The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

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Public Domain Books

Second Adventure - Siegfried


There grew likewise in Netherland / a prince of noble kind,
Siegmund hight his father, / his mother Siegelind–
Within a lordly castle / well known the country o’er,
By the Rhine far downward: / Xanten was the name it bore.


Siegfried they did call him, / this bold knight and good;
Many a realm he tested, / for brave was he of mood.
He rode to prove his prowess / in many a land around:
Heigh-ho! what thanes of mettle / anon in Burgundy he found!


In the springtime of his vigor, / when he was young and bold,
Could tales of mickle wonder / of Siegfried be told,
How he grew up in honor, / and how fair he was to see:
Anon he won the favor / of many a debonair lady.


As for a prince was fitting, / they fostered him with care:
Yet how the knightly virtues / to him native were!
’Twas soon the chiefest glory / of his father’s land,
That he in fullest measure / endowed with princely worth did stand.


He soon was grown in stature / that he at court did ride.
The people saw him gladly, / lady and maid beside
Did wish that his own liking / might lead him ever there.
That they did lean unto him / the knight was soon right well aware.


In youth they let him never / without safe escort ride;
Soon bade Siegmund and Siegelind / apparel rich provide;
Men ripe in wisdom taught him, / who knew whence honor came.
Thus many lands and people / he won by his wide-honored name.


Now was he of such stature / that he could weapons bear:
Of what thereto he needed / had he an ample share.
Then to think of loving / fair maids did he begin,
And well might they be honored / for wooer Siegfried bold to win.


Then bade his father Siegmund / make known to one and all
That he with his good kinsmen / would hold high festival.
And soon were tidings carried / to all the neighboring kings;
To friends at home and strangers / steeds gave he and rich furnishings.


Wherever they found any / who knight was fit to be
By reason of his kindred, / all such were courteously
Unto the land invited / to join the festal throng,
When with the prince so youthful / on them the knightly sword was hung.


Of this high time of revelry / might I great wonders tell.
Siegmund and Siegelind / great honor won full well,
Such store of goodly presents / they dealt with generous hand,
That knights were seen full many / from far come pricking to their land.


Four hundred lusty squires / were there to be clad
In knight’s full garb with Siegfried. / Full many a beauteous maid
At work did never tire, / for dear they did him hold,
And many a stone full precious / those ladies laid within the gold,


That they upon the doublets / embroidered cunningly
Of those soon to be knighted: / ’t was thus it had to be,
Seats bade the host for many / a warrior bold make right
Against the high midsummer, / when Siegfried won the name of knight.


Then went unto the minster / full many a noble knight
And gallant squires beside them. / The elder there with right
Did wait upon the younger, / as once for them was done.
They were all light-hearted, / in hope of pleasure every one.


God to praise and honor / they sang the mass’ song;
There, too, were crowds of people, / a great and surging throng,
When after knightly custom / knighthood received they then,
In such a stately pageant / as scarce might ever be again.


They hastened where they found them / saddled many a steed;
In the court of Siegmund’s castle / they tilted with such speed
That far the din resounded / through castle and through hall,
As in the play with clamor / did join the fiery riders all.


Well-tried old knights and youthful / met there in frequent clash,
There was sound of shattered lances / that through the air did crash,
And along before the castle / were splinters seen to fly
From hands of knights a many: / each with other there did vie.


The king he bade give over: / they led the chargers out:
There was seen all shattered / many a boss well-wrought,
And many a stone full costly / lay there upon the sward
From erstwhile shining shield-bands, / now broken in the jousting hard.


The guests all went thereafter / where seats for them were reared;
They by the choicest viands / from weariness were cheered,
And wine, of all the rarest, / that then in plenty flowed.
Upon both friends and strangers / were fitting honors rich bestowed.


In such merry manner / all day did last the feast.
Many a wandering minstrel / knew not any rest,
But sang to win the presents / dealt out with bounteous hand;
And with their praise was honored / far and wide King Siegmund’s land.


The monarch then did order / Siegfried his youthful son
In fee give lands and castles, / as he erstwhile had done.
To all his sword-companions / he gave with such full hand,
That joyed they o’er the journey / they now had made unto that land.


The festival yet lasted / until the seventh day.
Siegelind after old custom / in plenty gave away
–For so her son she honored– / rich gifts of shining gold:
In sooth deserved she richly / that all should him in honor hold.


Never a wandering minstrel / was unprovided found:
Horses there and raiment / so free were dealt around,
As if to live they had not / beyond it one day more.
I ween a monarch’s household / ne’er bestowed such gifts before.


Thus closed the merry feasting / in this right worthy way,
And ’t was well known thereafter / how those good knights did say
That they the youthful hero / for king would gladly have;
But this nowise he wished for, / Siegfried the stately knight and brave.


While that they both were living, / Siegmund and Siegelind,
No crown their son desired, / –thereto he had no mind.
Yet would he fain be master / o’er all the hostile might
That in the lands around him / opposed the keen and fiery knight.


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