By George Henry Needler, Translator
Public Domain Books
Public Domain Books
Ninth Adventure - 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.