George Henry Needler.

The Nibelungenlied online

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Saving twelve knights-errant. To rise the dust began
In clouds along the highway as they rode across the fields,
And gleaming in the sunlight were seen the brightly shining shields.

Meanwhile eke was nearing of Saxons a great throng.
Each a broadsword bearing that.mickle was and long.
With blade that cut full sorely when swung in strong right hand.
'Gainst strangers were they ready to guard their castles and their


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The leaders forth to battle led the warriors then.
Come was also Siegfried with his twelve chosen men,
Whom he with him hither had brought from Netherland.
That day in storm of battle was blood-bespattered many a hand.

Sindold and Hunold and Gemot as well,
Beneath their hands in battle full many a hero fell.
Ere that their deeds of valor were known throughout the host.
Through them must many a stately matron weep for warrior lost

Volker and Hagen and Ortwein in the fight
Lustily extinguished full many a helmet's light
With blood from wounds down flowing, — keen fighters every one.
And there by Dankwart also was many a mickle wonder done.

The knights of Denmark tested how they could weapons wield.
Clashing there together heard ye many a shield
And 'neath sharp swords resounding, swung by many an arm.
The Saxons keen in combat wrought 'mid their foes a grievous harm.

When the men of Burgundy pressed forward to the fight,
Gaping wounds full many hewed they there with might.
Then flowing down o'er saddle in streams was seen the blood,
So fought for sake of honor these valiant riders keen and good.

Loudly were heard ringing, wielded by hero's hand.
The sharply-cutting weapons, where they of Netherland
Their master followed after into the thickest throng:
Wherever Siegfried led them rode too those valiant knights along.

Of warriors from Rhine river could follow not a one.
There could be seen by any a stream of blood flow down
O'er brightly gleaming helmet 'neath Siegfried's mighty hand,
Until King Luedeger before him with his men did stand.


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Three times hither and thither had he the host cut through
From one end to the other. Now come was Hagen too
Who helped him well in battle to vent his warlike mood.
That day beneath his valor must die full many a rider good.

When the doughty Luedeger Siegfried there found,
As he swung high in anger his arm for blows around
And with his good sword Balmung knights so many slew,
Thereat was the keen warrior fdled with grief and anger too.

Then mickle was the thronging and loud the broadswords clashed,
As all their valiant followers 'gainst one another dashed.
Then struggled all the fiercer both sides the fight to win;
The hosts joined with each other: 'twas frightful there to hear the

To the monarch of the Saxons it had been told before,
His brother was a captive, which grieved his heart right sore.
He knew not that had done it fair Siegelind's son.
For rumor said 'twas Gemot. Full well he learned the truth anon.

King Luedeger struck so mighty when fierce his anger rose,
That Siegfried's steed beneath him staggered from the blows,
But forthwith did recover; then straight his rider keen
Let all his furious mettle in slaughter of his foes be seen.

There helped him well grim Hagen, and Gemot in the fray,
Dankwart and Volker; dead many a knight there lay.
Sindold and Hunold and Ortwein, doughty thane.
By them in that fierce stmggle was many a valiant warrior slain.

Unparted in storm of battle the gallant leaders were,
Around them over helmet flew there many a spear
Through shield all brightly shining, from hand of mighty thane: .
And on the glancing amior was seen full many a blood-red stain.


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Amid the hurly-burly down fell many a man
To groimd from off his charger. Straight 'gainst each other ran
Siegfried the keen rider and eke King Luedeger.
Then flew from lance the splinters and hurled was many a pointed

'Neath Siegfried's hand so mighty from shield flew off the band.
And soon to win the victory thought he of Netherland
Over the valiant Saxons, of whom were wonders seen.
Heigh-ho ! in shining mail-rings many a breach made Dankwart keen 1

Upon the shining buckler that guarded Siegfried's breast
Soon espied King Luedeger a painted crown for crest;
By this same token knew he it was the doughty man,
And to his friends he straightway amid the battle loud began:

"Give o'er from fighting further, good warriors every one!
Amongst our foes now see I Siegmund's noble son,
Of netherland the doughty knight on victory bent.
Him has the evil Devil to scourge the Saxons hither sent."

Then bade he all the banners amid the storm let down.
Peace he quickly sued for: v'Twas granted him anon,
But he must now a hostage be ta'en to Gunther's land.
This fate had forced upon him the fear of Siegfried's mighty hand.

They thus by common coimsel left off all further fight.
Hacked full many a helmet and shields that late were bright
From hands down laid they weary; as many as there might be,
With stains they all were bloody 'neath hands of the men of Bur-

Each whom he would took captive, now they had won the fight.
Gemot, the noble hero, and Hagen, doughty knight.
Bade bear forth the wounded. Back led they with them then
Unto the land of Burgundy five hundred stalwart fighting-men.


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The knights, of victory cheated, their native Denmark sou^t,
Nor had that day the Saxons with such high valor fought,
That one could praise them for it« which caused the warriors pain.
Then wept their friends full sorely at home for those in battle slain.

For the Rhine then laden they let their armor be.
Siegfried, the knight so doughty, had won the victory
With his few chosen followers; that he had nobly done,
Coiild not but free acknowledge King Gunther's warriors every one.

To Worms sent Gemot riding now a messenger,
And of the joyous tiding soon Mends at home were ware.
How that it well had prospered with him and all his men.
Fou^t that day with valor for honor had those warriors keen.

The messenger sped forward and told the tidings o'er.
Then joyfully they shouted who boded ill before.
To hear the welcome story that now to them was told.
From ladies fair and noble came eager questions manifold,

Who all the fair fortune of King Gunther's men would know.
One messenger they ordered unto Kriemhild to go.
But that was done m secret: she durst let no one see.
For he was 'mongst those warriors whom she did love so faithfully.

When to her own apartments was come the messenger
Jo3rfully addressed him Kriemhild the maiden fair:
"But tell me now glad tidings, and gold Til give to thee.
And if thou tell'st not falsely, good friend thou'lt ever find in me.

"How has my good brother Gemot in battle sped,
And how my other kinsmen? Lies any of them dead?
Who wrought most deeds of valor ? — ^That shalt thou let me know.'*
Then spake the messenger truly: "No knight but did high valor


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"But in the dire turmofl rode rider none so well,
O Princess fair and noble, since I must truly tell,
As the stranger knight full noble who comes from Netheriand;
There deeds of mickle wonder were wrought by doughty Siegfried's

"Whatever have all the warriors in battle dared to do,
Dankwart and Hagen and the other knights so true,
Howe'er they fought for honor, 'twas naught but idle play
Beside what there wrought Siegfried, King Siegmimd's son, amid the

"Beneath their hands in battle full many a hero fell.
Yet all the deeds of wonder no man could ever tell.
Wrought by the hand of Siegfried, when rode he 'gainst the foe:
And weep aloud must women for friends by his strong arm laid low.

"There, too, the knight she loved full many a maid must lose.
Were heard come down on helmet so loud his mighty blows.
That they from gaping gashes brought forth the flowing blood.
In all that maketh noble he is a vaUant knight and good.

" Many a deed of daring of Metz Sir Ortwein wrought:
For all was evil faring whom he with broadsword caught,
Doomed to die that instant, or wounded sore to fall.
And there thy valiant brother did greater havoc work than all

"That e'er in storm of battle was done by warrior bold.
Of aU those chosen warriors let eke the truth be told:
The proud Burgundian heroes have made it now right plain.
That they can free from insult their coimtry's honor well maintain.

"Beneath their hands was often full many a saddle bare,
When o'er the field resounding their bright swords cut the air.
The warriors from Rhine river did here such victory win
That for their foes ^twere better if they such meeting ne'er had seen.


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"Keen the knights of Tronje 'fore all their valor showed,
When with their stalwart followers against their foes they rode;
Slain by the hand of Hagen must knights so many be,
Twill long be in the telling here in the kind of Burgundy.

"Sindold and Himold, Gemot's men each one,
And the valiant Rumold have aU so nobly done.
King Luedeger will ever have right good cause to rue
That he against thy kindred at Rhine dared aught of harm to do.

"And deeds of all most wondrous e'er done by warrior keen
In earliest time or latest, by mortal ever seen,
Wrought there in lusty manner Siegfried with doughty hand.
Rich hostages he bringeth with him unto Gunther's land.

"By his own strength subdued them the hero imsurpassed
And brought down dire ruin upon King Luedegast,
Eke on the King of Saxons his brother Luedeger.
Now hearken to the story I tell thee, noble Princess fair.

"Them both hath taken captive Siegfried's doughty hand.
Hostages were so many ne'er brought into this land
As to the Rhine come hither through his great bravery."
Than these could never tidings imto her heart more welcome be.

"With captives home they're hieing, five hundred men or mo%
And of the woimded dying Lady shalt thou know.
Full eighty blood-stained barrows imto Burgundian land.
Most part hewn down in battle beneath keen Siegfried's dou^ty


"Who message sent defiant unto the Rhine so late
Must now as Gunther's prisoners here abide their fate.
Bringing such noble captives the victors glad return."
Then ^wed with joy the princess when she the tidings glad did



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Her cheeks so full of beauty with joy were rosy-red,
That passed he had uninjured throu^ all the dangers dread,
The knight she loved so dearly, Siegfried with doughty arm.
Good cause she had for joying o'er all her friends escaped from

Then spake the beauteous maiden: '^Glad news thou hast told me,
Wherefor now rich apparel thy goodly meed shall be,
And to thee shall be given ten marks of gold as well."
'Tis thus a thing right pleasant to ladies high such news to tell.

The presents rich they gave him, gold and apparel rare.
Then hastened to the casement full many a maiden fair,
And on the street looked downward: hither riding did they see
Many a knight high-hearted into the land of Burgundy.

There came who 'scaped iminjured, and wounded borne along,
All glad to hear the greetings of friends, a joyful throng.
To meet Us friends the monarch rode out in mickle glee:
In joying now was ended all his full great anxiety.

Then did he well his warriors and eke the strangers greet;
And for a king so mighty 'twere nothing else but meet
That he should thank right kindly the gallant men each one,
Who had in storm of battle the victory so bravely won.

Then of his friends King Gunther bade tidings tell straightway.
Of all his men how many were fallen in the fray.
Lost had he none other than warriors three score:
Then wept they for the heroes, as since they did for many more.

Shields full many brought they all hewn by valiant hand,
And many a shattered hehnet into King Gunther's hand.
The riders then dismounted from their steeds before the hall,
And a right hearty welcome from friends rejoicing had they all. ^


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Then did they for the warriors lodging meet prepare,
And for his guests the monarch bade full well have care.
He bade them take the wounded and tend them carefully,
And toward his enemies also his gentle bearing might ye see.

To Luedeger then spake he: "Right welcome art thou here.
Through fault of thine now have I lost many friends full dear,
For which, have I good fortune, thou shalt right well atone.
God rich reward my liegemen, such faithfulness to me they've
~~ sEown."

"Well may*st thou thank them, truly," spake then Luedeger;
"Hostages so noble won a monarch ne'er.
For chivalrous protection rich goods we offer thee,
That thou now right gracious to us thy enemies shalt be."

"I'U grant you both yoiu: freedom," spake the king again;
"But that my enemies surely here by me remain.
Therefor I'll have good pledges they ne'er shall quit my land.
Save at my royal pleasure." Thereto gave Luedeger the hand.

Sweet rest then found the weary their tired limbs to aid,
And gently soon on couches the woimded knights were laid;
Mead and wine right ruddy they poured out plenteously:
Than they and all their followers merrier men there none might be.

Their shields all hacked in battle secure were laid away;
And not a few of saddles stained with blood .that day.
Lest women weep to see them, hid they too iSom sight.
Full many a keen rider home came aweary from the fight.

The host in gentlest manner did his guests attend:
The land around with stranger was crowded, and with friend.
They bade the sorely wounded nurse with especial care:
Whereby the knights high-hearted 'neath all their wounds knew not


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Who there had skill in healing received reward untold,
Silver all unweigh^d and thereto ruddy gold
For making whole the heroes after the battle sore.
To all his friends the monarch gave presents rich in goodly store.

Who there again was minded to take his homeward way
They bade, as one a friend doth, yet a while to stay.
The king did then take counsel how to reward each one,
For they his wiU in battle like liegemen true had nobly done.

Then outspake royal Gemot: "Now let them homeward go;
After six weeks are over, — thus our friends shall know —
To hold high feast they're bidden hither to come again;
Many a knight now lying sore wounded will be healed ere then.

Of Netherland the hero would also then take leave.
When of this King Gimther did tidings first receive,
The knight besought he kindly not yet his leave to take:
To this he'd ne'er consented an it were not for Kriemhild's sake.

A prince he was too noble to take the common pay;
He had right well deserved it that the king alway
And all his warriors held him in honor, for they had seen
What by his arm in battle bravely had accomplished been.

He stayed there yet a httle for the maiden's sake alone,
Whom he would see so gladly. And all fell out full soon
As he at heart had wished it: well known to him was she.
Home to his father's country joyously anon rode he.

The king bade at all seasons keep up the tournament.
And many a youthful rider forth to the lists there went.
The while were seats made ready by Worms upon the strand
For all who soon were coming unto the Burgundian land.


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In the meantime also, ere back the knights returned,
Had Kjiemhild, noble lady, the tidings likewise learned,
The king would hold high feasting with all his gallant men.
There was a mickle hurry, and busy were fair maidens then

With dresses and with wimples that they there should wear.
Ute, queen so stately, the stoiy too did hear.
How to them were coming proud knights of highest worth.
Then from enfolding covers were store of dresses rich brought forth.

Such love she bore her children she bade rich dress prepare,
Wherewith adorned were ladies and many a maiden fair.
And not a few yoimg riders in the land of Burgundy.
For strangers many bade she rich garments eke should measured be.

f)ow Bicettic^ t[t6t 6aw fttlembll5

Unto the Rhine now daily the knights were seen to ride,
Who there would be full gladly to share the festive tide.
To all that thither journeyed to the king to show them true,
In plenty them were given steeds and rich apparel too.

And soon were seats made ready for every noble guest,
As we have heard the story, for highest and for best.
Two and thirty princes at the festival.
Then vied with one another to deck themselves the ladies alL

Never was seen idle the young Prince Giselher:
The guests and all their followers received full kindly were
By him and eke by Gemot and their men every one.
ll)e noble thanes they greeted as ever 'tis in honor done.


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With gold bright gleaming saddles unto the land they brought,
Good store of rich apparel and shields all richly wrought
Unto the Rhine they carried to that high festival.
And joyous days were coming for the woimded warriors all.

They who yet on couches lay wounded grievously
For joy had soon forgotten how bitter death would be:
The sick and all the ailing no need of pity had.
Anent the days of feasting were they o'er the tidings glad,

How they should make them merry there where all were so.
Delight beyond all measure, of joys an overflow,
Had in sooth the people seen on every hand:
Then rose a mickle joyance over all King Gunther*s land.

Full many a warrior valiant one mom at Whitsimtide
All gorgeously apparelled was thither seen to ride.
Five thousand men or over, where the feast should be;
And vied in every quarter knight with knight in revelry.

Thereof the host was mindful, for he well did toderstand
How at heart right warmly the hero of Netherland
Loved alone his sister, though her he ne'er had seen,
Who praised for wondrous beauty before all maidens else had been.

Then spake the thane so noble of Metz Sir Ortwein:
"Wilt thou full be honored by every guest of thine.
Then do them all the pleasure the winsome maids to see,
That are held so high in honor here in the land of Burgundy.

"What were a man's chief pleasure, his very joy of life,
An 't were not a lovely maiden or a stately wHe?
Then let the maid thy sister before thy guests appear."
— ^Brave thanes did there full many at heart rejoice the rede to hear.


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"TTiy words Fll gladly follow," then the monarch said,
And all the knights who heard him were thereat right glad.
Then told was Queen Ute and eke her daughter fair,
That they with maids in waiting unto the court should soon repair.

Then in well-stored wardrobes rich attire they sought.
And forth from folding covers their glittering dresses brought,
Armbands and silken girdles of which they many had.
And zealous to adorn her was then full many a winsome maid.

FuU many a youthful squire upon that day did try.
By decking of his person, to win fair lady's eye;
For the which great good fortune he'd take no monarch's crown:
They longed to see those maidens, whom they before had never

' 278
For her especial service* the king did order then
To wait upon his sister a hundred of his men,
As well upon his mother: they carried sword in hand.
That was the court attendance there in the Burgundian land.

Ute, queen so stately, then came forth with her:
And with the queen in waiting ladies fair there were,
A hundred or over, in festal robes arrayed.
Eke went there with Kriemhild full many a fair and winsome maid.

Forth from their own apartments they all were seen to go:
There was a mickle pressing of good knights to and fro.
Who hoped to win the pleasure, if such a thing might be,
The noble maiden Kriemhild, delight of every eye, to see.

Now came she fair and lovely, as the ruddy sun of mom
From misty clouds emerging. Straight he who long had borne
Her in his heart and loved her, from all his gloom was freed.
As so stately there before him he saw the fair and lovely maid.


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Her rich apparel glittered with many a predous stone.
And with a ruddy beauty her cheeks like roses shone.
Though you should wish to do so, you could not say, I ween.
That e'er a fairer lady in all the world before was seen.

As in a sky all starlit the moon shines out so bright,
And through the cloudlets peering pours down her gentle light,
E'en so was Kriemhild's beauty among her ladies fair:
The hearts of gallant heroes were gladder when they saw her there.

The richly dad attendants moved stately on before.
And the valiant thanes high-hearted stood patiently no more,
But pressed right eager forward to see the lovdy maid:
In noble Siegfried's bosom alternate joy and anguish swayed.

He thought with heart despairing, "How could it ever be,
That I should win thy favor? There hoped I foolishly.
But had I e'er to shun thee, then were I rather dead."
And oft, to think upon it, the color from his visage fled.

The noble son of Siegmund did there so stately stand
As if his form were pictured by good old master's hand
Upon a piece of parchment All who saw, confessed
liiat he of all good heroes was the stateliest and the best

The fair Kriemhild's attendants gave order to make way
On all sides for the ladies, and willing thanes obey.
To see their noble bearing did every warrior cheer;
Full many a statdy lady of gentle manner bom was there.

Then outspake of Burgundy Gemot the valiant knight:
"To him who thus has helped thee so bravely in the fight,
Gtmther, royal brother, shalt thou like favor show,
A thane before all others; he's worthy of it well, I trow.


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"Let then the doughty Siegfried unto my sister go
To have the maiden's greetings, — 'twill be our profit so.
She that ne'er greeted hero shall greet him courteously,
That thus the stately warrior for aye our faithful friend may be."

The king's knights hastened gladly upon his high command
And told these joyous tidings to the prince of Netheriand.
"It is the king's good pleasure that tiiou to covirt shalt go,
To have his sister's greetings; to honor thee 'tis ordered so."

Then was the thane full valiant thereat soon filled with joy.
Yea, bore he in his bosom delight without alloy
At thought that he should straightway Ute's fair daughter see.
Siegfried anon she greeted in courteous manner lovingly.

As she saw the knight high-hearted there before her stand,
Blushed red and spake the maiden, the fairest of the land:
"A welcome, brave Sir Siegfried, thou noble knight and good."
As soon as he had heard it, the hearty greeting cheered his mood.

Before her low he bended; him by the hand took she,
And by her onward wended the knight full willingly.
They cast upon each other fond glances many a one.
The kni^t and eke the maiden; furtively it all was done.

Whether he pressed friendly that hand as white as snow
From the love he bore her, that I do not know;
Yet beh'eve I cannot that this was left undone.
For straightway showed the maiden that he her heart had fully won,

In the sunny summer season and in the month of May
Had his heart seen never before so glad a day,
Nor one so fully joyous, as when he walked beside
That maiden rich in beauty whom fain he'd choose to be his bride.


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Then thought many a warrior: "Were it likewise granted me
To walk beside the maiden, just as now I see,
Or to lie beside her, how gladly were that done!"
But ne'er a knight more fully had gracious lady's favor won.

From all the lands far distant were guests distinguished there,
But fixed each eye was only upon this single pair.
By royal leave did Kriemhild kiss then the stately knight:
In all the world he never before had known so rare delight.

Then full of strange forebodings, of Denmark spake the king:
"This full loving greeting to many woe will bring,

Online LibraryGeorge Henry NeedlerThe Nibelungenlied → online text (page 6 of 27)