The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

Presented by

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.


Preface  •  I. The Nibelungen Saga  •  II. The Nibelungenlied  •  The Nibelungenlied - First Adventure - Kriemhild’s Dream  •  Second Adventure - Siegfried  •  Third Adventure - How Siegfried came to Worms  •  Fourth Adventure - How Siegfried fought with the Saxons  •  Fifth Adventure - How Siegfried first saw Kriemhild  •  Sixth Adventure - How Gunther fared to Isenland to Brunhild  •  Seventh Adventure - How Gunther won Brunhild  •  Eighth Adventure - How Siegfried fared to his Knights, the Nibelungen  •  Ninth Adventure - How Siegfried was sent to Worms  •  Tenth Adventure - How Brunhild was received at Worms  •  Eleventh Adventure - How Siegfried came home with his Wife  •  Twelfth Adventure - How Gunther bade Siegfried to the Feast  •  Thirteenth Adventure - How they fared to the Feast  •  Fourteenth Adventure - How the Queens Berated Each Other  •  Fifteenth Adventure - How Siegfried was Betrayed  •  Sixteenth Adventure - How Siegfried was slain  •  Seventeenth Adventure - How Kriemhild mourned for Siegfried, and How he was Buried  •  Eighteenth Adventure - How Siegmund fared Home Again  •  Nineteenth Adventure - How the Nibelungen Hoard was Brought to Worms  •  Twentieth Adventure - How King Etzel sent to Burgundy for Kriemhild  •  Twenty-First Adventure - How Kriemhild fared to the Huns  •  Twenty-Second Adventure - How Etzel kept the Wedding-feast with Kriemhild  •  Twenty-Third Adventure - How Kriemhild thought to avenge her Wrong  •  Twenty-Fourth Adventure - How Werbel and Schwemmel brought the Message  •  Twenty-Fifth Adventure - How the Knights all fared to the Huns  •  Twenty-Sixth Adventure - How Gelfrat was Slain by Dankwart  •  Twenty-Seventh Adventure - How they came to Bechelaren  •  Twenty-Eighth Adventure - How the Burgundians came to Etzel’s Castle  •  Twenty-Ninth Adventure - How He arose not before Her  •  Thirtieth Adventure - How they kept Guard  •  Thirty-First Adventure - How they went to Mass  •  Thirty-Second Adventure - How Bloedel was Slain  •  Thirty-Third Adventure - How the Burgundians fought with the Huns  •  Thirty-Fourth Adventure - How they cast out the Dead  •  Thirty-Fifth Adventure - How Iring was Slain  •  Thirty-Sixth Adventure - How the Queen bade set fire to the Hall  •  Thirty-Seventh Adventure - How the Margrave Ruediger was Slain  •  Thirty-Eighth Adventure - How all Sir Dietrich’s Knights were Slain  •  Thirty-Ninth Adventure - How Gunther and Hagen and Kriemhild were Slain