Poetic Edda/Guðrúnarkviða II

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King Tjodrek was with Atli, and had there lost the greater number of his men. Tjodrek and Gudrun mutually bewailed their afflictions. She related to him and said:

1. «A maid above all maids I was;
my mother reared me
bright in her bower;
my brothers I much loved,
until me Gjuki,
with gold adorned,
with gold adorned,
to Sigurd gave.

2. Such was Sigurd
above Gjuki's sons,
as the green leek is,
springing from the grass,
or the high-limbed hart
above the savage beasts,
or gleed-red gold
above grey silver.

3. Until my brothers
the possession
grudged me
of a consort to all superior.
They could not sleep,
nor on affairs deliberate,
before they Sigurd
had caused to die.

4. Grani to the assembly ran,
his tramp was to be heard;
but Sigurd then
himself came not.
All the saddle-beasts
were splashed with blood,
and with sweating faint,
from the murderers.

5. Weeping I went
to talk to Grani,
with humid cheeks,
I prayed the steed to tell:
then Grani shuddered,
in the grass bowed down his head.
The steed knew that his master
was no more.

6. Long I wandered,
long was my mind distracted,
ere of the people's guardian
I inquired for my king.

7. Gunnar hung his head,
but Hogni told me
of Sigurd's
cruel death.
«Beyond the river
slaughtered lies
Gudthorm's murderer,
and to the wolves given.

8. Yonder behold Sigurd,
towards the south,
there thou wilt
hear the ravens croak,
the eagles scream,
in their feast exulting;
the wolves howling
round thy consort.»

«Why wilt thou, Hogni!
To a joyless being
such miseries recount?
May thy heart by ravens
be torn and scattered
over the wide world,
rather than thou
shouldst walk with men.»

10. Hogni answered,
for once cast down,
from his cheerful mood
by intense trouble:
«Gudrun! Thou wouldst have
greater cause to weep,
if the ravens
should tear my heart.»

11. Alone I turned
from that interview
to the wolves'
scattered leavings.
No sigh I uttered,
nor with my hands beat,
no nor wailed,
as other women,
when I heart broken
sat by Sigurd.

12. Night seemed to me
of blackest darkness,
when I sorrowing
sat by Sigurd.
Better by far
it seemed to me
had the wolves
taken my life,
or had been burnt
as a birchen tree.

13. From the fell I journeyed
five long days and nights,
until the lofty hall
of Half I recognized.

14. Seven half-years
I with Torah stayed,
Hokon's daughter,
in Denmark.
She for my solace
wrought in gold
southern halls,
and Danish swans.

15. We had in pictures
the game of warriors,
and in handiworks
a prince's nobles;
red shields,
Hunnish heroes,
a sworded host,
a helmed host,
a prince's following.

16. Sigmund's ships
from the land sailing,
with gilded heads,
and carved prows.
We on our canvas
wrought how
Sigar and Siggeir
both contended
south ward in Five.

17. When Grimhild,
the Gothic woman,
heard how greatly
I was afflicted,
she cast aside
her needle-work,
and her sons called
of and earnestly,
that she might know,
who for her son
would their sister

18. Gunnar was ready
gold to offer,
for the injuries to atone,
and Hogni also.
She then inquired
who would go
the steeds to saddle,
the chariot to drive,
on horseback ride,
the hawk let fly,
arrows shoot
from the yew bow?

19. Valdar of Danes
with Jarisleiv,
Eymod the third
with Jarisskar,
then entered,
kings even,
long-bearded cults,
with mantles red,
corslets ornamented,
towering helms;
girded they were with falchions,
brown were their locks.

20. For me each one would choose
precious gifts,
precious gifts,
and to my heart
would speak,
if for my many woes they might
gain my confidence,
and I would in them trust.

21. Grimhild to me brought
a potion to drink
cold and bitter,
that I my injuries might forget;
it was min gled
with Urd's power,
with cold sea-water,
and with pigs blood.

22. In that horn
were characters of every kind
graven and red-hued;
nor could I comprehend them:
the long moor-fish
of the Haddings' land,
an uncut ear of corn:
the wild-beasts' entrance.

23. In that potion
were many ills together,
a herb from every wood,
and the acorn,
the fire-stead's dew,
entrails of offerings,
swine's liver seethed;
for that deadens strife.

24. And then I forgot,
when I had taken it,
all the king's words
in the hall spoken.
There to my feet
three kings came,
before she herself
sought to speak with me.

«Gudrun! I will give thee
gold to possess,
of all the riches
much of thy dead father;
rings of red gold,
Lodve's halls,
all the hangings
left by the fallen king.

26. Hunnish maids,
those who weave tapestry,
and in bright gold work,
so that it may delight thee.
Over Budle's wealth
thou alone shalt rule,
adorned with gold,
and given to Atli.»

«I will not have any man,
nor Brynhild's
brother marry:
it beseems me not
with Budle's son
to race a family,
or life enjoy.»

«Take care not to pay
the chiefs with hate;
for 'tis we who have been
the aggressors:
so shouldst thou act
as if yet lived Sigurd
and Sigmund,
if sons thou hearest.»

«Grimhild! I cannot
in mirth indulge, nor,
for my hero's sake,
cherish a hope,
since the bloodthirsty
wolf and raven
have together cruelly drunk
my Sigurd's heart's blood.»

«Him of all
I have found to be
a king of noblest kind,
and in much most excellent:
him shalt thou have
until age lays thee low,
or mateless be,
if him thou wilt not take.»

«Cease to offer
that cup of ills
so pertinaciously,
that kind to me:
he will Gunnar's
destruction perpetrate,
and will cut out
Hogni's heart.
I will not cease
until the exulting strife-exciter's life
I shall have taken.»

32. Weeping Grimhild
caught the words,
by which to' her sons
Gudrun foreboded evil,
and to' her kindred
dire misfortunes.

«Lands I will also give thee,
people and followers,
Vinbjorg and Valbjorg,
if thou wilt accept them;
for life possess them,
and be happy, daughter!»

«Him then I will choose
among the kings,
and from my relatives
reluctantly receive him.
Never will he be to me
a welcome consort,
nor my brothers' bale
a protection to our sons.»

35. Forthwith on horseback
was each warrior to be seen;
but the Valland-women
were in chariots placed.
For seven days o'er
a cold land we rode;
but the second seven,
we beat the waves;
and the third seven,
we reached dry land.

36. There the gate-wards
of the lofty burgh
the latticed entrance opened,
ere the court we entered.

37. Atli waked me,
but I seemed to be full
of evil thoughts,
for my kinsmen's death.

38. ATLI:
«So me just now
have the norns waked,»
- a grateful interpretation
I fain would have.
«Methought that thou,
Gudrun! Gjuki's daughter!
With a treacherous sword
didst pierce me through.»

«Fire it forebodes,
when one of iron dreams,
arrogance and pleasure,
a woman's anger.
Against evil I will
go burn thee,
cure and medicate thee,
although to me thou art hateful.»

40. ATLI:
«Seemed to me here
in the garden that young shoots
had fallen, which:
I wished to let grow:
torn up with their roots,
reddened with blood,
to table they were brought,
and offered me to eat.

41. Seemed to me that hawks
flew from my hand,
lacking their quarry,
to the house of woes;
seemed to me I ate
their hearts with honey
swollen with blood,
with sorrowing mind.

42. Seemed to me from my hand
whelps I let slip;
lacking cause of joy,
both of them howled:
seemed to me their bodies
became dead carcases:
of the carrion
I was compelled to eat.»

«There will warriors
round thy couch converse,
and of the white-locked ones
take off the head;
death-doomed they are within
a few nights,
a little ere day:
thy court will eat of them.»

44. ATLI:
«Lie down I would not,
nor sleep after,
obstinate in my fate
- That I will execute!»