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The Nibelungenlied online

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Each other they full seldom thereafter might behold.
From MedeHck were carried beakers rich of gold
In hand and eke full many, wherein was sparkling wine:
Upon the way were greeted thus the strangers from the Rhine.

High there a lord was seated, Astold the name he bore.
Who that into Osterland did lead the way before
As far as to Mautaren adown the Danube's side.
There did they fitting service for the lofty queen provide.

Of his niece the bishop took leave in loving wise.
That she well should bear her, did he oft advise,
And that she win her honor as Helke ersf Imd done.
Ah, how great the honor anon that 'mid the Huns she waal

Unto the Traisem brought they forth the strangers then.
Fair had they attendance from Ruediger's men.
Till o'er the country riding the Huns came them to meet.
With mickle honor did they then the royal lady greet.

For had the king of Hunland, Traisem's stream beside,
A full mighty castle, known afar and wide,
The same hight Traisenmauer: Dame Helke there before
Did sit, such boimteous mistress as scarce ye ever might see more.


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An it were not Kriemhild who could such bounty show,
That after dajrs of sorrow the pleasure she might know,
To be held in honor by EtzePs men each one:
That praise in fullest measure had she amid those thanes anon.

Afar the might of Etzel so well was known around,
That at every season within his court were found
Knights of all the bravest, whereof ye e'er did hear
In Christian lands or heathen: with him all thither come they were.

By him at every season, as scarce might elsewhere be.
Knights both of Christian doctrine and heathen use saw ye.
Yet in what mind soever did each and every stand,
To all in fullest measure dealt the king with boimteous hand.

feow Et3el ^ept tbe WLcb^ing^taat witb ^tfembflOj!

At Traisenmauer she tarried until the fourth day.
Upon the ro^d the dust-clouds meanwhile never lay.
But rose like smoke wt^fire around on every side:
Onward then through Austria King Etzel's warriors did ride.

Then eke unto the monarch such tidings now were told,
That at the thought did vanish all his grief of old,
In what high manner Kriemhild should in his land appear.
Then gan the monarch hasten where he did find the lady fair.

Of many a tongue and varied upon the way were seen
Before King Etzel riding full many warriors keen.
Of Christians and of heathen a spreading company.
To greet their coming mistress forth they rode in fair array.


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Of Reuss men and Greeks there great was the tale,
And rapid saw ye ridmg the Wallach and the Pole
On chargers full of mettle that they did deftly guide.
Their own country's custom did they in no wise lay aside.

From the land of Kief rode there full many a thane,
And the wild Petschenegers. Full many a bow was drawn,
As at the flying wild-fowl through air the bolt was sped.
With might the bow was bended as far as to the arrow's head.

A dty by the Danube in Osterland doth stand,
Hight the same is Tulna: of many a distant land
Saw Kriemhild there the customs, ne'er yet to her were known.
To many there did greet her sorrow befell through her anon.

Before the monarch Etzel rode a company
Of merry men and mighty, courteous and fair to see.
Good four-and-twenty chieftains, mighty men and bold.
Naught else was their desire save but their mistress to behold.

Then the Duke Ramung from far Wallachia
With seven hundred warriors dashed forth athwart her way;
Their going might ye liken unto birds in flight.
Then came the chieftain Gibeke, with his host a stately sight.

Eke the valiant Hombog with full thousand men
From the king went forward to greet his mistress then.
After their coimtry's custom in joy they shouted loud;
The doughty thanes of Hunland likewise in merry tourney rode.

Then came a chief from Denmark, Hawart bold and keen,
And the valiant Iring, in whom no guile was seen.
And Imfried of Thuringia, a stately knight to see:
Kriemhild they greeted that honor high therefrom had she,


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With good knights twelve hundred whom led they in their train.
Thither with three thousand came Bloedel eke, the thane
That was King EtzePs brother out of Hunland:
Unto his royal mistress led he then his stately band.

Then did come King Etzel and Dietrich by his side
With all his doughty fellows. In state there saw ye ride
Many a knight full noble, valiant and void of fear.
The heart of Lady Kriemhild did such host of warriors cheer.

Then to his royal mistress spake Sir Ruediger:
"Lady, now give I greeting to the high monarch here.
Whom to kiss I bid thee, grant him such favor then:
For not to all like greeting may'st thou give *mid Etzel's men."

They lifted then from saddle the dame of royal state.
Etzel the mighty monarch might then no longer wait,
But sprang from off his charger with many a warrior keen:
Unto Kriemhild hasting full joyously he then was seen.

As is to us related, did there high princes twain
By the lady walking bear aloft her train,
As the royal Etzel went forward her to meet.
And she the noble monarch with kiss in kindly wise did greet.

Aside she moved her wimple, whereat her visage fair
Gleamed 'mid the gold aroimd it. Though many a knight stood

They deemed that Lady Helke did boast not fairer face.
Full dose beside the monarch his brother Bloedel had his place.

To kiss him then Margrave Ruediger her did tell.
And eke the royal Gibeke and Sir Dietrich as well.
Of highest knights a dozen did EtzePs spouse embrace;
Other knights full many she greeted with a lesser grace.


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All the while that Etzel stood by Kriemhild so,
Did the youthful riders as still they're wont to do:
In varied toumey saw ye each 'gainst the other pass,
Christian knights and heathen, as for each the custom was.

From men that followed Dietrich saw ye in kindly wise
Splinters from the lances flying high arise
AJoft above their bucklers, from hand of good knight senti
By the German strangers pierced was many a shield and roit.

From shaft of lances breaking did far the din resound.
Together came the warriors from all the land around.
Eke the guests of the monarch and many a knight there was.
Thence did the mighty monarch then with Lady Kriemhild pass.

Stretched a fair pavilion beside them there was seen:
With tents as well was covered all aroimd the green,
Where they now might rest them all that weary were.
By high-bom knights was thither led full many a lady fair

With their royal mistress, where in rich cushioned chair
Sat the queen full stately. *Twas by the margrave's care
That well had been provided, with all that seem6d good,
A worthy seat for Kriemhild: thereat was Etzel glad of mood.

What was by Etzel spoken, may I not understand.
In his right hand resting lay her fair white hand.
They sat in loving fashion, nor Ruediger would let
The king have secret converse with Lady Kriemhild as yet

'Twas bidden that the jousting on all sides they give o'er.
The din of stately toumey heard ye then no more.
All the men of Etzel unto their tents did go,
For every warrior present did they full spacious lodging show.


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And now the day was ended and they did rest the night
Until beheld they shining once more the morning light
Soon on charger mounted again was many a man:
Hdgho, what merry pastime, the king to honor, they beganl

By the Huns the monarch bade honors high be shown.
Soon rode they forth from Tulna imto Vienna town,
Where foimd they many a lady decked out in fair array:
The same the monarch Etzel's wife received in stately way.

In very fullest measure upon them there did wait
Whatever they might desire. Of knights the joy was great,
Looking toward the revel. Lodging then sought each one.
The wedding of the monarch was in merry wise b^un.

Yet not for all might lodging within the town be had.
All that were not strangers, Ruediger them bade
That they find them lodgings beyond the city's bound.
I ween that at all seasons by Lady KriemhUd's side was found

The noble Sir Dietrich and many another thane.
Who amid their labors but Uttle rest had ta'en,
That the guests they harbored of merry mood should be.
For Ruediger and his companions went the time full pleasantly.

The wedding time was fallen upon a Whitsimtide,
When the monarch Etzel lay Kriemhild beside
In the town at Vienna. So many men I ween
Through her former husband had not in her service been.

Manyr that ne'er had seen her did her rich bounty take.
And many a one among them unto the strangers spake:
"We^deemed that Lady Elriemhild of wealth no more had auj^t
Now hath she by her giving here full many a wonder wrought."


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The wedding-feast it lasted for days full seventeen.
Ne'er of other monarch hath any told, I ween,
That wedded with more splendor: of such no tale we hear.
All that there were present, new-made apparel did they wear.

I ween that far in Netherland sat she ne'er before
Amid such host of warriors. And this believe I more:
Was Siegfried rich in treasure, that yet he ne'er did gain,
As here she saw 'fore Etzel, so many a high and noble thane.

Nor e'er gave any other at his own wedding-tide
So many a costly mantle flowing long and wide,
Nor yet so rich apparel — so may ye well believe —
As here from hand of Kriemhild did they one and all receive.

Her friends and eke the strangers were of a single mind,
That they would not be sparing of treasure in any kind:
What any from them desired, they gave with willing hand.
Many a thane from giving himself of clothing reft did stand.

How by her noble husband at the Rhine a queen she sat.
Of that she still was minded, and her eye grew wet thereat.
Yet well she kept it hidden that none the same might mark.
Now had she wealth of honor after long years of sorrow dark.

What any did with bounty, 'twas but an idle wind
By side of Dietrich's giving: what Etzel's generous mind
Before to him had given, complete did disappear.
Eke wrought there many a wonder the hand of bounteous Ruedigpr.

Bloedelein the chieftain that came from Hunland,
Full many a chest to empty did he then command.
Of gold and eke of silver. That did they freely give.
Right merrily the warriors of the monarch saw ye live.


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Likewise the monarch's minstrels Werbel and Schwemmelein,
Won they at the wedding each alone, I ween,
Marks a good thousand or even more than that,
Whenas fair Lady Kriemhild 'neath crown by royal Etzel sat.

Upon the eighteenth morning from Vienna town they went.
Then in knightly pastime many a shield was rent
By spear full well directed by doughty rider's hand.
So came the royal Etzel riding into Hunland.

At Heimburg's ancient castle they tarried over m'ght
Tell the tale of people no mortal ever might,
And the number of good warriors did o'er the country come.
Ah, what fairest women were gathered unto Etzel's home!

By Miesenburg's majestic towers did they embark.
With horses eke and riders the water all was dark,
As if 'twere earth they trod on, as far as eye might see.
The way-worn ladies rested now on board right pleasantly.

Now was lashed together many a boat full good.
That no harm they suffered from the waves and flood.
Many a stately awning likewise above them spread,
Just as if beneath them had they land and flowery mead.

When to Etzelburg the tidings soon were borne along,
Therein of men and women were seen a merry throng.
Who once the Lady Helke as mistress did obey,
Anon by Lady ELriemhild lived they many a gladsome day.

There did stand expectant full many a maid high-bom,
That since the death of Helke had pined all forlorn.
Daughters of seven monarchs ELriemhild there waiting found.
That were the high adornment of all King EtzePs coimtry round.


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Herrat, a lofty princess, did all the train obey,
Sister's child to Helke, in whom high virtues lay,
Betroth^ eke of Dietrich, of royal lineage bom.
Daughter of Eling Nentwein; her did high honors eft adorn.

Against the strangers* coming her heart with joy flowed o'er:
Eke was thereto devoted of wealth a mickle store.
Who might e'er give the picture, how the king eft sat on throne?
Nor had with any mistress the Huns such joyous living known.

As with his spouse the monarch up from the river came,
Unto the noble Kriemhild of each they told the name
'Mong them that she did find there: she fairer each did greet
Ah, how mighty mistress she long did sit in Helke's seat I

Ready and true the service to her was offered there.
The queen dealt out in plenty gold and raiment rare,
Silver eke and jewels. What over Rhine she brought
With her imto Hunland, soon thereof retained she naught.

Eke in faithful service she to herself did win
All the king's warriors and all his royal kin,
— ^So that ne'er did Lady Helke so mighty power wield
As imtil death to Kriemhild such host did willing service jaeld.

Thus stood so high in honor the coiurt and country round,
That there at every season was pleasant pastime foimd
By each, whithersoever his heart's desire might stand:
That wrought the monarch's favor and the queen's full bounteous


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t>ow lttiembil^ tbougbt to avenge bet TPQlrond

In full lordly honor, — truth is that ye hear —
Dwelt they with each other until the seventh year.
Meanwhile Lady Kriemhild a son to Etzel bore,
Nor gladder might the monarch be o'er aught for evermore.

Yet would she not give over, nor with aught be reconciled,
But that should be baptized the royal EtzePs child
After Christian custom: Ortlieb they did him call.
Thereat was mickle joyance over Etzel's borders alL

Whatever of highest virtues in Lady Helke lay,
Strove the Lady Kriemhild to rival her each day.
Herrat the stranger maiden many a grace she taught.
Who yet with secret pining for her mistress Helke was distraught

To stranger and to native full well she soon was known,
Ne'er monarch's coimtry, said they, did royal mistress own
That gave with freer bounty; that held they without fear.
Such praise she bore in Hunland, xmtil was come the thirteenth

Now had she well perceived how all obeyed her will.
As service to rojral mistress king's knights do render still,
And how at every season twelve kings 'fore her were seen.
She thought of many a sorrow that wrought upon her once had been.

Eke thought she of lordly power in Nibelungenland
That she erstwhile had wielded, and how that Hagen's hand
Of it all had reft her with her lord Siegfried dead;
She thought for so great evil how might he ever be repaid.


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*"Twoiild be, might I but bring him hither into this land."
She dreamed that fondly led her full often by the hand
Giselher her brother, full oft in gentle sleep
Thought she to have kissed him, wherefrom he sorrow soon must

I ween the evil demon was Kriemhild's coimsellor
That she her peace with Gimther should sacred keep no more.
Whom she kissed in friendly token in the land of Biurgundy.
Adown upon her bosom the biuning tears fell heavily.

On her heart both late and early lay the heavy thought,
How that, herself all guildess, thereto she had been brought.
That she must share in exile a heathen monarch's bed.
Through Hagen eke and Gimther come she was to such sore need.

From her heart such longing seldom might she dismiss.
Thought she: "A queen so mighty I am o'er wealth like this,
That I upon mine enemies may yet avenge me well.
Fain were I that on Hagen of Tronje yet my vengeance fell.

"For friends that once were faithful full oft my heart doth long.
Were they but here beside me that wrought on me such wrong,
Then were in sooth avenged my lover reft of life;
Scarce may I bide that hour," spake the royal EtzePs wife.

Kriemhild they loved and honored, the monarch's men each one.
As they that came there with her: well might the same be done.
The treasure wielded Eckewart, and won good knights thereby.
The will of Lady Kriemhild might none in all that land deny.

She mused at every season: "The king himself I'll pray," —
That he to her the favor might grant in friendly way.
To bring her kinsmen hither unto Hunland.
What vengeful thought she cherished might none soever understand*


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As she in stillest night-time by the monarch lay
(In his arms enclosed he held her, as he was wont alway
To caress the noble lady: she was to him as life),
Again imto her enemies turned her thoughts his stately wife.

1 401
She spake tmto the monarch: "My lord full dear to me,
Now would I pray a favor, if with thy grace it be.
That thou wilt show unto me if merit such be mine
That imto my good kinsmen truly doth thy heart incline."

The mighty monarch answered (from guile his heart was free):
" Of a truth I tell thee, if aught of good may be
The fortune of thy kinsmen, — of that I were full fain,
For ne'er through love of woman might I friends more faithful gain."

Thereat again spake Kriemhild: "That mayst thou well believe,
Full high do stand my kinsmen; the more it doth me grieve
That they deign so seldom hither to take their way.
That here I Uve a stranger, oft I hear the people say."

Then spake the royal Etzel: "Beloved lady mine.
Seemed not too far the journey, I'd bid from yond the Rhine
Whom thou wouldst gladly welcome hither imto my land."
Thereat rejoiced the lady when she his will did imderstand.

Spake she: "Wilt thou true favor show me, master mine.
Then shalt thou speed thy messengers to Worms across the Rhine.
Were but my friends acquainted what thing of them I would,
Then to this land came hither full many a noble knight and good."

He spake: "Whene'er thou biddest, straight the thing shall be.
Thjrself mightst ne'er thy kinsmen here so gladly see,
As I the sons of Ute, high and stately queen.
It grieveth me full sorely that strangers here so long they've been*


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"If this thing doth please thee, beloved lady mine,
Then gladly send I thither unto those friends of thine
As messengers my minstrels to the land of Burgundy."
He bade the merry fiddlers lead before him presently.

Then hastened they full quickly to where they foimd the king
By side of Kriemhild sitting. He told them straight the thing.
How they should be his messengers to Burgundy to fare.
Full stately raiment bade he for them straightway eke prepare.

Four and twenty warriors did fliey apparel well.
Likewise did the monarch t6 them the message tell,
How that they King Gimther and his men should bid aright
Them eke the Lady Kriemhild to secret parley did invite.

Then spake the mighty monarch: "Now well my words attend.
All good and friendly greeting imto my friends I send.
That they may deign to journey hither to my country.
Few be the guests beside them that were so welcome unto me.

141 1
"And if they be so minded to meet my will in atight,
Elriemhild's lofty kinsmen, that they forego it not
To come upon the simimer here where I hold hightide,
For that my joy in living doth greatly with my friends abide."

Then spake the fiddle-player, Schwemmelein full bold:
" When thinkst thou in this coimtry such high feast to hold,
That xmto thy friends yonder tell the same we may?"
Thereto spake King Etzel: "When next hath come midsununer

"We'll do as thou commandest," spake then Werbelein.
Unto her own chamber commanded then the queen
To bring in secret manner the messengers alone.
Thereby did naught but sorrow befall full man^ a thane anoQ.


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She spake unto the messengers: '^ Mickle wealth I give to you,
If my will in this matter right faithfully ye do,
And bear what tidings send I home imto our country.
I'll make you rich in treasure and fair apparelled shall ye be.

"And friends of mine so many as ever see ye may
At Worms by Rhine river, to them ye ne'er shall say
That any mood of sorrow in me ye yet have seen.
Say ye that I commend me unto the knights full brave and keen."

" Pray them that to King Etzel's message they give heed,
Thereby to relieve me of all my care and need.
Else shall the Huns imagine that I all friendless am.
If I but a knight were, oft would they see me at their home.

"Eke say ye unto Gemot, brother to me full dear,
To him might never any disposed be more fair;
Pray him that he bring. hither unto this coimtry
All our friends most steadfast, that we thereby shall honored be.

" Say further eke to Giselher that he do have in mind.
That by his guilt I never did cause for sorrow find;
Him therefore would I gladly here with mine own eyes see,
And give him warmest welcome, so faithful hath he been to me.

"How I am held in honor, to my mother eke make plain.
And if of Tronje Hagen hath mind there to remain.
By whom might they in coming through unknown lands be shown ?
The way to Hunland hither from youth to him hath well been

No whit knew the messengers wherefore she did advise
That they of Tronje Hagen should not in any wise
Leave by the Rhine to tarry. That was anon their bane:
Through him to dire destruction was doomed full many a doughty


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Letters and kindly greeting now to them they give;
They fared from thence rich laden, and merrily might live.
Leave then they took of Etzel and eke his lady fair,
And parted on their journey dight in apparel rich and rare.

t>ow llXIlerl>el an^ Scbwemmel btougbt tbe Aesda^e
When to the Rhine King Etzel his messengers had sent.
With hasty flight fresh tidings from land to land there went:
With messengers full quickly to his high festival
He bade them, eke and sunmioned. To many thereby did
death befall.

The messengers o'er the borders of Himland thence did fare
Unto the land of Burgundy; thither sent they were
Unto three lordly monarchs and eke their mighty men.
To Etzel's land to bid them hastily they journeyed then.

Unto Bechelaren rode they on their way,
Where foimd they willing service. Nor did aught delay
Ruediger to conmiend him and Gotelinde as well
And eke their fairest daughter to them that by the Rhine did dwell.

They let them not imladen with gifts from thence depart,
So did the men of Etzel fare on with lighter heart.
To Ute and to her household sent greeting Ruediger,
That never margrave any to them more well dispos6d were.

Unto Brunhild also did they themselves commend
With willing service offered and steadfast to the end.
Bearing thus fair greeting the messengers thence did fare,
And prayed the noble margravine that God would have them in his


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Ere the messengers had fully passed o'er Bavarian ground,
Had the nimble Werbel the goodly bishop foimd.
What greetings to his kinsmen unto the Rhine he sent,
That I cannot tell you; the messengers yet from him went

Laden with gold all ruddy, to keep his memory.
Thus spake the Bishop Pilgrim: "'Twere highest joy to me
Might I my sister's children here see in home of mine,
For that I may but seldom go imto them to the Rhine."

What were the ways they followed as through the lands they fared.
That can I nowise tell you. Yet never any dared
Rob them of wealth or raiment, for fear of EtzePs hand:
A lofty king and noble, mighty in sooth was his command.

Before twelve days were over came they unto the Rhine,
And rode into Worms dty Werbel and Schwemmelein.
Told were soon the tidings to the kings and their good men.
How that were come strange messengers. Gimther the king did
question then.

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Online LibraryGeorge Henry NeedlerThe Nibelungenlied → online text (page 17 of 27)