The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

Presented by

Public Domain Books

Twentieth Adventure - How King Etzel sent to Burgundy for Kriemhild


In that same time when ended / was Lady Helke’s life,
And that the monarch Etzel / did seek another wife,
To take a highborn widow / of the land of Burgundy
Hun his friends did counsel: / Lady Kriemhild hight was she.


Since that was ended / the fair Helke’s life,
Spake they: “Wilt thou ever / win for thee noble wife,
The highest and the fairest / that ever king did win,
Take to thee this same lady / that doughty Siegfried’s spouse hath been.”


Then spake the mighty monarch: / “How might that come to pass
Since that I am a heathen, / nor named with sign of cross?
The lady is a Christian, / thereto she’ll ne’er agree.
Wrought must be a wonder, / if the thing may ever be.”


Then spake again his warriors: / “She yet may do the same.
For sake of thy great power / and thy full lofty name
Shalt thou yet endeavor / such noble wife to gain.
To woo the stately lady / might each monarch high be fain.”


Then spake the noble monarch: / “Who is ’mong men of mine,
That knoweth land and people / dwelling far by Rhine?"
Spake then of Bechelaren / the trusty Ruediger:
“I have known from childhood / the noble queen that dwelleth there.


“And Gunther and Gernot, / the noble knights and good,
And hight the third is Giselher: / whatever any should
That standeth high in honor / and virtue, doth each one:
Eke from eld their fathers / have in like noble manner done.”


Then spake again Etzel: / “Friend, now shalt thou tell,
If she within my country / crown might wear full well–
For be she fair of body / as hath been told to me,
My friends for this their counsel / shall ever full requited be.”


“She likeneth in beauty / well my high lady,
Helke that was so stately. / Nor forsooth might be
In all this world a fairer / spouse of king soe’er.
Whom taketh she for wooer, / glad of heart and mind he were.”


He spake: “Make trial, Ruediger, / as thou hold’st me dear.
And if by Lady Kriemhild / e’er I lie full near,
Therefor will I requite thee / as in best mode I may:
So hast thou then fulfilled / all my wish in fullest way.


“Stores from out my treasure / I’ll bid to thee to give,
That thou with thy companions / merry long shalt live,
Of steeds and rich apparel / what thou wilt have to share.
Thereof unto thy journey / I’ll bid in measure full prepare.”


Thereto did give him answer / the margrave Ruediger:
“Did I thy treasure covet / unworthy thing it were.
Gladly will I thy messenger / be unto the Rhine,
From my own store provided: / all have I e’en from hand of thine.”


Then spake the mighty monarch: / “When now wilt thou fare
To seek the lovely lady? / God of thee have care
To keep thee on thy journey / and eke a wife to me.
Therein good fortune help me, / that she to us shall gracious be.”


Then again spake Ruediger: / “Ere that this land we quit,
Must we first prepare us / arms and apparel fit,
That we may thus in honor / in royal presence stand.
To the Rhine I’ll lead five hundred / warriors, a doughty band.


“Wherever they in Burgundy / me and my men may see,
Shall they all and single / then confess of thee
That ne’er from any monarch / so many warriors went
As now to bear thy message / thou far unto the Rhine hast sent.


“May it not, O mighty monarch, / thee from thy purpose move:
Erstwhile unto Siegfried / she gave her noble love,
Who scion is of Siegmund: / him thou here hast seen.
Worthy highest honor / verily the knight had been.”


Then answered him King Etzel: / “Was she the warrior’s wife,
So worthy was of honor / the noble prince in life,
That I the royal lady / therefor no whit despise.
’Tis her surpassing beauty / that shall be joy unto mine eyes.”


Then further spake the margrave: / “Hear then what I do say:
After days four-and-twenty / shall we from hence away.
Tidings to Gotelinde / I’ll send, my spouse full dear,
That I to Lady Kriemhild / myself will be thy messenger.”


Away to Bechelaren / sent then Ruediger.
Both sad his spouse and joyous / was the news to hear.
He told how for the monarch / a wife he was to woo:
With love she well remembered / the fair Lady Helke too.


When that the margravine / did the message hear,
In part ’twas sorrow to her, / and weep she must in fear
At having other mistress / than hers had been before.
To think on Lady Helke / did grieve her inmost heart full sore.


Ruediger from Hunland / in seven days did part,
Whereat the monarch Etzel / merry was of heart.
When at Vienna city / all was ready for the way,
To begin the journey / might he longer not delay.


At Bechelaren waited / Gotelinde there,
And eke the young margravine, / daughter of Ruediger,
Was glad at thought her father / and all his men to see.
And many a lovely maiden / looked to the coming joyfully.


Ere that to Bechelaren / rode noble Ruediger
From out Vienna city, / was rich equipment there
For them in fullest measure / on carrying-horses brought,
That went in such wise guarded / that robber hand disturbed them not.


When they at Bechelaren / within the town did stand,
His fellows on the journey / did the host command
To lead to fitting quarters / and tend carefully.
The stately Gotelinde, / glad she was her spouse to see.


Eke his lovely daughter / the youthful margravine,–
To her had nothing dearer / than his coming been.
The warriors too from Hunland, / what joy for her they make!
With a laughing spirit / to all the noble maiden spake:


“Be now to us right welcome, / my father and all his men."
Fairest thanks on all sides / saw ye offered then
Unto the youthful margravine / by many a valiant knight.
How Ruediger was minded / knew Gotelinde aright.


When then that night she / by Ruediger lay,
Questioned him the margravine / in full loving way,
Wherefore had sent him thither / the king of Hunland.
He spake: “My Lady Gotelinde, / that shalt thou gladly understand.


“My master now hath sent me / to woo him other wife,
Since that by death was ended / the fair Helke’s life.
Now will I to Kriemhild / ride unto the Rhine:
She shall here in Hunland / be spouse to him and stately queen.”


“God will it,” spake Gotelinde, / “and well the same might be,
Since that so high in honor / ever standeth she.
The death of my good mistress / we then may better bear;
Eke might we grant her gladly / among the Huns a crown to wear.”


Then spake to her the margrave: / “Thou shalt, dear lady mine,
To them that shall ride with me / thither unto the Rhine,
In right bounteous manner / deal out a goodly share.
Good knights go lighter-hearted / when they well provided fare.”


She spake: “None is among them, / an he would take from me,
But I will give whatever / to him may pleasing be,
Ere that ye part thither, / thou and thy good men."
Thereto spake the margrave: / “So dost thou all my wishes then.”


Silken stuffs in plenty / they from her chamber bore,
And to the knights full noble / dealt out in goodly store,
Mantles lined all richly / from collar down to spur.
What for the journey pleased him / did choose therefrom Sir Ruediger.


Upon the seventh morning / from Bechelaren went
The knight with train of warriors. / Attire and armament
Bore they in fullest measure / through the Bavarian land,
And ne’er upon the journey / dared assail them robber band.


Unto the Rhine then came they / ere twelve days were flown,
And there were soon the tidings / of their coming known.
’Twas told unto the monarch / and with him many a man,
How strangers came unto him. / To question then the king began,


If any was did know them, / for he would gladly hear.
They saw their carrying-horses / right heavy burdens bear:
That they were knights of power / knew they well thereby.
Lodgings they made them ready / in the wide city speedily.


When that the strangers / had passed within the gate
Every eye did gaze on / the knights that came in state,
And mickle was the wonder / whence to the Rhine they came.
Then sent the king for Hagen, / if he perchance might know the same.


Then spake he of Tronje: / “These knights I ne’er have seen,
Yet when we now behold them / I’ll tell thee well, I ween,
From whence they now ride hither / unto this country.
An I not straightway know them, / from distant land in sooth they be.”


For the guests fit lodgings / now provided were.
Clad in rich apparel / came the messenger,
And to the court his fellows / did bear him company.
Sumptuous attire / wore they, wrought full cunningly.


Then spake the doughty Hagen: / “As far as goes my ken,
For that long time the noble / knight I not have seen,
Come they in such manner / as were it Ruediger,
The valiant thane from Hunland, / that leads the stately riders here.”


Then straightway spake the monarch: / “How shall I understand
That he of Bechelaren / should come unto this land?"
Scarce had King Gunther / his mind full spoken there,
When saw full surely Hagen / that ’twas the noble Ruediger.


He and his friends then hastened / with warmest welcoming.
Then saw ye knights five hundred / adown from saddle spring,
And were those knights of Hunland / received in fitting way.
Messengers ne’er beheld ye / attired in so fine array.


Hagen of Tronje, / with voice full loud spake he:
“Unto these thanes full noble / a hearty welcome be,
To the lord of Bechelaren / and his men every one."
Thereat was fitting honor / done to every valiant Hun.


The monarch’s nearest kinsmen / went forth the guests to meet.
Of Metz the knight Sir Ortwein / Ruediger thus did greet:
“The while our life hath lasted, / never yet hath guest
Here been seen so gladly: / be that in very truth confessed.”


For that greeting thanked they / the brave knights one and all.
With train of high attendants / they passed unto the hall,
Where valiant men a many / stood round the monarch’s seat.
The king arose from settle / in courteous way the guests to greet.


Right courteously he greeted / then the messenger.
Gunther and Gernot, / full busy both they were
For stranger and companions / a welcome fit to make.
The noble knight Sir Ruediger / by the hand the king did take.


He led him to the settle / where himself he sat:
He bade pour for the strangers / (a welcome work was that)
Mead the very choicest / and the best of wine,
That e’er ye might discover / in all the lands about the Rhine.


Giselher and Gere / joined the company too,
Eke Dankwart and Volker, / when that they knew
The coming of the strangers: / glad they were of mood,
And greeted ’fore the monarch / fair the noble knights and good.


Then spake unto his master / of Tronje the knight:
“Let our thanes seek ever / fully to requite
What erstwhile the margrave / in love to us hath done:
Fair Gotelinde’s husband / our gratitude full well hath won.”


Thereto spake King Gunther: / “Withhold it not I may.
How they both do bear them, / tell me now, I pray,
Etzel and Helke / afar in Hunland."
Then answered him the margrave: / “Fain would I have thee understand.”


Then rose he from the settle / and his men every one.
He spake unto the monarch: / “An may the thing be done,
And is’t thy royal pleasure, / so will I naught withhold,
But the message that I bring thee / shall full willingly be told.”


He spake: “What tale soever, / doth this thy message make,
I grant thee leave to tell it, / nor further counsel take.
Now shalt thou let us hear it, / me and my warriors too,
For fullest leave I grant thee / thy high purpose to pursue.”


Then spake the upright messenger: / “Hither to thee at Rhine
Doth faithful service tender / master high of mine;
To all thy kinsmen likewise, / as many as may be:
Eke is this my message / borne in all good will to thee.


“To thee the noble monarch / bids tell his tale of need.
His folk ’s forlorn and joyless; / my mistress high is dead,
Helke the full stately / my good master’s wife,
Whereby now is orphaned / full many a fair maiden’s life,


“Children of royal parents / for whom hath cared her hand:
Thereby doth the country / in plight full sorry stand.
Alack, nor is there other / that them with love may tend.
I ween the time long distant / eke when the monarch’s grief shall end.”


“God give him meed,” spake Gunther, / “that he so willingly
Doth offer thus good service / to my kinsmen and to me–
I joy that I his greeting / here have heard this day–
The which with glad endeavor / my kinsmen and my men shall pay.”


Thereto the knight of Burgundy, / the valiant Gernot, said:
“The world may ever rue it / that Helke fair lies dead,
So manifold the virtues / that did her life adorn."
A willing testimony / by Hagen to the words was borne.


Thereto again spake Ruediger / the noble messenger:
“Since thou, O king, dost grant it, / shalt thou now further hear
What message ’tis my master / beloved hath hither sent,
For that since death of Helke / his days he hath in sorrow spent.


“’Tis told my lord that Kriemhild / doth widowed live alone,
And dead is doughty Siegfried. / May now such thing be done,
And wilt thou grant that favor, / a crown she then shall wear
Before the knights of Etzel: / this message from my lord I bear.”


Then spake the mighty monarch / –a king he was of grace–
“My will in this same matter / she’ll hear, an so she please.
Thereof will I instruct thee / ere three days are passed by–
Ere I her mind have sounded, / wherefore to Etzel this deny?”


Meanwhile for the strangers / bade they make cheer the best
In sooth so were they tended / that Ruediger confessed
He had ’mong men of Gunther / of friends a goodly store.
Hagen full glad did serve him, / as he had Hagen served of yore.


Thus there did tarry Ruediger / until the third day.
The king did counsel summon / –he moved in wisest way–
If that unto his kinsmen / seemed it fitting thing,
That Kriemhild take unto her / for spouse Etzel the king.


Together all save Hagen / did the thing advise,
And unto King Gunther / spake he in this wise:
“An hast thou still thy senses, / of that same thing beware,
That, be she ne’er so willing, / thou lend’st thyself her will to share.”


“Wherefore,” spake then Gunther, / “should I allow it not?
Whene’er doth fortune favor / Kriemhild in aught,
That shall I gladly grant her, / for sister dear is she.
Yea, ought ourselves to seek it, / might it but her honor be.”


Thereto gave answer Hagen: / “Now such words give o’er.
Were Etzel known unto thee / as unto me of yore,
And did’st thou grant her to him, / as ’tis thy will I hear,
Then wouldst thou first have reason / for thy later weal to fear.”


“Wherefore?” spake then Gunther. / “Well may I care for that,
E’er to thwart his temper / that so I aught of hate
At his hands should merit, / an if his wife she be."
Thereto gave answer Hagen: / “Such counsel hast thou ne’er of me.”


Then did they bid for Gernot / and Giselher to go,
For wished they of the royal / twain their mind to know,
If that the mighty monarch / Kriemhild for spouse should take.
Yet Hagen and none other / thereto did opposition make.


Then spake of Burgundy / Giselher the thane:
“Well may’st thou now, friend Hagen, / show upright mind again:
For sorrows wrought upon her / may’st thou her well requite.
Howe’er she findeth fortune, / ne’er should it be in thy despite.”


“Yea, hast thou to my sister / so many sorrows done,"
So spake further Giselher, / the full noble thane,
“That fullest reason hath she / to mete thee naught but hate.
In sooth was never lady / than she bereft of joy more great.”


“What I do know full certain, / that known to all I make:
If e’er shall come the hour / that she do Etzel take,
She’ll work us yet sore evil, / howe’er the same she plan.
Then in sooth will serve her / full many a keen and doughty man.”


In answer then to Hagen / the brave Gernot said:
“With us doth lie to leave it / until they both be dead,
Ere that we ride ever / unto Etzel’s land.
That we be faithful to her / doth honor meantime sure command.”


Thereto again spake Hagen: / “Gainsay me here may none.
And shall the noble Kriemhild / e’er sit ’neath Helke’s crown,
Howe’er she that accomplish, / she’ll do us grievous hurt.
Good knights, therefrom to keep you / doth better with your weal


In anger spake then Giselher / the son of Ute the fair:
“None shall yet among us / himself like traitor bear.
What honor e’er befall her, / rejoice thereat should we.
Whate’er thou sayest, Hagen, / true helper shall she find in me.”


When that heard it Hagen / straightway waxed he wroth.
Gernot and Giselher / the knights high-minded both,
And Gunther, mighty monarch, / did counsel finally,
If that did wish it Kriemhild, / by them ’twould unopposed be.


Then spake the margrave Gere: / “That lady will I tell
How that of royal Etzel / she may think full well.
In fear are subject to him / brave warriors many a one:
Well may he recompense her / for wrong that e’er to her was done.”


Then went the knight full valiant / where he did Kriemhild find,
And straightway spake unto her / upon her greeting kind:
“Me may’st thou gladly welcome / with messengers high meed.
Fortune hath come to part thee / now from all thy bitter need.


“For sake of love he bears thee, / lady, doth seek thy hand
One of all the highest / that e’er o’er monarch’s land
Did rule in fullest honor, / or ever crown might wear:
High knights do bring the message, / which same thy brother bids thee


Then spake she rich in sorrow: / “Now God forbid to thee
And all I have of kinsmen / that aught of mockery
They do on me, poor woman. / What were I unto one,
Who e’er at heart the joyance / of a noble wife hath known?”


Much did she speak against it. / Anon as well came there
Gernot her brother / and the young Giselher.
In loving wise they begged her / her mourning heart to cheer:
An would she take the monarch, / verily her weal it were.


Yet might not then by any / the lady’s mind be bent,
That any man soever / to love she would consent.
Thereon the thanes besought her: / “Now grant the thing to be,
An dost thou nothing further, / that the messenger thou deign’st to see.”


“That will I not deny you," / spake the high lady,
“That the noble Ruediger / I full gladly see,
Such knightly grace adorns him. / Were he not messenger,
And came there other hither / by him I all unspoken were.”


She spake: “Upon the morrow / bid him hither fare
Unto this my chamber. / Then shall he fully hear
How that do stand my wishes, / the which I’ll tell him true."
Of her full grievous sorrow / was she minded thus anew.


Eke not else desired / the noble Ruediger
Than that by the lady / leave thus granted were:
He knew himself so skilful, / might he such favor earn,
So should he her full certain / from her spoken purpose turn.


Upon the morrow early / when that the mass was sung
Came the noble messengers, / whereof a mickle throng.
They that should Sir Ruediger / to court bear company,
Many a man full stately / in rich apparel might ye see.


Kriemhild, dame high-stated, / –full sad she was of mood–
There Ruediger awaited, / the noble knight and good.
He found her in such raiment / as daily she did wear:
The while were her attendants / in dresses clad full rich and rare,


Unto the threshold went she / the noble guest to meet,
And the man of Etzel / did she full kindly greet.
Twelve knights there did enter, / himself and eleven more,
And well were they received: / to her such guests came ne’er before.


The messenger to seat him / and his men they gave command.
The twain valiant margraves / saw ye before her stand,
Eckewart and Gere, / the noble knights and keen,
Such was the lady’s sorrow, / none saw ye there of cheerful mien.


They saw before her sitting / full many a lady fair,
And yet the Lady Kriemhild / did naught but sorrow there.
The dress upon her bosom / was wet with tears that fell,
And soon the noble margrave / perceived her mickle grief full well.


Then spake the lofty messenger: / “Daughter of king full high,
To me and these my fellows / that bear me company
Deign now the grace to grant us / that we before thee stand
And tell to thee the tidings / wherefore we rode unto thy land.”


“That grace to thee is granted," / spake the lofty queen;
“Whate’er may be thy message, / I’ll let it now be seen
That I do hear it gladly: / thou’rt welcome messenger."
That fruitless was their errand / deemed the others well to hear.


Then spake of Bechelaren / the noble Ruediger:
“Pledge of true love unto thee / from lofty king I bear,
Etzel who bids thee, lady, / here royal compliment:
He hath to woo thy favor / knights full worthy hither sent.


“His love to thee he offers / full heartily and free:
Fidelity that lasteth / he plighteth unto thee,
As erst to Lady Helke / who o’er his heart held sway.
Yea, thinking on her virtues / hath he full oft had joyless day.”


Then spake the royal lady: / “O Margrave Ruediger,
If that known to any / my sharp sorrows were,
Besought then were I never / again to take me spouse.
Such ne’er was won by lady / as the husband I did lose.”


“What is that sootheth sorrow," / the valiant knight replied,
“An be’t not loving friendship / whene’er that may betide,
And that each mortal choose him / who his delight shall be?
Naught is that so availeth / to keep the heart from sorrow free.


“Wilt thou minded be to love him, / this noble master mine,
O’er mighty crowns a dozen / the power shall be thine.
Thereto of princes thirty / my lord shall give thee land,
The which hath all subdued / the prowess of his doughty hand.


“O’er many a knight full worthy / eke mistress shalt thou be
That my Lady Helke / did serve right faithfully,
And over many a lady / that served amid her train,
Of high and royal lineage," / spake the keen and valiant thane.


“Thereto my lord will give thee / –he bids to thee make known–
If that beside the monarch / thou deign’st to wear a crown,
Power in fullest measure / that Helke e’er might boast:
The same in lordly manner / shalt thou wield o’er Etzel’s host.”


Then spake the royal lady: / “How might again my life
Have thereof desire / to be a hero’s wife?
Hath death in one already / wrought me such sorrows sore,
That joyless must my days be / from this time for evermore.”


Then spake the men of Hunland: / “O royal high lady,
Thy life shall there by Etzel / so full of honor be
Thy heart ’twill ever gladden / if but may be such thing:
Full many a thane right stately / doth homage to the mighty king.


“Might but Helke’s maidens / and they that wait on thee
E’er be joined together / in one royal company,
Well might brave knights to see them / wax merry in their mood.
Be, lady, now persuaded / –’tis verily thy surest good.”


She spake in courteous manner: / “Let further parley be
Until doth come the morrow. / Then hither come to me.
So will I give my answer / to bear upon your way."
The noble knights and worthy / must straight therein her will obey.


When all from thence were parted / and had their lodgings sought,
Then bade the noble lady / that Giselher be brought,
And eke with him her mother. / To both she then did tell
That meet for her was weeping, / and naught might fit her mood so well.


Then spake her brother Giselher: / “Sister, to me ’tis told–
And well may I believe it– / that thy grief manifold
Etzel complete will scatter, / an tak’st thou him for man.
Whate’er be other’s counsel, / meseems it were a thing well done.”


Further eke spake Giselher: / “Console thee well may he.
From Rhone unto Rhine river, / from Elbe unto the sea,
King there is none other / that holds so lordly sway.
An he for spouse do take thee, / gladden thee full well he may.”


“Brother loved full dearly, / wherefore dost counsel it?
To mourn and weep forever / doth better me befit.
How may I ’mid warriors / appear in royal state?
Was ever fair my body, / of beauty now ’tis desolate.”


Then spake the Lady Ute / her daughter dear unto:
“The thing thy brother counsels, / my loving child, that do.
By thy friends be guided, / then with thee well ’twill be.
Long time it now hath grieved me / thee thus disconsolate to see.”


Then prayed she God with fervor / that he might her provide
With store of gold and silver / and raiment rich beside,
As erstwhile when her husband / did live a stately thane:
Since then so happy hour / never had she known again.


In her own bosom thought she: / “An shall I not deny
My body to a heathen / –a Christian lady I–
So must I while life lasteth / have shame to be my own.
An gave he realms unnumbered, / such thing by me might ne’er be done.”


And there withal she left it. / The night through until day,
Upon her couch the lady / with mind full troubled lay.
Nor yet her eyes full shining / of tears at all were free,
Until upon the morrow / forth to matins issued she.


When for mass was sounded, / came there the kings likewise.
Again did they their sister / by faithful word advise
To take for spouse unto her / of Hunland the king.
All joyless was the visage / they saw the lady thither bring.


They bade the men of Etzel / thither lead again,
Who unto their country / fain their leave had ta’en,
Their message won or fruitless, / how that soe’er might be.
Unto the court came Ruediger. / Full eager were his company


By the knight to be informed / how the thing befell,
And if betimes they knew it / ’twould please them all full well,
For weary was the journey / and long unto their land.
Soon did the noble Ruediger / again in Kriemhild’s presence stand.


In full earnest manner / then the knight gan pray
The high royal lady / that she to him might say
What were from her the message / to Etzel he should bear.
Naught but denial only / did he from the lady hear,


For that her love might never / by man again be won.
Thereto spake the margrave: / “Ill such thing were done.
Wherefore such fair body / wilt thou to ruin give?
Spouse of knight full worthy / may’st thou yet in honor live.”


Naught booted how they besought her, / till that Ruediger
Spake in secret manner / in the high lady’s ear,
How Etzel should requite her / for ills she e’er did know.
Then gan her mickle sorrow / milder at the thought to grow.


Unto the queen then spake he: / “Let now thy weeping be.
If ’mong the Huns hadst thou / other none than me
And my faithful kinsmen / and my good men alone,
Sorely must he repay it / who hath aught to thee of evil done.”


Thereat apace all lighter / the lady’s sorrow grew,
She spake: “So swear thou truly, / what any ’gainst me do,
That thou wilt be the foremost / my sorrows to requite."
Thereto spake the margrave: / “Lady, to thee my word I plight.”


With all his men together / sware then Ruediger
Faithfully to serve her, / and in all things whatsoe’er
Naught would e’er deny her / the thanes from Etzel’s land,
Whereof she might have honor: / thereto gave Ruediger his hand.


Then thought the faithful lady: / “Since I thus have won
Band of friends so faithful, / care now have I none
How shall speak the people / in my sore need of me.
The death of my loved husband / perchance shall yet avenged be.”


Thought she: “Since hath Etzel / so many knights and true,
An shall I but command them, / whate’er I will I do.
Eke hath he such riches / that free may be my hand:
Bereft of all my treasure / by Hagen’s faithless art I stand.”


Then spake she unto Ruediger: / “Were it not, as I do know,
The king is yet a heathen, / so were I fain to go
Whithersoe’er he willed it, / and take him for my lord."
Thereto spake the margrave: / “Lady, no longer hold such word.


“Such host he hath of warriors / who Christians are as we,
That beside the monarch / may care ne’er come to thee.
Yea, may he be baptized / through thee to Christian life:
Well may’st thou then rejoice thee / to be the royal Etzel’s wife.”


Then spake again her brother: / “Sister, thy favor lend,
That now all thy sorrow / thereby may have an end."
And so long they besought her / that full of sadness she
Her word at length had plighted / the monarch Etzel’s wife to be.


She spake: “You will I follow, / I most lorn lady,
That I fare to Hunland, / as soon as it may be
That I friends have ready / to lead me to his land."
Before the knights assembled / fair Kriemhild pledged thereto her hand.


Then spake again the margrave: / “Two knights do serve thee true,
And I thereof have many: / ’tis easy thing to do,
That thee with fitting honor / across the Rhine we guide.
Nor shalt thou, lady, longer / here in Burgundy abide.


“Good men have I five hundred, / and eke my kinsmen stand
Ready here to serve thee / and far in Etzel’s land,
Lady, at thy bidding. / And I do pledge the same,
Whene’er thou dost admonish, / to serve thee without cause for shame.


“Now bid with full equipment / thy horses to prepare:
Ruediger’s true counsel / will bring thee sorrow ne’er;
And tell it to thy maidens / whom thou wilt take with thee.
Full many a chosen warrior / on the way shall join our company.”


They had full rich equipment / that once their train arrayed
The while that yet lived Siegfried, / so might she many a maid
In honor high lead with her, / as she thence would fare.
What steeds all rich caparisoned / awaited the high ladies there!


If till that time they ever / in richest dress were clad,
Thereof now for their journey / full store was ready made,
For that they of the monarch / had such tidings caught.
From chests longtime well bolted / forth the treasures rich were brought.


Little were they idle / until the fifth day,
But sought rich dress that folded / secure in covers lay.
Kriemhild wide did open / all her treasure there,
And largess great would give she / unto the men of Ruediger.


Still had she of the treasure / of Nibelungenland,
(She weened the same in Hunland / to deal with bounteous hand)
So great that hundred horses / ne’er the whole might bear.
How stood the mind of Kriemhild, / came the tidings unto Hagen’s ear.


He spake: “Since Kriemhild never / may me in favor hold,
E’en so here must tarry / Siegfried’s store of gold.
Wherefore unto mine enemies / such mickle treasure go?
What with the treasure Kriemhild / intendeth, that full well I know.


“Might she but take it thither, / in sooth believe I that,
’Twould be dealt out in largess / to stir against me hate.
Nor own they steeds sufficient / the same to bear away.
’Twill safe be kept by Hagen / –so shall they unto Kriemhild say.”


When she did hear the story, / with grief her heart was torn.
Eke unto the monarchs / all three the tale was borne.
Fain would they prevent it: / yet when that might not be,
Spake the noble Ruediger / in this wise full joyfully:


“Wherefore, queen full stately, / weep’st thou o’er this gold?
For thee will King Etzel / in such high favor hold
When but his eyes behold thee, / to thee such store he’ll give
That ne’er thou may’st exhaust it: / that, lady, by my word believe.”


Thereto the queen gave answer: / “Full noble Ruediger,
Greater treasure never / king’s daughter had for share
Than this that Hagen from me / now hath ta’en away."
Then went her brother Gernot / to the chamber where the treasure lay.


With force he stuck the monarch’s / key into the door,
And soon of Kriemhild’s treasure / they from the chamber bore
Marks full thirty thousand / or e’en more plenteously.
He bade the guests to take it, / which pleased King Gunther well to see.


Then Gotelinde’s husband / of Bechelaren spake:
“An if my Lady Kriemhild / with her complete might take
What treasure e’er came hither / from Nibelungenland,
Ne’er a whit would touch it / mine or my royal lady’s hand.


“Now bid them here to keep it, / for ne’er the same I’ll touch.
Yea brought I from my country / of mine own wealth so much,
That we upon our journey / may be full well supplied,
And ne’er have lack in outlay / as in state we homeward ride.”


Chests well filled a dozen / from the time of old
Had for their own her maidens, / of the best of gold
That e’er ye might discover: / now thence away ’twas borne,
And jewels for the ladies / upon the journey to be worn.


Of the might she yet was fearful / of Hagen grim and bold.
Still had she of mass-money / a thousand marks in gold,
That gave she for the soul’s rest / of her husband dear.
Such loving deed and faithful / did touch the heart of Ruediger.


Then spake the lady mournful: / “Who now that loveth me,
And for the love they bear me / may willing exiles be,
Who with me to Hunland / now away shall ride?
Take they of my treasure / and steeds and meet attire provide.”


Then did the margrave Eckewart / answer thus the queen:
“Since I from the beginning / of thy train have been,
Have I e’er right faithful / served thee,” spake the thane,
“And to the end I’ll ever / thus faithful unto thee remain.


“Eke will I lead with me / five hundred of my men,
Whom I grant to serve thee / in faithful way again.
Nor e’er shall we be parted / till that we be dead."
Low bowing thanked him Kriemhild, / as verily might be his meed.


Forth were brought the horses, / for that they thence would fare.
Then was a mickle weeping / of friends that parted there.
Ute, queen full stately, / and many a lady more
Showed that from Lady Kriemhild / to part did grieve their hearts full


A hundred stately maidens / with her she led away,
And as for them was fitting, / full rich was their array.
Many a bitter tear-drop / from shining eye fell down:
Yet joys knew they full many / eke in Etzel’s land anon.


Thither came Sir Giselher / and Gernot as well,
And with them train of followers, / as duty did compel.
Safe escort would they furnish / for their dear sister then,
And with them led of warriors / a thousand brave and stately men.


Then came the valiant Gere, / and Ortwein eke came he:
Rumold the High Steward / might not absent be.
Unto the Danube did they / night-quarters meet provide.
Short way beyond the city / did the royal Gunther ride.


Ere from the Rhine they started / had they forward sent
Messengers that full quickly / unto Hunland went,
And told unto the monarch / how that Ruediger
For spouse at length had won him / the high-born queen beyond compare.


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