The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

Presented by

Public Domain Books

Thirty-Fourth Adventure - How they cast out the Dead


From toil of battle weary / rested the warriors all.
Volker and Hagen / passed out before the hall,
And on their shields did lean them, / those knights whom naught
      could daunt.
Then with full merry converse / gan the twain their foes to taunt.


Spake meanwhile of Burgundy / Giselher the thane:
“Not yet, good friends, may ye / think to rest again.
Forth from the hall the corses / shall ye rather bear.
Again we’ll be assailed, / that would I now in sooth declare.


“Beneath our feet no longer / here the dead must lie.
But ere in storm of battle / at hand of Huns to die,
We’ll deal such wounds around us / as ’tis my joy to see.
Thereon,” spake Giselher, / “my heart is fixed right steadfastly.”


“I joy in such a master," / Hagen spake again:
“Such counsel well befitteth / alone so valiant thane
As my youthful master / hath shown himself this day.
Therefor, O men of Burgundy, / every one rejoice ye may.”


Then followed they his counsel / and from the hall they bore
Seven thousand bodies / and cast them from the door.
Adown the mounting stairway / all together fell,
Whereat a sound of wailing / did from mourning kinsmen swell.


Many a man among them / so slight wound did bear
That he were yet recovered / had he but gentle care,
Who yet falling headlong / now surely must be dead.
Thereat did grieve their kinsmen / as verily was sorest need.


Then outspake the Fiddler, / Volker a hero bold:
“Now do I find how truly / hath to me been told
That cowards are the Hun-men / who do like women weep.
Rather should be their effort / their wounded kin alive to keep.”


These words deemed a margrave / spoken in kindly mood.
He saw one of his kinsmen / weltering in his blood.
In his arms he clasped him / and thought him thence to bear,
But as he bent above him / pierced him the valiant minstrel’s spear.


When that beheld the others / all in haste they fled,
Crying each one curses / on that same minstrel’s head.
From the ground then snatched he / a spear with point full keen,
That ’gainst him up the stairway / by a Hun had hurled been.


Across the court he flung it / with his arm of might
Far above the people. / Then did each Hunnish knight
Seek him safer quarters / more distant from the hall.
To see his mighty prowess / did fill with fear his foemen all.


As knights full many thousand / far ’fore the palace stood,
Volker and Hagen / gan speak in wanton mood
“Unto King Etzel, / nor did they aught withhold;
Wherefrom anon did sorrow / o’ertake those doughty warriors bold.


“’Twould well beseem,” quoth Hagen, / “the people’s lofty lord
Foremost in storm of battle / to swing the cutting sword,
As do my royal masters / each fair example show.
Where hew they through the helmets / their swords do make the blood to


To hear such words brave Etzel / snatched in haste his shield.
“Now well beware of rashness," / cried Lady Kriemhild,
“And offer to thy warriors / gold heaped on shield full high:
If yonder Hagen reach thee, / straightway shalt thou surely die.”


So high was the king’s mettle / that he would not give o’er,
Which case is now full seldom / seen in high princes more;
They must by shield-strap tugging / him perforce restrain.
Grim of mood then Hagen / began him to revile again.


“It was a distant kinship," / spake Hagen, dauntless knight,
“That Etzel unto Siegfried / ever did unite,
And husband he to Kriemhild / was ere thee she knew.
Wherefore, O king faint-hearted, / seek’st thou such thing ’gainst me to


Thereto eke must listen / the noble monarch’s spouse,
And grievously to hear it / did Kriemhild’s wrath arouse.
That he ’fore men of Etzel / durst herself upbraid;
To urge them ’gainst the strangers / she once more her arts essayed.


Cried she: “Of Tronje Hagen / whoso for me will slay,
And his head from body severed / here before me lay,
For him the shield of Etzel / I’ll fill with ruddy gold,
Eke lands and lordly castles / I’ll give him for his own to hold.”


“I wot not why they tarry," / –thus the minstrel cried;
“Ne’er saw I heroes any / so their courage hide,
When to them was offered, / like this, reward so high.
’Tis cause henceforth that Etzel / for aye to them goodwill deny.”


“Who in such craven manner / do eat their master’s bread,
And like caitiffs fail him / in time of greatest need,
Here see I standing many / of courage all forlorn,
Yet would be men of valor; / all time be they upheld to scorn.”


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