The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

Presented by

Public Domain Books

Thirty-Second Adventure - How Bloedel was Slain


The knights by Bloedel summoned / soon armed and ready were,
A thousand wearing hauberks / straightway did repair
Where Dankwart sat at table / with many a goodly squire.
Soon knight on knight was seeking / in fiercest way to vent his ire.


When there Sir Bloedel / strode unto the board,
Dankwart the marshal / thus spoke courteous word:
“Unto this hall right welcome / good Sir Bloedel be.
What business hast thou hither / is cause of wonder yet to me.”


“No greeting here befits thee," / spake Bloedel presently,
“For that this my coming / now thy end must be,
Through Hagen’s fault, thy brother, / who Siegfried erstwhile slew
To the Huns thou mak’st atonement, / and many another warrior too.”


“But nay, but nay, Sir Bloedel," / Dankwart spake thereto,
“For so should we have reason / our coming here to rue.
A child I was and little / when Siegfried lost his life,
Nor know I why reproacheth / me the royal Etzel’s wife.”


“In sooth I may the story / never fully tell.
Gunther and Hagen was it / by whom the deed befell.
Now guard you well, ye strangers, / for doomed in sooth are ye,
Unto Lady Kriemhild / must your lives now forfeit be.”


“An so thou wilt desist not," / Dankwart declared,
“Regret I my entreaty, / my toil were better spared."
The nimble thane and valiant / up from the table sprung,
And drew a keen-edged weapon, / great in sooth that was and long.


Then smote he with it Bloedel / such a sudden blow
That his head full sudden / before his feet lay low.
“Be that thy wedding-dower," / the doughty Dankwart spake,
“Along with bride of Nudung / whom thou would’st to thy bosom take.


“To-morrow may she marry, / but some other one:
Will he have bridal portion, / e’en so to him be done."
A Hun that liked not treason / had given him to know
How that the queen upon him / thought to work so grievous woe.


When the men of Bloedel / saw thus their master slain,
To fall upon the strangers / would they longer not refrain.
With swords swung high above them / upon the squires they flew
In a grimmest humor. / Soon many must that rashness rue.


Full loudly cried then Dankwart / to all his company:
“Behold ye, noble squires, / the fate that ours must be.
Now quit yourselves with valor, / for evil is our pass,
Though fair to us the summons / hither from Lady Kriemhild was!”


They, too, reached down before them, / who no weapons bore,
And each a massive footstool / snatched from off the floor,
For the Burgundian squires / no whit were they dismayed;
And by the selfsame weapons / was many a dint in helmet made.


How fierce they fought to shield them / the strangers one and all!
E’en their armed foemen / drove they from the hall.
Or smote dead within it / hundreds five or more;
All the valiant fighters / saw ye drenched with ruddy gore.


Ere long the wondrous tidings / some messenger did tell
Unto Etzel’s chieftain / –fierce did their anger swell–
How that slain was Bloedel / and knights full many a one;
The which had Hagen’s brother / with his lusty squires done.


The Huns, by anger driven, / ere Etzel was aware,
Two thousand men or over, / did quick themselves prepare.
They fell upon those squires / –e’en so it had to be–
And never any living / they left of all that company.


A mickle host they faithless / unto those quarters brought,
But lustily the strangers / ’gainst their assailants fought.
What booted swiftest valor? / Soon must all lie dead.
A dire woe thereafter / on many a man was visited.


Now may ye hear a wondrous / tale of honor told:
Of squires full nine thousand / soon in death lay cold,
And eke good knights a dozen / there of Dankwart’s band.
Forlorn ye saw him only / the last amid his foemen stand.


The din at last was ended / and lulled the battle-sound,
When the valiant Dankwart / did cast a glance around.
“Alack for my companions," / cried he, “now from me reft.
Alack that I now only / forlorn amid my foes am left.”


The swords upon his body / fell full thick and fast,
Which rashness many a warrior’s / widow mourned at last.
His shield he higher lifted / and drew the strap more low:
Down coats of ring-made armor / made he the ebbing blood to flow.


“O woe is me!” spake Dankwart, / the son of Aldrian.
“Now back, ye Hunnish fighters, / let me the open gain,
That the air give cooling / to me storm-weary wight."
In splendid valor moving / strode forward then anew the knight.


As thus he battle-weary / through the hall’s portal sprang,
What swords of new-come fighters / upon his helmet rang!
They who not yet had witnessed / what wonders wrought his hand,
Rashly rushed they forward / to thwart him of Burgundian land.


“Now would to God,” quoth Dankwart, / “I found a messenger
Who to my brother Hagen / might the tidings bear,
That ’fore host of foemen / in such sad case am I!
From hence he’d surely help me, / or by my side he slain would lie.”


Then Hunnish knights gave answer: / “Thyself the messenger
Shalt be, when to thy brother / thee a corse we bear.
So shall that thane of Gunther / first true sorrow know.
Upon the royal Etzel / here hast thou wrought so grievous woe.”


Quoth he: “Now leave such boasting / and yield me passage free,
Else shall mail-rings a many / with blood bespattered be.
Myself will tell the tidings / soon at Etzel’s court,
And eke unto my masters / of this my travail make report.”


Etzel’s men around him / belabored he so sore
That they at sword-point / durst not withstand him more.
Spears shot into his shield he / so many there did stop
That he the weight unwieldy / must from out his hand let drop.


Then thought they to subdue him / thus of his shield bereft,
But lo! the mighty gashes / wherewith he helmets cleft!
Must there keen knights full many / before him stagger down,
High praise the valiant Dankwart / thereby for his valor won.


On right side and on left side / they still beset his way,
Yet many a one too rashly / did mingle in the fray.
Thus strode he ’mid the foemen / as doth in wood the boar
By yelping hounds beleaguered; / more stoutly fought he ne’er before.


As there he went, his pathway / with reeking blood was wet.
Yea, never any hero / more bravely battled yet
When by foes surrounded, / than he did might display.
To court did Hagen’s brother / with splendid valor make his way.


When stewards and cup-bearers / heard how sword-blades rung,
Many a brimming goblet / from their hands they flung
And eke the viands ready / that they to table bore;
Thus many doughty foemen / withstood him where he sought the door.


“How now, ye stewards?" / cried the weary knight;
“’Twere better that ye tended / rather your guests aright,
Bearing to lords at table / choice food that fitteth well,
And suffered me these tidings / unto my masters dear to tell.”


Whoe’er before him rashly / athwart the stairway sprung,
On him with blow so heavy / his mighty sword he swung,
That soon faint heart gave warning / before his path to yield.
Mickle wonder wrought he / where sword his doughty arm did wield.


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