George Henry Needler.

The Nibelungenlied online

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And spake the monarch further: "Who here may imderstand
Whence do come these strangers riding imto oiu: land?"
Yet was never any might answer to him make,
Until of Tronje Hagen thus unto King Gunther spake:

**To us hath come strange tidings to hand this day, I ween.
For Etzel's fiddlers riding hither have I seen.
The same have by thy sister imto the Rhine been sent:
For sake of their high master now give we them fair compliment"

E'en then did ride the messengers imto the casde door.
And never royal minstrels more stately went before.
By the monarch's servants well received they were:
Tliey gave them fitting lodging and for their raiment had a care.


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Rich and wrought<(ull deftly was the travelling-dress they wore.
Wherein they weAwith honor might go the king before;
Yet they at coiiif^o longer would the same garments wear.
The messengers inquired if any were might wish them there.

. In sooth in such condition many eke were foimd,
Who would rociive them gladly; to such they dealt around.
Then decked themselves the strangers in garments richer far.
Such as royal messengers beseemeth well at court to wear.

By royal leave came forward to where the monarch sat
The men that came from Etzel, and joy there was thereat.
Hagen then to iifeet them in courteous manner went,
And heartily did greet them, whereat they gave fair compliment.

To know what were the tidings, to ask he then began
How did find him Etzel and each valiant man.
Then answer ^^Vi^* the fiddler: "Ne'er higher stood the land,
Nor the folk so joyous: that shall ye surely understand."

They went unto the monarch. Crowded was the hall.
There were rectived the strangers as of right men shall
Kindly greeting offer in other monarch's land.
Many a valiant warrior saw Werbel by King Gimther stand.

Right courteously the monarch began to greet them then:
"Now be ye both right welcome, Hunland's merry men,
And knights that give you escort. Hither sent are ye
By Etzel mighty monarch imto the land of Burgimdy?"

They bowed before the monarch; then spake Werbelein:
"My dear lord and master, and Klriemhild, sister thine,
EQther to thy country give fairest compliment.
In faith of kindly welcome us imto you they now have sent.'*


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Then spake the lofty ruler: "I joy o'er this ye bring.
How liveth royal Etzel," further spake the king,
"And Kriemhild, my sister, afar in Hunland?"
Then answered him the fiddler: ^'That shalt thou straightway

"That never any people more lordly life might show
Than they both do joy in, — that shalt thou siurely know, —
Wherein do share their kinsmen and all their doughty train.
When from them we parted, of our journey were they fain."

"My thanks for these high greetings ye bring at his conmiand
And from my royal sister. That high in joy they stand.
The monardi and his kinsmen, rejoiceth me to hear.
For, sooth to say, the tidings asked I now in mickle fear."

The twain of youthful princes were eke come thitherward,
As soon as they the tidings from afar had heard.
Right glad were seen the messengers for his dear sister's sake
By the yoimg Giselher, who in such friendly manner spake:

"Right hearty were yoiu: welcome from me and brother mine,
Would ye but more frequent ride hither to the Rhine;
Here foimd ye friends full many whom glad ye were to see.
And naught but friendly favors the while that in this land ye be."

"To us how high thy favor," spake Schwemmel, " know we well;
Nor with my best endeavor might I ever tell
How kindly is the greeting we bear from EtzePs hand
And from youi noble sister, who doth in highest honor stand.

"Your sometime love and duty recalleth EtzePs queen,
And how to her devoted in heart we've ever been.
But first to royal Gunther do we a message bear.
And pray it be your pleasure unto Etzel's land to fare.


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"To beg of you that favor commanded o'er and o'er
Etzel mighty monarch and bids you know th^ more,
An will ye not your sister your faces give to see,
So would he know full gladly wherein by him aggrieved ye be,

** That ye thus are strangers to him and all his men.
If that his spouse so lofty to you had ne'er been known,
Yet well he thought to merit that him ye'd deign to see;
In sooth could naught rejoice him more than that such thing mi^t

Then spake the royal Gunther: "A sennight from this day
Shall ye have an answer, whereon decide I may
With my friends in counsel. The while shall ye repair
Unto your place of lodging, and right goodly be your fare."

Then spake in answer Werbel: "And might such favor be
That we the royal mistress should first have leave to see,
Ute, the lofty lady, ere that we seek our rest? "
To him the noble Giselher in courteous wise these words addressed :

"That grace shall none forbid you. Will ye my mother greet,
Therein do ye most fully her own desire meet.
For sake of my good sister fain is she you to see,
For sake of Lady Kriemhild ye shall to her full welcome be."

Giselher then led him imto the lofty dame.
Who fain beheld the messengers from Hunland that came.
She greeted them full kindly as lofty manner taught.
And in right courteous fashion told they to her the tale they brou^t

"Pledge of loyal friendship sendeth imto thee
Now my lofty mistress," spake Schwemmel. "Might it be.
That she should see thee often, then shalt thou know full well.
In all the world there never a greater joy to her befell."


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Replied the loysl lady: "Such thing may never be.
Gladly as woidd I dft-times my dearest daughter see,
Too far, alas, is distant the noble monarch's wife.
May ever yet full happy with King Etzel be her life.

"See that ye well advise me, ere that ye hence are gone,
What time shall be your parting; for messengers I none
Have seen for many seasons as glad as greet I you."
The twain gave faithful promise such courtesy full sure to do.

Forthwith to seek their lodgings the men of Himland went,
The while the mighty monarch for trusted warriors sent,
Of whom did noble Gunther straightway question make,
How thought they of the message. Whereupon full many spake

That he might well with honor to Etzel's land be bound.
The which did eke advise him the highest 'mongst them found.
All save Hagen only, whom sorely grieved such rede.
Unto the king in secret spake he: "HI shall be thy meed.

"What deed we twain compounded art thou full well aware,
Wherefor good cause we ever shall have Kriemhild to fear.
For that her sometime husband I slew by my own hand.
How dare we ever journey then imto King Etzel's land?"

Replied the king: "My sister no hate doth harbor more.
As we in friendship kissed her, vengeance she forswore
For evil that we wrought her, ere that from hence she rode, —
Unless this message, Hagen, ill for thee alone forebode."

"Now be thou not deceived," spake Hagen, "say what may
The messengers from Hunland. If thither be thy way.
At Kriemhild's hands thou losest honor eke and life.
For full long-avenging is the royal Etzel's wife."


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Added then his counsel the princely Gemot there:
"Though be it thou hast reason thine own death to fear
Afar in Himnish kingdom, should we for that forego
To visit our high sister, that were in sooth but ill to do."

Unto that thane did likewise Giselher then say:
'^ Since well thou know'st, friend Hagen, what guilt on thee doth

Then tarry here behind us and of thyself have care,
And let who dares the journey with us unto my sister fare."

Thereat did rage full sorely Tronje's doughty thane:
" So shall ye ne'er find any that were to go more fain,
Nor who may better guide you than I upon your way.
And will ye not give over, know then my humor soon ye may."

Then spake the Kitchen Master, Rumold a lofty thane:
"Here might ye guests and kinsmen in plenty long majnt^jn
After your own pleasure, for ye have goodly store.
I ween ye ne'er foimd Hagen traitor to you heretofore.

"If heed ye will not Hagen, still Rumold doth advise
— ^For ye have faithful service from me in willing wise —
That here at home ye tarry for the love of me.
And leave the royal Etzel afar with Kri^otihild to be.

"Where in the world might ever ye more happy be
Than here where from danger of every foeman free,
Where ye may go as likes you in goodliest attire,
Drink wine the best, and stately women meet your heart's desire.

"And daily is your victual the best that ever knew
A king of any country. And were the thing not true,
At home ye yet should tarry for sake of your fair wife
Ere that in diildish fashion ye thus at venture set your life.


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"Thus rede I that ye go not. Mighty are your lands,
And at home more easy may ye be &eed from hostile hands
Than if ye pine in Himland. How there it is, who knows?
O Master, go not thither, — such is the rede that Rumold owes."

" We'll ne'er give o*er the journey," Gemot then did say,
"When thus oiu* sister bids us in such friendly way
And Etzel, mighty monarch. Wherefore should we refrain?
Who goes not gladly thither, here at home may he remain."

Thereto gave answer Hagen: "Take not amiss, I pray,
These my words outspoken, let befall what may.
Yet do I counsel truly, as ye yotu: safety prize.
That to the Huns ye journey armed full well in wariike guise.

"W^ill ye then not give over, your men together call.
The b^t that ye may gather from districts one and all.
From out them all I'll choose you a thousand knights full good,
Then may ye reck but little the vengeful Kriemhild's angry mood."

"I'll gladly heed thy coimsel," straight the king replied.
And bade the couriers traverse his kingdom far and wide.
Soon they brought together three thousand men or more.
Who little weened what mickle sorrow was for them in store.

Jo3rful came they riding to King Gunther's land.
Steeds and equipment for them all he did command.
Who should make the journey thence from Burgxmdy.
Warriors many were there to serve the king right willingly.

Hagen then of Tronje to Dankwart did assign
Of their warriors eighty to lead unto the Rhine.
Equipped in knightly harness were they soon at hand.
Riding in gallant fashion imto royal Gunther's land.


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Came eke the doughty Volker, a noble minstrel he,
With thirty goodly warriors to join the company,
Who wore so rich attire 'twould fit a monarch well.
That he would fare to Hunland, bade he imto Gimther tell.

Who was this same Volker that will I let you know:
He was a knight full noble, to him did service owe
Many a goodly warrior in the land of Burgundy.
For that he well could fiddle, named the Minstrel eke was he.

Thousand men chose Hagen, who well to him were known.
What things in storm of battle their doughty arm had done,
Or what they wrought at all times, that knew he full well.
Nor of them might e'er mortal aught but deeds of valor tell.

The messengers of Kriemhild, full loath they were to wait,
For of their master's anger stood they in terror great.
Each day for leave to joiuney more great their yearning grew.
But daily to withhold it cmfty Hagen pretext knew.

He spake imto his master: "Well shall we beware
Hence to let them journey ere we ourselves prepare
In seven days thereafter to ride to EtzePs land:
If any mean us evil, so may we better understand.

"Nor may the Lady Kriemhild ready make thereto,
That any by her counsel scathe to us may do.
Yet if such wish she cherish, evil shall be her meed.
For many a chosen warrior with us shall we thither lead."

Shields well-wrought and saddles, with all the mickle gear
That into EtzePs coimtry the warriors should wear,
The same was now made ready for many a knight full keen.
The messengers of Kriemhild before King Gimther soon were seen.


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When were come the messengers, Gemot them addressed:
"King Gunther now is minded to answer EtzePs quest.
Full gladly go we thither with him to make high-tide
And see our lofty sister, — of that set ye all doubt aside."

Thereto spake King Gimther: " Can ye surely say
When shall be the high-tide, or upon what day
We shall there assemble?" Spake Schwemmel instantly:
"At turn of sun in summer shall in sooth the meeting be."

The monarch leave did grant them, ere they should take their way,
If that to Lady Brunhild they would their homage pay,
His high pleasure was it they unto her should go.
Such thing prevented Volker, and did his mistress* pleasing so.

"In sooth, my Lady Brunhild hath scarce such health to-day
As that she might receive you," the gallant knight did say.
" Bide ye till the morrow, may ye the lady see."
When thus they sought her presence, might their wish not granted

To the messengers right gracious was the mighty king.
And bade he from his treasure on shields expansive bring
Shining gold in plenty whereof he had great store.
Eke richest gifts received they from his lofty kinsmen more.

Giselher and Gemot, Gere and Ortwein,
That they were free in giving soon full well was seen.
So costly gifts were offered unto each messenger
That they dared not receive them, for EtzePs anger did they fear.

Then ui^to King Gunther Werbel spake again:
"Sire, let now thy presents in thine own land remain.
The same we may not carry, my master hath decreed
That we accept no boxmty. Of that in sooth we've little need."


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Thereat the lord of Rhineland was seen m high displeasure,
That they should thus accept not so mighty monarch's treasure?
In their despite yet took they rich dress and gold in store,
The which moreover with them home to EtzePs land they bore.

Ere that they thence departed they Lady Ute sought.
Whereat the gallant Giselher straight the minstrels brought
Unto his mother's presence. Kind greetings sent the dame,
And wish that high in honor still might stand her daughter's name.

Then bade the lofty lady embroidered silks and gold
For the sake of Kriemhild, whom loved she as of old,
And eke for sake of Etzel, unto the minstrels give.
What thus so free was offered might they in sooth right fain receive.

Soon now had ta'en departure the messengers from thence,
From knight and fairest lady, and joyous fared they hence
Unto Suabian country; Gemot had given behest
Thus far for armed escort, that none their journey might molest.

When these had parted from them, safe still from harm were they.
For Etzel's might did guard them wherever led their way.
Nor ever came there any that aught to take would dare.
As into Etzel's country they in mickle haste did fare.

Where'er they friends encountered, to all they straight made known
How that they of Burgundy should follow after soon
From Rhine upon their journey unto the Huns' country.
The message brought they likewise unto Bishop Pilgrim's see.

As down 'fore Bechelaren they passed upon their way,
The tidings eke to Ruediger failed they not to say,
And imto Gotelinde, the margrave's wife the same.
At thought so soon to see them was filled with joy the lofty dame.


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Hasting with the tidings each minstrel's courser ran,
Till found they royal Etzel within his burgh at Gran.
Greeting upon greeting, which they must all bestow,
They to the king delivered; with joy his visage was aglow.

When that the lofty Kriemhild did eke the tidings hear,
How that her royal brothers irnto the land would fare,
In sooth her heart was gladdened; on the minstrels she bestowed
Richest gifts in plenty, as she to her high station owed.

She spake: "Now shall ye, Werbel and Schwemmel, tell to me
Who Cometh of my kinsmen to our festivity,
Who of all were bidden this our land to seek?
Now tell me, when the message heard he, what did Hagen speak ?"

Answered: "He came to council early upon a day,
But little was of pleasant in what he there did say.
When learned he their intention, in wrath did Hagen swear,
To death 'twere making journey, to coimtry of the Huns to fare.

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"Hither all are coming, thy royal brothers three.
And they right high in spirit Who more shall with them be,
The tale to tell entire were more than I might do.
To journey with them plighted Volker the valiant fiddler too."

" Twere little lost, full truly," answered then the queen,
"If by my eyes never Volker here were seen.
*Tis Hagen hath my favor, a noble knight is he.
And mickle is my pleasure that him full soon we here may see."

Her way the Lady Kriemhild then to the king did take.
And in right joyous manner xmto her consort spake:
"How liketh thee the tidings, lord full dear to me?
What aye my heart hath yearned for, that shall now accomplished


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"Thy will my joy was ever," the lofty monarch said.
"In sooth for my own kinsmen I ne'er have been so glad,
To hear that they come hither unto my country.
To know thy friends are coming, hath parted sadness far &om me."

Straight did the royal provosts give everywhere decree
That hall and stately palace well prepared should be
With seats, that unprovided no worthy guest be left.
Anon by them the mcmarch should be of mickle joy bereft.


l>ow tbe fcnfdbta all tared to tbe fmite

Tell we now no further how they here did fare.
Knights more high in spirit saw ye journey ne'er
In so stately fashion to the land of e'er a king.
Of arms and rich attire lacked they never anything.

At Rhine the lordly monarch equipped his warriors well,
A thousand knights and sixty, as I did hear tell,
And eke nine ttousand squires toward the festivity.
Whom they did leave behind them anon must mourn full griev-

As at Worms across the coiuHyard equipment full they boce^
Spake there of Speyer a bishop old and hoar
Unto Lady Ute: "Our friends have mind to fare
Unto the festivity; may God their honor have in care."

Then spake unto her children Ute the noble dame:
"At home ye here should tarry, ye knights full high in fame.
Me dreamt but yester even a case of direst need,
How that in this coimtry all the feathered fowl wer^ dej^"


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"Who recketh aught of dreamings/* Hagen then replied,
"Distraught is sure his counsel when trouble doth betide,
Or he would of his honor have a perfect care.
I counsel that my master straight to take his leave prepare.

" Gladly shall we journey into EtzePs land ;
There at their master's service may good knights ready stand,
For that we there shall witness Kriemhild's festivity."
That Hagen gave such coimsel, rue anon full sore did he.

Yet in sooth far other than this had been his word,

Had not with bitter mocking Gemot his anger stirred.

He spake to him of Siegfried whom Kriemhild lov^ so,

And said : "Therefore the journey would Hagen willingly for^o."

Then spake of Tronje Hagen: "Through fear I nothing do.
Wlienever will ye, Masters, set straight your hand thereto,
With you 1*11 gladly joiuney imto Etzel's land."
Many a shield and helmet there hewed anon his mighty hand.

The ships stood ready waiting, whereunto ample store
Of clothing for the journey men full many bore.
Nor had they time for resting till shades of even fell.
Anon in mood full joyous bade they friends at home farewell.

Tents full large and many arose upon the green.
Yonder side Rhine river. But yet the winsome queen
Caressed the doughty monarch that night, and still did pray
That far from Etzel's coimtry among his kinsmen might he stay.

When sound of flute and trumpet arose at break of day,
A signal for their parting, full soon they took their way.
Cach lover to his bosom did friend more fondly press:
King EtzePs wife full many did part anon in dire distress.


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The sons of stately Ute, a good knight had they,
A brave man and a faithful. When they would thence away,
Apart vinto the monarch did he his mind reveal,
And spake: " That ye will journey, may I naught but sorrow feel."

Hight the same was Rumold, a man of doughty hand.
He spake: "To whom now leave ye people here and land?
O that never any might alter your intent 1
Small good, methinks, may follow message e'er by Kriemhild sent,"

"The land to thee entrusted and eke my child shall be.
And tender care of ladies, — so hast command from me.
Whene'er thou seest weeping, do there thy comfort give.
Yea, trust we free from sorrow at hand of EtzePs wife to live."

For knight and royal master the chargers ready were,
As with fond embracing parted many there.
Who long m joy together a merry life had led.
By winsome dame full many therefor must bitter tear be shed.

As did those doughty warriors into the saddle spring,
Might full many a lady be seen there sorrowing;
For told them well their spirit that thus so long to part
Did bode a dire peril, the which must ever cloud the heart.

As mounted stood the valiant thanes of Bmrgundy,
Might ye a mickle stirring in that country see.
Both men and women weeping on either riverside.
Yet pricked they gaily forward, let what might their folk betide.

The Nibelimgen warriors in hauberks bright arrayed
Went with them, a thousand, while at home behind them stayed
Full many a winsome lady, whom saw they nevermore.
The wounds of doughty Siegfried still grieved the Lady Kriemhild


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Their journey they directed onward to the Main,
Up through East Prankish country, the men of Gunther's train
Thither led by Hagen, who well that country knew;
Marshal to them was Dankwart, a knight of Btirgundy full true.

On from East Prankish country to Schwanefeld they went,
A train of valiant warriors of high accomplishment,
The monarchs and their kinsmen, all knights full worthy fame.
Upon the twelfth morning the king imto the Danube came.

The knight of Tronje, Hagen, the very van did lead,
Ever to the Nibelungen a surest help in need.
First the thane full valiant down leapt upon the ground,
And straightway then his charger fast unto a tree he bound.

Flooded were the waters and ne^er a boat was near,
Whereat began the Nibelimgen all in dread to fear
They ne'er might cross the river, so mighty was the flood.
Dismounted on the shore, full many a stately knight then stood.

"111 may it," spake then Hagen, "fare here with thee.
Lord of Rhine river. Now thyself mayst see
How flooded are the waters, and swift the current flows.
I ween, before the morrow here many a goodly knight we lose."

"How wilt reproach me, Hagen?" the lofty monarch spake.
"I pray thee yet all comfort not from our hearts to take.
The ford shalt thou discover whereby we may pass o'er,
Horse and equipment bringing safely imto yonder shore."

"In sooth, not I," quoth Hagen, "am yet so weary grown
Of life, that in these waters wide I long to drown.
Ere that, shall warriors sicken in Etzel's far country
Beneath my own arm stricken: — 'tis my intent full certainly.


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"Here tarry by the water, ye gallant knights and good,
The while I seek the boatmen myself along the flood,
Who will bring us over into Gelfrat's land/*
With that the doughty Hagen took his trusty shield in hand.

He cap-a-pie was arm^, as thus he strode away,
Upon his head a helmet that gleamed with brilliant ray,
And o'er his warlike harness a sword full broad there hung,
That on both its edges did fiercely cut, in battle swimg.

He sought to find the boatmen if any mi^t be near,
When sound of falling waters full soon upon his ear.
Beside a rippling fountain, where ran the waters cool,
A group of wise mermaidens did bathe themselves within the pool.

Ware of them soon was Hagen and stole in secret near.
But fast away they hurried when they the sound did hear.
That they at all escaped him, filled they were with glee.

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