The Northern Way

SigurÞarkviða Fafnisbana Þriðja

The Third Lay of Sigurd Fafnicide.

Page 1

1. It was of old that Sigurd,
the young Völsung,
Giuki sought,
after his conflict,
received the pledge of friendship
from the two brothers;
oaths exchanged
the bold of deed.

2. A maid they offered him,
and treasures many,
Gudrún, Giuki´s
youthful daughter.
Drank and conversed,
many days together,
Sigurd the young
and Giuki´s sons.

3. Until they went
to woo Brynhild,
and with them Sigurd,
the youthful Völsung,
rode in company,
who knew the way.
He would have possessed her,
if her possess he might.

4. Sigurd the southern
laid a naked sword,
a glittering falchion,
between them;
nor the damsel
did he kiss,
nor did the Hunnish king
to his arm lift her.
He the blooming maid
to Giuki´s son delivered.

5. She to herself a body
was of no sin conscious,
nor at her death-day,
of any crime,
that could be a stain,
or thought to be:
intervened therein
the grisly fates.

6. Alone she sat without,
at eve of day,
began aloud
with herself to speak:
“Sigurd must be mine;
I must die,
or that blooming youth
clasp in my arms.”

7. “Of the words I have uttered
I now repent;
he is Gudrún’s consort,
and I am Gunnar’s.
The hateful Norns
long suffering have decreed us.”

8. Oftentimes she wandered,
filled with evil thoughts,
o’er ice and icebergs,
every eve,
when he and Gudrún
had to their couch withdrawn
and Sigurd her
in the coverings wrapt,
the Hunnish king
his wife caressed.

9. “Devoid I go
of spouse and pleasure;
I will beguile myself
with vengeful thoughts.”

10. By those fits of fury
she was impelled to murder.
“Thou, Gunnar! shalt
wholly lose
my land,
and myself also.
Never shall I be happy,
king! with thee.

11. I will return
thither from whence I came,
to my near kindred,
my relations;
there will I remain,
and slumber life away,
cause to be slain,
and a king become
than the other greater.

12. Let the son go
together with the father,
the young wolf may not
longer be fostered.
For whom will vengeance
be the easier
to appease,
if the son lives?”

13. Wroth was Gunnar,
and with grief borne down;
in his mind revolved,
sat the whole day;
he knew not well,
nor could devise,
what were most desirable
for him to do,
or were most fitting
to be done,
when he should find himself
of the Völsung bereft,
and in Sigurd
a great loss sustain.

14. Much he thought,
and also long,
that it did not
often happen,
that from their royal state
women withdrew.
Högni he then
to counsel summoned,
in whom he placed
the fullest trust.

15. “Of all to me Brynhild,
Budli’s daughter
is the dearest;
she is the chief of women:
rather will I
my life lay down
than that fair one’s
treasures lose.

16. “With thou the prince
for his wealth circumvent?
good ‘tis to command
the ore of Rhine,
and at ease
over riches rule,
and in tranquillity
happiness enjoy.”

17. This alone Högni
for answer gave:
“It beseems us not
so to do,
by the sword to break
sworn oaths,
oaths sworn,
and plighted faith.

18. “We know not on earth
men more fortunate,
while we four
over the people rule,
and the Hun lives,
that warlike chief;
nor on earth,
a race more excellent,
if we five sons
long shall foster,
and the good progeny
can increase.”

19. I know full well
whence the causes spring:
Brynhild’s importunity
is over-great.

20. We will Guthorm,
our younger brother,
and not over-wise,
for the deed prepare:
he is free from
sworn oaths,
sworn oaths,
and plighted faith.”

21. Easy it was to instigate
the ferocious spirit:
in the heart of Sigurd
stood his sword.

22. On vengeance bent,
the warrior in his chamber
hurled his brand after
the fierce assassin;
to Guthorm flew
dartlike Gram’s
gleaming steel
from the king’s hand.

23. Fell the murderer
in two parts,
arms and head
flew far away,
but his feet’s part
fell backwards on the place.

24. Sunk in sleep was Gudrún,
in her bed,
void of cares,
by Sigurd’s side:
but she awoke
of joys bereft,
when in the blood
of Frey’s friend she swam.

25. So violently struck she
her hands together,
that the stout of heart
rose in his bed.
“Weep not, Gudrún!
so cruelly,
my blooming bride!
thy brothers live.

26. An heir I have,
alas! too young;
he cannot flee from
the hostile house;
among themselves they
recently have
dark and evil
counsels devised.

27. Never henceforth,
although seven thou bear,
will such a son
to the trysting with them ride.
Full well I know
how this has befallen:
Brynhild the sole cause is
of all the evil.

28. Me the maiden loved
more than any man;
but towards Gunnar
I sinned not;
affinity I held sacred,
and sworn oaths;
thenceforward I was called
his consort’s friend.”

29. The woman gave forth sighs,
and the king his life.
So violently she struck
her hands together,
that the beakers on the wall
responsive rang,
and in the court
the geese loudly screamed.

30. Laughed then Brynhild,
Budli’s daughter,
once only,
from her whole soul,
when in her bed
she listened to
the loud lament
of Giuki’s daughter.


Index  |  fragments of the lays of sigurd and brynhild  |  sigurŽarkviša fafnisbana Žrišja - the third lay of sigurd fafnicide page 2