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The Poetic Edda Online
In the translation of Bellows 

Lays of the Gods
Guthrunarkvitha II, En Forna

The Second, or Old, Lay of Guthrun

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 pondered well
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 Hogni were,
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 other women,
(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."

Guthrun spake:
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."

Grimhild spake:
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."

Guthrun spake:
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."

Grimhild spake:
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."

Guthrun spake:
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.

35. .    .    .    .    .        .    .    .    .    .
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.

Atli spake:
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


Guthrun spake:
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"

Atli spake:
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."

Guthrun spake:
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."

Atli spake:
45. "On my bed I sank,   nor slumber sought,
Weary with woe,--   full well I remember.
.    .    .    .    .        .    .    .    .    .

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