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George Henry Needler.

The Nibelungenlied online

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Eke he might bide longer but down to meet him sprang,
And soon with angry clamor their swords before tiie palace rang.

2358
How famed soe'er Sir Dietrich and great the name he bore.
With wrath was filled King Gimther, and eke did rage full sore
At thought of grievous sorrow sufiFered at his hand:
Still tell they as high wonder how Dietrich might his blows with-
stand.

2359
In store of doughty valor each did nothing lack.
From palace and from tower the din of blows came back
As on well-fastened helmets the lusty swords came down.
And royal Gunther's valor in the fight full dear was shown.

2360
The knight of Bern yet tamed him as Hagen erst befell.
And oozing through his armor the blood was seen to swell
From cut of sharpest weapon in Dietrich's arm that swung.
Right worthily King Gunther had borne him after labors long.

2361
Bound was then the monarch by Sir Dietrich's hand,
Albeit bonds should suffer ne'er king of any land.
But deemed he, if King Gunther and Hagen yet were free,
Secure might never any from their searching vengeance be.

2362
When in such manner Dietrich the king secure had bound
By the hand he led him where Kriemhild he foimd.
At sight of his misfortune did sorrow from her flee:
Quoth she: "Welcome Gunther from out the land of Burgundy,"



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GUNTHER AND HAGEN AND KRIEMHILD SLAIN 347

2363
He spake: "Then might I thank thee, sister of high degree,
When that some whit more gradous might thy greeting be.
So angry art thou minded ever yet, O queen,
Full spare shall be thy greeting to Hagen and to me, I ween."

2364
Then spake of Bern the hero: "Ne'er till now, O queen,
Given o'er as hostage have knights so worthy been.
As I, O lofty lady, in these have given to thee:
I pray thee higher evils to spare them now for sake of me.'*

2365
She vowed to do it gladly. Then forth Sir Dietrich went
With weeping eyes to see there such knights' imprisonment
In grimmest ways thereafter wreaked vengeance Etzel's wife:
Beneath her hand those chosen warriors twain must end their life.

2366
She let them lie asunder the less at ease to be,
Nor did each the other thenceforward ever see
Till that unto Hagen her brother's head she bore.
In sooth did Kriemhild vengeance wreak upon the twain full sore.

2367
Forth where she should find Hagen the queen her way did take,
And in right angry manner she to the warrior spake:
"An thou wilt but restore me that thou hast ta'en from me,
So may'st thou come yet living home to the land of Burgundy."

2368
Answered thereto grim Hagen: " 'Twere well thy breath to save,
Full high and royal lady. Sworn by my troth I have
That I the hoard will tell not; the while that yet doth live
Of my masters any, the treasure unto none I'll give."

2369
"Then ended be the story," the noble lady spake.
Sh« bade them from her brother straightway his life to take.
His head they struck from off him, which by the hair she bore
Unto the thane of Tronje. Thereat did grieve the knight full sore.



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348 THIRTY-NINTH ADVENTURE

2370
When that he in horror his master's head had seen,
Cried the doughty warrior unto Kriemhild the queen:
"Now is thy heart's desire at length accomplish^
And eke hath all befallen as my foreboding heart hath said.

2371
" Dead lieth now the noble king of Burgundy,
Also youthful Giselher and Sir Gemot eke doth he. ^

The treasure no one knoweth but God and me alone,
Nor e'er by thee, she-devil, shall its hiding-place be known.** 1

2372
Quoth she: "But ill requital hast thou made to me.
Yet mine the sword of Siegfried now henceforth shall be,
The which when last I saw him, my loved husband bore, |

In whom on me such sorrow through guilt of thine doth weigh full j
sore."

2373
She drew it from the scabbard, nor might he say her nay,
Though thought she from the warrior his life to take away. ,

With both hands high she raised it and off his head struck she.
Whereat did grieve King Etzel fuU sore the sorry sight to see.

2374
"To arms!" cried then the monarch: "here Keth foully slain
Beneath the hand of woman of all the doughtiest thane
That e'er was seen in battle or ever good shield bore!
Though foeman howsoever, yet grieveth this my heart full sore."

237s
Quoth then the aged IHldebrand: "Reap no gain she shall.
That thus she dared to slay him. Whate'er to me befall,
And though myself in direst need through him have been.
By me shall be aveng^ the death of Tronje's knight full keen. '

2376
In wrathful mood ttien Hildebrand unto Kriemhild sprung,
And 'gainst the queen full swiftly his massy blade he swung.
Aloud she then in terror 'fore Hildebrand did wail,
Yet that she shrieked so loudly, to save her what might that
avail?



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GUNTHER AND HAGEN AND KRIEMHILD SLAIN 349

2377
So all those warriors fated by hand of death lay strewn,
And e'en the queen ftill lofty in pieces eke was hewn.
Dietrich and royal Etzel at length to weep began,
And grievously they moum^ kinsmen slain and many a man*

2378
Who late stood high in honor now in death lay low,
And fate of all the people weeping was and woe.
To mourning now the monarch's festal tide had passed.
As falls that joy to sorrow tumeth ever at the last.

2379
Nor can I tell you further what later did befall,
But that good knights and ladies saw ye mourning all.
And many a noble squire, for friends in death laid low.
Here hath the story ending, — ^that is the Nibdungen woe.



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