The Northern Way

Guðrúnarkviða Önnur

The Second Lay of Gudrún.

Page 1

King Theodric was with Atli, and had there lost the greater number of his men. Theodric and Gudrún 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 Giúki,
with gold adorned,
with gold adorned,
to Sigurd gave.

2. Such as Sigurd
above Giúki’s sons,
as the green leek is,
springing from the grass,
or the high-limbed hart
above the savage beasts,
or the 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 Högni told me
of Sigurd’s cruel death.
“Beyond the river
slaughtered lies
Guthorm’s murderer,
and to the wolves given.

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

9. “Why wilt thou, Högni!
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. Högni answered,
for once cast down,
from his cheerful mood
by intense trouble:
“Gudrún! 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,
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 I had been burnt
as a birchen tree.

13. From the fell I journeyed
five long days and nights,
until the lofty hall
of Hálf I recognized.
Seven half-years
I with Thora stayed,
Hákon’s daughter,
in Denmark.

14. 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
southward in Fyen.

17. When Grimhild,
the Gothic woman,
heard how greatly
I was affected,
she cast aside her needlework,
and her sons called
oft and earnestly,
that she might know,
who for her son would
their sister compensate,
or for her consort slain
the blood-fine pay?

18. Gunnar was ready
gold to offer,
for the injuries to atone,
and Högni also.

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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 and the Danes
with Jarizleif,
Eymód the third
with Jarizkar,
then entered,
to princes like.
Red mantles had
the Langbard’s men,
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 mingled
with Urd’s power,
with cold sea-water,
and with Són’s blood.

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

Index  |  drap niflunga - the slaughter of the niflungs  |  gušrśnarkviša onnur - the second lay of gudrun page 2