The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

Presented by

Public Domain Books

Twenty-Eighth Adventure - How the Burgundians came to Etzel’s Castle


When that the men of Burgundy / were come into the land,
He of Bern did hear it, / the aged Hildebrand.
He told it to his master, / who sore thereat did grieve;
The knight so keen and gallant / bade he in fitting way receive.


Wolfhart the valiant / bade lead the heroes forth.
In company with Dietrich / rode many a thane of worth,
As out to receive them / across the plain he went,
Where might ye see erected / already many a stately tent.


When that of Tronje Hagen / them far away espied,
Unto his royal masters / full courteously he said:
“Now shall ye, doughty riders, / down from the saddle spring,
And forward go to meet them / that here to you a welcome bring.


“A train there cometh yonder, / well knew I e’en when young.
Thanes they are full doughty / of the land of Amelung.
He of Bern doth lead them, / and high of heart they are;
To scorn their proffered greeting / shall ye in sooth full well beware.”


Dismounted then with Dietrich, / (as was meet and right,)
Attended by his squire / many a gallant knight.
They went unto the strangers / and greeted courteously
The knights that far had ridden / from the land of Burgundy.


When then Sir Dietrich / saw them coming near,
What words the thane delivered, / now may ye willing hear,
Unto Ute’s children. / Their journey grieved him sore.
He weened that Ruediger knowing / had warned what lay for them in store.


“Welcome be ye, Masters, / Gunther and Giselher,
Gernot and Hagen, / welcome eke Volker
And the valiant Dankwart. / Do ye not understand?
Kriemhild yet sore bemoaneth / the hero of Nibelungen land.”


“Long time may she be weeping," / Hagen spake again;
“In sooth for years a many / dead he lies and slain.
To the monarch now of Hunland / should she devoted be:
Siegfried returneth never, / buried now long time is he.”


“How Siegfried’s death was compassed, / let now the story be:
While liveth Lady Kriemhild, / look ye for injury."
Thus did of Bern Sir Dietrich / unto them declare:
“Hope of the Nibelungen, / of her vengeance well beware.”


“Whereof shall I be fearful?" / the lofty monarch spake:
“Etzel hath sent us message, / (why further question make?)
That we should journey hither / into his country.
Eke hath my sister Kriemhild / oft wished us here as guests to see.


“I give thee honest counsel," / Hagen then did say,
“Now shalt thou here Sir Dietrich / and his warriors pray
To tell thee full the story, / if aught may be designed,
And let thee know more surely / how stands the Lady Kriemhild’s mind.”


Then went to speak asunder / the lordly monarchs three,
Gunther and Gernot, / and Dietrich went he.
“Now tell us true, thou noble / knight of Bern and kind,
If that perchance thou knowest / how stands thy royal mistress’ mind.”


The lord of Bern gave answer: / “What need to tell you more?
I hear each day at morning / weeping and wailing sore
The wife of royal Etzel, / who piteous doth complain
To God in heaven that Siegfried / her doughty spouse from her was ta’en.”


“Then must we e’en abide it," / was the fearless word
Of Volker the Fiddler, / “what we here have heard.
To court we yet shall journey / and make full clear to all,
If that to valiant warriors / may aught amid the Huns befall.”


The gallant thanes of Burgundy / unto court then rode,
And went in stately manner / as was their country’s mode.
Full many a man in Hunland / looked eagerly to see
Of what manner Hagen, / Tronje’s doughty thane, might be.


For that was told the story / (and great the wonder grew)
How that of Netherland / Siegfried he slew,
That was the spouse of Kriemhild, / in strength without a peer,
Hence a mickle questioning / after Hagen might ye hear.


Great was the knight of stature, / may ye know full true,
Built with breast expansive; / mingled was the hue
Of his hair with silver; / long he was of limb;
As he strode stately forward / might ye mark his visage grim.


Then were the thanes of Burgundy / unto quarters shown,
But the serving-man of Gunther / by themselves alone.
Thus the queen did counsel, / so filled she was with hate.
Anon where they were harbored / the train did meet with direst fate.


Dankwart, Hagen’s brother, / marshal was he.
To him the king his followers / commended urgently,
That he provide them plenty / and have of them good care.
The noble knight of Burgundy / their safety well in mind did bear.


By her train attended, / Queen Kriemhild went
To greet the Nibelungen, / yet false was her intent.
She kissed her brother Giselher / and took him by the hand:
Thereat of Tronje Hagen / did tighter draw his helmet’s band.


“After such like greeting," / the doughty Hagen spake,
“Let all watchful warriors / full precaution take:
Differs wide the greeting / on masters and men bestowed.
Unhappy was the hour / when to this festival we rode.”


She spake: “Now be ye welcome / to whom ye welcome be.
For sake of friendship never / ye greeting have from me.
Tell me now what bring ye / from Worms across the Rhine,
That ye so greatly welcome / should ever be to land of mine?”


“An I had only known it," / Hagen spake again,
“That thou didst look for present / from hand of every thane,
I were, methinks, so wealthy / –had I me bethought–
That I unto this country / likewise to thee my gift had brought.”


“Now shall ye eke the story / to me more fully say:
The Nibelungen treasure, / where put ye that away?
My own possession was it, / as well ye understand.
That same ye should have brought me / hither unto Etzel’s land.”


“In sooth, my Lady Kriemhild, / full many a day hath flown
Since of the Nibelungen / hoard I aught have known.
Into the Rhine to sink it / my lords commanded me:
Verily there must it / until the day of judgment be.”


Thereto the queen gave answer: / “Such was e’en my thought.
Thereof right little have ye / unto me hither brought,
Although myself did own it / and once o’er it held sway.
’Tis cause that I for ever / have full many a mournful day.”


“The devil have I brought thee," / Hagen did declare.
“My shield it is so heavy / that I have to bear,
And my plaited armor; / my shining helmet see,
And sword in hand I carry, / –so might I nothing bring for thee.”


Then spake the royal lady / unto the warriors all:
“Weapon shall not any / bear into the hall.
To me now for safe keeping, / ye thanes shall give them o’er."
“In sooth,” gave answer Hagen, / “such thing shall happen nevermore.


“Such honor ne’er I covet, / royal lady mild,
That to its place of keeping / thou shouldst bear my shield
With all my other armor, / –for thou art a queen.
Such taught me ne’er my sire: / myself will be my chamberlain.”


“Alack of these my sorrows!" / the Lady Kriemhild cried;
“Wherefore will now my brother / and Hagen not confide
To me their shields for keeping? / Some one did warning give.
Knew I by whom ’twas given, / brief were the space that he might live.”


Thereto the mighty Dietrich / in wrath his answer gave:
“’Tis I who now these noble / lords forewarned have,
And Hagen, knight full valiant / of the land of Burgundy.
Now on! thou devil’s mistress, / let not the deed my profit be.”


Great shame thereat did Kriemhild’s / bosom quickly fill;
She feared lest Dietrich’s anger / should work her grievous ill.
Naught she spake unto them / as thence she swiftly passed,
But fierce the lightning glances / that on her enemies she cast.


By hand then grasped each, other / doughty warriors twain:
Hight the one was Dietrich, / with Hagen, noble thane.
Then spake in courteous manner / that knight of high degree:
“That ye are come to Hunland, / ’tis very sorrow unto me;


“For what hath here been spoken / by the lofty queen."
Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Small cause to grieve, I ween."
Held converse thus together / those brave warriors twain,
King Etzel which perceiving / thus a questioning began:


“I would learn full gladly," / –in such wise spake he–
“Who were yonder warrior, / to whom so cordially
Doth greeting give Sir Dietrich. / Meseemeth high his mood.
Whosoe’er his sire, / a thane he is of mettle good.”


Unto the king gave answer / of Kriemhild’s train a knight:
“Born he was of Tronje, / Aldrian his sire hight.
How merry here his bearing, / a thane full grim is he.
That I have spoken truly, / shalt thou anon have cause to see.”


“How may I then perceive it / that fierce his wrath doth glow?"
Naught of basest treachery / yet the king did know,
That anon Queen Kriemhild / ’gainst her kinsmen did contrive,
Whereby returned from Hunland / not one of all their train alive.


“Well knew I Aldrian, / he once to me was thane:
Praise and mickle honor / he here by me did gain.
Myself a knight did make him, / and gave him of my gold.
Helke, noble lady, / did him in highest favor hold.


“Thereby know I fully / what Hagen since befell.
Two stately youths as hostage / at my court did dwell,
He and Spanish Walter, / from youth to manhood led.
Hagen sent I homeward; / Walter with Hildegunde fled.”


He thought on ancient story / that long ago befell.
His doughty friend of Tronje / knew he then right well,
Whose youthful valor erstwhile / did such assistance lend.
Through him in age he must be / bereft of many a dearest friend.


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