Poetic Edda/Grípisspá

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Gripe was the name of the son of Eylima, the brother of Hiordis. He ruled over lands, and was of all men wisest. Sigurd rode alone, and came to Gripe's dwelling. Sigurd was of a distinguished figure. He found a man to address outside the hall, whose name was Geitir. Sigurd applied to him, and asked:

1. «Who here inhabits,
in these towers?
What nation's king
do people name him?»

«Gripe is named
the chief of men,
he who rules a firm
realm and people.»

«Is the wise king
of the land at home?
Will the chief with me
come and converse?
With him needs speech
an unknown man:
I desire speedily
Gripe to see.»

«The glad king
will of Geitir ask,
who the man is
that demands speech of Gripe.»

«Sigurd I am named,
born of Sigmund,
and Hiordis is
the chieftain's mother.

4. Then went Geitir,
Gripe to inform:
Here is a man without,
a stranger, come;
of aspect he is
most distinguished.
He desires, king!
With thee to speak.»

5. Goes from the hall
the lord of men,
and the stranger
prince kindly greets:
«Welcome, Sigurd!
better had it been earlier:
but do thou, Geitir!
Take charge of Grana.»

6. They began to talk,
and much to tell,
when the sagacious men
together met.

«Tell me, if thou knowest,
my mother's brother!
How will Sigurd's
life fall out?»

«Thou wilt foremost be
of men beneath the sun,
exalted high
above every king;
liberal of gold,
but of flight sparing,
of aspect comely,
and wise of words.»

«Say thou, sage king!
More than I ask, thou wise one,
to Sigurd,
if thou thinkst to see it:
what will first happen
for my advancement,
when from thy dwelling
I shall have departed?»

«First wilt thou, prince!
Avenge thy father,
and for the wrongs
of Eylima wilt retaliate;
thou wilt the cruel
sons of Hunding
boldly lay low;
thou wilt have victory.»

«Say, noble king!
Kinsman mine!
With all fore thought,
as we hold friendly converse;
seest thou of Sigurd
those bold achievements,
that will highest soar
under heaven's regions?»

11. GRIPE:
«Thou alone wilt slay
that glistening serpent,
which greedy lies
on Gnitaheidi;
thou shalt of both
the slayer be,
Regin and Fafni.
Gripe tells truly.»

«Riches will abound,
if I so bring
conflict among men,
as thou for certain sayest.
Apply thy mind,
and at length say
what will yet
my life befall.»

13. GRIPE:
«Thou wilt find
Fafni's lair,
and thence wilt take
splendid riches,
with gold wilt load
Grana's back.
Thou wilt to Givca ride,
the war-famed prince.»

«Yet must thou, prince!
In friendly speech,
foresighted king!
More relate.
I shall be Givca's guest,
and I shall thence depart:
what will next
my life befall?»

15. GRIPE:
«A king's daughter
will on a mountain sleep,
fair, in corslet cased,
after Helga's death.
Thou wilt strike
with a keen sword,
wilt the corslet sever
with Fafni's bane.»

«The corslet is ript open,
the maid begins to speak.
When awakened
from her sleep,
on what will she chiefly
with Sigurd converse hold,
which to the prince's
benefit may tend?»

17. GRIPE:
«She to thee,
powerful one!
Runes will teach,
all those which
men ought to know;
and in every man's tongue to speak,
and medicines for healing.
May good await thee, king!»

«Now that is past,
the knowledge is acquired,
and I am ready
thence away to ride.
Apply thy mind,
and at length say
what more will
my life befall.»

19. GRIPE:
«Thou wilt find
Heimis dwellings,
and the glad guest
wilt be of that great king.
Vanished is, Sigurd!
That which I foresaw;
no further mayest
thou Gripe question.»

«Now bring me grief
the words thou speakest;
for thou foreseest, king!
Much further;
thou knowest of too
great calamity to Sigurd;
therefore thou, Gripe!
Wilt not utter it.»

21. GRIPE:
«Of thy life
the early portion
lay before me
clearest to contemplate.
I am not truly
accounted sage,
nor of the future prescient:
that which I knew is gone.»

«No man I know
on the earth's surface,
who greater prescience
has than thou, Gripe!
Thou mayest
not conceal it,
unhappy though it be,
or if ill betide my life.»

23. GRIPE:
«Not with vices
will thy life be sullied;
let that, noble prince!
In thy mind be borne;
for while mankind exists,
thy name,
director of the spear-storm!
Will be supreme.»

«The worst seems to me,
that Sigurd is compelled
from the king to part
in such uncertainty.
Show me the way
- all is decreed before -
great chieftain! If thou wilt,
my mother's brother!»

25. GRIPE:
«To Sigurd I will
now openly tell,
since the chieftain
me thereto compels:
thou wilt surely
find that I lie not.
A certain day
is for thy death decreed.»

«I would not importune
the mighty prince,
but rather Gripe's
good counsel have.
Now I fain would know,
though grateful it may not be,
what prospect Sigurd
has lying before him.»

27. GRIPE:
«There is with Heimis
a maiden fair of form,
she is by men
Brynhild named,
daughter of Budli;
but the dear king
Heimis nurtures
the hard-souled damsel.»

«What is it to me,
although the maiden
be of aspect fair?
nurtured with Heimis?
That thou, Gripe!
Must fully declare;
for thou foreseest
my whole destiny.»

29. GRIPE:
«She will thee bereave
of almost every joy,
the fair-faced
foster-child of Heimis.
Thou wilt not sleep,
nor of a fairs discourse,
nor men regard;
only this maiden thou wilt see.»

«What remedy
for Sigurd
will be applied;
tell me that, Gripe!
If it seem good to thee.
Shall I obtain the damsel?
With dowry purchase
the lovely royal daughter?»

31. GRIPE:
«Ye will each swear
unnumbered oaths,
solemnly binding,
but few will keep.
Hast thou been Givca's
guest one night,
thou wilt have forgotten
the fair ward of Heimis.»

«How is that, Gripe!
Explain it to me:
seest thou such fickleness
in the king's mind,
that with that maiden
I shall my engagement break,
whom with my
whole heart I thought to love?»

33. GRIPE:
«Prince! Thou wilt be snared
in another's wiles,
thou wilt pay the penalty
of Grimhild's craft;
the brighthaired maiden,
her daughter,
she to thee will offer.
This snare for the king she lays.»

«Shall I then with Gunnar
form relationship,
and with Gudrun
join in wedlock?
Well wived then
the king would be,
if the pangs of perjury
caused me no pain.»

35. GRIPE:
«Thee will Grimhild
wholly beguile;
she will implore thee
Brynhild to demand
for the hand of Gunnar,
king of Goths:
the journey thou wilt
forthwith promise
to the king's mother.»

«Evils are at hand,
I can that perceive;
Sigurd's wits
will have wholly perished,
if I shall demand
for another's hand,
a noble maiden
whom I well love.»

37. GRIPE:
«All of you will swear
mutual oaths,
Gunnar, and Hagni,
and thou the third;
and ye will forms exchange,
when on the way ye are,
Gunnar and thou:
Gripe lies not.»

«To what end is that?
why shall we exchange
forms and manners,
when on the way we are?
Another fraud
will surely follow this,
altogether horrible.
But say on, Gripe!»

39. GRIPE:
«Thou wilt have
Gunnar's semblance,
and his manners,
thy own eloquence,
and great sagacity:
there thou wilt betroth
the high-minded ward of Heimis:
no one can that prevent.»

«To me that seems worst,
that among men I shall be
a false traitor called,
if such take place.
I would not
deception practise
on a royal maid
the most excellent I know.»

41. GRIPE:
«Thou wilt repose,
leader of hosts!
Pure with the maiden,
as she thy mother were;
therefore exalted,
lord of men!
While the world
endures thy name will be.»

«Shall Gunnar have
a goodly wife,
Famed among men,
- speak forth now, Gripe! -
Although at my side
three nights she slept,
The warrior's bride?
Such ne'er has been.»

43. GRIPE:
The marriage draught
will be drunk for both,
of Sigurd and of Gunnar,
in Givca's halls;
then will ye forms exchange,
when ye home return;
yet to himself will have
each his own senses.»

«How for happiness
shall hereafter
be this affinity?
Tell me that, Gripe!
Will the alliance
for Gunnar's solace
henceforth prove,
or even for mine?»

45. GRIPE:
«Thine oaths remembering,
silent thou art,
and dwellest with Gudrun
in wedlock good;
but Brynhild shall deem
she is badly mated,
and wiles she seeks,
herself to avenge.»

«What atonement
will that woman take,
for the frauds we shall
have practised on her?
From me the maiden
has oaths sworn,
but never kept,
and but little joy.»

47. GRIPE:
«She to Gunnar
will plainly declare,
that thou didst not
well the oaths observe,
when the noble king,
Givca's heir,
with his whole soul,
in thee confided.»

«What will then follow?
Let me know that.
Will that tale
appear as true,
or that the noble woman
falsely accuses me,
and herself also.
Tell me that, Gripe!»

49. GRIPE:
«From spite towards thee,
and from overwhelming grief,
the powerful dame
will not most wisely act.
To the noble woman
do thou no further harm,
though thou the royal bride
with guiles hast circumvented.»

«Will the prudent Gunnar,
Gudtorm, and Hagni,
at her instigation,
then proceed?
Will Givca's sons
on their relative
redden their swords?
Tell me further, Gripe!»

51. GRIPE:
«Then will Gudrun
be furious at heart,
when her brothers shall
on thy death resolve.
In nothing then
will that wise woman
take delight.
Such is Grimhild's work.

52. In this thou shalt find comfort,
leader of hosts!
This fortune is allotted
to the hero's life:
a more renowned man
on earth shall never be,
under the sun's abode,
than thou wilt be accounted.»

«Now part we, now farewell!
Fate may not be withstood.
Now hast thou, Gripe!
Done as I prayed thee:
thou wouldst have fain
a happier end foretold me
of my life's days,
hadst thou been able.»