The Northern Way

Helreið Brynhildar

Brynhild´s Hel-ride.

After Brynhild’s death two piles were made, one for Sigurd, which was the first burnt; but Brynhild was burnt afterwards, and she was in a chariot, which was hung with precious tapestry; so that it was said that Brynhild drove in a chariot on the way to Hel, and passed through a place: in which a giantess dwelt. The giantess said:

1. “Thou shalt not
pass through
my stone-supported
dwelling-place.
Better had it beseemed thee
to work broidery,
than to seek after
another’s husband.

2. Why dost thou,
vagrant woman!
from Valland,
my dwelling visit?
Thou hast, golden dame!
if thou desirest to know,
gentle one! from thy hands
washed human blood.”

Brynhild
3. “Upbraid me not,
woman of the rock!
although I have
in warfare been.
Of us, I trow,
I shall the better seem,
wherever men
our conditions know.”

Giantess
4. “Thou, Brynhild!
Budli’s daughter!
wast in evil hour
born in the world;
thou hast been the bane
of Giuki’s children,
and their happy
house subverted.”

Brynhild
5. “From my chariot I
will truly tell thee,
thou witless crone!
if thou desirest to know,
how Giuki’s heirs
made me both
lovelorn
and perjured.

6. The bold-hearted king
caused the garbs
of us eight sisters
under an oak to be borne.
Twelve years old was I,
if thou desirest to know,
when to the youthful king
oaths I gave.

7. By all in Hlymdalir
I was called
Hild with the helm,
by all who knew me.

8. Then caused I next,
in the Gothic realm,
the old Hiálmgunnar
to Hel to journey:
I gave victory to
the youthful
brother of Öda,
whereat Odin became
hostile to me.

9. He with shields encompassed me,
red and white,
in Skatalund;
their surfaces enclosed me;
him he ordained
my sleep to break,
who in no place
could be made to fear.

10. He made around my hall,
towards the south,
towering burn
the destroyer of all wood:
then bade that man only
over it to ride,
who me the gold should bring,
that under Fafnir lay.

11. On Grani rode the chief,
the gold-disperser,
to where my foster-father
ruled o’er the dwellings.
He alone seemed there
to all superior,
the Danish warrior,
of the court.

12. We slept and were content
in the same bed,
as if he had
my born brother been;
neither of us might
on the other,
for eight nights,
lay a hand.

13. Reproached me Gudrún,
Giuki’s daughter,
that I had slept
in Sigurd’s arms;
then was I made aware
of what I fain would not, -
that they had deceived me,
when a mate I took.

14. To calamities
all too lasting
men and women ever will
be while living born.
We two shall now,
Sigurd and I,
pass our life together.
Sink thou of giant-kind!”

 

Index  |  guŽrśnarkviša fyrsta - the first lay of gudrun  |  drap niflunga - the slaughter of the niflungs