George Henry Needler.

The Nibelungenlied online

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And food as well exhausted," Hagen did declare.
"Nor find we aught for purchase; a host we need instead.
Who would in kindness give us, ere this evening, of his bread."

Thereto gave answer Eckewart: "I'll show you such a one,
That so warm a welcome find ye never none
In country whatsoever as here your lot may be.
An if ye, thanes full gallant, the noble Ruediger will see.

t "He dwelleth by the highway and is most boimteous host
That house e'er had for master. His heart may graces boast,
As in the lovely May- time the flowrets deck the mead.
To do good thgmes a service is for his heart most joyous deed."

^^Then spake the royal Gunther: "Wilt thou my messenger be,
ilf will my dear friend Ruediger, as favor done to me.
Bis hospitable shelter with all my warriors share,
Therefor full to requite thee shall e'er hereafter be my care."


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"Thy messenger am I gladly," Eckewart replied,
And in right willing manner straight away did ride,
The message thus receive to Ruediger to bear.
Nor did so joyous tidings for many a season greet his ear.

Hasting to Bechelaren was seen a noble thane.
The same perceivW Ruediger, and spake: "O'er yonder plain
Hither hastens Eckewart, who Kriemhild's might doth own."
He weened that by some foemen to him had injury been done.

Then passed he forth the gateway where the messenger did stand.
His sword he loosed from girdle and laid from out his hand.
The message that he carried might he not long withhold
From the master and his kinsmen; full soon the same to them was

He spake unto the margrave: "I come at high command
Of the lordly Gunther of Burgundian land,
And Giselher and Gemot, his ro)ral brothers twain.
In service true commends him imto thee each lofty thane.

"The like hath Hagen bidden and Volker as well
With homage oft-times proffered. And more have I to tdl.
The which King Gunther's marshal to thee doth send by me:
How that the valiant warriors do crave thy hospitality."

With smiling visage Ruediger made thereto reply:
"Now joyeth me the story that the monarchs high
Do deign to seek my service, that ne'er refused shall be.
Come they unto my castle, 'ds joy and gladness imto me."

"Dankwart the marshal hath bidden let thee know
Who seek with them thy shelter as through thy land they go:
Three score of valiant leaders and thousand knights right good.
With squires eke nine thousand." Thereat was he full glad of mood.


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"To me 'tis mickle honor," Ruediger then spake,
" That through my castle's portals such guests will entry make.
For ne'er hath been occasion my service yet to lend.
Now ride ye, men and kinsmen, and on these lofty knights attend"

Then to horse did hasten knight and willing squire,
For glad they were at all times to do their lord's desire,
And keen that thus their service should not be rendered late.
Unwitting Lady Gotelinde still within her chamber sate.


1)ow tbc^ came to Secbelaten

Then went forth the margrave where two ladies sate.
His wife beside his daughter, nor longer did he wait
To tell the joyful tidings that unto him were brought,
How Eriemhild's royal brothers his hospitality had sought.

"Dearly lov^ lady," spake then Ruediger,
"Full kind be thy reception to lordly monajchs here.
That now with train of warriors to court do pass this way.
Fair be eke thy greeting to Hagen, Gunther's man, this day.

"One likewise with them cometh, Dankwart by name,
Volker hight the other, a knight of gallant fame.
Thyself and eke thy daughter with kiss these six shall greet;
FuU courteous be your manner as ye the doughty thanes shall meet.**

Gave straight their word the ladies, and willing were thereta
From out great chests they gorgeous attire in plenty drew.
Which they to meet the lofty strangers thought to wear.
Mickle was the hurry there of many a lady fair.


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On ne'er a cheek might any but nature's hue be seen.
Upon their head they carried band of golden sheen,
That was a beauteous chaplet, that so their glossy hair
By wind might not be ruffled: that is truth as I declare.

At such employment busy leave we those ladies now.

Here with midde hurry across the plain did see

Friends of noble Ruediger the royal guests to meet,

And them with warmest welcome unto the margrave's land did greet.

When coming forth the margrave saw their forms appear,
How spake with heart full joyous the valiant Ruediger!
"Welcome be ye, Sires, and all your gallant band.
Right glad am I to see you hither come unto my land."

Then bent the knights before him each full courteously.
That he good-will did bear them might they full quickly see.
Hagen had special greeting, who long to him was known;
To Volker eke of Burgundy was like highest honor shown.

Thus Dankwart eke he greeted, when spake the doughty thane:
*' While we thus well are harbored, who then for all the train
Of those that follow with us shall meet provision make?"
" Yourselves this night right easy shall rest," the noble margrave

"And all that follow with you, with equipment whatsoe'er
Ye bring into my country of steed or warlike gear,
So sure shall it be guarded that of all the siun.
E'en to one spur's value, to you shall never damage come.

" Now stretch aloft, my squires, the tents upon the plain.
What here ye have of losses will I make good again.
Unbridle now the horses and let them wander free."
Upon their way they seldom did meet like hospitality.


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Thereat rejoiced the strangers. When thus it ordered wa§,
Rode the high knights forward. All round upon the grass
Lay the squires attendant and found a gentle rest.
I ween, upon their joiuney was here provision costliest. '

Out before the castle the noble margravine
Had passed with her fair daughter. In her train were seen
A band of lovely women and many a winsome maid,
Whose arms with bracelets glittered, and all in stately robes

The costly jewels sparkled with far-pierdng ray
From out their richest vestments, and buxom all were they.
Now came the strangers thither and sprang upon the ground.
How high in noble courtesy the men of Burgundy were found!

Six and thirty maidens and many a fair lady,
— ^Nor might ye ever any more winsome wish to see —
Went then forth to meet them with many a knight full keen.
At hands of noble ladies fairest greeting then was seen.

The margrave's youthful daughter did kiss the kings all three
As eke had done her mother. Hagen stood thereby.
Her father bade her kiss him; she looked the thane upon,
Who filled her so with terror, she fain had left the thing imdone.

When she at last must do it, as did conmiand her sire.
Mingled was her color, both pale and hue of fire.
Likewise kissed she Dankwart and the Fiddler eke anon:
That he was knight of valor to him was such high favor shown.

The margrave's youthful daughter took then by the hand
The royal knight Giselher of Burgimdian land.
E'en so led forth her mother the gallant Gunther high.
With those guests so lofty walked they there full joyfully.


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The host escorted Gemot to a spacious hall and wide,
Where knights and stately ladies sate them side by side.
Then bade they for the strangers pour good wine plenteously:
In sooth might never heroes find fuller hospitality.

Glances fond and many saw ye directed there
Upon Ruediger's daughter, for she was passing fair.
Yea, in his thoughts caressed her full many a gallant knight;
A lady high in spirit, well might she every heart delight.

Yet whatsoe'er their wishes, might none fulfill&i be.
Hither oft and thither glanced they furtively
On maidens and fair ladies, whereof were many there.
Right kind the noble Fiddler dispose was to Ruediger«

They parted each from other as ancient custom was,
And knights and lofty ladies did separating pass
When tables were made ready within the spadous hall.
There in stately manner they waited on the strangers alL

To do the guests high honor likewise the table sou^hjt
With them the lofty margravine. Her daughter led she not,
But left among the maidens, where fitting was she sat. ^ •. •
That they might not behold her, grieved were the guests in sgofh

The drinking and the feasting, when 'twas ended all.
Escorted was the maiden again into the hall. '*
Then of merry jesting they nothing lacked, I ween.
Wherein was busy Volker, a thane full gallant and keen. .. \v

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Then spake the noble Fiddler to all in lofty tone: r..

" Great mercy, lordly margrave, God to thee hath shown.
For that he hath granted unto thee a wife ^

Of so surpassing beauty, and thereto a joyous life.




"If that I were of royal birth," the Fiddler spake,
" And kingly crown should cany, to wife I'd wish to take
This thy lovely daughter, — my heart thus prompteth me.
A noble maid and gentle and fair to look upon is she."

Then outspake the margrave: "How might such thing be,
That king should e'er desire daughter bom to me?
Exiled from my country here with my spouse I dweU:
What avails the maiden, be she favored ne'er so well?"

Thereto gave answer Gemot, a knight of manner kind:
"If to my desire I ever spouse would find,
Then would I of such lady right gladly make my choice.**
In full kindly manner added Hagen eke his voice:

" Now shall my master Giselher take to himself a spouse.
The noble margrave's daughter is of so lofty hoUse,
That I and all his warriors would glad her service own,
If that she in Burgundy should ever wear a royal crowni*

Glad thereat full truly was Sir Ruediger,
And eke Gotelinde: they joyed such words to hear.
Anon arranged the heroes that her as bride did greet
The noble knight Giselher, as was for any monarch meet.

What thing is doomed to happen, who may the same prevent?
To come to the assembly they for the maidens sent.
And to the knight they plighted the winsome maid for wife.
Pledge eke by him was given, his love should yet endure with life.

They to the maid allotted castles and spreading land.
Whereof did give assurance the noble monarch's hand
And eke the royal Gemot, 'twould surely so be done.
Then spake to them the margrave: "Lordly castles have I none,


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"Yet true shall be my friendship the while that I may live.
Unto my daughter shall I of gold and silver give
What hundred sumpter-horses full laden bear away,
That her husband's lofty kinsmen find honor in the fair array.*'

They bade the knight and maiden within a ring to stand.
As was of old the custom. Of youths a goodly band,
That all were merry-hearted, did her there confront.
And thought they on her beauty as mind of youth is ever wont

When they began to question then the winsome maid,
Would she the knight for husband, somewhat she was dismayed,
And yet forego she would not to have him for her own.
She blushed to hear the question, as many another maid hath done.

Her father Ruediger prompted that Yes her answer be,
And that she take him gladly. Unto her instantly
Sprang the young Sir Giselher, and in his arm so white
He clasped her to his bosom. — Soon doomed to end was her

Then spake again the margrave: "Ye royal knights and high.
When that home ye journey again to Burgimdy
I'll give to you my daughter, as fitting is to do.
That ye may take her with you." They gave their plighted word

What jubilation made they yet at last must end.
The maiden then was bidden unto her chamber wend.
And guests to seek their couches and rest until the day.
For them the host provided a feast in hospitable way.

When they had feasted fully and to the Huns' country
Thence would onward journey, "Such thing shall never be,"
Spake the host full noble, "but here ye still shall rest.
Seldom hath my good fortune welcomed yet so many a guesf


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Thereto gave answer Dankwart: "In sooth it may not be.
Bread and wine whence hast thou and food sufficiently,
Over night to harbor of guests so great a train?"
When the host had heard it, spake he: "All thy words are vain.

"Refuse not my petition, ye noble lords and high.
A fortnight^s full provision might I in sooth supply,
For you and every warrior that journeys in your train.
Till now hath royal Etzel small portion of my substance ta'en.'

Though fain they had declined it, yet they there must stay
E'en to the fourth morning. Then did the host display
So generous hand and lavish that it was told afar.
He gave unto the strangers horses and apparel rare.

The time at last was over and they must journey thence.
Then did the valiant Ruediger with lavish hand dispense
Unto all his bounty, refused he imto none
Whatever he might desire. Well-pleased they parted every one.

His courteous retainers to castle gateway brought
Saddled many horses, and soon the place was sought
Eke by the gallant strangers each bearing shield in hand,
For that they thence would journey onward into EtzePs land.

The host had freely ofifered rich presents unto all,
Ere that the noble strangers passed out before the halL
High in honor lived he, a knight of bounty rare.
His fair daughter had he given unto Giselher.

Eke gave he unto Gunther, a knight of high renown,
What well might wear with honor the monarch as his own,
— ^Though seldom gift received he — a coat of harness rare.
Thereat inclined King Gunther before the noble Ruediger.


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Then gave he unto Gemot a good and trusty blade,
Wherewith anon in combat was direst havoc made.
That thus the gift was taken rejoiced the margrave's wife:
Thereby the noble Ruediger was doomed anon to lose his life.

Gotelinde proffered Hagen, as 'twas a fitting thing,
Her gifts in kindly manner. Since scorned them not the king,
Eke he without her bounty to the high festivity
Siould thence not onward journey. Yet loath to take the same
was he.

"Of all doth meet my vision," Hagen then spake,
"Would I wish for nothing with me hence to take
But alone the shield that hanging on yonder wall I see.
The same I'd gladly carry into Etzel's land with me."

When the stately margravine Hagen's words did hear.
Brought they to mind her sorrow, nor might she stop a tear.
She thought again full sadly how her son Nudimg fell,
Slain by hand of Wittich; and did her breast with anguish swelL

She spake imto the hero: "The shield to thee I'll give.
O would to God in heaven that he still did live.
Whose hand erstwhile did wield itl In battle fell he low,
And If a wretched mother, must weep with never-ending woe."

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Thereat the noble lady up from the settle rose.
And soon her arms all snow-white did the shield enclose.
She bore it unto Hagen, who made obeisance low;
The gift she might with honor upon so valiant thane be^ow.

O'er it, to keep its color, a shining cover lay
Wth predous stones all studded, nor ever shone the day
Upon a shield more costly; if e'er a longing eye
Did covet to possess it, scarce thousand marits the same might buy.


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The shield in charge gave Hagen thence away to bear.
Before his host then Dankwart himself presented there,
On whom the njargrave's daughter did costly dress bestow.
Wherein anon in Hunland arrayed full statdy he did go.

Whatever of gifts by any was accepted there,
Them had his hand ne'er taken, but that intent all were
To do their host an honor who gave with hand so free.
By his guests in combat soon doomed was he slain to be.

Volker the valiant to Gotelinde came
And stood in courteous manner with fiddle 'fore the dame.
Sweet melodies he played her and sang his songs thereby,
For thought he from Bechelaren to take departure presently.

The margravine bade to her a casket forth to bear.
And now of presents given full freely may ye hear.
Therefrom she took twelve armbands and drew them o'er his hand.
<< These shalt thou with thee carry, as ridest thou to Etzel's land,

** And for my sake shalt wear them when at court thou dost appear.
That when thou hither comest I may the story hear
How thou hast done me honor at the high festival."
What did wish the lady, faithfully performed he alL

Thus to his guests the host spake: "That ye more safely fare,
Myself will give you escort and bid them well beware
That upon the highway no ill on you be wrought."
Thereat his sumpter horses straightway laden forth were brought

The host was well prepared with five himdred men
With horse and rich attire. These led he with him then
In right joyous hiunor to the high festival.
Alive to Bechelaren again came never one of alL


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Thence took his leave Sir Ruediger with kiss full lovingly;
As fitting was for Giselher, likewise the same did he.
With loving arms enfolding caressed they ladies fair.
To many a maid the parting did bring anon full bitter tear.

On all sides then the windows were open wide flimg,
As with his train of warriors the host to saddle sprung.
I ween their hearts did tell them how they should sorrow deep.
For there did many a lady and many a winsome maiden weep.

For dear friends left behind him grieved many a knight full sore.
Whom they at Bechelaren should behold no more.
Yet rode they off rejoicing down across the sand
Hard by the Danube river on their way to EtzePs land.

Then spake to the Burgundians the gallant knight and bold,

Ruediger the noble: "Now let us not withhold

The story of our coming unto the Hun's coimtry.

Unto the royal Etzel might tidings ne*er more wdcome be."

Down in haste through Austria the messenger did ride.
Who told unto the people soon on every side,
From Worms beyond Rhine river were high guests journeying.
Nor imto Etzel's people gladder tidings might ye bring.

Onward spurred the messengers who did the message bear,
How now in Hunnish country the Nibelimgen were.
"Kriemhild, lofty lady, warm thy welcome be;
In stately manner hither come thy loving brothers three.''

Within a lofty casement the Lady Kriemhild stood,
Looking for her kinsmen, as friend for friend full good.
From her father's coimtry saw she many a knight;
Eke heard the king the tidings, and laughed thereat for sheer delist


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**Now well my heart rejoiceth," spake Lady Kriemhild.
"Hither come my kinsmen with many a new-wrought shield
And brightly shining hauberk: who gold would have from me,
Be mindful of my sorrow; to him I'll ever gracious be."


Dow tbe JSutdunDiana came to Btsera Caatle

When that the men of Burgimdy were come into the land,
He of Bern did hear it, the ag^d Hildebrand.
He told it to his master, who sore thereat did grieve;
The knight so keen and gallant bade he in fitting way receive.

Wolfhart the valiant bade lead the heroes forth.
In company with Dietrich rode many a thane of worth,
As out to receive them across the plain he went,
Where might ye see erected ahready many a stately tent.

When that of Tronje Hagen them far away espied.
Unto his royal masters full courteously he said:
" Now shall ye, doughty riders, down from the saddle spring,
And forward go to meet them that here to you a welcome bring.

"A train there cometh yonder, well knew I e'en when yoimg.
Thanes they are full doughty of the land of Amelung.
He of Bern doth lead them, and high of heart they are;
To scorn their profifered greeting shall ye in sooth full well beware."

Dismounted then with Dietrich, (as was meet and right,)
Attended by his squire many a gallant knight.
They went unto the strangers and greeted courteously
The knights that far had ridden from the land of Burgundy.


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When then Sir Dietrich saw them coming near,
What words the thane delivered, now may ye willing hear.
Unto Ute's children. Their journey grieved him sore.
He weened that Ruediger knowing had warned what lay for them
in store.

"Welcome be ye, Masters, Gimther and Giselher,
Gemot and Hagen, welcome eke Volker
And the valiant Dankwart. Do ye not imderstand?
ELriemhild yet sore bemoaneth the hero of Nibelungen land.''

''Long time may she be weeping," Hagen spake again;
''In sooth for years a many dead he lies and slain.
To the monarch now of Hmiland should she devoted be:
Siegfried retnrneth never, bxiried now long time is he."

"How Siegfried's death was compassed, let now the story be:
While liveth Lady Kriemhild, look ye for injury."
Thus did of Bern Sir Dietrich imto them declare:
"Hope of the Nibelimgen, of her vengeance well beware.''

"Whereof shall I be fearful?" the lofty monarch spake:
"Etzel hath sent us message, (why furtiier question make?)
That we should journey hither into his country.
Eke hath my sister Kriemhild oft wished us here as guests to see."

" I give thee honest counsel," Hagen then did say,
"Now shalt thou here Sir Dietrich and his warriors pray
To tell thee full the story, if aught may be designed.
And let thee know more surely how stands the Lady Ejriemhild's

Then went to speak asimder the lordly monarchs three,
Gunther and Gremot, and Dietrich went he.
"Now tell us true, thou noble knight of Bern and kind,
If that perchance thou knowest how stands thy royal mistress*


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The lord of Bern gave answer: "What need to tell you more?
I hear each day at morning weeping and wailing sore
The wife of royal Etzel, who piteous doth complain
To God in heaven that Siegfried her doughty spouse from her was

"Then must we e'en abide it^" was the fearless word
Of Volker the Fiddler, "what we here have heard.
To court we yet shall journey and make full dear to all,
If that to vaHant warriors may aught amid the Huns befall."

The gallant thanes of Burgundy imto court then rode.
And went in stately manner as was their country's mode.
Full many a man in Himland looked eagerly to see
Of what manner Hagen, Tronje's doughty thane, might be.

For that was told the story (and great the wonder grew)
How that of Netherland Siegfried he slew,
That was the spouse of Kriemhild, in strength without a peer,
Hence a mickle questioning after Hagen might ye hear.

Great was the knight of stature, may ye know full true.
Built with breast expansive; mingled was the hue
Of his hair with silver; long he was of limb;
As he strode stately forward might ye mark his visage grim.

Then were the thanes of Burgundy unto quarters shown,
But the serving-man of Gunther by themselves alone.
Thus the queen did counsel, so filled she was with hate.
Anon where they were harbored the train did meet with direst fate.

Dankwart, Hagen's brother, marshal was he.
To him the king his followers commended urgently,
That he provide them plenty and have of them good care.
The noble knight of Burgundy their safety well in mind did bear.


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By her train attended, Queen Kriemhild went
To greet the Nibelimgen, yet false was her intent.
She kissed her brother Giselher and took him by the hand:
Thereat of Tronje Hagen did tighter draw his hehnet's band.

"After such like greeting," the doughty Hagen spake,
"Let all watchful warriors full precaution take:
Differs wide the greeting on masters and men bestowed.
Unhappy was the hour when to this festival we rode."

She spake: "Now be ye welcome to whom ye welcome be.
For sake of friendship never ye greeting have from me.
Tell me now what bring ye from Worms across the Rhine,
That ye so greatly welcome should ever be to land of mine?"

"An I had only known it," Hagen spake again,
"That thou didst look for present from hand of every thane,
I were, methinks, so wealthy — ^had I me bethought —

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Online LibraryGeorge Henry NeedlerThe Nibelungenlied → online text (page 20 of 27)