Asatru Ring Frankfurt & Midgard
Living with the Gods. Living for the Gods. Living
through the Gods.
Poetic Edda Online
In the translation of
Lays of the Gods
Guthrunarkvitha II, En Forna
The Second, or Old, Lay
King Thjothrek was with
Atli, and had lost most of his men. Thjothrek and Guthrun lamented their
griefs together. She spoke to him, saying:
1. A maid of maids my
mother bore me,
Bright in my bower, my brothers I loved,
Till Gjuki dowered me with gold,
Dowered with gold, and to Sigurth gave me.
2. So Sigurth rose
o'er Gjuki's sons
As the leek grows green above the grass,
Or the stag o'er all the beasts doth stand,
Or as glow-red gold above silver gray.
3. Till my brothers let
me no longer have
The best of heroes my husband to be;
Sleep they could not, or quarrels settle,
Till Sigurth they at last had slain.
4. From the Thing ran
Grani with thundering feet,
But thence did Sigurth himself come never;
Covered with sweat was the saddle-bearer,
Wont the warrior's weight to bear.
5. Weeping I sought
with Grani to speak,
With tear-wet cheeks for the tale I asked;
The head of Grani was bowed to the grass,
The steed knew well his master was slain.
6. Long I waited and
Ere ever the king for tidings I asked.
. . . . . . . . . .
7. His head bowed
Gunnar, but Hogni told
The news full sore of Sigurth slain:
"Hewed to death at our hands he lies,
Gotthorm's slayer, given to wolves.
8. "On the southern road
thou shalt Sigurth see,
Where hear thou canst the ravens cry;
The eagles cry as food they crave,
And about thy husband wolves are howling."
9. "Why dost thou,
Hogni, such a horror
Let me hear, all joyless left?
Ravens yet thy heart shall rend
In a land that never thou hast known."
10. Few the words of
Bitter his heart from heavy sorrow:
"Greater, Guthrun, thy grief shall be
If the ravens so my heart shall rend."
11. From him who spake
I turned me soon,
In the woods to find what the wolves had left;
Tears I had not, nor wrung my bands,
Nor wailing went, as
(When by Sigurth slain I sat).
12. Never so black had
seemed the night
As when in sorrow by Sigurth I sat;
The wolves . . . . . . . . . .
13. . . . . . . . . . .
Best of all methought 'twould be
If I my life could only lose,
Or like to birch-wood burned might be.
14. From the mountain
forth five days I fared,
Till Hoalf's hall so high I saw;
Seven half-years with Thora I stayed,
Hokon's daughter, in Denmark then.
15. With gold she
broidered, to bring me joy,
Southern halls and Danish swans;
On the tapestry wove we warrior's deeds,
And the hero's thanes on our handiwork;
(Flashing shields and fighters armed,
Sword-throng, helm-throng, the host of the king).
16. Sigmund's ship by
the land was sailing,
Golden the figure-head, gay the beaks;
On board we wove the warriors faring,
Sigar and Siggeir, south to Fjon.
17. Then Grimhild asked,
the Gothic queen,
Whether willingly would I . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
18. Her needlework cast
she aside, and called
Her sons to ask, with stern resolve,
Who amends to their sister would make for her son,
Or the wife requite for her husband killed.
19. Ready was Gunnar
gold to give,
Amends for my hurt, and Hogni too;
Then would she know who now would go,
The horse to saddle, the wagon to harness,
(The horse to ride, the hawk to fly,
And shafts from bows of yew to shoot).
20. (Valdar, king of
the Danes, was come,
With Jarizleif, Eymoth, and Jarizskar).
In like princes came they all,
The long-beard men, with mantles red,
Short their mail-coats, mighty their helms,
Swords at their belts, and brown their hair.
21. Each to give me
gifts was fain,
Gifts to give, and goodly speech,
Comfort so for my sorrows great
To bring they tried, but I trusted them not.
22. A draught did
Grimhild give me to drink,
Bitter and cold; I forgot my cares;
For mingled therein was magic earth,
Ice-cold sea, and the blood of swine.
23. In the cup were
runes of every kind,
Written and reddened, I could not read them;
A heather-fish from the Haddings' land,
An ear uncut, and the entrails of beasts.
24. Much evil was brewed
within the beer,
Blossoms of trees, and acorns burned,
Dew of the hearth, and holy entrails,
The liver of swine,-- all grief to allay.
25. Then I forgot, when
the draught they gave me,
There in the hall, my husband's slaying;
On their knees the kings all three did kneel,
Ere she herself to speak began:
26. "Guthrun, gold to
thee I give,
The wealth that once thy father's was,
Rings to have, and Hlothver's halls,
And the hangings all that the monarch had.
27. "Hunnish women,
skilled in weaving,
Who gold make fair to give thee joy,
And the wealth of Buthli thine shall be,
Gold-decked one, as Atli's wife."
28. "A husband now I will not have,
Nor wife of Brynhild's brother be;
It beseems me not with Buthli's son
Happy to be, and heirs to bear."
29. "Seek not on men to avenge thy sorrows,
Though the blame at first with us hath been;
Happy shalt be as if both still lived,
Sigurth and Sigmund, if sons thou bearest."
30. "Grimhild, I may not gladness find,
Nor hold forth hopes to heroes now,
Since once the raven and ravening wolf
Sigurth's heart's-blood hungrily lapped."
31. "Noblest of birth is the ruler now
I have found for thee, and foremost of all;
Him shalt thou have while life thou hast,
Or husbandless be if him thou wilt choose not."
32. "Seek not so eagerly me to send
To be a bride of yon baneful race;
On Gunnar first his wrath shall fall,
And the heart will he tear from Hogni's breast."
33. Weeping Grimhild
heard the words
That fate full sore for her sons foretold,
(And mighty woe for them should work;)
"Lands I give thee, with all that live there,
(Vinbjorg is thine, and Valbjorg too,)
Have them forever, but hear me, daughter."
34. So must I do as
the kings besought,
And against my will for my kinsmen wed,
Ne'er with my husband joy I had,
And my sons by my brothers' fate were saved not.
. . . . . . . . . .
I could not rest till of life I had robbed
The warrior bold, the maker of battles.
36. Soon on horseback
each hero was,
And the foreign women in wagons faring;
A week through lands so cold we went,
And a second week the waves we smote,
(And a third through lands that water lacked).
37. The warders now on
the lofty walls
Opened the gates, and in we rode.
38. Atli woke me, for
ever I seemed
Of bitterness full for my brothers' death.
39. "Now from sleep the Norris have waked me
With visions of terror,-- to thee will I tell them;
Methought thou, Guthrun, Gjuki's daughter,
With poisoned blade didst pierce my bod
40. "Fire a dream of steel shall follow
And willful pride one of woman's wrath;
A baneful sore I shall burn from thee,
And tend and heal thee, though hated thou am"
41. "Of plants I dreamed, in the garden drooping,
That fain would I have full high to grow;
Plucked by the roots, and red with blood,
They brought them hither, and bade me eat.
42. "I dreamed my hawks
from my hand had flown,
Eager for food, to an evil house;
I dreamed their hearts with honey I ate,
Soaked in blood, and heavy my sorrow.
43. "Hounds I dreamed
from my hand I loosed,
Loud in hunger and pain they howled;
Their flesh methought was eagles' food,
And their bodies now I needs must eat."
44. "Men shall soon of sacrifice speak,
And off the heads of beasts shall hew
Die they shall ere day has dawned,
A few nights hence, and the folk shall have them."
45. "On my bed I sank, nor slumber sought,
Weary with woe,-- full well I remember.
. . . . . . . . . .
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© Michael Schütz –
Asatru Ring Frankfurt & Midgard – www.asatruringfrankfurt.de