The Northern Way

Sigurd the Dragon-Slayer

58       SIGURD THE DRAGON-SLAYER

21.
" Now harken, Brynhild, my daughter,
All for thy rede I pray;
How shall we lure this mighty man
From a land so far away? "
22.
" Oh thou shalt build a bower for me
Out in the waste-mark wide,
& there with no aid of man nor maid
Shall Budli's daughter bide.
23.
" And thou shalt build me a golden bower
On waste-mark wild eftsoon,
Such as two cunning dwarfie-folk
Can raise with magic rune;
24.
" Such as two cunning dwarfie-folk
By might of rune can raise,
& round my bower the reek shall lower, (1)
& the leaping lowe shall blaze. (2)
25.
" & my bower, I ween, shall be warded well
With the leaping lowe beside,
For knight there is none save the Volsung's son
Shall dare that flame to ride! "
26.
So Budli built her a golden bower
All in the wild waste-mark,
& by day & by night the flame shone bright,
& the driving reek was dark.

1. reek = prob. smoke(cf. Ger. rauch)
2. lowe [Scotch] = flame

THE BALLAD OF BRYNHILD       59

27.
So much he lit of the leaping lowe
To guard his kingly boon,
As two of the cunning dwarfie-folk
Could stablish with magic rune.
28.
So much of the leaping lowe he lit
To ward the maiden well,
As none of the treacherous dwarfie-folk
Could quench by magic spell.
      ·       ·       ·
29.
Now all when the early morning
Shone red on mount & moor,
So many a gallant gentleman
Rode up to Budli's door;
30.
Full many a gallant gentleman,
With pomp & pride enow;
& Brynhild sat in the high-seat
& the red gold bound her brow.
      ·       ·       ·
31.
Into the hall went Budli,
& did there tidings bring:
" Down from the garth of Gjúki
Hath ridden Gunnar the King.
32.
" Gunnar the King comes hither
To ask thine hand this day;
& now, my daughter Brynhild,
Thou shalt not answer nay! "

60       SIGURD THE DRAGON-SLAYER

33.
In midmost hall stands Budli
& leans against the board,
But Brynhild Budli's daughter
She answers never a word.
34.
Straight doth she rise from the high-seat,
With the red gold on her brow,
& flees from her father's dwelling,
& hastens to Hildar-howe.
      ·       ·       ·
35.
Grimur & Høgni Gjúkason
They fought in greenwood vale,
& Budli's hall was shaken all,
& Hildar's maids grew pale.
36.
Grimur & Høgni Gjúkason
They fought with shining brand;
But Brynhild sat in the leaping lowe
Amidst her father's land.
37.
A-smiling all in secret,
She sat the lowe within:
" The warrior bold that rides the flame
For aye my love shall win! "
      ·       ·       ·
38.
In Hildar-howe sat Brynhild
Amid her magic dower,
& Sigurd she drew from his far countrie
All in a luckless hour.
39.
Now Sigurd arose from slumber
All in the dawning dim,
& went forth into his garden-ground
Where secrets were shown to him.

THE BALLAD OF BRYNHILD       61

40.
Up & spake the little bird
That sat on oaken-tree:
" Oh, fair is Brynhild Budli's daughter,
Hath laid her love on thee! "
41.
Up & spake the little bird
That sat on linden green: .
" She loveth thee, Brynhild Budli's daughter,
The fairest eyes have seen! "
42.
All in the morning early
When the sun was red to see,
He's bidden Víggrím Gunnarson
To saddle his steed so free.
43.
From stall they lead the noble steed
That Sigurd wont to ride;
Housings all of scarlet
Fall down on either side.
44.
Forth they lead the noble steed
That Sigurd loved so well;
Gold bedecked the housings
That to the fetlock fell.
45.
Golden were the gauntlets
On Sigurd's either hand;
Thus fared the son of Sigmund
Down from his far-off land.
46.
Thus took the son of Sigmund
A wild & waesome road, (1)
With golden rings a-tinkling
Whene'er his war-horse trode.

1. waesome [Scotch] = sorrowful (woeful, harrowing)

62       SIGURD THE DRAGON-SLAYER

47.
Twelve rings all golden
He decked him withal,
& the ring hight the Queen's Ring
He set over all.
48.
Fleetly fared Grane
O'er mount as O'er mead;
Never in Budli's kingdom
Was seen so wight a steed!
49.
Now Sigurd took the nether way
By Gjúki's garth to ride,
& at the gate stood Grimhild
With many a man beside.
50.
Before the gate stood Grimhild
All with a royal train,
& she stretched forth both her lily-white hands
To seize his bridle-rein.
51.
With both her lily hands outstretched
To seize his rein she ran;
Ne'er had she seen astride a steed
A statelier-seeming man!
52.
Up spake Sigurd Sigmundarson
With looks both high & bold:
" I knew not that the woman lived
Would dare my steed to hold! "
53.
" Rein in, rein in, thou Sigurd,
& speak awhile with me!
I have a beauteous daughter
Hath laid her love on thee. "

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