The Great Lacuna

This piece is connected to the lays I have been posting recently, but unfortunately in “The Lay of Sigrdrífa” there is a part after Stanza 31, line 2 where eight pages are missing and I do not know whether or to what extent that may have affected “The Great Lacuna”. “The Lay of Sigrdrífa” itself was pieced together both from several paper manuscripts “of unknown source” and from the paraphrase of the Vǫlsunga saga.


(“Gunnar attempts vainly to ride through the wall of flames. Then Sigurth urges on his steed Grani…”)


The flickering flames     upflared to the skies,

the earth quivered     with awful fire;

but few then dared     of the fold-warders

to ride through the fire     unflinchingly.


His Grani Sigurth     with sword did urge:

the fire was quenched     before the king,

the flames bated     before the bold one,

the byrnie glistered,     by Regin given.


(“On the morrow after their quarrel Guthrún endeavors to reconcile Brynhild and to convince her that her husband Gunnar is second to no one; but Brynhild answers that it was Sigurth who slew the dragon and that this weighs more heavily with her than all of Gunnar’s power…”)


“Will not ever after     on earth be forgotten

how Sigurth slew     the grim serpent;

but thy brother     brooked in nowise

to ride through the fire     unflinchingly.”


(“Brynhild rejects all attempts on the part of Sigurth to console her…”)


From the talk turned him     the trusted thane,

the son of Sigmund,     sorrowing greatly

at his sides so that     his sark did rive,

of iron woven,     on the atheling.