The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

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Public Domain Books

Thirty-Fifth Adventure - How Iring was Slain


Cried then he of Denmark, / Iring the margrave:
“Fixed on things of honor / my purpose long I have,
And oft in storm of battle, / where heroes wrought, was I.
Bring hither now my armor, / with Hagen I’ll the combat try.”


“I counsel thee against it," / Hagen then replied,
“Or bring a goodly company / of Hun-men by thy side.
If peradventure any / find entrance to the hall,
I’ll cause that nowise scatheless / down the steps again they fall.”


“Such words may not dissuade me," / Iring spake once more;
“A thing of equal peril / oft have I tried before.
Yea, will I with my broadsword / confront thee all alone.
Nor aught may here avail thee / thus to speak in haughty tone.”


Soon the valiant Iring / armed and ready stood,
And Irnfried of Thuringia / a youth of mettle good,
And eke the doughty Hawart, / with thousand warriors tried.
Whate’er his purpose, Iring / should find them faithful by his side.


Advancing then with Iring / did the Fiddler see
All clad in shining armor / a mighty company,
And each a well-made helmet / securely fastened wore.
Thereat the gallant Volker / began to rail in anger sore.


“Seest thou, friend Hagen, / yonder Iring go,
Who all alone to front thee / with his sword did vow?
Doth lying sort with honor? / Scorned the thing must be.
A thousand knights or over / here bear him armed company.”


“Now make me not a liar," / cried Hawart’s man aloud,
“For firm is still my purpose / to do what now I vowed,
Nor will I turn me from it / through any cause of fear.
Alone I’ll stand ’fore Hagen, / awful howsoe’er he were.”


On ground did throw him Iring / before his warriors’ feet,
That they leave might grant him / alone the knight to meet.
Loath they were to do it; / well known to them might be
The haughty Hagen’s prowess / of the land of Burgundy.


Yet so long besought he / that granted was their leave;
When they that followed with him / did his firm mind perceive,
And how ’twas bent on honor, / they not restrained him.
Then closed the two chieftains / together in a combat grim.


Iring of Denmark / raised his spear on high,
And with the shield he covered / himself full skilfully;
He upward rushed on Hagen / unto the hall right close,
When round the clashing fighters / soon a mighty din arose.


Each hurled upon the other / the spear with arm of might,
That the firm shields were pierced / e’en to their mail-coats bright,
And outward still projecting / the long spear-shafts were seen.
In haste then snatched their broadswords / both the fighters grim and


In might the doughty Hagen / and prowess did abound,
As Iring smote upon him / the hall gave back the sound.
The palace all and towers / re-echoed from their blows,
Yet might that bold assailant / with victory ne’er the combat close.


On Hagen might not Iring / wreak aught of injury.
Unto the doughty Fiddler / in haste then turned he.
Him by his mighty sword-strokes / thought he to subdue,
But well the thane full gallant / to keep him safe in combat knew.


Then smote the doughty Fiddler / so lustily his shield
That from it flew its ornaments / where he the sword did wield.
Iring must leave unconquered / there the dauntless man;
Next upon King Gunther / of Burgundy in wrath he ran.


There did each in combat / show him man of might;
Howe’er did Gunther and Iring / yet each the other smite,
From wounds might never either / make the blood to flow,
So sheltered each his armor, / well wrought that was and strong enow.


Gunther left he standing, / upon Gernot to dash,
And when he smote ring-armor / the fire forth did flash.
But soon had he of Burgundy, / Gernot the doughty thane,
Well nigh his keen assailant / Iring of Denmark slain.


Yet from the prince he freed him, / for nimble was he too.
Four of the men of Burgundy / the knight full sudden slew
Of those that followed with them / from Worms across the Rhine.
Thereupon might nothing / the wrath of Giselher confine.


“God wot well, Sir Iring," / young Giselher then cried,
“Now must thou make requital / for them that here have died
’Neath thy hand so sudden." / He rushed upon him so
And smote the knight of Denmark / that he might not withstand the blow.


Into the blood down fell he / staggering ’neath its might,
That all who there beheld it / might deem the noble knight
Sword again would never / wield amid the fray.
Yet ’neath the stroke of Giselher / Iring all unwounded lay.


Bedazed by helmet’s sounding / where ringing sword swung down,
Full suddenly his senses / so from the knight were flown:
That of his life no longer / harbored he a thought.
That the doughty Giselher / by his mighty arm had wrought.


When somewhat was subsided / the din within his head
From mighty blow so sudden / on him was visited,
Thought he: “I still am living / and bear no mortal wound.
How great the might of Giselher, / till now unwitting, have I found.”


He hearkened how on all sides / his foes around did stand;
Knew they what he did purpose, / they had not stayed their hand.
He heard the voice of Giselher / eke in that company,
As cunning he bethought him / how yet he from his foes might flee.


Up from the blood he started / with fierce and sudden bound;
By grace alone of swiftness / he his freedom found.
With speed he passed the portal / where Hagen yet did stand,
And swift his sword he flourished / and smote him with his doughty hand.


To see such sight quoth Hagen: / “To death thou fall’st a prey;
If not the Devil shield thee, / now is thy latest day."
Yet Iring wounded Hagen / e’en through his helmet’s crown.
That did the knight with Waske, / a sword that was of far renown.


When thus Sir Hagen / the smart of wound did feel,
Wrathfully he brandished / on high his blade of steel.
Full soon must yield before him / Hawart’s daring man,
Adown the steps pursuing / Hagen swiftly after ran.


O’er his head bold Iring / his shield to guard him swung,
And e’en had that same stairway / been full three times as long,
Yet had he found no respite / from warding Hagen’s blows.
How plenteously the ruddy / sparks above his helm arose!


Unscathed at last came Iring / where waited him his own.
Soon as was the story / unto Kriemhild known,
How that in fight on Hagen / he had wrought injury,
Therefor the Lady Kriemhild / him gan to thank full graciously.


“Now God requite thee, Iring, / thou valiant knight and good,
For thou my heart hast comforted / and merry made my mood.
Red with blood his armor, / see I yonder Hagen stand."
For joy herself did Kriemhild / take his shield from out his hand.


“Small cause hast thou to thank him," / thus wrathful Hagen spake;
“For gallant knight ’twere fitting / trial once more to make.
If then returned he scatheless, / a valiant man he were.
The wound doth boot thee little / that now from his hand I bear.


“That here from wound upon me / my mail-coat see’st thou red,
Shall bring woful reprisal / on many a warrior’s head.
Now is my wrath aroused / in full ’gainst Hawart’s thane.
As yet in sooth hath Iring / wrought on me but little bane.”


Iring then of Denmark / stood where fanned the wind.
He cooled him in his armor / and did his helm unbind.
Then praised him all the people / and spoke him man of might,
Whereat the margrave’s bosom / swelled full high with proud delight.


“Now hearken friends unto me," / Iring once more spake;
“Make me straightway ready, / new trial now to make
If I this knight so haughty / may yet perchance subdue."
New shield they brought, for Hagen / did his erstwhile asunder hew.


Soon stood again the warrior / in armor all bedight.
In hand a spear full massy / took the wrathful knight,
Wherewith on yonder Hagen / he thought to vent his hate.
With grim and fearful visage / on him the vengeful thane did wait.


Yet not abide his coming / might Hagen longer now.
Adown he rushed upon him / with many a thrust and blow,
Down where the stairway ended / for fierce did burn his ire.
Soon the might of Iring / must ’neath his furious onset tire,


Their shields they smote asunder / that the sparks began
To fly in ruddy showers. / Hawart’s gallant man
Was by sword of Hagen / wounded all so sore
Through shield and shining cuirass, / that whole he found him never more.


When how great the wound was / Iring fully knew,
Better to guard his helm-band / his shield he higher drew.
The scathe he first received / he deemed sufficient quite,
Yet injury far greater / soon had he from King Gunther’s knight.


From where it lay before him / Hagen a spear did lift
And hurled it upon Iring / with aim so sure and swift,
It pierced his head, and firmly / fixed the shaft did stand;
Full grim the end that met him / ’neath the doughty Hagen’s hand.


Backward Iring yielded / unto his Danish men.
Ere for the knight his helmet / they undid again,
From his head they drew the spear-point; / to death he was anigh.
Wept thereat his kinsmen, / and sore need had verily.


Came thereto Queen Kriemhild / and o’er the warrior bent,
And for the doughty Iring / gan she there lament.
She wept to see him wounded, / and sorely grieved the queen.
Then spake unto his kinsmen / the warrior full brave and keen.


“I pray thee leave thy moaning, / royal high lady.
What avails thy weeping? / Yea, soon must ended be
My life from wounds outflowing / that here I did receive.
To serve thyself and Etzel / will death not longer grant me leave.”


Eke spake he to them of Thuringia / and to them of Danish land:
“Of you shall never any / receive the gift in hand
From your royal mistress / of shining gold full red.
Whoe’er withstandeth Hagen / death calleth down upon his head.”


From cheek the color faded, / death’s sure token wore
Iring the gallant warrior: / thereat they grieved full sore.
Nor more in life might tarry / Hawart’s valiant knight:
Enraged the men of Denmark / again did arm them for the fight.


Irnfried and Hawart / before the hall then sprang
Leading thousand warriors. / Full furious a clang
Of weapons then on all sides / loud and great ye hear.
Against the men of Burgundy / how hurled they many a mighty spear!


Straight the valiant Irnfried / the minstrel rushed upon,
But naught but grievous injury / ’neath his hand he won:
For the noble Fiddler / did the landgrave smite
E’en through the well-wrought helmet; / yea, grim and savage was the


Sir Irnfried then in answer / the valiant minstrel smote,
That must fly asunder / the rings of his mailed coat
Which showered o’er his cuirass / like sparks of fire red.
Soon must yet the landgrave / fall before the Fiddler dead.


Eke were come together / Hawart and Hagen bold,
And saw he deeds of wonder / who did the sight behold.
Swift flew the sword and fiercely / swung by each hero’s hand.
But soon lay Hawart prostrate / before him of Burgundian land.


When Danish men and Thuringians / beheld their masters fall,
Fearful was the turmoil / that rose before the hall
As to the door they struggled, / on dire vengeance bent.
Full many a shield and helmet / was there ’neath sword asunder rent.


“Now backward yield,” cried Volker / “and let them pass within;
Thus only are they thwarted / of what they think to win.
When but they pass the portals / are they full quickly slain.
With death shall they the bounty / of their royal mistress gain.”


When thus with pride o’erweening / they did entrance find,
The head of many a warrior / was so to earth inclined,
That he must life surrender / ’neath blows that thickly fell.
Well bore him valiant Gernot / and eke Sir Giselher as well.


Four knights beyond a thousand / were come into the house;
The light from sword-blades glinted, / swift swung with mighty souse.
Not one of all their number / soon might ye living see;
Tell might ye mickle wonders / of the men of Burgundy.


Thereafter came a stillness, / and ceased the tumult loud.
The blood in every quarter / through the leak-holes flowed,
And out along the corbels / from men in death laid low.
That had the men of Rhineland / wrought with many a doughty blow.


Then sat again to rest them / they of Burgundian land,
Shield and mighty broadsword / they laid from out the hand.
But yet the valiant Fiddler / stood waiting ’fore the door,
If peradventure any / would seek to offer combat more.


Sorely did King Etzel / and eke his spouse lament,
Maidens and fair ladies / did sorrow sore torment.
Death long since upon them, / I ween, such ending swore.
To fall before the strangers / was doomed full many a warrior more.


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