George Henry Needler.

The Nibelungenlied online

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" Wilt thou now believe not the tidings that I bear,
So may'st thyself the Lady Kriemhild weeping hear,
And all of her attendants, that Siegfried lieth dead."
With terror filled was Siegmund: whereof in very sooth was need.

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He and his men a himdred from their beds they sprang.
Then snatched in hand full quickly swords both sharp and long,
And toward the sound of weeping in sorrow sore did speed.
There came a thousand warriors eke of the valiant knight Siegfried.


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When they heard the women weeping in such sore distress
Thought some, strict custom keeping, we first must don our dress.
In sooth for very sorrow their wits no more had they,
For on their hearts a burden of grief full deep and heavy lay.

Then came the monarch Siegmund where he Kriemhild espied.
He spake: "Alack that ever to this country I did ridel
Who in such wondrous manner, and while good friends are near.
Hath of my child bereft me and thee of spouse thou hold'st so dear ?"

"Ah, might I him discover," spake the lady high,
"Evermore would mercy I to him deny.
Such meed of vengeance should he at my hands receive
That all who call him kinsman reason good should have to grieve.*'

Siegmund the monarch in arms the knight did press.
And of his friends there gathered so great was the distress,
That from the mighty wailing palace and wide hall
And Worms the city likewise with sound of woe re-echoed alL

None was who aught might comfort the wife of Siegfried there.
They drew the knight's attire from oflF his body fair.
From wounds the blood, too, washed they and laid him on the

Then from all his people a mighty wailing might ye hear.

Then outspake his warriors of Nibelimgenland:
"Until he be avenged rest shall not oiu: hand.
He is within this castle who the deed hath done."
Then rushed to find their weapons Siegfried's warriors every one.

The knights of chosen valor with shields did thither throng,
Eleven himdred warriors, that did to train belong
Of Siegmund the monarch. That his son lay dead,
Would he wreak dire vengeance, whereof in very sooth was need.


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Yet knew they not whom should they beset in battle then,
If it were not Gunther and with him his men
With whom their lord Siegfried unto the himting rode.
Yet filled with fear was Kriemhild when she beheld how armed they

How great soe'er her sorrow and stem the grief she bore,
Yet for the Nibelungen feared she death full sore
From her brother's warriors, and bade them hold their wrath.
She gave them kindly warning as friend to &iend beloved doth.

Then spake she rich in sorrow: "What thing beginnest thou,
Good my lord Siegmund? This case thou dost not know.
In sooth hath here King Gunther so many a valiant knight,
Lost are ye all together, will ye the thanes withstand in fight."

With shields upraised they ready for the fight did stand.
But the queen full noble did straightway give command
To those high knights, and prayed them, their purpose to give o'er.
That she might not dissuade them, in sooth to her was sorrow sore.

Spake she thus: "Lord Siegmimd, thou shalt this thing let be
Until more fitting season. Seek will I e'er with thee
Full to avenge my husband. Who him from me hath ta'en,
An I shall know him guilty, in me shall surely find his bane.

" Of warriors proud and mighty are many here by Rhine,
Therefore will I advise not the struggle to begin.
For one that we can muster good thirty men have they;
As unto us their dealing, God them requite in equal way.

"Here shall ye bide with me and help my grief to bear;
Soon as dawns the morning, ye noble knights and rare.
Help me my loved husband prepare for burial."
"That shall be done full willing," spake the doughty warriors alL


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To you could never any full the wonder say,
Of knights and noble ladies, so full of grief were they,
That the sound of wailing through the town was heard afar,
Whereat the noble burghers hastily did gather there.

With the guests they mourned together, for sore they grieved as well.
What was the guilt of Siegfried none to them might tell.
Wherefore the knight so noble thus his life should lose.
Then wept with the high ladies many a worthy burgher's spouse.

Smiths they bade a casket work full hastily
AU of gold and silver that great and strong should be.
They bade them fast to weld it with bands of steel full good.
Then saw ye all the people stand right sorrowful of mood.

Now the night was over, for day, they said, drew near.
Then bade the noble lady unto the minster bear
Siegfried her lord full lov^d for whom she mourned so.
Whoe'er was friend unto him, him saw ye weeping thither go.

As they brought him to the minster bells full many rung.
On every hand then heard ye how priests did chant their song.
Thither with his followers came Gunther the king
And eke the grim knight Hagen where was sound of sorrowing.

He spake: "Full loving sister, alack for grief to thee.
And that from such great evil spared we might not be!
Henceforth must we ever mourn for Siegfried's sake."
"That do ye without reason," full of woe the lady spake.

"If that ye griev&i for it, befallen were it not.
For say I may full truly, me had ye all forgot
There where I thus was parted from my husband dear.
Would it God," spake Kriemhild, " that done unto myself it were!'*


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Fast they yet denied it. Kriemhild spake j^gain:
"If any speak him guiltless, let here be seen full plain.
Unto the bier now shall he before the people go;
Thus the truth full quickly may we in this manner know."

It is a passing wonder that yet full oft is seen,
Where blood-bespotted slayer beside slain corse hath been,
That from the wounds come blood-drops, as here it eke befell.
Thereby the guilt of Hagen might they now full plainly tell.

Now ran the woimds all bloody like as they did before.
Who erstwhile wept full sorely now wept they mickle more.
Then spake the monarch Gimther: "To thee the truth be known:
Slain hath he been by robbers, nor is this deed by Hagen done."

"Of these same robbers," spake she, "full well I understand.
God give that yet may vengeance wreak some friendly hand.
Gunther and Hagen, yourselves have done this deed."
Then looked for bloody conflict the valiant thanes that served

Then spake imto them Kriemhild: "Now bear with me my need,"
Kjiights twain came likewise hither and did find him dead, —
Gemot her brother and the young Giselher.
With upright hearts then joined they with the others grief to share.

They mourned for ELriemhild's husband with hearts all full of woe.
A mass should then be chanted: to the minster forth did go
Man and child and woman gathered from every side.
E'en they did likewise mourn him who little lost that Siegfried died.

Gemot and Giselher spake: "O Sister dear.
Now comfort thee in sorrow, for death is ever near.
Amends we'll make unto thee the while that we shall live."
In the world might never any imto her a comfort give.

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His coffin was made ready about the middle day.
From off the bier they raised him whereupon he lay.
But yet would not the lady let him be laid in grave.
Therefor must all the people first a mickle trouble have.

In a shroud all silken they the dead man wound.
I ween that never any that wept not might be found.
There mourned full of sorrow Ute the queen full high
And all of her attendants that such a noble knight did die.

When did hear the people how they in minster sung,
And that he there lay coffined, came then a mickle throng:
For his souPs reposing what offerings they bore!
JB'en amid his enemies found he of good friends a store.

Kriemhild the poor lady to her attendants spake:
"Let them shun no trouble to suffer for my sake,
Who to him are friendly-minded and me in honor hold;
For the soul of Siegfried meted be to them his gold."

Child so small there was not, did it but reason have,
But offering carried thither. Ere he was laid in grave,
More than a hundred masses upon the day they sung.
Of all the friends of Siegfried was gathered there a mickle throng.

When were the masses over, the folk departed soon.
Then spake the Lady Kriemhild: "Leave ye me not alone
To pass the night in watching by this chosen thane now dead,
With whose passing from me all my joy of life hath fled.

"Three days and three nights further shall he lie on bier,
Until my heart find quiet that weeps for spouse so dear.
God perchance commandeth that death eke me do take:
That were for me poor Kriemhild fit end of all my woe to make."




Then of the town the people went to their homes again.
Priests and monks yet bade she longer there remain,
And all the hero's followers who willing served alway.
They watched a night all gruesome, and full of toil was eke the day,

Meat and drink forgetting abode there many a one.
If any were would take it 'twas imto all made known.
That have they might in plenty: thus did provide Siegmund.
Then for the Nibelungen did trouble and sore need aboimd.

The while the three days lasted — such the tale we hear —
All who could join the chanting, mickle must they bear
There of toil and trouble. What gifts to them they bore!
Rich were seen full many who did suffer need before.

As many poor as found they who themselves had naught,
By them yet an offering bade they there be brought.
Of gold of Siegfried's treasmre. Though he no more might live.
Yet for his soul's reposing marks many thousand did they give.

Land of fruitful income bestowed Kriemhild around,
Wheresoever cloisters and worthy folk were found.
Silver and apparel to the poor she gave in store.
And in good manner showed she that truest love to him she bore.

Upon the third morning at the mass' tide
Was there beside the minster filled the chmrch-yard wide
With coimtry-folk a-weeping that came from far and near:
In death they yet did serve him as is meet for friend full dear.

And so it hath been told us, ere these four days were o'er,
Mai^ full thirty thousand, yea, in sooth, and more.
For his soul's reposing to the poor were given there:
The while that lay all broken his life and eke his body fair.


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When ended was the service and full the masses sung,
In unrestrained sorrow there the flock did throng.
They bade that from the minster he to the grave be borne.
Them that fain had kept him there beheld ye weep and mourn.

Thence full loud lamenting did the people with him pass.
Unmoved there never any nor man nor woman was.
Ere that in grave they laid him chanted they and read.
What host of priests full worthy at his burial were gathered!

Ere that the wife of Siegfried was come imto the grave,
With water from the fountain full oft her face they lave,
So struggled with her sorrow the faithful lady fair.
Great beyond all measure was the grief that she did bear.

It was a mickle wonder that e'er her life she kept.
Many a lady was there that helped her as she wept.
Then spake the queen full noble: "Ye men that service owe
To Siegfried, as ye love me, now to me a mercy show.

"Upon this sorrow grant ye the little grace to me
That I his shining visage yet once more may see."
So filled she was with anguish and so long time she sought,
Perforce they must break open the casket all so fairly wrought.

Where she did see him lying they then the lady led.
With hand full white and spotless raised she his fair head;
Then kissed she there all lifeless the good and noble knight, —
And wept so that for sorrow ran blood from out her eyes so bright.

Mournful was the parting that then did rend the twain.
Thence away they bore her, nor might she walk again,
But in a swoon did senseless the stately lady lie.
In sooth her winsome body for sorrow sore was like to di^


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When they the knight full noble now m the grave had laid,
Beheld ye every warrior beyond all measure sad
That with him was come hitiier from Nibelung country.
Full seldom joyous-hearted might ye royal Siegmund see.

And many were among them that for sorrow great
Till three days were over did nor drink nor eat.
Yet might they not their bodies long leave uncared-for so:
For food they turned from mourning as people still are wont to do.

1)ow Siegmund tared tome Bgafn

Then went royal Siegmimd where he Kriemhild found.
Unto the queen spake he: "Home must we now be bound.
We ween that guests unwelcome here are we by the Rhine.
Kriemhild, beloved lady, come now to country that is mine.

"Though from us hath been taken by foul traitor's hand
Thy good spouse and noble here in stranger land.
Thine be it not to suffer: good friend thou hast in me
For sake of son belov^: thereof shalt thou undoubting be.

" Eke shalt thou have, good lady, all the power to hold.
The which erstwhile hath shown thee Siegfried the thane full bold.
The land and the crown likewise, be they thine own to call.
And gladly eke shall serve thee Siegfried's doughty warriors all."

Then did they tell the servants that they thence would ride,
And straight to fetch the horses these obedient hied.
'Mid such as so did hate them it grieved them more to stay:
Ladies high and maidens were bidden dress them for the way.


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When that for royal Siegmund stood ready horse and man.
Her kinsmen Lady Kriemhild to beseech began
That she from her mother would still forbear to go.
Then spake the lofty lady: " That might hardly yet be so.

"How might I for ever look with eyes upon
Him that to me, poor woman, such evil thing hath done?''
Then spake the youthful Giselher: "Sister to me full dear,
By thy goodness shalt thou tarry with thy mother here."

"Who in this wise have harmed thee and so grieved thy heart.
Thyself may'st spium their service: of what is mine take part."
Unto the knight she answered: "Such thing may never be.
For die I must for sorrow when that Hagen I should see."

" From need thereof I'll save thee, sister full dear to me,
For with thy brother Giselher shalt thou ever be.
I'll help to still thy sorrow that thy husband lieth dead."
Then spake she sorrow-stricken : " Thereof in sooth had Kriemhild

When that the youthful Giselher such kindly offer made,
Then her mother Ute and Gemot likewise prayed.
And all her faithful kinsmen, that she would tarry there:
For that in Siegfried's country but few of her own blood there were.

"To thee they all are strangers," did Gemot further say.
Nor lived yet man so mighty but dead at last he lay.
Bethink thee that, dear sister, in comfort of thy mood.
Stay thou amid thy kinsmen, I counsel truly for thy good."

To Giselher she promised that she would tarry there.
For the men of Siegmund the horses ready were.
When they thence would journey to the Nibelungen land:
On carrying-horses laden the knights' attire did ready stand.


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Went the royal Siegmund unto Kriemhild then;
He spake unto the lady: "Now do Siegfried's men
Await thee by the horses. Straight shall we hence away,
For 'mid the men of Burgundy imwiUing would I longer stay."

Then spake the Lady Kriemhild: " My friends have counselled me,
That by the love I bear them, here my home shall be,
For that no kinsmen have I in the Nibelungen land."
Grieved full sore was Siegmund when he did Kriemhild understand.

Then spake the royal Siegmund: "To such give not thine ear,
A queen 'mid all my kinsmen, thou a crown shalt wear
And wield as lordly power as e'er till now thou hast.
Nor thou a whit shalt forfeit, that we the hero thus have lost.

"And journey with us thither, for child's sake eke of thine:
Him shalt thou never, lady, an orphan leave to pine.
When hath grown thy son to manhood, he'll comfort thee thy mood.
Meanwhile shall ready serve thee many a warrior keen and good."

She spake: "O royal Siegmimd, I may not thither ride.
For I here must tarry, whate'er shall me betide,
'Mid them that are my kinsmen, who'll help my grief to share."
The knights had sore disquiet that such tidings they must hear.

"So might we say full truly," spake they every one,
"That imto us still greater evil now were done,
Would'st thou longer tarry here amid our foes:
In sooth were never journey of knights to court more full of woes."

"Now may ye free from trouble in God's protection fare:
I'll bid that trusty escort shall you have in care
Unto Siegmimd's country. My child full dear to me,
Unto your knights' good mercy let it well commended be."


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When that they well perceived how she would not depart.
Wept all the men of Siegmund and sad they were at heart.
In what right heavy sorrow Siegmund then took leave
Of the Lady Kriemhildl Full sore thereover must he grieve.

" Woe worth this journey hither," the lofty monarch spake.
"Henceforth from merry meeting shall nevermore overtake
King or his faithful kinsmen what here our meed hath been.
Here 'mid the men of Burgundy may we never be more seen."

Then spake the men of Siegfried in open words and plain:
" An might we right discover who our lord hath slain,
Warriors bent on vengeance shall yet lay waste this ground.
Among his kin in plenty may doughty foemen be found."

Anon he kissed Kriemhild and spake sorrowfully.
When she there would tarry, and he the same did see:
"Now ride we joy-forsaken home unto our land.
First now what 'tis to sorrow do I rightly imderstand."

From Worms away sans escort unto the Rhine they rode:
I ween that they full surely did go in such grim mood,
That had against them any aught of evil dared,
Hand of keen Nibelungen had known full well their life to guard.

Nor parting hand they offered to any that were there.
Then might ye see how Gemot and likewise Giselher
Did give him loving greeting. That as their very own
They felt the wrong he suffered, by the courteous knights and brave
was shown.

Then spake in words full kindly the royal knight Gemot:
" God in heaven knoweth that of guilt Pve naught
In the death of Siegfried, that e'er I e'en did hear
WTio here to him were hostile. Well may I of thy sorrow share,**


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An escort safe did furnish the young knight Giselher:
Forth from out that country he led them full of care,
The monarch with his warriors, to Netherland their home.
How joyless is the greeting as thither to their kin they cornel

How fared that folk thereafter, that can I nowise say.
Here heard ye Kriemhild plaining as day did fdlow day,
That none tiiere was to comfort her heart and sorry mood,
Did Giselher not do it; he faithful was to her and good.

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The while the fair Queen Brunhild in mood full haughty sat,
And weep however did Eiiemhild, but little recked she that.
Nor whit to her of pity displayed she evermore.
Anon was Lady Kriemhild eke cause to her of sorrow sore.

f)ow tbe fiibelunoen tontD wa^ Srougbt to HQlonnB


When that the noble Kriemhild thus did widowed stand.
Remained there with his warriors by her in that land
Eckewart the margrave, and served her ever true.
And he did help his mistress oft to mourn his master too.

1 102

At Worms a house they built her the minster high beside.
That was both rich and spacious, full long and eke full wide,
Wherein with her attendants joyless did she dwell.
She sought the minster gladly, — that to do she loved full well.

1 103

Seldom omdone she left it, but thither went alway

In sorry mood where buried her loved husband lay.

God b^ed she in his mercy his soul ipe charge to keep.

And, to the thane right faithful, for him full often did she weep.


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1 104
Ute and her attendants all times a comfort bore, ^
But yet her heart was stricken and woimded all so sore
That no whit might avail it what solace e'er they brought.
For lover taken from her with such grief her heart was fraught,

1 105
As ne'er for spouse belov^ a wife did ever show.
Thereby how high in virtue she stood ye well might know.
She mourned until her ending and while did last her life.
Anon a mighty vengeance wreaked the valiant Siegfried's wife. .

1106 i
And so such load of sorrow for her dead spouse she bore,
The story sayeth truly, for years full three or more.
Nor ever xmto Gunther any word spake she,
And meantime eke her enemy Hagen never might she see.

1 107
Then spake of Tronje Hagen: "Now seek'st thou such an end,
That unto thee thy sister be well-dispos^ friend?
Then Nibelungen treasure let come to this country:
Thereof thou much might'st win thee, might Kriemhild friendly-
minded be."

1 108
He spake: "Be that our effort. My brothers' love hath she:
Them shall we beg to win her that she our friend may be.
And that she gladly see it that we do share her store."
" I trow it well," spake Hagen, " may such thing be nevermore."

Then did he Ortwein unto the court command
And the margrave Gere. When both were found at hand,
Thither brought they Gemot and eke young Giselher.
In friendly manner sought they to win the Lady Kriemhild there.

Then spake of Burgundy Gemot the warrior strong:
"Lady, the death of Siegfried thou moumest all too long.
Well will the monarch prove thee that him he ne'er hath slain.
'Tis heard how that right sorely thou dost for him tmending plain."


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She spake: "The king none chargeth: t'was Hagen's hand that

When Hagen me did question where might one pierce him through,
How might e'er thought come to me that hate his heart did bear?
Then 'gainst such thing to guard me," spake she, " had I ta'en good


" And kept me from betraying to evil hands his life,
Nor cause of this my weeping had I his poor lorn wife.
My heart shall hate forever who this foul deed have done.'*
And further to entreat her young Giselher had soon b^im.

When that to greet the monarch a willing mind spake she,
Him soon with noble kinsmen before her might ye see.
Yet dare might never Hagen ' unto her to go:
On her he'd wrought sore evil, as well his guilty mind did know.

When she no hatred meted unto Gunther as before,
By Hagen to be greeted were fitting all the more.
liad but by his counsel no ill to her been done.
So might he all imdaunted unto Kriemhild have gone.

Nor e'er was peace new offered kindred friends among
Sealed with tears so many. She brooded o'er her wrong.
To all she gave her friendship save to one man alone.
Nor slain her spouse were ever, were not the deed by Hagen done.

Small time it was thereafter ere they did bring to pass
That with the Lady Kriemhild the mighty treasure was,
That from Nibelungen coimtry she brought the Rhine imto.
It was her bridal portion and 'twas fairly now her due.

For it did journey thither Gemot and Giselher.
Warriors eighty hxmdred Kriemhild commanded there
That they should go and fetch it where hidden it did lie,
And where the good thane Alberich with friends did guard it faithfuDy.


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When saw they coming warriors from Rhine the hoard to take,
Alberich the full valiant to his friends in this wise spake:
"We dare not of the treasure aught from them withhold:
It is her bridal portion, — thus the noble queen hath told.

"Yet had we never granted," spake Alberich, "this to do,
But that in evil manner the sightless mantle too
With the doughty Siegfried we alike did lose,
The which did wear at all times the fair Kriemhild's noble spouse.

"Now alas hath Siegfried had but evil gain
That from us the sightless mantle the hero thus hath ta'en,
And so hath forced to serve him all these lands around."
Then went forth the porter where full soon the keys he found.

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Online LibraryGeorge Henry NeedlerThe Nibelungenlied → online text (page 14 of 27)