A battle-tunic silken / the maid upon her drew, That in ne'er a contest / weapon pierced through, Of skins from land of Libya, / and structure rare and fine; And brilliant bands embroidered / might you see upon it shine.
Meanwhile were the strangers / jibed with many a threat; Dankwart and Hagen, / their hearts began to beat. How here the king should prosper / were they of doubtful mood, Thinking, "This our journey / shall bring us wanderers naught of good."
The while did also Siegfried / the thane beyond compare, Before 'twas marked by any, / unto the ship repair, Where he found his sightless mantle / that did hidden lie, And slipped into 't full deftly: / so was he veiled from every eye.
 See strophe 97, note.
Thither back he hied him / and found great company About the queen who ordered / what the high play should be. There went he all in secret; / so cunningly 'twas done, Of all around were standing / perceived him never any one.
The ring it was appointed / wherein the play should be 'Fore many a keen warrior / who the same should see. More than seven hundred / were seen their weapons bear, That whoso were the victor / they might sure the same declare.
Thither was come Brunhild; / all armed she did stand Like as she were to combat / for many a royal land; Upon her silken tunic / were gold bars many a one, And glowing 'mid the armor / her flesh of winsome color shone.
Then followed her attendants / and with them thither brought At once a shield full stately, / of pure red gold 'twas wrought, With steel-hard bands for facings, / full mickle 'twas and broad, Wherewith in the contest / would guard herself the lovely maid.
To hold the shield securely / a well-wrought band there was, Whereon lay precious jewels / green as blade of grass. Full many a ray their lustre / shot round against the gold. He were a man full valiant / whom this high dame should worthy hold.
The shield was 'neath the boss-point, / as to us is said, Good three spans in thickness, / which should bear the maid. Of steel 'twas wrought so richly / and had of gold such share, That chamberlain and fellows / three the same scarce could bear.
When the doughty Hagen / the shield saw thither brought, Spake the knight of Tronje, / and savage was his thought: "Where art thou now, King Gunther? / Shall we thus lose our life! Whom here thou seekst for lover, / she is the very Devil's wife."
List more of her apparel; / she had a goodly store. Of silk of Azagang / a tunic made she wore, All bedight full richly; / amid its color shone Forth from the queen it covered, / full many a sparkling precious stone.
Then brought they for the lady, / large and heavy there, As she was wont to hurl it, / a sharply-pointed spear; Strong and massive was it, / huge and broad as well, And at both its edges / it cut with devastation fell.
To know the spear was heavy / list ye wonders more: Three spears of common measure / 'twould make, and something o'er. Of Brunhild's attendants / three scarce the same could bear. The heart of noble Gunther / thereat began to fill with fear.
Within his soul he thought him: / "What pickle am I in? Of hell the very Devil, / how might he save his skin? Might I at home in Burgundy / safe and living be, Should she for many a season / from proffered love of mine be free."
Then spake Hagen's brother / the valiant Dankwart: "In truth this royal journey / doth sorely grieve my heart. We passed for good knights one time: / what caitiff's death, if we Here in far-off country / a woman's game are doomed to be!
"It rueth me full sorely / that I came to this land. And had my brother Hagen / his good sword in hand, And had I mine to help him, / a bit more gently then, A little tame of spirit, / might show themselves all Brunhild's men.
"And know it of a certain / to lord it thus they'd cease; E'en though oaths a thousand / I'd sworn to keep the peace, Before that I'd see perish / my dear lord shamefully, Amid the souls departed / this fair maid herself should be."
"Well should we unhampered / quit at last this land," Spake his brother Hagen, / "did we in armor stand, Such as we need for battle, / and bore we broadswords good: 'Twould be a little softened, / this doughty lady's haughty mood."
Well heard the noble maiden / what the warriors spoke. Back athwart her shoulder / she sent a smiling look: "Now thinks he him so valiant, / so let them armed stand; Their full keen-edged broadswords / give the warriors each in hand."
When they their swords received, / as the maiden said, The full valiant Dankwart / with joy his face grew red. "Now play they what them pleaseth," / cried the warrior brave; "Gunther is yet a freeman, / since now in hand good swords we have."
The royal Brunhild's prowess / with terror was it shown. Into the ring they bore her / in sooth a ponderous stone, Great and all unwieldy, / huge it was and round: And scarce good knights a dozen / together raised it from the ground.
To put this was her custom / after trial with the spear. Thereat the men of Burgundy / began to quake with fear. "Alack! Alack!" quoth Hagen, / "what seeks the king for bride? Beneath in hell 'twere better / the Devil had her by his side!"
On her white arms the flowing / sleeves she backward flung, Then with grasp of power / the shield in hand she swung, And spear poised high above her. / So did the contest start. Gunther and Siegfried / saw Brunhild's ire with falling heart.
And were it not that Siegfried / a ready help did bring, Surely then had perished / beneath her hand the king. There went he unperceived / and the king's hand did touch. Gunther at his cunning / artifice was troubled much.
"What is that hath touched me?" / thought the monarch keen. Then gazed he all around him: / none was there to be seen. A voice spake: "Siegfried is it, / a friend that holds thee dear. Before this royal maiden / shall thy heart be free from fear.
"Thy shield in hand now give me / and leave it me to bear, And do thou rightly mark thee / what thou now shalt hear. Now make thyself the motions, / —the power leave to me." When he did know him rightly, / the monarch's heart was filled with glee.
"Now secret keep my cunning, / let none e'er know the same: Then shall the royal maiden / here find but little game Of glory to win from thee, / as most to her is dear. Behold now how the lady / stands before thee void of fear."
The spear the stately maiden / with might and main did wield, And huge and broad she hurled it / upon the new-made shield, That on his arm did carry / the son of Siegelind; From the steel the sparks flew hissing / as if were blowing fierce the wind.
The mighty spear sharp-pointed / full through the shield did crash, That ye from off the mail-rings / might see the lightning flash. Beneath its force they stumbled, / did both those men of might; But for the sightless mantle / they both were killed there outright.
From mouth of the full doughty / Siegfried burst the blood. Full soon he yet recovered; / then seized the warrior good The spear that from her strong arm / thus his shield had rent, And back with force as came it / the hand of doughty Siegfried sent.
He thought: "To pierce the maiden / were but small glory earned," And so the spear's sharp edges / backward pointing turned; Against her mail-clad body / he made the shaft to bound, And with such might he sent it / full loud her armor did resound.
The sparks as if in stormwind / from mail-rings flew around. So mightily did hurl it / the son of Siegmund That she with all her power / could not the shaft withstand. In sooth it ne'er was speeded / so swiftly by King Gunther's hand.
But to her feet full sudden / had sprung Brunhild fair. "A shot, O noble Gunther, / befitting hero rare." She weened himself had done it, / and all unaided he, Nor wot she one far mightier / was thither come so secretly.
Then did she go full sudden, / wrathful was her mood, A stone full high she heaved / the noble maiden good, And the same far from her / with might and main she swung: Her armor's mail-rings jingled / as she herself thereafter sprung.
The stone, when it had fallen, / lay fathoms twelve from there, And yet did spring beyond it / herself the maiden fair. Then where the stone was lying / thither Siegfried went: Gunther feigned to move it, / but by another arm 'twas sent.
A valiant man was Siegfried / full powerful and tall. The stone then cast he farther, / and farther sprang withal. From those his arts so cunning / had he of strength such store That as he leaped he likewise / the weight of royal Gunther bore.
And when the leap was ended / and fallen was the stone, Then saw they ne'er another / but Gunther alone. Brunhild the fair maiden, / red grew she in wrath: Siegfried yet had warded / from royal Gunther surest death.
Unto her attendants / she spake in loud command, When she saw 'cross the circle / the king unvanquished stand. "Come hither quick, my kinsmen, / and ye that wait on me; Henceforth unto Gunther / shall all be pledged faithfully."
Then laid the knights full valiant / their swords from out the hand; At feet 'fore mighty Gunther / from Burgundian land Offered himself in service / full many a valiant knight. They weened that he had conquered / in trial by his proper might.
He gave her loving greeting, / right courteous was he. Then by the hand she took him, / the maiden praiseworthy, In pledge that all around him / was his to have and hold. Whereat rejoiced Hagen / the warrior valorous and bold.
Into the spacious palace / with her thence to go Bade she the noble monarch. / When they had done so, Then still greater honors / unto the knight were shown. Dankwart and Hagen, / right willingly they saw it done.
Siegfried the valiant, / by no means was he slow, His sightless mantle did he / away in safety stow. Then went he again thither / where many a lady sat. He spake unto the monarch— / full cunningly was done all that:
"Why bidest thus, my master? / Wilt not the play begin, To which so oft hath challenged / thee the noble queen? Let us soon have example / what may the trial be." As knew he naught about it, / did the knight thus cunningly.
Then spake the queen unto him: / "How hath this ever been, That of the play, Sir Siegfried, / nothing thou hast seen, Wherein hath been the victor / Gunther with mighty hand?" Thereto gave answer Hagen / a grim knight of Burgundian land.
Spake he: "There dost thou, Lady, / think ill without a cause: By the ship down yonder / the noble Siegfried was, The while the lord of Rhineland / in play did vanquish thee: Thus knows he nothing of it," / spake Gunther's warrior courteously.
"A joy to me these tidings," / the doughty Siegfried spoke, "That so thy haughty spirit / is brought beneath the yoke, And that yet one there liveth / master to be of thine. Now shalt thou, noble maiden, / us follow thither to the Rhine."
Then spake the maiden shapely: / "It may not yet be so. All my men and kindred / first the same must know. In sooth not all so lightly / can I quit my home. First must I bid my trusty / warriors that they hither come."
Then bade she messengers / quickly forth to ride, And summoned in her kindred / and men from every side. Without delay she prayed them / to come to Isenstein, And bade them all be given / fit apparel rare and fine.
Then might ye see daily / 'twixt morn and eventide Unto Brunhild's castle / many a knight to ride. "God wot, God wot," quoth Hagen, / "we do an evil thing, To tarry here while Brunhild / doth thus her men together bring.
"If now into this country / their good men they've brought —What thing the queen intendeth / thereof know we naught: Belike her wrath ariseth, / and we are men forlorn— Then to be our ruin / were the noble maiden born."
Then spake the doughty Siegfried: / "That matter leave to me. Whereof thou now art fearful, / I'll never let it be. Ready help I'll bring thee / hither unto this land, Knights of whom thou wotst not / till now I'll bring, a chosen band.
"Of me shalt thou ask not: / from hence will I fare. May God of thy good honor / meanwhile have a care. I come again right quickly / with a thousand men for thee, The very best of warriors / hitherto are known to me."
"Then tarry not unduly," / thus the monarch said. "Glad we are full fairly / of this thy timely aid." He spake: "Till I come to thee / full short shall be my stay. That thou thyself hast sent me / shalt thou unto Brunhild say."
How Siegfried fared to his Knights, the Nibelungen
Thence went then Siegfried / out through the castle door In his sightless mantle / to a boat upon the shore. As Siegmund's son doth board it / him no mortal sees; And quickly off he steers it / as were it wafted by the breeze.
No one saw the boatman, / yet rapid was the flight Of the boat forth speeding / driven by Siegfried's might. They weened that did speed it / a swiftly blowing wind: No, 'twas Siegfried sped it, / the son of fairest Siegelind.
In that one day-time / and the following night Came he to a country / by dint of mickle might, Long miles a hundred distant, / and something more than this: The Nibelungen were its people / where the mighty hoard was his.
Alone did fare the hero / unto an island vast Whereon the boat full quickly / the gallant knight made fast. Of a castle then bethought him / high upon a hill, And there a lodging sought him, / as wayworn men are wont to still.
Then came he to the portals / that locked before him stood. They guarded well their honor / as people ever should. At the door he gan a-knocking, / for all unknown was he. But full well 'twas guarded, / and within it he did see
A giant who the castle / did guard with watchful eye, And near him did at all times / his good weapons lie. Quoth he: "Who now that knocketh / at the door in such strange wise?" Without the valiant Siegfried / did cunningly his voice disguise.
He spake: "A bold knight-errant / am I; unlock the gate. Else will I from without here / disturbance rare create For all who'd fain lie quiet / and their rest would take." Wrathful grew the Porter / as in this wise Siegfried spake.
Now did the giant valorous / his good armor don, And placed on head his helmet; / then the full doughty man His shield up-snatched quickly / and gate wide open swung. How sore was he enraged / as himself upon Siegfried he flung!
'How dared he thus awaken / brave knights within the hall?' The blows in rapid showers / from his hand did fall. Thereat the noble stranger / began himself to shield. For so a club of iron / the Porter's mighty arm did wield,
That splinters flew from buckler, / and Siegfried stood aghast From fear that this same hour / was doomed to be his last, So mightily the Porter's / blows about him fell. To find such faithful warder / did please his master Siegfried well.
So fiercely did they struggle / that castle far within And hall where slept the Nibelungen / echoed back the din. But Siegfried pressed the Porter / and soon he had him bound. In all the land of Nibelungen / the story soon was bruited round.
When the grim sound of fighting / afar the place had filled, Alberich did hear it, / a Dwarf full brave and wild. He donned his armor deftly, / and running thither found This so noble stranger / where he the doughty Porter bound.
Alberich was full wrathy, / thereto a man of power. Coat of mail and helmet / he on his body wore, And in his hand a heavy / scourge of gold he swung. Where was fighting Siegfried, / thither in mickle haste he sprung.
Seven knobs thick and heavy / on the club's end were seen, Wherewith the shield that guarded / the knight that was so keen He battered with such vigor / that pieces from it brake. Lest he his life should forfeit / the noble stranger gan to quake.
The shield that all was battered / from his hand he flung; And into sheath, too, thrust he / his sword so good and long. For his trusty chamberlain / he did not wish to slay, And in such case he could not / grant his anger fullest sway.
With but his hands so mighty / at Alberich he ran. By the beard then seized he / the gray and aged man, And in such manner pulled it / that he full loud did roar. The youthful hero's conduct / Alberich did trouble sore.
Loud cried the valiant steward: / "Have mercy now on me. And might I other's vassal / than one good hero's be, To whom to be good subject / I an oath did take, Until my death I'd serve thee." / Thus the man of cunning spake.
Alberich then bound he / as the giant before. The mighty arm of Siegfried / did trouble him full sore. The Dwarf began to question: / "Thy name, what may it be?" Quoth he: "My name is Siegfried; / I weened I well were known to thee."
"I joy to hear such tidings," / Dwarf Alberich replied. "Well now have I found thee / in knightly prowess tried, And with goodly reason / lord o'er lands to be. I'll do whate'er thou biddest, / wilt thou only give me free."
Then spake his master Siegfried: / "Quickly shalt thou go, And bring me knights hither, / the best we have to show, A thousand Nibelungen, / to stand before their lord." Wherefore thus he wished it, / spake he never yet a word.
The giant and Alberich / straightway he unbound. Then ran Alberich quickly / where the knights he found. The warriors of Nibelung / he wakened full of fear. Quoth he: "Be up, ye heroes, / before Siegfried shall ye appear."
From their couches sprang they / and ready were full soon, Clothed well in armor / a thousand warriors boon, And went where they found standing / Siegfried their lord. Then was a mickle greeting / courteously in act and word.
Candles many were lighted, / and sparkling wine he drank. That they came so quickly, / therefor he all did thank. Quoth he: "Now shall ye with me / from hence across the flood." Thereto he found full ready / the heroes valiant and good.
Good thirty hundred warriors / soon had hither pressed, From whom were then a thousand / taken of the best. For them were brought their helmets / and what they else did need. For unto Brunhild's country / would he straightway the warriors lead.
He spake: "Ye goodly nobles, / that would I have you hear, In full costly raiment / shall ye at court appear, For yonder must there see us / full many a fair lady. Therefore shall your bodies / dight in good apparel be."
Upon a morning early / went they on their way. What host of brave companions / bore Siegfried company! Good steeds took they with them / and garments rich to wear, And did in courtly fashion / unto Brunhild's country fare.
As gazed from lofty parapet / women fair to see, Spake the queen unto them: / "Knows any who they be, Whom I see yonder sailing / upon the sea afar? Rich sails their ships do carry, / whiter than snow they are."
Then spake the king of Rhineland: / "My good men they are, That on my journey hither / left I lying near. I've sent to call them to me: / now are they come, O Queen." With full great amazing / were the stately strangers seen.
There saw they Siegfried / out on the ship's prow stand Clad in costly raiment, / and with him his good band. Then spake Queen Brunhild: / "Good monarch, let me know, Shall I go forth to greet them, / or shall I greetings high forego?"
He spake: "Thou shalt to meet them / before the palace go, So that we see them gladly / they may surely know." Then did the royal lady / fulfil the king's behest. Yet Siegfried in the greeting / was not honored with the rest.
Lodgings were made ready / and their armor ta'en in hand. Then was such host of strangers / come into that land, On all sides they jostled / from the great company. Then would the knights full valiant / homeward fare to Burgundy.
Then spake Queen Brunhild: / "In favor would I hold Who might now apportion / my silver and my gold To my guests and the monarch's, / for goodly store I have." Thereto an answer Dankwart, / Giselher's good warrior, gave:
"Full noble royal Lady, / give me the keys to hold. I trow I'll so divide it," / spake the warrior bold, "If blame there be about it, / that shall be mine alone." That he was not a niggard, / beyond a doubt he soon had shown.
When now Hagen's brother / the treasure did command, So many a lavish bounty / dealt out the hero's hand, Whoso mark did covet, / to him was given such store That all who once were poor men / might joyous live for evermore.
In sooth good pounds a hundred / gave he to each and all. A host in costly raiment / were seen before the hall, Who in equal splendor / ne'er before were clad. When the queen did hear it, / verily her heart was sad.
Then spake the royal lady: / "Good King, it little needs, That now thy chamberlain / of all my stately weeds Leave no whit remaining, / and squander clean my gold. Would any yet prevent it, / him would I aye in favor hold.
"He deals with hand so lavish, / in sooth doth ween the thane That death I've hither summoned; / but longer I'll remain. Eke trow I well to spend all / my sire hath left to me." Ne'er found queen a chamberlain / of such passing generosity.
Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / "Lady, be thou told, That the king of Rhineland / raiment hath and gold So plenteous to lavish / that we may well forego To carry with us homeward / aught that Brunhild can bestow."
"No; as high ye hold me," / spake the queen again, "Let me now have filled / coffers twice times ten Of gold and silken raiment, / that may deal out my hand, When that we come over / into royal Gunther's land."
Then with precious jewels / the coffers they filled for her. The while her own chamberlain / must be standing near: For no whit would she trust it / unto Giselher's man. Whereat Gunther and Hagen / heartily to laugh began.
Then spake the royal lady: / "To whom leave I my lands? First must they now be given / in charge from out our hands." Then spake the noble monarch: / "Whomsoe'er it pleaseth thee, Bid him now come hither, / the same we'll let our Warden be."
One of her highest kindred / near by the lady spied, —He was her mother's brother— / to him thus spake the maid: "Now be to thee entrusted / the castles and eke the land, Until that here shall govern / Gunther the king by his own hand."
Trusty knights two thousand / from her company Chose she to journey with her / unto Burgundy, Beyond those thousand warriors / from Nibelungenland. They made ready for the journey, / and downward rode unto the strand.
Six and eighty ladies / led they thence with her, Thereto good hundred maidens / that full beauteous were. They tarried no whit longer, / for they to part were fain. Of those they left behind them, / O how they all to weep began!
In high befitting fashion / quitted she her land: She kissed of nearest kindred / all who round did stand. After fair leave-taking / they went upon the sea. Back to her father's country / came never more that fair lady.
Then heard you on the journey / many a kind of play: Every pleasant pastime / in plenty had they. Soon had they for their journey / a wind from proper art: So with full great rejoicing / did they from that land depart.
Yet would she on the journey / not be the monarch's spouse: But was their pleasant pastime / reserved for his own house At Worms within his castle / at a high festival, Whither anon full joyous / came they with their warriors all.
How Siegfried was sent to Worms
When that they had journeyed / full nine days on their way, Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / "Now hear what I shall say. We tarry with the tidings / for Worms upon the Rhine. At Burgundy already / should now be messengers of thine."
Then outspake King Gunther: / "There hast thou spoken true. And this selfsame journey, / none were so fit thereto As thyself, friend Hagen. / So do thou now ride on. This our high court journey, / none else can better make it known."
Thereto answered Hagen: / "Poor messenger am I. Let me be treasure-warden. / Upon the ships I'll stay Near by the women rather, / their guardian to be, Till that we bring them safely / into the land of Burgundy.
"Now do thou pray Siegfried / that he the message bear, For he's a knight most fitting / this thing to have in care. If he decline the journey, / then shalt thou courteously, For kindness to thy sister, / pray that he not unwilling be."
He sent for the good warrior / who came at his command. He spake: "Since we are nearing / home in my own land, So should I send a message / to sister dear of mine And eke unto my mother, / that we are nigh unto the Rhine.
"Thereto I pray thee, Siegfried, / now meet my wish aright," Spake the noble monarch: / "I'll ever thee requite." But Siegfried still refused it, / the full valiant man, Till that King Gunther / sorely to beseech began.
He spake: "Now bear the message, / in favor unto me And eke unto Kriemhild / a maiden fair to see, That the stately maiden / help me thy service pay." When had heard it Siegfried, / ready was the knight straightway.
"Now what thou wilt, command me: / 'twill not be long delayed. This thing will I do gladly / for sake of that fair maid. Why should I aught refuse her, / who all my heart hath won? What thou for her commandest, / whate'er it be 'twill all be done."
"Then say unto my mother, / Ute the queen, That we on our journey / in joyous mood have been. Let know likewise my brothers / what fortune us befell. Eke unto all our kinsmen / shalt thou then merry tidings tell.
"Unto my fair sister / shalt thou all confide. From me bring her fair compliment / and from Brunhild beside, And eke unto our household / and all my warriors brave. What my heart e'er did strive for, / how well accomplished it I have!
"And say as well to Ortwein / nephew dear of mine That he do bid make ready / at Worms beside the Rhine. And all my other kindred, / to them made known shall be, With Brunhild I am minded / to keep a great festivity.
"And say unto my sister, / when that she hath learned That I am to my country / with many a guest returned, She shall have care to welcome / my bride in fitting way. So all my thoughts of Kriemhild / will be her service to repay."
Then did Sir Siegfried / straightway in parting greet High the Lady Brunhild, / as 'twas very meet, And all her company; / then toward the Rhine rode he. Nor in this world a better / messenger might ever be.
With four and twenty warriors / to Worms did he ride. When soon it was reported / the king came not beside, Then did all the household / of direst news have dread: They feared their royal master / were left in distant country dead.
Then sprang they from the saddle, / full high they were of mood. Full soon before them Giselher / the prince so youthful stood, And Gernot his brother. / How quickly then spake he, When he the royal Gunther / saw not in Siegfried's company:
"Be thou welcome, Siegfried. / Yet shalt thou tell to me, Why the king my brother / cometh not with thee. Brunhild's prowess is it / hath taken him, I ween; And so this lofty wooing / hath naught but our misfortune been."
"Now cease such ill foreboding. / To you and friends hath sent My royal companion / his good compliment. Safe and sound I left him; / myself did he command That I should be his herald / with tidings hither to your land.
"Quickly shall ye see to it, / how that it may be, That I the queen and likewise / your fair sister see. From Gunther and Brunhild / the message will I tell That hath now been sent them: / the twain do find them passing well."
Then spake the youthful Giselher: / "So shalt thou go to her: Here dost thou on my sister / a favor high confer. In sooth she's mickle anxious / how't with my brother be. The maid doth see thee gladly, / —of that will I be surety."
Then outspake Sir Siegfried: / "If serve her aught I can, That same thing most willing / in truth it shall be done. Who now will tell the ladies / I would with them confer?" Then was therein Giselher / the stately knight his messenger.
Giselher the valiant / unto his mother kind And sister spake the tidings / when he the twain did find: "To us returned is Siegfried, / the hero of Netherlands Unto the Rhine he cometh / at my brother Gunther's command.
"He bringeth us the tidings / how't with the king doth fare. Now shall ye give permission / that he 'fore you appear. He'll tell the proper tidings / from Isenland o'er the main." Yet mickle sad forebodings / did trouble still the ladies twain.
They sprang for their attire / and donned it nothing slow. Then bade they that Siegfried / to court should thither go. That did he right willing / for he gladly them did see. Kriemhild the noble maiden / spake to him thus graciously.
"Welcome be, Sir Siegfried, / thou knight right praiseworthy. Yet where may King Gunther / my noble brother be? It is through Brunhild's prowess, / I ween, he is forlorn. Alack of me, poor maiden, / that I into this world was born!"
The valiant knight then answered: / "Give me news-bringer's meed Know ye, fairest ladies, / ye weep without a need. I left him well and happy, / that would I have you know; They two have sent me hither / to bear the tidings unto you.
"And offer thee good service / both his bride and he, My full noble lady, / in love and loyalty. Now give over weeping, / for straight will they be here." They had for many a season / heard not a tale to them so dear.
With fold of snow-white garment / then her eyes so bright Dried she after weeping. / She gan thank the knight Who of these glad tidings / had been the messenger. Then was a mickle sorrow / and cause of weeping ta'en from her.
She bade the knight be seated, / which he did willingly. Then spake the lovely maiden: / "It were a joy to me, Could I the message-bringer / with gold of mine repay. Thereto art thou too high-born; / I'll serve thee then in other way."
"If I alone were ruler," / spake he, "o'er thirty lands, Yet gifts I'd take right gladly, / came they from thy fair hands." Then spake the virtuous maiden: / "In truth it shall be so." Then bade she her chamberlain / forth for message-money go.
Four and twenty armlets / with stones of precious kind, These gave she him for guerdon. / 'Twas not the hero's mind, That he himself should keep them: / he dealt them all around Unto her fair attendants / whom he within the chamber found.
Of service, too, her mother / did kindly offer make. "Then have I more to tell you," / the keen warrior spake: "Of what the king doth beg you, / when comes he to the Rhine. Wilt thou perform it, lady, / then will he e'er to thee incline.
"The noble guests he bringeth, / —this heard I him request, That ye shall well receive them; / and furthermore his hest, That ye ride forth to meet him / 'fore Worms upon the strand. So have ye from the monarch / faithfully his high command."
Then spake the lovely maiden: / "Full ready there am I. If I in aught can serve him, / I'll never that deny. In all good faith and kindness / shall it e'er be done." Then deeper grew her color / that from increase of joy she won.
Never was royal message / better received before. The lady sheer had kissed him, / if 'twere a thing to dare. From those high ladies took he / his leave in courteous wise. Then did they there in Burgundy / in way as Siegfried did advise.
Sindold and Hunold / and Rumold the thane In truth were nothing idle, / but wrought with might and main To raise the sitting-places / 'fore Worms upon the strand. There did the royal Steward / busy 'mid the workers stand.
Ortwein and Gere / thought longer not to bide, But sent unto their kinsmen / forth on every side. They told of festive meeting / there that was to be; And deck themselves to meet them / did the maidens fair to see.
The walls throughout the palace / were dight full richly all, Looking unto the strangers; / and King Gunther's hall Full well with seats and tables / for many a noble guest. And great was the rejoicing / in prospect of the mighty feast.
Then rode from every quarter / hither through the land The three monarchs' kinsmen, / who there were called to hand, That they might be in waiting / for those expected there. Then from enfolding covers / took they store of raiments rare.
Some watchers brought the tidings / that Brunhild's followers were Seen coming riding hither. / Then rose a mickle stir Among the folk so many / in the land of Burgundy. Heigh-ho! What valiant warriors / alike on both parts might you see!
Then spake the fair Kriemhild: / "Of my good maidens, ye Who at this reception / shall bear me company, From out the chests now seek ye / attire the very best. So shall praise and honor / be ours from many a noble guest."
Then came the knights also / and bade bring forth to view The saddles richly furnished / of ruddy golden hue, That ladies fair should ride on / at Worms unto the Rhine. Better horse-equipment / could never artisan design.
Heigh-ho! What gold all glancing / from the steeds there shone! Sparkled from their bridles / full many a precious stone. Gold-wrought stools for mounting / and shining carpets good Brought they for the ladies: / joyous were they all of mood.
Within the court the heroes / bedight with trappings due Awaited noble maidens, / as I have told to you. A narrow band from saddle / went round each horse's breast, Its beauty none could tell you: / of silk it was the very best.
Six and eighty ladies / came in manner meet Wearing each a wimple. / Kriemhild there to greet They went, all fair to look on, / in shining garments clad. Then came eke well apparelled / full many a fair and stately maid.
Four and fifty were they / of the land of Burgundy, And they were eke the noblest / that ever you might see. Adorned with shining hair-bands / the fair-haired maids came on. What now the king desired, / that most carefully was done.
Made of stuffs all costly, / the best you might desire, Before the gallant strangers / wore they such rich attire As well did fit the beauty / of many amid the throng. He sure had lost his senses, / who could have wished them any wrong.
Of sable and of ermine / many a dress was worn. Arms and hands a many / did they full well adorn With rings o'er silken dresses / that there did clothe them well. Of all the ready-making / none might ever fully tell.
Full many a well-wrought girdle / in long and costly braid About the shining garments / by many a hand was laid On dress of precious ferrandine / of silk from Araby. And full of high rejoicing / were those maids of high degree.
With clasps before her bosom / was many a fair maid Laced full beauteously. / She might well be sad, Whose full beaming color / vied not with weeds she wore. Such a stately company / ne'er possessed a queen before.
When now the lovely maidens / attired you might see, Soon were those beside them / should bear them company, Of warriors high-hearted / a full mickle band. And with their shields they carried / full many an ashen shaft in hand.
How Brunhild was received at Worms
On yonder side Rhine river / they saw a stately band, The king and host of strangers, / ride down unto the strand, And also many a lady / sitting on charger led. By those who should receive them / was goodly preparation made.
Soon they of Isenland / the ship had entered then, And with them Siegfried's vassals / the Nibelungen men; They strained unto the shore / with untiring hand When they beheld the monarch's / friends upon the farther strand.
Now list ye eke the story / of the stately queen, Ute, how at her bidding / ladies fair were seen Forth coming from the castle / to ride her company. Then came to know each other / full many a knight and fair lady.
The Margrave Gere / but to the castle gate The bridle held for Kriemhild; / the keen Siegfried did wait Thenceforward upon her. / She was a beauteous maid. Well was the knight's good service / by the lady since repaid.
Ortwein the valiant / Queen Ute rode beside, And many a knight full gallant / was stately lady's guide. At such a high reception, / that may we say, I ween, Was ne'er such host of ladies / in company together seen.
With show of rider's talent / the tilt was carried on, For might the knights full gallant / naught fitting leave undone, As passed down to the river / Kriemhild the lady bright. Then helped was many a lady / fair from charger to alight.
The king had then come over / and many a stranger too. Heigh-ho! What strong shafts splintered / before the ladies flew! Many a shaft go crashing / heard you there on shield. Heigh-ho! What din of costly / arms resounded o'er the field.
The full lovely maidens / upon the shore did stand, As Gunther with the strangers / stepped upon the land; He himself did Brunhild / by the hand lead on. Then sparkled towards each other / rich dress and many a shining stone.
Then went Lady Kriemhild / with fullest courtesy due, To greet the Lady Brunhild / and her retinue. And saw ye each the head-band / with fair hand move aside When they kissed each other: / high courtesy did the ladies guide.
Then spake the maiden Kriemhild, / a high-born lady she: "Unto this our country / shalt thou right welcome be, To me and to my mother / and each true friend of mine, That we here have with us." / Then each did unto each incline.
Within their arms the ladies / oft-times clasped each other. Like this fond reception / heard ye of ne'er another, As when both the ladies / there the bride did greet, Queen Ute and her daughter; / oft-times they kissed her lips so sweet.
When all of Brunhild's ladies / were come upon the strand, Then was there taken / full fondly by the hand By the warriors stately / many a fair lady. Before the Lady Brunhild / the train of fair maids might ye see.
Before their greetings ended / a mickle time was gone, For lips of rosy color / were kissed there, many a one. Long stood they together, / the royal ladies high, And so to look upon them / pleased many a noble warrior's eye.
Then spied with probing eye, too, / who before did hear That till then was never / aught beheld so fair, As those two royal ladies: / they found it was no lie. In all their person might ye / no manner of deceit espy.
Who there could spy fair ladies / and judge of beauty rare, They praised the wife of Gunther / that she was passing fair; Yet spake again the wise men / who looked with keener gaze, They rather would to Kriemhild / before Brunhild award the praise.
Then went unto each other / maid and fair lady. Full many a fair one might ye / in rich adornment see. There stood rich tents a many, / silken great and small, Wherewith in every quarter / 'fore Worms the field was covered all.
Of the king's high kindred / a mighty press there was. Then bade they Brunhild / and Kriemhild on to pass, And with them all the ladies, / where they in shade might be. Thither did bring them warriors / of the land of Burgundy.
When now the strangers also / on horse sat every one, Plenteous knightly tilting / at shield was there begun. Above the field rose dust-clouds, / as had the country been All in flames a-burning; / who bore the honors there was seen.
Looked on full many a maiden / as the knights did sport them so. Meseemeth that Sir Siegfried / full many a to-and-fro Did ride with his good followers / along 'fore many a tent. With him of Nibelungen / a thousand stately men there went.
Then came of Tronje Hagen, / whom the king did send; He bade in pleasing manner / the tourney have an end, Before in dust be buried / all the ladies fair. And ready to obey him / soon the courteous strangers were.
Then spake Sir Gernot: / "Now let the chargers stand, Until the air is cooler, / for we must be at hand As escort for fair ladies / unto the stately hall; And will the king take saddle, / so let him find you ready all."
When now the sound of tourney / o'er all the field was spent, Then went for pleasant pastime / 'neath many a lofty tent The knights unto the ladies, / and willing thither hied. And there they passed the hours / till such time as they thence should ride.
Just before the evening / when the sun was in the west, And the air grew cooler, / no longer did they rest, But both knights and ladies / unto the castle passed. And eyes in loving glances / on many a beauteous maid were cast.
By hand of goodly warrior / many a coat was rent, For in the country's custom / they tourneyed as they went, Until before the palace / the monarch did dismount. They tended fairest ladies / as knights high-spirited are wont.
After fairest greeting / the queens did part again. Dame Ute and her daughter, / thither passed the twain With train of fair attendants / unto a hall full wide. Din of merrymaking / heard ye there on every side.
Arranged were sitting-places / where the king would be With his guests at table. / By him might ye see Standing the fair Brunhild. / She wore a royal crown In the monarch's country, / the which might well such mistress own.
Seats for all the people / at many a spacious board There were, as saith the story, / where victuals rich were stored. How little there was lacking / of all that makes a feast! And by the monarch saw ye / sitting many a stately guest.
The royal host's attendants / in basins golden red Carried water forward. / And should it e'er be said By any that a better / service did receive Ever guests of monarch, / I never could such thing believe.
Before the lord of Rhineland / with water was waited on, Unto him Sir Siegfried, / as fitting was, had gone; He called to mind a promise / that made by him had been Ere that the Lady Brunhild / afar in Isenland he'd seen.
He spake: "Thou shalt bethink thee / what once did plight thy hand, If that the Lady Brunhild / should come unto this land, Thou'dst give to me thy sister. / Where now what thou hast sworn? In this thy wooing journey / not small the labor I have borne."
Then to his guest the monarch: / "Well hast thou minded me, And by this hand shall never / false word plighted be. To gain thy wish I'd help thee / in the way as best I know." Bidden then was Kriemhild / forth unto the king to go.
With her full beauteous maidens / unto the Hall she passed. Then sprang the youthful Giselher / adown the steps in haste "Bid now these many maidens / wend their way again; None but my sister only / unto the king shall enter in."
Then led they Kriemhild thither / where the king was found, With him were knights full noble / from many a land around. Within that Hall so spacious / she waited the king's behest, What time the Lady Brunhild / betook her likewise to the feast.
Then spake the royal Gunther: / "Sister mine full fair, Redeem the word I've given, / an hold'st thou virtue dear. Thee to a knight I plighted: / An tak'st thou him to man, Thereby my wish full truly / unto the warrior hast thou done."
Then spake the noble maiden: / "Brother full dear to me, Not long shalt thou entreat me. / In truth I'll ever be Obedient to thy bidding; / that shall now be done, And him I'll take full gladly, / my Lord, whom thou giv'st me for man."
Before those fair eyes' glances / grew Siegfried's color red. The knight to Lady Kriemhild / his service offered. Within a ring together / then were led the twain, And they asked the maiden, / if she to take the knight were fain.
Upon her face not little / was the modest glow; Nathless to joy of Siegfried / did fortune will it so, That the maiden would not / refuse the knight her hand. Eke swore his wife to make her / the noble king of Netherland.
When he to her had plighted, / and eke to him the maid, Siegfried to embrace her / nothing more delayed, But clasped in arms full fondly / and oft the lady fair, And stately knights were witness / how that he kissed the princess there.
When that the maids attendant / from thence had ta'en their leave, In place of honor seated / Siegfried might ye perceive And by him fairest Kriemhild; / and many a knight at hand Was seen of the Nibelungen / at Siegfried's service ready stand.
There too was Gunther seated / and with him Queen Brunhild. At sight of Kriemhild sitting / by Siegfried was she filled With anger such as never / before her heart did swell: She wept, and tears in plenty / adown her shining face there fell.
Then spake who ruled the country: / "What aileth, lady mine, That so thou let'st be dimmed / thine eyes that brightly shine? Be straight of joyous spirit, / for now at thy command My land and my good castles / and host of stately warriors stand."
"Good cause to me for weeping," / spake the lady fair. "For sake of this thy sister / sorrow now I bear, Whom here behold I seated / by one that serveth thee. That must forever grieve me, / shall she thus dishonored be."
Then answered her King Gunther: / "But for the nonce be still. At other time more fitting / the thing to thee I'll tell, Wherefore thus my sister / to Siegfried I did give. And truly with the hero / may she ever joyous live."
She spake: "Her name and beauty / thus lost it grieveth me. An knew I only whither, / from hence I'd surely flee, This night nor e'er hereafter / to share thy royal bed, Say'st thou not truly wherefore / Kriemhild thus hath Siegfried wed."
Then spake the noble monarch: / "Then unto thee be known That he as stately castles, / lands wide as I, doth own. And know thou that full surely / a mighty monarch he; Wherefore the fairest maiden / I grant him thus his wife to be."
Whate'er the king did tell her, / sad was she yet of mood. Then hastened from the tables / full many a warrior good, And jousted that the castle / walls gave back the din. Amid his guests the monarch / waiting longingly was seen.
He deemed 'twere better lying / beside his fair lady. Of thinking on that plaisance / his mind he could not free, And what her love would bring him / before the night be past; He many a glance full tender / upon the Lady Brunhild cast.
The guests they bade give over / in joust who combated, For that with spouse new-wedded / the monarch would to bed. Leaving then the banquet, / there together met Kriemhild and Brunhild: / their bitter hate was silent yet.
At hand were their attendants; / they longer tarried not, And chamberlains full lordly / lights for them had brought. Then parted eke the followers / of the monarchs twain, And bearing Siegfried company / went full many a worthy thane.
The lords were both come thither / where that they should lie. As each one bethought him / of loving victory To win o'er winsome lady, / merry he grew of mood. The noble Siegfried's pastime / it was beyond all measure good.
As there Sir Siegfried / by fair Kriemhild lay And to the maid devoted / himself in such fond way As noble knight beseemeth, / they twain to him were one, And not a thousand others / had he then ta'en for her alone.
I'll tell you now no further / how he the lady plied, But list ye first the story / what Gunther did betide By Lady Brunhild lying. / In sooth the noble thane By side of other ladies / a deal more happily had lain.
Withdrawn were now attendants, / man and also maid; Not long to lock the chamber / within the king delayed. He weened to have good pleasure / of that fair lady, Yet was the time still distant / when that she his wife should be.
In gown of whitest linen / unto the bed she passed. Then thought the knight full noble: / "Now have I here at last All that I e'er desired / as long as I can tell." Perforce her stately beauty / did please the monarch passing well.
That they should shine more dimly / he placed the lights aside, Then where did lie the lady / the thane full eager hied. He placed himself a-nigh her, / his joy right great it was, As in his arms the monarch / the winsome maid did there embrace.
A loving plaisance had he / with vigor there begun If that the noble lady / had let the same be done. She then did rage so sorely / that grieved was he thereat; He weened to find who loved him, / —instead he found him naught but hate.
Spake she: "Good knight and noble, / from this thing give o'er. That which thou here hast hope of, / it may be nevermore. A maid I still will keep me / —well mayest thou know that— Until I learn that story." / Gunther wrathy grew thereat.
Her gown he wrought to ruin / to win her maidenhead. Whereat did seize a girdle / the full stately maid, A strong and silken girdle / that round her sides she wore, And with the same the monarch / she soon had brought to pains full sore.
His feet and his hands also, / together bound she all, Unto a nail she bore him / and hung him on the wall. Him who disturbed her sleeping / in his love she sorely let, And from her mighty prowess, / he full nigh his death had met.
Then gan he to entreat her, / who master late had been. "From these my bonds now loose me, / my full noble queen. Nor trow I e'er, fair lady, / victor o'er thee to be, And henceforth will I seldom / seek to lie thus nigh to thee."
She recked not how 'twere with him, / as she full softly lay. There hung he, will he nill he, / the night through unto day, Until the light of morning / through the windows shone. Could he e'er boast of prowess, / small now the measure he did own.
"Now tell me, lordly Gunther, / wert thou thereat so sad, If that in bonds should find thee" / —spake the fairest maid— "Thy royal men-in-waiting, / bound by lady's hand?" Then spake the knight full noble: / "Thou should'st in case most evil stand.
"Eke had I little honor / therefrom," continued he. "For all thy royal honor / let me then go to thee. Since that my fond embracements / do anger thee so sore, With these my hands I pledge thee / to touch thy garment nevermore."
Then she loosed him straightway / and he once more stood free. To the bed he went as erstwhile / where rested his lady. But far from her he laid him / and well he now forebore To stir the lady's anger / by touching e'en the gown she wore.
At length came their attendants / who garments fresh did bring, Whereof was ready for them / good store on that morning. Yet merry as his folk were, / a visage sad did own The lord of that proud country, / for all he wore that day a crown.
As was the country's custom, / a thing folk do of right, Gunther and Brunhild / presently were dight To go unto the minster / where the mass was sung. Thither eke came Siegfried, / and in their trains a mighty throng.
As fitted royal honor / for them was thither brought The crown that each should carry / and garments richly wrought. There were they consecrated; / and when the same was done, Saw ye the four together / happy stand and wearing crown.
There was knighted many a squire, / —six hundred or beyond— In honor of the crowning, / that shall ye understand. Arose full great rejoicing / in the land of Burgundy As hand of youthful warrior / did shatter shaft right valiantly.
Then sat in castle casement / maidens fair to see, And many a shield beneath them / gleamed full brilliantly. Yet himself had sundered / from all his men the king; Though joyous every other, / sad-visaged stood he sorrowing.
He and the doughty Siegfried, / how all unlike their mood! Well wist the thing did grieve him / that noble knight and good. He went unto the monarch / and straight addressed him so: "This night how hast thou fared? / In friendship give thou me to know."
To his guest the king gave answer: / "Than shame and scathe I've naught. The devil's dam I surely / into my house have brought. When as I thought to have her / she bound me like a thrall; Unto a nail she bore me / and hung me high upon the wall.
"There hung I sore in anguish / the night through until day Ere that she would unbind me, / the while she softly lay! And hast thou friendly pity / know then the grief I bear." Then spake the doughty Siegfried: / "Such grieves me verily to hear.
"The which I'll show thee truly, / wilt thou me not deny. I'll bring it that to-night she / so near to thee shall lie That she to meet thy wishes / shall tarry nevermore." Thereat rejoice did Gunther / to think perchance his trials o'er.
Then further spake Sir Siegfried: / "With thee 'twill yet be right. I ween that all unequal / we twain have fared this night. To me thy sister Kriemhild / dearer is than life; Eke shall the Lady Brunhild / be yet this coming night thy wife."
"I'll come unto thy chamber / this night all secretly," Spake he, "and wrapped in mantle / invisible I'll be, That of this my cunning / naught shall any know; And thy attendants shalt thou / bid to their apartments go.
"The lights I'll all extinguish / held by each page in hand, By the which same token / shalt thou understand I present am to serve thee. / I'll tame thy shrewish wife That thou this night enjoy her, / else forfeit be my caitiff life."
"An thou wilt truly leave me" / —answered him the king— 'My lady yet a maiden, / I joy o'er this same thing. So do thou as thou willest; / and takest thou her life, E'en that I'll let pass o'er me, / —to lose so terrible a wife."
"Thereto," spake then Siegfried, / "plight I word of mine, To leave her yet a maiden. / A sister fair of thine Is to me before all women / I ever yet have seen." Gunther believed right gladly / what had by Siegfried plighted been.
Meanwhile the merry pastime / with joy and zest went on. But all the din and bustle / bade they soon be done, When band of fairest ladies / would pass unto the hall 'Fore whom did royal chamberlains / bid backward stand the people all.
The chargers soon and riders / from castle court were sped. Each of the noble ladies / by bishop high was led, When that before the monarchs / they passed to banquet board, And in their train did follow / to table many a stately lord.
There sat the king all hopeful / and full of merriment; What him did promise Siegfried, / thereon his mind was bent. To him as long as thirty / did seem that single day; To plaisance with his lady, / thither turned his thought alway.
And scarce the time he bided / while that the feast did last. Now unto her chamber / the stately Brunhild passed, And for her couch did Kriemhild / likewise the table leave. Before those royal ladies / what host ye saw of warriors brave!
Full soon thereafter Siegfried / sat right lovingly With his fair wife beside him, / and naught but joy had he. His hand she clasped full fondly / within her hand so white, Until—and how she knew not— / he did vanish from her sight.
When she the knight did fondle, / and straightway saw him not, Unto her maids attendant / spake the queen distraught: "Meseemeth a mickle wonder / where now the king hath gone. His hands in such weird fashion / who now from out mine own hath drawn?"
Yet further not she questioned. / Soon had he hither gone Where with lights were standing / attendants many a one. The same he did extinguish / in every page's hand; That Siegfried then was present / Gunther thereby did understand.
Well wist he what he would there; / so bade he thence be gone Ladies and maids-in-waiting. / And when that was done, Himself the mighty monarch / fast did lock the door: Two bolts all wrought securely / he quickly shoved the same before.
The lights behind the curtains / hid he presently. Soon a play was started / (for thus it had to be), Betwixt the doughty Siegfried / and the stately maid: Thereat was royal Gunther / joyous alike and sad.
Siegfried there laid him / by the maid full near. Spake she: "Let be, now, Gunther, / an hast thou cause to fear Those troubles now repeated / which befell thee yesternight." And soon the valiant Siegfried / through the lady fell in sorry plight.
His voice did he keep under / and ne'er a word spake he. Intently listened Gunther, / and though he naught could see, Yet knew he that in secret / nothing 'twixt them passed. In sooth nor knight nor lady / upon the bed had mickle rest.
He did there as if Gunther / the mighty king he were, And in his arms he pressed her, / the maiden debonair. Forth from the bed she hurled him / where a bench there stood, And head of valiant warrior / against a stool went ringing loud.
Up sprang again undaunted / the full doughty man, To try for fortune better. / When he anew began Perforce to curb her fury, / fell he in trouble sore. I ween that ne'er a lady / did so defend herself before.
When he would not give over, / up the maid arose: "My gown so white thou never / thus shalt discompose. And this thy villain's manner / shall sore by thee be paid, The same I'll teach thee truly," / further spake the buxom maid.
Within her arms she clasped him, / the full stately thane, And thought likewise to bind him, / as the king yestreen, That she the night in quiet / upon her couch might lie. That her dress he thus did rumple, / avenged the lady grievously.
What booted now his prowess / and eke his mickle might? Her sovereignty of body / she proved upon the knight; By force of arm she bore him, / —'twixt wall and mighty chest (For so it e'en must happen) / him she all ungently pressed.
"Ah me!"—so thought the hero— / "shall I now my life Lose at hand of woman, / then will every wife Evermore hereafter / a shrewish temper show Against her lord's good wishes, / who now such thing ne'er thinks to do."
All heard the monarch meanwhile / and trembled for the man. Sore ashamed was Siegfried, / and a-raging he began. With might and main he struggled / again to make him free, Ere which to sorest trouble / 'neath Lady Brunhild's hand fell he.
Long space to him it seemed / ere Siegfried tamed her mood. She grasped his hand so tightly / that 'neath the nails the blood Oozed from the pressure, / which made the hero wince. Yet the stately maiden / subdued he to obedience since.
Her unrestrained temper / that she so late displayed, All overheard the monarch, / though ne'er a word he said. 'Gainst the bed did press her Siegfried / that aloud she cried, Ungentle was the treatment / that he meted to the bride.
Then grasped she for a girdle / that round her sides she wore, And thought therewith to bind him; / but her limbs and body o'er Strained beneath the vigor / that his strong arm displayed. So was the struggle ended / —Gunther's wife was vanquished.
She spake: "O noble monarch, / take not my life away. The harm that I have done thee / full well will I repay. No more thy royal embraces / by me shall be withstood, For now I well have seen it, / thou canst be lord o'er woman's mood."
From the couch rose Siegfried, / lying he left the maid, As if that he would from him / lay his clothes aside. He drew from off her finger / a ring of golden sheen Without that e'er perceived / his practice the full noble queen.
Thereto he took her girdle / that was all richly wrought: If from wanton spirit / he did it, know I not. The same he gave to Kriemhild: / the which did sorrow bear. Then lay by one another / Gunther and the maiden fair.
Hearty were his embraces / as such king became: Perforce must she relinquish / her anger and her shame. In sooth not little pallid / within his arms she grew, And in that love-surrender / how waned her mighty prowess too!
Then was e'en she not stronger / than e'er another bride; He lay with fond embraces / the beauteous dame beside. And had she struggled further, / avail how could it aught? Gunther, when thus he clasped her, / such change upon her strength had wrought.
And with right inward pleasure / she too beside him lay In warmest love embracings / until the dawn of day! Meantime now had Siegfried / departure ta'en from there, And was full well received / by a lady debonair.
Her questioning he avoided / and all whereon she thought, And long time kept he secret / what he for her had brought, Until in his own country / she wore a royal crown; Yet what for her he destined, / how sure at last it was her own.
Upon the morn was Gunther / by far of better mood Than he had been before it; / joy thus did spread abroad 'Mid host of knights full noble / that from his lands around To his court had been invited, / and there most willing service found.
The merry time there lasted / until two weeks were spent, Nor all the while did flag there / the din of merriment And every kind of joyance / that knight could e'er devise; With lavish hand expended / the king thereto in fitting wise.
The noble monarch's kinsmen / upon his high command By gifts of gold and raiment / told forth his generous hand, By steed and thereto silver / on minstrel oft bestowed. Who there did gift desire / departed thence in merry mood.
All the store of raiment / afar from Netherland, The which had Siegfried's thousand / warriors brought to hand Unto the Rhine there with them, / complete 'twas dealt away, And eke the steeds well saddled: / in sooth a lordly life led they.
Ere all the gifts so bounteous / were dealt the guests among, They who would straightway homeward / did deem the waiting long. Ne'er had guests of monarch / such goodly gifts before; And so as Gunther willed it / the merry feast at last was o'er.
How Siegfried came home with his Wife
When that now the strangers / all from thence were gone, Spake unto his followers / noble Siegmund's son: "We shall eke make ready / home to my land to fare." Unto his spouse was welcome / such news when she the same did hear.
She spake unto her husband: / "When shall we hence depart? Not hastily on the journey / I pray thee yet to start. With me first my brothers / their wide lands shall share." Siegfried yet it pleased not / such words from Kriemhild to hear.
The princes went unto him / and spake they there all three: "Now know thou well, Sir Siegfried, / for thee shall ever be In faithfulness our service / ready while yet we live." The royal thanes then thanked he / who thus did proof of friendship give.
"With thee further share we," / spake young Giselher, "The lands and eke the castles / by us that owned are. In wide lands whatsoever / we rule o'er warriors brave, Of the same with Kriemhild / a goodly portion shalt thou have.
Then spake unto the princes / the son of Siegmund When he their lofty purpose / did rightly understand: "God grant your goodly heritage / at peace may ever be, And eke therein your people. / The spouse in sooth so dear to me."
"May well forego the portion / that ye to her would give. For she a crown shall carry, / if to such day I live, And queen more rich than any / that lives she then must be. What else to her ye offer, / therein I'll meet you faithfully."
Then spake the Lady Kriemhild: / "If wealth thou wilt not choose, Yet gallant thanes of Burgundy / shalt thou not light refuse. They're such as monarch gladly / would lead to his own land. Of these shall make division / with me my loving brothers' hand."
Thereto spake noble Gernot: / "Now take to please thy mind. Who gladly will go with thee / full many here thou'lt find. Of thirty hundred warriors / we give thee thousand men To be thy royal escort." / Kriemhild did summon then
Hagen of Tronje to her / and Ortwein instantly: And would they and their kinsmen / make her good company? To hear the same did Hagen / begin to rage full sore. Quoth he: "E'en royal Gunther / may thus bestow us nevermore.
"Other men that serve thee, / let them follow thee; Thou know'st the men of Tronje / and what their pledges be: Here must we by the monarchs / in service true abide; Hereto as them we followed, / so shall we henceforth keep their side."
And so the thing was ended: / to part they ready make. A high and noble escort / did Kriemhild to her take, Maidens two and thirty / and five hundred men also. In Lady Kriemhild's company / the Margrave Eckewart did go.
Leave took they all together, / squire and also knight, Maidens and fair ladies, / as was their wont aright. There parted they with kisses / and eke with clasp of hand: Right merrily they journeyed / forth from royal Gunther's land.
Their friends did give them escort / upon the way full far. Night-quarters at every station / they bade for them prepare, Where they might wish to tarry / as on their way they went. Then straightway was a messenger / unto royal Siegmund sent,
To him and Siegelind bearing / thereof the joyful sign That his son was coming / from Worms upon the Rhine And with him Ute's daughter, / Kriemhild the fair lady. As this could other message / nevermore so welcome be.
"Well is me!" quoth Siegmund, / "that I the day have known, When the fair Lady Kriemhild / here shall wear a crown. Thus higher shall my kingdom / stand in majesty. My son the noble Siegfried / here himself the king shall be."
Then dealt the Lady Siegelind / velvet red in store, Silver and gold full heavy / to them the news that bore: She joyed to hear the story / that there her ear did greet. Then decked themselves her ladies / all in rich attire meet.
'Twas told, with Siegfried coming / whom they did expect. Then bade they sitting-places / straightway to erect, Where he before his kinsmen / a crown in state should wear. Then men of royal Siegmund / forward rode to meet him there.
Was e'er more royal greeting, / news have I not to hand, As came the knights full noble / into Siegmund's land. There the royal Siegelind / to Kriemhild forth did ride With ladies fair a many, / and followed gallant knights beside
Out a full day's journey / to welcome each high guest. And little with the strangers / did they ever rest Until into a castle / wide they came once more, The same was called Xanten, / where anon a crown they wore.
With smiling lips Dame Siegelind / —and Siegmund eke did this— To show the love they bore her / full oft did Kriemhild kiss, And eke the royal Siegfried: / far was their sorrow gone. And all the merry company, / good welcome had they every one.
The train of strangers bade they / 'fore Siegmund's Hall to lead, And maidens fair a many / down from gallant steed Helped they there dismounting. / Full many a man was there To do them willing service / as was meet for ladies fair.
How great soe'er the splendor / erstwhile beside the Rhine, Here none the less was given / raiment yet more fine, Nor were they e'er attired / in all their days so well. Full many a wonder might I / of their rich apparel tell.
How there in state resplendent / they sat and had full store, And how each high attendant / gold-broidered raiment wore, With stones full rare and precious / set with skill therein! The while with care did serve them / Siegelind the noble queen.
Then spake the royal Siegmund / before his people so: "To every friend of Siegfried / give I now to know That he before these warriors / my royal crown shall wear." And did rejoice that message / the thanes of Netherland to hear.
His crown to him he tendered / and rule o'er wide domain Whereof he all was master. / Where'er did reach his reign Or men were subject to him / bestowed his hand such care That evil-doers trembled / before the spouse of Kriemhild fair.
In such high honor truly / he lived, as ye shall hear, And judged as lofty monarch / unto the tenth year, What time his fairest lady / to him a son did bear. Thereat the monarch's kinsmen / filled with mickle joyance were.
They soon the same did christen / and gave to him a name, Gunther, as hight his uncle, / nor cause was that for shame: Grew he but like his kinsmen / then happy might he be. As well he did deserve it, / him fostered they right carefully.
In the selfsame season / did Lady Siegelind die, When was full power wielded / by Ute's daughter high, As meet so lofty lady / should homage wide receive. That death her thus had taken / did many a worthy kinsman grieve.
Now by the Rhine yonder, / as we likewise hear, Unto mighty Gunther / eke a son did bear Brunhild his fair lady / in the land of Burgundy. In honor to the hero / Siegfried named eke was he.
The child they also fostered / with what tender care! Gunther the noble monarch / anon did masters rare Find who should instruct him / a worthy man to grow. Alas! by sad misfortune / to friends was dealt how fell a blow!
At all times the story / far abroad was told, How that in right worthy / way the warriors bold Lived there in Siegmund's country / as noble knights should do. Likewise did royal Gunther / eke amid his kinsmen true.
Land of the Nibelungen / Siegfried as well did own, —Amid his lofty kindred / a mightier ne'er was known— And Schilbung's knights did serve him, / with all that theirs had been. That great was thus his power / did fill with joy the knight full keen.
Hoard of all the greatest / that hero ever won, Save who erstwhile did wield it, / now the knight did own, The which before a mountain / he seized against despite, And for whose sake he further / slew full many a gallant knight.
Naught more his heart could wish for; / yet had his might been less, Rightly must all people / of the high knight confess, One was he of the worthiest / that e'er bestrode a steed. Feared was his mickle prowess, / and, sooth to say, thereof was need.
How Gunther bade Siegfried to the Feast
Now all time bethought her / royal Gunther's wife: "How now doth Lady Kriemhild / lead so haughty life? In sooth her husband Siegfried / doth homage to us owe, But now full long unto us / little service he doth show."
That in her heart in secret / eke she pondered o'er. That they were strangers to her / did grieve her heart full sore, And so seldom sign of service / came from Siegfried's land. How it thus was fallen, / that she fain would understand.
She probed then the monarch, / if the thing might be, That she the Lady Kriemhild / once again might see. She spake it all in secret / whereon her heart did dwell; The thing she then did speak of / pleased the monarch passing well.
"How might we bring them hither" / —spake the mighty king— "Unto this my country? / 'Twere ne'er to do, such thing. They dwell too distant from us, / the quest I fear to make." Thereto gave answer Brunhild, / and in full crafty wise she spake:
"How high soe'er and mighty / king's man were ever one, Whate'er should bid his master, / may he not leave undone." Thereat did smile King Gunther, / as such words spake she: Ne'er bade he aught of service, / oft as Siegfried he did see.
She spake: "Full loving master, / as thou hold'st me dear, Help me now that Siegfried / and thy sister fair Come to this our country, / that them we here may see; In sooth no thing could ever / unto me more welcome be.
"Thy sister's lofty bearing / and all her courtesy, Whene'er I think upon it, / full well it pleaseth me, How we did sit together / when erst I was thy spouse! Well in sooth with honor / might she the valiant Siegfried choose."
She pleaded with the monarch / so long till answered he: "Know now that guests none other / so welcome were to me. To gain thy wish 'tis easy: / straight messengers of mine To both shall message carry, / that hither come they to the Rhine."
Thereto the queen gave answer: / "Now further shalt thou say, When thou them wilt summon, / or when shall be the day That our dear friends come hither / unto our country. Who'll bear thy message thither, / shalt thou eke make known to me."
"That will I," spake the monarch. / "Thirty of my men Shall thither ride unto them." / The same he summoned then, And bade them with the message / to Siegfried's land to fare. They joyed as gave them Brunhild / stately raiment rich to wear.
Then further spake the monarch: / "Ye knights from me shall bring This message, nor withhold ye / of it anything, Unto the doughty Siegfried / and eke my sister fair: In the world could never any / to them a better purpose bear.
"And pray them both that hither / they come unto the Rhine. With me will e'er my lady / such grace to pay combine, Ere turn of sun in summer / he and his men shall know That liveth here full many / to them would willing honor show.
"Unto royal Siegmund / bear greeting fair from me, That I and my friends ever / to him well-minded be. And tell ye eke my sister / she shall no wise omit Hither to friends to journey: / ne'er feast could better her befit."
Brunhild and Ute / and ladies all at hand, They sent a fairest greeting / unto Siegfried's land To winsome ladies many / and many a warrior brave. With godspeed from the monarch / and friends the messengers took leave.
They fared with full equipment: / their steeds did ready stand And rich were they attired: / so rode they from that land They hastened on the journey / whither they would fare; Escort safe the monarch / had bidden eke for them prepare.
Their journey had they ended / e'er three weeks were spent. At the Nibelungen castle, / whither they were sent, In the mark of Norway / found they the knight they sought, And weary were the horses / the messengers so far had brought.
Then was told to Siegfried / and to Kriemhild fair How knights were there arrived / who did raiment wear Like as in land of Burgundy / of wont the warriors dressed. Thereat did hasten Kriemhild / from couch where she did lying rest.
Then bade eke to a window / one of her maids to go. She saw the valiant Gere / stand in the court below, And with him his companions, / who did thither fare. To hear such joyous tidings, / how soon her heart forgot its care.
She spake unto the monarch: / "Look now thitherward Where with the doughty Gere / stand in the castle yard Whom to us brother Gunther / adown the Rhine doth send!" Thereto spake doughty Siegfried: / "With greeting fair we'll them attend."
Then hastened their retainers / all the guests to meet, And each of them in special / manner then did greet The messengers full kindly / and warmest welcome bade. Siegmund did likewise / o'er their coming wax full glad.
In fitting way was harbored / Gere and his men, And steeds in charge were taken. / The messengers went then Where beside Sir Siegfried / the Lady Kriemhild sat. To court the guests were bidden, / where them did greeting fair await.
The host with his fair lady, / straightway up stood he, And greeted fairly Gere / of the land of Burgundy And with him his companions / King Gunther's men also. Gere, knight full mighty, / bade they to a settle go.
"Allow that first the message / we give ere sit we down; The while we'll stand, though weary / upon our journey grown. Tidings bring we to you / what greetings high have sent Gunther and Brunhild / who live in royal fair content.
"Eke what from Lady Ute / thy mother now we've brought. The youthful Giselher / and also Sir Gernot And best among thy kinsmen / have sent us here to thee: A fairest greeting send they / from the land of Burgundy."
"God give them meed," spake Siegfried; / "Good will and faith withal I trow full well they harbor, / as with friends we shall; Likewise doth eke their sister. / Now further shall ye tell If that our friends beloved / at home in high estate do dwell.
"Since that we from them parted / hath any dared to do Scathe to my lady's kinsmen? / That shall ye let me know. I'll help them ever truly / all their need to bear Till that their enemies / have good cause my help to fear."
Then spake the Margrave / Gere, a knight full good: "In all that maketh knighthood / right proud they stand of mood. Unto the Rhine they bid you / to high festivity: They'd see you there full gladly, / thereof may ye not doubtful be.
"And bid they eke my Lady / Kriemhild that she too, When ended is the winter, / thither come with you. Ere turn of sun in summer / trust they you to see." Then spake the doughty Siegfried: / "That same thing might hardly be."
Thereto did answer Gere / of the land of Burgundy: "Your high mother Ute / hath message sent by me, Likewise Gernot and Giselher, / that they plead not in vain. That you they see so seldom / daily hear I them complain.
"Brunhild my mistress / and all her company Of fair maids rejoice them; / if the thing might be That they again should see you, / of merry mood they were." Then joy to hear the tidings / filled the Lady Kriemhild fair.
Gere to her was kinsman. / The host did bid him rest, Nor long were they in pouring / wine for every guest. Thither came eke Siegmund / where the strangers he did see, And in right friendly manner / spake to the men of Burgundy:
"Welcome be, ye warriors, / ye Gunther's men, each one. Since that fair Kriemhild / Siegfried my son For spouse did take unto him, / we should you ofter see Here in this our country, / an ye good friends to us would be."
They spake, whene'er he wished it, / full glad to come were they. All their mickle weariness / with joy was ta'en away. The messengers were seated / and food to them they bore, Whereof did Siegfried offer / unto his guests a goodly store.
Until nine days were over / must they there abide, When did at last the valiant / knights begin to chide That they did not ride thither / again unto their land. Then did the royal Siegfried / summon his good knights to hand.
He asked what they did counsel: / should they unto the Rhine? "Me unto him hath bidden / Gunther, friend of mine, He and his good kinsmen, / to high festivity. Thither went I full gladly, / but that his land so far doth lie.
"Kriemhild bid they likewise / that she with me shall fare. Good friends, now give ye counsel / how we therefor prepare. And were it armies thirty / to lead in distant land, Yet must serve them gladly / evermore Siegfried's hand."
Then answer gave his warriors. / "An't pleaseth thee to go Thither to the festival, / we'll counsel what thou do. Thou shalt with thousand warriors / unto Rhine river ride. So may'st thou well with honor / in the land of Burgundy abide."
Then spake of Netherland / Siegmund the king: "Will ye to the festival, / why hide from me the thing! I'll journey with you thither, / if it not displeasing be, And lead good thanes a hundred / wherewith to swell your company."
"And wilt thou with us journey, / father full dear to me," Spake the valiant Siegfried, / "full glad thereat I'll be. Before twelve days are over / from these my lands I fare." To all who'd join the journey / steeds gave they and apparel rare.
When now the lofty monarch / was minded thus to ride Bade he the noble messengers / longer not to bide, And to his lady's kinsmen / to the Rhine a message sent, How that he would full gladly / join to make them merriment.
Siegfried and Kriemhild, / this same tale we hear, To the messengers gave so richly / that the burden could not bear Their horses with them homeward, / such wealth in sooth he had. The horses heavy-laden / drove they thence with hearts full glad.
Siegfried and Siegmund / their people richly clad. Eckewart the Margrave, / straightway he bade For ladies choose rich clothing, / the best that might be found, Or e'er could be procured / in all Siegfried's lands around.
The shields and the saddles / gan they eke prepare, To knights and fair ladies / who with them should fare Lacked nothing that they wished for, / but of all they were possessed. Then to his friends led Siegfried / many a high and stately guest.
The messengers swift hasted / homeward on their way, And soon again came Gere / to the land of Burgundy. Full well was he received, / and there dismounted all His train from off their horses / before the royal Gunther's Hall.
Old knights and youthful squires / crowded, as is their way, To ask of them the tidings. / Thus did the brave knight say: "When to the king I tell them / then shall ye likewise hear." He went with his companions / and soon 'fore Gunther did appear.
Full of joy the monarch / did from the settle spring; And did thank them also / for their hastening Brunhild the fair lady. / Spake Gunther eagerly: "How now liveth Siegfried, / whose arm hath oft befriended me?"
Then spake the valiant Gere: / "Joy o'er the visage went Of him and eke thy sister. / To friends was never sent A more faithful greeting / by good knight ever one, Than now the mighty Siegfried / and his royal sire have done."
Then spake unto the Margrave / the noble monarch's wife: "Now tell me, cometh Kriemhild? / And marketh yet her life Aught of the noble bearing / did her erstwhile adorn?" "She cometh to thee surely," / Gere answer did return.
Ute straightway the messengers / to her did command. Then might ye by her asking / full well understand To her was joyous tidings / how Kriemhild did betide. He told her how he found her, / and that she soon would hither ride.
Eke of all the presents / did they naught withhold, That had given them Siegfried: / apparel rich and gold Displayed they to the people / of the monarchs three. To him were they full grateful / who thus had dealt so bounteously.
"Well may he," quoth Hagen, / "of his treasure give, Nor could he deal it fully, / should he forever live: Hoard of the Nibelungen / beneath his hand doth lie. Heigh-ho, if came it ever / into the land of Burgundy!"
All the king's retainers / glad they were thereat, That the guests were coming. / Early then and late Full little were they idle, / the men of monarchs three. Seats builded they full many / toward the high festivity.
The valiant knight Hunold / and Sindold doughty thane Little had of leisure. / Meantime must the twain, Stands erect full many, / as their high office bade. Therein did help them Ortwein, / and Gunther's thanks therefor they had.
Rumold the High Steward / busily he wrought Among them that did serve him. / Full many a mighty pot, And spacious pans and kettles, / how many might ye see! For those to them were coming / prepared they victuals plenteously.
How they fared to the Feast
Leave we now the ardor / wherewith they did prepare, And tell how Lady Kriemhild / and eke her maidens fair From land of Nibelungen / did journey to the Rhine. Ne'er did horses carry / such store of raiment rich and fine.
Carrying-chests full many / for the way they made ready. Then rode the thane Siegfried / with his friends in company And eke the queen thither / where joy they looked to find. Where now was high rejoicing / they soon in sorest grief repined.
At home behind them left they / Lady Kriemhild's son That she did bear to Siegfried / —'twas meet that that be done. From this their festive journey / rose mickle sorrow sore: His father and his mother / their child beheld they never more.
Then eke with them thither / Siegmund the king did ride. Had he e'er had knowledge / what should there betide Anon from that high journey, / such had he never seen: Ne'er wrought upon dear kindred / might so grievous wrong have been.
Messengers sent they forward / that the tidings told should be. Then forth did ride to meet them / with gladsome company Ute's friends full many / and many a Gunther's man. With zeal to make him ready / unto his guests the king began.
Where he found Brunhild sitting, / thither straight went he. "How received thee my sister, / as thou cam'st to this country? Like preparations shalt thou / for Siegfried's wife now make." "Fain do I that; good reason / have I to love her well," she spake.
Then quoth the mighty monarch: / "The morn shall see them here. Wilt thou go forth to meet them, / apace do thou prepare, That not within the castle / their coming we await. Guests more welcome never / greeted I of high estate."
Her maidens and her ladies / straight did she command To choose them rich apparel, / the best within the land, In which the stately company / before the guests should go. The same they did right gladly, / that may ye full surely know.
Then eke to offer service / the men of Gunther hied, And all his doughty warriors / saw ye by the monarch's side. Then rode the queen full stately / the strangers forth to meet, And hearty was the welcome / as she her loving guests did greet.
With what glad rejoicings / the guests they did receive! They deemed that Lady Kriemhild / did unto Brunhild give Ne'er so warm a welcome / to the land of Burgundy. Bold knights that yet were strangers / rejoiced each other there to see.
Now come was also Siegfried / with his valiant men. The warriors saw ye riding / thither and back again, Where'er the plain extended, / with huge company. From the dust and crowding / could none in all the rout be free.
When the monarch of the country / Siegfried did see And with him also Siegmund, / spake he full lovingly: "Be ye to me full welcome / and to all these friends of mine. Our hearts right glad they shall be / o'er this your journey to the Rhine."
"God give thee meed," spake Siegmund, / a knight in honor grown. "Since that my son Siegfried / thee for a friend hath known, My heart hath e'er advised me / that thee I soon should see." Thereto spake royal Gunther: / "Joy hast thou brought full great to me."
Siegfried was there received, / as fitted his high state, With full lofty honors, / nor one did bear him hate. There joined in way right courteous / Gernot and Giselher: I ween so warm a welcome / did they make for strangers ne'er.
The spouse of each high monarch / greeted the other there. Emptied was many a saddle, / and many a lady fair By hero's hand was lifted / adown upon the sward. By waiting on fair lady / how many a knight sought high reward!
So went unto each other / the ladies richly dight; Thereat in high rejoicing / was seen full many a knight, That by both the greeting / in such fair way was done. By fair maidens standing / saw ye warriors many a one.
Each took the hand of other / in all their company; In courteous manner bending / full many might ye see And loving kisses given / by ladies debonair. Rejoiced the men of Gunther / and Siegfried to behold them there.
They bided there no longer / but rode into the town. The host bade to the strangers / in fitting way be shown, That they were seen full gladly / in the land of Burgundy. High knights full many tilting / before fair ladies might ye see.
Then did of Tronje Hagen / and eke Ortwein In high feats of valor / all other knights outshine. Whate'er the twain commanded / dared none to leave undone; By them was many a service / to their high guests in honor shown.
Shields heard ye many clashing / before the castle gate With din of lances breaking. / Long in saddle sate The host and guests there with him, / ere that within they went. With full merry pastime / joyfully the hours they spent.
Unto the Hall so spacious / rode the merry company. Many a silken cover / wrought full cunningly Saw ye beyond the saddles / of the ladies debonair On all sides down hanging. / King Gunther's men did meet them there.
Led by the same the strangers / to their apartments passed. Meanwhile oft her glances / Brunhild was seen to cast Upon the Lady Kriemhild, / for she was passing fair. In lustre vied her color / with the gold that she did wear.
Within the town a clamor / at Worms on every hand Arose amid their followers. / King Gunther gave command To Dankwart his Marshal / to tend them all with care. Then bade he fitting quarters / for the retinue prepare.
Without and in the castle / the board for all was set: In sooth were never strangers / better tended yet. Whatever any wished for / did they straightway provide: So mighty was the monarch / that naught to any was denied.
To them was kind attention / and all good friendship shown. The host then at the table / with his guests sat him down. Siegfried they bade be seated / where he did sit before. Then went with him to table / full many a stately warrior more.
Gallant knights twelve hundred / in the circle there, I ween, With him sat at table. / Brunhild the lofty queen Did deem that never vassal / could more mighty be. So well she yet was minded, / she saw it not unwillingly.
There upon an evening, / as the king with guests did dine, Full many a rich attire / was wet with ruddy wine, As passed among the tables / the butlers to and fro. And great was their endeavor / full honor to the guests to show.
As long hath been the custom / at high festivity Fit lodging there was given / to maid and high lady. From whence soe'er they came there / they had the host's good care; Unto each guest was meted / of fitting honors fullest share.
When now the night was ended / and came forth the dawn, From chests they carried with them, / full many a precious stone Sparkled on costly raiment / by hand of lady sought. Stately robes full many / forth to deck them then they brought.
Ere dawn was full appeared, / before the Hall again Came knights and squires many, / whereat arose the din E'en before the matins / that for the king were sung. Well pleased was the monarch / at joust to see the warriors young.
Full lustily and loudly / many a horn did blare, Of flutes and eke of trumpets / such din did rend the air That loud came back the echo / from Worms the city wide. The warriors high-hearted / to saddle sprung on every side.
Arose there in that country / high a jousting keen Of many a doughty warrior / whereof were many seen, Whom there their hearts more youthful / did make of merry mood; Of these 'neath shield there saw ye / many a stately knight and good.
There sat within the casements / many a high lady And maidens many with them, / the which were fair to see. Down looked they where did tourney / many a valiant man. The host with his good kinsmen / himself a-riding soon began.
Thus they found them pastime, / and fled the time full well; Then heard they from the minster / the sound of many a bell. Forth upon their horses / the ladies thence did ride; Many a knight full valiant / the lofty queens accompanied.
They then before the minster / alighted on the grass. Unto her guests Queen Brunhild / yet well-minded was. Into the spacious minster / they passed, and each wore crown. Their friendship yet was broken / by direst jealousy anon.
When the mass was ended / went they thence again In full stately manner. / Thereafter were they seen Joyous at board together. / The pleasure full did last, Until days eleven / amid the merry-making passed.
How the Queens Berated Each Other
Before the time of vespers / arose a mickle stir On part of warriors many / upon the courtyard there. In knightly fashion made they / the time go pleasantly; Thither knights and ladies / went their merry play to see.
There did sit together / the queens, a stately pair, And of two knights bethought them, / that noble warriors were. Then spake the fair Kriemhild: / "Such spouse in sooth have I, That all these mighty kingdoms / might well beneath his sceptre lie."
Then spake the Lady Brunhild: / "How might such thing be? If that there lived none other / but himself and thee, So might perchance his power / rule these kingdoms o'er; The while that liveth Gunther, / may such thing be nevermore."
Then again spake Kriemhild: / "Behold how he doth stand In right stately fashion / before the knightly band, Like as the bright moon beameth / before the stars of heaven. In sooth to think upon it / a joyous mood to me is given."
Then spake the Lady Brunhild: / "How stately thy spouse be, Howe'er so fair and worthy, / yet must thou grant to me Gunther, thy noble brother, / doth far beyond him go: In sooth before all monarchs / he standeth, shalt thou truly know."
Then again spake Kriemhild: / "So worthy is my spouse, That I not have praised him / here without a cause. In ways to tell full many / high honor doth he bear: Believe well may'st thou, Brunhild, / he is the royal Gunther's peer."
"Now guard thee, Lady Kriemhild, / my word amiss to take, For not without good reason here / such thing I spake. Both heard I say together, / when them I first did see, When that erstwhile the monarch / did work his royal will o'er me,
And when in knightly fashion / my love for him he won, Then himself said Siegfried / he were the monarch's man. For liegeman thus I hold him, / since he the same did say." Then spake fair Lady Kriemhild: / "With me 'twere dealt in sorry way.
"And these my noble brothers, / how could they such thing see, That I of their own liegeman / e'er the wife should be? Thus will I beg thee, Brunhild, / as friend to friend doth owe, That thou, as well befits thee, / shalt further here such words forego."
"No whit will I give over," / spake the monarch's spouse. "Wherefore should I so many / a knight full valiant lose, Who to us in service / is bounden with thy man?" Kriemhild the fair lady / thereat sore to rage began.
"In sooth must thou forego it / that he should e'er to thee Aught of service offer. / More worthy e'en is he Than is my brother Gunther, / who is a royal lord. So shalt thou please to spare me / what I now from thee have heard.