11Amid this life so noble / did dream the fair Kriemhild
How that she reared a falcon, / in beauty strong and wild,
That by two eagles perished; / the cruel sight to see
Did fill her heart with sorrow / as great as in this world might be.
12The dream then to her mother / Queen Ute she told,
But she could not the vision / than thus more clear unfold:
“The falcon that thou rearedst, / doth mean a noble spouse:
God guard him well from evil / or thou thy hero soon must lose.”
13“Of spouse, O darling mother, / what dost thou tell to me?
Without a knight to woo me, / so will I ever be,
Unto my latest hour / I’ll live a simple maid,
That I through lover’s wooing / ne’er be brought to direst need.”
14“Forswear it not so rashly,” / her mother then replied.
“On earth if thou wilt ever / cast all care aside,
’Tis love alone will do it; / thou shalt be man’s delight,
If God but kindly grant thee / to wed a right good valiant knight.”
15“Now urge the case, dear mother,” / quoth she, "not further here.
Fate of many another / dame hath shown full clear
How joy at last doth sorrow / lead oft-times in its train.
That I no ruth may borrow, / from both alike I’ll far remain.”
16Long time, too, did Kriemhild / her heart from love hold free,
And many a day the maiden / lived right happily,
Ere good knight saw she any / whom she would wish to woo.
In honor yet she wedded / anon a worthy knight and true.
17He was that same falcon / she saw the dream within
Unfolded by her mother. / Upon her nearest kin,
That they did slay him later, / how wreaked she vengeance wild!
Through death of this one hero / died many another mother’s child.

von Sîvride
{ 2 }
18There grew likewise in Netherland / a prince of noble kind,
Siegmund hight his father, / his mother Siegelind —
Within a lordly castle / well known the country o’er,
By the Rhine far downward: / Xanten was the name it bore.
19Siegfried they did call him, / this bold knight and good;
Many a realm he tested, / for brave was he of mood.
He rode to prove his prowess / in many a land around:
Heigh-ho! what thanes of mettle / anon in Burgundy he found!
20In the springtime of his vigor, / when he was young and bold,
Could tales of mickle wonder / of Siegfried be told,
How he grew up in honor, / and how fair he was to see:
Anon he won the favor / of many a debonair lady.
21As for a prince was fitting, / they fostered him with care:
Yet how the knightly virtues / to him native were!
’Twas soon the chiefest glory / of his father’s land,
That he in fullest measure / endowed with princely worth did stand.
22He soon was grown in stature / that he at court did ride.
The people saw him gladly, / lady and maid beside
Did wish that his own liking / might lead him ever there.
That they did lean unto him / the knight was soon right well aware.
23In youth they let him never / without safe escort ride;
Soon bade Siegmund and Siegelind / apparel rich provide;
Men ripe in wisdom taught him, / who knew whence honor came.
Thus many lands and people / he won by his wide-honored name.
24Now was he of such stature / that he could weapons bear:
Of what thereto he needed / had he an ample share.
Then to think of loving / fair maids did he begin,
And well might they be honored / for wooer Siegfried bold to win.
25Then bade his father Siegmund / make known to one and all
That he with his good kinsmen / would hold high festival.
And soon were tidings carried / to all the neighboring kings;
To friends at home and strangers / steeds gave he and rich furnishin
26Wherever they found any / who knight was fit to be
By reason of his kindred, / all such were courteously
Unto the land invited / to join the festal throng,
When with the prince so youthful / on them the knightly sword was hung.
27Of this high time of revelry / might I great wonders tell.
Siegmund and Siegelind / great honor won full well,
Such store of goodly presents / they dealt with generous hand,
That knights were seen full many / from far come pricking to their land.
28Four hundred lusty squires / were there to be clad
In knight’s full garb with Siegfried. / Full many a beauteous maid
At work did never tire, / for dear they did him hold,
And many a stone full precious / those ladies laid within the gold,
29That they upon the doublets / embroidered cunningly
Of those soon to be knighted: / ‘t was thus it had to be,
Seats bade the host for many / a warrior bold make right
Against the high midsummer, / when Siegfried won the name of knight.
30Then went unto the minster / full many a noble knight
And gallant squires beside them. / The elder there with right
Did wait upon the younger, / as once for them was done.
They were all light-hearted, / in hope of pleasure every one.
31God to praise and honor / they sang the mass’ song;
There, too, were crowds of people, / a great and surging throng,
When after knightly custom / knighthood received they then,
In such a stately pageant / as scarce might ever be again.
32They hastened where they found them / saddled many a steed;
In the court of Siegmund’s castle / they tilted with such speed
That far the din resounded / through castle and through hall,
As in the play with clamor / did join the fiery riders all.
33Well-tried old knights and youthful / met there in frequent clash,
There was sound of shattered lances / that through the air did crash,
And along before the castle / were splinters seen to fly
From hands of knights a many: / each with other there did vie.
34The king he bade give over: / they led the chargers out:
There was seen all shattered / many a boss well-wrought,
And many a stone full costly / lay there upon the sward
From erstwhile shining shield-bands, / now broken in the jousting hard.
35The guests all went thereafter / where seats for them were reared;
They by the choicest viands / from weariness were cheered,
And wine, of all the rarest, / that then in plenty flowed.
Upon both friends and strangers / were fitting honors rich bestowed.
36In such merry manner / all day did last the feast.
Many a wandering minstrel / knew not any rest,
But sang to win the presents / dealt out with bounteous hand;
And with their praise was honored / far and wide King Siegmund’s land.
37The monarch then did order / Siegfried his youthful son
In fee give lands and castles, / as he erstwhile had done.
To all his sword-companions / he gave with such full hand,
That joyed they o’er the journey / they now had made unto that land.
38The festival yet lasted / until the seventh day.
Siegelind after old custom / in plenty gave away
— For so her son she honored — / rich gifts of shining gold:
In sooth deserved she richly / that all should him in honor hold.
39Never a wandering minstrel / was unprovided found:
Horses there and raiment / so free were dealt around,
As if to live they had not / beyond it one day more.
I ween a monarch’s household / ne’er bestowed such gifts before.
40Thus closed the merry feasting / in this right worthy way,
And ‘t was well known thereafter / how those good knights did say
That they the youthful hero / for king would gladly have;
But this nowise he wished for, / Siegfried the stately knight and brave.
41While that they both were living, / Siegmund and Siegelind,
No crown their son desired, / — thereto he had no mind.
Yet would he fain be master / o’er all the hostile might
That in the lands around him / opposed the keen and fiery knight.

wie Sîvrit ze Wormze kom
{ 3 }
How Siegfried came to Worms.
42Seldom in sooth, if ever, / the hero’s heart was sad.
He heard them tell the story, / how that a winsome maid
There lived afar in Burgundy, / surpassing fair to see:
Great joy she brought him later, / but eke she brought him misery.
43Of her exceeding beauty / the fame spread far and near,
And of the thing, moreover, / were knights oft-times aware
How the maid’s high spirit / no mortal could command:
The thing lured many a stranger / from far unto King Gunther’s land.
44Although to win her favor / were many wooers bent,
In her own heart would never / Kriemhild thereto consent
That any one amongst them / for lover she would have:
Still to her was he a stranger / to whom anon her troth she gave.
45To true love turned his fancy / the son of Siegelind.
‘Gainst his, all others’ wooing / was like an idle wind:
Full well did he merit / a lady fair to woo,
And soon the noble Kriemhild / to Siegfried bold was wedded true.
46By friends he oft was counselled, / and many a faithful man,
Since to think of wooing / in earnest he began,
That he a wife should find him / of fitting high degree.
Then spoke the noble Siegfried: / “In sooth fair Kriemhild shall it be,
47“The noble royal maiden / in Burgundy that dwells,
For sake of all her beauty. / Of her the story tells,
Ne’er monarch was so mighty / that, if for spouse he sighed,
’Twere not for him befitting / to take the princess for his bride.”
48Unto King Siegmund also / the thing was soon made known.
His people talked about it, / whereby to him was shown
The Prince’s fixéd purpose. / It grieved him sorely, too,
That his son intent was / the full stately maid to woo.
49Siegelind asked and learned it, / the noble monarch’s wife.
For her loved son she sorrowed / lest he should lose his life,
For well she knew the humor / of Gunther and his men.
Then gan they from the wooing / strive to turn the noble thane.
50Then said the doughty Siegfried: / “O father dear to me,
Without the love of woman / would I ever be,
Could I not woo in freedom / where’er my heart is set.
Whate’er be said by any, / I’ll keep the selfsame purpose yet.”
51“Since thou wilt not give over,” / the king in answer said,
“Am I of this thy purpose / inwardly full glad,
And straightway to fulfil it / I’ll help as best I can,
Yet in King Gunther’s service / is many a haughty-minded man.
52“And were there yet none other / than Hagen, warrior-knight,
He with such haughty bearing / is wont to show his might,
That I do fear right sorely / that sad our end may be,
If we set out with purpose / to win the stately maid for thee.”
53“Shall we by that be hindered?” / outspake Siegfried then;
“Whate’er in friendly fashion / I cannot obtain
I’ll yet in other manner / take that, with sword in hand.
I trow from them I’ll further / wrest both their vassals and their land.”
54“I grieve to hear thy purpose,” / said Siegmund the king;
“If any one this story / unto the Rhine should bring,
Then durst thou never after / within that land be seen.
Gunther and Gernot, / — well known to me they long have been.
55“By force, however mighty, / no man can win the maid,”
Spake King Siegmund further, / “to me hath oft been said.
But if with knightly escort / thither thou wilt ride,
Good friends — an have we any — / shall soon be summoned to thy side.”
56“No wish,” then answered Siegfried, / “it ever was of mine,
That warrior knights should follow / with me unto the Rhine
As if arrayed for battle: / ’twould make my heart full sad,
To force in hostile manner / to yield to me the stately maid.
57“By my own hand — thus only — / trust I to win my bride;
With none but twelve in company / to Gunther’s land I’ll ride.
In this, O royal father, / thy present help I pray.”
Gray and white fur raiment / had his companions for the way.
58Siegelind his mother / then heard the story too,
And grieved she was on hearing / what her dear son would do,
For she did fear to lose him / at hands of Gunther’s men.
Thereat with heart full heavy / began to weep the noble queen.
59Then came forth Sir Siegfried / where the queen he sought,
And to his weeping mother / thus gently spake his thought:
“No tear of grief thou shouldest / ever shed for me,
For I care not a tittle / for all the warriors that be.
60“So help me on my journey / to the land of Burgundy,
And furnish such apparel / for all my knights and me,
As warriors of our station / might well with honor wear.
Then I in turn right truly / to thee my gratitude will swear.”
61“Since thou wilt not give over,” / Siegelind then replied,
“My only son, I’ll help thee / as fits thee forth to ride,
With the best apparel / that riders ever wore,
Thee and thy companions: / ye shall of all have goodly store.”
62Then bowed the youthful Siegfried / the royal dame before,
And said: “Upon the journey / will I take no more,
But twelve good knights only: / for these rich dress provide,
For I would know full gladly / how ‘t doth with Kriemhild betide.”
63Then sat at work fair women / by night and eke by day,
And rest indeed but little / from busy toil had they,
Until they had made ready / the dress Siegfried should wear.
Firm bent upon the journey, / no other counsel would he hear.
64His father bade a costly / garb for him prepare,
That leaving Siegmund’s country / he the same might wear.
For all their glittering breastplates / were soon prepared beside,
And helmets firmly welded, / and shining shields long and wide.
65Then fast the day grew nearer / when they should thence depart.
Men and likewise women / went sorrowing in heart,
If that they should ever / see more their native land.
With full equipment laden / the sumpter horses there did stand.
66Their steeds were stately, furnished / with trappings rich with gold;
It were a task all bootless / to seek for knights more bold
Than were the gallant Siegfried / and his chosen band.
He longed to take departure / straightway for Burgundian land.
67Leave granted they with sadness, / both the king and queen,
The which to turn to gladness / sought the warrior keen,
And spake then: “Weep ye shall not / at all for sake of me,
Forever free from doubtings / about my safety may ye be.”
68Stern warriors stood there sorrowing, / — in tears was many a maid.
I ween their hearts erred nothing, / as sad forebodings said
That ’mongst their friends so many / thereby were doomed to die.
Good cause had they to sorrow / at last o’er all their misery.
69Upon the seventh morning / to Worms upon the strand
Did come the keen knights riding. / Bright shone many a band
Of gold from their apparel / and rich equipment then;
And gently went their chargers / with Siegfried and his chosen men.
70New-made shields they carried / that were both strong and wide
And brightly shone their helmets / as thus to court did ride
Siegfried the keen warrior / into King Gunther’s land.
Of knights before was never / beheld so richly clad a band.
71The points of their long scabbards / reached down unto the spur,
And spear full sharply pointed / bore each chosen warrior.
The one that Siegfried carried / in breadth was two good span,
And grimly cut its edges / when driven by the fearless man.
72Reins with gold all gleaming / held they in the hand,
The saddle-bands were silken. / So came they to the land.
On every side the people / to gape at them began,
And also out to meet them / the men that served King Gunther ran.
73Gallant men high-hearted, / knight and squire too,
Hastened to receive them, / for such respect was due,
And bade the guests be welcome / unto their master’s land.
They took from them their chargers, / and shields as well from out the hand.
74Then would they eke the chargers / lead forth unto their rest;
But straight the doughty Siegfried / to them these words addressed:
“Yet shall ye let our chargers / stand the while near by;
Soon take we hence our journey; / thereon resolved full well am I.
75“If that be known to any, / let him not delay,
Where I your royal master / now shall find, to say, —
Gunther, king so mighty / o’er the land of Burgundy.”
Then told him one amongst them / to whom was known where that might be:
76“If that the king thou seekest, / right soon may he be found.
Within that wide hall yonder / with his good knights around
But now I saw him sitting. / Thither do thou repair,
And thou may’st find around him / many a stately warrior there.”
77Now also to the monarch / were the tidings told,
That within his castle / were knights arrived full bold,
All clad in shining armor / and apparelled gorgeously;
But not a man did know them / within the land of Burgundy.
78Thereat the king did wonder / whence were come to him
These knights adventure seeking / in dress so bright and trim,
And shields adorned so richly / that new and mighty were.
That none the thing could tell him / did grieve him sorely to hear.
79Outspake a knight then straightway, / Ortwein by name was he,
Strong and keen as any / well was he known to be:
“Since we of them know nothing, / bid some one quickly go
And fetch my uncle Hagen: / to him thou shalt the strangers show.
80“To him are known far kingdoms / and every foreign land,
And if he know these strangers / we soon shall understand.”
The king then sent to fetch him: / with his train of men
Unto the king’s high presence / in stately gear went he then.
81What were the king’s good pleasure, / asked Hagen grim in war.
“In the court within my castle / are warriors from afar,
And no one here doth know them: / if them thou e’er didst see
In any land far distant, / now shalt thou, Hagen, tell to me.”
82“That will I do, ’tis certain.” — / To a window then he went,
And on the unknown strangers / his keen eye he bent.
Well pleased him their equipment / and the rich dress they wore,
Yet ne’er had he beheld them / in land of Burgundy before.
83He said that whencesoever / these knights come to the Rhine,
They bear a royal message, / or are of princely line.
“Their steeds are so bedizened, / and their apparel rare:
No matter whence they journey, / high-hearted men in truth they are.”
84Further then spake Hagen: / “As far as goes my ken,
Though I the noble Siegfried / yet have never seen,
Yet will I say meseemeth, / howe’er the thing may be,
This knight who seeks adventure, / and yonder stands so proud, is he.
85“’Tis some new thing he bringeth / hither to our land.
The valiant Nibelungen / fell by the hero’s hand,
Schilbung and Nibelung, / from royal sire sprung;
Deeds he wrought most wondrous / anon when his strong arm he swung.
86“As once alone the hero / rode without company,
Found he before a mountain / — as hath been told to me —
With the hoard of Nibelung / full many stalwart men;
To him had they been strangers / until he chanced to find them then.
87“The hoard of King Nibelung / entire did they bear
Forth from a mountain hollow. / And now the wonder hear,
How that they would share it, / these two Nibelung men.
This saw the fearless Siegfried, / and filled he was with wonder then.
88“He came so near unto them / that he the knights espied,
And they in turn him also. / One amongst them said:
‘Here comes the doughty Siegfried, / hero of Netherland.'
Since ’mongst the Nibelungen / strange wonders wrought his mighty hand.
89“Right well did they receive him, / Schilbung and Nibelung,
And straight they both together, / these noble princes young,
Bade him mete out the treasure, / the full valorous man,
And so long time besought him / that he at last the task began.
90“As we have heard in story, / he saw of gems such store
That they might not be laden / on wagons full five score;
More still of gold all shining / from Nibelungenland.
’Twas all to be divided / between them by keen Siegfried’s hand.
91“Then gave they him for hire / King Nibelung’s sword.
And sooth to say, that service / brought them but small reward,
That for them there performed / Siegfried of dauntless mood.
His task he could not finish; / thereat they raged as were they wood.
92“They had there of their followers / twelve warriors keen,
And strong they were as giants: / what booted giants e’en?
Them slew straightway in anger / Siegfried’s mighty hand,
And warriors seven hundred / he felled in Nibelungenland
93“With the sword full trusty, / Balmung that hight.
Full many a youthful warrior / from terror at the sight
Of that deadly weapon / swung by his mighty hand
Did render up his castle / and pledge him fealty in the land.
94“Thereto the kings so mighty, / them slew he both as well.
But into gravest danger / through Alberich he fell,
Who thought for his slain masters / vengeance to wreak straightway,
Until the mighty Siegfried / his wrath with strong arm did stay.
95“Nor could prevail against him / the Dwarf, howe’er he tried.
E’en as two wild lions / they coursed the mountainside,
Where he the sightless mantle[1] / from Alberich soon won.
Then Siegfried, knight undaunted, / held the treasure for his own.

[1] This is the tarnkappe, a cloak that made the wearer invisible,
and also gave him the strength of twelve men.

96“Who then dared join the struggle, / all slain around they lay.
Then he bade the treasure / to draw and bear away
Thither whence ’twas taken / by the Nibelungen men.
Alberich for his valor / was then appointed Chamberlain.
97“An oath he had to swear him, / he’d serve him as his slave;
To do all kinds of service / his willing pledge he gave" —
Thus spake of Tronje Hagen — / “That has the hero done;
Might as great before him / was never in a warrior known.
98“Still know I more about him, / that has to me been told.
A dragon, wormlike monster, / slew once the hero bold.
Then in its blood he bathed him, / since when his skin hath been
So horn-hard, ne’er a weapon / can pierce it, as hath oft been seen.
99“Let us the brave knight-errant / receive so courteously
That we in nought shall merit / his hate, for strong is he.
He is so keen of spirit / he must be treated fair:
He has by his own valor / done many a deed of prowess rare.”
100The monarch spake in wonder: / “In sooth thou tellest right.
Now see how proudly yonder / he stands prepared for fight,
He and his thanes together, / the hero wondrous keen!
To greet him we’ll go thither, / and let our fair intent be seen.”
101“That canst thou,” out spake Hagen, / “well in honor do.
He is of noble kindred, / a high king’s son thereto.
’Tis seen in all his bearing; / meseems in truth, God wot,
The tale is worth the hearing / that this bold knight has hither brought.”
102Then spake the mighty monarch: / “Be he right welcome here.
Keen is he and noble, / of fame known far and near.
So shall he be fair treated / in the land of Burgundy.”
Down then went King Gunther, / and Siegfried with his men found he.
103The king and his knights with him / received so well the guest,
That the hearty greeting / did their good will attest.
Thereat in turn the stranger / in reverence bowed low,
That in their welcome to him / they did such courtesy bestow.
104“To me it is a wonder,” / straightway spake the host,
“From whence, O noble Siegfried, / come to our land thou dost,
Or what here thou seekest / at Worms upon the Rhine.”
Him the stranger answered: / “Put thou away all doubts of thine.
105“I oft have heard the tiding / within my sire’s domain,
How at thy court resided / — and know this would I fain —
Knights, of all the keenest, / — 'tis often told me so —
That e’er a monarch boasted: / now come I hither this to know.
106“Thyself have I heard also / high praised for knightly worth;
’Tis said a nobler monarch / ne’er lived in all the earth.
Thus speak of thee the people / in all the lands around.
Nor will I e’er give over / until in this the truth I’ve found.
107“I too am warrior noble / and born to wear a crown;
So would I right gladly / that thou of me shouldst own
That I of right am master / o’er people and o’er land.
Of this shall now my honor / and eke my head as pledges stand.
108“And art thou then so valiant / as hath to me been told,
I reck not, will he nill he / thy best warrior bold,
I’ll wrest from thee in combat / whatever thou may’st have;
Thy lands and all thy castles / shall naught from change of masters save.”
109The king was seized with wonder / and all his men beside,
To see the manner haughty / in which the knight replied
That he was fully minded / to take from him his land.
It chafed his thanes to hear it, / who soon in raging mood did stand.
110“How could it be my fortune,” / Gunther the king outspoke,
“What my sire long ruled over / in honor for his folk,
Now to lose so basely / through any vaunter’s might?
In sooth ’twere nobly showing / that we too merit name of knight?”
111“Nowise will I give over,” / was the keen reply.
“If peace through thine own valor / thy land cannot enjoy,
To me shall all be subject: / if heritage of mine
Through thy arm’s might thou winnest, / of right shall all hence-forth be thine.
112“Thy land and all that mine is, / at stake shall equal lie.
Whiche’er of us be victor / when now our strength we try,
To him shall all be subject, / the folk and eke the land.”
But Hagen spake against it, / and Gernot too was quick at hand.
113“Such purpose have we never,” / Gernot then said,
“For lands to combat ever, / that any warrior dead
Should lie in bloody battle. / We’ve mighty lands and strong;
Of right they call us master, / and better they to none belong.”
114There stood full grim and moody / Gernot’s friends around,
And there as well amongst them / was Ortwein to be found.
He spake: “This mild peace-making / doth grieve me sore at heart,
For by the doughty Siegfried / attacked all undeserved thou art.
115“If thou and thy two brothers / yourselves to help had naught,
And if a mighty army / he too had hither brought,
I trow I’d soon be able / to make this man so keen
His manner now so haughty / of need replace by meeker mien.”
116Thereat did rage full sorely / the hero of Netherland:
“Never shall be measured / ’gainst me in fight thy hand.
I am a mighty monarch, / thou a king’s serving-knight;
Of such as thou a dozen / dare not withstand me in the fight.”
117For swords then called in anger / of Metz Sir Ortwein:
Son of Hagen’s sister / he was, of Tronje’s line.
That Hagen so long was silent / did grieve the king to see.
Gernot made peace between them: / a gallant knight and keen was he.
118Spake he thus to Ortwein: / “Curb now thy wrathful tongue,
For here the noble Siegfried / hath done us no such wrong;
We yet can end the quarrel / in peace, — such is my rede —
And live with him in friendship; / that were for us a worthier deed.”
119Then spake the mighty Hagen: / “Sad things do I forebode
For all thy train of warriors, / that this knight ever rode
Unto the Rhine thus arméd. / ’Twere best he stayed at home;
For from my masters never / to him such wrong as this had come.”
120But outspake Siegfried proudly, / whose heart was ne’er dismayed:
“An’t please thee not, Sir Hagen, / what I now have said,
This arm shall give example / whereby thou plain shall see
How stern anon its power / here in Burgundy will be.”
121“Yet that myself will hinder,” / said then Gernot.
All his men forbade he / henceforth to say aught
With such unbridled spirit / to stir the stranger’s ire.
Then Siegfried eke was mindful / of one most stately maid and fair.
122“Such strife would ill befit us,” / Gernot spake again;
“For though should die in battle / a host of valiant men
’Twould bring us little honor / and ye could profit none.”
Thereto gave Siegfried answer, / good King Siegmund’s noble son:
123“Wherefore bides thus grim Hagen, / and Ortwein tardy is
To begin the combat / with all those friends of his,
Of whom he hath so many / here in Burgundy?”
Answer him they durst not, / for such was Gernot’s stern decree.
124“Thou shalt to us be welcome,” / outspake young Giselher,
“And all thy brave companions / that hither with thee fare.
Full gladly we’ll attend thee, / I and all friends of mine.”
For the guests then bade they / pour out in store of Gunther’s wine.
125Then spake the stately monarch: / “But ask thou courteously,
And all that we call ours / stands at thy service free;
So with thee our fortune / we’ll share in ill and good.”
Thereat the noble Siegfried / a little milder was of mood.
126Then carefully was tended / all their knightly gear,
And housed in goodly manner / in sooth the strangers were,
All that followed Siegfried; / they found a welcome rest.
In Burgundy full gladly / anon was seen the noble guest.
127They showed him mickle honor / thereafter many a day,
And more by times a thousand / than I to you could say.
His might respect did merit, / ye may full well know that.
Scarce a man e’er saw him / who bore him longer any hate.
128And when they held their pastime, / the kings with many a man,
Then was he ever foremost; / whatever they began,
None there that was his equal, / — so mickle was his might —
If they the stone were putting, / or hurling shaft with rival knight.
129As is the knightly custom, / before the ladies fair
To games they turned for pastime, / these knights of mettle rare;
Then ever saw they gladly / the hero of Netherland.
But he had fixed his fancy / to win one fairest maiden’s hand.
130In all that they were doing / he’d take a ready part.
A winsome loving maiden / he bore within his heart;
Him only loved that lady, / whose face he ne’er had seen,
But she full oft in secret / of him spake fairest words, I ween.
131And when before the castle / they sped in tournament,
The good knights and squires, / oft-times the maiden went
And gazed adown from casement, / Kriemhild the princess rare.
Pastime there was none other / for her that could with this compare.
132And knew he she was gazing / whom in his heart he bore,
He joy enough had found him / in jousting evermore.
And might he only see her, / — that can I well believe —
On earth through sight none other / his eyes could such delight receive.
133Whene’er with his companions / to castle court he went,
E’en as do now the people / whene’er on pleasure bent,
There stood ’fore all so graceful / Siegelind’s noble son,
For whom in love did languish / the hearts of ladies many a one.
134Eke thought he full often: / “How shall it ever be,
That I the noble maiden / with my own eyes may see,
Whom I do love so dearly / and have for many a day?
To me is she a stranger, / which sorely grieves my heart to say.”
135Whene’er the kings so mighty / rode o’er their broad domain,
Then of valiant warriors / they took a stately train.
With them abroad rode Siegfried, / which grieved those ladies sore:
— He too for one fair maiden / at heart a mickle burden bore.
136Thus with his hosts he lingered / — ’tis every tittle true —
In King Gunther’s country / a year completely through,
And never once the meanwhile / the lovely maid did see,
Through whom such joy thereafter / for him, and eke such grief should be.

wie er mit den Sahsen streit
{ 4 }
How Siegfried fought with the Saxons.
137Now come wondrous tidings / to King Gunther’s land,
By messengers brought hither / from far upon command
Of knights unknown who harbored / against him secret hate.
When there was heard the story, / at heart in sooth the grief was great.
138Of these I now will tell you: / There was King Luedeger
From out the land of Saxons, / a mighty warrior,
And eke from land of Denmark / Luedegast the king:
Whene’er they rode to battle / went they with mighty following.
139Come were now their messengers / to the land of Burgundy,
Sent forth by these foemen / in proud hostility.
Then asked they of the strangers / what tidings they did bring:
And when they heard it, straightway / led them to court before the king.
140Then spake to them King Gunther: / “A welcome, on my word.
Who ’tis that send you hither, / that have I not yet heard:
Now shall ye let me know it,” / spake the monarch keen.
Then dreaded they full sorely / to see King Gunther’s angry mien.
141“Wilt them, O king, permit us / the tidings straight to tell
That we now have brought thee, / no whit will we conceal,
But name thee both our masters / who us have hither sent:
Luedegast and Luedeger, / — to waste thy land is their intent.
142“Their hate hast thou incurréd, / and thou shalt know in sooth
That high enraged against thee / are the monarchs both.
Their hosts they will lead hither / to Worms upon the Rhine;
They’re helped by thanes full many — / of this put off all doubts of thine.
143“Within weeks a dozen / their march will they begin;
And if thy friends be valiant, / let that full quick be seen,
To help thee keep in safety / thy castles and thy land:
Full many a shield and helmet / shall here be cleft by warrior’s hand.
144“Or wilt thou with them parley, / so let it quick be known,
Before their hosts so mighty / of warlike men come down
To Worms upon Rhine river / sad havoc here to make,
Whereby must death most certain / many a gallant knight o’ertake.”
145“Bide ye now the meanwhile,” / the king did answer kind,
“Till I take better counsel; / then shall ye know my mind.
Have I yet warriors faithful, / from these I’ll naught conceal,
But to my friends I’ll straightway / these warlike tidings strange reveal.”
146The lordly Gunther wondered / thereat and troubled sore,
As he the message pondered / in heart and brooded o’er.
He sent to fetch grim Hagen / and others of his men,
And bade likewise in hurry / to court bring hither Gernot then.
147Thus at his word his trusted / advisers straight attend.
He spake: “Our land to harry / foes all unknown will send
Of men a mighty army; / a grievous wrong is this.
Small cause have we e’er given / that they should wish us aught amiss.”
148“Our swords ward such things from us,” / Gernot then said;
“Since but the fated dieth, / so let all such lie dead.
Wherefore I’ll e’er remember / what honor asks of me:
Whoe’er hath hate against us / shall ever here right welcome be.”
149Then spake the doughty Hagen: / “Methinks ’twould scarce be good;
Luedegast and Luedeger / are men of wrathful mood.
Help can we never summon, / the days are now so few.”
So spake the keen old warrior, / “’Twere well Siegfried the tidings knew.”
150The messengers in the borough / were harbored well the while,
And though their sight was hateful, / in hospitable style
As his own guests to tend them / King Gunther gave command,
Till ’mongst his friends he learnéd / who by him in his need would stand.
151The king was filled with sorrow / and his heart was sad.
Then saw his mournful visage / a knight to help full glad,
Who could not well imagine / what ’twas that grieved him so.
Then begged he of King Gunther / the tale of this his grief to know.
152“To me it is great wonder,” / said Siegfried to the king,
“How thou of late hast changéd / to silent sorrowing
The joyous ways that ever / with us thy wont have been.”
Then unto him gave answer / Gunther the full stately thane:
153“’Tis not to every person / I can the burden say
That ever now in secret / upon my heart doth weigh:
To well-tried friends and steady / are told our inmost woes.”
— Siegfried at first was pallid, / but soon his blood like fire up-rose.
154He spake unto the monarch: / “To thee I’ve naught denied.
All ills that now do threaten / I’ll help to turn aside.
And if but friends thou seekest, / of them the first I’ll be,
And trow I well with honor / till death to serve thee faithfully.”
155“God speed thee well, Sir Siegfried, / for this thy purpose fair:
And though such help in earnest / thy arm should render ne’er,
Yet do I joy at hearing / thou art so true to me.
And live I yet a season, / right heartily repaid ’twill be.
156“Know will I also let thee / wherefore I sorrowing stand.
Through messengers from my foemen / have tidings reached my land
That they with hosts of warriors / will ride my country o’er;
Such thing to us did never / thanes of any land before.”
157“Small cause is that for grieving,” / said then Siegfried;
“But calm thy troubled spirit / and hearken to my rede:
Let me for thee acquire / honor and vantage too,
And bid thou now assemble / for service eke thy warriors true.
158“And had thy mighty enemies / to help them now at hand
Good thanes full thirty thousand, / against them all I’d stand,
Had I but one good thousand: / put all thy trust in me.”
Then answered him King Gunther: / “Thy help shall full requited be.”
189“Then bid for me to summon / a thousand of thy men,
Since I now have with me / of all my knightly train
None but twelve knights only; / then will I guard thy land.
For thee shall service faithful / be done alway by Siegfried’s hand.
160“Herein shall help us Hagen / and eke Ortwein,
Dankwart and Sindold, / those trusted knights of thine;
And with us too shall journey / Volker, the valiant man;
The banner he shall carry: / bestow it better ne’er I can.
161“Back to their native country / the messengers may go;
They’ll see us there right quickly, / let them full surely know,
So that all our castles / peace undisturbed shall have.”
Then bade the king to summon / his friends with all their warriors brave.
162To court returned the heralds / King Luedeger had sent,
And on their journey homeward / full joyfully they went.
King Gunther gave them presents / that costly were and good,
And granted them safe convoy; / whereat they were of merry mood.
163“Tell ye my foes,” spake Gunther, / “when to your land ye come,
Than making journeys hither / they better were at home;
But if they still be eager / to make such visit here,
Unless my friends forsake me, / cold in sooth shall be their cheer.”
164Then for the messengers / rich presents forth they bore,
Whereof in sooth to give them / Gunther had goodly store:
And they durst not refuse them / whom Luedeger had sent.
Leave then they took immediate, / and homeward joyfully they went.
165When to their native Denmark / the messengers returned,
And the king Luedegast / the answer too had learned,
They at the Rhine had sent him, / — when that to him was told,
His wrath was all unbounded / to have reply in words so bold.
166’Twas said their warriors numbered / many a man full keen:
“There likewise among them / with Gunther have we seen
Of Netherland a hero, / the same that Siegfried hight.”
King Luedegast was grievéd, / when he their words had heard aright.
167When throughout all Denmark / the tidings quick spread o’er,
Then in hot haste they summoned / helpers all the more,
So that King Luedegast, / ‘twixt friends from far and near,
Had knights full twenty thousand / all furnished well with shield and spear.
168Then too his men did summon / of Saxony Luedeger,
Till they good forty thousand, / and more, had gathered there,
With whom to make the journey / ’gainst the land of Burgundy.
— At home likewise the meanwhile / King Gunther had sent forth decree
169Mighty men to summon / of his own and brothers twain,
Who against the foemen / would join the armed train.
In haste they made them ready, / for right good cause they had.
Amongst them must thereafter / full many a noble thane lie dead.
170To march they quick made ready. / And when they thence would fare,
The banner to the valiant / Volker was given to bear,
As they began the journey / from Worms across the Rhine;
Strong of arm grim Hagen / was chosen leader of the line.
171With them there rode Sindold / and eke the keen Hunold
Who oft at hands of Gunther / had won rewards of gold;
Dankwart, Hagen’s brother, / and Ortwein beside,
Who all could well with honor / in train of noble warriors ride.
172“King Gunther,” spake then Siegfried, / “stay thou here at home;
Since now thy knights so gallant / with me will gladly come,
Rest thou here with fair ladies, / and be of merry mood:
I trow we’ll keep in safety / thy land and honor as we should.
173“And well will I see to it / that they at home remain,
Who fain would ride against thee / to Worms upon the Rhine.
Against them straight we’ll journey / into their land so far
That they’ll be meeker minded / who now such haughty vaunters are.”
174Then from the Rhine through Hesse / the hosts of knights rode on
Toward the land of Saxons, / where battle was anon.
With fire and sword they harried / and laid the country waste,
So that both the monarchs / full well the woes of war did taste.
175When came they to the border / the train-men onward pressed.
With thought of battle-order / Siegfried the thanes addressed:
“Who now shall guard our followers / from danger in the rear?”
In sooth like this the Saxons / in battle worsted never were.
176Then said they: “On the journey / the men shall guarded be
By the valiant Dankwart, / — a warrior swift is he;
So shall we lose the fewer / by men of Luedeger.
Let him and Ortwein with him / be chosen now to guard the rear.”
177Spake then the valiant Siegfried: / “Myself will now ride on,
And against our enemies / will keep watch in the van,
Till I aright discover / where they perchance may be.”
The son of fair Queen Siegelind / did arm him then immediately.
178The folk he left to Hagen / when ready to depart,
And as well to Gernot, / a man of dauntless heart.
Into the land of Saxons / alone he rode away,
And by his hand was severed / many a helmet’s band that day.
179He found a mighty army / that lay athwart the plain,
Small part of which outnumbered / all those in his own train:
Full forty thousand were they / or more good men of might.
The hero high in spirit / saw right joyfully the sight.
180Then had eke a warrior / from out the enemy
To guard the van gone forward, / all arméd cap-a-pie.
Him saw the noble Siegfried, / and he the valiant man;
Each one straight the other / to view with angry mien began.
181Who he was I’ll tell you / that rode his men before,
— A shield of gold all shining / upon his arm he bore —
In sooth it was King Luedegast / who there the van did guard.
Straightway the noble Siegfried / full eagerly against him spurred.
182Now singled out for combat / him, too, had Luedegast.
Then full upon each other / they spurred their chargers fast,
As on their shields they lowered / their lances firm and tight,
Whereat the lordly monarch / soon found himself in sorry plight.
183After the shock their chargers / bore the knights so fast
Onward past each other / as flew they on the blast.
Then turned they deftly backward / obedient to the rein,
As with their swords contested / the grim and doughty fighters twain.
184When Siegfried struck in anger / far off was heard the blow,
And flew from off the helmet, / as if ’twere all aglow,
The fiery sparks all crackling / beneath his hand around.
Each warrior in the other / a foeman worth his mettle found.
185Full many a stroke with vigor / dealt eke King Luedegast,
And on each other’s buckler / the blows fell thick and fast.
Then thirty men discovered / their master’s sorry plight:
But ere they came to help him / had doughty Siegfried won the fight.
186With three mighty gashes / which he had dealt the king
Through his shining breastplate / made fast with many a ring.
The sword with sharpest edges / from wounds brought forth the blood,
Whereat King Luedegast / apace fell into gloomy mood.
187To spare his life he begged him, / his land he pledged the knight,
And told him straight moreover, / that Luedegast he hight.
Then came his knights to help him, / they who there had seen
How that upon the vanguard / fierce fight betwixt the twain had been.
188After duel ended, / did thirty yet withstand
Of knights that him attended; / but there the hero’s hand
Kept safe his noble captive / with blows of wondrous might.
And soon wrought greater ruin / Siegfried the full gallant knight.
189Beneath his arm of valor / the thirty soon lay dead.
But one the knight left living, / who thence full quickly sped
To tell abroad the story / how he the others slew;
In sooth the blood-red helmet / spake all the hapless tidings true.
190Then had the men of Denmark / for all their grief good cause,
When it was told them truly / their king a captive was.
They told it to King Luedeger, / when he to rage began
In anger all unbounded: / for him had grievous harm been done.
191The noble King Luedegast / was led a prisoner then
By hand of mighty Siegfried / back to King Gunther’s men,
And placed in hands of Hagen: / and when they did hear
That ’twas the king of Denmark / they not a little joyful were.
192He bade the men of Burgundy / then bind the banners on.
“Now forward?” Siegfried shouted, / “here shall yet more be done,
An I but live to see it; / ere this day’s sun depart,
Shall mourn in land of Saxons / full many a goodly matron’s heart.
193“Ye warriors from Rhineland, / to follow me take heed,
And I unto the army / of Luedeger will lead.
Ere we again turn backward / to the land of Burgundy
Helms many hewn asunder / by hand of good knights there shall be.”
194To horse then hastened Gernot / and with him mighty men.
Volker keen in battle / took up the banner then;
He was a doughty Fiddler / and rode the host before.
There, too, every follower / a stately suit of armor wore.
195More than a thousand warriors / they there had not a man,
Saving twelve knights-errant. / To rise the dust began
In clouds along the highway / as they rode across the fields,
And gleaming in the sunlight / were seen the brightly shining shields.
196Meanwhile eke was nearing / of Saxons a great throng,
Each a broadsword bearing / that mickle was and long,
With blade that cut full sorely / when swung in strong right hand.
‘Gainst strangers were they ready / to guard their castles and their land.
197The leaders forth to battle / led the warriors then.
Come was also Siegfried / with his twelve chosen men,
Whom he with him hither / had brought from Netherland.
That day in storm of battle / was blood-bespattered many a hand.
198Sindold and Hunold / and Gernot as well,
Beneath their hands in battle / full many a hero fell,
Ere that their deeds of valor / were known throughout the host.
Through them must many a stately / matron weep for warrior lost.
199Volker and Hagen / and Ortwein in the fight
Lustily extinguished / full many a helmet’s light
With blood from wounds down flowing,— / keen fighters every one.
And there by Dankwart also / was many a mickle wonder done.
200The knights of Denmark tested / how they could weapons wield.
Clashing there together / heard ye many a shield
And ’neath sharp swords resounding, / swung by many an arm.
The Saxons keen in combat / wrought ’mid their foes a grievous harm.
201When the men of Burgundy / pressed forward to the fight,
Gaping wounds full many / hewed they there with might.
Then flowing down o’er saddle / in streams was seen the blood,
So fought for sake of honor / these valiant riders keen and good.
202Loudly were heard ringing, / wielded by hero’s hand,
The sharply-cutting weapons, / where they of Netherland
Their master followed after / into the thickest throng:
Wherever Siegfried led them / rode too those valiant knights along.
203Of warriors from Rhine river / could follow not a one.
There could be seen by any / a stream of blood flow down
O’er brightly gleaming helmet / ’neath Siegfried’s mighty hand,
Until King Luedeger / before him with his men did stand.
204Three times hither and thither / had he the host cut through
From one end to the other. / Now come was Hagen too
Who helped him well in battle / to vent his warlike mood.
That day beneath his valor / must die full many a rider good.
205When the doughty Luedeger / Siegfried there found,
As he swung high in anger / his arm for blows around
And with his good sword Balmung / knights so many slew,
Thereat was the keen warrior / filled with grief and anger too.
206Then mickle was the thronging / and loud the broadswords clashed,
As all their valiant followers / ’gainst one another dashed.
Then struggled all the fiercer / both sides the fight to win;
The hosts joined with each other: / ’twas frightful there to hear the din.
207To the monarch of the Saxons / it had been told before,
His brother was a captive, / which grieved his heart right sore.
He knew not that had done it / fair Siegelind’s son,
For rumor said ’twas Gernot. / Full well he learned the truth anon.
208King Luedeger struck so mighty / when fierce his anger rose,
That Siegfried’s steed beneath him / staggered from the blows,
But forthwith did recover; / then straight his rider keen
Let all his furious mettle / in slaughter of his foes be seen.
209There helped him well grim Hagen, / and Gernot in the fray,
Dankwart and Volker; / dead many a knight there lay.
Sindold and Hunold / and Ortwein, doughty thane,
By them in that fierce struggle / was many a valiant warrior slain.
210Unparted in storm of battle / the gallant leaders were,
Around them over helmet / flew there many a spear
Through shield all brightly shining, / from hand of mighty thane:
And on the glancing armor / was seen full many a blood-red stain.
211Amid the hurly-burly / down fell many a man
To ground from off his charger. / Straight ’gainst each other ran
Siegfried the keen rider / and eke King Luedeger.
Then flew from lance the splinters / and hurled was many a pointed spear.
212’Neath Siegfried’s hand so mighty / from shield flew off the band.
And soon to win the victory / thought he of Netherland
Over the valiant Saxons, / of whom were wonders seen.
Heigh-ho! in shining mail-rings / many a breach made Dankwart keen!
213Upon the shining buckler / that guarded Siegfried’s breast
Soon espied King Luedeger / a painted crown for crest;
By this same token knew he / it was the doughty man,
And to his friends he straightway / amid the battle loud began:
214“Give o’er from fighting further, / good warriors every one!
Amongst our foes now see I / Siegmund’s noble son,
Of netherland the doughty / knight on victory bent.
Him has the evil Devil / to scourge the Saxons hither sent.”
215Then bade he all the banners / amid the storm let down.
Peace he quickly sued for: / ’Twas granted him anon,
But he must now a hostage / be ta’en to Gunther’s land.
This fate had forced upon him / the fear of Siegfried’s mighty hand.
216They thus by common counsel / left off all further fight.
Hacked full many a helmet / and shields that late were bright
From hands down laid they weary; / as many as there might be,
With stains they all were bloody / ’neath hands of the men of Burgundy.
217Each whom he would took captive, / now they had won the fight.
Gernot, the noble hero, / and Hagen, doughty knight,
Bade bear forth the wounded. / Back led they with them then
Unto the land of Burgundy / five hundred stalwart fighting-men.
218The knights, of victory cheated, / their native Denmark sought,
Nor had that day the Saxons / with such high valor fought,
That one could praise them for it, / which caused the warriors pain.
Then wept their friends full sorely / at home for those in battle slain.
219For the Rhine then laden / they let their armor be.
Siegfried, the knight so doughty, / had won the victory
With his few chosen followers; / that he had nobly done,
Could not but free acknowledge / King Gunther’s warriors every one.
220To Worms sent Gernot riding / now a messenger,
And of the joyous tiding / soon friends at home were ware,
How that it well had prospered / with him and all his men.
Fought that day with valor / for honor had those warriors keen.
221The messenger sped forward / and told the tidings o’er.
Then joyfully they shouted / who boded ill before,
To hear the welcome story / that now to them was told.
From ladies fair and noble / came eager questions manifold,
222Who all the fair fortune / of King Gunther’s men would know.
One messenger they ordered / unto Kriemhild to go.
But that was done in secret: / she durst let no one see,
For he was ’mongst those warriors / whom she did love so faithfully.
223When to her own apartments / was come the messenger
Joyfully addressed him / Kriemhild the maiden fair:
“But tell me now glad tidings, / and gold I’ll give to thee,
And if thou tell’st not falsely, / good friend thou’lt ever find in me.
224“How has my good brother / Gernot in battle sped,
And how my other kinsmen? / Lies any of them dead?
Who wrought most deeds of valor? / — That shall thou let me know.”
Then spake the messenger truly: / “No knight but did high valor show.
225“But in the dire turmoil / rode rider none so well,
O Princess fair and noble, / since I must truly tell,
As the stranger knight full noble / who comes from Netherland;
There deeds of mickle wonder / were wrought by doughty Siegfried’s hand.
226“Whate’er have all the warriors / in battle dared to do,
Dankwart and Hagen / and the other knights so true,
Howe’er they fought for honor, / ’twas naught but idle play
Beside what there wrought Siegfried, / King Siegmund’s son, amid the fray.
227“Beneath their hands in battle / full many a hero fell,
Yet all the deeds of wonder / no man could ever tell,
Wrought by the hand of Siegfried, / when rode he ’gainst the foe:
And weep aloud must women / for friends by his strong arm laid low.
228“There, too, the knight she loved / full many a maid must lose.
Were heard come down on helmet / so loud his mighty blows,
That they from gaping gashes / brought forth the flowing blood.
In all that maketh noble / he is a valiant knight and good.
229“Many a deed of daring / of Metz Sir Ortwein wrought:
For all was evil faring / whom he with broadsword caught,
Doomed to die that instant, / or wounded sore to fall.
And there thy valiant brother / did greater havoc work than all
230“That e’er in storm of battle / was done by warrior bold.
Of all those chosen warriors / let eke the truth be told:
The proud Burgundian heroes / have made it now right plain,
That they can free from insult / their country’s honor well maintain.
231“Beneath their hands was often / full many a saddle bare,
When o’er the field resounding / their bright swords cut the air.
The warriors from Rhine river / did here such victory win
That for their foes ’twere better / if they such meeting ne’er had seen.
232“Keen the knights of Tronje / ’fore all their valor showed,
When with their stalwart followers / against their foes they rode;
Slain by the hand of Hagen / must knights so many be,
‘Twill long be in the telling / here in the land of Burgundy.
233“Sindold and Hunold, / Gernot’s men each one,
And the valiant Rumold / have all so nobly done,
King Luedeger will ever / have right good cause to rue
That he against thy kindred / at Rhine dared aught of harm to do.
234“And deeds of all most wondrous / e’er done by warrior keen
In earliest time or latest, / by mortal ever seen,
Wrought there in lusty manner / Siegfried with doughty hand.
Rich hostages he bringeth / with him unto Gunther’s land.
235“By his own strength subdued them / the hero unsurpassed
And brought down dire ruin / upon King Luedegast,
Eke on the King of Saxons / his brother Luedeger.
Now hearken to the story / I tell thee, noble Princess fair.
236“Them both hath taken captive / Siegfried’s doughty hand.
Hostages were so many / ne’er brought into this land
As to the Rhine come hither / through his great bravery.”
Than these could never tidings / unto her heart more welcome be.
237“With captives home they’re hieing, / five hundred men or mo',
And of the wounded dying / Lady shalt thou know,
Full eighty blood-stained barrows / unto Burgundian land,
Most part hewn down in battle / beneath keen Siegfried’s doughty hand.
238“Who message sent defiant / unto the Rhine so late
Must now as Gunther’s prisoners / here abide their fate.
Bringing such noble captives / the victors glad return.”
Then glowed with joy the princess / when she the tidings glad did learn.
239Her cheeks so full of beauty / with joy were rosy-red,
That passed he had uninjured / through all the dangers dread,
The knight she loved so dearly, / Siegfried with doughty arm.
Good cause she had for joying / o’er all her friends escaped from harm.
240Then spake the beauteous maiden: / “Glad news thou hast told me,
Wherefor now rich apparel / thy goodly meed shall be,
And to thee shall be given / ten marks of gold as well.”
’Tis thus a thing right pleasant / to ladies high such news to tell.
241The presents rich they gave him, / gold and apparel rare.
Then hastened to the casement / full many a maiden fair,
And on the street looked downward: / hither riding did they see
Many a knight high-hearted / into the land of Burgundy.
242There came who ’scaped uninjured, / and wounded borne along,
All glad to hear the greetings / of friends, a joyful throng.
To meet his friends the monarch / rode out in mickle glee:
In joying now was ended / all his full great anxiety.
243Then did he well his warriors / and eke the strangers greet;
And for a king so mighty / ’twere nothing else but meet
That he should thank right kindly / the gallant men each one,
Who had in storm of battle / the victory so bravely won.
244Then of his friends King Gunther / bade tidings tell straightway,
Of all his men how many / were fallen in the fray.
Lost had he none other / than warriors three score:
Then wept they for the heroes, / as since they did for many more.
245Shields full many brought they / all hewn by valiant hand,
And many a shattered helmet / into King Gunther’s hand.
The riders then dismounted / from their steeds before the hall,
And a right hearty welcome / from friends rejoicing had they all.
246Then did they for the warriors / lodging meet prepare,
And for his guests the monarch / bade full well have care.
He bade them take the wounded / and tend them carefully,
And toward his enemies also / his gentle bearing might ye see.
247To Luedeger then spake he: / “Right welcome art thou here.
Through fault of thine now have I / lost many friends full dear,
For which, have I good fortune, / thou shall right well atone.
God rich reward my liegemen, / such faithfulness to me they’ve shown.”
248“Well may’st thou thank them, truly,” / spake then Luedeger;
“Hostages so noble / won a monarch ne’er.
For chivalrous protection / rich goods we offer thee,
That thou now right gracious / to us thy enemies shalt be.”
249“I’ll grant you both your freedom,” / spake the king again;
“But that my enemies surely / here by me remain,
Therefor I’ll have good pledges / they ne’er shall quit my land,
Save at my royal pleasure.” / Thereto gave Luedeger the hand.
250Sweet rest then found the weary / their tired limbs to aid,
And gently soon on couches / the wounded knights were laid;
Mead and wine right ruddy / they poured out plenteously:
Than they and all their followers / merrier men there none might be.
251Their shields all hacked in battle / secure were laid away;
And not a few of saddles / stained with blood that day,
Lest women weep to see them, / hid they too from sight.
Full many a keen rider / home came aweary from the fight.
252The host in gentlest manner / did his guests attend:
The land around with stranger / was crowded, and with friend.
They bade the sorely wounded / nurse with especial care:
Whereby the knights high-hearted / ’neath all their wounds knew not despair.
253Who there had skill in healing / received reward untold,
Silver all unweighéd / and thereto ruddy gold
For making whole the heroes / after the battle sore.
To all his friends the monarch / gave presents rich in goodly store.
254Who there again was minded / to take his homeward way
They bade, as one a friend doth, / yet a while to stay.
The king did then take counsel / how to reward each one,
For they his will in battle / like liegemen true had nobly done.
255Then outspake royal Gernot: / “Now let them homeward go;
After six weeks are over, / — thus our friends shall know —
To hold high feast they’re bidden / hither to come again;
Many a knight now lying / sore wounded will be healed ere then.
256Of Netherland the hero / would also then take leave.
When of this King Gunther / did tidings first receive,
The knight besought he kindly / not yet his leave to take:
To this he’d ne’er consented / an it were not for Kriemhild’s sake.
257A prince he was too noble / to take the common pay;
He had right well deserved it / that the king alway
And all his warriors held him / in honor, for they had seen
What by his arm in battle / bravely had accomplished been.
258He stayed there yet a little / for the maiden’s sake alone,
Whom he would see so gladly. / And all fell out full soon
As he at heart had wished it: / well known to him was she.
Home to his father’s country / joyously anon rode he.
259The king bade at all seasons / keep up the tournament,
And many a youthful rider / forth to the lists there went.
The while were seats made ready / by Worms upon the strand
For all who soon were coming / unto the Burgundian land.
260In the meantime also, / ere back the knights returned,
Had Kriemhild, noble lady, / the tidings likewise learned,
The king would hold high feasting / with all his gallant men.
There was a mickle hurry, / and busy were fair maidens then
261With dresses and with wimples / that they there should wear.
Ute, queen so stately, / the story too did hear,
How to them were coming / proud knights of highest worth.
Then from enfolding covers / were store of dresses rich brought forth.
262Such love she bore her children / she bade rich dress prepare,
Wherewith adorned were ladies / and many a maiden fair,
And not a few young riders / in the land of Burgundy.
For strangers many bade she / rich garments eke should measured be.

wie Sîvrit Kriemhilt êrste gesach
{ 5 }
How Siegfried first saw Kriemhild.
263Unto the Rhine now daily / the knights were seen to ride,
Who there would be full gladly / to share the festive tide.
To all that thither journeyed / to the king to show them true,
In plenty them were given / steeds and rich apparel too.
264And soon were seats made ready / for every noble guest,
As we have heard the story, / for highest and for best,
Two and thirty princes / at the festival.
Then vied with one another / to deck themselves the ladies all.
265Never was seen idle / the young Prince Giselher:
The guests and all their followers / received full kindly were
By him and eke by Gernot / and their men every one.
The noble thanes they greeted / as ever ’tis in honor done.
266With gold bright gleaming saddles / unto the land they brought,
Good store of rich apparel / and shields all richly wrought
Unto the Rhine they carried / to that high festival.
And joyous days were coming / for the woúnded warriors all.
267They who yet on couches / lay wounded grievously
For joy had soon forgotten / how bitter death would be:
The sick and all the ailing / no need of pity had.
Anent the days of feasting / were they o’er the tidings glad,
268How they should make them merry / there where all were so.
Delight beyond all measure, / of joys an overflow,
Had in sooth the people / seen on every hand:
Then rose a mickle joyance / over all King Gunther’s land.
269Full many a warrior valiant / one morn at Whitsuntide
All gorgeously apparelled / was thither seen to ride,
Five thousand men or over, / where the feast should be;
And vied in every quarter / knight with knight in revelry.
270Thereof the host was mindful, / for he well did understand
How at heart right warmly / the hero of Netherland
Loved alone his sister, / though her he ne’er had seen,
Who praised for wondrous beauty / before all maidens else had been.
271Then spake the thane so noble / of Metz Sir Ortwein:
“Wilt thou full be honored / by every guest of thine,
Then do them all the pleasure / the winsome maids to see,
That are held so high in honor / here in the land of Burgundy.
272“What were a man’s chief pleasure, / his very joy of life,
An ‘t were not a lovely maiden / or a stately wife?
Then let the maid thy sister / before thy guests appear.”
— Brave thanes did there full many / at heart rejoice the rede to hear.
273“Thy words I’ll gladly follow,” / then the monarch said,
And all the knights who heard him / ere thereat right glad.
Then told was Queen Ute / and eke her daughter fair,
That they with maids in waiting / unto the court should soon repair.
274Then in well-stored wardrobes / rich attire they sought,
And forth from folding covers / their glittering dresses brought,
Armbands and silken girdles / of which they many had.
And zealous to adorn her / was then full many a winsome maid.
275Full many a youthful squire / upon that day did try,
By decking of his person, / to win fair lady’s eye;
For the which great good fortune / he’d take no monarch’s crown:
They longed to see those maidens, / whom they before had never known.
276For her especial service / the king did order then
To wait upon his sister / a hundred of his men,
As well upon his mother: / they carried sword in hand.
That was the court attendance / there in the Burgundian land.
277Ute, queen so stately, / then came forth with her:
And with the queen in waiting / ladies fair there were,
A hundred or over, / in festal robes arrayed.
Eke went there with Kriemhild / full many a fair and winsome maid.
278Forth from their own apartments / they all were seen to go:
There was a mickle pressing / of good knights to and fro,
Who hoped to win the pleasure, / if such a thing might be,
The noble maiden Kriemhild, / delight of every eye, to see.
279Now came she fair and lovely, / as the ruddy sun of morn
From misty clouds emerging. / Straight he who long had borne
Her in his heart and loved her, / from all his gloom was freed,
As so stately there before him / he saw the fair and lovely maid.
280Her rich apparel glittered / with many a precious stone,
And with a ruddy beauty / her cheeks like roses shone.
Though you should wish to do so, / you could not say, I ween,
That e’er a fairer lady / in all the world before was seen.
281As in a sky all starlit / the moon shines out so bright,
And through the cloudlets peering / pours down her gentle light,
E’en so was Kriemhild’s beauty / among her ladies fair:
The hearts of gallant heroes / were gladder when they saw her there.
282The richly clad attendants / moved stately on before,
And the valiant thanes high-hearted / stood patiently no more,
But pressed right eager forward / to see the lovely maid:
In noble Siegfried’s bosom / alternate joy and anguish swayed.
283He thought with heart despairing, / “How could it ever be,
That I should win thy favor? / There hoped I foolishly.
But had I e’er to shun thee, / then were I rather dead.”
And oft, to think upon it, / the color from his visage fled.
284The noble son of Siegmund / did there so stately stand
As if his form were pictured / by good old master’s hand
Upon a piece of parchment. / All who saw, confessed
That he of all good heroes / was the stateliest and the best.
285The fair Kriemhild’s attendants / gave order to make way
On all sides for the ladies, / and willing thanes obey.
To see their noble bearing / did every warrior cheer;
Full many a stately lady / of gentle manner born was there.
286Then outspake of Burgundy / Gernot the valiant knight:
“To him who thus has helped thee / so bravely in the fight,
Gunther, royal brother, / shalt thou like favor show,
A thane before all others; / he’s worthy of it well, I trow.
287“Let then the doughty Siegfried / unto my sister go
To have the maiden’s greetings, / — ’twill be our profit so.
She that ne’er greeted hero / shall greet him courteously,
That thus the stately warrior / for aye our faithful friend may be.”
288The king’s knights hastened gladly / upon his high command
And told these joyous tidings / to the prince of Netherland.
“It is the king’s good pleasure / that thou to court shalt go,
To have his sister’s greetings; / to honor thee ’tis ordered so.”
289Then was the thane full valiant / thereat soon filled with joy.
Yea, bore he in his bosom / delight without alloy
At thought that he should straightway / Ute’s fair daughter see.
Siegfried anon she greeted / in courteous manner lovingly.
290As she saw the knight high-hearted / there before her stand,
Blushed red and spake the maiden, / the fairest of the land:
“A welcome, brave Sir Siegfried, / thou noble knight and good.”
As soon as he had heard it, / the hearty greeting cheered his mood.
291Before her low he bended; / him by the hand took she,
And by her onward wended / the knight full willingly.
They cast upon each other / fond glances many a one,
The knight and eke the maiden; / furtively it all was done.
292Whether he pressed friendly / that hand as white as snow
From the love he bore her, / that I do not know;
Yet believe I cannot / that this was left undone,
For straightway showed the maiden / that he her heart had fully won.
293In the sunny summer season / and in the month of May
Had his heart seen never / before so glad a day,
Nor one so fully joyous, / as when he walked beside
That maiden rich in beauty / whom fain he’d choose to be his bride.
294Then thought many a warrior: / “Were it likewise granted me
To walk beside the maiden, / just as now I see,
Or to lie beside her, / how gladly were that done?”
But ne’er a knight more fully / had gracious lady’s favor won.
295From all the lands far distant / were guests distinguished there,
But fixed each eye was only / upon this single pair.
By royal leave did Kriemhild / kiss then the stately knight:
In all the world he never / before had known so rare delight.
296Then full of strange forebodings, / of Denmark spake the king:
“This full loving greeting / to many woe will bring,
— My heart in secret warns me — / through Siegfried’s doughty hand.
God give that he may never / again be seen within my land.”
297On all sides then ’twas ordered / ’fore Kriemhild and her train
Of women make free passage. / Full many a valiant thane
With her unto the minster / in courtly way went on.
But from her side was parted / the full stately knight anon.
298Then went she to the minster, / and with her many a maid.
In such rich apparel / Kriemhild was arrayed,
That hearty wishes many / there were made in vain:
Her comely form delighted / the eye of many a noble thane.
299Scarce could tarry Siegfried / till mass was sung the while.
And surely did Dame Fortune / upon him kindly smile,
To him she was so gracious / whom in his heart he bore.
Eke did he the maiden, / as she full well deserved, adore.
300As after mass then Kriemhild / came to the minster door,
The knight his homage offered, / as he had done before.
Then began to thank him / the full beauteous maid,
That he her royal brothers / did ’gainst their foes so nobly aid.
301“God speed thee, Sir Siegfried,” / spake the maiden fair,
“For thou hast well deservéd / that all these warriors are,
As it hath now been told me, / right grateful unto thee.”
Then gan he cast his glances / on the Lady Kriemhild lovingly.
302“True will I ever serve them,” / — so spake the noble thane —
“And my head shall never / be laid to rest again,
Till I, if life remaineth, / have their good favor won.
In sooth, my Lady Kriemhild, / for thy fair grace it all is done.”
303Ne’er a day passed over / for a twelve of happy days,
But saw they there beside him / the maiden all did praise,
As she before her kinsmen / to court would daily go:
It pleased the thane full highly / that they did him such honor show.
304Delight and great rejoicing, / a mighty jubilee,
Before King Gunther’s castle / daily might ye see,
Without and eke within it, / ’mongst keen men many a one.
By Ortwein and by Hagen / great deeds and wondrous there were done.
305Whate’er was done by any, / in all they ready were
To join in way right lusty, / both the warriors rare:
Whereby ’mongst all the strangers / they won an honored name,
And through their deeds so wondrous / of Gunther’s land spread far the fame.
306Who erstwhile lay sore wounded / now were whole again,
And fain would share the pastime, / with all the king’s good men;
With shields join in the combat, / and try the shaft so long.
Wherein did join them many / of the merry-making throng.
307To all who joined the feasting / the host in plenty bade
Supply the choicest viands: / so guarded well he had
‘Gainst whate’er reproaches / could rise from spite or spleen.
Unto his guests right friendly / to go the monarch now was seen.
308He spake: “Ye thanes high-hearted, / ere now ye part from me,
Accept of these my presents; / for I would willingly
Repay your noble service. / Despise ye not, I pray,
What now I will share with you: / ’tis offered in right grateful way.”
309Straightway they of Denmark / thus to the king replied:
“Ere now upon our journey / home again we ride,
We long for lasting friendship. / Thereof we knights have need,
For many a well-loved kinsman / at hands of thy good thanes lies dead.”
310Luedegast was recovered / from all his wounds so sore,
And eke the lord of Saxons / from fight was whole once more.
Some amongst their warriors / left they dead behind.
Then went forth King Gunther / where he Siegfried might find.
311Unto the thane then spake he: / “Thy counsel give, I pray.
The foes whom we hold captive / fain would leave straightway,
And long for lasting friendship / with all my men and me.
Now tell me, good Sir Siegfried, / what here seemeth good to thee.
312“What the lords bid as ransom, / shall now to thee be told
Whate’er five hundred horses / might bear of ruddy gold,
They’d give to me right gladly, / would I but let them free.”
Then spake the noble Siegfried: / “That were to do right foolishly.
313“Thou shalt let them freely / journey hence again;
And that they both hereafter / shall evermore refrain
From leading hostile army / against thee and thy land,
Therefor in pledge of friendship / let each now give to thee the hand.”
314“Thy rede I’ll gladly follow.” / Straightway forth they went.
To those who offered ransom / the answer then was sent,
Their gold no one desired / which they would give before.
The warriors battle-weary / dear friends did yearn to see once more.
315Full many a shield all laden / with treasure forth they bore:
He dealt it round unmeasured / to friends in goodly store;
Each one had marks five hundred / and some had more, I ween.
Therein King Gunther followed / the rede of Gernot, knight full keen.
316Then was a great leave-taking, / as they departed thence.
The warriors all ’fore Kriemhild / appeared in reverence,
And eke there where her mother / Queen Ute sat near by.
Gallant thanes were never / dismissed as these so graciously.
317Bare were the lodging-places, / when away the strangers rode.
Yet in right lordly manner / there at home abode
The king with friends around him, / full noble men who were.
And them now saw they daily / at court before Kriemhild appear.
318Eke would the gallant hero / Siegfried thence depart,
The thing to gain despairing / whereon was set his heart.
The king was told the tidings / how that he would away.
Giselher his brother / did win the knight with them to stay.
319“Whither, O noble Siegfried, / wilt thou now from us ride?
Do as I earnest pray thee, / and with these thanes abide,
As guest here with King Gunther, / and live right merrily.
Here dwell fair ladies many: / them will he gladly let thee see.”
320Then spake the doughty Siegfried: / “Our steeds leave yet at rest,
The while from this my purpose / to part will I desist.
Our shields once more take from us. / Though gladly home I would,
Naught ’gainst the fond entreaties / of Giselher avail me could.”
321So stayed the knight full gallant / for sake of friendship there.
In sooth in ne’er another / country anywhere
Had he so gladly lingered: / iwis it was that he,
Now whensoe’er he wished it, / Kriemhild the maiden fair could see.
322’Twas her surpassing beauty / that made the knight to stay.
With many a merry pastime / they whiled the time away;
But love for her oppressed him, / oft-times grievously.
Whereby anon the hero / a mournful death was doomed to die.
323Tidings unknown to any / from over Rhine now come,
How winsome maids a many / far yonder had their home.
Whereof the royal Gunther / bethought him one to win,
And o’er the thought the monarch / of full joyous mood was seen.

wie Gunthęr gên Islande nâch Prünhilt vuor
{ 6 }
How Gunther fared to Isenland to Brunhild.
324There was a queenly maiden / seated over sea,
Like her nowhere another / was ever known to be.
She was in beauty matchless, / full mickle was her might;
Her love the prize of contest, / she hurled the shaft with valiant knight.
325The stone she threw far distant, / wide sprang thereafter too.
Who turned to her his fancy / with intent to woo,
Three times perforce must vanquish / the lady of high degree;
Failed he in but one trial, / forfeited his head had he.
326This same the lusty princess / times untold had done.
When to a warrior gallant / beside the Rhine ’twas known,
He thought to take unto him / the noble maid for wife:
Thereby must heroes many / since that moment lose their life.
327Then spake of Rhine the master: / “I’ll down unto the sea
Unto Brunhild journey, / fare as ’twill with me.
For her unmeasured beauty / I’ll gladly risk my life,
Ready eke to lose it, / if she may not be my wife.”
328“I counsel thee against it,” / spake then Siegfried.
“So terrible in contest / the queen is indeed,
Who for her love is suitor / his zeal must dearly pay.
So shalt thou from the journey / truly be content to stay.”
329“So will I give thee counsel,” / outspake Hagen there,
“That thou beg of Siegfried / with thee to bear
The perils that await thee: / that is now my rede,
To him is known so fully / what with Brunhild will be thy need.”
330He spake: “And wilt thou help me, / noble Siegfried,
To win the lovely maiden? / Do what now I plead;
And if in all her beauty / she be my wedded wife,
To meet thy fullest wishes / honor will I pledge and life.”
331Thereto answered Siegfried, / the royal Siegmund’s son:
“Giv’st thou me thy sister, / so shall thy will be done,
— Kriemhild the noble princess, / in beauty all before.
For toils that I encounter / none other meed I ask thee more.”
332“That pledge I,” spake then Gunther, / “Siegfried, in thy hand.
And comes the lovely Brunhild / thither to this land,
Thereunto thee my sister / for wife I’ll truly give,
That with the lovely maiden / thou may’st ever joyful live.”
333Oaths the knight full noble / upon the compact swore,
Whereby to them came troubles / and dangers all the more,
Ere they the royal lady / brought unto the Rhine.
Still should the warriors valiant / in sorest need and sorrow pine.
334With him carried Siegfried / that same mantle then,
The which with mickle trouble / had won the hero keen
From a dwarf in struggle, / Alberich by name.
They dressed them for the journey, / the valiant thanes of lofty fame.
335And when the doughty Siegfried / the sightless mantle wore,
Had he within it / of strength as good a store
As other men a dozen / in himself alone.
The full stately princess / anon by cunning art he won.
336Eke had that same mantle / such wondrous properties
That any man whatever / might work whate’er he please
When once he had it on him, / yet none could see or tell.
’Twas so that he won Brunhild; / whereby him evil since befell.
337“Ere we begin our journey, / Siegfried, tell to me,
That we with fullest honor / come unto the sea,
Shall we lead warriors with us / down to Brunhild’s land?
Thanes a thirty thousand / straightway shall be called to hand.”
338“Men bring we ne’er so many,” / answered Siegfried then.
“So terrible in custom / ever is the queen,
That all would death encounter / from her angry mood.
I’ll give thee better counsel, / thane in valor keen and good.
339“Like as knights-errant journey / down the Rhine shall we.
Those now will I name thee / who with us shall be;
But four in all the company / seaward shall we fare:
Thus shall we woo the lady, / what fortune later be our share.
340“Myself one of the company, / a second thou shalt be,
Hagen be the third one / — so fare we happily;
The fourth let it be Dankwart, / warrior full keen.
Never thousand others / dare in fight withstand us then.”
341“The tale I would know gladly,” / the king then further said,
“Ere we have parted thither / — of that were I full glad —
What should we of apparel, / that would befit us well,
Wear in Brunhild’s presence: / that shalt thou now to Gunther tell.”
342“Weeds the very finest / that ever might be found
They wear in every season / in Brunhild’s land:
So shall we rich apparel / before the lady wear,
That we have not dishonor / where men the tale hereafter hear.”
343Then spake he to the other: / “Myself will go unto
My own loving mother, / if I from her may sue
That her fair tendant maidens / help that we be arrayed
As we may go in honor / before the high majestic maid.”
344Then spake of Tronje Hagen / with noble courtliness:
“Why wilt thou of thy mother / beg such services?
Only let thy sister / hear our mind and mood:
So shall for this our journey / her good service be bestowed.”
345Then sent he to his sister / that he her would see,
And with him also Siegfried. / Ere that such might be,
Herself had there the fair one / in rich apparel clad.
Sooth to tell, the visit / but little did displease the maid.
346Then also were her women / decked as for them was meet.
The princes both were coming: / she rose from off her seat,
As doth a high-born lady / when that she did perceive,
And went the guest full noble / and eke her brother to receive.
347“Welcome be my brother / and his companion too.
I’d know the story gladly,” / spake the maiden so,
“What ye now are seeking / that ye are come to me:
I pray you straightway tell me / how ‘t with you valiants twain may be.”
348Then spake the royal Gunther: / “Lady, thou shall hear:
Spite of lofty spirits / have we yet a care.
To woo a maid we travel / afar to lands unknown;
We should against the journey / have rich apparel for our own.”
349“Seat thee now, dear brother,” / spake the princess fair;
“Let me hear the story, / who the ladies are
That ye will seek as suitors / in stranger princes’ land.”
Both good knights the lady / took in greeting by the hand.
350With the twain then went she / where she herself had sat,
To couches rich and costly, / in sooth believe ye that,
Wrought in design full cunning / of gold embroidery.
And with these fair ladies / did pass the time right pleasantly.
351Many tender glances / and looks full many a one
Fondly knight and lady / each other cast upon.
Within his heart he bore her, / she was as his own life.
Anon the fairest Kriemhild / was the doughty Siegfried’s wife.
352Then spake the mighty monarch: / “Full loving sister mine,
This may we ne’er accomplish / without help of thine.
Unto Brunhild’s country / as suitor now we fare:
’Tis fitting that ’fore ladies / we do rich apparel wear.”
353Then spake the royal maiden: / “Brother dear to me,
In whatsoever manner / my help may given be,
Of that I well assure you, / ready thereto am I.
To Kriemhild ’twere a sorrow / if any should the same deny.
354“Of me, O noble brother, / thou shalt not ask in vain:
Command in courteous manner / and I will serve thee fain.
Whatever be thy pleasure, / for that I’ll lend my aid
And willingly I’ll do it,” / spake the fair and winsome maid.
355“It is our wish, dear sister, / apparel good to wear;
That shall now directing / the royal hand prepare;
And let thy maids see to it / that all is done aright,
For we from this same journey / turn not aside for word of wight.”
356Spake thereupon the maiden: / “Now mark ye what I say:
Myself have silks in plenty; / now send us rich supply
Of stones borne on bucklers, / so vesture we’ll prepare.”
To do it royal Gunther / and Siegfried both right ready were.
357“And who are your companions,” / further questioned she,
“Who with you apparelled / now for court shall be?”
“I it is and Siegfried, / and of my men are two,
Dankwart and Hagen, / who with us to court shall go.
358“Now rightly what we tell thee, / mark, O sister dear:
’Tis that we four companions / for four days may wear
Thrice daily change of raiment / so wrought with skilful hand
That we without dishonor / may take our leave of Brunhild’s land.”
359After fair leave-taking / the knights departed so.
Then of her attendants / thirty maids to go
Forth from her apartments / Kriemhild the princess bade,
Of those that greatest cunning / in such skilful working had.
360Silks that were of Araby / white as the snow in sheen,
And from the land of Zazamank / like unto grass so green,
With stones of price they broidered; / that made apparel rare.
Herself she cut them, Kriemhild / the royal maiden debonair.
361Fur linings fashioned fairly / from dwellers in the sea
Beheld by people rarely, / the best that e’er might be,
With silken stuffs they covered / for the knights to wear.
Now shall ye of the shining / weeds full many a wonder hear.
362From land of far Morocco / and eke from Libya
Of silks the very finest / that ever mortal saw
With any monarch’s kindred, / they had a goodly store.
Well showed the Lady Kriemhild / that unto them good will she bore.
363Since they unto the journey / had wished that so it be,
Skins of costly ermine / used they lavishly,
Whereon were silken pieces / black as coal inlaid.
To-day were any nobles / in robes so fashioned well arrayed.
364From the gold of Araby / many a stone there shone.
The women long were busy / before the work was done;
But all the robes were finished / ere seven weeks did pass,
When also trusty armor / for the warriors ready was.
365When they at length were ready / adown the Rhine to fare,
A ship lay waiting for them / strong built with mickle care,
Which should bear them safely / far down unto the sea.
The maidens rich in beauty / plied their work laboriously.
366Then ’twas told the warriors / for them was ready there
The finely wrought apparel / that they were to wear;
Just as they had wished it, / so it had been made;
After that the heroes / there by the Rhine no longer stayed.
367To the knights departing / went soon a messenger:
Would they come in person / to view their new attire,
If it had been fitted / short and long aright.
’Twas found of proper measure, / and thanked those ladies fair each knight.
368And all who there beheld them / they must needs confess
That in the world they never / had gazed on fairer dress:
At court to wear th' apparel / did therefore please them well.
Of warriors better furnished / never could a mortal tell.
369Thanks oft-times repeated / were there not forgot.
Leave of parting from them / the noble knights then sought:
Like thanes of noble bearing / they went in courteous wise.
Then dim and wet with weeping / grew thereat two shining eyes.
370She spake: “O dearest brother, / still here thou mightest stay,
And woo another woman — / that were the better way —
Where so sore endangered / stood not thus thy life.
Here nearer canst thou find thee / equally a high-born wife.”
371I ween their hearts did tell them / what later came to pass.
They wept there all together, / whatever spoken was.
The gold upon their bosoms / was sullied ’neath the tears
That from their eyes in plenty / fell adown amid their fears.
372She spake: “O noble Siegfried, / to thee commended be
Upon thy truth and goodness / the brother dear to me,
That he come unscathed / home from Brunhild’s land.”
That plighted the full valiant / knight in Lady Kriemhild’s hand.
373The mighty thane gave answer: / “If I my life retain,
Then shall thy cares, good Lady, / all have been in vain.
All safe I’ll bring him hither / again unto the Rhine,
Be that to thee full sicker.” / To him did the fair maid incline.
374Their shields of golden color / were borne unto the strand,
And all their trusty armor / was ready brought to hand.
They bade their horses bring them: / they would at last depart.
— Thereat did fairest women / weep with sad foreboding heart.
375Down from lofty casement / looked many a winsome maid,
As ship and sail together / by stirring breeze were swayed.
Upon the Rhine they found them, / the warriors full of pride.
Then outspake King Gunther: / “Who now is here the ship to guide?”
376“That will I,” spake Siegfried; / “I can upon the flood
Lead you on in safety, / that know ye, heroes good;
For all the water highways / are known right well to me.”
With joy they then departed / from the land of Burgundy.
377A mighty pole then grasped he, / Siegfried the doughty man,
And the ship from shore / forth to shove began.
Gunther the fearless also / himself took oar in hand.
The knights thus brave and worthy / took departure from the land.
378They carried rich provisions, / thereto the best of wine
That might in any quarter / be found about the Rhine.
Their chargers stood in comfort / and rested by the way:
The ship it moved so lightly / that naught of injury had they.
379Stretched before the breezes / were the great sail-ropes tight,
And twenty miles they journeyed / ere did come the night,
By fair breezes favored / down toward the sea.
Their toil repaid thereafter / the dauntless knights full grievously.
380Upon the twelfth morning, / as we in story hear,
Had they by the breezes / thence been carried far,
Unto Castle Isenstein / and Brunhild’s country:
That to Siegfried only / was known of all the company.
381As soon as saw King Gunther / so many towers rise
And eke the boundless marches / stretch before his eyes,
He spake: “Tell me, friend Siegfried, / is it known to thee
Whose they are, the castles / and the majestic broad country?”
382Thereto gave answer Siegfried: / “That well to me is known:
Brunhild for their mistress / do land and people own
And Isenstein’s firm towers, / as ye have heard me say.
Ladies fair a many / shall ye here behold to-day.
383“And I will give you counsel: / be it well understood
That all your words must tally / — so methinks ’twere good.
If ere to-day is over / our presence she command,
Must we leave pride behind us, / as before Brunhild we stand.
384“When we the lovely lady / ’mid her retainers see,
Then shall ye, good companions, / in all your speech agree
That Gunther is my master / and I his serving-man:
’Tis thus that all he hopeth / shall we in the end attain.”
385To do as he had bidden / consented straight each one,
And spite of proudest spirit / they left it not undone.
All that he wished they promised, / and good it proved to be
When anon King Gunther / the fair Brunhild came to see.
386“Not all to meet thy wishes / do I such service swear,
But most ’tis for thy sister, / Kriemhild the maiden fair;
Just as my soul unto me / she is my very life,
And fain would I deserve it / that she in truth become my wife.”

wie Gunthęr Prünhilde gewan
{ 7 }
How Gunther won Brunhild.
387The while they thus did parley / their ship did forward glide
So near unto the castle / that soon the king espied
Aloft within the casements / many a maiden fair to see.
That all to him were strangers / thought King Gunther mournfully.
388He asked then of Siegfried, / who bare him company:
“Know’st thou aught of the maidens, / who the same may be,
Gazing yonder downward / upon us on the tide?
Howe’er is named their master, / minded are they high in pride.”
389Then spake the valiant Siegfried: / “Now thither shalt thou spy
Unseen among the ladies, / then not to me deny
Which, wert thou free in choosing, / thou’dst take to be thy queen.”
“That will I do,” then answered / Gunther the valiant knight and keen.
390“I see there one among them / by yonder casement stand,
Clad in snow-white raiment: / ’tis she my eyes demand,
So buxom she in stature, / so fair she is to see.
An I were free in choosing, / she it is my wife must be.”
391“Full well now in choosing / thine eyes have guided thee:
It is the stately Brunhild / the maiden fair to see,
That doth now unto her / thy heart and soul compel.”
All the maiden’s bearing / pleased the royal Gunther well.
392But soon the queen commanded / from casement all to go
Of those her beauteous maidens: / they should not stand there so
To be gazed at by the strangers. / They must obey her word.
What were the ladies doing, / of that moreover have we heard.
393Unto the noble strangers / their beauty they would show,
A thing which lovely women / are ever wont to do.
Unto the narrow casements / came they crowding on,
When they spied the strangers: / that they might also see, ’twas done.
394But four the strangers numbered, / who came unto that land.
Siegfried the doughty / the king’s steed led in hand:
They saw it from the casements, / many a lovely maid,
And saw the willing service / unto royal Gunther paid.
395Then held he by the bridle / for him his gallant steed,
A good and fair-formed charger, / strong and of noble breed,
Until the royal Gunther / into the saddle sprung.
Thus did serve him Siegfried: / a service all forgot ere long.
396Then his own steed he also / led forth upon the shore.
Such menial service had he / full seldom done before,
That he should hold the stirrup / for monarch whomsoe’er.
Down gazing from the casements / beheld it ladies high and fair.
397At every point according, / the heroes well bedight
— Their dress and eke their chargers / of color snowy white —
Were like unto each other, / and well-wrought shield each one
Of the good knights bore with him, / that brightly glimmered in the sun.
398Jewelled well was saddle / and narrow martingale
As they rode so stately / in front of Brunhild’s Hall,
And thereon bells were hanging / of red gold shining bright.
So came they to that country, / as fitting was for men of might,
399With spears all newly polished, / with swords, well-made that were
And by the stately heroes / hung down unto the spur:
Such bore the valiant riders / of broad and cutting blade.
The noble show did witness / Brunhild the full stately maid.
400With him came then Dankwart / and Hagen, doughty thane.
The story further telleth / how that the heroes twain
Of color black as raven / rich attire wore,
And each a broad and mighty / shield of rich adornment bore.
401Rich stones from India’s country / every eye could see,
Impending on their tunics, / sparkle full brilliantly.
Their vessel by the river / they left without a guard,
As thus the valiant heroes / rode undaunted castleward.
402Six and fourscore towers / without they saw rise tall,
Three spacious palaces / and moulded well a hall
All wrought of precious marble / green as blade of grass,
Wherein the royal Brunhild / with company of fair ladies was.
403The castle doors unbolted / were flung open wide
As out toward them / the men of Brunhild hied
And received the strangers / into their Lady’s land.
Their steeds they bade take over, / and also shield from out the hand.
404Then spake a man-in-waiting: / “Give o’er the sword each thane,
And eke the shining armor.”— / “Good friend, thou ask’st in vain,”
Spake of Tronje Hagen; / “the same we’d rather wear.”
Then gan straightway Siegfried / the country’s custom to declare.
405“’Tis wont within this castle, / — of that be now aware —
That never any stranger / weapons here shall bear.
Now let them hence be carried: / well dost thou as I say.”
In this did full unwilling / Hagen, Gunther’s man, obey.
406They bade the strangers welcome / with drink and fitting rest.
Soon might you see on all sides / full many knights the best
In princely weeds apparelled / to their reception go:
Yet did they mickle gazing / who would the keen new-comers know.
407Then unto Lady Brunhild / the tidings strange were brought
How that unknown warriors / now her land had sought,
In stately apparel / come sailing o’er the sea.
The maiden fair and stately / gave question how the same might be.
408“Now shall ye straight inform me,” / spake she presently,
“Who so unfamiliar / these warrior knights may be,
That within my castle / thus so lordly stand,
And for whose sake the heroes / have hither journeyed to my land.”
409Then spake to her a servant: / “Lady, I well can say
Of them I’ve ne’er seen any / before this present day:
Be it not that one among them / is like unto Siegfried.
Him give a goodly welcome: / so is to thee my loyal rede.
410“The next of the companions / he is a worthy knight:
If that were in his power / he well were king of might
O’er wide domains of princes, / the which might reach his hand.
Now see him by the others / so right majestically stand.
411“The third of the companions, / that he’s a man of spleen,
— Withal of fair-formed body, / know thou, stately Queen,—
Do tell his rapid glances / that dart so free from him.
He is in all his thinking / a man, I ween, of mood full grim.
412“The youngest one among them / he is a worthy knight:
As modest as a maiden, / I see the thane of might
Goodly in his bearing / standing so fair to see,
We all might fear if any / affront to him should offered be.
413“How blithe soe’er his manner, / how fair soe’er is he,
Well could he cause of sorrow / to stately woman be,
If he gan show his anger. / In him may well be seen
He is in knightly virtues / a thane of valor bold and keen.”
414Then spake the queen in answer: / “Bring now my robes to hand.
And is the mighty Siegfried / come unto this land,
For love of me brought thither, / he pays it with his life.
I fear him not so sorely / that I e’er become his wife.”
415So was fair Brunhild / straightway well arrayed.
Then went with her thither / full many a beauteous maid,
A hundred good or over, / bedight right merrily.
The full beauteous maidens / would those stranger warriors see.
416And with them went the warriors / there of Isenland,
The knights attending Brunhild, / who bore sword in hand,
Five hundred men or over. / Scarce heart the strangers kept
As those knights brave and seemly / down from out the saddle leapt.
417When the royal lady / Siegfried espied,
Now mote ye willing listen / what there the maiden said.
“Welcome be thou, Siegfried, / hither unto this land.
What meaneth this thy journey, / gladly might I understand.”
418“Full mickle do I thank thee, / my Lady, high Brunhild,
That thou art pleased to greet me, / noble Princess mild,
Before this knight so noble, / who stands before me here:
For he is my master, / whom first to honor fitting were.
419“Born is he of Rhineland: / what need I say more?
For thee ’tis highest favor / that we do hither fare.
Thee will he gladly marry, / an bring that whatsoe’er.
Betimes shalt thou bethink thee: / my master will thee never spare.
420“For his name is Gunther / and he a mighty king.
If he thy love hath won him, / more wants he not a thing.
In sooth the king so noble / hath bade me hither fare:
And gladly had I left it, / might I to thwart his wishes dare.”
421She spake: “Is he thy master / and thou his vassal art,
Some games to him I offer, / and dare he there take part,
And comes he forth the victor, / so am I then his wife:
And be it I that conquer, / then shall ye forfeit each his life.”
422Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Lady, let us see
Thy games so fraught with peril. / Before should yield to thee
Gunther my master, / that well were something rare.
He trows he yet is able / to win a maid so passing fair.”
423“Then shall ye try stone-putting / and follow up the cast,
And the spear hurl with me. / Do ye naught here in haste.
For well may ye pay forfeit / with honor eke and life:
Bethink ye thus full calmly,” / spake she whom Gunther would for wife.
424Siegfried the valiant / stepped unto the king,
And bade him speak out freely / his thoughts upon this thing
Unto the queen so wayward, / he might have fearless heart.
“For to well protect thee / from her do I know an art.”
425Then spake the royal Gunther: / “Now offer, stately Queen,
What play soe’er thou mayest. / And harder had it been,
Yet would I all have ventured / for all thy beauty’s sake.
My head I’ll willing forfeit / or thyself my wife I’ll make.”
426When therefore the Queen Brunhild / heard how the matter stood
The play she begged to hasten, / as indeed she should.
She bade her servants fetch her / therefor apparel trim,
A mail-coat ruddy golden / and shield well wrought from boss to rim.
427A battle-tunic silken / the maid upon her drew,
That in ne’er a contest / weapon piercéd through,
Of skins from land of Libya, / and structure rare and fine;
And brilliant bands embroidered / might you see upon it shine.
428Meanwhile were the strangers / jibed with many a threat;
Dankwart and Hagen, / their hearts began to beat.
How here the king should prosper / were they of doubtful mood,
Thinking, “This our journey / shall bring us wanderers naught of good.”
429Then did also Siegfried / the thane beyond compare,
Before ’twas marked by any, / unto the ship repair,
Where he found his sightless mantle[2] / that did hidden lie,
And slipped into ‘t full deftly: / so was he veiled from every eye.

[2] See strophe 97, note.

430Thither back he hied him / and found great company
About the queen who ordered / what the high play should be.
There went he all in secret; / so cunningly ’twas done,
Of all around were standing / perceived him never any one.
431The ring it was appointed / wherein the play should be
’Fore many a keen warrior / who the same should see.
More than seven hundred / were seen their weapons bear,
That whoso were the victor / they might sure the same declare.
432Thither was come Brunhild; / all arméd she did stand
Like as she were to combat / for many a royal land;
Upon her silken tunic / were gold bars many a one,
And glowing ’mid the armor / her flesh of winsome color shone.
433Then followed her attendants / and with them thither brought
At once a shield full stately, / of pure red gold ’twas wrought,
With steel-hard bands for facings, / full mickle ’twas and broad,
Wherewith in the contest / would guard herself the lovely maid.
434To hold the shield securely / a well-wrought band there was,
Whereon lay precious jewels / green as blade of grass.
Full many a ray their lustre / shot round against the gold.
He were a man full valiant / whom this high dame should worthy hold.
435The shield was ’neath the boss-point, / as to us is said,
Good three spans in thickness, / which should bear the maid.
Of steel ’twas wrought so richly / and had of gold such share,
That chamberlain and fellows / three the same scarce could bear.
436When the doughty Hagen / the shield saw thither brought,
Spake the knight of Tronje, / and savage was his thought:
“Where art thou now, King Gunther? / Shall we thus lose our life!
Whom here thou seekst for lover, / she is the very Devil’s wife.”
437List more of her apparel; / she had a goodly store.
Of silk of Azagang / a tunic made she wore,
All bedight full richly; / amid its color shone
Forth from the queen it covered, / full many a sparkling precious stone.
438Then brought they for the lady, / large and heavy there,
As she was wont to hurl it, / a sharply-pointed spear;
Strong and massive was it, / huge and broad as well,
And at both its edges / it cut with devastation fell.
439To know the spear was heavy / list ye wonders more:
Three spears of common measure / ’twould make, and something o’er.
Of Brunhild’s attendants / three scarce the same could bear.
The heart of noble Gunther / thereat began to fill with fear.
440Within his soul he thought him: / “What pickle am I in?
Of hell the very Devil, / how might he save his skin?
Might I at home in Burgundy / safe and living be,
Should she for many a season / from proffered love of mine be free.”
441Then spake Hagen’s brother / the valiant Dankwart:
“In truth this royal journey / doth sorely grieve my heart.
We passed for good knights one time: / what caitiff’s death, if we
Here in far-off country / a woman’s game are doomed to be!
442“It rueth me full sorely / that I came to this land.
And had my brother Hagen / his good sword in hand,
And had I mine to help him, / a bit more gently then,
A little tame of spirit, / might show themselves all Brunhild’s men.
443“And know it of a certain / to lord it thus they’d cease;
E’en though oaths a thousand / I’d sworn to keep the peace,
Before that I’d see perish / my dear lord shamefully,
Amid the souls departed / this fair maid herself should be.”
444“Well should we unhampered / quit at last this land,”
Spake his brother Hagen, / “did we in armor stand,
Such as we need for battle, / and bore we broadswords good:
’Twould be a little softened, / this doughty lady’s haughty mood.”
445Well heard the noble maiden / what the warriors spoke.
Back athwart her shoulder / she sent a smiling look:
“Now thinks he him so valiant, / so let them arméd stand;
Their full keen-edged broadswords / give the warriors each in hand.”
446When they their swords received, / as the maiden said,
The full valiant Dankwart / with joy his face grew red.
“Now play they what them pleaseth,” / cried the warrior brave;
“Gunther is yet a freeman, / since now in hand good swords we have.”
447The royal Brunhild’s prowess / with terror was it shown.
Into the ring they bore her / in sooth a ponderous stone,
Great and all unwieldy, / huge it was and round:
And scarce good knights a dozen / together raised it from the ground.
448To put this was her custom / after trial with the spear.
Thereat the men of Burgundy / began to quake with fear.
“Alack! Alack?” quoth Hagen, / “what seeks the king for bride?
Beneath in hell ’twere better / the Devil had her by his side?”
449On her white arms the flowing / sleeves she backward flung,
Then with grasp of power / the shield in hand she swung,
And spear poised high above her. / So did the contest start.
Gunther and Siegfried / saw Brunhild’s ire with falling heart.
450And were it not that Siegfried / a ready help did bring,
Surely then had perished / beneath her hand the king.
There went he unperceived / and the king’s hand did touch.
Gunther at his cunning / artifice was troubled much.
451“What is that hath touched me?” / thought the monarch keen.
Then gazed he all around him: / none was there to be seen.
A voice spake: “Siegfried is it, / a friend that holds thee dear.
Before this royal maiden / shall thy heart be free from fear.
452“Thy shield in hand now give me / and leave it me to bear,
And do thou rightly mark thee / what thou now shalt hear.
Now make thyself the motions, / — the power leave to me.”
When he did know him rightly, / the monarch’s heart was filled with glee.
453“Now secret keep my cunning, / let none e’er know the same:
Then shall the royal maiden / here find but little game
Of glory to win from thee, / as most to her is dear.
Behold now how the lady / stands before thee void of fear.”
454The spear the stately maiden / with might and main did wield,
And huge and broad she hurled it / upon the new-made shield,
That on his arm did carry / the son of Siegelind;
From the steel the sparks flew hissing / as if were blowing fierce the wind.
455The mighty spear sharp-pointed / full through the shield did crash,
That ye from off the mail-rings / might see the lightning flash.
Beneath its force they stumbled, / did both those men of might;
But for the sightless mantle / they both were killed there outright.
456From mouth of the full doughty / Siegfried burst the blood.
Full soon he yet recovered; / then seized the warrior good
The spear that from her strong arm / thus his shield had rent,
And back with force as came it / the hand of doughty Siegfried sent.
457He thought: “To pierce the maiden / were but small glory earned,”
And so the spear’s sharp edges / backward pointing turned;
Against her mail-clad body / he made the shaft to bound,
And with such might he sent it / full loud her armor did resound.
458The sparks as if in stormwind / from mail-rings flew around.
So mightily did hurl it / the son of Siegmund
That she with all her power / could not the shaft withstand.
In sooth it ne’er was speeded / so swiftly by King Gunther’s hand.
459But to her feet full sudden / had sprung Brunhild fair.
“A shot, O noble Gunther, / befitting hero rare.”
She weened himself had done it, / and all unaided he,
Nor wot she one far mightier / was thither come so secretly.
460Then did she go full sudden, / wrathful was her mood,
A stone full high she heaved / the noble maiden good,
And the same far from her / with might and main she swung:
Her armor’s mail-rings jingled / as she herself thereafter sprung.
461The stone, when it had fallen, / lay fathoms twelve from there,
And yet did spring beyond it / herself the maiden fair.
Then where the stone was lying / thither Siegfried went:
Gunther feigned to move it, / but by another arm ’twas sent.
462A valiant man was Siegfried / full powerful and tall.
The stone then cast he farther, / and farther sprang withal.
From those his arts so cunning / had he of strength such store
That as he leaped he likewise / the weight of royal Gunther bore.
463And when the leap was ended / and fallen was the stone,
Then saw they ne’er another / but Gunther alone.
Brunhild the fair maiden, / red grew she in wrath:
Siegfried yet had warded / from royal Gunther surest death.
464Unto her attendants / she spake in loud command,
When she saw ’cross the circle / the king unvanquished stand.
“Come hither quick, my kinsmen, / and ye that wait on me;
Henceforth unto Gunther / shall all be pledged faithfully.”
465Then laid the knights full valiant / their swords from out the hand;
At feet ’fore mighty Gunther / from Burgundian land
Offered himself in service / full many a valiant knight.
They weened that he had conquered / in trial by his proper might.
466He gave her loving greeting, / right courteous was he.
Then by the hand she took him, / the maiden praiseworthy,
In pledge that all around him / was his to have and hold.
Whereat rejoiced Hagen / the warrior valorous and bold.
467Into the spacious palace / with her thence to go
Bade she the noble monarch. / When they had done so,
Then still greater honors / unto the knight were shown.
Dankwart and Hagen, / right willingly they saw it done.
468Siegfried the valiant, / by no means was he slow,
His sightless mantle did he / away in safety stow.
Then went he again thither / where many a lady sat.
He spake unto the monarch — / full cunningly was done all that:
469“Why bidest thus, my master? / Wilt not the play begin,
To which so oft hath challenged / thee the noble queen?
Let us soon have example / what may the trial be.”
As knew he naught about it, / did the knight thus cunningly.
470Then spake the queen unto him: / “How hath this ever been,
That of the play, Sir Siegfried, / nothing thou hast seen,
Wherein hath been the victor / Gunther with mighty hand?”
Thereto gave answer Hagen / a grim knight of Burgundian land.
471Spake he: “There dost thou, Lady, / think ill without a cause:
By the ship down yonder / the noble Siegfried was,
The while the lord of Rhineland / in play did vanquish thee:
Thus knows he nothing of it,” / spake Gunther’s warrior courteously.
472“A joy to me these tidings,” / the doughty Siegfried spoke,
“That so thy haughty spirit / is brought beneath the yoke,
And that yet one there liveth / master to be of thine.
Now shalt thou, noble maiden, / us follow thither to the Rhine.”
473Then spake the maiden shapely: / “It may not yet be so.
All my men and kindred / first the same must know.
In sooth not all so lightly / can I quit my home.
First must I bid my trusty / warriors that they hither come.”
474Then bade she messengers / quickly forth to ride,
And summoned in her kindred / and men from every side.
Without delay she prayed them / to come to Isenstein,
And bade them all be given / fit apparel rare and fine.
475Then might ye see daily / ‘twixt morn and eventide
Unto Brunhild’s castle / many a knight to ride.
“God wot, God wot,” quoth Hagen, / “we do an evil thing,
To tarry here while Brunhild / doth thus her men together bring.
476“If now into this country / their good men they’ve brought
— What thing the queen intendeth / thereof know we naught:
Belike her wrath ariseth, / and we are men forlorn —
Then to be our ruin / were the noble maiden born.”
477Then spake the doughty Siegfried: / “That matter leave to me.
Whereof thou now art fearful, / I’ll never let it be.
Ready help I’ll bring thee / hither unto this land,
Knights of whom thou wotst not / till now I’ll bring, a chosen band.
478“Of me shalt thou ask not: / from hence will I fare.
May God of thy good honor / meanwhile have a care.
I come again right quickly / with a thousand men for thee,
The very best of warriors / hitherto are known to me.”
479“Then tarry not unduly,” / thus the monarch said.
“Glad we are full fairly / of this thy timely aid.”
He spake: “Till I come to thee / full short shall be my stay.
That thou thyself hast sent me / shalt thou unto Brunhild say.”

wie Sîvrit nâch den Nibelungen vuor
{ 8 }
How Siegfried fared to his Knights, the Nibelungen.
480Thence went then Siegfried / out through the castle door
In his sightless mantle / to a boat upon the shore.
As Siegmund’s son doth board it / him no mortal sees;
And quickly off he steers it / as were it wafted by the breeze.
481No one saw the boatman, / yet rapid was the flight
Of the boat forth speeding / driven by Siegfried’s might.
They weened that did speed it / a swiftly blowing wind:
No, ’twas Siegfried sped it, / the son of fairest Siegelind.
482In that one day-time / and the following night
Came he to a country / by dint of mickle might,
Long miles a hundred distant, / and something more than this:
The Nibelungen were its people / where the mighty hoard was his.
483Alone did fare the hero / unto an island vast
Whereon the boat full quickly / the gallant knight made fast.
Of a castle then bethought him / high upon a hill,
And there a lodging sought him, / as wayworn men are wont to still.
484Then came he to the portals / that locked before him stood.
They guarded well their honor / as people ever should.
At the door he gan a-knocking, / for all unknown was he.
But full well ’twas guarded, / and within it he did see
485A giant who the castle / did guard with watchful eye,
And near him did at all times / his good weapons lie.
Quoth he: “Who now that knocketh / at the door in such strange wise?”
Without the valiant Siegfried / did cunningly his voice disguise.
486He spake: “A bold knight-errant / am I; unlock the gate.
Else will I from without here / disturbance rare create
For all who’d fain lie quiet / and their rest would take.”
Wrathful grew the Porter / as in this wise Siegfried spake.
487Now did the giant valorous / his good armor don,
And placed on head his helmet; / then the full doughty man
His shield up-snatched quickly / and gate wide open swung.
How sore was he enraged / as himself upon Siegfried he flung!
488‘How dared he thus awaken / brave knights within the hall?'
The blows in rapid showers / from his hand did fall.
Thereat the noble stranger / began himself to shield.
For so a club of iron / the Porter’s mighty arm did wield,
489That splinters flew from buckler, / and Siegfried stood aghast
From fear that this same hour / was doomed to be his last,
So mightily the Porter’s / blows about him fell.
To find such faithful warder / did please his master Siegfried well.
490So fiercely did they struggle / that castle far within
And hall where slept the Nibelungen / echoed back the din.
But Siegfried pressed the Porter / and soon he had him bound.
In all the land of Nibelungen / the story soon was bruited round.
491When the grim sound of fighting / afar the place had filled,
Alberich did hear it, / a Dwarf full brave and wild.
He donned his armor deftly, / and running thither found
This so noble stranger / where he the doughty Porter bound.
492Alberich was full wrathy, / thereto a man of power.
Coat of mail and helmet / he on his body wore,
And in his hand a heavy / scourge of gold he swung.
Where was fighting Siegfried, / thither in mickle haste he sprung.
493Seven knobs thick and heavy / on the club’s end were seen,
Wherewith the shield that guarded / the knight that was so keen
He battered with such vigor / that pieces from it brake.
Lest he his life should forfeit / the noble stranger gan to quake.
494The shield that all was battered / from his hand he flung;
And into sheath, too, thrust he / his sword so good and long.
For his trusty chamberlain / he did not wish to slay,
And in such case he could not / grant his anger fullest sway.
495With but his hands so mighty / at Alberich he ran.
By the beard then seized he / the gray and aged man,
And in such manner pulled it / that he full loud did roar.
The youthful hero’s conduct / Alberich did trouble sore.
496Loud cried the valiant steward: / “Have mercy now on me.
And might I other’s vassal / than one good hero’s be,
To whom to be good subject / I an oath did take,
Until my death I’d serve thee.” / Thus the man of cunning spake.
497Alberich then bound he / as the giant before.
The mighty arm of Siegfried / did trouble him full sore.
The Dwarf began to question: / “Thy name, what may it be?”
Quoth he: “My name is Siegfried; / I weened I well were known to thee.”
498“I joy to hear such tidings,” / Dwarf Alberich replied.
“Well now have I found thee / in knightly prowess tried,
And with goodly reason / lord o’er lands to be.
I’ll do whate’er thou biddest, / wilt thou only give me free.”
499Then spake his master Siegfried: / “Quickly shalt thou go,
And bring me knights hither, / the best we have to show,
A thousand Nibelungen, / to stand before their lord.”
Wherefore thus he wished it, / spake he never yet a word.
500The giant and Alberich / straightway he unbound.
Then ran Alberich quickly / where the knights he found.
The warriors of Nibelung / he wakened full of fear.
Quoth he: “Be up, ye heroes, / before Siegfried shall ye appear.”
501From their couches sprang they / and ready were full soon,
Clothed well in armor / a thousand warriors boon,
And went where they found standing / Siegfried their lord.
Then was a mickle greeting / courteously in act and word.
502Candles many were lighted, / and sparkling wine he drank.
That they came so quickly, / therefor he all did thank.
Quoth he: “Now shall ye with me / from hence across the flood.”
Thereto he found full ready / the heroes valiant and good.
503Good thirty hundred warriors / soon had hither pressed,
From whom were then a thousand / taken of the best.
For them were brought their helmets / and what they else did need.
For unto Brunhild’s country / would he straightway the warriors lead.
504He spake: “Ye goodly nobles, / that would I have you hear,
In full costly raiment / shall ye at court appear,
For yonder must there see us / full many a fair lady.
Therefore shall your bodies / dight in good apparel be.”
505Upon a morning early / went they on their way.
What host of brave companions / bore Siegfried company!
Good steeds took they with them / and garments rich to wear,
And did in courtly fashion / unto Brunhild’s country fare.
506As gazed from lofty parapet / women fair to see,
Spake the queen unto them: / “Knows any who they be,
Whom I see yonder sailing / upon the sea afar?
Rich sails their ships do carry, / whiter than snow they are.”
507Then spake the king of Rhineland: / “My good men they are,
That on my journey hither / left I lying near.
I’ve sent to call them to me: / now are they come, O Queen.”
With full great amazing / were the stately strangers seen.
508There saw they Siegfried / out on the ship’s prow stand
Clad in costly raiment, / and with him his good band.
Then spake Queen Brunhild: / “Good monarch, let me know,
Shall I go forth to greet them, / or shall I greetings high forego?”
509He spake: “Thou shalt to meet them / before the palace go,
So that we see them gladly / they may surely know.”
Then did the royal lady / fulfil the king’s behest.
Yet Siegfried in the greeting / was not honored with the rest.
510Lodgings were made ready / and their armor ta’en in hand.
Then was such host of strangers / come into that land,
On all sides they jostled / from the great company.
Then would the knights full valiant / homeward fare to Burgundy.
511Then spake Queen Brunhild: / “In favor would I hold
Who might now apportion / my silver and my gold
To my guests and the monarch’s, / for goodly store I have.”
Thereto an answer Dankwart, / Giselher’s good warrior, gave:
512“Full noble royal Lady, / give me the keys to hold.
I trow I’ll so divide it,” / spake the warrior bold,
“If blame there be about it, / that shall be mine alone.”
That he was not a niggard, / beyond a doubt he soon had shown.
513When now Hagen’s brother / the treasure did command,
So many a lavish bounty / dealt out the hero’s hand,
Whoso mark did covet, / to him was given such store
That all who once were poor men / might joyous live for evermore.
514In sooth good pounds a hundred / gave he to each and all.
A host in costly raiment / were seen before the hall,
Who in equal splendor / ne’er before were clad.
When the queen did hear it, / verily her heart was sad.
515Then spake the royal lady: / “Good King, it little needs,
That now thy chamberlain / of all my stately weeds
Leave no whit remaining, / and squander clean my gold.
Would any yet prevent it, / him would I aye in favor hold.
516“He deals with hand so lavish, / in sooth doth ween the thane
That death I’ve hither summoned; / but longer I’ll remain.
Eke trow I well to spend all / my sire hath left to me.”
Ne’er found queen a chamberlain / of such passing generosity.
517Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Lady, be thou told,
That the king of Rhineland / raiment hath and gold
So plenteous to lavish / that we may well forego
To carry with us homeward / aught that Brunhild can bestow.”
518“No; as high ye hold me,” / spake the queen again,
“Let me now have filled / coffers twice times ten
Of gold and silken raiment, / that may deal out my hand,
When that we come over / into royal Gunther’s land.”
519Then with precious jewels / the coffers they filled for her.
The while her own chamberlain / must be standing near:
For no whit would she trust it / unto Gunther’s man.
Whereat Gunther and Hagen / heartily to laugh began.
520Then spake the royal lady: / “To whom leave I my lands?
First must they now be given / in charge from out our hands.”
Then spake the noble monarch: / “Whomsoe’er it pleaseth thee,
Bid him now come hither, / the same we’ll let our Warden be.”
521One of her highest kindred / near by the lady spied,
— He was her mother’s brother — / to him thus spake the maid:
“Now be to thee entrusted / the castles and eke the land,
Until that here shall govern / Gunther the king by his own hand.”
Trusty knights two thousand / from her company
Chose she to journey with her / unto Burgundy,
Beyond those thousand warriors / from Nibelungenland.
They made ready for the journey, / and downward rode unto the strand.
522Six and eighty ladies / led they thence with her,
Thereto good hundred maidens / that full beauteous were.
They tarried no whit longer, / for they to part were fain.
Of those they left behind them, / O how they all to weep began!
523In high befitting fashion / quitted she her land:
She kissed of nearest kindred / all who round did stand.
After fair leave-taking / they went upon the sea.
Back to her father’s country / came never more that fair lady.
524Then heard you on the journey / many a kind of play:
Every pleasant pastime / in plenty had they.
Soon had they for their journey / a wind from proper art:
So with full great rejoicing / did they from that land depart.
525Yet would she on the journey / not be the monarch’s spouse:
But was their pleasant pastime / reserved for his own house
At Worms within his castle / at a high festival,
Whither anon full joyous / came they with their warriors all.

wie Sîvrit gesant wart
{ 9 }
How Siegfried was sent to Worms.
526When that they had journeyed / full nine days on their way,
Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Now hear what I shall say.
We tarry with the tidings / for Worms upon the Rhine.
At Burgundy already / should now be messengers of thine.”
527Then outspake King Gunther: / “There hast thou spoken true.
And this selfsame journey, / none were so fit thereto
As thyself, friend Hagen. / So do thou now ride on.
This our high court journey, / none else can better make it known.”
528Thereto answered Hagen: / “Poor messenger am I.
Let me be treasure-warden. / Upon the ships I’ll stay
Near by the women rather, / their guardian to be,
Till that we bring them safely / into the land of Burgundy.
529“Now do thou pray Siegfried / that he the message bear,
For he’s a knight most fitting / this thing to have in care.
If he decline the journey, / then shalt thou courteously,
For kindness to thy sister, / pray that he not unwilling be.”
530He sent for the good warrior / who came at his command.
He spake: “Since we are nearing / home in my own land,
So should I send a message / to sister dear of mine
And eke unto my mother, / that we are nigh unto the Rhine.
531“Thereto I pray thee, Siegfried, / now meet my wish aright,”
Spake the noble monarch: / “I’ll ever thee requite.”
But Siegfried still refused it, / the full valiant man,
Till that King Gunther / sorely to beseech began.
532He spake: “Now bear the message, / in favor unto me
And eke unto Kriemhild / a maiden fair to see,
That the stately maiden / help me thy service pay.”
When had heard it Siegfried, / ready was the knight straightway.
533“Now what thou wilt, command me: / ’twill not be long delayed.
This thing will I do gladly / for sake of that fair maid.
Why should I aught refuse her, / who all my heart hath won?
What thou for her commandest, / whate’er it be ’twill all be done.”
534“Then say unto my mother, / Ute the queen,
That we on our journey / in joyous mood have been.
Let know likewise my brothers / what fortune us befell.
Eke unto all our kinsmen / shalt thou then merry tidings tell.
535“Unto my fair sister / shalt thou all confide.
From me bring her fair compliment / and from Brunhild beside,
And eke unto our household / and all my warriors brave.
What my heart e’er did strive for, / how well accomplished it I have!
536“And say as well to Ortwein / nephew dear of mine
That he do bid make ready / at Worms beside the Rhine.
And all my other kindred, / to them made known shall be,
With Brunhild I am minded / to keep a great festivity.
537“And say unto my sister, / when that she hath learned
That I am to my country / with many a guest returned,
She shall have care to welcome / my bride in fitting way.
So all my thoughts of Kriemhild / will be her service to repay.”
538Then did Sir Siegfried / straightway in parting greet
High the Lady Brunhild, / as ’twas very meet,
And all her company; / then toward the Rhine rode he.
Nor in this world a better / messenger might ever be.
539With four and twenty warriors / to Worms did he ride.
When soon it was reported / the king came not beside,
Then did all the household / of direst news have dread:
They feared their royal master / were left in distant country dead.
540Then sprang they from the saddle, / full high they were of mood.
Full soon before them Giselher / the prince so youthful stood,
And Gernot his brother. / How quickly then spake he,
When he the royal Gunther / saw not in Siegfried’s company:
541“Be thou welcome, Siegfried. / Yet shalt thou tell to me,
Why the king my brother / cometh not with thee.
Brunhild’s prowess is it / hath taken him, I ween;
And so this lofty wooing / hath naught but our misfortune been.”
542“Now cease such ill foreboding. / To you and friends hath sent
My royal companion / his good compliment.
Safe and sound I left him; / myself did he command
That I should be his herald / with tidings hither to your land.
543“Quickly shall ye see to it, / how that it may be,
That I the queen and likewise / your fair sister see.
From Gunther and Brunhild / the message will I tell
That hath now been sent them: / the twain do find them passing well.”
544Then spake the youthful Giselher: / “So shalt thou go to her:
Here dost thou on my sister / a favor high confer.
In sooth she’s mickle anxious / how’t with my brother be.
The maid doth see thee gladly, / — of that will I be surety.”
545Then outspake Sir Siegfried: / “If serve her aught I can,
That same thing most willing / in truth it shall be done.
Who now will tell the ladies / I would with them confer?”
Then was therein Giselher / the stately knight his messenger.
546Giselher the valiant / unto his mother kind
And sister spake the tidings / when he the twain did find:
“To us returned is Siegfried, / the hero of Netherlands
Unto the Rhine he cometh / at my brother Gunther’s command.
547“He bringeth us the tidings / how’t with the king doth fare.
Now shall ye give permission / that he ’fore you appear.
He’ll tell the proper tidings / from Isenland o’er the main.”
Yet mickle sad forebodings / did trouble still the ladies twain.
548They sprang for their attire / and donned it nothing slow.
Then bade they that Siegfried / to court should thither go.
That did he right willing / for he gladly them did see.
Kriemhild the noble maiden / spake to him thus graciously.
549“Welcome be, Sir Siegfried, / thou knight right praiseworthy.
Yet where may King Gunther / my noble brother be?
It is through Brunhild’s prowess, / I ween, he is forlorn.
Alack of me, poor maiden, / that I into this world was born?”
550The valiant knight then answered: / “Give me news-bringer’s meed
Know ye, fairest ladies, / ye weep without a need.
I left him well and happy, / that would I have you know;
They two have sent me hither / to bear the tidings unto you.
551“And offer thee good service / both his bride and he,
My full noble lady, / in love and loyalty.
Now give over weeping, / for straight will they be here.”
They had for many a season / heard not a tale to them so dear.
552With fold of snow-white garment / then her eyes so bright
Dried she after weeping. / She gan thank the knight
Who of these glad tidings / had been the messenger.
Then was a mickle sorrow / and cause of weeping ta’en from her.
553She bade the knight be seated, / which he did willingly.
Then spake the lovely maiden: / “It were a joy to me,
Could I the message-bringer / with gold of mine repay.
Thereto art thou too high-born; / I’ll serve thee then in other way.”
554“If I alone were ruler,” / spake he, "o’er thirty lands,
Yet gifts I’d take right gladly, / came they from thy fair hands.”
Then spake the virtuous maiden: / “In truth it shall be so.”
Then bade she her chamberlain / forth for message-money go.
555Four and twenty armlets / with stones of precious kind,
These gave she him for guerdon. / ’Twas not the hero’s mind,
That he himself should keep them: / he dealt them all around
Unto her fair attendants / whom he within the chamber found.
556Of service, too, her mother / did kindly offer make.
“Then have I more to tell you,” / the keen warrior spake:
“Of what the king doth beg you, / when comes he to the Rhine.
Wilt thou perform it, lady, / then will he e’er to thee incline.
557“The noble guests he bringeth, / — this heard I him request,
That ye shall well receive them; / and furthermore his hest,
That ye ride forth to meet him / ’fore Worms upon the strand.
So have ye from the monarch / faithfully his high command.”
558Then spake the lovely maiden: / “Full ready there am I.
If I in aught can serve him, / I’ll never that deny.
In all good faith and kindness / shall it e’er be done.”
Then deeper grew her color / that from increase of joy she won.
559Never was royal message / better received before.
The lady sheer had kissed him, / if ’twere a thing to dare.
From those high ladies took he / his leave in courteous wise.
Then did they there in Burgundy / in way as Siegfried did advise.
560Sindold and Hunold / and Rumold the thane
In truth were nothing idle, / but wrought with might and main
To raise the sitting-places / ’fore Worms upon the strand.
There did the royal Steward / busy ’mid the workers stand.
561Ortwein and Gere / thought longer not to bide,
But sent unto their kinsmen / forth on every side.
They told of festive meeting / there that was to be;
And deck themselves to meet them / did the maidens fair to see.
562The walls throughout the palace / were dight full richly all,
Looking unto the strangers; / and King Gunther’s hall
Full well with seats and tables / for many a noble guest.
And great was the rejoicing / in prospect of the mighty feast.
563Then rode from every quarter / hither through the land
The three monarchs’ kinsmen, / who there were called to hand,
That they might be in waiting / for those expected there.
Then from enfolding covers / took they store of raiments rare.
564Some watchers brought the tidings / that Brunhild’s followers were
Seen coming riding hither. / Then rose a mickle stir
Among the folk so many / in the land of Burgundy.
Heigh-ho! What valiant warriors / alike on both parts might you see!
565Then spake the fair Kriemhild: / “Of my good maidens, ye
Who at this reception / shall bear me company,
From out the chests now seek ye / attire the very best.
So shall praise and honor / be ours from many a noble guest.”
566Then came the knights also / and bade bring forth to view
The saddles richly furnished / of ruddy golden hue,
That ladies fair should ride on / at Worms unto the Rhine.
Better horse-equipment / could never artisan design.
567Heigh-ho! What gold all glancing / from the steeds there shone!
Sparkled from their bridles / full many a precious stone.
Gold-wrought stools for mounting / and shining carpets good
Brought they for the ladies: / joyous were they all of mood.
568Within the court the heroes / bedight with trappings due
Awaited noble maidens, / as I have told to you.
A narrow band from saddle / went round each horse’s breast,
Its beauty none could tell you: / of silk it was the very best.
569Six and eighty ladies / came in manner meet
Wearing each a wimple. / Kriemhild there to greet
They went, all fair to look on, / in shining garments clad.
Then came eke well apparelled / full many a fair and stately maid.
570Four and fifty were they / of the land of Burgundy,
And they were eke the noblest / that ever one might see.
Adorned with shining hair-bands / the fair-haired maids came on.
What now the king desired, / that most carefully was done.
571Made of stuffs all costly, / the best you might desire,
Before the gallant strangers / wore they such rich attire
As well did fit the beauty / of many amid the throng.
He sure had lost his senses, / who could have wished them any wrong.
572Of sable and of ermine / many a dress was worn.
Arms and hands a many / did they full well adorn
With rings o’er silken dresses / that there did clothe them well.
Of all the ready-making / none might ever fully tell.
573Full many a well-wrought girdle / in long and costly braid
About the shining garments / by many a hand was laid
On dress of precious ferrandine / of silk from Araby.
And full of high rejoicing / were those maids of high degree.
574With clasps before her bosom / was many a fair maid
Laced full beauteously. / She might well be sad,
Whose full beaming color / vied not with weeds she wore.
Such a stately company / ne’er possessed a queen before.
575When now the lovely maidens / attired you might see,
Soon were those beside them / should bear them company,
Of warriors high-hearted / a full mickle band.
And with their shields they carried / full many an ashen shaft in hand.

wie Prünhilt ze Wormze enpfangen wart
{ 10 }
How Brunhild was received at Worms.
576On yonder side Rhine river / they saw a stately band,
The king and host of strangers, / ride down unto the strand,
And also many a lady / sitting on charger led.
By those who should receive them / was goodly preparation made.
577Soon they of Isenland / the ship had entered then,
And with them Siegfried’s vassals / the Nibelungen men;
They strained unto the shore / with untiring hand
When they beheld the monarch’s / friends upon the farther strand.
578Now list ye eke the story / of the stately queen,
Ute, how at her bidding / ladies fair were seen
Forth coming from the castle / to ride her company.
Then came to know each other / full many a knight and fair lady.
579The Margrave Gere / but to the castle gate
The bridle held for Kriemhild; / the keen Siegfried did wait
Thenceforward upon her. / She was a beauteous maid.
Well was the knight’s good service / by the lady since repaid.
580Ortwein the valiant / Queen Ute rode beside,
And many a knight full gallant / was stately lady’s guide.
At such a high reception, / that may we say, I ween,
Was ne’er such host of ladies / in company together seen.
581With show of rider’s talent / the tilt was carried on,
For might the knights full gallant / naught fitting leave undone,
As passed down to the river / Kriemhild the lady bright.
Then helped was many a lady / fair from charger to alight.
582The king had then come over / and many a stranger too.
Heigh-ho! What strong shafts splintered / before the ladies flew!
Many a shaft go crashing / heard you there on shield.
Heigh-ho! What din of costly / arms resounded o’er the field.
583The full lovely maidens / upon the shore did stand,
As Gunther with the strangers / stepped upon the land;
He himself did Brunhild / by the hand lead on.
Then sparkled towards each other / rich dress and many a shining stone.
584Then went Lady Kriemhild / with fullest courtesy due,
To greet the Lady Brunhild / and her retinue.
And saw ye each the head-band / with fair hand move aside
When they kissed each other: / high courtesy did the ladies guide.
585Then spake the maiden Kriemhild, / a high-born lady she:
“Unto this our country / shalt thou right welcome be,
To me and to my mother / and each true friend of mine,
That we here have with us.” / Then each did unto each incline.
586Within their arms the ladies / oft-times clasped each other.
Like this fond reception / heard ye of ne’er another,
As when both the ladies / there the bride did greet,
Queen Ute and her daughter; / oft-times they kissed her lips so sweet.
587When all of Brunhild’s ladies / were come upon the strand,
Then was there taken / full fondly by the hand
By the warriors stately / many a fair lady.
Before the Lady Brunhild / the train of fair maids might ye see.
588Before their greetings ended / a mickle time was gone,
For lips of rosy color / were kissed there, many a one.
Long stood they together, / the royal ladies high,
And so to look upon them / pleased many a noble warrior’s eye.
589Then spied with probing eye, too, / who before did hear
That till then was never / aught beheld so fair,
As those two royal ladies: / they found it was no lie.
In all their person might ye / no manner of deceit espy.
590Who there could spy fair ladies / and judge of beauty rare,
They praised the wife of Gunther / that she was passing fair;
Yet spake again the wise men / who looked with keener gaze,
They rather would to Kriemhild / before Brunhild award the praise.
591Then went unto each other / maid and fair lady.
Full many a fair one might ye / in rich adornment see.
There stood rich tents a many, / silken great and small,
Wherewith in every quarter / ’fore Worms the field was covered all.
592Of the king’s high kindred / a mighty press there was.
Then bade they Brunhild / and Kriemhild on to pass,
And with them all the ladies, / where they in shade might be.
Thither did bring them warriors / of the land of Burgundy.
593When now the strangers also / on horse sat every one,
Plenteous knightly tilting / at shield was there begun.
Above the field rose dust-clouds, / as had the country been
All in flames a-burning; / who bore the honors there was seen.
594Looked on full many a maiden / as the knights did sport them so.
Meseemeth that Sir Siegfried / full many a to-and-fro
Did ride with his good followers / along ’fore many a tent.
With him of Nibelungen / a thousand stately men there went.
595Then came of Tronje Hagen, / whom the king did send;
He bade in pleasing manner / the tourney have an end,
Before in dust be buried / all the ladies fair.
And ready to obey him / soon the courteous strangers were.
596Then spake Sir Gernot: / “Now let the chargers stand,
Until the air is cooler, / for we must be at hand
As escort for fair ladies / unto the stately hall;
And will the king take saddle, / so let him find you ready all.”
597When now the sound of tourney / o’er all the field was spent,
Then went for pleasant pastime / ’neath many a lofty tent
The knights unto the ladies, / and willing thither hied.
And there they passed the hours / till such time as they thence should ride.
598Just before the evening / when the sun was in the west,
And the air grew cooler, / no longer did they rest,
But both knights and ladies / unto the castle passed.
And eyes in loving glances / on many a beauteous maid were cast.
599By hand of goodly warrior / many a coat was rent,
For in the country’s custom / they tourneyed as they went,
Until before the palace / the monarch did dismount.
They tended fairest ladies / as knights high-spirited are wont.
600After fairest greeting / the queens did part again.
Dame Ute and her daughter, / thither passed the twain
With train of fair attendants / unto a hall full wide.
Din of merrymaking / heard ye there on every side.
601Arranged were sitting-places / where the king would be
With his guests at table. / By him might ye see
Standing the fair Brunhild. / She wore a royal crown
In the monarch’s country, / the which might well such mistress own.
602Seats for all the people / at many a spacious board
There were, as saith the story, / where victuals rich were stored.
How little there was lacking / of all that makes a feast!
And by the monarch saw ye / sitting many a stately guest.
603The royal host’s attendants / in basins golden red
Carried water forward. / And should it e’er be said
By any that a better / service did receive
Ever guests of monarch, / I never could such thing believe.
604Before the lord of Rhineland / with water was waited on,
Unto him Sir Siegfried, / as fitting was, had gone;
He called to mind a promise / that made by him had been
Ere that the Lady Brunhild / afar in Isenland he’d seen.
605He spake: “Thou shalt bethink thee / what once did plight thy hand,
If that the Lady Brunhild / should come unto this land,
Thou’dst give to me thy sister. / Where now what thou hast sworn?
In this thy wooing journey / not small the labor I have borne.”
606Then to his guest the monarch: / “Well hast thou minded me,
And by this hand shall never / false word plighted be.
To gain thy wish I’d help thee / in the way as best I know.”
Bidden then was Kriemhild / forth unto the king to go.
607With her full beauteous maidens / unto the Hall she passed.
Then sprang the youthful Giselher / adown the steps in haste
“Bid now these many maidens / wend their way again;
None but my sister only / unto the king shall enter in.”
608Then led they Kriemhild thither / where the king was found,
With him were knights full noble / from many a land around.
Within that Hall so spacious / she waited the king’s behest,
What time the Lady Brunhild / betook her likewise to the feast.
609Then spake the royal Gunther: / “Sister mine full fair,
Redeem the word I’ve given, / an hold’st thou virtue dear.
Thee to a knight I plighted: / An tak’st thou him to man,
Thereby my wish full truly / unto the warrior hast thou done.”
610Then spake the noble maiden: / “Brother full dear to me,
Not long shalt thou entreat me. / In truth I’ll ever be
Obedient to thy bidding; / that shall now be done,
And him I’ll take full gladly, / my Lord, whom thou giv’st me for man.”
611Before those fair eyes’ glances / grew Siegfried’s color red.
The knight to Lady Kriemhild / his service offeréd.
Within a ring together / then were led the twain,
And they asked the maiden, / if she to take the knight were fain.
612Upon her face not little / was the modest glow;
Nathless to joy of Siegfried / did fortune will it so,
That the maiden would not / refuse the knight her hand.
Eke swore his wife to make her / the noble king of Netherland.
613When he to her had plighted, / and eke to him the maid,
Siegfried to embrace her / nothing more delayed,
But clasped in arms full fondly / and oft the lady fair,
And stately knights were witness / how that he kissed the princess there.
614When that the maids attendant / from thence had ta’en their leave,
In place of honor seated / Siegfried might ye perceive
And by him fairest Kriemhild; / and many a knight at hand
Was seen of the Nibelungen / at Siegfried’s service ready stand.
615There too was Gunther seated / and with him Queen Brunhild.
At sight of Kriemhild sitting / by Siegfried was she filled
With anger such as never / before her heart did swell:
She wept, and tears in plenty / adown her shining face there fell.
616Then spake who ruled the country: / “What aileth, lady mine,
That so thou let’st be dimméd / thine eyes that brightly shine?
Be straight of joyous spirit, / for now at thy command
My land and my good castles / and host of stately warriors stand.”
617“Good cause to me for weeping,” / spake the lady fair.
“For sake of this thy sister / sorrow now I bear,
Whom here behold I seated / by one that serveth thee.
That must forever grieve me, / shall she thus dishonored be.”
618Then answered her King Gunther: / “But for the nonce be still.
At other time more fitting / the thing to thee I’ll tell,
Wherefore thus my sister / to Siegfried I did give.
And truly with the hero / may she ever joyous live.”
619She spake: “Her name and beauty / thus lost it grieveth me.
An knew I only whither, / from hence I’d surely flee,
This night nor e’er hereafter / to share thy royal bed,
Say’st thou not truly wherefore / Kriemhild thus hath Siegfried wed.”
620Then spake the noble monarch: / “Then unto thee be known
That he has stately castles; / lands wide as I, doth own.
And know thou that full surely / a mighty monarch he;
Wherefore the fairest maiden / I grant him thus his wife to be.”
621Whate’er the king did tell her, / sad was she yet of mood.
Then hastened from the tables / full many a warrior good,
And jousted that the castle / walls gave back the din.
Amid his guests the monarch / waiting longingly was seen.
622He deemed ’twere better lying / beside his fair lady.
Of thinking on that plaisance / his mind he could not free,
And what her love would bring him / before the night be past;
He many a glance full tender / upon the Lady Brunhild cast.
623The guests they bade give over / in joust who combated,
For that with spouse new-wedded / the monarch would to bed.
Leaving then the banquet, / there together met
Kriemhild and Brunhild: / their bitter hate was silent yet.
624At hand were their attendants; / they longer tarried not,
And chamberlains full lordly / lights for them had brought.
Then parted eke the followers / of the monarchs twain,
And bearing Siegfried company / went full many a worthy thane.
625The lords were both come thither / where that they should lie.
As each one bethought him / of loving victory
To win o’er winsome lady, / merry he grew of mood.
The noble Siegfried’s pastime / it was beyond all measure good.
626As there Sir Siegfried / by fair Kriemhild lay
And to the maid devoted / himself in such fond way
As noble knight beseemeth, / they twain to him were one,
And not a thousand others / had he then ta’en for her alone.
627I’ll tell you now no further / how he the lady plied,
But list ye first the story / what Gunther did betide
By Lady Brunhild lying. / In sooth the noble thane
By side of other ladies / a deal more happily had lain.
628Withdrawn were now attendants, / man and also maid;
Not long to lock the chamber / within the king delayed.
He weened to have good pleasure / of that fair lady,
Yet was the time still distant / when that she his wife should be.
629In gown of whitest linen / unto the bed she passed.
Then thought the knight full noble: / “Now have I here at last
All that I e’er desired / as long as I can tell.”
Perforce her stately beauty / did please the monarch passing well.
630That they should shine more dimly / he placed the lights aside,
Then where did lie the lady / the thane full eager hied.
He placed himself a-nigh her, / his joy right great it was,
As in his arms the monarch / the winsome maid did there embrace.
631A loving plaisance had he / with vigor there begun
If that the noble lady / had let the same be done.
She then did rage so sorely / that grieved was he thereat;
He weened to find who loved him, / — instead he found him naught but hate.
632Spake she: “Good knight and noble, / from this thing give o’er.
That which thou here hast hope of, / it may be nevermore.
A maid I still will keep me / — well mayest thou know that —
Until I learn that story.” / Gunther wrathy grew thereat.
633Her gown he wrought to ruin / to win her maidenhead.
Whereat did seize a girdle / the full stately maid,
A strong and silken girdle / that round her sides she wore,
And with the same the monarch / she soon had brought to pains full sore.
634His feet and his hands also, / together bound she all,
Unto a nail she bore him / and hung him on the wall.
Him who disturbed her sleeping / in his love she sorely let,
And from her mighty prowess, / he full nigh his death had met.
635Then gan he to entreat her, / who master late had been.
“From these my bonds now loose me, / my full noble queen.
Nor trow I e’er, fair lady, / victor o’er thee to be,
And henceforth will I seldom / seek to lie thus nigh to thee.”
636She recked not how ’twere with him, / as she full softly lay.
There hung he, will he nill he, / the night through unto day,
Until the light of morning / through the windows shone.
Could he e’er boast of prowess, / small now the measure he did own.
637“Now tell me, lordly Gunther, / wert thou thereat so sad,
If that in bonds should find thee” / — spake the fairest maid —
“Thy royal men-in-waiting, / bound by lady’s hand?”
Then spake the knight full noble: / “Thou should’st in case most evil stand.
638“Eke had I little honor / therefrom,” continued he.
“For all thy royal honor / let me then go to thee.
Since that my fond embracements / do anger thee so sore,
With these my hands I pledge thee / to touch thy garment nevermore.”
639Then she loosed him straightway / and he once more stood free.
To the bed he went as erstwhile / where rested his lady.
But far from her he laid him / and well he now forebore
To stir the lady’s anger / by touching e’en the gown she wore.
640At length came their attendants / who garments fresh did bring,
Whereof was ready for them / good store on that morning.
Yet merry as his folk were, / a visage sad did own
The lord of that proud country, / for all he wore that day a crown.
641As was the country’s custom, / a thing folk do of right,
Gunther and Brunhild / presently were dight
To go unto the minster / where the mass was sung.
Thither eke came Siegfried, / and in their trains a mighty throng.
642As fitted royal honor / for them was thither brought
The crown that each should carry / and garments richly wrought.
There were they consecrated; / and when the same was done,
Saw ye the four together / happy stand and wearing crown.
643There was knighted many a squire, / — six hundred or beyond —
In honor of the crowning, / that shall ye understand.
Arose full great rejoicing / in the land of Burgundy
As hand of youthful warrior / did shatter shaft right valiantly.
644Then sat in castle casement / maidens fair to see,
And many a shield beneath them / gleamed full brilliantly.
Yet himself had sundered / from all his men the king;
Though joyous every other, / sad-visaged stood he sorrowing.
645He and the doughty Siegfried, / how all unlike their mood!
Well wist the thing did grieve him / that noble knight and good.
He went unto the monarch / and straight addressed him so:
“This night how hast thou fared? / In friendship give thou me to know.”
646To his guest the king gave answer: / “Than shame and scathe I’ve naught.
The devil’s dam I surely / into my house have brought.
When as I thought to have her / she bound me like a thrall;
Unto a nail she bore me / and hung me high upon the wall.
647“There hung I sore in anguish / the night through until day
Ere that she would unbind me, / the while she softly lay!
And hast thou friendly pity / know then the grief I bear.”
Then spake the doughty Siegfried: / “Such grieves me verily to hear.
648“The which I’ll show thee truly, / wilt thou me not deny.
I’ll bring it that to-night she / so near to thee shall lie
That she to meet thy wishes / shall tarry nevermore.”
Thereat rejoice did Gunther / to think perchance his trials o’er.
649Then further spake Sir Siegfried: / “With thee ’twill yet be right.
I ween that all unequal / we twain have fared this night.
To me thy sister Kriemhild / dearer is than life;
Eke shall the Lady Brunhild / be yet this coming night thy wife.”
650“I’ll come unto thy chamber / this night all secretly,”
Spake he, "and wrapped in mantle / invisible I’ll be,
That of this my cunning / naught shall any know;
And thy attendants shalt thou / bid to their apartments go.
651“The lights I’ll all extinguish / held by each page in hand,
By the which same token / shalt thou understand
I present am to serve thee. / I’ll tame thy shrewish wife
That thou this night enjoy her, / else forfeit be my caitiff life.”
652“An thou wilt truly leave me” / — answered him the king —
“My lady yet a maiden, / I joy o’er this same thing.
So do thou as thou willest; / and takest thou her life,
E’en that I’ll let pass o’er me, / — to lose so terrible a wife.”
653“Thereto,” spake then Siegfried, / “plight I word of mine,
To leave her yet a maiden. / A sister fair of thine
Is to me before all women / I ever yet have seen.”
Gunther believed right gladly / what had by Siegfried plighted been.
654Meanwhile the merry pastime / with joy and zest went on.
But all the din and bustle / bade they soon be done,
When band of fairest ladies / would pass unto the hall
’Fore whom did royal chamberlains / bid backward stand the people all.
655The chargers soon and riders / from castle court were sped.
Each of the noble ladies / by bishop high was led,
When that before the monarchs / they passed to banquet board,
And in their train did follow / to table many a stately lord.
656There sat the king all hopeful / and full of merriment;
What him did promise Siegfried, / thereon his mind was bent.
To him as long as thirty / did seem that single day;
To plaisance with his lady, / thither turned his thought alway.
657And scarce the time he bided / while that the feast did last.
Now unto her chamber / the stately Brunhild passed,
And for her couch did Kriemhild / likewise the table leave.
Before those royal ladies / what host ye saw of warriors brave!
658Full soon thereafter Siegfried / sat right lovingly
With his fair wife beside him, / and naught but joy had he.
His hand she clasped full fondly / within her hand so white,
Until —and how she knew not — / he did vanish from her sight.
659When she the knight did fondle, / and straightway saw him not,
Unto her maids attendant / spake the queen distraught:
“Meseemeth a mickle wonder / where now the king hath gone.
His hands in such weird fashion / who now from out mine own hath drawn?”
660Yet further not she questioned. / Soon had he hither gone
Where with lights were standing / attendants many a one.
The same he did extinguish / in every page’s hand;
That Siegfried then was present / Gunther thereby did understand.
661Well wist he what he would there; / so bade he thence be gone
Ladies and maids-in-waiting. / And when that was done,
Himself the mighty monarch / fast did lock the door:
Two bolts all wrought securely / he quickly shoved the same before.
662The lights behind the curtains / hid he presently.
Soon a play was started / (for thus it had to be),
Betwixt the doughty Siegfried / and the stately maid:
Thereat was royal Gunther / joyous alike and sad.
663Siegfried there laid him / by the maid full near.
Spake she: “Let be, now, Gunther, / an hast thou cause to fear
Those troubles now repeated / which befell thee yesternight.”
And soon the valiant Siegfried / through the lady fell in sorry plight.
664His voice did he keep under / and ne’er a word spake he.
Intently listened Gunther, / and though he naught could see,
Yet knew he that in secret / nothing ‘twixt them passed.
In sooth nor knight nor lady / upon the bed had mickle rest.
665He did there as if Gunther / the mighty king he were,
And in his arms he pressed her, / the maiden debonair.
Forth from the bed she hurled him / where a bench there stood,
And head of valiant warrior / against a stool went ringing loud.
666Up sprang again undaunted / the full doughty man,
To try for fortune better. / When he anew began
Perforce to curb her fury, / fell he in trouble sore.
I ween that ne’er a lady / did so defend herself before.
667When he would not give over, / up the maid arose:
“My gown so white thou never / thus shalt discompose.
And this thy villain’s manner / shall sore by thee be paid,
The same I’ll teach thee truly,” / further spake the buxom maid.
668Within her arms she clasped him, / the full stately thane,
And thought likewise to bind him, / as the king yestreen,
That she the night in quiet / upon her couch might lie.
That her dress he thus did rumple, / avenged the lady grievously.
669What booted now his prowess / and eke his mickle might?
Her sovereignty of body / she proved upon the knight;
By force of arm she bore him, / — ’twixt wall and mighty chest
(For so it e’en must happen) / him she all ungently pressed.
670“Ah me!” — so thought the hero — / “shall I now my life
Lose at hand of woman, / then will every wife
Evermore hereafter / a shrewish temper show
Against her lord’s good wishes, / who now such thing ne’er thinks to do.”
671All heard the monarch meanwhile / and trembled for the man.
Sore ashamed was Siegfried, / and a-raging he began.
With might and main he struggled / again to make him free,
Ere which to sorest trouble / ’neath Lady Brunhild’s hand fell he.
672Long space to him it seeméd / ere Siegfried tamed her mood.
She grasped his hand so tightly / that ’neath the nails the blood
Oozéd from the pressure, / which made the hero wince.
Yet the stately maiden / subdued he to obedience since.
673Her unrestrainéd temper / that she so late displayed,
All overheard the monarch, / though ne’er a word he said.
‘Gainst the bed did press her Siegfried / that aloud she cried,
Ungentle was the treatment / that he meted to the bride.
674Then grasped she for a girdle / that round her sides she wore,
And thought therewith to bind him; / but her limbs and body o’er
Strained beneath the vigor / that his strong arm displayed.
So was the struggle ended / — Gunther’s wife was vanquishéd.
675She spake: “O noble monarch, / take not my life away.
The harm that I have done thee / full well will I repay.
No more thy royal embraces / by me shall be withstood,
For now I well have seen it, / thou canst be lord o’er woman’s mood.”
676From the couch rose Siegfried, / lying he left the maid,
As if that he would from him / lay his clothes aside.
He drew from off her finger / a ring of golden sheen
Without that e’er perceivéd / his practice the full noble queen.
677Thereto he took her girdle / that was all richly wrought:
If from wanton spirit / he did it, know I not.
The same he gave to Kriemhild: / the which did sorrow bear.
Then lay by one another / Gunther and the maiden fair.
678Hearty were his embraces / as such king became:
Perforce must she relinquish / her anger and her shame.
In sooth not little pallid / within his arms she grew,
And in that love-surrender / how waned her mighty prowess too!
679Then was e’en she not stronger / than e’er another bride;
He lay with fond embraces / the beauteous dame beside.
And had she struggled further, / avail how could it aught?
Gunther, when thus he clasped her, / such change upon her strength had wrought.
680And with right inward pleasure / she too beside him lay
In warmest love embracings / until the dawn of day!
Meantime now had Siegfried / departure ta’en from there,
And was full well receivéd / by a lady debonair.
681Her questioning he avoided / and all whereon she thought,
And long time kept he secret / what he for her had brought,
Until in his own country / she wore a royal crown;
Yet what for her he destined, / how sure at last it was her own.
682Upon the morn was Gunther / by far of better mood
Than he had been before it; / joy thus did spread abroad
’Mid host of knights full noble / that from his lands around
To his court had been invited, / and there most willing service found.
683The merry time there lasted / until two weeks were spent,
Nor all the while did flag there / the din of merriment
And every kind of joyance / that knight could e’er devise;
With lavish hand expended / the king thereto in fitting wise.
684The noble monarch’s kinsmen / upon his high command
By gifts of gold and raiment / told forth his generous hand,
By steed and thereto silver / on minstrel oft bestowed.
Who there did gift desire / departed thence in merry mood.
685All the store of raiment / afar from Netherland,
The which had Siegfried’s thousand / warriors brought to hand
Unto the Rhine there with them, / complete ’twas dealt away,
And eke the steeds well saddled: / in sooth a lordly life led they.
686Ere all the gifts so bounteous / were dealt the guests among,
They who would straightway homeward / did deem the waiting long.
Ne’er had guests of monarch / such goodly gifts before;
And so as Gunther willed it / the merry feast at last was o’er.

wie Sîvrit heim ze lande mit sînem wîbe kom
{ 11 }
How Siegfried came home with his Wife.
687When that now the strangers / all from thence were gone,
Spake unto his followers / noble Siegmund’s son:
“We shall eke make ready / home to my land to fare.”
Unto his spouse was welcome / such news when she the same did hear.
688She spake unto her husband: / “When shall we hence depart?
Not hastily on the journey / I pray thee yet to start.
With me first my brothers / their wide lands shall share.”
Siegfried yet it pleased not / such words from Kriemhild to hear.
689The princes went unto him / and spake they there all three:
“Now know thou well, Sir Siegfried, / for thee shall ever be
In faithfulness our service / ready while yet we live.”
The royal thanes then thanked he / who thus did proof of friendship give.
690“With thee further share we,” / spake young Giselher,
“The lands and eke the castles / by us that ownéd are.
In wide lands whatsoever / we rule o’er warriors brave,
Of the same with Kriemhild / a goodly portion shalt thou have.
691Then spake unto the princes / the son of Siegmund
When he their lofty purpose / did rightly understand:
“God grant your goodly heritage / at peace may ever be,
And eke therein your people. / The spouse in sooth so dear to me.”
692“May well forego the portion / that ye to her would give.
For she a crown shall carry, / if to such day I live,
And queen more rich than any / that lives she then must be.
What else to her ye offer, / therein I’ll meet you faithfully.”
693Then spake the Lady Kriemhild: / “If wealth thou wilt not choose,
Yet gallant thanes of Burgundy / shalt thou not light refuse.
They’re such as monarch gladly / would lead to his own land.
Of these shall make division / with me my loving brothers’ hand.”
694Thereto spake noble Gernot: / “Now take to please thy mind.
Who gladly will go with thee / full many here thou’lt find.
Of thirty hundred warriors / we give thee thousand men
To be thy royal escort.” / Kriemhild did summon then
695Hagen of Tronje to her / and Ortwein instantly:
And would they and their kinsmen / make her good company?
To hear the same did Hagen / begin to rage full sore.
Quoth he: “E’en royal Gunther / may thus bestow us nevermore.
696“Other men that serve thee, / let them follow thee;
Thou know’st the men of Tronje / and what their pledges be:
Here must we by the monarchs / in service true abide;
Hereto as them we followed, / so shall we henceforth keep their side.”
697And so the thing was ended: / to part they ready make.
A high and noble escort / did Kriemhild to her take,
Maidens two and thirty / and five hundred men also.
In Lady Kriemhild’s company / the Margrave Eckewart did go.
698Leave took they all together, / squire and also knight,
Maidens and fair ladies, / as was their wont aright.
There parted they with kisses / and eke with clasp of hand:
Right merrily they journeyed / forth from royal Gunther’s land.
699Their friends did give them escort / upon the way full far.
Night-quarters at every station / they bade for them prepare,
Where they might wish to tarry / as on their way they went.
Then straightway was a messenger / unto royal Siegmund sent,
700To him and Siegelind bearing / thereof the joyful sign
That his son was coming / from Worms upon the Rhine
And with him Ute’s daughter, / Kriemhild the fair lady.
As this could other message / nevermore so welcome be.
701“Well is me?” quoth Siegmund, / “that I the day have known,
When the fair Lady Kriemhild / here shall wear a crown.
Thus higher shall my kingdom / stand in majesty.
My son the noble Siegfried / here himself the king shall be.”
702Then dealt the Lady Siegelind / velvet red in store,
Silver and gold full heavy / to them the news that bore:
She joyed to hear the story / that there her ear did greet.
Then decked themselves her ladies / all in rich attire meet.
703’Twas told, with Siegfried coming / whom they did expect.
Then bade they sitting-places / straightway to erect,
Where he before his kinsmen / a crown in state should wear.
Then men of royal Siegmund / forward rode to meet him there.
704Was e’er more royal greeting, / news have I not to hand,
As came the knights full noble / into Siegmund’s land.
There the royal Siegelind / to Kriemhild forth did ride
With ladies fair a many, / and followed gallant knights beside
705Out a full day’s journey / to welcome each high guest.
And little with the strangers / did they ever rest
Until into a castle / wide they came once more,
The same was called Xanten, / where anon a crown they wore.
706With smiling lips Dame Siegelind / — and Siegmund eke did this —
To show the love they bore her / full oft did Kriemhild kiss,
And eke the royal Siegfried: / far was their sorrow gone.
And all the merry company, / good welcome had they every one.
707The train of strangers bade they / ’fore Siegmund’s Hall to lead,
And maidens fair a many / down from gallant steed
Helped they there dismounting. / Full many a man was there
To do them willing service / as was meet for ladies fair.
708How great soe’er the splendor / erstwhile beside the Rhine,
Here none the less was given / raiment yet more fine,
Nor were they e’er attired / in all their days so well.
Full many a wonder might I / of their rich apparel tell.
709How there in state resplendent / they sat and had full store,
And how each high attendant / gold-broidered raiment wore,
With stones full rare and precious / set with skill therein!
The while with care did serve them / Siegelind the noble queen.
710Then spake the royal Siegmund / before his people so:
“To every friend of Siegfried / give I now to know
That he before these warriors / my royal crown shall wear.”
And did rejoice that message / the thanes of Netherland to hear.
711His crown to him he tendered / and rule o’er wide domain
Whereof he all was master. / Where’er did reach his reign
Or men were subject to him / bestowed his hand such care
That evil-doers trembled / before the spouse of Kriemhild fair.
712In such high honor truly / he lived, as ye shall hear,
And judged as lofty monarch / unto the tenth year,
What time his fairest lady / to him a son did bear.
Thereat the monarch’s kinsmen / filled with mickle joyance were.
713They soon the same did christen / and gave to him a name,
Gunther, as hight his uncle, / nor cause was that for shame:
Grew he but like his kinsmen / then happy might he be.
As well he did deserve it, / him fostered they right carefully.
714In the selfsame season / did Lady Siegelind die,
When was full power wielded / by Ute’s daughter high,
As meet so lofty lady / should homage wide receive.
That death her thus had taken / did many a worthy kinsman grieve.
715Now by the Rhine yonder, / as we likewise hear,
Unto mighty Gunther / eke a son did bear
Brunhild his fair lady / in the land of Burgundy.
In honor to the hero / Siegfried naméd eke was he.
716The child they also fostered / with what tender care!
Gunther the noble monarch / anon did masters rare
Find who should instruct him / a worthy man to grow.
Alas! by sad misfortune / to friends was dealt how fell a blow!
717At all times the story / far abroad was told,
How that in right worthy / way the warriors bold
Lived there in Siegmund’s country / as noble knights should do.
Likewise did royal Gunther / eke amid his kinsmen true.
718Land of the Nibelungen / Siegfried as well did own,
— Amid his lofty kindred / a mightier ne’er was known —
And Schilbung’s knights did serve him, / with all that theirs had been.
That great was thus his power / did fill with joy the knight full keen.
719Hoard of all the greatest / that hero ever won,
Save who erstwhile did wield it, / now the knight did own,
The which before a mountain / he seized against despite,
And for whose sake he further / slew full many a gallant knight.
720Naught more his heart could wish for; / yet had his might been less,
Rightly must all people / of the high knight confess,
One was he of the worthiest / that e’er bestrode a steed.
Feared was his mickle prowess, / and, sooth to say, thereof was need.

wie Gunthęr Sîvriden zuo der hôchgezît bat
{ 12 }
How Gunther bade Siegfried to the Feast.
721Now all time bethought her / royal Gunther’s wife:
“How now doth Lady Kriemhild / lead so haughty life?
In sooth her husband Siegfried / doth homage to us owe,
But now full long unto us / little service he doth show.”
722That in her heart in secret / eke she pondered o’er.
That they were strangers to her / did grieve her heart full sore,
And so seldom sign of service / came from Siegfried’s land.
How it thus was fallen, / that she fain would understand.
723She probed then the monarch, / if the thing might be,
That she the Lady Kriemhild / once again might see.
She spake it all in secret / whereon her heart did dwell;
The thing she then did speak of / pleased the monarch passing well.
724“How might we bring them hither” / — spake the mighty king —
“Unto this my country? / ’Twere ne’er to do, such thing.
They dwell too distant from us, / the quest I fear to make.”
Thereto gave answer Brunhild, / and in full crafty wise she spake:
725“How high soe’er and mighty / king’s man were ever one,
Whate’er should bid his master, / may he not leave undone.”
Thereat did smile King Gunther, / as such words spake she:
Ne’er bade he aught of service, / oft as Siegfried he did see.
726She spake: “Full loving master, / as thou hold’st me dear,
Help me now that Siegfried / and thy sister fair
Come to this our country, / that them we here may see;
In sooth no thing could ever / unto me more welcome be.
727“Thy sister’s lofty bearing / and all her courtesy,
Whene’er I think upon it, / full well it pleaseth me,
How we did sit together / when erst I was thy spouse!
Well in sooth with honor / might she the valiant Siegfried choose.”
728She pleaded with the monarch / so long till answered he:
“Know now that guests none other / so welcome were to me.
To gain thy wish ’tis easy: / straight messengers of mine
To both shall message carry, / that hither come they to the Rhine.”
729Thereto the queen gave answer: / “Now further shalt thou say,
When thou them wilt summon, / or when shall be the day
That our dear friends come hither / unto our country.
Who’ll bear thy message thither, / shalt thou eke make known to me.”
730“That will I,” spake the monarch. / “Thirty of my men
Shall thither ride unto them.” / The same he summoned then,
And bade them with the message / to Siegfried’s land to fare.
They joyed as gave them Brunhild / stately raiment rich to wear.
731Then further spake the monarch: / “Ye knights from me shall bring
This message, nor withhold ye / of it anything,
Unto the doughty Siegfried / and eke my sister fair:
In the world could never any / to them a better purpose bear.
732“And pray them both that hither / they come unto the Rhine.
With me will e’er my lady / such grace to pay combine,
Ere turn of sun in summer / he and his men shall know
That liveth here full many / to them would willing honor show.
733“Unto royal Siegmund / bear greeting fair from me,
That I and my friends ever / to him well-minded be.
And tell ye eke my sister / she shall no wise omit
Hither to friends to journey: / ne’er feast could better her befit.”
734Brunhild and Ute / and ladies all at hand,
They sent a fairest greeting / unto Siegfried’s land
To winsome ladies many / and many a warrior brave.
With godspeed from the monarch / and friends the messengers took leave.
735They fared with full equipment: / their steeds did ready stand
And rich were they attired: / so rode they from that land
They hastened on the journey / whither they would fare;
Escort safe the monarch / had bidden eke for them prepare.
736Their journey had they ended / e’er three weeks were spent.
At the Nibelungen castle, / whither they were sent,
In the mark of Norway / found they the knight they sought,
And weary were the horses / the messengers so far had brought.
737Then was told to Siegfried / and to Kriemhild fair
How knights were there arrivéd / who did raiment wear
Like as in land of Burgundy / of wont the warriors dressed.
Thereat did hasten Kriemhild / from couch where she did lying rest.
738Then bade eke to a window / one of her maids to go.
She saw the valiant Gere / stand in the court below,
And with him his companions, / who did thither fare.
To hear such joyous tidings, / how soon her heart forgot its care.
739She spake unto the monarch: / “Look now thitherward
Where with the doughty Gere / stand in the castle yard
Whom to us brother Gunther / adown the Rhine doth send?”
Thereto spake doughty Siegfried: / “With greeting fair we’ll them attend.”
740Then hastened their retainers / all the guests to meet,
And each of them in special / manner then did greet
The messengers full kindly / and warmest welcome bade.
Siegmund did likewise / o’er their coming wax full glad.
741In fitting way was harbored / Gere and his men,
And steeds in charge were taken. / The messengers went then
Where beside Sir Siegfried / the Lady Kriemhild sat.
To court the guests were bidden, / where them did greeting fair await.
742The host with his fair lady, / straightway up stood he,
And greeted fairly Gere / of the land of Burgundy
And with him his companions / King Gunther’s men also.
Gere, knight full mighty, / bade they to a settle go.
743“Allow that first the message / we give ere sit we down;
The while we’ll stand, though weary / upon our journey grown.
Tidings bring we to you / what greetings high have sent
Gunther and Brunhild / who live in royal fair content.
744“Eke what from Lady Ute / thy mother now we’ve brought.
The youthful Giselher / and also Sir Gernot
And best among thy kinsmen / have sent us here to thee:
A fairest greeting send they / from the land of Burgundy.”
745“God give them meed,” spake Siegfried; / “Good will and faith withal
I trow full well they harbor, / as with friends we shall;
Likewise doth eke their sister. / Now further shall ye tell
If that our friends belovéd / at home in high estate do dwell.
746“Since that we from them parted / hath any dared to do
Scathe to my lady’s kinsmen? / That shall ye let me know.
I’ll help them ever truly / all their need to bear
Till that their enemies / have good cause my help to fear.”
747Then spake the Margrave / Gere, a knight full good:
“In all that maketh knighthood / right proud they stand of mood.
Unto the Rhine they bid you / to high festivity:
They’d see you there full gladly, / thereof may ye not doubtful be.
748“And bid they eke my Lady / Kriemhild that she too,
When ended is the winter, / thither come with you.
Ere turn of sun in summer / trust they you to see.”
Then spake the doughty Siegfried: / “That same thing might hardly be.”
749Thereto did answer Gere / of the land of Burgundy:
“Your high mother Ute / hath message sent by me,
Likewise Gernot and Giselher, / that they plead not in vain.
That you they see so seldom / daily hear I them complain.
750“Brunhild my mistress / and all her company
Of fair maids rejoice them; / if the thing might be
That they again should see you, / of merry mood they were.”
Then joy to hear the tidings / filled the Lady Kriemhild fair.
751Gere to her was kinsman. / The host did bid him rest,
Nor long were they in pouring / wine for every guest.
Thither came eke Siegmund / where the strangers he did see,
And in right friendly manner / spake to the men of Burgundy:
752“Welcome be, ye warriors, / ye Gunther’s men, each one.
Since that fair Kriemhild / Siegfried my son
For spouse did take unto him, / we should you ofter see
Here in this our country, / an ye good friends to us would be.”
753They spake, whene’er he wished it, / full glad to come were they.
All their mickle weariness / with joy was ta’en away.
The messengers were seated / and food to them they bore,
Whereof did Siegfried offer / unto his guests a goodly store.
754Until nine days were over / must they there abide,
When did at last the valiant / knights begin to chide
That they did not ride thither / again unto their land.
Then did the royal Siegfried / summon his good knights to hand.
755He asked what they did counsel: / should they unto the Rhine?
“Me unto him hath bidden / Gunther, friend of mine,
He and his good kinsmen, / to high festivity.
Thither went I full gladly, / but that his land so far doth lie.
756“Kriemhild bid they likewise / that she with me shall fare.
Good friends, now give ye counsel / how we therefor prepare.
And were it armies thirty / to lead in distant land,
Yet must serve them gladly / evermore Siegfried’s hand.”
757Then answer gave his warriors. / “An’t pleaseth thee to go
Thither to the festival, / we’ll counsel what thou do.
Thou shalt with thousand warriors / unto Rhine river ride.
So may’st thou well with honor / in the land of Burgundy abide.”
758Then spake of Netherland / Siegmund the king:
“Will ye to the festival, / why hide from me the thing!
I’ll journey with you thither, / if it not displeasing be,
And lead good thanes a hundred / wherewith to swell your company.”
759“And wilt thou with us journey, / father full dear to me,”
Spake the valiant Siegfried, / “full glad thereat I’ll be.
Before twelve days are over / from these my lands I fare.”
To all who’d join the journey / steeds gave they and apparel rare.
760When now the lofty monarch / was minded thus to ride
Bade he the noble messengers / longer not to bide,
And to his lady’s kinsmen / to the Rhine a message sent,
How that he would full gladly / join to make them merriment.
761Siegfried and Kriemhild, / this same tale we hear,
To the messengers gave so richly / that the burden could not bear
Their horses with them homeward, / such wealth in sooth he had.
The horses heavy-laden / drove they thence with hearts full glad.
762Siegfried and Siegmund / their people richly clad.
Eckewart the Margrave, / straightway he bade
For ladies choose rich clothing, / the best that might be found,
Or e’er could be procuréd / in all Siegfried’s lands around.
763The shields and the saddles / gan they eke prepare,
To knights and fair ladies / who with them should fare
Lacked nothing that they wished for, / but of all they were possessed.
Then to his friends led Siegfried / many a high and stately guest.
764The messengers swift hasted / homeward on their way,
And soon again came Gere / to the land of Burgundy.
Full well was he receivéd, / and there dismounted all
His train from off their horses / before the royal Giselher’s Hall.
765Old knights and youthful squires / crowded, as is their way,
To ask of them the tidings. / Thus did the brave knight say:
“When to the king I tell them / then shall ye likewise hear.”
He went with his companions / and soon ’fore Gunther did appear.
766Full of joy the monarch / did from the settle spring;
And did thank them also / for their hastening
Brunhild the fair lady. / Spake Gunther eagerly:
“How now liveth Siegfried, / whose arm hath oft befriended me?”
767Then spake the valiant Gere: / “Joy o’er the visage went
Of him and eke thy sister. / To friends was never sent
A more faithful greeting / by good knight ever one,
Than now the mighty Siegfried / and his royal sire have done.”
768Then spake unto the Margrave / the noble monarch’s wife:
“Now tell me, cometh Kriemhild? / And marketh yet her life
Aught of the noble bearing / did her erstwhile adorn?”
“She cometh to thee surely,” / Gere answer did return.
769Ute straightway the messengers / to her did command.
Then might ye by her asking / full well understand
To her was joyous tidings / how Kriemhild did betide.
He told her how he found her, / and that she soon would hither ride.
770Eke of all the presents / did they naught withhold,
That had given them Siegfried: / apparel rich and gold
Displayed they to the people / of the monarchs three.
To him were they full grateful / who thus had dealt so bounteously.
771“Well may he,” quoth Hagen, / “of his treasure give,
Nor could he deal it fully, / should he forever live:
Hoard of the Nibelungen / beneath his hand doth lie.
Heigh-ho, if came it ever / into the land of Burgundy?”
772All the king’s retainers / glad they were thereat,
That the guests were coming. / Early then and late
Full little were they idle, / the men of monarchs three.
Seats builded they full many / toward the high festivity.
773The valiant knight Hunold / and Sindold doughty thane
Little had of leisure. / Meantime must the twain,
Stands erect full many, / as their high office bade.
Therein did help them Ortwein, / and Gunther’s thanks therefor they had.
774Rumold the High Steward / busily he wrought
Among them that did serve him. / Full many a mighty pot,
And spacious pans and kettles, / how many might ye see!
For those to them were coming / prepared they victuals plenteously.

wie si ze der hôchgezît vuoren
{ 13 }
How they fared to the Feast.
775Leave we now the ardor / wherewith they did prepare,
And tell how Lady Kriemhild / and eke her maidens fair
From land of Nibelungen / did journey to the Rhine.
Ne’er did horses carry / such store of raiment rich and fine.
776Carrying-chests full many / for the way they made ready.
Then rode the thane Siegfried / with his friends in company
And eke the queen thither / where joy they looked to find.
Where now was high rejoicing / they soon in sorest grief repined.
777At home behind them left they / Lady Kriemhild’s son
That she did bear to Siegfried / — ’twas meet that that be done.
From this their festive journey / rose mickle sorrow sore:
His father and his mother / their child beheld they never more.
778Then eke with them thither / Siegmund the king did ride.
Had he e’er had knowledge / what should there betide
Anon from that high journey, / such had he never seen:
Ne’er wrought upon dear kindred / might so grievous wrong have been.
779Messengers sent they forward / that the tidings told should be.
Then forth did ride to meet them / with gladsome company
Ute’s friends full many / and many a Gunther’s man.
With zeal to make him ready / unto his guests the king began.
780Where he found Brunhild sitting, / thither straight went he.
“How receivéd thee my sister, / as thou cam’st to this country?
Like preparations shalt thou / for Siegfried’s wife now make.”
“Fain do I that; good reason / have I to love her well,” she spake.
781Then quoth the mighty monarch: / “The morn shall see them here.
Wilt thou go forth to meet them, / apace do thou prepare,
That not within the castle / their coming we await.
Guests more welcome never / greeted I of high estate.”
782Her maidens and her ladies / straight did she command
To choose them rich apparel, / the best within the land,
In which the stately company / before the guests should go.
The same they did right gladly, / that may ye full surely know.
783Then eke to offer service / the men of Gunther hied,
And all his doughty warriors / saw ye by the monarch’s side.
Then rode the queen full stately / the strangers forth to meet,
And hearty was the welcome / as she her loving guests did greet.
784With what glad rejoicings / the guests they did receive!
They deemed that Lady Kriemhild / did unto Brunhild give
Ne’er so warm a welcome / to the land of Burgundy.
Bold knights that yet were strangers / rejoiced each other there to see.
785Now come was also Siegfried / with his valiant men.
The warriors saw ye riding / thither and back again,
Where’er the plain extended, / with huge company.
From the dust and crowding / could none in all the rout be free.
786When the monarch of the country / Siegfried did see
And with him also Siegmund, / spake he full lovingly:
“Be ye to me full welcome / and to all these friends of mine.
Our hearts right glad they shall be / o’er this your journey to the Rhine.”
787“God give thee meed,” spake Siegmund, / a knight in honor grown.
“Since that my son Siegfried / thee for a friend hath known,
My heart hath e’er advised me / that thee I soon should see.”
Thereto spake royal Gunther: / “Joy hast thou brought full great to me.”
788Siegfried was there receivéd, / as fitted his high state,
With full lofty honors, / nor one did bear him hate.
There joined in way right courteous / Gernot and Giselher:
I ween so warm a welcome / did they make for strangers ne’er.
789The spouse of each high monarch / greeted the other there.
Emptied was many a saddle, / and many a lady fair
By hero’s hand was lifted / adown upon the sward.
By waiting on fair lady / how many a knight sought high reward!
790So went unto each other / the ladies richly dight;
Thereat in high rejoicing / was seen full many a knight,
That by both the greeting / in such fair way was done.
By fair maidens standing / saw ye warriors many a one.
791Each took the hand of other / in all their company;
In courteous manner bending / full many might ye see
And loving kisses given / by ladies debonair.
Rejoiced the men of Gunther / and Siegfried to behold them there.
792They bided there no longer / but rode into the town.
The host bade to the strangers / in fitting way be shown,
That they were seen full gladly / in the land of Burgundy.
High knights full many tilting / before fair ladies might ye see.
793Then did of Tronje Hagen / and eke Ortwein
In high feats of valor / all other knights outshine.
Whate’er the twain commanded / dared none to leave undone;
By them was many a service / to their high guests in honor shown.
794Shields heard ye many clashing / before the castle gate
With din of lances breaking. / Long in saddle sate
The host and guests there with him, / ere that within they went.
With full merry pastime / joyfully the hours they spent.
795Unto the Hall so spacious / rode the merry company.
Many a silken cover / wrought full cunningly
Saw ye beyond the saddles / of the ladies debonair
On all sides down hanging. / King Gunther’s men did meet them there.
796Led by the same the strangers / to their apartments passed.
Meanwhile oft her glances / Brunhild was seen to cast
Upon the Lady Kriemhild, / for she was passing fair.
In lustre vied her color / with the gold that she did wear.
797Within the town a clamor / at Worms on every hand
Arose amid their followers. / King Gunther gave command
To Dankwart his Marshal / to tend them all with care.
Then bade he fitting quarters / for the retinue prepare.
798Without and in the castle / the board for all was set:
In sooth were never strangers / better tended yet.
Whatever any wished for / did they straightway provide:
So mighty was the monarch / that naught to any was denied.
799To them was kind attention / and all good friendship shown.
The host then at the table / with his guests sat him down.
Siegfried they bade be seated / where he did sit before.
Then went with him to table / full many a stately warrior more.
800Gallant knights twelve hundred / in the circle there, I ween,
With him sat at table. / Brunhild the lofty queen
Did deem that never vassal / could more mighty be.
So well she yet was minded, / she saw it not unwillingly.
801There upon an evening, / as the king with guests did dine,
Full many a rich attire / was wet with ruddy wine,
As passed among the tables / the butlers to and fro.
And great was their endeavor / full honor to the guests to show.
802As long hath been the custom / at high festivity
Fit lodging there was given / to maid and high lady.
From whence soe’er they came there / they had the host’s good care;
Unto each guest was meted / of fitting honors fullest share.
803When now the night was ended / and came forth the dawn,
From chests they carried with them, / full many a precious stone
Sparkled on costly raiment / by hand of lady sought.
Stately robes full many / forth to deck them then they brought.
804Ere dawn was full appeared, / before the Hall again
Came knights and squires many, / whereat arose the din
E’en before the matins / that for the king were sung.
Well pleaséd was the monarch / at joust to see the warriors young.
805Full lustily and loudly / many a horn did blare,
Of flutes and eke of trumpets / such din did rend the air
That loud came back the echo / from Worms the city wide.
The warriors high-hearted / to saddle sprung on every side.
806Arose there in that country / high a jousting keen
Of many a doughty warrior / whereof were many seen,
Whom there their hearts more youthful / did make of merry mood;
Of these ’neath shield there saw ye / many a stately knight and good.
807There sat within the casements / many a high lady
And maidens many with them, / the which were fair to see.
Down looked they where did tourney / many a valiant man.
The host with his good kinsmen / himself a-riding soon began.
808Thus they found them pastime, / and fled the time full well;
Then heard they from the minster / the sound of many a bell.
Forth upon their horses / the ladies thence did ride;
Many a knight full valiant / the lofty queens accompanied.
809They then before the minster / alighted on the grass.
Unto her guests Queen Brunhild / yet well-minded was.
Into the spacious minster / they passed, and each wore crown.
Their friendship yet was broken / by direst jealousy anon.
810When the mass was ended / went they thence again
In full stately manner. / Thereafter were they seen
Joyous at board together. / The pleasure full did last,
Until days eleven / amid the merry-making passed.

wie die küneginne ein ander schulten
{ 14 }
How the Queens Berated Each Other.
811Before the time of vespers / arose a mickle stir
On part of warriors many / upon the courtyard there.
In knightly fashion made they / the time go pleasantly;
Thither knights and ladies / went their merry play to see.
812There did sit together / the queens, a stately pair,
And of two knights bethought them, / that noble warriors were.
Then spake the fair Kriemhild: / “Such spouse in sooth have I,
That all these mighty kingdoms / might well beneath his sceptre lie.”
813Then spake the Lady Brunhild: / “How might such thing be?
If that there lived none other / but himself and thee,
So might perchance his power / rule these kingdoms o’er;
The while that liveth Gunther, / may such thing be nevermore.”
814Then again spake Kriemhild: / “Behold how he doth stand
In right stately fashion / before the knightly band,
Like as the bright moon beameth / before the stars of heaven.
In sooth to think upon it / a joyous mood to me is given.”
815Then spake the Lady Brunhild: / “How stately thy spouse be,
Howe’er so fair and worthy, / yet must thou grant to me
Gunther, thy noble brother, / doth far beyond him go:
In sooth before all monarchs / he standeth, shalt thou truly know.”
816Then again spake Kriemhild: / “So worthy is my spouse,
That I not have praised him / here without a cause.
In ways to tell full many / high honor doth he bear:
Believe well may’st thou, Brunhild, / he is the royal Gunther’s peer.”
817“Now guard thee, Lady Kriemhild, / my word amiss to take,
For not without good reason here / such thing I spake.
Both heard I say together, / when them I first did see,
When that erstwhile the monarch / did work his royal will o’er me,
818And when in knightly fashion / my love for him he won,
Then himself said Siegfried / he were the monarch’s man.
For liegeman thus I hold him, / since he the same did say.”
Then spake fair Lady Kriemhild: / “With me ’twere dealt in sorry way.
819“And these my noble brothers, / how could they such thing see,
That I of their own liegeman / e’er the wife should be?
Thus will I beg thee, Brunhild, / as friend to friend doth owe,
That thou, as well befits thee, / shalt further here such words forego.”
820“No whit will I give over,” / spake the monarch’s spouse.
“Wherefore should I so many / a knight full valiant lose,
Who to us in service / is bounden with thy man?”
Kriemhild the fair lady / thereat sore to rage began.
821“In sooth must thou forego it / that he should e’er to thee
Aught of service offer. / More worthy e’en is he
Than is my brother Gunther, / who is a royal lord.
So shalt thou please to spare me / what I now from thee have heard.
822“And to me is ever wonder, / since he thy liegeman is,
And thou dost wield such power / over us twain as this,
That he so long his tribute / to thee hath failed to pay.
’Twere well thy haughty humor / thou should’st no longer here display.”
823“Too lofty now thou soarest,” / the queen did make reply.
“Now will I see full gladly / if in such honor high
This folk doth hold thy person / as mine own it doth.”
Of mood full sorely wrathful / were the royal ladies both.
824Then spake the Lady Kriemhild: / “That straightway shall be seen.
Since that thou my husband / dost thy liegeman ween,
To-day shall all the followers / of both the monarchs know,
If I ’fore wife of monarch / dare unto the minster go.
825“That I free-born and noble / shalt thou this day behold,
And that my royal husband, / as now to thee I’ve told,
’Fore thine doth stand in honor, / by me shall well be shown.
Ere night shalt thou behold it, / how wife of him thou call’st thine own
826To court shall lead good warriors / in the land of Burgundy.
And ne’er a queen so lofty / as I myself shall be
Was seen by e’er a mortal, / or yet a crown did wear.”
Then mickle was the anger / that rose betwixt the ladies there.
827Then again spake Brunhild: / “Wilt thou not service own,
So must thou with thy women / hold thyself alone
Apart from all my following, / as we to minster go.”
Thereto gave answer Kriemhild: / “In truth the same I fain will do.”
828“Now dress ye fair, my maidens,” / Kriemhild gave command.
“Nor shall shame befall me / here within this land.
An have ye fair apparel, / let now be seen by you.
What she here hath boasted / may Brunhild have full cause to rue.”
829But little need to urge them: / soon were they richly clad
In garments wrought full deftly, / lady and many a maid.
Then went with her attendants / the spouse of the monarch high;
And eke appeared fair Kriemhild, / her body decked full gorgeously,
830With three and forty maidens, / whom to the Rhine led she,
All clad in shining garments / wrought in Araby.
So came unto the minster / the maidens fair and tall.
Before the hall did tarry / for them the men of Siegfried all.
831The people there did wonder / how the thing might be,
That no more together / the queens they thus did see,
And that beside each other / they went not as before.
Thereby came thanes a many / anon to harm and trouble sore.
832Here before the minster / the wife of Gunther stood.
And good knights full many / were there of merry mood
With the fair ladies / that their eyes did see.
Then came the Lady Kriemhild / with a full stately company.
833Whate’er of costly raiment / decked lofty maids before,
’Twas like a windy nothing / ’gainst what her ladies wore.
The wives of thirty monarchs / — such riches were her own —
Might ne’er display together / what there by Lady Kriemhild shown.
834Should any wish to do so / he could not say, I ween,
That so rich apparel / e’er before was seen
As there by her maidens / debonair was worn:
But that it grievéd Brunhild / had Kriemhild that to do forborne.
835There they met together / before the minster high.
Soon the royal matron, / through mickle jealousy,
Kriemhild to pass no further, / did bid in rage full sore:
“She that doth owe her homage / shall ne’er go monarch’s wife before.”
836Then spake the Lady Kriemhild / — angry was her mood:
“An could’st thou but be silent / that for thee were good.
Thyself hast brought dishonor / upon thy fair body:
How might, forsooth, a harlot / ever wife of monarch be?”
837“Whom mak’st thou now a harlot?” / the king’s wife answered her.
“That do I thee,” spake Kriemhild, / “for that thy body fair
First was clasped by Siegfried, / knight full dear to me.
In sooth ’twas ne’er my brother / won first thy maidenhead from thee.
838“How did thy senses leave thee? / Cunning rare was this.
How let his love deceive thee, / since he thy liegeman is?
And all in vain,” quoth Kriemhild, / “the plaint I hear thee bring.”
“In sooth,” then answered Brunhild, / “I’ll tell it to my spouse the king.”
839“What reck I of such evil? / Thy pride hath thee betrayed,
That thou deem’st my homage / should e’er to thee be paid.
Know thou in truth full certain / the thing may never be:
Nor shall I e’er be ready / to look for faithful friend in thee.”
840Thereat did weep Queen Brunhild: / Kriemhild waited no more,
But passed into the minster / the monarch’s wife before,
With train of fair attendants. / Arose there mickle hate,
Whereby eyes brightly shining / anon did grow all dim and wet.
841However God they worshipped / or there the mass was sung,
Did deem the Lady Brunhild / the waiting all too long,
For that her heart was saddened / and angry eke her mood.
Therefore anon must suffer / many a hero keen and good.
842Brunhild with her ladies / ’fore the minster did appear.
Thought she: “Now must Kriemhild / further give me to hear
Of what so loud upbraideth / me this free-tongued wife.
And if he thus hath boasted, / amend shall Siegfried make with life.”
843Now came the noble Kriemhild / followed by warrior band.
Then spake the Lady Brunhild: / “Still thou here shalt stand.
Thou giv’st me out for harlot: / let now the same be seen.
Know thou, what thus thou sayest / to me hath mickle sorrow been.”
844Then spake the Lady Kriemhild: / “So may’st thou let me go.
With the ring upon my finger / I the same can show:
That brought to me my lover / when first by me he lay.”
Ne’er did Lady Brunhild / know grief as on this evil day.
845Quoth she: “This ring full precious / some hand from me did steal,
And from me thus a season / in evil way conceal:
Full sure will I discover / who this same thief hath been.”
Then were the royal ladies / both in mood full angry seen.
846Then gave answer Kriemhild: / “I deem the thief not I.
Well hadst thou been silent, / hold’st thou thine honor high.
I’ll show it with this girdle / that I around me wear,
That in this thing I err not: / Siegfried hath lain by thee full near.”
847Wrought of silk of Nineveh / a girdle there she wore,
That of stones full precious / showed a goodly store.
When saw it Lady Brunhild / straight to weep gan she:
Soon must Gunther know it / and all the men of Burgundy.
848Then spake the royal matron: / “Bid hither come to me
Of Rhine the lofty monarch. / Hear straightway shall he
How that his sister / doth my honor stain.
Here doth she boast full open / that I in Siegfried’s arms have lain.”
849The king came with his warriors, / where he did weeping find
His royal spouse Brunhild, / then spake in manner kind:
“Now tell me, my dear lady, / who hath done aught to thee?”
She spake unto the monarch: / “Thy wife unhappy must thou see.
850“Me, thy royal consort, / would thy sister fain
Rob of all mine honor. / To thee must I complain:
She boasts her husband Siegfried / hath known thy royal bed.”
Then spake the monarch Gunther: / “An evil thing she then hath said.”
851“I did lose a girdle: / here by her ’tis worn,
And my ring all golden. / That I e’er was born,
Do I rue full sorely / if thou wardest not from me
This full great dishonor: / that will I full repay to thee.”
852Then spake the monarch Gunther: / “Now shall he come near,
And hath he such thing boasted, / so shall he let us hear:
Eke must full deny it / the knight of Netherland.”
Then straight the spouse of Kriemhild / hither to bring he gave command.
853When that angry-minded / Siegfried them did see,
Nor knew thereof the reason, / straightway then spake he:
“Why do weep these ladies? / I’d gladly know that thing,
Or wherefore to this presence / I am bidden by the king.”
854Then spake the royal Gunther: / “Sore grieveth me this thing:
To me my Lady Brunhild / doth the story bring,
How that thereof thou boastest / that her fair body lay
First in thy embraces: / this doth thy Lady Kriemhild say.”
855Thereto gave answer Siegfried: / “An if she thus hath said,
Full well shall she repent it / ere doth rest my head:
Before all thy good warriors / of that I’ll make me free,
And swear by my high honor / such thing hath ne’er been told by me.”
856Then spake of Rhine the monarch: / “That shalt thou let us see.
The oath that thou dost offer, / if such performéd be,
Of all false accusation / shalt thou delivered stand.”
In ring to take their station / did he the high-born thanes command.
857The full valiant Siegfried / in oath the hand did give.
Then spake the lordly monarch: / “Well now do I perceive
How thou art all blameless, / of all I speak thee free;
What here maintains my sister, / the same hath ne’er been done by thee.”
858Thereto gave answer Siegfried: / “If gain should e’er accrue
Unto my spouse, that Brunhild / from her had cause to rue,
Know that to me full sorely / ’twould endless sorrow be.”
Then looked upon each other / the monarchs twain right graciously.
859“So should we govern women,” / spake the thane Siegfried,
“That to leave wanton babble / they should take good heed.
Forbid it to thy wife now, / to mine I’ll do the same.
Such ill-becoming manner /in sooth doth fill my heart with shame.”
860No more said many a lady / fair, but thus did part.
Then did the Lady Brunhild / grieve so sore at heart,
That it must move to pity / all King Gunther’s men.
To go unto his mistress / Hagen of Tronje saw ye then.
861He asked to know her worry, / as he her weeping saw.
Then told she him the story. / To her straight made he vow,
That Lady Kriemhild’s husband / must for the thing atone,
Else henceforth should never / a joyous day by him be known.
862Then came Ortwein and Gernot / where they together spake,
And there the knights did counsel / Siegfried’s life to take.
Thither came eke Giselher, / son of Ute high.
When heard he what they counselled, / spake he free from treachery:
863“Ye good knights and noble, / wherefore do ye that?
Ne’er deserved hath Siegfried / in such way your hate,
That he therefor should forfeit / at your hands his life.
In sooth small matter is it / that maketh cause for woman’s strife.”
864“Shall we rear race of bastards?” / Hagen spake again:
“Therefrom but little honor / had many a noble thane.
The thing that he hath boasted / upon my mistress high,
Therefor my life I forfeit, / or he for that same thing shall die.”
865Then spake himself the monarch: / “To us he ne’er did give
Aught but good and honor: / let him therefore live.
What boots it if my anger / I vent the knight upon?
Good faith he e’er hath shown us, / and that full willingly hath done.”
866Then outspake of Metz / Ortwein the thane:
“In sooth his arm full doughty / may bring him little gain.
My vengeance full he’ll suffer, / if but my lord allow.”
The knights —nor reason had they — / against him mortal hate did vow.
867None yet his words did follow, / but to the monarch’s ear
Ne’er a day failed Hagen / the thought to whisper there:
If that lived not Siegfried, / to him would subject be
Royal lands full many. / The king did sorrow bitterly.
868Then did they nothing further: / soon began the play.
As from the lofty minster / passed they on their way,
What doughty shafts they shattered / Siegfried’s spouse before!
Gunther’s men full many / saw ye there in rage full sore.
869Spake the king: “Now leave ye / such mortal enmity:
The knight is born our honor / and fortune good to be.
Keen is he unto wonder, / hath eke so doughty arm
That, were the contest open, / none is who dared to work him harm.”
870“Naught shall he know,” quoth Hagen. / “At peace ye well may be:
I trow the thing to manage / so full secretly
That Queen Brunhild’s weeping / he shall rue full sore.
In sooth shall he from Hagen / have naught but hate for evermore.”
871Then spake the monarch Gunther: / “How might such thing e’er be?”
Thereto gave answer Hagen: / “That shalt thou hear from me.
We’ll bid that hither heralds / unto our land shall fare,
Here unknown to any, / who shall hostile tidings bear.
872“Then say thou ’fore the strangers / that thou with all thy men
Wilt forth to meet the enemy. / He’ll offer service then
If that thus thou sayest, / and lose thereby his life,
Can I but learn the story / from the valiant warrior’s wife.”
873The king in evil manner / did follow Hagen’s rede,
And the two knights, ere any / man thereof had heed,
Had treachery together / to devise begun.
From quarrel of two women / died heroes soon full many a one.

wie Sîvrit verrâten wart
{ 15 }
How Siegfried was Betrayed.
874Upon the fourth morning / two and thirty men
Saw ye to court a-riding. / Unto King Gunther then
Were tidings borne that ready / he should make for foe —
This lie did bring to women / many, anon full grievous woe.
875Leave had they ’fore the monarch’s / presence to appear,
There to give themselves out / for men of Luedeger,
Him erstwhile was conquered / by Siegfried’s doughty hand
And brought a royal hostage / bound unto King Gunther’s land.
876The messengers he greeted / and to seat them gave command.
Then spake one amongst them: / “Allow that yet we stand
Until we tell the tidings / that to thee are sent.
Know thou that warriors many / on thee to wreak their hate are bent.
877“Defiance bids thee Luedegast / and eke Luedeger
Who at thy hands full sorely / erstwhile aggrievéd were:
In this thy land with hostile / host they’ll soon appear.”
To rage begin the monarch / when such tidings he did hear.
878Those who did act thus falsely / they bade to lodge the while.
How himself might Siegfried / guard against such guile
As there they planned against him, / he or ever one?
Unto themselves ’twas sorrow / great anon that e’er ’twas done.
879With his friends the monarch / secret counsel sought.
Hagen of Tronje / let him tarry not.
Of the king’s men yet were many / who fain would peace restore:
But nowise would Hagen / his dark purpose e’er give o’er.
880Upon a day came Siegfried / when they did counsel take,
And there the knight of Netherland / thus unto them spake:
“How goeth now so sorrowful / amid his men the king?
I’ll help you to avenge it, / hath he been wronged in anything.”
881Then spake the monarch Gunther: / “Of right do I lament,
Luedegast and Luedeger / have hostile message sent:
They will in open manner / now invade my land.”
The knight full keen gave answer: / “That in sooth shall Siegfried’s hand,
882“As doth befit thy honor, / know well to turn aside.
As erstwhile to thy enemies, / shall now from me betide:
Their lands and eke their castles / laid waste by me shall be
Ere that I give over: / thereof my head be surety.
883“Thou and thy good warriors / shall here at home abide,
And let me with my company / alone against them ride.
That I do serve thee gladly, / that will I let them see;
By me shall thy enemies, / — that know thou — full requited be.”
884“Good tidings, that thou sayest,” / then the monarch said,
As if he in earnest / did joy to have such aid.
Deep did bow before him / the king in treachery.
Then spake Sir Siegfried: / “Bring that but little care to thee.”
885Then serving-men full many / bade they ready be:
’Twas done alone that Siegfried / and his men the same might see.
Then bade he make them ready / the knights of Netherland,
And soon did Siegfried’s warriors / for fight apparelled ready stand.
886“My royal father Siegmund, / here shalt thou remain,”
Spake then Sir Siegfried. / “We come full soon again
If God but give good fortune, / hither the Rhine beside;
Here shalt thou with King Gunther / full merrily the while abide.”
887Then bound they on the banners / as they thence would fare.
Men of royal Gunther / were full many there,
Who naught knew of the matter, / or how that thing might be:
There with Siegfried saw ye / of knights a mickle company.
888Their helms and eke their mail-coats / bound on horse did stand:
And doughty knights made ready / to fare from out that land.
Then went of Tronje Hagen / where he Kriemhild found
And prayed a fair leave-taking, / for that to battle they were bound.
889“Now well is me, such husband / I have,” Kriemhild said,
“That to my loving kindred / can bring so potent aid,
As my lord Siegfried / doth now to friends of me.
Thereby,” spake the high lady, / “may I full joyous-minded be.
890“Now full dear friend Hagen, / call thou this to mind,
Good-will I e’er have borne thee, / nor hate in any kind.
Let now therefrom have profit / the husband dear to me.
If Brunhild aught I’ve injured / may’t not to him requited be.
891“For that I since have suffered,” / spake the high lady.
“Sore punishment hath offered / therefor the knight to me.
That I have aught e’er spoken / to make her sad of mood,
Vengeance well hath taken / on me the valiant knight and good.”
892“In the days hereafter shall ye / be reconciled full well.
Kriemhild, belovéd lady, / to me shalt thou tell
How that in Siegfried’s person / I may service do to thee.
That do I gladly, lady, / and unto none more willingly.”
893“No longer were I fearful,” / spake his noble wife,
“That e’er in battle any / should take from him his life,
Would he but cease to follow / his high undaunted mood:
Secure were then forever / the thane full valiant and good.”
894“Lady,” spake then Hagen, / “an hast thou e’er a fear
That hostile blade should pierce him, / now shalt thou give to hear
With what arts of cunning / I may the same prevent.
On horse and foot to guard him / shall ever be my fair intent.”
895She spake: “Of my kin art thou, / as I eke of thine.
In truth to thee commended / be then dear spouse of mine,
That him well thou guardest / whom full dear I hold.”
She told to him a story / ’twere better had she left untold.
896She spake: “A valorous husband / is mine, and doughty too.
When he the worm-like dragon / by the mountain slew,
In its blood the stately / knight himself then bathed,
Since when from cutting weapons / in battle is he all unscathed.
897“Nathless my heart is troubled / when he in fight doth stand,
And full many a spear-shaft / is hurled by hero’s hand,
Lest that I a husband / full dear should see no more.
Alack! How oft for Siegfried / must I sit in sorrow sore!
898“On thy good-will I rest me, / dear friend, to tell to thee,
And that thy faith thou fully / provest now to me,
Where that my spouse may smitten / be by hand of foe.
This I now shall tell thee, / and on thy honor this I do.
899“When from the wounded dragon / reeking flowed the blood,
And therein did bathe him / the valiant knight and good,
Fell down between his shoulders / full broad a linden leaf.
There may he be smitten; / ’tis cause to me of mickle grief.'
900Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Upon his tunic sew
Thou a little token. / Thereby shall I know
Where I may protect him / when in the fight we strain.”
She weened to save the hero, / yet wrought she nothing save his bane.
901She spake: “All fine and silken / upon his coat I’ll sew
A little cross full secret. / There, doughty thane, shalt thou
From my knight ward danger / when battle rageth sore,
And when amid the turmoil / he stands his enemies before.”
902“That will I do,” quoth Hagen, / “lady full dear to me.”
Then weenéd eke the lady / it should his vantage be,
But there alone did Kriemhild / her own good knight betray.
Leave of her took Hagen, / and joyously he went away.
903The followers of the monarch / were all of merry mood.
I ween that knight thereafter / never any could
Of treachery be guilty / such as then was he
When that Queen Kriemhild / did rest on his fidelity.
904With his men a thousand / upon the following day
Rode thence Sir Siegfried / full joyously away.
He weened he should take vengeance / for harm his friends did bear.
That he might view the tunic / Hagen rode to him full near.
905When he had viewed the token / sent Hagen thence away
Two of his men in secret / who did other tidings say:
How that King Gunther’s country / had nothing now to fear
And that unto the monarch / had sent them royal Luedeger.
906’Twas little joy to Siegfried / that he must turn again
Ere for the hostile menace / vengeance he had ta’en.
In sooth the men of Gunther / could scarce his purpose bend.
Then rode he to the monarch, / who thus began his thanks to lend:
907“Now God reward thee for it, / my good friend Siegfried,
That thou with mind so willing / hast holpen me in need.
That shall I e’er repay thee, / as I may do of right.
To thee before all other / friends do I my service plight.
908“Now that from battle-journey / free we are once more,
So will I ride a-hunting / the wild bear and the boar
Away to the Vosges forest, / as I full oft have done.”
The same had counselled Hagen, / the full dark and faithless man.
909“To all my guests here with me / shall now be told
That we ride forth at daybreak: / themselves shall ready hold,
Who will join the hunting; / will any here remain
For pastime with fair ladies, / the thing behold I eke full fain.”
910Then outspake Sir Siegfried / as in manner due:
“If that thou rid’st a-hunting, / go I gladly too.
A huntsman shalt thou grant me / and good hound beside
That shall the game discover; / so with thee to the green I’ll ride.”
911Straightway spake the monarch: / “Wilt thou but one alone?
And wilt thou, four I’ll grant thee, / to whom full well is known
The forest with the runways / where most the game doth stray,
And who unto the camp-fires / will help thee back to find thy way.”
912Unto his spouse then rode he, / the gallant knight and bold.
Full soon thereafter Hagen / unto the king had told
How he within his power / would have the noble thane:
May deed so dark and faithless / ne’er by knight be done again!

wie Sîvrit erslagen wart
{ 16 }
How Siegfried was slain.
913Gunther and Hagen, / the knights full keen,
Proposed with evil forethought / a hunting in the green:
The boar within the forest / they’d chase with pointed spear,
And shaggy bear and bison. / — What sport to valiant men more dear?
914With them rode also Siegfried / happy and light of heart:
Their load of rich refreshments / was made in goodly part.
Where a spring ran cooling / they took from him his life,
Whereto in chief had urged them / Brunhild, royal Gunther’s wife.
915Then went the valiant Siegfried / where he Kriemhild found;
Rich hunting-dress was laden / and now stood ready bound
For him and his companions / across the Rhine to go.
Than this a sadder hour / nevermore could Kriemhild know.
916The spouse he loved so dearly / upon the mouth he kissed.
“God grant that well I find thee / again, if so He list,
And thine own eyes to see me. / ’Mid kin that hold thee dear
May now the time go gently, / the while I am no longer near.”
917Then thought she of the story / — but silence must she keep —
Whereof once Hagen asked her: / then began to weep
The princess high and noble / that ever she was born,
And wept with tears unceasing / the valiant Siegfried’s wife forlorn.
918She spake unto her husband: / “Let now this hunting be.
I dreamt this night of evil, / how wild boars hunted thee,
Two wild boars o’er the meadow, / wherefrom the flowers grew red.
That I do weep so sorely / have I poor woman direst need.
919“Yea, do I fear, Sir Siegfried, / something treacherous,
If perchance have any / of those been wronged by us
Who might yet be able / to vent their enmity.
Tarry thou here, Sir Siegfried: / let that my faithful counsel be.”
920Quoth he: “I come, dear lady, / when some short days are flown.
Of foes who bear us hatred / here know I never one.
All of thine own kindred / are gracious unto me,
Nor know I aught of reason / why they should other-minded be.”
921“But nay, belovéd Siegfried, / thy death I fear ’twill prove.
This night I dreamt misfortune, / how o’er thee from above
Down there fell two mountains: / I never saw thee more.
And wilt thou now go from me, / that must grieve my heart full sore.”
922The lady rich in virtue / within his arms he pressed,
And with loving kisses / her fair form caressed.
From her thence he parted / ere long time was o’er:
Alas for her, she saw him / alive thereafter nevermore.
923Then rode from thence the hunters / deep within a wold
In search of pleasant pastime. / Full many a rider bold
Followed after Gunther / in his stately train.
Gernot and Giselher, / — at home the knights did both remain.
924Went many a horse well laden / before them o’er the Rhine,
That for the huntsmen carried / store of bread and wine,
Meat along with fishes / and other victualling,
The which upon his table / were fitting for so high a king.
925Then bade they make encampment / before the forest green
Where game was like to issue, / those hunters proud and keen,
Who there would join in hunting, / on a meadow wide that spread.
Thither also was come Siegfried: / the same unto the king was said.
926By the merry huntsmen / soon were watched complete
At every point the runways. / The company then did greet
Siegfried the keen and doughty: / “Who now within the green
Unto the game shall guide us, / ye warriors so bold and keen?”
927“Now part we from each other,” / answered Hagen then,
“Ere that the hunting / we do here begin!
Thereby may be apparent / to my masters and to me
Who on this forest journey / of the hunters best may be.
928“Let then hounds and huntsmen / be ta’en in equal share,
That wheresoever any / would go, there let him fare.
Who then is first in hunting / shall have our thanks this day.”
Not longer there together / did the merry hunters stay.
929Thereto quoth Sir Siegfried: / “Of dogs have I no need,
More than one hound only / of trusty hunting breed
For scenting well the runway / of wild beast through the brake.
And now the chase begin we?” / — so the spouse of Kriemhild spake.
930Then took a practised hunter / a good tracking-hound,
That did bring them where they / game in plenty found,
Nor kept them long awaiting. / Whate’er did spring from lair
Pursued the merry huntsmen, / as still good hunters everywhere.
931As many as the hound started / slew with mighty hand
Siegfried the full doughty / hero of Netherland.
So swiftly went his charger / that none could him outrun;
And praise before all others / soon he in the hunting won.
932He was in every feature / a valiant knight and true.
The first within the forest / that with his hand he slew
Was a half-grown wild-boar / that he smote to ground;
Thereafter he full quickly / a wild and mighty lion found.
933When it the hound had started, / with bow he shot it dead,
Wherewith a pointed arrow / he had so swiftly sped
That the lion after / could forward spring but thrice.
All they that hunted with him / cried Siegfried’s praise with merry voice.
934Soon fell a prey unto him / an elk and bison more,
A giant stag he slew him / and huge ure-oxen four.
His steed bore him so swiftly / that none could him outrun;
Of stag or hind encountered / scarce could there escape him one.
935A boar full huge and bristling / soon was likewise found,
And when the same bethought him / to flee before the hound,
Came quick again the master / and stood athwart his path.
The boar upon the hero / full charged straightway in mickle wrath.
936Then the spouse of Kriemhild, / with sword the boar he slew,
A thing that scarce another / hunter had dared to do.
When he thus had felled him / they lashed again the hound,
And soon his hunting prowess / was known to all the people round.
937Then spake to him his huntsmen: / “If that the thing may be,
So let some part, Sir Siegfried, / of the forest game go free;
To-day thou makest empty / hillside and forest wild.”
Thereat in merry humor / the thane so keen and valiant smiled.
938Then they heard on all sides / the din, from many a hound
And huntsmen eke the clamor / so great was heard around
That back did come the answer / from hill and forest tree —
Of hounds had four-and-twenty / packs been set by hunter free.
939Full many a forest denizen / from life was doomed to part.
Each of all the hunters / thereon had set his heart,
To win the prize in hunting. / But such could never be,
When they the doughty Siegfried / at the camping-place did see.
940Now the chase was ended, / — and yet complete ’twas not.
All they to camp who wended / with them thither brought
Skin of full many an animal / and of game good store.
Heigho! unto the table / how much the king’s attendants bore!
941Then bade the king the noble / hunters all to warn
That he would take refreshment, / and loud a hunting-horn
In one long blast was winded: / to all was known thereby
That the noble monarch / at camp did wait their company.
942Spake one of Siegfried’s huntsmen: / “Master, I do know
By blast of horn resounding / that we now shall go
Unto the place of meeting; / thereto I’ll make reply.”
Then for the merry hunters / blew the horn right lustily.
943Then spake Sir Siegfried: / “Now leave we eke the green.”
His charger bore him smoothly, / and followed huntsmen keen.
With their rout they started / a beast of savage kind,
That was a bear untaméd. / Then spake the knight to those behind
944“For our merry party / some sport will I devise.
Let slip the hound then straightway, / a bear now meets my eyes,
And with us shall he thither / unto the camp-fire fare.
Full rapid must his flight be / shall he our company forbear.”
945From leash the hound was loosened, / the bear sprang through the brake,
When that the spouse of Kriemhild / did wish him to o’ertake.
He sought a pathless thicket, / but yet it could not be,
As bruin fondly hoped it, / that from the hunter he was free.
946Then from his horse alighted / the knight of spirit high,
And gan a running after. / Bruin all unguardedly
Was ta’en, and could escape not. / Him caught straightway the knight,
And soon all unwounded / had him bound in fetters tight.
947Nor claws nor teeth availed him / for aught of injury,
But bound he was to saddle. / Then mounted speedily
The knight, and to the camp-fire / in right merry way
For pastime led he bruin, / the hero valiant and gay.
948In what manner stately / unto the camp he rode!
He bore a spear full mickle, / great of strength and broad.
A sword all ornamented / hung down unto his spur,
And wrought of gold all ruddy / at side a glittering horn he wore.
949Of richer hunting-garments / heard I ne’er tell before.
Black was the silken tunic / that the rider wore,
And cap of costly sable / did crown the gallant knight.
Heigho, and how his quiver / with well-wrought hands was rich bedight!
950A skin of gleaming panther / covered the quiver o’er,
Prized for its pleasant odor. / Eke a bow he bore,
The which to draw if ever / had wished another man,
A lever he had needed: / such power had Siegfried alone.
951Of fur of costly otter / his mantle was complete,
With other skins embroidered / from head unto the feet.
And ’mid the fur all shining, / full many a golden seam
On both sides of the valiant / huntsman saw ye brightly gleam.
952Balmung, a goodly weapon / broad, he also wore,
That was so sharp at edges / that it ne’er forbore
To cleave when swung on helmet: / blade it was full good.
Stately was the huntsman / as there with merry heart he rode.
953If that complete the story / to you I shall unfold,
Full many a goodly arrow / did his rich quiver hold
Whereof were gold the sockets, / and heads a hand-breadth each.
In sooth was doomed to perish / whate’er in flight the same did reach.
954Pricking like goodly huntsman / the noble knight did ride
When him the men of Gunther / coming thither spied.
They hasted out to meet him / and took from him his steed,
As bruin great and mighty / by the saddle he did lead.
955When he from horse alighted / he loosed him every band
From foot and eke from muzzle. / Straight on every hand
Began the dogs a howling / when they beheld the bear.
Bruin would to the forest: / among the men was mickle stir.
956Amid the clamor bruin / through the camp-fires sped:
Heigho, how the servants / away before him fled!
O’erturned was many a kettle / and flaming brands did fly:
Heigho, what goodly victuals / did scattered in the ashes lie!
957Then sprang from out the saddle / knights and serving-men.
The bear was wild careering: / the king bade loosen then
All the dogs that fastened / within their leashes lay.
If this thing well had ended, / then had there passed a merry day.
958Not longer then they waited / but with bow and eke with spear
Hasted the nimble hunters / to pursue the bear,
Yet none might shoot upon him / for all the dogs around.
Such clamor was of voices / that all the mountain did resound.
959When by the dogs pursuéd / the bear away did run,
None there that could o’ertake him / but Siegfried alone.
With his sword he came upon him / and killed him at a blow,
And back unto the camp-fire / bearing bruin they did go.
960Then spake who there had seen it, / he was a man of might.
Soon to the table bade they / come each noble knight,
And on a smiling meadow / the noble company sat.
Heigho, with what rare victuals / did they upon the huntsmen wait!
961Ne’er appeared a butler / wine for them to pour.
Than they good knights were never / better served before,
And had there not in secret / been lurking treachery,
Then were the entertainers / from every cause of cavil free.
962Then spake Sir Siegfried: / “A wonder ’tis to me,
Since that from the kitchen / so full supplied are we,
Why to us the butlers / of wine bring not like store:
If such the huntsman’s service / a huntsman reckon me no more.
963“Meseems I yet did merit / some share of courtesy.”
The king who sat at table / spake then in treachery:
“Gladly shall be amended / wherein we’re guilty so.
The fault it is of Hagen, / he’d willing see us thirsting go.”
964Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Good master, hear me say,
I weened for this our hunting / we did go to-day
Unto the Spessart forest: / the wine I thither sent.
Go we to-day a-thirsting, / I’ll later be more provident.”
965Thereto replied Sir Siegfried: / “Small merit here is thine.
Good seven horses laden / with mead and sparkling wine
Should hither have been conducted. / If aught the same denied,
Then should our place of meeting / have nearer been the Rhine beside.”
966Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Ye noble knights and bold,
I know here nigh unto us / a spring that’s flowing cold.
Be then your wrath appeaséd, / and let us thither go.”
Through that same wicked counsel / came many a thane to grievous woe.
967Sore was the noble Siegfried / with the pangs of thirst:
To bid them rise from table / was he thus the first.
He would along the hillside / unto the fountain go:
In sooth they showed them traitors, / those knights who there did counsel so.
968On wagons hence to carry / the game they gave command
Which had that day been slaughtered / by Siegfried’s doughty hand.
He’d carried off the honors, / all who had seen did say.
Hagen his faith with Siegfried / soon did break in grievous way.
969When now they would go thither / to where the linden spread,
Spake of Tronje Hagen: / “To me hath oft been said,
That none could follow after / Kriemhild’s nimble knight
Or vie with him in running: / would that he’d prove it to our sight?”
970Then spake of Netherland / bold Siegfried speedily:
“That may ye well have proof of, / will ye but run with me
In contest to the fountain. / When that the same be done,
To him be given honor / who the race hath fairly won.”
971“Now surely make we trial,” / quoth Hagen the thane.
Thereto the doughty Siegfried: / “I too will give you gain,
Afore your feet at starting / to lay me in the grass.”
When that he had heard it, / thereat how joyous Gunther was!
972And spake again the warrior: / “And ye shall further hear:
All my clothing likewise / will I upon me wear,
The spear and shield full heavy / and hunting-dress I’ll don.”
His sword as well as quiver / had he full quickly girded on.
973Doffed they their apparel / and aside they laid it then:
Clothed in white shirts only / saw you there the twain.
Like unto two wild panthers / they coursed across the green:
Yet first beside the fountain / was the valiant Siegfried seen.
974No man in feats of valor / who with him had vied.
The sword he soon ungirded / and quiver laid aside,
The mighty spear he leanéd / against the linden-tree:
Beside the running fountain / stood the knight stately to see.
975To Siegfried naught was lacking / that doth good knight adorn.
Down the shield then laid he / where did flow the burn,
Yet howsoe’er he thirsted / no whit the hero drank
Before had drunk the monarch: / therefor he earned but evil thank.
976There where ran clear the water / and cool from out the spring,
Down to it did bend him / Gunther the king.
And when his thirst was quenchéd / rose he from thence again:
Eke the valiant Siegfried, / how glad had he done likewise then.
977For his courtesy he suffered. / Where bow and sword there lay,
Both did carry Hagen / from him thence away,
And again sprang quickly thither / where the spear did stand:
And for a cross the tunic / of the valiant knight he scanned.
978As there the noble Siegfried / to drink o’er fountain bent,
Through the cross he pierced him, / that from the wound was sent
The blood nigh to bespatter / the tunic Hagen wore.
By hand of knight such evil / deed shall wrought be nevermore.
979The spear he left projecting / where it had pierced the heart.
In terror as that moment / did Hagen never start
In flight from any warrior / he ever yet had found.
Soon as the noble Siegfried / within him felt the mighty wound,
980Raging the knight full doughty / up from the fountain sprang,
The while from ‘twixt his shoulders / stood out a spearshaft long.
The prince weened to find there / his bow or his sword:
Then in sooth had Hagen / found the traitor’s meet reward.
981When from the sorely wounded / knight his sword was gone,
Then had he naught to ‘venge him / but his shield alone.
This snatched he from the fountain / and Hagen rushed upon,
And not at all escape him / could the royal Gunther’s man.
982Though he nigh to death was wounded / he yet such might did wield
That out in all directions / flew from off the shield
Precious stones a many: / the shield he clave in twain.
Thus vengeance fain had taken / upon his foe the stately thane.
983Beneath his hand must Hagen / stagger and fall to ground.
So swift the blow he dealt him, / the meadow did resound.
Had sword in hand been swinging, / Hagen had had his meed,
So sorely raged he stricken: / to rage in sooth was mickle need.
984Faded from cheek was color, / no longer could he stand,
And all his might of body / soon complete had waned,
As did a deathly pallor / over his visage creep.
Full many a fairest lady / for the knight anon must weep.
985So sank amid the flowers / Kriemhild’s noble knight,
While from his wound flowed thickly / the blood before the sight.
Then gan he reviling / — for dire was his need —
Who had thus encompassed / his death by this same faithless deed.
986Then spake the sorely wounded: / “O ye base cowards twain,
Doth then my service merit / that me ye thus have slain?
To you I e’er was faithful / and so am I repaid.
Alas, upon your kindred / now have ye shame eternal laid.
987“By this deed dishonored / hereafter evermore
Are their generations. / Your anger all too sore
Have ye now thus vented / and vengeance ta’en on me.
With shame henceforth be parted / from all good knights’ company.”
988All the hunters hastened / where he stricken lay,
It was in sooth for many / of them a joyless day.
Had any aught of honor, / he mourned that day, I ween,
And well the same did merit / the knight high-spirited and keen.
989As there the king of Burgundy / mourned that he should die,
Spake the knight sore wounded: / “To weep o’er injury,
Who hath wrought the evil / hath smallest need, I trow.
Reviling doth he merit, / and weeping may he well forego.”
990Thereto quoth grim Hagen: / “Ye mourn, I know not why:
This same day hath ended / all our anxiety.
Few shall we find henceforward / for fear will give us need,
And well is me that from his / mastery we thus are freed.”
991“Light thing is now thy vaunting,” / did Siegfried then reply.
“Had I e’er bethought me / of this thy infamy
Well had I preservéd / ’gainst all thy hate my life.
Me rueth naught so sorely / as Lady Kriemhild my wife.
992“Now may God have mercy / that to me a son was born,
That him alack!, the people / in times to come shall spurn,
That those he nameth kinsmen / have done the murderer’s deed.
An had I breath,” spake Siegfried, / “to mourn o’er this I well had need.”
993Then spake, in anguish praying, / the hero doomed to die:
“An wilt thou, king, to any / yet not good faith deny,
In all the world to any, / to thee commended be
And to thy loving mercy / the spouse erstwhile was wed to me.
994“Let it be her good fortune / that she thy sister is:
By all the princely virtues, / I beg thee pledge me this.
For me long time my father / and men henceforth must wait:
Upon a spouse was never / wrought, as mine, a wrong so great.”
995All around the flowers / were wetted with the blood
As there with death he struggled. / Yet not for long he could,
Because the deadly weapon / had cut him all too sore:
And soon the keen and noble / knight was doomed to speak no more.
996When the lords perceivéd / how that the knight was dead,
Upon a shield they laid him / that was of gold full red,
And counsel took together / how of the thing should naught
Be known, but held in secret / that Hagen the deed had wrought.
997Then spake of them a many: / “This is an evil day.
Now shall ye all conceal it / and all alike shall say,
When as Kriemhild’s husband / the dark forest through
Rode alone a-hunting, / him the hand of robber slew.”
998Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Myself will bring him home.
In sooth I reck but little / if to her ears it come,
Who my Lady Brunhild / herself hath grieved so sore.
It maketh me small worry, / an if she weep for evermore.”

wie Sîvrit beklaget und begraben wart
{ 17 }
How Kriemhild mourned for Siegfried, and How he was Buried.
999There till the night they tarried / and o’er the Rhine they went.
By knights in chase might never / more evil day be spent;
For the game that there they hunted / wept many a noble maid.
In sooth by many a valiant / warrior must it since be paid.
1000Of humor fierce and wanton / list now and ye shall hear,
And eke of direst vengeance. / Hagen bade to bear
Siegfried thus lifeless, / of the Nibelung country,
Unto a castle dwelling / where Lady Kriemhild found might be.
1001He bade in secret manner / to lay him there before
Where she should surely find him / when she from out the door
Should pass to matins early, / ere that had come the day.
In sooth did Lady Kriemhild / full seldom fail the hour to pray.
1002When, as was wont, in minster / the bell to worship bade,
Kriemhild, fair lady, wakened / from slumber many a maid:
A light she bade them bring her / and eke her dress to wear.
Then hither came a chamberlain / who Siegfried’s corpse found waiting there.
1003He saw him red and bloody, / all wet his clothing too.
That it was his master, / in sooth no whit he knew.
On unto the chamber / the light in hand he bore,
Whereby the Lady Kriemhild / did learn what brought her grief full sore.
1004When she with train of ladies / would to the minster go,
Then spake the chamberlain: / “Pause, I pray thee now:
Here before thy dwelling / a noble knight lies slain.”
Thereat gan Lady Kriemhild / in grief unmeasured sore to plain.
1005Ere yet that ’twas her husband / she did rightly find,
Had she Hagen’s question / begun to call to mind,
How might he protect him: / then first did break her heart,
For all her joy in living / did with his death from her depart.
1006Unto the earth then sank she / ere she a word did say,
And reft of all her pleasure / there the fair lady lay.
Soon had Kriemhild’s sorrow / all measure passed beyond:
She shrieked, when past the swooning, / that did the chamber all resound.
1007Then spake her attendants: / “What if’t a stranger were?”
From out her mouth the heart-blood / did spring from anguish sore.
Then spake she: “It is Siegfried / my husband, other none:
This thing hath counselled Brunhild, / and Hagen’s hand the deed hath done.”
1008The lady bade them lead her / where did lie the knight,
And his fair head she raiséd / with her hand full white.
Red though it was and bloody / she knew him yet straightway,
As all forlorn the hero / of Nibelungenland there lay.
1009Then cried the queen in anguish, / whose hand such wealth might wield:
“O woe is me for sorrow! / Yet is not thy shield
With blow of sword now battered, / but murdered dost thou lie.
And knew I who hath done it, / by my counsel should he die.”
1010All of her attendants / did weep and wail enow
With their belovéd mistress, / for filled they were with woe
For their noble master / whom they should see no more.
For anger of Queen Brunhild / had Hagen wrought revenge full sore.
1011Then spake Kriemhild sorrowing: / “Hence now the message take,
And all the men of Siegfried / shall ye straightway awake.
Unto Siegmund likewise / tell ye my sorrow deep,
If that he will help me / for the doughty Siegfried weep.”
1012Then ran straightway a messenger / and soon he found at hand,
Siegfried’s valiant warriors / of Nibelungenland.
Of joy he all bereft him / with tale that he did bear,
Nor would they aught believe it / till sound of weeping met their ear.
1013The messenger came eke quickly / where the king did lie,
Yet closed was not in sleeping / the monarch Siegmund’s eye:
I ween his heart did tell him / the thing that there had been,
And that his dear son living / might nevermore by him be seen.
1014“Awake, awake, Lord Siegmund. / Hither hath sent for thee
Kriemhild my mistress. / A wrong now beareth she,
A grief that ’fore all others / unto her heart doth go:
To mourn it shalt thou help her, / for sorely hast thou need thereto.”
1015Up raised himself then Siegmund. / He spake: “What may it be
Of wrong that grieveth Kriemhild, / as thou hast told to me?”
The messenger spake weeping: / “Now may I naught withhold:
Know thou that of Netherland / Siegfried brave lies slain and cold.”
1016Thereto gave answer Siegmund: / “Let now such mocking be
And tale of such ill tidings / — an thou regardest me —
As that thou say’st to any / now he lieth slain:
An were it so, I never / unto my end might cease to plain.”
1017“Wilt thou now believe not / the tidings that I bear,
So may’st thyself the Lady / Kriemhild weeping hear,
And all of her attendants, / that Siegfried lieth dead.”
With terror filled was Siegmund: / whereof in very sooth was need.
1018He and his men a hundred / from their beds they sprang,
Then snatched in hand full quickly / swords both sharp and long,
And toward the sound of weeping / in sorrow sore did speed.
There came a thousand warriors / eke of the valiant knight Siegfried.
1019When they heard the women weeping / in such sore distress
Thought some, strict custom keeping, / we first must don our dress.
In sooth for very sorrow / their wits no more had they,
For on their hearts a burden / of grief full deep and heavy lay.
1020Then came the monarch Siegmund / where he Kriemhild espied.
He spake: “Alack that ever / to this country I did ride!
Who in such wondrous manner, / and while good friends are near,
Hath of my child bereft me / and thee of spouse thou hold’st so dear?”
1021“Ah, might I him discover,” / spake the lady high,
“Evermore would mercy / I to him deny.
Such meed of vengeance should he / at my hands receive
That all who call him kinsman / reason good should have to grieve.”
1022Siegmund the monarch / in arms the knight did press,
And of his friends there gathered / so great was the distress,
That from the mighty wailing / palace and wide hall
And Worms the city likewise / with sound of woe re-echoed all.
1023None was who aught might comfort / the wife of Siegfried there.
They drew the knight’s attire / from off his body fair,
From wounds the blood, too, washed they / and laid him on the bier.
Then from all his people / a mighty wailing might ye hear.
1024Then outspake his warriors / of Nibelungenland:
“Until he be avengéd / rest shall not our hand.
He is within this castle / who the deed hath done.”
Then rushed to find their weapons / Siegfried’s warriors every one.
1025The knights of chosen valor / with shields did thither throng,
Eleven hundred warriors, / that did to train belong
Of Siegmund the monarch. / That his son lay dead,
Would he wreak dire vengeance, / whereof in very sooth was need.
1026Yet knew they not whom should they / beset in battle then,
If it were not Gunther / and with him his men
With whom their lord Siegfried / unto the hunting rode.
Yet filled with fear was Kriemhild / when she beheld how armed they stood.
1027How great soe’er her sorrow / and stern the grief she bore,
Yet for the Nibelungen / feared she death full sore
From her brother’s warriors, / and bade them hold their wrath.
She gave them kindly warning / as friend to friend beloved doth.
1028Then spake she rich in sorrow: / “What thing beginnest thou,
Good my lord Siegmund? / This case thou dost not know.
In sooth hath here King Gunther / so many a valiant knight,
Lost are ye all together, / will ye the thanes withstand in fight.”
1029With shields upraised they ready / for the fight did stand.
But the queen full noble / did straightway give command
To those high knights, and prayed them, / their purpose to give o’er.
That she might not dissuade them, / in sooth to her was sorrow sore.
1030Spake she thus: “Lord Siegmund, / thou shalt this thing let be
Until more fitting season. / Seek will I e’er with thee
Full to avenge my husband. / Who him from me hath ta’en,
An I shall know him guilty, / in me shall surely find his bane.
1031“Of warriors proud and mighty / are many here by Rhine,
Therefore will I advise not / the struggle to begin.
For one that we can muster / good thirty men have they;
As unto us their dealing, / God them requite in equal way.
1032“Here shall ye bide with me / and help my grief to bear;
Soon as dawns the morning, / ye noble knights and rare,
Help me my loved husband / prepare for burial.”
“That shall be done full willing,” / spake the doughty warriors all.
1033To you could never any / full the wonder say,
Of knights and noble ladies, / so full of grief were they,
That the sound of wailing / through the town was heard afar,
Whereat the noble burghers / hastily did gather there.
1034With the guests they mourned together, / for sore they grieved as well.
What was the guilt of Siegfried / none to them might tell,
Wherefore the knight so noble / thus his life should lose.
Then wept with the high ladies / many a worthy burgher’s spouse.
1035Smiths they bade a casket / work full hastily
All of gold and silver / that great and strong should be.
They bade them fast to weld it / with bands of steel full good.
Then saw ye all the people / stand right sorrowful of mood.
1036Now the night was over, / for day, they said, drew near.
Then bade the noble lady / unto the minster bear
Siegfried her lord full lovéd / for whom she mourned so.
Whoe’er was friend unto him, / him saw ye weeping thither go.
1037As they brought him to the minster / bells full many rung.
On every hand then heard ye / how priests did chant their song.
Thither with his followers / came Gunther the king
And eke the grim knight Hagen / where was sound of sorrowing.
1038He spake: “Full loving sister, / alack for grief to thee,
And that from such great evil / spared we might not be!
Henceforth must we ever / mourn for Siegfried’s sake.”
“That do ye without reason,” / full of woe the lady spake.
1039“If that ye grievéd for it, / befallen were it not.
For say I may full truly, / me had ye all forgot
There where I thus was parted / from my husband dear.
Would it God,” spake Kriemhild, / “that done unto myself it were?”
1040Fast they yet denied it. / Kriemhild spake again:
“If any speak him guiltless, / let here be seen full plain.
Unto the bier now shall he / before the people go;
Thus the truth full quickly / may we in this manner know.”
1041It is a passing wonder / that yet full oft is seen,
Where blood-bespotted slayer / beside slain corpse hath been,
That from the wounds come blood-drops, / as here it eke befell.
Thereby the guilt of Hagen / might they now full plainly tell.
1042Now ran the wounds all bloody /like as they did before.
Who erstwhile wept full sorely / now wept they mickle more.
Then spake the monarch Gunther: / “To thee the truth be known:
Slain hath he been by robbers, / nor is this deed by Hagen done.”
1043“Of these same robbers,” spake she, / “full well I understand.
God give that yet may vengeance / wreak some friendly hand.
Gunther and Hagen, / yourselves have done this deed.”
Then looked for bloody conflict / the valiant thanes that served Siegfried.
1044Then spake unto them Kriemhild: / “Now bear with me my need.”
Knights twain came likewise hither / and did find him dead,—
Gernot her brother / and the young Giselher.
With upright hearts then joined they / with the others grief to share.
1045They mourned for Kriemhild’s husband / with hearts all full of woe.
A mass should then be chanted: / to the minster forth did go
Man and child and woman / gathered from every side.
E’en they did likewise mourn him / who little lost that Siegfried died.
1046Gernot and Giselher spake: / “O Sister dear,
Now comfort thee in sorrow, / for death is ever near.
Amends we’ll make unto thee / the while that we shall live.”
In the world might never any / unto her a comfort give.
1047His coffin was made ready / about the middle day.
From off the bier they raised him / whereupon he lay.
But yet would not the lady / let him be laid in grave.
Therefor must all the people / first a mickle trouble have.
1048In a shroud all silken / they the dead man wound.
I ween that never any / that wept not might be found.
There mournéd full of sorrow / Ute the queen full high
And all of her attendants / that such a noble knight did die.
1049When did hear the people / how they in minster sung,
And that he there lay coffined, / came then a mickle throng:
For his soul’s reposing / what offerings they bore!
E’en amid his enemies / found he of good friends a store.
1050Kriemhild the poor lady / to her attendants spake:
“Let them shun no trouble / to suffer for my sake,
Who to him are friendly-minded / and me in honor hold;
For the soul of Siegfried / meted be to them his gold.”
1051Child so small there was not, / did it but reason have,
But offering carried thither. / Ere he was laid in grave,
More than a hundred masses / upon the day they sung,
Of all the friends of Siegfried / was gathered there a mickle throng.
1052When were the masses over, / the folk departed soon.
Then spake the Lady Kriemhild: / “Leave ye me not alone
To pass the night in watching / by this chosen thane now dead,
With whose passing from me / all my joy of life hath fled.
1053“Three days and three nights further / shall he lie on bier,
Until my heart find quiet / that weeps for spouse so dear.
God perchance commandeth / that death eke me do take:
That were for me poor Kriemhild / fit end of all my woe to make.”
1054Then of the town the people / went to their homes again.
Priests and monks yet bade she / longer there remain,
And all the hero’s followers / who willing served alway.
They watched a night all gruesome, / and full of toil was eke the day.
1055Meat and drink forgetting / abode there many a one.
If any were would take it / ’twas unto all made known,
That have they might in plenty: / thus did provide Siegmund.
Then for the Nibelungen / did trouble and sore need abound.
1056The while the three days lasted / — such the tale we hear —
All who could join the chanting, / mickle must they bear
There of toil and trouble. / What gifts to them they bore!
Rich were seen full many / who did suffer need before.
1057As many poor as found they / who themselves had naught,
By them yet an offering / bade they there be brought,
Of gold of Siegfried’s treasure. / Though he no more might live,
Yet for his soul’s reposing / marks many thousand did they give.
1058Land of fruitful income / bestowed Kriemhild around,
Wheresoever cloisters / and worthy folk were found.
Silver and apparel / to the poor she gave in store,
And in good manner showed she / that truest love to him she bore.
1059Upon the third morning / at the mass’ tide
Was there beside the minster / filled the church-yard wide
With country-folk a-weeping / that came from far and near:
In death they yet did serve him / as is meet for friend full dear.
1060And so it hath been told us, / ere these four days were o’er,
Marks full thirty thousand, / yea, in sooth, and more,
For his soul’s reposing / to the poor were given there:
The while that lay all broken / his life and eke his body fair.
1061When ended was the service / and full the masses sung,
In unrestrained sorrow / there the flock did throng.
They bade that from the minster / he to the grave be borne.
Them that fain had kept him / there beheld ye weep and mourn.
1062Thence full loud lamenting / did the people with him pass.
Unmoved there never any / nor man nor woman was.
Ere that in grave they laid him / chanted they and read.
What host of priests full worthy / at his burial were gatheréd!
1063Ere that the wife of Siegfried / was come unto the grave,
With water from the fountain / full oft her face they lave,
So struggled with her sorrow / the faithful lady fair.
Great beyond all measure / was the grief that she did bear.
1064It was a mickle wonder / that e’er her life she kept.
Many a lady was there / that helped her as she wept.
Then spake the queen full noble: / “Ye men that service owe
To Siegfried, as ye love me, / now to me a mercy show.
1065“Upon this sorrow grant ye / the little grace to me
That I his shining visage / yet once more may see.”
So filled she was with anguish / and so long time she sought,
Perforce they must break open / the casket all so fairly wrought.
1066Where she did see him lying / they then the lady led.
With hand full white and spotless / raised she his fair head;
Then kissed she there all lifeless / the good and noble knight,—
And wept so that for sorrow / ran blood from out her eyes so bright.
1067Mournful was the parting / that then did rend the twain.
Thence away they bore her, / nor might she walk again,
But in a swoon did senseless / the stately lady lie.
In sooth her winsome body / for sorrow sore was like to die.
1068When they the knight full noble / now in the grave had laid,
Beheld ye every warrior / beyond all measure sad
That with him was come hither / from Nibelung country.
Full seldom joyous-hearted / might ye royal Siegmund see.
1069And many were among them / that for sorrow great
Till three days were over / did nor drink nor eat.
Yet might they not their bodies / long leave uncared-for so:
For food they turned from mourning / as people still are wont to do.

wie Sigemunt wider ze lande vuor
{ 18 }
How Siegmund fared Home Again.
1070Then went royal Siegmund / where he Kriemhild found.
Unto the queen spake he: / “Home must we now be bound.
We ween that guests unwelcome / here are we by the Rhine.
Kriemhild, belovéd lady, / come now to country that is mine.
1071“Though from us hath been taken / by foul traitor’s hand
Thy good spouse and noble / here in stranger land,
Thine be it not to suffer: / good friend thou hast in me
For sake of son belovéd: / thereof shalt thou undoubting be.
1072“Eke shalt thou have, good lady, / all the power to hold,
The which erstwhile hath shown thee / Siegfried the thane full bold.
The land and the crown likewise, / be they thine own to call,
And gladly eke shall serve thee / Siegfried’s doughty warriors all.”
1073Then did they tell the servants / that they thence would ride,
And straight to fetch the horses / these obedient hied.
’Mid such as so did hate them / it grieved them more to stay:
Ladies high and maidens / were bidden dress them for the way.
1074When that for royal Siegmund / stood ready horse and man,
Her kinsmen Lady Kriemhild / to beseech began
That she from her mother / would still forbear to go.
Then spake the lofty lady: / “That might hardly yet be so.
1075“How might I for ever / look with eyes upon
Him that to me, poor woman, / such evil thing hath done?”
Then spake the youthful Giselher: / “Sister to me full dear,
By thy goodness shalt thou / tarry with thy mother here.”
1076“Who in this wise have harmed thee / and so grieved thy heart,
Thyself may’st spurn their service: / of what is mine take part.”
Unto the knight she answered: / “Such thing may never be.
For die I must for sorrow / when that Hagen I should see.”
1077“From need thereof I’ll save thee, / sister full dear to me,
For with thy brother Giselher / shalt thou ever be.
I’ll help to still thy sorrow / that thy husband lieth dead.”
Then spake she sorrow-stricken: / “Thereof in sooth had Kriemhild need.”
1078When that the youthful Giselher / such kindly offer made,
Then her mother Ute / and Gernot likewise prayed,
And all her faithful kinsmen, / that she would tarry there:
For that in Siegfried’s country / but few of her own blood there were.
1079“To thee they all are strangers,” / did Gernot further say.
Nor lived yet man so mighty / but dead at last he lay.
Bethink thee that, dear sister, / in comfort of thy mood.
Stay thou amid thy kinsmen, / I counsel truly for thy good.”
1080To Giselher she promised / that she would tarry there.
For the men of Siegmund / the horses ready were,
When they thence would journey / to the Nibelungen land:
On carrying-horses laden / the knights’ attire did ready stand.
1081Went the royal Siegmund / unto Kriemhild then;
He spake unto the lady: / “Now do Siegfried’s men
Await thee by the horses. / Straight shall we hence away,
For ’mid the men of Burgundy / unwilling would I longer stay.”
1082Then spake the Lady Kriemhild: / “My friends have counselled me,
That by the love I bear them, / here my home shall be,
For that no kinsmen have I / in the Nibelungen land.”
Grieved full sore was Siegmund / when he did Kriemhild understand.
1083Then spake the royal Siegmund: / “To such give not thine ear,
A queen ’mid all my kinsmen, / thou a crown shalt wear
And wield as lordly power / as e’er till now thou hast.
Nor thou a whit shalt forfeit, / that we the hero thus have lost.
1084“And journey with us thither, / for child’s sake eke of thine:
Him shalt thou never, lady, / an orphan leave to pine.
When hath grown thy son to manhood, / he’ll comfort thee thy mood.
Meanwhile shall ready serve thee / many a warrior keen and good.”
1085She spake: “O royal Siegmund, / I may not thither ride,
For I here must tarry, / whate’er shall me betide,
’Mid them that are my kinsmen, / who’ll help my grief to share.”
The knights had sore disquiet / that such tidings they must hear.
1086“So might we say full truly,” / spake they every one,
“That unto us still greater / evil now were done,
Would’st thou longer tarry / here amid our foes:
In sooth were never journey / of knights to court more full of woes.”
1087“Now may ye free from trouble / in God’s protection fare:
I’ll bid that trusty escort / shall you have in care
Unto Siegmund’s country. / My child full dear to me,
Unto your knights’ good mercy / let it well commended be.”
1088When that they well perceived / how she would not depart,
Wept all the men of Siegmund / and sad they were at heart.
In what right heavy sorrow / Siegmund then took leave
Of the Lady Kriemhild! / Full sore thereover must he grieve.
1089“Woe worth this journey hither,” / the lofty monarch spake.
“Henceforth from merry meeting / shall nevermore o’ertake
King or his faithful kinsmen / what here our meed hath been.
Here ’mid the men of Burgundy / may we never be more seen.”
1090Then spake the men of Siegfried / in open words and plain:
“An might we right discover / who our lord hath slain,
Warriors bent on vengeance / shall yet lay waste this ground.
Among his kin in plenty / may doughty foemen be found.”
1091Anon he kissed Kriemhild / and spake sorrowfully,
When she there would tarry, / and he the same did see:
“Now ride we joy-forsaken / home unto our land.
First now what ’tis to sorrow / do I rightly understand.”
1092From Worms away sans escort / unto the Rhine they rode:
I ween that they full surely / did go in such grim mood,
That had against them any / aught of evil dared,
Hand of keen Nibelungen / had known full well their life to guard.
1093Nor parting hand they offered / to any that were there.
Then might ye see how Gernot / and likewise Giselher
Did give him loving greeting. / That as their very own
They felt the wrong he suffered, / by the courteous knights and brave was shown.
1094Then spake in words full kindly / the royal knight Gernot:
“God in heaven knoweth / that of guilt I’ve naught
In the death of Siegfried, / that e’er I e’en did hear
Who here to him were hostile. / Well may I of thy sorrow share.”
1095An escort safe did furnish / the young knight Giselher:
Forth from out that country / he led them full of care,
The monarch with his warriors, / to Netherland their home.
How joyless is the greeting / as thither to their kin they come!
1096How fared that folk thereafter, / that can I nowise say.
Here heard ye Kriemhild plaining / as day did follow day,
That none there was to comfort / her heart and sorry mood,
Did Giselher not do it; / he faithful was to her and good.
1097The while the fair Queen Brunhild / in mood full haughty sat,
And weep howe’er did Kriemhild, / but little recked she that,
Nor whit to her of pity / displayed she evermore.
Anon was Lady Kriemhild / eke cause to her of sorrow sore.

wie der Nibelunge hort ze Wormez kom
{ 19 }
How the Nibelungen Hoard was Brought to Worms.
1098When that the noble Kriemhild / thus did widowed stand,
Remained there with his warriors / by her in that land
Eckewart the margrave, / and served her ever true.
And he did help his mistress / oft to mourn his master too.
1099At Worms a house they built her / the minster high beside,
That was both rich and spacious, / full long and eke full wide,
Wherein with her attendants / joyless did she dwell.
She sought the minster gladly, / — that to do she loved full well.
1100Seldom undone she left it, / but thither went alway
In sorry mood where buried / her loved husband lay.
God begged she in his mercy / his soul in charge to keep,
And, to the thane right faithful, / for him full often did she weep.
1101Ute and her attendants / all times a comfort bore,
But yet her heart was stricken / and wounded all so sore
That no whit might avail it / what solace e’er they brought.
For lover taken from her / with such grief her heart was fraught,
1102As ne’er for spouse belovéd / a wife did ever show.
Thereby how high in virtue / she stood ye well might know.
She mourned until her ending / and while did last her life.
Anon a mighty vengeance / wreaked the valiant Siegfried’s wife.
1103And so such load of sorrow / for her dead spouse she bore,
The story sayeth truly, / for years full three or more,
Nor ever unto Gunther / any word spake she,
And meantime eke her enemy / Hagen never might she see.
1104Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Now seek’st thou such an end,
That unto thee thy sister / be well-disposéd friend?
Then Nibelungen treasure / let come to this country:
Thereof thou much might’st win thee, / might Kriemhild friendly-minded be.”
1105He spake: “Be that our effort. / My brothers’ love hath she:
Them shall we beg to win her / that she our friend may be,
And that she gladly see it / that we do share her store.”
“I trow it well,” spake Hagen, / “may such thing be nevermore.”
1106Then did he Ortwein / unto the court command
And the margrave Gere. / When both were found at hand,
Thither brought they Gernot / and eke young Giselher.
In friendly manner sought they / to win the Lady Kriemhild there.
1107Then spake of Burgundy / Gernot the warrior strong:
“Lady, the death of Siegfried / thou mournest all too long.
Well will the monarch prove thee / that him he ne’er hath slain.
’Tis heard how that right sorely / thou dost for him unending plain.”
1108She spake: “The king none chargeth: / t’was Hagen’s hand that slew.
When Hagen me did question / where might one pierce him through,
How might e’er thought come to me / that hate his heart did bear?
Then ’gainst such thing to guard me,” / spake she, "had I ta’en good care.
1109“And kept me from betraying / to evil hands his life,
Nor cause of this my weeping / had I his poor lorn wife.
My heart shall hate forever / who this foul deed have done.”
And further to entreat her / young Giselher had soon begun.
1110When that to greet the monarch / a willing mind spake she,
Him soon with noble kinsmen / before her might ye see.
Yet dare might never Hagen / unto her to go:
On her he’d wrought sore evil, / as well his guilty mind did know.
1111When she no hatred meted / unto Gunther as before,
By Hagen to be greeted / were fitting all the more.
Had but by his counsel / no ill to her been done,
So might he all undaunted / unto Kriemhild have gone.
1112Nor e’er was peace new offered / kindred friends among
Sealed with tears so many. / She brooded o’er her wrong.
To all she gave her friendship / save to one man alone.
Nor slain her spouse were ever, / were not the deed by Hagen done.
1113Small time it was thereafter / ere they did bring to pass
That with the Lady Kriemhild / the mighty treasure was,
That from Nibelungen country / she brought the Rhine unto.
It was her bridal portion / and ’twas fairly now her due.
1114For it did journey thither / Gernot and Giselher.
Warriors eighty hundred / Kriemhild commanded there
That they should go and fetch it / where hidden it did lie,
And where the good thane Alberich / with friends did guard it faithfully.
1115When saw they coming warriors / from Rhine the hoard to take,
Alberich the full valiant / to his friends in this wise spake:
“We dare not of the treasure / aught from them withhold:
It is her bridal portion, / — thus the noble queen hath told.
1116“Yet had we never granted,” / spake Alberich, "this to do,
But that in evil manner / the sightless mantle too
With the doughty Siegfried / we alike did lose,
The which did wear at all times / the fair Kriemhild’s noble spouse.
1117“Now alas hath Siegfried / had but evil gain
That from us the sightless mantle / the hero thus hath ta’en,
And so hath forced to serve him / all these lands around.”
Then went forth the porter / where full soon the keys he found.
1118There stood before the mountain / ready Kriemhild’s men,
And her kinsmen with them. / The treasure bore they then
Down unto the water / where the ships they sought:
To where the Rhine flowed downward / across the waves the hoard they brought.
1119Now of the treasure further / may ye a wonder hear:
Heavy wains a dozen / scarce the same might bear
In four days and nights together / from the mountain all away,
E’en did each one of them / thrice the journey make each day.
1120In it was nothing other / than gold and jewels rare.
And if to every mortal / on earth were dealt a share,
Ne’er ’twould make the treasure / by one mark the less.
Not without good reason / forsooth would Hagen it possess.
1121The wish-rod lay among them, / of gold a little wand.
Whosoe’er its powers / full might understand,
The same might make him master / o’er all the race of men.
Of Alberich’s kin full many / with Gernot returned again.
1122When they did store the treasure / in King Gunther’s land,
And to royal Kriemhild / ’twas given ’neath her hand,
Storing-rooms and towers / could scarce the measure hold.
Nevermore such wonder / might of wealth again be told.
1123And had it e’en been greater, / yea a thousandfold,
If but again might Kriemhild / safe her Siegfried hold,
Fain were she empty-handed / of all the boundless store.
Spouse than she more faithful / won a hero nevermore.
1124When now she had the treasure, / she brought into that land
Knights many from far distance. / Yea, dealt the lady’s hand
So freely that such bounty / ne’er before was seen.
High in honor held they / for her goodly heart the queen.
1125Unto both rich and needy / began she so to give
That fearful soon grew Hagen, / if that she would live
Long time in such high power, / lest she of warriors true
Such host might win to serve her, / that cause would be her strength to rue.
1126Spake Gunther then: / “The treasure is hers and freedom too.
Wherefore shall I prevent her, / whate’er therewith she do?
Yea, nigh she did her friendship / from me evermore withhold.
Now reck we not who shareth / or her silver or her gold.”
1127Unto the king spake Hagen: / “No man that boasteth wit
Should to any woman / such hoard to hold permit.
By gifts she yet will bring it / that will come the day
When valiant men of Burgundy / rue it with good reason may.”
1128Then spake the monarch Gunther: / “To her an oath I swore,
That I would cause of evil / to her be nevermore,
Whereof henceforth I’ll mind me: / sister she is to me.”
Then spake further Hagen: / “Let me bear the guilt for thee.”
1129Many they were that kept not / there their plighted word:
From the widow took they / all that mighty hoard:
Every key had Hagen / known to get in hand.
Rage filled her brother Gernot / when he the thing did understand.
1130Then spake the knight Giselher: / “Hagen here hath wrought
Sore evil to my sister: / permit this thing I’ll not.
And were he not my kinsman, / he’d pay it with his life.”
Anew did fall aweeping / then the doughty Siegfried’s wife.
1131Then spake the knight Gernot: / “Ere that forever we
Be troubled with this treasure, / let first commanded be
Deep in the Rhine to sink it, / that no man have it more.”
In sad manner plaining / Kriemhild stood Giselher before.
1132She spake: “Belovéd brother, / be mindful thou of me:
What life and treasure toucheth / shalt thou my protector be.”
Then spake he to the lady: / “That shall sure betide,
When we again come hither: / now called we are away to ride.”
1133The monarch and his kinsmen / rode from out the land,
And in his train the bravest / ye saw on any hand:
Went all save Hagen only, / and there he stayed for hate,
That he did bear to Kriemhild, / and full gladly did he that.
1134Ere that the mighty monarch / was thither come again,
In that while had Hagen / all that treasure ta’en.
Where Loch is by the river / all in the Rhine sank he.
He weened thereof to profit, / yet such thing might never be.
1135The royal knights came thither / again with many a man.
Kriemhild with her maidens / and ladies then began
To mourn the wrong they suffered, / that pity was to hear.
Fain had the faithful Giselher / been unto her a comforter.
1136Then spake they all together: / “Done hath he grievous wrong.”
But he the princes’ anger / avoided yet so long
At last to win their favor. / They let him live sans scathe.
Then filled thereat was Kriemhild / as ne’er before with mickle wrath.
1137Ere that of Tronje Hagen / had hidden thus the hoard,
Had they unto each other / given firm plighted word,
That it should lie concealéd / while one of them might live.
Thereof anon nor could they / to themselves nor unto other give.
1138With renewéd sorrows / heavy she was of heart
That so her dear-loved husband / perforce from life must part,
And that of wealth they reft her. / Therefor she mourned alway,
Nor ever ceased her plaining / until was come her latest day.
1139After the death of Siegfried / dwelt she in sorrow then,
— Saith the tale all truly — / full three years and ten,
Nor in that time did ever / for the knight mourn aught the less.
To him she was right faithful, / must all the folk of her confess.
Buoch II

wie künec Ezel ze Burgonden nâch Kriemhilde sande
{ 20 }
How King Etzel sent to Burgundy for Kriemhild.
1140In that same time when ended / was Lady Helke’s life,
And that the monarch Etzel / did seek another wife,
To take a highborn widow / of the land of Burgundy
Hun his friends did counsel: / Lady Kriemhild hight was she.
1141Since that was ended / the fair Helke’s life,
Spake they: “Wilt thou ever / win for thee noble wife,
The highest and the fairest / that ever king did win,
Take to thee this same lady / that doughty Siegfried’s spouse hath been.”
1142Then spake the mighty monarch: / “How might that come to pass
Since that I am a heathen, / nor named with sign of cross?
The lady is a Christian, / thereto she’ll ne’er agree.
Wrought must be a wonder, / if the thing may ever be.”
1143Then spake again his warriors: / “She yet may do the same.
For sake of thy great power / and thy full lofty name
Shalt thou yet endeavor / such noble wife to gain.
To woo the stately lady / might each monarch high be fain.”
1144Then spake the noble monarch: / “Who is ’mong men of mine,
That knoweth land and people / dwelling far by Rhine?”
Spake then of Bechelaren / the trusty Ruediger:
“I have known from childhood / the noble queen that dwelleth there.
1145“And Gunther and Gernot, / the noble knights and good,
And hight the third is Giselher: / whatever any should
That standeth high in honor / and virtue, doth each one:
Eke from eld their fathers / have in like noble manner done.”
1146Then spake again Etzel: / “Friend, now shalt thou tell,
If she within my country / crown might wear full well —
For be she fair of body / as hath been told to me,
My friends for this their counsel / shall ever full requited be.”
1147“She likeneth in beauty / well my high lady,
Helke that was so stately. / Nor forsooth might be
In all this world a fairer / spouse of king soe’er.
Whom taketh she for wooer, / glad of heart and mind he were.”
1148He spake: “Make trial, Ruediger, / as thou hold’st me dear.
And if by Lady Kriemhild / e’er I lie full near,
Therefor will I requite thee / as in best mode I may:
So hast thou then fulfilled / all my wish in fullest way.
1149“Stores from out my treasure / I’ll bid to thee to give,
That thou with thy companions / merry long shalt live,
Of steeds and rich apparel / what thou wilt have to share.
Thereof unto thy journey / I’ll bid in measure full prepare.”
1150Thereto did give him answer / the margrave Ruediger:
“Did I thy treasure covet / unworthy thing it were.
Gladly will I thy messenger / be unto the Rhine,
From my own store provided: / all have I e’en from hand of thine.”
1151Then spake the mighty monarch: / “When now wilt thou fare
To seek the lovely lady? / God of thee have care
To keep thee on thy journey / and eke a wife to me.
Therein good fortune help me, / that she to us shall gracious be.”
1152Then again spake Ruediger: / “Ere that this land we quit,
Must we first prepare us / arms and apparel fit,
That we may thus in honor / in royal presence stand.
To the Rhine I’ll lead five hundred / warriors, a doughty band.
1153“Wherever they in Burgundy / me and my men may see,
Shall they all and single / then confess of thee
That ne’er from any monarch / so many warriors went
As now to bear thy message / thou far unto the Rhine hast sent.
1154“May it not, O mighty monarch, / thee from thy purpose move:
Erstwhile unto Siegfried / she gave her noble love,
Who scion is of Siegmund: / him thou here hast seen.
Worthy highest honor / verily the knight had been.”
1155Then answered him King Etzel: / “Was she the warrior’s wife,
So worthy was of honor / the noble prince in life,
That I the royal lady / therefor no whit despise.
’Tis her surpassing beauty / that shall be joy unto mine eyes.”
1156Then further spake the margrave: / “Hear then what I do say:
After days four-and-twenty / shall we from hence away.
Tidings to Gotelinde / I’ll send, my spouse full dear,
That I to Lady Kriemhild / myself will be thy messenger.”
1157Away to Bechelaren / sent then Ruediger.
Both sad his spouse and joyous / was the news to hear.
He told how for the monarch / a wife he was to woo:
With love she well remembered / the fair Lady Helke too.
1158When that the margravine / did the message hear,
In part ’twas sorrow to her, / and weep she must in fear
At having other mistress / than hers had been before.
To think on Lady Helke / did grieve her inmost heart full sore.
1159Ruediger from Hunland / in seven days did part,
Whereat the monarch Etzel / merry was of heart.
When at Vienna city / all was ready for the way,
To begin the journey / might he longer not delay.
1160At Bechelaren waited / Gotelinde there,
And eke the young margravine, / daughter of Ruediger,
Was glad at thought her father / and all his men to see.
And many a lovely maiden / looked to the coming joyfully.
1161Ere that to Bechelaren / rode noble Ruediger
From out Vienna city, / was rich equipment there
For them in fullest measure / on carrying-horses brought,
That went in such wise guarded / that robber hand disturbed them not.
1162When they at Bechelaren / within the town did stand,
His fellows on the journey / did the host command
To lead to fitting quarters / and tend carefully.
The stately Gotelinde, / glad she was her spouse to see.
1163Eke his lovely daughter / the youthful margravine,—
To her had nothing dearer / than his coming been.
The warriors too from Hunland, / what joy for her they make!
With a laughing spirit / to all the noble maiden spake:
1164“Be now to us right welcome, / my father and all his men.”
Fairest thanks on all sides / saw ye offered then
Unto the youthful margravine / by many a valiant knight.
How Ruediger was minded / knew Gotelinde aright.
1165When then that night she / by Ruediger lay,
Questioned him the margravine / in full loving way,
Wherefore had sent him thither / the king of Hunland.
He spake: “My Lady Gotelinde, / that shalt thou gladly understand.
1166“My master now hath sent me / to woo him other wife,
Since that by death was ended / the fair Helke’s life.
Now will I to Kriemhild / ride unto the Rhine:
She shall here in Hunland / be spouse to him and stately queen.”
1167“God will it,” spake Gotelinde, / “and well the same might be,
Since that so high in honor / ever standeth she.
The death of my good mistress / we then may better bear;
Eke might we grant her gladly / among the Huns a crown to wear.”
1168Then spake to her the margrave: / “Thou shalt, dear lady mine,
To them that shall ride with me / thither unto the Rhine,
In right bounteous manner / deal out a goodly share.
Good knights go lighter-hearted / when they well provided fare.”
1169She spake: “None is among them, / an he would take from me,
But I will give whatever / to him may pleasing be,
Ere that ye part thither, / thou and thy good men.”
Thereto spake the margrave: / “So dost thou all my wishes then.”
1170Silken stuffs in plenty / they from her chamber bore,
And to the knights full noble / dealt out in goodly store,
Mantles lined all richly / from collar down to spur.
What for the journey pleased him / did choose therefrom Sir Ruediger.
1171Upon the seventh morning / from Bechelaren went
The knight with train of warriors. / Attire and armament
Bore they in fullest measure / through the Bavarian land,
And ne’er upon the journey / dared assail them robber band.
1172Unto the Rhine then came they / ere twelve days were flown,
And there were soon the tidings / of their coming known.
’Twas told unto the monarch / and with him many a man,
How strangers came unto him. / To question then the king began,
1173If any was did know them, / for he would gladly hear.
They saw their carrying-horses / right heavy burdens bear:
That they were knights of power / knew they well thereby.
Lodgings they made them ready / in the wide city speedily.
1174When that the strangers / had passed within the gate
Every eye did gaze on / the knights that came in state,
And mickle was the wonder / whence to the Rhine they came.
Then sent the king for Hagen, / if he perchance might know the same.
1175Then spake he of Tronje: / “These knights I ne’er have seen,
Yet when we now behold them / I’ll tell thee well, I ween,
From whence they now ride hither / unto this country.
An I not straightway know them, / from distant land in sooth they be.”
1176For the guests fit lodgings / now provided were.
Clad in rich apparel / came the messenger,
And to the court his fellows / did bear him company.
Sumptuous attire / wore they, wrought full cunningly.
1177Then spake the doughty Hagen: / “As far as goes my ken,
For that long time the noble / knight I not have seen,
Come they in such manner / as were it Ruediger,
The valiant thane from Hunland, / that leads the stately riders here.”
1178Then straightway spake the monarch: / “How shall I understand
That he of Bechelaren / should come unto this land?”
Scarce had King Gunther / his mind full spoken there,
When saw full surely Hagen / that ’twas the noble Ruediger.
1179He and his friends then hastened / with warmest welcoming.
Then saw ye knights five hundred / adown from saddle spring,
And were those knights of Hunland / received in fitting way.
Messengers ne’er beheld ye / attired in so fine array.
1180Hagen of Tronje, / with voice full loud spake he:
“Unto these thanes full noble / a hearty welcome be,
To the lord of Bechelaren / and his men every one.”
Thereat was fitting honor / done to every valiant Hun.
1181The monarch’s nearest kinsmen / went forth the guests to meet.
Of Metz the knight Sir Ortwein / Ruediger thus did greet:
“The while our life hath lasted, / never yet hath guest
Here been seen so gladly: / be that in very truth confessed.”
1182For that greeting thanked they / the brave knights one and all.
With train of high attendants / they passed unto the hall,
Where valiant men a many / stood round the monarch’s seat.
The king arose from settle / in courteous way the guests to greet.
1183Right courteously he greeted / then the messenger.
Gunther and Gernot, / full busy both they were
For stranger and companions / a welcome fit to make.
The noble knight Sir Ruediger / by the hand the king did take.
1184He led him to the settle / where himself he sat:
He bade pour for the strangers / (a welcome work was that)
Mead the very choicest / and the best of wine,
That e’er ye might discover / in all the lands about the Rhine.
1185Giselher and Gere / joined the company too,
Eke Dankwart and Volker, / when that they knew
The coming of the strangers: / glad they were of mood,
And greeted ’fore the monarch / fair the noble knights and good.
1186Then spake unto his master / of Tronje the knight:
“Let our thanes seek ever / fully to requite
What erstwhile the margrave / in love to us hath done:
Fair Gotelinde’s husband / our gratitude full well hath won.”
1187Thereto spake King Gunther: / “Withhold it not I may.
How they both do bear them, / tell me now, I pray,
Etzel and Helke / afar in Hunland.”
Then answered him the margrave: / “Fain would I have thee understand.”
1188Then rose he from the settle / and his men every one.
He spake unto the monarch: / “An may the thing be done,
And is’t thy royal pleasure, / so will I naught withhold,
But the message that I bring thee / shall full willingly be told.”
1189He spake: “What tale soever, / doth this thy message make,
I grant thee leave to tell it, / nor further counsel take.
Now shalt thou let us hear it, / me and my warriors too,
For fullest leave I grant thee / thy high purpose to pursue.”
1190Then spake the upright messenger: / “Hither to thee at Rhine
Doth faithful service tender / master high of mine;
To all thy kinsmen likewise, / as many as may be:
Eke is this my message / borne in all good will to thee.
1191“To thee the noble monarch / bids tell his tale of need.
His folk ’s forlorn and joyless; / my mistress high is dead,
Helke the full stately / my good master’s wife,
Whereby now is orphaned / full many a fair maiden’s life,
1192“Children of royal parents / for whom hath cared her hand:
Thereby doth the country / in plight full sorry stand.
Alack, nor is there other / that them with love may tend.
I ween the time long distant / eke when the monarch’s grief shall end.”
1193“God give him meed,” spake Gunther, / “that he so willingly
Doth offer thus good service / to my kinsmen and to me —
I joy that I his greeting / here have heard this day —
The which with glad endeavor / my kinsmen and my men shall pay.”
1194Thereto the knight of Burgundy, / the valiant Gernot, said:
“The world may ever rue it / that Helke fair lies dead,
So manifold the virtues / that did her life adorn.”
A willing testimony / by Hagen to the words was borne.
1195Thereto again spake Ruediger / the noble messenger:
“Since thou, O king, dost grant it, / shalt thou now further hear
What message ’tis my master / beloved hath hither sent,
For that since death of Helke / his days he hath in sorrow spent.
1196“’Tis told my lord that Kriemhild / doth widowed live alone,
And dead is doughty Siegfried. / May now such thing be done,
And wilt thou grant that favor, / a crown she then shall wear
Before the knights of Etzel: / this message from my lord I bear.”
1197Then spake the mighty monarch / — a king he was of grace —
“My will in this same matter / she’ll hear, an so she please.
Thereof will I instruct thee / ere three days are passed by —
Ere I her mind have sounded, / wherefore to Etzel this deny?”
1198Meanwhile for the strangers / bade they make cheer the best
In sooth so were they tended / that Ruediger confessed
He had ’mong men of Gunther / of friends a goodly store.
Hagen full glad did serve him, / as he had Hagen served of yore.
1199Thus there did tarry Ruediger / until the third day.
The king did counsel summon / — he moved in wisest way —
If that unto his kinsmen / seemed it fitting thing,
That Kriemhild take unto her / for spouse Etzel the king.
1200Together all save Hagen / did the thing advise,
And unto King Gunther / spake he in this wise:
“An hast thou still thy senses, / of that same thing beware,
That, be she ne’er so willing, / thou lend’st thyself her will to share.”
1201“Wherefore,” spake then Gunther, / “should I allow it not?
Whene’er doth fortune favor / Kriemhild in aught,
That shall I gladly grant her, / for sister dear is she.
Yea, ought ourselves to seek it, / might it but her honor be.”
1202Thereto gave answer Hagen: / “Now such words give o’er.
Were Etzel known unto thee / as unto me of yore,
And did’st thou grant her to him, / as ’tis thy will I hear,
Then wouldst thou first have reason / for thy later weal to fear.”
1203“Wherefore?” spake then Gunther. / “Well may I care for that,
E’er to thwart his temper / that so I aught of hate
At his hands should merit, / an if his wife she be.”
Thereto gave answer Hagen: / “Such counsel hast thou ne’er of me.”
1204Then did they bid for Gernot / and Giselher to go,
For wished they of the royal / twain their mind to know,
If that the mighty monarch / Kriemhild for spouse should take.
Yet Hagen and none other / thereto did opposition make.
1205Then spake of Burgundy / Giselher the thane:
“Well may’st thou now, friend Hagen, / show upright mind again:
For sorrows wrought upon her / may’st thou her well requite.
Howe’er she findeth fortune, / ne’er should it be in thy despite.”
1206“Yea, hast thou to my sister / so many sorrows done,”
So spake further Giselher, / the full noble thane,
“That fullest reason hath she / to mete thee naught but hate.
In sooth was never lady / than she bereft of joy more great.”
1207“What I do know full certain, / that known to all I make:
If e’er shall come the hour / that she do Etzel take,
She’ll work us yet sore evil, / howe’er the same she plan.
Then in sooth will serve her / full many a keen and doughty man.”
1208In answer then to Hagen / the brave Gernot said:
“With us doth lie to leave it / until they both be dead,
Ere that we ride ever / unto Etzel’s land.
That we be faithful to her / doth honor meantime sure command.”
1209Thereto again spake Hagen: / “Gainsay me here may none.
And shall the noble Kriemhild / e’er sit ’neath Helke’s crown,
Howe’er she that accomplish, / she’ll do us grievous hurt.
Good knights, therefrom to keep you / doth better with your weal consort.”
1210In anger spake then Giselher / the son of Ute the fair:
“None shall yet among us / himself like traitor bear.
What honor e’er befall her, / rejoice thereat should we.
Whate’er thou sayest, Hagen, / true helper shall she find in me.”
1211When that heard it Hagen / straightway waxed he wroth.
Gernot and Giselher / the knights high-minded both,
And Gunther, mighty monarch, / did counsel finally,
If that did wish it Kriemhild, / by them ’twould unopposéd be.
1212Then spake the margrave Gere: / “That lady will I tell
How that of royal Etzel / she may think full well.
In fear are subject to him / brave warriors many a one:
Well may he recompense her / for wrong that e’er to her was done.”
1213Then went the knight full valiant / where he did Kriemhild find,
And straightway spake unto her / upon her greeting kind:
“Me may’st thou gladly welcome / with messengers high meed.
Fortune hath come to part thee / now from all thy bitter need.
1214“For sake of love he bears thee, / lady, doth seek thy hand
One of all the highest / that e’er o’er monarch’s land
Did rule in fullest honor, / or ever crown might wear:
High knights do bring the message, / which same thy brother bids thee hear.”
1215Then spake she rich in sorrow: / “Now God forbid to thee
And all I have of kinsmen / that aught of mockery
They do on me, poor woman. / What were I unto one,
Who e’er at heart the joyance / of a noble wife hath known?”
1216Much did she speak against it. / Anon as well came there
Gernot her brother / and the young Giselher.
In loving wise they begged her / her mourning heart to cheer:
An would she take the monarch, / verily her weal it were.
1217Yet might not then by any / the lady’s mind be bent,
That any man soever / to love she would consent.
Thereon the thanes besought her: / “Now grant the thing to be,
An dost thou nothing further, / that the messenger thou deign’st to see.”
1218“That will I not deny you,” / spake the high lady,
“That the noble Ruediger / I full gladly see,
Such knightly grace adorns him. / Were he not messenger,
And came there other hither / by him I all unspoken were.”
1219She spake: “Upon the morrow / bid him hither fare
Unto this my chamber. / Then shall he fully hear
How that do stand my wishes, / the which I’ll tell him true.”
Of her full grievous sorrow / was she minded thus anew.
1220Eke not else desired / the noble Ruediger
Than that by the lady / leave thus granted were:
He knew himself so skilful, / might he such favor earn,
So should he her full certain / from her spoken purpose turn.
1221Upon the morrow early / when that the mass was sung
Came the noble messengers, / whereof a mickle throng.
They that should Sir Ruediger / to court bear company,
Many a man full stately / in rich apparel might ye see.
1222Kriemhild, dame high-stated, / — full sad she was of mood —
There Ruediger awaited, / the noble knight and good.
He found her in such raiment / as daily she did wear:
The while were her attendants / in dresses clad full rich and rare,
1223Unto the threshold went she / the noble guest to meet,
And the man of Etzel / did she full kindly greet.
Twelve knights there did enter, / himself and eleven more,
And well were they received: / to her such guests came ne’er before.
1224The messenger to seat him / and his men they gave command.
The twain valiant margraves / saw ye before her stand,
Eckewart and Gere, / the noble knights and keen,
Such was the lady’s sorrow, / none saw ye there of cheerful mien.
1225They saw before her sitting / full many a lady fair,
And yet the Lady Kriemhild / did naught but sorrow there.
The dress upon her bosom / was wet with tears that fell,
And soon the noble margrave / perceived her mickle grief full well.
1226Then spake the lofty messenger: / “Daughter of king full high,
To me and these my fellows / that bear me company
Deign now the grace to grant us / that we before thee stand
And tell to thee the tidings / wherefore we rode unto thy land.”
1227“That grace to thee is granted,” / spake the lofty queen;
“Whate’er may be thy message, / I’ll let it now be seen
That I do hear it gladly: / thou’rt welcome messenger.”
That fruitless was their errand / deemed the others well to hear.
1228Then spake of Bechelaren / the noble Ruediger:
“Pledge of true love unto thee / from lofty king I bear,
Etzel who bids thee, lady, / here royal compliment:
He hath to woo thy favor / knights full worthy hither sent.
1229“His love to thee he offers / full heartily and free:
Fidelity that lasteth / he plighteth unto thee,
As erst to Lady Helke / who o’er his heart held sway.
Yea, thinking on her virtues / hath he full oft had joyless day.”
1230Then spake the royal lady: / “O Margrave Ruediger,
If that known to any / my sharp sorrows were,
Besought then were I never / again to take me spouse.
Such ne’er was won by lady / as the husband I did lose.”
1231“What is that sootheth sorrow,” / the valiant knight replied,
“An be’t not loving friendship / whene’er that may betide,
And that each mortal choose him / who his delight shall be?
Naught is that so availeth / to keep the heart from sorrow free.
1232“Wilt thou minded be to love him, / this noble master mine,
O’er mighty crowns a dozen / the power shall be thine.
Thereto of princes thirty / my lord shall give thee land,
The which hath all subdued / the prowess of his doughty hand.
1233“O’er many a knight full worthy / eke mistress shalt thou be
That my Lady Helke / did serve right faithfully,
And over many a lady / that served amid her train,
Of high and royal lineage,” / spake the keen and valiant thane.
1234“Thereto my lord will give thee / — he bids to thee make known —
If that beside the monarch / thou deign’st to wear a crown,
Power in fullest measure / that Helke e’er might boast:
The same in lordly manner / shalt thou wield o’er Etzel’s host.”
1235Then spake the royal lady: / “How might again my life
Have thereof desire / to be a hero’s wife?
Hath death in one already / wrought me such sorrows sore,
That joyless must my days be / from this time for evermore.”
1236Then spake the men of Hunland: / “O royal high lady,
Thy life shall there by Etzel / so full of honor be
Thy heart ’twill ever gladden / if but may be such thing:
Full many a thane right stately / doth homage to the mighty king.
1237“Might but Helke’s maidens / and they that wait on thee
E’er be joined together / in one royal company,
Well might brave knights to see them / wax merry in their mood.
Be, lady, now persuaded / — ’tis verily thy surest good.”
1238She spake in courteous manner: / “Let further parley be
Until doth come the morrow. / Then hither come to me.
So will I give my answer / to bear upon your way.”
The noble knights and worthy / must straight therein her will obey.
1239When all from thence were parted / and had their lodgings sought,
Then bade the noble lady / that Giselher be brought,
And eke with him her mother. / To both she then did tell
That meet for her was weeping, / and naught might fit her mood so well.
1240Then spake her brother Giselher: / “Sister, to me ’tis told —
And well may I believe it — / that thy grief manifold
Etzel complete will scatter, / an tak’st thou him for man.
Whate’er be other’s counsel, / meseems it were a thing well done.”
1241Further eke spake Giselher: / “Console thee well may he.
From Rhone unto Rhine river, / from Elbe unto the sea,
King there is none other / that holds so lordly sway.
An he for spouse do take thee, / gladden thee full well he may.”
1242“Brother loved full dearly, / wherefore dost counsel it?
To mourn and weep forever / doth better me befit.
How may I ’mid warriors / appear in royal state?
Was ever fair my body, / of beauty now ’tis desolate.”
1243Then spake the Lady Ute / her daughter dear unto:
“The thing thy brother counsels, / my loving child, that do.
By thy friends be guided, / then with thee well ’twill be.
Long time it now hath grieved me / thee thus disconsolate to see.”
1244Then prayed she God with fervor / that he might her provide
With store of gold and silver / and raiment rich beside,
As erstwhile when her husband / did live a stately thane:
Since then so happy hour / never had she known again.
1245In her own bosom thought she: / “An shall I not deny
My body to a heathen / — a Christian lady I —
So must I while life lasteth / have shame to be my own.
An gave he realms unnumbered, / such thing by me might ne’er be done.”
1246And there withal she left it. / The night through until day,
Upon her couch the lady / with mind full troubled lay.
Nor yet her eyes full shining / of tears at all were free,
Until upon the morrow / forth to matins issued she.
1247When for mass was sounded, / came there the kings likewise.
Again did they their sister / by faithful word advise
To take for spouse unto her / of Hunland the king.
All joyless was the visage / they saw the lady thither bring.
1248They bade the men of Etzel / thither lead again,
Who unto their country / fain their leave had ta’en,
Their message won or fruitless, / how that soe’er might be.
Unto the court came Ruediger. / Full eager were his company
1249By the knight to be informéd / how the thing befell,
And if betimes they knew it / ’twould please them all full well,
For weary was the journey / and long unto their land.
Soon did the noble Ruediger / again in Kriemhild’s presence stand.
1250In full earnest manner / then the knight gan pray
The high royal lady / that she to him might say
What were from her the message / to Etzel he should bear.
Naught but denial only / did he from the lady hear,
1251For that her love might never / by man again be won.
Thereto spake the margrave: / “Ill such thing were done.
Wherefore such fair body / wilt thou to ruin give?
Spouse of knight full worthy / may’st thou yet in honor live.”
1252Naught booted how they besought her, / till that Ruediger
Spake in secret manner / in the high lady’s ear,
How Etzel should requite her / for ills she e’er did know.
Then gan her mickle sorrow / milder at the thought to grow.
1253Unto the queen then spake he: / “Let now thy weeping be.
If ’mong the Huns hadst thou / other none than me
And my faithful kinsmen / and my good men alone,
Sorely must he repay it / who hath aught to thee of evil done.”
1254Thereat apace all lighter / the lady’s sorrow grew,
She spake: “So swear thou truly, / what any ’gainst me do,
That thou wilt be the foremost / my sorrows to requite.”
Thereto spake the margrave: / “Lady, to thee my word I plight.”
1255With all his men together / sware then Ruediger
Faithfully to serve her, / and in all things whatsoe’er
Naught would e’er deny her / the thanes from Etzel’s land,
Whereof she might have honor: / thereto gave Ruediger his hand.
1256Then thought the faithful lady: / “Since I thus have won
Band of friends so faithful, / care now have I none
How shall speak the people / in my sore need of me.
The death of my loved husband / perchance shall yet avengéd be.”
1257Thought she: “Since hath Etzel / so many knights and true,
An shall I but command them, / whate’er I will I do.
Eke hath he such riches / that free may be my hand:
Bereft of all my treasure / by Hagen’s faithless art I stand.”
1258Then spake she unto Ruediger: / “Were it not, as I do know,
The king is yet a heathen, / so were I fain to go
Whithersoe’er he willed it, / and take him for my lord.”
Thereto spake the margrave: / “Lady, no longer hold such word.
1259“Such host he hath of warriors / who Christians are as we,
That beside the monarch / may care ne’er come to thee.
Yea, may he be baptized / through thee to Christian life:
Well may’st thou then rejoice thee / to be the royal Etzel’s wife.”
1260Then spake again her brother: / “Sister, thy favor lend,
That now all thy sorrow / thereby may have an end.”
And so long they besought her / that full of sadness she
Her word at length had plighted / the monarch Etzel’s wife to be.
1261She spake: “You will I follow, / I most lorn lady,
That I fare to Hunland, / as soon as it may be
That I friends have ready / to lead me to his land.”
Before the knights assembled / fair Kriemhild pledged thereto her hand.
1262Then spake again the margrave: / “Two knights do serve thee true,
And I thereof have many: / ’tis easy thing to do,
That thee with fitting honor / across the Rhine we guide.
Nor shalt thou, lady, longer / here in Burgundy abide.
1263“Good men have I five hundred, / and eke my kinsmen stand
Ready here to serve thee / and far in Etzel’s land,
Lady, at thy bidding. / And I do pledge the same,
Whene’er thou dost admonish, / to serve thee without cause for shame.
1264“Now bid with full equipment / thy horses to prepare:
Ruediger’s true counsel / will bring thee sorrow ne’er;
And tell it to thy maidens / whom thou wilt take with thee.
Full many a chosen warrior / on the way shall join our company.”
1265They had full rich equipment / that once their train arrayed
The while that yet lived Siegfried, / so might she many a maid
In honor high lead with her, / as she thence would fare.
What steeds all rich caparisoned / awaited the high ladies there!
1266If till that time they ever / in richest dress were clad,
Thereof now for their journey / full store was ready made,
For that they of the monarch / had such tidings caught.
From chests longtime well bolted / forth the treasures rich were brought.
1267Little were they idle / until the fifth day,
But sought rich dress that folded / secure in covers lay.
Kriemhild wide did open / all her treasure there,
And largess great would give she / unto the men of Ruediger.
1268Still had she of the treasure / of Nibelungenland,
(She weened the same in Hunland / to deal with bounteous hand)
So great that hundred horses / ne’er the whole might bear.
How stood the mind of Kriemhild, / came the tidings unto Hagen’s ear.
1269He spake: “Since Kriemhild never / may me in favor hold,
E’en so here must tarry / Siegfried’s store of gold.
Wherefore unto mine enemies / such mickle treasure go?
What with the treasure Kriemhild / intendeth, that full well I know.
1270“Might she but take it thither, / in sooth believe I that,
’Twould be dealt out in largess / to stir against me hate.
Nor own they steeds sufficient / the same to bear away.
‘Twill safe be kept by Hagen / — so shall they unto Kriemhild say.”
1271When she did hear the story, / with grief her heart was torn.
Eke unto the monarchs / all three the tale was borne.
Fain would they prevent it: / yet when that might not be,
Spake the noble Ruediger / in this wise full joyfully:
1272“Wherefore, queen full stately, / weep’st thou o’er this gold?
For thee will King Etzel / in such high favor hold
When but his eyes behold thee, / to thee such store he’ll give
That ne’er thou may’st exhaust it: / that, lady, by my word believe.”
1273Thereto the queen gave answer: / “Full noble Ruediger,
Greater treasure never / king’s daughter had for share
Than this that Hagen from me / now hath ta’en away.”
Then went her brother Gernot / to the chamber where the treasure lay.
1274With force he stuck the monarch’s / key into the door,
And soon of Kriemhild’s treasure / they from the chamber bore
Marks full thirty thousand / or e’en more plenteously.
He bade the guests to take it, / which pleased King Gunther well to see.
1275Then Gotelinde’s husband / of Bechelaren spake:
“An if my Lady Kriemhild / with her complete might take
What treasure e’er came hither / from Nibelungenland,
Ne’er a whit would touch it / mine or my royal lady’s hand.
1276“Now bid them here to keep it, / for ne’er the same I’ll touch.
Yea brought I from my country / of mine own wealth so much,
That we upon our journey / may be full well supplied,
And ne’er have lack in outlay / as in state we homeward ride.”
1277Chests well filled a dozen / from the time of old
Had for their own her maidens, / of the best of gold
That e’er ye might discover: / now thence away ’twas borne,
And jewels for the ladies / upon the journey to be worn.
1278Of the might she yet was fearful / of Hagen grim and bold.
Still had she of mass-money / a thousand marks in gold,
That gave she for the soul’s rest / of her husband dear.
Such loving deed and faithful / did touch the heart of Ruediger.
1279Then spake the lady mournful: / “Who now that loveth me,
And for the love they bear me / may willing exiles be,
Who with me to Hunland / now away shall ride?
Take they of my treasure / and steeds and meet attire provide.”
1280Then did the margrave Eckewart / answer thus the queen:
“Since I from the beginning / of thy train have been,
Have I e’er right faithful / served thee,” spake the thane,
“And to the end I’ll ever / thus faithful unto thee remain.
1281“Eke will I lead with me / five hundred of my men,
Whom I grant to serve thee / in faithful way again.
Nor e’er shall we be parted / till that we be dead.”
Low bowing thanked him Kriemhild, / as verily might be his meed.
1282Forth were brought the horses, / for that they thence would fare.
Then was a mickle weeping / of friends that parted there.
Ute, queen full stately, / and many a lady more
Showed that from Lady Kriemhild / to part did grieve their hearts full sore.
1283A hundred stately maidens / with her she led away,
And as for them was fitting, / full rich was their array.
Many a bitter tear-drop / from shining eye fell down:
Yet joys knew they full many / eke in Etzel’s land anon.
1284Thither came Sir Giselher / and Gernot as well,
And with them train of followers, / as duty did compel.
Safe escort would they furnish / for their dear sister then,
And with them led of warriors / a thousand brave and stately men.
1285Then came the valiant Gere, / and Ortwein eke came he:
Rumold the High Steward / might not absent be.
Unto the Danube did they / night-quarters meet provide.
Short way beyond the city / did the royal Gunther ride.
1286Ere from the Rhine they started / had they forward sent
Messengers that full quickly / unto Hunland went,
And told unto the monarch / how that Ruediger
For spouse at length had won him / the high-born queen beyond compare.

wie Kriemhilt gên den Hiunen vuor
{ 21 }
How Kriemhild fared to the Huns.
1287The messengers leave we riding. / Now shall ye understand
How did the Lady Kriemhild / journey through the land,
And where from her were parted / Gernot and Giselher.
Upon her had they waited / as faithful unto her they were.
1288As far as to the Danube / at Vergen did they ride,
Where must be the parting / from their royal sister’s side,
For that again they homeward / would ride unto the Rhine.
No eye but wet from weeping / in all the company was seen.
1289Giselher the valiant / thus to his sister said:
“If that thou ever, lady, / need hast of my aid,
And fronts thee aught of trouble, / give me to understand,
And straight I’ll ride to serve thee / afar unto King Etzel’s land.”
1290Upon the mouth then kissed she / all her friends full dear.
The escort soon had taken / eke leave of Ruediger
And the margrave’s warriors / in manner lovingly.
With the queen upon her journey / went many a maid full fair to see.
1291Four beyond a hundred / there were, all richly clad
In silk of cunning pattern. / Many a shield full broad
On the way did guard the ladies / in hand of valiant thane.
Full many a stately warrior / from thence did backward turn again.
1292Thence away they hastened / down through Bavarian land.
Soon were told the tidings / how that was at hand
A mickle host of strangers, / where a cloister stands from yore
And where the Inn its torrent / doth into Danube river pour.
1293At Passau in the city / a lordly bishop bode.
Empty soon each lodging / and bishop’s palace stood:
To Bavarian land they hastened / the high guests to meet,
And there the Bishop Pilgrim / the Lady Kriemhild fair did greet.
1294The warriors of that country / no whit grieved they were
Thus to see follow with her / so many a maiden fair.
Upon those high-born ladies / their eyes with joy did rest,
Full comfortable quarters / prepared they for each noble guest.
1295With his niece the bishop / unto Passau rode.
When among the burghers / the story went abroad,
That thither was come Kriemhild, / the bishop’s niece full fair,
Soon did the towns-people / reception meet for her prepare.
1296There to have them tarry / was the bishop fain.
To him spake Sir Eckewart: / “Here may we not remain.
Unto Ruediger’s country / must we journey down.
Thanes many there await us, / to whom our coming well is known.”
1297The tidings now knew likewise / Lady Gotelinde fair.
Herself and noble daughter / did them quick prepare.
Message she had from Ruediger / that he well pleased would be,
Should she unto Lady / Kriemhild show such courtesy,
1298That she ride forth to meet her, / and bring his warriors true
Upward unto the Ense. / When they the tidings knew,
Saw ye how on all sides / they thronged the busy way.
Forth to meet the strangers / rode and eke on foot went they.
1299As far as Everdingen / meanwhile was come the queen:
In that Bavarian country / on the way were never seen
Robbers seeking plunder, / as e’er their custom was:
Of fear from such a quarter / had the travellers little cause.
1300‘Gainst that had well provided / the noble margrave:
A band he led that numbered / good thousand warriors brave.
There was eke come Gotelinde, / spouse of Ruediger,
And bearing her high company / full many noble knights there were.
1301When came they o’er the Traune / by Ense on the green,
There full many an awning / outstretched and tent was seen,
Wherein that night the strangers / should find them welcome rest.
Well was made provision / by Ruediger for each high guest.
1302Not long fair Gotelinde did in her quarters stay,
But left them soon behind her. / Then coursed upon the way
With merry jingling bridle / many a well-shaped steed.
Full fair was the reception: / whereat was Ruediger right glad.
1303On one side and the other / did swell the stately train
Knights that rode full gaily, / many a noble thane.
As they in joust disported, / full many a maid looked on,
Nor to the queen unwelcome / was the riders’ service done.
1304As rode there ’fore the strangers / the men of Ruediger,
From shaft full many a splinter / saw ye fly in air
In hand of doughty warrior / that jousted lustily.
Them might ye ’fore the ladies / pricking in stately manner see.
1305Anon therefrom they rested. / Knights many then did greet
Full courteously each other. / Then forth Kriemhild to meet
Went the fair Gotelinde, / by gallant warriors led.
Those skilled in lady’s service, / — little there the rest they had.
1306The lord of Bechelaren / unto his lady rode.
Soon the noble margravine / her high rejoicing showed,
That all safe and sound he / from the Rhine was come again.
The care that filled her bosom / by mickle joy from her was ta’en.
1307When him she had receivéd, / her on the green he bade
Dismount with all the ladies / that in her train she led.
There saw ye all unidle / many a knight of high estate,
Who with full ready service / upon the ladies then did wait.
1308Then saw the Lady Kriemhild / the margravine where she stood
Amid her fair attendants: / nearer not she rode.
Upon the steed that bore her / the rein she drew full tight,
And bade them straightway help her / adown from saddle to alight.
1309The bishop saw ye leading / his sister’s daughter fair,
And with him eke went Eckewart / to Gotelinde there.
The willing folk on all sides / made way before their feet.
With kiss did Gotelinde / the dame from land far distant greet.
1310Then spake in manner kindly / the wife of Ruediger;
“Right glad am I, dear lady, / that I thy visage fair
Have in this our country / with mine own eyes seen.
In these times might never / greater joy to me have been.”
1311“God give thee meed,” spake Kriemhild, / “Gotelinde, for this grace.
If with son of Botelung / happy may be my place,
May it henceforth be thy profit / that me thou here dost see.”
Yet all unknown to either / was that which yet anon must be.
1312With curtsy to each other / went full many a maid,
The knights a willing service / unto the ladies paid.
After the greeting sat they / adown upon the green;
Knew many then each other / that hitherto had strangers been.
1313For the ladies they poured refreshment. / Now was come mid-day,
And did those high attendants / there no longer stay,
But went where found they ready / many a spreading tent.
Full willing was the service / unto the noble guests they lent.
1314The night through until morning / did they rest them there.
They of Bechelaren / meanwhile did prepare
That into fitting quarters / each high guest be brought.
’Twas by the care of Ruediger / that never one did want for aught.
1315Open ye saw the windows / the castle walls along,
And the burgh at Bechelaren / its gates wide open flung,
As through the guests went pricking, / that there full welcome were.
For them the lord full noble / had bidden quarters meet prepare.
1316Ruediger’s fair daughter / with her attendant train
Came forth in loving manner / to greet the lofty queen.
With her was eke her mother / the stately margravine;
There full friendly greeting / of many a maiden fair was seen.
1317By the hand they took each other / and thence did pass each pair
Into a Hall full spacious, / the which was builded fair,
And ’neath its walls the Danube / flowed down with rushing tide.
As breezes cool played round them, / might they full happy there abide.
1318What they there did further, / tell it not I can.
That they so long did tarry, / heard ye the knights complain
That were of Kriemhild’s company, / who unwilling there abode.
What host of valiant warriors / with them from Bechelaren rode!
1319Full kindly was the service / did render Ruediger,
Likewise gave Lady Kriemhild / twelve golden armbands rare
To Gotelinde’s daughter, / and dress so richly wrought
That finer was none other / that into Etzel’s land she brought.
1320Though Nibelungen treasure / from her erstwhile was ta’en,
Good-will of all that knew her / did she e’er retain
With such little portion / as yet she did command.
Unto her host’s attendants / dealt she thereof with bounteous hand.
1321The Lady Gotelinde / such honors high again
Did pay in gracious manner / to the guests afar from Rhine
That of all the strangers / found ye never one
That wore not rich attire / from her, and many a precious stone.
1322When they their fast had broken / and would thence depart,
The lady of the castle / did pledge with faithful heart
Unto the wife of Etzel / service true to bear.
Kriemhild caressed full fondly / the margravine’s young daughter fair.
1323To the queen then spake the maiden: / “If e’er it pleaseth thee,
Well know I that my father / dear full willingly
Unto thee will send me / where thou livest in Hunland.”
That faithful was the maiden, / full well did Kriemhild understand.
1324Now ready were the horses / the castle steps before,
And soon the queen full stately / did take her leave once more
Of the lovely daughter / and spouse of Ruediger.
Eke parted with fair greeting / thence full many a maiden fair.
1325Each other they full seldom / thereafter might behold.
From Medelick were carried / beakers rich of gold
In hand and eke full many, / wherein was sparkling wine:
Upon the way were greeted / thus the strangers from the Rhine.
1326High there a lord was seated, / Astold the name he bore,
Who that into Osterland / did lead the way before
As far as to Mautaren / adown the Danube’s side.
There did they fitting service / for the lofty queen provide.
1327Of his niece the bishop / took leave in loving wise.
That she well should bear her, / did he oft advise,
And that she win her honor / as Helke erst had done.
Ah, how great the honor / anon that ’mid the Huns she won!
1328Unto the Traisem brought they / forth the strangers then.
Fair had they attendance / from Ruediger’s men,
Till o’er the country riding / the Huns came them to meet.
With mickle honor did they / then the royal lady greet.
1329For had the king of Hunland, / Traisem’s stream beside,
A full mighty castle, / known afar and wide,
The same hight Traisenmauer: / Dame Helke there before
Did sit, such bounteous mistress / as scarce ye ever might see more,
1330An it were not Kriemhild / who could such bounty show,
That after days of sorrow / the pleasure she might know,
To be held in honor / by Etzel’s men each one:
That praise in fullest measure / had she amid those thanes anon.
1331Afar the might of Etzel / so well was known around,
That at every season / within his court were found
Knights of all the bravest, / whereof ye e’er did hear
In Christian lands or heathen: / with him all thither come they were.
1332By him at every season, / as scarce might elsewhere be,
Knights both of Christian doctrine / and heathen use saw ye.
Yet in what mind soever / did each and every stand,
To all in fullest measure / dealt the king with bounteous hand.

wie si zen Hiunen wart enpfangen
{ 22 }
How Etzel kept the Wedding-feast with Kriemhild.
1333At Traisenmauer she tarried / until the fourth day.
Upon the road the dust-clouds / meanwhile never lay.
But rose like smoke of fire / around on every side:
Onward then through Austria / King Etzel’s warriors did ride.
1334Then eke unto the monarch / such tidings now were told,
That at the thought did vanish / all his grief of old,
In what high manner Kriemhild / should in his land appear.
Then gan the monarch hasten / where he did find the lady fair.
1335Of many a tongue and varied / upon the way were seen
Before King Etzel riding / full many warriors keen,
Of Christians and of heathen / a spreading company.
To greet their coming mistress / forth they rode in fair array.
1336Of Reuss men and Greeks there / great was the tale,
And rapid saw ye riding / the Wallach and the Pole
On chargers full of mettle / that they did deftly guide.
Their own country’s custom / did they in no wise lay aside.
1337From the land of Kiev / rode there full many a thane,
And the wild Petschenegers. / Full many a bow was drawn,
As at the flying wild-fowl / through air the bolt was sped.
With might the bow was bended / as far as to the arrow’s head.
1338A city by the Danube / in Osterland doth stand,
Hight the same is Tulna: / of many a distant land
Saw Kriemhild there the customs, / ne’er yet to her were known.
To many there did greet her / sorrow befell through her anon.
1339Before the monarch Etzel / rode a company
Of merry men and mighty, / courteous and fair to see,
Good four-and-twenty chieftains, / mighty men and bold.
Naught else was their desire / save but their mistress to behold.
1340Then the Duke Ramung / from far Wallachia
With seven hundred warriors / dashed forth athwart her way:
Their going might ye liken / unto birds in flight.
Then came the chieftain Gibeke, / with his host a stately sight.
1341Eke the valiant Hornbog / with full thousand men
From the king went forward / to greet his mistress then.
After their country’s custom / in joy they shouted loud;
The doughty thanes of Hunland / likewise in merry tourney rode.
1342Then came a chief from Denmark, / Hawart bold and keen,
And the valiant Iring, / in whom no guile was seen,
And Irnfried of Thuringia, / a stately knight to see:
Kriemhild they greeted / that honor high therefrom had she,
1343With good knights twelve hundred / whom led they in their train.
Thither with three thousand / came Bloedel eke, the thane
That was King Etzel’s brother / out of Hunland:
Unto his royal mistress / led he then his stately band.
1344Then did come King Etzel / and Dietrich by his side
With all his doughty fellows. / In state there saw ye ride
Many a knight full noble, / valiant and void of fear.
The heart of Lady Kriemhild / did such host of warriors cheer.
1345Then to his royal mistress / spake Sir Ruediger:
“Lady, now give I greeting / to the high monarch here.
Whom to kiss I bid thee, / grant him such favor then:
For not to all like greeting / may’st thou give ’mid Etzel’s men.”
1346They lifted then from saddle / the dame of royal state.
Etzel the mighty monarch / might then no longer wait,
But sprang from off his charger / with many a warrior keen:
Unto Kriemhild hasting / full joyously he then was seen.
1347As is to us related, / did there high princes twain
By the lady walking / bear aloft her train,
As the royal Etzel / went forward her to meet,
And she the noble monarch / with kiss in kindly wise did greet.
1348Aside she moved her wimple, / whereat her visage fair
Gleamed ’mid the gold around it. / Though many a knight stood there,
They deemed that Lady Helke / did boast not fairer face.
Full close beside the monarch / his brother Bloedel had his place.
1349To kiss him then Margrave / Ruediger her did tell,
And eke the royal Gibeke / and Sir Dietrich as well.
Of highest knights a dozen / did Etzel’s spouse embrace;
Other knights full many / she greeted with a lesser grace.
1350All the while that Etzel / stood by Kriemhild so,
Did the youthful riders / as still they’re wont to do:
In varied tourney saw ye / each ’gainst the other pass,
Christian knights and heathen, / as for each the custom was.
1351From men that followed Dietrich / saw ye in kindly wise
Splinters from the lances / flying high arise
Aloft above their bucklers, / from hand of good knight sent!
By the German strangers / pierced was many a shield and rent.
1352From shaft of lances breaking / did far the din resound.
Together came the warriors / from all the land around,
Eke the guests of the monarch / and many a knight there was.
Thence did the mighty monarch / then with Lady Kriemhild pass.
1353Stretched a fair pavilion / beside them there was seen:
With tents as well was covered / all around the green,
Where they now might rest them / all that weary were.
By high-born knights was thither / led full many a lady fair.
1354With their royal mistress, / where in rich cushioned chair
Sat the queen full stately. / ’Twas by the margrave’s care
That well had been provided, / with all that seeméd good,
A worthy seat for Kriemhild: / thereat was Etzel glad of mood.
1355What was by Etzel spoken, / may I not understand.
In his right hand resting / lay her fair white hand.
They sat in loving fashion, / nor Ruediger would let
The king have secret converse / with Lady Kriemhild as yet.
1356’Twas bidden that the jousting / on all sides they give o’er.
The din of stately tourney / heard ye then no more.
All the men of Etzel / unto their tents did go,
For every warrior present / did they full spacious lodging show.
1357And now the day was ended / and they did rest the night
Until beheld they shining / once more the morning light.
Soon on charger mounted / again was many a man:
Heigho, what merry pastime, / the king to honor, they began!
1358By the Huns the monarch / bade honors high be shown.
Soon rode they forth from Tulna / unto Vienna town,
Where found they many a lady / decked out in fair array:
The same the monarch Etzel’s / wife received in stately way.
1359In very fullest measure / upon them there did wait
Whate’er they might desire. / Of knights the joy was great,
Looking toward the revel. / Lodging then sought each one.
The wedding of the monarch / was in merry wise begun.
1360Yet not for all might lodging / within the town be had.
All that were not strangers, / Ruediger them bade
That they find them lodgings / beyond the city’s bound.
I ween that at all seasons / by Lady Kriemhild’s side was found
1361The noble Sir Dietrich / and many another thane,
Who amid their labors / but little rest had ta’en,
That the guests they harbored / of merry mood should be.
For Ruediger and his companions / went the time full pleasantly.
1362The wedding time was fallen / upon a Whitsuntide,
When the monarch Etzel / lay Kriemhild beside
In the town at Vienna. / So many men I ween
Through her former husband / had not in her service been.
1363Many that ne’er had seen her / did her rich bounty take,
And many a one among them / unto the strangers spake:
“We deemed that Lady Kriemhild / of wealth no more had aught
Now hath she by her giving / here full many a wonder wrought.”
1364The wedding-feast it lasted / for days full seventeen.
Ne’er of other monarch / hath any told, I ween,
That wedded with more splendor: / of such no tale we hear.
All that there were present, / new-made apparel did they wear.
1365I ween that far in Netherland / sat she ne’er before
Amid such host of warriors. / And this believe I more:
Was Siegfried rich in treasure, / that yet he ne’er did gain,
As here she saw ’fore Etzel, / so many a high and noble thane.
1366Nor e’er gave any other / at his own wedding-tide
So many a costly mantle / flowing long and wide,
Nor yet so rich apparel / — so may ye well believe —
As here from hand of Kriemhild / did they one and all receive.
1367Her friends and eke the strangers / were of a single mind,
That they would not be sparing / of treasure in any kind:
What any from them desired, / they gave with willing hand.
Many a thane from giving / himself of clothing reft did stand.
1368How by her noble husband / at the Rhine a queen she sat,
Of that she still was minded, / and her eye grew wet thereat.
Yet well she kept it hidden / that none the same might mark.
Now had she wealth of honor / after long years of sorrow dark.
1369What any did with bounty, / ’twas but an idle wind
By side of Dietrich’s giving: / what Etzel’s generous mind
Before to him had given, / complete did disappear.
Eke wrought there many a wonder / the hand of bounteous Ruediger.
1370Bloedelein the chieftain / that came from Hunland,
Full many a chest to empty / did he then command,
Of gold and eke of silver. / That did they freely give.
Right merrily the warriors / of the monarch saw ye live.
1371Likewise the monarch’s minstrels / Werbel and Schwemmelein,
Won they at the wedding / each alone, I ween,
Marks a good thousand / or even more than that,
Whenas fair Lady Kriemhild / ’neath crown by royal Etzel sat.
1372Upon the eighteenth morning / from Vienna town they went.
Then in knightly pastime / many a shield was rent
By spear full well directed / by doughty rider’s hand.
So came the royal Etzel / riding into Hunland.
1373At Heimburg’s ancient castle / they tarried over night.
Tell the tale of people / no mortal ever might,
And the number of good warriors / did o’er the country come.
Ah, what fairest women / were gathered unto Etzel’s home!
1374By Miesenburg’s majestic / towers did they embark.
With horses eke and riders / the water all was dark,
As if ’twere earth they trod on, / as far as eye might see.
The way-worn ladies rested / now on board right pleasantly.
1375Now was lashed together / many a boat full good,
That no harm they suffered / from the waves and flood.
Many a stately awning / likewise above them spread,
Just as if beneath them / had they land and flowery mead.
1376When to Etzelburg the tidings / soon were borne along,
Therein of men and women / were seen a merry throng.
Who once the Lady Helke / as mistress did obey,
Anon by Lady Kriemhild / lived they many a gladsome day.
1377There did stand expectant / full many a maid high-born,
That since the death of Helke / had pined all forlorn.
Daughters of seven monarchs / Kriemhild there waiting found,
That were the high adornment / of all King Etzel’s country round.
1378Herrat, a lofty princess, / did all the train obey,
Sister’s child to Helke, / in whom high virtues lay,
Betrothéd eke of Dietrich, / of royal lineage born,
Daughter of King Nentwein; / her did high honors eft adorn.
1379Against the strangers’ coming / her heart with joy flowed o’er:
Eke was thereto devoted / of wealth a mickle store.
Who might e’er give the picture, / how the king eft sat on throne?
Nor had with any mistress / the Huns such joyous living known.
1380As with his spouse the monarch / up from the river came,
Unto the noble Kriemhild / of each they told the name
’Mong them that she did find there: / she fairer each did greet.
Ah, how mighty mistress / she long did sit in Helke’s seat!
1381Ready and true the service / to her was offered there.
The queen dealt out in plenty / gold and raiment rare,
Silver eke and jewels. / What over Rhine she brought
With her unto Hunland, / soon thereof retained she naught.
1382Eke in faithful service / she to herself did win
All the king’s warriors / and all his royal kin,
— So that ne’er did Lady Helke / so mighty power wield
As until death to Kriemhild / such host did willing service yield.
1383Thus stood so high in honor / the court and country round,
That there at every season / was pleasant pastime found
By each, whithersoever / his heart’s desire might stand:
That wrought the monarch’s favor / and the queen’s full bounteous hand.

wie Kriemhilt ir leit gedâht ze rechen
{ 23 }
How Kriemhild thought to avenge her Wrong.
1384In full lordly honor, / — truth is that ye hear —
Dwelt they with each other / until the seventh year.
Meanwhile Lady Kriemhild / a son to Etzel bore,
Nor gladder might the monarch / be o’er aught for evermore.
1385Yet would she not give over, / nor with aught be reconciled,
But that should be baptizéd / the royal Etzel’s child
After Christian custom: / Ortlieb they did him call.
Thereat was mickle joyance / over Etzel’s borders all.
1386Whate’er of highest virtues / in Lady Helke lay,
Strove the Lady Kriemhild / to rival her each day.
Herrat the stranger maiden / many a grace she taught,
Who yet with secret pining / for her mistress Helke was distraught.
1387To stranger and to native / full well she soon was known,
Ne’er monarch’s country, said they, / did royal mistress own
That gave with freer bounty, / that held they without fear.
Such praise she bore in Hunland, / until was come the thirteenth year.
1388Now had she well perceivéd / how all obeyed her will,
As service to royal mistress / king’s knights do render still,
And how at every season / twelve kings ’fore her were seen.
She thought of many a sorrow / that wrought upon her once had been.
1389Eke thought she of lordly power / in Nibelungenland
That she erstwhile had wielded, / and how that Hagen’s hand
Of it all had reft her / with her lord Siegfried dead;
She thought for so great evil / how might he ever be repaid.
1390“’Twould be, might I but bring him / hither into this land.”
She dreamed that fondly led her / full often by the hand
Giselher her brother, / full oft in gentle sleep
Thought she to have kissed him, / wherefrom he sorrow soon must reap.
1391I ween the evil demon / was Kriemhild’s counsellor
That she her peace with Giselher / should sacred keep no more,
Whom she kissed in friendly token / in the land of Burgundy.
Adown upon her bosom / the burning tears fell heavily.
1392On her heart both late and early / lay the heavy thought,
How that, herself all guiltless, / thereto she had been brought,
That she must share in exile / a heathen monarch’s bed.
Through Hagen eke and Gunther / come she was to such sore need.
1393From her heart such longing / seldom might she dismiss.
Thought she: “A queen so mighty / I am o’er wealth like this,
That I upon mine enemies / may yet avenge me well.
Fain were I that on Hagen / of Tronje yet my vengeance fell.
1394“For friends that once were faithful / full oft my heart doth long.
Were they but here beside me / that wrought on me such wrong,
Then were in sooth avengéd / my lover reft of life;
Scarce may I bide that hour,” / spake the royal Etzel’s wife.
1395Kriemhild they loved and honored, / the monarch’s men each one,
As they that came there with her: / well might the same be done.
The treasure wielded Eckewart, / and won good knights thereby.
The will of Lady Kriemhild might / none in all that land deny.
1396She mused at every season: / “The king himself I’ll pray,”—
That he to her the favor / might grant in friendly way,
To bring her kinsmen hither / unto Hunland.
What vengeful thought she cherished / might none soever understand.
1397As she in stillest night-time / by the monarch lay
(In his arms enclosed he held her, / as he was wont alway
To caress the noble lady: / she was to him as life),
Again unto her enemies / turned her thoughts his stately wife.
1398She spake unto the monarch: / “My lord full dear to me,
Now would I pray a favor, / if with thy grace it be,
That thou wilt show unto me / if merit such be mine
That unto my good kinsmen / truly doth thy heart incline.”
1399The mighty monarch answered / (from guile his heart was free):
“Of a truth I tell thee, / if aught of good may be
The fortune of thy kinsmen, / — of that I were full fain,
For ne’er through love of woman / might I friends more faithful gain.”
1400Thereat again spake Kriemhild: / “That mayst thou well believe,
Full high do stand my kinsmen; / the more it doth me grieve
That they deign so seldom / hither to take their way.
That here I live a stranger, / oft I hear the people say.”
1401Then spake the royal Etzel: / “Beloved lady mine,
Seemed not too far the journey, / I’d bid from yond the Rhine
Whom thou wouldst gladly welcome / hither unto my land.”
Thereat rejoiced the lady / when she his will did understand.
1402Spake she: “Wilt thou true favor / show me, master mine,
Then shalt thou speed thy messengers / to Worms across the Rhine.
Were but my friends acquainted / what thing of them I would,
Then to this land came hither / full many a noble knight and good.”
1403He spake: “Whene’er thou biddest, / straight the thing shall be.
Thyself mightst ne’er thy kinsmen / here so gladly see,
As I the sons of Ute, / high and stately queen.
It grieveth me full sorely / that strangers here so long they’ve been.
1404“If this thing doth please thee, / beloved lady mine,
Then gladly send I thither / unto those friends of thine
As messengers my minstrels / to the land of Burgundy.”
He bade the merry fiddlers / lead before him presently.
1405Then hastened they full quickly / to where they found the king
By side of Kriemhild sitting. / He told them straight the thing,
How they should be his messengers / to Burgundy to fare.
Full stately raiment bade he / for them straightway eke prepare.
1406Four and twenty warriors / did they apparel well.
Likewise did the monarch / to them the message tell,
How that they King Gunther / and his men should bid aright.
Them eke the Lady Kriemhild / to secret parley did invite.
1407Then spake the mighty monarch: / “Now well my words attend.
All good and friendly greeting / unto my friends I send,
That they may deign to journey / hither to my country.
Few be the guests beside them / that were so welcome unto me.
1408“And if they be so minded / to meet my will in aught,
Kriemhild’s lofty kinsmen, / that they forego it not
To come upon the summer / here where I hold hightide,
For that my joy in living / doth greatly with my friends abide.”
1409Then spake the fiddle-player, / Schwemmelein full bold:
“When thinkst thou in this country / such high feast to hold,
That unto thy friends yonder / tell the same we may?”
Thereto spake King Etzel: / “When next hath come midsummer day.”
1410“We’ll do as thou commandest,” / spake then Werbelein.
Unto her own chamber / commanded then the queen
To bring in secret manner / the messengers alone.
Thereby did naught but sorrow / befall full many a thane anon.
1411She spake unto the messengers: / “Mickle wealth I give to you,
If my will in this matter / right faithfully ye do,
And bear what tidings send I / home unto our country.
I’ll make you rich in treasure / and fair apparelled shall ye be.
1412“And friends of mine so many / as ever see ye may
At Worms by Rhine river, / to them ye ne’er shall say
That any mood of sorrow / in me ye yet have seen.
Say ye that I commend me / unto the knights full brave and keen.”
1413“Pray them that to King Etzel’s / message they give heed,
Thereby to relieve me / of all my care and need,
Else shall the Huns imagine / that I all friendless am.
If I but a knight were, / oft would they see me at their home.
1414“Eke say ye unto Gernot, / brother to me full dear,
To him might never any / disposéd be more fair;
Pray him that he bring hither / unto this country
All our friends most steadfast, / that we thereby shall honored be.
1415“Say further eke to Giselher / that he do have in mind,
That by his guilt I never / did cause for sorrow find;
Him therefore would I gladly / here with mine own eyes see,
And give him warmest welcome, / so faithful hath he been to me.
1416“How I am held in honor, / to my mother eke make plain.
And if of Tronje Hagen / hath mind there to remain,
By whom might they in coming / through unknown lands be shown?
The way to Hunland hither / from youth to him hath well been known.”
1417No whit knew the messengers / wherefore she did advise
That they of Tronje Hagen / should not in any wise
Leave by the Rhine to tarry. / That was anon their bane:
Through him to dire destruction / was doomed full many a doughty thane.
1418Letters and kindly greeting / now to them they give;
They fared from thence rich laden, / and merrily might live.
Leave then they took of Etzel / and eke his lady fair,
And parted on their journey / dight in apparel rich and rare.

wie Werbel und Swemmel die botschaft wurben
{ 24 }
How Werbel and Schwemmel brought the Message.
1419When to the Rhine King Etzel / his messengers had sent,
With hasty flight fresh tidings / from land to land there went:
With messengers full quickly / to his high festival
He bade them, eke and summoned. / To many thereby did death befall.
1420The messengers o’er the borders / of Hunland thence did fare
Unto the land of Burgundy; / thither sent they were
Unto three lordly monarchs / and eke their mighty men.
To Etzel’s land to bid them / hastily they journeyed then.
1421Unto Bechelaren / rode they on their way,
Where found they willing service. / Nor did aught delay
Ruediger to commend him / and Gotelinde as well
And eke their fairest daughter / to them that by the Rhine did dwell.
1422They let them not unladen / with gifts from thence depart,
So did the men of Etzel / fare on with lighter heart.
To Ute and to her household / sent greeting Ruediger,
That never margrave any / to them more well disposéd were.
1423Unto Brunhild also / did they themselves commend
With willing service offered / and steadfast to the end.
Bearing thus fair greeting / the messengers thence did fare,
And prayed the noble margravine / that God would have them in his care.
1424Ere the messengers had fully / passed o’er Bavarian ground,
Had the nimble Werbel / the goodly bishop found.
What greetings to his kinsmen / unto the Rhine he sent,
That I cannot tell you; / the messengers yet from him went
1425Laden with gold all ruddy, / to keep his memory.
Thus spake the Bishop Pilgrim: / “’Twere highest joy to me
Might I my sister’s children / here see in home of mine,
For that I may but seldom / go unto them to the Rhine.”
1426What were the ways they followed / as through the lands they fared,
That can I nowise tell you. / Yet never any dared
Rob them of wealth or raiment, / for fear of Etzel’s hand:
A lofty king and noble, / mighty in sooth was his command.
1427Before twelve days were over / came they unto the Rhine,
And rode into Worms city / Werbel and Schwemmelein.
Told were soon the tidings / to the kings and their good men,
How that were come strange messengers. / Gunther the king did question then.
1428And spake the monarch further: / “Who here may understand
Whence do come these strangers / riding unto our land?”
Yet was never any / might answer to him make,
Until of Tronje Hagen / thus unto King Gunther spake:
1429“To us hath come strange tidings / to hand this day, I ween,
For Etzel’s fiddlers riding / hither have I seen.
The same have by thy sister / unto the Rhine been sent:
For sake of their high master / now give we them fair compliment.”
1430E’en then did ride the messengers / unto the castle door,
And never royal minstrels / more stately went before.
By the monarch’s servants / well received they were:
They gave them fitting lodging / and for their raiment had a care.
1431Rich and wrought full deftly / was the travelling-dress they wore,
Wherein they well with honor / might go the king before;
Yet they at court no longer / would the same garments wear.
The messengers inquired / if any were might wish them there.
1432In sooth in such condition / many eke were found,
Who would receive them gladly; / to such they dealt around.
Then decked themselves the strangers / in garments richer far,
Such as royal messengers / beseemeth well at court to wear.
1433By royal leave came forward / to where the monarch sat
The men that came from Etzel, / and joy there was thereat.
Hagen then to meet them / in courteous manner went,
And heartily did greet them, / whereat they gave fair compliment.
1434To know what were the tidings, / to ask he then began
How did find him Etzel / and each valiant man.
Then answer gave the fiddler: / “Ne’er higher stood the land,
Nor the folk so joyous: / that shall ye surely understand.”
1435They went unto the monarch. / Crowded was the hall.
There were received the strangers / as of right men shall
Kindly greeting offer / in other monarch’s land.
Many a valiant warrior / saw Werbel by King Gunther stand.
1436Right courteously the monarch / began to greet them then:
“Now be ye both right welcome, / Hunland’s merry men,
And knights that give you escort. / Hither sent are ye
By Etzel mighty monarch / unto the land of Burgundy?”
1437They bowed before the monarch; / then spake Werbelein:
“My dear lord and master, / and Kriemhild, sister thine,
Hither to thy country / give fairest compliment.
In faith of kindly welcome / us unto you they now have sent.”
1438Then spake the lofty ruler: / “I joy o’er this ye bring.
How liveth royal Etzel,” / further spake the king,
“And Kriemhild, my sister, / afar in Hunland?”
Then answered him the fiddler: / “That shalt thou straightway understand.
1439“That never any people / more lordly life might show
Than they both do joy in, / — that shalt thou surely know,—
Wherein do share their kinsmen / and all their doughty train.
When from them we parted, / of our journey were they fain.”
1440“My thanks for these high greetings / ye bring at his command
And from my royal sister. / That high in joy they stand,
The monarch and his kinsmen, / rejoiceth me to hear.
For, sooth to say, the tidings / asked I now in mickle fear.”
1441The twain of youthful princes / were eke come thitherward,
As soon as they the tidings / from afar had heard.
Right glad were seen the messengers / for his dear sister’s sake
By the young Giselher, / who in such friendly manner spake:
1442“Right hearty were your welcome / from me and brother mine,
Would ye but more frequent / ride hither to the Rhine;
Here found ye friends full many / whom glad ye were to see,
And naught but friendly favors / the while that in this land ye be.”
1443“To us how high thy favor,” / spake Schwemmel, "know we well;
Nor with my best endeavor / might I ever tell
How kindly is the greeting / we bear from Etzel’s hand
And from your noble sister, / who doth in highest honor stand.
1444“Your sometime love and duty / recalleth Etzel’s queen,
And how to her devoted / in heart we’ve ever been,
But first to royal Gunther / do we a message bear,
And pray it be your pleasure / unto Etzel’s land to fare.
1445“To beg of you that favor / commanded o’er and o’er
Etzel mighty monarch / and bids you know the more,
An will ye not your sister / your faces give to see,
So would he know full gladly / wherein by him aggrieved ye be,
1446“That ye thus are strangers / to him and all his men.
If that his spouse so lofty / had ne’er been in your ken,
Yet well he thought to merit / that him ye’d deign to see;
In sooth could naught rejoice him / more than that such thing might be.”
1447Then spake the royal Gunther: / “A sennight from this day
Shall ye have an answer, / whereon decide I may
With my friends in counsel. / The while shall ye repair
Unto your place of lodging, / and right goodly be your fare.”
1448Then spake in answer Werbel: / “And might such favor be
That we the royal mistress / should first have leave to see,
Ute, the lofty lady, / ere that we seek our rest?”
To him the noble Giselher / in courteous wise these words addressed.
1449“That grace shall none forbid you. / Will ye my mother greet,
Therein do ye most fully / her own desire meet.
For sake of my good sister / fain is she you to see,
For sake of Lady Kriemhild / ye shall to her full welcome be.”
1450Giselher then led him / unto the lofty dame,
Who fain beheld the messengers / from Hunland that came.
She greeted them full kindly / as lofty manner taught,
And in right courteous fashion / told they to her the tale they brought.
1451“Pledge of loyal friendship / sendeth unto thee
Now my lofty mistress,” / spake Schwemmel. “Might it be,
That she should see thee often, / then shalt thou know full well,
In all the world there never / a greater joy to her befell.”
1452Replied the royal lady: / “Such thing may never be.
Gladly as would I oft-times / my dearest daughter see,
Too far, alas, is distant / the noble monarch’s wife.
May ever yet full happy / with King Etzel be her life.
1453“See that ye well advise me, / ere that ye hence are gone,
What time shall be your parting; / for messengers I none
Have seen for many seasons / as glad as greet I you.”
The twain gave faithful promise / such courtesy full sure to do.
1454Forthwith to seek their lodgings / the men of Hunland went,
The while the mighty monarch / for trusted warriors sent,
Of whom did noble Gunther / straightway question make,
How thought they of the message. / Whereupon full many spake
1455That he might well with honor / to Etzel’s land be bound,
The which did eke advise him / the highest ’mongst them found,
All save Hagen only, / whom sorely grieved such rede.
Unto the king in secret / spake he: “Ill shall be thy meed.
1456“What deed we twain compounded / art thou full well aware,
Wherefor good cause we ever / shall have Kriemhild to fear,
For that her sometime husband / I slew by my own hand.
How dare we ever journey / then unto King Etzel’s land?”
1457Replied the king: “My sister / no hate doth harbor more.
As we in friendship kissed her, / vengeance she forswore
For evil that we wrought her, / ere that from hence she rode,—
Unless this message, Hagen, / ill for thee alone forebode.”
1458“Now be thou not deceived,” / spake Hagen, "say what may
The messengers from Hunland. / If thither be thy way,
At Kriemhild’s hands thou losest / honor eke and life,
For full long-avenging / is the royal Etzel’s wife.”
1459Added then his counsel / the princely Gernot there:
“Though be it thou hast reason / thine own death to fear
Afar in Hunnish kingdom, / should we for that forego
To visit our high sister, / that were in sooth but ill to do.”
1460Unto that thane did likewise / Giselher then say:
“Since well thou know’st, friend Hagen, / what guilt on thee doth weigh,
Then tarry here behind us / and of thyself have care,
And let who dares the journey / with us unto my sister fare.”
1461Thereat did rage full sorely / Tronje’s doughty thane:
“So shall ye ne’er find any / that were to go more fain,
Nor who may better guide you / than I upon your way.
And will ye not give over, / know then my humor soon ye may.”
1462Then spake the Kitchen Master, / Rumold a lofty thane:
“Here might ye guests and kinsmen / in plenty long maintain
After your own pleasure, / for ye have goodly store.
I ween ye ne’er found Hagen / traitor to you heretofore.
1463“If heed ye will not Hagen, / still Rumold doth advise
— For ye have faithful service / from me in willing wise —
That here at home ye tarry / for the love of me,
And leave the royal Etzel / afar with Kriemhild to be.
1464“Where in the world might ever / ye more happy be
Than here where from danger / of every foeman free,
Where ye may go as likes you / in goodliest attire,
Drink wine the best, and stately / women meet your heart’s desire.
1465“And daily is your victual / the best that ever knew
A king of any country. / And were the thing not true,
At home ye yet should tarry / for sake of your fair wife
Ere that in childish fashion / ye thus at venture set your life.
1466“Thus rede I that ye go not. / Mighty are your lands,
And at home more easy may ye / be freed from hostile hands
Than if ye pine in Hunland. / How there it is, who knows?
O Master, go not thither, / — such is the rede that Rumold owes.”
1467“We’ll ne’er give o’er the journey,” / Gernot then did say,
“When thus our sister bids us / in such friendly way
And Etzel, mighty monarch. / Wherefore should we refrain?
Who goes not gladly thither, / here at home may he remain.”
1468Thereto gave answer Hagen: / “Take not amiss, I pray,
These my words outspoken, / let befall what may.
Yet do I counsel truly, / as ye your safety prize,
That to the Huns ye journey / armed full well in warlike guise.
1469“Will ye then not give over, / your men together call,
The best that ye may gather / from districts one and all.
From out them all I’ll choose you / a thousand knights full good,
Then may ye reck but little / the vengeful Kriemhild’s angry mood.”
1470“I’ll gladly heed thy counsel,” / straight the king replied,
And bade the couriers traverse / his kingdom far and wide.
Soon they brought together / three thousand men or more,
Who little weened what mickle / sorrow was for them in store.
1471Joyful came they riding / to King Gunther’s land.
Steeds and equipment for them / all he did command,
Who should make the journey / thence from Burgundy.
Warriors many were there / to serve the king right willingly.
1472Hagen then of Tronje / to Dankwart did assign
Of their warriors eighty / to lead unto the Rhine.
Equipped in knightly harness / were they soon at hand.
Riding in gallant fashion / unto royal Gunther’s land.
1473Came eke the doughty Volker, / a noble minstrel he,
With thirty goodly warriors / to join the company,
Who wore so rich attire / ’twould fit a monarch well.
That he would fare to Hunland, / bade he unto Gunther tell.
1474Who was this same Volker / that will I let you know:
He was a knight full noble, / to him did service owe
Many a goodly warrior / in the land of Burgundy.
For that he well could fiddle, / named the Minstrel eke was he.
1475Thousand men chose Hagen, / who well to him were known.
What things in storm of battle / their doughty arm had done,
Or what they wrought at all times, / that knew he full well.
Nor of them might e’er mortal / aught but deeds of valor tell.
1476The messengers of Kriemhild, / full loath they were to wait,
For of their master’s anger / stood they in terror great.
Each day for leave to journey / more great their yearning grew,
But daily to withhold it / crafty Hagen pretext knew.
1477He spake unto his master: / “Well shall we beware
Hence to let them journey / ere we ourselves prepare
In seven days thereafter / to ride to Etzel’s land:
If any mean us evil, / so may we better understand.
1478“Nor may the Lady Kriemhild / ready make thereto,
That any by her counsel / scathe to us may do.
Yet if such wish she cherish, / evil shall be her meed,
For many a chosen warrior / with us shall we thither lead.”
1479Shields well-wrought and saddles, / with all the mickle gear
That into Etzel’s country / the warriors should wear,
The same was now made ready / for many a knight full keen.
The messengers of Kriemhild / before King Gunther soon were seen.
1480When were come the messengers, / Gernot them addressed:
“King Gunther now is minded / to answer Etzel’s quest.
Full gladly go we thither / with him to make high-tide
And see our lofty sister, / — of that set ye all doubt aside.”
1481Thereto spake King Gunther: / “Can ye surely say
When shall be the high-tide, / or upon what day
We shall there assemble?” / Spake Schwemmel instantly:
“At turn of sun in summer / shall in sooth the meeting be.”
1482The monarch leave did grant them, / ere they should take their way,
If that to Lady Brunhild / they would their homage pay,
His high pleasure was it / they unto her should go.
Such thing prevented Volker, / and did his mistress’ pleasure so.
1483“In sooth, my Lady Brunhild / hath scarce such health to-day
As that she might receive you,” / the gallant knight did say.
“Bide ye till the morrow, / may ye the lady see.”
When thus they sought her presence, / might their wish not granted be.
1484To the messengers right gracious / was the mighty king,
And bade he from his treasure / on shields expansive bring
Shining gold in plenty / whereof he had great store.
Eke richest gifts received they / from his lofty kinsmen more.
1485Giselher and Gernot, / Gere and Ortwein,
That they were free in giving / soon full well was seen.
So costly gifts were offered / unto each messenger
That they dared not receive them, / for Etzel’s anger did they fear.
1486Then unto King Gunther / Werbel spake again:
Sire, let now thy presents / in thine own land remain.
The same we may not carry, / my master hath decreed
That we accept no bounty. / Of that in sooth we’ve little need.”
1487Thereat the lord of Rhineland / was seen in high displeasure,
That they should thus accept not / so mighty monarch’s treasure?
In their despite yet took they / rich dress and gold in store,
The which moreover with them / home to Etzel’s land they bore.
1488Ere that they thence departed / they Lady Ute sought,
Whereat the gallant Giselher / straight the minstrels brought
Unto his mother’s presence. / Kind greetings sent the dame,
And wish that high in honor / still might stand her daughter’s name.
1489Then bade the lofty lady / embroidered silks and gold
For the sake of Kriemhild, / whom loved she as of old,
And eke for sake of Etzel, / unto the minstrels give.
What thus so free was offered / might they in sooth right fain receive.
1490Soon now had ta’en departure / the messengers from thence,
From knight and fairest lady, / and joyous fared they hence
Unto Swabian country; / Gernot had given behest
Thus far for armed escort, / that none their journey might molest.
1491When these had parted from them, / safe still from harm were they,
For Etzel’s might did guard them / wherever led their way.
Nor ever came there any / that aught to take would dare,
As into Etzel’s country / they in mickle haste did fare.
1492Where’er they friends encountered, / to all they straight made known
How that they of Burgundy / should follow after soon
From Rhine upon their journey / unto the Huns’ country.
The message brought they likewise / unto Bishop Pilgrim’s see.
1493As down ’fore Bechelaren / they passed upon their way,
The tidings eke to Ruediger / failed they not to say,
And unto Gotelinde, / the margrave’s wife the same.
At thought so soon to see them / was filled with joy the lofty dame.
1494Hasting with the tidings / each minstrel’s courser ran,
Till found they royal Etzel / within his burgh at Gran.
Greeting upon greeting, / which they must all bestow,
They to the king delivered; / with joy his visage was aglow.
1495When that the lofty Kriemhild / did eke the tidings hear,
How that her royal brothers / unto the land would fare,
In sooth her heart was gladdened; / on the minstrels she bestowed
Richest gifts in plenty, / as she to her high station owed.
1496She spake: “Now shall ye, Werbel / and Schwemmel, tell to me
Who cometh of my kinsmen / to our festivity,
Who of all were bidden / this our land to seek?
Now tell me, when the message / heard he, what did Hagen speak?”
1497Answered: “He came to council / early upon a day,
But little was of pleasant / in what he there did say.
When learned he their intention, / in wrath did Hagen swear,
To death ’twere making journey, / to country of the Huns to fare.
1498“Hither all are coming, / thy royal brothers three,
And they right high in spirit. / Who more shall with them be,
The tale to tell entire / were more than I might do.
To journey with them plighted / Volker the valiant fiddler too.”
1499“’Twere little lost, full truly,” / answered then the queen,
“If by my eyes never / Volker here were seen.
’Tis Hagen hath my favor, / a noble knight is he,
And mickle is my pleasure / that him full soon we here may see.”
1500Her way the Lady Kriemhild / then to the king did take,
And in right joyous manner / unto her consort spake:
“How liketh thee the tidings, / lord full dear to me?
What aye my heart hath yearned for, / that shall now accomplished be.”
1501“Thy will my joy was ever,” / the lofty monarch said.
“In sooth for my own kinsmen / I ne’er have been so glad,
To hear that they come hither / unto my country.
To know thy friends are coming, / hath parted sadness far from me.”
1502Straight did the royal provosts / give everywhere decree
That hall and stately palace / well prepared should be
With seats, that unprovided / no worthy guest be left.
Anon by them the monarch / should be of mickle joy bereft.

wie die künege zuo den Hiunen vuoren
{ 25 }
How the Knights all fared to the Huns.
1503Tell we now no further / how they here did fare.
Knights more high in spirit / saw ye journey ne’er
In so stately fashion / to the land of e’er a king.
Of arms and rich attire / lacked they never anything.
1504At Rhine the lordly monarch / equipped his warriors well,
A thousand knights and sixty, / as I did hear tell,
And eke nine thousand squires / toward the festivity.
Whom they did leave behind them / anon must mourn full grievously.
1505As at Worms across the courtyard / equipment full they bore
Spake there of Speyer / a bishop old and hoar
Unto Lady Ute: / “Our friends have mind to fare
Unto the festivity; / may God their honor have in care.”
1506Then spake unto her children / Ute the noble dame:
“At home ye here should tarry, / ye knights full high in fame.
Me dreamt but yester even / a case of direst need,
How that in this country / all the feathered fowl were dead.”
1507“Who recketh aught of dreamings,” / Hagen then replied,
“Distraught is sure his counsel / when trouble doth betide,
Or he would of his honor / have a perfect care.
I counsel that my master / straight to take his leave prepare.
1508“Gladly shall we journey / into Etzel’s land;
There at their master’s service / may good knights ready stand,
For that we there shall witness / Kriemhild’s festivity.”
That Hagen gave such counsel, / rue anon full sore did he.
1509Yet in sooth far other / than this had been his word,
Had not with bitter mocking / Gernot his anger stirred.
He spake to him of Siegfried / whom Kriemhild loved so,
And said: “Therefore the journey / would Hagen willingly forego.”
1510Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Through fear I nothing do.
Whenever will ye, Masters, / set straight your hand thereto,
With you I’ll gladly journey / unto Etzel’s land.”
Many a shield and helmet / there hewed anon his mighty hand.
1511The ships stood ready waiting, / whereunto ample store
Of clothing for the journey / men full many bore,
Nor had they time for resting / till shades of even fell.
Anon in mood full joyous / bade they friends at home farewell.
1512Tents full large and many / arose upon the green,
Yonder side Rhine river. / But yet the winsome queen
Caressed the doughty monarch / that night, and still did pray
That far from Etzel’s country / among his kinsmen might he stay.
1513When sound of flute and trumpet / arose at break of day,
A signal for their parting, / full soon they took their way.
Each lover to his bosom / did friend more fondly press:
King Etzel’s wife full many / did part anon in dire distress.
1514The sons of stately Ute, / a good knight had they,
A brave man and a faithful. / When they would thence away,
Apart unto the monarch / did he his mind reveal,
And spake: “That ye will journey, / may I naught but sorrow feel.”
1515Hight the same was Rumold, / a man of doughty hand.
He spake: “To whom now leave ye / people here and land?
O that never any / might alter your intent!
Small good, methinks, may follow / message e’er by Kriemhild sent.”
1516“The land to thee entrusted / and eke my child shall be,
And tender care of ladies, / — so hast command from me.
Whene’er thou seest weeping, / do there thy comfort give.
Yea, trust we free from sorrow / at hand of Etzel’s wife to live.”
1517For knight and royal master / the chargers ready were,
As with fond embracing / parted many there,
Who long in joy together / a merry life had led.
By winsome dame full many / therefor must bitter tear be shed.
1518As did those doughty warriors / into the saddle spring,
Might full many a lady / be seen there sorrowing;
For told them well their spirit / that thus so long to part
Did bode a dire peril, / the which must ever cloud the heart.
1519As mounted stood the valiant / thanes of Burgundy,
Might ye a mickle stirring / in that country see,
Both men and women weeping / on either riverside.
Yet pricked they gaily forward, / let what might their folk betide.
1520The Nibelungen warriors / in hauberks bright arrayed
Went with them, a thousand, / while at home behind them stayed
Full many a winsome lady, / whom saw they nevermore.
The wounds of doughty Siegfried / still grieved the Lady Kriemhild sore.
1521Their journey they directed / onward to the Main,
Up through East Frankish country, / the men of Gunther’s train
Thither led by Hagen, / who well that country knew;
Marshal to them was Dankwart, / a knight of Burgundy full true.
1522On from East Frankish country / to Schwanefeld they went,
A train of valiant warriors / of high accomplishment,
The monarchs and their kinsmen, / all knights full worthy fame.
Upon the twelfth morning / the king unto the Danube came.
1523The knight of Tronje, Hagen, / the very van did lead,
Ever to the Nibelungen / a surest help in need.
First the thane full valiant / down leapt upon the ground,
And straightway then his charger / fast unto a tree he bound.
1524Flooded were the waters / and ne’er a boat was near,
Whereat began the Nibelungen / all in dread to fear
They ne’er might cross the river, / so mighty was the flood.
Dismounted on the shore, / full many a stately knight then stood.
1525“Ill may it,” spake then Hagen, / “fare here with thee,
Lord of Rhine river. / Now thyself mayst see
How flooded are the waters, / and swift the current flows.
I ween, before the morrow / here many a goodly knight we lose.”
1526“How wilt reproach me, Hagen?” / the lofty monarch spake.
I pray thee yet all comfort / not from our hearts to take.
The ford shalt thou discover / whereby we may pass o’er,
Horse and equipment bringing / safely unto yonder shore.”
1527“In sooth, not I,” quoth Hagen, / “am yet so weary grown
Of life, that in these waters / wide I long to drown.
Ere that, shall warriors sicken / in Etzel’s far country
Beneath my own arm stricken: / — ’tis my intent full certainly.
1528“Here tarry by the water, / ye gallant knights and good,
The while I seek the boatmen / myself along the flood,
Who will bring us over / into Gelfrat’s land.”
With that the doughty Hagen / took his trusty shield in hand.
1529He cap-a-pie was arméd, / as thus he strode away,
Upon his head a helmet / that gleamed with brilliant ray,
And o’er his warlike harness / a sword full broad there hung,
That on both its edges / did fiercely cut, in battle swung.
1530He sought to find the boatmen / if any might be near,
When sound of falling waters / full soon upon his ear.
Beside a rippling fountain, / where ran the waters cool,
A group of wise mermaidens / did bathe themselves within the pool.
1531Ware of them soon was Hagen / and stole in secret near,
But fast away they hurried / when they the sound did hear.
That they at all escaped him, / filled they were with glee.
The knight did take their clothing, / yet wrought none other injury.
1532Then spake the one mermaiden, / Hadburg that hight:
“Hagen, knight full noble, / tell will we thee aright,
An wilt thou, valiant warrior, / our garments but give o’er,
What fortune may this journey / to Hunland have for thee in store.”
1533They hovered there before him / like birds above the flood,
Wherefore did think the warrior / that tell strange things they could,
And all the more believed he / what they did feign to say,
As to his eager question / in ready manner answered they.
1534Spake one: “Well may ye journey / to Etzel’s country.
Thereto my troth I give thee / in full security
That ne’er in any kingdom / might high guests receive
Such honors as there wait you, / — this may ye in sooth believe.”
1535To hear such speech was Hagen / in sooth right glad of heart;
He gave to them their garments, / and straightway would depart.
But when in strange attire / they once more were dight,
Told they of the journey / into Etzel’s land aright.
1536Spake then the other mermaid, / Siegelind that hight:
“I warn thee, son of Aldrian, / Hagen valiant knight,
’Twas but to gain her clothing / my cousin falsely said,
For, comest thou to Hunland, / sorely shalt thou be betrayed.
1537“Yea, that thou turnest backward / is fitter far, I ween;
For but your death to compass / have all ye warriors keen
Receivéd now the bidding / unto Etzel’s land.
Whose doth thither journey, / death leadeth surely by the hand.”
1538Thereto gave answer Hagen: / “False speech hath here no gain.
How might it ever happen / that we all were slain
Afar in Etzel’s country / through hate of any man?”
To tell the tale more fully / unto him she then began.
1539Spake again the other: / “The thing must surely be,
That of you never any / his home again shall see,
Save only the king’s chaplain; / well do we understand
That he unscathed returneth / unto royal Gunther’s land.”
1540Then spake the valiant Hagen / again in angry way:
“Unto my royal masters / ’twere little joy to say
That we our lives must forfeit / all in Hunland.
Now show us, wisest woman, / how pass we safe to yonder strand.”
1541She spake: “Since from thy purposed / journey thou wilt not turn,
Where upward by the water / a cabin stands, there learn
Within doth dwell a boatman, / nor other find thou mayst.”
No more did Hagen question, / but strode away from there in haste.
1542As went he angry-minded / one from afar did say:
“Now tarry still, Sir Hagen; / why so dost haste away?
Give ear yet while we tell thee / how thou reachest yonder strand.
Master here is Else, / who doth rule this borderland.
1543“Hight is his brother Gelfrat, / and is a thane full rare,
Lord o’er Bavarian country. / Full ill with you ’twill fare,
Will ye pass his border. / Watchful must ye be,
And eke with the ferryman / ’twere well to walk right modestly.
1544“He is so angry-minded / that sure thy bane ’twill be,
Wilt thou not show the warrior / all civility.
Wilt thou that he transport thee, / give all the boatman’s due.
He guardeth well the border / and unto Gelfrat is full true.
1545“If he be slow to answer, / then call across the flood
That thy name is Amelrich. / That was a knight full good,
Who for a feud did sometime / go forth from out this land.
The ferryman will answer, / when he the name doth understand.
1546Hagen high of spirit / before those women bent,
Nor aught did say, but silent / upon his way he went.
Along the shore he wandered / till higher by the tide
On yonder side the river / a cabin standing he espied.
1547He straight began a calling / across the flood amain.
“Now fetch me over, boatman,” / cried the doughty thane.
“A golden armband ruddy / I’ll give to thee for meed.
Know that to make this crossing / I in sooth have very need.”
1548Not fitting ’twas high ferryman / his service thus should give,
And recompense from any / seldom might he receive;
Eke were they that served him / full haughty men of mood.
Still alone stood Hagen / on the hither side the flood.
1549Then cried he with such power / the wave gave back the sound,
For in strength far-reaching / did the knight abound:
“Fetch me now, for Amelrich, / Else’s man, am I,
That for feud outbroken / erstwhile from this land did fly.”
1550Full high upon his sword-point / an armband did he hold,
Fair and shining was it / made of ruddy gold,
The which he offered to him / for fare to Gelfrat’s land.
The ferryman high-hearted / himself did take the oar in hand.
1551To do with that same boatman / was ne’er a pleasant thing;
The yearning after lucre / yet evil end doth bring.
Here where thought he Hagen’s / gold so red to gain,
Must he by the doughty / warrior’s fierce sword be slain.
1552With might across the river / his oar the boatman plied,
But he who there was naméd / might nowhere be espied.
His rage was all unbounded / when he did Hagen find,
And loud his voice resounded / as thus he spake his angry mind:
1553“Thou mayst forsooth be calléd / Amelrich by name:
Whom I here did look for, / no whit art thou the same.
By father and by mother / brother he was to me.
Since me thou thus hast cozened, / so yet this side the river be.”
1554“Nay, by highest Heaven,” / Hagen did declare.
“Here am I a stranger / that have good knights in care.
Now take in friendly manner / here my offered pay,
And guide me o’er the ferry; / my favor hast thou thus alway.”
1555Whereat replied the boatman: / “The thing may never be.
There are that to my masters / do bear hostility;
Wherefore I never stranger / do lead into this land.
As now thy life thou prizest, / step straightway out upon the strand.”
1556“Deny me not,” quoth Hagen, / “for sad in sooth my mood.
Take now for remembrance / this my gold so good,
And carry men a thousand / and horses to yonder shore.”
Quoth in rage the boatman: / “Such thing will happen nevermore.”
1557Aloft he raised an oar / that mickle was and strong,
And dealt such blow on Hagen, / (but rued he that ere long,)
That in the boat did stumble / that warrior to his knee.
In sooth so savage boatman / ne’er did the knight of Tronje see.
1558With thought the stranger’s anger / the more to rouse anew,
He swung a mighty boat-pole / that it in pieces flew
Upon the crown of Hagen;— / he was a man of might.
Thereby did Else’s boatman / come anon to sorry plight.
1559Full sore enraged was Hagen, / as quick his hand he laid
Upon his sword where hanging / he found the trusty blade.
His head he struck from off him / and flung into the tide.
Known was soon the story / to the knights of Burgundy beside.
1560While the time was passing / that he the boatman slew,
The waters bore him downward, / whereat he anxious grew.
Ere he the boat had righted / began his strength to wane,
So mightily was pulling / royal Gunther’s doughty thane.
1561Soon he yet had turned it, / so rapid was his stroke,
Until the mighty oar / beneath his vigor broke.
As strove he his companions / upon the bank to gain,
No second oar he found him. / Yet soon the same made fast again.
1562With quickly snatched shield-strap, / a fine and narrow band.
Downward where stood a forest / he sought again the land,
And there his master found he / standing upon the shore.
In haste came forth to meet him / many a stately warrior more.
1563The gallant knight they greeted / with right hearty mood.
When in the boat perceived they / reeking still the blood
That from the wound had issued / where Hagen’s sword did swing,
Scarce could his companions / bring to an end their questioning.
1564When that royal Gunther / the streaming blood did see
Within the boat there running, / straightway then spake he:
“Where is now the ferryman, / tell me, Hagen, pray?
By thy mighty prowess / his life, I ween, is ta’en away.”
1565Thereto replied he falsely: / “When the boat I found
Where slopeth a wild meadow, / I the same unbound.
Hereabout no ferryman / I to-day have seen,
Nor ever cause of sorrow / unto any have I been.”
1566The good knight then of Burgundy, / the gallant Gernot, spake:
“Dear friends full many, fear I, / the flood this day will take,
Since we of the boatmen / none ready here may find
To guide us o’er the current. / ’Tis mickle sorrow to my mind.”
1567Full loudly cried then Hagen: / “Lay down upon the grass,
Ye squires, the horse equipments. / I ween a time there was,
Myself was best of boatmen / that dwelt the Rhine beside.
To Gelfrat’s country trow I / to bring you safely o’er the tide.”
1568That they might come the sooner / across the running flood,
Drove they in the horses. / Their swimming, it was good,
For of them never any / beneath the waves did sink,
Though many farther downward / must struggle sore to gain the brink.
1569Their treasure and apparel / unto the boat they bore,
Since by no means the journey / thought they to give o’er.
Hagen was director, / and safely reached the strand
With many a stalwart warrior / bound unto the unknown land.
1570Gallant knights a thousand / first he ferried o’er,
Whereafter came his own men. / Of others still were more,
For squires full nine thousand / he led unto that land.
That day no whit was idle / that valiant knight of Tronje’s hand.
1571When he them all in safety / o’er the flood had brought,
Of that strange story / the valiant warrior thought,
Which erstwhile had told him / those women of the sea.
Lost thereby the chaplain’s / life well-nigh was doomed to be.
1572Beside his priestly baggage / he saw the chaplain stand,
Upon the holy vestments / resting with his hand.
No whit was that his safety; / when Hagen him did see,
Must the priest full wretched / suffer sorest injury.
1573From out the boat he flung him / ere might the thing be told,
Whereat they cried together: / “Hold, O Master, hold?”
Soon had the youthful Giselher / to rage thereat begun,
And mickle was his sorrow / that Hagen yet the thing had done.
1574Then outspake Sir Gernot, / knight of Burgundy:
“What boots it thee, Sir Hagen, / that thus the chaplain die?
Dared any else to do it, / thy wrath ’twould sorely stir.
Wherein the priest’s offending, / thus thy malice to incur?”
1575To swim the chaplain struggled. / He thought him yet to free,
If any but would help him. / Yet such might never be,
For that the doughty Hagen / full wrathful was of mood,
He sunk him to the bottom, / whereat aghast each warrior stood.
1576When that no help forthcoming / the wretched priest might see,
He sought the hither shore, / and fared full grievously.
Though failed his strength in swimming, / yet helped him God’s own hand,
That he came securely / back again unto the land.
1577Safe yonder stood the chaplain / and shook his dripping dress.
Thereby perceived Hagen / how true was none the less
The story that did tell him / the strange women of the sea.
Thought he: “Of these good warriors / soon the days must ended be.”
1578When that the boat was emptied, / and complete their store
All the monarch’s followers / had borne upon the shore,
Hagen smote it to pieces / and cast it on the flood,
Whereat in mickle wonder / the valiant knights around him stood.
1579“Wherefore dost this, brother,” / then Sir Dankwart spake;
“How shall we cross the river / when again we make
Our journey back from Hunland, / riding to the Rhine?”
Behold how Hagen bade him / all such purpose to resign.
1580Quoth the knight of Tronje: / “This thing is done by me,
That if e’er coward rideth / in all our company,
Who for lack of courage / from us away would fly,
He beneath these billows / yet a shameful death must die.”
1581One there journeyed with them / from the land of Burgundy,
That was a knight of valor, / Volker by name was he.
He spake in cunning manner / whate’er might fill his mind,
And aught was done by Hagen / did the Fiddler fitting find.
1582Ready stood their chargers, / the carriers laden well;
At passage of the river / was there naught to tell
Of scathe to any happened, / save but the king’s chaplain.
Afoot must he now journey / back unto the Rhine again.

wie Gelfrât erslagen wart von Dankwarte
{ 26 }
How Gelfrat was Slain by Dankwart.
1583When now they all were gathered / upon the farther strand,
To wonder gan the monarch: / “Who shall through this land
On routes aright direct us, / that not astray we fare?”
Then spake the doughty Volker: / “Thereof will I alone have care.”
1584“Now hark ye all,” quoth Hagen, / “knight and squire too,
And list to friendly counsel, / as fitting is to do.
Full strange and dark the tidings / now ye shall hear from me:
Home nevermore return we / unto the land of Burgundy.
1585“Thus mermaids twain did tell me, / who spake to me this morn,
That back we come not hither. / You would I therefore warn
That arméd well ye journey / and of all ills beware.
To meet with doughty foemen / well behooveth us prepare.
1586“I weened to turn to falsehood / what those wise mermaids spake,
Who said that safe this journey / none again should make
Home unto our country / save the chaplain alone:
Him therefore was I minded / to-day beneath the flood to drown.”
1587From company to company / quickly flew the tale,
Whereon grew many a doughty / warrior’s visage pale,
As gan he think in sorrow / how death should snatch away
All ere the journey ended; / and very need for grief had they.
1588By Moeringen was it / they had the river crossed,
Where also Else’s boatman / thus his life had lost.
There again spake Hagen: / “Since in such wise by me
Wrath hath been incurréd, / assailed full surely shall we be.
1589“Myself that same ferryman / did this morning slay.
Far bruited are the tidings. / Now arm ye for the fray,
That if Gelfrat and Else / be minded to beset
Our train to-day, they surely / with sore discomfiture be met.
1590“So keen they are, well know I / the thing they’ll not forego.
Your horses therefore shall ye / make to pace more slow,
That never man imagine / we flee away in fear.”
“That counsel will I follow,” / spake the young knight Giselher.
1591“Who will guide our vanguard / through this hostile land?”
“Volker shall do it,” spake they, / “well doth he understand
Where leadeth path and highway, / a minstrel brave and keen.”
Ere full the wish was spoken, / in armor well equipped was seen
1592Standing the doughty Fiddler. / His helmet fast he bound,
And from his stately armor / shot dazzling light around.
Eke to a staff he fastened / a banner, red of hue.
Anon with royal masters / came he to sorest sorrow too.
1593Unto Gelfrat meanwhile / had sure tidings flown,
How that was dead his boatman; / the story eke was known
Unto the doughty Else, / and both did mourn his fate.
Their warriors they summoned, / nor must long time for answer wait.
1594But little space it lasted / — that would I have you know —
Ere that to them hasted / who oft a mickle woe
Had wrought in stress of battle / and injury full sore;
To Gelfrat now came riding / seven hundred knights or more.
1595When they their foes to follow / so bitterly began,
Led them both their masters. / Yet all too fast they ran
After the valiant strangers / vengeance straight to wreak.
Ere long from those same leaders / did death full many a warrior take.
1596Hagen then of Tronje / the thing had ordered there,
— How of his friends might ever / knight have better care?—
That he did keep the rearguard / with warriors many a one,
And Dankwart eke, his brother; / full wisely the thing was done.
1597When now the day was over / and light they had no more,
Injury to his followers / gan he to dread full sore.
They shield in hand rode onward / through Bavarian land,
And ere they long had waited / beset they were by hostile band.
1598On either side the highway / and close upon their rear
Of hoofs was heard the clatter; / too keen the chasers were.
Then spake the valiant Dankwart: / “The foe is close at hand.
Now bind we on the helmet, / — wisdom doth the same command.”
1599Upon the way they halted, / nor else they safe had been.
Through the gloom perceived they / of gleaming shields the sheen.
Thereupon would Hagen / longer not delay:
“Who rideth on the highway?”— / That must Gelfrat tell straight-way.
1600Of Bavaria the margrave / thereupon replied:
“Our enemies now seek we, / and swift upon them ride.
Fain would I discover / who hath my boatman slain.
A knight he was of valor, / whose death doth cause me grievous pain.”
1601Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “And was the boatman thine
That would not take us over? / The guilt herein is mine.
Myself did slay the warrior, / and had, in sooth, good need,
For that beneath his valor / I myself full nigh lay dead.
1602“For pay I rich attire / did bid, and gold a store,
Good knight, that to thy country / he should us ferry o’er.
Thereat he raged full sorely / and on me swung a blow
With a mighty boat-pole, / whereat I eke did angry grow.
1603“For my sword then reached I / and made his rage to close
With a wound all gaping: / so thou thy knight didst lose.
I’ll give thee satisfaction / as to thee seemeth good.”
Straightway began the combat, / for high the twain in valor stood.
1604“Well know I,” spake Gelfrat, / “when Gunther with his train
Rode through this my country / that we should suffer bane
From Hagen, knight of Tronje. / No more shall he go free,
But for my boatman’s slaying / here a hostage must he be.”
1605Against their shields then lowered / for the charge the spear
Gelfrat and Hagen; / eager to close they were.
Else and Dankwart / spurred eke in stately way,
Scanning each the other; / then both did valorous arm display.
1606How might ever heroes / show doughty arm so well?
Backward from off his charger / from mighty tilt there fell
Hagen the valiant, / by Gelfrat’s hand borne down.
In twain was rent the breast-piece: / to Hagen thus a fall was known.
1607Where met in charge their followers, / did crash of shafts resound.
Risen eke was Hagen, / who erst unto the ground
Was borne by mighty lance-thrust, / prone upon the grass.
I ween that unto Gelfrat / nowise of gentle mood he was.
1608Who held their horses’ bridles / can I not recount,
But soon from out their saddles / did they all dismount.
Hagen and Gelfrat / straightway did fierce engage,
And all their men around them / did eke a furious combat wage.
1609Though with fierce onslaught Hagen / upon Gelfrat sprung,
On his shield the noble margrave / a sword so deftly swung
That a piece from off the border / ’mid flying sparks it clave.
Well-nigh beneath its fury / fell dead King Gunther’s warrior brave.
1610Unto Dankwart loudly / thereat he gan to cry:
“Help! ho! my good brother! / Encountered here have I
A knight of arm full doughty, / from whom I come not free.”
Then spake the valiant Dankwart: / “Myself thereof the judge will be.”
1611Nearer sprang the hero / and smote him such a blow
With a keen-edged weapon / that he in death lay low.
For his slain brother Else / vengeance thought to take,
But soon with all his followers / ’mid havoc swift retreat must make.
1612Slain was now his brother, / wound himself did bear,
And of his followers eighty / eke had fallen there,
By grim death snatched sudden. / Then must the doughty knight,
From Gunther’s men to save him, / turn away in hasty flight.
1613When that they of Bavaria / did from the carnage flee,
The blows that followed after / resounded frightfully;
For close the knights of Tronje / upon their enemies chased,
Who to escape the fury / did quit the field in mickle haste.
1614Then spake upon their fleeing / Dankwart the doughty thane:
“Upon our way now let us / backward turn again,
And leave them hence to hasten / all wet with oozing blood.
Unto our friends return we, / this verily meseemeth good.”
1615When back they were returnéd / where did the scathe befall,
Outspake of Tronje Hagen: / “Now look ye, warriors all,
Who of our tale is lacking, / or who from us hath been
Here in battle riven / through the doughty Gelfrat’s spleen.”
1616Lament they must for warriors / four from them were ta’en.
But paid for were they dearly, / for roundabout lay slain
Of their Bavarian foemen / a hundred or more.
The men of Tronje’s bucklers / with blood were wet and tarnished o’er.
1617From out the clouds of heaven / a space the bright moon shone.
Then again spake Hagen: / “Bear report let none
To my beloved masters / how we here did fare.
Let them until the morrow / still be free from aught of care.”
1618When they were back returnéd / who bore the battle’s stress,
Sore troubled was their company / from very weariness.
“How long shall we keep saddle?” / was many a warrior’s quest.
Then spake the valiant Dankwart: / “Not yet may we find place of rest,
1619“But on ye all must journey / till day come back again.”
Volker, knight of prowess, / who led the foremost train,
Bade to ask the marshal: / “This night where shall we be,
That rest them may our chargers, / and eke my royal masters three?”
1620Thereto spake valiant Dankwart: / “The same I ne’er can say,
Yet may we never rest us / before the break of day.
Where then we find it fitting / we’ll lay us on the grass.”
When they did hear his answer, / what source of grief to all it was!
1621Still were they unbetrayéd / by reeking blood and red,
Until the sun in heaven / its shining beams down shed
At morn across the hill-tops, / that then the king might see
How they had been in battle. / Spake he then full angrily:
1622“How may this be, friend Hagen? / Scorned ye have, I ween,
That I should be beside you, / where coats of mail have been
Thus wet with blood upon you. / Who this thing hath done?”
Quoth he: “The same did Else, / who hath this night us set upon.
1623“To avenge his boatman / did they attack our train.
By hand of my brother / hath Gelfrat been slain.
Then fled Else before us, / and mickle was his need.
Ours four, and theirs a thousand, / remained behind in battle dead.”
1624Now can we not inform you / where resting-place they found.
But cause to know their passing / had the country-folk around,
When there the sons of Ute / to court did fare in state.
At Passau fit reception / did presently the knights await.
1625The noble monarchs’ uncle, / Bishop Pilgrim that was,
Full joyous-hearted was he / that through the land did pass
With train of lusty warriors / his royal nephews three.
That willing was his service, / waited they not long to see.
1626To greet them on their journey / did friends lack no device,
Yet not to lodge them fully / might Passau’s bounds suffice.
They must across the water / where spreading sward they found,
And lodge and tent erected / soon were stretching o’er the ground.
1627Nor from that spot they onward / might journey all that day,
And eke till night was over, / for pleasant was their stay.
Next to the land of Ruediger / must they in sooth ride on,
To whom full soon the story / of their coming eke was known.
1628When fitting rest had taken / the knights with travel worn,
And of Etzel’s country / they had reached the bourn,
A knight they found there sleeping / that ne’er should aught but wake,
From whom of Tronje Hagen / in stealth a mighty sword did take.
1629Hight in sooth was Eckewart / that same valiant knight.
For what was there befallen / was he in sorry plight,
That by those heroes’ passing / he had lost his sword.
At Ruediger’s marches / found they meagre was the guard.
1630“O, woe is me dishonored,” / Eckewart then cried;
“Yea, rueth me fully sorely, / this Burgundian ride.
What time was taken Siegfried, / did joy depart from me.
Alack, O Master Ruediger, / how ill my service unto thee?”
1631Hagen, full well perceiving / the noble warrior’s plight,
Gave him again his weapon / and armbands six full bright.
“These take, good knight, in token / that thou art still my friend.
A valiant warrior art thou, / though dost thou lone this border tend.”
1632“May God thy gifts repay thee,” / Eckewart replied,
“Yet rueth me full sorely / that to the Huns ye ride.
Erstwhile slew ye Siegfried / and vengeance have to fear;
My rede to you is truly: / ‘Beware ye well of danger here.’”
1633“Now must God preserve us,” / answered Hagen there.
“In sooth for nothing further / have these thanes a care
Than for place of shelter, / the kings and all their band,
And where this night a refuge / we may find within this land.
1634“Done to death our horses / with the long journey are,
And food as well exhausted,” / Hagen did declare.
“Nor find we aught for purchase; / a host we need instead,
Who would in kindness give us, / ere this evening, of his bread.”
1635Thereto gave answer Eckewart: / “I’ll show you such a one,
That so warm a welcome / find ye never none
In country whatsoever / as here your lot may be,
An if ye, thanes full gallant, / the noble Ruediger will see.
1636He dwelleth by the highway / and is most bounteous host
That house e’er had for master. / His heart may graces boast,
As in the lovely May-time / the flowrets deck the mead.
To do good thanes a service / is for his heart most joyous deed.”
1637Then spake the royal Gunther: / “Wilt thou my messenger be,
If will my dear friend Ruediger, / as favor done to me,
His hospitable shelter / with all my warriors share,
Therefor full to requite thee / shall e’er hereafter be my care.”
1638“Thy messenger am I gladly,” / Eckewart replied,
And in right willing manner / straight away did ride,
The message thus receivéd / to Ruediger to bear.
Nor did so joyous tidings / for many a season greet his ear.
1639Hasting to Bechelaren / was seen a noble thane.
The same perceivéd Ruediger, / and spake: “O’er yonder plain
Hither hastens Eckewart, / who Kriemhild’s might doth own.”
He weened that by some foemen / to him had injury been done.
1640Then passed he forth the gateway / where the messenger did stand.
His sword he loosed from girdle / and laid from out his hand.
The message that he carried / might he not long withhold
From the master and his kinsmen; / full soon the same to them was told.
1641He spake unto the margrave: / “I come at high command
Of the lordly Gunther / of Burgundian land,
And Giselher and Gernot, / his royal brothers twain.
In service true commends him / unto thee each lofty thane.
1642“The like hath Hagen bidden / and Volker as well
With homage oft-times proffered. / And more have I to tell,
The which King Gunther’s marshal / to thee doth send by me:
How that the valiant warriors / do crave thy hospitality.”
1643With smiling visage Ruediger / made thereto reply:
“Now joyeth me the story / that the monarchs high
Do deign to seek my service, / that ne’er refused shall be.
Come they unto my castle, / ’tis joy and gladness unto me.”
1644“Dankwart the marshal / hath bidden let thee know
Who seek with them thy shelter / as through thy land they go:
Three score of valiant leaders / and thousand knights right good,
With squires eke nine thousand.” / Thereat was he full glad of mood.
1645“To me ’tis mickle honor,” / Ruediger then spake,
“That through my castle’s portals / such guests will entry make,
For ne’er hath been occasion / my service yet to lend.
Now ride ye, men and kinsmen, / and on these lofty knights attend.”
1646Then to horse did hasten / knight and willing squire,
For glad they were at all times / to do their lord’s desire,
And keen that thus their service / should not be rendered late.
Unwitting Lady Gotelinde / still within her chamber sate.

wie si ze Bechelâren kômen
{ 27 }
How they came to Bechelaren.
1647Then went forth the margrave / where two ladies sate,
His wife beside his daughter, / nor longer did he wait
To tell the joyful tidings / that unto him were brought,
How Kriemhild’s royal brothers / his hospitality had sought.
1648“Dearly lovéd lady,” / spake then Ruediger,
“Full kind be thy reception / to lordly monarchs here,
That now with train of warriors / to court do pass this way.
Fair be eke thy greeting / to Hagen, Gunther’s man, this day.
1649“One likewise with them cometh, / Dankwart by name,
Volker hight the other, / a knight of gallant fame.
Thyself and eke thy daughter / with kiss these six shall greet;
Full courteous be your manner / as ye the doughty thanes shall meet.”
1650Gave straight their word the ladies, / and willing were thereto.
From out great chests they gorgeous / attire in plenty drew,
Which they to meet the lofty / strangers thought to wear,
Mickle was the hurry / there of many a lady fair.
1651On ne’er a cheek might any / but nature’s hue be seen.
Upon their head they carried / band of golden sheen,
That was a beauteous chaplet, / that so their glossy hair
By wind might not be ruffled: / that is truth as I declare.
1652At such employment busy / leave we those ladies now.
Here with mickle hurry / across the plain did see
Friends of noble Ruediger / the royal guests to meet,
And them with warmest welcome / unto the margrave’s land did greet.
1653When coming forth the margrave / saw their forms appear,
How spake with heart full joyous / the valiant Ruediger!
“Welcome be ye, Sires, / and all your gallant band.
Right glad am I to see you / hither come unto my land.”
1654Then bent the knights before him / each full courteously.
That he good-will did bear them / might they full quickly see.
Hagen had special greeting, / who long to him was known;
To Volker eke of Burgundy / was like highest honor shown.
1655Thus Dankwart eke he greeted, / when spake the doughty thane:
“While we thus well are harbored, / who then for all the train
Of those that follow with us / shall meet provision make?”
“Yourselves this night right easy / shall rest,” the noble margrave spake.
1656“And all that follow with you, / with equipment whatsoe’er
Ye bring into my country / of steed or warlike gear,
So sure shall it be guarded / that of all the sum,
E’en to one spur’s value, / to you shall never damage come.
1657“Now stretch aloft, my squires, / the tents upon the plain.
What here ye have of losses / will I make good again.
Unbridle now the horses / and let them wander free.”
Upon their way they seldom / did meet like hospitality.
1658Thereat rejoiced the strangers. / When thus it ordered was,
Rode the high knights forward. / All round upon the grass
Lay the squires attendant / and found a gentle rest.
I ween, upon their journey / was here provision costliest.
1659Out before the castle / the noble margravine
Had passed with her fair daughter. / In her train were seen
A band of lovely women / and many a winsome maid,
Whose arms with bracelets glittered, / and all in stately robes arrayed.
1660The costly jewels sparkled / with far-piercing ray
From out their richest vestments, / and buxom all were they.
Now came the strangers thither / and sprang upon the ground.
How high in noble courtesy / the men of Burgundy were found!
1661Six and thirty maidens / and many a fair lady,
— Nor might ye ever any / more winsome wish to see —
Went then forth to meet them / with many a knight full keen.
At hands of noble ladies / fairest greeting then was seen.
1662The margrave’s youthful daughter / did kiss the kings all three
As eke had done her mother. / Hagen stood thereby.
Her father bade her kiss him; / she looked the thane upon,
Who filled her so with terror, / she fain had left the thing undone.
1663When she at last must do it, / as did command her sire,
Mingled was her color, / both pale and hue of fire.
Likewise kissed she Dankwart / and the Fiddler eke anon:
That he was knight of valor / to him was such high favor shown.
1664The margrave’s youthful daughter / took then by the hand
The royal knight Giselher / of Burgundian land.
E’en so led forth her mother / the gallant Gunther high.
With those guests so lofty / walked they there full joyfully.
1665The host escorted Gernot / to a spacious hall and wide,
Where knights and stately ladies / sate them side by side.
Then bade they for the strangers / pour good wine plenteously:
In sooth might never heroes / find fuller hospitality.
1666Glances fond and many / saw ye directed there
Upon Ruediger’s daughter, / for she was passing fair.
Yea, in his thoughts caressed her / full many a gallant knight;
A lady high in spirit, / well might she every heart delight.
1667Yet whatsoe’er their wishes, / might none fulfilléd be.
Hither oft and thither / glanced they furtively
On maidens and fair ladies, / whereof were many there.
Right kind the noble Fiddler / disposéd was to Ruediger.
1668They parted each from other / as ancient custom was,
And knights and lofty ladies / did separating pass
When tables were made ready / within the spacious hall.
There in stately manner / they waited on the strangers all.
1669To do the guests high honor / likewise the table sought
With them the lofty margravine. / Her daughter led she not,
But left among the maidens, / where fitting was she sat.
That they might not behold her, grieved were the guests in sooth thereat.
1670The drinking and the feasting, / when ’twas ended all,
Escorted was the maiden / again into the hall.
Then of merry jesting / they nothing lacked, I ween,
Wherein was busy Volker, / a thane full gallant and keen.
1671Then spake the noble Fiddler / to all in lofty tone:
“Great mercy, lordly margrave, / God to thee hath shown,
For that he hath granted / unto thee a wife
Of so surpassing beauty, / and thereto a joyous life.
1672“If that I were of royal / birth,” the Fiddler spake,
“And kingly crown should carry, / to wife I’d wish to take
This thy lovely daughter, / — my heart thus prompteth me.
A noble maid and gentle / and fair to look upon is she.”
1673Then outspake the margrave: / “How might such thing be,
That king should e’er desire / daughter born to me?
Exiled from my country / here with my spouse I dwell:
What avails the maiden, / be she favored ne’er so well?”
1674Thereto gave answer Gernot, / a knight of manner kind:
“If to my desire / I ever spouse would find,
Then would I of such lady / right gladly make my choice.”
In full kindly manner / added Hagen eke his voice:
1675“Now shall my master Giselher / take to himself a spouse.
The noble margrave’s daughter / is of so lofty house,
That I and all his warriors / would glad her service own,
If that she in Burgundy / should ever wear a royal crown.”
1676Glad thereat full truly / was Sir Ruediger,
And eke Gotelinde: / they joyed such words to hear.
Anon arranged the heroes / that her as bride did greet
The noble knight Giselher, / as was for any monarch meet.
1677What thing is doomed to happen, / who may the same prevent?
To come to the assembly / they for the maidens sent,
And to the knight they plighted / the winsome maid for wife,
Pledge eke by him was given, / his love should yet endure with life.
1678They to the maid allotted / castles and spreading land,
Whereof did give assurance / the noble monarch’s hand
And eke the royal Gernot, / ’twould surely so be done.
Then spake to them the margrave: / “Lordly castles have I none,
1679“Yet true shall be my friendship / the while that I may live.
Unto my daughter shall I / of gold and silver give
What hundred sumpter-horses / full laden bear away,
That her husband’s lofty kinsmen / find honor in the fair array.”
1680They bade the knight and maiden / within a ring to stand,
As was of old the custom. / Of youths a goodly band,
That all were merry-hearted, / did her there confront,
And thought they on her beauty / as mind of youth is ever wont.
1681When they began to question / then the winsome maid,
Would she the knight for husband, / somewhat she was dismayed,
And yet forego she would not / to have him for her own.
She blushed to hear the question, / as many another maid hath done.
1682Her father Ruediger prompted / that Yes her answer be,
And that she take him gladly. / Unto her instantly
Sprang the young Sir Giselher, / and in his arm so white
He clasped her to his bosom. / — Soon doomed to end was her delight.
1683Then spake again the margrave: / “Ye royal knights and high,
When that home ye journey / again to Burgundy
I’ll give to you my daughter, / as fitting is to do,
That ye may take her with you.” / They gave their plighted word thereto.
1684What jubilation made they / yet at last must end.
The maiden then was bidden / unto her chamber wend,
And guests to seek their couches / and rest until the day.
For them the host provided / a feast in hospitable way.
1685When they had feasted fully / and to the Huns’ country
Thence would onward journey, / “Such thing shall never be,”
Spake the host full noble, / “but here ye still shall rest.
Seldom hath my good fortune / welcomed yet so many a guest.”
1686Thereto gave answer Dankwart: / “In sooth it may not be.
Bread and wine whence hast thou / and food sufficiently,
Over night to harbor / of guests so great a train?”
When the host had heard it, / spake he: “All thy words are vain.
1687“Refuse not my petition, / ye noble lords and high.
A fortnight’s full provision / might I in sooth supply,
For you and every warrior / that journeys in your train.
Till now hath royal Etzel / small portion of my substance ta’en.”
1688Though fain they had declined it, / yet they there must stay
E’en to the fourth morning. / Then did the host display
So generous hand and lavish / that it was told afar.
He gave unto the strangers / horses and apparel rare.
1689The time at last was over / and they must journey thence.
Then did the valiant Ruediger / with lavish hand dispense
Unto all his bounty, / refused he unto none
Whate’er he might desire. / Well-pleased they parted every one.
1690His courteous retainers / to castle gateway brought
Saddled many horses, / and soon the place was sought
Eke by the gallant strangers / each bearing shield in hand,
For that they thence would journey / onward into Etzel’s land.
1691The host had freely offered / rich presents unto all,
Ere that the noble strangers / passed out before the hall.
High in honor lived he, / a knight of bounty rare.
His fair daughter had he / given unto Giselher.
1692Eke gave he unto Gunther, / a knight of high renown,
What well might wear with honor / the monarch as his own,
— Though seldom gift received he — / a coat of harness rare.
Thereat inclined King Gunther / before the noble Ruediger.
1693Then gave he unto Gernot / a good and trusty blade,
Wherewith anon in combat / was direst havoc made.
That thus the gift was taken / rejoiced the margrave’s wife:
Thereby the noble Ruediger / was doomed anon to lose his life.
1694Gotelinde proffered Hagen, / as ’twas a fitting thing,
Her gifts in kindly manner. / Since scorned them not the king,
Eke he without her bounty / to the high festivity
Should thence not onward journey. / Yet loath to take the same was he.
1695“Of all doth meet my vision,” / Hagen then spake,
“Would I wish for nothing / with me hence to take
But alone the shield that hanging / on yonder wall I see.
The same I’d gladly carry / into Etzel’s land with me.”
1696When the stately margravine / Hagen’s words did hear,
Brought they to mind her sorrow, / nor might she stop a tear.
She thought again full sadly / how her son Nudung fell,
Slain by hand of Wittich; / and did her breast with anguish swell.
1697She spake unto the hero: / “The shield to thee I’ll give.
O would to God in heaven / that he still did live,
Whose hand erstwhile did wield it! / In battle fell he low,
And I, a wretched mother, / must weep with never-ending woe.
1968Thereat the noble lady / up from the settle rose,
And soon her arms all snow-white / did the shield enclose.
She bore it unto Hagen, / who made obeisance low;
The gift she might with honor / upon so valiant thane bestow.
1699O’er it, to keep its color, / a shining cover lay
With precious stones all studded, / nor ever shone the day
Upon a shield more costly; / if e’er a longing eye
Did covet to possess it, / scarce thousand marks the same might buy.
1700The shield in charge gave Hagen / thence away to bear.
Before his host then Dankwart / himself presented there,
On whom the margrave’s daughter / did costly dress bestow.
Wherein anon in Hunland / arrayed full stately he did go.
1701Whate’er of gifts by any / was accepted there,
Them had his hand ne’er taken, / but that intent all were
To do their host an honor / who gave with hand so free.
By his guests in combat / soon doomed was he slain to be.
1702Volker the valiant / to Gotelinde came
And stood in courteous manner / with fiddle ’fore the dame.
Sweet melodies he played her / and sang his songs thereby,
For thought he from Bechelaren / to take departure presently.
1703The margravine bade to her / a casket forth to bear.
And now of presents given / full freely may ye hear.
Therefrom she took twelve armbands / and drew them o’er his hand.
“These shall thou with thee carry, / as ridest thou to Etzel’s land,
1704“And for my sake shalt wear them / when at court thou dost appear,
That when thou hither comest / I may the story hear
How thou hast done me honor / at the high festival.”
What did wish the lady, / faithfully performed he all.
1705Thus to his guests the host spake: / “That ye more safely fare,
Myself will give you escort / and bid them well beware
That upon the highway / no ill on you be wrought.”
Thereat his sumpter horses / straightway laden forth were brought
1706The host was well prepared / with five hundred men
With horse and rich attire. / These led he with him then
In right joyous humor / to the high festival.
Alive to Bechelaren / again came never one of all.
1707Thence took his leave Sir Ruediger / with kiss full lovingly;
As fitting was for Giselher, / likewise the same did he.
With loving arms enfolding / caressed they ladies fair.
To many a maid the parting / did bring anon full bitter tear.
1708On all sides then the windows / were open wide flung,
As with his train of warriors / the host to saddle sprung.
I ween their hearts did tell them / how they should sorrow deep.
For there did many a lady / and many a winsome maiden weep.
1709For dear friends left behind him / grieved many a knight full sore.
Whom they at Bechelaren / should behold no more.
Yet rode they off rejoicing / down across the sand
Hard by the Danube river / on their way to Etzel’s land.
1710Then spake to the Burgundians / the gallant knight and bold,
Ruediger the noble: / “Now let us not withhold
The story of our coming / unto the Hun’s country.
Unto the royal Etzel / might tidings ne’er more welcome be.”
1711Down in haste through Austria / the messenger did ride,
Who told unto the people / soon on every side,
From Worms beyond Rhine river / were high guests journeying.
Nor unto Etzel’s people / gladder tidings might ye bring.
1712Onward spurred the messengers / who did the message bear,
How now in Hunnish country / the Nibelungen were.
“Kriemhild, lofty lady, / warm thy welcome be;
In stately manner hither / come thy loving brothers three.”
1713Within a lofty casement / the Lady Kriemhild stood,
Looking for her kinsmen, / as friend for friend full good.
From her father’s country / saw she many a knight;
Eke heard the king the tidings, / and laughed thereat for sheer delight.
1714“Now well my heart rejoiceth,” / spake Lady Kriemhild.
“Hither come my kinsmen / with many a new-wrought shield
And brightly shining hauberk: / who gold would have from me,
Be mindful of my sorrow; / to him I’ll ever gracious be.”

wie Kriemhilt Hagenen enpfie
{ 28 }
How the Burgundians came to Etzel’s Castle.
1715When that the men of Burgundy / were come into the land,
He of Bern did hear it, / the agéd Hildebrand.
He told it to his master, / who sore thereat did grieve;
The knight so keen and gallant / bade he in fitting way receive.
1716Wolfhart the valiant / bade lead the heroes forth.
In company with Dietrich / rode many a thane of worth,
As out to receive them / across the plain he went,
Where might ye see erected / already many a stately tent.
1717When that of Tronje Hagen / them far away espied,
Unto his royal masters / full courteously he said:
“Now shall ye, doughty riders, / down from the saddle spring,
And forward go to meet them / that here to you a welcome bring.
1718“A train there cometh yonder, / well knew I e’en when young.
Thanes they are full doughty / of the land of Amelung.
He of Bern doth lead them, / and high of heart they are;
To scorn their proffered greeting / shall ye in sooth full well beware.”
1719Dismounted then with Dietrich, / (as was meet and right,)
Attended by his squire / many a gallant knight.
They went unto the strangers / and greeted courteously
The knights that far had ridden / from the land of Burgundy.
1720When then Sir Dietrich / saw them coming near,
What words the thane delivered, / now may ye willing hear,
Unto Ute’s children. / Their journey grieved him sore.
He weened that Ruediger knowing / had warned what lay for them in store.
1721“Welcome be ye, Masters, / Gunther and Giselher,
Gernot and Hagen, / welcome eke Volker
And the valiant Dankwart. / Do ye not understand?
Kriemhild yet sore bemoaneth / the hero of Nibelungen land.”
1722“Long time may she be weeping,” / Hagen spake again;
“In sooth for years a many / dead he lies and slain.
To the monarch now of Hunland / should she devoted be:
Siegfried returneth never, / buried now long time is he.”
1723“How Siegfried’s death was compassed, / let now the story be:
While liveth Lady Kriemhild, / look ye for injury.”
Thus did of Bern Sir Dietrich / unto them declare:
“Hope of the Nibelungen, / of her vengeance well beware.”
1724“Whereof shall I be fearful?” / the lofty monarch spake:
“Etzel hath sent us message, / (why further question make?)
That we should journey hither / into his country.
Eke hath my sister Kriemhild / oft wished us here as guests to see.
1725“I give thee honest counsel,” / Hagen then did say,
“Now shalt thou here Sir Dietrich / and his warriors pray
To tell thee full the story, / if aught may be designed,
And let thee know more surely / how stands the Lady Kriemhild’s mind.”
1726Then went to speak asunder / the lordly monarchs three,
Gunther and Gernot, / and Dietrich went he.
“Now tell us true, thou noble / knight of Bern and kind,
If that perchance thou knowest / how stands thy royal mistress’ mind.”
1727The lord of Bern gave answer: / “What need to tell you more?
I hear each day at morning / weeping and wailing sore
The wife of royal Etzel, / who piteous doth complain
To God in heaven that Siegfried / her doughty spouse from her was ta’en.”
1728“Then must we e’en abide it,” / was the fearless word
Of Volker the Fiddler, / “what we here have heard.
To court we yet shall journey / and make full clear to all,
If that to valiant warriors / may aught amid the Huns befall.”
1729The gallant thanes of Burgundy / unto court then rode,
And went in stately manner / as was their country’s mode.
Full many a man in Hunland / looked eagerly to see
Of what manner Hagen, / Tronje’s doughty thane, might be.
1730For that was told the story / (and great the wonder grew)
How that of Netherland / Siegfried he slew,
That was the spouse of Kriemhild, / in strength without a peer,
Hence a mickle questioning / after Hagen might ye hear.
1731Great was the knight of stature, / may ye know full true,
Built with breast expansive; / mingled was the hue
Of his hair with silver; / long he was of limb;
As he strode stately forward / might ye mark his visage grim.
1732Then were the thanes of Burgundy / unto quarters shown,
But the serving-man of Gunther / by themselves alone.
Thus the queen did counsel, / so filled she was with hate.
Anon where they were harbored / the train did meet with direst fate.
1733Dankwart, Hagen’s brother, / marshal was he.
To him the king his followers / commended urgently,
That he provide them plenty / and have of them good care.
The noble knight of Burgundy / their safety well in mind did bear.
1734By her train attended, / Queen Kriemhild went
To greet the Nibelungen, / yet false was her intent.
She kissed her brother Giselher / and took him by the hand:
Thereat of Tronje Hagen / did tighter draw his helmet’s band.
1735“After such like greeting,” / the doughty Hagen spake,
“Let all watchful warriors / full precaution take:
Differs wide the greeting / on masters and men bestowed.
Unhappy was the hour / when to this festival we rode.”
1736She spake: “Now be ye welcome / to whom ye welcome be.
For sake of friendship never / ye greeting have from me.
Tell me now what bring ye / from Worms across the Rhine,
That ye so greatly welcome / should ever be to land of mine?”
1737“An I had only known it,” / Hagen spake again,
“That thou didst look for present / from hand of every thane,
I were, methinks, so wealthy / — had I me bethought —
That I unto this country / likewise to thee my gift had brought.”
1738“Now shall ye eke the story / to me more fully say:
The Nibelungen treasure, / where put ye that away?
My own possession was it, / as well ye understand.
That same ye should have brought me / hither unto Etzel’s land.”
1739“In sooth, my Lady Kriemhild, / full many a day hath flown
Since of the Nibelungen / hoard I aught have known.
Into the Rhine to sink it / my lords commanded me:
Verily there must it / until the day of judgment be.”
1740Thereto the queen gave answer: / “Such was e’en my thought.
Thereof right little have ye / unto me hither brought,
Although myself did own it / and once o’er it held sway.
’Tis cause that I for ever / have full many a mournful day.”
1741“The devil have I brought thee,” / Hagen did declare.
“My shield it is so heavy / that I have to bear,
And my plaited armor; / my shining helmet see,
And sword in hand I carry, / — so might I nothing bring for thee.”
1742Then spake the royal lady / unto the warriors all:
“Weapon shall not any / bear into the hall.
To me now for safe keeping, / ye thanes shall give them o’er.”
“In sooth,” gave answer Hagen, / “such thing shall happen nevermore.
1743“Such honor ne’er I covet, / royal lady mild,
That to its place of keeping / thou shouldst bear my shield
With all my other armor, / — for thou art a queen.
Such taught me ne’er my sire: / myself will be my chamberlain.”
1744“Alack of these my sorrows?” / the Lady Kriemhild cried;
“Wherefore will now my brother / and Hagen not confide
To me their shields for keeping? / Some one did warning give.
Knew I by whom ’twas given, / brief were the space that he might live.”
1745Thereto the mighty Dietrich / in wrath his answer gave:
“’Tis I who now these noble / lords forewarnéd have,
And Hagen, knight full valiant / of the land of Burgundy.
Now on! thou devil’s mistress, / let not the deed my profit be.”
1746Great shame thereat did Kriemhild’s / bosom quickly fill;
She feared lest Dietrich’s anger / should work her grievous ill.
Naught she spake unto them / as thence she swiftly passed,
But fierce the lightning glances / that on her enemies she cast.
1747By hand then grasped each, other / doughty warriors twain:
Hight the one was Dietrich, / with Hagen, noble thane.
Then spake in courteous manner / that knight of high degree:
“That ye are come to Hunland, / ’tis very sorrow unto me;
1748“For what hath here been spoken / by the lofty queen.”
Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Small cause to grieve, I ween.”
Held converse thus together / those brave warriors twain,
King Etzel which perceiving / thus a questioning began:
1749“I would learn full gladly,” / — in such wise spake he —
“Who were yonder warrior, / to whom so cordially
Doth greeting give Sir Dietrich. / Meseemeth high his mood.
Whosoe’er his sire, / a thane he is of mettle good.”
1750Unto the king gave answer / of Kriemhild’s train a knight:
“Born he was of Tronje, / Aldrian his sire hight.
How merry here his bearing, / a thane full grim is he.
That I have spoken truly, / shalt thou anon have cause to see.”
1751“How may I then perceive it / that fierce his wrath doth glow?”
Naught of basest treachery / yet the king did know,
That anon Queen Kriemhild / ’gainst her kinsmen did contrive,
Whereby returned from Hunland / not one of all their train alive.
1752“Well knew I Aldrian, / he once to me was thane:
Praise and mickle honor / he here by me did gain.
Myself a knight did make him, / and gave him of my gold.
Helke, noble lady, / did him in highest favor hold.
1753“Thereby know I fully / what Hagen since befell.
Two stately youths as hostage / at my court did dwell,
He and Spanish Walter, / from youth to manhood led.
Hagen sent I homeward; / Walter with Hildegunde fled.”
1754He thought on ancient story / that long ago befell.
His doughty friend of Tronje / knew he then right well,
Whose youthful valor erstwhile / did such assistance lend.
Through him in age he must be / bereft of many a dearest friend.

wie Hagene und Volkêr vor Kriemhilde sal sâʐen
{ 29 }
How He arose not before Her.
1755Then parted from each other / the noble warriors twain,
Hagen of Tronje / and Dietrich, lofty thane.
Then did King Gunther’s warrior / cast a glance around,
Seeking a companion / the same he eke full quickly found.
1756As standing there by Giselher / he did Volker see,
He prayed the nimble Fiddler / to bear him company,
For that full well he knew it / how grim he was of mood,
And that in all things was he / a knight of mettle keen and good.
1757While yet their lords were standing / there in castle yard
Saw ye the two knights only / walking thitherward
Across the court far distant / before the palace wide.
The chosen thanes recked little / what might through any’s hate betide.
1758They sate them down on settle / over against a hall,
Wherein dwelt Lady Kriemhild, / beside the palace wall.
Full stately their attire / on stalwart bodies shone.
All that did look upon them / right gladly had the warriors known.
1759Like unto beasts full savage / were they gaped upon,
The two haughty heroes, / by full many a Hun.
Eke from a casement Etzel’s / wife did them perceive:
Once more to behold them / must fair Lady Kriemhild grieve.
1760It called to mind her sorrow, / and she to weep began,
Whereat did mickle wonder / many an Etzel’s man,
What grief had thus so sudden / made her sad of mood.
Spake she: “That hath Hagen, / ye knights of mettle keen and good.”
1761They to their mistress answered: / “Such thing, how hath it been?
For that thee right joyous / we but now have seen.
Ne’er lived he so daring / that, having wrought thee ill,
His life he must not forfeit, / if but to vengeance point thy will.”
1762“I live but to requite him / that shall avenge my wrong;
Whate’er be his desire / shall unto him belong.
Prostrate I beseech you,” / — so spake the monarch’s wife —
“Avenge me upon Hagen, / and forfeit surely be his life.”
1763Three score of valiant warriors / made ready then straightway
To work the will of Kriemhild / and her best obey
By slaying of Sir Hagen, / the full valiant thane,
And eke the doughty Fiddler; / by shameful deed thus sought they gain.
1764When the queen beheld there / so small their company,
In full angry humor / to the warriors spake she:
“What there ye think to compass, / forego such purpose yet:
So small in numbers never / dare ye Hagen to beset.
1765“How doughty e’er be Hagen, / and known his valor wide,
A man by far more doughty / that sitteth him beside,
Volker the Fiddler: / a warrior grim is he.
In sooth may not so lightly / the heroes twain confronted be.”
1766When that she thus had spoken, / ready soon were seen
Four hundred stalwart warriors; / for was the lofty queen
Full intent upon it / to work them evil sore.
Therefrom for all the strangers / was mickle sorrow yet in store.
1767When that complete attiréd / were here retainers seen,
Unto the knights impatient / in such wise spake the queen:
“Now bide ye yet a moment / and stand ye ready so,
While I with crown upon me / unto my enemies shall go.
1768“And list while I accuse him / how he hath wrought me bane,
Hagen of Tronje, / Gunther’s doughty thane.
I know his mood so haughty, / naught he’ll deny of all.
Nor reck I what of evil / therefrom may unto him befall.”
1769Then saw the doughty Fiddler / — he was a minstrel keen —
Adown the steps descending / the high and stately queen
Who issued from the castle. / When he the queen espied,
Spake the valiant Volker / to him was seated by his side:
1770“Look yonder now, friend Hagen, / how that she hither hies
Who to this land hath called us / in such treacherous wise.
No monarch’s wife I ever / saw followed by such band
Of warriors armed for battle, / that carry each a sword in hand.
1771“Know’st thou, perchance, friend Hagen, / if hate to thee they bear?
Then would I well advise thee / of them full well beware
And guard both life and honor. / That methinks were good,
For if I much mistake not, / full wrathful is the warriors’ mood.
1772“Of many eke among them / so broad the breasts do swell,
That who would guard him ’gainst them / betimes would do it well.
I ween that ’neath their tunics / they shining mail-coats wear:
Yet might I never tell thee, / ’gainst whom such evil mind they bear.”
1773Then spake all wrathful-minded / Hagen the warrior keen:
“On me to vent their fury / is their sole thought, I ween,
That thus with brandished weapons / their onward press we see.
Despite them all yet trow I / to come safe home to Burgundy.
1774“Now tell me, friend Volker, / wilt thou beside me stand,
If seek to work me evil / here Kriemhild’s band?
That let me hear right truly, / as I am dear to thee.
By thy side forever / shall my service faithful be.”
1775“Full surely will I help thee,” / the minstrel straight replied;
“And saw I e’en a monarch / with all his men beside
Hither come against us, / the while a sword I wield
Not fear shall ever prompt me / from thy side one pace to yield.”
1776“Now God in heaven, O Volker, / give thy high heart its meed.
Will they forsooth assail me, / whereof else have I need?
Wilt thou thus stand beside me / as here is thy intent,
Let come all armed these warriors, / on whatsoever purpose bent.”
1777“Now rise we from this settle,” / the minstrel spake once more,
“While that the royal lady / passeth here before.
To her be done this honor / as unto lady high.
Ourselves in equal manner / shall we honor eke thereby.”
1778“Nay, nay! as me thou lovest,” / Hagen spake again,
“For so would sure imagine / here each hostile thane
That ’twere from fear I did it, / should I bear me so.
For sake of never any / will I from this settle go.
1779“Undone we both might leave it / in sooth more fittingly.
Wherefore should I honor / who bears ill-will to me?
Such thing will I do never, / the while I yet have life.
Nor reck I aught how hateth / me the royal Etzel’s wife.”
1780Thereat defiant Hagen / across his knee did lay
A sword that shone full brightly, / from whose knob did play
The light of glancing jasper / greener than blade of grass.
Well perceivéd Kriemhild / that it erstwhile Siegfried’s was.
1781When she the sword espiéd, / to weep was sore her need.
The hilt was shining golden, / the sheath a band of red.
As it recalled her sorrow, / her tears had soon begun;
I ween for that same purpose / ’twas thus by dauntless Hagen done.
1782Eke the valiant Volker / a fiddle-bow full strong
Unto himself drew nearer; / mickle it was and long,
Like unto a broad-sword / full sharp that was and wide.
So sat they all undaunted / the stately warriors side by side.
1783There sat the thanes together / in such defiant wise
That would never either / from the settle rise
Through fear of whomsoever. / Then strode before their feet
The lofty queen, and wrathful / did thus the doughty warriors greet.
1784Quoth she: “Now tell me, Hagen, / upon whose command
Barest thou thus to journey / hither to this land,
And knowest well what sorrow / through thee my heart must bear.
Wert thou not reft of reason, / then hadst thou kept thee far from here.”
1785“By none have I been summoned,” / Hagen gave reply.
“Three lofty thanes invited / were to this country:
The same I own as masters / and service with them find.
Whene’er they make court journey / ’twere strange should I remain behind.”
1786Quoth she: “Now tell me further, / wherefore didst thou that
Whereby thou hast deservéd / my everlasting hate?
’Twas thou that slewest Siegfried, / spouse so dear to me,
The which, till life hath ended, / must ever cause for weeping be.”
1787Spake he: “Why parley further, / since further word were vain?
E’en I am that same Hagen / by whom was Siegfried slain,
That deft knight of valor. / How sore by him ’twas paid
That the Lady Kriemhild / dared the fair Brunhild upbraid!
1788“Beyond all cavil is it, / high and royal dame,
Of all the grievous havoc / I do bear the blame.
Avenge it now who wisheth, / woman or man tho’t be.
An I unto thee lie not, / I’ve wrought thee sorest injury.”
1789She spake: “Now hear, ye warriors, / how denies he not at all
The cause of all my sorrow. / Whate’er may him befall
Reck I not soever, / that know ye, Etzel’s men.”
The overweening warriors / blank gazed upon each other then.
1790Had any dared the onset, / seen it were full plain
The palm must be awarded / to the companions twain,
Who had in storm of battle / full oft their prowess shown.
What that proud band designed / through fear must now be left undone.
1791Outspake one of their number: / “Wherefore look thus to me?
What now I thought to venture / left undone shall be,
Nor for reward of any / think I my life to lose;
To our destruction lures us / here the royal Etzel’s spouse.”
1792Then spake thereby another: / “Like mind therein have I.
Though ruddy gold were offered / like towers piléd high,
Yet would I never venture / to stir this Fiddler’s spleen.
Such are the rapid glances / that darting from his eyes I’ve seen.
1793“Likewise know I Hagen / from youthful days full well,
Nor more about his valor / to me need any tell.
In two and twenty battles / I the knight have seen,
Whereby sorest sorrow / to many a lady’s heart hath been.
1794“When here they were with Etzel, / he and the knight of Spain
Bore storm of many a battle / in many a warlike train
For sake of royal honor, / so oft thereof was need.
Wherefore of right are honors / high the valiant Hagen’s meed.
1795“Then was yet the hero / but a child in years;
Now how hoary-headed / who were his youthful feres,
To wisdom now attainéd, / a warrior grim and strong,
Eke bears he with him Balmung, / the which he gained by mickle wrong.”
1796Therewith the matter ended, / and none the fight dared start,
Whereat the Lady Kriemhild / full heavy was of heart.
Her warriors thence did vanish, / for feared they death indeed
At hands of the Fiddler, / whereof right surely was there need.
1797Outspake then the Fiddler: / “Well we now have seen,
That enemies here do greet us, / as we forewarned have been.
Back unto the monarchs / let us straight repair,
That none against our masters / to raise a hostile hand may dare.
1798“How oft from impious purpose / doth fear hold back the hand,
Where friend by friend doth only / firm in friendship stand,
Until right sense give warning / to leave the thing undone.
Thus wisdom hath prevented / the harm of mortals many a one.”
1799“Heed I will thy counsel,” / Hagen gave reply.
Then passed they where / the monarchs found they presently
In high state received / within the palace court.
Loud the valiant Volker / straight began after this sort
1800Unto his royal masters: / “How long will ye stand so,
That foes may press upon you? / To the king ye now shall go,
And from his lips hear spoken / how is his mind to you.”
The valiant lords and noble / consorted then by two and two.
1801Of Bern the lofty Dietrich / took by the hand
Gunther the lordly monarch / of Burgundian land;
Irnfried escorted Gernot, / a knight of valor keen,
And Ruediger with Giselher / going unto the court was seen.
1802Howe’er with fere consorted / there any thane might be,
Volker and Hagen / ne’er parted company,
Save in storm of battle / when they did reach life’s bourne,
’Twas cause that highborn ladies / anon in grievous way must mourn.
1803Unto the court then passing / with the kings were seen.
Of their lofty retinue / a thousand warriors keen,
And threescore thanes full valiant / that followed in their train;
The same from his own country / had doughty Hagen with him ta’en.
1804Hawart and eke Iring, / chosen warriors twain,
Saw ye walk together / in the royal train.
By Dankwart and Wolfhart, / a thane of high renown,
Was high courtly bearing / there before the others shown.
1805When the lord of Rhineland / passed into the hall,
Etzel mighty monarch / waited not at all,
But sprang from off his settle / when he beheld him nigh.
By monarch ne’er was given / greeting so right heartily.
1806“Welcome be, Lord Gunther, / and eke Sir Gernot too,
And your brother Giselher. / My greetings unto you
I sent with honest purpose / to Worms across the Rhine;
And welcome all your followers / shall be unto this land of mine.
1807“Right welcome be ye likewise, / doughty warriors twain,
Volker the full valiant, / and Hagen dauntless thane,
To me and to my lady / here in my country.
Unto the Rhine to greet you / many a messenger sent she.”
1808Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Thereof I’m well aware,
And did I with my masters / not thus to Hunland fare,
To do thee honor had I / ridden unto thy land.”
Then took the lofty monarch / the honored strangers by the hand.
1809He led them to the settle / whereon himself he sat,
Then poured they for the strangers / — with care they tended that —
In goblets wide and golden / mead and mulberry wine,
And bade right hearty welcome / unto the knights afar from Rhine.
1810Then spake the monarch Etzel: / “This will I freely say:
Naught in this world might happen / to bring my heart more joy,
Than that ye lofty heroes / thus are come to me.
The queen from mickle sadness / thereby make ye likewise free.
1811“To me ’twas mickle wonder / wherein had I transgressed,
That I for friends had won me / so many a noble guest,
Yet ye had never deignéd / to come to my country.
’Tis now turned cause of gladness / that you as guests I here may see.”
1812Thereto gave answer Ruediger, / a knight of lofty mind:
“Well mayst thou joy to see them; / right honor shalt thou find
And naught but noble bearing / in my high mistress’ kin.
With them for guest thou likewise / many a stately thane dost win.”
1813At turn of sun in summer / were the knights arrived
At mighty Etzel’s palace. / Ne’er hath monarch lived
That lordly guests did welcome / with higher compliment.
When come was time of eating, / the king with them to table went.
1814Amid his guests more stately / a host was seated ne’er.
They had in fullest measure / of drink and goodly fare;
Whate’er they might desire, / they ready found the same.
Tales of mickle wonder / had spread abroad the heroes’ fame.

wie si der schiltwaht pflâgen
{ 30 }
How they kept Guard.
1815And now the day was ended / and nearing was the night.
Came then the thought with longing / unto each way-worn knight,
When that they might rest them / and to their beds be shown.
’Twas mooted first by Hagen / and straight was answer then made known.
1816To Etzel spake then Gunther: / “Fair days may God thee give!
To bed we’ll now betake us, / an be it by thy leave;
We’ll come betimes at morning, / if so thy pleasure be.”
From his guests the monarch / parted then full courteously.
1817Upon the guests on all sides / the Huns yet rudely pressed,
Whereat the valiant Volker / these words to them addressed:
“How dare ye ’fore these warriors / thus beset the way?
If that ye desist not, / rue such rashness soon ye may.
1818“Let fall will I on some one / such stroke of fiddle-bow,
That eyes shall fill with weeping / if he hath friend to show.
Why make not way before us, / as fitting were to do!
Knights by name ye all are, / but knighthood’s ways unknown to you.”
1819When outspake the Fiddler / thus so wrathfully
Backward glanced bold Hagen / to see what this might be.
Quoth he: “He redes you rightly, / this keen minstrel knight.
Ye followers of Kriemhild, / now pass to rest you for the night.
1820“The thing whereof ye’re minded / will none dare do, I ween.
If aught ye purpose ’gainst us, / on the morrow be that seen,
And let us weary strangers / the night in quiet pass;
I ween, with knights of honor / such evermore the custom was.”
1821Then were led the strangers / into a spacious hall
Where they found prepared / for the warriors one and all
Beds adorned full richly, / that were both wide and long.
Yet planned the Lady Kriemhild / to work on them the direst wrong.
1822Rich quilted mattress covers / of Arras saw ye there
Lustrous all and silken, / and spreading sheets there were
Wrought of silk of Araby, / the best might e’er be seen.
O’er them lay rich embroidered / stuffs that cast a brilliant sheen.
1823Coverlets of ermine / full many might ye see,
With sullen sable mingled, / whereunder peacefully
They should rest the night through / till came the shining day.
A king with all retinue / ne’er, I ween, so stately lay.
1824“Alack for these night-quarters?” / quoth young Giselher,
“Alack for my companions / who this our journey share!
How kind so e’er my sister’s / hospitality,
Dead by her devising, / I fear me, are we doomed to be.”
1825“Let now no fears disturb you,” / Hagen gave reply;
“Through the hours of sleeping / keep the watch will I.
I trust full well to guard you / until return the day,
Thereof be never fearful; / let then preserve him well who may.”
1826Inclined they all before him / thereat to give him grace.
Then sought they straight their couches; / in sooth ’twas little space
Until was softly resting / every stately man.
But Hagen, valiant hero, / the while to don his armor gan.
1827Spake then to him the Fiddler, / Volker a doughty thane:
“I’ll be thy fellow, Hagen, / an wilt thou not disdain,
While watch this night thou keepest, / until do come the morn.”
Right heartily the hero / to Volker then did thanks return.
1828“God in heaven requite thee, / Volker, trusty fere.
In all my time of trouble / wished I none other near,
None other but thee only, / when dangers round me throng.
I’ll well repay that favor, / if death withhold its hand so long.”
1829Arrayed in glittering armor / both soon did ready stand;
Each did take unto him / a mighty shield in hand,
And passed without the portal / there to keep the way.
Thus were the strangers guarded, / and trusty watchers eke had they.
1830Volker the valiant, / as he sat before the hall,
Leaned his trusty buckler / meanwhile against the wall,
Then took in hand his fiddle / as he was wont to do:
All times the thane would render / unto his friends a service true.
1831Beneath the hall’s wide portal / he sat on bench of stone;
Than he a bolder fiddler / was there never none.
As from his chords sweet echoes / resounded through the hall,
Thanks for glad refreshment / had Volker from the warriors all.
1832Then from the strings an echo / the wide hall did fill,
For in his fiddle-playing / the knight had strength and skill.
Softer then and sweeter / to fiddle he began
And wiled to peaceful slumber / many an anxious brooding man.
1833When they were wrapped in slumber / and he did understand,
Then took again the warrior / his trusty shield in hand
And passed without the portal / to guard the entrance tower,
And safe to keep his fellows / where Kriemhild’s crafty men did lower.
1834About the hour of midnight, / or earlier perchance,
The eye of valiant Volker / did catch a helmet’s glance
Afar from out the darkness: / the men of Kriemhild sought
How that upon the strangers / might grievous scathe in stealth be wrought.
1835Quoth thereat the Fiddler: / “Friend Hagen, ’tis full clear
That we do well together / here this watch to share.
I see before us yonder / men arméd for the fight;
I ween they will attack us, / if I their purpose judge aright.”
1836“Be silent, then,” spake Hagen, / “and let them come more nigh.
Ere that they perceive us / shall helmets sit awry,
By good swords disjointed / that in our hands do swing.
Tale of vigorous greeting / shall they back to Kriemhild bring.”
1837Amid the Hunnish warriors / one full soon did see,
That well the door was guarded; / straightway then cried he:
“The thing we here did purpose / ’tis need we now give o’er,
For I behold the Fiddler / standing guard before the door.
1838“Upon his head a helmet / of glancing light is seen,
Welded strong and skilful, / dintless, of clearest sheen.
The mail-rings of his armor / do sparkle like the fire,
Beside him stands eke Hagen; / safe are the strangers from our ire.”
1839Straightway they back returned. / When Volker that did see,
Unto his companion / wrathfully spake he:
“Now let me to those caitiffs / across the court-yard go;
What mean they by such business, / from Kriemhild’s men I fain would know.”
1840“No, as thou dost love me,” / Hagen straight replied;
“If from this hall thou partest, / such ill may thee betide
At hands of these bold warriors / and from the swords they bear,
That I must haste to help thee, / though here our kinsmen’s bane it were.
1841“Soon as we two together / have joined with them in fight,
A pair or two among them / will surely hasten straight
Hither to this hall here, / and work such havoc sore
Upon our sleeping brethren, / as must be mournéd evermore.”
1842Thereto gave answer Volker: / “So much natheless must be,
That they do learn full certain / how I the knaves did see,
That the men of Kriemhild / hereafter not deny
What they had wrought full gladly / here with foulest treachery.”
1843Straightway then unto them / aloud did Volker call:
“How go ye thus in armor, / ye valiant warriors all?
Or forth, perchance, a-robbing, / Kriemhild’s men, go ye?
Myself and my companion / shall ye then have for company.”
1844Thereto no man gave answer. / Wrathful grew his mood:
“Fie, ye caitiff villains,” / spake the hero good,
“Would ye us so foully / have murdered while we slept?
With knights so high in honor / full seldom thus hath faith been kept.”
1845Then unto Queen Kriemhild / were the tidings borne,
How her men did fail their purpose: / ’twas cause for her to mourn.
Yet otherwise she wrought it, / for grim she was of mood:
Anon through her must perish / full many a valorous knight and good.

wie die hêrren ze kirchen giengen
{ 31 }
How they went to Mass.
1846“So cool doth grow my armor,” / Volker made remark,
“I ween but little longer / will endure the dark.
By the air do I perceive it, / that soon will break the day.”
Then waked they many a warrior / who still in deepest slumber lay.
1847When brake the light of morning / athwart the spacious hall,
Hagen gan awaken / the stranger warriors all,
If that they to the minster / would go to holy mass.
After the Christian custom, / of bells a mickle ringing was.
1848There sang they all uneven, / that plainly might ye see
How Christian men and heathen / did not full well agree.
Each one of Gunther’s warriors / would hear the service sung,
So were they all together / up from their night-couches sprung.
1849Then did the warriors lace them / in so goodly dress,
That never heroes any, / that king did e’er possess,
More richly stood attired; / that Hagen grieved to see.
Quoth he: “Ye knights, far other / here must your attire be.
1850“Yea, know among you many / how here the case doth stand.
Bear ye instead of roses / your good swords in hand,
For chaplets all bejewelled / your glancing helmets good,
Since we have well perceivéd / how is the angry Kriemhild’s mood.
1851“To-day must we do battle, / that will I now declare.
Instead of silken tunic / shall ye good hauberks wear,
And for embroidered mantle / a trusty shield and wide,
That ye may well defend you, / if ye must others’ anger bide.
1852“My masters well belovéd, / knights and kinsmen true,
’Tis meet that ye betake you / unto the minster too,
That God do not forsake you / in peril and in need,
For certain now I make you / that death is nigh to us indeed.
1853“Forget ye not whatever / wrong ye e’er have done,
But there ’fore God right meekly / all your errors own;
Thereto would I advise you, / ye knights of high degree,
For God alone in heaven / may will that other mass ye see.”
1854Thus went they to the minster, / the princes and their men.
Within the holy churchyard / bade them Hagen then
Stand all still together / that they part not at all.
Quoth he: “Knows not any / what may at hands of Huns befall.
1855“Let stand, good friends, all ready, / your shields before your feet,
That if ever any / would you in malice greet,
With deep-cut wound ye pay him; / that is Hagen’s rede,
That from men may never / aught but praises be your meed.”
1856Volker and Hagen, / the twain thence did pass
Before the broad minster. / Therein their purpose was
That the royal Kriemhild / must meet them where they stood
There athwart her pathway. / In sooth full grim she was of mood.
1857Then came the royal Etzel / and eke his spouse full fair.
Attired were the warriors / all in raiment rare
That following full stately / with her ye might see;
The dust arose all densely / round Kriemhild’s mickle company.
1858When the lofty monarch / thus all armed did see
The kings and their followers, / straightway then cried he:
“How see I in this fashion / my friends with helm on head?
By my troth I sorrow / if ill to them have happenéd.
1859“I’ll gladly make atonement / as doth to them belong.
Hath any them affronted / or done them aught of wrong,
To me ’tis mickle sorrow, / well may they understand.
To serve them am I ready, / in whatsoever they command.”
1860Thereto gave answer Hagen: / “Here hath wronged us none.
’Tis custom of my masters / to keep their armor on
Till full three days be over, / when high festival they hold.
Did any here molest us, / to Etzel would the thing be told.”
1861Full well heard Kriemhild likewise / how Hagen gave reply.
Upon him what fierce glances / flashed furtively her eye!
Yet betray she would not / the custom of her country,
Though well she long had known it / in the land of Burgundy.
1862How grim soe’er and mighty / the hate to them she bore,
Had any told to Etzel / how stood the thing before,
Well had he prevented / what there anon befell.
So haughty were they minded / that none to him the same would tell.
1863With the queen came forward / there a mighty train,
But no two handbreadths yielded / yet those warriors twain
To make way before her. / The Huns did wrathful grow,
That their mistress passing / should by them be jostled so.
1864Etzel’s highborn pages / were sore displeased thereat,
And had upon the strangers / straightway spent their hate,
But that they durst not do it / their high lord before.
There was a mickle pressing, / yet naught of anger happened more.
1865When they thence were parting / from holy service done,
On horse came quickly prancing / full many a nimble Hun.
With the Lady Kriemhild / went many a maiden fair,
And eke to make her escort / seven thousand knights rode there.
1866Kriemhild with her ladies / within the casement sat
By Etzel, mighty monarch, / — full pleased he was thereat.
They wished to view the tourney / of knights beyond compare.
What host of strangers riding / thronged the court before them there!
1867The marshal with the squires / not in vain ye sought,
Dankwart the full valiant: / with him had he brought
His royal master’s followers / of the land of Burgundy.
For the valiant Nibelungen / the steeds well saddled might ye see.
1868When their steeds they mounted, / the kings and all their men,
Volker thane full doughty, / gave his counsel then,
That after their country’s fashion / they ride a mass mêlée.
His rede the heroes followed / and tourneyed in full stately way.
1869The knight had counsel given / in sooth that pleased them well;
The clash of arms in mêlée / soon full loud did swell.
Many a valiant warrior / did thereto resort,
As Etzel and Kriemhild / looked down upon the spacious court.
1870Came there unto the mêlée / six hundred knights of those
That followed Dietrich’s bidding, / the strangers to oppose.
Pastime would they make them / with the men of Burgundy,
And if he leave had granted. / had done the same right willingly.
1871In their company rode there / how many a warrior bold!
When unto Sir Dietrich / then the thing was told,
Forbade he that ’gainst Gunther’s / men they join the play.
He feared lest harm befall them, / and well his counsel did he weigh.
1872When of Bern the warriors / thence departed were,
Came they of Bechelaren, / the men of Ruediger,
Bearing shield five hundred, / and rode before the hall;
Rather had the margrave / that they came there not at all.
1873Prudently then rode he / amid their company
And told unto his warriors / how they might plainly see,
That the men of Gunther / were in evil mood:
Did they forego the mêlée, / please him better far it would.
1874When they were thence departed, / the stately knights and bold,
Came they of Thuringia, / as hath to us been told,
And of them of Denmark / a thousand warriors keen.
From crash of spear up-flying / full frequent were the splinters seen.
1875Irnfried and Hawart / rode into the mêlée,
Whom the gallant men of Rhineland / received in knightly play:
Full oft the men of Thuringia / they met in tournament,
Whereby the piercing lance-point / through many a stately shield was sent.
1876Eke with three thousand warriors / came Sir Bloedel there.
Etzel and Kriemhild / were of his coming ware,
As this play of chivalry / before them they did see.
Now hoped the queen that evil / befall the men of Burgundy.
1877Schrutan and Gibecke / rode into the mêlée,
Eke Ramung and Hornbog / after the Hunnish way;
Yet must they come to standstill / ’fore the thanes of Burgundy.
High against the palace / wall the splintered shafts did fly.
1878How keen soe’er the contest, / ’twas naught but knightly sport.
With shock of shields and lances / heard ye the palace court
Loud give back the echo / where Gunther’s men rode on.
His followers in the jousting / on every side high honor won.
1879So long they held such pastime / and with so mickle heat
That through the broidered trappings / oozed clear drops of sweat
From the prancing chargers / whereon the knights did ride.
In full gallant manner / their skill against the Huns they tried.
1880Then outspake the Fiddler, / Volker deft of hand:
“These knights, I ween, too timid / are ’gainst us to stand.
Oft did I hear the story / what hate to us they bore;
Than this a fairer season / to vent it, find they nevermore.”
1881“Lead back unto the stables,” / once more spake Volker then,
“Now our weary chargers; / we’ll ride perchance again
When comes the cool of evening, / if fitting time there be.
Mayhap the queen will honor / award to men of Burgundy.”
1882Beheld they then prick hither / one dressed in state so rare
That of the Huns none other / might with him compare.
Belike from castle tower / did watch his fair lady;
So gay was his apparel / as it some knight’s bride might be.
1883Then again quoth Volker: / “How may I stay my hand?
Yonder ladies’ darling / a knock shall understand.
Let no man here deter me, / I’ll give him sudden check.
How spouse of royal Etzel / thereat may rage, I little reck.”
1884“Nay, as thou dost love me,” / straight King Gunther spake;
“All men will but reproach us / if such affront we make.
The Huns be first offenders, / for such would more befit.”
Still did the royal Etzel / in casement by Queen Kriemhild sit.
1885“I’ll add unto the mêlée,” / Hagen did declare;
“Let now all these ladies / and knights be made aware
How we can ride a charger; / ’twere well we make it known,
For, come what may, small honor / shall here to Gunther’s men be shown.”
1886Once more the nimble Volker / into the mêlée spurred,
Whereat full many a lady / soon to weep was heard.
His lance right through the body / of that gay Hun he sent:
’Twas cause that many a woman / and maiden fair must sore lament.
1887Straight dashed into the mêlée / Hagen and his men.
With three score of his warriors / spurred he quickly then
Forward where the Fiddler / played so lustily.
Etzel and Kriemhild / full plainly might the passage see.
1888Then would the kings their minstrel / — that may ye fairly know —
Leave not all defenceless / there amid the foe.
With them a thousand heroes / rode forth full dexterously,
And soon had gained their purpose / with show of proudest chivalry.
1889When in such rude fashion / the stately Hun was slain,
Might ye hear his kinsmen / weeping loud complain.
Then all around did clamor: / “Who hath the slayer been?”
“None but the Fiddler was it, / Volker the minstrel keen.”
1890For swords and for shields then / called full speedily
That slain margrave’s kinsmen / of the Hun’s country.
To avenge him sought they / Volker in turn to slay.
In haste down from the casement / royal Etzel made his way.
1891Arose a mighty clamor / from the people all;
The kings and men of Burgundy / dismounted ’fore the hall,
And likewise their chargers / to the rear did send.
Came then the mighty Etzel / and sought to bring the strife to end.
1892From one of that Hun’s kinsmen / who near by him did stand
Snatched he a mighty weapon / quick from out his hand,
And therewith backward smote them, / for fierce his anger wrought.
“Shall thus my hospitality / unto these knights be brought to naught?”
1893“If ye the valiant minstrel / here ’fore me should slay,”
Spake the royal Etzel, / “it were an evil day.
When he the Hun impaléd / I did observe full well,
That not through evil purpose / but by mishap it so befell.
1894“These my guests now must ye / ne’er disturb in aught.”
Himself became their escort. / Away their steeds were brought
Unto the stables / by many a waiting squire,
Who ready at their bidding / stood to meet their least desire.
1895The host with the strangers / into the palace went,
Nor would he suffer any / further his wrath to vent.
Soon were the tables ready / and water for them did wait.
Many then had gladly / on them of Rhineland spent their hate.
1896Not yet the lords were seated / till some time was o’er.
For Kriemhild o’er her sorrow / meantime did trouble sore.
She spake: “Of Bern, O Master, / thy counsel grant to me,
Thy help and eke thy mercy, / for here in sorry plight I be.”
1897To her gave answer Hildebrand, / a thane right praiseworthy:
“Who harms the Nibelungen / shall ne’er have help of me,
How great soe’er the guerdon. / Such deed he well may rue,
For never yet did any / these gallant doughty knights subdue.”
1898Eke in courteous manner / Sir Dietrich her addressed:
“Vain, O lofty mistress, / unto me thy quest.
In sooth thy lofty kinsmen / have wronged me not at all,
That I on thanes so valorous / should thus with murderous purpose fall.
1899“Thy prayer doth thee small honor, / O high and royal dame,
That upon thy kinsmen / thou so dost counsel shame.
Thy grace to have they deeméd / when came they to this land.
Nevermore shall Siegfried / avengéd be by Dietrich’s hand.”
1900When she no guile discovered / in the knight of Bern,
Unto Bloedel straightway / did she hopeful turn
With promise of wide marches / that Nudung erst did own.
Slew him later Dankwart / that he forgot the gift full soon.
1901Spake she: “Do thou help me, / Sir Bloedel, I pray.
Yea, within the palace / are foes of mine this day,
Who erstwhile slew Siegfried, / spouse full dear to me.
Who helps me to avenge it, / to him I’ll e’er beholden be.”
1902Thereto gave answer Bloedel: / “Lady, be well aware,
Ne’er to do them evil / ’fore Etzel may I dare,
For to thy kinsmen, lady, / beareth he good will.
Ne’er might the king me pardon, / wrought I upon them aught of ill.”
1903“But nay, Sir Bloedel, my favor / shall thou have evermore.
Yea, give I thee for guerdon / silver and gold in store,
And eke a fairest lady, / that Nudung erst should wed:
By her fond embraces / may’st thou well be comforted.
1904“The land and eke the castles, / all to thee I’ll give;
Yea, may’st thou, knight full noble, / in joyance ever live,
Call’st thou thine the marches, / wherein did Nudung dwell.
Whate’er this day I promise, / fulfil it all I will full well.”
1905When understood Sir Bloedel / what gain should be his share,
And pleased him well the lady / for that she was so fair,
By force of arms then thought he / to win her for his wife.
Thereby the knight aspirant / was doomed anon to lose his life.
1906“Unto the hall betake thee,” / quoth he unto the queen,
“Alarum I will make thee / ere any know, I ween.
Atone shall surely Hagen / where he hath done thee wrong:
To thee I’ll soon give over / King Gunther’s man in fetters strong.”
1907“To arms, to arms!” quoth Bloedel, / “my good warriors all:
In their followers’ quarters / upon the foe we’ll fall.
Herefrom will not release me / royal Etzel’s wife.
To win this venture therefore / fear not each one to lose his life.”
1908When at length Queen Kriemhild / found Bloedel well content
To fulfil her bidding, / she to table went
With the monarch Etzel / and eke a goodly band.
Dire was the treason / she against the guests had planned.
1909Since in none other manner / she knew the strife to start,
(Kriemhild’s ancient sorrow / still rankled in her heart),
Bade she bring to table / Etzel’s youthful son:
By woman bent on vengeance / how might more awful deed be done?
1910Went upon the instant / four of Etzel’s men,
And soon came bearing Ortlieb, / the royal scion, then
Unto the princes’ table, / where eke grim Hagen sate.
The child was doomed to perish / by reason of his deadly hate.
1911When the mighty monarch / then his child did see,
Unto his lady’s kinsmen / in manner kind spake he:
“Now, my good friends, behold ye / here my only son,
And child of your high sister: / may it bring you profit every one.
1912“Grow he but like his kindred, / a valiant man he’ll be,
A mighty king and noble, / doughty and fair to see.
Live I but yet a little, / twelve lands shall he command;
May ye have faithful service / from the youthful Ortlieb’s hand.
1913“Therefore grant me favor, / ye good friends of mine;
When to your country ride ye / again unto the Rhine,
Shall ye then take with you / this your sister’s son,
And at your hands may ever / by the child full fair be done.
1914“Bring him up in honor / until to manhood grown.
If then in any country / hath wrong to you been done,
He’ll help you by his valor / vengeance swift to wreak.”
Eke heard the Lady Kriemhild / royal Etzel thus to speak.
1915“Well might these my masters / on his faith rely,
Grew he e’er to manhood,” / Hagen made reply:
“Yet is the prince, I fear me, / more early doomed of fate.
’Twere strange did any see me / ever at court on Ortlieb wait.”
1916The monarch glanced at Hagen, / sore grieved at what he heard;
Although the king full gallant / thereto spake ne’er a word,
Natheless his heart was saddened / and heavy was his mind.
Nowise the mood of Hagen / was to merriment inclined.
1917It grieved all the princes / and the royal host
That of his child did Hagen / make such idle boast.
That they must likewise leave it / unanswered, liked they not:
They little weaned what havoc / should by the thane anon be wrought.

wie Blœdel mit Dancwart and der herberge streit
{ 32 }
How Bloedel was Slain.
1918The knights by Bloedel summoned / soon armed and ready were,
A thousand wearing hauberks / straightway did repair
Where Dankwart sat at table / with many a goodly squire.
Soon knight on knight was seeking / in fiercest way to vent his ire.
1919When there Sir Bloedel / strode unto the board,
Dankwart the marshal / thus spoke courteous word:
“Unto this hall right welcome / good Sir Bloedel be.
What business hast thou hither / is cause of wonder yet to me.”
1920“No greeting here befits thee,” / spake Bloedel presently,
“For that this my coming / now thy end must be,
Through Hagen’s fault, thy brother, / who Siegfried erstwhile slew
To the Huns thou mak’st atonement, / and many another warrior too.”
1921“But nay, but nay, Sir Bloedel,” / Dankwart spake thereto,
“For so should we have reason / our coming here to rue.
A child I was and little / when Siegfried lost his life,
Nor know I why reproacheth / me the royal Etzel’s wife.”
1922“In sooth I may the story / never fully tell.
Gunther and Hagen was it / by whom the deed befell.
Now guard you well, ye strangers, / for doomed in sooth are ye,
Unto Lady Kriemhild / must your lives now forfeit be.”
1923“An so thou wilt desist not,” / Dankwart declared,
“Regret I my entreaty, / my toil were better spared.”
The nimble thane and valiant / up from the table sprung,
And drew a keen-edged weapon, / great in sooth that was and long.
1924Then smote he with it Bloedel / such a sudden blow
That his head full sudden / before his feet lay low.
“Be that thy wedding-dower,” / the doughty Dankwart spake,
“Along with bride of Nudung / whom thou would’st to thy bosom take.
1925“To-morrow may she marry, / but some other one:
Will he have bridal portion, / e’en so to him be done.”
A Hun that liked not treason / had given him to know
How that the queen upon him / thought to work so grievous woe.
1926When the men of Bloedel / saw thus their master slain,
To fall upon the strangers / would they longer not refrain.
With swords swung high above them / upon the squires they flew
In a grimmest humor. / Soon many must that rashness rue.
1927Full loudly cried then Dankwart / to all his company:
“Behold ye, noble squires, / the fate that ours must be.
Now quit yourselves with valor, / for evil is our pass,
Though fair to us the summons / hither from Lady Kriemhild was!”
1928They, too, reached down before them, / who no weapons bore,
And each a massive footstool / snatched from off the floor,
For the Burgundian squires / no whit were they dismayed;
And by the selfsame weapons / was many a dint in helmet made.
1929How fierce they fought to shield them / the strangers one and all!
E’en their arméd foemen / drove they from the hall.
Or smote dead within it / hundreds five or more;
All the valiant fighters / saw ye drenched with ruddy gore.
1930Ere long the hideous tidings / some messenger did tell
Unto Etzel’s chieftain / — fierce did their anger swell —
How that slain was Bloedel / and knights full many a one;
The which had Hagen’s brother / with his lusty squires done.
1931The Huns, by anger driven, / ere Etzel was aware,
Two thousand men or over, / did quick themselves prepare.
They fell upon those squires / — e’en so it had to be —
And never any living / they left of all that company.
1932A mickle host they faithless / unto those quarters brought,
But lustily the strangers / ’gainst their assailants fought.
What booted swiftest valor? / Soon must all lie dead.
A dire woe thereafter / on many a man was visited.
1933Now may ye hear a wondrous / tale of honor told:
Of squires full nine thousand / soon in death lay cold,
And eke good knights a dozen / there of Dankwart’s band.
Forlorn ye saw him only / the last amid his foemen stand.
1934The din at last was ended / and lulled the battle-sound,
When the valiant Dankwart / did cast a glance around.
“Alack for my companions,” / cried he, "now from me reft.
Alack that I now only / forlorn amid my foes am left.”
1935The swords upon his body / fell full thick and fast,
Which rashness many a warrior’s / widow mourned at last.
His shield he higher lifted / and drew the strap more low:
Down coats of ring-made armor / made he the ebbing blood to flow.
1936“O woe is me?” spake Dankwart, / the son of Aldrian.
“Now back, ye Hunnish fighters, / let me the open gain,
That the air give cooling / to me storm-weary wight.”
In splendid valor moving / strode forward then anew the knight.
1937As thus he battle-weary / through the hall’s portal sprang,
What swords of new-come fighters / upon his helmet rang!
They who not yet had witnessed / what wonders wrought his hand,
Rashly rushed they forward / to thwart him of Burgundian land.
1938“Now would to God,” quoth Dankwart, / “I found a messenger
Who to my brother Hagen / might the tidings bear,
That ’fore host of foemen / in such sad case am I!
From hence he’d surely help me, / or by my side he slain would lie.”
1939Then Hunnish knights gave answer: / “Thyself the messenger
Shalt be, when to thy brother / thee a corpse we bear.
So shall that thane of Gunther / first true sorrow know.
Upon the royal Etzel / here hast thou wrought so grievous woe.”
1940Quoth he: “Now leave such boasting / and yield me passage free,
Else shall mail-rings a many / with blood bespattered be.
Myself will tell the tidings / soon at Etzel’s court,
And eke unto my masters / of this my travail make report.”
1941Etzel’s men around him / belabored he so sore
That they at sword-point / durst not withstand him more.
Spears shot into his shield he / so many there did stop
That he the weight unwieldy / must from out his hand let drop.
1942Then thought they to subdue him / thus of his shield bereft,
But lo! the mighty gashes / wherewith he helmets cleft!
Must there keen knights full many / before him stagger down,
High praise the valiant Dankwart / thereby for his valor won.
1943On right side and on left side / they still beset his way,
Yet many a one too rashly / did mingle in the fray.
Thus strode he ’mid the foemen / as doth in wood the boar
By yelping hounds beleaguered; / more stoutly fought he ne’er before.
1944As there he went, his pathway / with reeking blood was wet.
Yea, never any hero / more bravely battled yet
When by foes surrounded, / than he did might display.
To court did Hagen’s brother / with splendid valor make his way.
1945When stewards and cup-bearers / heard how sword-blades rung,
Many a brimming goblet / from their hands they flung
And eke the viands ready / that they to table bore;
Thus many doughty foemen / withstood him where he sought the door.
1946“How now, ye stewards?” / cried the weary knight;
“’Twere better that ye tended / rather your guests aright,
Bearing to lords at table / choice food that fitteth well,
And suffered me these tidings / unto my masters dear to tell.”
1947Whoe’er before him rashly / athwart the stairway sprung,
On him with blow so heavy / his mighty sword he swung,
That soon faint heart gave warning / before his path to yield.
Mickle wonder wrought he / where sword his doughty arm did wield.

wie Dancwart diu mære ze hove sînen hêrren brâhte
{ 33 }
How the Burgundians fought with the Huns.
1948Soon as the valiant Dankwart / stood beneath the door,
Bade he Etzel’s followers / all make way before.
With blood from armor streaming / did there the hero stand;
A sharp and mighty weapon / bore he naked in his hand.
1949Into the hall then Dankwart / cried with voice full strong:
“At table, brother Hagen, / thou sittest all too long.
To thee and God in heaven / must I sore complain:
Knights and squires also / lie within their lodging slain.”
1950Straight he cried in answer: / “Who hath done such deed?”
“That hath done Sir Bloedel / and knights that he did lead.
Eke made he meet atonement, / that may’st thou understand:
His head from off his body / have I struck with mine own hand.”
1951“’Tis little cause for sorrow,” / Hagen spake again,
“When they tell the story / of a valiant thane,
That he to death was smitten / by knight of high degree.
The less a cause for weeping / to winsome women shall it be.
1952“Now tell me, brother Dankwart, / how thou so red may’st be;
From thy wounds thou sufferest, / I ween, full grievously.
Lives he within this country / who serves thee in such way,
Him must the devil shelter, / or for the deed his life shall pay.”
1953“Behold me here all scatheless. / My gear is wet with blood,
From wounds of others, natheless, / now hath flowed that flood,
Of whom this day so many / beneath my broadsword fell:
Must I make solemn witness, / ne’er knew I full the tale to tell.”
1954He answered: “Brother Dankwart, / now take thy stand before,
And Huns let never any / make passage by the door.
I’ll speak unto these warriors, / as needs must spoken be:
Dead lie all our followers, / slain by foulest treachery.”
1955“Must I here be chamberlain,” / replied the warrior keen,
“Well know I such high monarchs / aright to serve, I ween.
So will I guard the stairway / as sorts with honor well.”
Ne’er to the thanes of Kriemhild / so sorry case before befell.
1956“To me ’tis mickle wonder,” / Hagen spake again,
“What thing unto his neighbor / whispers each Hunnish thane.
I ween they’d forego the service / of him who keeps the door,
And who such high court tidings / to his friends of Burgundy bore.
1957“Long since of Lady Kriemhild / the story I did hear,
How unavenged her sorrow / she might no longer bear.
A memory-cup now quaff we / and pay for royal cheer!
The youthful lord of Hunland / shall make the first instalment here.”
1958Thereat the child Ortlieb / doughty Hagen slew,
That from the sword downward / the blood to hand-grip flew,
And into lap of Etzel / the severed head down rolled.
Then might ye see ’mid warriors / a slaughter great and grim unfold.
1959By both hands swiftly wielded, / his blade then cut the air
And smote upon the tutor / who had the child in care,
That down before the table / his head that instant lay:
It was a sorry payment / wherewith he did the tutor pay.
1960His eye ’fore Etzel’s table / a minstrel espied:
To whom in hasty manner / did wrathful Hagen stride,
Where moved it on the fiddle / his right hand off smote he;
“Have that for thy message / unto the land of Burgundy.”
1961“Alack my hand?” did Werbel / that same minstrel moan;
“What, Sir Hagen of Tronje, / have I to thee done?
I bore a faithful message / unto thy master’s land.
How may I more make music / thus by thee bereft of hand?”
1962Little in sooth recked Hagen, / fiddled he nevermore.
Then in the hall all wrathful / wrought he havoc sore
Upon the thanes of Etzel / whereof he many slew;
Ere they might find exit, / to death then smote he not a few.
1963Volker the full valiant / up sprang from board also:
In his hand full clearly / rang out his fiddle-bow,
For mightily did fiddle / Gunther’s minstrel thane.
What host of foes he made him / because of Hunnish warriors slain!
1964Eke sprang from the table / the lofty monarchs three,
Who glad had stilled the combat / ere greater scathe might be.
Yet all their art availed not / their anger to assuage,
When Volker and Hagen / so mightily began to rage.
1965When the lord of Rhineland / saw how his toil was vain,
Gaping wounds full many / himself did smite amain
Through rings of shining mail-coats / there upon the foe.
He was a valiant hero, / as he full gallantly did show.
1966Strode eke into the combat / Gernot a doughty thane;
By whom of Hunnish warriors / full many a one was slain
With a sword sharp-edgéd / he had of Ruediger;
Oft sent to dire ruin / by him the knights of Etzel were.
1967The youthful son of Ute / eke to the combat sprang,
And merrily his broadsword / upon the helmets rang
Of many a Hunnish warrior / there in Etzel’s land;
Feasts of mickle wonder / wrought Giselher with dauntless hand.
1968How bold soe’er was any, / of kings and warrior band,
Saw ye yet the foremost / Giselher to stand
There against the foemen, / a knight of valor good;
Wounded deep full many / made he to fall in oozing blood.
1969Eke full well defend them / did Etzel’s warriors too.
There might ye see the strangers / their gory way to hew
With swords all brightly gleaming / adown that royal hall;
Heard ye there on all sides / loudly ring the battle-call.
1970Join friends within beleaguered / would they without full fain,
Yet might they at the portal / but little vantage gain.
Eke they within had gladly / gained the outer air;
Nor up nor down did Dankwart / suffer one to pass the stair.
1971There before the portal / surged a mighty throng,
And with a mickle clangor / on helm the broadsword rung.
Thus on the valiant Dankwart / his foes did sorely press,
And soon his trusty brother / was anxious grown o’er his distress.
1972Full loudly cried then Hagen / unto Volker:
“Trusty fere, behold’st thou / my brother standing there,
Where on him Hunnish warriors / their mighty blows do rain?
Good friend, save thou my brother / ere we do lose the valiant thane.”
1973“That will I do full surely,” / thereat the minstrel spake.
Adown the hall he fiddling / gan his way to make;
In his hand full often / a trusty sword rang out,
While grateful knights of Rhineland / acclaimed him with a mickle shout.
1974Soon did the valiant Volker / Dankwart thus address:
“Hard this day upon thee / hath weighed the battle’s stress.
That I should come to help thee / thy brother gave command;
Keep thou without the portal, / I inward guarding here will stand.”
1975Dankwart, thane right valiant, / stood without the door
And guarded so the stairway / that none might pass before.
There heard ye broadswords ringing, / swung by warrior’s hand,
While inward in like manner / wrought Volker of Burgundian land.
1976There the valiant Fiddler / above the press did call:
“Securely now, friend Hagen, / closed is the hall.
Yea, so firmly bolted / is King Etzel’s door
By hands of two good warriors, / as thousand bars were set before,”
1977When Hagen thus of Tronje / the door did guarded find,
The warrior far renownéd / swung his shield behind;
He first for harm receivéd / revenge began to take,
Whereat all hope of living / did soon his enemies forsake.
1978When of Bern Sir Dietrich / rightly did perceive
How the doughty Hagen / did many a helmet cleave,
The king of Amelungen / upon a bench leaped up;
Quoth he: “Here poureth Hagen / for us exceeding bitter cup.”
1979Great fear fell eke on Etzel, / as well might be the case,
(What trusty followers snatched they / to death before his face!)
For well nigh did his enemies / on him destruction bring.
There sat he all confounded. / What booted him to be a king?
1980Cried then aloud to Dietrich / Kriemhild, the high lady:
“Now help me, knight so noble, / that hence with life I flee,
By princely worth, I pray thee, / thou lord of Amelung’s land;
If here do reach me Hagen, / straight find I death beneath his hand.”
1981“How may my help avail thee, / noble queen and high?”
Answered her Sir Dietrich, / “Fear for myself have I.
Too sorely is enraged / each knight in Gunther’s band,
To no one at this season / may I lend assisting hand.”
1982“But nay, but nay, Sir Dietrich, / full noble knight and keen,
What maketh thy bright chivalry, / let it this day be seen,
And bring me hence to safety, / else am I death’s sure prey.”
Good cause was that on Kriemhild’s / bosom fear so heavy lay.
1983“So will I here endeavor / to help thee as I may;
Yet shalt thou well believe me, / hath passed full many a day
Since saw I goodly warriors / of so bitter mood.
’Neath swords behold I flowing / through helmets plenteously the blood.”
1984Lustily then cried he, / the warrior nobly born,
That his voice rang loudly / like blast from bison’s horn,
That all around the palace / gave back the lusty sound;
Unto the might of Dietrich / never limit yet was found.
1985When did hear King Gunther / how called the doughty man
Above the storm of combat, / to hearken he began.
Quoth he: “The voice of Dietrich / hath fallen upon mine ear;
I ween some of his followers / before our thanes have fallen here.
1986“High on the board I see him; / he beckons with the hand.
Now my good friends and kinsmen / of Burgundian land,
Stay ye your hands from conflict, / let us hear and see
If done upon the chieftain / aught by my men of scathe there be.”
1987When thus King Gunther / did beg and eke command,
With swords in stress of battle / stayed they all the hand.
’Twas token of his power / that straight the strife did pause.
Then him of Bern he questioned / what of his outcry were the cause.
1988He spake: “Full noble Dietrich, / what here on thee is wrought
By any of my warriors? / For truly is my thought
To make a full atonement / and amends to thee.
If here hath wronged thee any, / ’twere cause of mickle grief to me.”
1989Then answered him Sir Dietrich: / “Myself do nothing grieve.
Grant me with thy protection / but this hall to leave
And quit the dire conflict, / with them that me obey.
Then surely will I ever / seek thy favor to repay.”
1990“How plead’st thou thus so early?” / Wolfhart was heard;
“The Fiddler so securely / the door not yet hath barred,
But it so wide we’ll open / to pass it through, I trow.”
“Now hold thy peace,” quoth Dietrich, / “wrought but little here hast thou.”
1991Then spake the royal Gunther: / “That grant I thee to do,
Forth from the hall lead many / or lead with thee few,
An if my foes it be not; / here stay they every one.
Upon me here in Hunland / hath grievous wrong by them been done.”
1992When heard he Gunther’s answer / he took beneath his arm
The noble Queen Kriemhild, / who dreaded mickle harm.
On the other side too led he / Etzel with him away;
Eke went thence with Dietrich / six hundred knights in fair array.
1993Then outspake the margrave, / the noble Ruediger:
“If leave to any others / be granted forth to fare,
Of those who glad would serve you, / give us the same to see.
Yea, peace that’s never broken / ‘twixt friends ’tis meet should ever be.”
1994Thereto gave answer Giselher / of the land of Burgundy:
“Peace and unbroken friendship / wish we e’er with thee,
With thee and all thy kinsmen, / as true thou ever art.
We grant thee all untroubled / with thy friends from hence to part.”
1995When thus Sir Ruediger / from the hall did pass,
A train of knights five hundred / or more with him there was,
Of them of Bechelaren, / kinsmen and warriors true,
Whose parting gave King Gunther / anon full mickle cause to rue.
1996When did a Hunnish warrior / Etzel’s passing see
’Neath the arm of Dietrich, / to profit him thought he.
Smote him yet the Fiddler / such a mighty blow,
That ’fore the feet of Etzel / sheer on the floor his head fell low.
1997When the country’s monarch / had gained the outer air,
Turned he looking backward / and gazed on Volker.
“Alack such guests to harbor! / Ah me discomfited!
That all the knights that serve me / shall before their might lie dead.
1998“Alack their coming hither?” / spake the king once more.
“Within, a warrior fighteth / like to wild forest boar;
Hight the same is Volker, / and a minstrel is also;
To pass the demon scatheless / I to fortune’s favor owe.
1999“Evil sound his melodies, / his strokes of bow are red,
Yea, beneath his music / full many a knight lies dead.
I know not what against us / hath stirred that player’s ire,
For guests ne’er had I any / whereby to suffer woe so dire.”
2000None other would they suffer / to pass the door than those.
Then ’neath the hall’s high roof-tree / a mighty din arose.
For evil wrought upon them / those guests sore vengeance take.
Volker the doughty Fiddler, / what shining helmets there he brake!
2001Gunther, lofty monarch, / thither turned his ear.
“Hear’st thou the music, Hagen, / that yonder Volker
Doth fiddle for the Hun-men, / when near the door they go?
The stroke is red of color, / where he doth draw the fiddle-bow.”
2002“Mickle doth it rue me,” / Hagen spake again,
“That in the hall far severed / I am from that bold thane.
I was his boon companion / and he sworn friend to me:
Come we hence ever scatheless, / trusty friends we yet shall be.
2003“Behold now, lofty sire, / the faith of Volker bold!
With will he seeks to win him / thy silver and thy gold.
With fiddle-bow he cleaveth / e’en the steel so hard,
Bright-gleaming crests of helmets / are scattered by his mighty sword.
2004“Never saw I fiddler / so dauntless heart display,
As the doughty Volker / here hath done this day.
Through shield and shining helmet / his melodies ring clear;
Give him to ride good charger / and eke full stately raiment wear.”
2005Of all the Hunnish kindred / that in the hall had been,
None now of all their number / therein to fight was seen.
Hushed was the din of battle / and strife no more was made:
From out their hands aweary / their swords the dauntless warriors laid.

wie si die tôten abe wurfen
{ 34 }
How they cast out the Dead.
2006From toil of battle weary / rested the warriors all.
Volker and Hagen / passed out before the hall,
And on their shields did lean them, / those knights whom naught could daunt.
Then with full merry converse / gan the twain their foes to taunt.
2007Spake meanwhile of Burgundy / Giselher the thane:
“Not yet, good friends, may ye / think to rest again.
Forth from the hall the corpses / shall ye rather bear.
Again we’ll be assailéd, / that would I now in sooth declare.
2008“Beneath our feet no longer / here the dead must lie.
But ere in storm of battle / at hand of Huns to die,
We’ll deal such wounds around us / as ’tis my joy to see.
Thereon,” spake Giselher, / “my heart is fixed right steadfastly.”
2009“I joy in such a master,” / Hagen spake again:
“Such counsel well befitteth / alone so valiant thane
As my youthful master / hath shown himself this day.
Therefor, O men of Burgundy, / every one rejoice ye may.”
2010Then followed they his counsel / and from the hall they bore
Seven thousand bodies / and cast them from the door.
Adown the mounting stairway / all together fell,
Whereat a sound of wailing / did from mourning kinsmen swell.
2011Many a man among them / so slight wound did bear
That he were yet recovered / had he but gentle care,
Who yet falling headlong / now surely must be dead.
Thereat did grieve their kinsmen / as verily was sorest need.
2012Then outspake the Fiddler, / Volker a hero bold:
“Now do I find how truly / hath to me been told
That cowards are the Hun-men / who do like women weep.
Rather should be their effort / their wounded kin alive to keep.”
2013These words deemed a margrave / spoken in kindly mood.
He saw one of his kinsmen / weltering in his blood.
In his arms he clasped him / and thought him thence to bear,
But as he bent above him / pierced him the valiant minstrel’s spear.
2014When that beheld the others / all in haste they fled,
Crying each one curses / on that same minstrel’s head.
From the ground then snatched he / a spear with point full keen,
That ’gainst him up the stairway / by a Hun had hurléd been.
2015Across the court he flung it / with his arm of might
Far above the people. / Then did each Hunnish knight
Seek him safer quarters / more distant from the hall.
To see his mighty prowess / did fill with fear his foemen all.
2016As knights full many thousand / far ’fore the palace stood,
Volker and Hagen / gan speak in wanton mood
Unto King Etzel, / nor did they aught withhold;
Wherefrom anon did sorrow / o’ertake those doughty warriors bold.
2017“’Twould well beseem,” quoth Hagen, / “the people’s lofty lord
Foremost in storm of battle / to swing the cutting sword,
As do my royal masters / each fair example show.
Where hew they through the helmets / their swords do make the blood to flow.”
2018To hear such words brave Etzel / snatched in haste his shield.
“Now well beware of rashness,” / cried Lady Kriemhild,
“And offer to thy warriors / gold heaped on shield full high:
If yonder Hagen reach thee, / straightway shalt thou surely die.”
2019So high was the king’s mettle / that he would not give o’er,
Which case is now full seldom / seen in high princes more;
They must by shield-strap tugging / him perforce restrain.
Grim of mood then Hagen / began him to revile again.
2020“It was a distant kinship,” / spake Hagen, dauntless knight,
“That Etzel unto Siegfried / ever did unite,
And husband he to Kriemhild / was ere thee she knew.
Wherefore, O king faint-hearted, / seek’st thou such thing ’gainst me to do?”
2021Thereto eke must listen / the noble monarch’s spouse,
And grievously to hear it / did Kriemhild’s wrath arouse.
That he ’fore men of Etzel / durst herself upbraid;
To urge them ’gainst the strangers / she once more her arts essayed.
2022Cried she: “Of Tronje Hagen / whoso for me will slay,
And his head from body severed / here before me lay,
For him the shield of Etzel / I’ll fill with ruddy gold,
Eke lands and lordly castles / I’ll give him for his own to hold.”
2023“I wot not why they tarry,” / — thus the minstrel cried;
“Ne’er saw I heroes any / so their courage hide,
When to them was offered, / like this, reward so high.
’Tis cause henceforth that Etzel / for aye to them goodwill deny.”
2024“Who in such craven manner / do eat their master’s bread,
And like caitiffs fail him / in time of greatest need,
Here see I standing many / of courage all forlorn,
Yet would be men of valor; / all time be they upheld to scorn.”

wie Îrinc erslagen wart
{ 35 }
How Iring was Slain.
2025Cried then he of Denmark, / Iring the margrave:
“Fixed on things of honor / my purpose long I have,
And oft in storm of battle, / where heroes wrought, was I.
Bring hither now my armor, / with Hagen I’ll the combat try.”
2026“I counsel thee against it,” / Hagen then replied,
“Or bring a goodly company / of Hun-men by thy side.
If peradventure any / find entrance to the hall,
I’ll cause that nowise scatheless / down the steps again they fall.”
2027“Such words may not dissuade me,” / Iring spake once more;
“A thing of equal peril / oft have I tried before.
Yea, will I with my broadsword / confront thee all alone.
Nor aught may here avail thee / thus to speak in haughty tone.”
2028Soon the valiant Iring / armed and ready stood,
And Irnfried of Thuringia / a youth of mettle good,
And eke the doughty Hawart, / with thousand warriors tried.
Whate’er his purpose, Iring / should find them faithful by his side.
2029Advancing then with Iring / did the Fiddler see
All clad in shining armor / a mighty company,
And each a well-made helmet / securely fastened wore.
Thereat the gallant Volker / began to rail in anger sore.
2030“Seest thou, friend Hagen, / yonder Iring go,
Who all alone to front thee / with his sword did vow?
Doth lying sort with honor? / Scorned the thing must be.
A thousand knights or over / here bear him arméd company.”
2031“Now make me not a liar,” / cried Hawart’s man aloud,
“For firm is still my purpose / to do what now I vowed,
Nor will I turn me from it / through any cause of fear.
Alone I’ll stand ’fore Hagen, / awful howsoe’er he were.”
2032On ground did throw him Iring / before his warriors’ feet,
That they leave might grant him / alone the knight to meet.
Loath they were to do it; / well known to them might be
The haughty Hagen’s prowess / of the land of Burgundy.
2033Yet so long besought he / that granted was their leave;
When they that followed with him / did his firm mind perceive,
And how ’twas bent on honor, / they not restrained him.
Then closed the two chieftains / together in a combat grim.
2034Iring of Denmark / raised his spear on high,
And with the shield he covered / himself full skilfully;
He upward rushed on Hagen / unto the hall right close,
When round the clashing fighters / soon a mighty din arose.
2035Each hurled upon the other / the spear with arm of might,
That the firm shields were piercéd / e’en to their mail-coats bright,
And outward still projecting / the long spear-shafts were seen.
In haste then snatched their broadswords / both the fighters grim and keen.
2036In might the doughty Hagen / and prowess did abound,
As Iring smote upon him / the hall gave back the sound.
The palace all and towers / re-echoed from their blows,
Yet might that bold assailant / with victory ne’er the combat close.
2037On Hagen might not Iring / wreak aught of injury.
Unto the doughty Fiddler / in haste then turnéd he.
Him by his mighty sword-strokes / thought he to subdue,
But well the thane full gallant / to keep him safe in combat knew.
2038Then smote the doughty Fiddler / so lustily his shield
That from it flew its ornaments / where he the sword did wield.
Iring must leave unconquered / there the dauntless man;
Next upon King Gunther / of Burgundy in wrath he ran.
2039There did each in combat / show him man of might;
Howe’er did Gunther and Iring / yet each the other smite,
From wounds might never either / make the blood to flow,
So sheltered each his armor, / well wrought that was and strong enow.
2040Gunther left he standing, / upon Gernot to dash,
And when he smote ring-armor / the fire forth did flash.
But soon had he of Burgundy, / Gernot the doughty thane,
Well nigh his keen assailant / Iring of Denmark slain.
2041Yet from the prince he freed him, / for nimble was he too.
Four of the men of Burgundy / the knight full sudden slew
Of those that followed with them / from Worms across the Rhine.
Thereupon might nothing / the wrath of Giselher confine.
2042“God wot well, Sir Iring,” / young Giselher then cried,
“Now must thou make requital / for them that here have died
’Neath thy hand so sudden.” / He rushed upon him so
And smote the knight of Denmark / that he might not withstand the blow.
2043Into the blood down fell he / staggering ’neath its might,
That all who there beheld it / might deem the noble knight
Sword again would never / wield amid the fray.
Yet ’neath the stroke of Giselher / Iring all unwounded lay.
2044Bedazed by helmet’s sounding / where ringing sword swung down,
Full suddenly his senses / so from the knight were flown:
That of his life no longer / harbored he a thought.
That the doughty Giselher / by his mighty arm had wrought.
2045When somewhat was subsided / the din within his head
From mighty blow so sudden / on him was visited,
Thought he: “I still am living / and bear no mortal wound.
How great the might of Giselher, / till now unwitting, have I found.”
2046He hearkened how on all sides / his foes around did stand;
Knew they what he did purpose, / they had not stayed their hand.
He heard the voice of Giselher / eke in that company,
As cunning he bethought him / how yet he from his foes might flee.
2047Up from the blood he started / with fierce and sudden bound;
By grace alone of swiftness / he his freedom found.
With speed he passed the portal / where Hagen yet did stand,
And swift his sword he flourished / and smote him with his doughty hand.
2048To see such sight quoth Hagen: / “To death thou fall’st a prey;
If not the Devil shield thee, / now is thy latest day.”
Yet Iring wounded Hagen / e’en through his helmet’s crown.
That did the knight with Waske, / a sword that was of far renown.
2049When thus Sir Hagen / the smart of wound did feel,
Wrathfully he brandished / on high his blade of steel.
Full soon must yield before him / Hawart’s daring man,
Adown the steps pursuing / Hagen swiftly after ran.
2050O’er his head bold Iring / his shield to guard him swung,
And e’en had that same stairway / been full three times as long,
Yet had he found no respite / from warding Hagen’s blows.
How plenteously the ruddy / sparks above his helm arose!
2051Unscathed at last came Iring / where waited him his own.
Soon as was the story / unto Kriemhild known,
How that in fight on Hagen / he had wrought injury,
Therefor the Lady Kriemhild / him gan to thank full graciously.
2052“Now God requite thee, Iring, / thou valiant knight and good,
For thou my heart hast comforted / and merry made my mood.
Red with blood his armor, / see I yonder Hagen stand.”
For joy herself did Kriemhild / take his shield from out his hand.
2053“Small cause hast thou to thank him,” / thus wrathful Hagen spake;
“For gallant knight ’twere fitting / trial once more to make.
If then returned he scatheless, / a valiant man he were.
The wound doth boot thee little / that now from his hand I bear.
2054“That here from wound upon me / my mail-coat see’st thou red,
Shall bring woful reprisal / on many a warrior’s head.
Now is my wrath arouséd / in full ’gainst Hawart’s thane.
As yet in sooth hath Iring / wrought on me but little bane.”
2055Iring then of Denmark / stood where fanned the wind.
He cooled him in his armor / and did his helm unbind.
Then praised him all the people / and spoke him man of might,
Whereat the margrave’s bosom / swelled full high with proud delight.
2056“Now hearken friends unto me,” / Iring once more spake;
“Make me straightway ready, / new trial now to make
If I this knight so haughty / may yet perchance subdue.”
New shield they brought, for Hagen / did his erstwhile asunder hew.
2057Soon stood again the warrior / in armor all bedight.
In hand a spear full massy / took the wrathful knight,
Wherewith on yonder Hagen / he thought to vent his hate.
With grim and fearful visage / on him the vengeful thane did wait.
2058Yet not abide his coming / might Hagen longer now.
Adown he rushed upon him / with many a thrust and blow,
Down where the stairway ended / for fierce did burn his ire.
Soon the might of Iring / must ’neath his furious onset tire,
2059Their shields they smote asunder / that the sparks began
To fly in ruddy showers. / Hawart’s gallant man
Was by sword of Hagen / wounded all so sore
Through shield and shining cuirass, / that whole he found him never more.
2060When how great the wound was / Iring fully knew,
Better to guard his helm-band / his shield he higher drew.
The scathe he first receivéd / he deemed sufficient quite,
Yet injury far greater / soon had he from King Gunther’s knight.
2061From where it lay before him / Hagen a spear did lift
And hurled it upon Iring / with aim so sure and swift,
It pierced his head, and firmly / fixed the shaft did stand;
Full grim the end that met him / ’neath the doughty Hagen’s hand.
2062Backward Iring yielded / unto his Danish men.
Ere for the knight his helmet / they undid again,
From his head they drew the spear-point; / to death he was anigh.
Wept thereat his kinsmen, / and sore need had verily.
2063Came thereto Queen Kriemhild / and o’er the warrior bent,
And for the doughty Iring / gan she there lament.
She wept to see him wounded, / and sorely grieved the queen.
Then spake unto his kinsmen / the warrior full brave and keen.
2064“I pray thee leave thy moaning, / royal high lady.
What avails thy weeping? / Yea, soon must ended be
My life from wounds outflowing / that here I did receive.
To serve thyself and Etzel / will death not longer grant me leave.”
2065Eke spake he to them of Thuringia / and to them of Danish land:
“Of you shall never any / receive the gift in hand
From your royal mistress / of shining gold full red.
Whoe’er withstandeth Hagen / death calleth down upon his head.”
2066From cheek the color faded, / death’s sure token wore
Iring the gallant warrior: / thereat they grieved full sore.
Nor more in life might tarry / Hawart’s valiant knight:
Enraged the men of Denmark / again did arm them for the fight.
2067Irnfried and Hawart / before the hall then sprang
Leading thousand warriors. / Full furious a clang
Of weapons then on all sides / loud and great ye hear.
Against the men of Burgundy / how hurled they many a mighty spear!
2068Straight the valiant Irnfried / the minstrel rushed upon,
But naught but grievous injury / ’neath his hand he won:
For the noble Fiddler / did the landgrave smite
E’en through the well-wrought helmet; / yea, grim and savage was the knight.
2069Sir Irnfried then in answer / the valiant minstrel smote,
That must fly asunder / the rings of his mailed coat
Which showered o’er his cuirass / like sparks of fire red.
Soon must yet the landgrave / fall before the Fiddler dead.
2070Eke were come together / Hawart and Hagen bold,
And saw he deeds of wonder / who did the sight behold.
Swift flew the sword and fiercely / swung by each hero’s hand.
But soon lay Hawart prostrate / before him of Burgundian land.
2071When Danish men and Thuringians / beheld their masters fall,
Fearful was the turmoil / that rose before the hall
As to the door they struggled, / on dire vengeance bent.
Full many a shield and helmet / was there ’neath sword asunder rent.
2072“Now backward yield,” cried Volker / “and let them pass within;
Thus only are they thwarted / of what they think to win.
When but they pass the portals / are they full quickly slain.
With death shall they the bounty / of their royal mistress gain.”
2073When thus with pride o’erweening / they did entrance find,
The head of many a warrior / was so to earth inclined,
That he must life surrender / ’neath blows that thickly fell.
Well bore him valiant Gernot / and eke Sir Giselher as well.
2074Four knights beyond a thousand / were come into the house;
The light from sword-blades glinted, / swift swung with mighty souse.
Not one of all their number / soon might ye living see;
Tell might ye mickle wonders / of the men of Burgundy.
2075Thereafter came a stillness, / and ceased the tumult loud.
The blood in every quarter / through the leak-holes flowed,
And out along the corbels / from men in death laid low.
That had the men of Rhineland / wrought with many a doughty blow.
2076Then sat again to rest them / they of Burgundian land,
Shield and mighty broadsword / they laid from out the hand.
But yet the valiant Fiddler / stood waiting ’fore the door,
If peradventure any / would seek to offer combat more.
2077Sorely did King Etzel / and eke his spouse lament,
Maidens and fair ladies / did sorrow sore torment.
Death long since upon them, / I ween, such ending swore.
To fall before the strangers / was doomed full many a warrior more.

wie diu künegin den sal vereiten lieʐ
{ 36 }
How the Queen bade set fire to the Hall.
2078“Now lay ye off the helmets,” / the words from Hagen fell:
“I with a boon companion / will be your sentinel.
And seek the men of Etzel / to work us further harm,
For my royal masters / full quickly will I cry alarm.”
2079Then freed his head of armor / many a warrior good.
They sate them on the corpses, / that round them in the blood
Of wounds themselves had dealt them, / prostrate weltering lay.
Now to his guests so lofty / scant courtesy did Etzel pay.
2080Ere yet was come the even, / King Etzel did persuade,
And eke the Lady Kriemhild, / that once more essayed
The Hunnish knights to storm them. / Before them might ye see
Good twenty thousand warriors, / who soon for fight must ready be.
2081Then with a furious onset / the strangers they attacked.
Dankwart, Hagen’s brother, / who naught of courage lacked,
Sprang out ’mid the besiegers / to ward them from the door.
’Twas deemed a deadly peril, / yet scatheless stood he there before.
2082Fierce the struggle lasted / till darkness brought an end.
Themselves like goodly heroes / the strangers did defend
Against the men of Etzel / all the long summer day.
What host of valiant warriors / before them fell to death a prey!
2083At turn of sun in summer / that havoc sore was wrought,
When the Lady Kriemhild / revenge so dire sought
Upon her nearest kinsmen / and many a knight beside,
Wherefore with royal Etzel / never more might joy abide.
2084As day at last was ending / sad they were of heart.
They deemed from life ’twere better / in sudden death to part
Than be thus long tormented / by great o’erhanging dread.
That respite now be granted, / the knights so proud and gallant prayed.
2085They prayed to lead the monarch / hither to them there.
As heroes blood-bespotted, / and stained from battle-gear,
Forth from the hall emergéd / the lofty monarchs three.
They wist not to whom complainéd / might their full grievous sorrows be.
2086Etzel and Kriemhild / they soon before them found,
And great was now their company / from all their lands around.
Spake Etzel to the strangers: / “What will ye now of me?
Ye hope for end of conflict, / but hardly may such favor be.
2087“This so mighty ruin / that ye on me have wrought,
If death thwart not my purpose, / shall profit you in naught.
For child that here ye slew me / and kinsmen dear to me,
Shall peace and reconcilement / from you withheld forever be.”
2088Thereto gave answer Gunther: / “To that drove sorest need.
Lay all my train of squires / before thy warriors dead
Where they for night assembled. / How bore I so great blame?
Of friendly mind I deemed thee, / as trusting in thy faith I came.”
2089Then spake eke of Burgundy / the youthful Giselher:
“Ye knights that still are living / of Etzel, now declare
Whereof ye may reproach me! / How hath you harmed my hand?
For in right friendly manner / came I riding to this land.”
2090Cried they: “Well is thy friendship / in burgh and country known
By sorrow of thy making. / Gladly had we foregone
The pleasure of thy coming / from Worms across the Rhine.
Our country hast thou orphaned, / thou and brother eke of thine.”
2091In angry mood King Gunther / unto them replied:
“An ye this mighty hatred / appeased would lay aside,
Borne ’gainst us knights here homeless, / to both a gain it were
For Etzel’s wrath against us / we in sooth no guilt do bear.”
2092The host then to the strangers: / “Your sorrow here and mine
Are things all unequal. / For now must I repine
With honor all bespotted / and ’neath distress of woe.
Of you shall never any / hence from my country living go.”
2093Then did the doughty Gernot / unto King Etzel say:
“God then in mercy move thee / to act in friendly way.
Slay us knights here homeless, / yet grant us down to go
To meet thee in the open: / thine honor biddeth thus to do.
2094“Whate’er shall be our portion, / let that straightway appear.
Men hast thou yet so many / that, should they banish fear,
Not one of us storm-weary / might keep his life secure.
How long shall we here friendless / this woeful travail yet endure?”
2095By the warriors of Etzel / their wish nigh granted was,
And leave well nigh was given / that from the hall they pass.
When Kriemhild knew their purpose, / high her anger swelled,
And straightway such a respite / was from the stranger knights withheld.
2096“But nay, ye Hunnish warriors! / what ye have mind to do,
Therefrom now desist ye, / — such is my counsel true;
Nor let foes so vengeful / pass without the hall,
Else must in death before them / full many of your kinsmen fall.
2097“If of them lived none other / but Ute’s sons alone,
My three noble brothers, / and they the air had won
Where breeze might cool their armor, / to death ye were a prey.
In all this world were never / born more valiant thanes than they.”
2098Then spake the youthful Giselher: / “Full beauteous sister mine,
When to this land thou bad’st me / from far beside the Rhine,
I little deemed such trouble / did here upon me wait.
Whereby have I deservéd / from the Huns such mortal hate?
2099“To thee I ever faithful / was, nor wronged thee e’er.
In such faith confiding / did I hither fare,
That thou to me wert gracious, / O noble sister mine.
Show mercy now unto us, / we must to thee our lives resign.”
2100“No mercy may I show you, / — unmerciful I’ll be.
By Hagen, knight of Tronje, / was wrought such woe to me,
That ne’er is reconcilement / the while that I have life.
That must ye all atone for,” / — quoth the royal Etzel’s wife.
2101“Will ye but Hagen only / to me as hostage give,
Then will I not deny you / to let you longer live.
Born are ye of one mother / and brothers unto me,
So wish I that compounded / here with these warriors peace may be.”
2102“God in heaven forfend it,” / Gernot straightway said;
“E’en though we were a thousand, / lay we all rather dead,
We who are thy kinsmen, / ere that warrior one
Here we gave for hostage. / Never may such thing be done.”
2103“Die must we all,” quoth Giselher, / “for such is mortal’s end.
Till then despite of any, / our knighthood we’ll defend.
Would any test our mettle, / here may he trial make.
For ne’er, when help he needed, / did I a faithful friend forsake.”
2104Then spake the valiant Dankwart, / a knight that knew no fear;
“In sooth stands not unaided / my brother Hagen here.
Who here have peace denied us / may yet have cause to rue.
I would that this ye doubt not, / for verily I tell you true.”
2105The queen to those around her: / “Ye gallant warriors, go
Now nigher to the stairway / and straight avenge my woe.
I’ll ever make requital / therefor, as well I may.
For his haughty humor / will I Hagen full repay.
2106“To pass without the portal / let not one at all,
For at its four corners / I’ll bid ignite the hall.
So will I fullest vengeance / take for all my woe.”
Straightway the thanes of Etzel / ready stood her hest to do.
2107Who still without were standing / were driven soon within
By sword and spear upon them, / that made a mighty din.
Yet naught might those good warriors / from their masters take,
By their faith would never / each the other’s side forsake.
2108To burn the hall commanded / Etzel’s wife in ire,
And tortured they those warriors / there with flaming fire;
Full soon with wind upon it / the house in flames was seen.
To any folk did never / sadder plight befall, I ween.
2109Their cries within resounded: / “Alack for sorest need!
How mickle rather lay we / in storm of battle dead.
’Fore God ’tis cause for pity, / for here we all must die!
Now doth the queen upon us / vengeance wreak full grievously.”
2110Among them spake another: / “Our lives we here must end.
What now avails the greeting / the king to us did send?
So sore this heat oppresseth / and parched with thirst my tongue,
My life from very anguish / I ween I must resign ere long.”
2111Then quoth of Tronje Hagen: / “Ye noble knights and good,
Whoe’er by thirst is troubled, / here let him drink the blood.
Than wine more potent is it / where such high heat doth rage,
Nor may we at this season / find us a better beverage.”
2112Where fallen knight was lying, / thither a warrior went.
Aside he laid his helmet, / to gaping wound he bent,
And soon was seen a-quaffing / therefrom the flowing blood.
To him though all unwonted, / yet seemed he there such drinking good.
2113“Now God reward thee, Hagen,” / the weary warrior said,
“That I so well have drunken, / thus by thy teaching led.
Better wine full seldom / hath been poured for me,
And live I yet a season / I’ll ever faithful prove to thee.”
2114When there did hear the others / how to him it seeméd good,
Many more beheld ye / eke that drank the blood.
Each thereby new vigor / for his body won,
And eke for lover fallen / wept many a buxom dame anon.
2115The flaming brands fell thickly / upon them in the hall,
With upraised shields they kept them / yet scatheless from their fall,
Though smoke and heat together / wrought them anguish sore.
Beset were heroes never, / I ween, by so great woe before.
2116Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Stand nigh unto the wall,
Let not the brands all flaming / upon your helmets fall.
Into the blood beneath you / tread them with your feet.
In sooth in evil fashion / us doth our royal hostess greet.”
2117In trials thus enduréd / ebbed the night away.
Still without the portal / did the keen Fiddler stay
And Hagen his good fellow, / o’er shield their bodies leant;
They deemed the men of Etzel / still on further mischief bent.
2118Then was heard the Fiddler: / “Pass we into the hall,
For so the Huns shall fondly / deem we are perished all
Amid the mickle torture / we suffer at their hand.
Natheless shall they behold us / boun for fight before them stand.”
2119Spake then of Burgundy / the young Sir Giselher:
“I ween ’twill soon be dawning, / for blows a cooler air.
To live in fuller joyance / now grant us God in heaven.
To us dire entertainment / my sister Kriemhild here hath given.”
2120Spake again another: / “Lo! how I feel the day.
For that no better fortune / here await us may,
So don, ye knights, your armor, / and guard ye well your life.
Full soon, in sooth, we suffer / again at hands of Etzel’s wife.”
2121Fondly Etzel fancied / the strangers all were dead,
From sore stress of battle / and from the fire dread;
Yet within were living / six hundred men so brave,
That never thanes more worthy / a monarch for liegemen might have.
2122The watchers set to watch them / soon full well had seen
How still lived the strangers, / spite what wrought had been
Of harm and grievous evil, / on the monarchs and their band.
Within the hall they saw them / still unscathed and dauntless stand.
2123Told ’twas then to Kriemhild / how they from harm were free.
Whereat the royal lady / quoth, such thing ne’er might be
That any still were living / from that fire dread.
“Nay, believe I rather / that within they all lie dead.”
2124Gladly yet the strangers / would a truce compound,
Might any grace to offer / amid their foes be found.
But such appeared not any / in them of Hunnish land.
Well to avenge their dying / prepared they then with willing hand.
2125About the dawn of morning / greeted they were again
With a vicious onslaught, / that paid full many a thane.
There was flung upon them / many a mighty spear,
While gallantly did guard them / the lofty thanes that knew not fear.
2126The warriors of Etzel / were all of eager mood,
And Kriemhild’s promised bounty / win for himself each would;
To do the king’s high bidding / did likewise urge their mind.
’Twas cause full soon that many / were doomed swift death in fight to find.
2127Of store of bounty promised / might wonders great be told,
She bade on shields to carry / forth the ruddy gold,
And gave to him that wished it / or would but take her store;
In sooth a greater hire / ne’er tempted ’gainst the foe before.
2128A mickle host of warriors / went forth in battle-gear.
Then quoth the valiant Volker: / “Still may ye find us here.
Ne’er saw I move to battle / warriors more fain,
That to work us evil / the bounty of the king have ta’en.”
2129Then cried among them many: / “Hither, ye knights, more nigh!
Since all at last must perish, / ’twere better instantly;
And here no warrior falleth / but who fore-doomed hath been.”
With well-flung spears all bristling / full quickly then their shields were seen.
2130What need of further story? / Twelve hundred stalwart men,
Repulsed in onset gory, / still returned again;
But dealing wounds around them / the strangers cooled their mood,
And there stood all unvanquished. / Flowing might ye see the blood
2131From deep wounds and mortal, / whereof were many slain.
For friends in battle fallen / heard ye loud complain;
Slain were all those warriors / that served the mighty king,
Whereat from loving kinsmen / arose a mickle sorrowing.

wie der marcgrâve Rüedegêr erslagen wart
{ 37 }
How the Margrave Ruediger was Slain.
2132At morning light the strangers / had wrought high deed of fame,
When the spouse of Gotelinde / unto the courtyard came.
To behold on both sides / such woe befallen there,
Might not refrain from weeping / sorely the faithful Ruediger.
2133“O woe is me?” exclaimed he, / “that ever I was born.
Alack that this great sorrow / no hand from us may turn!
Though I be ne’er so willing, / the king no peace will know,
For he beholds his sorrow / ever great and greater grow.”
2134Then did the kindly Ruediger / unto Dietrich send,
If to the lofty monarchs / they yet might truce extend.
The knight of Bern gave message: / “How might such thing be?
For ne’er the royal Etzel / granteth to end it peacefully.”
2135When a Hunnish warrior / saw standing Ruediger
As from eyes sore weeping / fell full many a tear,
To his royal mistress spake he: / “Behold how stands he there
With whom here by Etzel / none other may in might compare,
2136“And who commandeth service / of lands and people all.
How many lordly castles / Ruediger his own doth call,
That unto him hath given / the bounty of the king!
Not yet in valorous conflict / saw’st thou here his sword to swing.
2137“Methinks, but little recks he, / what may here betide,
Since now in fullest measure / his heart is satisfied.
’Tis told he is, surpassing / all men, forsooth, so keen,
But in this time of trials / his valor ill-displayed hath been.”
2138Stood there full of sorrow / the brave and faithful man,
Yet whom he thus heard speaking / he cast his eyes upon.
Thought he: “Thou mak’st atonement, / who deem’st my mettle cold.
Thy thought here all too loudly / hast thou unto the people told.”
2139His fist thereat he doubled / and upon him ran,
And smote with blow so mighty / there King Etzel’s man
That prone before him straightway / fell that mocker dead.
So came but greater sorrow / on the royal Etzel’s head.
2140“Hence thou basest caitiff,” / cried then Ruediger;
“Here of pain and sorrow / enough I have to bear.
Wherefore wilt thou taunt me / that I the combat shun?
In sooth had I the utmost / of harm upon the strangers done,
2141“For that good reason have I / to bear them hate indeed,
But that myself the warriors / as friends did hither lead.
Yea, was I their safe escort / into my master’s land;
So may I, man most wretched, / ne’er raise against them hostile hand.”
2142Then spake the lofty Etzel / unto the margrave:
“What aid, O noble Ruediger, / here at thy hands we have!
Our country hath so many / already doomed to die,
We need not any other: / now hast thou wrought full wrongfully.”
2143Returned the knight so noble: / “My heart he sore hath grieved,
And reproached me for high honors / at thy hand received
And eke for gifts unto me / by thee so freely made;
Dearly for his slander / hath the base traducer paid.”
2144When had the queen come hither / and had likewise seen
How on the Hunnish warrior / his wrath had vented been,
Incontinent she mourned it, / and tears bedimmed her sight.
Spake she unto Ruediger: / “How dost thou now our love requite,
2145“That for me and thy master / thou bring’st increase of woe?
Now hast thou, noble Ruediger, / ever told us so,
How that thou life and honor / for our sake wouldst dare.
Eke heard I thanes full many / proclaim thee knight beyond compare.
2146“Of the oath I now remind thee / that thou to me didst swear,
When counsel first thou gavest / to Etzel’s land to fare,
That thou wouldst truly serve me / till one of us were dead:
Of that I wretched woman / never stood so sore in need.”
2147“Nor do I, royal mistress, / deny that so I sware
That I for thy well-being / would life and honor dare:
But eke my soul to forfeit, / — that sware I not indeed.
’Tis I thy royal brothers / hither to this land did lead.”
2148Quoth she: “Bethink thee, Ruediger, / of thy fidelity
And oath once firmly plighted / that aught of harm to me
Should ever be avengéd, / and righted every ill.”
Replied thereto the margrave: / “Ne’er have I failed to work thy will.”
2149Etzel the mighty monarch / to implore him then began,
And king and queen together / down knelt before their man,
Whereat the good margrave / was seen in sorest plight,
And gan to mourn his station / in piteous words the faithful knight.
2150“O woe is me most wretched,” / he sorrow-stricken cried,
“That forced I am my honor / thus to set aside,
And bonds of faith and friendship / God hath imposed on me.
O Thou that rul’st in heaven! / come death, I cannot yet be free.
2151“Whate’er it be my effort / to do or leave undone,
I break both faith and honor / in doing either one;
But leave I both, all people / will cry me worthy scorn.
May He look down in mercy / who bade me wretched man be born?”
2152With many a prayer besought him / the king and eke his spouse,
Wherefore was many a warrior / soon doomed his life to lose
At hand of noble Ruediger, / when eke did die the thane.
Now hear ye how he bore him, / though filled his heart with sorest pain.
2153He knew how scathe did wait him / and boundless sorrowing,
And gladly had refuséd / to obey the king
And eke his royal mistress. / Full sorely did he fear,
That if one stranger slew he, / the scorn of all the world he’d bear.
2154Then spake unto the monarch / the full gallant thane:
“O royal sire, whatever / thou gavest, take again,
The land and every castle, / that naught remain to me.
On foot a lonely pilgrim / I’ll wander to a far country.”
2155Thereto replied King Etzel: / “Who then gave help to me?
My land and lordly castles / give I all to thee,
If on my foes, O Ruediger, / revenge thou wilt provide.
A mighty monarch seated, / shalt thou be by Etzel’s side.”
2156Again gave answer Ruediger: / “How may that ever be?
At my own home shared they / my hospitality.
Meat and drink I offered / to them in friendly way,
And gave them of my bounty: / how shall I seek them here to slay ?
2157“The folk belike will fancy / that I a coward be.
Ne’er hath faithful service / been refused by me
Unto the noble princes / and their warriors too;
That e’er I gained their friendship, / now ’tis cause for me to rue.
2158“For spouse unto Sir Giselher / gave I a daughter mine,
Nor into fairer keeping / might I her resign,
Where truth were sought and honor / and gentle courtesy:
Ne’er saw I thane so youthful / virtuous in mind as he.”
2159Again gave answer Kriemhild: / “O noble Ruediger,
To me and royal Etzel / in mercy now give ear
For sorrows that o’erwhelm us. / Bethink thee, I implore,
That monarch never any / harbored so evil guests before.”
2160Spake in turn the margrave / unto the monarch’s wife:
“Ruediger requital / must make to-day with life
For that thou and my master / did me so true befriend.
Therefore must I perish; / now must my service find an end.
2161“E’en this day, well know I, / my castles and my land
Must surely lose their master / beneath a stranger’s hand.
To thee my wife and children / commend I for thy care,
And with all the lorn ones / that wait by Bechelaren’s towers fair.”
2162“Now God reward thee, Ruediger,” / thereat King Etzel quoth.
He and the queen together, / right joyful were they both.
“To us shall all thy people / full commended be;
Eke trow I by my fortune / no harm shall here befall to thee.”
2163For their sake he ventured / soul and life to lose.
Thereat fell sore to weeping / the royal Etzel’s spouse.
He spake: “I must unto you / my plighted word fulfil.
Alack! beloved strangers, / whom to assail forbids my will.”
2164From the king there parting / ye saw him, sad of mood,
And passed unto his warriors / who at small distance stood.
“Don straightway now your armor, / my warriors all,” quoth he.
“Alas! must I to battle / with the valiant knights of Burgundy.”
2165Then straightway for their armor / did the warriors call.
A shining helm for this one, / for that a shield full tall
Soon did the nimble squires / before them ready hold.
Anon came saddest tidings / unto the stranger warriors bold.
2166With Ruediger there saw ye / five hundred men arrayed,
And noble thanes a dozen / that came unto his aid,
Thinking in storm of battle / to win them honor high.
In sooth but little knew they / how death awaited them so nigh.
2167With helm on head advancing / saw ye Sir Ruediger.
Swords that cut full keenly / the margrave’s men did bear,
And eke in hand each carried / a broad shield shining bright.
Boundless was the Fiddler’s / sorrow to behold the sight.
2168When saw the youthful Giselher / his bride’s sire go
Thus with fastened helmet, / how might he ever know
What he therewith did purpose / if ’twere not only good?
Thereat the noble monarchs / right joyous might ye see of mood.
2169“I joy for friends so faithful,” / spake Giselher the thane,
“As on our journey hither / we for ourselves did gain.
Full great shall be our vantage / that I found spouse so dear,
And high my heart rejoiceth / that plighted thus to wed we were.”
2170“Small cause I see for comfort,” / thereto the minstrel spake.
“When saw ye thanes so many / come a truce to make
With helmet firmly fastened / and bearing sword in hand?
By scathe to us will Ruediger / service do for tower and land.”
2171The while that thus the Fiddler / had spoken to the end,
His way the noble Ruediger / unto the hall did wend.
His trusty shield he rested / on the ground before his feet,
Yet might he never offer / his friends in kindly way to greet.
2172Loudly the noble margrave / cried into the hall:
“Now guard you well, ye valiant / Nibelungen all.
From me ye should have profit: / now have ye harm from me.
But late we plighted friendship: / broken now these vows must be.”
2173Then quailed to hear such tidings / those knights in sore distress,
For none there was among them / but did joy the less
That he would battle with them / for whom great love they bore.
At hand of foes already / had they suffered travail sore.
2174“Now God in heaven forfend it,” / there King Gunther cried,
“That from mercy to us / thou so wilt turn aside,
And the faithful friendship / whereof hope had we.
I trow in sooth that never / may such thing be done by thee.”
2175“Desist therefrom I may not,” / the keen knight made reply,
“But now must battle with you, / for vow thereto gave I.
“Now guard you, gallant warriors, / as fear ye life to lose:
From plighted vow release me / will nevermore King Etzel’s spouse.”
2176“Too late thou turnst against us,” / spake King Gunther there.
“Now might God requite thee, / O noble Ruediger,
For the faith and friendship / thou didst on us bestow,
If thou a heart more kindly / even to the end wouldst show.
2177“We’d ever make requital / for all that thou didst give,—
I and all my kinsmen, / wouldst thou but let us live,—
For thy gifts full stately, / as faithfully thou here
To Etzel’s land didst lead us: / know that, O noble Ruediger.”
2178“To me what pleasure were it,” / Ruediger did say,
“With full hand of my treasure / unto you to weigh
And with a mind right willing / as was my hope to do!
Thus might no man reproach me / with lack of courtesy to you.”
2179“Turn yet, O noble Ruediger.” / Gernot spake again,
“For in so gracious manner / did never entertain
Any host the stranger, / as we were served by thee;
And live we yet a little, / shall thou well requited be.”
2180“O would to God, full noble / Gernot,” spake Ruediger,
“That ye were at Rhine river / and that dead I were
With somewhat saved of honor, / since I must be your foe!
Upon good knights was never / wrought by friends more bitter woe.”
2181“Now God requite thee, Ruediger,” / Gernot gave reply,
“For gifts so fair bestowéd. / I rue to see thee die,
For that in thee shall perish / knight of so gentle mind.
Here thy sword I carry, / that gav’st thou me in friendship kind.
2182“It never yet hath failed me / in this our sorest need,
And ’neath its cutting edges / many a knight lies dead.
’Tis strong and bright of lustre, / cunning wrought and well.
I ween, whate’er was given / by knight it doth in worth excel.
2183“An wilt thou not give over / upon us here to fall,
And if one friend thou slayest / here yet within this hall,
With this same sword thou gavest, / I’ll take from thee thy life.
I sorrow for thee, Ruediger, / and eke thy fair and stately wife.”
2184“Would God but give, Sir Gernot, / that such thing might be,
That thou thy will completely / here fulfilled mightst see,
And of thy friends not any / here his life should lose!
Yea, shalt thou live to comfort / both my daughter and my spouse.”
2185Then out spake of Burgundy / the son of Ute fair:
“How dost thou so, Sir Ruediger? / All that with me are
To thee are well disposéd. / Thou dost an evil thing,
And wilt thine own fair daughter / to widowhood too early bring.
2186“If thou with arméd warriors / wilt thus assail me here,
In what unfriendly manner / thou makest to appear
How that in thee I trusted / beyond all men beside,
When thy fairest daughter / erstwhile I won to be my bride.”
2187“Thy good faith remember, / O Prince of virtue rare,
If God from hence do bring thee,” / — so spake Ruediger:
“Forsake thou not the maiden / when bereft of me,
But rather grant thy goodness / be dealt to her more graciously.”
2188“That would I do full fairly,” / spake Giselher again.
“But if my lofty kinsmen, / who yet do here remain,
Beneath thy hand shall perish, / severed then must be
The friendship true I cherish / eke for thy daughter and for thee.”
2189“Then God to us give mercy,” / the knight full valiant spake.
Their shields in hand then took they, / as who perforce would make
Their passage to the strangers / into Kriemhild’s hall.
Adown the stair full loudly / did Hagen, knight of Tronje, call:
2190“Tarry yet a little, / O noble Ruediger,
For further would we parley,” / — thus might ye Hagen hear —
“I and my royal masters, / as presseth sorest need.
What might it boot to Etzel / that we strangers all lay dead.
2191“Great is here my trouble,” / Hagen did declare:
“The shield that Lady Gotelinde / gave to me to bear
Hath now been hewn asunder / by Hun-men in my hand.
With friendly thought I bore it / hither into Etzel’s land.
2192“Would that God in heaven / might grant in kindliness,
That I a shield so trusty / did for my own possess
As in thy hand thou bearest, / O noble Ruediger!
In battle-storm then need I / never hauberk more to wear.”
2193“Full glad I’d prove my friendship / to thee with mine own shield,
Dared I the same to offer / before Lady Kriemhild.
But take it, natheless, Hagen, / and bear it in thy hand.
Would that thou mightst take it / again unto Burgundian land?”
2194When with mind so willing / he offered him his shield,
Saw ye how eyes full many / with scalding tears were filled;
For the last gift was it / that was offered e’er
Unto any warrior / by Bechelaren’s margrave, Ruediger.
2195How grim soe’er was Hagen / and stern soe’er of mind,
That gift to pity moved him / that there the chieftain kind,
So near his latest moment, / did on him bestow.
From eyes of many another / began likewise the tears to flow.
2196“Now God in heaven requite thee, / O noble Ruediger!
Like unto thee none other / warrior was there e’er,
Unto knights all friendless / so bounteously to give.
God grant in his mercy / thy virtue evermore to live.
2197“Woe’s me to hear such tiding,” / Hagen did declare.
“Such load of grief abiding / already do we bear,
If we with friends must struggle, / to God our plaint must be.”
Thereto replied the margrave: / “’Tis cause of sorrow sore to me.”
2198“To pay thee for thy favor, / O noble Ruediger,
Howe’er these lofty warriors / themselves against thee bear,
Yet never thee in combat / here shall touch my hand,
E’en though complete thou slayest / them from out Burgundian land.”
2199Thereat the lofty Ruediger / ’fore him did courteous bend.
On all sides was lamenting / that no man might end
These so great heart-sorrows / that sorely they must bear.
The father of all virtue / fell with noble Ruediger.
2200Then eke the minstrel Volker / from hall down glancing said:
“Since Hagen thus, my comrade, / peace with thee hath made,
Lasting truce thou likewise / receivest from my hand.
Well hast thou deserved it / as fared we hither to this land.
2201“Thou, O noble margrave, / my messenger shalt be.
These arm-bands ruddy golden / thy lady gave to me,
That here at this high festival / I the same should wear.
Now mayst thyself behold them / and of my faith a witness bear.”
2202“Would God but grant,” / spake Ruediger, "who ruleth high in heaven,
That to thee by my lady / might further gift be given!
I’ll gladly tell thy tidings / to spouse full dear to me,
An I but live to see her: / from doubt thereof thou mayst be free.”
2203When thus his word was given, / his shield raised Ruediger.
Nigh to madness driven / bode he no longer there,
But ran upon the strangers / like to a valiant knight.
Many a blow full rapid / smote the margrave in his might.
2204Volker and Hagen / made way before the thane,
As before had promised / to him the warriors twain.
Yet found he by the portal / so many a valiant man
That Ruediger the combat / with mickle boding sore began.
2205Gunther and Gernot / with murderous intent
Let him pass the portal, / as knights on victory bent.
Backward yielded Giselher, / with sorrow all undone;
He hoped to live yet longer, / and therefore Ruediger would shun.
2206Straight upon their enemies / the margrave’s warriors sprung,
And following their master / was seen a valiant throng.
Swords with cutting edges / did they in strong arm wield,
’Neath which full many a helmet / was cleft, and many a fair wrought shield.
2207The weary strangers likewise / smote many a whirring slash,
Wherefrom the men of Bechelaren / felt deep and long the gash
Through the shining ring-mail / e’en to their life’s core.
In storm of battle wrought they / glorious deeds a many more.
2208All his trusty followers / now eke had gained the hall,
On whom Volker and Hagen / did soon in fury fall,
And mercy unto no man / save Ruediger they showed.
The blood adown through helmets, / where smote their swords, full plenteous flowed.
2209How right furiously / were swords ’gainst armor driven!
On shields the well-wrought mountings / from their wards were riven,
And fell their jewelled facings / all scattered in the blood.
Ne’er again might warriors / show in fight so grim a mood.
2210The lord of Bechelaren / through foemen cut his way,
As doth each doughty warrior / in fight his might display.
On that day did Ruediger / show full plain that he
A hero was undaunted, / full bold and eke full praiseworthy.
2211Stood there two knights right gallant, / Gunther and Gernot,
And in the storm of battle / to death full many smote.
Eke Giselher and Dankwart, / never aught recked they
How many a lusty fighter / saw ’neath their hand his latest day.
2212Full well did show him Ruediger / a knight of mettle true,
Doughty in goodly armor. / What warriors there he slew!
Beheld it a Burgundian, / and cause for wrath was there.
Not longer now was distant / the death of noble Ruediger.
2213Gernot, knight full doughty, / addressed the margrave then,
Thus speaking to the hero: / “Wilt thou of all my men
Living leave not any, / O noble Ruediger?
That gives me grief unmeasured; / the sight I may not longer bear.
2214“Now must thy gift unto me / prove thy sorest bane,
Since of my friends so many / thou from me hast ta’en.
Now hither turn to front me, / thou bold and noble knight:
As far as might may bear me / I trust to pay thy gift aright.”
2215Ere that full the margrave / might make his way to him,
Must rings of glancing mail-coats / with flowing blood grow dim.
Then sprang upon each other / those knights on honor bent,
And each from wounds deep cutting / sought to keep him all unshent.
2216Their swords cut so keenly / that might withstand them naught.
With mighty arm Sir Ruediger / Gernot then smote
Through the flint-hard helmet, / that downward flowed the blood.
Therefor repaid him quickly / the knight of keen and valiant mood.
2217The gift he had of Ruediger / high in hand he swung,
And though to death was wounded / he smote with blow so strong
That the good shield was cloven / and welded helmet through.
The spouse of fair Gotelinde, / then his latest breath he drew.
2218In sooth so sad requital / found rich bounty ne’er.
Slain fell they both together, / Gernot and Ruediger,
Alike in storm of battle, / each by the other’s hand.
Sore was the wrath of Hagen / when he the harm did understand.
2219Cried there the lord of Tronje: / “Great is here our loss.
In death of these two heroes / such scathe befalleth us,
Wherefor land and people / shall repine for aye.
The warriors of Ruediger / must now to us the forfeit pay.”
2220“Alack for this my brother, / snatched by death this day!
What host of woes unbidden / encompass me alway!
Eke must I moan it ever / that noble Ruediger fell.
Great is the scathe to both sides / and great the sorrowing as well.”
2221When then beheld Sir Giselher / his lover’s sire dead,
Must all that with him followed / suffer direst need.
There Death was busy seeking / to gather in his train,
And of the men of Bechelaren / came forth not one alive again.
2222Gunther and Giselher / and with them Hagen too,
Dankwart and Volker, / doughty thanes and true,
Went where found they lying / the two warriors slain,
Nor at the sight the heroes / might their grief and tears restrain.
2223“Death robbeth us right sorely,” / spake young Sir Giselher:
“Yet now give o’er your weeping / and let us seek the air,
That the ringed mail grow cooler / on us storm-weary men.
God in sooth will grant us / not longer here to live, I ween.”
2224Here sitting, and there leaning / was seen full many a thane,
Resting once more from combat, / the while that all lay slain
The followers of Ruediger. / Hushed was the battle’s din.
At length grew angry Etzel, / that stillness was so long within.
2225“Alack for such a service!” / spake the monarch’s wife;
“For never ’tis so faithful / that our foes with life
Must to us make payment / at Ruediger’s hand.
He thinks in sooth to lead them / again unto Burgundian land.
2226“What boots it, royal Etzel, / that we did ever share
With him what he desired? / The knight doth evil there.
He that should avenge us, / the same a truce doth make.”
Thereto the stately warrior / Volker in answer spake:
2227“Alas ’tis no such case here, / O high and royal dame.
Dared I but give the lie to / one of thy lofty name,
Thou hast in fiendish manner / Ruediger belied.
He and all his warriors / have laid all thoughts of truce aside.
2228“With so good heart obeyed he / his royal master’s will
That he and all his followers / here in death lie still.
Look now about thee, Kriemhild, / who may thy hests attend.
Ruediger the hero / hath served thee faithful to the end.
2229“Wilt thou my words believe not, / to thee shall clear be shown.”
To cause her heart a sorrow, / there the thing was done.
Wound-gashed they bore the hero / where him the king might see.
Unto the thanes of Etzel / ne’er might so great sorrow be.
2230When did they the margrave / a corpse on bier behold,
By chronicler might never / written be nor told
All the wild lamenting / of women and of men,
As with grief all stricken / out-poured they their hearts’ sorrow then.
2231Royal Etzel’s sorrow / there did know no bound.
Like to the voice of lion / echoing rang the sound
Of the king’s loud weeping, / wherein the queen had share.
Unmeasured they lamented / the death of noble Ruediger.

wie hêrn Dietrîches man alle erslagen wurden
{ 38 }
How all Sir Dietrich’s Knights were Slain.
2232On all sides so great sorrow / heard ye there around,
That palace and high tower / did from the wail resound.
Of Bern a man of Dietrich / eke the same did hear,
And speedily he hastened / the tidings to his lord to bear.
2233Spake he unto his master: / “Sir Dietrich give me ear.
What yet hath been my fortune, / never did I hear
Lamenting past all measure, / as at this hour hath been.
Scathe unto King Etzel / himself hath happenéd, I ween.
2234“Else how might they ever / all show such dire need?
The king himself or Kriemhild, / one of them lieth dead,
By the doughty strangers / for sake of vengeance slain.
Unmeasured is the weeping / of full many a stately thane.”
2235Then spake of Bern Sir Dietrich: / “Ye men to me full dear,
Now haste ye not unduly. / The deeds performéd here
By the stranger warriors / show sore necessity.
That peace with them I blighted, / let it now their profit be.”
2236Then spake the valiant Wolfhart: / “Thither will I run
To make question of it / what they now have done,
And straight will tidings bring thee, / master full dear to me,
When yonder I inform me, / whence may so great lamenting be.”
2237Answer gave Sir Dietrich: / “Fear they hostility,
The while uncivil questioning / of their deed there be,
Lightly are stirred to anger / good warriors o’er the thing.
Yea, ’tis my pleasure, Wolfhart, / thou sparest them all such questioning.
2238Helfrich he then commanded / thither with speed to go
That from men of Etzel / he might truly know,
Or from the strangers straightway, / what thing there had been.
As that, so sore lamenting / of people ne’er before was seen.
2239Questioned then the messenger: / “What hath here been wrought?”
Answered one among them: / “Complete is come to naught
What of joy we cherished / here in Hunnish land.
Slain here lieth Ruediger, / fallen ’neath Burgundian hand.
2240“Of them that entered with him / not one doth longer live.”
Naught might ever happen / Helfrich more to grieve,
Nor ever told he tidings / so ruefully before.
Weeping sore the message / unto Dietrich then he bore.
2241“What the news thou bringst us?” / Dietrich spake once more;
“Yet, O doughty Helfrich, / wherefore dost weep so sore?”
Answered the noble warrior: / “With right may I complain:
Yonder faithful Ruediger / lieth by the Burgundians slain.”
2242The lord of Bern gave answer: / “God let not such thing be!
That were a mighty vengeance, / and eke the Devil’s glee.
Whereby had ever Ruediger / from them deserved such ill?
Well know I to the strangers / was ever well disposed his will.”
2243Thereto gave answer Wolfhart: / “In sooth have they this done,
Therefor their lives shall forfeit / surely, every one.
And make we not requital, / our shame for aye it were;
Full manifold our service / from hand of noble Ruediger.”
2244Then bade the lord of Amelungen / the case more full to learn.
He sat within a casement / and did full sadly mourn.
He prayed then that Hildebrand / unto the strangers go,
That he from their own telling / of the case complete might know.
2245The warrior keen in battle, / Master Hildebrand,
Neither shield nor weapon / bore he in his hand,
But would in chivalrous manner / unto the strangers go.
His sister’s son reviled him / that he would venture thus to do.
2246Spake in anger Wolfhart: / “Goest thou all weaponless,
Must I of such action / free my thought confess:
Thou shalt in shameful fashion / hither come again;
Goest thou arméd thither, / will all from harm to thee refrain.”
2247So armed himself the old man / at counsel of the young.
Ere he was ware of it, / into their armor sprung
All of Dietrich’s warriors / and stood with sword in hand.
Grieved he was, and gladly / had turned them Master Hildebrand.
2248He asked them whither would they. / “Thee company we’ll bear,
So may, perchance, less willing / Hagen of Tronje dare,
As so oft his custom, / to give thee mocking word.”
The thane his leave did grant them / at last when he their speech had heard.
2249Keen Volker saw approaching, / in armor all arrayed,
Of Bern the gallant warriors / that Dietrich’s word obeyed,
With sword at girdle hanging / and bearing shield in hand.
Straight he told the tidings / to his masters of Burgundian land.
2250Spake the doughty Fiddler: / “Yonder see I come near
The warriors of Dietrich / all clad in battle gear
And decked their heads with helmets, / as if our harm they mean.
For us knights here homeless / approacheth evil end, I ween.”
2251Meanwhile was come anigh them / Master Hildebrand.
Before his foot he rested / the shield he bore in hand,
And soon began to question / the men of Gunther there:
“Alack, ye gallant warriors, / what harm hath wrought you Ruediger?
2252“Me did my master Dietrich / hither to you command:
If now the noble margrave / hath fallen ’neath the hand
Of any knight among you, / as word to us is borne,
Such a mighty sorrow / might we never cease to mourn.”
2253Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “True is the tale ye hear.
Though glad I were, if to you / had lied the messenger,
And if the faithful Ruediger / still his life might keep,
For whom both man and woman / must ever now in sorrow weep?”
2254When they for sooth the passing / of the hero knew,
Those gallant knights bemoaned him / like faithful friends and true;
On Dietrich’s lusty warriors / saw ye fall the tear
Adown the bearded visage, / for sad of heart in truth they were.
2255Of Bern then a chieftain, / Siegstab, further cried:
“Of all the mickle comfort / now an end is made,
That Ruediger erst prepared us / after our days of pain.
The joy of exiled people / here lieth by you warriors slain.”
2256Then spake of Amelungen / the thane Wolfwein:
“If that this day beheld I / dead e’en sire of mine,
No more might be my sorrow / than for this hero’s life.
Alack! who bringeth comfort / now to the noble margrave’s wife?”
2257Spake eke in angry humor / Wolfhart a stalwart thane:
“Who now shall lead our army / on the far campaign,
As full oft the margrave / of old hath led our host?
Alack! O noble Ruediger, / that in such manner thee we’ve lost?”
2258Wolfbrand and Helfrich / and Helmnot with warriors all
Mournéd there together / that he in death must fall.
For sobbing might not further / question Hildebrand.
He spake: “Now do, ye warriors, / according to my lord’s command.
2259“Yield unto us Ruediger’s / corpse from out the hall,
In whose death to sorrow / hath passed our pleasure all;
And let us do him service / for friendship true of yore
That e’er for us he cherished / and eke for many a stranger more.
2260“We too from home are exiles / like unto Ruediger.
Why keep ye us here waiting? / Him grant us hence to bear,
That e’en though death hath reft him / our service he receive,
Though fairer had we paid it / the while the hero yet did live.”
2261Thereto spake King Gunther: / “No service equal may
That which, when death hath reft him, / to friend a friend doth pay.
Him deem I friend right faithful, / whoe’er the same may do.
Well make ye here requital / for many a service unto you.”
2262“How long shall we beseech you,” / spake Wolfhart the thane;
“Since he that best consoled us / by you now lieth slain,
And we, alas, no longer / his living aid may have,
Grant us hence to bear him / and lay the hero in his grave.”
2263Thereto answered Volker: / “Thy prayer shall all deny.
From out the hall thou take him, / where doth the hero lie
’Neath deep wounds and mortal / in blood now smitten down.
So may by thee best service / here to Ruediger be shown.”
2264Answered Wolfhart boldly: / “Sir Fiddleman, God wot
Thou shalt forbear to stir us, / for woe on us thou’st wrought.
Durst I despite my master, / uncertain were thy life;
Yet must we here keep silence, / for he did bid us shun the strife.”
2265Then spake again the Fiddler: / “’Tis all too much of fear,
For that a thing’s forbidden, / meekly to forbear.
Scarce may I deem it valor / worthy good knight to tell.”
What said his faithful comrade, / did please the doughty Hagen well.
2266“For proof be not o’er-eager,” / Wolfhart quick replied,
“Else so I’ll tune thy fiddle / that when again ye ride
Afar unto Rhine river, / sad tale thou tellest there.
Thy haughty words no longer / may I now with honor bear.”
2267Spake once more the Fiddler: / “If e’er the harmony
Of my fiddle-strings thou breakest, / thy helmet’s sheen shall be
Made full dim of lustre / by stroke of this my hand,
Howe’er fall out my journey / homeward to Burgundian land.”
2268Then would he rush upon him / but that him did restrain
Hildebrand his uncle / who seizéd him amain.
“I ween thou would’st be witless, / by youthful rage misled.
My master’s favor had’st thou / evermore thus forfeited.”
2269“Let loose the lion, Master, / that doth rage so sore.
If but my sword may reach him,” / spake Volker further more,
“Though he the world entire / by his own might had slain,
I’ll smite him that an answer / never may he chant again.”
2270Thereat with anger straightway / the men of Bern were filled.
Wolfhart, thane right valiant, / grasped in haste his shield,
And like to a wild lion / out before them sped.
By friends a goodly number / full quickly was he followéd.
2271Though by the hall went striding / ne’er so swift the thane,
O’ertook him Master Hildebrand / ere he the steps might gain,
For nowise would he let him / be foremost in the fray.
In the stranger warriors / worthy foemen soon found they.
2272Straight saw ye upon Hagen / rush Master Hildebrand,
And sword ye heard give music / in each foeman’s hand.
Sore they were enragéd, / as ye soon were ware,
For from their swinging broadswords / whirred the ruddy sparks in air.
2273Yet soon the twain were parted / in the raging fight:
The men of Bern so turned it / by their dauntless might.
Ere long then was Hildebrand / from Hagen turned away,
While that the doughty Wolfhart / the valiant Volker sought to slay.
2274Upon the helm the Fiddler / he smote with blow so fierce
That the sword’s keen edges / unto the frame did pierce.
With mighty stroke repaid him / the valiant minstrel too,
And so belabored Wolfhart / that thick the sparks around him flew.
2275Hewing they made the fire / from mail-rings scintillate,
For each unto the other / bore a deadly hate.
Of Bern the thane Wolfwein / at length did part the two,—
Which thing might none other / than man of mickle prowess do.
2276Gunther, knight full gallant, / received with ready hand
There the stately warriors / of Amelungen land.
Eke did young Giselher / of many a helmet bright,
With blood all red and reeking, / cause to grow full dim the light.
2277Dankwart, Hagen’s brother, / was a warrior grim.
What erstwhile in combat / had been wrought by him
Against the men of Etzel / seemed now as toying vain,
As fought with flaming ire / the son of valiant Aldrian.
2278Ritschart and Gerbart, / Helfrich and Wichart
Had oft in storm of battle / with valor borne their part,
As now ’fore men of Gunther / they did clear display.
Likewise saw ye Wolfbrand / glorious amid the fray.
2279There old Master Hildebrand / fought as he were woode.
Many a doughty warrior / was stricken in the blood
By the sword that swinging / in Wolfhart’s hand was seen.
Thus took dire vengeance / for Ruediger those knights full keen.
2280Havoc wrought Sir Siegstab / there with might and main.
Ho! in the hurly-burly / what helms he cleft in twain
Upon the crowns of foemen, / Dietrich’s sister’s son!
Ne’er in storm of battle / had he more feats of valor done.
2281When the doughty Volker / there aright had seen
How many a bloody rivulet / was hewn by Siegstab keen
From out the well-wrought mail-rings, / the hero’s ire arose.
Quick he sprang toward him, / Siegstab then his life must lose.
2282Ere long time was over, / ’neath the Fiddler’s hand,
Who of his art did give him / such share to understand
That beneath his broadsword / smitten to death he lay.
Old Hildebrand avenged him / as bade his mighty arm alway.
2283“Alack that knight so loved,” / spake Master Hildebrand,
“Here should thus lie fallen / ’neath Volker’s hand.
Now lived his latest hour / in sooth this Fiddler hath.”
Filled was the hero Hildebrand / straightway with a mighty wrath.
2284With might smote he Volker / that severed flew the band
E’en to the hall’s wide limit / far on either hand
From shield and eke from helmet / borne by the Fiddler keen;
Therewith the doughty Volker / reft of life at last had been.
2285Pressed eager to the combat / Dietrich’s warriors true,
Smiting that the mail-rings / afar from harness flew,
And that the broken sword-points / soaring aloft ye saw,
The while that reeking blood-stains / did they from riven helmets draw.
2286There of Tronje Hagen / beheld Volker dead.
In that so bloody carnage / ’twas far the sorest need
Of all that did befall him / in death of friend and man.
Alack! for him what vengeance / Hagen then to wreak began!
2287“Therefrom shall profit never / Master Hildebrand.
Slain hath been here my helper / ’neath the warrior’s hand,
The best of friends in battle / that fortune ever sent.”
His shield upraised he higher / and hewing through the throng he went.
2288Next saw ye Dankwart / by doughty Helfrich slain,
Gunther and Giselher / did full sorely plain,
When they beheld him fallen / where fiercely raged the fray.
For his death beforehand / dearly did his foemen pay.
2289The while coursed Wolfhart / thither and back again,
Through Gunther’s men before him / hewing wide a lane.
Thrice in sooth returning / strode he down the hall,
And many a lusty warrior / ’neath his doughty hand must fall.
2290Soon the young Sir Giselher / cried aloud to him:
“Alack, that I should ever / find such foeman grim!
Sir knight, so bold and noble, / now turn thee here to me.
I trow to end thy coursing, / the which will I no longer see.”
2291To Giselher then turned him / Wolfhart in the fight,
And gaping wounds full many / did each the other smite.
With such a mighty fury / he to the monarch sped
That ’neath his feet went flying / the blood e’en high above his head.
2292With rapid blows and furious / the son of Ute fair
Received the valiant Wolfhart / as came he to him there.
How strong soe’er the thane was, / his life must ended be.
Never king so youthful / might bear himself more valiantly.
2293Straight he smote Wolfhart / through well-made cuirass,
That from the wound all gaping / the flowing blood did pass.
Unto death he wounded / Dietrich’s liegeman true,
Which thing in sooth might never / any save knight full gallant do.
2294When the valiant Wolfhart / of the wound was ware,
His shield flung he from him / and high with hand in air
Raised he a mighty weapon / whose keen edge failéd not.
Through helmet and through mail-rings / Giselher with might he smote.
2295Grimly each the other / there to death had done.
Of Dietrich’s men no longer / lived there ever one.
When old Master Hildebrand / Wolfhart’s fall had seen,
In all his life there never / such sorrow him befell, I ween.
2296Fallen now were Gunther’s / warriors every one,
And eke the men of Dietrich. / Hildebrand the while had gone
Where Wolfhart had fallen / down in pool of blood.
In his arms then clasped he / the warrior of dauntless mood.
2297Forth from the hall to bear him / vainly did he try:
But all too great the burden / and there he still must lie.
The dying knight looked upward / from his bloody bed
And saw how that full gladly / him his uncle thence had led.
2298Spake he thus mortal wounded: / “Uncle full dear to me,
Now mayst thou at such season / no longer helpful be.
To guard thee well from Hagen / indeed me seemeth good,
For bears he in his bosom / a heart in sooth of grimmest mood.
2299“And if for me my kinsmen / at my death would mourn,
Unto the best and nearest / by thee be message borne
That for me they weep not, / — of that no whit is need.
At hand of valiant monarch / here lie I gloriously dead.
2300“Eke my life so dearly / within this hall I’ve sold,
That have sore cause for weeping / the wives of warriors bold.
If any make thee question, / then mayst thou freely say
That my own hand nigh hundred / warriors hath slain to-day.”
2301Now was Hagen mindful / of the minstrel slain,
From whom the valiant Hildebrand / erstwhile his life had ta’en.
Unto the Master spake he: / “My woes shalt thou repay.
Full many a warrior gallant / thou hast ta’en from us hence away.”
2302He smote upon Hildebrand / that loud was heard the tone
Of Balmung resounding / that erst did Siegfried own,
But Hagen bold did seize it / when he the hero slew.
The old warrior did guard him, / as he was knight of mettle true.
2303Dietrich’s doughty liegeman / with broadsword did smite
That did cut full sorely, / upon Tronje’s knight;
Yet had the man of Gunther / never any harm.
Through his cuirass well-jointed / Hagen smote with mighty arm.
2304Soon as his wound perceivéd / the aged Hildebrand,
Feared he more of damage / to take from Hagen’s hand;
Across his back full deftly / his shield swung Dietrich’s man,
And wounded deep, the hero / in flight ’fore Hagen’s fury ran.
2305Now longer lived not any / of all that goodly train
Save Gunther and Hagen, / doughty warriors twain.
With blood from wound down streaming / fled Master Hildebrand,
Whom soon in Dietrich’s presence, / saw ye with saddest tidings stand.
2306He found the chieftain sitting / with sorrow all distraught,
Yet mickle more of sadness / unto him he brought.
When Dietrich saw how Hildebrand / cuirass all blood-red wore,
With fearful heart he questioned, / what the news to him he bore.
2307“Now tell me, Master Hildebrand, / how thus wet thou be
From thy life-blood flowing, / or who so harmeth thee.
In hall against the strangers / thou’st drawn thy sword, I ween.
’Twere well my straight denial / here by these had honored been.”
2308Replied he to his master: / “From Hagen cometh all.
This deep wound he smote me / there within the hall
When I from his fury / thought to turn away.
’Tis marvel that I living / saved me from the fiend this day.”
2309Then of Bern spake Dietrich: / “Aright hast thou thy share,
For thou didst hear me friendship / unto these knights declare,
And now the peace hast broken, / that I to them did give.
If my disgrace it were not, / by this hand no longer shouldst thou live.”
2310“Now be not, Master Dietrich, / so sorely stirred to wrath.
On me and on my kinsmen / is wrought too great a scathe.
Thence sought we Ruediger / to bear all peacefully,
The which by men of Gunther / to us no whit would granted be.”
2311“Ah, woe is me for sorrow! / Is Ruediger then dead,
In all my need there never / such grief hath happenéd.
The noble Gotelinde / is cousin fair to me.
Alack for the poor orphans / that there in Bechelaren must be!”
2312Grief and anguish filled him / o’er Ruediger thus slain,
Nor might at all the hero / the flowing tears restrain.
“Alack for faithful helper / that death from me hath torn.
King Etzel’s trusty liegeman / never may I cease to mourn.
2313“Canst thou, Master Hildebrand, / true the tidings say,
Who might be the warrior / that Ruediger did slay?”
“That did the doughty Gernot / with mighty arm,” he said:
“Eke at hand of Ruediger / lieth the royal hero dead.”
2314Spake he again to Hildebrand: / “Now let my warriors know,
That straightway they shall arm them, / for thither will I go.
And bid to fetch hither / my shining mail to me.
Myself those knights will question / of the land of Burgundy.”
2315“Who here shall do thee service?” / spake Master Hildebrand;
“All that thou hast yet living, / thou seest before thee stand.
Of all remain I only; / the others, they are dead.”
As was in sooth good reason, / filled the tale his soul with dread,
2316For in his life did never / such woe to him befall.
He spake: “Hath death so reft me / of my warriors all,
God hath forsaken Dietrich, / ah me, a wretched wight!
Sometime a lofty monarch / I was, high throned in wealth and might.”
2317“How might it ever happen?” / Dietrich spake again,
“That so worthy heroes / here should all be slain
By the battle-weary / strangers thus beset?
Ill fortune me hath chosen, / else death had surely spared them yet.
2318“Since that fate not further / to me would respite give,
Then tell me, of the strangers / doth any longer live?”
Answered Master Hildebrand: / “God wot, never one
Save Hagen, and beside him / Gunther lofty king alone.”
2319“Alack, O faithful Wolfhart, / must I thy death now mourn,
Soon have I cause to rue me / that ever I was born.
Siegstab and Wolfwein / and eke Wolfbrand!
Who now shall be my helpers / in the Amelungen land?
2320“Helfrich, thane full valiant, / and is he likewise slain?
For Gerbart and Wichart / when shall I cease to plain?
Of all my life’s rejoicing / is this the latest day.
Alack that die for sorrow / never yet a mortal may?”

wie Gunthęr unde Hagene unde Kriemhilt wurden erslagen
{ 39 }
How Gunther and Hagen and Kriemhild were Slain.
2321Himself did then Sir Dietrich / his armor take in hand,
To don the which did help him / Master Hildebrand.
The doughty chieftain meanwhile / must make so loud complain
That from high palace casement / oft came back the sound again.
2322Natheless his proper humor / soon he did regain,
And arméd full in anger / stood the worthy thane;
A shield all wrought full firmly / took he straight in hand,
And forth they strode together, / he and Master Hildebrand.
2323Spake then of Tronje Hagen: / “Lo, where doth hither wend
In wrath his way Sir Dietrich. / ’Tis plain he doth intend
On us to wreak sore vengeance / for harm befallen here.
To-day be full decided / who may the prize for valor bear!
2324“Let ne’er of Bern Sir Dietrich / hold him so high of might
Nor deem his arm so doughty / and terrible in fight
That, will he wreak his anger / on us for sorest scathe,”—
Such were the words of Hagen, / —"I dare not well withstand his wrath.”
2325Upon these words defiant / left Dietrich Hildebrand,
And to the warriors hither / came where both did stand
Without before the palace, / and leaning respite found.
His shield well proved in battle / Sir Dietrich lowered to the ground.
2336Addressed to them Sir Dietrich / these words of sorrowing:
“Wherefore hast thou such evil, / Gunther mighty king,
Wrought ’gainst me a stranger? / What had I done to thee,
Of my every comfort / in such manner reft to be?
2327“Seemed then not sufficient / the havoc unto you
When from us the hero / Ruediger ye slew,
That now from me ye’ve taken / my warriors one and all?
Through me did so great sorrow / ne’er to you good knights befall.
2328“Of your own selves bethink you / and what the scathe ye bore,
The death of your companions / and all your travail sore,
If not your hearts, good warriors, / thereat do heavy grow.
That Ruediger hath fallen, / — ah me! how fills my heart with woe!
2329“In all this world to any / more sorrow ne’er befell,
Yet have ye minded little / my loss and yours as well.
Whate’er I most rejoiced in / beneath your hands lies slain;
Yea, for my kinsmen fallen / never may I cease to plain.”
2330“No guilt lies here upon us,” / Hagen in answer spake.
“Unto this hall hither / your knights their way did take,
With goodly train of warriors / full arméd for the fight.
Meseemeth that the story / hath not been told to thee aright.”
2331“What shall I else believe in? / To me told Hildebrand
How, when the knights that serve me / of Amelungenland
Did beg the corpse of Ruediger / to give them from the hall,
Nought offered ye but mockings / unto the valiant warriors all.”
2332Then spake the King of Rhineland: / “Ruediger to bear away
Came they in company hither; / whose corpse to them deny
I bade, despiting Etzel, / nor with aught malice more,
Whereupon did Wolfhart / begin to rage thereat full sore.”
2333Then spake of Bern the hero: / “’Twas fated so to be.
Yet Gunther, noble monarch, / by thy kingly courtesy
Amends make for the sorrow / thou here on me hast wrought,
That so thy knightly honor / still unsullied be in aught.
2334“Then yield to me as hostage / thyself and eke thy man;
So will I surely hinder, / as with best might I can,
That any here in Hunland / harm unto thee shall do:
Henceforward shalt thou find me / ever well disposed and true.”
2335“God in heaven forfend it,” / Hagen spake again,
“That unto thee should yield them / ever warriors twain
Who in their strength reliant / all armed before thee stand,
And yet ’fore foes defiant / may freely swing a blade in hand.”
2336“So shall ye not,” spake Dietrich, / “proffered peace forswear,
Gunther and Hagen. / Misfortune such I bear
At both your hands, ’tis certain / ye did but do aright,
Would ye for so great sorrow / now my heart in full requite.
2337“I give you my sure promise / and pledge thereto my hand
That I will bear you escort / home unto your land;
With honors fit I’ll lead you, / thereon my life I set,
And for your sake sore evil / suffered at your hands forget.”
2338“Ask thou such thing no longer,” / Hagen then replied.
“For us ’twere little fitting / the tale be bruited wide,
That twain of doughty warriors / did yield them ’neath thy hand.
Beside thee is none other / now but only Hildebrand.”
2339Then answered Master Hildebrand: / “The hour may come, God wot,
Sir Hagen, when thus lightly / disdain it thou shalt not
If any man such offer / of peace shall make to thee.
Welcome might now my master’s / reconciliation be.”
2340“I’d take in sooth his friendship,” / Hagen gave reply,
“Ere that I so basely / forth from a hall would fly.
As thou hast done but lately, / O Master Hildebrand.
I weened with greater valor / couldst thou ’fore a foeman stand.”
2341Thereto gave answer Hildebrand: / “From thee reproach like that?
Who was then on shield so idle / ’fore the Waskenstein that sat,
The while that Spanish Walter / friend after friend laid low?
Such valor thou in plenty / hast in thine own self to show.”
2342Outspake then Sir Dietrich: / “Ill fits it warriors bold
That they one another / like old wives should scold.
Thee forbid I, Hildebrand, / aught to parley more.
Ah me, most sad misfortune / weigheth on my heart full sore.
2343“Let me hear, Sir Hagen,” / Dietrich further spake,
“What boast ye doughty warriors / did there together make,
When that ye saw me hither / come with sword in hand?
Thought ye then not singly / me in combat to withstand?”
2344“In sooth denieth no one,” / bold Sir Hagen spake,
“That of the same with sword-blow / I would trial make,
An but the sword of Niblung / burst not within my hand.
Yea, scorn I that to yield us / thus haughtily thou mak’st demand.”
2345When Dietrich now perceivéd / how Hagen raged amain,
Raise his shield full quickly / did the doughty thane.
As quick upon him Hagen / adown the perron sprang,
And the trusty sword of Niblung / full loud on Dietrich’s armor rang.
2346Then knew full well Sir Dietrich / that the warrior keen
Savage was of humor, / and best himself to screen
Sought of Bern the hero / from many a murderous blow,
Whereby the valiant Hagen / straightway came he well to know.
2347Eke fear he had of Balmung, / a strong and trusty blade.
Each blow meanwhile Sir Dietrich / with cunning art repaid,
Till that he dealt to Hagen / a wound both deep and long,
Whereat give o’er the struggle / must the valiant knight and strong.
2348Bethought him then Sir Dietrich: / “Through toil thy strength has fled,
And little honor had I / shouldst thou lie before me dead.
So will I yet make trial / if I may not subdue
Thee unto me as hostage.” / Light task ’twas not the same to do.
2349His shield down cast he from him / and with what strength he found
About the knight of Tronje / fast his arms he wound.
In such wise was subduéd / by him the doughty knight;
Gunther the noble monarch / did weep to see his sorry plight.
2350Bind Hagen then did Dietrich, / and led him where did stand
Kriemhild the royal lady, / and gave into her hand
Of all the bravest warrior / that ever weapon bore.
After her mickle sorrow / had she merry heart once more.
2351For joy before Sir Dietrich / bent royal Etzel’s wife:
“Blessed be thou ever / in heart while lasteth life.
Through thee is now forgotten / all my dire need;
An death do not prevent me, / from me shall ever be thy meed.”
2352Then spake to her Sir Dietrich, / “Take not his life away,
High and royal lady, / for full will he repay
Thee for the mickle evil / on thee have wrought his hands.
Be it not his misfortune / that bound before thee here he stands.”
2353Then bade she forth lead Hagen / to dungeon keep near by,
Wherein he lay fast bolted / and hid from every eye.
Gunther, the noble monarch, / with loudest voice did say:
“The knight of Bern who wrongs me, / whither hath he fled away?”
2354Meanwhile back towards him / the doughty Dietrich came,
And found the royal Gunther / a knight of worthy name.
Eke he might bide longer / but down to meet him sprang,
And soon with angry clamor / their swords before the palace rang.
2355How famed soe’er Sir Dietrich / and great the name he bore,
With wrath was filled King Gunther, / and eke did rage full sore
At thought of grievous sorrow / suffered at his hand:
Still tell they as high wonder / how Dietrich might his blows withstand.
2356In store of doughty valor / each did nothing lack.
From palace and from tower / the din of blows came back
As on well-fastened helmets / the lusty swords came down,
And royal Gunther’s valor / in the fight full clear was shown.
2357The knight of Bern yet tamed him / as Hagen erst befell,
And oozing through his armor / the blood was seen to swell
From cut of sharpest weapon / in Dietrich’s arm that swung.
Right worthily King Gunther / had borne him after labors long.
2358Bound was then the monarch / by Sir Dietrich’s hand,
Albeit bonds should suffer / ne’er king of any land.
But deemed he, if King Gunther / and Hagen yet were free,
Secure might never any / from their searching vengeance be.
2359When in such manner Dietrich / the king secure had bound
By the hand he led him / where Kriemhild he found.
At sight of his misfortune / did sorrow from her flee:
Quoth she: “Welcome Gunther / from out the land of Burgundy.”
2360He spake: “Then might I thank thee, / sister of high degree,
When that some whit more gracious / might thy greeting be.
So angry art thou minded / ever yet, O queen,
Full spare shall be thy greeting / to Hagen and to me, I ween.”
2361Then spake of Bern the hero: / “Ne’er till now, O queen,
Given o’er as hostage / have knights so worthy been,
As I, O lofty lady, / in these have given to thee:
I pray thee higher evils / to spare them now for sake of me.”
2362She vowed to do it gladly. / Then forth Sir Dietrich went
With weeping eyes to see there / such knights’ imprisonment.
In grimmest ways thereafter / wreaked vengeance Etzel’s wife:
Beneath her hand those chosen / warriors twain must end their life.
2363She let them lie asunder / the less at ease to be,
Nor did each the other / thenceforward ever see
Till that unto Hagen / her brother’s head she bore.
In sooth did Kriemhild vengeance / wreak upon the twain full sore.
2364Forth where she should find Hagen / the queen her way did take,
And in right angry manner / she to the warrior spake:
“An thou wilt but restore me / that thou hast ta’en from me,
So may’st thou come yet living / home to the land of Burgundy.”
2365Answered thereto grim Hagen: / “’Twere well thy breath to save,
Full high and royal lady. / Sworn by my troth I have
That I the hoard will tell not; / the while that yet doth live
Of my masters any, / the treasure unto none I’ll give.”
2366“Then ended be the story,” / the noble lady spake.
She bade them from her brother / straightway his life to take.
His head they struck from off him, / which by the hair she bore
Unto the thane of Tronje. / Thereat did grieve the knight full sore.
2367When that he in horror / his master’s head had seen,
Cried the doughty warrior / unto Kriemhild the queen:
“Now is thy heart’s desire / at length accomplishéd.
And eke hath all befallen / as my foreboding heart hath said.
2368“Dead lieth now the noble / king of Burgundy,
Also youthful Giselher / and Sir Gernot eke doth he.
The treasure no one knoweth / but God and me alone,
Nor e’er by thee, she-devil, / shall its hiding-place be known.”
2369Quoth she: “But ill requital / hast thou made to me.
Yet mine the sword of Siegfried / now henceforth shall be,
The which when last I saw him, / my loved husband bore,
In whom on me such sorrow / through guilt of thine doth weigh full sore.”
2370She drew it from the scabbard, / nor might he say her nay,
Though thought she from the warrior / his life to take away.
With both hands high she raised it / and off his head struck she,
Whereat did grieve King Etzel / full sore the sorry sight to see.
2371“To arms?” cried then the monarch: / “here lieth foully slain
Beneath the hand of woman / of all the doughtiest thane
That e’er was seen in battle / or ever good shield bore!
Though foeman howsoever, / yet grieveth this my heart full sore.”
2372Quoth then the aged Hildebrand: / “Reap no gain she shall,
That thus she dared to slay him. / Whate’er to me befall,
And though myself in direst / need through him have been,
By me shall be avengéd / the death of Tronje’s knight full keen.”
2373In wrathful mood then Hildebrand / unto Kriemhild sprung,
And ’gainst the queen full swiftly / his massy blade he swung.
Aloud she then in terror / ’fore Hildebrand did wail,
Yet that she shrieked so loudly, / to save her what might that avail?
2374So all those warriors fated / by hand of death lay strewn,
And e’en the queen full lofty / in pieces eke was hewn.
Dietrich and royal Etzel / at length to weep began,
And grievously they mournéd / kinsmen slain and many a man.
2375Who late stood high in honor / now in death lay low,
And fate of all the people / weeping was and woe.
To mourning now the monarch’s / festal tide had passed,
As falls that joy to sorrow / turneth ever at the last.
2376Nor can I tell you further / what later did befall,
But that good knights and ladies / saw ye mourning all,
And many a noble squire, / for friends in death laid low.
Here hath the story ending, / — that is the Nibelungen woe.

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Deus vult ! — Þeedrich ( Inscriptio electronica :   )
Dies immutationis recentissimæ :  die Veneris, 2018 Maji 4