Das Nibelungenlied

Text (corrected) from  “https://archive.org/details/laynibelungs01carlgoog



First edition, 1898.
Second edition, revised, 1901
Third edition, revised, 1909.

Book I

{ 1 }
1. TO us, in olden legends, ~ is many a marvel told
Of praise-deserving heroes, ~ of labors manifold,
Of weeping and of wailing, ~ of joy and festival ;
Of bold knights’ battling ~ shall you now hear a wondrous tale.
2. A very noble maiden ~ grew up in Burgundy;
Than hers no greater beauty ~ in any land might be :
The maid was called Kriemhilda — ~ a woman passing fair —
For whose sake many a warrior ~ his life must needs forbear.
3. To love that lovely maiden ~ seemed but to be her due ;
None bore her spite, and many ~ did for her favor sue.
Beyond all measure fair were ~ her noble form and face:
Here virtues were sufficient, ~ all womankind to grace.
4. Three noble kings and wealthy, ~ guarded her as their own,
Sir Gunther and Sir Gernot, ~ for deeds of honor known,
And Giselher the youngest, ~ a gallant warrior he.
The lady was their sister, ~ and ward of all the three.
5. These princes were right gentle, ~ and came of noble race,
Bold, and of strength unequalled, ~ peerless in knightly grace ;
“The kingdom of Burgundia,” ~ thus was their country hight ; —
All Etzel’s land rang later ~ with their great deeds of might.
6. At Worms upon the Rhine flood, ~ they dwelt in power and might,
And there, in fealty, served them ~ full many a haughty knight,
With honorable service ~ throughout their earthly life. —
That life had woeful ending ~ from two great ladies’ strife.
7. Their mother was Dame Utè, ~ a queen exceeding rich.
And Dankrat was their father, ~ broad lands he left to each
When he this life departed ; ~ he was a mighty man.
Who, e’en while yet a stripling, ~ his knightly deeds began.
8. The three kings, who came after, ~ were, as I’ve said before.
All men of strength and valor ; ~ and to them fealty swore
The flower of noble knighthood, ~ of whom with truth ’twas said,
That strong they were and dauntless, ~ in sharp fight undismayed.
9. Foremost of them was Hagen, ~ of Tronjè ; then his brother, —
Sir Dankwart the swift-footed ; ~ Ortwein of Metz another ;
And Eckewart and Gere, ~ who both were margraves hight ;
With Volker of Alsatia, — ~ a stout and proven knight.
10. Rumold the kitchen-master, ~ a knight of high degree,
Sindold and Hunold also, ~ whose duty ’twas to see
That courtly rites and honors ~ were aye observéd well,
With many another gallant, ~ whom time would fail to tell.
11. Dankwart, he was the Marshal, ~ his nephew Ortwein bore
The office of High Steward, ~ in that proud court of yore ;
Sir Sindold was Cup-bearer, ~ and a bold knight men say,
The Chamberlain was Hunold ; ~ all honorable they.
12. Of all this courtly service, ~ and of their far-famed might,
And of the worth and valor ~ of each heroic knight.
And of their life as courtiers, ~ through all their joyous days,
To give a true account were ~ beyond my simple lays.
13. Meanwhile, amid this splendor, ~ the maid Kriemhilda dreamed
That she had reared a falcon, — ~ strong, fair and wild he seemed —
And that two eagles tore him, ~ and eke before her eyes ; —
No worse grief could life bring her, ~ in any evil guise.
14. Quick to her mother Utè ~ she told the vision dread, —
Who, after her own manner, ~ the dream interpreted :
“This falcon of thy rearing, ~ thy noble husband he, —
And now may God defend him, ~ or he is lost to thee !”
15. “What sayest thou of husbands, ~ O dearest mother mine ?
Never for hero’s wooing ~ shall I, your daughter, pine !
Spotless and fair would I be, ~ as now, unto my death ; —
I would forego the sorrow ~ that lurks man’s love beneath.”
16. “Forswear not Love thus lightly,” ~ her mother answer gave,
“If heart’s joy ever reach thee ~ in life, as women crave,
Through man’s love thou must gain it; — ~ thou wert a seemly bride -
If God do not deny thee ~ a good knight at thy side.”
17. “Ah, let alone such counsel, ~ my mother dear, I pray !
By many a woman’s witness ~ ’tis proven, clear as day.
How heart’s delight ~ too often with sorrow sore is paid ; —
Lest such mischance befall me, ~ I’ll shun them both,” she said.
18. So, in her mind Kriemhilda ~ held ever Love at bay,
And lived in happy freedom ~ for many a merry day ; —
Caring for nought and no one ; — ~ and yet it was her fate
To be one day, in honor, ~ a gallant warrior’s mate.
19. It was the self-same falcon ~ that she in dreams did see.
Just as her mother told her ; ~ and bloody was to be
Her vengeance on her kinsmen, ~ by whom the deed was done : —
For one man’s death did perish ~ full many a mother’s son.

{ 2 }
20. In Netherland was growing ~ a rich king’s son and heir.
Whose father’s name was Siegmund, ~ Sieglind his mother fair.
In a strong castle lived they, ~ of far and widespread fame.
Beside the great Rhine river ; ~ and Xanten was its name.
21. This prince’s name was Siegfried, ~ a gallant knight and good,
In many kingdoms proved he ~ his brave and warlike mood;
So great his strength of body, ~ he rode from land to land.
Ha ! What fine warriors found he ~ on the Burgundian strand !
22. In his best days of prowess, ~ when he was young and slim,
Full many a wondrous story ~ the country told of him, —
How noble was his stature, ~ how fair he was to see, —
And many a comely woman ~ looked on him lovingly.
23. He had a careful rearing, ~ as did his birth befit,
His virtues were his own, though, ~ and nowise due to it !
Unto his father’s country ~ he was an ornament,
For men in all things found him ~ to be right excellent.
24. He was now grown so manly ~ that he to court must ride ; —
The men-folk saw him gladly ; ~ and dames and maids beside
Wished that his will might bring him, ~ not once, but ever there ; —
Full many bore him favor, ~ as well the knight was ware !
25. To ride forth unattended ~ the boy was ne’er allowed.
In costly raiment decked him ~ Siegmund and Sieglind proud ;
And the wise elders taught him ~ (as well they understood).
How best to win the people, ~ and rule the land for good.
26. And being now so stalwart ~ that he could weapons bear.
Having what he required, ~ enough and e’en to spare,
He turned his thoughts to women, ~ and dreamt of a fair bride :
The fairest might stand proudly ~ at the bold Siegfried’s side.
27. Then did his father, ~ Siegmund, summon his liegemen all
Unto a friendly banquet ~ in the great castle-hall ;
To many a neighbor-king’s land ~ the festal tidings spread ;
On strangers as on kinsmen ~ steeds, gear, he lavished.
28. If any squire were lacking ~ knightly estate and name,
Who, by descent and breeding, ~ had thereunto a claim,
Such noble youth was bidden ~ to tournament and board.
And with the young king, later, ~ was girt with knightly sword.
29. One could tell many marvels ~ of this great feast so rare ;
Siegmund and Siegelinda ~ did win much honor there
By the good gifts they lavished, ~ with free and open hand ;
Therefore so many strangers ~ came riding to their land.
30. Four hundred squires receivéd ~ their knightly gear that day.
Together with young Siegfried ; ~ and maidens fair, they say.
Toiled at the festal raiment, ~ because they did him hold
So dear, and many a jewel ~ they broidered in the gold.
31. And wove them in the robe-weft, ~ and stitched upon the hem :
Sure, to such proud young warriors ~ behoovéd lace and gem !
The host had seats preparéd ~ for many a gallant man.
At that June feast, where Siegfried ~ his knightly course began.
32. And thither to the Minster ~ came many a wealthy squire,
And many a noble warrior. ~ The elders did aspire
That day to serve the younger, ~ as was the ancient rule ; —
And merriment, and pastime, ~ and joy were at the full.
33. When later, in God’s honor, ~ a solemn Mass was sung,
Up rose from out the people ~ a great and mighty throng,
Who there receivéd knighthood, ~ with fitting knightly rite.
And honors, such as ne’ermore ~ were seen of mortal wight.
34. Soon ran the knights to ~ where they found saddled chargers wait ;
At Siegmund’s court began then ~ a tournament so great
That one heard hall and palace ~ with crash of arms resound,
As the high-mettled thanes met ~ upon the tilting-ground.
35. From old knights and from young ones ~ went thrust and parry there,
Till crash of breaking lauces ~ re-echoed through the air ; —
One saw the splinters flying ~ up to the palace wall
From many a gallant knight’s hand : ~ so eager were they all !
36. The host he bade them end it ; ~ they led the steeds away ;
Full many a sturdy buckler ~ to sight all broken lay ;
And precious stones, in plenty, ~ had fallen on the sward
From out the shining shield-clasps : ~ the onset was so hard.
37. The host’s guests then were bidden to their appointed seats;
Their weariness was banished by store of noble meats,
And by wine of the rarest, ~ of which there was no stint.
Alike to friends and strangers ~ was all this lavishment.
38. And, though the games and pastimes ~ had lasted all the day.
The throngs of merrymakers ~ knew neither rest nor stay.
Contending for the many ~ good gifts that were to hand :
A bounty which redounded ~ to the praise of Siegmund’s land.
39. Then did the king make over ~ to young Siegfried, the loan
Of both his lands and castles, ~ as he afore had done.
Unto his knightly comrades ~ he gave with open hand.
So all were right well-pleaséd ~ that they had sought his land.
40. Until the seventh sunrise ~ the festival went on.
Then did the rich queen, Sieglind, ~ as in old days was done,
For love of her son Siegfried, ~ share out her red gold free :
To win all folks’ hearts to him ~ thereby, in sooth, hoped she.
41. Not one who in the games played, ~ methinks, went poor away ;
It rainéd steeds and raiment ~ through all the land that day.
As if had come the world’s end, ~ and common life was o’er !
Such gifts, in such abundance, ~ were never known before ;
42. So, with befitting honor, ~ ended the festal day.
And some of the rich nobles ~ were overheard to say,
That they would like the young man, ~ Prince Siegfried, for their lord :
Howbeit the honest Siegfried, ~ gave heed not to their word.
43. While Siegmund and Sieglinda ~ were living, their dear son
Would never dream of wearing ~ the crown for any one !
He wished to be lord only ~ the mighty to restrain,
Who kept the land in terror, — ~ the bold and gallant thane !

{ 3 }
44. The Prince was little troubled ~ by pangs of heartache yet !
The people’s talk, however, ~ erelong his ears beset :
How there was in Burgundia ~ a maiden, passing fair ; —
For her sake joy and sorrow ~ thereafter he did bear.
45. The beauty of this maiden ~ was faméd far and wide ;
Her lofty mind, ’twas vaunted, ~ excelled her beauty’s pride,
And brought her many a wooer, ~ riding to Gunther’s land,
Who fain would see the damsel, ~ and bid for that fair hand.
46. And yet, however many ~ contended for her love,
Kriemhilda felt in secret ~ that none her heart could move ;
There was no man among them ~ whose love she could reward ;
That knight was still a stranger, ~ who was to be her lord.
47. But when the son of Sieglind ~ to lofty love inclined,
Compared with his, all wooing ~ was as an idle wind !
Right well, in sooth, deserved he ~ to win so fair a bride :
Erelong the noble Kriemhild ~ stood at bold Siegfried’s side.
48. His followers and kinsmen, ~ seeing that he would wed.
Did counsel that the maiden ~ he to the altar led
Should be by birth his equal, — ~ for his, and for their sake :
“Then,” cried the gallant Siegfried, ~ “Kriemhilda will I take !
49. “That beauteous young maiden ~ of the Burgundian land.
For her surpassing beauty. ~ Right well I understand
No Kaiser were so mighty ~ but, should he need a wife,
That princess were fit consort ~ to share his royal life.”
50. A rumor of the matter ~ soon reached King Siegmund’s ears
His people spoke about it ; ~ his mind was full of fears
For this his son’s intention ; — ~ that he was fain to wed
The fair and lovely maiden, ~ and would not be gainsaid.
51. Sieglinda also heard it, ~ the noble monarch’s wife,
And much heart-searching had she ~ about her dear son’s life :
For well she knew King Gunther, ~ and his bold warrior-train.
They sought to turn the hero ~ back from his wooing vain.
52. Then outspake gallant Siegfried : ~ “Belovéd father mine,
The love of noble women ~ I will for aye resign
If I woo not where Love is, ~ and give my heart its way.
Such is my purpose truly, — ~ whatever men may say.
53. “If thou canst not forego her,” ~ the king said, “verily
My will shall be as thy will, ~ and well it pleaseth me ;
And I will help thee end it, ~ and do the best I can :
Yet hath the royal Gunther ~ full many a haughty man !
54. “If it were only Hagen, ~ and no one else beside.
He hides ’neath courtly seeming ~ such overweening pride,
That he’ll do us a mischief, — ~ of that I’m sore afraid,
If once we go a-wooing ~ this fair and stately maid.”
55. “Why should that be a hindrance to us ?” said Siegfried then.
“Whate’er by way of friendship ~ I cannot from him gain.
That elsewise shall I win me; ~ with strength of my own hand
From him, I trow, I’ll conquer ~ his lieges and his land.”
56. Then spake the royal Siegmund, ~ “I do mislike thy speech !
Should tidings thereof ever ~ to the Rhine-border reach,
Thou durst not ever after ~ into that country ride.
Long have I known King Gunther, ~ and King Gernot beside.
57. “By force can never any ~ expect to win the maid,”
Declared the good King Siegmund ; ~ “that hath been always said !
But if thou with thy warriors ~ wilt to her country ride,
An’ we have any friends left, ~ I’ll call them to thy side.”
58. “Far be it from my purpose,” ~ cried Siegfried, eagerly,
“That when I ride to Rhine-land ~ warriors should follow me,
Like an invading army ! ~ I should abhor this thing —
By force the glorious maiden ~ into my arms to bring !
59. “I will not owe her winning ~ to any other hand ;
I and eleven others ~ will ride to Gunther’s land.
Your help, good father Siegmund, ~ I, for this purpose, pray.”
Then gave they to his warriors ~ both colored stuffs and gray.
60. His mother heard the tidings, ~ the lady Siegelind,
She fell to grieving over ~ her dear son in her mind ;
Fearing lest she might lose him ~ through some of Gunther’s men.
The noble queen refrained not ~ from bitter weeping then.
61. This seeing, young lord Siegfried ~ to her his way did make.
And unto his dear mother ~ thus tenderly he spake :
“I prithee weep not, lady, ~ because of mine intent ;
I have no fear of foemen, ~ nor of disparagement.
62. “Aid thou me in my journey ~ to the Burgundian land,
That I and my companions ~ may bravely furnished stand
In raiment that shall honor ~ proud heroes, such as we, —
Then will I for this favor, ~ aye thank thee fervently.”
63. “Since thou wilt not forego it,” ~ did Siegelind declare,
“I’ll help thee on thy journey, ~ my only son and heir !
I will provide apparel, ~ the best e’er warrior wore, —
For thee and thy companions : ~ and ye must take good store.”
64. Then bowed to the queen-mother ~ Prince Siegfried, the young man,
He said : “On this my journey ~ I’ll take, if so I can.
None save eleven warriors ; ~ for these be raiment made.
I long to see how fares it ~ with Kriemhilda,” he said.
65. So Sieglind’s beauteous ladies sat stitching, ~ night and day, —
There were no idle fingers, ~ and little rest or play,
Until Prince Siegfried’s raiment ~ was ready to his hand.
He’d not forego his journey ~ to the Burgundian land.
66. His father bade him polish ~ his knightly harness grand,
Wherewith he meant to ride out ~ of royal Siegmund’s land,
And eke the glitt’ring hauberks ~ they likewise did prepare.
Together with stout helmets, ~ and bucklers broad and fair.
67. The hour of their departure ~ for Burgundy was nigh.
And men as well as women ~ watched them forebodingly,
Lest they again should never ~ come to their fatherland.
To pack their gear and armor ~ the heroes gave command.
68. Their chargers were resplendent, ~ their trappings of red gold ;
No knight could well be prouder ~ nor had more right to hold
A high head, than Sir Siegfried ~ and his eleven men.
He craved the king’s permission ~ to gallop Rhinewards then.
69. With grief Siegmund and Sieglind ~ accorded his request ;
Whom Siegfried sought to comfort, ~ as tenderly he pressed.
He said : “Ye must not weep now ~ through any care for me ;
And fear not lest my life be ~ in any jeopardy.”
70. Sad-hearted were the warriors, ~ and many a maiden wept :
Doubtless their hearts foreboded ~ mischance for those who leapt
That day into the saddle, — ~ they dreamt these friends lay dead, —
They had good cause for mourning, ~ in sooth there was much need !
71. Upon the seventh morning, ~ at Worms, on the Rhine shore.
Arrived the gallant horsemen ; ~ the raiment that they wore
With ruddy gold was flashing, ~ and all their trappings shone :
The chargers of bold Siegfried ~ went pacing smoothly on.
72. Their bucklers were new-wrought ones, ~ and light and broad beside.
And bright their helmets glittered, ~ as unto court did ride
Siegfried, the gallant chieftain, ~ in royal Gunther’s land.
Such fine-apparelled heroes ~ were ne’er seen on that strand.
73. Their long-swords’ points hung downwards ~ unto the spurs they wore;
And sharp, too, were the javelins ~ which these bold heroes bore.
The one that Siegfried carried ~ was two spans in the blade,
Its twofold edge was deadly, ~ and ghastly wounds it made.
74. All gilded were the bridles they lightly held in hand ;
And silken were their horse-girths ; ~ so came they to that land.
The folk began on all sides ~ on them to gape and stare.
Then many of Gunther’s people ~ ran forth to meet them there.
75. Those high and mighty warriors, ~ and knight as well as squire,
Went out to bid them welcome, ~ as honor did require,
Receiving them with kindness ~ into their master’s land.
Taking their horses, straightway, ~ and bucklers from their hand.
76. They would have ta’en the chargers, ~ and led them to the stall.
Had not the gallant Siegfried ~ said out, before them all :
“Let mine and my men’s horses ~ stay here, as now they be, —
It is my will and purpose ~ to ride hence presently !
77. “I pray you therefore tell me — ~ whoever knows this thing
Let him not hide it from me — ~ where I can find your king,
Gunther, the mighty monarch ~ of the Burgundian land?”
Then one among them told him, ~ who knew where he did stand.
78. “If ye would find King Gunther, ~ ’tis easy done, I trow.
In yonder hall I saw him, ~ and thither ye must go ;
He stands among his heroes ; ~ and, if you’ll thither wend,
Full many a glorious warrior ~ you’ll find with him, good friend !”
79. Unto the king the tidings ~ by this time had been told :
How warriors were arrivéd ~ all gallant to behold,
Who wore white, glitt’ring mail-shirts, ~ and raiment rich and grand.
And no one knew aught of them, ~ in that Burgundian land.
80. Then was the king astonished, ~ and much he did inquire.
Whence came these splendid warriors, ~ in dazzling bright attire,
And with such well-wrought bucklers, ~ so new and eke so broad; —
It vexed the soul of Gunther ~ that none could give him word.
81. Then Ortwein, lord of Metz, spake, ~ and answered thus the king
(Rich and high-couraged was he, ~ and feared not anything) :
“Since we know naught about them, ~ bid someone straightway go
And fetch my uncle Hagen, ~ he’ll see them, and may know.
82. “He knoweth all the kingdoms, ~ and ev’ry stranger-land.
And, if he wot aught of them, ~ he’ll make us understand.”
So the king sent to fetch him, ~ him and his liegemen all ; —
They watched his stately coming, ~ with warriors, to the hall.
83. What the king wanted of him ? ~ First, Hagen sought to know.
“There are within my palace ~ strange warriors, I trow,
Whom not a soul here knoweth ; ~ if thou didst them e’er see,
Declare it now, Sir Hagen, ~ and tell the truth to me !”
84. “That will I,” answered Hagen, ~ and to the window went;
One saw his keen glance wander, ~ till on the guests it bent.
Well pleased him their equipment, ~ and raiment equally :
But they were strangers to him, ~ ne’er seen in Burgundy.
85. He spake : “From whencesoever ~ have come these cavaliers,
They must themselves be princes, ~ or princes’ messengers.
Their raiment is so splendid, ~ their horses are so good ; —
’Tis plain, where’er they come from, ~ they are of noble blood.
86. “And,” furthermore said Hagen, ~ “though hitherto, I ween
The famous hero Siegfried, ~ mine eyes have never seen,
I cannot help believing, ~ how strange soe’er it be,
That yon proud knight, there standing, ~ can be none else but he !
87. “He bringeth us new tidings, ~ here into this our land.
The hardy Niblungs slew he ~ with his own hero-hand,
Both Nibelung and Schilbung, ~ the sons of a rich king.
He hath wrought mighty wonders, ~ by sheer strength vanquishing.
88. “For riding once, all lonely, ~ and with no help at hand,
He came unto a mountain, ~ (as I did understand,)
Where lay the Niblungs’ treasure, ~ well watched by doughty men.
Who all were strangers to him, ~ until he met them then.
89. “The treasure of the Niblungs ~ had just been taken then
Out of a hollow mountain, — ~ (Now hearken, my good men !)
While as the Niblung warriors ~ to share it did prepare.
Young Siegfried came, and saw them : ~ and had good cause to stare.
90. “He came so nigh unto them ~ that he could see them all.
And they did also see him ; — ~ then one of them did call :
‘Here comes the mighty Siegfried, ~ the Netherlander strong !’
He met with strange adventures ~ the Nibelungs among.
91. “The knight was well received by ~ Schilbung and Nibelung ;
And with one voice in counsel ~ those noble lords and young
Cried : ‘Share for us the treasure, ~ thou honorable man !’
And eagerly besought him : ~ so he to share began.
92. “He saw so many jewels ~ as I have heard men say.
That fivescore waggons scarcely ~ would carry them away ;
Yet more there was of red gold, ~ from out the Nib’lungs’ land :
And all must be divided ~ by gallant Siegfried’s hand.
93. “And unto him for wages ~ they gave the Niblungs’ sword :
But little they foreboded ~ what would be their reward
For rendering this service ~ to Siegfried, the good knight ; —
Ere he could end the sharing ~ they had begun to fight.
94. “They had their friends anear them, ~ twelve gallant arméd men,
Who all were mighty giants, — ~ but what availed them then ?
For Siegfried fell upon them ~ and slew them in his ire,
Full seven hundred Niblungs, ~ vanquished in battle dire,
95. “With their good sword resistless, ~ that was yclept ‘Balmung.’
And through the mighty terror ~ that seized those warriors young,
Dread of the sword, and hero, ~ who bravely did it wield ; —
Their land and eke their castles ~ unto him did they yield.
96. “The wealthy kings he also ~ smote, till they both fell dead.
But he himself, through Albrich, ~ was grievously bested.
Who would avenge his masters ~ upon the spot, — till he
Found the great strength of Siegfried ~ beyond his mastery.
97. “The sturdy dwarf was powerless ~ against him in the fray.
Like lions wild to the mountain ~ they twain then broke away.
Till the Tarnhelm from Albrich ~ he wrested ; and thus lord
Became the dreaded Siegfried ~ of all the Niblung hoard.
98. “They who had dared the battle ~ there, one and all, lay slain.
Then bade he that the treasure ~ be carried back again
Unto the cave, whence erstwhile ~ the Niblungs did it take.
And then did he stout Albrich ~ his treasure-keeper make.
99. “By a great oath he made him ~ unto him fealty swear,
To serve him in all service, ~ no matter when or where.”
So spake Hagen of Tronjè, ~ “That did he presently :
“There never was a warrior ~ who had such might as he !
100. “And yet another story ~ of Siegfried I have heard :
How he did slay a dragon, ~ with his own hand and sword.
And in its blood he bathed him ~ till horny grew his skin,
And thus no sword can cut him, ~ as hath been often seen.
101. “Then let us this young hero ~ receive as best we may.
Lest we deserve his hatred ~ and have to rue the day.
He is of such bold spirit ~ ’twere best to be his friend :
He hath, by his strong right hand, ~ wrought wonders without end.”
102. Then the great king said, “Truly, ~ methinks that thou art right.
See but how chivalrously ~ he stands prepared to fight.
He and his warriors with him, ~ a dauntless man is he !
We will go down to meet him, ~ and greet him courteously.”
103. “Thou mayest,” answered Hagen, ~ “with honor do this thing,
His ancestry is noble, ~ his sire a wealthy king.
One sees it in his bearing, — ~ and, by the dear Lord Christ,
It is no trifle brings him, ~ I warrant, on this quest !”
104. Then spake the country’s ruler ; ~ “Right welcome let him be, —
That he is brave and noble ~ hath aye been told to me ;
We’ll make his sojourn merry ~ in our Burgundian land.”
So saying, down went Gunther ~ to where Siegfried did stand.
105. The host and all his warriors ~ received the guest so well
That nothing to good breeding ~ was lacking, sooth to tell.
The goodly man, on his side, ~ bowed low before them there.
And thanked them for their greeting, ~ so friendly and so fair.
106. “I marvel at these riddles,” ~ spake Gunther, suddenly,
“Whence have ye, noble Siegfried, ~ come unto this country ?
And for what purpose come ye ~ to Worms upon the Rhine ?”
The guest unto the king said : ~ “To answer shall be mine.
107. “To me were told the tidings, ~ erst in my fatherland.
That here with you were dwelling ~ (which I would know firsthand),
The boldest of all warriors — ~ oft said they so to me, —
That ever monarch governed : ~ lo, I am come to see !
108. “Thy fame hath also reached me ; ~ I hear the knights declare
That never king was bolder ~ nor braver, anywhere.
Such is the common folk-talk ~ o’er all the land, in sooth,
And I shall have no quiet ~ until I know the truth.
109. “I also am a warrior, ~ and shall too wear a crown ;
And I shall ne’er content me ~ until I win renown.
Until the folk say of me, ~ that I have proved my right
To reign o’er land and people : ~ my honor do I plight
110. “And head thereto. And wert thou ~ as bold as some men say,
I will now wrestle from thee ~ whatever is thine today ;
I care not who gainsay it, ~ or who may like, or hate :
Thy broad lands and thy castles ~ shall mine be, soon or late !”
111. The king did greatly marvel, ~ and eke his liegemen all,
At the strange declaration ~ that from his lips did fall :
To take his kingdom from him ! ~ So that was his intent !
His thanes all heard it, likewise, ~ and fierce was their dissent.
112. “Whereby have I deserved this ? ~ “Gunther the warrior cried,
“That lands my father governed, ~ with honor, till he died,
Should be now wrested from us ~ by force, by whomsoe’er?
That were to prove but poorly ~ that we too knighthood bear.”
113. “Nought else will I,” quoth Siegfried, ~ “by that I fall or stand :
If thy strength cannot peace win ~ for thine own fatherland,
Then shall my strong hand rule it, ~ and after me mine heir ;
If thou dost win, thine be it, ~ and we thy rule must bear.
114. “Thy heritage, mine also, ~ are now alike at stake ;
Whichever of the other ~ shall wholly conquest make
To him shall all be subject, — ~ the land and all its folk.”
But Hagen and King Gernot ~ in hasty answer spoke :
115. “Far be it from our purpose,” ~ spake Gernot presently,
“To conquer new possessions, ~ and to cause death thereby
At hands of heroes ; truly, ~ we have a rich estate :
Which pays us due allegiance, ~ nor seeks a better fate.”
116. Round and about were standing ~ his friends, in sullen mood ;
The lord of Metz, Sir Ortwein, ~ among the others stood ;
He spake : “This friendly parley ~ doth vex me sore, as knight, —
Stout Siegfried unprovoked hath ~ here challenged you to fight.
117. “If ye and your two brethren ~ were here, without defence,
And if he brought against you ~ the army of a prince,
Methinks I could overmaster ~ yea, e’en such doughty one !
And force this haughty warrior ~ to change his braggart tone.”
118. This saying stirred fierce anger ~ in him of Netherland.
He spake : “Ne’er shalt thou measure ~ against my like thine hand !
I am a mighty king’s son, ~ and thou but a king’s knight :
Twelve such as thou art could not ~ withstand me in the fight !”
119. Ortwein, the lord of Metz, then ~ for swords called, lustily ;
Of Hagen, lord of Tronjè, ~ the sister’s son was he;
That he had held his peace still ~ seemed not to Gunther right.
But Gernot put his word in, ~ the bold and ready knight.
120. He thus spake unto Ortwein : ~ “Now let thine anger be !
Siegfried hath not yet done us ~ aught evil that I see,
Our difference in goodwill ~ we yet may end, I deem.
And thus may gain his friendship ; ~ ’twill better us beseem.”
121. Then spake the doughty Hagen : ~ “Well do we to be wrath.
Both we, and all thy warriors, ~ for hath he not come forth,
Here to the Rhine, to flout us ? ~ He might have let that be !
My own good lords had never ~ done him such injury.”
121. To this made answer Siegfried, ~ that mightiest of men,
“If what I now have spoken ~ offend you, Sir Hagen,
Ye shall have eye-proof, shortly, ~ how this my strong right hand
Shall do great deeds of prowess ~ in this Burgundian land.”
123. “That I, for one, will hinder ! ~ “Gernot in answer said, —
And unto all his warriors ~ insulting speech forbade,
Because such speech did grieve him. ~ Then into Siegfried’s head
Came thoughts of Lady Kriemhild, ~ the lovely, peerless maid.
124. “Is not all strife unseemly ~ between us? “Gernot said ;
“However many heroes ~ fell by our prowess dead.
Small honor would by us be, ~ by you small vantage won.”
Then answered him Prince Siegfried, ~ the royal Siegmund’s son :
125. “Wherefore delayeth Hagen ? ~ And Ortwein, what doth he,
That he and his companions ~ haste not to strive with me ?
(Whereof he hath a’ many ~ e’en here in Burgundy).”
But it was Gernot’s counsel ~ that none should risk reply.
126. “You shall be welcome to us,” ~ continued Utè’s son ;
“You and the knightly comrades ~ who come with you, each one ;
Right gladly will we serve you, ~ I and these kinsmen mine.”
Then for the guests were ordered ~ goblets of Gunther’s wine.
127. Loud spake the country’s ruler : ~ “All that we have is yours,
What ye desire, in honor, ~ we’ll call no longer ours.
But gladly share it with you, ~ be it or wealth, or blood.”
This wrought in good Sir Siegfried ~ a somewhat softer mood.
128. The knights were soon relievéd ~ of all the gear they brought ;
And lodgment was found for them, — ~ the very best was sought
For Siegfried’s knightly followers ; ~ well were they lodged that day.
And now, in all Burgundia, ~ right welcome guests were they.
129. All honor too was shown them, ~ on that and many a day,
A thousand times more honor ~ than I can ever say !
This had his boldness gained him ; ~ and this is true I state :
That seldom any saw him ~ who long could bear him hate.
130. On pastimes now and pleasure ~ the kings and court were set.
But, whatsoe’er they started, ~ he outstript all men yet :
For none could equal Siegfried, ~ nor come his strength anear, —
Whether it were stone-putting, ~ or shooting with the spear.
131. And when by courtly custom ~ they willed their games to play
In presence of the ladies, — ~ these knights of humor gay, —
Approving glances followed ~ the prince of Netherland.
Yet his heart brooded ever ~ on loftier love, at hand.
132. Though to whatever was passing ~ he lent a ready mind,
One gracious maiden ever ~ he in his heart did find ; —
So, likewise, did the damsel, ~ whom yet he had not seen,
Incline to him in secret, ~ and talk of him, I ween.
133. When in the court the young folk ~ their warlike games began,
The knights and their attendants, ~ Kriemhilda straightway ran
And watched them from the window, ~ king’s daughter tho’ she were,
Nor while it lasted did she ~ for other pastime care.
134. And had he known she watched him, ~ whom in his heart he bore.
It had been ample pleasure, — ~ he would have asked no more.
And could his eyes have seen her, ~ ye need not to be told
No better bliss and greater ~ for him this world could hold.
135. When he, among the heroes, ~ down in the court-yard stood,
Between the games, at leisure, ~ as other warriors would ;
So winsomely he stood there. ~ Queen Siegelinda’s son,
That the heart’s love of many ~ a noble dame he won.
136. And many a time he pondered : ~ “How shall I e’er attain
To see the noble damsel, ~ whose love I seek to gain.
Her whom I love so dearly, ~ and have for many a day ?
To me she’s still a stranger, ~ with sorrow I must say.”
137. Whene’er the kings were minded ~ to ride throughout their land.
Their vassal knights had ever ~ to follow, close at hand ;
And Siegfried must be with them, ~ which did the maid distress.
And he too suffered often, ~ for her dear sake, no less.
138. So dwelt he with the three kings ~ (and ’tis all true ye hear,)
In Gunther’s court and country, ~ the space of one whole year ;
And all that time his Lady ~ he never saw at all.
Through whom much love unto him ~ and sorrow did befall.

{ 4 }
139. And now, behold, strange tidings ~ have come to Gunther’s land.
And heralds from a distance ~ arrive at the command
Of warriors unheard of ~ and yet who hatred bore.
And when the three kings heard it ~ their grief, in sooth, was sore.
140. These warriors’ names I’ll tell you : ~ the first was Lud’ger hight,
Out of the Saxon country, ~ a rich king of great might ;
And Ludegast came with him, ~ who was of Denmark king ; —
These twain brought many with them, ~ a princely following.
141. To Gunther’s land the heralds ~ their ready steps had bent,
Whom those kings, his opponents, ~ had with their message sent.
The unknown men were questioned ~ as to the news they brought,
And, summoned by King Gunther, ~ the royal presence sought.
142. The king did greet them fairly ; ~ “Be welcome here,” quoth he,
“Though who hath sent you hither ~ is yet unknown to me :
That must I hear now of you,” ~ declared the monarch good.
Exceedingly they feared ~ King Gunther’s angry mood.
143. “If thou, O king, allowest, ~ the message we’ll reveal
Which we are sent to bring thee, ~ and nothing will conceal.
We’ll name to you the masters ~ who’ve sent us to this strand :
Lud’gast and Lud’ger, namely, ~ who would invade your land.
144. “Ye have incurred their anger, ~ nor shun we here to state
That both our masters harbor ~ for you the greatest hate.
They mean to come with armies ~ to Worms upon the Rhine :
And many warriors aid them ; — ~ so warn we thee and thine.
145. “Within twelve weeks their journey ~ must here accomplished be.
If you’ve good friends to help you, ~ you’ll seek them speedily
To guard your land and castles, ~ and fight in battlefield.
By them will here be cloven ~ full many a helm and shield. .
146. “Or, if ye will treat with them, ~ so make your offer : then
They will not bring upon you ~ their hosts of arméd men,
All bitter foes unto you, ~ to work you grievous woe,
Destroying your fair knighthood ~ with many a deadly blow.”
147. “Now tarry here a little,” ~ replied the monarch good,
“Until I have bethought me, — ~ then shall ye learn my mood.
If I have faithful subjects ~ I must not hide this thing ;
This grievous errand must I ~ unto my lieges bring.”
148. Rich as he was, to Gunther ~ it was a trouble sore ;
Within his heart the matter ~ he pondered o’er and o’er.
He sent in quest of Hagen, ~ and others of his men,
And bade them from the palace ~ to fetch King Gernot then.
149. His worthiest came unto him, ~ all that were found to hand.
He spake : “The foeman cometh ~ here into this our land,
Bringing a mighty army ; ~ to work you all much woe.”
To which the bold knight Gernot ~ made answer : “Nay, not so,
150. “Our good swords shall defend us !” ~ undaunted Gernot said ;
“None but the doomed die, ever, — ~ and they’re as good as dead !
For fear of death, I’ll never ~ forget mine honor dear.
Let the foe come, and welcome ! ~ They’ll find us ready here !
151. Then Hagen spake, of Tronjè : ~ “The thing doth bode no good ;
Lud’gast and Lud’ger both are ~ too arrogant of mood.
The time’s too short to gather, ~ and furnish all our men ;
Ye must advise with Siegfried.” ~ Thus spake the bold Hagen.
152. They bade men take the heralds, ~ and lodge them in the town.
However hostile to them, ~ for sake of his renown
Gunther would have them cared for, ~ as was their due and right;
Until he knew what friends would ~ stand by him in the fight.
153. Yet the king’s heart was heavy ~ and sad with anxious care.
But one beheld him mourning, — ~ a gallant knight and fair,
Who knew not of the sorrow ~ that had befallen the king ; —
Therefore besought he Gunther ~ to declare to him this thing.
154. “To me it is a marvel,” ~ quoth Siegfried (for ’twas he),
“How all your merry custom ~ hath changéd utterly,
Which was the rule among us, ~ and hath so long held sway ?”
To which, in answer, Gunther, ~ the comely knight did say :
155. “Not unto every comer ~ would I the grief declare.
Which close within my bosom ~ in secret I must bear :
One keeps one’s deepest sorrow ~ for steadfast friends,” he said.
At this did Siegfried’s color ~ change quick, ’twixt white and red.
156. “I never have denied you,” ~ he spake unto the king ; —
“And shall not, in this trouble, ~ my strong arm succor bring ?
If ye for friends are seeking, ~ lo, am I not your friend ?
I trust to be so ever, — ~ with honor, till mine end.”
157. “Now God reward you, Siegfried, ~ for what ye now have said.
And though your strength should never ~ be needed in mine aid,
Yet doth this news rejoice me, ~ that ye my friend will be ; —
And ye shall ne’er regret it, ~ if life be granted me.
158. “And ye shall hear the reason ~ wherefore I now am sad :
From enemies, by heralds, ~ this message I have had :
That they will, with their armies, ~ assail us, at our door ; —
The like no warriors ever ~ did in these lands before.”
159. “Let not your heart be troubled,” ~ quoth Siegfried, thereunto ;
“And calm your anxious spirit, ~ and as I pray you, do !
Leave it to me to win you ~ honor and vantage both,
And bid your thanes come hither ~ to aid you, nothing loath.
160. “Although your mighty foemen ~ should have at their command
Full thirty thousand swordsmen, ~ yet would I them withstand,
Though I had but a thousand : ~ so leave this all to me.”
“For this,” said Gunther, ~ “ever your debtor I shall be.”
161. “So let a thousand warriors ~ at my disposal be.
Since I of mine own following, ~ have only here with me
A dozen knights, all reckoned : ~ thus will I guard your land,
And faithfully at all times ~ shall serve you Siegfried’s hand.
162. “In this must Hagen help us, ~ his nephew Ortwein too,
Dankwart and Sindold also, ~ all knights beloved of you.
And Volker shall ride with us, ~ Volker the gallant man,
A better one I know not, ~ and he shall lead the van.
163. “And let the heralds ride back ~ home to their masters’ land ;
And that they soon shall see us ~ give them to understand.
That peace within our castles ~ may undisturbéd reign.”
For followers and kinsmen ~ the king then sent amain.
164. The messengers of Lud’ger ~ straightway to court repair.
At news of home-returning ~ greatly rejoiced they were.
The good King Gunther gave them ~ rich gifts to take away,
And promised them safe conduct : ~ right glad of heart were they.
165. “Say now,” King Gunther bade them, ~ “unto my foes who come.
They’d best forego this journey, ~ and stay content at home.
But, if they be determined ~ to seek me in my land,
Unless my good friends fail me, ~ they’ll find their work to hand.”
166. Rich presents then they, straightway, ~ before the heralds bore,
Gunther was rich in treasure, ~ and had enough and more ;
These men of Lud’ger’s durst not ~ refuse the offered fee,
And when they leave had taken, ~ departed joyfully.
167. Now when they unto Denmark ~ returnéd were at last.
And had declared the tidings ~ unto King Ludegast,
Which they had brought from Rhineland, ~ and all to him was said,
The proud and haughty answer ~ filled him with grief and dread.
168. They said that by the Rhine dwelt ~ full many a gallant wight :
“Among them, with King Gunther, ~ there was a certain knight.
Who bore the name of Siegfried, — ~ a knight of Netherland.”
Sore grieved was Lud’gast when he ~ this news did understand.
169. As soon as they of Denmark ~ had heard the news of war.
They made all haste to gather ~ their friends from near and far,
Till Ludegast could reckon ~ on twenty-thousand men.
All warriors bold, and ready ~ the war-march to begin.
170. King Ludeger the Saxon ~ assembled his men, too,
Till he had forty thousand ~ or even more to show.
Ready to join the others, ~ and ride to Burgundy.
Nor was King Gunther idle ~ at home, for also he
171. Sent word to all his kinsmen, ~ and to his brothers’ men,
To bid their troops assemble ~ to go to battle then ;
And likewise Hagen’s warriors, — ~ the heroes needed all.
Whereby must many a chieftain ~ in death, thereafter, fall.
172. So made they all things ready. ~ When perfect was each plan,
The gallant warrior, Volker, ~ was bade to lead the van.
And thus they rode together ~ from Worms, upon the Rhine.
The chief command to Hagen ~ of Tronjè they assign.
173. With them did ride Sir Sindold, ~ and eke the brave Hunold,
Two knights of whom was either ~ well worth King Gunther’s gold ;
And Dankwart, Hagen’s brother, ~ his nephew Ortwein too,
Who also might with honor ~ upon the war-march go.
174. “Sir king,” said Siegfried, “prithee, ~ in quiet bide at home.
Seeing that all thy warriors ~ with me to battle come,
Remain to guard the women, ~ and aye be of good cheer :
I trow I can take care of ~ your honor and your gear !
175. “From those who would assail you, ~ at Worms upon the Rhine,
I’ll see that nought of evil ~ befall or thee or thine.
So closely will we press them, ~ and compass them so near,
That all their braggart boasting ~ shall soon be changed to fear.”
176. From Rhine they rode through Hesse, ~ their warriors as well,
Towards the Saxon country, — ~ where they to fighting fell.
They ravaged all the borders ~ and spoiled with sword and brand,
Till fear fell on those princes, ~ who sorrowed for their land.
177. So came they o’er the marches ; ~ their followers pressed on.
And then the gallant Siegfried ~ began to think thereon :
“Who shall defend our camp-folk, ~ now we have brought them here ?
More damage-wreaking raiders ~ to Saxons never were.”
178. Some counselled: “On the march let ~ bold Dankwart guard our youth ;
He is a trusty warrior, ~ and swift in act, forsooth :
Let him and also Ortwein ~ have conduct of the rear ;
So shall we have less damage ~ from Lud’ger’s men to fear.”
179. “Then I myself will ride on,” ~ did gallant Siegfried cry.
And keep the foremost outlook, ~ till we the foe espy ;
Until I find out where these ~ same crafty warriors lurk.”
Fair Sieglind’s son then quickly ~ donned helmet and hauberk.
180. The rank and file to Hagen ~ he entrusted as he went,
And also unto Gernot, ~ the warrior excellent.
Then all alone forth rode he ~ into the Saxon-land ;
That very day his sword hewed ~ full many a helmet-band.
181. He saw a whole vast army ~ upon the plain outspread.
By which his own few helpers ~ were far outnumberéd :
There were full forty thousand, ~ or even more, maybe ; —
But when Sir Siegfried saw them, ~ his heart was full of glee !
182. On the foe’s side a warrior ~ had to the front been sent,
Who on his guard stood ready, ~ watchful and diligent.
The hero Siegfried saw him, ~ and the bold man saw him :
And each did watch the other, ~ with jealous hate and grim.
183. I’ll tell you who it was, who ~ thus sentinel did stand :
(A shining shield of red gold ~ was hanging on his hand),
King Ludegast it was who ~ his army thus did guard, —
The noble guest spurred forward ~ to meet him on the sward.
184. King Ludegast had also ~ his enemy espied,
And each sharp spurs had driven ~ into his stallion’s side,
With lances on the shields bent ~ each charged with all his might,
And Ludegast the mighty ~ was soon in sorry plight.
185. After the crash, the chargers ~ bore the two princes by,
As if a mighty storm-wind ~ had blown them furiously.
Till each, the rein obeying, ~ was turned in knightly way ;
Then did the two grim foemen ~ with swords their skill essay.
186. The mighty strokes of Siegfried ~ made all the field resound,
Until King Lud’gast’s helmet ~ seemed flaming all around, —
The fire-red sparks shot upwards ~ beneath the hero’s hand.
Each knight found in his fellow ~ a foeman worth his brand.
187. King Lud’gast dealt him also ~ right many an ugly blow :
Their good shields caught the sword-thrusts, ~ that else had laid them low.
Of Lud’gast’s warriors, thirty ~ were witness of the fray.
But, ere they came to aid him, ~ Siegfried had gained the day.
188. From three great wounds and ghastly, ~ which to the king he dealt
Clean through his white, steel harness ; — ~ though it was firmly welt, —
Where the keen sword-point entered ~ burst from his wounds the blood.
King Ludegast might well be ~ thereat of doleful mood !
189. He begged for life; and offered ~ to pledge to him his land,
Telling him that ’twas Lud’gast ~ whose fate was in his hand.
And then uprode his warriors, ~ who witnessed had right well
What, ’twixt the twain before them, ~ upon the watch, befell.
190. Siegfried now thence would take him ; ~ but he was set upon
By thirty of the foemen : ~ yet did he hold his own,
And kept his wealthy captive ; ~ and struck out, brave and true,
And gave those stately chieftains ~ much bitter cause to rue.
191. In self-defence, the thirty ~ he thereupon did slay.
One only left he living ; ~ who spurred his steed away
To bear the direful tidings ~ of all that there befell :
Which eke his bloody helmet ~ did but too plainly tell.
192. When to the men of Denmark ~ the dreadful news was told, —
How that their king was taken, — ~ they scarce their grief could hold.
And when they told his brother, ~ he fell to rave like mad,
In uncontrolled fury, — ~ so great the grief he had.
193. So Ludegast the warrior ~ was captive made, and then
Led from the field by Siegfried, ~ and giv’n to Gunther’s men.
To Hagen’s care they gave him ; ~ and when they heard the truth.
That ’twas the king he brought them, — ~ they did not grieve, forsooth!
194. The banner of Burgundia ~ was fixed its staff unto.
“Come on, my men !” cried Siegfried, ~ “here have we more to do,
Before the day be ended. ~ If God preserve my life,
There’ll weep among the Saxons ~ full many a comely wife !
195. “Give ear, ye Rhine-born heroes, ~ unto these words I say :
To Lud’ger’s host I, truly, ~ can show ye straight the way.
Ye’ll see some helmet-hewing ~ by heroes’ hands, I trow !
And, ere we turn us homewards, ~ what grief is some shall know.”
196. To horse did Gernot hasten, ~ as eke did all his men.
Aloft upbore the banner ~ the stalwart minstrel-thane, —
The high-born noble Volker ; — ~ before the host he rode ;
And eke the camp-folk, following, ~ proudly to battle strode.
197. They had no more, all counted, ~ than just a thousand men
And twelve, with those of Siegfried. ~ The dust ’gan rising then
Upon the streets and roadways, ~ as through the land they rode :
One saw their lances shining, ~ and many a good shield glowed.
198. Now also had the Saxons ~ come forth in great array.
Their swords were finely sharpened, ~ as I have heard men say ;
And keen they were and deadly, ~ wielded by heroes’ hands :
Therewith they, from the strangers, ~ would castle guard and lands
199. The marshal of the Rhine-men ~ led on his warriors then.
And Siegfried followed closely, ~ with the twelve valiant men
Whom he had brought as comrades ~ from out the Netherland.
That day in blood of battle ~ was stainéd many a hand.
200. For Sindold’s might, and Hunold’s, ~ and Gernot’s had laid
In course of that fell combat, ~ full many a hero dead.
Ere they had time to reckon ~ the valor of the foe.
And many a winsome lady ~ that day must weep for woe.
201. Sir Volker and Sir Hagen, ~ and also Ortewein,
Dimmed in that strife the light that ~ from many a helm did shine,
With damp of blood downpouring, — ~ these battle-valiant men !
Sir Dankwart’s prowess also ~ wrought many a marvel then.
202. And also they of Denmark ~ did well their weapons wield,
And many a thrust resounded ~ on many a polished shield ;
And the sharp sword-strokes echoed ~ death-dealing, blow on blow.
The warlike Saxons likewise ~ did harm enough, I trow !
203. As now the bold Burgundians, ~ pressed forward in the fight,
By them was many a sword-wound, ~ wide-cleft, — a ghastly sight !
And streaming o’er the saddles, ~ one saw the reeking blood.
Thus fought they for dear honor, ~ those valiant knights and good.
204. One heard there, loud-resounding, ~ from every heroes hand.
The clashing of keen weapons ; ~ whilst they of Netherland
Dashed after their bold leader, ~ into the thickest fray.
Right valiantly they followed ~ where Siegfried showed the way.
205. For him the Rhenish heroes ~ could never come anigh ; —
One might have seen down-flowing ~ red streamlets bloodily
Beneath the glittering helmets, ~ cloven by Siegfried’s hand ; —
Until he saw King Lud’ger ~ before his warriors stand.
206. Three sev’ral times he’d traversed ~ the host, from end to end,
And now, to help him, Hagen ~ his steps did thither bend.
Right well in fight assuaged they ~ the fierceness of their mood :
Through them that day must perish ~ full many a warrior good.
207. When Ludeger the stalwart ~ saw Siegfried near him stand,
And how aloft he wielded ~ the good sword in his hand, —
The mighty weapon Balmung, — ~ and what a host it slew :
The king waxed very wrathful, ~ and fierce his anger grew.
208. Then was a mighty thronging, ~ and clang of swords as well,
As on each side the warriors ~ on their opponents fell.
The chieftains sought each other, ~ mettle and strength to gauge ; —
The hosts began to waver ; ~ then waxed the hate and rage.
209. The leader of the Saxons ~ was well aware, I trow,
His brother was a captive, — ~ and therefore grieved enow.
He knew too that the captor ~ was Siegelinda’s son ; —
’Twas first set down to Gernot, ~ but soon the truth was known.
210. So fierce was Lud’ger’s onslaught, ~ and eke of such fell force,
That under Siegfried’s saddle ~ staggered his battle-horse.
But soon it did recover ; ~ and, as the turmoil grew,
The aspect of bold Siegfried ~ was terrible to view.
211. Hagen he had to aid him, ~ and Gernot too was by.
And Dankwart and Sir Volker ; — ~ the dead around did lie.
There fought the bold thane Ortwein, ~ and Sindold, and Hunold.
Who, on the field of battle, ~ left many a warrior cold.
212. In combat undivided ~ these noble princes were ;
And o’er their helmets, harmless, ~ flew many a well-aimed spear
Between the glitt’ring targets ~ from each opposing knight.
And blood-stained were the bucklers ~ that whilom shone so bright.
213. And, in the stress of battle, ~ full many an eager knight
Dismounted from his charger. ~ Thus, hand to hand, did fight
Siegfried the bold, and Lud’ger, ~ who each did each defy.
One saw the broken splinters ~ of shafts and lances fly.
214. Fast flew the shield-clasps, severed ~ by mighty Siegfried’s hand.
He thought himself the victor, ~ this prince of Netherland,
Over the dauntless Saxons ; — ~ so many wounded lay.
Ha, how the bright mail-armor ~ at Dankwart’s strokes did fray !
215. Just then the Saxon Lud’ger ~ espied upon a shield
A kingly crown emblazoned, ~ which Siegfried’s arm did wield.
Then knew he, of a surety, ~ that ’twas the mighty man.
The chieftain to his comrades ~ loudly to call began :
216. “Forego your fighting, warriors, — ~ my lieges, all is done !
For here have I seen Siegfried, ~ the royal Siegmund’s son ; —
Siegfried the mighty hero ~ mine eyes have seen, I trow, —
Sent by some evil devil ~ to work us Saxons woe.”
217. Then lowered were the ensigns ~ at Ludeger’s command.
For peace he sued ; which, erelong, ~ was granted to his band;
Though he as Gunther’s prisoner ~ must go to Burgundy :
Bold Siegfried’s hand alone ’twas ~ that won this victory.
218. By general agreement ~ the combat then was stopped,
And many a battered buckler ~ was by the fighters dropped,
And many a helm ; — whatever ~ was found upon the land,
Bore on it blood-red traces ~ of some Burgundian hand.
219. They captured whom they listed : ~ all had they in their power.
And King Gernot and Hagen, — ~ of chivalry the flower, —
Had the sick borne on litters ; ~ and with them, took they then,
As prisoners to the Rhineland, ~ five hundred goodly men.
220. Meanwhile the vanquished warriors ~ to Denmark rode away,
Nor could the Saxons boast of ~ much better luck than they.
That any one need praise them : ~ sore vexed these heroes were.
The friends, too, of the fallen ~ bewailed them, in despair.
221. They had their arms and weapons ~ unto the Rhine conveyed.
How well now all had ended ! ~ With his brave warriors’ aid
Siegfried the prince had done it, ~ as he did all things, well :
Which even Gunther’s liegemen ~ were bound in truth to tell.
222. To Worms a message firstly ~ the gallant Gernot sent.
To let his friends and kinsmen ~ know how the matter went.
And what success had crowned them, — ~ him and his lieges all :
For honor had they striven, ~ and gallantly withal.
223. The young esquires ran quickly, ~ and soon the news was told.
And they for joy exulted, — ~ whom grief before did hold, —
At these all-welcome tidings, ~ which to the city came.
And many were the questions ~ asked by each noble dame :
224. “How had they fared, the warriors ~ of the most noble king ?”
One of the squires they, straightway, ~ before Kriemhilda bring :
But this was done in secret, ~ she took no open part, —
Though there was one among them ~ to whom was pledged her heart.
225. And when she saw the envoy ~ into her chamber led,
Kriemhild, the beauteous maiden, ~ in voice most kindly said :
“Now tell me the dear tidings ~ and gold I’ll give to thee; —
And telPst thou with no lying, ~ a friend thou hast in me.
226. “How fared my brother Gernot ~ amid the fight ?” she said,
“And other friends and kinsmen ? ~ Have we left many dead ?
And who did best of any ? ~ Fain would I hear of thee.”
Then outspake that bold herald : ~ “Of cravens none had we !
227. “Yet, in the thick of battle ~ rode ne’er a man so well.
Oh, Princess high and mighty, — ~ since I the truth must tell, —
As did the noble stranger, ~ who came from Netherland :
Full many a wondrous deed was ~ wrought by bold Siegfried’s hand.
228. “For what great feats soever ~ in battle may have done
Sir Dankwart and Sir Hagen ~ and many another one ;
Howe’er they fought for honor, ~ it all was idle wind
Compared with Siegfried’s doings, ~ the son of Siegelind.
229. “Though in the strife of battle ~ full many a hero fell.
The wonders wrought by Siegfried ~ no man hath words to tell !
Nor all his deeds of daring ~ when he to battle rode :
Through him, for fallen kinsmen, ~ the women’s tears have flowed.
230. “And many a girl’s betrothed one ~ ne’er rose from off that ground.
Upon the brazen helmets ~ one heard his blows resound ;
And from the death-wounds spurted ~ hot streams of crimson blood :
In all his acts is Siegfried ~ a gallant knight and good.
231. “What doughty deeds were wrought by ~ Ortwein, of Metz the lord !
How ever many foemen ~ he came at with his sword,
There did he leave them lying — ~ the better part were dead ;
And yet no less of Gernot, ~ your brother, might be said.
232. “For he did work such ruin ~ as ne’er was seen in fight.
In truth, one must confess here ~ of each well-proven knight
Among the proud Burgundians, ~ that they all bravely bore
Themselves, and kept their honor ~ untarnished evermore.
233. “Full many an empty saddle ~ their handiwork did show ;
And with their bright swords’ clashing ~ loud did the field echo.
The Rhenish heroes truly, ~ so fell a riding made,
’Twere better for their foemen ~ if they at home had stayed.
234. “The two bold knights of Tronjè ~ did work much dire distress,
What time the charging armies ~ did one another press.
And many a warrior perished ~ beneath bold Hagen’s hand ; —
There’s much to tell of him yet ~ here in Burgundian land.
235. “Sindold and Hunold also, ~ who were King Gernot’s men,
And the bold warrior Runold, ~ such doughty deeds did then,
That Ludeger the Saxon ~ must rue, until he die.
That ever he thy kinsmen ~ did on the Rhine defy.
236. “Yet still the best achievement ~ that on that field hath been,
Or any, from the youngest ~ to the oldest man hath seen.
Was done in knightly fashion ~ by Siegfried’s own right hand.
Rich hostages he bringeth ~ here, into Gunther’s land.
237. “These by sheer strength he vanquished, ~ the brave and goodly wight !
And Ludegast of Denmark ~ hath suffered great despite.
And Ludeger his brother, ~ who from the Saxons came.
Now hearken to my tidings, ~ most rich and noble dame !
238. “They twain were taken prisoners, ~ and that by Siegfried’s hand.
Never so many captives ~ were brought into this land
As to the Rhine are coming ~ only for Siegfried’s part.”
No news could have been dearer ~ to Lady Kriemhild’s heart.
239. “Unwounded captives bring they, — ~ five hundred men and more ;
And then the deadly-wounded, — ~ of bloody biers fourscore ; —
Full eighty bloodstained stretchers, ~ my Lady, understand !
The better part of these were ~ slain by bold Siegfried’s hand.
240. “They who, thus overweening, ~ have flouted us on Rhine,
Must now, as battle-pris’ners, ~ in Gunther’s kingdom pine :
Yea, even now they bring them ~ with joy unto our land.”
Then sweetly flushed her fair face, ~ as she did understand.
241. Her lovely face, with pleasure, ~ became all rosy red;
For, by good luck, delivered ~ out of the direst need
Had been her goodly warrior, — ~ the young man. Prince Siegfried ;
For all her friends rejoiced she, — ~ as she was bound, indeed.
242. Then spake the winsome maiden : ~ “Well hast thou said, and now
Thou shalt have costly raiment ~ for guerdon, that, I owe;
And ten good golden marks too ; ~ they shall be brought thee here !”
Such tidings to rich ladies ~ a man would gladly bear !
243. They gave him for his guerdon ~ the raiment and the gold.
Then to the windows hastened ~ the fair maids, to behold
The horsemen up the street come : ~ and, watching eagerly,
They saw the gallant riders ~ come home to Burgundy.
244. They came, the hale and hearty, ~ the wounded also came.
They heard the neighbors’ greetings, ~ and need not blush for shame.
The host rode forth rejoicing ~ to meet his guests again :
It was a joyful ending ~ to all his anxious pain.
245. He welcomed home his warriors, ~ and all the strangers too ; —
To the great king ’twas fitting ~ not otherwise to do
Than graciously to tender ~ his thanks to those who came,
Who had in fight defended ~ the honor of his name.
246. Then Gunther asked for tidings, ~ that he to hear was fain,
Of those who had returned not, — ~ their comrades who were slain.
But sixty men were missing, ~ and he had lost no more ; —
For these they might cease mourning, ~ as for the brave of yore.
247. The men who were unwounded ~ brought many a battered shield,
And many a dinted helmet, ~ to Gunther from that field.
Before the royal palace ~ dismounted all the men.
And, with a shout of gladness, ~ were welcomed home again.
248. ’Twas ordered then to billet ~ the warriors in the town.
The king bade that his guests be ~ well-treated, as his own.
The wounded must be cared for ~ and granted quiet rest; —
E’en for his foes his kindness ~ the king did manifest.
249. To Ludegast of Denmark he said : ~ “Be welcome here !
Though, through your fault, much damage ~ we have incurred, I fear;
But that will be repaid me, ~ if I have luck !” quoth he,
“May God reward my brave friends, ~ who fought so well for me.”
250. “And ye do well to thank them,” ~ King Ludeger outspake,
“For never king before did such ~ high-born prisoners take !
The honorable usage ~ shall well rewarded be,
Which unto us, your foemen, ~ ye’ve granted graciously.”
251. “I’ll let you both,” cried Gunther, ~ “here, on the spot, go free,
If all the other pris’ners ~ swear to remain with me.
For these I will have pledges, ~ that they leave not my land
Without my given warrant.” ~ Thereon each gave his hand.
252. All were to rest and comfort ~ within the hostels brought ;
They put to bed the wounded, ~ with kindly care and thought ;
While to the hale and hearty ~ good wine and mead they gave.
A gayer time and gladder ~ the folk could never have.
253. The battered shields were taken ~ and put away in store.
Of blood-besprinkled saddles ~ were there enough and more ; —
The men were told to hide them, ~ in case the women wept.
Still many a way-worn horseman ~ into the city crept.
254. For his guests the king ~ provided with kindness wonderful.
With strangers and indwellers ~ the land was very full.
Those who lay sorely wounded ~ he greatly cared for, too.
’Twas thus the good king humbled ~ his proud and haughty foe.
255. To all well skilled in leechcraft ~ no guerdon was denied.
Unstinted store of silver ~ and shining gold beside,
If they could heal the heroes, ~ who wounded were in fight :
To load his guests with presents ~ was eke this king’s delight.
256. If any there were minded ~ to journey home again,
They, in most friendly fashion, ~ were bidden to remain.
And then the king took counsel ~ how to reward his men.
Who had his will accomplished ~ with honor and with pain.
257. The warrior Gernot counselled : ~ “Let these now homeward ride !
In six weeks’ time we’ll bid them, ~ if nothing should betide,
Return with us to join in ~ a great festivity;
By then may they be healed ~ who sorely wounded lie.”
258. For leave asked Siegfried likewise, ~ the lord of Netherland ;
But when the royal Gunther ~ his wish did understand.
He lovingly entreated ~ his dear friend not to go ; —
Though, but for Gunther’s sister, ~ he would have gone, I trow.
259. Though Siegfried was too wealthy ~ to care for the king’s pay.
Right well had he deserved it. ~ He was his friend alway,
And eke of all his kinsmen : ~ for had their eyes not seen
How by his strength in combat ~ the victory had been ?
260. For love of the fair maiden ~ he thought he still would stay, —
Perchance he yet might see her : ~ which came to pass one day,
Just as he most desired ; — ~ he learnt to know the maid.
Thereafter to his country ~ right joyously he sped.
261. Each day in knightly contests ~ the host would prove his men :
Which willingly were practiced ~ by many a proud young thane.
Then had he seats erected ~ by Worms, upon the strand,
For those whom he awaited ~ in his Burgundian land.
262. About this time, when well-nigh ~ the coming guests were due,
The beauteous Kriemhilda ~ heard what he had in view :
That he, with friends, was meaning ~ to keep high festival.
Then was a great commotion ~ among the fair dames all
263. As to the robes and ribands ~ ’twere best for each to wear.
Unto the rich queen Utè ~ the tidings straight they bear
Of the proud stranger-warriors, ~ who now were on their way.
Then from her presses took she ~ rich clothes and raiment gay.
264. For love of her dear children ~ she had these garments made,
Wherewith were soon adornéd ~ full many a dame and maid,
And many a bold young hero ~ of the Burgundian land.
For many strangers, likewise, ~ rich clothes she did command.

{ 5 }
265. One saw them daily riding ~ to Worms upon the Rhine,
The guests who to the revels ~ did joyously incline.
Those whom the love of Gunther ~ unto his kingdom brought,
Were freely offered horses, ~ and raiment richly wrought.
266. Seats, ready for all comers, ~ were well and duly made.
Fit for the best and highest, — ~ as hath to us been said, —
For two and thirty princes ~ at that festivity ;
For which fair dames bedecked them ~ in merry rivalry.
267. Then busiest of the busy ~ was Giselher the lad.
For kinsmen and for strangers ~ a welcome kind he had.
Receiving them with Gernot ; ~ and every knight and squire
Was greeted by these warriors, ~ as honor did require.
268. Full many a gilded saddle ~ to Worms these riders brought,
With richly chaséd bucklers, ~ and garments finely wrought ;
They brought them to the Rhineland ~ to grace the festival ;
And many of the wounded ~ were merry enough withal.
269. For those who on their pallets ~ lay wounded, in distress,
Must needs, though death were grievous, ~ forget its bitterness.
And all the sick and ailing, ~ must drive dull care away.
And join in the rejoicings ~ for this great holiday.
270. Was ever such gay living ~ and hospitality !
Delights, beyond all measure, ~ and boundless jollity
Were shared by all the people, ~ and found on every hand.
And there was joy and gladness ~ throughout King Gunther’s land.
271. ’Twas on a Whitsun morning ; ~ one saw them all go by.
All festively apparelled, ~ and mounted gallantly :
Five thousand men, and upwards, ~ to join the revels ride.
And many a pleasant contest ~ began on ev’ry side.
272. The host was not unmindful, ~ and well did understand
How heartily and truly ~ the prince of Netherland
Love-bound was to his sister, ~ whom yet he had not seen ; —
A match for whom in beauty ~ no maiden yet had been.
273. Then to the king did Ortwein ~ the thane, his thought unfold :
“If ye, with fullest honor, ~ this festival would hold.
Ye should allow our brave guests ~ our winsome maids to see
Who are, in truth, the glory ~ and pride of Burgundy.
274. “For where would man’s delight be, ~ and what could charm his life,
If there were no fair maidens, ~ and ne’er a comely wife ?
Now, therefore, let your sister ~ before your guests appear.”
This was a pleasing counsel ~ to many a hero’s ear !
275. “Most gladly will I do this,” ~ replied the king, straightway,
And all who heard his answer ~ had merry hearts that day.
He sent to summon Utè, ~ and eke her daughter fair,
And bade them with their maidens ~ at once to court repair.
276. Then in their presses ~ sought they for all their garments gay,
And all the goodly raiment ~ that had been stored away ;
The gold lace and the bracelets ~ that there to hand were laid ;
And with all care bedecked her ~ full many a lovely maid.
277. And many a knight on that day ~ had younger gladly been,
That he might be of women ~ more favorably seen ;
Instead whereof he’d care not ~ a kingdom rich to own !
And gladly did they gaze on ~ these damsels yet unknown !
278. Then the rich king commanded ~ that with Kriemhild should go
A hundred of his liegemen, — ~ her service pledged unto.
Of his and her own kinsmen, ~ who carried sword in hand.
Such were the court-atlendants ~ of the Burgundian land.
279. The rich Queen-mother Utè ~ with her fair daughter came.
And in her train brought with her ~ full many a comely dame, —
Five score of them or over, — ~ all royally arrayed.
Her daughter, too, was followed ~ by many a winsome maid.
280. From out the women’s quarters ~ one might have seen them go ;
There was a goodly thronging ~ of heroes eke, I trow,
For this of all things eager, ~ if it perchance might be
That they should have the fortune ~ the noble maid to see.
281. Then came the lovely maiden : ~ even as morning-red
From sombre clouds outbreaking. ~ And many a sorrow fled
From him whose heart did hold her, ~ and eke so long had held :
When thus the winsome fair one ~ before him he beheld.
282. Upon her raiment glittered ~ full many a precious stone :
Her rosy blushing color ~ with lovely radiance shone.
Though any would deny it ~ he could not but confess,
That on this earth he never ~ had seen more loveliness.
283. Even as the moon in brightness exceeds the brightest stars,
And shining out so clearly athwart the clouds appears ;
So stood she there excelling full many a lady fair ;
Then in the gallant heroes their hearts uplifted were.
284. One saw before her marching ~ the chamberlains, in state, —
But the high-mettled warriors ~ their order would not wait :
They thronged to where, in passing, ~ the fair maid they could see.
The while Sir Siegfried suffered ~ both joy and misery.
285. Sadly he thought within him : ~ “How can it ever be ?
It is mere foolish dreaming ~ that I should marry thee !
Yet to be still a stranger ! — ~ then were I better dead !”
And, thinking so, his color ~ did change ’twixt white and red.
286. There stood the son of Siegmund ; ~ as winsome did he look
As if his form were limnéd ~ upon a parchment-book,
By hand of cunning master ; ~ and all men said of him,
That there was no man like him, ~ so fine and fair of limb.
287. They who the maid attended ~ now strove to clear the track,
And keep the throng from pressing ; ~ and many a knight drew back.
And manly hearts beat quicker ~ for joy, in many a breast.
As passed each high-born lady ~ in splendid raiment dressed.
288. Then outspake gallant Gernot, ~ the prince of Burgundy :
“To him, who such good service ~ so late hath done to thee,
Thou Gunther, dearest brother, ~ shouldst haste to do the same
In sight of all thy warriors : ~ I say it without shame.
289. “If thou would’st bid Sir Siegfried ~ unto my sister go.
That the fair maid may greet him, ~ much good might come, I trow.
She, who ne’er greeted warrior, ~ may by her greeting cheer ;
And thus this goodly hero ~ be bounden to us here.”
290. Then some of the host’s kinsmen ~ went where the knight did stand
And thus spake to the warrior ~ who came from Netherland :
“The king his leave hath granted ~ that ye to court should go,
His sister there shall greet you : ~ they would you honor show.”
291. At this the knight’s mood changéd ~ again from grave to gay ;
And in his heart Love reignéd, ~ and grief had fled away, —
For the fair Utè’s daughter ~ at last his eyes would see !
Right soon she greeted Siegfried, ~ with winning modesty.
292. When the high-couraged warrior ~ she saw before her there.
Her cheeks were lit with crimson : ~ then spake the maiden fair :
“Be welcome here, Sir Siegfried, ~ thou good and noble knight.”
And when he heard her greeting ~ his heart grew wondrous light.
293. He bent him low before her ; ~ she took him by the hand.
How lover-like the knight did ~ by the fair maiden stand !
Each looked upon the other ~ with many a tender glance,
This hero and his lady, — ~ and yet they looked askance.
294. Was that white hand, I wonder, ~ in lover’s fashion pressed ?
In sign of tender wooing ? ~ in sooth ’twas ne’er confessed.
But scarce can I believe that ~ such chance had been let go ;
For she her kindness to him ~ did very quickly show.
295. In the full bliss of summer, ~ and in the fair Maytide,
Within his heart could never, ~ again such joy abide
As now did fill his bosom ; ~ the while he there did stand.
And her whom he desiréd ~ was holding hand in hand,
296. And many a warrior murmured : ~ “Ah, if it only were
My lot to walk beside her, ~ as I have seen him here,
Or at her side to lay me, ~ what bliss would mine have been !”
Never served hero better, ~ methinks, to win a queen.
297. Whate’er might be the country ~ the strangers called their own,
None had an eye for any ~ save for this pair alone.
And when they let her kiss him, — ~ the goodly man and brave ! —
In all this world he never ~ a greater joy could have.
298. Then rose the King of Denmark, ~ and suddenly did cry :
“To bring about this greeting ~ how many wounded lie !
Too well have I observed it, — ~ and all by Siegfried’s hand ;
Forefend him, God, from coming ~ again to Danish land !”
299. On one side and the other ~ they bade the folk make way
For beauteous lady Kriemhild. ~ Then saw one an array
Of valiant knights who churchward ~ did bear her company.
Then could her goodly gallant ~ no longer near her be ;
300. For she went to the minster, ~ with all her dames beside.
So fair a sight and queenly ~ was she in all her pride,
That the high vows of many ~ whilom forgot to rise ;
And many a hero feasted ~ his soul upon her eyes.
301. Hardly did Siegfried’s patience ~ last till the Mass was done.
Yet might he thank his fortune ~ that he such grace had won.
That she to him inclinéd, ~ whom in his heart he bore :
Therefore it was but fitting ~ that he should love her more.
302. As she came from the minster, ~ which he had left before,
The gallant thane was bidden ~ to join the dame once more.
Then, first, began to thank him ~ the winsome maid, that he
Beyond all other warriors ~ had fought so gloriously.
303. “Now God reward you, Siegfried,” ~ thus spake the child so fair,
“Right well have ye deservéd ~ that all the warriors here
Do love and serve you truly, ~ as they themselves avow.”
Right tenderly began he ~ to look on Kriemhild now.
304. “For ever will I serve you !” ~ declared the warrior,
“Henceforth my head I’ll never ~ lay down to rest before
Your least wish be accomplished, ~ if life be granted me ;
All this, my lady Kriemhild, ~ for your dear sake shall be.”
305. Then, for the space of twelve days, ~ on each new dawning day.
One saw the lovely maiden ~ beside the knight alway.
As often as to court she ~ before her friends must go.
Unto the knight this service ~ did her great love allow.
306. All kinds of mirth and pleasure, ~ and mighty noise withal,
Were seen and heard forthcoming ~ daily from Gunther’s hall, —
Without, and inside also, — ~ from many a gallant man.
Sir Ortwein and Sir Hagen ~ right wondrous feats began.
307. Whatever games were started ~ these jocund heroes were
Always among the foremost, ~ a skilled and ready pair.
Whereby these warriors soon were ~ well known to every guest ;
Of such kind were the jewels ~ that Gunther’s land possessed.
308. Those who had long lain wounded ~ one saw, at last, appear :
They too would share the pastimes, ~ would fence and throw the spear
Among the king’s retainers ; ~ well-pleased to find at length
That they could do as others; ~ they had renewed their strength.
309. The host would have them treated ~ well, at his festal board.
Theirs was to be the best food. ~ Thus managed he to ward
The slightest breath. of scandal, ~ which oft a king doth reach.
From guest to guest on went he, ~ with kindly words for each.
310. He said : “All ye, good warriors, ~ before ye ride away,
I pray ye take my presents : ~ ’twas in my mind alway
To recompense your service ; ~ my goods despise not ye :
I fain would share them with you ; ~ this do I willingly.”
311. Then did the lords of Denmark ~ thus answer, out of hand :
“Before we ride hence, homewards ~ unto our fatherland.
We fain would have a treaty : ~ of peace we knights have need,
We’ve lost dear friends in plenty who, ~ through your knights, lie dead.”
312. King Ludegast of Denmark ~ was healed now of his wound,
And eke the Saxon leader ~ was once more whole and sound.
Albeit many dead men ~ they left in alien land.
Then went the royal Gunther ~ to where Siegfried did stand.
313. And to the warrior spake he : ~ “Advise what I shall do ;
For early on the morrow ~ our foes intend to go,
And crave abiding pledges ~ of peace, from mine and me :
Now counsel me, thane Siegfried, ~ what seemeth good to thee?
314. “What ransom they have offered ~ thou shalt be truly told ;
So much as mares five hundred ~ can carry of pure gold,
This will they give me gladly, ~ if I will set them free.”
Then Siegfried answered stoutly : ~ “That would unworthy be !
315. “Free, and without a ransom ~ hence shouldst thou let them fare :
And that these noble warriors ~ henceforward may beware
How they come hither, riding ~ as foemen to our land.
Of this in full assurance ~ let both kings give their hand.”
316. “This counsel will I follow !” ~ So saying, forth they went.
A message to the foemen ~ was soon thereafter sent :
“The gold, that ye have offered, ~ doth no man care to keep,
While for the strife-worn warriors ~ at home their dear ones weep.”
317. Then many a shield with treasure ~ piled high they carried there :
Enough, although he weighed not, ~ for every friend to share ;
Five hundred marks well-counted, ~ yea more, he gave to some.
This counsel to King Gunther ~ had from bold Gernot come.
318. Then took they leave, for all were ~ impatient to be gone ;
But first, before Kriemhilda ~ the guests filed, one by one ;
There sat dame Utè also, ~ the Queen, who bade “God speed” !
Never before were warriors ~ sped half so well, indeed.
319. The hostels were left empty ~ when they had ridden away.
Only at home remainéd ~ the king, in state array
With all his friends and kinsmen, — ~ full many a noble knight.
These, day by day, were gladdened, ~ by dame Kriemhilda’s sight.
320. Now Siegfried, the good hero, ~ did also sue for leave :
Not hoping more to win her, ~ to whom his heart did cleave.
The king o’erheard the saying ~ that he would fain away :
’Twas Giselher who urged him ~ his journey to delay.
321. “Now whither, noble Siegfried, ~ is it thy will to ride ?
Stay rather, I beseech thee, ~ and with our warriors bide.
Remain with our King Gunther, ~ and with his men and me ; —
Are there not here fair women, ~ whom thou hast leave to see ?”
322. Then spake the stalwart Siegfried : ~ “So bide the steeds in stall !
For I have changed my purpose, ~ I will not ride at all.
And bear the bucklers hence too ; — ~ I hoped to see my land,
But Giselher’s true friendship ~ I know not to withstand.”
323. Thus did the gallant hero ~ remain for friendship’s sake.
And in no other country ~ could he a sojourn make
That to his soul were sweeter ; — ~ and so it hap’d that he
On every day thenceforward ~ did fair Kriemhilda see.
324. For her surpassing beauty ~ he was content to stay
And spend the days in pastimes, ~ which whiled the hours away.
Although her love constrained him, ~ it gave him grievous pain.
Through it the brave knight, later, ~ was miserably slain.

{ 6 }
325. Fresh rumors now were coming ~ from over Rhine : for there
As all the folk were saying ~ was many a maiden fair.
Of these was good King Gunther ~ now thinking one to woo,
And high his knightly ardor ~ rose, as this purpose grew.
326. There was a great queen, dwelling, ~ somewhere beyond the sea,
Whose like none had seen ever, ~ and ne’er again would see.
She was of matchless beauty, ~ and strong withal of make ; —
She shot with ready warriors, ~ and made her love the stake.
327. A stone she hurled far from her, ~ then after it would spring ;
He, who her love did covet, ~ must, without wavering,
Win three games in succession from her, ~ the highborn maid ; —
And if he failed in any, ~ his head was forfeited.
328. Thus many a time and often ~ the maid was wont to do.
’Twas one day heard in Rhineland, ~ by a good knight and true,
Who turned his thoughts towards her, ~ and sought to win the dame,
Through whom full many a hero ~ to death foredooméd came.
329. Upspake the Lord of Rhineland : ~ “I’ll go down to the sea,
And visit this Brunhilda, ~ however it fare with me !
For love of her I’m ready ~ to venture limb and life :
I am content to lose them ~ if she be not my wife.”
330. “From that would I dissuade you !” ~ in answer Siegfried said,
“In sooth this queen hath customs ~ so terrible and dread, —
That whosoever woos her ~ must pay a price too high ;
Seek not to take this journey, ~ I counsel earnestly !”
331. “Now I would fain advise you,” ~ thus Hagen to him spake,
“To bid Siegfried go with you, ~ and half the burden take,
And share your risk and danger ; ~ I counsel this in faith.
Since he such good acquaintance ~ with Brunhild’s customs hath.”
332. Quoth Gunther : “Wilt thou help me ~ in very truth, Siegfried,
To woo and win this fair one ? ~ Ah, if thou dost indeed
Get her for my betrothéd, ~ my own, my noble wife, —
Then, for thy sake, I’ll venture ~ mine honor and my life !”
333. For answer gave him Siegfried, ~ the royal Siegmund’s son :
“Giv’st thou to me thy sister, ~ behold, it shall be done !
Give me the lovely Kriemhild, ~ the high and noble queen ;
No guerdon for my labor, ~ save this I care to win.”
334. “That swear I to thee, Siegfried,” ~ cried Gunther “on thy hand !
And if the fair Brunhilda ~ doth come here to this land,
I’ll give my sister to thee, ~ to have and hold for wife :
So mayst thou, with thy fair one, ~ aye lead a joyous life.”
335. By solemn oath they swore it, ~ the noble warriors twain.
But they had toilsome labor, ~ and grief enough, and pain,
Before the high-born lady ~ home to the Rhine they brought.
The gallant knights’ achievement ~ must be with sorrow wrought.
336. Siegfried his hood of darkness, ~ Tarnhelm yclept, must take :
The same that the bold hero, ~ after hard fight, did make
His own, from a dwarf wrested, ~ whose name was Alberich.
The bold and mighty warriors ~ sped on their journey quick.
337. Whene’er the gallant Siegfried ~ the wondrous Tarnhelm wore,
A hidden strength was in him ~ he had not known before :
He had the strength of twelve men, ~ joined to his own, ’twas said ;
And cunningly he plotted ~ to win the noble maid.
338. Now this same hood was fashioned ~ in such a wondrous way
That any man who wore it ~ could carry out straightway
Whatever thing he wanted, ~ whilst no man could him see.
Therewith he won Brunhilda ; ~ whence mickle woe had he.
339. “Now answer me,” thane Siegfried, ~ “ere yet our way begin,
How shall we, with due honor, ~ across the water win ?
Should we not take our warriors ~ unto Brunhilda’s land ? —
Full thirty thousand have I, ~ who soon may be to hand.”
340. “How many folk soever ~ we take there,” Siegfried said,
“This queen doth cherish customs ~ so terrible and dread.
That they will all fall victims ~ to her o’erweening mood.
I’ll give thee better counsel, ~ thou fearless knight and good.
341. “Let us, as plain knights-errant, ~ go sailing down the Rhine.
And I will name unto thee ~ the knights we’ll take of thine.
Besides us two, two others ~ shall go, none else at all :
So shall we win the lady, ~ whatever may befall.
342. “I one of these four comrades, ~ another shall be thou ;
The third had best be Hagen, ~ we should do well enow.
And let the fourth be Dankwart, ~ he hath a dauntless hand ;
A thousand others dare not ~ in fight us four withstand.”
343. I would I had some knowledge,” ~ the king said, — “verily,
Ere we from hither journey, ~ ’twould much enhearten me, —
In what apparel should we ~ before Brunhild appear;
What would be right and fitting? ~ That, Siegfried, would I hear.”
344. “Whatever be most handsome ~ is worn, I understand.
By ev’ry man, at all times, ~ in Queen Brunhilda’s land ;
Therefore should we go finely ~ before this haughty dame, —
That when men talk about us ~ we need not blush for shame.”
345. Then cried the good king, ~ “Surely, I will myself go ask
My own dear, gracious mother, ~ that she do set the task
To her fair maids, to make us ~ such garb, wherein arrayed
We may appear with honor ~ before the royal maid.”
346. Then Hagen, knight of Tronjè, ~ in courtly fashion spake :
“Why trouble ye your mother ~ with things to undertake ?
Let your fair sister hear now ~ all that ye have in mind.
Her aid, in this state journey, ~ ye will of service find.”
347. So sent he to his sister ; ~ saying, he fain would see
Her face, as would Sir Siegfried. ~ But, long ere this, had she
Put on her goodliest raiment ; ~ and stood, so fair a maid,
I trow that at their coming ~ she was not much dismayed !
348. Also her court-attendants ~ arrayed were as was meet
When princes twain were coming ; ~ and as she heard their feet,
Straight from her chair upstanding ~ right modestly she went
To greet the noble comers ~ with fitting compliment.
349. “Right welcome is my brother, ~ and his companion eke ;
But fain would I have knowledge,” ~ thus did the maiden speak,
“What is your lordships’ pleasure ~ that ye at court appear?
With you two noble warriors ~ how stands it? Let me hear.”
350. Then spake King Gunther : “Lady, ~ to you the truth I’ll tell :
Although we have high courage, ~ yet have we cares as well.
For we would go a-courting, ~ far in a foreign land,
And now, unto this journey, ~ fine raiment would command.”
351. “So sit ye down, dear brother,” ~ bade the king’s daughter fair.
“And who may be the ladies, ~ for I would rightly hear,
Whom ye would go a-wooing ~ in other ruler’s land ?”
These favored knights the lady ~ did take now by the hand.
352. And with them straight returnéd ~ to where she sat afore.
Rich mattresses, I doubt not ~ were spread upon the floor,
With pictures fair embroidered, ~ set off with golden thread.
Then must they with the ladies ~ a pleasant time have had.
353. And friendly mutual glances, ~ and looks that were not loath,
Caused many a thought to waken ~ within the hearts of both.
He in his heart aye bore her, ~ dear as his very life ;
And soon, by steadfast service, ~ he won her for his wife.
354. The rich king spake unto her : ~ “O dearest sister mine.
This thing that we have purposed ~ fails without help of thine.
In Queen Brunhilda’s country ~ some pleasure we desire ;
And need, in ladies’ presence, ~ the goodliest attire.”
355. Then did the maiden answer : ~ “Belovéd brother mine,
Ready am I, at all times, ~ to serve, in need of thine : —
Of that thou mayst be certain : ~ it is Kriemhilda’s part.
Should any one deny thee ~ ’twould vex her to the heart.
356. “Nor shouldst thou, noble hero, ~ beg of me anxiously, —
Thou shouldst command my service, ~ in lordly style and free.
For whatsoever please thee, ~ for that I’m ready aye.
And gladly will I do it ;” ~ the maiden sweet did say.
357. “’Tis our desire, dear sister, ~ in goodly garb to stand,
Which ye may help provide us, ~ with your own noble hand :
So set your women working, ~ that all may be well done, —
For we about this journey ~ will be gainsaid by none.”
358. Then spake again the maiden : ~ “Now mark what I shall say !
I have the silk already : ~ see that we get, straightway.
Some gems from off your bucklers : ~ we’ll work them on the cloth.”
Then Gunther and Sir Siegfried ~ obeyed her, nothing loath.
359. “And who may be the comrades,” ~ inquired the royal maid,
“Who shall to court go with you, ~ thus gorgeously arrayed ?”
“I and three more,” he answered, ~ “and two my men will be,
Sir Dankwart and Sir Hagen ; — ~ these go to court with me.
360. “And mark ye well, dear lady, ~ and list to what I say ! —
We four companions must have ~ enough for four days’ stay.
Three shifts of clothing daily, ~ of good stuff all of it.
That we Brunhilda’s country ~ without disgrace may quit.”
361. With kind farewells the heroes ~ soon after did depart.
Then, of her maidens, thirty, ~ well skilled in needle-art.
Did the young queen Kriemhilda ~ call from their room, in haste ;
These all for such-like labors ~ had wit beyond the rest !
362. Arabian samite was there, ~ white as new-fallen snow.
And Zazemang silks also, — ~ so green doth clover grow, —
Whereon they wrought the jewels ; ~ fine clothes, in sooth, they were;
The peerless maid, Kriemhilda, ~ herself the cloth did shear.
363. Of foreign fish-skin made they ~ the linings, good and rare.
For stranger-folk to stare at, — ~ as many as there were ;
And these with silk were covered, ~ as then the mode did hold.
There might be many a marvel ~ of this bright raiment told.
364. From far Morocco’s borders, ~ and from the Libyan shore,
The very choicest samite, ~ that e’er enriched the store
Of any king soever, — ~ this had they, and to spare.
Right plainly showed Kriemhilda ~ to whom she kindness bare !
365. Since they on this state journey ~ determined to set forth,
Plain ermine furs they reckoned ~ of insufficient worth.
So over them fur trimmings ~ of coal-black hue they set :
On high-days such like garments ~ brave knights right well befit.
366. Amidst Arabian gold-work ~ there glittered many a gem.
So careful were the women, ~ naught was too small for them.
In seven weeks the raiment ~ was all prepared aright.
And eke the weapons thereto ~ for every gallant knight.
367. When this was all made ready, ~ upon the banks of Rhine
Was diligently fashioned ~ a little vessel, fine
And strong, which down the river ~ should bear them to the sea.
The noble maids by this time ~ were of their tasks weary.
368. ’Twas told unto the warriors ~ that all things were to hand
That they were to take with them ; — ~ all their apparel grand.
Such as they had desiréd ; ~ it all was now complete :
So would they on the Rhine-bank ~ no longer stay their feet.
369. Therefore, to fetch their comrades, ~ a messenger was bade,
That they should come and look on ~ this raiment newly made ; —
It might be, for the heroes, ~ too long, or else too small.
But ’twas of the right measure : ~ they thanked the ladies all.
370. For all who came and saw it ~ were bounden to confess,
In all the world they never ~ had seen more noble dress.
They might be proud such clothing ~ in any court to wear ; —
Of finer knights’ apparel, ~ in sooth, knew no one there.
371. Thanks manifold and hearty ~ their judgment did receive.
And then these joyous warriors ~ desired to take their leave ; —
This did the noble comrades ~ with knightly courtesy.
Bright eyes were then, with weeping, ~ all sad and watery.
372. She said ; “My dearest brother, ~ ye still have time to stay,
And woo some other woman, ~ ’twould be the better way.
Ye would not then endanger ~ your body and your life :
Here might ye find, much nearer, ~ as highly-born a wife !”
373. Her heart, I ween, foreboded ~ what, later, did befall :
As ev’ry word was spoken ~ they fell to weeping all.
The gold upon their bosoms ~ was tarnished with the tears
Which rainéd from their eyelids, ~ by reason of their fears.
374. Again she spake : “Sir Siegfried, ~ let me commend, I pray.
Unto your truth and kindness, ~ my brother dear alway ; —
That no mischance befall him ~ in Queen Brunhilda’s land.”
The gallant hero swore it, ~ upon Kriemhilda’s hand.
375. The mighty thane thus answered : ~ “So long as I shall live.
Ye, to his safety, lady, ~ no anxious thought need give ;
I safe and sound will bring him ~ home to the Rhine ;” he said,
“That know now of a surety.” ~ The fair maid bowed her head.
376. Their gilded shields were carried ~ straight down unto the shore.
And to the ship was taken ~ of clothing their whole store ;
They bade men bring their horses, ~ they hasted to be gone.
Then was by beauteous women ~ much bitter weeping done.
377. There, standing, at the windows, ~ was many a lovely child ;
A high wind fair was blowing — ~ the ship’s sail soon was filled.
The gallant band of heroes ~ on Rhine were floating free ;
Then spake the royal Gunther : ~ “Who now shall skipper be ?”
378. “That will I be !” cried Siegfried, ~ “for I can down the flood
Right well and safely steer you, ~ doubt not, ye heroes good ;
The proper water-channels, ~ I well do understand.”
Then joyously they parted ~ from the Burgundian land.
379. Sir Siegfried took a boathook, ~ and stoutly did it grip,
And, leaning on it strongly, ~ from strand he shoved the ship ;
The mighty man. King Gunther, ~ did likewise seize an oar.
And soon these worthy heroes ~ had cleared them from the shore.
380. They carried costly viands, ~ and plenty of good wine, —
The best that had been vintaged ~ upon the banks of Rhine.
Their horses stood right firmly, — ~ they had a well-found stall ; -
Their vessel voyaged smoothly ; ~ small ill did them befall.
381. Then they unfurled the sailcloths, — ~ the stout sails, strained and tight,—
And twenty miles they sailéd, ~ or ever it was night,
With a good wind to help them ~ down stream, toward the sea.
Their steadfast toil was later ~ those brave ones’ woe to be.
382. Upon the twelfth day morning, ~ as we have heard men say,
The wind had borne the vessel ~ far distant, and away
Toward Isenstein the fortress, ~ in Queen Brunhilda’s land :
To all of them, save Siegfried, ~ it was an unknown strand.
383. Now, when the royal Gunther ~ so many towers did see,
And eke so wide a marchland, ~ he spake, all suddenly :
“Tell me, my good friend Siegfried, ~ if it be known to thee,
Whose are these many castles, ~ and this fair land we see ?”
384. Then answered Siegfried : “Truly ~ it is to me well known :
This people and this country ~ doth Queen Brunhilda own,
And Isenstein’s her fortress, ~ as ye have heard me say ; —
And many comely women ~ ye well might see this day.
385. “I’ll give ye heroes counsel ~ all of one mind to be, —
Agree in all your discourse, — ~ so seemeth best to me.
If we today, as may be, ~ before Brunhilda go,
We shall need all our prudence ~ to deal with her, I trow.
386. “When we behold that fair one, ~ attended by her train,
One speech, and but one only, ~ ye heroes must maintain :
King Gunther is my chieftain, ~ and of his men I’m one ;
Thereby what he hath purposed shall ~ all be duly done.”
387. They ready were to promise ~ whate’er he asked of them ;
With all their pride o’erweening ~ none did his word contemn.
They vowed whate’er he wanted : ~ so better did they fare.
What time the royal Gunther ~ beheld Brunhilda fair.
388. “This not so much for thy sake, ~ I do,” Sir Siegfried said,
“As for love of thy sister, — ~ the ever-beauteous maid !
She’s as my soul unto me, ~ and as my very life ;
I’ll gladly do this service, ~ so her I win to wife !”

{ 7 }
389. Now, while all this was passing, ~ their ship had neared unto
The castle walls, so closely ~ that the king’s eyes could view
Above them, at the windows, ~ full many a winsome maid.
That he knew none amongst them ~ made Gunther passing sad.
390. Then questioned he Sir Siegfried, ~ his brave companion :
“Of all those lovely maidens, ~ dost thou in truth know none,
Who now are gazing downward ~ at us upon the flood ?
Whoe’er their lord and master, ~ they be of noble blood.”
391. To him replied Sir Siegfried : ~ “Now look ye, secretly.
Amidst the maids there standing, ~ and then confess to me
Which ye would take among them, ~ if ye thereto had might.”
“That will I do !” cried Gunther, ~ the bold and valiant knight.
392. “Yonder, within that window, ~ I see one of them stand
All in a snow-white garment ; ~ she’s fairest of the band !
’Tis her mine eyes have chosen, ~ so fair she is to see :
Had I the power to wed her, ~ my wife she needs must be.”
393. “The judgment of thine eyesight ~ hath done for thee right well !
That is the noble Brunhild, ~ the maiden beautiful,
Whom all thine heart desireth, ~ thy senses, and thy mood.”
In all ways did her bearing ~ seem to King Gunther good.
394. The queen her beauteous maidens ~ did thereupon command
To leave the windows straightway : ~ they ought not there to stand,
A gazing-stock for strangers ! ~ They readily obeyed.
And what the ladies next did ~ hath since to us been said :
395. They decked themselves for sake of ~ the visitors unknown,
As comely women ever ~ since days of old have done.
Then to the narrow windows ~ they quickly came again.
Whence they could see the heroes, — ~ and gazed with might and main.
396. There were of them four only, ~ who came unto the land.
Bold Siegfried now was leading ~ a horse along the sand ;
The comely dames beheld him, ~ across the window shelf:
Whilst Gunther thought with pride that ~ they gazed upon himself.
397. He held it by the bridle, — ~ the shapely animal,
It was so sleek and handsome, ~ so big and strong withal, —
Until the king had mounted, ~ and in the saddle sat.
Thus Siegfried did him service ; ~ which he erelong forgat.
398. Then Siegfried fetched his own steed, ~ which in the ship did stay;
Such service had he rendered ~ but seldom till that day,
To stand at a man’s stirrup, ~ until he was astride !
The fair and noble ladies ~ this from their lattice spied.
399. These two high-mettled heroes — ~ to one ensample clad —
White chargers and white raiment ~ like snow new-fallen had,
Each matching with the other ; ~ their solid bucklers bright
Shone, on the left hand hanging ~ of either goodly knight.
400. Bejeweled were their saddles, ~ their saddle-bows were small ;
So rode they in their glory, ~ before Brunhilda’s hall.
The bells upon their harness ~ were wrought of bright red gold,
They came unto that country ~ as bound on venture bold.
401. With spear-heads newly sharpened, ~ with swords well-wrought and keen,
Which hung down to the rowels ~ of these two goodly men ;
Such weapons bore the bold ones, ~ with broad and sharp-edged blade.
’Twas all marked by Brunhilda, ~ the great and noble maid.
402. With them came also Dankwart, ~ and Hagen of Tronjè.
These warriors were apparelled, ~ as ancient legends say,
Alike, in costly raiment ~ and raven-black of hue ;
Fair were their shields and mighty, ~ and strong and broad thereto.
403. The jewels that adorned them ~ from India’s land were brought,
And glittered on their garments, ~ as these the sunshine caught.
Their little vessel left they ~ unguarded, on the flood ;
So rode they to the castle, ~ these heroes brave and good.
404. Full six-and-eighty turrets ~ they saw within the wall,
Three palaces far-stretching, ~ and one fair, well-built hall.
Compact of precious marble, ~ as meadow-grass all green ;
And here, amid her court-folk, ~ awaited them the queen.
405. The castle gate unlocked was, ~ the doors were open thrown,
Brunhilda’s liegemen hasted ~ to meet these guests unknown.
To welcome these newcomers ~ unto their lady’s land ;
They bade men take their horses ~ and bucklers from their hand.
406. A chamberlain said to them : ~ “Yield now your swords to us,
And eke your shining hauberks.” ~ “Nay, it shall not be thus !”
Cried Hagen, lord of Tronjè, ~ “These we ourselves will bear !”
Then Siegfried had to teach him ~ what were the customs there.
407. “The fashion in this castle, ~ as ye must understand,
Is that no guest shall carry ~ a weapon in his hand.
So let them hence be taken : ~ in sooth, ’tis fairly meant.”
Then Hagen, Gunther’s liegeman, ~ did grudgingly consent.
408. Wine for the guests was ordered, ~ and lodgings good prepared.
And to and from the palace ~ swift-footed warriors fared, —
All clad in princely raiment ~ they ever came and went ;
And on the stranger-heroes ~ were wond’ring glances bent.
409. Then unto Queen Brunhilda ~ some one the news declared,
That certain unknown warriors ~ had suddenly appeared.
In glorious apparel, ~ by ship across the flood.
Whereon began to question ~ the maiden fair and good.
410. “I would that someone told me,” ~ so spake the maiden queen,
Who are these stranger-warriors, ~ that ne’er afore were seen.
And now stand in my castle, ~ with such a noble grace ?
And for whose sake these heroes ~ have voyaged to this place ?”
411. Then spake one of her people ; ~ “Lady, I must avow
Not one of these same warriors ~ I e’er beheld till now ;
But there is one among them ~ much like unto Siegfried :
Ye must give him good welcome, ~ that is in sooth my rede.
412. “The other his companion, ~ who is so praiseworthy,
If he the power had, either ~ some rich king he might be.
Or have the jurisdiction ~ o’er some wide princely lands :
One sees beside the others ~ how royally he stands.
413. “The third of these companions ~ he is of aspect grim,
Yet, mighty Queen, right comely ~ he seems, and fair of limb ;
From those his rapid glances ~ that he around him throws,
His mien, if I mistake not, ~ a gruesome temper shows.
414. “The youngest knight among them ~ seems worthy of all praise ;
As gentle as a maiden, ~ yet knightly are his ways.
How winsomely he stands there, ~ with what a high-born mien !
And yet, if he were thwarted, ~ we’d rue the hour, I ween.
415. “How blithe soe’er his bearing, ~ and beautiful his form,
There’s many a goodly woman — ~ an’ he began to storm —
That he could bring to weeping; ~ his body fashioned is
To excel in manly virtues, — ~ a brave, bold thane is this !”
416. Then spake the queen : “Now bring me ~ my raiment and my gear ;—
And if the mighty Siegfried ~ to win my love is here,
And therefore to this land comes, — ~ ’tis like to cost his life !
In sooth, I do not fear him ~ enough to be his wife.”
417. Ere long, the fair Brunhilda ~ was fittingly arrayed.
With her there came full many ~ a beauteous serving-maid, —
A hundred, perhaps, or over, — ~ attired in all their best.
These comely dames were eager ~ to see the stranger-guest.
418. With these there went, in order, ~ the thanes of Isenland,
The warriors of Brunhilda, ~ each with his sword in hand,
Five hundred men, or over ; ~ whereat their hearts misgave.
Then from their seats uprose they, ~ the heroes bold and brave.
419. When first the Queen Brunhilda ~ perceived the knight Siegfried,
Ye would, perchance, be told of ~ the words the maiden said :
“Be welcome,” quoth she, “Siegfried, ~ here unto this our land.
What meaning hath your journey ~ I fain would understand ?”
420. “I proffer, dame Brunhilda, ~ my hearty thankfulness,
That ye have deigned to greet me, ~ most generous princess,
Before this noble warrior, ~ who stands beside me now ; —
Seeing that he my lord is, ~ such grace I disavow !
421. “By birth he is of Rhineland ; ~ and what shall I say more ?
His love for thee ’tis only ~ that brings us to this shore.
My lord doth seek to wed thee, ~ whatever may befall ;
Of this, in time, bethink thee : ~ he will not change at all.
422. “The name he bears is Gunther, ~ he is a mighty king.
If haply he may win thee, ~ he asks no other thing.
’Twas this good warrior bade me ~ upon this journey come :
An’ I had dared deny him, ~ I’d fain have stayed at home.”
423. She spake : “Since he’s thy master, ~ and thou his vassal art,
I’ll stake a venture with him, ~ if he dare play his part.
And if he gain the mast’ry, ~ then will I be his wife ;
But should I be the winner, ~ ye all do risk your life.”
424. Then Hagen spake, of Tronjè : ~ “O lady, let us see
This mighty game ye play at ; ~ before a victory
Ye score off my lord Gunther, ~ it will go hard enow !
For such a beauteous maiden ~ he’ll count to win, I trow.”
425. “The stone he must throw boldly, ~ then leap to where it lies ;
Then hurl the javelin with me : ~ so be ye not unwise !
Who knows ? Each may be losing ~ his honor and his head !
Ye must bethink you therefore,” ~ the winsome fair one said.
426. On this, the gallant Siegfried ~ unto King Gunther went,
And bade him tell the princess ~ his purpose and intent ;
He might be for the issue ~ without anxiety :
“I shall be there to shield you ~ with all my craft,” quoth he,
427. Then spake the royal Gunther : ~ “Most high and mighty queen !
Declare your task unto me ; ~ and had it harder been.
For sake of your fair body ~ I everything would stake :
My very head I’d venture ~ you for my wife to take.”
428. As soon as Queen Brunhilda ~ his will and meaning knew.
She bade the games be hastened, ~ as seemed to her but due.
And ordered them to bring her ~ her wonted gear for fight,
A ruddy golden breastplate, ~ and buckler round and bright.
429. A silken fighting-doublet ~ drew over all the maid,
Such as, in closest combat, ~ would turn the sharpest blade ;
With skins from out of Libya, ~ and it was deftly done;
A bright embroidered trimming ~ upon the border shone.
430. Meantime the stranger-warriors ~ were eyed somewhat askance,
And Dankwart and Sir Hagen ~ ill brooked this arrogance.
And how the king would fare, too, ~ did weigh upon their mood.
They thought : “Unto us warriors ~ our journey bodes no good.”
431. The while these things were doing, ~ Siegfried, the crafty one,
Had, unperceived of any, ~ back to the vessel gone.
And found his hood of darkness, ~ where hidden it had lain.
And swiftly slipped it on him : ~ thus he became unseen.
432. Then back again he hastened ~ to where the queen he found
Her fateful game arranging, ~ with many knights around.
Invisibly he joined them : ~ so cunningly ’twas done
That, midst the whole assembly, ~ he was discerned by none.
433. The ring was marked out clearly ~ wherein the games should be ;
In presence of bold warriors, ~ who came the sport to see.
Seven hundred men and over ~ one saw, who weapons bare :
Which of the two was winner ~ the heroes must declare.
434. Ere long appeared Brunhilda ~ in all her warlike gear.
As if she meant to conquer ~ all kingdoms far and near.
Above her silken vestment ~ was twisted golden twine :
One saw thereunder ever ~ her lovely color shine.
435. And then came her attendants ; ~ who in their hands did hold
A mighty round-rimmed buckler, ~ all wrought of ruddy gold.
With steel-like clasps upon it, ~ many, and broad, and bright ;
And underneath its shelter ~ the lovely maid would fight.
436. The maiden’s shield-sustainer ~ a noble baldrick was,
Wherein were gems embroidered, ~ as green as e’er was grass ;
Their ever-changing brightness ~ was mirrored in the gold.
He who would win such lady ~ must needs be warrior bold !
437. Her shield beneath the bosses, ~ as we have heard declare,
Was three good spans in thickness; ~ and this the maid could bear.
With steel and gold inlayings ~ so richly ’twas beset.
Her chamberlains — four of them — ~ could scarcely carry it.
438. When now the sturdy Hagen ~ beheld this shield brought in.
The wrathful Lord of Tronjè ~ did thus to speak begin :
“How now, King Gunther? truly ~ we’re like to lose our life,
She, whom ye would be wooing, ~ must be the devil’s wife !”
439. Hear more now of her raiment : ~ she had a wondrous store,
A warrior’s silken mantle ~ from Azagaug she wore, —
A noble, costly garment ; ~ from which the flash was seen.
Of many a splendid jewel ~ pertaining to the queen.
440. Then bore they to the lady, — ~ and weighty ’twas, I trow, —
A giant-spear well sharpened, ~ which she was wont to throw ;
Most strong and monstrous was it, ~ and mighty too, and broad,
And with its keen twin-edges ~ right terribly it gored.
441. Of that spear’s weight, now hearken ~ and hear the wonderment :
Four and a half good measures ~ of metal to it went.
Three of Brunhilda’s liegemen ~ could scarce uphold its weight.
When noble Gunther saw it, ~ his courage did abate
442. And in his heart he pondered : ~ “What e’er will be the end ?
If she be a hell-devil, ~ who can the matter mend ?
Were I alive and safely ~ once more in Burgundy,
Here, rid of love and wooing, ~ she long might wait for me !”
443. Then outspake Hagen’s brother, ~ the valiant Dankwart,
“Alack that we did ever ~ on this state-journey start !
But knights we still are, surely, ~ and it were very shame
To perish in this country, ~ o’ermastered by a dame.
444. “I do regret right sorely ~ that e’er I saw this land !
Had but my brother Hagen ~ his weapon in his hand.
And I had mine ! Methinketh ~ they’d be. a whit more mild.
With all their pride and boasting, ~ these vassals of Brunhild.
445. “For, know now of a surety, ~ each one of you I warn,
No oath of peace should bind me, — ~ had I a thousand sworn.
Ere I fordone before me ~ my master dear shall see,
This maid her life shall forfeit, ~ how ever fair she be !”
446. “We, without let or hindrance, ~ could surely leave this land,”
Said Hagen, Dankwart’s brother, ~ “had we good swords in hand,
And eke the armor on us ~ that we in battle need ;
Then would this haughty woman ~ soon change her tone indeed !”
447. Full well the noble maiden ~ heard what the warrior said ;
With smiling mouth, half-turning, ~ she o’er her shoulder bade :
“Thinks he himself so valiant ? ~ Bring them their armor then,
And let these heroes handle ~ their keen-edged swords again.”
448. When they received their weapons, ~ at the proud maid’s command,
For joy did Dankwart redden ~ to hold his sword in hand :
“Now play your games, and welcome !” ~ shouted the fearless thane,
Gunther need fear no danger, ~ we have our swords again !”
449. The strength of Queen Brunhilda ~ it was a fearsome thing ;
They brought her for the contest ~ a stone into the ring —
A monstrous one and heavy, ~ so mighty, and so round.
Twelve stalwart heroes scarcely ~ could heave it from the ground.
450. Whene’er she threw the javelin ~ she next would hurl this stone.
Then did the stout Burgundians ~ within their spirit groan :
“God help us !” cried Sir Hagen, ~ “what bride our king hath wooed !
Hell were her proper sojourn, ~ she’s of the Devil’s brood !”
451. Around her snow-white arms she ~ began her sleeves to wind,
And on her hand she fastened ~ the buckler to her mind ;
Then high she poised her javelin ; ~ and so began the fight.
Gunther, and Siegfried likewise, ~ did dread Brunhilda’s spite.
452. And were it not for Siegfried, ~ who came unto his aid,
The king’s life had been forfeit ~ unto the doughty maid.
The knight, unseen, approached him, ~ and twitched him by the hand ;
But Gunther quailed : his cunning ~ he did not understand.
453. “What was it that did touch me ?” ~ the bold man thought, and he
Looked round and sought on all sides, ~ but not a soul could see.
A voice said : “It is Siegfried, ~ ’tis I, your trusty friend.
As to this queen, I pray you, ~ let fear be at an end.”
454. He said : “Unhand the buckler, ~ and let me carry it,
And what thou hear’st me tell thee, ~ mark well with all thy wit :
Thine must be all the gestures, ~ but I will do each deed.”
When Gunther understood him ~ his heart grew light indeed.
455. “See thou conceal my cunning, ~ and tell no man thereof:
The queen will little glory ~ win from thee, though she scoff,
And though it be her purpose ~ to add unto her fame :
See how she stands before thee, ~ fearless, the noble dame !”
456. With all her strength of body, ~ her spear the glorious maid
Against a new shield hurléd, — ~ ’twas broad and stoutly made, —
Which on his arm was bearing ~ the son of Siegelind ;
Bright fire-sparks from the steel flew, ~ as driven by the wind.
457. The blade of her stout lance-head ~ clean through his shield did crash,
And from his close-ringed hauberk ~ the fire was seen to flash.
The shock of the encounter ~ so drove the stalwart men,
That, saving for the Tarnhelm, ~ they both had there been slain.
458. Out of the mouth of Siegfried, ~ the bold knight, gushed the blood ;
But soon again upsprang he : ~ then gripped the hero good
The spear which she had hurled, ~ that thro’ his buckler went,
And back it flew upon her, ~ by Siegfried’s strong hand sent.
459. He thought : “I will not shoot her, ~ this maid who is so fair !”
And so he turned behind him ~ the sharp head of the spear.
And with the shaft he smote her ~ upon her vest of steel ;
So that the blow re-echoed ~ that his stout hand did deal.
460. The fire broke from her armor, ~ as driven by the wind ;
Hard were the spear-thrusts dealt by ~ the son of Siegelind !
So much King Gunther never ~ had done with his own hand.
With all her strength, the maiden ~ such blows could not withstand.
461. The beauteous Brunhilda, ~ how soon she up did bound !
“I thank thee, noble Gunther, ~ thy shot its mark hath found !”
She thought that he had done it ~ by his own strength alone ; —
But no, there slipped behind him ~ a far more mighty one.
462. Away she sped full swiftly, ~ and wrathful was her mood ;
The stone aloft she lifted — ~ this noble maid and good —
Then from her hand she hurled it ~ with all her might and main,
And after it she leapt while ~ her armor rang again.
463. The stone fell twelve good arms’ lengths ~ beyond her standing-place ;
But further yet the maid sprang, ~ and cleared the stone a pace.
Then came the noble Siegfried ~ to where the stone did lie :
’Twas Gunther that did lift it, ~ ’twas Siegfried let it fly.
464. So bold a man was Siegfried, ~ so mighty and so tall,
He threw the stone still further, ~ and leapt beyond its fall.
His subtle arts had given ~ such wondrous power of limb,
That, in the leap, King Gunther, ~ he bore along with him.
465. Thus was the leaping over, ~ and hurling of the stone ;
And they who looked saw no one, ~ save Gunther there alone.
The beauteous Brunhilda ~ all red with wrath became :
For Siegfried had prevented ~ King Gunther’s death and shame.
466. Unto her court-folk turning, ~ she loudly spake, as she.
Across the ring, the hero ~ all safe and sound did see :
“Come hither, quick, my kinsmen, ~ and my good lieges all.
Ye must now to King Gunther ~ be underlings and thrall !”
467. Then laid these stalwart warriors ~ their weapons from their hand
At Gunther’s feet, the rich king ~ from the Burgundian land ;
Then bent to do him homage ~ full many a dauntless knight ; —
They thought that he the contest ~ had won by his own might.
468. He gave her gentle greeting, ~ for he was courtly bred.
Then by the hand she took him, ~ that famous maid, and said :
She would henceforth allow him ~ the rule and power to hold.
Right glad thereat was Hagen, ~ the warrior brave and bold.
469. She bade the noble hero ~ along with her to go
Into the wide-roomed palace ; ~ which being done also.
More fittingly was service ~ paid to the noble knight.
Dankwart and Hagen glad were ~ to see such pleasant sight.
470. Meanwhile, the ready Siegfried ~ wisely his plans did lay :
He took the hood of darkness ~ and hid it safe away.
Then the great hall he entered, ~ where many ladies sat,
And fell to question Gunther, ~ and artfully did that :
471. “Wherefore, my lord, delay ye ? ~ When doth the game begin
At which the queen so often ~ hath challenged you to win ?
Let us behold and quickly ~ in what wise it is done !”
As though he knew naught of it ~ behaved the crafty one.
472. “How can it e’er have happened,” ~ thereon inquired the queen,
“That ye, most noble Siegfried, ~ naught of the game have seen,
Wherein I have been worsted ~ by mighty Gunther’s hand ?”
Then answered her Sir Hagen ~ of the Burgundian land.
473. He spake : “Yourself, O lady, ~ did much disturb our mood;
So to the ship departed ~ Siegfried, the hero good,
What time our lord of Rhineland ~ did win the game from you :
Therefore he knows naught of it,” ~ said Gunther’s liegeman true.
474. “Now welcome are these tidings,” ~ quoth warrior Siegfried,
“That thus your pride hath fallen ~ doth please me well, indeed,
That some one there is living ~ who may your master be !
Now must ye, noble maiden, ~ go with us o’er the sea.”
475. Then spake the noble fair one : ~ “This may not yet befall :
My kinsmen first must hear it, ~ and my good liegemen all ;
I may not thus so lightly ~ desert my land, I trow ;
My chief friends must be sent there, ~ ere I myself shall go.”
476. Then sent she heralds riding ~ here, there and everywhere,
To bid her friends and kinsmen, ~ and lieges all repair
To Isenstein the fortress, ~ nor would she take excuse ;
And bade that costly raiment ~ be given for their use.
477. So daily came they riding, ~ from early hours till late
Unto Brunhilda’s castle, ~ like to an army great.
“Now, by my faith !” cried Hagen, ~ “See now what we have done !
With fair Brunhilda’s liegemen ~ we’ll have some trouble soon.
478. “While thus in power and numbers ~ they throng throughout the land,
What is the queen’s intention ~ we cannot understand :
What if she be against us ~ so wroth that we be lost ?
The noble maiden surely was born ~ to our great cost !”
479. Then spake the sturdy Siegfried : ~ “All this will I forestall ;
The danger ye are dreading ~ I will not let befall.
I must go hence, and succor ~ bring quickly to this shore, —
A band of chosen warriors ~ ne’er known to you before.
480. “Ye must not seek to find me, ~ I go across the sea ;
May God meanwhile preserve you ~ from all indignity !
I’ll come back quickly, bringing ~ a thousand men with me,
The very best of warriors ~ that ever one could see.”
481. “Be not too long gone from us,” ~ the king in answer said :
“In this our need we shall be ~ right glad to have your aid.”
Said he : “I’ll come back to you, ~ ere many days be spent ;
And ye must tell the queen that ~ by you I have been sent.”

{ 8 }
482. So thence went Siegfried unto ~ the haven on the strand.
Clad in his hood of darkness, ~ to where a boat did stand.
Therein he stood, all hidden, ~ this son of Siegmund brave ; —
He steered it quickly seaward, ~ as ’twere the wind that drave.
483. Though no one saw the steersman, ~ fast sped the bark along,
Urged by the strength of Siegfried, — ~ in sooth his arms were strong.
Men thought that she was driven ~ by some strange, mighty wind :
No, it was Siegfried drove her, ~ the son of fair Sieglind.
484. When he a day had voyaged, ~ and likewise through a night,
He came unto a country, ~ by dint of main and might ; —
From one end to the other ~ a hundred leagues or more.
The Niblung land, where kept he ~ the mighty hoard in store.
485. Then, all alone, the hero ~ steered to an eyot broad.
And ran his skiff alongshore ~ and left her safely moored.
Then climbed he to a mountain, ~ on which a castle stood.
And, like a wayworn traveller, ~ for shelter sought and food.
486. So came he to the gateway, ~ which, locked, before him stood, —
They guarded well their honor, ~ as folk at this day would.
Then straight he fell a-knocking, ~ like any man unknown.
The gate was kept well guarded : ~ he saw within it soon
487. A monstrous giant warder, ~ who sentinel did stand,
And kept at all times ready ~ his weapons close at hand.
He called : “Who cometh knocking ~ so loudly at the door ?”
Then answered the bold Siegfried — ~ but changed his voice therefore —
488. And said : “I am a warrior ; ~ undo me now the gate,
Ere I arouse to anger ~ some one, though it be late,
Who rather would sleep softly ~ and in his chamber bide.”
It angered the gate-keeper ~ that Siegfried thus replied.
489. Soon had the doughty giant ~ girded his armor on,
Set on his head his helmet, ~ and quickly seized upon
And swung aloft his buckler, ~ and opened wide the gate :
How straightly then on Siegfried ~ he rushed, with scowl of hate !
490. “How had he dared awaken ~ so many a gallant man ?”
And straight upon the question ~ his hand to smite began.
The noble guest prepared him ~ a bold defence to make, —
But, at the porter’s onset, ~ his very shield-clasps brake,
491. Smashed by a bar of iron ; ~ the knight was sore distressed,
And somewhat was he fearful ~ that death would end his quest, —
Seeing the huge gate-keeper ~ did smite so sturdily ;
Which yet his master Siegfried ~ was not ill-pleased to see.
492. So mighty was their combat ~ that all the castle rang.
Throughout the halls of Niblung ~ men heard the crash and clang.
At last he threw the giant, ~ and bound him foot and hand ;
The tidings soon spread over ~ the whole of Niblung-land.
493. The noise of fierce strife sounded ~ deep through the mountain side,
Where Alberich the bold one — ~ a wild dwarf — did abide :
With speed he seized his weapons, ~ and ran to where he found
This brave and noble stranger, ~ as he the giant bound.
494. A fierce wight was this Albrich, ~ of strength he had good store ;
A helmet and a hauberk ~ he on his body wore ;
A weighty whip, gold-handled, ~ he carried in his hand :
With all his swiftness ran he ~ to where Siegfried did stand.
495. Seven knots, both hard and heavy, ~ hung down in front of it.
With which the bold man’s buckler ~ so ruthlessly he hit, —
As in his hand he held it, — ~ that it in pieces fell.
Then was the goodly stranger ~ in fear for life as well.
496. The shield, that now was broken, ~ he from his hand did throw.
And thrust into its scabbard ~ his sword, — ’twas long enow. —
His treasurer he would not, ~ an’ he could help it, slay :
He did restrain his anger, ~ as righteous is alway.
497. With his strong hands for weapons ~ at Alberich he ran.
And by the beard he gripped him, ~ that old and grizzly man !
So ruthlessly he pulled it, ~ that loud the old man cried :
The young hero’s chastising ~ could Albrich ill abide.
498. Loud was the bold dwarf’s outcry : ~ “I prithee now, have done ;
An’ I could be the liegeman ~ of any knight, save one
To whom I have sworn fealty ~ to be his vassal aye, —
Rather than die, I’d serve thee !” ~ the crafty one did say.
499. But Alberich was bound as ~ the giant had been bound.
And by the strength of Siegfried ~ much pain and trouble found.
The dwarf began to question : ~ “How are you called ?” quoth he.
He said : “My name is Siegfried : ~ I should be known to thee !”
500. “That is a goodly hearing !” ~ said Alberich the dwarf.
“Now know I of a surety ~ what metal ye are of,
And know ye have good reason ~ to lord it in the land.
If ye my life will leave me, ~ I’ll do what ye command.”
501. Thus spake the hero Siegfried : ~ “Then must thou straightway go
And bring me of the warriors ~ the best we have, I trow ;
Of Nibelungs a thousand ~ I fain would here behold.”
But wherefore these he wanted ~ that was to no man told.
502. Of Albrich and the giant ~ the fetters he unbound.
Then Alberich ran quickly ~ to where the knights he found.
The Nibelungs he wakened ~ from sleep right cautiously,
And said : “Up now, ye heroes ! ~ To Siegfried hasten ye !”
503. Then sprang they from their couches ~ all ready at his call, —
A thousand active warriors ~ equipped stood in the hall.
So went they unto Siegfried, ~ who by himself did stand,
And fairly did he greet them, — ~ some knelt to kiss his hand.
504. They lit full many a taper, ~ pure wine for him they poured.
He thanked them all for coming ~ so promptly at his word.
Then spake he : “Ye must yonder ~ with me across the flood !”
For this he found them ready, ~ those heroes bold and good.
505. Full thirty hundred warriors ~ had come at his behest :
From out their numbers took he ~ a thousand of the best.
To these were brought their helmets, ~ and all their gear to hand, —
Because he fain would lead them ~ unto Brunhilda’s land.
506. He spake : “Ye good knights, hearken ~ to that which now I say :
Your raiment should at court be ~ exceeding rich and gay, —
For many a lovely woman ~ will look on us, I trow ;
So make your bodies handsome ~ with good clothes ere we go.”
507. All on a morning early ~ the bold knights rode away.
What gallant comrades Siegfried ~ had got himself that day !
They all had good war-horses, ~ and garments rich and grand :
With knightly mien and bearing ~ they came to Brunhild’s land.
508. Upon the turrets standing ~ was many a winsome maid.
Then spake the queen : “Doth any ~ know who be these,” she said,
“Whom I see sailing hither ~ from o’er the sea so far ?
Their sails be richly woven, — ~ whiter than snow they are.”
509. And the Rhine-king made answer : ~ “My warriors are they,
Whom I did on the journey ~ bid near at hand to stay.
I sent to fetch them, lady, ~ and here they come, I see.”
Whereon the noble strangers ~ were eyed all wond’ringly.
510. For plainly saw they Siegfried ~ upon the foredeck stand,
Arrayed in costly raiment, ~ with all his warrior-band.
Then said the queen : “Now must ye, ~ my Lord King, counsel me :
Shall these new guests be welcomed ? ~ Or shall I let them be ?”
511. He spake : “Without the palace ~ to meet them ye should go.
As if we saw them gladly, ~ that they may take it so.”
Then did the queen according ~ unto the king’s behest ; —
Though, in her greeting, Siegfried ~ she severed from the rest.
512. A lodging was found for them, ~ their goods were put in store.
And now so many strangers ~ had landed on that shore.
That great the throng of folk was, ~ whichever way one went.
The knights on sailing homewards ~ to Burgundy were bent.
513. Then spake the Queen Brunhilda : ~ “Right thankful should I be
To him who could my silver ~ and gold divide for me
Between my guests and Gunther’s ; ~ an ample store I have.”
Then Dankwart said : — the liegeman ~ of Giselher the brave —
514. “Most noble Queen and Lady, ~ let me now have the key.
I trow I can divide it : ~ if shame should fall on me,
So let it be mine only.” ~ Thus spake the doughty thane.
That he a gentle knight was, ~ was from his bearing plain.
515. As soon as Hagen’s brother ~ the key had at command,
So many gifts and costly ~ dispensed the hero’s hand :
To those who one mark needed, ~ such bounty did he give,
That all the poorest, henceforth, ~ in comfort well might live.
516. Pound pieces by the hundred ~ he, without reckoning, gave.
In clothing rich, full many ~ that royal hall did leave
Who ne’er such splendid raiment ~ before that time had worn.
This vexed the queen right sorely, ~ it was not to be borne !
517. She spake, in her vexation : ~ “Sir King, it seems to me
This chamberlain of yours is ~ with all my goods so free
He soon will leave me nothing : ~ he throws my gold away!
I shall be aye beholden ~ to him who this can stay.
518. Such rich gifts doth he lavish, ~ the thane must sure believe
IVe sent for Death to take me : ~ but I would longer live !
Whatever my father left me ~ I trow I well can spend.”
On such a spendthrift treasurer ~ did never queen depend !”
519. Then Hagen spake of Tronjè : ~ “Fair lady, have no fear !
The king of the Rhine river ~ hath gold enough, and gear
To lavish just as freely ; ~ and well may we forego
To take Brunhilda’s treasure ~ when hence we homeward go.”
520. “Nay, for mine own sake, hear me,” ~ the queen said, “for I will
Take with me twenty coffers, ~ which I with gold will fill
And silken stuffs, which also ~ I’ll give with mine own hand.
When we come over yonder ~ unto King Gunther’s land.”
521. With precious stones and jewels ~ they did her coffers lade ;
Her own lords of the chamber ~ to help therewith she bade :
For she would put no trust ~ in the men of Giselher.
Günther, therefore, and Hagen ~ began to laugh at her.
522. Then spake the Queen Brunhilda : ~ “To whom I leave my land ?
That first must be determined ~ by thine and mine own hand.”
The noble king made answer : ~ “Let him forthwith appear
Who best thereto would please you, — ~ we’ll leave him steward here.”
523. One of her noblest kinsmen ~ the lady to her bade,
(It was her mother’s brother) ~ to him the maiden said :
“To you be now entrusted ~ my castles and the land.
Until they come directly ~ under King Gunther’s hand.”
524. Then did she of her people ~ choose twenty hundred men.
Who with her to the Rhineland ~ must make the voyage then, —
Beside the thousand warriors ~ who came from Niblung land.
Then all to start made ready : ~ they rode down to the strand.
525. Of women six and eighty ~ along with her she took,
And eke a hundred maidens, ~ who comely were in look.
Then they delayed no longer, — ~ they wearied to be gone ;
But those they left behind them, ~ these wept, ay, many a one !
526. With seemly grace the lady ~ fared from her fatherland ;
She kissed her nearest kinsmen, ~ who stood on either hand.
With kindliest leave-takings ~ they came unto the shore ; —
To her forefathers’ country ~ the lady came no more !
527. One heard of games of all kinds ~ to pass the time away
And make the journey shorter : ~ a hundred pastimes gay.
They had, too, for their voyage ~ a right good sailing wind.
With merriment and laughter ~ they left their land behind.
528. Not once upon the journey ~ did she embrace her lord :
Until they reached his palace ~ their pleasure was deferred.
At Worms they, in the castle, ~ their wedding feast would hold ;
Where they, ere long, with gladness ~ came with their heroes bold.

{ 9 }
529. When they nine days had traveled ~ upon their homeward way,
Spake Hagen, lord of Tronjè : ~ “Now hark to what I say !
We yet have sent no tidings ~ to Worms upon the Rhine :
Your heralds should be, surely, ~ in Burgundy long syne.”
530. King Gunther made him answer : ~ “Lo, what ye say is right,
And for this errand, surely ~ there is no better knight
Than ye yourself, friend Hagen ; ~ so ride now to my land :
Our journey no one better ~ can make them understand.”
531. Whereto made answer Hagen : ~ “Small use should I be there ! —
Let me look to the cabin, ~ whilst on the flood we fare :
I’ll stay beside the women, ~ and to their gear attend.
Until we bring them safely ~ into Burgundian land.
532. “Bid Siegfried rather do it, ~ and him your envoy make ; —
His mighty strength will aid him, ~ the task to overtake.
Should he decline the going, ~ ye must, with kindliness,
For love of your fair sister, ~ the journey on him press.”
533. He sent to fetch the warrior, ~ who came at his command.
Quoth Gunther : “Since we’re nearing ~ our home in mine own land,
I ought to send a message ~ unto my sister dear,
And eke unto my mother, ~ that we the Rhine draw near.
534. “This ask I of thee, Siegfried : ~ the favor grant, I pray.
That I may ever thank thee,” ~ the warrior good did say.
But Siegfried did withstand him, — ~ he was so bold a man !
Until King Gunther sorely ~ to plead with him began,
535. “To ride thou shouldst be willing, ~ for my sake,” Gunther said,
“And likewise for Kriemhilda’s, ~ the beautiful young maid ; —
That we may owe thee service, ~ the noble maid and I.”
When Siegfried heard that saying ~ he could no more deny.
536. “Whatever thou wilt command me, ~ I cannot say thee nay !
For love of that fair maiden ~ I’ll do what thou dost say.
How could I aught deny her, ~ who owns my heart alone ?
For her sake that thou askest ~ is all as good as done.”
537. “Go then and tell my mother, ~ Utè, the noble queen.
That we anent this journey ~ in joyous mood have been ;
And let the kings, my brothers, ~ know each how we did fare ;
And all our friends must also ~ the happy tidings hear.
538. “And from my beauteous sister, ~ I pray thee naught reserve ;
But say that I and Brunhild ~ will her right gladly serve.
And tell unto the court-folk ~ and all my serving-men.
That what my heart had yearned for, ~ full well did I attain !
539. “And tell to gallant Ortwein, ~ that nephew dear of mine,
That he have seats erected ~ by Worms upon the Rhine.
And all my other kinsmen, ~ they also should be told
That I, with Queen Brunhilda, ~ high festival will hold.
540. “And tell unto my sister ~ (as soon as she hath learned
How, with my guests so shortly ~ I shall be home returned)
That she to my betrothed one ~ a welcome good must give : —
So shall I to Kriemhilda ~ for aye beholden live.”
541. Then did the noble Siegfried ~ a courteous farewell
Take of the Lady Brunhild, ~ as did beseem him well, —
And of her courtiers likewise ; ~ then to the Rhine rode he.
No messenger were better ~ in all the world than he.
542. With four and twenty horsemen ~ he into Worms did ride.
“Without the king he cometh !” ~ was heard on every side ;
And all the folk lamented, ~ and stirred were with the dread
Lest in that foreign country ~ they’d left their master dead !
543. They from their steeds dismounted: ~ right happy was their mood;
And Giselher hastened to them, ~ the youthful king and good,
And eke his brother Gernot : ~ how eagerly spake he,
When he the kingly Gunther ~ did not with Siegfried see !
544. “Be welcome, Siegfried,” cried he, ~ “but, pray you let me know
Where ye have left my brother, ~ who forth with you did go ?
If Queen Brunhilda’s prowess ~ hath robbed us of our king,
Methinks your high-aimed wooing ~ hath been an evil thing !”
545. “Forego your fears !” quoth Siegfried, ~ “my noble comrade sends
His loyal love and greeting ~ to you and all his friends.
In rare good health I left him : ~ I came at his command
To bring you, as his envoy, ~ tidings to this your land.
546. “You must see to it quickly, ~ however it may be.
That I the good queen-mother ~ and your fair sister see; —
For they must hear the message, ~ which I was bade to tell,
From Gunther and Brunhilda : ~ with both of whom ’tis well.”
547. Then Giselher the lad said : ~ “Go then to her you’ve won.
Since for my sister’s favor, ~ such service ye have done !
Great trouble doth she suffer ~ about my brother’s fate.
The maid will see you gladly, ~ I’ll warrant me of that !”
548. The noble Siegfried answered : ~ “An’ I can serve the maid,
Right faithfully and gladly ~ that service shall be paid.
Now who will tell these ladies ~ that them I fain would see ?”
’Twas Giselher the comely ~ his messenger would be.
549. Swift Giselher the tidings ~ unto his mother told,
And eke unto his sister, ~ when he did them behold :
“To us the hero Siegfried ~ of Netherland hath come ;
Him hath my brother Gunther here ~ to the Rhine sent home.
550. “He bringeth us full tidings ~ of how the king doth fare.
Now must ye give permission ~ that he to court repair ;
From Iceland brings he hither ~ a true report, I trow.” —
Yet soon these noble ladies ~ much sorrow were to know.
551. To get their robes they hastened, ~ and did themselves array ;
And then they summoned Siegfried ~ to come to court straightway, —
Which did he, willing-hearted, ~ too happy her to see :
The noble maid Kriemhilda ~ spake to him graciously.
552. “Be welcome, my lord Siegfried, ~ thou worthy knight !” she cried;
“Where doth my brother Gunther, ~ the noble king, abide ?
Of him, by Brunhild’s prowess, ~ I ween we are forlorn !
O woe is me, poor maiden, ~ that ever I was born !”
553. Then spake the gallant hero : ~ “Now pay me herald’s fee !
For know, O beauteous ladies, ~ no need to weep have ye.
In lusty health I left him, ~ of that ye may be sure ; —
To tell you both these tidings ~ he sent me on before.
554. “They send to you their duty, — ~ he and that bride of his, —
With all true love and kindness, ~ most noble queen ; it is
High time to leave off weeping, — ~ for they will soon be here !”
For many a day she had not ~ heard tidings half so dear.
555. Then with her snow-white kerchief ~ she wiped her lovely eyes
That were all wet with weeping ; ~ and in her gracious wise
Began to thank the bearer ~ for the good news he brought.
And so her grief and sorrow ~ were turned to pleasant thought.
556. She bade him to be seated, ~ whereof right glad was he.
Then spake the lovesome maiden : ~ “Rejoicéd should I be.
Could I for herald’s guerdon ~ give all my gold away !
Too rich for such meed are ye, — ~ I’ll be your debtor aye.”
557. Said he : “If for my portion ~ I thirty kingdoms had,
I would, by your hands given, ~ of any gift be glad !”
“Well !” said the gracious lady, ~ “it shall be given to you.”
Her chamberlain was bidden ~ to fetch the herald’s due.
558. Full four-and-twenty buckles, ~ set with bright stones and good,
She gave him for his guerdon. ~ And yet the hero’s mood
Allowed him not to keep them ; — ~ he handed them around
Unto her nearest ladies ~ that in the room he found.
559. Her mother gave him greeting, ~ in kind and courtly way.
“I have yet more to tell you,” ~ the valiant man did say,
“Of what the king requireth ~ when to the Rhine comes he ; —
If, lady, ye will grant it, ~ he’ll aye beholden be.
560. “The noble guests he bringeth — ~ I heard him this desire —
He wishes you to welcome ; ~ and eke he doth require
That ye ride forth to meet him, ~ outside Worms, on the strand;
This doth the king, at your hands, ~ in all good faith demand.”
561. Then spake the lovely lady : ~ “Ready am I alway
However I can to serve him ; ~ I cannot say him nay ;
All shall in loyal kindness, ~ as he desires, be done.”
Whereat her cheek, for gladness, ~ a heightened color won.
562. No prince’s herald ever ~ a better welcome had ;
And had she dared to kiss him ~ she would have been right glad.
How winsomely the gallant ~ then from the dames withdrew !
As noble Siegfried counseled ~ did the Burgundians do.
563. Sir Sindold and Sir Hunold, ~ and eke Rumold the thane.
To whom the charge was given, ~ must work with might and main
To have the seats made ready, ~ by Worms upon the sands,
One saw the royal stewards ~ there working with their hands !
564. Ortwein and Gere would not ~ that aught be left undone.
They sent unto their kinsfolk ~ on all sides, every one ;
They told them of the wedding ~ which was about to be.
The beauteous maids adorned them ~ for the festivity.
565. The palace was made splendid, ~ and decked was ev’ry wall
In honor of the guest-folk. ~ King Gunther’s royal hall
Was all right well upholstered ~ by many a foreign man.
And so this mighty wedding ~ right merrily began.
566. Then all along the highways ~ throughout the countryside
Were seen the three kings’ kinsmen, ~ who bidden were to ride
And wait the guests’ arrival, ~ who soon were to appear.
While from the stores was taken ~ abundance of rich gear.
567. Erelong was spread the rumor ~ that certain folk had seen
Brunhilda’s friends approaching ; ~ at which there did begin
Great stir among the people ~ in the Burgundian land.
Ay me ! What gallant warriors ~ were seen on either hand !
568. Then spake the fair Kriemhilda : ~ “Ye maids attending me,
Who would at this reception ~ fain bear me company,
Go, seek from out my presses ~ the richest robes and best :
That thereby praise and honor ~ we gain from every guest.”
569. The warriors came shortly, — ~ who ordered to be brought
The saddles nobly-fashioned, ~ with finest gold inwrought,
On which should ride the ladies, ~ at Worms upon the Rhine.
One never saw horse-trappings ~ more fitting or more fine.
570. Ha ! What a golden gleaming ~ from these gay palfreys shone.
And how the bridles sparkled ~ with many a precious stone !
The footstools eke were golden, ~ on carpets bright and good
Placed for the ladies’ mounting : ~ right joyous was their mood.
571. The women’s mares were saddled, ~ and in the court did stay
For the young maids of honor, — ~ as I erewhile did say.
Small saddle-bows and silken ~ one saw these palfreys bear :
The finest silk, I warrant, ~ of which ye e’er could hear.
572. Then six-and-eighty matrons ~ out of the palace went,
And on their heads were wimples. ~ Towards Kriemhilda bent
Each beauteous dame her footsteps, ~ in garments bright arrayed ;
And no less well apparelled, ~ came many a comely maid.
573. In number four-and-fifty, ~ damsels of Burgundy,
The best they were and fairest ~ that ever eye could see ;
One saw their flaxen tresses, ~ with bands of riband bright.
What Gunther had desiréd ~ was done with zeal aright.
574. The richest stuffs then wore they, ~ the best one e’er could find,
Before the stranger-warriors ; ~ good clothes of many a kind, —
So that each sev’ral beauty ~ might have a setting fit.
Whoso were discontented ~ must be of little wit.
575. Of sable and of ermine ~ was many a costume there,
And many an arm, and hand too, ~ were made to seem more fair
With buckles and with bracelets ~ on the silk stuffs they wore.
Should any try to tell you, ~ his task would ne’er be o’er.
576. With many a fine-wrought girdle — ~ so rich, and long, and gay,
Hanging o’er shining raiment — ~ the women’s hands did play.
Their skirts of Ferrandine were, ~ and stuff of Araby.
Among those noble maidens ~ was gladsomeness and glee.
577. In stomacher bejewelled ~ was many a maiden fair
Most winsomely enlacéd. ~ And sad indeed it were
Did not her bright complexion ~ outshine her dress in hue.
No other king had ever ~ so fair a retinue.
578. As now those lovely ladies ~ in full attire were seen,
The knights who should escort them ~ appeared upon the scene.
High-couraged warriors were they, ~ of mighty strength and craft ;
And each, beside his buckler, ~ did bear an ashen shaft.

{ 10 }
579. Now, on the further Rhine-bank, ~ came with a numerous band
The king and his guests with him, ~ and drew nigh to the strand.
One saw, too, by the rein led, ~ full many a maiden’s steed.
For those who should receive them ~ to wait they had no need.
580. For when the folk of Iceland ~ unto the ship were led, —
And eke the Niblung people ~ who Siegfried followéd, —
They put across the water, ~ with quick, unwearied hand.
To where, upon the quay-side, ~ they saw the king’s friends stand.
581. Now hearken to my story ! ~ I’ll tell you how the Queen
Utè, the rich queen-mother, ~ was with her maidens seen,
Forth coming from the castle, ~ whence she herself did ride.
Then many an acquaintance ~ ’twixt knight and maid was tied.
582. Kriemhilda’s palfrey led was ~ by Gere the Margrave
As far as the fort gateway, ~ where Siegfried, warrior brave.
Must thenceforth wait upon her ;— ~ she was a lovely maid !
And he by this fair lady was, ~ later, well repaid.
583. Alongside Lady Utè, ~ Ortwein the bold rode he,
With many knights and maidens ~ who bare them company.
Ne’er at a great reception, ~ we must confess, had been
So great a throng of ladies ~ as here together seen.
584. And many a fair encounter ~ took place amid the train
Of praise-deserving heroes, ~ (they could not well refrain)
Before the fair Kriemhilda, ~ until the ship they reach.
Then from their palfreys lift they, ~ the well-dight ladies each.
585. The king had now crossed over, ~ and many a guest of worth.
Hey ! What stout shafts were shivered ~ for these fair ladies’ mirth !
One heard the hurtling tumult, ~ as lance on buckler rang.
Ay, and the rich shield-bosses ~ that in the press did clang !
586. The fair ones now were standing ~ the landing-place upon ; —
With all his guests had Gunther ~ up from the vessel gone ;
He led the Lady Brunhild ~ with his own royal hand.
Then shone against each other ~ bright gems and garments grand.
587. With courtly grace Dame Kriemhild ~ did thereupon repair
To where the Lady Brunhild ~ and all her courtiers were.
One saw them push their chaplets ~ with their white fingers by,
What time they kissed each other : ~ ’twas done in courtesy.
588. Then spake the maid Kriemhilda, ~ and fittingly spake she :
“To us in this our country ~ right welcome may ye be;
To me, and to my mother, ~ as unto ev’ry friend
Whom we as faithful reckon.” ~ Then each did lowly bend.
589. The dames each other greeted ~ with clasp of hand and arm,
No one had ever heard of ~ a welcoming so warm.
As soon as the two ladies ~ the bride for certain wist,
Dame Utè and her daughter ~ her sweet mouth often kissed.
590. When all Brunhilda’s ladies ~ had lighted on the strand,
They tenderly were greeted, ~ and taken by the hand.
For many a well-dight woman ~ there was a warrior good ;
And many beauteous maidens ~ with Dame Brunhilda stood.
591. Before their greeting ended ~ a good long hour had sped ;
Ay, and the lips, like roses, ~ were kissed of many a maid.
Still stood by one another ~ those two kings’ daughters bright, —
To many a valiant hero ~ they were a lovely sight.
592. With their own eyes beheld they, ~ who often told had been
That no such peerless beauty ~ had ever yet been seen
As that of these two ladies : ~ it now was plain to view ; —
One saw, too, on their bodies ~ naught in the least untrue.
593. Those who could judge of women ~ and on fair forms decide.
Did laud and praise for beauty ~ the royal Gunther’s bride.
But others — they were wise men ~ with more discerning eyes —
Said, that from Dame Brunhilda ~ Kriemhilda won the prize.
594. Now dame and maid were walking, ~ each other opposite.
And many a lovely body ~ one saw right nobly dight.
And many a rich pavilion ~ and silken tent were there :
The plain that Worms surrounded ~ was crowded everywhere.
595. The kinsmen of King Gunther ~ came thronging thereunto.
Brunhilda and Kriemhilda ~ were thither bade to go
And takewith them their ladies, — ~ where they in shade could stand.
They were by thanes brought thither ~ of the Burgundian land.
596. Meanwhile upon their chargers ~ the guests were all a-field,
And many a doughty lance-thrust ~ was caught upon the shield.
The plain with dust was smoking, — ~ as though the very earth
In flames would soon be bursting : ~ now heroes showed their worth .
597. Upon these knightly doings ~ looked many a maiden’s eye.
I doubt not that Sir Siegfried ~ full many a time rode by
The tents, as with his liegemen ~ he back and forward sped.
A thousand gallant warriors ~ from Nibelung he led.
598. Then Hagen, lord of Tronjè, ~ at his host’s bidding went,
And courteously the hero ~ did close the tournament, —
Lest by the dust besprinkled ~ the beauteous maids should be.
This order by the guests was ~ obeyed good-humoredly.
599. Then spake the noble Gernot : ~ “Let now the horses rest.
As soon as it grows cooler ~ we knights will do our best
To please these lovely ladies, ~ before the palace wide.
Let everyone be ready ~ whene’er the king will ride.”
600. When all the wide field over ~ the tournament was stayed.
For pastime went the heroes ~ beneath the tall tents’ shade.
To parley with the ladies, — ~ on mirth and pleasure bent ;
Thus, till ’twas time for riding, ~ their leisure hours were spent.
601. But when it grew towards even ~ and near the sun’s last ray —
Seeing the air was cooler — ~ they would no more delay.
Then many a knight and lady ~ toward the castle rode.
On niany a beauteous woman ~ were loving looks bestowed.
602. And now they raced for raiment ~ such as good knights do wear,
These highly-mettled warriors, — ~ as was the custom there, —
Until they reached the palace ; ~ there did the king dismount,
And they the ladies aided ~ as gallant knights be wont.
603. Now, too, the royal ladies ~ did from each other part.
Queen Utè and her daughter ~ together did depart,
With all their court-attendants, ~ unto a chamber wide.
Then shouts of joy and laughter ~ were heard on ev’ry side.
604. The seats being set in order, ~ the royal Gunther would
Go with his guests to supper ; ~ ’twas seen how by him stood
The beautiful Brunhilda ; ~ and now a crown she wore.
As queen in her king’s kingdom ;— ~ well worth was she therefore.
605. Fine seats were set for many, ~ by tables broad and good —
As we have been assuréd — ~ laid with abundant food.
Of all that they could wish for ~ how little lack was seen !
And with the king was many ~ a guest of lordly mien.
606. The host’s own body-servants, ~ in ewers of red gold,
Did fetch and carry water. ~ If ye should e’er be told
That at a prince’s wedding ~ the service was more fit,
’Twould trouble me but little,— ~ I’d put no faith in it !
607. Before the great Rhine ruler ~ did of the water take,
Sir Siegfried went unto him ~ a due request to make :
To warn him of his promise, ~ which he, by his right hand
Pledged, ere he saw Brunhilda ~ at home in Isenland.
608. He spake : “You must remember, ~ ye swore by your right hand,
If ever Dame Brunhilda should ~ come to this your land,
You’d give to me your sister ; ~ now what hath got your oath ?
Much trouble with your journey ~ I’ve taken, nothing loath.”
609. Then to his guest the king said : ~ “Thou didst right well to speak; —
What on my hand I swore you, ~ that oath I will not break.
As best I can, I’ll help you ~ to bring about this thing.”
Then was Kriemhilda summoned ~ to court before the king.
610. With all her beauteous maidens ~ she came unto the hall.
Then, from a dais springing, ~ young Giselher did call :
“Bid all these other damsels ~ return, for verily
No other than my sister ~ here with the king shall be.”
611. They brought the Lady Kriemhild ~ to where the king did stand,
With noble knights around him ~ from many a prince’s land.
In the wide hall they bade her ~ stand quietly alone ; —
Meanwhile the Lady Brunhild ~ had to the banquet gone.
612. Thereon did speak King Gunther : ~ “Dear sister, noble maid,
I trust unto thy goodness ~ to let mine oath be paid.
I’ve pledged thee to a warrior ; ~ should he become thy lord,
By thy true faith and duty ~ thou wilt have kept my word !”
613. Then spake the noble maiden : ~ “Belovéd brother mine, -
Thou shouldst not thus beseech me ; ~ my will is ever thine
To do as thou commandest ; ~ what thou hast willed, shall be :
I’ll take, my lord, for husband, ~ him whom thou giv’st to me.”
614. At her dear eyes’ kind glances ~ all red grew Siegfried’s face ;
At Dame Kriemhilda’s service ~ the knight himself did place.
They twain then must together ~ within the circle stand :
They asked if she were willing ~ to take this hero’s hand ?
615. A little was she shaméd ~ with maiden modesty ;
But yet, so blest was Siegfried ~ and eke so lucky he,
That she did not refuse him ~ at once and out of hand.
To wife he swore to take her, ~ that king of Netherland.
616. So he to her was plighted, ~ and unto him the maid.
And now the loving damsel ~ no longer was afraid
Within the arms of Siegfried ~ in sweet embrace to rest.
And then, before the heroes, ~ his beauteous queen he kissed.
617. The crowd in twain divided ; ~ and, soon as this was done,
Lo, there was Siegfried seated ~ upon the second throne
And, by his side, Kriemhilda ; ~ many on them did wait ;
One saw the Niblungs thronging ~ around where Siegfried sate.
618. The king was likewise seated, ~ with Brunhilda the maid.
But when she saw Kriemhilda ~ (she ne’er had been so sad !)
By noble Siegfried sitting, ~ a-weeping she began :
Her many hot tears falling ~ adown her bright cheeks ran.
619. Then spake the country’s ruler : ~ “What ails you, lady mine,
That ye should dim with weeping ~ those bright and shining eyne ?
Ye rather should be joyful ~ that subject unto you
My land is, and my castles, ~ and many a bold man, too.”
620. “Good cause have I for weeping,” ~ replied the beauteous maid,
“In sooth about thy sister ~ my very heart is sad ;
I see her sitting next to ~ yon vassal of thine own :
Needs must I ever mourn it ~ if she be thus undone.”
621. King Gunther whispered to her : ~ “I prithee, silent be !
At some more fitting season ~ I’ll tell this tale to thee,
And wherefore unto Siegfried ~ I did my sister give ;
In sooth she, with this warrior, ~ right happily may live.”
622. She said : “I aye must pity ~ her beauty and her grace ;
And gladly would I hide me, — ~ did I but know a place, —
That it might ne’er befall me ~ to lay me by your side ; —
Unless thou tell’st me wherefore ~ she must be Siegfried’s bride.”
623. The noble king said to her : ~ “This much then understand :
He hath as many castles ~ as I, and broader land, —
That know now of a surety ; ~ a mighty king is he.
And therefore this fair maiden ~ gave I his wife to be.”
624. Whate’er the king said to her, ~ she troubled was in mood.
Now hastened from the tables ~ full many a warrior good.
So lusty was their tilting, ~ it made the fortress ring ; —
The host amid his guests was ~ distraught and wearying.
625. He thought how sweet would rest be, ~ by that fair woman’s side !
His heart was never free from ~ this longing for his bride.
He from her wifely duties ~ much love must surely win :
Then tenderly Brunhilda ~ to eye did he begin.
626. The guests of knightly pastimes ~ were bid to make an end ;
The king unto his chamber ~ would with his spouse ascend.
Before the great hall-stairway ~ Kriemhild and Brunhild met :
They looked upon each other ~ with nought but kindness yet.
627. Then came their court-attendants ; ~ there was no lingering ;
The chamberlains rich-suited ~ the taper-lights did bring.
The warriors were divided, — ~ to either king his men :
’Twas plainly seen how many ~ did follow Siegfried then.
628. Unto their wedding chambers ~ thus both the heroes came.
And each of them was thinking ~ how he by love would tame
His lovely lady’s scruples, ~ and tender was his mood.
To Siegfried was his pastime ~ beyond all measure good.
629. For when the lordly hero ~ held Kriemhild to his heart,
And comforted the maiden ~ with every loving art.
Amid his noble wooing ~ she seemed his very life :
Not for a thousand others ~ had he foregone his wife.
630. Of how he wooed his lady ~ I nothing more will tell.
But hearken to this story, ~ to Gunther what befell
Along with Dame Brunhilda. ~ Methinks the comely thane,
On many a softer pillow ~ with other dames had lain !
631. The serving-folk had vanished, ~ women as well as men :
The door of the bride-chamber ~ was quickly closéd then.
He thought he should be clasping ~ her sweet form presently, —
The time was still far distant ~ when she his wife would be.
632. In shift of snow-white linen ~ she came unto the bed.
Then thought the noble warrior : ~ “Now have I compasséd
All that I ever yearned for, ~ through all my livelong days !”
Her beauty had bewitched him, — ~ ’twere no unlikely case.
633. The noble king did firstly ~ quench with his hand the light.
To where the dame was lying ~ then ventured that bold knight.
He stretched himself beside her : ~ his joy could not be told
As in his arms the hero ~ the lovely one did fold.
634. All loving customs was he ~ right ready to fulfill,
If but the noble lady ~ had let him have his will.
But she so full of wrath was ~ that sorry was his state :
He thought to meet with kindness, ~ and found unfriendly hate.
635. She spake : “O knight most noble, ~ ye best had let me be.
For that which might content you ~ ye ne’er will get from me !
I will remain a maiden — ~ ye may be sure of that —
Until I learn the story.” ~ That made her Gunther hate.
636. He tried to wring love from her, ~ and, striving, tore her dress.
Whereat she seized a girdle, — ~ this masterful princess ;
It was a cord well-twisted, ~ which round the hips she wore.
Then to the king full measure ~ she gave of anguish sore.
637. His feet and hands together ~ she fastened therewithal ;
Then to a nail she bore him, ~ and hung him on the wall !
Because her sleep he hindered, ~ to him she love forbad :
Her strength, in sooth, was such that ~ his death he well-nigh had.
638. Then fell he to beseeching, ~ who master should have been :
“Loose now my bonds, I pray you, ~ most good and noble queen !
I’ll take an oath, fair lady, ~ you never to constrain ;
And never will I lay me ~ so nigh to you again.”
639. She little recked how fared he, ~ so she but softly lay :
He needs must stay there hanging ~ all night until the day, —
Until the light of morning ~ athwart the lattice shone.
If e’er of strength he boasted, ~ that strength was well-nigh gone.
640. “Now say to me Lord Gunther, ~ would ye not be afraid
To be found tied and hanging,” ~ questioned the beauteous maid,
“By your own body-servants ? — ~ bound by a woman, too ?”
The noble knight made answer : ~ “’Twould evil bode for you !
641. “I, too, should win small honor,” ~ the worthy man did say :
“I pray you of your goodness ~ to let me by you stay.
And since it seems my wooing ~ doth anger you so much,
’Twill long be ere my fingers ~ shall dare your robe to touch !”
642. Then speedily she loosed him, ~ and let him to his feet.
Again into the bride-bed ~ he to his wife did get ;
Yet so far did he lay him, ~ that he her raiment fair
Thenceforth could scarcely ruffle — ~ of that she took good care.
643. In came then their attendants, ~ and brought them fresh array, —
Of which a mighty store was ~ all ready for that day.
How gay soe’er the world was, ~ right gloomy had he grown,
The country’s noble ruler, ~ who wore, by day, a crown !
644. According to old custom, ~ which rightly men obey.
King Gunther and Queen Brunhild ~ no longer must delay
To go unto the minster, ~ where Holy Mass was sung.
There, likewise, came Sir Siegfried, ~ and mighty was the throng.
645. As kingly rank demanded, ~ in readiness did wait
Whatever they had need of: ~ their crowns and robes of state.
Then were they consecrated ; ~ and, after that was done.
All four were seen in gladness ~ to stand, each with a crown.
646. Then many youths were knighted — ~ six hundred, maybe more —
In honor of the crowning ; — ~ of that ye may be sure ;
And great rejoicing was there ~ throughout Burgundian land.
One heard the lances splinter ~ in every new knight’s hand.
647. The fair maids in the windows sat, ~ and o’erlooked the field :
They saw below them flashing ~ full many a polished shield.
King Gunther kept aloof from ~ his lieges’ revelry, —
Whate’er the rest were doing, ~ a mournful man was he :
648. How great was the unlikeness ~ of his and Siegfried’s mood !
And well he knew what ailed him ~ that noble knight and good.
Unto the king he hastened, ~ and straight to question fell :
“How fared ye yestereven ? ~ To me ye this should tell”
649. Then to his guest the host spake : ~ “A foul disgrace ’twill be !
I’ve brought the very devil ~ home to the house with me !
For when I sought to woo her, ~ she bound me tight withal,
Then to a nail she bore me ~ and hanged me on the wall.
650. “There hung I in mine anguish ~ all night until the day,
Before she would unbind me. ~ How softly, too, she lay !
This, trusting in your friendship, ~ I tell you secretly.”
Then cried the stalwart Siegfried : ~ “This grieves me, verily ;
651. “I’ll see if I can help you, ~ so put your grief away,
I’ll manage that this evening ~ she’ll let you by her stay ; —
She shall not even flout you, ~ nor scorn your love again.”
This saying was to Gunther ~ sweet comfort after pain.
652. And further spake Sir Siegfried : ~ “Thou yet mayst prosper well.
Right different, I ween, was ~ the luck that us befell !
To me your sister Kriemhild ~ is dearer than my life :
This same night Dame Brunhilda ~ shall be your willing wife.”
653. He said : “Unto your chamber ~ I’ll come this very night,
Clad in my hood of darkness, ~ unseen of any wight, —
That ne’er another person ~ my artifice may know ;
So let your chamber-servants ~ unto their hostel go,
654. “The lights the pages carry ~ I’ll suddenly put out ;
And this will be the token, ~ that ye may have no doubt
But I am nigh to aid you : ~ yea ! I will tame your wife
That ye this night can woo her; — ~ thereon I stake my life !”
655. “Then,” quoth the king, “be careful ~ thou yieldest not to love ;
She is mine own dear lady ! ~ The rest I do approve, —
Do with her what thou choosest ; — ~ if thou shouldst take her life
Methinks I would overlook it : ~ she is a fearsome wife !”
656. “I do agree,” cried Siegfried, ~ “and, by my faith, I swear
I will not seek to woo her. ~ Is not thy sister dear
Before all other women ~ I have set eyes on aye?”
Right well believed Gunther ~ what Siegfried then did say.
657. The merry games brought gladness ~ and also weariness.
The tilting and the shouting ~ were bidden soon to cease :
For to the hall the ladies ~ were shortly to depart.
The chamberlains commanded ~ the folk to stand apart.
658. The horses and the people ~ were driven from the court.
Each of the beauteous ladies ~ a bishop did escort,
When they in kingly presence ~ must go to sit at meat.
And many a goodly liegeman ~ them followed to their seat.
659. The king, with hopes encouraged, ~ in joyous humor sat :
What Siegfried had assured him, ~ his mind was full of that !
To him this one day seeméd ~ as long as thirty days.
Upon his lady’s wooing ~ his thoughts were set always.
660. He scarcely could content him ~ until the meal was done.
Then was the fair Brunhilda ~ at leisure to be gone.
As also was Kriemhilda ; ~ both to their rooms would go.
The thanes around them thronging ; — ~ ha ! ’Twas a gallant show !
661. Sir Siegfried by Kriemhilda ~ his beauteous wife still sate,
And with her held sweet converse ~ with joy unmarred by hate.
His hands she softly fondled ~ with hers that were so white,—
Until — but how she knew not — ~ he vanished from her sight
662. As she with him was toying ~ and found he’d slipped away,
She turned to his attendants, ~ and thus the queen did say :
“I marvel what hath happened ~ the king, where hath he gone ?
His hands he but this moment ~ hath taken from mine own.”
663. She did not question further. ~ Meanwhile he quickly came
To where the chamber-servants ~ did wait with links aflame :
He straight began to quench them, ~ each in the page’s hand.
That it was done by Siegfried ~ Gunther did understand.
664. Well knew he what he wanted ; ~ he therefore bade begone
The maids and dames who waited. ~ As soon as this was done
The noble king was careful ~ himself to lock the door :
Two strong bolts drew he quickly ~ and fastened therebefore.
665. Behind the tester-hangings ~ he hid the tapers’ light.
And then began a play-piece, ~ which ended not that night,
Betwixt the stalwart Siegfried ~ and that fair maiden wife ; —
Which was unto King Gunther ~ with joy and sorrow rife.
666. When on the couch lay Siegfried ~ alongside of the queen :
“Take care,” quoth she, “Lord Gunther, — ~ though sweet it might have been
To love me — lest ye suffer ~ as ye have done before.”
The lady for bold Siegfried ~ had bitter woe in store.
667. To hide his voice he failed not, ~ and ne’er a word spake he.
And so ’twas plain to Gunther, ~ although he could not see,
That nothing sly or secret ~ was passing ’twixt the twain.
But little peace or comfort ~ did either of them gain !
668. He bore himself as though he ~ the great King Gunther were.
And in his arms clasped closely ~ that maiden passing fair.
But on a bench by-standing ~ she hurled him from the bed,
So that against a footstool ~ he loudly smote his head.
669. Arising, strong as ever, ~ up leapt the gallant man :
This time he would do better ! ~ But soon as he began
To try and overpower her, ~ again she wrought him woe.
Ne’er wife hath made a fending ~ the like of that, I trow !
670. And when he gave not over, ~ the maiden sprang upright :
“Full ill doth it beseem you ~ to touch my shift so white !
Coarse are ye and unmannered : ~ woe therefore you betide !
Ye shall not soon forget it !” ~ the comely maiden cried.
671. She clasped the good knight tightly ~ with both her arms around,
And would have laid and bound him, ~ as she the king had bound, —
That she in peace and quiet ~ might lie upon her bed.
The ruffling of her raiment ~ she vengefully repaid.
672. What did his valor serve him, ~ and what his power of limb,
When she essayed to show him ~ that she could master him?
By might and main she bore him — ~ not elsewise could it be —
And ’twixt the bed and cupboard ~ she crushed him cruelly.
673. “Ah, woe is me !” the knight thought, ~ “Am I to lose my life,
And that through a mere maiden ? ~ If so be, every wife,
From this day forth for ever, ~ with arrogance and pride
Will treat her lawful husband ; ~ which else should ne’er betide.”
674. The king could hear all plainly, ~ and grievéd for the man.
Siegfried, full sore ashaméd, ~ to rage within began ;
His monstrous strength outputting ~ he with the maid did close,
And strove with all his forces ~ Dame Brunhild to oppose.
675. Long time it seemed to Gunther ~ ere he the maid did quell.
She grasped his hands so tightly, ~ that from each finger-nail
The blood burst from her pressure ; — ~ sad pain the hero bore
Ere yet the noble maiden ~ he made for evermore
676. Renounce that will unruly, ~ of which she was so proud.
The king heard what was passing, ~ but durst not speak a word.
Against the bed he pressed her, ~ until she cried again :
His strength it was sufficient ~ to cause her gruesome pain.
677. Then clutched she at the girdle ~ she wore about her waist.
And would have bound him with it ; ~ he stopped it with such haste
And force, that all her body ~ and joints cracked in the strife.
Thus ended was the battle, — ~ she now was Gunther’s wife.
678. She spake : “O noble sovran, ~ now let my life go free.
And all shall be atoned for ~ that I have done to thee.
Ne’er more I’ll do despite to ~ the love of thy true heart :
Right surely have I proved that ~ thou women’s master art.”
679. Sir Siegfried stepped aside then — ~ whilst there the maiden lay —
As though he had bethought him ~ his clothes to put away ;
But first, from off her finger ~ a golden ring he drew,
So that the noble maiden ~ naught of it ever knew.
680. He likewise took her girdle, — ~ a silken cord and good, —
I know not if he took it ~ in arrogance of mood.
Unto his wife he gave it, ~ whence woe he one day had.
Then lay each by the other ~ the king and his fair maid.
681. He wooed her as a lover, ~ as was his right to do.
And needs must she her anger ~ and eke her shame forego.
So closely did he court her ~ her cheeks grew somewhat pale :
Ah me ! How all her power ~ was made by love to fail !
682. For now she was no stronger ~ than any other dame,
“And all her lovely body ~ his very own became.
If she had tried to spurn him, ~ what profit could it prove ?
This was the work of Gunther ~ by virtue of his love.
683. How full of fond endearments ~ he by the lady lay,
In tender love and kindness ~ until the dawn of day !
Meanwhile, the noble Siegfried ~ had gone again outside.
And was right warmly welcomed ~ by his own winsome bride.
684. He put aside the questions ~ which did perplex her thought,
And long from her kept hidden ~ what he for her had brought ; —
Until, a queen and crownéd, ~ to his own land she went.
What he was doomed to give her ~ he nowise could prevent !
685. The host upon the morrow ~ was in a gayer mood
Than on the former morning ; ~ thereby a humor good
Spread through his lands, rejoicing ~ full many a noble thane
Whom to his house he summoned, ~ and well did entertain.
686. The merry-making lasted ~ until the fourteenth day.
And all the while the turmoil ~ did not abate nor stay
With all kinds of rejoicing, ~ which one and all must share.
’Twas all at the king’s charges, ~ and great in sooth they were.
687. For noble Gunther’s kinsmen, ~ as them the king had told,
Gave gifts to do him honor, ~ of raiment and red gold.
Of horses and of silver, ~ unto the outland men.
They who for gifts were eager ~ departed happy then.
688. And even the lord Siegfried ~ from out of Netherland,
With all his thousand lieges, ~ of that apparel grand
Which they had brought to Rhineland ~ to them did freely give ;
Fine horses, eke, and saddles : ~ right nobly could they live !
689. Ere all the costly presents ~ were shared among the throng,
Those who would fain go homeward ~ began to think it long.
Ne’er yet of like enjoyment ~ had guests so had their fill.
And so the wedding ended, ~ such was King Gunther’s will.

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690. Now that the guests departing ~ all on their way were sped,
Siegfried the son of Siegmund ~ unto his people said :
“We likewise must make ready ~ home to our land to go.”
Well liked his wife these tidings, ~ when she the news did know.
691. She spake unto her husband : ~ “When must we needs set out ?
That I should go thus quickly ~ I very much misdoubt ;
For firstly must my brothers ~ with me the kingdom share.”
’Twas irksome unto Siegfried ~ from Kriemhild this to hear.
692. The princes went unto him and ~ spake to him, all three :
“Now be assured. Sir Siegfried, ~ that yours shall ever be
Our true and faithful service, ~ ay, even unto death !”
He bowed unto the princes ~ who pledged him thus their faith.
693. “We would with you share also,” ~ said Giselher the young,
“The lands and eke the castles ~ which unto us belong.
Whatever of this wide kingdom ~ be subject to our rule.
Together with Kriemhilda, ~ that shall ye share in full.”
694. Thereon the son of Siegmund ~ said to the princes three,
As soon as of these nobles ~ the goodwill he did see :
“Your heritage, God grant it ~ for ever blesséd be,
And eke the folk within it ! ~ But, for my dear wife, she
695. “Gladly foregoes the portion ~ that ye to her would give.
A crown she’ll soon be wearing, ~ and, if we both should live,
She’ll be, in sooth, far richer ~ than any living bride.
In aught else at your service ~ I’ll loyally abide.”
696. Then spake the lady Kriemhild : ~ “Though naught my land ye deem,
Burgundian thanes should never ~ stand in such small esteem !
To lead them to his country ~ right glad a king might be.
Ay ! Let my own dear brothers ~ e’en share in all with me.”
697. Then spake the noble Gernot : ~ “Take whom thou hast a mind ;
Of those who would ride with thee, ~ thou here wilt plenty find I
Of thirty hundred warriors ~ a thousand we’ll give thee
To be thine own attendants.” ~ Then Kriemhild speedily
698. For Hagen sent, of Tronjè, ~ and likewise for Ortwein :
“Will ye and eke your kinsmen,” ~ she asked, “be men of mine ?”
But Hagen, when he heard it, ~ cried in a mood of wrath :
“Nay, Gunther may not give us ~ to anyone on earth !
699. “Let others of your household ~ attend you on your way,
Well might ye know by this time ~ the customs of Tronjè
Upon the king attending ~ at court we choose to stay, —
Whom we thus far have followed, ~ we still would serve alway.”
700. ’Twas therefore so decided : ~ to start they did prepare.
As noble court-attendants ~ Dame Kriemhild took with her
Of maidens two-and-thirty, ~ besides five hundred men.
Sir Eckewart, the Margrave, ~ went with Kriemhilda then.
701. Then was a great leave-taking, ~ of squire as well as knight,
Of maiden and of matron : ~ as was indeed but right.
Friend kissing friend at parting ~ was seen on every hand :
Right gaily they departed ~ from out King Gunther’s land.
702. Their kinsmen did escort them ~ far out upon the way.
And camping-grounds were fixed on, ~ where they the night should stay, —
Wherever seemed good to them ~ throughout the kings’ domain.
Swift messengers to Siegmund ~ the tidings bear amain
703. That he and Dame Sieglinda, ~ might straight be made aware
How that their son was coming, ~ with Utè’s daughter fair, —
The beauteous Kriemhilda, ~ of Worms on the Rhine-strand.
No dearer news and better ~ could e’er have come to hand.
704. “Ah, well for me,” quoth Siegmund, ~ “that I this day have known
When beauteous Kriemhilda ~ comes hither for a crown !
Mine heritage I reckon ~ thereby a worthier thing :
My son, the noble Siegfried, ~ shall here himself be king.”
705. Then gave the Lady Sieglind ~ much velvet of red hue,
And weighty gold and silver, ~ that was their herald’s due ;
So much the news rejoiced her ~ which she had heard that day.
With zeal her waiting-maidens ~ now donned their best array.
706. Folks talked of who was coming ~ with Siegfried to their land.
They bade men raise a platform, ~ with benches close at hand,
Wherefrom his friends might see him ~ as with his crown he rode.
King Siegmund’s men went forward ~ to meet him on the road.
707. If any better welcome ~ to heroes aye befell
Than in this land of Siegmund, ~ it is not mine to tell.
To meet the fair Kriemhilda ~ Sieglind herself did ride,
With many a lovely lady ~ and gallant knights beside.
708. After a whole day’s journey ~ at length the guests they spied.
Both native-born and strangers ~ did weary of the ride.
Before they reached a fortress, — ~ a castle large and strong, —
’Twas Xanten hight ; and therein ~ they wore their crowns erelong.
709. With smiling lips and loving, ~ Sieglind and Siegmund too
Greeted the fair Kriemhilda, ~ with kisses not a few ;
They did the like to Siegfried ; ~ now gone was all their pain.
Their followers did likewise ~ a hearty welcome gain.
710. They bade the guests be taken ~ in front of Siegmund’s hall.
And there the beauteous maidens ~ were holpen, one and all,
To dismount from their palfreys ; ~ and there was many a man
Who on these lovely women ~ to wait with zeal began.
711. How grand soe’er the wedding ~ had been upon the Rhine,
Here did they give the heroes ~ apparel far more fine
Than they, in all their lifetime, ~ had ever worn before.
One might tell mickle marvels ~ of all their wealth in store.
712. They sate in state and splendor, ~ and had of all enough.
What raiment wore their servants ~ of golden-colored stuff !
With broidered lace adorned, ~ and precious stones inwrought !
The noble Queen Sieglinda ~ of this had taken thought.
713. Before his friends and kinsmen ~ then noble Siegmund spake :
“I charge all Siegfried’s kinsfolk ~ notice hereby to take,
That he, before these warriors, ~ my crown henceforth shall wear.”
This news the Netherlanders ~ were glad in sooth to hear.
714. To him he gave his kingdom, ~ his crown, and government.
Henceforth he was their master. ~ And his arbitrament
And rendering of justice ~ became abiding law; —
So that fair Kriemhild’s husband ~ was greatly held in awe.
715. In this estate of honor, ~ he lived, as all declare,
And wore the crown and governed, — ~ until, in the tenth year,
His comely wife in safety ~ brought forth her first-born son ;
Whereat the royal kinsfolk ~ were gladdened everyone.
716. They hastened to baptize him, ~ and gave him for a name,
After his uncle, Gunther, ~ which could not bring him shame.
Were he but as his forbears, ~ a brave man he would grow.
They gave him careful training, ~ as bounden so to do.
717. About the self-same season ~ Dame Sieglind passed away.
Then noble Utè’s daughter ~ did over all hold sway, —
As doth beseem such ladies ~ who wealth and lands possess.
That Death the queen had taken ~ they mournéd none the less.
718. Now yonder too, in Rhineland, — ~ so doth the story run, —
Unto the wealthy Gunther ~ there had been born a son
Of beauteous Brunhilda, ~ in realm of Burgundy ;
And, for the love of Siegfried, ~ that hero’s name had he.
719. With what great care unceasing ~ that child was watched and taught !
For him the noble Gunther ~ caused teachers to be sought,
To rear him in all virtues ~ befitting man’s estate.
Alas ! How in his kinsfolk ~ he found an evil fate !
720. In legends old, the story ~ hath many a time been told,
Of how those gallant warriors ~ lived in the days of old ;
Worthy of praise, at all times, ~ in good King Siegmund’s land.
The like did also Gunther ~ and all his knightly band.
721. The kingdom of the Niblungs ~ was under Siegfried’s sway —
Among his wealthy kinsfolk ~ there was no wealthier aye —
And Schilbung’s warriors also, ~ and all their goods and gold.
Well might the gallant warrior ~ his head more highly hold.
722. The greatest of all treasures ~ that ever hero won,
Save they that erst-time held it, ~ the gallant knight did own ; —
Which once upon a mountain ~ he wrested by his might ;
He did to death to gain it ~ full many a doughty knight.
723. He had his fill of honor ; ~ and had it not been so,
In justice to the hero ~ one needs must own, I trow,
That he among the best was ~ that e’er on horseback sat ;
Men feared his strength of body ; ~ with reason did they that.

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724. Now Gunther’s wife the meanwhile ~ was brooding ev’ry day :
“Why bears herself Dame Kriemhild ~ in such a lofty way ?
Is not her husband Siegfried ~ a vassal of our own ?
Scant service hath he paid us ~ in all these years agone !”
725. Within her heart this kept she, ~ and heed took thereanent.
Yet that they came not ever ~ did make her ill-content,
And that she got no service ~ out of Sir Siegfried’s land ;
And wherefore this should happen ~ she fain would understand.
726. So of the king inquired she, ~ whether it might not be
That she the Lady Kriemhild ~ yet once again might see?
She privily spoke to him ~ of what her mind thus teased :
But when her lord had heard her, ~ he was but half well-pleased.
727. “And how are we to bring them,” ~ then said the mighty king,
“Here into this our country ? ~ That were no easy thing !
Too far from us they’re dwelling ; ~ to ask I am afraid.”
Then answered him Brunhilda, ~ with crafty air and said :
728. “However high and mighty ~ a king’s man be, I say
That he his lord’s commandments ~ should never dare gainsay.”
And to himself smiled Gunther ~ whilst she laid down the law :
He had no thought of service ~ whene’er he Siegfried saw.
729. She spake : “My lord belovéd, ~ I pray thee, for my sake,
Lend me thine aid ; that Siegfried ~ may with thy sister take
Their journey to this country, — ~ that here we them may see ; —
For nothing that could happen ~ would be more sweet to me.
730. “Thy sister’s gentle breeding ~ and well-contented mood,
Whene’er I think upon them, ~ in sooth, it doth me good.
How we did sit together, ~ when first I was thy wife !
Right well hath she deserved ~ bold Siegfried’s love and life.”
731. So long she thus besought him, ~ until the king did say :
“Be sure that guests more welcome ~ could ne’er be any day ;
’Tis easy to persuade me ! ~ And messengers of mine
I’ll send unto the couple, ~ to bring them to the Rhine.”
732. Then spake the queen yet further : ~ “Now also ye must say
When ye will send to fetch them, ~ and at what time we may
Look for our well-loved kinsfolk ~ to come unto our land :
And whom ye purpose sending ~ I fain would understand.”
733. “That will I do,” the king said : ~ ”Thirty of mine own men
Will I send riding thither.” ~ These did he summon then,
And by them sent his message ~ unto Prince Siegfried’s land.
Dame Brunhild to content them ~ gave much apparel grand.
734. Then said the king : “This message ~ ye’ll take, my warriors bold,
Wherewith I now entrust ye — ~ see that ye naught withhold —
Unto the mighty Siegfried ~ and to my sister dear :
That in this world doth no one ~ more kindness to them bear.
735. “And pray that both do shortly ~ come to us on the Rhine,
For which we’ll ever thank them, ~ I and this lady mine.
Before this next midsummer ~ he and his men shall see
Things done, which to his pleasure ~ and honor great shall be.
736. “And likewise to King Siegmund ~ my service take and say,
That I and all my people ~ be bound to him alway.
Say also to my sister, ~ that she must tarry not ;
More worthy entertainment ~ shall never be her lot.”
737. Brunhilda and Queen Utè, ~ and every dame at hand.
Sent messages of service ~ to all in Siegfried’s land ;
Unto the lovely women, ~ and many a man of worth. —
Then by the king’s good pleasure ~ the messengers set forth.
733. In travlling guise they journeyed ; ~ their steeds and wearing-gear
Were ready made beforehand ; ~ so from the land they fare.
They made good progress onward ~ to where their goal did lie,
The king came with an escort ~ to speed his embassy.
739. At end of three weeks’ riding ~ they came into the land
Wherein the Niblung stronghold, ~ where they were sent, did stand
On the Norwegian border ; ~ and there they found the thane.
Both steeds and men were weary ~ with their long journey’s pain.
740. Then was it unto Siegfried ~ and to Kriemhilda said
How knights had come on horseback ~ and so apparelléd
As in Burgundian country ~ the fashion was that day :
Straight from the couch up-sprang she ~ whereon she resting lay.
741. And quickly to a window ~ she bade a maiden go,
Who saw the gallant Gere ~ stand in the court below,
Him and the comrades with him, ~ who had been thither sent ;
Instead of all her heartache ~ how great was her content !
742. Unto the king then spake she : ~ “Now look ye down below,
How they with doughty Gere ~ about the courtyard go,
Whom my good brother Gunther ~ here down the Rhine hath sent !”
The stalwart Siegfried answered : ~ “We’ll make them well content.”
743. Then all the court attendants ~ did hasten out to greet.
And every one among them ~ did speak a welcome meet ;
They gave unto the envoys ~ the best words that they had.
The old King Siegmund likewise ~ was of their coming glad.
744. A lodging was appointed ~ for Gere and his men,
The horses too were cared for. ~ The messengers went then
Unto the hall where Siegfried ~ near to Kriemhilda sat.
At court free entry had they, ~ and therefore did they that.
745. The host rose with the hostess ~ and near to them did stand.
Right well was Gere welcomed ~ from the Burgundian land,
With all his knightly comrades, — ~ King Gunther’s men to wit.
The noble Gere bade they ~ upon the bench to sit.
746. “Before we sit allow us ~ to tell you of our news ;
Though weary with our journey, ~ to stand the while we choose.
We have to give a message ~ which unto you we bring
From Gunther and Brunhilda, — ~ and weighty is this thing.
747. “And likewise what Dame Utè, ~ your mother, sendeth you,
And Giselher the young knight, ~ and noble Gernot too.
And all your nearest kinsfolk, ~ from whom we have command
To offer you their greeting ~ from the Burgundian land.”
748. “Now God reward ye, heralds,” ~ cried Siegfried, “and I trust
Unto your truth and kindness, — ~ as towards friends we must, —
So likewise doth their sister ; — ~ and now your tidings give
If still our friends belovéd ~ at home in gladness live.
749. “Since we from them departed hath ~ no one evil done
Unto Kriemhilda’s kinsmen ? ~ Let that to me be known.
My faithful help is ready ~ in ev’ry time of need,
Until mine aid and service ~ their foes shall rue indeed!”
750. Then quoth the Margrave Gere, — ~ he was a warrior good :
“Right happily abide they ~ in all good livelihood ;
They bid you to the Rhineland, ~ to a high festival ;
Right gladly will they see you, ~ of that doubt not at all.
751. “They pray my lady also ~ that she will thither wend
So soon as e’er the winter ~ shall come unto its end.
Before this next midsummer ~ your faces would they see.”
Then spake the stalwart Siegfried : ~ “Nay, that can hardly be !”
752. But further spake Sir Gere, ~ from the Burgundian land :
“It is your mother Utè ~ who maketh this demand;
Eke Giselher and Gernot, ~ ye must not them gainsay :
That ye be so far distant ~ I hear complaints each day.
753. “Brunhilda, too, my mistress, ~ and all her maidens fair
Rejoice at this my errand ; ~ if likelihood there were
That they once more might see you, ~ happy would be their mood.”
Unto the fair Kriemhilda ~ this message seemed right good.
754. As Gere was her kinsman, ~ the host then bade him sit.
Wine for the guests he ordered ; ~ nor long they wanted it.
And thither, too, came Siegmund, ~ who had the heralds seen ;
To the Burgundian heroes ~ he spake with friendly mien :
755. “Be welcome, Gunther’s liegemen, ~ ye warriors, every one !
Since it hath happ’d that Siegfried ~ my son to wife hath won
Kriemhilda fair, more often ~ ye would we gladly see
In this our land, if truly ~ to us ye’ll friendly be.”
756. They said that if he wished it ~ they’d gladly come again.
And so in pleasure vanished ~ their weariness and pain.
The messengers were seated, ~ and food was brought them there :
For guests so welcome Siegfried ~ had plenty of good fare.
757. For nine days’ space and longer ~ to stay they were constrained.
Until, at last, the horsemen, ~ who would be gone, complained
That back into their country ~ they never more would ride.
Meanwhile his friends King Siegfried ~ had summoned to his side,
758. To ask them what they counselled : ~ would they go to the Rhine ?
“He hath sent here to fetch me, ~ Gunther, that friend of mine, —
He and his kinsfolk bid us ~ to keep festivity :
I’d gladly go there, save that ~ his land too far doth lie.
759. “They also bid Kriemhilda ~ to go along with me.
Now counsel me, dear kinsmen, ~ how thither come shall she ?
If I through thirty kingdoms ~ my men, for them, must lead,
Then Siegfried’s hand to serve them ~ must ready be indeed.”
760. Then spake his chiefs unto him : ~ “If you’ve a mind unto
The journey to this hightide, ~ we’ll counsel what to do :
Ye with a thousand warriors ~ unto the Rhine shall ride ;
So may ye with all honor ~ in Burgundy abide.”
761. Then spake the noble Siegmund, ~ of Netherland the lord ;
“Go ye unto this feasting, ~ and tell me not a word ?
If it will not ashame you ~ I’ll ride along with you ;
I’ll take a hundred swordsmen ~ to swell your retinue.”
762. “Wilt thou in sooth ride with us, ~ my own good father dear ?”
Exclaimed the gallant Siegfried : ~ “Right gladly that I hear.
Before twelve days are over ~ my fatherland I’ll leave.”
To all who did desire them ~ they steeds and raiment gave.
763. Now that the noble ruler ~ was minded soon to start,
The heralds swift were bidden ~ straight homewards to depart,
And unto his wife’s kinsmen ~ upon the Rhine to say,
That he would very gladly ~ with them keep holyday.
764. Both Siegfried and Kriemhilda, ~ as doth the story say,
More gifts gave to the heralds ~ than could be borne away
On their own horses homewards : ~ a wealthy man was he !
Their sturdy beasts of burden ~ they drove right merrily.
765. Their folk were clothed by Siegfried ~ and Siegmund worthily.
And Eckewart the margrave ~ gave orders speedily
To seek out women’s raiment, ~ the best that could be found,
Or anywhere be heard of ~ in Siegfried’s lands around.
766. The saddles and the bucklers ~ began they to prepare.
And to the knights and ladies ~ who should the journey share.
Was given whatever they wanted, ~ that they might fail in naught.
Unto his friends full many ~ a noble guest he brought.
767. The heralds did not loiter ~ upon the journey home.
And soon the gallant Gere ~ to Burgundy was come.
Where right well was he welcomed : ~ they then alighted all
From chargers and from palfreys ~ before King Gunther’s hall.
768. The youths went and the elders, ~ as men are wont to do.
To ask what might the news be. ~ Then spake the good knight true :
“When to the king I’e told it ~ the rest of you shall know.”
Then straightway with his comrades ~ did he to Gunther go.
769. The king, in joy to see them, ~ rose quickly from his chair.
That they had come so swiftly ~ also from Brunhild fair
Received they thanks, ~ while Gunther unto the envoys spake :
“How fares it now with Siegfried ? ~ Much wrought he for my sake.”
770. Then spake the gallant Gere : ~ “For joy his face grew red, —
Both his and your fair sister’s ; ~ and ne’er was message sped.
From any man of honor ~ unto his friends, more true
Than Siegfried and his father ~ by me have sent to you.”
771. Then thus unto the margrave ~ the noble king’s wife spake :
“Say, now, is Kriemhild coming? ~ And care doth she yet take
To keep the outward fairness, ~ which she to foster knew ?”
“Aye,” said the warrior Gere, ~ “doubtless she comes to you.”
772. Then Utè to her presence ~ the heralds did command.
And by her question might one ~ right plainly understand
What she to hear was longing : ~ “Still well did Kriemhild fare ?”
He told how he had found her, ~ and that she’d soon be there.
773. Nor from the court retainers ~ did they the gifts withhold
That they had had from Siegfried : ~ the raiment and the gold
In sight of all the liegemen ~ of the three kings were spread.
For their abundant largesse ~ were many thanks repaid.
774. “’Tis easy,” then said Hagen, ~ “for him such gifts to give :
He could not spend his riches ~ did he for ever live.
The treasure of the Niblungs ~ he holds within his hand.
Ha, what if it should ever ~ come to Burgundian land !”
775. Then was there great rejoicing ~ among the people all
That soon the guests were coming. ~ From dawn till evenfall
The three kings’ craftsmen labored, ~ with zeal untiring filled.
Grand rows of seats in plenty ~ they then began to build.
776. The valiant Sir Hunold ~ and Sindold too, the thane.
Had little time for leisure ; ~ they too must work amain,
As steward and cupbearer ~ the places they must set.
And Ortwein helped them : wherefore ~ they Gunther’s thanks did get.
777. Rumold the kitchenmaster, ~ knew well to rule aright
His underlings and scullions ! ~ Ay me ! It was a sight
To see the polished kettles ~ and pots and pans at hand !
For food must be made ready ~ when guests were in the land.

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778. Now in their stir and bustle ~ awhile we’ll let them be,
And tell how Dame Kriemhilda ~ and her fair company
Hence, on their journey Rhinewards, ~ from Niblung-land did go.
No horses of fine raiment ~ e’er bore so grand a show.
779. When many sumpter-coffers ~ were ready for the way.
Then with his friends Sir Siegfried ~ no longer did delay
To ride forth, with Queen Kriemhild, ~ wherein they looked for joy.
For all of them soon after it turned to sore annoy.
780. They left at home behind them ~ Sir Siegfried’s baby son.
The firstborn of Kriemhilda, — ~ not elsewise could be done.
From out of their state-journey ~ arose much woe and pain :
His father and his mother ~ that babe saw ne’er again.
781. Thence also did Lord Siegmund ~ together with them ride.
Had he but known what evil ~ thereafter would betide
At this same courtly banquet, ~ he ne’er had gone at all :
To him by loss of kindred ~ worse ill could ne’er befall.
782. Heralds were sent before them ~ the news betimes to say.
And soon rode out to meet them, ~ in lordliest array,
Many of Utès kinsfolk ~ and Gunther’s gallant men.
The host began to stir him ~ his guests to welcome then. .
783. He went unto Brunhilda ~ where seated was the dame :
“How did my sister greet you,” ~ quoth he, “when first ye came?
Even in the self-same fashion ~ ye Siegfried’s wife must greet.”
Said she : “That will I gladly ; ~ I love her, as is meet.”
784. Then spake the great king : “Early ~ tomorrow are they due.
If ye would fain receive them, ~ be quick in what ye do ;
Lest we have first to greet them ~ in this our citadel.
In all my days I have not ~ had guests I loved so well.”
785. Her maidens and her women ~ she therefore straightway bade
To go and seek fine raiment, ~ the best that could be had, —
Such as her own attendants ~ might wear her guests before.
This did they with much pleasure, ~ of that ye may be sure !
786. King Gunther’s men now hastened ~ to tender service due.
The host about his person ~ had all his warriors true.
The queen herself rode with him, ~ all gloriously arrayed ;
To these well-lovéd guests was ~ a royal welcome made.
787. With what unfeigned rejoicing ~ the guests by all were met !
’Twas said that Dame Brunhilda ~ did ne’er such greeting get
In the Burgundian kingdom ~ on the part of Dame Kriemhild.
They who had ne’er beheld her ~ with happiness were filled.
788. By this time was arrivéd ~ Sir Siegfried with his men.
One saw the heroes riding ~ forwards and back again
In all parts of the meadows, ~ a vast and shapeless host ;
None there could get away from ~ the thronging and the dust.
789. Now when the country’s ruler ~ did gallant Siegfried see,
Together with King Siegmund, ~ how courteously spake he :
“Ye are to me right welcome, ~ and unto every friend !
I trow your royal visit ~ in joy to us will end.”
790. “God prosper you !” quoth Siegmund, ~ that honor-loving man.
“Since my son Siegfried’s friendship ~ for you and yours began.
’Twas aye my hope and purpose ~ one day your face to see.”
King Gunther said : “I also ~ am glad that it should be.”
791. Then was Siegfried receivéd, ~ as well did him beseem.
With ev’ry fitting honor : ~ which none amiss did deem.
And Giselher and Gernot ~ did lend all courteous aid.
Methinks to no guests ever ~ were kindlier honors paid.
792. And now the two kings’ spouses ~ anigh each other came.
Empty was many a saddle, ~ as many a beauteous dame
Was by the hands of heroes ~ dismounted on the grass :
For those who loved fair women ~ no little work there was !
793. Then lovingly the ladies ~ unto each other went ;
And many a knight who saw it ~ was heartily content
That of these twain the greeting ~ so handsomely befell.
Then many a warrior saw one ~ stand by each damosel.
794. The throng of noble people ~ each other’s hands did take ;
Whilst men unto each other ~ their courtly bows did make,
The ladies fair were kissing ~ each other lovingly, —
Which Siegfried’s men and Gunther’s ~ right joyous were to see.
795. No longer did they linger, ~ but rode towards the town.
The host meanwhile had bidden ~ that every guest be shown
How truly he was welcome ~ to royal Burgundy.
Then many a match was tilted ~ for maidens fair to see.
796. And Hagen, too, from Tronjè, ~ and Ortewein also,
That they were men of power ~ did all they could to show;
And whatsoe’er they ordered ~ that durst no man gainsay.
Unto the guests so welcome ~ much service offered they.
797. The clang of shields resounded ~ before the castle-gate
From many a thrust and parry ; ~ and long thereby did wait
The host and guests together, ~ ere within doors they came ;
Ay, and the hours sped quickly ~ with many a merry game.
798. Before the stately palace ~ all joyously they rode ;
And many fine-wrought housings, ~ of handsome stuff and mode.
Were seen upon the saddles ~ of many a well-dight dame,
On either side low-hanging. ~ Then Gunther’s chieftains came,
799. The guests unto their chambers ~ were taken presently.
One saw how Lady Brunhild ~ at times would cast her eye
Toward the Lady Klriemhild, ~ who verily was fair.
Her color in bright beauty ~ might well with gold compare.
800. At Worms was heard the turmoil, ~ on all sides of the town,
Of these incoming strangers. ~ King Gunther made it known
Unto his marshal, Dankwart, ~ that he for these must care ;
So did he for the people ~ good lodging-room prepare.
801. Both out of doors and indoors ~ they e’en might feast their fill.
Ay ! Ne’er before were strangers ~ welcomed with more goodwill.
Whatever they desiréd ~ was ready at their side :
So wealthy was King Gunther ~ to none was aught denied.
802. Served were they in all friendship ~ and banished was all hate ;
The host himself at table ~ with all the guest-folk sate.
Siegfried must now his seat take ~ where he afore had done ;
There went to table with him ~ full many a worthy one.
803. Twelve hundred gallant warriors ~ were round the table seen
Sitting with him and feasting. ~ Then thought Brunhild the queen,
That ne’er a sovran ruler ~ could ever have more wealth.
Still leaned she so towards him ~ she could but wish him health.
804. And verily that evening, ~ while the king sat there yet.
Right many a costly garment ~ was by the wine made wet,
As the cup-bearers quickly ~ around the table went.
The servants there were many, ~ and all right diligent.
805. As long had been the custom ~ when festival was made,
Unto the maids and matrons ~ a fair good-night they bade.
To whomsoever came there ~ the host a welcome gave.
In kindliness and honor ~ they all enough could have.
806. As soon as night was ended ~ and the next daylight shone,
The packing-chests were opened, ~ and many a precious stone
Shone bright on goodly raiment, ~ by lady’s hand shown forth.
Then was to sight unfolded ~ full many a robe of worth.
807. Ere yet it was broad daylight ~ the knights and squires came out
Before the hall in numbers ; ~ again began the rout
Or ever early mass had ~ before the king been sung.
Then thanks for featly riding ~ he gave the heroes young.
808. Soon shrill and loud resounded ~ full many a trumpet-blast
From drums and pipes together ~ there was a noise so vast,
That Worms, the great, wide city, ~ loud echoed to the call.
Upon their chargers mounted ~ the haughty heroes all.
809. Throughout the land began then ~ a mighty tournament.
Where many a good knight tilted ; ~ and thereto many went,
Whose youthful hearts and eager ~ beat high in gallant mood ;
Behind their shields one saw them, ~ gay warriors and good.
810. And at their windows seated ~ looked down the stately dames
And beauteous, well-dight maidens, ~ intent to watch the games,
And see the merry jousting ~ of the bold knights below.
The host amongst his lieges ~ himself would riding go.
811. Thus were the hours beguiléd, ~ and none did deem them long,
Until the minster-belfry ~ did call to evensong.
Then were brought round the palfreys ; ~ the dames to ride began ;
The noble queens were followed ~ by many a gallant man.
812. Alighting at the minster, ~ they stood down on the grass.
Unto her guests Brunhilda ~ so far right friendly was.
Into the wide cathedral, ~ wearing their crowns of state.
They went : ere long love changéd ~ to jealousy and hate.
813. When they to mass had listened ~ they left the church, and so
Rode off with many honors. ~ One saw them later go
All gaily to the banquet. ~ Their pleasure knew no stay,
And all was merrymaking ~ until the eleventh day.

{ 14 }
814. Before the hour of vespers ~ one day the tumult loud
Was heard, of many warriors, ~ who in the court did crowd.
Their knightly feats they practiced ~ to pass the time away :
And many a man and woman ~ ran up to watch the play.
815. The noble queens were seated ~ together, side by side.
They thought of two bold warriors, ~ renownéd far and wide.
Then said the fair Kriemhilda : ~ “I have indeed a lord
Who rightly is the ruler ~ of all this kingdom broad.”
816. Then cried the Lady Brunhild : ~ “Howe’er could such thing be,
Unless there were none living ~ but only thou and he ?
Beneath his rule the kingdom ~ might fall in such a case :
So long as Gunther liveth, ~ it could not come to pass.”
817. But then again said Kriemhild : ~ “There stands he ; dost thou see
How he before the warriors ~ doth walk right royally ?
Just as the moon all brightly ~ above the stars doth shine !
Good cause have I for wearing ~ this happy mood of mine.”
818. Then Lady Brunhild answered : ~ “Comely as is thy lord,
And gallant too and handsome, ~ thou must the meed award
Unto thy brother Gunther, ~ the noble warrior :
Who, be it known, is truly ~ all other kings before.”
819. But yet again said Kriemhild : ~ “Mine is a man so rare.
That not without good reason ~ his praises I declare.
By many deeds great honor ~ he hath won, far and near ;
Thou wilt allow, Brunhilda, ~ he well is Gunther’s peer.”
820. “I pray thee now, Kriemhilda, ~ take it not ill of me,
I, too, have grounds for saying ~ what I have said to thee :
I heard them both allow it, ~ when them I first looked on.
And, as he would, against me ~ the king my wager won, —
821. What time my love he gainéd ~ in such a knightly siege,
Siegfried himself confessed it, ~ that he was Gunther’s liege.
Therefore I hold him vassal, ~ I heard him that allow.”
Then spake the fair Kriemhilda : ~ “For me ’twere ill enow !
822. “How could my noble brother ~ have hanselled so for me
That of a mere retainer ~ the good-wife I should be ?
I do beseech thee, Brunhild, ~ in all true friendliness.
Oblige me of your kindness ~ and let these cavils cease.”
823. Thereon the king’s wife answered ; ~ “I will not let it be !
Why should I yield my claim to ~ so many a good knight’s fee,
Who, like the thane, thy husband, ~ doth suit and service owe ?”
At this the beauteous Kriemhild ~ began with wrath to glow.
824. “The thought thou must abandon, ~ that he to thee did e’er
Owe any kind of service ; ~ he is far worthier
Than is my brother Gunther, — ~ right noble though he be.
Withdraw me now this saying ~ that I have heard from thee !
825. “I cannot choose but wonder, ~ since he thy vassal is.
And thou o’er our two persons ~ hast mastery like this.
That he his dues unto you ~ hath set so long aside !
With right do I demur to ~ thine overweening pride.”
826. “Thou ratest thyself too highly !” ~ the king’s wife answered then,
“Now will I gladly prove me ~ whether thou hast of men
As much respect and honor ~ as they accord to me !”
By this time both the ladies ~ were wrathful as could be.
827. Then cried the Lady Kriemhild : ~ “This must at once be seen !
If that my lord’s thy vassal, ~ as thou hast sworn, O queen.
Today must I the liegemen ~ of both the kings let know
Whether before the king’s wife ~ to church I dare to go.
828. “This very day I’ll show thee ~ that I am fealty-free.
And that my man’s more worthy ~ than ever thine will be !
And I myself, moreover, ~ will not be slighted so :
Thou shalt today be witness ~ how I, thy vassal, go
829. To court before the warriors ~ of royal Burgundy.
I’ll prove myself more worthy ~ than e’er was known to be
Any princess whatever ~ who here hath worn the crown !”
Thus hate enough and envy ~ betwixt the dames was sown.
830. “Dost thou deny,” cried Brunhild, ~ “that thou our vassal art ?
So must thou with thy women ~ keep from my train apart,
When I and my attendants ~ unto the minster go.”
To that Kriemhilda answered : ~ “In truth, it shall be so !”
831. “Now robe yourselves, my maidens,” ~ commanded Siegfried’s wife.
“For we no shame must suffer ~ whilst here we live our life ;
That ye have rich apparel ~ ye must let all folk see.
She shall repent at leisure ~ what she hath said to me !”
832. There was small need to urge them : ~ they sought their richest gear,
And many a dame and maiden ~ right well-dight did appear.
When came with her attendants ~ the noble Gunther’s dame,
Clad as her heart desired ~ the fair Kriemhilda came.
833. With three and forty maidens, ~ whom she to Rhine had brought,
Who wore fine-woven silk stuffs ~ in Araby y-wrought.
So came unto the minster ~ the comely maidens all :
They found all Siegfried’s liegemen ~ waiting before the hall.
834. The people fell to marvel ~ how it had come about
That these two royal ladies ~ had plainly fallen out.
And went no more together, ~ as erewhile they were fain.
Therefrom befell hereafter ~ sore woe to many a thane.
835. King Gunther’s wife stood waiting ~ before the minster door ;
The while much pleasant pastime ~ had many a warrior
With the fair waiting-women, ~ whom she with her did bring ;
Then came the noble Kriemhild ~ with her brave following.
836. Such costume as the daughters ~ of noble knights might wear,
Compared with what her maids wore ~ was common as the air ;
In gear she was so wealthy, ~ that thirty queens had shown
No such display of raiment ~ as this fair queen alone,
837. Had anyone been wishful ~ he never could have said
That any richer clothing ~ had e’er been worn of maid
Than on that day adorned ~ her noble company :
Except to vex Brunhilda, ~ Kriemhild had let it be.
838. The two queens came together ~ before the minster wide,
And thereupon the hostess, ~ by hatred moved and pride,
With evil voice and gesture ~ Kriemhilda bade to stay :
“Before the queen a vassal ~ shall ne’er take right of way !”
839. Then spake the fair Kriemhilda : ~ (and wrathful was her mood)
“Couldst thou but have been silent, ~ for thee it had been good !
Thou hast disgraced thy beauty and ~ stained thy purity :
How should a shameless wanton ~ a king’s wife ever be ?”
840. “Whom art thou calling ‘Wanton’ ?” ~ in answer cried the queen.
“That call I thee,” quoth Kriemhild’; ~ “Thy body fair hath been
Wooed first, not by thy husband, ~ but by my lord, Siegfried :
I trow ’twas not my brother ~ who won thy maidenhead !
841. “Where hadst thou left thy senses? ~ It was a trick of his.
Why didst thou let him woo thee, ~ who but thy liegeman is ?
I hear thee,” said Kriemhilda, ~ “without all reason scold.”
“Now this, in truth,” cried Brunhild, ~ “shall be to Gunther told !”
842. “And why should that annoy me ? ~ Thy pride hath thee betrayed :
To cite me to thy service ~ by word thou hast essayed.
This know how, of a surety ~ I grieve that it be so :
All confidence is over ~ for aye betwixt us two.”
843. Brunhilda wept, but Kriemhild ~ no longer tarried there ;
Before the king’s wife passing, ~ with all her maidens fair,
She went into the minster : ~ such hate did this beget
That many bright eyes later ~ were sore bedimmed and wet.
844. How much soe’er they worshipped, ~ by service and by song,
Unto the Queen Brunhilda ~ the time seemed all too long :
So full she was of trouble, ~ in body and in mood.
For which hereafter suffered ~ bold warriors and good.
845. Brunhilda with her women ~ stayed by the minster door ;
She thought: “Now must Kriemhilda, ~ let me hear something more
Of what she railed so loudly, — ~ the scolding, sharp-tongued wife !
If Siegfried hath been boasting, ~ ’twill stand him in his life.”
846. Forth came the noble Kriemhild, ~ with many gallant men.
Dame Brunhild called unto her : ~ “Now stand ye still again, —
Ye said I was a wanton, ~ that shall ye prove to me :
That word of yours, be certain, ~ hath stung me bitterly !”
847. Thereto said dame Kriemhilda : ~ “’Twere best to let me fare !
By this gold ring I’ll prove it, ~ which on my hand I wear ;
’Twas brought to me by Siegfried ~ when by your side he lay.” .
Ne’er yet had Queen Brunhilda ~ outlived a sadder day.
848. She spake : “This golden jewel ~ was from me stol’n away,
And hath from me most wrongly ~ been hidden many a day.
I now at last discover ~ who stole my ring from me !”
By this time were both ladies ~ in direst enmity.
849. Yet spake Kriemhilda further : ~ “I will not pass for thief !
Thou mightst have kept thy counsel, ~ to thee were honor lief.
This girdle be my witness, ~ that round my waist I wear,
That I am not a liar. ~ Ay ! Siegfried was thy dear.”
850. The girdle she was wearing ~ was silk from Nineveh,
With precious stones for fastening, ~ right good it was to see. -
When dame Brunhild beheld it ~ to weeping she did fall :
It must be told to Gunther ~ and to his lieges all.
851. Then spake the queen in answer: ~ “Go hence, and bring to me
The sovran-prince of Rhineland, ~ and from my lips shall he
Hear how his sister flouts me, ~ and slandereth my life,
By openly declaring ~ I have been Siegfried’s wife !”
852. The king came with his warriors ; ~ and when the weeping eyes
He saw of his beloved one, ~ he spake, in kindly wise :
“Now tell me, dearest lady, ~ who hath done aught to thee ?”
Unto the king she answered : ~ “Aye joyless must I be !
853. “Kriemhilda of mine honor ~ would like to cozen me ;
And, seeing she’s thy sister, ~ I make complaint to thee.
She swears I’ve played the wanton ~ with her own man, Siegfried.”
Then answered the King Gunther : ~ “She doth an evil deed !”
854. “She weareth here my girdle, ~ which I so long have lost,
My ring of red gold likewise. ~ To me ’tis bittermost
That e’er my mother bore me. ~ An’ thou wilt not disprove,
O king, this grievous scandal, ~ no longer thee I’ll love.”
855. Then up and spake King Gunthar : ~ “Siegfried shall now appear ;
If he hath played the braggart, ~ he shall the truth declare.
Or else deny the slander, — ~ this knight of Netherland !”
Then did Kriemhilda’s husband ~ right soon before them stand.
856. As soon as he had looked on ~ these dames discomfited,
(Naught knowing of the matter) ~ the noble Siegfried said :
“Why are these ladies weeping ? ~ That am I fain to hear.
And wherefore I am bidden ~ before the King to appear ?”
857. Then spake to him King Gunther : ~ “Right sorrowful am I ;
To me my wife Brunhilda ~ hath told a history
That thou thyself hast boasted ~ her first love to have won :
Thy wife, Kriemhild, declareth ~ that thou, thane, this hast done.”
858. Then spake the noble Siegfried : ~ “And if she so hath said,
Before I rest I’ll see that ~ for this she be repaid !
In face of all your lieges ~ I’m ready to aver
By oath of mine most solemn, ~ I never told it her !”
859. Then spake the King of Rhineland: ~ “Give proof of that must thou !
The oath which thou dost offer, ~ if thou canst take it now,
From ev’ry untrue dealing ~ I’ll hold thee clear and free.”
Then in a ring around him ~ stood they of Burgundy.
860. His hand the gallant Siegfried ~ outstretched the oath to take.
Then spake the mighty sovran : ~ “So certain do I make
Of thy great innocency, ~ that I will thee acquit :
Sure what my sister charges ~ thou never didst commit.”
861. Yet once again spake Siegfried : ~ “And if she joy doth find
In that she hath so troubled ~ Brunhilda’s peace of mind,
My sorrow, of a surety, ~ too deep were to be told.”
Then looked at one another ~ these ready knights and bold.
862. “So should one train one’s women,” ~ the hero Siegfried said,
“That suchlike haughty speeches ~ should aye be left unsaid :
Unto thy wife forbid them, ~ to mine I’ll do the same ;
Such ill-advised behavior ~ doth fill my heart with shame.”
863. By this dispute were many ~ fair women kept apart.
Brunhilda still the matter ~ so sorely took to heart
That needs must Gunther’s warriors ~ feel pity for the dame.
Then Hagen, knight of Tronjè, ~ unto his lady came.
864. He bade her say what ailed her, ~ finding her weeping sore.
Then told she him the story, ~ and unto her he swore
That either Kriemhild’s husband ~ must for the lie repent
Or he himself thereafter ~ would never live content.
865. Ortwein and also Gernot, ~ in council joined the twain ;
And there the heroes plotted ~ how Siegfried should be slain.
And Giselher came likewise, ~ the noble Utè’s son ;
When he had heard their saying, ~ he spake, — the faithful one :
866. “Alack ! Ye gallant warriors, ~ now wherefore do ye that?
I trow that never Siegfried ~ deservéd suchlike hate.
That he, by reason of it, ~ should need to lose his life :
Ay, very trifles are they ~ that make an angry wife !”
867. “Are we to harbor cuckoos ?” ~ cried Hagen, answering :
“To gallant knights as we are ~ scant honor that would bring !
That he of my dear lady ~ hath bragged so scurvily
His life shall make atonement ; ~ or I myself will die.”
868. The king himself spake, saying : ~ “Naught hath he to us done
Save what is good and worthy ; ~ so let his life alone.
What matter though the warrior ~ were hateful now to me ?
He hath been ever faithful ~ and that right willingly.”
869. Then spake the warrior Ortwein, ~ who came from Metz, and said :
“His great strength, of a surety, ~ shall give him little aid.
If now my lord allow me, ~ short shrift of him I’ll make.”
Thus, without cause, the heroes ~ the part of foes did take.
870. But none went any further, ~ save Hagen, who for aye.
Was pressing upon Gunther ~ this counsel day by day :
That, if King Siegfried lived not, ~ to him would subject be
The broad lands that he governed ; — ~ the king heard ruefully.
871. They let the matter rest ; then to ~ jousting did they take.
Ha ! Many a sturdy lance-shaft ~ for Siegfried’s wife they brake
In shadow of the minster, ~ up to the royal hall !
Yet were some men of Gunther’s ~ but ill-content withal.
872. The king spake : “Lay aside now ~ this murd’rous hate and scorn ;
Unto our weal and honor ~ he verily was born.
So fierce his strength is also, ~ this marvellous-bold knight,
Had he of this an inkling, ~ none durst withstand his might.”
873. “He’ll never know,” quoth Hagen, ~ “thou may’st in peace abide !
I trow that I in secret ~ can let it so betide
That for Brunhilda’s weeping ~ sore reckoning he shall pay.
Yea, verily is Hagen ~ his enemy for aye.”
874. Then spake the royal Gunther: ~ “And how may that be done?”
And Hagen said in answer : ~ “That will I now make known.
Well bid two unknown envoys ~ to ride as from afar
Unto our land, ’fore all men ~ to challenge us to war.
875. “Then thou, before the guests, wilt ~ declare that thou must go
To battle, with thy liegemen ; ~ and when he that doth know
He’ll offer you his service : ~ so shall he lose his life.
I’ll seek to learn his secret ~ from the bold warrior’s wife.”
876. Unto his vassal Gunther ~ in evil hour gave ear.
With treason foul to tamper, ~ ere any grew aware.
Began those chosen warriors ~ of chivalry the boast.
By wrangling of two women ~ was many a hero lost.

{ 15 }
877. Upon the fourth day morning ~ came two and thirty men
Unto the king’s court riding ; ~ and word was carried then
To Gunther, the most mighty, ~ that he was called to war.
The lie cost many a woman ~ much grief and sorrow sore.
878. When leave to them was granted, ~ before the king they went,
And said that they were under ~ King Lud’ger’s government, —
Who vanquished was aforetime ~ by doughty Siegfried’s hand.
And brought by him a captive ~ unto King Gunther’s land.
879. Then greeted he the heralds, ~ and bade them seated be.
But one among them prayed him : ~ “Sire, let us stand, till we
Our message have delivered ~ and errand duly done :
Know then that thou art hated ~ by many a mother’s son !
880. “King Ludegast and Lud’ger, ~ do challenge you to war,
Of whom ye were aforetime ~ the bloody conqueror :
They’re coming with their armies, ~ to ride thy country through.”
At this the king feigned anger, ~ as if to him ’twere new.
881. They took these counterfeiters ~ to hostel presently.
How then could Siegfried ware be ~ of any treachery, —
Could he or any other ~ suspect they played a part ?
Unto themselves hereafter ~ befell the pain and smart.
882. The king with his advisers ~ were whispering without cease;
Nor would Hagen of Tronjè ~ e’er let him be at peace.
Though many a lord would gladly ~ have given up the plot,
Yet Hagen from his counsel ~ would never swerve a jot
883. One day it chanced that Siegfried ~ came on this scheming band ; —
And straight began to ask them ~ the Lord of Netherland :
“Why goes the king so sadly, ~ thus brooding with his men ?
Hath any done him mischief, ~ I’ll help avenge it then.”
884. Then up and spake King Gunther : ~ “Cause have I sad to be !
For Ludegast and Lud’ger ~ have straightly challenged me ;
The eyes of all shall see them ~ here riding in my land.”
Then cried the gallant hero : ~ “Right soon shall Siegfried’s hand,
885. “As doth beseem your honor, ~ this business undertake
To break these warriors’ power, ~ as it erewhile I brake :
Their strongholds shall be ruined, ~ their land be ravagéd,
Ere I with them have ended : ~ thereon I stake my head !
886. Ye may with all your warriors ~ at home stay quietly,
And let me ride to battle ~ with those who came with me.
That willingly I serve you, ~ ye very soon shall know :
Your foes by me shall suffer ~ as ne’er before, I trow.”
887. “This is to me good hearing,” ~ the king in answer said, —
As if he were in earnest well-pleased ~ to have his aid.
Before the knight low bowed he, — ~ the false and faithless knave !
Then said the noble Siegfried : ~ “No care ye need to have !”
888. With their esquires and liegemen ~ they planned the journey then :
’Twas done for the deceiving ~ of Siegfried and his men.
He bade them all be ready, ~ his men of Netherland :
And soon had Siegfried’s warriors ~ their fighting gear at hand.
889. Then spake the gallant Siegfried : ~ “My father Siegmund, pray
Remain thou here behind us ; ~ we shall not long delay ;
If so be that God speed us, ~ we’ll come back to the Rhine.
So with the king abiding ~ shall happy days be thine !”
890. The banner they unfurléd, ~ as though they fain would start.
Of Gunther’s liegemen present ~ there were a goodly part
Who naught knew of the message, ~ nor what it all did mean :
A mighty throng of people ~ round Siegfried there was seen.
891. Their helmets and their breastplates ~ on horses they did stow :
And many a stout knight hastened ~ to leave the land and go.
Then went Hagen of Tronjè ~ to where Kriemhild did stand.
And prayed for leave of absence, ~ since they would quit the land.
892. “Thrice happy I,” cried Kriemhild, ~ “that I have got for lord
One who to my dear kinsmen ~ such succor can accord,
As doth my dear lord Siegfried ~ unto my kindred here.
Therefore,” the queen said, “will I ~ be now of right good cheer.
893. “But ye, my good friend Hagen, ~ one thing remember still ;
That I would gladly serve you, ~ nor e’er have done you ill ;
For this ye can requite me ~ to my dear lord one day :
If I’ve done aught to Brunhild ~ for that he must not pay !
894. “For since then I have rued it,” ~ the noble lady said ;
“He therefore hath my body ~ most sorely punishéd.
If I did ever utter aught ~ to enrage her mood,
Right well hath he avenged her, ~ the hero bold and good.”
895. “You yet shall be forgiven, ~ in days to come,” quoth he;
“Kriemhilda, my dear lady, ~ now must ye tell to me
How through your husband Siegfried ~ to serve you I may try ;
I’ll gladly do it, lady ; ~ to none more willingly.”
896. “I should have no misgivings,” ~ replied the noble wife,
“Lest any one in battle ~ should jeopardize his life ;
If he were not so reckless ~ and over-rash of mood
He aye might be in safety, ~ my gallant thane and good.”
897. Thereon said Hagen, “Lady, ~ if ye have any fear
Lest any one should wound him, ~ ’twere best to let me hear
The arts that I must practice ~ if any ill betide ;
For I will ever guard him, ~ whether I walk or ride.”
898. She spake : “Thou art my kinsman, ~ as I, in sooth, am thine ;
Therefore to thee I’ll trust him, ~ this darling love of mine.
That thou mayst guard him for me, — ~ this husband of my own.”
Then told she him the story ~ ’twere well he had not known.
899. She spake : “Bold is my husband ~ and strong enough thereto.
When he upon the mountain ~ erstwhile the dragon slew.
In the brute’s blood he bathed him, ~ the goodly warrior.
And since that day, in battle, ~ no steel can cut him more.
900. “Yet, no less am I anxious ~ when he in fight doth stand
And javelins fly around him ~ from many a hero’s hand,
Lest by mischance I lose him, ~ and mourn my husband dear,
Alas, what sorrow have I ~ for Siegfried’s sake to bear !
901. “I’ll tell it as a favor, ~ my dearest friend, to thee, —
In faith that thou maintainest ~ the pledge thou gav’st to me, —
Where, only, may be wounded ~ this husband dear of mine,
I’ll let thee hear, confiding ~ unto no ear but thine.
902. “When from the dragon’s death-wounds ~ came pouring the hot blood
And therein he was bathing ~ himself, the warrior good, —
There fell between his shoulders ~ a large-sized linden-leaf :
On that spot one may wound him ; ~ ’tis this doth cause my grief.”
903. Then spake Hagen of Tronjè : ~ “Upon his garment sew
A little token for me, ~ that I the spot may know
Where I have got to shield him, ~ when we stand in the strife.”
She thought to save the hero : ~ by this he lost his life.
904. She spake : “With fine silk will I ~ upon his garment sew
A little cross unnoticed, ~ that so thy hand may know,
O hero, where to guard him, ~ when into fight he goes,
And in the stress of battle ~ he stands before his foes.”
905. “That will I do,” quoth Hagen, ~ “my lady dear.” Whereon
The lady thought some vantage ~ she for her lord had won :
And yet Kriemhilda’s husband ~ was by this means betrayed.
His leave then took Sir Hagen, ~ and went away right glad.
906. The king’s men and retainers ~ were all of cheerful mood.
And yet, I ween, no warrior ~ within his breast e’er could
Hide heart so false and perjured, ~ as he in his did hide
Upon whose faith and promise ~ Kriemhild the queen relied.
907. Upon the next day morning ~ with his own thousand men
Rode forth the gallant Siegfried : ~ and joyful was he then.
He thought he would take vengeance ~ for his friend’s injury.
To him rode Hagen closely ~ that he his coat might eye.
908. When he espied the token, ~ two of his following
He sent away in secret ~ another tale to bring :
How peace should not be broken ~ towards King Gunther’s land, —
They had but come as envoys ~ by Ludeger’s command.
909. How loath turned Siegfried homewards ; ~ he rode unwillingly,
Sad that his friend’s annoyance ~ thus unavenged should be !
Hardly could Gunther’s warriors ~ bring him to turn his ranks.
Unto the king straight rode he : ~ his host began his thanks.
910. “Now God reward thy goodwill, ~ my noble friend Siegfried !
That thou didst go so gladly ~ to help me in my need,
I aye shall be thy debtor, ~ as I of right should be.
Beyond all friends and kinsmen ~ I build my faith on thee.
911. “Now that this expedition ~ will trouble us no more,
I fain would go a-hunting ~ the wild bear and the boar
At Waskenwalde, yonder, ~ as I so oft have done.”
This was the plan of Hagen, ~ the false and faithless one.
912. “To all guests in my palace ~ due notice shall there be
That I will ride forth early : ~ those who would hunt with me
Must hold themselves all ready ; ~ those who would rather stay
To loiter with the ladies ~ have my good leave alway.”
913. Then spake the stalwart Siegfried, ~ with noble courtliness :
“If ye will ride a-hunting, ~ I’ll gladly do no less.
A huntsman ye must lend me, ~ and sundry hounds also,
Then gladly to the forest ~ along with you I’ll go.”
914. “And dost thou want one only ?” ~ the king said thereupon,
“I’ll lend thee, if it please thee, ~ four men to whom are known
The forest and the coverts ~ the quarry most frequent ;
So that the tryst in seeking ~ thy time be not misspent.”
915. Home to his wife then rode he, ~ the goodly warrior bold,
And quickly faithless Hagen ~ unto the king had told
How he could get the vantage ~ of the brave thane : ’twere shame
Such treason foul should ever ~ disgrace a noble name.

{ 16 }
916. King Gunther now and Hagen, ~ those knights exceeding bold,
Had treacherously plotted ~ a woodland hunt to hold.
With lances sharp pursuing ~ the boar in forest free.
The wild bull and the bear too : ~ what bolder sport could be ?
917. With them rode Siegfried also, ~ in honorable mind.
They carried food, too, with them, ~ and that in divers kind.
Hard by a cool spring was he ~ foredoomed to lose his life.
And this was by the counsel ~ of Brunhild, Gunther’s wife.
918. First went the bold thane thither ~ where he Kriemhilda found,
Already on pack-horses ~ his hunting-gear was bound.
And that of his companions : ~ to cross the Rhine they meant,
Kriemhilda ne’er before had ~ such reason to lament.
919. And then his own belovéd ~ he on the mouth did kiss :
“God grant that I may find thee, ~ my wife, safe, after this ;
And that thine eyes may see me ! ~ With good fiiends, till I come
Beguile the time of waiting, ~ I may not bide at home.”
920. Now thought she of the secret ~ she had to Hagen told : —
She did not dare to own it, — ~ nor longer could withhold
The noble queen lamenting ~ that she had e’er been born !
For thus with grief unmeasured ~ did Siegfried’s fair wife mourn.
921. She spake unto the warrior : ~ “Ah, let your hunting be !
Last night I had an ill dream : ~ two wild boars I did see
That chased you o’er the moorland : ~ the flowers grew red as blood.
If I do weep thus sorely, ~ ’tis that I bode no good.
922. “I have a sore misgiving ~ that there may be some plot :
Whether some grudge be owed us ~ for service rendered not.
Which may be bringing on us ~ dire hate and enmity ?
Go not, dear lord, I beg thee ~ in truth and honesty.”
923. “My love, in but a few days ~ again I shall be here.
Nor know I of these people ~ one who ill-will doth bear ;
To me at all times friendly ~ are all thy kith and kin :
Nor by these warriors elsewise ~ entreated have I been.”
924. “Nay, nay, my dear lord Siegfried, ~ I bode thy fate too well :
Last night my evil dreaming ~ told how upon thee fell
Two mountains in the valley ; ~ I saw thee never more.
If thou wilt thus forsake me, ~ ’twill wound me to the core.”
925. His wife so good and loving ~ he in his arms did press.
And cherished her fair body ~ with kisses numberless ;
Then took his last leave of her, ~ and tore himself away ;
Alas, no more she saw him alive ~ after that day !
926. Now rode they forth and came to ~ a deep and shady wood.
For sake of sport, and many ~ a warrior bold and good
Did follow after Gunther ~ and with his sportsmen roam.
But Giselher and Gernot, ~ they two remained at home.
927. And many horses, laden ~ with stores of bread and wine
Provided for the huntsmen, ~ went forward o’er the Rhine ;
Both fish and flesh they carry, ~ and many another cate
Such as a king so wealthy ~ might duly have to eat.
928. They ordered their encampment, ~ these hunters proud, hard by
The greenwood’s skirts, where mostly ~ the quarry’s runs did lie
Which they to hunt were minded ; ~ ’twas on an eyot broad,
And thither too came Siegfried : ~ as straight the king had word.
929. The hunters then appointed ~ the watchers where to take
Their places at the openings. ~ Then he, the bold man, spake,
Siegfried the ever-stalwart, ~ “Who leads us through the wood,
To show us where the game is, ~ ye valiant thanes and good ?”
930. “Suppose we part,” quoth Hagen, ~ “or ever we begin
To beat about the forest ~ to see what is therein.
That I and these my masters ~ may reason have to know
Who are the better sportsmen ~ that on this chase do go.
931. “The beaters and the hounds too, ~ we’ll evenly divide :
Thus each his choice may follow ~ where’er he please to ride.
Then he who is best sportsman ~ shall have our thanks therefore.”
So spake he, and the hunters ~ together stayed no more.
932. Then said the noble Siegfried : ~ “The hounds I value not,
Save but a single setter, ~ who such a scent hath got
That he the track will follow ~ where’er the game hath led ;
Here’s to a merry hunting !” ~ Kriemhilda’s husband said.
933. Thereon an aged huntsman ~ took with him a sleuth-hound,
And brought the noble hunters ~ to where much game they found
Without too long a-seeking. ~ The comrades then did hunt
Whatever broke from covert, ~ as sportsmen keen are wont.
934. Whate’er the setter marked him, ~ that slew with his own hand
Siegfried the doughty hero, ~ who came from Netherland.
His steed so swiftly bore him, ~ that naught could him outrun ;
Praise above all the others ~ upon this chase he won.
935. In all he put his hand to ~ alert he was enow ;
Of all the beasts, the first one ~ that he to death did do
An ox was, strong and savage, ~ that with his hand he felled ;
And then he, on a sudden, ~ a lion grim beheld.
936. E’en as the hound aroused it ~ he with his bow let fly,
On which a sharpened arrow ~ he’d fitted hastily.
After the shot the lion but ~ three bounds further ran ;
Whereon his hunting comrades ~ to thank Siegfried began.
937. There after he an elk slew, ~ and then a buffalo,
And then four sturdy bison, ~ a savage stag also.
His steed so swiftly bore him ~ that naught could get away :
Of harts and hinds scarce any ~ there were he failed to slay.
938. A huge wild boar the sleuth-hound ~ had routed from his lair,
And when to flee he turned him ~ right in his path was there
The hero of the hunting, ~ all ready for the fight ;
The savage brute did straightway ~ charge at the valiant knight.
939. This boar Kriemhilda’s husband ~ then with his broadsword slew :
The like no other huntsman ~ so easily could do.
And when he thus had felled him, ~ they put in leash the hound :
His goodly spoils were talked of ~ all Burgundy around.
940. Then spake to him his huntsmen : ~ “If ’tis for us to say.
Leave us, we pray, Lord Siegfried, ~ a few live beasts to slay !
Today thou hast made empty ~ for us both wood and wold.”
Thereat he fell to smiling ~ that worthy thane and bold.
941. Then suddenly, on all sides, ~ were heard great noise and cries.
From dogs and men together ~ such tumult did arise
That all the woodland echoed, ~ and eke the mountainside
For four-and-twenty leash-hounds ~ the hunters had untied.
942. Then many a forest creature ~ must unto death be done,
Since every hunter fancied ~ that he might be the one
To win the prize for hunting : ~ but no award could be
Until beside the camp-fire ~ stout Siegfried they did see.
943. The hunting, though ’twas over, ~ was not yet brought to end :
For some, with burdens laden, ~ to camp their way did wend,
Of beast fells bringing many, ~ and game a goodly store.
What piles of it for cooking ~ the king’s camp-servants bore !
944. Then to the high-born hunters ~ the king would have it known
That he to dine was ready. ~ Then all at once was blown
A hunting-horn, right loudly, ~ that all might know around
That now the noble princes ~ would at the camp be found.
945. Quoth one of Siegfried’s huntsmen : ~ “Sir, I have heard but now,
By sounding of a horn, that ~ ’tis time for us to go
Back to the camp : in answer ~ I will my bugle wind.”
Then went the loud blasts flying ~ their followers to find.
946. Then spake the noble Siegfried : ~ “Now let us leave the wood !”
His hunter bore him smoothly : ~ and all in haste they rode.
They startled, with their clatter, ~ a grisly brute and grim, —
A savage bear. Then, turning ~ to those who followed him,
947. The thane cried ; “Now our comrades ~ a little fun shall share !
Loose from the leash the setter ; ~ yonder I spy a bear ;
I’ll see that he goes with us ~ from here unto the camp.
He never can escape us, ~ however fast he tramp !”
948. They loosed the hound, and swiftly ~ the bear before them hied.
Then thought Kriemhilda’s husband ~ close after him to ride ;
But to a ground-rift came he, ~ whereby it could not be ;
The sturdy beast made certain ~ ’twas from the huntsmen free.
949. The proud knight, from his charger, ~ sprang down upon the sward :
And straight began to chase it ; ~ the beast was off its guard,
And could not now outrun him : ~ the hero clasped it round,
And, in a trice, unwounded, ~ he held it tightly bound.
950. The man it was not able ~ to scratch or bite one jot !
He bound it to his saddle, ~ then promptly up he got.
Unto the camp borne was it, — ~ a prize of hardihood ;
Which all was but a pastime ~ to that knight bold and good.
951. How noble was his bearing ~ as into camp he rode !
His spear was very mighty, ~ and thereto stout and broad.
Right down unto the rowel ~ a handsome long-sword hung :
And a fair horn around him ~ of ruddy gold was slung.
952. Of better hunting-habit ~ I never have been told.
In tunic of black velvet ~ there was he to behold ;
A riding-cap of sable, ~ handsome enough, he wore ;
Ay, and what broidered fillets ~ he on his quiver bore !
953. Upon it there was fitted ~ a cap of panther’s hide,
Because of its sweet odor. ~ He carried at his side
A bow, such that it needed, — ~ to draw it to the full, —
A hand-winch, when another ~ save he himself did pull.
954. And then his nether garments ~ of otter-skin were made.
From head to foot his raiment ~ with tufts was overlaid.
And, ’mid the sleek fur, many ~ a thread of golden twine
Of this bold champion-hunter ~ on either side did shine.
955. And Balmung bore he also, — ~ a handsome blade and broad,
That was so sharp, moreover, ~ its edge was never scored
When one would cleave a helmet ; ~ and either edge was keen.
Ne’er had that noble huntsman ~ of gayer spirit been.
956. Since I have undertaken ~ the story to declare,
I must tell how his quiver ~ was filled with arrows rare ;
The shafts of them were golden, the points a hand-breadth wide.
Whate’er with them he piercéd, ~ surely and swiftly died.
957. So rode the noble hero ~ in all his hunting gear ;
And Gunther’s men espied him ~ as he to them drew near.
They hurried out to meet him, ~ and led his horse along.
There lay across his saddle ~ the bear so huge and strong.
958. As soon as he alighted ~ he loosed the binding thong
From off his paws and muzzle ; ~ then yelpings loud and long
Of hounds arose, so soon as ~ afoot the bear appeared.
The brute would to the forest : ~ the folk were fairly scared.
959. The bear, through all the shouting, ~ into the kitchen ramped :
Hey, how the frighted scullions ~ from round the fire decamped !
The kettles toppled over, ~ the burning sticks were drowned :
Hey, what a store of victuals ~ lay in the ashes round !
960. Quick from their seats upsprang they, ~ the masters and the men.
The bear began a-growling : ~ the king gave orders then
To let loose all the hound-pack, ~ that in their leashes lay.
Had it herewith but ended ~ that were a merry day !
961. With bows and spears provided ~ they stayed no longer there,
But off the swift ones started ~ to follow up the bear.
Yet no one shot : so closely ~ the dogs were thronging round.
The shouting of the people ~ made hill and dale resound.
962. With all the pack behind him ~ the bear began to race,
But, save Kriemhilda’s husband, ~ no one could match its pace.
He quickly ran upon it, ~ and with a sword-stroke slew.
Then to the camp-fire, slaughtered, ~ the grisly brute they drew.
963. And all who saw, were saying ~ he was a mighty man.
The hunters proud were summoned, ~ and then the feast began.
Upon a fair green meadow, ~ a goodly crowd they sate ;
Ha, ’twas a royal banquet ~ these haughty hunters ate !
964. The cupbearers still came not, ~ who were the wine to bring, —
No heroes ever better ~ deserved such offering ;
Had there not been in secret ~ such treacherous intent,
Then free had been those warriors ~ of all disparagement.
965. Then spake the noble Siegfried : ~ “I marvel much hereat ; —
Since from the kitchen plenty ~ of food they send to eat,
Why come not the cupbearers ~ to bring us also wine ?
Let them treat hunters better, ~ or ’tis no sport of mine !
966. “I have deserved that people ~ more care of me should take.”
The king then from the table, ~ in answer, falsely spake :
“However we have blundered ~ we’ll mend it by-and-by;
’Tis all the fault of Hagen, ~ who’d have us all go dry.”
967. Then Hagen spake, of Tronjè : ~ “My dear lord list to me,
I reckoned that the hunting ~ today was fixed to be
Right over in the Spessart, ~ so sent the wine-flasks there.
If we today go thirsty, ~ next time I’ll take more care !”
968. Then answered the lord Siegfried : ~ “Small thanks, methinks, are thine !
Seven sumpters’ burden should they ~ of mead and unmixed wine
Have hither sent to meet us ; ~ or were that hard to do.
They should have pitched our quarters ~ more nigh the Rhine unto.”
969. Then spake Hagen of Tronjè ; ~ “Ye noble knights and bold,
I know that here hard by is ~ a spring of water cold, —
Pray be ye not offended, — ~ ’tis thither we should go.”
To many a thane this counsel ~ was fraught with mickle woe.
970. With pangs of thirst was Siegfried ~ the warrior sorely smit :
The sooner then the table ~ he gave them word to quit ;
Along the hillside would he ~ unto the fountain wend.
Thus what the knights had plotted ~ drew on towards its end.
971. The game that had been slaughtered ~ by Siegfried’s cunning hand,
They bade men pile on wagons, ~ and carry through the land.
And everyone who saw it ~ his praise and honor spake.
Right grievously did Hagen ~ his troth to Siegfried break.
972. Whilst to the shady lindens ~ they were upon their way,
Cried Hagen, lord of Tronjè : ~ “Oft have I heard men say
That to Kriemhilda’s husband ~ no one a match could be
When he would show his paces : ~ ay ! Will he let us see !”
973. Then spake the Netherlander ~ Siegfried, the valiant :
“Now is the time for trying, ~ if ye a wager want,
From here unto the fountain ; ~ so soon as it be done
The onlookers shall settle ~ which is the foremost one.”
974. “Now verily we’ll try it,” ~ the warrior Hagen said.
Then quoth the stalwart Siegfried : ~ “If ye come in ahead,
Before your feet I’ll lay me ~ full length upon the grass.”
When Gunther heard the promise, ~ how glad at heart he was !
975. Then spake the bold thane further : ~ “Yet something more I’ll say,
I’ll carry all the clothing ~ that I have worn today,—
My spear and eke my buckler, ~ and all my hunting gear.”
His sword and quiver bound he ~ around him then and there.
976. But they, the king and Hagen, ~ their upper clothes did doff:
In two white shirts one saw them ~ stand ready to be off.
As fleet as two wild panthers ~ they through the clover ran :
Yet at the spring bold Siegfried ~ came in the foremost man.
977. In all he put his hand to ~ he won the prize from all.
Straightway his sword he loosened ~ and let his quiver fall ;
Against a bough of linden ~ he let his stout spear rest ;
Close by the flowing fountain ~ now stood the stately guest.
978. And herein also Siegfried ~ did manifest his worth :
He laid his shield beside him ~ where flowed the fountain forth,
But, greatly as he thirsted, ~ the hero tasted not
Before the king had drunken : ~ base thanks from him he got.
979. Cool was the spring of water, ~ and clean, and bright, and good ;
And Gunther bent him downwards ~ to the refreshing flood ;
As soon as he had quenched ~ his thirst, away he came ;
Then ready was bold Siegfried ~ and would have done the same.
980. His courtesy and breeding, ~ then met with their reward :
For Hagen to the background ~ withdrew his bow and sword.
Then sprang again towards him ~ to where he found the spear.
And looked to find a token ~ the hero’s coat did bear.
981. And whilst the noble Siegfried ~ drank of the rippling flood
He stabbed him through the cross-mark, ~ and through the wound his blood
Straight from his heart outspurted, ~ and Hagen’s shirt was wet ;
So foul a misdeed never ~ befell a hero yet.
982. He left the lance within him ~ close to his heart stuck tight ;
And grimly then did Hagen ~ betake himself to flight,
As in his life he never ~ from mortal man did flee.
The stalwart Siegfried, feeling ~ how sorely smit was he.
983. All madly from the fountain ~ in rage and anguish sprang,
Whilst from between his shoulders ~ a long lance-shaft did hang.
The chieftain thought to find there ~ his bow, or else his sword :
Then verily had Hagen ~ not gone without reward.
984. But when the knight sore-wounded ~ his sword had failed to find,
And saw that they had left him ~ naught save his shield behind,
He gripped it from the well’s side, ~ and after Hagen ran :
Then vainly to escape him ~ essayed King Gunther’s man.
985. Though he to death was wounded, ~ so mightily smote he,
That from the heroes buckler ~ there fell abundantly
The precious stones that decked it ; ~ the shield itself did break ;
The noble guest his vengeance ~ had else been fain to wreak.
986. Yet by his hand must Hagen ~ lie stretched upon the ground.
So hard, in sooth, his blows were, ~ they made the glebe resound.
Had he his sword had handy, ~ then Hagen had been slain.
The wound was burning sorely, ~ and made him writhe with pain.
987. His cheeks had lost their color ; ~ no longer stand could he.
And all his strength of body ~ was failing utterly ;
Death’s sign upon his forehead ~ in pallid hue he bore :
Fair women soon were mourning ~ for him with weeping sore.
988. Then fell Kriemhilda’s husband ~ upon the flowery sward :
One saw from out the lance-wound, ~ how fast his life-blood poured.
Upbraiding then began he, — ~ forced by his mortal pain, —
Those who had thus betrayed him ~ and treacherously slain.
989. “Ye perjured, lying cowards,” ~ the dying warrior said,
“What hath availed my service, ~ since thus ye strike me dead ?
To you aye was I faithful : ~ and thus do ye repay !
Your kith and kin shall suffer ~ for what ye’ve wrought this day.
990. “The children born unto you ~ shall be, from this day forth,
For evermore accursed, ~ for ye have wrought your wrath,
And vengeance all too sorely ~ upon my body done :
Now ye, with scorn and hatred, ~ all worthy knights shall shun.”
991. The knights all ran together ~ to where he stricken lay.
To many a man among them ~ it was a joyless day.
They who had aught of honor ~ sore lamentation made.
From all he well deserved it, ~ this hero undismayed.
992. The king of the Burgundians ~ mourned also for his death.
Then spake the dying chieftain : ~ “Small need is there, in faith,
That he who worked the evil ~ should grieve that it be done :
Much blame he hath deservéd : ~ ’twere better left alone !”
993. Grim Hagen spake to Gunther : ~ “What art thou weeping for?
For done is our vexation ~ and all our sorrows o’er :
We shall find few henceforward ~ who ’gainst us dare to stand.
Glad am I that his kingship ~ hath perished by my hand !”
994. “’Tis easy now to vaunt you,” ~ said Siegfried, in reply,
“If I had known beforehand ~ your deadly enmity,
Alone would I against you ~ have well maintained my life :
For naught grieve I so sorely ~ as for Kriemhild, my wife.
995. “And now must God forgive me, ~ that I a son did get
Whom folks shall taunt in future ~ and let him not forget
That kin of his by some one ~ was murderously slain.
If that availed,” said Siegfried, ~ “with cause I might complain.”
996. Yet once more spake the hero, ~ in anguish nigh to death :
“If thou, O king most noble, ~ art willing to hold faith
With any living being, ~ I fain would now consign
Unto your grace and favor, ~ that well-loved wife of mine.
997. “And let her from this profit, ~ that thou her brother art :
If there is faith in princes, ~ stand by her with true heart.
My father and my liegemen ~ must tarry long for me ;
Ne’er worse to any woman ~ could loss of dear friend be.”
998. All round about, the flowers ~ were wetted with his blood,
As now with Death he struggled : ~ nor long the strife withstood.
Alas, the deadly weapon ~ too well had done its part !
Then mote he speak no further, ~ that warrior of bold heart.
999. And when the nobles saw that ~ the hero was quite dead,
Upon a shield they laid him, ~ that was of wrought gold red ;
And straightway held they counsel ~ how they might best take heed
From all to keep it hidden ~ that Hagen did the deed.
1000. Then divers of them counselled : ~ “Woe hath befallen us.
But ye must all conceal it, ~ and tell the story thus :
‘As Dame Kriemhilda’s husband ~ alone a-hunting rode,
Some vagabonds set on him ~ and slew him in the wood’.”
1001. Then spake of Tronjè Hagen : ~ “Myself I’ll take him home,
It matters not to me that ~ the truth to her should come :
Brunhilda’s mind hath sorely ~ by her been harasséd,
It troubles me but little ~ what tears she now may shed !”

{ 17 }
1002. Then waited they for nightfall, ~ and o’er the Rhine did row :
Ne’er to more direful ending ~ could heroes hunting go.
The quarry they had slaughtered ~ mourned noble maids and wives :
And many goodly warriors ~ paid for it with their lives.
1003. Of arrogance overweening ~ the tale ye soon shall hear,
And of a fearful vengeance. ~ Then Hagen bade men bear
The body of dead Siegfried, ~ the Niblung lord of late.
And lay it in a chamber ~ wherein Kriemhild did wait.
1004. He had him laid in secret ~ down close beside her door,
That she might find him lying ~ when she, as heretofore,
Went forth to matins early, ~ ere daylight had begun ;
Which duty dame Kriemhilda ~ but seldom left undone.
1005. The wonted bell was ringing, ~ which to the minster bade ;
Then rose the fair Kriemhilda ~ and wakened many a maid :
She bade them bring a taper, ~ and fetch her all her gear.
Then came a chamber-servant ~ who lit on Siegfried there.
1006. In red blood he was lying, ~ and all his garb was wet ;
But that it was his master ~ he did not know as yet.
Into the room he carried ~ the candle in his hand,
From him did Dame Kriemhilda ~ some ill news understand.
1007. For, as she with her women ~ would to the minster fare,
The chamberlain spake to her : ~ “My lady, stay ye there !
Right opposite the doorway ~ a murdered knight doth lie.”
Whereat began Kriemhilda ~ to weep unmeasuredly.
1008. Before she knew for certain ~ that ’twas her husband dead.
Unto her mind recalled she ~ how Hagen questioned
In what way he might guard him : ~ then first she was afraid.
An’ he were dead, her pleasure ~ was all to sorrow made.
1009. To earth down sank she swooning, ~ and ne’er a word could say :
Upon the hapless fair one ~ men gazed as there she lay.
The grief of Dame Kriemhilda ~ was past all measuring :
After her swoon, the chamber ~ did with her wailing ring.
1010. Her people said unto her : ~ “What if it be a guest ?”
But from her mouth came flowing ~ the blood, by anguish pressed ;
Then spake she : “’Tis my husband, ~ my own beloved Siegfried :
It was Brunhilda’s counsel, ~ and Hagen did the deed.”
1011. The lady bade them lead her ~ where she her hero found.
With her white hand she lifted ~ his fair head from the ground;
Red as he was with blood-stains, ~ well knew she him again. —
There lay the Niblung hero, ~ so pitifully slain.
1012. Then in her sorrow cried she, ~ that fair and gentle queen :
“Woe on mine evil fortune ! ~ Upon thy shield is seen
No dint of any sword-stroke : ~ thou liest murdered there.
And knew I who hath done it, ~ of death mote he be ware.”
1013. Thereon all her attendants ~ began to wail and weep :
With their beloved lady, ~ their grief indeed was deep
About their noble master, ~ of whom they were forlorn.
Thus heavily had Hagen ~ made good Brunhilda’s scorn.
1014. Then sorrowfully spake she : ~ “Go hence now, hasten ye,
And wake ye Siegfried’s liegemen ~ as quickly as may be.
And unto Siegmund also ~ my sorrow must ye tell.
If so be he will help me ~ to mourn brave Siegfried well.”
1015. A messenger ran swiftly ~ and found them where they lay, —
Siegfried’s own band of heroes ~ from Niblung land were they. —
He told the grievous tidings, ~ and joy fled at his word ;
Yet would they not believe it ~ till they the wailing heard.
1016. The messenger sped further ~ to where he found the king.
Unto the noble Siegmund ~ that night no sleep did bring ;
His heart within foreboded ~ what happ’d to him, I ween :
How that his dear son living ~ should never more be seen.
1017. “Awake, arise, Lord Siegmund ! ~ Kriemhilda, my mistress.
Hath bidden me to fetch thee ; ~ to her a sore distress
Hath happ’d beyond all others, ~ which cuts her to the heart :
And thou must help her mourning, ~ for thou in it hast part.”
1018. Upstarted Siegmund, crying : ~ “What grief hath happenéd
Unto the fair Kriemhilda, ~ as thou just now hast said ?”
Then spake the herald, weeping, ~ “I cannot it withhold :
Ay ! Siegfried hath been murdered, ~ the Netherlander bold !”
1019. Then spake the noble Siegmund : ~ “Pray let this jesting be,
And of such evil stories, ~ beware, for love of me,
The like ye tell to no man, — ~ how Siegfried hath been slain :
In such case could I never ~ live happily again.”
1020. “If thou wilt not believe me ~ when thou hast heard my tale.
With thine own ears ’tis easy ~ to hear Kriemhilda wail ;
For she and all her people ~ are mourning Siegfried dead.”
Then sore afraid was Siegmund : ~ and sad was he indeed.
1021. Straight from his couch upsprang he, ~ with five score of his men ;
They reached their hands in search of ~ their weapons long and keen.
And ran, grief-stricken, thither ~ to where they heard the cries ;
Then, too, the thousand warriors ~ of Siegfried bold did rise.
1022. Whilst piteously the women ~ were heard to weep and moan,
Some of the men bethought them ~ that raiment they should don :
Ay, scarcely for their trouble ~ could they their senses keep.
And bitter was the anguish ~ that in their hearts lay deep.
1023. Soon came the royal Siegmund ~ to where Kriemhild did stand.
He spake : “Woe on the journey ~ that brought us to this land !
Who hath thy husband taken, ~ and reft me of my son.
And, amidst friends and kinsmen, ~ thus murderously done ?”
1024. “Ah, if I only knew him !” ~ the noble wife did say,
“No mercy would I show him, ~ in mind or body aye :
Such evil would I do him, ~ that if his kith and kin
Had not good cause for weeping, ~ ’twould be no fault of mine.”
1025. Then in his arms did Siegmund ~ the murdered prince enfold;
Whereat his friends their sorrow ~ so little could withhold,
That with their lamentation ~ the palace rang and hall ;
And even through Worms city, ~ the sounds of woe did fall.
1026. To none who strove to comfort ~ did Siegfried’s wife give heed.
Meanwhile from out its clothing ~ his body fair they freed ;
They washed his wounds with water, ~ and laid him on the bier ;
The sorrow of his people ~ right grievous was to hear.
1027. Then up and spake his warriors ~ the men of Niblung-land :
“With right goodwill shall vengeance ~ be taken at our hand ;
Within this very fortress ~ is he who did the deed.”
Then ran they all for weapons ~ the liegemen of Siegfried.
1028. These thanes, for valor chosen, ~ each with his shield, were there,
A thousand and one hundred, ~ ready at hand they were
To follow noble Siegmund. ~ The murder of his son
He to avenge was eager, — ~ ’twas needful to be done.
1029. Nor knew they ’gainst what foemen ~ they had to strive withal.
Unless it might be Gunther ~ and his bold liegemen all,
With whom their master Siegfried, ~ did late a-hunting go.
Kriemhilda saw them arming, ~ and grievous was her woe.
1030. However deep her sorrow, ~ and dire as was her need,
Yet did she for the Niblungs ~ fear with such mighty dread
Death, by her brother’s liegemen, ~ that she would have them stay :
She warned them in all kindness, ~ as friends each other may.
1031. Thus spake the grief-lorn lady: ~ “My lord Siegmund, what dost
Thou think to take in hand now ? ~ Thou hast not weighed the cost.
King Gunther hath so many ~ bold warriors at command,
That all of you will perish ~ if ye his knights withstand.”
1032. With shields already lifted, ~ they needs must to the fray ;
The noble queen besought them ~ and even bade them stay.
And seek not for a conflict, — ~ these knights of courage high.
Yet would they not forego it ; ~ which grieved her verily.
1033. So said she : “Noble Siegmund, ~ ’twere best to let it be
Until a fitter season : ~ then will I readily
Avenge with you mine husband. ~ Who me hath widow made,
To him, when it is proven, ~ shall evil be repaid.
1034. “Hereby upon the Rhine-strand ~ dwells many a haughty knight :
I cannot therefore counsel ~ that ye with them should fight.
Full thirty warriors have they ~ against our every one.
God grant that they may prosper ~ as they to us have done !
1035. “Ye must remain beside me, ~ this grief with me to share ;
And, when the day is dawning, ~ ye heroes bold prepare
To help me in his coffin ~ my husband dear to lay.”
Then all the thanes made answer : ~ “It shall be as ye say.”
1036. No tongue could ever tell you ~ the marvel of it, how
From knights as well as ladies ~ arose the cries of woe,
So that throughout the city ~ the noise thereof did sound.
The noble burghers heard it, ~ and quickly thronged around.
1037. They mournéd with the strangers, ~ for they themselves were sad.
If fault had been with Siegfried, ~ none told them that it had,
Nor why the noble warrior ~ had forfeited his life.
Then wept, too, with the women, ~ each worthy burgher’s wife.
1038. The smiths were bidden quickly ~ a coffin to devise
Of gold y-wrought and silver, ~ strong and of mickle size ;
They bade them firmly bind it, ~ with tempered steel and good.
Then truly all the people ~ were sorrowful of mood.
1039. The night was spent, and daylight ~ ’twas said would soon appear.
The noble lady bade them ~ unto the minster bear
Siegfried their noble master, ~ her husband well-beloved.
One saw his friends all weeping, ~ as they the body moved.
1040. They brought him to the minster, ~ and tolled was many a bell :
On every side the chanting ~ of priests was heard to swell.
And thither came King Gunther, ~ and all his folk with him,
To take part in the mourning ; ~ and likewise Hagen grim.
1041. He said : “My dearest sister, ~ alas, indeed, for thee !
That from thy sorrow’s burden ~ can none of us be free :
We must bewail for ever ~ the loss of Siegfried’s life.”
“That do ye without reason,” ~ answered the mourning wife.
1042. “It never need have happened ~ if real your sorrow were ;
Me must ye have forgotten, — ~ that may I well aver, —
When I was there bereft of ~ my own belovéd one.
I would to God,” said Kriemhild, ~ “it had to me been done !”
1043. They clave unto their lying. ~ Kriemhild began again :
“Whoso of you is guiltless, ~ now let him make it plain ; —
Let each before the people ~ walk up unto the bier ;
Thereby the truth that’s in him ~ shall presently appear.”
1044. It is a wondrous marvel ~ that oft hath happenéd :
That when one sees the slayer ~ beside the murdered dead.
The wounds afresh start bleeding ; ~ as here, too, came to pass.
Whereby men saw that Hagen ~ the malefactor was.
1045. Again the wounds bled freely, ~ as they had done afore ;
They who had mourned him sorely ~ bewailed him now the more.
Then spake aloud King Gunther: ~ “I tell you everyone
’Twas vagabonds that slew him : ~ ’twas not by Hagen done.”
1046. “These vagabonds, too surely ~ are known to me,” she spake,
“By friendly hands, God willing, ~ we’ll vengeance on them take !
Thou Gunther and thou Hagen ~ have surely done this thing.”
By this time Siegfried’s warriors ~ for strife were hankering.
1047. Kriemhilda spake yet further: ~ “Now share with me my need.”
Then came those twain unto her ~ who found him lying dead, —
They were her brother Gernot ~ and Giselher the youth.
As many a man did later, ~ these mourned for him in sooth.
1048. With all their hearts they mourned him, ~ the husband of Kriemhild.
Now masses must be chanted : ~ the minster soon was filled
With men, and wives, and children, — ~ from every side they came.
E’en they who little missed him ~ mourned Siegfried all the same.
1049. Gernot, and Giselher with him, ~ spake : “Sister dear to me,
Now, for this death, take comfort, ~ as verily must be.
We will atone unto you ~ as long as we shall live.”
Yet on the earth was no one ~ who could her comfort give.
1050. His coffin was made ready ~ wellnigh about mid-day ;
Then from the bier they raised him, ~ whereon till then he lay.
Fain would the noble lady ~ have kept him from the grave ;
Which unto her attendants ~ sore trouble surely gave.
1051. In richly broidered vestment ~ they wrapped the body round.
And then, I ween, that no one ~ unweeping there was found.
With all her heart wept Utè — ~ a noble woman she —
And each of her attendants ~ the goodly corpse to see.
1052. When people heard the chanting ~ within the church begin,
And knew that he was coffined, ~ they thronged to enter in :
For his soul’s weal and profit ~ what offerings were made !
In sooth, among the foemen ~ good friends enough he had !
1053. Kriemhilda, the poor lady, ~ said to her chamberlain :
“The love they bear towards me ~ will be to them a bane,
Seeing they grudge him nothing ~ and hold me also dear ;
For Siegfried’s weal ’tis fitting ~ that they his gold should share.
1054. There was no child so little, ~ who any wit might have,
But joined in the almsgiving, ~ ere he was laid in grave.
More than a hundred masses ~ were sung ere day was done
And Siegfried’s friends and kinsmen ~ came thronging ev’ry one.
1055. When ended was the chanting ~ the people went away.
Then spake the lady Kriemhild : ~ “Ye must not let me stay
Alone to watch beside him, ~ this knight exceeding brave.
My joys are, with his body, ~ all buried in the grave.
1056. “Three days and three nights longer ~ here would I keep him still,
Until of my dear husband ~ my heart hath had its fill.
Then what if God should order ~ that death should take me too ?
Then would poor Kriemhild’s sorrows ~ no longer trouble you.”
1057. The people from the city ~ now homewards went their way.
The priests and monks Kriemhilda ~ besought with her to stay,
And eke her own attendants, ~ to watch beside the knight.
Forbidding was the darkness ~ and wearisome the light.
1058. From eating and from drinking ~ did many a man abstain.
If any cared to take it, ~ to them it was made plain
That they might have in plenty : ~ Siegmund of that took care.
And yet, full many a labor ~ the Niblung-folk must share :
1059. For three whole days, unceasing, — ~ the story thus we hear —
They who had skill in singing ~ must needs the burden bear
Of chanting many an office. ~ What alms to them folk paid !
They who were poor aforetime ~ now wealth in plenty had.
1060. Whene’er they found poor people ~ who nothing had to bring,
They sent them to the minster, ~ with gold for offering
From Siegfried’s treasure taken. ~ Since life he could not have,
Of marks for his soul’s welfare ~ they many thousand gave.
1061. The first-fruits were divided ~ in all the land around,
Wherever cloister-houses ~ or goodly folk were found.
Of silver and of raiment ~ the poor got ample store :
Men did the like as showing ~ what love to him they bore.
1062. Upon the third day early, ~ just at the hour of Mass,
The churchyard wide extending, — ~ that by the minster was, —
With country-people’s wailing ~ was filled from end to end.
In death they did him service, ~ as to a well-loved friend.
1063. In those four days of mourning, ~ indeed, it hath been said,
That marks full thirty-thousand, ~ or even more, were paid
For sake of his soul’s welfare, ~ and given to the poor.
Laid low was all his beauty, ~ his life now was no more.
1064. When God was servéd duly, ~ and all the chants were sung,
A dreadful cry of sorrow ~ arose from out the throng ;
Out of the minster must they ~ now bear him to his grave.
Those who were loath to lose him ~ fresh tears and cries forth gave.
1065. With cries of lamentation ~ the people followed then ;
The faces all were joyless ~ of women and of men.
Ere in his grave they laid him ~ they sang and read withal ;
Ay ! And the priests were worthy ~ who gave him burial.
1066. Or ever Siegfried’s widow ~ had come unto the grave,
Her faithful heart with sorrow ~ such bitter strife did have
That they must needs revive her ~ with water from the spring ;
Her bitterness of sorrow ~ was past all measuring.
1067. It was a mickle wonder ~ that strength again she found.
With cries of pity, helping, ~ the women thronged around.
Then spake the Queen : “O liegemen ~ of Siegfried, hearken ye !
I pray you of your fealty ~ a favor grant to me, —
1068. “That after all my sorrow ~ this small grace I may gain,
And on his goodly features ~ may set my eyes again.”
So long did she beseech them, ~ with all her sorrow’s strength.
That they the splendid coffin ~ must break apart at length.
1069. And then they brought the lady ~ to where her love did lie,
And she his fair head lifted, ~ with white hand tenderly.
And in his death she kissed him, — ~ the noble knight and good ;
Her shining eyes, for sorrow, ~ were weeping tears of blood.
1070. It was a piteous parting, ~ if ever there was one.
And so away they bore her ; ~ she could not go alone.
For in a swoon and senseless ~ that noble wife lay low ;
Her life, for weal appointed, ~ was wellnigh lost in woe.
1071. When now their noble master ~ within his grave was laid,
Unmeasured was the sorrow ~ that all his followers had.
Who from the Niblung country ~ had borne him company ;
And little joy or gladness ~ in Siegmund was to see.
1072. Amongst them there were many ~ who, for their sorrow’s sake,
Till those three days were ended ~ nor meat nor drink did take.
Yet could they not their bodies ~ abandon utterly :
So feasting followed sorrow, ~ as evermore will be.

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1073. Kriemhilda’s husband’s father ~ had to her presence come.
And to the queen thus spake he : ~ “We now would fain go home ;
I trow that we in Rhineland, ~ unwelcome guests must be.
Kriemhilda, dearest lady, ~ come to my land with me.
1074. “Since that your noble husband, ~ by treason underhand,
Hath from us all been taken ~ here in this very land,
Ye must not overlook it : ~ I will be kind to you
For love of my son Siegfried ; ~ doubt not that this is true.
1075. Henceforward also, Lady, ~ to you the power I’ll yield
That the bold warrior Siegfried ~ did teach you how to wield.
The land and the crown likewise ~ shall subject be to you ;
And all of Siegfried’s vassals ~ will gladly service do.”
1076. Then were the servants bidden ~ that thence they were to ride ; —
It was a mighty business ~ the horses to provide !
Amidst their bitter foemen ~ to dwell were sorry cheer.
They bade the dames and maidens ~ to seek their travelling gear.
1077. And when King Siegmund also ~ was ready forth to ride,
The kinsmen of Kriemhilda ~ besought her to abide :
Her place was with her mother, ~ and there to stay ought she.
Then spake the noble lady : ~ “Nay, that can hardly be !
1078. “How could I bear for ever ~ him with these eyes to see,
Through whom to me, poor woman, ~ hath come such misery ?”
Then Giselher, the youthful, ~ made answer : “Sister dear.
For duty’s sake now shouldst thou ~ bide with thy mother here.
1079. “Of them who have distressed ~ thee, and brought thee to despair,
Thou dost require no service ; ~ my fortune thou shalt share.”
But to the knight she answered : ~ “Nay, this can never be ;
I needs must die of sorrow ~ if I should Hagen see.”
1080. “I’ll see that doth not happen, ~ my sister dear,” quoth he,
“With Giselher thy brother ~ in safety shouldst thou be ;
Amends will I make to thee, ~ for thy dear husband’s death.”
Then spake the poor forlorn one : ~ “True need Kriemhilda hath !”
1081. When this so kindly offer ~ to her the young man made,
Utè and also Gernot ~ fell likewise to persuade.
With all her faithful kinsfolk : ~ they begged her not to go :
For amongst Siegfried’s kindred ~ not many did she know.
1082. “They are all strangers to thee,” ~ Gernot began to say;
“So strong is no man living ~ but he must die one day.
Bethink thee then, dear sister, ~ and comfort thy sad mood ;
Stay with thy friends and kinsmen : ~ it will be for thy good.”
1083. So Giselher she promised ~ that there she would abide.
The horses all were ready ~ for Siegmund’s men to ride, —
Who would be homeward riding ~ unto the Niblung-land ;
The pack-horses all laden with ~ knightly gear did stand.
1084. Lord Siegmund came, and standing ~ before Kriemhilda, then
Said he unto the lady: ~ “The whole of Siegfried’s men
Await you by the horses ; ~ ’tis time we rode away, —
For willingly I would not ~ with the Burgundians stay.”
1085. But lady Kriemhild answered : ~ “My friends their counsel give —
So many as are faithful — ~ that I with them should live:
For I have ne’er a kinsman ~ within the Niblung-land.”
Sad was the heart of Siegmund ~ when he did understand.
1086. Then answered her King Siegmund : ~ “Let that be said by none !
Rather than to my kinsmen ~ I’ll give to you my crown.
With power and might you’ll wear it, ~ as ye have done before ;
Ye shall be none the worse that ~ our hero is no more.
1087. “Come back with us, if only ~ it were for your child’s sake :
Ye surely will not, lady, ~ the babe an orphan make.
When once your son a man is ~ he’ll comfort your sad mood ;
Meanwhile you’ll have the service ~ of many heroes good.”
1088. She spake : “Sir Siegmund, truly ~ I cannot with you ride.
Whate’er may happen to me ~ here must I still abide
Among my friends and kinfolk, ~ and mourn with me they will.”
The good knights at this answer ~ began to take it ill.
1089. With one accord they answered : ~ “Then must we fain confess
That for the first time, truly, ~ our hearts know bitterness,
Since ye indeed are willing ~ here with our foes to bide :
On such a grievous journey ~ did heroes never ride.”
1090. Said she : “Ye may, God-speeding, ~ without foreboding fare :
Safe-conduct shall be given — ~ of that I’ll have a care —
From here to Siegmund’s country. As for my darling child,
Unto ye knights I trust him, ~ and to your mercies mild !”
1091. When they were well persuaded ~ that thence she would not go,
The lieges all of Siegmund ~ did weep for very woe.
How full of bitter sorrow ~ was Siegmund when his leave
He took of dame Kriemhilda ! ~ Then knew he how to grieve.
1092. “Woe be on these great doings,” ~ the noble king quoth he :
“An ending worse of pleasure ~ there ne’er again can be
To king or to his kinsfolk, ~ than this to us hath been.
No more shall we henceforward ~ in Burgundy be seen.”
1093. Then loud, that all might hear them, ~ the men of Siegfried spake:
“Yet once again the journey ~ may we to this land make.
When we shall have discovered ~ who laid our master low.
They’ll have among his kinsfolk ~ stout enemies enow !”
1094. And so he kissed Kriemhilda ; ~ and mournfully did say,
Whenas he saw for certain ~ she had a mind to stay :
“Now will we unrejoicing ~ go home unto our land.
My sorrow for the first time ~ now do I understand.”
1095. From Worms without an escort ~ unto the Rhine they rode ;
Well might they, notwithstanding, ~ be confident of mood.
That if they should of foemen ~ an onset have to ward,
The hands of stalwart Niblungs ~ would serve them for a guard.
1096. Leave did they take of no man ~ ere they set forth to ride.
But Giselher and Gernot ~ were presently espied
All kindly coming t’wards him : ~ his sorrow made them grieve,
As soon these gallant heroes ~ did bring him to believe.
1097. For then the princely Gernot ~ right courteously said :
“Be God in Heaven my witness ! ~ that Siegfried now is dead
Is through no fault on my part, ~ nor have I heard men tell
Who wished him any evil : ~ so can I mourn him well.”
1098. Then had they a safe-conduct ~ at Giselher’s own hand :
And carefully he led them ~ in time, from out the land.
The king and all his warriors ~ to Netherland got home.
How little could their kindred ~ rejoice to see them come !
1099. And what befell them after ~ I cannot rightly say.
And still one heard Kriemhilda ~ bewailing day by day
That none could give her comfort, ~ in either heart or mood,
But Giselher, who only was ~ true to her and good.
1100. The beauteous Brunhilda ~ still arrogantly sat :
Howe’er Kriemhilda fretted ~ she took no thought for that,
And never more in goodwill ~ did turn to her again.
Erelong the dame Kriemhilda ~ did wring her heart with pain.

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1101. Now when the noble Kriemhild ~ a widow thus was made
Count Eckewart was with her, ~ and in the land he stayed
With all his men, and daily ~ he served her without fail,
And helped his lady often ~ his master to bewail.
1102. At Worms, hard by the minster, ~ they built for her a hall :
’Twas very wide and lofty, ~ and richly decked withal.
There, with her own attendants, ~ all joylessly sat she.
She loved the church’s service ~ and went there willingly.
1103. From where her love lay buried, ~ she seldom was away ;
With sorrow-laden spirit ~ she went there every day.
She prayed to God Almighty ~ to keep his soul aright.
And faithfully and often ~ bewailéd was the knight.
1104. Utè and all her women ~ to cheer her aye were fain ;
Yet was the heart within her ~ so sorely smit with pain,
However they might comfort ~ she took not any heed.
She had for her belovéd ~ such all-surpassing need,
1105. As for a well-loved husband ~ no other wife ere found.
Thus might one see how virtues ~ in her did much abound.
Unto her end she mourned him, ~ as long as she had life,
And soon a mighty vengeance ~ took valiant Siegfried’s wife !
1106. So after all this sorrow — ~ ’tis truth — she did abide
Until the fourth year’s halving ~ from when her husband died ;
Nor all this time ’twixt Gunther ~ and her did speech arise,
Nor did she once on Hagen, ~ her enemy, set eyes.
1107. Then Hagen spake, of Tronjè : ~ “Could ye not so contrive
That ye might with your sister ~ in friendly fashion live ?
That so unto this country ~ might come the Niblung gold :
If but the queen were friendly, ~ your gain were manifold.”
1108. He said: “We must attempt it ; ~ my brothers are with her ;
We’ll beg them so to urge her ~ that she be friendlier,
Until at last prevail we ~ that she thereto agree.”
Quoth Hagen : “I misdoubt me ~ that that will ever be.”
1109. He presently bade Ortwein ~ unto her court to go
Likewise the margrave Gere : ~ and both of them did so.
And Giselher the youthful ~ and Gernot, too, they brought,
Who straightway Dame Kriemhilda ~ in friendly wise besought
1110. To her the valiant Gernot ~ of Burgundy then said :
“Too long hast thou, O Lady, ~ bewailed thy Siegfried dead !
The king to you will swear that ~ by him he was not slain.
Still day by day one hears thee ~ so bitterly complain.”
1111. Said she : “None doth accuse him : ~ ’twas Hagen’s hand that slew ;
And where he might be stricken ~ from me alone he knew.
How could I have believed that ~ such hate to him he bore ?
More care would I have taken” — ~ the Queen said furthermore —
1112. “Ere any word of mine had ~ his noble life betrayed :
Then little cause for weeping ~ should I, poor wife have had.
No more can I have kindness ~ for those who this have done.”
Then Giselher besought her, ~ the brave and comely one.
1113. “To greet the king I’m willing,” ~ she did at last declare :
With his best friends before her ~ one saw him soon appear.
But Hagen durst at no time ~ within her presence go
His guiltiness well knew he ; ~ ’twas he who wrought her woe.
1114. Since she her hate to Gunther ~ was willing to forswear,
’Twould better have beseemed him ~ to kiss her then and there.
Were ’t not that by his counsel ~ her sorrows had been made,
He might have met Kriemhilda ~ with boldness undismayed.
1115. Ne’er was a reconcilement, ~ when friend by friend was met,
More tearfully accomplished : ~ her sorrow rankled yet.
Save only one amongst them, ~ she pardoned every one :
He ne’er were slain, if Hagen ~ the murder had not done.
1116. Not very long thereafter ~ they brought it so about
That unto dame Kriemhilda ~ the mighty hoard came out
Of Niblung-land, and safely ~ was to the Rhine conveyed.
It was her wedding dowry, ~ and rightly hers was made.
1117. ’Twas Gernot who went for it, ~ and with him Giselher
And eighty-hundred liegemen, ~ who had commands from her
To go and fetch the treasure ~ from where it lay unseen,
Since Alberich its keeper, ~ with trusty friends, had been.
1118. Now when they saw the Rhine-men ~ coming the hoard to take,
The ever-valiant Albrich ~ unto his comrades spake :
“We dare not keep the treasure ~ withholden from her power,
Seeing the noble lady ~ can claim it as her dower.
1119. “Yet never would the matter ~ have come to such a pass,
Had we not had,” said Albrich, ~ “the evil luck, alas !
The goodly cap of darkness ~ with Siegfried’s self to lose :
Which fair Kriemhilda’s husband ~ was ever wont to use.
1120. “Now evil unto Siegfried ~ hath happened since the day
That from our hands the hero ~ the Tarnhelm took away.
And all this land by conquest ~ did to his service bind.”
Then went the treasure-keeper ~ straightway the keys to find.
1121. At the hill-foot were waiting ~ the Queen Kriemhilda’s men
And sundry of her kinsmen ; ~ the treasure bore they then
Down to the lake-shore, lading ~ their vessel with the same :
Then o’er the waves they took it ~ and up the Rhine-stream came.
1122. Now may ye of this treasure ~ a wondrous story hear :
It took a dozen wagons ~ it from the mount to bear ;
Four days and nights they ceased not ~ to carry it away ;
And each must make the journey, ~ so laden, thrice a day.
1123. Naught else but gold and jewels ~ within this treasure lay ;
And had one taken from it ~ what would the whole world pay,
’Twould not have seemed to eyesight ~ of one mark’s value quit.
Ay ! Not without some reason ~ did Hagen covet it.
1124. The gem of all lay lowest — ~ a little rod of gold.
Whoever understood it ~ he might the mastery hold
In all the world’s dominions, ~ o’er every race of men.
Of Albrich’s kinsmen many ~ did follow Gernot then.
1125. As soon as they had carried ~ the hoard to Gunther’s land,
And thus the queen had taken ~ the whole into her hand,
The storerooms and the towers ~ were full as they could hold.
Never of such vast treasure ~ the marvel hath been told.
1126. And even were the treasure ~ increased a thousand fold.
And she once more might Siegfried ~ in health and strength behold,
Gladly to him would Kriemhild ~ have empty-handed gone :
For never could a hero ~ a truer wife have won.
1127. Now that she had the treasure, ~ she brought unto the land
Full many a stranger-warrior ; ~ in truth the lady’s hand
Her bounty gave so largely, ~ the like had ne’er been known.
This queen had many virtues : ~ that all the folk did own.
1128. To poor men and to wealthy ~ she now began to give
So much, that Hagen argued : ~ if she perchance should live
For long enough, ’twas likely ~ so many would she win
To stay there in her service, ~ that ’twould go ill with him.
1129. King Gunther said : “Her own are ~ her body and estate ;
What she shall do with either ~ how then can I dictate ?
Nay, hardly could I compass ~ that she became thus kind :
So let both gold and silver ~ go as she hath a mind.”
1130. But to the king said Hagen : ~ “No prudent man and wise
Would leave to such a woman ~ a treasure of this size.
In gifts we’ll see her spend it ~ and squander the whole store,
And then the bold Burgundians ~ may rue it evermore.”
1131. Then answered him king Gunther : ~ “To her an oath I swore
That I to her would never ~ do any evil more ;
And that will I abide by, ~ for she my sister is.”
But thereunto said Hagen : ~ “Let me be blamed for this.”
1132. The oaths that they had taken ~ they reckoned all for naught.
And from the widow’s keeping ~ the mighty hoard they brought,
And quietly did Hagen ~ of all the keys get hold.
Wroth was her brother Gernot ~ when he the truth was told.
1133. Then spake the noble Giselher : ~ “Hagen a deal of ill
Hath done unto my sister : ~ reckon with him I will.
And were he not my kinsman, ~ ’twould stand him in his life.”
Then once again to weeping ~ fell Siegfried’s widowed wife.
1134. Then up and spake Lord Gernot : ~ “Ere we be troubled aye
By reason of this treasure, ~ we’ll take it all away
And sink it in the Rhine-stream ; ~ then will it no man’s be.”
To Giselher her brother ~ then went she woefully.
1135. She spake : “Belovéd brother, ~ thou must take thought for me ;
Of both my life and substance ~ the guardian thou shouldst be.”
Then spake he to the lady : ~ “This will I undertake
When we have home returned : ~ we have a ride to take.”
1136. The king and all his kinsmen ~ now left their land behind —
The best of all were taken ~ that one therein could find —
None stayed save Hagen only ; ~ that did he for the hate
He bore unto Kriemhilda ; ~ with purpose did he wait.
1137. Before the mighty king came ~ back to his home again,
Hagen had meanwhile managed ~ the treasure great to gain.
Down in the Rhine at Lochheim ~ he sank it bodily.
He hoped yet to enjoy it : ~ but that was not to be.
1138. The princes came back shortly, ~ and with them many a man.
Of her great loss Kriemhilda ~ to make complaint began,
And all her maids and ladies : ~ great was their grief, in sooth.
Ready with faithful service ~ was Giselher the youth.
1139. They one and all said : “Hagen ~ hath done us a foul wrong.”
Then from the princes’ anger ~ he kept aloof for long.
Till he regained their favor ; ~ and so they left him free :
Yet never to Kriemhilda ~ could he more hateful be.
1140. Before Hagen of Tronjè ~ had hidden thus the hoard,
They made a pact together and ~ with strong oaths assured,
That it should remain hidden ~ as long as each should live :
None for himself should take it, ~ nor to another give.
1141. So now again with sorrow ~ her heart was desolate :
First for her husband’s murder, ~ and now that her estate
Had all been taken from her. ~ Thus she became a prey
Unto her grief for ever ~ until her dying day.
1142. After the death of Siegfried, ~ as verily appears,
With many troubles burthened ~ she dwelt for thirteen years;
And all the while could never ~ forget the warrior dead.
She aye was faithful to him : ~ that all the people said.
Book II

{ 20 }
1143. Now on a time it happened ~ that lady Helka died;
Then was King Etzel minded ~ to woo another bride.
His friends all bade him look to ~ the land of Burgundy,
Towards a high-born widow ; ~ Kriemhilda named was she.
1144. Soon after the fair Helka ~ departed had this life,
Quoth they : “If thou would’st ever ~ possess a noble wife, —
The highest and most worthy ~ that king did ever have.
Then take this self-same lady, ~ widow of Siegfried brave.”
1145. “How might that be accomplished,” ~ then said the mighty king,
“Seeing I am a heathen ~ and ne’er had christening ?
The lady is a Christian ; ~ she never would agree.
A miracle must happen, ~ if this should ever be.”
1146. The ready ones made answer : ~ “What if perchance she should ?
With thy high name to help thee ~ and all thy substance good,
To win the noble lady ~ one very well might try.
To woo so fair a person ~ would please you verily.”
1147. Then said the noble sovereign : ~ “Doth any one of you
The people of the Rhine-land ~ and eke the country know ?”
Good Rüdeger made answer, ~ who from Bechlaren came :
“I’ve known her from her childhood, ~ this queen of noble name.
1148. “King Gunther and King Gernot, ~ the noble knights and brave,
And Giselher, the third one, — ~ each ever doth behave
In such wise as high honor ~ and virtue too have taught ;
Nor elsewise from aforetime ~ have their forefathers wrought.”
1149. But furthermore said Etzel : ~ “Friend, I would learn of thee
If in my land she’s worthy ~ to wear the crown with me ?
And if she’s fair of body ~ as hath to me been said ? —
Then those to me most friendly, ~ need never be dismayed.”
1150. “Indeed unto my lady ~ in beauty likeneth she.
To Helka, the most mighty ; ay ! ~ In this world could be
For any king whatever ~ never a wife more fair.
To whom her love she plighteth ~ he may be of good cheer.”
1151. He spake : “Then win her, Rüdeger, ~ if dear to thee am I.
And if beside Kriemhilda ~ it e’er be mine to lie,
I will reward thee for it ~ as fully as may be ; —
Heeing thou wilt my wishes ~ have compassed thoroughly.
1152. “So much out of my treasure ~ I’ll have bestowed on thee
That thou and thy companions ~ may live right merrily ;
Of horses and of raiment ~ whatever ye may need,
I will have for your journey ~ made ready with all speed.”
1153. Sir Rüdeger made answer : ~ — a mighty margrave he —
“Did I thy riches covet, ~ that were unpraiseworthy.
Unto the Rhine thy message ~ to bear I shall be glad
At charge of mine own fortune, ~ which from thy hands I had.”
1154. Then spake the mighty sovereign : ~ “Now when wilt thou fare hence
To seek this lovely lady ? ~ May God give thee defence
And honor in the journey, ~ and eke this lady mine.
May she to us, luck helping, ~ a gracious ear incline.”
1155. Then Rüdeger spake further : ~ “Ere yet we leave the land,
We must prepare both raiment ~ and weapons to our hand,
That so before the princes ~ due honor we may have.
I’ll lead unto the Rhine-land ~ five hundred warriors brave.
1156. “So, me and mine beholding, ~ the men of Burgundy
Shall every man among them ~ be fain to testify
That ne’er from king in those parts ~ on such a journey went
So many men or better ~ than thou to the Rhine hast sent.
1157. “And be it not displeasing ~ by thee, great ruler, found
That, noble love obeying, ~ she was in wedlock bound
To Siegfried, son of Siegmund ; ~ him hast thou here beheld.
In honor great he must be ~ in truth for ever held.”
1158. Then said King Etzel; “Though she ~ was wife unto that knight,
Yet was his noble body ~ so precious in my sight,
That on the queen I cannot ~ e’er look disdainfully ;
By her exceeding beauty ~ right well she pleaseth me.”
1159. Then spake to him the margrave : ~ “The four and twentieth day
From now, I dare to promise, ~ shall see us on our way.
I’ll send and tell Gotlinda, ~ my dear wife, presently,
That I myself will envoy ~ unto Kriemhilda be.”
1160. So thence unto Bechlaren ~ sent Rüdeger straightway.
Both sorrowful and proud was ~ the margravine that day.
A wife by him, he told her, ~ must for the king be wooed ;
Still tenderly, as living, ~ she thought of Helka good.
1161. For when her husband’s letter ~ the margravine did spell
Some little was she troubled ~ and straight to weeping fell.
Would she another mistress ~ like her have e’er again ?
And when she thought of Helka ~ it gave her heartfelt pain.
1162. In seven days’ space had Rüdeger ~ set forth from Hungary.
A glad man was King Etzel, ~ and gay at heart was he.
Already in Vienna ~ the travelling gear was made,
Nor would he that the journey ~ should longer be delayed.
1163. Gotlinda at Bechlaren ~ awaited Rüdeger ;
The margravine his daughter ~ was also waiting there,
And glad she was on seeing ~ her father and his men.
And many fair young maidens ~ watched kindly for them then.
1164. Ere Rüdeger the noble ~ forth for Bechlaren went
From out Vienna’s city, ~ all his accoutrement
Was perfectly made ready ~ and on the sumpters brought.
They travelled in such fashion ~ that they were robbed of naught.
1165. When they to Bechelaren ~ within the town did fare,
The host his fellow travellers ~ bade kindly welcome there,
And offered board and lodging. ~ Good quarters each one had.
The noble Gotelinda ~ to see him come was glad.
1166. Likewise his well-loved daughter, ~ the little margravine.
At her dear father’s coming ~ could ne’er have gladder been.
The heroes out of Huns’ land ~ how glad she was to see !
And them the noble maiden ~ accosted merrily :
1167. “Right heartily be welcome ~ my father and his men !”
And readily, to thank her, ~ fair words were spoken then
Unto the margrave’s daughter, ~ by many a worthy knight.
Sir Rüdeger’s demeanour ~ Gotlinda read aright.
1168. For when alone at night-time ~ by Rüdeger she lay,
How lovingly besought him ~ the margravine to say
Whither the king from Huns’ land ~ had bidden him to go.
Said he : “My wife Got’linda, ~ I’ll gladly let thee know.
1169. “I for the king my master ~ must seek another wife.
Now that the beauteous Helka ~ departed hath this life.
Therefore to fetch Kriemhilda ~ unto the Rhine ride we ;
To Huns’ land she is coming ~ a mighty queen to be.”
1170. “God grant,” said Gotelinda, ~ “that that may come to pass
Since we have heard, in honor, ~ how much she doth surpass.
She may replace my lady ~ belike, in days to be,
We’ll let her wear in Huns’ land ~ the queen’s crown willingly.”
1171. Then said the margrave to her : ~ “Beloved wife of mine,
The men who hence are riding ~ with me unto the Rhine,
All kindly must thou offer ~ with them thy stores to share :
When heroes fare right nobly ~ more stout of heart they are.”
1172. She answered : “There is no man ~ who cares to take of me,
To whom whate’er beseemeth ~ I give not willingly,
Or ever hence depart ye, ~ thou and thy fighting men.”
Then said to her the margrave : ~ “So doth it please me then.”
1173. Ay, and what noble garments ~ they from the store-rooms bare !
For every noble warrior ~ there was a plenteous share.
All lined they were with peltry ~ downwards from throat to spur ;
What best his purpose suited ~ was chosen of Rüdeger.
1174. Upon the seventh morning ~ from Bechelaren rode
The host with all his warriors. ~ Weapons and raiment good
They bore with them in plenty ~ through the Bavarian land ;
Nor on the road were harassed ~ by any robber band.
1175. Within a twelve days’ journey ~ they to the Rhine did ride ;
The tidings of their coming ~ small chance there was to hide.
Some to the king gave warning, ~ and eke his men did tell.
That stranger-guests were coming. ~ The host to asking fell
1176. If they were known to any ? ~ That was he fain to know.
One saw their sumpter-horses ~ so heavy-laden go :
That they were very wealthy ~ was plain enough to see.
In the great town was found them ~ a hostel presently.
1177. Now when the all-unknown ones ~ were given an abode,
Upon these self-same nobles ~ vast was the heed bestowed :
Men wondered whence the warriors ~ to the Rhine had found their way.
The host sent after Hagen, ~ if haply he could say.
1178. Then spake the knight of Tronjè : ~ “I have not seen them yet,
I doubtless may declare you ~ when sight of them I get,
And whence they’ve come a-riding ~ into this land. I trow
They must indeed be strangers ~ if naught of them I know.”
1179. By this time every stranger ~ a place of lodging had.
Then forward came the envoy, ~ in rich apparel clad,
With all his noble comrades ; ~ and so to court they rode.
Fine raiment were they wearing ~ right well-devised in mode.
1180. Then quoth the ready Hagen : ~ “For all that I can tell —
Not having seen these nobles ~ for somewhat of a spell —
Such like is their demeanour ~ as Rüdeger might have.
Out of the Hunnish country, — ~ a noble knight and brave.”
1181. “How am I to believe it,” ~ the king replied straightway,
“That he of Bechelaren ~ is hither come this day ?”
But as the royal Gunther ~ from speaking did forbear,
Bold Hagen saw for certain ~ that it was Rüdeger.
1182. He and his friends to meet them, ~ did hasten everyone.
One saw from off their horses ~ five hundred knights stand down.
These messengers from Hunsland ~ right welcome were they made.
And never yet were envoys ~ so gallantly arrayed.
1183. Then Hagen spake of Tronjè, ~ and in a loud voice cried ;
“Now in God’s name be welcome ~ ye thanes who hither ride,
The Warden of Bechlaren, ~ and each one of his men.”
An honorable greeting ~ the doughty Huns had then.
1184. King Gunther’s nearest kinsmen, ~ came forth to where they were,
The lord of Metz, Sir Ortwein, ~ then said to Rüdeger:
“Ne’er yet in all our life-time ~ have we until this day
Set eyes on guests so gladly : ~ that may I truly say.”
1185. Thanks gave they for the greeting ~ unto the warriors all ;
So with their noble escort, ~ they went unto the hall.
And there they found King Gunther ~ with a gallant company,
And from his throne upstood he, ~ such was his courtesy.
1186. With what right courtly breeding ~ did he the envoys meet !
Gernot, as well as Gunther, ~ was full of zeal to greet
The guest and eke his liegemen, ~ as did his rank demand.
Good Rüdeger King Gunther ~ himself took by the hand.
1187. Unto the seat he led him, ~ on which himself he sat :
Then to the strangers served they, — ~ all gladly did they that —
Of right good mead full beakers, ~ and of the best of wine
That ever one could meet with ~ in all the land of Rhine.
1188. Now Giselher and Gere ~ had both of them appeared ;
And Dankwart, too, and Volker, ~ who all of them had heard
About the guests arriving ; ~ they were in gladsome mood :
Before the king they greeted ~ the noble knights and good.
1189. Then Hagen, knight of Tronjè, ~ unto his lord did say :
“These warriors of ours ~ should be beholden aye
For kindness that the margrave ~ hath shown to us before :
Fair Gotelinda’s husband ~ must have reward therefore.”
1190. Then spake the royal Gunther : ~ “I can no more delay ;
In health how are they faring, ~ that tell to me, I pray ; —
Etzel, I mean, and Helka, ~ who over Hunsland reign ?”
“All will I,” said the margrave, ~ “gladly to you make plain.”
1191. Straight from the seat uprose he, ~ as eke did all his men,
And to the king thus spake he : ~ “If thus it may be then,
And ye, O prince, allow it, ~ I will no more delay
The tidings that I bring you, ~ but willingly will say.”
1192. He said : “Whatever the tidings ~ that unto us ye bear,
I wait not friendly counsel, ~ but bid you to declare.
Let me and my men hear them, ~ whatever they may be ;
I bid you, in all honor, ~ discharge your embassy.”
1293. Then spake the trusty envoy : ~ “To you upon the Rhine
His faithful service tenders ~ that mightful lord of mine ;
To every friend moreover ~ that unto you may be.
This message I deliver, ~ in faith and honesty :
1194. “The noble king doth ask for ~ your pity in his need.
All joyless are his people : ~ my lady she is dead.
The rich and mighty Helka, ~ of my good lord the wife ;
And now full many a maiden ~ doth lead an orphaned life —
1195. “Children of noble princes, ~ whom she did rear of late —
And therefore is the country ~ in lamentable state :
These now, alas, have no one ~ to rear them faithfully.
I doubt there is no ending ~ to the king’s misery.”
1196. “Requite him God,” said Gunther, ~ “for that to me he sends
So willingly his service, ~ as eke unto my friends !
The greeting thou hast brought me ~ right gladly have I heard :
My kinsmen and my lieges ~ shall merit his good word.”
1197. Then spake, from the Burgundians, ~ Gernot the warrior :
“The world fair Helka’s dying ~ may rue for evermore,
For all her many virtues, ~ which she to cherish knew.”
The doughty knight, Sir Hagen, ~ agreed that this was true.
1198. But Rüedeger said further, ~ the high ambassador :
“Since ye, O king, allow me, ~ I have to tell you more
Of that which my dear master ~ hath bidden me fulfill ;
Since from the death of Helka ~ things have with him gone ill.
1199. “It hath been told my master ~ that, Siegfried being dead,
Kriemhilda is a widow. ~ If this be so, indeed.
And ye to her will grant it, ~ then she a crown shall wear
Before King Etzel’s warriors : ~ this have I to declare.”
1200. The mighty monarch answered ~ (in courteous mood was he) :
“I’ll tell her my opinion, ~ if she perchance agree,
I’ll see that ye our answer ~ in three days’ time shall know,
How should I, ere I’ve asked her, ~ say unto Etzel, no ?”
1201. Meanwhile they had good lodgings ~ made ready for each guest.
So well provided were they, ~ that Rüdeger confessed
That he had friends in plenty ~ amongst King Gunther’s men ;
As he had once served Hagen, ~ so Hagen served him then.
1202. So Rüdeger abode there ~ till the third day was come.
The king a council summoned, ~ (as was his wise custom)
Inquiring of his kinsmen ~ if they would deem it right
That Kriemhild should to Etzel ~ her faith in wedlock plight.
1203. They all, save only Hagen, ~ agreed with one accord ;
But he unto the warrior, ~ to Gunther spake this word :
“If ye are rightly minded, ~ so will ye take good heed,
That, even though she wish it, ~ ye will not do this deed.”
1204. “And wherefore,” answered Gunther, ~ “should I not do this thing ?
Whate’er of love the future ~ unto the queen may bring,
I surely shall not grudge her : ~ sister she is to me.
We ought ourselves to seek it, ~ if for her good it be.”
1205. But once again spake Hagen : ~ “With further talk be done !
Knew ye as much of Etzel ~ as I of him have known, —
And were she him to marry, ~ as I have heard ye say, —
Then would ye see good reason, ~ at length to rue the day.”
1206. “And wherefore ?” answered Gunther, ~ “since I should take good care
“Never to come so nigh him, ~ e’en though my sister were
His wife, that I need suffer ~ from any hate of his.”
But once again said Hagen : ~ “I’ll ne’er agree to this.”
1207. Then messengers to Gernot ~ and Giselher they sent,
To ask of these two princes ~ if they were well content
To have Kriemhilda marry ~ the rich and noble king.
Sir Hagen still gainsaid it, ~ but had no following.
1208. Then spake of the Burgundians ~ the warrior Giselher :
“Now may ye show, friend Hagen, ~ that loyal still ye are :
Make good to her the evil ~ that ye to her have done :
If aught may bring her fortune, ~ that should ye leave alone.
1209. “You’ve wrought unto my sister ~ such evil manifold,” —
So Giselher spake further, — ~ the knight of spirit bold :
“That she hath had good reason ~ to hold you in despite.
Ne’er yet was any woman ~ bereft of more delight.”
1210. “That am I well aware of ~ and willing to allow.
And should she marry Etzel ~ and live for long enow.
She’ll do us yet much evil, ~ howe’er she it contrive ;
For many a goodly warrior ~ to serve her there doth live.”
1211. Thereon the valiant Gernot ~ to Hagen answeréd :
“In that case it behooves us, ~ until they both be dead.
To study that we ride not ~ into King Etzel’s land.
We must be loyal to her : ~ thus honor doth demand.”
1212. Whereto again spake Hagen : ~ “No man can me gainsay !
And should the noble Kriemhild ~ wear Helka’s crown one day,
She’ll do to us a mischief, ~ howe’er it may be done :
It better would beseem you ~ to leave the thing alone.”
1213. Then wrathfully cried Giselher, ~ of Utè fair the son :
“We need not all be traitors, ~ though thou perchance be one !
If honor doth befall her, ~ right joyful should we be.
Whatever thou sayest, Hagen, ~ I’ll serve her faithfully.”
1214. When Hagen heard that saying, ~ angered was he in mood :
For Giselher and Gernot, ~ proud warriors both and good,
And mighty Gunther likewise, ~ did all of them agree
That if it pleased Kriemhilda ~ they would no hindrance be.
1215. Then spoke the princely Gere : ~ “The lady I’ll advise
That she do let King Etzel ~ find favor in her eyes :
So many knights obey him, ~ and suit and service owe, —
He yet may make her happy ~ in spite of all her woe.”
1216. Then went the ready warrior ~ where Kriemhild he did see ;
She graciously received him : ~ how quickly then spake he !
“Well may ye greet me, lady, ~ and give me herald’s bread,
For good luck comes to save you ~ now out of all your need.
1217. “For love of you, dear lady, ~ lo ! There hath hither sent
One of the best and greatest ~ that e’er had government -
O’er realm with highest honor, ~ or ever crown shall wear ;
And noble knights sue for him : ~ your brother bids declare.”
1218. Then spake the sorrow-laden : ~ “Now God prohibit thee
And all my friends from making ~ a mockery of me !
Of me, the poor forlorn one ! ~ What could I be to one
Who heart-felt love hath ever ~ from a good woman won ?”
1219. She sorely strove against it ; ~ but presently to her
There came her brother Gernot ~ and the lad Giselher.
These tenderly besought her ~ to be of cheerful mood :
If she the king would marry, ~ ’twould be for her true good.
1220. Not one of them was able ~ the lady to persuade,
That she should e’er be willing ~ another man to wed ;
Then did the thanes beseech her : ~ “At least we beg of thee —
If thou naught else wilt grant us — ~ the messengers to see.”
1221. “That will I not refuse ye,” ~ replied the noble wife,
“For gladly would I look on ~ Sir Rüdeger in life.
For all his many virtues. ~ If he it had not been.
Whoever were the envoy, ~ I would have stayed unseen.”
1222. She spake : “Tomorrow morning, ~ I pray ye, bid him go
To see me in my chamber ; ~ then will I let him know
What is my will, right surely : ~ to tell him am I fain.”
Then did her grievous sorrow ~ break forth in tears again.
1223. To Rüdeger the noble ~ naught better could have been
Than that he should be granted ~ to see the mighty queen :
He knew that, could this happen, ~ so wise in words was he,
She, by the warrior’s talking, ~ must needs persuaded be.
1224. So, early on the morrow, ~ after Mass was sung,
Arrived the noble envoys ; ~ then mighty was the throng.
Of those who to the palace ~ with Rüdeger should go,
All gallantly accoutred ; ~ one saw a goodly show.
1225. The highborn dame Kriemhilda ~ her heart with trouble sore,
For Rüdeger was waiting, — ~ the goodly warrior.
He found her in the raiment ~ she wore for ev’ry day :
But none the less her women ~ had donned their best array.
1226. She rose and went to meet him, ~ and by the door she stood,
And unto Etzel’s liegeman ~ she gave a welcome good.
With but eleven comrades ~ he came therein to her.
Worship had he, for never ~ came nobler messenger.
1227. One bade them all be seated, — ~ the leader and his men.
The while before her standing ~ they saw her margraves twain.
Counts Eckewart and Gere, — ~ both noble knights and good.
For sake of her, their mistress, ~ none seemed of joyful mood.
1228. They saw beside her sitting ~ full many a lady fair.
For nothing save her sorrow ~ had Kriemhild any care.
The raiment on her bosom ~ was wet with tear-drops hot,
Nor failed the noble margrave ~ Kriemhilda’s grief to note,
1229. Then spake the lordly envoy : ~ “Daughter of kingly race,
To me and to my comrades ~ who here with me have place,
I pray you leave to grant us ~ that we before you stand
And tell to you the errand ~ that brings us to this land.”
1230. “Now be it to you granted,” ~ the queen in answer said,
“To speak as ye are minded ; ~ for I am purposéd
Right willingly to listen : ~ thou art a herald good.”
Yet to the others’ hearing ~ unwilling was her mood.
1231. Then he of Bechelaren, ~ Prince Rüdeger, began :
“With plenteous love, and faithful, ~ Etzel, a great sovran,
To this thy land, fair lady, ~ hath sent an embassy
Of knights to seek thy favor, — ~ a goodly company.
1232. “He offers thee right frankly ~ love free from all alloy :
And eke such steadfast friendship ~ thou shalt with him enjoy.
As erewhile did dame Helka, ~ so near his heart who lay.
Ay, he hath mourned her virtues ~ for many a joyless day.”
1233. “Sir Rüdeger the margrave,” ~ in answer spake the queen,
“No one who hath already ~ my bitter sorrow seen.
To any man would bid me ~ myself in wedlock bind.
Ay ! I have lost the best one ~ that ever wife did find.”
1234. “What else,” the bold man answered, ~ “for sorrow may atone
So well as loving friendship, ~ if such may be, from one
Who for himself is choosing ~ what seems to him the best ?
Naught, after heartfelt sorrow, ~ can give such happy rest
1235. “If to my noble master ~ to give thy love thou’lt deign.
Of twelve right wealthy kingdoms ~ thou shalt be sovereign.
My lord will also give you ~ full thirty princes’ lands.
Each one of which was conquered ~ by his all-potent hands.
1236. “Thereto shalt thou be mistress ~ of many a worthy wight
Who to my lady Helka ~ did service owe of right ;
And over many a lady ~ who dwelt beneath her sway.
Of high and princely lineage.” ~ Thus did the bold knight say.
1237. “My lord will likewise give thee, ~ as he doth bid me say —
If with the king thou deignest ~ to wear the crown one day —
The highest power that ever ~ he unto Helka gave :
Thou over Etzel’s vassals ~ authority shalt have.”
1238. Then spake the queen : “What pleasure ~ remains for me in life,
That ever I should covet ~ to be a hero’s wife ?
Such sorrow have I suffered ~ all through the death of one.
That I must aye be joyless, ~ until my life be done.”
1239. But once more spake the Hunsman : ~ “Most high and noble queen,
Your life along with Etzel ~ so glorious would be seen,
Naught would it be but gladness, ~ if this should come to pass :
And many a handsome warrior ~ the mighty monarch has.”
1240. “The damsels of Queen Helka, ~ the maids that follow thee,
Shall make with one another ~ a single company ;
A sight at which the warriors ~ shall merry be of mood.
Be counselled therefore, lady ; ~ in sooth ’tis for thy good !”
1241. With courtesy she answered : ~ “Now let this parley be
Until tomorrow early ; ~ then come again to me
And ye shall have my answer ~ to what ye have at heart.”
Needs must the valiant warrior ~ agree, and so depart.
1242. When they unto their hostel ~ had all returnéd home,
Then sent the noble lady ~ for Giselher to come.
And likewise for her mother : ~ and unto both did vow.
That nothing else save weeping ~ was fitting for her now.
1243. Said Giselher, her brother : ~ “Sister, ’tis my belief —
And some to me have said it — ~ that all thy bitter grief
King Etzel will make vanish ; ~ and shouldst thou marry him —
Whatever others counsel — ~ well done I will it deem.
1244. “He surely may console thee,” ~ said Giselher again :
“From Rhone unto the Rhine-stream, ~ from Elbe unto the main,
There’s not another sovran ~ so powerful as he.
Right soon may’st thou be happy, ~ if wife he makes of thee.”
1245. “My brother well belovéd, ~ how canst thou thus advise ?
To weep and mourn seems ever ~ more fitting in mine eyes.
How, at the court there, should I ~ before the warriors go ?
If ever I were comely, ~ no longer am I so.”
1246. Then spake the lady Utè ~ her daughter dear unto :
“Whatever thy brothers counsel, ~ fail not, dear child, to do ;
Follow thy friends’ advising, ~ so will it prosper thee.
Too long have I beheld thee ~ in thy great misery.”
1247. Then God she prayed right sorely ~ that store of worldly gear.
Of silver, gold and raiment ~ be granted unto her,
To give ; as when her husband ~ in life and health she had ;
Though never as aforetime ~ could life again be glad.
1248. Within her heart she pondered : ~ “Shall I my body give —
Who am a Christian woman — ~ and with a heathen wive?
Fore all the world and ever ~ disgrace on me ’twould bring, —
Though all his wealth he gave me, ~ I would not do this thing !”
1249. And so she left the matter : ~ but all night long, till day,
The lady on her pillow ~ with endless brooding lay.
Her eyes that shone so brightly, ~ from tears were never dried,
Until at dawn of morning ~ unto the Mass she hied.
1250. The kings came thither also ~ close on the hour of Mass ;
They had been taking counsel ~ upon their sister’s case :
To marry they advised her ~ the king of Hungary.
But neither found the lady ~ disposed more cheerfully.
1251. Forthwith were orders given ~ King Etzel’s men to bring,
Who now would leave have taken ~ and home been travelling, —
Accepted or rejected, ~ whichever of the twain.
Then to the court came Rüdeger. ~ The heroes urged again
1252. That he should rightly fathom ~ the noble Gunther’s mood,
And do it very quickly : ~ to all did this seem good :
To get back to their country, ~ they needs must journey far.
And so unto Kriemhilda ~ they ushered Rüdeger.
1253. With kindly words of pleading ~ began the warrior ;
The noble queen beseeching ~ that she would let him hear
What message for his master, ~ to Etzel’s land she sent.
I ween he found her answer ~ naught save discouragement :
1254. That she forsooth would never ~ again wed anyone.
Whereon the margrave answered : ~ “That surely were ill-done !
Why shouldst thou thy fair body ~ so wastefully disdain ?
Thou mightst become with honor ~ a good man’s wife again.”
1255. But naught availed their praying, ~ until that Rüdeger
All privately did whisper ~ into the great queen’s ear,
That all she ever suffered ~ he would make good again.
Whereat her great misliking ~ somewhat began to wane.
1256. Unto the queen thus spake he : ~ “Let now your weeping be.
If ye among the Hunsfolk ~ had ne’er a friend save me,
And all my trusty kinsmen, ~ and eke my liegemen true,
Hath any done you evil ~ right dearly should he rue.”
1257. Thenceforth the lady’s humor ~ somewhat more gentle grew.
She said : “An oath now give me : ~ whatever men may do
That ye will be the first one ~ to right mine injury.”
Whereto the margrave answered : ~ “That will I readily.”
1258. With all his men did Rüdeger ~ swear by an oath to her
That he would serve her truly ; ~ and that no warrior
Should ever aught deny her, ~ throughout King Etzel’s land,
In what concerned her honor. ~ So pledged her Rüdeger’s hand.
1259. Then, faithful-hearted, thought she : ~ “Since on my will to wait
I’ve met with friends so many, ~ I’ll let the people prate
Howe’er they have a mind to, ~ of me, poor wretched wife !
What if I yet have vengeance ~ for my dear husband’s life ?”
1260. She thought : “Since Etzel holdeth ~ so many knights in fee,
I also may command them, ~ and do what pleaseth me.
So wealthy is he also, ~ I shall have much to give :
Me did that hateful Hagen ~ of all my goods deprive.”
1261. To Rüdeger thus spake she : ~ “If it were known to me
That he were not a heathen, ~ I would come willingly,
Whithersoe’er he listeth, ~ and take him for my lord.”
The margrave answered : “Lady, ~ heed not a single word.
1262. “He hath so many warriors, ~ who in Christ’s faith believe
That with the king at no time ~ shall ye have cause to grieve.
What if your faith should win him ~ to take the Christian life ?
Then might ye well be happy ~ to be King Etzel’s wife.”
1263. Then said her brothers also : ~ “Now, sister mine, say ‘Yes,’
And so be quit for ever ~ of your unhappiness.”
Thus long did they beseech her, ~ till, full of sorrow, she
Before the heroes promised ~ King Etzel’s wife to be.
1264. She said : “You will I follow, ~ a queen right sad of heart.
And fare with you to Huns’ land ; ~ so may we now depart,
When I the friends have found me ~ to bring me to his land.”
To that, before the heroes, ~ fair Kriemhild gave her hand.
1265. Then to her said the margrave : ~ “Hast thou a pair of men,
To them I can add many : ~ it will be easy then
To bring you with due honor ~ unto Rhine’s further side ;
No longer, mid Burgundians, ~ lady, must thou abide.
1266. “I have five hundred liegemen, ~ and kinsmen too, of whom
Thou mayst command the service, — ~ or here, or there at home
To do thy bidding, lady ; ~ and I will do the same,
Whene’er thou claim’st my promise, — ~ that so I have no shame.
1267. “Now see that ye have ready ~ your horse accoutrement ;
What Rüdeger doth counsel ~ ye never shall repent ;
And say this to your maidens ~ whom ye will thither bring :
‘Ay, many a chosen hero ~ shall we meet travelling.’”
1268. Still much of wrought equipment ~ from Siegfried’s time they had,
That had been used in riding ; ~ wherewith full many a maid
Might take the road with honor ~ whene’er they thence should fare.
Ay ! Goodly were the saddles ~ they gave the ladies fair.
1269. If such-like costly raiment ~ they ere had worn before,
Now ready for the journey ~ they had a goodly store ;
For of the King such marvels ~ had unto them been said.
Chests that had long been standing ~ close-locked were open laid.
1270. Unwearyingly worked they ~ till unto the fifth day ;
They sought from out the presses ~ the stores that in them lay.
Her treasure-chests to open ~ Kriemhild herself did go.
On Rüdeger’s good liegemen ~ she fain would wealth bestow.
1271. Still had she somewhat over ~ of gold from Niblung-land ;
(Among the Huns she thought ~ to divide it with her hand),
A hundred sumpter horses ~ the load could nowise bear.
This tale about Kriemhilda ~ was brought to Hagen’s ear.
1272. Quoth he : “Because Kriemhilda ~ will ne’er to me be kind,
The gold that once was Siegfried’s, ~ she needs must leave behind.
Why should I such a treasure ~ unto my foes let go ?
Right well I know what Kriemhild ~ with all this gold will do.
1273. “For if she hence should bring it, ~ I’ll wager verily
’Twould be in largesse given ~ to stir up hate for me.
They have not e’en the horses ~ to carry it away.
‘’Tis Hagen’s will to keep it,’ ~ thus unto Kriemhild say.”
1274. Now when she heard this message, ~ smit to the heart was she.
The word was likewise carried ~ unto the kings all three.
Fain would they have gainsaid it, ~ but as this did no good,
Sir Rüdeger the noble ~ outspake in joyous mood :
1275. “O, mighty Queen, and noble, ~ why grieve ye for this gold?
When unto you king Etzel ~ such kindliness doth hold,
That when his eyes behold you, ~ he’ll give such riches rare
That ye can never spend it : ~ that, lady, will I swear.”
1276. To him the queen made answer: ~ “Most noble Rüdeger,
Never had a king’s daughter ~ more wealth bequeathed to her
Than that of which Sir Hagen ~ hath now despoiléd me.”
Then went her brother Gernot ~ unto the treasury.
1277. By right the king’s key took he ~ and put it in the door :
And gold therefrom withdrew they, ~ that was of Kriemhild’s store ;
Of marks full thirty thousand ~ or something more they had :
He bade the guests to take it : ~ and Gunther was right glad.
1278. Then he from Bechelaren, ~ dame Gotelinda’s lord.
Said : “If my lady Kriemhild ~ yet ownéd all the hoard
Such as it was aforetime ~ when brought from Niblung-land,
Nor I, nor the queen either, ~ would touch it with our hand.
1279. “Now back let it be taken, ~ for of it will I naught ;
Sufficient from my country, ~ ay, of mine own, I brought,
That we can do without it ~ right well upon the way,
And all our homeward charges ~ right royally can pay.”
1280. Unto that end her maidens ~ had meanwhile pieces told
Into a dozen coffers, ~ all of the finest gold
That ever one might meet with : ~ these with them they would bear.
And ornaments for ladies ~ upon the road to wear.
1281. The mastery of grim Hagen ~ too strongly on her bore.
She had of her alms-money ~ a thousand marks and more.
For her dear husband’s welfare ~ the whole did she dispart ;
And Rüdeger but deemed it ~ done with a right true heart.
1282. Then said the weeping lady : ~ “Where are those friends of mine
Who for my sake are willing ~ in banishment to pine?
They who unto the Huns’ land ~ will bear me company?
Let them take of my treasure ~ and horse and raiment buy.”
1283. Then Eckewart the margrave, ~ made answer to the queen :
“So long as in your household ~ a servant I have been
Right truly have I served you,” ~ thus did the warrior say,
“Nor will I cease to do so ~ until my dying day.
1284. “And of my men five hundred ~ eke will I bring with me,
Whom I unto your service ~ do pledge right faithfully.
For nothing shall divide us, ~ till Death our lives do part.”
She bent her head to thank him : ~ too full was her sad heart
1285. Then led they forth the palfreys, ~ for it was time to go.
Her friends all fell a-weeping, ~ and many tears did flow.
The noble lady Utè ~ and many a maiden fair
Showed that for dame Kriemhilda ~ their hearts were full of care.
1286. A hundred highborn maidens ~ along with her she led,
Who as their rank befitted ~ were all apparelléd.
Then from their eyes bright-shining ~ did many a tear-drop well.
And yet with Etzel later ~ much pleasure them befell.
1287. Lord Giselher came also ~ and Gernot none the less,
With many of their household, ~ as bade their courtliness.
They would their well-loved sister ~ upon her journey bring.
They led a thousand warriors, ~ a goodly following.
1288. The ever-ready Gere, ~ and Ortwein also came ;
Rumold the kitchen-master ~ he too must come with them.
Night-quarters made they ready ~ hard by the Danube side,
But Gunther from the city ~ did but a small space ride.
1289. Ere from the Rhine they journeyed ~ they had before them sent
Their messengers, who swiftly ~ unto the Huns’ land went,
And told the king beforehand ~ how Rüdeger had done,
And as a wife for Etzel ~ the noble queen had won.

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1290. Leave we the heralds riding : ~ we must make known to you
How the Queen’s journey prospered, ~ as she the land rode through ;
And where from her did Gernot ~ and Giselher depart.
Right truly each had served her, ~ as taught of faithful heart.
1291. They rode as far as Pfœring, upon the Danube-strand.
Then of the queen began they ~ kind quittance to demand.
Since homeward they returning ~ unto the Rhine would ride :
Nor might this without weeping ~ ’twixt loving friends betide.
1292. Then Giselher the ready ~ unto his sister said :
“If ever thou, fair lady, ~ shouldst stand in need of aid,
If e’er thou art in danger, ~ fail not to let me know.
To Etzel’s land to serve thee ~ I presently will go.”
1293. Those who were of her kindred ~ upon the mouth she kissed ;
And at the hour of parting ~ full many a loving tryst
One saw the liegemen keeping ~ of margrave Rüdeger :
And many a well-dight maiden ~ the queen led forth with her.
1294. Five score and four in number : ~ rich clothing did they wear
And brightly tinctured cloth-stuffs : ~ and many men did bear
Broad shields to guard the ladies ~ beside them on the way.
But many a princely warrior ~ must part from them that day.
1295. Thence rode they swiftly forward ~ down through Bavarian land.
The people told the tidings ~ of how a mickle band
Of unknown guests were coming, ~ nigh where a cloister still
Doth stand, and where Inn river ~ the Danube’s flood doth fill.
1296. Within the town of Passau ~ there was a bishop’s see.
The hostels and the palace ~ stood empty presently:
To meet the guests men hied them ~ on to Bavarian ground,
Where Pilgerin the bishop ~ the fair Kriemhilda found.
1297. The warriors of the country ~ no whit displeaséd were
To see behind her coming ~ so many ladies fair,
Their eyes upon these daughters ~ of noble knights did rest.
Good lodging was provided ~ for every noble guest.
1298. The bishop into Passau, ~ his niece beside him, rode ;
And when among the burghers ~ the news was noised abroad
That coming was Kriemhilda, ~ their prince’s sister’s child,
Right gladly was she welcomed by all ~ the merchant guild.
1299. That they were come to sojourn ~ the bishop fain had known,
But Eckewart said to him : ~ “It is not to be done ;
To Rüdeger’s dominions ~ we needs must journey down,
Where many knights await us : ~ as is to all well-known.”
1300. The tidings of their coming ~ now fair Gotlinda knew.
Straightway she made her ready, ~ her noble daughter too.
For Rüdeger had warned her ~ that he would deem it good
If when the queen was coming — ~ to somewhat cheer her mood —
1301. She would ride forth to meet her, ~ with escort of his men,
Unto the river Ense ; ~ which being accomplished, then
On every side beheld one ~ the very roads alive
With folk, on foot or horseback, — ~ to see the guests arrive.
1302. Now was the queen by this time ~ to Everdingen come.
No few of the Bavarians ~ did then as outlaws roam,
To rob upon the highways ; ~ and they, as was their wont.
Might to the guests have offered ~ some dangerous affront.
1303. But well the noble margrave ~ of this had taken thought ;
For he a thousand warriors ~ and even more had brought.
There also came Gotlinda, ~ the wife of Rüdeger,
And many a knight of valor ~ right nobly rode with her.
1304. When they the Traun had traversed, ~ upon the level green
By Ens, folk making ready ~ cabins and tents were seen ;
For there it was determined ~ the night-halt should be made.
All charges for the strangers ~ by Rüdeger were paid.
1305. The fair Gotlinda stayed not ~ upon the camping ground,
But forward went to meet them. ~ Along the roadway wound
With ever tinkling trappings ~ a handsome cavalcade.
Right kindly was her greeting, — ~ which Rüdeger made glad.
1306. And those whom either party ~ encountered on the way
Rode in praiseworthy fashion ; ~ right many thanes were they.
They practiced knightly pastimes, ~ by many a maiden seen ;
Nor was the warriors’ service ~ unpleasing to the queen.
1307. As Rüdeger’s retainers ~ unto the guests came nigh,
Right many were the lance-shafts ~ one saw raised up on high,
By warriors’ hands uplifted, ~ as is the knightly mode ;
And then before the ladies ~ praiseworthily they rode.
1308. This brought they to an ending ; ~ then many of the men
Greeted each other kindly. ~ The fair Gotlinda then
To where she saw Kriemhilda ~ they brought upon her way.
They who could serve the ladies ~ had little rest that day.
1309. The lord of Bechelaren ~ up to his wife did ride ;
The noble lady-margrave ~ was right well satisfied
That he from the Rhine country ~ all safe and sound had won.
And somewhat was her sorrow ~ in happiness undone.
1310. When she had made him welcome, ~ he bade her on the green
Dismount, with all the ladies ~ who in her train were seen.
Then many a noble liegeman ~ was busy as could be ;
And service to the ladies ~ was done right readily.
1311. As now the lady Kriemhild ~ the margravine espied,
Standing with her attendants, ~ she would no nearer ride ;
But with the rein her palfrey ~ at once began to stay,
And bade them from the saddle ~ to lift her down straightway.
1312. His sister’s daughter leading ~ one saw the bishop soon,
With Eckewart, to make her ~ unto Gotlinda known ;
And, in a trice, the people ~ made wide the way for this.
Upon the lips the stranger ~ did Gotelinda kiss.
1313. Then spake in loving fashion ~ the wife of Rüdeger :
“Now well is me, dear lady, ~ that I thy presence fair
Within my country’s borders ~ and with mine eyes have seen.
To me could at this season ~ no greater joy have been.”
1314. “Most noble Gotelinda, ~ God give you your reward !
If haply I,” spake Kriemhild, ~ “and Botlung’s son be spared,
One day ye may be joyful ~ that ye have seen my face.”
They both were all unknowing ~ of what must come to pass.
1315. Due courtesies exchanging, ~ walked many maidens fair ;
Their services to render ~ the warriors ready were.
They sat, the greetings ended, ~ upon the clover down.
And many made acquaintance, ~ who were till then unknown.
1316. Wine brought they for the ladies ; ~ and now ’twas full midday ;
The noble folk would therefore ~ no longer there delay.
They rode on till they came where ~ large huts and many stood.
And for the noble strangers ~ was waiting service good.
1317. That night they slept in quiet ~ until the dawning brake.
But they of Bechelaren ~ themselves did ready make,
So that they might provide for ~ so many a worthy guest.
Well Rüdeger had managed ~ that little should be missed.
1318. One saw how every window ~ stood open in the wall :
The castle of Bechlaren ~ was entry-free to all.
Therein the guests came riding, ~ well seen of all around.
The noble host had bidden ~ good hostel to be found.
1319. Then Rüdeger’s fair daughter ~ with all her company,
Unto the queen approaching, ~ received her lovingly.
There likewise was her mother, ~ the wife of the margrave.
To many a young damsel ~ they kindly greeting gave.
1320. Hands took they with each other, ~ and so together went
Unto a wide-roomed palace ~ of fashion excellent,
For there, beneath it rushing, ~ one saw the Danube’s flood.
They sat and took the breezes, ~ and had much pastime good.
1321. Of what they did there further ~ I cannot say a word.
That so much time was wasted ~ complaints, howe’er, were heard, —
Made by Kriemhilda’s warriors, ~ whose patience thus was tried.
But with them, from Bechlaren ~ what goodly thanes did ride !
1322. By Rüdeger kind service ~ was amply offeréd.
The queen bestowed, when leaving, ~ twelve golden bracelets red
On Gotelinda’s daughter, ~ and raiment, too, well-wrought :
That she herself no better ~ to Etzel’s country brought.
1323. Although they had despoiled her ~ of all the Niblung gold.
The love of all who saw her ~ she knew to win and hold
With what small wealth remaining ~ she for her use might have.
Unto her host’s house-servants ~ great store of gifts she gave.
1324. Like honor showed on her side ~ the lady Gotelind
Unto the guests from Rhineland ; ~ to whom she was so kind
That one could find scarce any ~ among the strangers there
Who had not of her jewels ~ or raiment fine to wear,
1325. When they enough had eaten, ~ and time it was to start,
The mistress of the household ~ proffered, with all her heart,
Most true and loyal service ~ to Etzel’s wife-to-be.
Then was the fair young maiden ~ embraced right lovingly.
1326. Unto the Queen thus spake she : ~ “If it seem good to you,
I know that my dear father ~ right gladly this will do :
He’ll send me into Hunsland ~ that I with you may be.”
That she was loyal-hearted ~ Kriemhilda well could see.
1327. In front of Bechelaren ~ the horses had been led ;
The noble queen already ~ her parting words had said
Unto the wife and daughter ~ of margrave Rüdeger ;
With greetings, too, departed ~ full many a maiden fair.
1328. They scarce from that day forward ~ saw one another more.
And when they came to Medlick, lo ! ~ In their hands men bore
A store of brave gold flagons, ~ wherein, unto the street.
Wine brought they for the strangers ; ~ to give them welcome meet.
1329. There was a lord of manor ~ here dwelling, hight Astold ;
Into the Austrian country ~ the way to them he told :
By Mautern, somewhat further ~ the Danube stream adown.
There right true service later ~ the mighty queen did own.
1330. Unto his niece the bishop ~ a loving farewell bade ;
To be of cheerful spirit ~ her earnestly he prayed.
And win herself such honor ~ as Helka erst had done.
Ay ! What great honor later ~ amongst the Huns she won !
1331. Unto the Traisen river ~ the guests they soon did bring ;
And Rüdeger’s retainers ~ served them, unwearying,
Until the Hun-folk riding ~ across the country came.
Then was there mickle honor ~ done to the royal dame.
1332. The king of the Huns’ country ~ did, near the Traisen, own
A very noble stronghold, ~ to everyone well known.
Its name was Traisenmauer, ~ where Helka lived of yore.
And practiced such great virtues, ~ scarce met with any more,
1333. Save only in Kriemhilda ; — ~ for she knew how to give ; —
And, after all her sorrow, ~ was for some joy to live.
In that she also honor ~ of Etzel’s folk might have ;
Which soon, in fullest measure, ~ the heroes to her gave.
1334. The sovereignty of Etzel ~ was owned so far and wide
That at his court were met with, ~ at every time and tide.
The bravest of all warriors ~ whose names were known to fame
’Mongst Christians or heathens : ~ all thither to him came.
1335. With him there was at all times — ~ which scarce again can come —
The Christian confession ~ along with heathendom.
Whatever rule of living ~ each for himself might have,
The king’s mood was so easy, ~ plenty to all he gave.

{ 22 }
1336. Until the fourth day dawning ~ at Traisenmauer she stayed.
The dust upon the roadways ~ meanwhile was never laid ;
It rose, as from some burning, ~ on every side, like smoke.
While through the Austrian country ~ came riding Etzel’s folk.
1337. Meanwhile to the king also ~ the news was duly brought ;
Whereon his former sorrow ~ soon vanished at the thought
How royally Kriemhilda ~ across the land did ride.
The king then made him ready ~ to go and meet his bride.
1338. Strange tongues of many races ~ one heard upon that road.
As many gallant warriors ~ in front of Etzel rode ;
Of Christians and of pagans ~ a host exceeding great ;
And when they met the Lady ~ they went in noble state.
1339. Of Russ and Greek came riding ~ a goodly company,
And Poles and Wallachs saw one ~ go rushing swiftly by
Upon their gallant chargers, ~ that mightfully they rode ;
And nothing was there lacking ~ of native use and mode.
1340. From out of the Kief country ~ rode many a warrior bold ;
And hordes from wild Petschnegen. ~ These did the custom hold
Of carrying bow and arrow ~ to shoot birds as they flew ;
With strength they pulled the bow-string, ~ and the full shaft’s length drew.
1341. There stood upon the Danube, ~ in Austrian land, a town
The name whereof was Tulna : ~ to her was there made known
Full many a foreign custom ~ she had not seen before.
By many was she welcomed, ~ who through her suffered sore.
1342. As guard before King Etzel ~ a company there rode
Of mighty men and merry, ~ courtly and high of mood ;
Of princes four-and-twenty, ~ all great and wealthy men.
They came to see their Lady, — ~ naught more they asked for then.
1343. There also was Duke Ramung, ~ from the Wallachian plain,
Who with seven hundred horsemen ~ before her sped amain :
Like birds of passage flying, ~ one saw them whirling by.
Prince Gibeche soon followed, ~ with stately chivalry.
1344. Homboge, the aye ready, ~ came with a thousand men.
And from the king’s side ~ turned him towards his Lady then.
As was their country’s custom, ~ they raised a mighty shout.
And all the Hunnish kinsmen ~ in swarms came riding out.
1345. Also there came from Denmark ~ Haward the valiant one.
And ever-ready Iring, ~ to falseness all unknown ;
And Irnfried of Thuringia, ~ a goodly man was he !
So welcomed they Kriemhilda, ~ she needs must honored be.
1346. With their twelve hundred liegemen ~ the host they rode before.
Sir Blœdelin came also ~ with thrice a thousand more —
The brother of King Etzel ~ from out of Hungary :
Right royally escorted ~ unto the queen rode he.
1347. And last of all King Etzel ; ~ and with him Dietrich came
With all his chosen comrades ~ and many a knight of fame,
Right noble and praiseworthy, ~ and valiant and good.
Whereat was dame Kriemhilda ~ much lightsomer of mood.
1348. Then, to the princess speaking, ~ the nobler Rüdeger
Said : “Lady, I will welcome ~ the mighty sovran here.
And whomsoever I bid you ~ to kiss, so do it then :
Ye must not give like greeting ~ to all of Etzel’s men.”
1349. Then down from off her palfrey ~ the high-born queen they took ;
Whereon the mighty Etzel ~ no more delay could brook.
He from his steed dismounted ~ with many a bold knight too :
And then one saw him blithely ~ towards Kriemhilda go.
1350. Two rich and mighty princes, ~ as hath to us been told.
Were standing near the lady ~ her garment’s train to hold,
What time the royal Etzel ~ went forward her to meet.
The noble prince with kisses ~ then did she kindly greet.
1351. She raised the veil that screened her ; ~ her dainty color glowed
Out of its golden setting ; ~ and many a knight avowed
That ne’er could Lady Helka ~ have shown a face more fair.
King Etzel’s brother, Blœdelin, ~ was standing very near.
1352. Him Rüdeger the margrave ~ bade her to kiss ; and eke
King Gibeche ; and Dietrich, ~ who was not far to seek.
A dozen of the warriors ~ were kissed by Etzel’s bride ;
Then gave she other greeting ~ to many a knight beside.
1353. Now all the while that Etzel ~ did by Kriemhilda stay
The younger men were busy ~ (as such would be today)
With many mighty tiltings ; ~ one saw then how they rode ;
Both Christian knights and heathen, ~ each following their mode.
1354. How knightly was the bearing of ~ Dietrich’s gallant men !
Their javelins and lances went ~ flying forth amain
High over shields and bucklers, ~ by good knights’ hands addressed.
Then shivered were the shield-rims ~ of many a German guest.
1355. Then was a mighty crashing ~ of breaking lance and spear.
The warriors of the country ~ were all assembled there,
As were the king’s guests also, — ~ a throng of noble men :
The mighty king was walking ~ with dame Kriemhilda then.
1356. They saw hard by them standing ~ a very noble tent ;
The plain around was covered ~ by many a wooden pent.
Where folk might sit and rest them ~ when work was duly sped ;
And many beauteous maidens ~ by heroes there were led
1357. Unto their royal mistress, ~ as she was sitting there
Upon the rich chair covers. ~ The margrave right good care
Had taken, so to fit it, that ~ everyone should find
Kriemhilda’s bower delightful : ~ and glad was Etzel’s mind.
1358. What Etzel spake unto her ~ it is not mine to say.
Meanwhile her small white fingers ~ within his right hand lay.
In loving fashion sat they, ~ for knightly Rüdeger
Would have no secret wooing ~ betwixt the king and her.
1359. Straightway commands were given ~ that all the games be stayed ;
With honor they were ended ~ and all the din allayed.
Into the wooden houses ~ the men of Etzel hied ;
And folk provided lodging ~ around for far and wide.
1360. The day had reached its ending : ~ they laid them down to sleep
Until the light of morning ~ again began to peep.
Then were the steeds bestridden ~ once more, by many a man :
Ha, and in Etzel’s honor ~ what pastimes then began !
1361. The king enjoined his Hunsmen ~ to do all honor bade.
Unto Vienna city ~ their way from Tuln they made ;
There, decked in fine apparel, ~ full many a dame they found ;
King Etzel’s wife these welcomed, ~ as in all honor bound.
1362. In all-sufficing plenty ~ whatever they would have
Was there, already for them. ~ Right many a warrior brave
With joy the sport awaited. ~ All went to hostelry.
And soon the royal wedding ~ began right merrily.
1363. But not for all could lodgings ~ be found within the town.
To such as were not strangers, ~ did Rüdeger make known
That they must seek out quarters ~ in country places round.
I ween there were at all times ~ near dame Kriemhilda found
1364. Dietrich, the noble warrior, ~ and many another thane.
These, in their work unresting, ~ but little peace mote gain
That nothing should be lacking ~ to cheer the strangers’ mood.
So Rüdeger and his comrades ~ had rest and pastime good.
1365. The marriage was accomplished ~ one day in Whitsuntide,
When first the royal Etzel ~ lay by Kriemhilda’s side,
Within Vienna’s city. ~ So many men, thought she.
At her first husband’s bidding, ~ she surely ne’er did see.
1366. To those who had not seen her ~ she made herself well known
By gifts ; yea many among them ~ unto the guests did own :
“We deemed that dame Kriemhilda ~ had little goods or gold, —
But here hath she, by giving, ~ wrought marvels manifold.”
1367. The merry-making lasted ~ for days full seventeen.
And never was there told of ~ another king, I ween,
Whose wedding was more noble : ~ such is to us unknown.
All folk who there were present ~ did new apparel own.
1368. In Netherland, aforetime, ~ thought she, she ne’er had sat
With such a throng of warriors. ~ I say, moreover, that,
If great was Siegfried’s substance, ~ he ne’er had, as his men,
So many noble warriors ~ as stood round Etzel then.
1369. Nor was there ever any ~ who at his wedding-tide
Of mantles gave so many, ~ so rich and deep and wide;
Nor any such good raiment ~ as here there was to don.
In honor of Kriemhilda ~ was all in this wise done.
1370. Their friends and eke the strangers ~ were all alike of mind.
That there had been no sparing ~ in gear of any kind.
Whatever any wanted, ~ that presently he had.
Yea many a knight through kindness ~ was wellnigh naked made.
1371. Yet days of old in Rhineland ~ she could not quite forget,
Beside her noble husband ; ~ and then her eyes grew wet
She did her best to hide it, ~ lest anyone should see.
After so many a sorrow ~ much honor now had she.
1372. What others gave in bounty ~ no better was than air
Compared with Dietrich’s giving. ~ Whatever Botlung’s heir
Had given him for largesse, ~ that quickly lavished he.
Eke Rüdeger with bounty ~ was marvellously free.
1373. And Blœdelin came also, ~ the prince from Hungary,
And bade men take whatever ~ in many chests might be
Of gold and silver pieces : ~ ’twas all to give away.
Then saw one the king’s heroes ~ keeping high holiday.
1374. The players of King Etzel, ~ Wærbel and Swemmelin,
I ween that either of them ~ did at the wedding win
A thousand marks for certain, ~ or maybe even more.
What time the fair Kriemhilda ~ her crown by Etzel wore.
1375. Upon the eighteenth morning ~ they from Vienna went.
Then was in knightly pastime ~ full many a buckler bent,
By lances that were carried ~ in every warrior’s hand.
Soon came the royal Etzel ~ unto the Hunnish land.
1376. In the old town of Heimburg ~ they rested overnight.
By then the throng of people ~ could no one tell aright.
Nor with what strength of numbers ~ they overspread the ground.
Ay me, and what fair women ~ they in his country found !
1377. At Miesenburg the wealthy ~ unto the boats they took.
The stream with men and horses ~ was hidden, as to look
Not otherwise than dry land ; ~ yet ever seemed to flow.
The women, travel-weary, ~ had ease and comfort now.
1378. Together had been fastened ~ ships many and right good,
That they might get no damage ~ from either waves or flood ;
And many a well-made awning ~ thereover did they strain,
As if they still beneath them ~ had land and open plain.
1379. At Etzelburg, before them, ~ arrived these tidings then.
Whereat was great rejoicing ~ of women and of men.
The ladies of Queen Helka, ~ who erewhile were her care,
Soon many days and happy ~ did with Kriemhilda share.
1380. There stood and waited for her ~ full many a noble maid.
On whom abundant sorrow ~ since Helka’s death had weighed.
The daughters of kings seven ~ still there Kriemhilda found.
Who were the pride and glory ~ of Etzel’s land around.
1381. The maiden lady Herrat, ~ still of them all had care.
Queen Helka’s sister’s daughter, ~ of many virtues rare,
The bride betrothed of Dietrich, ~ child of a king of fame.
The daughter, too, of Nentwein : ~ to honor great she came.
1382. Unto the guests’ arrival ~ she looked with mood right glad,
Whereto great stores and treasure ~ were also ready made.
How later the king feasted — ~ who could it all declare ?
And with a queen at no time ~ did Hunsmen better fare.
1383. As with his wife beside him ~ the king rode from the strand,
The noble dame Kriemhilda ~ was given to understand
The name of every lady, ~ the better them to greet.
Ay, mightily she bore her ~ sitting in Helka’s seat.
1384. To her was faithful service ~ rendered right readily.
Wherefore the queen divided ~ her gold and jewelry,
Her silver and apparel : ~ whate’er she did convey
From over Rhine to Hunsland ~ must all be given away.
1385. Also with suit and service ~ subject to her, from then,
Were all of the king’s kinsmen, ~ and likewise all his men.
Never had Lady Helka ~ enjoyed such potent sway ;
So must they serve Kriemhilda ~ until her dying day.
1386. Then stood so high in honor ~ the court and realm around.
That men came there at all times, ~ and chosen pastime found, —
To whatsoe’er it might be ~ that each one’s heart did lean, —
Be it the king’s good favor ~ or bounty of the queen.

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1387. In great estate of honor, ~ as truly doth appear,
They dwelt with one another ~ until the seventh year.
During this time the king’s wife ~ brought forth a son and heir ;
Whereat the royal Etzel ~ could ne’er be happier.
1388. She would not be persuaded ~ to be content with aught
But that the child of Etzel ~ should to the font be brought,
With Christian rites according. ~ Ortlieb they named the boy:
Which all through Etzel’s country ~ was cause of mickle joy.
1389. Whatever noble virtues ~ in Lady Helka lay,
To match them dame Kriemhilda ~ aye studied, day by day.
The customs soon were taught her, ~ by Herrat, maid forlorn,
Who with a secret longing ~ for Helka still did mourn.
1390. To native folk and strangers ~ she now was widely known :
’Twas said of her, that never ~ did any king’s land own
A better, milder mistress ; ~ right sure of this they were.
Such fame she bore in Hunsland ~ until the thirteenth year.
1391. Now since she knew for certain ~ that none would her gainsay
E’en as kings’ warriors mostly ~ their princes’ wives obey, —
And as twelve kings before her ~ were ever seen to come.
She thought on all the sorrows ~ that she had known at home.
1392. She thought, too, of the honors ~ that once in Niblungland
Had been in her possession ; ~ and which by Hagen’s hand,
At time of Siegfried’s murder, ~ were wholly done away :
And whether he might ever ~ for that be made to pay.
1393. “It might be, could I bring him ~ by some means to this land.”
She dreamt that she was walking, ~ and near her, close at hand,
Was Giselher, her brother, ~ and in her gentle sleep
She kissed him very often. ~ He soon had cause to weep !
1394. I ween some evil devil ~ Kriemhilda did provoke
That with her brother Gunther ~ her friendship now she broke,
Whom she, in full forgiveness, ~ kissed on Burgundian soil.
Then with hot tears began she ~ once more her robe to spoil.
1395. And ever, late and early, ~ within her heart it wrought
How, without fault on her part, ~ she had thereto been brought,
That henceforth with a heathen ~ she must in wedlock live ;
This bitterness did Hagen ~ and Gunther, too, contrive.
1396. The wish that dwelt within her ~ ne’er let her heart alone ;
Thought she : “I am so mighty, ~ and such great riches own,
That on my foes in vengeance ~ some ill I may repay.
Thus would I do right gladly ~ to Hagen of Tronjè.
1397. “My heart is longing sorely ~ for my dear faithful one :
Might I but get them near me ~ who ill to me have done,
So would I take full vengeance ~ for my beloved’s life ; —
Scarce can I bide their coming”; ~ so murmured Etzel’s wife.
1398. The whole of the king’s liegemen ~ held highly in esteem
The warriors of Kriemhilda : ~ and well it was, I deem.
Her treasurer was Eckwart, — ~ good friends thereby he made.
Nor could Kriemhilda’s wishes ~ by any be gainsaid,
1399. Now was she ever thinking ; ~ “I will beseech the king !”
To wit, that of his goodness ~ he would allow this thing,
That unto the Hun-country ~ her kinsmen might be brought
But no one there discovered ~ the queen’s unholy thought
1400. It came to pass one nighttime, ~ as by the king she lay,
(His arms were cast about her, ~ as was his wont alway,
Loving the noble lady : ~ for she was as his life)
That of her foes was thinking ~ the fair and noble wife.
1401. And to the king thus spake she : ~ “My ever dear good lord,
I fain would ask a favor, ~ if thou wouldst such accord :
If I am worthy of it, ~ that thou shouldst let me see
Whether my friends and kinsmen ~ thou lovest verily.”
1402. Then spake the mighty sovran, ~ and guileless was his mood :
“I would have thee believe that, ~ if any grace or good
Be done unto those warriors, ~ I must thereat be glad.
Since I by love of woman ~ ne’er better friends have made.”
1403. And yet again the queen spake : ~ “To thee it hath been said,
That I have high-born kinsmen ; ~ and this my grief hath made
That they have never troubled ~ to come to see me here.
I hear the people call me ~ naught else but foreigner.”
1404. Whereunto answered Etzel : ~ “Belovéd lady mine.
If not too far it seemeth, ~ so will I from the Rhine
Bid all unto my kingdom ~ whom thou art fain to see.”
When thus she learnt his purpose ~ right glad at heart was she.
1405. She said : “If thou right truly ~ wouldst serve me, master mine.
So wilt thou send an envoy ~ to Worms beyond the Rhine.
That I may tell my kinsfolk ~ all that I have in mind.
Then many a knight right noble ~ his way to us shall find.”
1406. “Whenever thou commandest,” ~ said he, “it shall be done.
Thou canst not be so eager ~ thy friends to look upon
As I of noble Utè the sons ~ to see am fain ;
That we are still such strangers ~ hath caused me mickle pain.
1407. “And if it should content thee, ~ belovéd lady mine,
So will I send right gladly, ~ unto those friends of thine,
My players on the fiddle ~ to the Burgundian land.”
To bring the worthy fiddlers ~ straightway he gave command.
1408. They hastened very quickly ~ to where King Etzel sat.
And eke the queen beside him. ~ He told them both, how that
As envoys they were chosen ~ to Burgundy to fare.
For them he bade his people ~ rich raiment to prepare.
1409. For four-and-twenty warriors ~ was new apparel made ;
And by the king their errand ~ was also to them said :
How Gunther and his people ~ to bring there they should seek.
But fain was Lady Kriemhild ~ apart with them to speak.
1410. Then said the king most mighty : ~ “Now hark ye what to do !
All that is good and kindly ~ I bid my friends, by you ;
If they vouchsafe to journey ~ unto my kingdom here.
Ne’er yet have I had knowledge ~ of guests as these so dear.
1411. “And if they so be minded ~ my will herein to do.
These kinsmen of Kriemhilda, ~ then must they not forego
To come to us this summer, ~ to keep my wedding-feast ;
For much on my wife’s kindred ~ my happiness doth rest.”
1412. Then spake the fiddle-player, ~ the haughty Schwemmelin :
“When will in this your kingdom ~ your wedding-feast begin ?
That we to your friends yonder ~ unerringly may say.”
Then answer made King Etzel : ~ “On next Midsummer-day.”
1413. “We’ll do as thou dost bid us,” ~ made answer Wærbelin.
Then gave the queen an order ~ that they be brought within
Her private room in secret, ~ to speak with her alone.
Whereof soon many a warrior ~ but sorry comfort won.
1414. To both the envoys spake she : ~ “Well shall it be for you
If ye my will and purpose ~ right faithfully shall do,
And say whate’er I bid you ~ when to my home ye go ;
In goods I’ll make you wealthy, ~ and raiment rich bestow.
1415. “What firiends of mine soever ~ ye see and meet with there
At Worms on the Rhine river, ~ take heed lest ye declare
That ye have ever seen me ~ in melancholy mood :
And bear my greeting unto ~ those heroes bold and good.
1416. “To what the king requireth ~ beg them that they agree.
And thereby let them make me ~ from all my trouble free.
The Huns may well believe that ~ I have no friends at all.
Were I a knight, I’d ever ~ be ready at their call.
1417. “And to my noble brother, ~ to Gernot eke say ye
That in the world is no one ~ I hold more lovingly :
Our best of friends and kinsmen ~ bid him unto this land
To bring, that so the better ~ we may in honor stand.
1418. “To Giselher say also ~ that he must not forget
That never have I suffered ~ by fault of his as yet :
Wherefore would I right gladly ~ set eyes on him again ;
And, for the faith he showed me, ~ to see him here am fain.
1419. “And also tell my mother ~ what honors now I bear.
If Hagen, too, of Tronjè ~ shall still be dwelling there
By whom shall they more fitly ~ be through the country shown ?
To him the roads to Hunsland ~ from childhood have been known.”
1420. Unknowing were the envoys ~ what meaning therein lay,
That Hagen, knight of Tronjè, ~ on no account should stay
Behind the rest in Rhineland. ~ Soon woe for them it made :
With him was many a warrior ~ to cruel death betrayed.
1421. With message and with letters ~ they were provided now :
To live henceforth in plenty ~ of wealth they had enow.
Their leave they took of Etzel ~ and of his lady fair.
And clad in rich apparel ~ a goodly sight they were.

{ 24 }
1422. When Etzel to the Rhineland ~ had sent his embassy,
The news thereof right swiftly ~ from land to land did fly :
He greeting gave and bade them, ~ by messengers right fleet,
To come unto his feasting : ~ whence many death did meet.
1423. From out the Huns’ dominions ~ the envoys swiftly went
To the Burgundian country ; ~ for thither were they sent
Three noble kings to summon, ~ and eke their chivalry,
To come and visit Etzel : ~ so rode they speedily.
1424. First were they on their journey ~ to Bechelaren brought ;
The folk there served them gladly. ~ That he might fail in naught
By them unto the Rhineland ~ sent greeting Rüdeger,
As also did Gotlinda ~ and eke their daughter dear.
1425. Nor did they send them further ~ without a proper meed,
Whereby the men of Etzel ~ made all the better speed.
To Utè and her children ~ sent message Rüdeger,
To say there lived no margrave ~ who meant them kindlier.
1426. Unto Brunhilda also ~ a kindly greeting went,
Of good faith ever steadfast, ~ and friendliest intent.
When they these words had taken, ~ forth would the envoys fare :
That God in Heaven would keep them, ~ was Gotelinda’s prayer.
1427. Ere yet the envoys fully ~ had crossed Bavarian ground.
The ever-ready Wærbel ~ the worthy bishop found.
What message for his kinsmen ~ upon the Rhine he told
Thereof I have no knowledge ; ~ save that in ruddy gold
1428. He gave the twain a token ~ before he let them ride.
Quoth Pilgerin the bishop : ~ “And could I at my side
See them, so were I happy, — ~ these sister’s sons of mine :
Scarce can I come to see them, ~ myself, unto the Rhine.”
1429. The ways by which they travelled ~ o’er land unto the Rhine,
I cannot say for certain. ~ Silver and raiment fine
By none from them was stolen : ~ men feared their lord’s despite —
That king of noble lineage — ~ ay, potent was his might !
1430. In the Burgundian country, ~ to Worms upon the Rhine
Came, after twelve days’ riding, ~ Wærbel and Schwemmelin.
Unto the king the tidings ~ were told, and to his men.
Of foreign envoys coming. ~ Gunther made question then.
1431. Quoth he, the Lord of Rhineland : ~ “Who can to us declare
Whence come these foreign riders ~ that through our country fare ?”
But that was known to no one : ~ till Hagen of Tronjè,
As soon as he had seen them, ~ did thus to Gunther say :
1432. “Strange news to us is coming ~ that much I will aver.
The fiddle-players of Etzel ~ I have but now seen here.
Unto the Rhine your sister ~ hath sent them, verily ;
For sake of both their sovereigns ~ right welcome must they be.”
1433. Meanwhile before the palace ~ in full array they rode ;
No prince’s minstrels ever ~ in nobler fashion showed.
The royal court-folk hastened ~ to meet them presently :
They bade men take their mantles ~ and found them hostelry.
1434. Their travelling clothes were costly, ~ with work so deftly done
That they might well with honor ~ before the king have gone.
Yet in the same apparel ~ to court they would not go :
Who cared for it might have it, ~ the envoys let men know.
1435. Without delay they met with ~ folk who were well content
To take the clothing gladly ; ~ and unto them ’twas sent.
And thereupon the strangers ~ put on far better gear,
As it behooves kings’ heralds ~ in full array to wear.
1436. So went, when leave was given, ~ to where the monarch sat
Those followers of Etzel : ~ and all were glad thereat.
With courtesy did Hagen ~ towards the heralds make.
And gave them kindly greeting, ~ for which their thanks they spake.
1437. To learn from them the tidings ~ to questioning he fell,
If Etzel and his lieges ~ were faring all right well ?
Then answered him the minstrel : ~ “Ne’er throve the country more,
Nor were the folk so happy, — ~ of that thou may’st be sure.”
1438. Towards the host then went they. ~ Crowded the palace was ;
Unto the guests was offered ~ such kindly welcome as
In foreign kings’ dominions ~ is ever given of right.
And there, in Gunther’s service, ~ found Wærbel many a knight.
1439. And graciously King Gunther ~ began to greet them then :
“Be both of you right welcome, ~ ye Hunnish minstrelmen,
And your companions also. ~ Ye are, I understand,
Sent hither by great Etzel ~ to the Burgundian land ?”
1440. Before the king they bowed them, ~ and then spake Wærbelin :
“To thee his service offers ~ that well-loved lord of mine ;
And to this land thy sister ~ Kriemhilda greeting saith.
They send us to you warriors ~ trusting in your good faith.”
1441. The mighty prince made answer : ~ “Of this right glad am I.
And tell me how is Etzel,” ~ so did the king reply.
“And eke my sister Kriemhild, ~ yonder in Hunnish land ?”
Then spake the fiddle-player : ~ “I’ll answer this demand.
1442. “Of this ye may be certain, ~ that never yet there were
Two folks who lived together ~ more happy than this pair ;
And all the knights around them, ~ their kinsfolk and their men.
When on this ride we started, ~ right joyous were they then.”
1443. “Gramercy for the greeting ~ he hath sent me this day,
And thank my sister also ; ~ since it be as ye say,
That all live in contentment, ~ ruler and ruled as well :
For I with some misgiving, ~ asked you the news to tell.”
1444. The king’s two younger brothers ~ had likewise come by now :
For they the news from Hunsland ~ but now had got to know.
And Giselher right gladly, ~ for his dear sister’s sake,
Set eyes upon the envoys ~ and kindly to them spake.
1445. “Right welcome must ye heralds ~ be unto me and mine,
And if ye rode more often ~ hither unto the Rhine,
Friends would ye find here always ~ rejoicing ye to see.
That aught should here befall you ~ small peril can there be.”
1446. “We trust you in all honor,” ~ made answer Schwemmelin.
“And never can I tell you ~ by any wit of mine,
How Etzel hath enjoined us ~ to greet you lovingly,
As hath your noble sister, ~ who there hath honor high.
1447. “Of former faith and kindness ~ the queen doth you remind,
And how with heart and body ~ ye are to her inclined.
But to the king’s self firstly ~ have we been sent, to pray
That into Etzel’s country ~ ye deign to take your way.
1448. “That we thereto should urge you ~ hath given strict command
The rich and mighty Etzel, ~ who likewise doth demand
That if ye by your sister ~ would not again be seen,
Then would he fain have knowledge ~ of what his fault hath been
1449. “That ye are strangers to him, ~ and to his country, too ;
For if the Queen Kriemhilda ~ were all unknown to you.
Still he himself were worthy ~ for you to come to see.
And were this thing to happen, ~ ’twould please him verily.”
1450. Then spake the royal Gunther : ~ “A week from now being gone,
So will I give you tidings ~ of what conclusion
My friends and I have come to. ~ Meanwhile for you ’twere best
To go unto your hostel, ~ and may ye have good rest.”
1451. But Wærbelin spake further : ~ “If such a thing might be.
Fain would we have permission ~ my lady first to see —
I mean the mighty Utè, — ~ before our rest we seek.
Then Giselher the noble ~ in courtly wise did speak :
1452. “That no man shall deny you ; ~ and if to her ye go,
Ye will my mother’s pleasure ~ right well accomplish so :
For gladly will she see you ; ~ and for my sister’s sake.
The Lady Kriemhild namely, ~ you welcome will she make.
1453. So Giselher he brought them ~ to where they found the dame.
With joy she saw the heralds ~ who from the Huns’land came ;
And heartily did greet them, ~ so kindly was her mood.
Then told they her the tidings ~ those courtly heralds good.
1454. Spake Schwemmelin in this wise : ~ “My lady sends to thee
Her faithful love and duty ; ~ and if it so might be
That she could see you often, ~ she bids you to believe
That in this world would nothing ~ more gladness to her give.”
1455. Whereto the queen made answer : ~ “Alas, it may not be !
Often as I am longing ~ my daughter dear to see,
Too distant dwelleth from me ~ your noble monarch’s wife.
May she and Etzel ever ~ be blesséd in their life.
1456. “But ye must give me warning, ~ ere from this place ye fare,
When ye will be returning ; ~ for heralds saw I ne’er
For long days past so gladly, ~ as I have looked on you.”
The squires then gave their promise ~ her will therein to do.
1457. And so unto their hostel ~ the men from Hunsland went.
Meanwhile for friends and kinsmen ~ the mighty king had sent
The noble Gunther question ~ put unto every man
What thought he of the matter. ~ And many then began
1458. To say that he might fairly ~ ride unto Etzel’s land.
So counseled him the warriors ~ who did around him stand,
Excepting only Hagen, — ~ to whom ’twas bitter woe.
He told the king in secret : ~ “Thou wilt thyself undo.
1459. “Thou know’st as well as I do ~ what thing we wrought of yore :
Needs must we of Kriemhilda ~ be fearful evermore,
Seeing I slew her husband, ~ and that with mine own hand.
How durst we take this journey ~ and ride to Etzel’s land ?”
1460. Then spake the mighty Gunther : ~ “My sister’s wrath was spent.
Pardon to us she granted, ~ ere from this place she went.
With kisses of forgiveness, ~ for what to her was done :
Unless, it may be, Hagen, ~ that thee she hates alone.”
1461. “Be not deceived,” said Hagen, ~ “whate’er the message be
The envoys bring from Hunsland. ~ Would ye Kriemhilda see,
Be well prepared to forfeit ~ your honor and your life :
Long-waiting in her vengeance ~ is she, King Etzel’s wife.”
1462. Thereon the princely Gernot ~ unto the council said :
“Because that thou with reason ~ to lose thy life dost dread
Within the Huns’ dominions, ~ must we then lay aside
This plan to see our sister? ~ Right ill would that betide.”
1463. Prince Giselher then also ~ spake thus unto the knight :
“Since thou, friend Hagen, knowest ~ thou art the guilty wight.
So stay thou here in safety ~ and of thyself take care,
And let, with us, the bold ones ~ unto my sister fare.”
1464. With wrath began to kindle ~ the warrior of Tronjè :
“I will not have another ~ go with you on your way,
Who dares than I more boldly ~ on this court-ride to go.
Since ye will not be hindered, ~ that will I let you know.”
1465. Then spake the kitchen-master, ~ Rumold the worthy thane :
“Here friends and strangers can ye ~ right easily maintain
As ye yourselves are willing : ~ your stores are full, I trow ;
And ne’er, I ween, hath Hagen ~ betrayed you hitherto.
1466. “If ye will heed not Hagen, ~ Rumold now counsels you —
And I have ever served you ~ with love and service true —
That here ye fain should tarry, ~ out of good will to me.
And let King Etzel yonder ~ along with Kriemhild be.
1467. “How otherwise in this world ~ could ye e’er better live ?
In spite of all your foemen ~ here may ye right well thrive ;
Ye may your bodies freely ~ with raiment rich endue.
And wine drink of the choicest, ~ and winsome maidens woo.
1468. “Meats, too, are set before ye, — ~ the best that e’er were brought
To any king in this world ; ~ and if this all were naught.
Ye should, methinks, remain here ~ for sake of your fair wife, —
Ere in such childish fashion ~ ye seek to risk your life.
1469. “I counsel your abiding : ~ rich is your heritage.
At home can vassals better ~ to you redeem their pledge
Than yonder ’mid the Hun-folk. ~ Who knows how things be there?
My lords, go ye not thither : ~ thus Rumold doth declare !”
1470. Thereunto answered Gernot : ~ “Here will we tarry not.
Since we such friendly bidding ~ have from my sister got,
And from the mighty Etzel. ~ Why put the thing aside ?
Who goes not gladly with us ~ may e’en at home abide.”
1471. And thereto answered Hagen : ~ “See lest ye take amiss
The words that I have spoken, ~ howe’er ye do in this.
I give you faithful counsel : ~ as ye regard your life,
Go well-armed to the Hun-folk, ~ as if for battle-strife.
1472. “Will ye not be dissuaded, ~ so send ye for your men,
The best that ye can muster ~ or any way can gain ;
And from them all I’ll choose ye ~ a thousand warriors good :
So may ye fear no evil ~ from angry Kriemhild’s mood.”
1473. “That rede I’ll gladly follow,” ~ the king in answer said.
Then sent he heralds riding, ~ who through his kingdom sped.
And so they brought the warriors, ~ three thousand men or more.
They dreamt not of the evil ~ that lay for them in store.
1474. All through the lands of Gunther ~ right joyously they rode.
On every man a charger ~ and raiment were bestowed —
Of those who were to journey ~ away from Burgundy.
A goodly number followed ~ the king right willingly.
1475. Then Hagen, lord of Tronjè, ~ his brother Dankwart bade
The four score knights who served them ~ unto the Rhine to lead.
They came in knightly order ; ~ with arms and wearing gear
Within King Gunther’s borders ~ right soon did they appear.
1476. Now came the gallant Volker, — ~ a high-born minstrel he —,
To join with thirty liegemen ~ the royal company.
Such splendid raiment had they, ~ a king had worn it well.
That he would ride to Hunsland, ~ to Gunther bade he tell.
1477. Now who was this same Volker ~ I fain would let you know :
He was of noble lineage ; ~ to him did fealty owe
In the Burgundian country, ~ full many a noble knight.
Because he played the fiddle ~ he was the Minstrel hight.
1478. Then Hagen chose the thousand : ~ they were to him well-known ;
And what in hard-fought battles ~ their strength of hand had done,
And all they e’er had ventured, ~ that had he seen full well
No man of aught save valor ~ in all their deeds could tell.
1479. The envoys of Kriemhilda ~ were sore discomfited.
For they of both their rulers ~ the wrath began to dread ;
And leave they daily sought for, ~ that they might thence begone.
But Hagen would not grant it : ~ through cunning that was done.
1480. He said unto his masters : ~ “We must be on our guard
Lest we to go allow them, ~ before we are prepared
Within a week thereafter ~ to Etzel’s land to go.
If any ill-will bear us, ~ thus shall we better know.
1481. “So shall not Dame Kriemhilda ~ be taking heed hereto.
That any, by her counsel, ~ should evil to us do.
And if it be her purpose ~ her own may be the pain :
With us to Hunsland take we ~ so many chosen men.”
1482. Their bucklers, then, and saddles, ~ and all of suchlike gear
As they to Etzel’s country ~ had in their minds to bear,
By many valiant liegemen ~ for use were ready made.
The envoys of Kriemhilda ~ were unto Gunther bade.
1483. And when the heralds entered, ~ unto them Gernot said :
“The king will take the offer ~ to us by Etzel made ;
And we will come right gladly ~ unto his festival,
And see again our sister : ~ of that doubt not at all.”
1484. Then spake to them King Gunther : ~ “Can ye not tell us, pray,
When is this merry-making ? ~ Or rather, on what day
’Twere best that we come thither ?” ~ ’Twas Schwemmelin replied :
“Ye must be there for certain ~ at next Midsummer-tide.”
1485. The king unto them granted, ~ if haply they were willed
(For not yet had they done it) ~ to see the Dame Brunhild,
That they with his approval ~ might to her presence go.
It was gainsaid by Volker : ~ for her sake did he so.
1486. “In sooth the Lady Brunhild ~ is not now in the mood
For you to look upon her,” ~ so spake the warrior good.
“Wait ye until tomorrow, ~ then her they’ll let you see.”
So hoped they to behold her ; ~ but it was not to be.
1487. The mighty prince then ordered ~ (he held those envoys dear)
Out of his own great kindness, ~ that folk should thither bear
His gold upon broad bucklers ; ~ great store thereof he had.
And by his kinsmen also ~ rich gifts to them were made,
1488. For Giselher and Gernot, ~ Gere and Ortwein, too,
That they were kindly-hearted ~ right plainly then did shew.
They such abundant largess ~ unto the envoys gave,
That, fearful of their rulers, ~ none of it would they have.
1489. Then Wærbelin the herald ~ unto the king did say :
“Your gifts, Lord King, so please ye, ~ let in your kingdom stay ;
We may not take them with us ; ~ my lord bade us take heed,
Lest gifts by us be taken : ~ nor is there any need.”
1490. Then did the Lord of Rhineland ~ this thing unkindly take.
That they a great king’s treasure ~ of small account should make ;
So were they bound to take it, ~ his gold and habiting,
And unto Etzel’s country ~ were fain with them to bring.
1491. They would see Utè also ~ ere they set forth again.
So Giselher the ready ~ brought both the minstrelmen
Unto his mother Utè. ~ This word the lady sent :
That if Kriemhild were honored ~ her mother was content.
1492. Then bade the queen be given ~ of gold and broidery,
All for the sake of Kriemhild, — ~ so dear to her was she, —
And for the sake of Etzel, ~ unto the minstrels both.
They readily might take it : ~ ’twas done in honest troth.
1493. The messengers’ leave-taking was done ; ~ and now they had
Parted from men and maidens ; ~ and so with hearts right glad
They rode on into Swabia ; ~ thus far ’twas Gernot’s will
His heroes should escort them, ~ that none might do them ill.
1494. When they, who thus did guard them, ~ parted and homewards rode,
In Etzel’s power a safeguard ~ they found on ev’ry road.
Whence none essayed to rob them ~ of horse or wearing gear.
And so to Etzel’s country ~ they speedily drew near.
1495. Wherever they found acquaintance, ~ to them the news they said:
How the Burgundian people, ~ ere many days were sped,
Unto the Hun-folk’s country ~ were coming from the Rhine.
The news was carried also ~ to Bishop Pilgerin.
1496. As they by Bechelaren ~ along the highway went,
To Rüdeger folk told it, — ~ as naught could well prevent —
And also to Gotlinda, ~ the margrave’s wedded wife.
That she was soon to see them ~ was joy unto her life.
1497. Folk saw how with the tidings ~ the minstrels swiftly rode,
Until they found King Etzel ~ at Gran, where he abode.
And greeting upon greeting ~ which unto him were sent
They to the king delivered ; ~ ruddy with joy he went.
1498. And when the queen the tidings ~ did fairly understand,
That verily her brothers ~ were coming to the land.
In mood she was right happy ; ~ and both the minstrelmen
With costly gifts rewarded : ~ and honor had she then.
1499. “Now Schwemmelin and Wærbel, ~ each one of you,” said she,
“Tell me which of my kinsmen ~ will at our feasting be,
Of whom the best and dearest ~ unto our land we bade ?
And, when the news was told him, ~ tell me what Hagen said ?”
1500. They said : “One morning early ~ he came to the debate,
And not a good word from him ~ we early had or late ;
And when the ride to Hunsland ~ was praised by all the folk
Grim Hagen looked not elsewise ~ than if of death they spoke.
1501. “Your brothers here are coming, ~ the noble kings all three,
In high and lordly humor. ~ But who with them may be
That news I cannot give you, ~ seeing I do not know ;
But Volker the bold minstrel ~ hath vowed with them to go.”
1502. “Him could I spare right blithely,” ~ in answer spake the queen ;
“Since many a time and often ~ here Volker have I seen.
But fain I am of Hagen, ~ the hero excellent ;
That here we soon shall see him ~ doth give me much content.”
1503. Then went the royal lady ~ where she the king did find ;
How gently Dame Kriemhilda ~ unto him spake her mind !
“How do the tidings please thee, ~ my lord beloved,” she said,
“Now all my heart hath yearned for ~ shall be accomplishéd.”
1504. “Thy will is eke my pleasure,” ~ thus did the king reply,
“Nor any of my kindred ~ so glad to see were I,
If e’er they should be coming ~ hither unto my land.
For sake of them that love thee ~ is all my trouble banned.”
1505. King’s officers then straightway ~ commandment gave to all
That seats should be made read) ~ in palace and in hall,
Meet for the guests belovèd ~ who would be there anon.
By them, ere long, for Etzel ~ was pleasure all fordone.

{ 25 }
1506. Now let us leave the story ~ of how they prospered there.
Ere then did never warriors ~ of higher courage fare
In such like state and splendor ~ through any king’s domain.
Of armor and apparel ~ all had as they were fain.
1507. The warden of the Rhineland ~ equipped his warriors bold,
A thousand knights and sixty, ~ so is the story told,
With men-at-arms nine thousand ~ for this great festival.
They whom they left behind them ~ ere long bewailed them all.
1508. Their riding gear they carried ~ to Worms across the court.
Whereon an aged bishop of ~ Spires spake in this sort
Unto the comely Utè : ~ “Our friends have mind to fare
Unto this high assembly : ~ God guard their honor there !”
1509. Thereon unto her children ~ did noble Utè say :
“Ye should, my noble heroes, ~ be here content to stay :
I dreamt a dream this morning, ~ of great dismay and dread ;
How all the winged creatures ~ within this land were dead.”
1510. “Who puts his faith in dreamings,” ~ then Hagen made reply,
“Knows not the proper meaning ~ that may within them lie,
When honor, peradventure, ~ may wholly be at stake.
Fm willing that my masters ~ for court their leave should take.”
1511. “We should indeed with gladness ~ ride unto Etzel’s land :
There kings can have the service ~ of many a hero’s hand,
When there we take our part in ~ Kriemhilda’s revelry.”
Hagen the journey counselled : ~ he rued it presently.
1512. He would have been against it, ~ if Gernot had not sought
With ill-adviséd speeches ~ to set him so at naught :
Reminding him of Siegfried, ~ the Lady Kriemhild’s lord ;
Said he : “This ride to Hagen ~ is therefore untoward.”
1513. Then Hagen spake, of Tronjè : ~ “Through fear I’ll not forego !
If such your will is, heroes, ~ ’twere well to buckle to.
Gladly will I ride with you, ~ e’en unto Etzel’s realm.”
Soon by his hand were shattered ~ full many a shield and helm.
1514. The boats were ready waiting, ~ and many a man was there :
Whate’er they had of clothing ~ on board forthwith they bare.
Unwearyingly wrought they ~ until the fall of eve ;
And full of joy and gladness ~ at length their homes they leave.
1515. Their tents and wooden cabins ~ were pitched upon the green
Along the further Rhine-bank. ~ When finished this had been,
The king’s fair wife besought him ~ a while there to abide
For one night would she lay her ~ his manly form beside.
1516. With trumpeting and fluting ~ the early morning brake,
To warn them to be starting : ~ then did they ready make.
If any had a sweetheart ~ her to his heart he laid ; —
For them a bitter parting ~ King Etzel’s wife soon made !
1517. The sons of the fair Utè ~ for vassal had a man
As bold as he was faithful ; ~ now, when the march began,
He to the king, in secret, ~ did thus his mind declare.
Said he : “It needs must grieve me ~ that to this feast ye fare.”
1518. This man by name was Rumold, ~ a knight of ready hand.
“To whom,” so spake he, ~ “leave ye your people and your land ?
Alas, that none can turn you, ~ ye warriors, from your mood !
This message of Kriemhilda’s ~ to me ne’er boded good.”
1519. “To thee my realm be trusted, ~ and eke my little son.
Serve faithfully the ladies ; ~ so let my will be done.
Shouldst thou see any mourner, ~ ’tis thine to cheer his life.
No harm will e’er befall us ~ by cause of Etzel’s wife.”
1520. The horses were awaiting ~ the kings and eke their men ;
With loving kiss departed ~ full many a husband then,
Whose heart was full of courage, ~ and body strong with life :
Soon to be sadly wept for ~ by many a comely wife.
1521. Who saw the eager warriors ~ unto their horses go,
Saw likewise many a lady ~ there standing in her woe.
That they for long were parting ~ too surely did they feel,
Foreboding great disaster. ~ Heart never thus had weal.
1522. Now quickly the Burgundians ~ did on their journey ride.
Then was there much disturbance ~ through all the country wide ;
On either side the mountains ~ both women wept and men.
Howe’er their people bare it ~ forth fared they blithely then.
1523. The warriors of Niblung ~ to ride with them had come,
A thousand men in hauberks, ~ who left behind at home
Full many a lovely lady, ~ ne’er to be seen again.
Still wrought the wounds of Siegfried ~ in Kriemhild bitter pain.
1524. Their course they now directed. ~ King Gunther’s gallant men,
Up through the East Franks’ country, ~ towards the River Main ;
And thither led them Hagen, ~ who knew the road of old.
Their marshal was Sir Dankwart, ~ Burgundian hero bold.
1525. As they from Eastern Franks’ land ~ to Schwanefeld rode on,
Well might they be to all men ~ by noble bearing known.
These princes and their kinsmen, ~ heroes deserving fame.
The king on the twelfth morning ~ unto the Danube came.
1526. Then Hagen, knight of Tronjè, ~ rode of them all foremost ;
Good heart and courage gave he ~ unto the Niblung host.
The warrior bold dismounted, ~ down on the sand stood he.
And hastily his warhorse ~ made fast unto a tree.
1527. The stream was overflowing, ~ no skiff was there to see,
The Nibelungs misdoubted, ~ in great anxiety.
How they should e’er get over ; ~ the flood was all too wide.
The gallant knights dismounted ~ hard by the river-side.
1528. “Much damage,” said Sir Hagen, ~ “may here be done to thee,
O Ruler of the Rhineland ! ~ Look for thyself and see ;
The river is o’erflowing, ~ and mighty is its flood.
I trow we lose ere nightfall ~ here many a hero good.”
1529. “What art thou casting at me, Hagen ?” ~ the great king spake.
“Seek not again to daunt us ~ for thine own honor’s sake.
The ford thou shalt find for us, ~ which to that land doth cross,
That we both steeds and raiment ~ may take there without loss.”
1530. “My life to me,” quoth Hagen, ~ “is not yet such a load
That I should wish to drown me ~ in this wide, rushing flood !
For by my hands I’d sooner ~ that many a man should die
In Etzel’s country yonder : ~ good-will thereto have I.
1531. “Proud warriors and goodly, ~ stay by the water then,
Whilst I along the river ~ myself seek ferrymen.
Who presently will take us ~ across to Gelfrat’s land.”
Then took the doughty Hagen ~ his good shield in his hand.
1532. Well clad was he in armor ; ~ his shield he did thereon,
And on his head his helmet ; ~ brightly enow it shone.
Above his harness wore he ~ a sword so broad of blade
That wounds right deep and ghastly ~ with either edge it made.
1533. Then up and down the river ~ he sought some ferryman ;
He heard a splash of water ; ~ to hearken he began.
’Twas made by elfin women ~ within a fountain fair.
Who fain to cool their bodies ~ were bathing themselves there.
1534. As soon as Hagen saw them ~ he slyly towards them crept.
No sooner had they seen him ~ than off they swiftly leapt.
That thus they had escaped him ~ did please them mightily ;
He took their raiment from them, ~ no further harm did he.
1535. Then spake one of the mermaids, ~ Hadburga was she hight :
“O Hagen, noble warrior, ~ we’ll tell to thee aright,
How thou upon this journey ~ unto the Huns shalt thrive,
If thou, bold thane, our raiment ~ again to us wilt give.”
1536. They floated like to sea-birds ~ before him on the flood.
It seemed to him their foresight ~ must needs be sure and good.
Whatever they should tell him ~ he, therefore, would believe.
To whatsoe’er he asked them, ~ wise answers they would give.
1537. Said she : “To Etzel’s country ~ ye certainly may take
This ride ; and I am ready ~ my faith thereon to stake,
That ne’er did heroes journey ~ to any kingdom yet —
In truth ye may believe it — ~ who did such honor get.”
1538. This saying made Sir Hagen ~ within his heart right gay.
Then gave he them their garments ~ and made no more delay.
When they their wondrous raiment ~ forthwith had donned again,
The way to Etzel’s country ~ aright they did explain.
1539. Then spake the other mermaid, ~ her name was Siegelind :
“Thee, Hagen, son of Aldrian, ~ to warn I have a mind.
False was it what my sister ~ to get her clothing said :
For comest thou to Hunsland, ~ thou’lt sorely be betrayed.
1540. “Ay ! Homeward shouldst thou turn thee ; ~ yet is there time to spare :
Seeing that ye, bold heroes, ~ have thus been bidden there,
That all of you may perish ~ within King Etzel’s land.
Whoe’er goes riding thither ~ hath Death at his right hand.”
1541. But Hagen spake in answer : ~ “Ye fool me needlessly ;
What rhyme or reason is it ~ that all of us should die
Among the Hunfolk yonder, ~ through hate of any man ?”
More fully then their meaning ~ to tell him they began.
1542. And one of them spake further : ~ “It must in sooth be so,
That none with life escapeth ~ who to that land doth go,
Save only the king’s chaplain ; ~ that can we surely tell ;
He unto Gunther’s kingdom ~ will come back safe and well.”
1543. Then, in grim mood, bold Hagen ~ answer unto her made :
“’Twere hard to tell my masters ~ what thou just now hast said.
That yonder ’mid the Hunfolk ~ we all must lose our lives.
Show us across the water, ~ thou wisest of all wives !”
1544. She said : “Against this journey ~ since thou wilt nothing hear.
There yonder in a hostel, ~ unto the river near,
A ferryman is dwelling — ~ and none there is elsewhere.”
Then knowing what he wanted ~ he would not tarry there.
1545. But one of them called after ~ the knight discomfited :
“Nay, wait awhile, Sir Hagen, ~ thou wilt too fast ahead !
Hear better how we tell you ~ to cross the sands aright ;
The warden of the marchland ~ by name is Else hight.
1546. “He hath a brother also, ~ Gelfrat the knight is he,
A great lord in Bavaria. ~ Not easy will it be
For you to pass his marches. ~ Ye ought to well beware, —
And with the boatman also ~ ye needs must deal with care.
1547. “So grim is he of humor, ~ he will not let you go,
Unless unto the hero ~ some good intent ye show :
Would ye by him be ferried, ~ give him the payment due.
This land he hath in keeping, ~ and is to Gelfrat true.
1548. “And if he come not quickly ~ shout to him o’er the flood,
Say ‘Amelrich’ your name is ; — ~ he was a hero good,
Who, by his foes’ contrivance, ~ was driven from this land —
Whene’er his name is spoken ~ the steersman is at hand.”
1549. The haughty Hagen bowed him ~ before these womenfolk :
But listening in silence ~ no word again he spoke.
Then higher up the river ~ he walked, along the sand ;
And there, across the water, ~ he saw a hostel stand.
1550. Then lustily began he ~ to call across the flood :
“Now, steersman, fetch me over !” ~ shouted the warrior good ;
“Of ruddy gold an armlet ~ I’ll give thee for reward.
The matter of my journey, ~ I tell thee, presses hard.”
1551. The boatman was so wealthy ~ to serve he would not brook,
Wherefore a fee but seldom ~ from anyone he took ;
His underlings were likewise ~ of high and haughty mood.
So, still, alone stood Hagen ~ on this side of the flood.
1552. Then with such might he shouted ~ that, lo, from shore to shore
The river rang : the hero ~ of strength had such great store :
“Now Amelrich come fetch ye, ~ Lord Else’s man am I,
Who had to leave this country ~ by force of enmity.”
1553. High on his sword an armlet ~ towards him did he hold —
All bright and shining was it, ~ compact of ruddy gold —
That he, therefore, might row him ~ across to Gelfrat’s land.
Then took the haughty boatman ~ himself the oar in hand.
1554. The ferryman was churlish ~ and obstinate of will —
The lust of great possession ~ doth often end in ill —
He wished to earn from Hagen ~ that band of gold so red :
But from the warrior’s weapon ~ grim death he got instead.
1555. The ferryman pulled stoutly ~ unto the hitherside ;
But when the man he found not, ~ whose name he had heard cried,
Then was he wroth in earnest. ~ At Hagen’s face looked he.
And thus unto the hero ~ he spake right bitterly :
1556. “It may be that thou bearest ~ the name of Amelrich ;
To him of whom I mind me ~ thou art in no wise like ;
By father and by mother ~ he brother was to me.
And as thou hast betrayed me, ~ thou here canst bide !” said he.
1557. “Not I, by God Almighty !” ~ Thereon, did Hagen speak :
“I am a stranger warrior, ~ and help for others seek.
Take now in friendly fashion ~ this wage I offer you
To put me o’er the water; ~ I am your friend right true.”
1558. The ferryman made answer : ~ “Nay, that shall never be !
My well-belovéd masters ~ have many an enemy ;
Therefore I row no strangers ~ across unto their land.
If life thou prizest, quickly ~ step out upon the sand.”
1559. “Now, do not so,” quoth Hagen, ~ “for sorry is my mood,
But take from me in kindness ~ this band of gold so good,
A thousand men and horses ~ across the stream to row.”
The boatman grim gave answer : ~ “That will I never do.”
1560. A sturdy oar he lifted, ~ mighty and broad of blade.
And struck a blow at Hagen ; ~ an erring stroke he made,
And in the boat he staggered ~ and on his knee fell down.
A ferryman so gruesome ~ Hagen had never known.
1561. And when the haughty stranger ~ still more he would provoke,
A steering board he wielded, ~ and into splinters broke
About the head of Hagen. ~ A stalwart man was he ;
Whence came to Else’s boatman ~ much sorrow presently.
1562. In anger fiercely raging, ~ Hagen reached out his hand
In haste to seize his scabbard, ~ wherefrom he drew a brand.
And smote his head from off him, ~ and dashed it to the ground.
Among the proud Burgundians ~ the news flew quickly round.
1563. But at the self-same moment ~ when he the boatman slew,
The skiff stream-downwards drifted, ~ which gave him cause to rue ;
For ere in hand he brought it ~ to weary he began,
Then mighty was the rowing ~ of royal Gunther’s man.
1564. With sturdy strokes the stranger ~ turned it about again,
Until within his hand-grasp ~ the stout oar broke in twain.
He would, to reach the warriors, ~ a sandy beach have found :
And having not another, ~ how quickly now he bound
1565. The splinters with his shield-strap ! ~ ’Twas but a slender band
Towards a coppice steering, ~ he brought the boat to land.
There on the bank-side standing ~ he found his masters three,
And liegemen came to meet him, — ~ a goodly company.
1566. Him with kind welcome greeted ~ these noble knights and good.
But, when they looked within it, ~ the wherry reeked with blood
That from the great wound spurted ~ as he the boatman slew ;
Then from the warriors Hagen ~ had questions not a few.
1567. No sooner had King Gunther ~ seen the hot blood all red
Within the vessel washing, ~ than, straightway, thus he said :
“Come, why not tell me, Hagen, ~ where is the boatman gone ?
I ween your strength so mighty ~ hath him of life fordone.”
1568. With lying words he answered : ~ “As I the boat there found
A desert heath alongside, ~ my hand the rope unbound ;
But never of a boatman ~ have I today had sight.
Nor here by fault on my part, ~ hath any had despite.”
1569. Then one of the Burgundians, ~ the noble Gernot, said :
“Today I needs must sorrow ~ for friends soon to be dead ;
Since we have found no boatman ~ waiting for us at hand,
How are we to come over ? ~ For that in fear I stand.”
1570. Right loudly then cried Hagen : ~ “Lay down upon the green.
Ye squires, the horses’ trappings : ~ I mind me I have been
The best of all the rowers ~ that on the Rhine were found.
I’ll wager I can bring you ~ across to Gelfrat’s ground.”
1571. That they might be the sooner ~ ferried across the flood,
They drove the horses in it ; ~ whose swimming was so good,
That, strong as was the current, ~ they crossed it none the less ;
Though some far downwards drifted ~ in very weariness.
1572. Their gold and all their baggage ~ unto the ship they bore,
Since from this journey’s ending ~ they now could turn no more.
And Hagen was the captain ; ~ he ferried to the strand
Full many a gallant warrior ~ into the unknown land.
1573. Of noble knights a thousand ~ first brought he to the shore.
And after these his warriors, ~ and ever there were more :
Of men-at-arms nine thousand ~ he ferried safe to land,
Nor all day long did weary ~ the gallant Tronian’s hand.
1574. When he the whole in safety ~ across the flood had brought,
The warrior bold and eager ~ of that strange story thought
Which the wild water-maidens ~ erewhile to him had said.
Then for King Gunther’s chaplain ~ the days were wellnigh sped !
1575. Amidst the chapel baggage ~ he sought and found the priest,
Who on his hand was leaning, ~ that on the Pyx did rest.
But little that availed him ~ when Hagen him did spy :
The all-forsaken chaplain ~ must suffer grievously.
1576. Out of the skiff he swung him, ~ ere yet a moment passed.
Though many voices shouted : ~ “Stay him, good sirs, avast.”
Young Giselher fell a-cursing ~ in anger at the sight ;
Yet would not Hagen heed him, ~ but did it in despite.
1577. Then spake the noble Gernot, ~ the lord of Burgundy :
“This chaplain’s death, O Hagen, ~ now what avails it thee?
Had any other done it ~ it would have pleased you ill.
For what default or reason ~ sought’st thou the priest to kill ?”
1578. As best he could he floated, ~ and well escaped had he,
Had any dared to help him ; ~ but that was not to be.
Because the mightful Hagen ~ was of too angry mood :
He thrust him under water, — ~ that seemed to no one good.
1579. Now when the wretched chaplain ~ no help saw in his need.
Backward again he turned him ; ~ sore was his plight indeed.
Yet though to swim he knew not, ~ God helped him with His hand,
That safe and sound in body ~ he got once more to land.
1580. There stood the hapless chaplain ~ and shook his raiment out ;
And thereby well knew Hagen ~ that now there was no doubt
But true the tale was, told him ~ by those wild water-wives.
Thought he : “Then all these warriors ~ perforce must lose their lives.”
1581. When that the three kings’ lieges ~ the ship had all unstored,
And unto land had carried ~ whate’er they had on board,
Hagen to pieces hewed it ~ and flung it in the flood.
Whereover marvelled greatly ~ those warriors bold and good.
1582. “Why dost thou thus, O brother ?” ~ to him did Dankwart say ;
“How shall we cross the water ~ when on our homeward way,
We ride again from Hunsland ~ unto the Rhine country ?”
“Look ye,” to him said Hagen, ~ “that thing can never be !”
1583. Then spake the lord of Tronjè : ~ “This do I with the thought
That, should we on this journey ~ have any craven’s brought,
Who fain would basely leave us, ~ through cowardice of mind,
They must a shameful ending ~ here in this river find.”
1584. A man there was amongst them ~ from Burgundy who came,
By might of hand a hero, ~ and Volker was his name.
Right cunningly he uttered ~ all that was in his mind.
And whatsoe’er did Hagen ~ this minstrel good did find.
1585. The chargers now were ready, ~ each packhorse had its load.
So far, the host no damage ~ had suffered on the road
To daunt them, or to trouble, ~ except the chaplain’s loss ;
Who needs must to the Rhineland ~ on foot the country cross.

{ 26 }
1586. When they were all come over ~ unto the further strand,
The king began to question : ~ “Who will throughout this land
Show us the proper pathways, — ~ lest we should stray afar ?”
Then spake the valiant Volker : ~ “Alone for that I’ll care.”
1587. “Now bide ye yet,” said Hagen, ~ “if squire ye be or knight,
A friend’s word should be followed ; ~ that seems to me but right.
I have unwelcome tidings ~ to make known unto you :
No more shall we return to ~ the land of Burgundy !
1588. “Today, at early morning, ~ told me mermaidens two.
That we should home return not. ~ Now rede I what to do :
Look to your weapons, heroes, ~ ye needs must well beware ;
Here have we mighty foemen, ~ and warily must fare.
1589. “I thought to catch her lying, ~ that wily mermaiden :
She swore that none among us ~ should ever come again
Alive unto our country, ~ except the priest alone :
Whom therefore I this morning ~ have done my best to drown.”
1590. Then quickly flew these tidings, ~ from troop to troop they spread ;
From the keen, heroes’ faces ~ for grief the color fled ;
To sorrow then began they ~ that this court-ride should lead
To bitter death as ending : ~ in sooth, they had good need.
1591. Nigh Moœringen the place was ~ where they the flood had crossed.
The ferryman of Else ~ there, too, his life had lost.
And thereupon said Hagen : ~ “Seeing that I have made
Foes on the road, I doubt not ~ that we shall be waylaid.
1592. “Today that self-same boatman ~ at early dawn I slew ;
Ye know right well the story. ~ Now buckle quickly to,
That if this day should Gelfrat ~ or Else here essay
To fall upon our people, ~ they shall the damage pay.
1593. “For such bold men I know ye, ~ this cannot fail to be.
’Twere well to let your horses, ~ therefore, go quietly.
That none should deem we’re passing ~ along the roads in flight.”
“That counsel will I follow,” ~ said Giselher the knight.
1594. “But who shall now our people ~ across the country show ?”
They answered : “That shall Volker, ~ for right well doth he know
The highways and the byways, ~ a gallant minstrel he.”
Before their wish was uttered, ~ the fiddler they could see
1595. Standing well-armed before them. ~ He bound his helmet on,
And on his battle-mantle ~ the glorious color shone.
As signal, on a lance-shaft, ~ a pennon red he bore.
But with the kings, thereafter, ~ he fell on trouble sore.
1596. Meanwhile the boatman’s murder ~ became to Gelfrat known
By message all undoubted ; ~ and eke the news had gone
To Else the most mighty; ~ and sore aggrieved were they.
They sent to call their chieftains, ~ who came without delay.
1597. In space of time the shortest, — ~ I would to you make known —,
Were seen unto them riding ~ men, who erewhile had done
Sore scathe and dread achievements ~ in direst stress of war.
Of such there came to Gelfrat ~ seven hundred men or more.
1598. Their foemen fierce to challenge ~ to ride they then began,
Led by their lords aforesaid. ~ Too readily they ran
To catch the doughty strangers ~ and wipe away their shame.
Of their retainers many ~ by death thereafter came.
1599. Meanwhile, Hagen of Tronjè ~ for that had taken care ;
(How could a hero better ~ for all his friends beware ?)
Together with his liegemen ~ the watch by night kept he,
As did his brother Dankwart : ~ ’twas done right prudently.
1600. The day its course had ended ~ and light they had no more.
He feared for friends and comrades ~ with heavy dread and sore.
Their road throughout Bavaria ~ beneath their shields they tracked,
And ere they long had ridden ~ the heroes were attacked.
1601. On both sides of the roadway ~ behind them, coming fast,
They heard the tramp of horse-hooves, ~ too noisy in their haste.
Then spake the gallant Dankwart : ~ “Here will they fall on us !
Now fasten on your helmets, — ~ ’twere wise to wait them thus.”
1602. They halted on their journey, ~ naught else was to be done.
They saw how in the darkness ~ the polished bucklers shone.
Until at last would Hagen ~ no longer brook delay :
“Who hunts us on the highway ?” ~ to him must Gelfrat say.
1603. In this wise then the Margrave — ~ he of Bavaria — spake :
“Our foemen we are seeking, ~ and now are on their track.
I know not who hath slain me ~ my ferryman this day.
He was a skilful hero, ~ and sorrow well I may.”
1604. To him spake he of Tronjè : ~ “And was that boatman thine ?
He would not take us over. ~ The guilt thereof is mine.
For then I slew the warrior ; ~ in sooth, there was good need
Since at his hands I elsewise ~ had got my death instead.
1605. “I offered him for guerdon ~ good gold and raiment fine
To ferry us, O hero ! ~ unto this land of thine.
Which angered him so sorely ~ that he at me a blow
Aimed with a sturdy barge-pole ; ~ then I grew fierce enow,
1606. “And clutching at my broadsword, ~ I paid him back again
With blows that deeply wounded ; ~ so was the hero slain.
Amends therefore I’ll make thee, ~ howe’er thou thinkest good.”
Then fell the two to wrangle : ~ both were of stubborn mood
1607. “Full well I knew,” said Gelfrat, ~ “that when this way did ride
Gunther and his retainers, ~ much ill would us betide
Through Hagen, lord of Tronjè. ~ Not hence alive goes he ;
For my poor boatman’s murder ~ he must the forfeit be.”
1608. Above their bucklers bent they ~ their lances for the thrust,
Sir Gelfrat and Sir Hagen ; ~ each at the other must.
Then Else, too, and Dankwart ~ came riding gallantly,
To try each other’s mettle ; ~ the fight raged fiercely.
1609. How otherwise might heroes ~ more featly try their strength ?
By a hard lance-thrust smitten ~ Hagen the bold, at length,
From off his horse fell backwards, ~ by Gelfrat’s hand laid low ;
His saddle-bow was broken ~ and downfall he must know.
1610. Among the yeomen’s lances ~ arose a clashing sound.
Then up again rose Hagen, ~ who, whilom on the ground
From Gelfrat’s blow, had fallen ~ upon the meadow-grass.
His mood, methinks, to Gelfrat ~ of sort ungentle was.
1611. Who held in charge their horses, ~ that is to me unknown ;
The twain were now dismounted ~ and on the sand stood down, —
Hagen, to wit, and Gelfrat, ~ who at each other flew ;
The folk of either aided ~ who of the combat knew.
16l2. How mightfully soever ~ Hagen on Gelfrat leapt,
The noble margrave parried ; ~ and with one stroke he swept
A great piece off his buckler, — ~ that sparks therefrom were shed ;
Whereby King Gunther’s vassal ~ was wellnigh stricken dead.
1613. Thereon he unto Dankwart ~ to call aloud began :
“Dear brother, help me quickly ! ~ For, lo, a mighty man
Hath got me at his mercy ; ~ he’ll make an end of me !”
Then spake the valiant Dankwart : ~ “To that I soon will see.”
1614. Then nearer sprang the hero ~ and struck so fell a blow
With keen edge of his weapon, ~ that dead he laid him low.
Then fain had Else taken ~ some vengeance for the wight ;
But he and all his people ~ went off in sorry plight.
1615. His brother had been slaughtered ; ~ himself, too, had a wound ;
Full eighty of his warriors ~ lay there upon the ground
In grim Death’s grip forever ; ~ needs must the hero then
Turn round and flee for safety ~ before King Gunther’s men.
1616. Now while they of Bavaria ~ along the road did flee,
The horrid sounds of slaughter ~ were heard unceasingly.
So did the men of Tronjè ~ after their foemen chase,
Who of defeat had dreamt not ; ~ too soon it came to pass.
1617. And while they still were fleeing. ~ Dankwart the thane called out :
“Upon the road right quickly ~ we ought to turn about
And let them run at leisure : ~ all wet they are with blood !
Unto our friends return we ; ~ in sooth I deem it good.”
1618. Now when they were returnéd ~ to where the fight had been,
Spake Hagen, lord of Tronjè : ~ “Ye heroes, be it seen
What damage we have suffered, ~ and who to us is lost ;
By reason of this battle which ~ Gelfrat’s wrath hath cost.”
1619. Four only lost they reckoned ; ~ these must they grieve for well.
But fully they avenged were : ~ for against them there fell
Of the Bavarian warriors ~ a hundred men and more ;
Whereby the Tronians’ bucklers ~ were dimmed and wet with gore.
1620. Just then a gleam of moonlight ~ between the clouds did break.
“Now look ye well that no one,” ~ so to them Hagen spake,
“Betray to my dear masters ~ what we have done this day ;
Let them until the morning ~ free from all trouble stay.”
1621. When they who had been fighting ~ had now caught up the rest,
With weariness the people ~ were grievously distressed.
“How long,” were many asking, ~ “must we be riding yet ?”
And doughty Dankwart answered : ~ “No lodging can we get.
1622. “Until the dawn of morning ~ ye all must onwards ride.”
Volker the quick, who all things ~ did for the folk provide.
Bade some one ask the marshal : ~ “Where shall we go towards,
That we may rest our horses ~ and eke our well-loved lords ?”
1623. Then: spake the doughty Dankwart : ~ “In sooth I cannot say,
But there must be no resting ~ before the dawn of day;
Then, wheresoe’er we find it, ~ upon the grass we’ll lie.”
Some, when they heard this bidding, ~ were sore aggrieved thereby.
1624. So were they undiscovered ~ by the warm blood-stains red,
Until the sun uprising ~ with his bright beams had shed
The day-dawn o’er the mountains ; ~ then first the king did see
That they had fought. The hero ~ spake to them wrathfully :
1625. “How now? Ye have, friend Hagen, ~ methinks but small regard
For this my presence with you, ~ seeing ye thus have dared
To stain with blood your armor ! ~ Now who hath done this thing ?”
“’Twas Else, who set on us ~ last night,” he told the king.
1626. “His ferryman the cause was ~ that we were set upon ;
My brother came, and Gelfrat ~ was by his hand fordone ;
Then Else fled before us, ~ by direst need bestéd.
Four men we lost ;  a hundred ~ of them we left for dead.”
1627. The place at which they rested ~ I know not to declare ;
But all the country people ~ ere long became aware
That sons of noble Utè ~ to court were on their way :
And thus a hearty welcome ~ at Passau soon had they.
1628. The Bishop Pilgrin, uncle ~ of these high rulers three,
Was in his heart well-pleaséd ~ his sister’s sons to see,
With such a host of warriors, ~ thus come to his domain.
That he meant well unto them, ~ was very quickly plain.
1629. Right gladly were they welcomed ~ by friends upon the way ;
But since there was at Passau ~ no room for them to stay,
They needs must cross the water, ~ where open field they found ;
There tents and wooden cabins ~ they set up on the ground.
1630. There must they stay and rest them ~ for space of one whole day
And eke the night that followed. ~ How fairly served were they !
To Rüdeger’s dominions ~ thence had they to ride on.
To him the tidings also ~ were very quickly known.
1631. When now the wayworn riders ~ had taken needful rest,
And nearer were approaching ~ the country of their quest,
They found upon the marches ~ a knight who sleeping lay,
From whom Hagen of Tronjè ~ a stout sword took away.
1632. Ay, Eckewart the name was ~ of that same warrior good ;
Much grief had he thereover, ~ and sorry was his mood
That he had lost the weapon ~ through heroes passing there.
Ill-watched found they the borders ~ of margrave Rüdeger.
1633. “Woe’s me for this dishonor,” ~ thereon said Eckewart,
“This journey of Burgundians ~ I rue with all my heart.
Since ever I lost Siegfried, ~ my luck hath all been gone.
Alack, the day, Lord Rüdeger, ~ what ill to thee I’ve done !”
1634. Now Hagen heard right plainly ~ the noble warrior’s woe.
His sword again he gave him ~ and six red armlets, too.
“Take these as pledge, O hero, ~ that thou my friend wilt be ;
Good knight thou art, though lonely ~ thou sleptst upon the lea.”
1635. “God for thy rings requite thee,” ~ said Eckewart thereto ;
“Thy journey into Hunsland ~ yet sorely do I rue.
Thou took’st the life of Siegfried ; ~ here art thou held in hate.
To guard thyself be careful : ~ in good faith rede I that.”
1636. “Now God alone must keep us !” ~ Hagen for answer gave.
“In truth no greater trouble ~ these warriors now have
Than that, for kings and liegemen, ~ on lodgings we may light,
Where we in this same country ~ may lay our heads tonight
1637. “The horses have been ruined ~ by roads so far about ;”
Thus spake the warrior Hagen, ~ “our stores are all run out ;
None can be had for money ; ~ a worthy host we need,
Who ere this day is ended ~ will kindly give us bread.”
1638. Spake Eckewart in answer : ~ “A host to you I’ll show :
And such a one ne’er bade you ~ into his house to go,
In any land whatever, ~ as ye may meet with here
If ye, good thanes, are willing ~ to visit Rüdeger.
1639. “He dwells hard by the highway ; ~ of hosts he is the best
That ever had a rooftree. ~ His heart is aye possesed
Of kindness, as of flowers ~ are meadows in sweet May ;
If he can succor heroes, ~ glad will he be the day.”
1640. “Wilt thou then,” said King Gunther, ~ “be now my messenger,
And see if for my pleasure, ~ my kind friend Rüdeger
Shelter unto my kinsfolk ~ and all our men will give ?
So will I do my utmost ~ to serve him while I live.”
1641. “I’ll gladly be the envoy,” ~ then answered Eckewart.
With right good will so did he ~ upon the errand start.
To Rüdeger declared he ~ what he was bade to say,
Who no such joyful tidings ~ had heard for many a day.
1642. Folk saw to Bechelaren ~ a knight ride hastily.
Him Rüdeger himself saw : ~ “On yonder road,” said he,
“Comes Eckewart fast riding, ~ of Kriemhild’s lieges one.”
He fancied that the foemen ~ some harm to him had done.
1643. Then went he to the gateway ~ where he the envoy found
Who laid aside his weapon ~ from off his belt unbound.
The message that he carried ~ he sought not to withhold
From host and friends about him ; ~ but straight his story told.
1644. Unto the margrave spake he : ~ “I come at the command
Of Gunther, king and ruler ~ of the Burgundian land.
And Giselher his brother, ~ and likewise Gernot, too ;
Each of these warriors sendeth ~ his greeting unto you.
1645. “The like doth also Hagen, ~ as Volker doth as well.
With true and ready service. ~ And more I have to tell :
That — as the royal marshal ~ sends word to you by me —
The good men much are needing ~ your hospitality.”
1646. With smiling lips unto him ~ made Rüdeger reply :
“Glad am I at your tidings, ~ that kings so great and high
Deign to bespeak my service : ~ they shall not be denied.
If they will cross my threshold ~ ’twill give me joy and pride.”
1647. “Dankwart the marshal likewise ~ begs you by me to tell
If ye can furnish house-room ~ for all the rest as well :
For sixty valiant warriors, ~ a thousand knights right good,
And men-at-arms nine thousand ?” ~ Then joyful was his mood.
1648. “Now be these guests right welcome,” ~ made answer Rüdeger,
“And all these noble warriors, ~ unto my dwelling here ;
To them, as yet, at no time ~ have I a service done.
So ride to meet them, kinsmen ~ and lieges everyone.”
1649. Then quickly to their horses ~ hurried each squire and knight.
Whate’er their master bade them ~ to all of them seemed right ;
And they in service hasted ~ the readier for that.
Naught knew yet dame Gotlinda, ~ who in her chamber sat.

{ 27 }
1650. Away then went the margrave ~ to where the ladies were,
His wife and eke their daughter ; — ~ to them the tidings fair
That had but now been brought him ~ he told right speedily :
That soon their lady’s brothers ~ beneath their roof would be.
1651. “My own and well-loved sweetheart,” ~ so Rüdeger then spake,
“These noble kings and mighty ~ we must right welcome make,
Since they and all their followers ~ are on their way to court.
And Hagen, Gunther’s liegeman, ~ thou must greet in good sort.
1652. “With him there comes another, ~ by name one Dankwart hight ;
And yet a third called Volker, ~ a well-bred, courtly knight.
These six must thou, Gotlinda, ~ and thou, my daughter, kiss,
And let not any warrior ~ a fitting welcome miss.
1653. This promised both the ladies ~ and did themselves prepare,
And sought from out their coffers ~ for raiment rich to wear,
That they to meet the warriors ~ in fit attire might go.
Amidst the comely damsels ~ there was a great to-do.
1654. Of painted women’s faces ~ one found there few enough.
They wore upon their foreheads ~ bright bands of golden stuff.
Like costly chaplets fashioned, ~ that thus their lovely hair
The wind should not dishevel : ~ ’tis truth that I declare.
1655. Now let us leave the ladies ~ in all this business.
Across the open country ~ all eager was the press
Of Rüdeger’s retainers ~ to where the princes stayed ;
Within the margrave’s county ~ right welcome were they made.
1656. As soon as towards him coming ~ the margrave them espied,
How Rüdeger the valiant ~ in words of gladness cried :
“Be ye, my lords, right welcome, ~ and likewise all your men ;
How glad am I to see you here ~ in my own domain !”
1657. In trust, with no misliking, ~ the warriors to him bowed ;
That he all goodwill bore them ~ to all he plainly showed.
Apart he greeted Hagen, ~ a friend of old was he ;
And did the like to Volker, ~ the knight of Burgundy.
1658. Dankwart he also greeted ; ~ whereon that bold thane spake :
“Since thou wilt give us shelter, ~ pray, who shall undertake
To cater for our people ~ whom we have brought so far ?”
Then answered him the margrave : ~ “This night be free from care.
1659. “And as to all your people, ~ and aught that in your band,
Horses be it, or raiment, ~ hath come unto this land.
So safely will I guard them ~ and all from loss insure,
That ye shall have no damage, ~ nay, not by a single spur.
1660. “So pitch your tents, ye yeomen, ~ upon the open ground.
For any loss ye suffer ~ I’m willing to be bound.
Take off the horses’ bridles ~ and let them freely run.”
The like to them but seldom ~ a host ere then had done.
1661. Right glad of heart the guests were. ~ When all had come to pass,
The lords rode off together. ~ Then down upon the grass
On all sides lay the yeomen, ~ and right good rest they had ;
I ween in all the journey ~ they ne’er so softly laid.
1662. The noble margrave’s lady ~ without the castle gate
Had gone with her fair daughter. ~ One saw there with her wait
A crowd of lovely women, ~ and many a maiden fair.
Who wore a store of armlets, ~ and raiment rich and rare.
1663. The precious gems glowed brightly, ~ and might be seen afar
Upon their rich apparel ; ~ so finely clad they were.
And now the guests arriving ~ dismounted speedily.
Ay me ! What gallant breeding ~ showed they of Burgundy !
1664. Of maidens six-and-thirty ~ and many another dame,
As ever eye could wish for ~ so fair in form they came,
And went towards the strangers ~ with many a gallant man.
Ah, then in sooth fair greetings ~ of noble dames began !
1665. Then kissed the margrave’s daughter ~ the three kings fittingly,
As also did her mother ; ~ Hagen was standing by,
Her father bade her kiss him ; ~ she cast a look at him.
And fain had she not done it — ~ she thought he looked so grim.
1666. Yet straightway must she do it, ~ since so the master said ;
Her cheeks were changed in color ~ to mingled white and red.
Then Dankwart likewise kissed she, ~ and then the Minstrel too ;
By reason of his valor ~ such greeting was his due.
1667. The margrave’s youthful daughter ~ took presently the hand
Of Giselher, the warrior ~ from the Burgundian land :
Her mother, too, did likewise ~ to Gunther, the brave king.
So went they with the heroes ~ in gladness revelling.
1668. The host along with Gernot ~ went into a wide hall,
Where they were quickly seated, ~ both knights and ladies all :
Good wine was callled for straightway, ~ which to the guests they gave.
Ay, surely never heroes ~ could better treatment have.
1669. With many an eager eye-glance ~ the men looked lovingly
On Rüdeger’s young daughter : ~ she was so fair to see.
Ay, in his thoughts embraced her ~ full many a warrior good.
And right well she deserved it ; ~ but she was proud of mood :
1670. Think might they as it pleased them, ~ such thing could not be done.
And to and fro men’s glances ~ meanwhile oft lit upon
Right many a dame and maiden ; ~ plenty were seated there.
Goodwill the noble minstrel ~ unto the host did bear.
1671. According to the custom ~ they severed then in two,
The warriors and the ladies ~ to separate rooms withdrew.
In the wide hall the tables ~ in order straight were set,
And soon the stranger guest-folk ~ with royal service met.
1672. To do her guests more honor ~ the noble margravine
Sat down with them at table ; ~ her daughter was unseen,
Left with the younger children, ~ where fittingly she sat ;
The guests, who missed her presence, ~ were sorely vexed thereat.
1673. When meat and drink abundant ~ had been enjoyed by all
The ladies fair were ushered ~ again into the hall.
There lacked not mirthful story, ~ nor jesting manifold :
Busy of tongue was Volker, ~ a knight of mood right bold.
1674. Thus spake the noble minstrel, ~ aloud that all might heed :
“Most rich and noble margrave, ~ God hath with you indeed
Dealt graciously, in granting ~ so fair a dame for wife,
And likewise in bestowing ~ on you a joyous life,
1675. “If haply,” said the minstrel, ~ “I were a prince of blood,
And wore the crown of kingship, ~ surely for wife I would
Make choice of your fair daughter, ~ for her my heart doth woo ;
Lovesome she is to look on ~ and good and noble too.”
1676. Then said to him the margrave : ~ “How could it ever be,
That any king should ask for ~ my daughter dear of me ?
We are but stranger-people, ~ my wife as well as I :
What boots it that the damsel ~ so fair is bodily ?”
1677. To him made answer Gernot, ~ that man of breeding high :
“If I would have a sweetheart, ~ my heart to satisfy,
So would I such a woman ~ be ever glad to wed.”
Then Hagen put his word in, ~ with kindly speech, and said :
1678. “Tis still to be remembered ~ Lord Giselher should wed :
Of ancestry so noble ~ the margravine is bred.
That I and all his liegemen ~ would serve her willingly,
If with a crown upon her ~ she came to Burgundy.”
1679. To Rüdeger this counsel ~ in every way seemed good.
As likewise to Gotlinda : ~ ay, both were glad of mood.
And soon the chiefs so ordered ~ that she was bride beloved
Of Giselher the noble, ~ as well a king behooved.
1680. When aught is bound to happen ~ who may the same gainsay ?
Forthwith they bade the damsel ~ to court to take her way.
They took an oath to give him ~ the winsome maid to wife,
And he, on his side, promised ~ to love her as his life.
1681. They gave the maiden warrant ~ for castles and for land,
The noble king confirmed it ~ by oath and his right hand,
As likewise did Lord Gernot, ~ that thus it should be done.
Then spake to them the margrave : ~ “Though castles I have none,
1682. “Yet you will I at all times ~ in faithful friendship hold :
I give unto my daughter ~ of silver and of gold
As much as five score horses ~ may carry at their best,
That so well-pleased, in honor, ~ the hero’s kin may rest.”
1683. The pair were thereon bidden ~ within a ring to stand.
According to the custom. ~ Of many youths a band,
In mood for merry-making, ~ stood opposite the twain,
And thought what they were minded, ~ as youngsters still are fain.
1684. When they began to question, ~ and asked the winsome maid
If she would have the warrior, ~ she was a whit dismayed :
And yet she still was minded ~ to take the goodly wight ;
She blushed but at the question, ~ as any maiden might.
1685. Then Rüdeger her father ~ bade her to answer “Yea !”
That she would gladly take him. ~ Whereon, without delay.
His white hands stretched towards her ~ to fold her lovingly,
Young Giselher came forward, — ~ short though their joy must be !
1686. “Ye noble kings and mighty,” ~ thereon the margrave spake ;
“When home again your journey ~ to Burgundy ye take.
Then I (as is the custom) ~ will give my child to you,
That ye may take her with you.” ~ That they engaged to do.
1687. Noisy as were the revels, ~ at last they had an end.
The damsels to their chambers ~ were bidden then to wend ;
In sleep the guests, too, rested ~ till daybreak did appear;
Then victuals were made ready ; ~ for all the host took care.
1688. When they their fast had broken ~ fain would they forward go
Towards the Hunnish country. ~ “I pray you, do not so,”
Besought their host right noble ; ~ “awhile ye yet must stay;
Since I no guests so welcome ~ have seen for many a day.”
1689. To this made Dankwart answer : ~ “That surely will not do.
Whence will ye get the victuals, ~ the bread and wine thereto,
Which for so many warriors ~ ye needs must have this day ?”
The host, on hearing, answered : ~ “It boots no more to say ;
1690. “My well-loved lords, so please you, ~ I will not be denied ;
Ay, for a fortnight will I ~ the meat and drink provide
For you and all the people ~ that hither ye have brought ;
For never hath King Etzel ~ from me yet taken aught.”
1691. Howe’er they sought to help it, ~ needs must they there abide
Until the fourth day’s dawning : ~ then did a thing betide,
Done of the master’s bounty, ~ and noiséd far and near :
On every guest bestowed he ~ a horse and wearing gear.
1692. This could not last much longer : ~ thence must they forward fare.
But Rüdeger the valiant ~ could naught withhold or spare
To testify his bounty : ~ what any fain would take.
That was denied to no one ; ~ all happy would he make.
1693. Then forth before the gateway ~ their noble equerries
Led out the saddled horses. ~ In readiness for these
The throng of foreign warriors came out ; ~ their shields in hand
They bore, for they were eager ~ to ride to Etzel’s land.
1694. Thereon the master offered ~ his gifts to one and all,
Ere yet the royal strangers ~ were come without the hall.
With bounty and great honor ~ he knew the way, to live;
And even his fair daughter ~ to Giselher would give.
1695. Anon he gave to Gunther, ~ that hero of great fame,
What he, the mighty monarch, ~ might well wear without shame —
Though gifts he took but seldom — ~ a coat of mail, to wit.
O’er Rüdeger’s hand did Gunther ~ bow low in thanks for it.
1696. Then gave he unto Gernot ~ a sword, a good one too,
Which afterwards in battle ~ right gallantly he drew :
That such a gift he gave him ~ well pleased the margrave’s wife.
’Twas doomed to cost, soon after, ~ good Rüdeger his life.
1697. Gotlinda offered Hagen, ~ as courteous custom bade,
Some tokens of her kindness, ~ since such the king had had.
Lest he without her aidance ~ should on his road be sped
Unto the royal revels ; ~ but this he soon gainsaid.
1698. “Of all the things that ever ~ I saw,” so Hagen spake,
“Not one have I more envy ~ hence as my own to take,
Than yonder shield that hanging ~ upon the wall I see :
That would I gladly carry ~ to Etzel’s land with me.”
1699. The margravine no sooner ~ had heard what Hagen said.
Than bygone woes were wakened, ~ and tears she needs must shed.
Upon the death of Nudung ~ she sorrowfully thought,
How Witege had slain him : ~ thus grief upon her wrought.
1700. She spake unto the warrior : ~ “I’ll give the shield to thee.
But would to God in Heaven ~ that still alive were he
Who on his arm once bare it ! ~ In fight he was laid low,
And I must aye bewail him : ~ hence comes, poor me, my woe !”
1701. Then from her seat uprose she, ~ the noble margravine ;
And so, the buckler grasping ~ her snow-white hands between,
The dame to Hagen bore it, ~ and he thereof took hold :
It was a gift of honor ~ unto that warrior bold.
1702. A case of polished leather ~ upon its surface lay,
A better shield and brighter ~ ne’er shone in light of day,
With noble gems bestudded ; ~ had any wanted it
To buy, perchance its value ~ a thousand marks had quit.
1703. Then, by command of Hagen, ~ they bore the shield away.
And now to court did Dankwart ~ begin to wend his way.
On him the margrave’s daughter ~ apparel rich bestowed.
In which ere long in Hunsland ~ right gloriously he rode.
1704. Now all these friendly tokens ~ they were endowed withal.
Into the hands of any ~ had never come at all,
Save by the master’s bounty, ~ offered with such good will.
Such foes ere long became they ~ that him they needs must kill !
1705. Then did the ready Volker, ~ his fiddle in his hand,
With courtly mien approaching ~ before Gotlinda stand.
Sweet tunes for her he fiddled, ~ and sang his roundelay.
Thus would he from Bechlaren ~ take leave to ride away.
1706. The margravine then bade men ~ to her a chest to bear ;
Of kindly gifts and bounty ~ ye now again must hear.
Therefrom she took twelve armlets ~ and put them o’er his hand:
“These must ye carry with you ~ away to Etzel’s land.
1707. “And for my sake must wear them ~ whene’er ye go to court ;
That when ye come back hither ~ I may have good report
How ye have done me service ~ at that great festival.”
E’en as the lady bade him ~ he well accomplished all.
1708. The host said to the strangers : ~ “Ye will the better fare
If I myself shall lead you, ~ and bid you how beware
Lest anyone should do you ~ a hurt upon the road.”
Then of his sumpter-horses ~ each quickly had its load.
1709. There stood the host all ready, ~ and eke five hundred men
With horses and apparel. ~ These led he with him then
Unto the royal wedding, — ~ a joyous merry train ;
Alive to Bechelaren ~ not one came back again !
1710. With many loving kisses ~ the host his farewells said,
As Giselher did also, ~ by honor ever led.
The women fair they fondled ~ with arms around them thrown ;
For which would many a damsel ~ be weeping soon, alone.
1711. On all sides were the windows ~ thrown open to the air.
The host with his retainers ~ to mount all eager were.
I ween their hearts foreboded ~ the mighty ills to be ;
For many dames were weeping ~ and maidens fair to see.
1712. For dear friends left behind them, ~ plenty at heart were sore,
Whom they at Bechelaren ~ would look on nevermore ;
Yet gaily rode they onwards, ~ and down across the sand
Along the Danube river, ~ unto the Hunnish land.
1713. Then Rüdeger the noble, ~ well versed in chivalry,
Spake unto the Burgundians : ~ “We ought not, verily,
To hide that we are coming ~ unto the Hunfolk near;
Such good news hath King Etzel ~ ne’er had the chance to hear.”
1714. Down through the Austrian kingdom ~ the messenger rode fast ;
Soon to the folk on all sides ~ from mouth to mouth it passed,
That coming were the heroes ~ from Worms beyond the Rhine.
No tidings the king’s lieges ~ could more to joy incline.
1715. The messengers sped forwards ~ and now the tidings bare
Of how the Niblung warriors ~ within the Huns’ land were.
“Thou shouldst right well receive them, ~ Kriemhilda, lady mine;
To thee come in great honor ~ these brothers dear of thine.”
1716. Meanwhile, as dame Kriemhilda ~ beside a window-sill
Stood watching for her kinsmen, — ~ as friends for others will,
Lo, from her father’s country ~ there saw she many a man.
The king, who heard the tidings, ~ to laugh for glee began.
1717. “Now joy of all who love me ~ be mine !” Kriemhilda said,
“For hither come my kinsmen ~ with many a shield new-made.
And many a bright steel hauberk. ~ Who would have gold of me.
Let him my wrongs remember, ~ my friend he e’er shall be !”

{ 28 }
1718. As soon as the Burgundians ~ were come to Hunnish land,
Of Bern a chieftain heard it, — ~ the aged Hildebrand.
Unto his lord he told it ; ~ to him ’twas all unmeet ;
Yet bade he them with kindness ~ the valiant knights to greet.
1719. The ready Wolfhart bade them ~ to bring the horses out.
Then rode along with Dietrich ~ full many a warrior stout,
As towards the open country ~ to welcome them he went.
There had they pitched already ~ full many a noble tent.
1720. When Hagen, lord of Tronjè, ~ them from afar espied,
Unto his masters turning, ~ in courteous words he cried :
“Now, please ye, gallant warriors, ~ dismount on to your feet,
And them whom ye would welcome ~ go forth yourselves to meet.
1721. “The company that cometh ~ is right well known to me :
They are the doughty warriors ~ from Amelung country,
And he of Bern doth lead them ; ~ they are of courage high.
’Twere better not to flout them ~ when folk to serve ye try.”
1722. Then down from horse alighted ~ (as was indeed but right)
All they who came with Dietrich, ~ full many a squire and knight.
They walked towards the strangers, ~ where they the chiefs could see.
And courteously greeted ~ the men of Burgundy.
1723. When noble Dietrich saw them ~ their way towards him make,
Perchance ye fain would hearken ~ to what the warrior spake
Unto the sons of Utè. ~ Their journey grieved him sore :
The truth, he thought, Sir Rüdeger ~ had known and told before.
1724. “Be welcome, sirs, right welcome, ~ Gunther and Giselher,
And Gernot, too, and Hagen ; ~ and, not the less, Volker
And swift and ready Dankwart ! ~ Have ye not understood
That o’er her Niblung hero ~ Kriemhilda yet doth brood ?”
1725. “Then let her brood for ever !” ~ Hagen in answer said,
“For many a long year is it ~ since he was stricken dead.
To love the King of Hunsland ~ is now her duty plain :
Siegfried hath long been buried ; ~ he comes not back again.”
1726. “Now let us, an’ it please you, ~ leave Siegfried’s wounds alone ;
Whilst Dame Kriemhilda liveth ~ evil may still be done.”
So did the noble Dietrich, ~ the knight of Bern, declare.
“Thou Mainstay of the Niblungs, ~ to guard thyself beware !”
1727. “And wherefore should I guard me ?” ~ the high-born king replied ;
“Tidings we had from Etzel ~ (what should I ask beside ?)
That, came we hither riding, ~ ’twould give him much content
My sister Kriemhild, likewise, ~ hath many a message sent.”
1728. “If I may give you counsel,” ~ so Hagen to them spake,
“Beg that the noble Dietrich ~ and his good warriors make
Some better declaration ~ of what they have in mind,
And tell us to what humor ~ Dame Kriemhild is inclined.”
1729. Then the three mighty chieftains ~ to speak apart withdrew,
Gunther to wit, and Gernot, ~ and the lord Dietrich, too :
“Now, knight of Bern, pray tell us, ~ thou noble warrior good.
What of the queen thou knowest, ~ and what may be her mood.
1730. The knight of Bern made answer : ~ “What can I tell you more ?
I hear her ev’ry morning ~ weeping and wailing sore, —
This wedded wife of Etzel — ~ in manner piteous,
To the great God of Heaven, ~ for stalwart Siegfried’s loss.”
1731. “It may not be averted,” — ~ that boldest man declared,
Volker, the fiddle-player, — ~ “the doom whereof we’ve heard ;
To court we’re bound to journey, ~ there for ourselves to see
What fate for us good warriors ~ among the Huns shall be.”
1732. So hence the bold Burgundians ~ to court rode on their way
After their country’s fashion, ~ in glorious array.
And many a bold man marvelled ~ among the Hunfolk there
At Hagen, lord of Tronjè, ~ what kind of man he were.
1733. For since was told the story, ~ (that was enough alone,)
How he the Netherlander ~ Siegfried to death had done, —
The stoutest of all warriors, ~ the husband of Kriemhild —
With questions about Hagen ~ the court was wellnigh filled.
1734. Of goodly growth and presence ~ the hero was, no doubt ;
Broad-shouldered and deep-chested ; ~ his hair was flecked about
With streaks of grisly color; ~ long in the shank was he,
And stony was his visage ; ~ he walked right royally.
1735. Then quarters were appointed ~ for the Burgundian men.
The whole of Gunther’s followers ~ were sundered from him then.
This by the queen was compassed, ~ with hatred for him filled ;
Hence all the yeomen, later, ~ were in their hostel killed.
1736. Since Dankwart, Hagen’s brother, ~ the marshal had been made,
The king with zeal commended ~ the men to him ; and bade
That he would seek their comfort ~ and let them have their fill.
This chief of the Burgundians ~ bore all of them goodwill.
1737. And now came Queen Kriemhilda ~ with all her company
That she might greet the Niblungs ~ with feignéd courtesy.
But Giselher, her brother, ~ she kissed and took his hand.
This Hagen saw, and tighter ~ he laced his helmet’s band.
1738. “In view of such a greeting,” ~ thus Hagen blurted out,
“A prompt and ready warrior ~ may well have some misdoubt !
To kings and to their vassals greetings unlike befall:
We’ve made no lucky journey ~ to this high festival.”
1739. “To those who fain would see thee,” ~ said she, “now welcome be :
Thou shalt not have a greeting ~ for friendship’s sake from me.
Say what it is thou bringest ~ from Worms beyond the Rhine,
That thou so great a welcome ~ shouldst have from me and mine.”
1740. “If I had heard the tidings,” ~ so Hagen spake again,
“That ye for gifts were looking ~ at hands of every thane,
Had I myself been wealthy ~ I would have twice bethought
Or ever to this country ~ my gifts for you I brought.”
1741. “’Tis rather ye, who tidings ~ to me should give : to wit,
The Nibelungen treasure, ~ what have ye done with it ?
It was mine own possession, ~ and that right well ye knew :
’Twas this ye should have brought me ~ to Etzel’s land with you.”
1742. “In faith, my Lady Kriemhild, ~ ’tis now full many a day
Since when at my disposal ~ the Niblung treasure lay ;
At bidding of my masters ~ ’twas sunk in the Rhine-tide :
There till the Day of Judgment, ~ in sooth, it may abide.”
1743. Then spake the queen in answer : ~ “’Tis even as I thought !
Right little of it have ye ~ for me to this land brought.
Although ’twas mine, and whilom ~ within my power it lay ;
Since when I’ve spent thereover ~ full many a dreary day.”
1744. “The devil a bit I bring you !” ~ Sir Hagen fell to swear :
“I have my shield to carry, ~ and that’s enough to bear.
Together with my mail-coat ; ~ my helm’s a trifling thing.
My sword I have in hand though, ~ so naught for you I bring.”
1745. Thereon the queen spake loudly ~ unto those warriors all :
“Let no man any weapon ~ carry into the hall ;
Give them to me, ye heroes, ~ I’ll keep them safe for you !”
“Nay, by my troth,” cried Hagen, “that will we never do !
1746. “I covet not the honor, ~ gentle princess and fair,
That thou unto the hostel ~ my shield thyself shouldst bear.
Nor other of my weapons : ~ thou hast a queen become ;
So taught me not my father; ~ I will be chambergroom.”
1747. “O woe on all my sorrow !” ~ Kriemhilda loudly said,
“How is it that my brother ~ and Hagen are afraid
To leave their shields in keeping ? ~ They have been warned, I see ;
And knew I who had done it, ~ I’d give him death for fee.”
1748. Thereon Lord Dietrich answered, ~ and said to her in scorn :
“’Twas I that took upon me ~ these noble kings to warn ;
And Hagen warned I likewise, ~ the brave Burgundian.
Come on, thou devil’s daughter, ~ do me the worst ye can !”
1749. Ashamed and sore confounded ~ at this was Etzel’s wife :
For bitterly with Dietrich ~ she feared to be at strife.
She found no word to answer, ~ but went away in haste,
Whilst but a few sharp glances ~ upon her foes she cast.
1750. Then hand by hand two warriors ~ took each of other hold :
The one was noble Dietrich, ~ the other Hagen bold.
Then spake in courtly manner ~ that knight of spirit high :
“Your coming to the Hunfolk ~ doth grieve me, verily,
1751. “Seeing the queen hath spoken ~ such words to you but now.”
Then Hagen spake, of Tronjè : ~ “’Twill matter not, I trow.”
In such wise with each other, ~ parleyed the two brave men.
Meanwhile King Etzel saw them, ~ and fell to questioning then.
1752. “I would that some one told me,” ~ the mighty sovereign said,
“Who is that warrior yonder, ~ to whom Sir Dietrich bade
So heartily a welcome ? ~ Of courage high is he ;
Whoever were his father, ~ a hero must he be !”
1753. Then one of Kriemhild’s liegemen ~ to answer him began :
“He is by birth of Tronjè, ~ his sire was Aldrian.
How blithe so e’er he bears him, ~ he hath a spirit grim.
Ye shall yourself discover ~ I tell no lies of him .”
1754. “How shall I have occasion ~ to know he is so stern ?”
(The many sly devices ~ as yet he had to learn,
Wherewith, to catch her kinsmen, ~ the queen sought to contrive
That none of them from Hunsland ~ again might come alive.)
1755. “Well knew I that same Aldrian, ~ a liegeman of mine own.
And here with me he won him ~ much honor and renown.
’Twas I a knight who dubbed him, ~ and gave him of my gold ;
My faithful Helka bore him ~ much kindness, too, of old.
1756. “And all, by that same token, ~ of Hagen know I well.
Into my hands for hostage ~ two goodly children fell,
He and the Spanish Walther ; ~ who being to manhood bred,
I sent back Hagen ; Walther ~ with Hildegunda fled.”
1757. He thought of the old stories ~ and all that happed of yore.
His olden friend of Tronjè ~ he gladly saw once more.
Who in his youth good service ~ to him ne’er failed to lend.
Soon he in age repaid him ~ by death of many a friend.

{ 29 }
1758. This famous pair of warriors ~ asunder then withdrew,
Hagen, the lord of Tronjè, ~ and noble Dietrich, too.
Whereon across his shoulder ~ looked Gunther’s man around
In hope to see a comrade, ~ whom in a trice he found ;
1759. For there Sir Volker standing ~ by Giselher he saw ;
He begged that cunning minstrel ~ aside with him to draw,
For well was he acquainted ~ with his unyielding mood.
In sooth, he was in all points ~ a warrior bold and good.
1760. They left the lords together ~ standing in the courtyard.
’Twas seen how they twain only, ~ and not another, fared
Across the court wide-stretching ~ before a palace great ;
Those chosen men of valor ~ had fear of no man’s hate.
1761. They sat upon a settle ~ against the palace front,
Hard by a hall which Kriemhild ~ herself to use was wont.
Brightly upon their bodies ~ their noble raiment shone.
And plenty who beheld them ~ would gladly them have known.
1762. Like wild beasts of the forest ~ those haughty heroes then
Were gaped upon and gazed at ~ by all the Hunnish men.
The wife of Etzel spied them ~ athwart a window-pane :
Whereby the fair Kriemhilda ~ was sorely grieved again.
1763. It brought to mind her sorrow ; ~ she fell to weeping then,
Whereat was mickle marvel ~ among King Etzel’s men :
What could have thus so quickly ~ troubled their lady’s mood ?
She answered : “That hath Hagen, ~ ye heroes bold and good.”
1764. They spake unto the lady : ~ “How can this thing have been
When we ourselves but lately ~ have you so happy seen ?
None can have been so hardy ~ such evil to have wrought :
Else bid us to avenge it ; ~ his life shall go for naught.”
1765. “For ever would I serve him ~ who would my wrongs repay,
To give him all he asked for ~ I would be ready aye.
Upon my knees I beg you,” ~ so spake the royal wife,
“Avenge me now on Hagen, ~ that he may lose his life.”
1766. Then sixty gallant warriors ~ girded their armor on,
Who, for the love of Kriemhild, ~ were keen to set upon
And make an end of Hagen — ~ the ever valiant one —
And likewise of the minstrel. ~ ’Twas all with forethought done.
1767. But when the queen beheld them, ~ how small a band they made,
In grim and gloomy humor ~ she to the heroes said :
“Ye must leave unaccomplished ~ what ye would take in hand :
Ay, never against Hagen ~ so few will dare to stand !
1768. “How strong and bold soever ~ Hagen of Tronjè be,
The man who sits beside him ~ is stronger far than he,
Volker, the fiddler, namely ; ~ he is an evil wight.
These heroes to encounter ~ ye will not find so light.”
1769. When they had heard this warning ~ still more took heart of grace, —
Four hundred gallant warriors. ~ That queen of noble race
Had set her heart upon it ~ to do her foes despite :
Whence soon was mickle sorrow ~ made ready for each knight.
1770. Now when she saw her liegemen ~ with arms and armor clad,
Unto the ready warriors ~ the noble lady bade :
“Abide ye here a little, ay, ~ stand ye quiet so ;
I mean to put my crown on, ~ and to my foemen go.
1771. “And hark while I upbraid him ~ for what he did to me,
This Hagen, lord of Tronjè, ~ King Gunther’s knight in fee.
So arrogant I know him, ~ he’ll give me not the lie ;
And eke care I as little ~ what he shall get thereby.”
1772. Then looked the fiddle-player, ~ the minstrel bold, and lo,
He saw the noble lady ~ along a stairway go.
That led down from the palace. ~ And when he that espied.
The ever valiant Volker ~ unto his comrade cried :
1773. “Now look ye there, friend Hagen, ~ how yonder cometh nigh
She who into this country ~ hath lured us faithlessly.
With king’s wife saw I never ~ so many men around.
Bearing in hand their weapons, ~ as for a battle bound
1774. , “Know’st thou, friend Hagen, whether ~ they hatred to thee bear ?
If so, I fain would counsel ~ that thou the better care
Shouldst take of life and honor : ~ ay, that, methinks, were good !
Unless I am mistaken, ~ they are in wrathful mood.
1775. “And some there are among them ~ so exceeding broad of breast
That who would rest in surety ~ hath little time to waste.
I ween, beneath their clothing, ~ their hauberks bright they wear ;
But whom therewith they threaten ~ I nowise can declare.”
1776. Then spake in mood of anger ~ Hagen, the valiant one ;
“For me, right well I know it, ~ the whole of this is done, —
That thus their unsheathed weapons ~ they carry in the hand ;
Yet will I, notwithstanding, ~ ride to Burgundian land !
1777. “Now say if thou, friend Volker, ~ thine aid to me wilt lend,
If so be Kriemhild’s liegemen ~ to fight with me intend ?
That let me hear you promise, ~ as I am dear to you ;
And evermore I’ll answer ~ to you with service true.”
1778. “Ay, surely will I help thee,” ~ the gallant minstrel spake :
“Saw I a king come hither, ~ attack on us to make
With all his warriors round him, ~ so long as I should live
I would not fail to help thee, ~ and not a foot would give.”
1779. “Thy service, noble Volker, ~ may God in Heaven requite.
What further can I ask for, ~ if thou by me wilt fight ?
Since thou art fain to aid me, ~ as I am glad to hear,
These blades may come and welcome ~ with all their warlike gear.”
1780. “Now from the seat upstand we,” ~ then said the man of song :
“She is a sovereign lady ; ~ and let her pass along.
Let us that honor pay her, ~ she is of noble birth,
Thereby our own condition ~ shall seem of greater worth.”
1781. “For love of me, I pray thee, ~ do it not,” Hagen spake :
“Lest otherwise these warriors ~ perchance the deed mistake
And think that I had risen, ~ through fear, open my feet.
For her will I by no means, ~ stand up from off the seat !
1782. “For both of us ’twere better, ~ methinks, to let it be.
Why should I do her honor ~ who bears such hate to me ?
Nay, that will I do never ~ as long as I have life ;
Nor care I for the hatred ~ of royal Etzel’s wife !”
1783. The overweening Hagen ~ across his knees laid down
A bare and shining weapon, ~ upon whose pommel shone
A very brilliant jasper, ~ greener than any sward.
Kriemhilda well remembered ~ that it was Siegfried’s sword.
1784. When she that sword remembered ~ a grief it needs must be ;
The hilt of it was golden, ~ its sheath red broidery.
It brought to mind her sorrow ; ~ her tears began to fall ;
I ween the hardy Hagen ~ had therefor done it all.
1785. Upon the bench towards him ~ the valiant Volker drew
A fiddle-bow, a strong one, ~ and long and mighty, too.
Which to a sword had likeness, ~ right keen and broad of blade.
The pair of doughty heroes ~ thus sat there undismayed.
1786. The valiant twain so lordly ~ seemed, in their own conceit,
They did not deem it fitting ~ to stand up from their seat
For fear of man or woman. ~ Whereon, with foe-like mien,
Nigh to their feet, to greet them, ~ came up the noble queen.
1787. She spake : “Now tell me, Hagen, ~ who sent to bid you here,
That riding in our country ~ thou darest to appear ?
Thou, too, who so well knowest ~ what thou hast done to me ?
Hadst thou been well adviséd ~ thou best hadst let it be.”
1788. “No one hath sent to fetch me,” ~ Hagen in answer said :
“But hither to this country ~ three warriors ye bade ;
My masters they are calléd, ~ to them I service owe.
On any royal journey ~ I scarce could fail to go.”
1789. Said she : “Now tell me further, ~ how was it thou didst that
For which thou hast deservéd ~ my everlasting hate ?
Thou was it who didst Siegfried, ~ my well-loved husband, slay ;
Whom I must mourn for ever ~ until my dying day.”
1790. He spake : “What boots that further ? ~ Of talk we have no need,
I am that self-same Hagen ~ who did to death Siegfried,
The mighty-handed hero. ~ How dearly he repaid
The flouts which Dame Kriemhilda ~ on fair Brunhilda laid !
1791. “It is not to be doubted, ~ O great and mighty queen,
Of all your baleful sorrows ~ that I have guilty been.
Now be it man or woman, ~ let them avenge who will ;
Though I should then gainsay you, ~ I’ve done you grievous ill.”
1792. Said she : “Now hark ye, warriors, he doth not e’en deny
That he hath worked my sorrow ! ~ What may befall thereby
To him, ye men of Etzel, ~ of no account I hold.”
Then looked on one another ~ those haughty thanes and bold.
1793. It doubtless had befallen, ~ whichever had begun
The strife, that these two comrades ~ the honor would have won ;
Seeing how oft in battle ~ they gallantly had fought.
In dread the others shrank from ~ the deed they had in thought.
1794. Then spake one of the warriors : ~ “Why look ye so on me ?
From what I erewhile promised ~ I would that I were free !
For sake of no one’s largesse ~ would I forego my life.
Ay ! To our ruin go we, ~ led by King Etzel’s wife.”
1795. Whereafter spake another : ~ “To that same thought I hold ;
Were anyone to give me ~ whole towers of good red gold,
I’d care not to contend with ~ that fiddler willingly.
For dread of the swift glances ~ that in his eyes I see.
1796. “Hagen have I known also, ~ and from his early youth :
Thus little can be told me ~ about that knight, forsooth !
In two-and-twenty battles ~ I’ve seen him, in the strife ;
Whereby hath heartfelt sorrow ~ befallen many a wife.
1797. “On many a foray went they, ~ he and the Spaniard,
When they were here with Etzel ; ~ ofttimes a battle hard
They fought for the king’s honor ; ~ and many such befell ;
Whereof one must of Hagen ~ much to his honor tell.
1798. “At that time this same warrior ~ was but a child in years.
They who were then but youngsters, ~ how gray are now their hairs !
Now he is come to wisdom, ~ a man of ruth is he.
And eke he wieldeth Balmung, ~ won by foul treachery.”
1799. With that the thing was settled, — ~ that none should strike a blow.
Whereby the queen was stricken ~ unto the heart with woe.
The heroes all disbanded : ~ fearful lest death indeed
Be dealt them by the fiddler : ~ in sooth they had good need.
1800. Then spake anon the fiddler : ~ “We have right plainly seen
That foemen here beset us, ~ as we forewarned have been.
Now to the court return we ~ and seek the sovrans there :
That no one then, our masters ~ to meet in strife may dare.
1801. “How oft a man, faint-hearted, ~ will let a chance slip by,
When if a friend beside him ~ upheld him cheerfully
And with good understanding, ~ he would not do the same.
Right many a man by forethought ~ is saved from loss and shame.”
1802. “Where ye go I will follow,” ~ Hagen was quick to say ;
Then back into the courtyard ~ forthwith they took their way,
Where still in grand assembly ~ waited the knightly crowd.
And then the valiant Volker ~ began to speak aloud
1803. And say unto his masters : ~ “How long here will ye stay
To let yourselves be crowded ? ~ To court ye should away,
And from the king discover ~ what he in mind may have.”
Then might one see forgather ~ the heroes good and brave.
1804. The prince of Bern, Sir Dietrich, ~ took hold of by the hand
Gunther, the mighty ruler ~ of the Burgundian land.
Irnfried was fain with Gernot, ~ that right bold man, to fare.
And Rüdeger went walking ~ to court with Giselher.
1805. Howe’er the rest companioned, ~ and so to court passed on,
Betwixt Volker and Hagen ~ of parting there was none,
Save only in one struggle, ~ which ended their two lives,
And caused sad weeping later ~ to many noble wives.
1806. Upon the kings attending ~ one saw to court go then
Their nobly-born retainers, ~ a thousand gallant men ;
And sixty warriors also ~ along with them had come ;
The same that valiant Hagen ~ had brought with him from home.
1807. And Haward eke and Iring, ~ a pair of chosen worth,
By one another walking, ~ went with the sovrans forth.
Dankwart and also Wolfhart, ~ a thane of courage rare ;
These well before the others ~ upheld their honor there.
1808. When came the lord of Rhineland ~ within the palace door,
Etzel, the mighty monarch ~ refrained himself no more,
But from his seat upsprang he, ~ seeing him entering,
A better greeting never ~ was given by a king.
1809. “Be welcome, my lord Gunther, ~ and ye, lord Gernot, too,
And Giselher, your brother. ~ My zealous service true,
I have already sent you ~ to Worms beyond the Rhine.
And all your followers also ~ shall welcome be as mine.
1810. “I bid a hearty welcome ~ to you, ye knightly pair.
To Volker the right valiant ~ and eke to Hagen there,
From me and from my lady, ~ unto this land of mine.
She messengers in plenty ~ hath sent you to the Rhine.”
1811. Hagen of Tronjè answered ; ~ “So heard I, more than once !
And had I for my masters ~ not come unto the Huns,
Yet would I you to honor ~ have ridden to this land.”
The noble host then kindly ~ his guests took by the hand ;
1812. And to the seat he brought them ~ where he himself had sat,
Then to the guests they offered ~ (they busily did that),
In wide-mouthed golden goblets, ~ wine, mead and mulberry.
And bade to the newcomers ~ a welcome heartily.
1813. Then spake the royal Etzel : ~ “I will to you confess
Naught in this world could give me ~ a greater happiness
Than ye have given me, heroes, ~ in coming thus to me ;
Whereby the queen is also ~ from mickle grief set free.
1814. “And ofttimes have I marvelled ~ what was the fault in me —
So many guests right noble ~ have I been wont to see —
That ye unto my country ~ to come did never deign ?
But now that I have seen you ~ to joy is turned my pain.”
1815. Said Rüdeger in answer ~ (a knight of noble mood) :
“Well may ye see them gladly ; ~ their faith indeed is good.
And all my lady’s kinsfolk ~ the same can well uphold ;
They bring unto your palace ~ full many a warrior bold.”
1816. The even of Midsummer, ~ at mighty Etzel’s court
These princes made their entry ; ~ and seldom hath report
Told of such royal welcome ~ as on these chiefs he spent.
Now was it time for eating ; ~ and all to table went.
1817. Amidst his guests more nobly ~ a host ne’er took his seat.
For them there was abundance ~ whereof to drink and eat,
And everything they wanted ~ it was all ready made ;
For truly of these heroes ~ great marvels had been said.

{ 30 }
1818. Now was the daylight ended ~ and night began to close.
Amid the wayworn warriors ~ disquietude arose
For when they were to rest them ~ and to their beds begone.
This mooted was by Hagen ; ~ and soon it was made known.
1819. Unto the host spake Gunther : ~ “God grant you long to live !
We now would hence to slumber ; ~ we pray thee leave to give.
We’ll come tomorrow morning ~ if thou dost order so.”
Right pleasantly agreed he, ~ and bade his guests to go.
1820. One saw the people crowding ~ the guests on every side.
Then Volker the undaunted ~ unto the Hunfolk cried :
“How dare ye get in front of ~ the warriors’ very feet ?
If ye will not give over ~ with trouble ye will meet.
1821. “A fiddle-stroke so heavy ~ on one of you I’ll lay,
That, hath he a well-wisher, ~ that same may rue the day.
Give place there to us warriors ! ~ ’Twill be the best for you.
Folk call ye knights, but little ~ ye have akin thereto.”
1822. Whilst spake the fiddle-player ~ so wrathfully his mind,
The valiant Hagen turned him, ~ and gave a glance behind.
Said he : “The gallant minstrel ~ hath warned you properly;
Ye heroes of Kriemhilda ~ back to your homes go ye.
1823. “The plan ye are devising ~ will not come off, I trow.
Come back tomorrow morning ~ if ye have aught to do.
And leave us weary strangers ~ this night to rest in peace ;
I ween that heroes ever ~ so do in suchlike case.”
1824. Anon the guests were taken ~ into a roomy hall,
Which found they well provided, ~ to suit the warriors all,
With richly fumished bedsteads, ~ that were both wide and long.
The while Dame Kriemhild plotted ~ to do them grievous wrong.
1825. Right goodly mats from Arras ~ all round about were spread,
Of bright-hued wool-stuffs woven ; ~ and many a cover-bed
Wrought of Arabian samite, ~ the finest that might be ;
Whereon were borders broidered ~ that shone right gloriously.
1826. The coverlets of ermine ~ did many a man espy,
And others of black sable, ~ whereunder they might lie
And pass the night in comfort ~ until the dawn of day.
A king and all his courtiers ~ so softly never lay.
1827. “O woe, for this night’s sojourn !” ~ so spake young Giselher
“And woe for all my comrades ~ who hither with us fare !
Howbeit that my sister ~ so kind a bidding gave,
By cause of her, I fear me, ~ we all our deaths shall have.”
1828. “Now let your mind be easy,” ~ Hagen the thane answered :
I will from now till morning ~ myself keep watch and ward ;
And well I swear to guard you ~ until the break of day.
Till then be all untroubled ; ~ then, save himself who may !”
1829. Then bowed they all before him ~ and gave him thanks therefore,
And to their beds betook them : ~ nor was it long before
Laid down in rest and slumber ~ was every goodly man.
To don his arms the hero — ~ Hagen the bold — began.
1830. Then up and spake the minstrel, ~ Volker the gallant thane :
“If thou dost not disdain it, ~ then, Hagen, I am fain
Tonight to keep guard with thee, ~ until the morning break.”
Right heartily the hero ~ his thanks to Volker spake :
1831. “Now God in Heaven reward you, ~ Volker, my comrade true !
To none in all my troubles ~ save only unto you
Would I for aidance turn me, ~ if need should e’er befall.
One day I will repay you, ~ if Death do not forestall.”
1832. Then in their shining raiment ~ they twain their bodies clad,
And each of them his buckler ~ upon his forearm had.
They went without the castle ~ to stand the gateway by,
And there the guests they guarded : ~ ’twas done right faithfully.
1833. Volker the ever-ready ~ then from his arm unbraced
His shield — it was a good one — ~ which ’gainst the wall he placed.
Back to the hall he hastened, ~ and there his fiddle seized.
And as became a hero, ~ his friends therewith he pleased.
1834. Beneath the doorway sat he ~ upon a seat of stone ;
A braver fiddle-player ~ in sooth had ne’er been known.
With such sweet-sounding music ~ upon the strings he played,
That all the high-born strangers ~ their thanks to Volker paid.
1835. The sweet clang of his viol ~ made all the house resound.
His strength and skill together ~ right excellent were found.
More softly and more sweetly ~ to fiddle he began,
And lulled upon their couches ~ full many a troubled man.
1836. And when they all were sleeping, ~ and he thereof was sure,
The thane took up his buckler ~ upon his arm once more,
And went outside the chamber ~ before the tower to stand.
To guard the sleeping strangers ~ against Kriemhilda’s band.
1837. When halfway spent the night was, ~ or earlier it might be.
The gallant Volker, watching, ~ a shining helm could see
Far off amid the darkness. ~ ’Twas one of Kriemhild’s men,
Who all to do a mischief ~ unto the guests were fain.
1838. Then spake the fiddle-player : ~ “My friend, Sir Hagen, there,
Together it is fitting ~ that we this trouble share.
I’ve seen some folk in armor ~ before the house but now,
Else I am much mistaken, ~ they’ll set on us, I trow.”
1839. “Then hold thy peace,” quoth Hagen, ~ “and let them nearer come.
Or ever they can see us, ~ our swords will have struck home
And split their helmets for them, ~ with double-handed might.
We’ll send them back to Kriemhild, ~ methinks, in sorry plight !”
1840. One of the Hunnish warriors ~ had soon enough espied
That guarded was the doorway ; ~ how suddenly he cried :
“The matter we intended, ~ in sooth will not go well.
I see the fiddle-player ~ standing as sentinel !
1841. “A brightly polished helmet ~ upon his head hath he
Of pure, hard-tempered metal, ~ and strong, and blemish-free.
His hauberk’s rings are glowing ~ as fiery embers would.
By him stands also Hagen : ~ the guests have watchmen good.”
1842. Forthwith they turned them backwards. ~ When Volker that espied,
Again to his companion ~ in wrathful voice, he cried :
“Now let me from the palace ~ after the warriors go ;
Of Dame Kriemhilda’s liegemen ~ somewhat I fain would know.”
1843. “Nay, do it not,” said Hagen ; ~ “I pray you by my love !
These ever-ready warriors, ~ if from the house ye move,
Would with their swords, I doubt not, ~ bring you such straits to face,
That I should have to help you, ~ were’t death to all my race.
1844. “For whilst we two together ~ are busy in the fray,
Some two or four among them ~ will to the house away,
And quickly force an entrance, ~ and some foul mischief do
Unto our sleeping comrades, ~ which we shall ever rue.”
1845. Then Volker spake in answer : ~ “Let it be settled so ;
But that I’ve seen them coming ~ at least we’ll let them know,
So Kriemhild’s men hereafter ~ shall never dare deny
That they would fain against us ~ have wrought vile treachery.”
1846. With that, towards them Volker ~ sent forth a lusty shout :
“Ye nimble knights, in armor ~ why go ye thus about ?
Ye warriors of Kriemhilda, ~ if ye on foray ride,
Myself and my companion ~ ye should have at your side !”
1847. No word there came in answer. ~ Then wrathful waxed his mood :
“Fie on you, skulking rascals !” ~ shouted the hero good ;
“Would ye have caught us sleeping, ~ and murdered every one ?
So foul a deed on heroes ~ hath never yet been done.”
1848. Unto the queen right truly ~ was told how lucklessly
Her messengers had prospered. ~ Good cause for grief had she.
Then otherwise contrived she : ~ so cruel was her mood ;
By which ere long to perish ~ were heroes bold and good.

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1849. “So cold I feel my armor :” ~ quoth Volker presently,
“Methinks the night is wearing ~ and soon will ended be ;
I mark that by the breezes ; ~ ’twill very soon be day.”
Then many a man awoke they ~ who still in slumber lay.
1850. The morning light broke over ~ the guests within the hall.
Hagen began on all sides ~ the warriors to call,
To know if to the Minster ~ to matins they would fare.
Meanwhile, in Christian fashion, ~ the bells were chiming clear.
1851. So diverse was the chanting, ~ thereby ’twas plain to see
That Christians and heathens ~ were not in unity.
And yet the men of Gunther ~ to church would go withal ;
They from their beds together ~ had risen one and all.
1852. The warriors then arrayed them ~ in clothes so finely wrought,
That better raiment never ~ by heroes had been brought
To any king’s dominions. ~ Ill did it Hagen please.
Said he : “Now should ye, heroes, ~ don other suits than these.
1853. “Enough about the matter ~ ye surely understand ;
Ye should, instead of roses, ~ bear weapons in the hand.
For caps beset with jewels ~ take shining helms and good ;
Since we are well-adviséd ~ of wicked Kriemhild’s mood.
1854. “This day must we do battle, ~ I will to you declare;
Instead of silken doublets, ~ ye should your hauberks wear.
And in the place of mantles ~ take bucklers good and wide —
That if they seek a quarrel, ~ the brunt ye may abide.
1855. “My well-belovéd masters, ~ your friends and kinsmen too.
Go now unto the Minster, — ~ that should ye gladly do —
And pray to God Almighty ~ in your distress and need :
For know now, of a surety, ~ that Death is nigh indeed.
1856. “See, too, that ye forget not ~ aught ill that ye have done,
And with true zeal and duty ~ stand ye before God’s throne.
Of this, right noble warriors, ~ I warn you well afore,
Save God in Heaven may grant it, ~ ye’ll hear no Masses more.”
1857. They went unto the Minster, ~ the princes with their men.
But in the hallowed precincts ~ bold Hagen spake again
And bade them halt, lest any ~ should leave the company :
“None knoweth what the Hunfolk ~ to us may do,” said he ;
1858. “My friends, set down your bucklers ~ upright before your feet,
And answer ye to any ~ who may unkindly greet
With deep and deadly sword-stroke. ~ Hark ye, to Hagen’s rede,
So will ye find it worthy ~ to serve you in your need.”
1859. With that Hagen and Volker, ~ the twain together, went
In front of the great Minster. ~ ’Twas done with this intent.
That they might make it certain ~ that the king’s wife would need
To crowd them as she entered: ~ their mien was grim indeed.
1860. Then came the land’s Upholder, ~ and eke his lady fair.
And decked about the body ~ with raiment rich and rare
One saw the doughty warriors ~ along with them go by ;
The dust aloft was whirling ~ from Kriemhild’s chivalry.
1861. Now when the mighty ruler ~ in armor saw arrayed
The kings and their companions, ~ how quickly then he said :
“Why thus my friends behold I ~ marching with helmets on ?
’Twould grieve me, on my honor, ~ had aught to them been done.
1862. “I’ll gladly make atonement, ~ however they think good ;
If any here have vexed them ~ in either heart or mood,
I give them full assurance ~ that sorely vexed am I ;
And whatsoe’er they bid me ~ I’ll do it readily.”
1863. To this made answer Hagen : ~ “By none have we been harmed.
It is my masters’ custom ~ to go thus fully armed
To every courtly meeting, — ~ until three days have run ;
To Etzel we will tell it ~ if aught to us be done.”
1864. This answer made by Hagen ~ Kriemhilda heard right well.
How hatefully upon him ~ her sidelong glances fell !
Yet would she not more frankly ~ her country’s customs own,
Though they to her a long time ~ in Burgundy were known.
1865. Yet though her hate towards him ~ so cruel was and fell,
If anyone to Etzel ~ the truth had dared to tell.
He doubtless had prevented ~ what came to pass ere long :
But none of them would tell it, ~ her mastery was so strong.
1866. Then with the queen advancing ~ there came a mighty band ;
But this same pair of warriors ~ deigned not to take their stand
Two hand-breadths further backward, ~ which made the Hunfolk wroth.
Ay, they must press and jostle ~ with those bold heroes both.
1867. The chamberlains of Etzel ~ were ill-content at this.
And would upon the warriors ~ have somewhat wrought amiss.
If they had dared to do it ~ the king’s High Grace before.
There was a mighty jostling, ~ but so far nothing more.
1868. When service now was ended ~ and they would thence be gone,
All suddenly on horseback ~ appeared full many a Hun ;
And many a beauteous lady ~ was with Kriemhilda seen ;
Full seven thousand warriors ~ came riding with the queen.
1869. Kriemhilda with her ladies ~ within the window sat
Along with royal Etzel : ~ well pleased was he thereat.
Fain would they see the jousting ~ those doughty heroes showed :
Ay ! In the lists before them ~ what warriors strange there rode !
1870. And thither had the marshal, ~ the right brave Dankwart, too,
Come with his squires attending : ~ his lords’ own retinue
With him, too, he had taken ~ from the Burgundian land.
The steeds for the bold Niblungs ~ well saddled were at hand.
1871. When they their steeds had mounted — ~ the kings and every man —
Forthwith the stalwart Volker ~ to counsel them began.
That all should tilt together ~ after their country’s mode ;
In course of which, thereafter, ~ the chiefs right nobly rode.
1872. For what the hero counselled ~ they did not underrate.
The crowding and the shouting ~ were both exceeding great.
Within the wide enclosure ~ was gathered many a man ;
Then Etzel and Kriemhilda ~ to gaze thereon began.
1873. Six hundred knights together ~ upon the field appeared.
The warriors of Dietrich, ~ coming the guests toward.
They thought with the Burgundians ~ some knightly sport to try,
And would, had he allowed it, ~ have done it readily.
1874. Ay me ! What goodly warriors ~ forthwith towards them made !
But when to the lord Dietrich ~ the news thereof was said,
With Gunther’s men forbade he ~ that any sport should be.
He feared for his retainers : ~ and surely need had he.
1875. When they of Bern passed onward, ~ and from the place had gone,
The men from Bechelaren, ~ of Rüdeger’s, came on.
Before the hall five hundred ~ with shield on arm rode they :
Well pleased had been the margrave ~ could they have kept away.
1876. Then wisely, as behooved him, ~ he rode the host throughout,
And said unto his warriors, ~ they could no longer doubt
But that the men of Gunther ~ ill will towards them had :
If they would leave the combat ~ he would in truth be glad.
1877. When these now had passed onward — ~ high-mettled heroes bold —
Came horsemen from Thuringia, ~ as hath to us been told ;
And then the knights of Denmark, ~ a thousand gallant men ;
One saw right many a lance-shaft ~ fly in the onset then.
1878. Then Haward came and Irnfried ~ unto the tournament.
The Rhinelanders a challenge ~ to them had proudly sent.
The warriors of Thuringia ~ were offered many a joust ;
In many a noble buckler ~ were lances deeply thrust.
1879. There, too, the lordly Blœdlin ~ came with his thousands three,
By Etzel and Kriemhilda ~ right closely watched was he ;
For all the knightly jousting ~ was held within their sight.
The queen rejoiced to see it ~ for Burgundy’s despite.
1880. And Gibecke and Scrutan ~ unto the melée rode.
With Hornboge and Ramung, ~ all in the Hunnish mode.
They held the lists, withstanding ~ the chiefs of Burgundy ;
And over the king’s palace ~ the shafts went whirling high.
1881. Whatever was done by any ~ was nothing else but sound.
Loud was the din that echoed ~ palace and hall around,
From clash of shields and bucklers, ~ by Gunther’s liegemen made ;
Whence praises and great honor ~ unto his folk were paid.
1882. The ardor of their pastime ~ so mighty was and great,
That from the goodly horses ~ whereon the heroes sate
The snow-white foam was soaking ~ through the caparisons.
In every courtly fashion ~ they sought to meet the Huns.
1883. Then up and spake the minstrel, ~ Volker the fiddle-player :
“I trow that to withstand us ~ these warriors will not dare.
I’ve ever heard it said that ~ they hate us verily ;
Now is the time to show it ; ~ a better ne’er will be.
1884. “Straightway unto the stables,” ~ so Volker loudly cried,
“We’ll have the horses taken ; ~ till towards the eventide
We’ll ride some further courses, ~ if there be time enow.
What if to us Burgundians ~ the queen some praise allow !”
1885. Then saw they some one coming ; ~ with stately mien rode he.
Such that no other Hunsman ~ with him compared could be.
Belike in some high lattice ~ a sweetheart there he had ;
No knightly bride was ever ~ than he more fairly clad.
1886. Then Volker said : “How can I ~ pass over such a chance ?
Yon darling of the ladies ~ must feel a thrust of lance, —
There’s not a man could help it ! ~ ’Twill stand him in his life :
I care not though I anger ~ thereby King Etzel’s wife.”
1887. “For love of me, forbear ye !” ~ King Gunther quickly spake ;
“These people will upbraid us ~ if we the onset make ;
Let ye the Huns begin it, ~ more seemly ’twere, I ween.”
Now all this time King Etzel ~ was sitting by the queen.
1888. “I’ll make the hubbub greater,” ~ quoth Hagen, in his turn ;
“We needs must let the ladies ~ and these same champions learn
How we can sit our horses : ~ ’twill be good sport withal,
Though little praise to any ~ of Gunther’s men befall.”
1889. Then rode the ready Volker ~ into the fray again :
Whereby had many a woman, ~ ere long, right grievous pain.
The noble Hunsman’s body ~ transfixed he with his spear ;
Which soon both wife and maiden ~ bewailed with many a tear.
1890. With hurtling speed did Hagen ~ rush forward with his men,
His sixty chosen warriors ; ~ and quickly rode he then
Upon the fiddler’s footsteps, ~ to where the joust was held.
Both Etzel and Kriemhilda ~ plainly the whole beheld.
1891. The kings were all unwilling ~ their minstrel brave to leave
Amid the foemen fighting, ~ and succor none to give ;
A thousand heroes therefore ~ towards him deftly rode, —
In high-accomplished fashion ~ they did whate’er they would.
1892. When that the noble Hunsman ~ in death was stricken low.
One heard among his kinsmen ~ complaints and cries of woe.
And all the folk were asking : ~ “Who can this deed have done ?”
“Volker, the fearless minstrel, ~ yon fiddler is the one !”
1893. For swords and bucklers called they, ~ and held them soon in hand,
The kinsmen of this margrave ~ of the Hungarian land.
They would have set on Volker, ~ and slain him where he stood ;
The host ran from his window ~ with all the haste he could.
1894. Then rose a mighty tumult ~ among the people all.
The kings and their attendants ~ dismounted at the hall ;
Behind the throng his charger ~ sent each Burgundian ;
King Etzel came : to sever ~ the nobles he began.
1895. From one of the Hun’s kinsmen, ~ who chanced by him to stand.
He seized a deadly weapon, ~ and wrenched it from his hand ;
Then drove the people backwards, ~ for very wroth was he :
“How vain unto these warriors ~ had been my courtesy
1896. “If ye had slain the minstrel ~ before my very face ;”
So spake to them King Etzel : ~ “that were a foul disgrace !
For well I marked him riding, ~ what time he pierced the Hun,
And through no fault on his part, ~ but by a slip, ’twas done.
1897. “To leave my guests in freedom, ~ I charge you to take heed.”
So gave he them safe-conduct ; ~ then led they every steed
Unto the hostel stables ; ~ and many squires they had
Right diligent in service, ~ who did whate’er they bade.
1898. The host into the palace ~ took with his friends his way.
No wrath in any of them ~ would he allow to stay.
The tables were made ready, ~ the water was brought in :
Yet bitter foes in plenty ~ had they from o’er the Rhine.
1899. Ere all the lords were seated ~ a good long time was spent ;
Whilst tortured was Kriemhilda ~ by cares within her pent.
She said : “I seek thy counsel, ~ O prince of Bern, thy grace
And aid : in sooth my business ~ is now in evil case.”
1900. Then Hildebrand made answer, ~ a worthy warrior he :
“Whoever slays the Niblungs ~ shall have no help from me,
Nay, not for any treasure ! ~ Thereby he grief may get :
These knights of ready courage ~ have ne’er been conquered yet.”
1901. And, in his courtly fashion, ~ thereto Sir Dietrich spake :
“O mighty queen, I pray thee, ~ thy purpose to forsake.
To me thy kinsmen never ~ have done such injury.
That I the gallant warriors ~ in combat would defy.
1902. “The wish doth ill beseem thee, ~ most noble prince’s wife,
That thou anent thy kinsfolk ~ wouldst plot against their life.
Trusting unto thy favor ~ they came unto this land :
Siegfried is not avengéd ~ by aid of Dietrich’s hand.”
1903. When she could find no falseness ~ the knight of Bern within,
Then on the spot she promised to give ~ to Blœdelin
A far-extending march-land, ~ which Nudung owned of yore.
As Dankwart shortly slew him, ~ he thought of it no more.
1904. Quoth she : “Thou ought’st to aid me, ~ my good Sir Blœdelin,
For in this very palace ~ are now these foes of mine
Who slew my husband Siegfried, ~ so well-beloved of me.
To him who helps avenge him, ~ I ever bound shall be.”
1905. To her then answered Blœdel : ~ “Lady, be sure of this,
To them, for fear of Etzel, ~ I dare do naught amiss.
Since he thy kinsmen happy ~ is ever fain to see.
And did I aught to hurt them, ~ he ne’er would pardon me.”
1906. “Nay, rather, my lord Blœdel, ~ your friend I’ll ever be.
Guerdon of gold and silver ~ I will bestow on thee ;
And eke a lovely damsel — ~ Nudung’s betrothéd bride —
Whom thou mayst love and cherish ~ right gladly at thy side.
1907. “The land, too, and the castles, ~ all unto thee I give ;
So, noble knight, thou mayest ~ in gladness ever live,
If thou but winn’st the earldom ~ which Nudung held in fee.
Whate’er today I promise, ~ in truth I’ll give to thee,”
1908. When now the noble Blœdel ~ the guerdon heard her tell.
And seeing that the damsel ~ in beauty pleased him well,
By means of strife he purposed ~ to earn this lovely wife :
But for that cause the warrior ~ was doomed to lose his life,
1909. Unto the queen then spake he : ~ “Within the hall go back :
Ere any guess my purpose, ~ an uproar I will make.
Hagen will have to answer ~ for what to you he wrought ;
King Gunther’s man, I warrant, ~ shall bound to you be brought.”
1910. “Now arm yourselves,” cried Blœdel, ~ “my gallant liegemen ail !
We will upon the foemen ~ within the hostel fall ;
I may not be acquitted ~ of this by Etzel’s wife.
On this must every hero ~ among us stake his life.”
1911. When the queen found that Blœdel ~ was on the fray intent,
She tarried there no longer, ~ but back to table went
And sat beside King Etzel ~ and with his men as well :
She for the guests’ undoing ~ had taken counsel fell.
1912. Since means there were not elsewise ~ to cause the strife to start,
(Kriemhilda’s olden sorrow ~ lay graven in her heart)
She bade them bring to table ~ King Etzel’s little son :
How could a vengeful woman ~ more cruelly have done ?
1913. Then went that self-same minute ~ of Etzel’s liegemen four.
And thither from his chamber ~ the young king Ortlieb bore
Unto the prince’s table, ~ where Hagen also sate.
(The boy was doomed to perish ~ through Hagen’s deadly hate.)
1914. As soon as mighty Etzel ~ espied his little son,
He turned to his wife’s kinsmen ~ and spake in kindly tone :
“Now, my good friends, behold ye, ~ my only son is he,
And eke your sister’s offspring : ~ which well for you may be.
1915. “If he his kindred likens, ~ he’ll be a gallant wight,
Right powerful and noble, ~ a well-grown man of might.
Should I live some while longer ~ he’ll own a dozen lands ;
So look ye for good service ~ at my young Ortlieb’s hands.
1916. “I therefore fain would pray you, ~ O well-loved friends of mine,
When ye are homeward riding ~ unto the river Rhine,
That ye upon the journey ~ would take your sister’s son.
And let your loving kindness ~ unto the child be shown.
1917. “And rear him up in honor ~ till he to manhood grow.
If any in your borders ~ hath wrought you any woe,
When he is of full stature ~ he will your vengeance aid.”
King Etzel’s wife Kriemhilda ~ heard also what he said.
1918. “If unto days of manhood ~ the child should grow and thrive.
These thanes, I trow,” said Hagen, ~ “their trust to him will give.
Yet the young king, meseemeth, ~ is of a weakly sort :
Folk will not often see me ~ attending Ortlieb’s court,”
1919. The king looked round at Hagen, — ~ this speech had vexed him sore;
And though, with princely breeding, ~ he spake thereof no more,
His heart was very heavy ~ and troubled was his mind.
Nor was the mood of Hagen ~ a whit to joy inclined,
1920. The princes all were sorry, ~ together with the king.
That of his child had Hagen ~ e’er spoken such a thing.
With ill content they bore it : ~ nor knew they aught at all
Of what through this same warrior ~ was shortly to befall.

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1921. The warriors of Blœdel ~ were ready for the fray ;
Clad in their thousand hauberks ~ they thither took their way
Where Dankwart with his yeomen ~ still at the table sate;
There rose between the heroes ~ a strife of deadly hate.
1922. As soon as the Lord Blœdel ~ before the table went,
Dankwart the marshal met him ~ on greeting due intent :
“Right welcome to our hostel, ~ Lord Blœdelin, are ye.
Although I greatly marvel ~ what may the reason be ?”
1923. “Thou hast no need to greet me,” ~ so answered Blœdelin :
“For this my coming bodeth ~ an end to thee and thine.
Thanks to thy brother Hagen, ~ who erewhile Siegfried slew.
That to the Huns thou’lt answer, ~ and many another too.”
1924. “Nay, say not so, Lord Blœdel,” ~ the marshal Dankwart said :
“Else must we rue too quickly ~ this journey we have made.
I was but a small stripling ~ when Siegfried lost his life ;
I know not what against me ~ bringeth King Etzel’s wife.”
1925. “No more about the matter ~ know I to say to you,
Save that your kinsmen did it, ~ Gunther, and Hagen too.
Look to yourselves, ye lost ones, ~ ye go not hence away !
By death must ye the forfeit ~ unto Kriemhilda pay.”
1926. “What ! And will nothing turn you ?” ~ cried Dankwart thereupon :
“Would I had ne’er besought you, ~ that better were undone !”
Up from the table sprang he, ~ the warrior swift and strong,
And drew a keen-edged weapon, ~ that heavy was and long.
1927. Therewith he struck at Blœdel, ~ with stroke of sword so fleet,
That off his head was smitten, ~ and lay before his feet.
“Be that thy wedding-dower,” ~ the warrior Dankwart said,
“Unto the bride of Nudung, ~ whom thou wouldst woo and wed !
1928. “Tomorrow they may plight her ~ unto another one :
If he will earn the guerdon, ~ the like to him be done !”
A faithful-hearted Hunsman ~ Dankwart aware had made,
How that the queen against him ~ such grievous plots had laid.
1929. When now the men of Blœdel ~ saw how their lord lay slain.
Then from the guests no longer ~ their hands could they restrain.
With broadswords high uplifted ~ they sprang in deadly mood
Upon the youthful warriors : ~ which ere long many rued.
1930. Then loudly shouted Dankwart ~ unto his followers all :
“Well see ye, noble yeomen, ~ how things are like to fall !
Ye hapless ones, be wary, ~ in sooth there’s need to be.
Albeit noble Kriemhild ~ bade us right lovingly.”
1931. They to whom swords were lacking, ~ reached down before each seat,
And many a long stool lifted ~ from underneath their feet.
Then the Burgundian yeomen ~ no longer would forbear,
And heavy stools made bruises ~ through many a helmet there.
1932. How grimly thus the strangers ~ essayed their lives to save !
And so the armed assailants ~ from out the house they drave ;
Yet left they dead within it ~ five hundred men or more :
And all of the defenders ~ were red and wet with gore.
1933. These tidings of disaster ~ were carried presently
Unto the knights of Etzel ~ (which grieved them bitterly) :
How Blœdel and his liegemen ~ had all to death been brought,
Which deed had Hagen’s brother ~ with his retainers wrought.
1934. Ere yet the king had heard it — ~ urged by the hate they bore —
The Hunfolk donned their armor ; ~ two thousand men or more.
And marched against the yeomen ; — ~ what else was to be done ?
And out of all the people ~ they left alive not one.
1935. Before the house the traitors ~ had led a mighty host ;
On guard the foreign yeomen ~ stood bravely at their post.
But what availed their valor? ~ They all were doomed to die ;
And presently arose there ~ a gruesome butchery.
1936. And here ye must a marvel ~ of monstrous import hear :
Nine thousand yeomen lying ~ all done to death there were ;
A dozen knights moreover ~ of Dankwart’s own command.
One saw him all-forsaken ~ amidst the foemen stand.
1937. The uproar was abated, ~ the clash of arms was o’er.
Then looked athwart his shoulder ~ Dankwart the warrior ;
He spake : “Woe for the comrades ~ who from my side are gone !
Alas, that ’midst the foemen ~ I now must stand alone !”
1938. Upon his body showered ~ the sword-strokes keen and rife ; —
Ere long to be bewailéd ~ by many a hero’s wife — .
His shield aloft he lifted, ~ and held the arm-brace low ;
And drenched full many a hauberk ~ with life-blood’s crimson flow.
1939. Then cried the son of Aldrian : ~ “Woe for the ills I bear !
Make way, ye Hunnish warriors, ~ and let me to the air.
That the wind’s breath may cool me, ~ a battle-weary wight !”
Right royally he bore him ~ in all the people’s sight.
1940. But when the strife-worn hero ~ outside the hostel sprang,
What fresh swords on his helmet ~ again and ever rang !
They who had not yet witnessed ~ what wonders wrought his hand,
Now rushed to meet the warrior ~ from the Burgundian land.
1941. “Now would to God,” cried Dankwart, ~ “I had a messenger
To seek my brother Hagen, ~ and make him well aware
How I amid these warriors ~ so sorely am bestéd !
Hence surely would he help me, ~ or lie beside me dead !”
1942. Then spake the Hunnish warriors : ~ “That herald must thou be,
When we before thy brother ~ a corpse shall carry thee !
So first shall Gunther’s henchman ~ what sorrow is be taught :
Thou hast unto King Etzel ~ such grievous damage wrought.”
1943. Said he : “Now stint your threatenings, ~ and further backwards get.
Or verily I’ll drench you ~ some other hauberks yet !
I will myself the story ~ before the court lay bare.
And eke unto my masters ~ my grievance great declare.”
1944. He laid on Etzel’s liegemen ~ so heavily his hand,
That not a man amongst them ~ durst him with sword withstand.
Yet in his shield their lances ~ so quickly did they aim,
That he was fain to drop it, ~ so heavy it became.
1945. Him, now no longer shielded, ~ they thought to overwhelm ;
Ha, but what deadly gashes ~ he cut right through the helm I
Until before him staggered ~ full many a valiant one :
Whereby much praise and honor ~ the gallant Dankwart won.
1946. From one side and the other, ~ upon him hurtled they ;
Ay, some of them too quickly ~ had come into the fray !
Before the foe upstood he, ~ e’en as a woodland boar
At bay the sleuth-hounds faces : ~ could valor e’er be more ?
1947. His path was newly-sprinkled ~ with life-blood warm and wet.
No single-handed warrior ~ had ever striven yet
Against a host of foemen, ~ as he had boldly done.
Folk marked how Hagen’s brother ~ to court right nobly won.
1948. By sewers and by butlers ~ was heard the clash of swords ;
From many a hand the liquors ~ were flung upon the boards.
As were the victuals also ~ which to the hall they bare.
And stalwart foes in plenty ~ forestalled him at the stair.
1949. “What will ye now, ye sewers ?” ~ the weary warrior cried :
“In sooth for all the strangers, ~ good cheer ye should provide,
And to the nobles ought ye ~ good victuals to convey ; —
And to my well-loved masters ~ let me my tidings say.”
1950. Whoe’er by force before him ~ upon the stairway sprang.
On each of them so sorely ~ his heavy sword he swang.
In very dread their safety ~ further aloof they sought ;
And so his strength of body ~ right mickle marvels wrought

{ 33 }
1951. Within the door an entrance ~ thus gallant Dankwart made ;
The household folk of Etzel ~ to stand aside he bade.
The whole of his apparel ~ bespattered was with gore ;
A mighty naked weapon ~ within his hand he bore.
1952. Then loudly Dankwart shouted ~ before the assembled throng :
“Bestir thee, brother Hagen, ~ thou sittest all too long !
To thee and God in Heaven ~ appeal I in our need :
Yeomen and knights together ~ lie in the hostel dead.”
1953. And he cried back in answer : ~ “And who hath done it then ?”
Quoth Dankwart : “The Lord Blœdel, ~ together with his men.
But dearly hath he paid it, ~ that would I have you know.
I smote his head from off him ; ~ mine own hand gave the blow.”
1954. “Tis but a little grievance,” ~ quoth Hagen of Tronjè ;
“Whene’er one hath occasion ~ of any thane to say,
That he by hands of warrior ~ was of his life fordone,
So much the less fair women ~ for him have need to moan.
1955. “Now tell me, brother Dankwart, ~ why all so red ye be ?
Methinks that thou art wounded ~ and suffer’st grievously.
If in the land he liveth ~ who this on thee hath done,
Except the foul fiend save him, ~ his life’s as good as gone.”
1956. “You see me whole and hearty ; ~ with blood my clothes are red,
But from the wounds of others ~ it thus hath happenéd ;
And they have been so many ~ that I have slain today,
That verily their number ~ on oath I could not say.”
1957. He answered : “Brother Dankwart, ~ see to the door do thou,
And let not of the Hunsmen ~ a single man come through.
I’ll reckon with these warriors, ~ as need we have, in faith !
Our men-at-arms are lying ~ in undeservéd death.”
1958. “If chamberlain I must be,” ~ the gallant man replied,
“To serve such mighty rulers, ~ I am well satisfied,
I’ll answer for the stairway, ~ as honor’s dear to me.”
Unto Kriemhilda’s warriors ~ naught could more direful be.
1959. “It is to me a marvel,” ~ Hagen thereafter spake :
“What meaneth all the fluster ~ these Hunnish warriors make?
They think they well could spare him, ~ who yonder door doth hold,
And hath these high concernments ~ to the Burgundians told !
1960. “Long time about Kriemhilda ~ have I been wont to hear,
That she her bitter sorrow ~ was not content to bear.
Now drink we to her darling ! ~ For royal wine we’ll call !
The princeling of the Hunfolk ~ shall be the first of all !”
1961. Then the child Ortlieb slew he, ~ Hagen, that warrior good.
So that from sword-blade downward ~ flowed o’er his hands the blood ;
The infant’s head was severed ~ and on the queen’s lap fell.
Then rose amongst the warriors ~ a slaughter horrible.
1962. With double-handed sword-stroke ~ he dealt a blow at large
Against the man of learning, ~ who had the child in charge.
His head all in a moment ~ before the table lay :
In good sooth for the teacher ~ it was but sorry pay !
1963. He saw by Etzel’s table ~ a certain minstrel-man,
And Hagen in his fury ~ to fall on him began ;
His left hand on the fiddle ~ he lopped off suddenly :
“There’s somewhat thou canst carry ~ for news to Burgundy !”
1964. “Woe for my hand !” cried Wærbel ~ the minstrel : “Wilt thou say
What evil I have done thee, ~ Lord Hagen of Tronjè ?
In all good faith I journeyed ~ unto your master’s land ;
The notes how can I finger ~ since I have lost my hand ?”
1965. But little heeded Hagen, ~ though he ne’er fiddled more.
He wrought within the palace ~ a vengeance grim and sore
Upon the knights of Etzel, ~ of whom a host he slew.
Death dealt he in the palace ~ to people not a few.
1966. The ever-ready Volker ~ up from the table sprang :
And in his hand right loudly ~ his fiddle-bow outrang.
Right fearsome was the music ~ that Gunther’s minstrel played ;
Ay ! ’Mid the gallant Hunsmen ~ what enemies he made !
1967. Upsprang, too, from the table, ~ the noble rulers three :
They gladly would have stayed it, ~ ere mischief worse should be.
But all their wit availed not ~ the rising storm to quell,
When Volker joining Hagen ~ to such wild raving fell.
1968. When saw the Lord of Rhineland ~ the fight could not be stayed,
The prince himself fought also, ~ and many a wide wound made
Upon his foemen’s bodies, ~ their shining mailcoats through.
A hand-strong hero was he : ~ as now all grimly knew.
1969. The stalwart Gernot likewise ~ was forward in the strife ;
Ay ! He among the Hunsmen ~ took many a hero’s life,
A keen-edged weapon wielding, — ~ by Rüdeger ’twas given.
By him were Etzel’s warriors ~ right grievously bedriven.
1970. The young son of Dame Utè ~ into the fight now dashed,
And gloriously his broadsword ~ right through the helmets crashed, —
To grief of Etzel’s warriors ~ of the Hungarian land.
There wrought were many marvels ~ by gallant Gis’lher’s hand.
1971. Howe’er the kings and liegemen ~ were valiant in the fight,
Above them all right plainly ~ did Giselher in might
Stand forth against the foemen ; ~ he was a hero good.
Such wounds he dealt, that many ~ fell weltering in their blood.
1972. The men of Etzel also ~ stood stoutly to the foe.
There one might see the strangers ~ go hacking to and fro
With their bright glancing weapons, ~ all through the royal hall.
And horrid shrieks from all sides ~ upon the ear did fall.
1973. They who were on the outside ~ would to their friends within ;
But found that at the doorways ~ small vantage they could win.
Out from the hall right gladly ~ would they within it fare :
But none of them would Dankwart ~ let up or down the stair.
1974. Thereby around the gateways ~ a mighty press arose,
And din of helmets also ~ beneath the broadsword blows.
And thus the gallant Dankwart ~ fell into sore distress :
But that his brother heeded, ~ as bound in faithfulness.
1975. For thereupon to Volker ~ Sir Hagen cried aloud :
“Now look ye yonder, comrade, ~ how round my brother crowd
The Hunnish warriors closely, ~ and blows upon him rain :
Friend, go and help my brother, ~ or we shall lose the thane.”
1976. “That will I do full surely,” ~ answered the minstrelman ;
And straightway through the palace ~ his fiddling he began.
His hand with his stout broadsword ~ full often music made ;
To him the Rhenish warriors ~ unbounded thanks repaid,
1977. And soon the gallant Volker ~ to Dankwart came and said :
“Today no little trouble ~ hath fallen on your head.
Your brother hath enjoined me ~ to lend a helping hand :
If you’ll look to the outside, ~ within the door I’ll stand.”
1978. Dankwart the ever-ready ~ without the gateway stood ;
Well guarded he the stairway, ~ let any come who would.
One heard the clang of weapons ~ in the bold hero’s hand,
The like, within, did Volker ~ of the Burgundian land.
1979. Loudly the valiant minstrel ~ shouted across the throng :
“The hall is closed, friend Hagen, ~ with bolt and barrier strong.
The door of Etzel’s chamber ~ is safely barred as well :
Two heroes’ hands that hold it ~ a thousand bolts excel.”
1980. When Hagen, Lord of Tronjè, ~ knew that the door was fast,
His shield back on his shoulders ~ the goodly chieftain cast.
First fell he to avenging ~ the ills upon him wrought :
Of longer life his foemen ~ had then but little thought.
1981. The Prince of Bern no sooner ~ had seen how matters went,
And how the mighty Hagen ~ so many helmets rent.
Than sprang the Amelung ruler ~ upon a bench : quoth he :
“The liquor Hagen giveth ~ is vile as drink can be !”
1982. The host was full of sorrow — ~ good cause had he to rue :
What friends of him belovéd ~ before his eyes they slew !
And hardly from his foemen ~ unscathed himself came he ;
In grief he sat — what profit ~ was it a king to be ?
1983. The mighty Queen Kriemhilda ~ to Dietrich called and said :
“With all your manhood give me, ~ O noble knight, your aid,
By all those princes’ merits ~ erewhile of Amelung land :
Should Hagen once have reached me, ~ my death were close at hand.”
1984. “And how am I to help you,” ~ Lord Dietrich answering said,
“Great queen, when I have reason ~ myself to be afraid ?
These followers of Gunther ~ with wrath so sorely burn,
That I with no one’s safety ~ can now myself concern.”
1985. “Nay, say not so, Lord Dietrich, ~ thou noble knight and good,
This day make plain to all men ~ thy kind and virtuous mood,
In that thou hence wilt help me : ~ or I am like to die.”
Her fears had brought Kriemhilda ~ to sore anxiety.
1986. “Can I do aught to help you, ~ I verily will try ;
Since never have I witnessed, ~ for many years gone by,
To such deep wrath enkindled ~ so many a warrior good.
Ay ! Through the riven helmets ~ I see the surging blood.”
1987. This thane of proven valor ~ with power began to shout ;
Like unto horn of bison ~ his voice rang loudly out,
Until its strength re-echoed ~ the wide-walled stronghold round.
The mightiness of Dietrich ~ was great beyond all bound.
1988. When Gunther heard the clamor ~ proceeding from this man
Above the noise of battle, ~ to hearken he began.
Said he : “The voice of Dietrich ~ is to my hearing plain ;
I trow that our retainers ~ some friend of his have slain.
1989. “I see him on the table, ~ he beckons with his hand.
Ye friends of mine and kinsfolk ~ from the Burgundian land,
Cease fighting for a season, ~ and let one hear and see
What to the thane hath happened ~ through them who follow me.”
1990. And when the royal Gunther ~ besought and gave command,
They, in the stress of battle, ~ halted with sword in hand.
So great the power he wielded, ~ not one durst strike a blow
Whilst him of Bern he challenged, ~ with readiness enow,
1991. Said he : “Most noble Dietrich, ~ what hath to you been done
By any of my people ? ~ I’m willing, be it known,
Amends and satisfaction ~ right readily to give.
Were any man to wrong you, ~ right deeply should I grieve.”
1992. Then answered the Lord Dietrich : ~ “Naught hath been done to me;
But let me leave the palace ~ with your safe-conduct free,
And get with my retainers ~ from this fell strife away :
For that I’ll owe you service ~ assuredly for aye.”
1993. Then unto him spake Wolfhart : ~ “Why ask ye grace so soon ?
That door, I trow, the fiddler ~ hath not so closely done
But we can force it open ~ enough to get away.”
“Now hold thy peace,” cried Dietrich, ~ “the devil thou dost play.”
1994. Then spake the royal Gunther : ~ “That will I let you do.
Out of this place depart ye, ~ many be ye or few,
But not a single foeman — ~ here stay they everyone.
They have anent these Hunsfolk ~ so basely to me done.”
1995. When Dietrich heard that saying, ~ he took beneath his arm
The noble queen, sore stricken ~ with sorrow and alarm.
Upon his other arm he ~ took Etzel with him then ;
There also went with Dietrich ~ six hundred goodly men.
1996. Then up and spake the margrave, ~ the noble Rüdeger :
“If any from the palace ~ be yet allowed to fare,
Who still are fain to serve you, ~ to us let it be known :
For thus may peace enduring ~ betwixt good friends be sown.”
1997. Whereto made answer Gis’lher, ~ of the Burgundian land :
“To you shall peace and pardon ~ be granted at our hand.
Since ye and your retainers ~ were e’er of faithful heart.
Ye all shall, unmolested, ~ hence with your friends depart.”
1998. When Rüdeger the margrave ~ departed from the hall,
Five hundred men went with him ~ or more, belike, in all.
Who came from Bechelaren, ~ liegemen and friends as well ;
By whom unto King Gunther ~ great mischief soon befell.
1999. Meanwhile a Hunnish warrior, ~ who saw how Etzel went
By Dietrich’s side, to profit ~ thereby was all intent ;
But with his sword the minstrel ~ fetched at him such a slice,
That at the feet of Etzel ~ his head lay in a trice.
2000. When that the country’s ruler ~ had got outside the place,
He stopped and looked behind him ~ towards where Volker was :
“Woe’s me for this dread stranger; ~ a cruel destiny
It is that all my warriors ~ must dead before him lie !
2001. “And woe upon this feasting,” ~ the noble sovran cried,
“For one, by name of Volker, ~ is fighting there inside
Like to a savage boar, ~ and yet a minstrel he !
I thank my Lord and Savior ~ I’m from that devil free !
2002. “Right evil sound his measures, ~ his strokes are bloody red ;
Ay, and his tunes have smitten ~ full many a hero dead.
I know not what against us ~ this minstrel doth attest,
For never have I harbored ~ so downright ill a guest !”
2003. They’d let from out the palace ~ as many as they chose ;
Then from the folk within it ~ a fearful din arose.
The guests for what had happened ~ a dire revenge would have.
Ay ! Volker the undaunted, ~ what helmets then he clave !
2004. Gunther, the noble ruler, ~ turned at that noise around :
“Hear’st thou yon music, Hagen, ~ which Volker there doth sound
Amid the Hunfolk fiddling, ~ who through the door would go ?
He hath a blood-red straker ~ upon his fiddle-bow !”
2005. “It grieves me beyond measure,” ~ Hagen in answer spake,
“That I before that warrior ~ a seat in hall should take.
I have been his companion, ~ as he was likewise mine,
And we shall aye be faithful ~ if hence we ever win.
2006. “Now mark, great king, how Volker ~ doth thee and thine uphold !
Right willingly he earneth ~ thy silver and thy gold.
Through steel of hardest temper ~ his fiddle-bow will smite ;
He breaks from off the helmets ~ their shining crests and bright.
2007. “I never saw a fiddler ~ so nobly hold his own
As this same warrior Volker ~ throughout the day hath done.
On helmet and on buckler ~ his music ringeth clear :
A gallant horse deserves he ~ and raiment rich to wear.”
2008. Of those of Hunnish kindred ~ who had been in that hall,
Not one was left within it ~ alive amongst them all.
Now silenced was the uproar ; ~ for none there were to fight :
Aside was laid the weapon ~ of every gallant knight.

{ 34 }
2009. Down sat the knights and nobles, ~ by all their labors spent ;
Before the hall together ~ Volker and Hagen went.
These warriors over-weary ~ leaned on their shields for rest ;
The while betwixt the couple ~ passed many a ready jest.
2010. Then Giselher, the warrior ~ from Burgundy, outspake :
“Dear friends, ye must in no wise ~ seek yet your rest to take :
The dead folk must ye carry ~ straight from the house away.
There’ll be another onset, ~ that can I surely say.
2011. “Beneath our feet ’tis needful ~ they should no longer lie.
And ere by storm the Hunsmen ~ undo us utterly,
Some wounds we yet will give them, ~ e’en as I love to do ;
For firmly am I minded,” ~ said Giselher, “thereto.”
2012. “Well’s me for such a master,” ~ said Hagen, thereunto ;
“From none such rede were likely, ~ save from a warrior true.
As we from my young master ~ this very day have had :
I trow all ye Burgundians ~ may therefore be right glad.”
2013. Then followed they his counsel, ~ and carried through the door
Dead warriors seven thousand ~ and cast them therebefore.
At foot of the hall stairway ~ they fell upon the ground ;
Then rose a doleful wailing ~ from all their kinsmen round.
2014. Some few there were among them ~ whose wounds were not so bad
But that with gentler usage ~ they yet might life have had,
Who from that height down falling ~ in death must needs lie low ;
For this their friends were wailing ~ and grievous was their woe.
2015. Then spake the fiddler Volker, ~ a goodly hero he :
“Now witness I the truth of ~ what hath been told to me :
Base cowards are these Hunsmen, ~ they wail like womankind !
These sorely wounded bodies ~ they ought to tend and bind.”
2016. Then deemed a certain margrave ~ he spake with purpose good.
He saw one of his kinsmen ~ who lay amid the blood.
And clasped his arms about him ~ and sought to drag him thence ;
Then shot the ruthless minstrel ~ and slew him with a lance.
2017. And when the others saw it, ~ a panic seized the crowd ;
They all against the minstrel ~ began to curse aloud.
Then plucked he up a javelin, ~ that tempered was and keen,
Which by some Hun or other ~ aimed at himself had been.
2018. This, right across the fortress, ~ he cast with might and main
Far o’er the crowd of people ; ~ and thereby Etzel’s men
He warned to take their station ~ more distant from the hall.
The folk his mighty prowess ~ now dreaded above all.
2019. Yet still before the palace ~ stood many a thousand men.
Sir Volker and Sir Hagen ~ began to parley then,
And unto the King Etzel ~ all in their minds to tell :
Whence grievous ills thereafter ~ those heroes bold befell.
2020. “To give the people courage,” ~ quoth Hagen, “’tis but right
That ever should the nobles ~ be foremost in the fight :
Not otherwise my masters ~ have here been seen to do :
They hew right through the helmets, ~ blood flows at every blow.”
2021. So valiant was Etzel, ~ he straightway gripped his shield.
“Now prithee be thou wary,” ~ said to him Dame Kriemhild,
“Offer unto thy warriors ~ gold overflowingly.
If Hagen yonder reach thee, ~ death will be nigh to thee.”
2022. So bold a man the king was, ~ he was not to be stayed ; —
The like of such great princes ~ can seldom now be said !
Needs must they by his shield-strap ~ to draw him backward try.
Again the savage Hagen ~ spake to him scoffingly :
2023. “It was a far-fetched kinship,” ~ the warrior Hagen cried,
“That Etzel and Sir Siegfried ~ to one another tied.
He was Kriemhilda’s lover ~ ere she set eyes on thee.
Thou coward king ! Why shouldst thou ~ take counsel against me?”
2024. To him so speaking hearkened ~ the noble sovran’s wife.
Thereon within Kriemhilda ~ was evil humor rife,
That he should dare upbraid her ~ in face of Etzel’s men :
Against the guests began she ~ therefore to plot again.
2025. “Who Hagen, Lord of Tronjè, ~ will do to death,” she said,
“And hither at my bidding ~ will bring to me his head,
For him the shield of Etzel ~ I’ll fill with ruddy gold.
And give him lands for guerdon, ~ and goodly burghs to hold.”
2026. “Now truly,” quoth the minstrel, ~ “I know not what they lack !
I never yet saw heroes ~ so sluggishly hang back
When one hath heard them ~ offered so noble a reward :
From this time forth can Etzel ~ ne’er hold them in regard.
2027. “Of those who vilely batten ~ upon their prince’s bread
And now are fain to shun him ~ in his most pressing need,
Of such here mark I many ~ who would be reckoned brave,
And stand like very cravens : ~ shame must they ever have !”

{ 35 }
2028. Thereon the margrave Iring, ~ who came from Denmark, cried :
“I have in all my doings ~ on honor long relied,
And in the people’s battles ~ oft gained the mastery :
Now bring to me my weapons ; ~ Hagen I will defy !”
2029. “’Gainst that will I take counsel,” ~ Hagen in answer cried ;
“So bid these Hunnish warriors ~ stand further yet aside ;
If two or three among you ~ should rush into this hall.
Back down the stairs disabled ~ I’ll send them, one and all !”
2030. “For that I’ll not forego it,” ~ said Iring, answering,
“I have ere this attempted ~ as troublesome a thing.
With sword in hand against thee ~ I’ll hold my own alone ;
What boots thy haughty bearing ~ that thou in words hast shown ?”
2031. Then quickly in his armor ~ thane Iring was y-clad,
With Irnfried of Thuringia, ~ a bold and gallant lad,
And eke the stalwart Haward, ~ with full a thousand men ;
Whatever part was Iring’s, ~ that would they all maintain.
2032. The fiddler saw them coming — ~ a very host they were —
In arms along with Iring, ~ to set upon him there.
On head, well-fastened, wore they ~ right many a helmet good.
Then waxed the gallant Volker ~ wrathful enough in mood.
2033. “Now dost thou see, friend Hagen, ~ how Iring yonder goes.
Who swore that thee in sword-fight ~ he singly would oppose ?
Doth falsehood fit a hero ? ~ Him I misprize therefore ;
He brings with him in armor ~ a thousand men or more !”
2034. “Now call me not a liar,” ~ the liege of Haward said,
“I’m ready to accomplish ~ what I have promiséd ;
For fear of no man living ~ will I my word disown ;
How dread so e’er be Hagen, ~ I’ll stand to him alone.”
2035. Then Iring begged his kinsmen ~ and followers, at their feet,
That they would let him singly ~ in fight the warrior meet.
Unwillingly they yielded, ~ for well enough to them
Was known the haughty Hagen, ~ from Burgundy who came.
2036. Yet he so long besought them, ~ that ’twas at last agreed.
For when his people saw him ~ so bent upon the deed,
And that he strove for honor, ~ they could but let him go ;
Thereon a grim encounter ~ befell betwixt the two.
2037. Iring, the thane of Denmark, ~ aloft his javelin bare
And held his shield before him, ~ that noble knight and rare ;
Then up the steps to Hagen ~ before the hall he ran :
Amongst the thanes assembled ~ a fearful din began.
2038. Then from their hands the lances ~ they forward hurled with might,
Right through the strong-bound bucklers ~ upon the harness bright,
So that the broken spear-shafts ~ were whirled high in the air.
Then clutched they at their broadswords ~ that grim and gallant pair.
2039. The strength of doughty Hagen ~ it was a mighty thing,
Yet Iring’s blows upon him ~ made all the house to ring ;
From palace and from turret ~ echoed their strokes again :
Yet naught availed the warrior ~ his will on him to gain.
2040. So Iring turned from Hagen ~ and left him scatheless yet ;
Against the fiddle-player ~ forthwith himself he set.
Him, with his sturdy sword-strokes ~ he thought he might compel ;
But these the well-skilled chieftain ~ knew how to parry well.
2041. Then smote the fiddler sorely, ~ till o’er the buckler’s side
By Volker’s hand the plating ~ was scattered far and wide;
So was he fain to leave him, ~ a gruesome man was he ;
Then Iring rushed on Gunther, ~ the lord of Burgundy.
2042. And stout enough for combat ~ was either of them made.
Howe’er on one another ~ Gunther and Iring laid.
Neither could wound the other ~ to draw a drop of blood ;
From that their armor saved them, ~ so strong it was and good.
2043. Eke Gunther left he standing ~ and on to Gernot ran,
And smote till from his hauberk ~ the sparks to fly began ;
And yet the sturdy Gernot, ~ the knight of Burgundy,
So dealt on gallant Iring ~ that he was like to die.
2044. Then from this prince he hurried — ~ swift-footed was he too —
And four of the Burgundians ~ the hero quickly slew ; —
All noble court retainers ~ from Worms-on-Rhine they- were.
Then wrath could ne’er be greater ~ than that of Giselher.
2045. “Now, by the Lord ! Sir Iring,” ~ cried Giselher the lad,
“For these thou needs must pay me ~ who lie before thee dead —
By thee this moment slaughtered ;” ~ then ran on him straight-way
And smote the knight of Denmark ~ so that he needs must stay.
2046. Beneath his hands succumbing ~ down fell he in the blood ;
And all were well persuaded ~ that now the hero good
Ne’er more would wield a weapon ~ in battle anywhere :
Yet Iring lay unwounded ~ in front of Giselher.
2047. From blows upon the helmet ~ and clashing of the sword
His wits were sorely stricken ~ and scattered all abroad.
So that the gallant warrior ~ of life took no more thought :
This by his strength of body ~ bold Giselher had wrought.
2048. When from his head the numbness ~ at last began to go,
Which had erstwhile come on him ~ from that o’erwhelming blow.
Thought he : “I still am living, ~ nor wounded anywhere ;
Now know I for the first time ~ the strength of Giselher.”
2049. On one side and the other ~ his enemies heard he ;
Were they his case aware of ~ the worse for him ’twould be;
And likewise had he noted ~ that Giselher was by :
He pondered how ’twas likely ~ he might these foemen fly.
2050. How madly then upsprang he ~ from out that bloody stew !
Unto his ready fleetness ~ his thanks were surely due.
Out of the place forth rushed he, ~ but there saw Hagen stand,
And smote upon him swiftly ~ with all his might of hand.
2051. Then to himself thought Hagen : ~ “Death thee for this must have!
Unless the devil help thee, ~ thyself thou canst not save.”
Yet Iring through the helmet ~ a wound on Hagen made :
This did the knight with Vaske, ~ that was so good a blade.
2052. No sooner felt Sir Hagen ~ the smarting of the wound
Than terribly his weapon ~ he whirled in hand around.
Forthwith must Haward’s liegeman ~ for safety flee again,
And Hagen down the stairway ~ to follow him was fain.
2053. Above his head bold Iring ~ his shield made haste to lean ;
And if that self-same stairway ~ yet thrice its length had been,
Hagen had ne’er allowed him ~ to deal a single stroke.
Ay me ! The sparks so ruddy ~ that from his helmet broke !
2054. Yet back unto his people ~ Iring in safety won.
Then soon unto Kriemhilda ~ the tidings were made known
How he had wrought in battle ~ on Hagen of Tronjè;
For which her thanks right hearty ~ the queen began to say :
2055. “Now God reward thee, Iring, ~ a hero good thou art ;
Much hast thou me encouraged ~ and comforted my heart.
Lo, now on Hagen’s raiment ~ all red with blood I look !”
With her own hand Kriemhilda ~ his shield, in kindness, took.
2056. “So much ye need not thank him,” ~ quoth Hagen ; “if again
With me he’d try his fortune, ~ it would beseem the thane.
If ever thence returned he, ~ a valiant man he’d be !
The wound will serve you little ~ that he hath given to me.
2057. “That ye have seen my hauberk ~ by blood of mine made red,
Unto the death of many ~ hath me embitteréd.
Against that liege of Haward’s ~ I have the utmost wrath ; —
Albeit the warrior Iring ~ hath done me little scathe.”
2058. Meanwhile the man of Denmark ~ into the wind had gone
To cool him in his hauberk — ~ his helmet off was done.
And all the folk were saying ~ his prowess was right good ;
Whereby they made the margrave ~ exceeding bold of mood.
2059. Then presently spake Iring : ~ “My friends, now mark ye well
That ye must arm me quickly : ~ I’ll try another spell,
If that o’erbearing tyrant ~ I yet may bring to book.”
His shield was hacked to pieces : ~ a better one he took.
2060. Full speedily the warrior ~ was better armed than e’er;
A javelin right sturdy ~ with hate in heart he bare,
Wherewith once more with Hagen ~ he purposed there to fight :
With foe-like mien awaited for him ~ that murderous wight.
2061. But brooked not the thane Hagen ~ to stay for his advance ; —
He ran full speed towards him, ~ with blows of sword and lance,
Until he reached the stairs’ foot : ~ his wrath was fierce and dread,
And all the strength of Iring ~ stood him in little stead.
2062. They slashed right through the bucklers, ~ till each of them began
With ruddy fire to sparkle. ~ And ere long Haward’s man
By the broadsword of Hagen ~ was desperately smit
Through shield and armor : never ~ mote he get well of it.
2063. When that the chieftain Iring ~ was of the wound aware,
His shield unto his helm-band ~ he raised, to rest it there.
He thought that with this damage ~ he now had got his fill :
The liegeman of King Gunther ~ had more to give him still.
2064. Before his feet did Hagen ~ a javelin espy ;
And with it straight at Iring, ~ the Danish chief, let fly, —
So well, that from his forehead ~ the shaft thereof stuck out.
For him the warrior Hagen ~ a cruel end had wrought.
2065. Iring must needs betake him ~ the Danish folk unto ;
But ere they loosed the helmet ~ from off the chief, they drew
Out from his head the lance-shaft; ~ then death to him came nigh.
His kinsfolk all were wailing : ~ well might they, verily.
2066. Then came the queen towards him, ~ and over him she leant,
And for the stalwart Iring ~ gave to her sorrow vent ;
She wept, his wounds beholding, ~ and bitter was her grief.
Then spake unto his kinsmen ~ that brave and gallant chief:
2067. I pray thee stint thy weeping, ~ most noble lady mine,
For what avails thy sorrow ? ~ I must my life resign
Because of wounds and damage ~ that have been dealt on me.
No more will death allow me ~ Etzel to serve and thee.”
2068. Then unto the Thuringians ~ and to the Danes he spake :
“The gifts that ye were promised ~ no hand of yours shall take
From yonder royal lady, — ~ her ruddy gold so bright !
Death’s visage must ye look on, ~ if ye with Hagen fight.”
2069. All pallid was his color, ~ the seal of death he bore, —
The ever-valiant Iring, — ~ to them ’twas sorrow sore.
For Haward’s gallant liegeman ~ there was no hope of life ;
And so the men of Denmark ~ must forward go to strife.
2070. Irnfried as well as Haward ~ sprang forth the hall before
With warriors a thousand ; ~ a horrible uproar
On every side resounded, ~ mighty and clamoring.
And ah, at the Burgundians ~ what lances sharp they fling !
2071. And then the gallant Irnfried ~ straight for the minstrel made,
At whose right hand redoubted ~ great injury he had.
For lo, the noble fiddler ~ the landgrave sore did smite
Through firmly-fastened helmet : ~ he was a gruesome wight !
2072. And thereupon Sir Irnfried ~ the valiant minstrel smote
Till rents perforce were riven ~ across his ring-wrought coat.
And all his breast-plate quivered ~ with sparks of fiery red ;
Albeit fell the landgrave ~ before the fiddler dead,
2073. Anon were met together ~ Haward and Hagen bold,
I wot that whoso saw them ~ a marvel might behold !
From hand of either hero ~ the sword-strokes followed free.;
Foredoomed to die was Haward ~ by him of Burgundy.
2074. When Danesmen and Thuringians ~ their leaders saw in death,
Then rose a frightful struggle ~ the palace walls beneath.
Or ever they the gateway ~ by might and main had won :
Full many a shield and helmet ~ were shattered and fordone.
2075. “Give way!” then shouted Volker, ~ “and let them all come through —
What they would fain accomplish ~ they can in nowise do.
In but a short time after ~ they’re bound to die within.
And what the queen hath promised ~ by dying they can win.”
2076. Now when these haughty chieftains ~ within the chamber went,
Of many a one amongst them ~ the head was lowly bent.
For by their rapid sword-blows ~ to perish he was fain.
Well fought the gallant Gernot, ~ and Giselher the thane.
2077. There got within the palace ~ a thousand men and four ;
One saw their flashing falchions ~ as through the air they tore.
Of all who came within it ~ soon every warrior fell.
One might of the Burgundians ~ full many a marvel tell.
2078. Thereafter was a silence, ~ and all the uproar died.
While, out of hole and crevice, ~ blood flowed on every side
And ran into the gutters ~ from all the corpses there.
Thus had the men of Rhineland ~ wrought by their prowess rare.
2079. Then sat they down to rest them, ~ those men of Burgundy.
Their weapons and their bucklers ~ they presently laid by.
Yet still the gallant fiddler ~ before the palace stayed,
In case that any other ~ to fight with him essayed.
2080. The king lamented sorely, ~ as likewise did his wife :
And maids and matrons also ~ aweary were of life.
I ween that Death had taken ~ an oath to do them ill :
Whence, by the guests to perish ~ were many warriors still.

{ 36 }
2081. “Now do ye off your helmets,” ~ quoth Hagen, the bold knight,
“For I and my companion ~ will guard ye all aright.
And should the men of Etzel ~ a fresh attack essay,
So will I warn my masters ~ with all the speed I may.”
2082. The head was then uncovered ~ of many a warrior good ;
They sat upon the fallen, ~ who lay there steeped in blood.
And had to death been smitten ~ so lately by their hand.
By many evil glances ~ the noble guests were scanned.
2083. Before the fall of evening ~ the king his measures took, —
The queen thereto assenting, — ~ that with some better luck
The Hunnish knights might venture. ~ Full twenty thousand men
Were seen before him standing : ~ to battle must they, then.
2084. Thereon with furious onslaught ~ the strangers were attacked.
And Dankwart, Hagen’s brother, ~ a man right swift to act,
Sprang from his lords, the foemen ~ before the door to rout ; —
It seemed that he must perish, ~ but safely got he out.
2085. The deadly struggle lasted ~ till stayed it was by night
As well became good heroes, ~ the guests maintained the fight
Against the men of Etzel ~ one whole long summer day.
And ah, what gallant warriors ~ about them dying lay !
2086. ’Twas at the summer solstice ~ this slaughter great befell,
Whereby the Dame Kriemhilda ~ avenged her heartache well
Upon her nearest kinsfolk ~ and many another wight.
From that time royal Etzel ~ knew nevermore delight
2087. The day for them was ended ~ in great anxiety.
It seemed to them ’twere better ~ a speedy death to die.
Than linger there, awaiting ~ some dread, unheard-of pain.
Therefore the haughty warriors ~ to beg a truce were fain.
2088. The king, by word, besought they ~ to come unto them there.
These heroes, blood-bespattered ~ and soiled with armor-wear,
From out the palace followed ~ the noble kings all three ;
They knew not to what hearer ~ to plead their misery,
2089. Both Etzel and Kriemhilda ~ came thither them before.
The land was their possession : ~ their host grew more and more.
The king spake to the strangers : ~ “Say, what will ye of me ?
A truce ye would be granted ? ~ Such thing can hardly be
2090. “After such insult grievous ~ as ye on me have cast,
(Nor shall ye profit by it ~ if life for me should last)
My child, that ye have slain me, ~ and many of my kin.
Peace and atonement, surely, ~ ye cannot hope to win !”
2091. Whereto made answer Gunther : ~ “By dire need we were led.
My people all were lying ~ before thy heroes dead
Within the hostel yonder : ~ what pretext did I lend ?
To thee in good faith came I, ~ I thought thou wert my friend.”
2092. Then Giselher, the youngest ~ of the Burgundian three :
“Ye chiefs,” cried he, “of Etzel, ~ who living yet may be,
How have I wronged you, warriors ? ~ In what am I to blame ?
Unto this country riding ~ in kindly mood I came.”
2093. They answered : “Every city ~ throughout the land with woe
Is filled through this thy kindness. ~ Ay, glad were we, I trow,
If thou hadst ne’er come hither ~ from Worms beyond the Rhine.
The country thou hast orphaned, ~ with brothers twain of thine.”
2094. Thereon, in wrathful humor, ~ Gunther the warrior spake :
“If of this bitter hatred ~ an ending ye would make
With us, unhappy strangers, ~ ’twere better for us both !
’Tis for no fault on our part ~ what Etzel to us doth.”
2095. Then to the guests the host said : ~ “Your troubles and my own
Are nowise to be likened. ~ The burden on me thrown
Of shame and loss together ~ which I have had to bear ; —
For this not one among you ~ hence with his life shall fare.”
2096. Thereon the stalwart Gernot ~ made answer to the king :
“So then may God incline you ~ to do a friendly thing !
An ye must slay us strangers, ~ then let us come to you
From here unto the open. ~ Thus honor bids you do.
2097. “Whate’er to us may happen, ~ be it done out of hand !
So many whole men have ye ~ who us will dare withstand,
That none of us, strife-weary, ~ alive they’ll let away.
For how long are we warriors ~ in this distress to stay ?”
2098. The warriors of Etzel ~ would have agreed thereto
That they outside the palace ~ be granted leave to go.
But when Kriemhilda heard it, ~ sorely aggrieved was she.
Then for the outcast strangers ~ no hope of peace could be.
2099. “Nay, nay, ye Hunnish warriors, ~ the thing ye have in thought, —
In good faith I advise you — ~ see that ye do it not.
These murder-wreaking fellows ~ let not without the hall.
Else shall right deadly sorrows ~ upon your kinsmen fall.
2100. “Though not another living ~ save Utè’s sons there were —
These same, my noble brothers — ~ and they but to the air
Came out to cool their hauberks, ~ your hope were all forlorn ; —
More valiant warriors never ~ into this world were born.”
2101. Then Giselher, the youngest, ~ said ; “Fairest sister mine.
Right ill I did to trust you, ~ when from beyond the Rhine
Unto this land thou bad’st me ~ into this direful strait.
How have I from the Hunsfolk ~ deserved this cruel fate ?
2102. “To thee I e’er was faithful, ~ I never did thee hurt.
And on the understanding ~ I hither rode to court
That thou, most noble sister, ~ wert well-disposed to me.
Be merciful towards us : ~ not elsewise can it be !”
2103. “I cannot show you mercy ; ~ unmerciful am I.
For me hath Tronian Hagen ~ wrought so much misery
It may not be atoned for ~ as long as I have life.
Ye all must pay the forfeit” ; ~ so answered Etzel’s wife.
2104. “Yet will ye Hagen ~ only to me as hostage give,
I will not say for certain ~ I may not let you live, —
Seeing ye are my brothers ~ and of one mother bred ; —
Then with these chiefs assembled ~ I may of pardon rede.”
2105. “Now God in Heaven forefend it !” ~ Gernot in answer said :
“Were there a thousand of us, ~ we sooner all were dead —
Though of thy kith and kindred — ~ ere we gave up to thee
A single man as hostage : ~ nay, that can never be.”
2106. “Then are we doomed to perish !” ~ made answer Giselher ;
“Yet none shall dare deprive us ~ of any knightly gear.
Here, as before, abide we, ~ would any us assail,
For ne’er any comrade ~ did I in fealty fail.”
2107. Then spake the gallant Dankwart ~ (by him ’twas meetly done) :
“In sooth my brother Hagen ~ standeth not yet alone !
They who a truce deny us ~ may yet have cause to rue ;
Of that we’ll make you certain, — ~ take ye my word as true !”
2108. The queen spake to her warriors : ~ “Ye men of courage high,
Go closer to the stairway, ~ avenge mine injury !
Then will I be your debtor, ~ as I by all means should.
I would requite on Hagen ~ his overweening mood.
2109. “Let no man leave the palace, ~ I charge you above all ;
I will, at the four corners, ~ have fire set to the hall :
So all the wrongs I’ve suffered ~ right well avenged shall be.”
The warriors of Etzel ~ were ready speedily.
2110. Those that without were standing ~ they drove the hall within
By smiting and by shooting ; ~ and fearful was the din.
Yet never would the princes ~ their faithful men forsake ;
Their fealty to each other ~ could neither of them break.
2111. Then Etzel’s wife gave bidding ~ to set alight the hall.
And so with fire were tortured ~ those warriors’ bodies all.
Caught by the wind, the palace ~ was presently aflame ;
I ween that people never ~ to such dire anguish came.
2112. “Oh, woe upon this horror !” ~ cried many a one inside :
“For us it had been better ~ had we in battle died.
May God have pity on us ! ~ Lost evermore are we !
On us the queen her anger ~ now wreaks infernally.”
2113. Quoth one within the palace : ~ “Needs must we all lie dead !
What profits us the greeting ~ that from the king we had?
The burning heat so sorely ~ with thirst doth torture me,
I trow that in this torment ~ my life will quickly flee.”
2114. Then Hagen spake, of Tronjè : ~ “Ye noble knights and good,
Whoe’er by thirst is troubled ~ may quench it here with blood.
In heat like this ’tis better ~ than wine of any kind,
And at this time, moreover, ~ no better may ye find.”
2115. So went one of the warriors ~ to where a corpse he found :
He knelt to where the wound was, ~ his helmet he unbound,
And then he fell to drinking ~ the oozing stream of blood ;
Unused as he was to it, ~ he thought it passing good.
2116. “Requite thee God, Sir Hagen,” ~ that man so weary spake,
“Seeing that thou hast taught me ~ so well my thirst to slake !
A better wine right seldom ~ hath been poured out for me.
Live I for some while longer, ~ I’ll aye be bound to thee.”
2117. The rest being told about it, ~ and how he found it good,
Then were there many others ~ who also drank the blood.
Thereby each one among them ~ began to gain new life —
In dear ones it was paid for ~ by many a goodly wife.
2118. Within the hall about them ~ the sparks fell thick around,
Upon their shields they caught them ~ and turned them to the ground.
The fire and smoke together ~ distressed them terribly.
I trow that heroes never ~ felt greater misery.
2119. Then Tronian Hagen shouted : ~ “Stand closer to the wall !
Let not the burning embers ~ upon your helm-bands fall,
But in the blood more deeply ~ trample them with your feet :
This feast the queen hath made us ~ is but a sorry treat !”
2120. In such distressful doings ~ the night to ending wore,
And still the gallant minstrel ~ kept watch the house before
With Hagen his companion ; ~ upon their shields they leant,
From Etzel’s folk awaiting ~ some further detriment.
2121. Then spake the fiddle-player : ~ “Now go we to the hall :
So shall the Huns imagine ~ that each of us and all
Have perished in this torture ~ that hath on us been done ;
Yet shall they see us meet them, ~ in battle, everyone.”
2122. Then Giselher, the youngest ~ of the Burgundians, spake :
“A cool wind is arising, ~ I trow the day will break.
Now grant us, God of Heaven, ~ on better times to fall !
For us my sister Kriemhild ~ hath made ill festival.”
2123. Then spake there yet another : ~ “The dawning I can see;
And since for us naught better ~ is ever like to be,
Do on your armor, heroes ; ~ see to your safety all ; —
King Etzel’s wife, I doubt not, ~ will quickly on us fall.”
2124. The host might well imagine ~ that all the guests were slain
By dint of all their labors, ~ or by the fiery pain ;
Yet still of them were living ~ six hundred gallant wights,
Than whom no king whatever ~ had any better knights.
2125. They who the strangers guarded ~ had failed not to espy
That still the guests were living, ~ in spite of injury
And pains that had befallen ~ the lords and liegemen too ;
Quite sound they saw them pacing ~ the chamber to and fro.
2126. ’Twas told unto Kriemhilda ~ that they were safe and well.
Whereto the queen made answer : ~ “It ne’er were possible
That through the fiery torment ~ any of them have stayed !
I’d rather take for granted ~ that all of them lie dead.”
2127. The princes and their liegemen ~ were fain enough to live,
Had anyone been willing ~ mercy to them to give.
None could they find of any ~ within the Hunnish land !
So to avenge their dying ~ they sought with willing hand.
2128. Towards the dawn of morning, ~ they had, for greeting fair,
A dire assault of battle : ~ in straits the heroes were.
Though thickly all amongst them ~ stout javelins were thrown.
The brave and noble warriors ~ like true knights held their own.
2129. The zeal of Etzel’s people ~ was quickened by desire.
That they from Queen Kriemhilda ~ might earn the promised hire ;
Moreover they were eager ~ to do the king’s command.
And so no few among them ~ found speedy death at hand.
2130. Of promising and giving ~ might wondrous tales be told.
She bade her folk on bucklers ~ to bring the ruddy gold ;
She gave to all who craved it ~ and would accept her fee.
Ay ! Ne’er was greater guerdon ~ spent for an enemy.
2131. A mighty force of warriors ~ came in their panoply.
To them cried gallant Volker : ~ “Here waiting still are we !
I ne’er saw knights more gladly ~ go forth to face the foe
Than these who the king’s bounty ~ have taken, for our woe.”
2132. Then many of them shouted : ~ “Come nigh, ye heroes, pray,
That we may have our ending, — ~ ay, come without delay !
Here none there are remaining ~ but have been doomed to die !”
With shafts one saw their bucklers ~ all bristling speedily.
2133. What have I more to tell you ? ~ A good twelve hundred men
Made onset sore upon them, ~ again and yet again.
The strangers cooled their fury ~ by wounding many a one —
No truce could be between them ; ~ one saw the life blood run
2134. From wounds of deadly deepness ; ~ and many were there slain ;
And every man among them ~ one heard for friends complain.
The mighty king and noble ~ lost all his bravest there,
For whom their loving kinsfolk ~ sore sorrow had to bear.

{ 37 }
2135. The strangers, until morning, ~ right gallantly had done.
By then Gotlinda’s husband ~ unto the court had gone,
And, looking round on all sides, ~ he saw such horrors there
As moved to inward weeping ~ true-hearted Rüdeger.
2136. “Woe’s me,” then said the warrior, ~ “that e’er I saw the day !
To think that none availeth ~ this misery to stay !
Though peace would I make gladly, ~ the king will ne’er agree,
For more and more he dwelleth ~ upon his injury.”
2137. Good Rüdeger inquiring ~ straightway to Dietrich sent,
If they might make between them ~ the noble king relent
But he of Bern made answer : ~ “Who could avail thereto ?
King Etzel wills that no one ~ should come betwixt the two.”
2138. Now by a Hunnish warrior ~ Sir Rüdeger was seen
With eyes bedimmed with weeping, ~ as they for long had been.
Unto the queen then spake he : ~ “Now look how standeth he, —
The man who hath with Etzel ~ the most authority,
2139. “And who hath at his service ~ the people and the land.
How many a castle is there ~ in Rüdeger’s command,
Of which, through the king’s bounty, ~ so many he may own !
Yet he throughout this struggle ~ no worthy stroke hath done.
2140. “Methinks he little recketh ~ if things go well or ill.
As long as he hath all things ~ according to his will.
’Tis said that he is braver ~ than other men mote be :
But that, in all this trouble, ~ hath been full hard to see.”
2141. The warrior true-hearted, ~ with downcast mood and grim.
Gave heed unto the speaker. ~ The hero looked on him.
And thought : “This shalt thou pay for ! ~ Thou say’st I am afraid ?
Thou hast at court thy story ~ somewhat too loudly said.”
2142. His fists to clench began he, ~ and at him straight he ran.
And smote to such good purpose ~ upon that Hunnish man
That lifeless on the instant ~ him at his feet he laid.
But thus King’s Etzel’s troubles ~ were all the greater made.
2143. “Away with thee, base scoundrel !” ~ thereon said Rüdeger ;
“Of trouble and of sorrow ~ I have enough to bear !
If I refrain from fighting, ~ why tauntest me for that ?
In sooth I have good reason ~ to bear the strangers hate,
2144. “And all that strength availed me ~ I had against them wrought.
Were’t not that I the warriors ~ myself have hither brought.
’Twas I, in sooth, who led them ~ into my master’s land :
I cannot raise against them, ~ therefore, my luckless hand.”
2145. Then answer to the margrave ~ the great King Etzel made :
O Rüdeger most noble, ~ how hast thou lent us aid !
So many dead already ~ we in the land must own,
No more of them were needed ! ~ Much evil hast thou done.”
2146. The noble knight made answer : ~ “The fellow made me wroth
By casting up gainst me ~ the wealth and honor both
That by thy hands so freely ~ have been bestowed on me :
The liar got his guerdon ~ a whit unluckily.”
2147. Now came the queen unto them, ~ who eke had plainly seen
What, through the hero’s anger, ~ the Hun’s reward had been.
Beyond all bounds complained she ; ~ tears from her eyes she shed.
To Rüdeger thus spake she : ~ “How have we merited
2148. “That you the king’s misfortune ~ and mine make all the more ?
At all times, noble Rüdeger, ~ ye promised heretofore
That ye would in our service ~ risk honor and eke life.
I’ve heard the knights award you ~ the meed in many a strife.
2149. “The goodwill that ye pledged me ~ to you I will recall
When me ye urged on Etzel, ~ O knight excelling all,
To wit, that ye would serve me ~ till one of us was dead ;
And ne’er had I, poor woman, ~ thereof such desperate need.
2150. “In that thou speak’st not falsely ; ~ I pledged thee, noble dame,
That I for thee would venture ~ my life and my fair fame.
To lose my soul, however, ~ that swore I not at all :
I brought these high-born princes ~ unto this festival !”
2151. “O Rüdeger,” she answered, ~ “thy steadfast loyalty
And eke thine oath forget not, ~ that thou mine injury
Wouldst cease not to avenge me, ~ and all my trouble sore.”
Then said to her the margrave : ~ “I ne’er have failed before.”
2152. Then likewise mighty Etzel ~ to supplicate began,
And on their knees before him ~ they two besought the man.
Then seemed the noble margrave ~ sorely discomfited.
The ever faithful warrior ~ right sorrowfully said :
2153. “Now God have pity on me, ~ that I have lived for this !
Henceforward all mine honor ~ I must for aye dismiss, —
My truth and noble breeding ~ that erst from God I got !
Woe on me, God in Heaven, ~ that death hath saved me not !
2154. “Whichever side I part from ~ to take the other one,
I shall have acted basely ~ and grievous ill have done;
But if from both I sever, ~ on all sides blame I have :
May He vouchsafe to guide me ~ Who life unto me gave.” .
2155. Yet still they urged him straitly, ~ the king and eke his wife.
Thence came it many a warrior ~ ere long must lose his life
By Rüdeger’s achieving ; ~ till eke that hero fell.
Now of his direful doing ~ I must the story tell.
2156. He knew how this must evil ~ and fearful sorrow bring,
And liefer would he therefore ~ denial to the king,
And eke the queen, have given : ~ full sorely feared he that
If e’er a guest he slaughtered, ~ the world would bear him hate,
2157. Unto the king then spake he — ~ that man of spirit bold :
“Lord king, take back whatever ~ from thee I have and hold.
Both land and burghs : with neither ~ will I have aught to do.
But on my feet departing, ~ will into exile go.”
2158. Then spake the royal Etzel : ~ “Who then will succor me ?
The land as well as castles ~ all will I give to thee.
If thou upon my foemen ~ avenge me, Rüdeger.
Thou’lt be a mighty sovran, ~ of Etzel nigh the peer.”
2159. But Rüdeger made answer : ~ “How could I this essay ?
At home within my dwelling ~ I bade them come and stay ;
Of drink and meat I offered ~ to them in kindly wise.
And gave them gifts ; how can I ~ now death for them devise ?
2160. “The folk belike are thinking ~ that I am cowardly !
My services in nothing ~ to them did I deny —
Or to the noble princes, ~ or any of their men —
That we are knit in friendship ~ repenteth me amain.
2161. “I gave away my daughter ~ to Giselher the thane,
In all the world she could not ~ have looked for better gain
In honor or good breeding, ~ in truth or worldly gear ;
I ne’er saw prince so youthful ~ in virtuous mind his peer.”
2162. But yet again spake Kriemhild : ~ “Right noble Rüdeger,
Now let our grievous trouble ~ for both your pity stir,
For me and the king also ; ~ and bear ye well in mind
That never host was fated ~ such baleful guests to find.”
2163. Then to the noble lady ~ the margrave answer made :
“Today, with life, must ransom ~ by Rüdeger be paid
For what to me of kindness ~ thou and my lord have shown :
For that cause I must perish, — ~ and it must now be done.
2164. “This very day, well know I, ~ my castles and my land
Must, ownerless, fall to you, ~ through what ye now command.
My wife and child commend I ~ unto your gracious care.
And eke the hapless people ~ that at Bechlaren are.”
2165. “Now Rüdeger, God bless thee !” ~ the king in answer said ;
He and the queen together ~ exceeding glad were made :
“Right well unto thy people ~ our care we both will give,
Though if good luck be with me ~ I trust thou yet mayst live.”
2166. And so upon the venture ~ body and soul he cast ;
Whereon the wife of Etzel ~ began to weep at last.
Said he : “What I have promised ~ I must to you fulfil ; —
Woe for my friends, whose foeman ~ I am against my will.”
2167. Then from the king one saw him ~ depart in mournful mood.
And to his warriors turning, ~ who close beside him stood,
He spake : “To don your armor ~ ’tis time, my liegemen all;
On yonder brave Burgundians, ~ alas ! I needs must fall”
2168. They bade their folk then hasten ~ to where their arms were found, —
Haply it were a helmet, ~ or else a buckler round, —
Whate’er it was they wanted, ~ their servants brought the same.
Ere long the baleful tidings ~ to the proud exiles came.
2169. So Rüdeger in armor ~ with men five hundred went,
Besides a dozen warriors ~ who help unto him lent.
These would the meed of valor ~ win in the stormy fray; —
They had but little warning ~ that death so near them lay.
2170. Then Rüdeger in helmet ~ one saw march on before ;
Keen-edged were all the weapons ~ the margrave’s liegemen bore,
And broad the shining bucklers ~ upon their arms as well.
’Twas all seen by the fiddler : ~ sore ruth upon him fell.
2171. Young Giselher beheld, too, ~ the father of his bride
With fast-bound helmet marching. ~ That this could aught betide,
Save what was good and friendly, ~ how could he then forbode ?
The noble prince was therefore ~ exceeding glad of mood.
2172. “Now suchlike friends be welcome,” ~ said Giselher the thane,
“Which we upon our journey ~ have had the luck to gain.
Of my betrothéd lady ~ we’ll profit here right well :
I’m glad, upon my honor, ~ this plighting e’er befell.”
2173. “I know not what doth cheer you,” ~ the minstrel answer made :
“When saw ye e’er for friendship ~ so many knights arrayed,
With fastened helmets marching, ~ and bearing sword in hand ?
By us will Rüdeger pay for ~ his castles and his land.”
2174. E’en as the fiddle-player ~ of speaking made an end.
One saw the noble Rüdeger ~ before the palace wend.
His goodly shield he lowered ~ and set before his feet :
He could not offer service, ~ his friends he might not greet.
2175. Then cried the noble margrave ~ to those within the hall :
“Be on your guard, I warn you, ~ ye valiant Niblungs all !
Ye should have had my succor, ~ now must ye ransom me ;
Once were we friends ; now will I ~ be from the troth-pledge free.”
2176. They shuddered at these tidings, ~ those sorely troubled men ;
For them but little comfort ~ there was therefrom to gain.
Since he would fight against them ~ whom they had held so dear !
From foes they had already ~ had mickle ills to bear.
2177. “Now grant it, God in Heaven,” ~ the warrior Gunther said ;
“That ye will let your pity ~ be movéd to our aid,
And that abounding honor ~ which hope unto us gave;
Much liefer would I trust you ~ thus never to behave.”
2178. “I can in nowise help it,” ~ the brave man said thereto ;
“In battle I must meet you, ~ since so I swore to do.
Now guard yourselves, bold heroes, ~ as ye your lives hold dear :
From me the wife of Etzel ~ would no refusal hear.”
2179. “Too late dost thou forswear us,” ~ the great king answer made ;
“Thou, Rüdeger most noble, ~ by God shalt be repaid
For all the love and fealty ~ that thou to us hast shown, —
If thou wilt in thy kindness ~ still to the end go on.
2180. “And we’ll be aye beholden, ~ for all that thou didst give.
Myself and eke my kinsfolk, ~ if thou’lt but let us live ;
Those precious gifts thou gavest, ~ what time, in good faith, here
To Etzel’s land thou ledst us : ~ think of it, Rüdeger !”
2181. “How gladly would I do it,” ~ said Rüdeger the thane ;
“As willingly at this time ~ as ever I was fain
My gifts in full abundance ~ upon you to bestow ;
No blame should I thereover ~ e’er need to undergo.”
2182. “Then have thy way,” said Gernot, ~ “O noble Rüdeger !
For never yet to strangers ~ a welcome kindlier
By any host was bidden ~ than thou to us didst give :
Of that thou hast the profit ~ if we should longer live.”
2183. “Would God, most noble Gernot,” ~ said Rüdeger again,
“That ye were back in Rhineland, ~ and I myself were slain
With some degree of honor, — ~ since I with you must fight !
From friends have heroes never ~ suffered such foul despite.”
2184. “Now God reward thee, Rüdeger,” ~ spake Gernot in reply,
“For those rich gifts thou gavest : ~ I grieve that thou shouldst die.
If with thee there must perish ~ a mind so virtuous too ; —
Here carry I the weapon ~ thou gavest me, hero true !
2185. “And never hath it failed me ~ in all this struggle dread,
And many a knight hath fallen, ~ beneath its edges, dead.
Strong is it and well-tempered, ~ a good and handsome blade ;
I ween a gift so worthy ~ by knight will ne’er be made.
2186. “And should we not persuade thee ~ to come unto our side.
If friends of mine thou slayest ~ who still within abide.
With thine own sword I’ll smite thee ~ and take away thy life :
Thee, Rüdeger, I pity, ~ and eke thy noble wife.”
2187. “Now would to God, Sir Gernot, ~ that thus it e’en might be.
That all your will and purpose ~ might be fulfilled on me.
Whereby your kinsmen longer ~ might yet enjoy their life !
Ay ! Gladly would I trust you ~ with daughter and with wife.”
2188. Then spake the young Burgundian, ~ the child of Utè fair :
“Why do ye thus, Sir Rüdeger ? ~ All these who with me are
To you are well-disposéd ; ~ an evil course ye take ;
Your daughter fair too early ~ a widow ye will make.
2189. “If ye and your retainers ~ in strife contend with me,
How grievously unfriendly ~ will that appear to be !
In that beyond all others ~ my faith in you I laid, —
In such wise that your daughter ~ my wife I would have made.”
2190. “Unto your pledge be faithful, ~ O prince of noble race,”
Said Rüdeger, “if haply ~ God send you from this place ;
Suffer not that the maiden ~ for me atonement make ;
Be pitiful towards her, ~ for your own virtue’s sake.”
2191. “That would I do right gladly,” ~ young Giselher replied :
“But these my high-born kinsmen ~ who still are here inside,
If they at your hands perish, ~ the friendship firmly knit
With you and eke your daughter ~ by me must be acquit.”
2192. “Then God have mercy on us !” ~ the gallant warrior spake.
Thereon they raised their bucklers, ~ as though a way to make.
By force, unto the strangers ~ within Kriemhilda’s hall.
Then loudly from the stairway ~ was Hagen heard to call :
2193. “Now for a while yet tarry, ~ most noble Rüdeger ;”
Such were the words of Hagen : ~ “We would again confer, —
Myself and eke my masters, — ~ forced by necessity :
How will it profit Etzel ~ if we poor exiles die ?
2194. “I am in grievous trouble,” ~ yet Hagen said, “the shield
That Lady Gotelinda ~ gave me as mine to wield,
The Huns for me have battered ~ and hacked it out of hand :
In friendliness I brought it ~ unto King Etzel’s land.
2195. “If so be God in heaven ~ would grant me of His grace
To hold as good a buckler ~ once more before my face,
As that which thou dost handle, ~ right noble Rüdeger,
No longer in the combat ~ need I a hauberk wear.”
2196. “Right gladly would I serve thee ~ as touching this my shield,
Durst I make thee the offer ~ in spite of Dame Kriemhild.
But do thou take it, Hagen, ~ and bear it on thine hand ;
Ay ! What if thou shouldst bring it ~ to thy Burgundian land !”
2197. When he to give the buckler ~ so readily agreed,
Then were there eyes in plenty ~ that with hot tears were red.
Of gifts it was the latest ~ that unto warrior e’er
By Rüdeger was given, ~ the lord of Bechelar.
2198. How fierce soe’er was Hagen, ~ however hard in mood.
Yet stirred that gift his pity, ~ with which the warrior good,
So nigh to his last moments, ~ had freely him endowed ;
And with him fell to weeping full ~ many a chieftain proud.
2199. “Now God in Heaven reward thee, ~ most noble Rüdeger ;
The like of thee will never ~ be met with anywhere,
Who unto exiled warriors ~ so royally dost give :
God grant that all thy virtue ~ for evermore may live.”
2200. “Woe’s me for this betiding !” ~ said Hagen yet again :
“We’ve had to bear already ~ so great a load of pain,
Must we with friends be striving? ~ Now God our refuge be !”
Then made the margrave answer : ~ “It grieves me bitterly.”
2201. “Your gift I’ll now requite you, ~ most noble Rüdeger, —
Howe’er these high-born warriors ~ themselves towards you bear, —
To wit that here in battle ~ ye ne’er shall feel my hand,
Though all by you should perish ~ of the Burgundian land.”
2202. In courtly wise he bent him, ~ the worthy Rüdeger ;
On all sides they were weeping ~ that such heart-sorrows were
By no one to be mended : — ~ a dread necessity !
The father of all virtues ~ in Rüdeger would die.
2203. Then from the house-door speaking ~ the minstrel Volker said :
“Since my companion Hagen ~ a truce with you hath made,
To you I also promise ~ safe-conduct from my hand ;
For well have ye deserved it ~ since came we to the land.
2204. “You must, most noble margrave, ~ be messenger of mine.
These ruddy golden armlets ~ gave me the margravine.
That I should surely wear them ~ here at the revelry :
Ye must yourself behold them ~ and witness bear for me.”
2205. “Would God in Heaven allow it,” ~ then answered Rüdeger,
“The margravine should give you ~ still more of such to wear !
Unto my wife your message ~ right gladly will I give —
Thereof be ye not doubtful — ~ if I to see her live.”
2206. And even whilst he promised, ~ his buckler Rüdeger
Raised : and in mood of madness ~ no longer could forbear,
But rushed upon the strangers, — ~ a very warrior now ;
And fast the mighty margrave ~ dealt round him many a blow.
2207. Aloof together ~ standing Volker and Hagen stayed,
According to the promise ~ the warriors twain had made.
Yet more, as gallant, found he ~ waiting beside the door ;
Whence Rüdeger the battle ~ began with trouble sore.
2208. With murderous intention ~ he was allowed therein
By Gunther and by Gernot, ~ who heroes should have been.
But Giselher aside stood, ~ so great his sorrows were ; —
For life he hoped, and therefore ~ avoided Rüdeger.
2209. Anon the margrave’s liegemen ~ rushed forth upon the foe ;
Like warriors true one saw them ~ after their leader go ;
They bore their keen-edged weapons ~ ready in hand to wield,
And many a helm they shattered ~ and many a noble shield.
2210. Many the swift strokes also ~ the weary warriors spent
On him of Bechelaren, ~ that straight and surely went
Right through the bright mail armor, ~ nigh to the very life ;
And glorious deeds of daring ~ achieved they in that strife.
2211. When Rüdeger’s noble comrades ~ within had made their way,
Volker along with Hagen ~ rushed swiftly to the fray :
They gave to no one quarter, ~ save to that single man.
The blood through helmets, ~ shattered by hands of either, ran.
2212. How grimly in that chamber ~ the clang of swords uprose,
And many of the shield-plates ~ sprang off beneath their blows ;
The jewels hacked from off them ~ fell on the bloody floor.
In such grim humor fought they ~ as might be never more.
2213. The lord of Bechelaren ~ went up and down the hall,
As one who might in battle ~ by strength accomplish all.
By Rüdeger’s achievements ~ that day it might be told
He was indeed a warrior, ~ right praiseworthy and bold.
2214. Here also stood those warriors ~ Gunther and Gernot too.
Who in the stress of battle ~ full many a hero slew ;
And Giselher and Dankwart, — ~ the twain recked not for aught, —
And so full many a warrior ~ unto his last day brought.
2215. Well Rüdeger bore witness ~ that he was strong enow,
And brave, with proven armor ; ~ what heroes laid he low !
’Twas seen by a Burgundian : ~ wrath strove within him deep.
On Rüdeger the noble ~ then death began to creep.
2216. Stout Gernot ’twas, who loudly ~ the hero challenged then.
He cried unto the margrave : ~ “Wilt thou of all my men
Not one unscathéd leave me, ~ most noble Rüdeger?
It moves me beyond measure ; ~ the sight I cannot bear.
2217. “Now lo ! The gift ye gave me ~ to your own ruin tends,
Since ye have taken from me ~ so many of my friends.
Now turn towards me hither, ~ thou noble, gallant man,
I’ll make your gift avail me ~ with all the skill I can.”
2218. Or ever that the margrave ~ had won his way to him.
Mail coats that erst were shining ~ must needs be spoilt and dim.
Then either at the other, ~ thirsting for honor, ran ;
And each to guard his body ~ from deadly wounds began.
2219. Yet smote their swords so keenly, ~ against them all was vain.
And then was Gernot stricken ~ by Rüdeger the thane
Athwart his flint-like helmet, ~ till downward flowed the blood ;
All in a trice repaid him ~ that gallant knight and good.
2220. Aloft the gift of Rüdeger ~ in hand he swung : and though
His own wound, too, was deadly, ~ he dealt on him a blow
Right through his stalwart buckler ~ unto his helmet’s slot
The fair Gotlinda’s husband ~ fell dead upon the spot
2221. In sooth a gift so precious ~ was worse requited ne’er ;
The two fell slain together, ~ Gernot and Rüdeger,
Like-fated in the combat, ~ each by the other’s stroke.
Then this great loss to Hagen ~ was known, his wrath outbroke.
2222. Thus spake the Tronian hero : ~ “In evil plight are we !
In these two have we suffered ~ so great an injury
As ne’er can be o’ertided ~ by peoples or by lands ;
Now hold we Rüdeger’s chieftains ~ as bail in luckless hands.”
2223. “Woe on me for my brother, ~ who here in death doth lie !
How cometh, every moment, ~ some tale of misery !
And I must mourn for ever ~ the noble Rüdeger :
The loss to me is double, ~ and grievous ’tis to bear.”
2224. So Giselher, beholding ~ his lady’s father dead : —
And they who still were living ~ a grievous reckoning paid,
Death fell upon them sorely ~ seeking to take his own ;
Of them from Bechelaren ~ there lived ere long not one.
2225. Now Giselher and Gunther ~ and with them Hagen too,
Dankwart and Volker also, — ~ all warriors good and true, —
Came forward all together, ~ to where the twain were laid :
Then was there by the heroes ~ great lamentation made.
2226. “Death sorely us despoileth,” ~ spake the lad Giselher :
“But make an end of weeping, ~ and get we to the air
To cool our mail-clad bodies, ~ worn as we are with strife ;
Here God, I ween, will grant us ~ but scanty spell of life.”
2227. Some sitting, others leaning, ~ one saw there many a thane.
They once again were idle : ~ and round about them, slain,
Lay Rüdeger’s companions. ~ The uproar all was laid.
So long the silence lasted, ~ that Etzel grew afraid.
2228. “Woe on me for such service !” ~ then spake the royal wife :
“These folk are not so trusty ~ that on our foeman’s life
Shall vengeance due be taken ~ by Rüdeger’s command :
He means to take them safely ~ back to Burgundian land.
2229. “What boots it us, King Etzel, ~ that we with him and his
Have shared whate’er he wanted? ~ The chief hath done amiss :
He who should wreak our vengeance, ~ doth wish a peace to gain.”
Thereunto answered Volker, ~ the all-accomplished thane :
2230. “Not so, alas ! The story, ~ most noble queen, I rede ;
And, dare I charge with falsehood ~ a dame so nobly bred.
Thee, devilishly lying ~ of Rüdeger, I heard ;
For he and his companions ~ from peace have sorely erred.
2231. “That which the king commanded ~ he did so zealously.
That he and all his people ~ dead in yon chamber lie.
Now cast about, Kriemhilda, ~ on errands whom to send !
For Rüdeger the hero ~ hath served thee to the end.
2232. “And wilt thou not believe me, ~ see it thou shalt anon !”
And to her heartfelt sorrow ~ so was it straightway done :
They bore the mangled hero ~ before the king and queen.
The thanes of Etzel never ~ so sad a sight had seen.
2233. When they beheld the margrave ~ thus borne before them dead,
No penman could have written, ~ nor elsewise could be said,
How manifold the mourning ~ of women and of men,
Who one and all bore witness ~ unto their heart-felt pain.
2234. The sorrowing of Etzel ~ so great was, that the noise
Was even as a lion’s, — ~ the mighty king his voice
So lifted in his anguish : ~ eke mourned his wife no less :
Good Rüdeger bewailed they ~ with utmost bitterness.

{ 38 }
2235. So great a sound of mourning ~ on every side was heard,
From palace walls and turrets ~ the echoes all were stirred
By one of Dietrich’s liegemen ~ of Bern ’twas heard as well ;
How swiftly then he started ~ the direful news to teli
2236. Unto the prince then spake he : ~ “Hearken, my Lord Dietrich,
As long as I’ve been living, ~ ne’er have I heard the like
Of such unearthly wailing ~ as I have heard but now :
Some harm unto King Etzel ~ himself hath come, I trow.
2237. “How else would all the people ~ be in distress so dread?
The king, or may be Kriemhild, ~ must one of them be dead,—
Slain by those daring strangers, ~ who bore them enmity :
And many goodly warriors ~ are wailing bitterly,”
2238. Then spake of Bern the hero : ~ “My trusty lieges dear,
Now be ye not too hasty ! ~ What hath befallen here
Was wrought by homeless warriors, ~ by dire distresses driven ;
And let them use the freedom ~ that I to them have given.”
2239. Then spake the gallant Wolfhart : ~ “I will myself be gone
And ask about the matter, ~ what ’tis that they have done.
And then I will report it ~ to you, my master dear.
When yonder I discover ~ what mean the cries we hear.”
2240. Thereon Lord Dietrich answered : ~ “When one hath wrath to face.
Full oft, at ill-timed questions, ~ ’tis found to be the case
That warriors too swiftly ~ are apt offence to take :
In truth I will not, Wolfhart, ~ that ye the quest should make.”
2241. Thereon he summoned Helfrich ~ right speedily to go ;
And from the men of Etzel ~ he bade him get to know, —
Or even from the strangers, — ~ what doings there had been ;
For ne’er such great lamenting ~ of people was there seen.
2242. The envoy made inquiry : ~ “What hath there here been done ?”
Then answered one among them : ~ “Now is for ever gone
All that we had of pleasure ~ in this Hungarian land ! —
Here Rüdeger lies slaughtered ~ by the Burgundians’ hand.
2243. “Of those who entered with him ~ not one came out again.”
Then verily to Helfrich ~ ne’er could be greater pain.
In sooth he ne’er had carried ~ news so unwillingly :
The messenger to Dietrich went ~ weeping bitterly.
2244. “What hast thou,” then said Dietrich, ~ “for us discoveréd ?
And wherefore, warrior Helfrich, ~ thy tears so freely shed ?”
“Good cause have I for weeping,” ~ answered the noble thane :
“Good Rüdeger is lying ~ by the Burgundians slain.”
2245. The knight of Bern made answer : ~ “God grant that may not be !
That were a fearful vengeance, ~ and foul fiend’s pleasantry :
Howe’er were such requital ~ deserved by Rüdeger ?
For well am I persuaded ~ he held the strangers dear.”
2246. Thereto made Wolfhart answer : ~ “If they this deed have done
It verily shall stand for ~ the life of everyone !
To us ’twould be disgraceful ~ if this we were to stand,
For Rüdeger hath served us ~ right often with his hand.”
2247. But Amelung’s chieftain bade them ~ better informed to be.
Meanwhile within his window ~ right mournfully sat he ;
And Hildebrand enjoined he ~ unto the guests to go,
That he whate’er had happened ~ from them might surely know.
2248. That warrior bold in battle, ~ the ancient Hildebrand,
Nor shield nor any weapon ~ took with him in his hand ;
He to the guests was going ~ in courtesy alone.
But sore were the upbraidings ~ made by his sister’s son.
2249. For spake the fiery Wolfhart : ~ “Wilt thou so simply go ?
Then certes some misusage ~ thou wilt not fail to know !
So, full of grief and trouble, ~ thou needs must homeward fare :
But if thou takest thy weapons ~ they each will have a care.”
2250. Then did the ancient gird him ~ e’en as the stripling bade.
But lo ! Before he knew it, ~ in fighting gear arrayed,
Were standing Dietrich’s warriors, ~ with drawn sword everyone.
This thing the hero liked not, ~ and gladly had forgone.
2251. He asked where they were going. “Along with you we’ll fare !
Perchance Hagen of Tronjè ~ so much the less may dare
With mocking speech to meet you, — ~ which well he knows to use.”
When that he heard, the warrior ~ no longer could refuse.
2252. The gallant Volker saw them ~ in armor fully dight,
Those knights of Bern come marching, ~ all Dietrich’s men of might ;
Their swords were girt upon them, ~ they carried shield in hand.
Unto his lords he told it ~ of the Burgundian land.
2253. Then spake the fiddle-player : ~ “Yonder I see them go,
The followers of Dietrich, — ~ in semblance of a foe.
With weapons and in helmets : ~ us mean they to withstand.
I trow for us poor exiles ~ misfortune is at hand.”
2254. E’en at the selfsame moment ~ came Hildebrand to him.
And at his feet his buckler ~ he set upon its rim.
The followers of Gunther ~ to question then he sought :
“Alas ! What harm, good heroes, ~ to you hath Rüdeger wrought ?
2255. “Me hath my master Dietrich ~ sent unto you to say ;
‘If any one among you ~ hath by his hand this day
Laid low the noble margrave, — ~ as we are told by some, —
An injury so grievous ~ we ne’er could overcome.’”
2256. Then Hagen spake of Tronjè : ~ “No lie the tidings are ;
Though fain I were to grant you, ~ for love of Rüdeger,
That they had lied who told you, ~ and he were still in life :
He must be ever wept for ~ by man and maid and wife.”
2257. When all knew, of a surety, ~ that Rüdeger was dead,
The warriors bewailed him, ~ as love and fealty bade.
From each of Dietrich’s liegemen ~ one saw the teardrops fall
O’er chin and beard descending : ~ sore was the grief of all.
2258. Then Siegestab outspeaking, — ~ the duke from Bern, — said he :
“Forever now is ended ~ the hospitality
That Rüdeger aye showed us ~ after our days of pain.
The Comfort of the exile ~ lies by you heroes slain.”
2259. Then from among the Amelungs, ~ the warrior Wolfwin said :
“Were I this day before me ~ to see my father dead,
Ne’er could I feel more sorrow ~ than at this stricken life :
Alas ! Who now will comfort ~ the worthy margrave’s wife ?”
2260. Thereon in mood of anger ~ the thane Sir Wolfhart cried :
“Who on so many a foray ~ shall now the warriors guide,
As heretofore the margrave ~ hath times right often done ?
Alas, most noble Rüdeger, ~ that thou from us art gone !”
2261. There Helferich and Wolfbrand ~ and Helmot also were,
With all their friends, bewailing ~ the death of Rüdeger ;
And Hildebrand for sobbing ~ could ask no more of aught.
He spake: “Now do ye, warriors, ~ that which my lord hath sought,
2262. “Give Rüdeger’s dead body ~ to us from out the hall,
With whom, in very sorrow, ~ our joys are ended all ;
And let us now requite him ~ for all that he hath done
For us, in faithful friendship, ~ and many another one.
2263. “We also here are strangers, ~ like the thane Rüdeger,
Why do ye keep us waiting? ~ Let us his body bear
Away, to him our service ~ e’en after death to give :
Far rather had we done it, ~ whilst he were yet alive !”
2264. “No service is so worthy,” ~ then King Gunther spake,
“As that for a dead comrade ~ a friend doth undertake,
And steadfast faith I call it, ~ where’er the same I find.
Ye pay him honor rightly, ~ to you he hath been kind.”
2265. “How long must we be pleading ?” ~ Wolfhart the warrior said :
“Since our best Consolation ~ by you is stricken dead.
And we, alas ! no longer ~ the good thereof may have.
So let us take the chieftain ~ and lay him in his grave.”
2266. Thereto made answer Volker : ~ “He shall be given by none !
Come to the hall and take him, ~ here where the thane, fordone.
With deadly wounds disfigured, ~ lies in the bloody pool :
That were to do your duty ~ to Rüdeger in full.”
2267. Thereon bold Wolfhart answered : ~ “Sir Minstrel, God doth know
No need have ye to taunt us, ~ ye’ve done us harm enow.
Durst I offend my master, ~ you’d be the worse for this,
But we must pass it over, ~ since strife forbidden us is.”
2268. Then spake the fiddle-player : ~ “Fear claims too much, I trow,
When all that is forbidden ~ a man must needs forego ;
By me that were not reckoned ~ a right good hero’s mood !”
The speech of his companion ~ seemed unto Hagen good.
2269. “That shall not serve your purpose,” ~ Wolfhart in answer spake :
“I’ll so untune your fiddle ~ that ye a tale may take.
Along with you, when homewards ~ unto the Rhine ye ride ;
I cannot brook with honor ~ your overweening pride.”
2270. Then spake the fiddle-player : ~ “If thou a fiddlestring
Of mine untuneful mak’st, ~ thy helmet’s glittering
Must speedily be lessened ~ and clouded by my hand,
Howe’er betide my riding ~ to the Burgundian land.”
2271. He would have sprung upon him, ~ if he had not been stayed
By Hildebrand his uncle, ~ who hands upon him laid :
“In this thy senseless anger ~ thou wouldst, I trow, go mad.
And so my master’s favor ~ might’st never more have had.”
2272. “Let go the lion, master ! ~ Fierce though he be of mood.
Comes he into my clutches,” ~ said Volker, warrior good,
“E’en though a world of people ~ he with his hands hath slain,
I’ll kill him, that the story ~ he ne’er may tell again.”
2273. By this was sorely quickened ~ the Berners’ angry mood ;
And Wolfhart clutched his buckler, ~ a ready knight and good :
E’en like a savage lion ~ in front of them he rushed.
Whilst following close behind him ~ his friends the onset pushed.
2274. Yet though he sprang so swiftly, to reach the palace wall
He could not on the stairway ~ old Hildebrand forestall,
Who would not that another ~ first in the fight should be.
Their guerdon from the strangers ~ they both got presently.
2275. Then quickly upon Hagen ~ sprang Master Hildebrand :
The clashing of the sword-blades ~ was heard on either hand ;
Their wrath was sorely kindled, ~ as presently was plain ;
A fiery stream was scattered ~ from off their weapons twain.
2276. Yet quickly were they sundered ~ under the stress of fight :
The men of Bern so caused it, ~ prevailing in their might
Whereon away from Hagen ~ betook him Hildebrand ;
And needs must gallant Volker ~ stout Wolfhart’s onset stand.
2277. He smote the fiddle-player ~ upon his helmet good,
So bravely that the sword-edge ~ unto the sidebands hewed ;
The fiddler bold repaid him ~ with all his might and main,
And laid his blows on Wolfhart, ~ until he reeled again.
2278. They struck from the mail-armor ~ of fiery sparks enow ;
Their hate for one another ~ was felt in every blow ;
Then came the warrior Wolfwin ~ of Bern the twain between :
Had he not been a hero ~ that never could have been.
2279. The warrior Gunther also ~ gave with unstinting hand
A welcome to the heroes ~ far-famed of Amelung land ;
And Giselher the lordly ~ made helms that shone before.
On head of many a warrior, ~ ruddy and wet with gore.
2280. And Dankwart, Hagen’s brother, ~ a fearsome man was he :
Whatever he, already, ~ on Etzel’s chivalry
In battle had accomplished, ~ e’en as the wind was naught :
The son of the bold Aldrian ~ now like a madman fought.
2281. Richart and Gerbart likewise, ~ Helfrich and eke Wichart,
Who oftentimes in battle ~ right well had played their part.
Now plainly showed their prowess ~ to Gunther’s fighting men ;
Wolfbrand in combat proudly ~ was seen to bear him then,
2282. And like a madman raging ~ fought ancient Hildebrand.
Full many a doughty warrior ~ then fell by Wolfhart’s hand,
Death-stricken by his sword-blows, ~ into the pool of blood.
Thus Rüdeger avenged they, ~ these gallant knights and good.
2283. Then fought the noble Siegstab ~ as of his might was due ;
Ha ! And upon his foemen ~ what goodly helmets too
Were shivered in the battle ~ by Dietrich’s sister’s son ;
He could not in the struggle ~ e’er better work have done.
2284. Thereon the sturdy Volker, ~ as soon as he beheld
How from the tough mail-armor ~ the blood in streamlets welled
At gallant Siegstab’s sword-strokes, ~ the hero’s wrath arose ;
Forward he sprang to meet him : ~ and so his life to lose
2285. Upon the spot had Siegstab ~ through that same fiddle-man ;
Who forthwith of his cunning ~ to give such proof began
That by his mighty weapon ~ quick death must needs ensue.
Old Hildebrand avenged him, ~ as of his strength was due.
2286. “Woe, for my lord belovéd !” ~ cried Master Hildebrand,
“Who here in death is lying ~ stricken by Volker’s hand :
Henceforth this fiddle-player ~ shall save himself no more !”
Bold Hildebrand was wrathful ~ as ne’er he was before.
2287. Then smote he so at Volker, ~ that far to either wall
The bands and clasps in pieces ~ were strewn about the hall.
From helm and eke from buckler ~ of that same minstrel bold :
And so of sturdy Volker ~ the ending there was told.
2288. The liegemen then of Dietrich ~ came thronging to the rout ;
They smote till from the hauberks ~ the links flew far about,
And splintered weapons saw one ~ as high in air they flew ;
Hot flowing blood in streamlets ~ from out the helms they drew.
2289. When Hagen, lord of Tronjè, ~ saw Volker lying slain,
More grievous was his sorrow ~ than all the other pain
That in this high foregathering ~ he had for man or kin.
What vengeance for the hero ~ did Hagen then begin !
2290. “It shall not long advantage ~ the old man Hildebrand
That yonder lies my helpmate ~ slain by the hero’s hand, —
The veriest good comrade ~ that ever yet I had !”
He raised his shield, and forward ~ he rushed with hewing blade.
2291. Meanwhile the stalwart Helfrich ~ had stricken Dankwart low.
To Giselher and Gunther ~ grievous it was enow
When in the stress of battle ~ they saw him fall beneath :
With his own hands already ~ he had avenged his death.
2292. Now all this while did Wolfhart ~ stride up and down again,
And with his sword unresting ~ he hewed at Gunther’s men.
A third time he the journey ~ had made along the hall,
And many were the warriors ~ doomed by his hand to fall.
2293. Then Giselher the lordly ~ to Wolfhart loudly spake :
“Woe ! That so fierce a foeman ~ ’twas e’er my luck to make !
O noble knight and gallant, ~ now turn thyself to me,
I’ll do my best to end it : ~ it may no longer be.”
2294. To Giselher, in fighting, ~ then Wolfhart turned him round,
And each upon the other ~ made many a gaping wound :
With such a mighty onset ~ against the king he dashed,
The blood beneath his footsteps ~ above his head was splashed.
2295. With swift and deadly sword-strokes ~ the son of Utè fair
Gave greeting unto Wolfhart, ~ the gallant hero, there.
How strong the thane soever, ~ he was not to be saved :
So young a king could never ~ more boldly have behaved.
2296. He struck a blow at Wolfhart, ~ cleaving the hauberk good.
And over him and downwards, ~ gushed from the wound the blood ;
Unto the death he wounded ~ that man of Dietrich’s own ;
None but a very warrior ~ to do the like had known.
2297. As soon as gallant Wolfhart ~ was of the wound aware.
He let his shield slip downwards ; ~ but higher in the air
A weapon strong he wielded : ~ it was a keen one too ;
Wherewith through helm and hauberk ~ the hero Giselher slew.
2298. So had they one another ~ to cruel death fordone,
And then of Dietrich’s lieges ~ there lived but one alone.
When Hildebrand the ancient ~ beheld how Wolfhart fell,
I trow, until his ending, ~ such grief he ne’er could tell.
2299. The men-at-arms of Gunther ~ were dead now everyone,
As likewise those of Dietrich ; ~ and Hildebrand had gone
Unto the place where Wolfhart ~ was lying in the blood :
Within his arms he folded ~ that warrior brave and good.
2300. Fain would he from the chamber ~ have borne him bodily,
But he was all too weighty, ~ he e’en must let him lie.
The dying man uplifted ~ his eyes amid the blood,
And saw well that his kinsman ~ would help him if he could.
2301. “My well-belovéd uncle,” ~ the dying one then said,
“At this time it avails not ~ to give me any aid.
Now ware you well of Hagen ! ~ Ay, take my words for good ;
For in his heart he nurses ~ an ever cruel mood.
2302. “If after death my kinsfolk ~ for me should mourning be,
Unto my next and dearest ~ I bid you say for me
That they for me must weep not : ~ need for it is there none,
Here lie I slain in honor, ~ by kingly hands fordone.
2303. “So throughly here, moreover, ~ have I avenged my life,
That cause indeed for wailing ~ hath many a good knight’s wife :
If anyone should ask you ~ so may ye answer plain,
A good five score are lying ~ whom I myself have slain.”
2304. Meanwhile had Hagen likewise ~ upon the minstrel thought,
Whom Hildebrand the valiant ~ unto his end had brought.
Then spake he to the warrior : ~ “My loss thou shalt requite,
For here thou hast bereft us ~ of many a goodly knight.”
2305. He struck a blow at Hildebrand, ~ such that one might have told
The hissing sound of Balmung, ~ the sword that Hagen bold
From Siegfried’s self had taken ~ when he that hero slew ;
The blow the old man parried : ~ ay ! He was valiant too.
2306. The warrior of Dietrich against ~ the Tronian knight
His weapon broad uplifted, ~ that keenly too could smite.
To wound the man of Gunther ~ yet might he not prevail.
Then once again smote Hagen ~ through well-wrought coat of mail.
2307. Now when the old Sir Hildebrand ~ was of the wound aware,
More evil yet he dreaded ~ from Hagen’s hand to bear.
His shield the man of Dietrich ~ threw back behind his head,
And, desperately wounded, ~ the chief from Hagen fled.
2308. Of all the knightly warriors ~ remained there but a pair, —
Save Gunther’s self and Hagen ~ none others living were.
Old Hildebrand all bleeding ~ in flight had safety sought,
And when he came to Dietrich ~ a woeful tale he brought.
2309. He saw his master sitting ~ with visage woe-begone, —
The prince was yet more sorry ~ when he his tale had done ;
Upon the bloody hauberk ~ of Hildebrand looked he,
And sought of him his tidings ~ in all anxiety.
2310. “Now tell me, Master Hildebrand, ~ why are ye in this state,
And reeking with your life-blood? ~ Or who hath done you that?
I ween that in the palace ~ ye with the guests have fought :
So strictly I forbade it ~ that ye in nowise ought.”
2311. Unto his lord he answered : ~ “’Twas Hagen did it all !
He set on me and gave me ~ this wound within the hall,
E’en as I from the warrior ~ to turn myself began.
And hither from that devil ~ barely with life I ran !”
2312. Then he of Bern made answer : ~ “Ye are but served aright !
Seeing that ye had heard me ~ swear friendship with the knight,
And then ye break the peace-pledge ~ granted him by me :
Would it not ever shame me, ~ your life should forfeit be.”
2313. “Now be ye not so wrathful, ~ my good Lord Dietrich, pray !
On me and on my kinsfolk ~ the loss too hard doth weigh.
We purposed from the palace ~ to carry Rüdeger ;
To grant it all unwilling ~ King Gunther’s liegemen were.”
2314. “Now woe upon such tidings ! ~ Is Rüdeger then dead ?
This is the greatest sorrow ~ that e’er I sufferéd.
The noble Gotelinda ~ is child of aunt of mine.
Ay ! Woe for the poor orphans ~ who at Bechlaren pine.”
2315. His death weighed sorely on him, ~ with ruth and sorrow great.
He fell to bitter weeping ; ~ sad was the hero’s strait :
“Woe for my trusty helpmate ~ who now is lost to me !
Ay ! Of King Etzel’s liegeman ~ the like I ne’er shall see.
2316. “Now must ye, Master Hildebrand, ~ tell me the story true.
Which of the warriors was it ~ who him so foully slew ?”
“That did the stalwart Gernot ~ by strength of arm,” he said :
“By Rüdeger’s hand the hero ~ is also lying dead.”
2317. To Hildebrand then spake he : ~ “Now let my liegemen know
That they must straightway arm them, ~ for thither will I go ;
And bid them bring me hither ~ my shirt of shining mail.
From the Burgundian heroes ~ myself I’ll have the tale.”
2318. Then Hildebrand made answer : ~ “Who shall now go with thee?
None others hast thou living ~ but what thou here dost see ;
I am thine only liegeman ; ~ the others all are dead.”
He shuddered at these tidings — ~ in sooth, there was good need,
2319. For never such great sorrow ~ he in this world had known.
He spake : “And if my liegemen ~ are truly dead and gone,
Then am I God-forsaken, ~ I, Dietrich, wretched wight !
Erewhile a noble sovran ~ and full of power and might.”
2320. “How could such thing have happened?” ~ spake Dietrich once again,
“These far-renownéd heroes, — ~ that all of them are slain
By men with fighting weary, ~ in sore necessity !
But for mine evil fortune, ~ death still afar would be.
2321. “Seeing my doom avails not ~ to ward from me this ill,
Now tell me, of the guest-folk ~ are any living still ?”
Then Master Hildebrand answered : ~ “God knoweth, only twain —
Hagen to wit, and Gunther, ~ the noble king — remain.”
2322. “Dear Wolfhart, woe betide me ! ~ If thou from me art torn,
Too quickly may I rue me ~ that ever I was born !
And Siegestab and Wolfwin, ~ and none the less Wolfbrand.
Who now shall help my journey ~ back to the Amelung’s land ?
2323. “Helfrich the ever gallant, ~ and have they laid him low ?
And Gerebart and Wichart, — ~ how weep for them enow ?
Of all my joy and pleasure ~ the ending is this day :
Fain would I die for sorrow — ~ alas that no man may !”

{ 38 }
2324. Then for himself Lord Dietrich ~ sought out a suit to wear.
And Master Hildebrand helped him ~ to don his fighting gear.
So sore was the lamenting ~ made by the stalwart man,
That all the house to echo ~ with his loud voice began.
2325. But quickly he recovered ~ a fitting hero’s mood,
And grimly was his armor ~ donned by that warrior good.
A shield compact right firmly ~ he carried in his hand ; —
Then straightway forth he sallied ~ with Master Hildebrand.
2326. Spake Hagen, lord of Tronjè : ~ “I see there, drawing nigh,
The noble warrior Dietrich ; ~ for that great injury
That here hath him befallen, ~ he will upon us set.
This day ’twill be discovered ~ who doth the honors get.
2327. “Ay ! To himself Lord Dietrich ~ of Bern doth think that ne’er
His like, so strong of body ~ and terrible there were !
And should he for our doings ~ a reckoning demand,”
So Hagen spake : “Against him ~ I dare right well to stand.”
2328. They heard the words of Hagen, — ~ Dietrich and Hildebrand.
He came to where the warriors ~ had taken both their stand
Without the house, together, ~ leaning against the hall.
His goodly shield had Dietrich ~ upon its rim let fall.
2329. Then Dietrich spake in answer, ~ grievously sorrowing :
“Why hast thou done in this wise, ~ O Gunther, mighty king,
To me who am a stranger? ~ To thee what had I done?
All comfort that was left me ~ is now for ever gone.
2330. “With that great deed of vengeance ~ ye were not yet content
When Rüdeger the hero ~ to bloody death ye sent :
Now have ye taken from me ~ my liegemen every one ; —
Ah ! Never to your heroes ~ would I such scathe have done.
2331. “Now of yourselves be mindful, ~ and of your own distress.
The death of friends and kinsfolk, ~ your toil and weariness ;
Doth it not weigh upon you, ~ good warriors, heavily ?
Alas, the death of Rüdeger ~ is bitterness to me !
2332. “In this world never happened ~ such woe to anyone.
Ye took but ill account of ~ my sorrow and your own ;
By you of all its pleasures ~ my life henceforth is shorn ;
In truth I cannot ever ~ my kinsfolk cease to mourn.”
2333. “In sooth,” then answered Hagen, “so guilty are we not ;
For verily your heroes ~ came marching to this spot
Well-armed, for some set purpose, ~ in such large company :
To you methinks the story ~ was not told truthfully.”
2334. “What else should I believe then ? ~ ’Twas said by Hildebrand
That when my knights besought you — ~ the men of Amelung land —
That ye would give them Rüdeger ~ from out the palace-hall.
Naught else but jibes ye offered ~ to these bold heroes all.”
2335. Then spake the king of Rhineland : ~ “They did their wish avow
Hence Rüdeger to carry ; ~ that would I not allow,
To do despite to Etzel, ~ and not to cross your men :
Till Wolfhart words unhandsome ~ began to utter then.”
2336. Then answered him the hero ~ of Bern, “So let it be !
Yet Gunther, noble sovran, ~ now of thy courtesy
Repay me for the sorrow ~ that of thy doing came,
And make, bold knight, atonement, ~ that I confirm the same.
2337. “Give up thyself as hostage, ~ thou and thy liegeman there ;
Then I myself will guard you ~ with all my greatest care.
Lest any of the Hunfolk ~ should do you aught of ill ;
In me thou shalt find nothing ~ save faith and all goodwill.”
2338. But Hagen spake in answer : ~ “Now God in Heaven forfend
That any pair of warriors ~ themselves to thee should bend,
Who armed as yet so stoutly ~ here stand before thine eyes,
And still are all unfettered ~ to face their enemies.”
2339. “Beware, Gunther and Hagen,” ~ then Dietrich answer made,
“How ye refuse my offer ! ~ Ye twain on me have laid
So sore a load of sorrow — ~ on heart and spirit too ;
If ye amends will make me, ~ that may ye cheaply do.
2340. “I give you my true promise, ~ and pledge it with my hand,
That I myself will with you ~ ride home unto your land ;
I’ll guide you in all honor, ~ or will myself be slain,
And will, the while I serve you, ~ forget my bitter pain.”
2341. “Now think thereon no longer,” ~ Hagen in answer bade,
“’Twere not a fitting story ~ about us to be said.
That two such doughty warriors ~ had bowed to your demand :
One sees beside you standing ~ no one save Hildebrand.”
2342. Then upspake Master Hildebrand: ~ “Sir Hagen, God doth know, —
Seeing that one hath offered ~ to make a peace with you, —
The hour is nigh when fitly ~ the offer ye might take :
The peace my lord proposes ~ ’twere well for you to make.”
2343. “I’d sooner make atonement,” ~ in answer Hagen said,
“Ere in such coward fashion ~ from any place I fled
As thou hast done but lately, ~ good Master Hildebrand !
Methought against a foeman ~ thou couldst more boldly stand !”
2344. Old Hildebrand made answer : ~ “Why taunt’st thou me therefor?
Who sat upon his buckler ~ the Vaske-rock before.
While friends of his so many ~ the Spanish Walther slew?
About thyself in plenty ~ are things that one might shew.”
2345. Then spake the noble Dietrich : ~ “It fits not heroes good
To rail at one another ~ as any old wives would.
You, Hildebrand, forbid I ~ to wrangle any more :
On me, a homeless warrior, ~ are weighing troubles sore.
2346. “Come let us hear, Sir Hagen,” ~ to him spake Dietrich then,
“What was it ye were saying, ~ ye ready warriors twain,
When first ye saw me coming ~ to you in armor dight ?
Ye vowed that ye against me ~ would singly stand in fight.”
2347. “That no man will deny you,” ~ thane Hagen made reply,
“And with some sturdy sword-strokes ~ here fain am I to try, —
Unless the blade of Niblung ~ within my hand should break :
Wroth am I that ye purpose ~ us two in pledge to take.”
2348. When Dietrich thus had hearkened ~ to savage Hagen’s mood,
Quickly his shield uplifted ~ that gallant thane and good.
How swiftly Hagen toward him ~ down from the stairway sprang !
The goodly sword of Niblung ~ loudly on Dietrich rang.
2349. Then well the noble Dietrich ~ knew that the valiant man
Right ruthless was in humor. ~ The lord of Bern began
Against this deadly onset ~ to guard himself aright ;
To him well known was Hagen, ~ that all-accomplished knight.
2350. Dread, too, had he of Balmung, ~ a potent sword enow.
From time to time yet Dietrich ~ gave back a wily blow,
Until at last, in fighting, ~ Hagen o’ermastered he :
A single wound he dealt him ; ~ ’twas deep and long to see.
2351. Bethought him then Lord Dietrich : ~ “Thou’rt weakened by the strife,
I should have little honor ~ were I to take thy life.
Sooner will I make trial, ~ if I may thee compel
To be to me a hostage.” ~ With trouble this befell.
2352. He let his shield fall downwards — ~ great was his strength of limb,
And Tronian Hagen clasped he ~ close in his arms to him.
And thus was captive taken ~ by him that gallant man ;
Whereat the noble Gunther ~ sorely to grieve began.
2353. Then Dietrich led forth Hagen, ~ fast bound, to where her stand
The noble queen had taken ; ~ and gave into her hand
The boldest of all warriors ~ that ever weapon bare ; —
Then had she joy in plenty ~ for all her bitter care.
2354. For thanks the wife of Etzel ~ unto the thane bent low :
“In heart and eke in body ~ for ever blest be thou !
Now hast thou well repaid me ~ for my unhappy lot ;
For this I’ll ever serve thee ~ if death prevent me not.”
2355. Then answered the Lord Dietrich : ~ “His life thou e’en must spare,
O noble queen ! Then haply ~ thou mayst become aware
How well he will atone for ~ all he hath done to thee !
He must no whit be worsened, ~ that him in bonds ye see.”
2356. She bade them carry Hagen ~ to durance vile away,
And there imprisoned straitly ~ unseen of men he lay.
Gunther the noble sovran ~ aloud began to cry :
“Where went that chief of Bern ? ~ He hath done me injury.”
2357. Then presently to meet him ~ the noble Dietrich came.
Great was the might of Gunther, ~ and well ’twas known to fame.
Nor did he tarry longer ; — ~ before the hall he ran.
From their two weapons’ meeting ~ a dreadful din began.
2358. Albeit that Lord Dietrich ~ great fame long time had had,
So sore was Gunther’s anger ~ he raved like one gone mad ;
For deadly foe he held him, ~ so bitter was his pain :
’Tis reckoned still a marvel ~ that Dietrich was not slain.
2359. So strong and full of valor ~ was either of the twain,
The palace walls and turrets ~ rang with their blows again.
While on the goodly helmets ~ with swords they hacked and hewed.
Then, verily, King Gunther, ~ a royal courage shewed.
2360. Yet he of Bern o’ercame him, ~ as likewise he had done
To Hagen ; through the hauberk ~ the hero’s blood to run
Was seen, from that sharp weapon ~ wherewith Sir Dietrich clove.
Yet, weary as was Gunther, ~ he valiantly strove.
2361. Bound was the noble chieftain ~ by Dietrich’s hand alone,
Although a king should never ~ such bonds have undergone.
He thought if he should leave them, ~ the king and vassal, free,
That all on whom they lighted ~ by them fordone must be.
2362. Dietrich of Bern then took him ~ a captive, closely-bound,
And by the hand he led him ~ where he Kriemhilda found.
At sight of his affliction ~ her sorrows greatly waned ;
She spake : “Be welcome, Gunther, ~ of the Burgundian land !”
2363. He spake : “I needs must thank thee, ~ most noble sister mine,
Though I would fain a greeting ~ more gracious have than thine !
O queen, well do I know thee, ~ how wrathful is thy mood,
And that for me and Hagen ~ thou hast no greeting good.”
2364. Of Bern then spake the hero : ~ “Never, most noble queen,
Knights of such fair demeanour, ~ your hostages have been
As these, most gracious lady, ~ whom now to you I give :
See that ye let the strangers ~ for my sake safely live.”
2365. She vowed to do it gladly : ~ so the Lord Dietrich came —
His eyes with tears o’erflowing — ~ from those two chiefs of fame.
Soon vengeance sore upon them ~ was wrought by Etzel’s wife :
Of both these chosen warriors ~ she took away the life.
2366. Her evil mood obeying, ~ apart she made them lie,
That neither on the other ~ from that time forth set eye.
Until in front of Hagen ~ her brother’s head she laid.
On both of them Kriemhilda ~ her vengeance well repaid.
2367. For first the queen betook her ~ where she might Hagen see :
And spake unto the warrior, — ~ how full of enmity !
“What thou from me hast taken ~ if thou again wilt give.
Then home thou yet mayst journey ~ to Burgundy alive.”
2368. But Hagen grim made answer : ~ “Ye throw your words away,
Most noble queen, for truly ~ I’ve sworn, and now I say
The treasure I will show not, ~ so long as either one
Be living of my masters ; — ~ I’ll yield it up to none.”
2369. “Then will I end the matter !” ~ So spake the noble wife,
And forthwith bade her liegemen ~ to take her brother’s life.
They struck his head from off him, ~ which by the hair she bore
Before the Tronian hero ; ~ then was his grief full sore.
2370. For when, with sorrow stricken, ~ he saw his master’s head,
Thereon unto Kriemhilda ~ the warrior spake and said :
“E’en as thou saidst, the matter ~ thou hast to ending brought,
And likewise all hath happened ~ as I beforehand thought.
2371. “And now the noble sovran ~ of Burgundy is not.
Nor Giselher the stripling, ~ and eke the Lord Gernot,
None knoweth of the treasure ~ save God and me alone :
And unto thee, she-devil, ~ it never shall be known !”
2372. Said she : “An evil guerdon ~ dost thou to me award ;
Yet in mine own possession ~ I will have Siegfried’s sword.
Which my belovéd husband, ~ when last I saw him, bare
For whom, by thy transgression, ~ began my heartfelt care.”
2373. She drew it from the scabbard — ~ he could not hinder her —
And of his life bethought her ~ to rid that warrior.
With both her hands she swung it, ~ and smote his head right off :
King Etzel saw her do it, ~ his grief was sore enough,
2374. The prince cried : “Woe betide me, lo ! ~ Now, how here is slain.
And by a woman’s doing, ~ the very noblest thane
That ever came to battle, ~ or ever buckler bore !
Albeit I was his foeman ~ I could not sorrow more !”
2375. Old Hildebrand cried : “Truly ~ she shall no gainer be
That she hath dared to slay him ! ~ Whate’er befalleth me,
Although myself but lately ~ to direst straits he brought,
For this brave Tronian’s murder ~ I’ll yet have vengeance wrought.”
2376. Then Hildebrand right wrathful ~ upon Kriemhilda leapt,
And at the queen with broadsword ~ a heavy stroke he swept
Ay, Hildebrand she dreaded ~ with sore anxiety.
But what could it avail her ~ to shriek thus horribly?
2377. The bodies of the slaughtered ~ were lying all around ;
And there the noble lady ~ lay mangled on the ground.
Dietrich along with Etzel ~ fell bitterly to weep ;
For kinsmen and for lieges ~ they mourned in sorrow deep.
2378. There mickle pride and honor ~ in death dishonored lay.
The people all were stricken ~ with pity and dismay.
In sorrowing was ended ~ the king’s high festival —
As loving ever endeth ~ in sorrow after all. —
2379. I cannot tell you plainly ~ what later may have been,
Save that in bitter weeping ~ were knights and ladies seen —
And noble liegemen also — ~ for friends beloved laid low.
The story now is ended : ~ this is the Niblungs’ woe.

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Deus vult ! — Þeedrich ( Inscriptio electronica :   )
Dies immutationis recentissimæ :  die Saturni, 2018 Sep 29