The Northern Way

SigurÞarkviða Fafnisbana Þriðja

The Third Lay of Sigurd Fafnicide.

Page 2

31. Then said Gunnar,
the hawk-bearing prince:
“Laugh not thereat,
thou barbarous woman!
glad on thy couch,
as if good awaited thee.
Why hast thou lost
that beauteous colour?
authoress of crime!
Methinks to death thou art doomed.

32. Well doest thou deserve,
above all women,
that before thy eyes,
we should lay Atli low,
that thou shouldst see thy brother’s
blood-streaming sore,
his gory wounds
shouldst have to bind.”

33. Then said Brynhild, Budli’s daughter:
“No one provokes thee, Gunnar!
complete is thy work of death.
Little does Atli
thy hatred fear;
his life will
outlast thine,
and his might
be ever greater.

34. Gunnar! I will tell thee,
though thou well knowest it,
how early ye
resolved on crimes.
I was o’er-young
and unrestrained,
with wealth endowed,
in my brother’s house.

35. Nor did I desire
to marry any man,
before ye Giukungs
rode to our dwelling,
three on horseback,
powerful kings:
would that journey
had never been!

36. Then myself I promised
to the great king,
who with gold sat
on Grani’s back.
In eyes he did not
you resemble,
nor was at all
in aspect like:
yet ye thought yourselves
mighty kings.

37. And to me apart
Atli said,
that he would not have
our heritage divided,
nor gold nor lands,
unless I let myself be married,
nor grant me any part
of the acquired gold,
which he to me a girl
had given to possess,
and to me a child
in money counted.

38. Then distracted was
my mind thereon,
whether I should engage in conflict,
and death dispense,
valiant in arms,
for my brother’s quarrel.
That would then
be world-widely known,
and to many a one
bring heartfelt anguish.

39. Our reconciliation
we let follow:
to me it had been more pleasing
the treasures to accept,
the red-gold rings
of Sigmund’s son:
nor did I another’s
gold desire;
him alone I loved,
none other.
Menskögul had not
a changing mind.

40. All this will Atli
hereafter find,
when he shall hear of
my funeral rites completed;
for never shall
the heavy-hearted woman
with another’s husband
pass her life.
Then will my wrongs
be all avenged.”

41. Up rose Gunnar,
prince of warriors,
and round his consort’s neck
laid his hands;
all drew nigh,
yet each one singly,
through honest feeling,
to dissuade her.

42. She from her neck
those about her cast;
she let no one stay her
from her long journey.

43. He then called Högni
to consultation.
“I will that all our folk
to the hall be summoned,
thine with mine -
now ‘tis most needful -
to see if we can hinder
my consort’s fatal course,
till from our speech
a hindrance may come:
then let us leave
necessity to rule.”

44. To him Högni
answer gave:
“Let no one hinder her
from the long journey,
whence may she never
born again return.
Unblest she came
on her mother’s lap,
born in the world
for ceaseless misery,
for many a man’s
heart-felt sorrow.”

45. Downcast he
from the meeting turned
to where the lady
treasures distributed.
She was viewing
all she owned:
hungry female thralls
and chamber-women.
She put on her golden corslet -
no good meditated -
ere herself she pierced,
with the sword’s point.

46. On the pillow she
turned to the other side,
and, wounded with the glave,
on her last counsels thought.

47. “Now let come those
who desire gold,
and aught less precious,
to receive from me.
To every one I give
a gilded necklace,
needle-work and coverlets,
splendid weeds.”

48. All were silent,
thought on what to do,
and all together
answer gave:
“Too many are there dead:
we will yet live,
still be hungry hall-servants,
to do what fitting is.”

49. At length after reflection,
the lady linen-clad,
young in years,
words in answer uttered:
“I desire that none,
dead to entreaty, should
by force, for our sake,
lose their life.

50. Yet o’er your bones
will burn
fewer ornaments,
Menia’s good meal,
when ye go hence
me to seek.

51. Gunnar! sit down,
I will tell to thee,
that of life now hopeless is
thy bright consort.
Thy vessel will not be
always afloat,
though I shall have
my life resigned.

52. With Gudrún thou wilt be reconciled,
sooner than thou thinkest:
that wise woman has
by the king
sad memorials,
after her consort’s death.

53. There is born a maid,
which her mother rears;
brighter far
than the clear day,
than the sun’s beam,
will Svanhild be.

54. Gudrún thou wilt give
to an illustrious one,
a warrior, the bane
of many men:
not to her wish
will she be married;
Atli will come
her to espouse,
Budli’s son,
my brother.

55. Much have I in memory
how I was treated,
when ye me so cruelly
had deceived:
robbed I was of happiness,
while my life lasted.

56. Thou will desire
Oddrún to possess,
but Atli will
permit it not;
in secret ye will
each other meet.
She will love thee,
as I had done,
if us a better fate
had been allotted.

57. Thee will Atli
barbarously treat;
in the narrow serpent-den
wilt thou be cast.

58. It will too come to pass,
not long after,
that Atli will
his soul resign,
his prosperity,
and cease to live;
for Gudrún in her vengeance
him in his bed will slay,
through bitterness of spirit,
with the sword’s sharp edge.

59. More seemly would appear
our sister Gudrún,
had she in death
her first consort followed,
had but good counsel
been to her given,
or she a soul possessed
resembling mine -

60. Faintly now I speak -
but for our sake
she will not
lose her life.
She will be borne
on towering billows
to King Jonakr’s
paternal soil.
Doubts will be in the resolves
of Jonakr’s sons.

 

Index  |  sigurŽarkviša fafnisbana Žrišja - the third lay of sigurd fafnicide page 1  |  sigurŽarkviša fafnisbana Žrišja - the third lay of sigurd fafnicide page 3