The Northern Way

SigurÞarkviða Fafnisbana Fyrsta

The First Lay of Sigurd Fafnicide,
Gripir’s Prophecy.

Page 1

        Gripir was the name of the son of Eylimi, the brother of Hiördis. He ruled over lands, and was of all men wisest and prescient of the future. Sigurd rode alone, and came to Gripir’s dwelling. Sigurd was of a distinguished figure. He found a man to address outside the hall, whose name was Geitir. Sigurd applied to him, and asked:

1. Who here inhabits,
in these towers?
what nation’s king
do people name him?

Gripir is named
the chief of men,
he who rules
a firm realm and people.

2. Is the wise king
of the land at home?
Will the chief with me
come and converse?
With him needs speech
an unknown man:
I desire speedily
Gripir to see.

3. The glad king will
of Geitir ask,
who the man is
that demands speech of Gripir.

Sigurd I am named,
born of Sigmund,
and Hiördis is
the chieftain’s mother.

4. Then went Geitir,
Gripir to inform:
“Here is a man without,
a stranger, come;
of aspect he
is most distinguished.
He desires, king!
with thee to speak.”

5. Goes from the hall
the lord of men,
and the stranger prince
kindly greets:
“Welcome, Sigurd!
better had it been earlier;
but do thou, Geitir!
take charge of Grani.”

6. They began to talk,
and much to tell,
when the sagacious men
together met.
“Tell me, if thou knowest,
my mother’s brother!
how will Sigurd’s
life fall out?”

7. Thou wilt foremost be
of men beneath the sun,
exalted high above
every king;
liberal of gold,
but of flight sparing,
of aspect comely,
and wise of words.

8. Say thou, sage king!
more than I ask,
thou wise one, to Sigurd,
if thou thinkst to see it:
what will first happen
for my advancement,
when from thy dwelling
I shall have departed?

9. First wilt thou, prince!
avenge thy father,
and for the wrongs of Eylimi
wilt retaliate;
thou wilt the cruel
sons of Hunding
boldly lay low;
thou wilt have victory.

10. Say, noble king!
kinsman mine!
with all forethought,
as we hold friendly converse;
seest thou of Sigurd
those bold achievements,
that will highest soar
under heaven’s regions?

11. Thou alone wilt slay
that glistening serpent,
which greedy lies
on Gnítaheid;
thou shalt of both
the slayer be,
Regin and Fafnir.
Gripir tells truly.

12. Riches will abound,
if I so bring
conflict among men,
as thou for certain sayest.
Apply thy mind,
and at length say
what will yet
my life befall.

13. Thou wilt find
Fafnir’s lair,
and thence wilt take
splendid riches,
with gold wilt load
Grani’s back.
Thou wilt to Giuki ride,
the war-famed prince.

14. Yet must thou, prince!
in friendly speech,
foresighted king!
more relate.
I shall be Giuki’s guest,
and I shall thence depart:
what will next
my life befall?

15. A king’s daughter
will on a mountain sleep,
fair, in corslet cased,
after Helgi’s death.
Thou wilt strike
with a keen sword,
wilt the corslet sever
with Fafnir’s bane.

16. The corslet is ript open,
the maid begins to speak.
When awakened
from her sleep,
on what will she chiefly
with Sigurd converse hold,
which to the prince’s
benefit may tend?

17. She to thee, powerful one!
runes will teach,
all those which men
ought to know;
and in every man’s
tongue to speak,
and medicines for healing.
May good await thee, king!
18. Now that is past,
the knowledge is acquired,
and I am ready thence
away to ride.
Apply thy mind,
and at length say
what more will
my life befall.

19. Thou wilt find
Heimir’s dwellings,
and the glad guest wilt be
of that great king.
Vanished is, Sigurd!
that which I foresaw;
no further mayest thou
Gripir question.

20. Now bring me grief
the words thou speakest;
for thou foreseest, king!
much further;
thou knowest of too great
calamity to Sigurd;
therefore thou, Gripir!
wilt not utter it.

21. Of thy life
the early portion
lay before me
clearest to contemplate.
I am not truly
accounted sage,
nor of the future prescient:
that which I knew is gone.

22. No man I know
on the earth’s surface,
who greater prescience has
than thou, Gripir!
Thou mayest not conceal it,
unhappy though it be,
or if ill betide
my life.

23. Not with vices will
thy life be sullied;
let that, noble prince!
in thy mind be borne;
for while mankind exists,
thy name,
director of spear-storm!
will be supreme.

24. The worst seems to me,
that Sigurd is compelled
from the king to part
in such uncertainty.
Show me the way -
all is decreed before -
great chieftain! if thou wilt,
my mother’s brother!

25. To Sigurd I will now
openly tell,
since the chieftain me
thereto compels:
thou wilt surely find
that I lie not.
A certain day is
for thy death decreed.

26. I would not importune
the mighty prince,
but rather Gripir’s
good counsel have.
Now I fain would know,
though grateful it may not be,
what prospect Sigurd has
lying before him.

27. There is with Heimir
a maiden fair of form,
she is by men
Brynhild named,
daughter of Budli;
but the dear king
Heimir nurtures
the hard-souled damsel.


Index  |  Sinfiötlalok - sinfiotlis end  |  sigurŽarkviša fafnisbana fyrsta - the first lay of sigurd fafnicide page 2