This is meant to follow “The Great Lacuna”.
“Both poems deal with the central theme of the Sigurth legend-in the main, the hero’s stay at Gjúki’s court, the winning and betrayal of Brynhild, her quarrel with Guthrún, Brynhild’s instigation of Sigurth’s death, and Guthrún’s lament-so that we have a parallel treatment, as in the cases of “Helgakviða” I and II and “Atlakviða” and “Atlamál.” As in most of the lays following, a knowledge of the story is assumed. The poet is interested chiefly in the emotions aroused (here, especially in Brynhild’s breast) by the tragic situation. In other words, these lays are dramatic lyrics with an epic frame.”
“What hateful harm hath he done thee,
that Sigmund’s son thou slain would’st have?”
“To me hath Sigurth oft sworn dear oaths,
hath sworn dear oaths which all were false;
and then betrayed me the trusted one-
he ought not have been- in all these oaths.”
“Envious Brynhild to evil deed
in hate did whet thee, much harm to do:
begrudges Guthrún her goodly husband,
and also thee, in her arms to lie.”
Some a wolf did steak, some a worm did bake,
of the grim beast gave they Guthorm to eat
ere, eager to evil, the angry men
on highborn hero their hands could lay.
Slain was Sigurth south of the Rhine.
A raven on tree had wrathfully cawed:
“Atli’s sword blade your blood will redden,
your mainsworn oaths will murder you.”
Without stood Guthrún, Gjúki’s daughter.
These words the first fell from her lips:
“Where lingers Sigurth, the leader of men,
since all my kin are come before him?”
To which Hogni only did answer make:
“With our swords we sundered Sigurth’s body;
now stands the grey steed by stricken hero.”
Then quoth Brynhild, Buthli’s daughter:
“May ye fearless now hold folklands and arms:
would Sigurth alone have had sway over all
if but little longer his life he had held.
“Unseeming were it if sway he had
over Gjúki’s gold and Gothic hosts,
and to fend him from foes five sons begat,
swordplay-eager young athelings.”
Laughed then Brynhild- her bower rang-
one time only, out of inmost heart:
“Log may ye live to rule lands and thanes,
ye twain who felled the foremost hero.”
Then quoth Guthrún, Gjúki’s daughter:
“With fey mouth say’st thou foul words many:
let trolls Gunnar take who betrayed Sigurth!
Thy thoughts bloodthirsty crave threefold revenge.”
Deep the men drank- the dark night came-
many welcome words then warmed their hearts.
By sleep then summoned all slept in their beds,
but Gunnar only of all did wake.
Much gan mutter, and move his feet,
gan bethink him, the thanes’ leader,
what on greenwood tree the twain had said,
raven and hawk, when home they rode.
Awoke Brynhild, Buthli’s daughter,
the queenly woman, ere coming of day:
“Whet me or let me, the harm is done now,
whether I say my sorrow or cease therewith.”
Were silent all when said these words
fair-browed Brynhild, nor fathomed her speech,
when wailing wept the woman the deeds
which laughing she had led them to do.
“Me dreamed, Gunnar, a gruesome dream,
that chill our chamber and cheerless my bed;
but thou didst ride bereft of joy,
fastened with fetters, into foemen’s throng.
“Thus shall be stricken the strength of the Niflungs,
the mainsworn kin unmindful of oaths.
“Forgettest, Gunnar, altogether
how your blood ye both did blend under sward?
Him now hast thou with hate requited,
and foully felled, who foremost made thee.
“Was seen fully, when Sigurth rode
through flickering flame to fetch me thence,
how the high hero had held before
the oaths he sware to serve the king:
“His wand-of-wounds, all wound with gold,
the trothful king betwixt us laid;
in hot fire wholly was hardened Gram,
its blade blazoned with bitter poison.”
Of Sigurth’s Death
“In this lay we are told about Sigurth’s death, and that he was slain in such wise, as though they had slain him out of doors; but others say that they slew him while asleep in his bed. But German men have it that he was felled in the forest, and in “The Old Song of Guthrún” we are told that Sigurth was slain while on his way to the Thing with the sons of Gjúki; but all are at one in saying that they overcame him by treachery and killed him while lying down and unawares.”