The Northern Way

SigurÞarkviða Fafnisbana Fyrsta

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

Page 2

28. What is it to me,
although the maiden be
of aspect fair?
nurtured with Heimir?
That thou, Gripir! must
fully declare;
for thou forseest
my whole destiny.

29. She will thee bereave
of almost every joy,
the fair-faced
foster-child of Heimir.
Thou wilt not sleep
nor of affairs discourse,
nor men regard;
only this maiden thou wilt see.

30. What remedy for Sigurd
will be applied;
tell me that, Gripir!
if it seem good to thee.
Shall I obtain the damsel?
with dowry purchase
the lovely
royal daughter?

31. Ye will each swear
unnumbered oaths,
solemnly binding,
but few will keep.
Hast thou been Guiki’s
guest one night,
thou wilt have forgotten
the fair ward of Heimir.

32. How is that, Gripir!
explain it to me:
seest thou such fickleness
in the king’s mind,
that with that maiden I
shall my engagement break,
whom with my whole heart
I thought to love?

33. Prince! thou wilt be snared
in another’s wiles,
thou wilt pay the penalty
of Grimhild’s craft;
the bright-haired maiden,
her daughter,
she to thee will offer.
This snare for the king she lays.

34. Shall I then with Gunnar
form relationship,
and with Gudrún
join in wedlock?
Well wived then
the king would be,
if the pangs of perjury
caused me no pain.

35. Thee will Grimhild
wholly beguile;
she will implore thee
Brynhild to demand
for the hand of Gunnar,
king of Goths:
the journey thou wilt forthwith promise
to the king’s mother.

36. Evils are at hand,
I can that perceive;
Sigurd’s wits
will have wholly perished,
if I shall demand,
for another’s hand,
a noble maiden
whom I well love.

37. All of you will
swear mutual oaths,
Gunnar, and Högni,
and thou the third;
and ye will forms exchange,
when on the way ye are,
Gunnar and thou:
Gripir lies not.

38. To what end is that?
why shall we exchange
forms and manner,
when on the way we are?
Another fraud
will surely follow this,
altogether horrible.
But say on, Gripir!

39. Thou wilt have Gunnar’s semblance,
and his manners,
thy own eloquence,
and great sagacity;
there thou wilt betroth
the high-minded
ward of Heimir:
no one can that prevent.

40. To me that seems worse,
that among men I shall
be a false traitor called,
if such take place.
I would not
deception practise
on a royal maid
the most excellent I know.

41. Thou wilt repose,
leader of hosts!
pure as the maiden,
as she thy mother were;
therefore exalted,
lord of men!
while the world endures
thy name will be.

42. The nuptials will
of both be solemnized,
of Sigurd and of Gunnar,
in Giuki’s halls;
then will ye forms exchange,
when ye home return;
yet to himself will have
each his own senses.

43. Will then Gunnar,
chief among men,
the noble woman wed?
Tell me that, Gripir!
although three nights by me
the chieftain’s bride
glad of heart has slept?
The like has no example.

44. How for happiness
shall hereafter be
this affinity?
Tell me that, Gripir!
Will the alliance
for Gunnar’s solace
hereforth prove,
or even for mine?

45. Thou wilt the oaths remember,
and must silence keep,
and let Gudrún enjoy
a happy union.
Brynhild nathless will herself think
an ill-married woman.
She will wiles devise
to avenge herself.

46. What atonement will
that woman take,
for the frauds we
shall have practised on her?
From me the maiden has
oaths sworn,
but never kept,
and but little joy.

47. She to Gunnar will
plainly declare,
that thou didst not well
the oaths observe,
when the noble king,
Guikis heir,
with his whole soul,
in thee confided.

48. What will then follow?
let me know that.

  1. that tale
appear as true,
or that the noble woman
falsely accuses me,
and herself also.
Tell me that, Gripir!

49. From spite towards thee,
and from o’erwhelming grief,
the powerful dame
will not most wisely act.
To the noble woman
do thou no further harm,
though thou the royal bride
with guiles has circumvented.

50. Will the prudent Gunnar,
Guthorm, and Högni,
at her instigation,
then proceed?
Will Giuki’s sons
on their relative
redden their swords?
Tell me further, Gripir!

51. Then will Gudrún be
furious at heart,
when her brothers shall
on thy death resolve.
In nothing then
will that wise woman
take delight.
Such is Grimhild’s work.

52. In this thou shalt find comfort,
leader of hosts!
This fortune is allotted
to the hero’s life:
a more renowned man
on earth shall never be,
under the sun’s abode,
than thou wilt be accounted.

53. Now part we, now farewell!
Fate may not be withstood.
Now hast thou, Gripir!
done as I prayed thee:
thou wouldst have fain
a happier end foretold me
of my life’s days,
hadst thou been able.

Index  |  sigurŽarkviša fafnisbana fyrsta - the first lay of sigurd fafnicide page 1  |  sigurŽarkviša fafnisbana onnur - the second lay of sigurd fafnicide