The Northern Way

Guðrúnarkviða Önnur

The Second Lay of Gudrún.

Page 2

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.

25. “Gudrún! I will give thee
gold to possess,
of all the riches much
of thy dead father;
rings of red gold,
Hlödver’s halls,
all the hangings
left by the fallen king.

26. Hunnish maids,
those who weave tapestry,
and in bright gold work,
so that I may delight thee.
Over Budli’s wealth
thou alone shalt rule,
adorned with gold,
and given to Atli.”

27. “I will not
have any man,
nor Brynhild’s
brother marry:
it beseems me not
with Budli’s son
to increase a race,
or life enjoy.”

28. “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 bearest.”

29. “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.”

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

31. “Cease to offer
that cup of ills
so pertinaciously,
that race to me:
he will Gunnar’s
destruction perpetrate,
and will cut out
Högni’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
Gudrún forboded evil,
and to her kindred
dire misfortunes.
“Lands I will also give thee,
people and followers,
Vinbiörg and Valbiörg,
if thou wilt accept them;
for life possess them,
and be happy, daughter!”

33. “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.”

34. Forthwith on horseback was
each warrior to be seen;
but the Walish 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.

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


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

37. “So me just now
have the Norns waked,-
a grateful interpretation
I fain would have.-
Methought that thou, Gudrún!
Giuki’s daughter!
with a treacherous sword
didst pierce me through.”

38. “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.”

39. “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 were they brought,
and offered me to eat.

40. 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.

41. 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.”

42. “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.”

43. “Lie down I would not,
nor sleep after,
obstinate in my fate -
That I will execute!”


Index  |  gušrśnarkviša onnur - the second lay of gudrun page 1  |  gušrunarkviša Žrišja - the third lay of gudrun