George Henry Needler.

The Nibelungenlied online

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Kriemhild, dame high-stated, — ^full sad she was of mood —
There Ruediger awaited, the noble knight and good.
He foimd her in such raiment as daily she did wear:
The while were her attendants in dresses clad full rich and rare.

Unto the threshold went she the noble guest to meet.
And the man of Etzel did she full kindly greet.
Twelve knights there did enter, himself and eleven more,
And well were they receiver to her such guests came ne'er before.

The messenger to seat him and his men they gave command.
The twain valiant margraves saw ye before her stand,
Eckewart and Gere, the noble knights and keen.
Such was the lady's sorrow, none saw ye there of cheerful mien.

They saw before her sitting full many a lady fair,
And yet the Lady Kriemhild did naught but sorrow there.
The dress upon her bosom was wet with tears that fell,
And soon the noble margrave perceived her mickle grief full welL


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Then spake the lofty messenger: "Daughter of king full high.
To me and these my fellows that bear me company
Deign now the grace to grant us that we before thee stand
And tell to thee the tidings wherefore we rode unto thy land."

"That grace to thee is granted," spake the lofty queen;
" Whatever may be thy message, I'll let it now be seen
That I do hear it gladly: thou'rt welcome messenger."
That fruitless was their errand deemed the others well to hear.

Then spake of Bechelaren the noble Ruediger:
"Pledge of true love unto thee from lofty king I bear,
Etzel who bids thee, lady, here royal compliment;
He hath to woo thy favor knights full worthy hither sent

"His love to thee he offers full heartily and free:
Fidelity that lasteth he plighteth unto thee.
As erst to Lady Helke who o'er his heart held sway.
Yea, thinking on her virtues hath he full oft had joyless day.''


Then spake the royal lady: "O Margrave Ruediger,
If that known to any my sharp sorrows were.
Besought then were I never again to take me spouse.
Such ne'er was won by lady as the husband I did lose."

" What is that sootheth sorrow," the valiant knight replied,
"An be't not loving friendship whene'er that may betide.
And that each mortal choose him who his delight shall be?
Naught is that so availeth to keep the heart from sorrow free.

"Wilt thou minded be to love him, this noble master mine^
O'er mighty crowns a dozen the power shall be thine.
Thereto of princes thirty my lord shall give thee land,
The which hath all subdu^ the prowess of his doughty hand*


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•* O'er many a knight full worthy eke mistress shalt thou be
That my Lady Helke did serve right faithfully,
And over many a lady that served amid her train,
Of high and royal lineage," spake the keen and valiant thane.

"Thereto my lord will give thee — ^he bids to thee make known —
If that beside the monarch thou deign'st to wear a crown,
Power in fuUest measure that Helke e'er might boast:
The same in lordly manner shalt thou wield o'er EtzePs host."

Then spake the royal lady: "How might again my life
Have thereof desire to be a hero's wife?
Hath death in one already wrought me such sorrows sore,
That joyless must my days be from this time for evermore."

Then spake the men of Himland: "O royal high lady,
Thy life shall there by Etzel so full of honor be
Thy heart 'twill ever gladden if but may be such thing:
Full many a thane right stately doth homage to the mighty king.

"Might but Helke's maidens and they that wait on thee
E'er be joined together in one royal company.
Well might brave knights to see them wax merry in their mood.
Be, lady, now persuaded — 'tis verily thy surest good."

She spake in courteous manner: "Let further parley be
Until doth come the morrow. Then hither come to me.
So will I give my answer to bear upon your way."
The noble knights and worthy must straight therein her will obey.

When all from thence were parted and had their lodgings sought.
Then bade the noble lady that Giselher be brought.
And eke with him her mother. To both she then did tell
That meet for her was weeping, and naught might fit her mood so


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Then spake her brother Giselher: "Sister, to me 'tis told —
And well may I believe it — that thy grief manifold
Etzel complete will scatter, an tak'st thou him for man.
Whatever be other's counsel, meseems it were a thing well done.'*

Further eke spake Giselher: "Console thee well may he.
From Rhone unto Rhine river, from Elbe imto the sea.
King there is none other that holds so lordly sway.
An he for spouse do take thee, gladden thee full well he may."

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"Brother loved full dearly, wherefore dost coimsel it?
To mourn and weep forever doth better me befit.
How may I 'mid warriors appear in royal state?
Was ever fair my body, of beauty now 'tis desolate."

Then spake the Lady Ute her daughter dear imto:
"The thing thy brother counsels, my loving child, that do.
By thy friends be guided, then with thee well 'twill be.
Long time it now hath grieved me thee thus disconsolate to see.**

Then prayed she God with fervor that he might her provide
With store of gold and silver and raiment rich beside.
As erstwhile when her husband did live a stately thane:
Since then so happy hour never had she known again.

In her own bosom thought she: "An shall I not deny
My body to a heathen — a Christian lady I —
So must I while life lasteth have shame to be my own.
An gave he realms imnumbered, such thing by me mi^t ne'er be

And there withal she left it. The night through until day,
Upon her couch the lady with mind full troubled lay.
Nor yet her eyes full shining of tears at all were free,
Until upon the morrow forth to matins issued she.


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When for mass was sounded, came there the kings likewise.
Again did they their sister by faithful word advise
To take for spouse unto her of Hunland the king.
All joyless was the visage they saw the lady thither bring.

They bade the men of Etzel thither lead again,
Who unto their country fain their leave had ta'en,
Their message won or fruitless, how that soe'er mi^t be.
Unto the court came Ruediger. Full eager were his company

By the knight to be inform6d how the thing befell,
And if betimes they knew it 'twould please them all full well,
For weary was the journey and long unto their land.
Soon did the noble Ruediger again in Kriemhild's presence stand.

In full earnest manner then the knight gan pray
The high royal lady that she to him might say
What were from her the message to Etzel he should bear.
Naught but denial only did he from the lady hear,

For that her love might never by man again be won.
Thereto spake the margrave: "HI such thing were done.
Wherefore such fair body wilt thou to ruin give?
Spouse of knight full worthy may'st thou yet in honor live.**

Naught booted how they besought her, till that Ruediger
Spake in secret manner in the high lady's ear.
How Etzel should requite her for ills she e'er did know.
Then gan her mickle sorrow milder at the thought to grow.

Unto the queen then spake he: "Let now thy weeping be.
If 'mong the Huns hadst thou other none than me
And my faithful kinsmen and my good men alone,
Sorely must he repay it who hath aught to thee of evil done.**


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Thereat apace all lighter the lady's sorrow grew,
She spake: "So swear thou truly, what any 'gainst me do,
That thou wilt be the foremost my sorrows to requite."
Thereto spake the margrave: "Lady, to thee my word I plight."

With all his men together sware then Ruediger
Faithfully to serve her, and in all things whatsoe'er
Naught would e'er deny her the thanes from Etzel's land,
Whereof she might have honor: thereto gave Ruediger his hand.

Then thought the faithful lady: "Since I thus have won

Band of friends so faithful, care now have I none

How shall speak the people in my sore need of me.

The death of my loved husband perchance shall yet aveng^ be.**

Thought she: "Since hath Etzel so many knights and true,
An shall I but command them, whate'er I will I do.
Eke hath he such riches that free may be my hand:
Bereft of all my treasure by Hagen's faithless art I stand."

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Then spake she unto Ruediger: "Were it not, as I do know.
The king is yet a heathen, so were I fain to go
Whithersoe'er he willed it, and take him for my lord."
Thereto spake the margrave: "Lady, no longer hold such word.

"Such host he hath of warriors who Christians are as we,
That beside the monarch may care ne'er come to thee.
Yea, may he be baptiz6l through thee to Christian life:
Well may'st thou then rejoice thee to be the royal Etzel's wife."

Then spake again her brother: "Sister, thy favor lend,
That now all thy sorrow thereby may have an end."
And so long they besought her that full of sadness she
Her word at length had plighted the monarch Etzel's wife to be.


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She spake: "You will I follow, I most lorn lady,
That I fare to Hunland, as soon as it may be
That I friends have ready to lead me to his land."
Before the knights assembled fair Kriemhild pledged thereto her

Then spake again the margrave: "Two knights do serve thee true,
And I thereof have many: 'tis easy thing to do,
That thee with fitting honor across the Rhine we guide.
Nor shalt thou, lady, longer here in Burgundy abide.

" Good men have I five himdred, and eke my kinsmen stand
Ready here to serve thee and far in Etzel's land.
Lady, at thy bidding. And I do pledge the same,
Whene'er thou dost admonish, to serve thee without cause for shame.

"Now bid with full equipment thy horses to prepare:
Ruediger's true coimsel will bring thee sorrow ne'er;
And tell it to thy maidens whom thou wilt take with thee.
Full many a chosen warrior on the way shall join our company."

They had full rich equipment that once their train arrayed
The while that yet Uved Siegfried, so might she many a maid
In honor high lead with her, as she thence would fare.
What steeds all rich caparisoned awaited the high ladies therel

If till that time they ever in richest dress were clad,
Thereof now for their journey full store was ready made,
For that they of the monarch had such tidings caught.
From chests longtime well bolted forth the treasures rich were

Little were they idle until the fifth day.
But sought rich dress that folded secure in covers lay.
Kriemhild wide did open all her treasure there.
And largess great woiild give she unto the men of Ruediger.


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Still had she of the treasure of Nibdungenland,
(She weened the same in Hunland to deal with bounteous hand)
So great that himdred horses ne'er the whole might bear.
How stood the mind of ELriemhild, came the tidings unto Hagen's

He spake: "Since Kriemhild never may me in favor hold,
E'en so here must tarry Siegfried's store of gold.
Wherefore imto mine enemies such mickle treasiu-e go?
What with the treasure Kriemhild intendeth, that full well I know.

"Might she but take it thither, in sooth believe I that,
'Twould be dealt out in largess to stir against me hate.
Nor own they steeds sufficient the same to bear away.
'Twill safe be kept by Hagen — so shall they unto Kriemhild say."

When she did hear the story, with grief her heart was torn*
Eke unto the monarchs all three the tale was borne.
Fain would they prevent it: yet when that might not be.
Spake the noble Ruediger in this wise full joyfully:

"Wherefore, queen full stately, weep'st thou o'er this gold?
For thee will King Etzel in such high favor hold
When but his eyes behold thee, to thee such store he'll give
That ne'er thou may'st exhaust it: that, lady, by my word believe."

Thereto the queen gave answer: "Full noble Ruediger,
Greater treasure never king's daughter had for share
Than this that Hagen from me now hath ta'en away."
Then went her brother Gemot to the chamber where the treasure

With force he stuck the monarch's key into the door.
And soon of Kxiemhild's treasure they from the chamber bore
Marks full thirty thousand or e'en more plenteously.
He bade the guests to take it, which pleased King Gunther well
to see.


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Then Gotelinde's husband of Bechelaxen spake:
"An if my Lady Kriemhild with her complete mi^t take
What treasure e'er came hither from Nibelungenland,
Ne'er a whit would touch it mine or my royal lady's hand.

"Now bid them here to keep it, for ne'er the same I'll touch.
Yea, brought I from my coimtry of mine own wealth so much,
That we upon our journey may be full well supplied,
And ne'er have lack in outlay as in state we homeward ride."

Chests well filled a dozen from the time of old
Had for their own her maidens, of the best of gold
That e'er ye might discover: now thence away 'twas borne,
And jewels for the ladies upon the journey to be worn.

Of the might she yet was fearful of Hagen grim and bold.
Still had she of mass-money a thousand marks in gold,
That gave she for the soul's rest of her husband dear.
Such loving deed and faithful did touch the heart of Ruediger.

Then spake the lady mournful: "Who now that loveth me,
And for the love they bear me may willing exiles be.
Who with me to Hunland now away shall ride?
Take they of my treasure and steeds and meet attire provide."

Then did the margrave Eckewart answer thus the queen:
"Since I from the beginning of thy train have been.
Have I e'er right faithful served thee," spake the thane,
"And to the end I'll ever thus faithful unto thee remain.

"Eke will I lead with me five himdred of my men,
Whom I grant to serve thee in' faithful way again.
Nor e'er shall we be parted till that we be dead."
Low bowing thanked him Kriemhild, as verily might be his meed.


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Forth were brought the horses, for that they thence would fare.
Then was a mickle weeping of friends that parted there.
Ute, queen full stately, and many a lady more
Showed that from Lady Kriemhild to part did grieve their hearts
full sore.

A himdred stately maidens with her she led away,
And as for them was fitting, full rich was their array.
Many a bitter tear-drop from shining eye fell down:
Yet joys knew they full many eke in EtzePs land anon.

Thither came Sir Giselher and Gemot as well.
And with them train of followers, as duty did compel.
Safe escort would they fiunish for their dear sister then.
And with them led of warriors a thousand brave and stately men.

Then came the valiant Gere, and Ortwein eke came he:
R\miold the High Steward might not absent be.
Unto the Danube did they night-quarters meet provide.
Short way beyond the dty did the royal Gunther ride.

Ere from the Rhine they started had they forward sent
Messengers that full quickly imto Hunland went.
And told unto the monarch how that Ruediger
For spouse at length had won him the high-bom queen beyond


Dow ItticmbUD tatcD to tbc Duna

The messengers leave we riding. Now shall ye imderstand
How did the Lady Elriemhild journey through the land,
And where from her were parted Gemot and Giselher.
Upon her had they waited as faithful unto her they were.


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As far as to the Danube at Vergen did they ride,
Where must be the parting from their royal sister's side,
For that again they homeward would ride imto the Rhine.
No eye but wet from weeping in all the company was seen.

Giselher the valiant thus to his sister said:
" If that thou ever, lady, need hast of my aid,
And fronts thee aught of trouble, give me to understand.
And straight I'll ride to serve thee afar unto King EtzePs land."

Upon the mouth then kissed she all her friends full dear.
The escort soon had taken eke leave of Ruediger
And the margrave's warriors in manner lovingly.
With the queen upon her journey went many a maid full fair to see

Four beyond a hundred there were, all richly clad
In silk of cunning pattern. Many a shield full broad
On the way did guard the ladies in hand of valiant thane.
Full many a stately warrior from thence did backward tvim again.

Thence away they hastened down through Bavarian land.
Soon were told the tidmgs how that was at hand
A mickle host of strangers, where a cloister stands from yore
And where the Inn its torrent doth into Danube river pour.

At Passau in the dty a lordly bishop bode.
Empty soon each lodging and bishop's palace stood:
To Bavarian land they hastened the high guests to meet.
And there the Bishop Pilgrim the Lady Kriemhild fair did greet

The warriors of that country no whit grieved they were
Thus to see follow with her so many a maiden fair.
Upon those high-bom ladies their eyes with joy did rest.
Full comfortable quarters prepared they for each noble guest


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With his niece the bishop unto Passau rode.
When among the burghers the story went abroad,
That thither was come Kriemhild, the bishop's niece full fair,
Soon did the towns-people reception meet for her prepare.

There to have them tarry was the bishop fain.
To him spake Sir Eckewart: "Here may we not remain.
Unto Ruediger's coimtry must we journey down.
Thanes many there await us, to whom our coming well is known."

The tidings now knew likewise Lady Gotelinde fair.
Herself and noble daughter did them quick prepare.
Message she had from Ruediger that he well pleased would be,
Should she unto Lady Kriemhild show such courtesy,

That she ride forth to meet her, and bring his warriors true
Upward unto the Ense. When they the tidings knew,
Saw ye how on all sides they thronged the busy way.
Forth to meet the strangers rode and eke on foot went they.

As far as Everdingen meanwhile was come the queen:
In that Bavarian country on the way were never seen
Robbers seeking plunder, as e'er their custom was:
Of fear from such a quarter had the travellers little cause.

'Gainst that had well provided the noble margrave:
A band he led that numbered good thousand warriors brave.
There was eke come Gotelinde, spouse of Ruediger,
And bearing her high company full many noble knights there were.

When came they o'er the Traime by Ense on the green,
There full many an awning outstretched and tent was seen.
Wherein that night the strangers should find them welconcke rest*
Well was made provision by Ruediger for each high guest


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Not long fair Gotelinde did in her quarters stay,
But left them soon behind her. Then coursed upon the way
With merry jingling bridle many a well-shaped steed.
Full fair was the reception: whereat was Ruediger right glad.

On one side and the other did swell the stately train
Knights that rode full gaily, many a noble thane.
As they in joust disported, full many a maid looked on,
Nor to the queen unwelcome was the riders' service done.

As rode there 'fore the strangers the men of Ruediger,
From shaft full many a splinter saw ye fly in air
In hand of doughty warrior that jousted lustily.
Them might ye 'fore the ladies pricking in stately manner see.

Anon therefrom they rested. Knights many then did greet
Full coiuteously each other. Then forth Kriemhild to meet
Went the fair Gotelinde, by gallant warriors led.
Those skilled in lady's service, — little there the rest they had.

The lord of Bechelaren unto his lady rode. .
Soon the noble margravine her high rejoicing showed.
That all safe and soimd he from the Rhine was come again.
The care that filled her bosom by mickle joy from her was ta'en.

When him she had received, her on the green he bade
Dismount with all the ladies that in her train she led.
There saw ye all imidle many a knight of high estate.
Who with full ready service upon the ladies then did wait.

Then saw the Lady Kriemhild the margravine where she stood
Amid her fair attendants: nearer not she rode.
Upon the steed that bore her the rein she drew full tight.
And bade them straightway help her adown from saddle to alight.


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The bishop saw ye leading his sister's daughter fair,
And with him eke went Eckewart to Gotelinde there.
The willing folk on all sides made way before their feet
With kiss did Gotelinde the dame from land far distant greet

Then spake in manner kindly the wife of Ruediger:
"Right glad am I, dear lady, that I thy visage fair
Have in this our country with mine own eyes seen.
In these times might never greater joy to me have been."

"God give thee meed," spake Kriemhild, "Gotelinde, for this

If with son of Botelung happy may be my place.
May it henceforth be thy profit that me thou here dost see."
Yet all imknown to either was that which yet anon must be.

With curtsy to each other went full many a maid.
The knights a willing service unto the ladies paid.
After the greeting sat they adown upon the green;
Knew many then each other that hitherto had strangers been.

For the ladies they poured refreshment. Now was come mid-day.
And did those high attendants there no longer stay,
But went where found they ready many a spreading tent.
Full willing was the service unto the noble guests they lent

The night through until morning did they rest them there.
They of Bechelaren meanwhilie did prepare
That into fitting quarters each high guest be brought.
'Twas by the care of Ruediger that never one did want for aught.

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Open ye saw the windows the castle walls along.
And the burgh at Bechelaren its gates wide open flung.
As through the guests went pricking, that there full welcome were.
For them the lord full noble had bidden quarters meet prepare.


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Ruediger's fair daughter with her attendant train
Came forth in loving manner to greet the lofty queen.
With her was eke her mother the stately margravine;
There full friendly greeting of many a maiden fair was seen.

By the hand they took each other and thence did pass each pair
Into a Hall full spacious, the which was builded fair,
And 'neath its walls the Danube flowed down with rushing tide.
As breezes cool played round them, might they full happy there

What they there did further, tell it not I can.
That they so long did tarry, heard ye the knights complain
That were of Kriemhild's company, who unwilling there abode.
What host of valiant warriors with them from Bechelaren rodel

Full kindly was the service did render Ruediger,
Likewise gave Lady Kriemhild twelve golden armbands rare
To Gotelinde's daughter, and dress so richly wrought
That finer was none other that into Etzel's land she brought

Though Nibelungen treasiure from her erstwhile was ta'en.
Good-will of all that knew her did she e'er retain
With such little portion as yet she did command.
Unto her host's attendants dealt she thereof with bounteous hand.

The Lady Gotelinde such honors high again
Did pay in gracious manner to the guests afar from Rhine
That of all the strangers found ye never one
That wore not rich attire from her, and many a predous stone.

When they their fast had broken and would thence depart,
The lady of the castle did pledge with faithful heart
Unto the wife of Etzel service true to bear.
Kriemhild caressed full fondly the margravine's young daughter


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To the queen then spake the maiden: "K e'er it pleaseth thee.
Well know I that my father dear full willingly
Unto thee will send me where thou livest in Himland."
That faithful was the maiden, full well did Eriemhild imderstand.

Now ready were the horses the qistle steps before,
And soon the queen full stately did take her leave once more
Of the lovely daughter and spouse of Ruediger.
Eke parted with fair greeting thence full many a maiden fair.

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Online LibraryGeorge Henry NeedlerThe Nibelungenlied → online text (page 16 of 27)