George Henry Needler.

The Nibelungenlied online

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Thither knights and ladies went their merry play to see.

There did sit together the queens, a stately pair,
And of two knights bethought them, that noble warriors were.
Then spake the (air Kriemhild: "Such spouse in sooth have I,
That all these mighty kingdoms might well beneath his sceptre lie."

Then spake the Lady Brunhild: " How might such thing be?
If that there lived none other but himself and thee,
So might perchance his power rule these kingdoms o'er;
The while that liveth Gunther, may such thing be nevermore.**


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Then again spake Kriemhild: "Behold how he doth stand
In right stately fashion before the knightly band,
Like as the bright moon beameth before the stars of heaven.
In sooth to think upon it a joyous mood to me is given.'*

Then spake the Lady Brunhild: "How stately thy spouse be,
Howe'er so fair and worthy, yet must thou grant to me
Gimther, thy noble brother, doth far beyond him go:
In sooth before all monarchs he standeth, shalt thou truly know."

Then again spake Kriemhild: "So worthy is my spouse,
That I not have praised him here without a cause.
In ways to tell full many high honor doth he bear:
Believe well may'st thou, Brunhild, he is the royal Gimther's peer."

"Now guard thee. Lady Kriemhild, my word amiss to take,
For not without good reason here such thing I spake.
Both heard I say together, when them I first did see.
When that erstwhile thie monarch did work his royal wiQ o'er me,

And when in knightly fashion my love for him he won,
Then himself said Siegfried he were the monarch's man.
For liegeman thus I hold him, since he the same did say."
Then spake fair Lady Kriemhild: "With me 'twere dealt in sorry

"And these my noble brothers, how could they such thing see,
That I of their own lineman e'er the wife should be?
Thus will I beg thee, Brunhild, as friend to friend doth owe,
That thou, as well befits thee, shalt further here such words forego."

"No whit will I give over," spake the monarch's spouse.
"Wherefore should I so many a knight full valiant lose,
Who to us in service is boimden with thy man?'*
Kriemhild the fair lady thereat sore to rage b^an.


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**Iii sooth must thou forego it that he should e'er to thee
Aught of service offer. More worthy e'en is he
Than is my brother Gunther, who is a royal lord.
So shalt thou please to spare me what I now from thee have heard.

" And to me is ever wonder, since he thy liegeman is,
And thou dost wield such power over us twain as this,
That he so long his tribute to thee hath failed to pay.
'Twere well thy haughty humor thou should'st no longer here dis-

"Too lofty now thou soarest," the queen did make reply.
"Now will I see full gladly if in such honor high
This folk doth hold thy person as mine own it doth."
Of mood full sorely wrathful were the royal ladies both.

Then spake the Lady Kriemhild: "That straightway shall be seen.
Since that thou my husband dost thy liegeman ween.
To-day shall all the foUowers of both the monarchs know,
If I 'fore wife of monarch dare unto the minster go.

"That I free-bom and noble shalt thou this day behold.
And that my royal husband, as now to thee I've told,
'Fore thine doth stand in honor, by me shall well be shown.
Ere night shalt thou behold it, how wife of him thou call'st thine own

To court shall lead good warriors in the land of Burgundy.
And ne'er a queen so lofty as I myself shall be
Was seen by e'er a mortal, or yet a crown did wear."
Then mickle was the anger that rose betwixt the ladies there.

Then again spake Brunhild: "Wilt thou not service own,
So must thou with thy women hold thyself alone
Apart from all my following, as we to minster go."
Thereto gave answer Kriemhild: "In truth the same I fain will do."


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"Now dress ye fair, my maidens," Kriemhild gave command.
"Nor shall shame befall me here within this land.
An have ye fair apparel, let now be seen by you.
What she here hath boasted may Brunhild have full cause to rue."

But little need to urge them: soon were they richly clad
In garments wrought full deftly, lady and many a maid.
Then went with her attendants the spouse of the monarch high;
And eke appeared fair Kriemhild, her body decked full gorgeously,

With three and forty maidens, whom to the Rhine led she.
All clad in shining garments wrought in Araby.
So came unto the minster the maidens fair and tall.
Before the hall did tarry for them the men of Siegfried all.

The people there did wonder how the thing might be,
That no more together the queens they thus did see,
And that beside each other they went not as before.
Thereby came thanes a many anon to harm and trouble sore.


Here before the minster the wife of Gimther stood.

And good knights fidl many were there of merry mood

With the fair ladies that their eyes did see.

Then came the Lady Kriemhild with a full stately company.

Whatever of costly raiment decked lofty maids before,
'Twas like a windy nothing 'gainst what her ladies wore.
The wives of thirty monarchs — such riches were her own —
Might ne'er display together what there by Lady Kriemhild shown.

Should any wish to do so he could not say, I ween,
That so rich apparel e'er before was seen
As there by her maidens debonair was worn:
But that it grievW Brunhild had Kriemhild that to do forborne.


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There they met together before the minster high.
Soon the royal matron, through mickle jealousy,
Kiiemhild to pass no further, did bid in rage ull sore:
**She that doth owe her homage shall ne'er go monarch's wife

Then spake the Lady Kxiemhild — ^angry was her mood:
"An could'st thou but be silent that for thee were good.
Thyself hast brought dishonor upon thy fair body:
How might, forsooth, a harlot ever wife of monarch be?"

"Whom mak'st thou now a harlot ?" the king's wife answered her.
"That do I thee," spake Kriemhild, "for that thy body fair
First was clasped by Siegfried, knight full dear to me.
In sooth 'twas ne'er my brother won first thy maidenhead from
thee. ^

"How did thy senses leave thee? Cimning rare was this.
How let his love deceive thee, since he thy liegeman is ?
And aU in vain," quoth Kriemhild, " the plaint I hear thee bring."
"In sooth," then answered Brunhild, "I'U tell it to my spouse the

"What reck I of such evil? Thy pride hath thee betrayed,
That thou deem'st my homage should e'er to thee be paid.
Know thou in truth full certain the thing may never be:
Nor shall I e'er be ready to look for faithful friend in thee."

Thereat did weep Queen Brunhild: Kxiemhild waited no more,
But passed into the minster the monarch's wife before,
Wth train of fair attendants. Arose there mickle hate,
Whereby eyes brightly shining anon did grow all dim and wet.


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However God they worshipped or there the mass was sung,
Did deem the Lady Brunhild the waiting all too long,
For that her heart was saddened and angry eke her mood.
Therefore anon must suffer many a hero keen and good.

Brunhild with her ladies 'fore the minster did appear.
Thought she: "Now must Kriemhild further give me to hear
Of what so loud upbraideth me this free-tongued wife.
And if he thus hath boasted, amend shall Siegfried make with life.''

Now came the noble Kriemhild followed by warrior band.
Then spake the Lady Brunhild: "Still thou here shalt stand.
Thou giv'st me out for harlot: let now the same be seen.
Know thou, what thus thou sayest to me hath mickle sorrow been.**

Then spake the Lady Elriemhild: " So may'st thou let me go.
With the ring upon my finger I the same can show:
That brought to me my lover when first by thee he lay."
Ne'er did Lady Brunhild know grief as on this evil day.

Quoth she: " This ring full precious some hand from me did steal.
And from me thus a season in evil way conceal:
Full sure will I discover who this same thief hath been."
Then were the royal ladies both in mood full angry seen.

Then gave answer Kriemhild: " I deem the thief not I.
Well hadst thou been silent, hold'st thou thine honor high.
I'll show it with this girdle that I aroimd me wear.
That in this thing I err not: Siegfried hath lain by thee full near.^

Wrought of silk of Nineveh a girdle there she wore,
That of stones full predous showed a goodly store.
When saw it Lady Brunhild straight to weep gan she:
Soon must Guntber know it and all the men of Burgundy.


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Then spake the royal matron: "Bid hither come to me
Of Rhine the lofty monarch. Hear straightway shall he
How that his sister doth my honor stain.
Here doth she boast full open that I in Siegfried's arms have lain."


The king came with his warriors, where he did weeping find •
His royal spouse Brunhild, then spake in manner kind:
"Now tell me, my dear lady, who hath done aught to thee?"
She spake unto the monarch: "Thy wife unhappy must thou see.


"Me, thy royal consort, would thy sister fain
Rob of all mine honor. To thee must I complain:
She boasts her husband Si^ried hath known thy royal bed."
Then spake the monarch Gunther: "An evil thing ^e then hath

"I did lose a girdle: here by her 'tis worn.
And my ring all golden. That I e'er was bom.
Do I rue full sorely if thou wardest not from me
This full great dishonor: that will I full repay to ithee."

Then spake the monarch Gimther: "Now shall he come near,
And hath he such thing boasted, so shall he let us hear:
Eke must full deny it the knight of Netherland."
Then straight the spouse of Kriemhild hither to bring he gave com-

When that angry-minded Signed them did see.
Nor knew thereof the reason, straightway then spake he:
"Why do weep these ladies? I'd gladly know that thing,
Or wherefore to this presence I am bidden by the king."

Then spake the royal Gunther: "Sore grieveth me this thing:
To me my Lady Brunhild doth the story, bring.
How that thereof thou boastest that her fair body lay
First in thy embraces: this doth thy Lady Kriemhild say."




Thereto gave answer Signed: "An if she thus hath said,
Full well shall she repent it ere doth rest my head:
Before all thy good warriors of that 1*11 make me free,
And swear by my high honor such thing hath ne*er been told by me."

Then spake of Rhine the monarch: "That shalt thou let us see.
The oath that thou dost offer, if such perform6d be,
Of all false accusation shalt thou delivered stand."
In ring to take their station did he the high-bom thanes conmiand.

The full valiant Siegfried in oath the hand did give.
Then spake the Iprdly monarch: "Well now do I perceive
How thou art all blameless, of all I speak thee free;
What here maintains my sister, the same hath ne'er been done by

Thereto gave answer Siegfried: "If gain should e'er accrue
Unto my spouse, that Brunhild from her had cause to rue,
Know that to me full sorely 'twould endless sorrow be."
Then looked upon each other the monarchs twain right graciously.

"So should we govern women," spake the thane Siegfried,
" That to leave wanton babble they should take good heed.
Forbid it to thy wife now, to mine I'll do the same.
Such ill-becoming manner in sooth doth fill my heart with shame."

No more said many a lady fair, but thus did part.
Then did the Lady Brunhild grieve so sore at heart,
That it must move to pity all King Gunther's men.
To go unto his mistress Hagen of Tronje saw ye then.

He asked to know her worry, as he her weeping saw.
Then told she him the story. To her straight made he vow.
That Lady Kriemhild's husband must for the thing atone.
Else henceforth should never a joyous day by him be known.


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Then came Ortwein and Gemot where they together spake,
And there the knights did counsel Siegfried's life to take.
Thither came eke Giselher, son of Ute high.
When heard he what they counselled, spake he free from treachery:

"Ye good knights and noble, wherefore do ye that?
Ne'er deserved hath Siegfried in such way your hate.
That he therefor should forfeit at your hands his life.
In sooth small matter is it that maketh cause for woman's strife.''

"Shall we rear race of bastards? " Hagen spake again:
"Therefrom but little honor had many a noble thane.
The thing that he hath boasted upon my mistress high,
Therefor my life I forfeit, or he for that same thing shall die."

Then spake himself the monarch: "To us he ne'er did give
Aught but good and honor: let him therefore live.
What boots it if my anger I vent the knight upon?
Good faith he e'er hath shown us, and that full willingly hath

Then outspake of Metz Ortwein the thane:
"In sooth his arm full doughty may bring him little gain.
My vengeance full he'll suffer, if but my lord allow."
The knights — nor reason had they — against him mortal hate did

None yet his words did follow, but to the monarch's ear
Ne'er a day failed Hagen the thought to whisper there:
K that lived not Siegfried, to him would subject be
Royal lands full many. The king did sorrow bitterly.

Then did they nothing further: soon began the play.
As from the lofty minster passed they on their way.
What doughty shafts they shattered Siegfried's spouse before!
Gunther's men full many saw ye there in rage full sore.


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Spake the king: "Now leave ye such mortal enmity:
TTie knight is bom our honor and fortune good to be.
Keen is he unto wonder, hath eke so doughty arm
That, were the contest open, none is who dared to work him harm.*'


" Naught shall he know," quoth Hagen. "At peace ye well may

I trow the thing to manage so full secretly
That Queen Brunhild's weeping he shall rue full sore.
In sooth shall he from Hagen have naught but hate for evermore.*'

Then spake the monarch Gunther: "How might such thing e'er

Thereto gave answer Hagen: "That shalt thou hear from me.
We'll bid that hither heralds unto our land shall fare,
Here luiknown to any, who shall hostile tidings bear.

"Then say thou *fore the strangers that thou with all thy men
Wilt forth to meet the enemy. He'll offer service then
If that thus thou sayest, and lose thereby his life,
Can I but learn the story from the valiant warrior's wife.**

The king in evil manner did follow Hagen's rede.
And the two knights, ere any man thereof had heed.
Had treachery together to devise begun.
From quarrel of two women died heroes soon full many a one.


1)ow Qicetticb was JSettai^eO

Upon the fourth morning two and thirty men
Saw ye to court a-riding. Unto King Gimther then
Were tidings borne that ready he should make for foe —
This lie did bring to women many, anon full grievous woe.


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Leave had they 'fore the monarch's presence to appear,
There to give themselves out for men of Luedeger,
Him erstwhile was conquered by Siegfried's doughty hand
And brought a royal hostage boimd unto King Gunther's land.

The messengers he greeted and to seat them gave command.
Then spake one amongst them: "Allow that yet we stand
Until we tell the tidings that to thee are sent.
Know thou that warriors many on thee to wreak their hate are bent

" Defiance bids thee Luedegast and eke Luedeger
Who at thy hands full sorely erstwhile aggriev^ were:
In this thy land with hostile host they'll soon appear."
To rage began the monarch when such tidings he did hear.

Those who did act thus falsely they bade to lodge the while.
How himself might Siegfried guard against such guile
As there they planned against him, he or ever one?
Unto theniselves 'twas sorrow great anon that e'er 'twas done.

With his friends the monarch secret counsel sought.
Hagen of Tronje let him tarry not.

Of the king's men yet were many who fain would peace restore:
But nowise would Hagen his dark purpose e'er give o'er.

Upon a day came Siegfried when they did coimsel take.
And there the knight of Netherland thus imto them spake:
"How goeth now so sorrowful amid his men the king?
I'll help you to avenge it, hath he been wronged in anything."

Then spake the monarch Gimther: "Of right do I lament,
Lued^ast and Luedeger have hostile message sent:
They will in open manner now invade my land."
The knight full keen gave answer: "That in sooth shall Siegfried's


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"As doth befit thy honor, know well to turn aside.
As erstwhile to thy enemies, shall now from me betide: '
Their lands and eke their castles laid waste by me shall be
Ere that I give over: thereof my head be surety.

"Thou and thy good warriors shall here at home abide.
And let me with my company alone against them ride.
That I do serve thee gladly, that will I let them see;
By me shall thy enemies, — that know thou — ^full requited be."

"Good tidings, that thou sayest," then the monarch said,
As if he in earnest did joy to have such aid.
Deep did bow before him the king in treachery.
Then spake Sir Siegfried: "Bring that but little care to thee."

Then serving-men full many bade they ready be:
'Twas done alone that Siegfried and his men the same might see.
Then bade he make them ready the knights of Netherland,
And soon did Siegfried's warriors for fight apparelled ready stand.

"My royal father Siegmimd, here shalt thou remain,"
Spake then Sir Siegfried. "We come full soon again
K God but give good fortune, hither the Rhine beside;
Here shalt thou with King Gunther full merrily the while abide/'

Then bound they on the banners as they thence would fare.
Men of royal Gimther were full many there,
Who naught knew of the matter, or how that thing might be:
There with SiegMed saw ye of knights a mickle company.

Their helms and eke their mail-coats bound on horse did stand:
And doughty knights made ready to fare from out that land.
Then went of Tronje Hagen where he Elriemhild found
And prayed a fair leave-taking, for that to battle they were bound.


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"Now wen is me, such husband I have," Kriemhild said,
"That to my loving kindred can bring so potent aid.
As my lord Si^fried doth now to friends of me.
Thereby," spake the high lady, "may I full joyous-minded be.

" Now full dear friend Hagen, call thou this to mind,
Good-will I e'er have borne thee, nor hate in any kind.
Let now therefrom have profit the husband dear to me.
If Brunhild aught I've injured may't not to him requited be.

"For that I since have suffered," spake the high lady.
"Sore punishment hath offered therefor the knight to me.
That I have aught e'er spoken to make her sad of mood.
Vengeance well hath taken on me the valiant knight and good."

"In the days hereafter shall ye be reconciled full well.
Kriemhild, beloved lady, to me shalt thou tell
How that in Siegfried's person I may service do to thee.
That do I gladly, lady, and unto none more willingly."

"No longer were I fearful," spake his noble wife,
"That e'er in battle any should take from him his life.
Would he but cease to follow his high undaunted mood:
Secure were then forever the thane full valiant and good."

"Lady," spake then Hagen, "an hast thou e'er a fear
That hostile blade should pierce him, now shalt thou give to hear
With what arts of cunning I may the same prevent.
On horse and foot to guard him shall ever be my fair intent."

She spake: "Of my kin art thou, as I eke of thine.
In truth to thee coromended be then dear spouse of mine.
That him well thou guardest whom full dear I hold."
She told to him a story 'twere better h-^d she left imtold.


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She spake: "A valorous husband is mine, and doughty too.
When he the worm-like dragon by the mountain slew,
In its blood the stately knight himself then bathed.
Since when from cutting weapons in battle is he all unscathed.

"Nathless my heart is troubled when he in fight doth stand.
And full many a spear-shaft is hurled by hero's hand,
Lest that I a husband full dear should see no more.
Alack! How oft for Si^ried must I sit in sorrow sorel

"On thy good-will I rest me, dear friend, to tell to thee,
And that thy faith thou fully provest now to me.
Where that my spouse may smitten be by hand of foe.
This I now shall tell thee, and on thy honor this I do.

"When from the woimded dragon reeking flowed the blood,
And therein did bathe him the valiant knight and good,
Fell down between his shoulders full broad a linden leaf.
There may he be smitten; 'tis cause to me of mickle grief.*

Then spake of Tronje Hagen: "Upon his txmic sew
Thou a little token. Thereby shall I know
Where I may protect him when in the fight we strain."
She weened to save the hero, yet wrought she nothing save his bane.

She spake: "All fine and silken upon his coat I'll sew
A little cross full secret. There, doughty thane, shalt thou
From my knight ward danger when battle rageth sore.
And when amid the turmoil he stands his enemies before."

"That will I do," quoth Hagen, "lady full dear to me."
Then ween^ eke the lady it should his vantage be.
But there alone did KrienJiild her own good knight betray.
Leave of her took Hagen, and joyously he went away.


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The followers of the monarch were all of merry mood.
I ween that knight thereafter never any could
Of treachery be guilty such as then was he
When that Queen Kriemhild did rest on his fidelity.

With his men a thousand upon the following day
Rode thence Sir Siegfried full joyously away.
He weened he should take vengeance for harm his friends did bear*
That he might view the tunic Hagen rode to him full near.

When he had viewed the token sent Hagen thence away
Two of his men in secret who did other tidings say:
How that King Gunther's country had nothing now to fear
And that unto the monarch had sent them royal Luedeger.

'Twas little joy to Siegfried that he must turn again
Ere for the hostile menace vengeance he had ta'en.
In sooth the men of Gunther could scarce his purpose bend.
Then rode he to the monarch, who thus began his thanks to lend:

"Now God reward thee for it, my good friend Siegfried,
That thou with mind so willing hast holpen me in need.
That shall I e'er repay thee, as I may do of right.
To thee before all other friends do I my service plight,

"Now that from battle-journey free we are once more,
So will I ride a-hunting the wild bear and the boar
Away to the Vosges forest, as I full oft have done."
The same had coimselled Hagen, the full dark and faithless man.

"To all my guests here with me shall now be told
That we ride forth at daybreak: themselves shall ready hold.
Who will join the hxmting; will any here remain
For pastime with fair ladies, the thing behold I eke full fain."


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Then outspake Sir Siegfried as in manner due:
"K that thou rid'st a-hunting, go I gladly too.
A huntsman shalt thou grant me and good hound beside
That shall the game discover; so with thee to the green 1*11 ride."

Straightway spake the monarch: "Wilt thou but one alone?
And wilt thou, four 1*11 grant thee, to whom full well is known
The forest with the nmways where most the game doth stray,
And who unto the camp-fires will help thee back to find thy way."

Unto his spouse then rode he, the gallant knight and bold.
Full soon thereafter Hagen imto the king had told
How he within his power would have the noble thane:
May deed so dark and faithless ne'er by knight be done againl

f)ow SiCQtxic^ was slain

Gunther and Hagen, the knights full keen,
Proposed with evil forethought a hunting in the green:
The boar within the forest they'd chase with pointed spear,
And shaggy bear and bison. — What sport to valiant men more

With them rode also Siegfried happy and light of heart:

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