Poetic Edda/Guðrúnarhvöt

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Poetic Edda
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Guðrúnarhvöt

Having slain Atli, Gudrun went to the sea-shore. She went out into' the sea, and would destroy herself, but could not sink. She was borne across the firth to the land of King Ionacr, who married her. Their sons were Sorle, Erp, and Hamdir. There was reared up Svanhild, the daughter of Sigurd. She was given in marriage to Jormunrek the Powerful. With him lived Bicci, who counselled Randve, the king's son, to take her. Bicci told that to the king, who caused Randve to be hanged, and Svanhild trodden under horses' feet. When Gudrun heard of this she said to her sons:

1. Then heard I tell
of quarrels dire,
hard sayings uttered
from great affliction,
when her sons
the fiercehearted Gudrun,
in deadly words,
a slaughter instigated.

2. «Why sit ye here?
Why sleep life away?
Why does it pain you
not joyous words to speak,
now Jormunrek
your sister young
in years has with
horses trodden,
white and black,
in the public way,
with grey and way-wont
Gothic steeds?

3. Ye are not like
to Gunnar and the others,
nor of soul so valiant
as Hogni was.
Her ye should
seek to avenge,
if ye had the courage
of my brothers,
or the fierce spirit
of the Hunnish kings.»

4. Then said Hamdir,
the great of heart:
«Little didst thou care
Hogni's deed to praise,
when Sigurd
he fromi sleep awaked.
Thy blue-white bed-clothes
were red with
thy husband's gore,
with death-blood covered.

5. For thy brothers
thou didst o'er-hasty
vengeance take,
dire and bitter,
when thou thy sons didst murder.
We young ones ould on Jormunrek,
acting all together,
have avenged our sister.

6. Bring forth the arms
of the Hunnish kings:
thou hast us stimulated
to a sword-mote.»

7. Laughing Gudrun
to the storehouse turned,
the kings' crested helms
from the coffers drew,
their ample corslets,
and to her sons them bore.
The young heroes
loaded their horses' shoulders.

8. Then said Hamdir,
the great of heart:
«So will no more come
his mother to see,
the warrior felled
in the Gothic land,
so that thou the funeral-beer
after us all may drink,
after Svanhild
and thy sons.»

9. Weeping Gudrun,
Gjuki's daughter,
sorrowing went,
to sit in the fore-court,
and to recount,
with tearworn cheeks,
her calamities,
in many ways.

10. «Three fires I have known,
three hearths I have known,
of three consorts
I have been borne to the house.
Sigurd alone to me
was better than all,
of whom my brothers
were the murderers.

11. Of my painful wounds
I might not complain;
yet they even more
seemed to afflict me,
when those chieftains
to Atli gave me.

12. My bright boys
I called to speak with me;
for my injuries
I could not get revenge,
ere I had severed
the Nivlkins' heads.

13. To the sea-shore I went,
against the norns
I was embittered;
I would cast off their persecution;
bore, and submerged me
not the towering billows;
up on land I rose,
because I was to live.

14. To the nuptial couch I went
- as I thought better for me, -
for the third time,
with a mighty king.
I brought forth offspring,
guardians of the heritage,
guardians of the heritage,
Ionacr's sons.

15. But around Svanhild
bond-maidens sat;
of all my children
her I loved the best.
Svanhild was,
in my hall,
as was the sun-beam,
fair to behold.

16. I with gold adorned her,
and with fine raiment,
before I gave her
to the Gothic people.
That is to me the hardest
of all my woes,
that Svanhild's
beauteous locks
should in the mire be trodden
under horses' feet.

17. But that was yet more painful,
when my Sigurd
they ingloriously slew
in his bed;
though of all most cruel,
when of Gunnar
the glistening serpents
to the vitals crawled;
but the most agonizing,
which to my heart flew,
when the brave king's heart
they while quick cut out.

18. Many griefs I call to memory,
many ills I call to memory.
Guide, Sigurd!
Thy black steed,
thy swift courser,
hither let it run.
Here sits no son's wife,
no daughter,
who to Gudrun
precious things may give.

19. Remember, Sigurd!
What we together said,
when on our bed
we both were sitting,
that thou will me,
brave one, meet
from Hel's abode,
from the home I come.

20. Raise, ye earls!
An oaken pile;
let it under heaven
the highest be.
May it burn away
the woes in my heart,
and its sorrows melt!»

21. May all men's lot
be bettered,
all women's sorrow
lessened,
to whom this tale of woes
shall be recounted.