The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

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Public Domain Books

Eleventh Adventure - 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.


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