George Henry Needler.

The Nibelungenlied online

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Their load of rich refreshments was made in goodly part
Where a spring ran cooling they took from him his life,
Whereto in chief had urged them Brunhild, royal Gunther's wife.

Then went the valiant Siegfried where he Kriemhild found;
Rich hunting-dress was laden and now stood ready bound
For him and his companions across the Rhine to go.
Than this a sadder hour nevermore could Kriemhild know.


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The spouse he loved so dearly upon the mouth he kissed.
** God grant that well I find thee again, if so He list,
And thine own eyes to see me. 'Mid kin that hold thee dear
May now the time go gently, the while I am no longer near."

Then thought she of the story — ^but silence must she keep —
Whereof once Hagen asked her: then began to weep
The princess high and noble that ever she was bom,
And wept with tears imceasing the valiant Siegfried's wife forlorn.

She spake imto her husband: "Let now this hunting be.
I dreamt this night of evil, how wild boars himted thee,
Two wild boars o'er the meadow, wherefrom the flowers grew red.
That I do weep so sorely have I poor woman direst need.

"Yea, do I fear. Sir Siegfried, something treacherous,
If perchance have any of those been wronged by us
Who might yet be able to vent their enmity.
Tany thou here, Sir Siegfried: let that my faithful coimsel be."

Quoth he: "I come, dear lady, when some short days are flown.
Of foes who bear us hatred here know I never one.
All of thine own kindred are gracious imto me,
Nor know I aught of reason why they should other-minded be."

"But nay, belov^ Siegfried, thy death I fear 'twill prove.
This night I dreamt misfortune, how o'er thee from above
Down there fell two mountains: I never saw thee more.
And wilt thou now go from me, that must grieve my heart full sore.**

The lady rich in virtue within his arms he pressed,
And witii loving kisses her fair form caressed.
From her thence he parted ere long time was o'er^
Alas for her, she saw him alive thereafter nevermore.


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Then rode from thence the hunters deep within a wold
In search of pleasant pastime. Full many a rider bold
Followed after Gimther in his stately train.
Gemot and Giselher, — ^at home the knights did both remain.

Went many a horse well laden before them o'er the Rhine,
That for the himtsmen carried store of bread and wine,
Meat along with fishes and other victualling,
The which upon his table were fitting for so high a king.

Then bade they make encampment before the forest green
Where game was like to issue, those hunters proud and keen,
Who there would join in hunting, on a meadow wide that spread.
Thither also was come Si^ried: the same imto the king was said.

By the merry huntsmen soon were watched complete
At every point the runways. The company then did greet
Siegfried the keen and doughty: "Who now within the green
Unto the game shall guide us, ye warriors so bold and keen?**

"Now part we from each other," answered Hagen then,
"Ere that the hunting we do here begin!
Thereby may be apparent to my masters and to me
Who on this forest joxuney of the hunters best may be.

"Let then hounds and himtsmen be ta'en in equal share,
That wheresoever any would go, there let him fare.
Who then is first in himting shall have our thanks this day."
Not longer there together did the merry hunters stay.

Thereto quoth Sir Siegfried: "Of dogs have I no need,
More than one hoimd only of trusty himting breed
For scenting well the runway of wild beast through the brake.
And now the chase begin we I" — so the spouse of Kriembild spake


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Then took a practised hunter a good tracking-hound,
That did bring them where they game in plenty found,
Nor kept them long awaiting. Whatever did spring from lair
Pursued the merry huntsmen, as still good himters everywhere.

As many as the hound started slew with mighty hand
Siegfried the full doughty hero of Netherland.
So swiftly went his charger that none could him outrun;
And praise before all others soon he in the hunting won.

He was in every feature a valiant knight and true.
The first within the forest that with his hand he slew
Was a half -grown wild-boar that he smote to ground;
Thereafter he full quickly a wild and mighty lion foimd.

When it the hoimd had started, with bow he shot it dead.
Wherewith a pointed arrow he had so swiftly sped
That the lion after could forward spring but thrice.
All they that himted with him cried Siegfried's praise with merry

Soon fell a prey imto him an elk and bison more,
A giant stag he slew him and huge ure-oxen four.
His steed bore him so swiftly that none could him outrun;
Of stag or hind encountered scarce could there escape him one.

A boar full huge and bristling soon was likewise found.
And when the same bethought him to flee before the hound,
Came quick again the master and stood athwart his path.
The boar upon the hero full charged straightway in mickle wrath.

Then the spouse of Kriemhild, with sword the boar he slew,
A thing that scarce another hunter had dared to do.
When he thus had felled him they lashed again the hoimd.
And soon his hunting prowess was known to all the people round.


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Then spake to him his huntsmen: ''If that the thing may be,
So let some part, Sir Siegfried, of the forest game go free;
To-day thou makest empty hillside and forest wild."
Thereat in merry humor the thane so keen and valiant smiled.

Then they heard on all sides the din, from many a hound
And huntsmen eke the clamor so great was heard around
That back did come the answer from hill and forest tree —
Of hounds had four-and-twenty packs been set by hunter free.

Full many a forest denizen from life was doomed to part.
Each of all the hunters thereon had set his heart.
To win the prize in hunting. But such could never be.
When they the doughty Siegfried at the camping-place did see.

Now the chase was ended, — and yet complete 'twas not.
All they to camp who wended with them thither brought
Skin of full many an animal and of game good store.
Heigho! imto the table how much the king's attendants borel

Then bade the king the noble hunters all to warn
That he would take refreshment, and loud a hunting-hom
In one long blast was winded: to all was known thereby
That the noble monarch at camp did wait their company.

Spake one of Siegfried's himtsmen: "Master, I do know
By blast of horn resounding that we now shall go
Unto the place of meeting: thereto I'll make reply."
Then for the merry hunters blew the horn right lustily.

Then spake Sir Siegfried: "Now leave we eke the green."
His charger bore him smoothly, and followed huntsmen keen.
With their rout they started a beast of savage kind.
That was a bear untamed. Then spake the knight to those behind :


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"For our merry party some sport will I devise.
Let slip the hound then straightway, a bear now meets my eyes,
And with us shall he thither unto the camp-fire fare.
Full rapid must his flight be shall he our cxjmpany forbear."

From leash the hoimd was loosened, the bear sprang through the

When that the spouse of Kriemhild did wish him to overtake.
He sought a pathless thicket, but yet it could not be.
As bruin fondly hoped it, that from the hunter he was free.

Then from his horse alighted the knight of spirit high,
And gan a running after. Bruin all unguardedly
Was ta'en, and could escape not. Him caught straightway the knight,
And soon all unwounded had him bound in fetters tight.

Nor claws nor teeth availed him for aught of injury,
But bound he was to saddle. Then mounted speedily
The knight, and to the camp-fire in right merry way
For pastime led he bruin, the hero valiant and gay.

In what manner stately unto the camp he rode!
He bore a spear full mickle, great of strength and broad.
A sword all ornamented hung down unto his spur,
And wrought of gold all ruddy at side a glittering horn he wore.

Of richer hunting-garments heard I ne'er tell before.
Black was the silken timic that the rider wore,
And cap of costly sable did crown the gallant knight.
Heigho, and how his quiver with well-wrought hands was rich bedightl

A skin of gleaming panther covered the qviiver o'er.
Prized for its pleasant odor. Eke a bow he bore,
The which to draw if ever had wished another man,
A lever he had needed: such power had Siegfried alone.


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Of fur of costly otter his mantle was complete.
With other skins embroidered from head imto the feet.
And 'mid the fur all shining, full many a golden seam
On both sides of the valiant huntsman saw ye brightly gleam.

Balmimg, a goodly weapon broad, he also wore,
That was so sharp at edges that it ne'er forbore
To cleave when swimg on helmet: blade it was full good.
Stately was the huntsman as there with merry heart he rode.


If that complete the story to you I shall imfold.

Full many a goodly arrow did his rich quiver hold

Whereof were gold the sockets, and heads a hand-breadth each.

In sooth was doomed to perish whatever in flight the same did reach*

Pricking like goodly himtsman the noble knight did ride
When him the men of Gunther coming thither spied.
They hasted out to meet him and took from him his steed.
As bruin great and mighty by the saddle he did lead.

When he from horse alighted he loosed him every band
From foot and eke from muzzle. Straight on every hand
Began the dogs a howling when they beheld the bear.
Bruin would to the forest: among the men was mickle stir.

Amid the clamor bruin through the camp-fires sped:
Heigho, how the servants away before him fled!
Overturned was many a kettle and flaming brands did fly:
Heigho, what goodly victuals did scattered in the ashes Uel

Then sprang from out the saddle knights and serving-men.
The bear was wild careering: the king bade loosen then
All the dogs that fastened within their leashes lay.
If this thing well had ended, then had there passed a merry day«


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Not longer then they waited but with bow and eke with spear
Hasted the nimble hunters to pursue the bear,
Yet none might shoot upon him for all the dogs aroimd.
Such clamor was of voices that all the mountain did resound.

When by the dogs pursu^ the bear away did run,
None there that could overtake him but Siegfried alone.
With his sword he came upon him and killed him at a blow,
And back unto the camp-fire bearing bruin they did go.

Then spake who there had seen it, he was a man of might.
Soon to the table bade they come each noble knight.
And on a smiling meadow the noble company sat.
Heigho, with what rare victuals did they upon the huntsmen wait!

Ne'er appeared a butler wine for them to pour.
Than they good knights were never better served before,
And had there not in secret been lurking treachery.
Then were the entertainers from every cause of cavil free.

Then spake Sir Siegfried: "A wonder 'tis to me,
Since that from the kitchen so full supplied are we,
Why to us the butlers of wine bring not like store:
If such the huntsman's service a huntsman reckon me no more.

"Meseems I yet did merit some share of courtesy."
The king who sat at table spake then in treachery:
" Gladly shall be amended wherein we're guilty so.
The fault it is of Hagen, he'd willing see us thirsting go."

Then spake of Tronje Hagen: "Good master, hear me say,
I weened for this our hunting we did go to-day
Unto the Spessart forest: the wine I thither sent.
Go we to-day a-thirstin^, I'll later be more provident."


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Thereto replied Sir Si^fried: "Small merit here is thine.
Good seven horses laden with mead and sparkling wine
Should hither have been conducted. If aught the same denied,
Then should our place of meeting have nearer been the Rhine

Then spake of Tronje Hagen: "Ye noble knights and bold,
I know here nigh unto us a spring that's flowing cold.
Be then your wrath appeased, and let us thither go."
Through that same wicked counsel came many a thane to grievous

Sore was the noble Siegfried with the pangs of thirst:
To bid them rise from table was he thus the first.
He would along the hillside imto the fountain go:
In sooth they showed them traitors, those knights who there did
counsel so.

On wagons hence to carry the game they gave command
Which had that day been slaughtered by Siegfried's doughty hand.
He'd carried off the honors, all who had seen did say.
Hagen his faith with Siegfried soon did break in grievous way.

When now they would go thither to where the linden spread.
Spake of Tronje Hagen: "To me hath oft been said,
That none could follow after Kriemhild's nimble knight
Or vie with him in running: would that he'd prove it to our sight I "

Then spake of Netherland bold Siegfried speedily:
"That may ye well have proof of, will ye but run with me
In contest to the fountain. When that the same be done,
To him be given honor who the race hath fairly won."


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"Now surely make we trial," quoth Hagen the thane.
Thereto the doughty Siegfried: "I too will give you gain,
Afore your feet at starting to lay me in the grass."
When that he had heard it, thereat how joyous Gunther wasl

And spake again the warrior : " And ye shall further hear :
All my clothing likewise will I upon me wear,
TTie spear and shield full heavy and hunting-dress I'll don."
His sword as well as quiver had he full quickly girded on.

Doffed they their apparel and aside they laid it then:
Clothed in white shirts only saw you there the twain.
Like unto two wild panthers they coursed across the green:
Yet first beside the fountain was the valiant Siegfried seen.

No man in feats of valor who with him had vied.
The sword he soon ungirded and quiver laid aside.
The mighty spear he lean^ against the linden-tree:
Beside the running fountain stood the knight stately to see.

To Siegfried naught was lacking that doth good knight adorn.
Down the shield then laid he where did flow the bum,
Yet howsoever he thirsted no whit the hero drank
Before had drunk the monarch: therefor he earned but evil tbanL

There where ran clear the water and cool from out the spring,
Down to it did bend him Gunther the king.
And when his thirst was quench^ rose he from thence again:
Eke the valiant Siegfried, how glad had he done likewise then.

For his courtesy he suffered. Where bow and sword there lay.
Both did carry Hagen from him thence away.
And again sprang quickly thither where the spear did stand:
And for a cross the timic of the valiant knight he scanned.


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As there the noble Siegfried to drink o*er fountain bent,
Through the cross he pierced him, that from the wound was sent
The blood nigh to bespatter the tunic Hagen wore.
By hand of knight such evil deed shall wrought be nevermore.

The spear he left projecting where it had pierced the heart.
In terror as that moment did Hagen never start
In flight from any warrior he ever yet had found.
Soon as the noble Siegfried within him felt the mighty wound,

Raging the knight full doughty up from the fountain sprang,
The while from 'twixt his shoulders stood out a spearshaft long.
The prince weened to find there his bow or his sword:
Then in sooth had Hagen found the traitor's meet reward.

When from the sorely wounded knight his sword was gone,
Then had he naught to Venge him but his shield alone.
This snatched he from the fountain and Hagen rushed ufx)n.
And not at all escape him could the royal Gunther's man.

Though he nigh to death was wounded he yet such might did wield
That out in all directions flew from off the shield
Precious stones a many: the shield he clave in twain. "
Thus vengeance fain had taken upon his foe the stately thane.

Beneath his hand must Hagen stagger and fall to ground.
So swift the blow he dealt him, the meadow did resound.
Had sword in hand been swinging, Hagen had had his meed,
So sorely raged he stricken: to rage in sooth was mickle need.

Faded from cheek was color, no longer could he standi
And all his might of body soon complete had waned.
As did a deathly pallor over his visage creep.
Full many a fairest lady for the knight anon must weep.




So sank amid the flowers Kriemhild's noble knight,
While from his wound flowed thickly the blood before the sight.
Then gan he reviling — for dire was his need —
Who had thus encompassed his death by this same faithless deed,

Then spake the sorely wounded: "O ye base cowards twain,
Doth then my service merit that me ye thus have slain?
To you I e'er was faithful and so am I repaid.
Alas, upon your kindred now have ye shame eternal laid.

" By this deed dishonored hereafter evermore
Are their generations. Your anger all too sore
Have ye now thus vented and vengeance ta'en on me.
With shame henceforth be parted from all good knights' company."

All the himters hastened where he stricken lay,
It was in sooth for many of them a joyless day.
Had any aught of honor, he mourned that day, I ween.
And well the same did merit the knight high-spirited and keen.

As there the king of Burgundy mourned that he should die.
Spake the knight sore wounded: "To weep o'er injury,
Who hath wrought the evil hath smallest need, I trow.
Reviling doth he merit, and weeping may he well forego."

Thereto quoth grim Hagen: "Ye mourn, I know not why:
This same day hath ended all our anxiety.
Few shall we find henceforward for fear will give us need,
And well is me that from his mastery we thus are freed."

"Light thing is now thy vaunting," did Siegfried then reply.
"Had I e'er bethought me of this thy infamy
Well had I preserved 'gainst all thy hate my life.
Me rueth naught so sorely as Lady Kriemhild my wife.


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"Now may God have merqr that to me a eon was bom,
That him alack! the people in times to come shall spum,
That those he nameth kinsmen have done the murderer's deed.
An had I breath," spake Siegfried, "to mourn o'er this I well had

Then spake, in anguish praying, the hero doomed to die:
" An wUt thou, king, to any yet not good faith deny,
In all the world to any, to thee commended be
And to thy loving mercy the spouse erstwhile was wed to me.

"Let it be her good fortime that she thy sister is:
By all the princely virtues, I beg thee pledge me this.
For me long time my father and men henceforth must wait:
Upon a spouse was never wrought, as mine, a wrong so great."

All around the flowers were wetted with the blood
As there with death he struggled. Yet not for long he could,
Because the deadly weapon had cut him all too sore:
And^soon the keen and noble knight was doomed to speak no more.

When the lords perceiv^ how that the knight was dead,
Upon a shield they laid him that was of gold full red.
And counsel took together how of the thing should naught
Be known, but held in secret that Hagen the deed had wrought.

Then spake of them a many: "This is an evil day.
Now shall ye all conceal it and all alike shall say.
When as Kriemhild's husband the dark forest through
Rode alone a-hunting, him the hand of robber slew."


Then spake of Tronje Hagen: "Myself will bring him home.
In sooth I reck but Uttle if to her ears it come.
Who my Lady Brunhild herself hath grieved so sore.
It maketh me small worry, an if she weep for evermore."


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f>ow ftdembil^ mourneD tor Bicgtticbf atiD Dow be was JSurled

There till the night they tarried and o'er the Rhine they went.
By knights in chase might never more evil day be spent;
For the game that there they hunted wept many a noble maid.
In sooth by many a valiant warrior must it since be paid.

Of hiunor fierce and wanton list now and ye shall hear,
And eke of direst vengeance. Hagen bade to bear
Siegfried thus lifeless, of the Nibelung country,
Unto a castle dwelling where Lady Kriemhild found might be.

He bade in secret manner to lay him there before
Where she should surely find him when she from out the door
Should pass to matins early, ere that had come the day.
In sooth did Lady Kriemhild full seldom fail the hour to pray.

When, as was wont, in minster the bell to worship bade,
Kriemhild, fair lady, wakened from slmnber many a maid:
A light she bade them bring her and eke her dress to wear.
Then hither came a chamberlain who Siegfried's corse found wait
ing there.

He saw him red and bloody, all wet his clothing too.
That it was his master, in sooth no whit he knew.
On unto the chamber the light in hand he bore,
Whereby the Lady Kriemhild did learn what brought her grief full

When she with train of ladies would to the minster go.
Then spake the chamberlain: " Pause, I pray thee now:
Here before thy dwelling a noble kni^t lies slain."
Thereat gan Lady Kriemhild in grief immeasiured sore to plain.


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Ere yet that 'twas her husband she did rightly find,
Had she Hagen's question begun to call to mind,
How might he protect him: then first did break her heart.
For all her joy in living did with his death from her depart.

Unto the earth then sank she ere she a word did say,
And reft of all her pleasure there the fair lady lay.
Soon had Kriemhild's sorrow all measure passed beyond:
She shrieked, when past the swooning, that did the chamber all

Then spake her attendants: "What ift a stranger were?"
From out her mouth the heart-blood did spring from anguish sore.
Then spake she: "It is Siegfried my husband, other none:
This thing hath coimselled Brunhild, and Hagen's hand the deed
hath done."

The lady bade them lead her where did lie the knight,
And his fair head she raised with her hand full white.
Red though it was and bloody she knew him yet straightway,
As all forlorn the hero of Nibelungenland there lay.


Then cried the queen in anguish, whose hand such wealth might

"O woe is me for sorrow I Yet is not thy shield
With blow of sword now battered, but murdered dost thou lie.
And knew I who hath done it, by my counsel should he die."

All of her attendants did weep and wail enow
With their beloved mistress, for filled they were with woe
For their noble master whom they should see no more.
For anger of Queen Brunhild had Hagen wrought revenge full sore.

Then spake Kriemhild sorrowing: "Hence now the message take,
And all the men of Siegfried shall ye straightway awake.
Unto Siegmund likewise tell ye my sorrow deep.
If that he will help me for the doughty Siegfried weep."


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Then ran straightway a messenger and soon he found at hand,
Siegfried's vaHant warriors of Nibelungenland.
Of joy he all bereft him with tale that he did bear,
Nor would they aught believe it till soimd of weeping met their ear.

The messenger came eke quickly where the king did lie,
Yet closed was not in sleeping the monarch Siegmund's eye:
I ween his heart did tell him the thing that there had been,
And that his dear son living might nevermore by him be seen.

"Awake, awake. Lord Siegmund. lEther hath sent for thee
Kriemhild my mistress. A wrong now beareth she,
A grief that 'fore all others imto her heart doth go:
To mourn it shalt thou help her, for sorely hast thou need thereto."

Up raised himself then Siegmimd. He spake: "What may it be
Of wrong that grieveth Kriemhild, as thou hast told to me?"
The messenger spake weeping: "Now may I naught withhold:
Know thou that of Netherland Siegfried brave lies slain and cold."

Thereto gave answer Siegmund: "Let now such mocking be
And tale of such ill tidings — an thou regardest me —
As that thou say'st to any now he lieth slain:
An were it so, I never unto my end might cease to plain."

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Online LibraryGeorge Henry NeedlerThe Nibelungenlied → online text (page 13 of 27)