X. How Sigurd awoke Brynhild upon Hindfell
And somewhat south he tumeth ; for he would not be alone,
But longs for the dwellings of man-folk, and the kingly people's speech,
And the days of the glee and the joyance, where men laugh each to each.
But still the desert endureth, and afar must Greyfell fare
Long Sigurd rideth the waste, when, lo, on a morning of day
From out of the tangled crag-walls, amidst the cloud-land grey
Comes up a mighty mountain, and it is as though there burns
A torch amidst of its cloud-wreath ; so thither Sigurd turns.
And Greyfell neigheth beneath him, and his heart is full of mirth.
So he rideth higher and higher, and the light grows great and strange,
And, lifted a measureless mass o'er the desert crag-walls high,
Cloudless the mountain riseth against the sunset sky,
The sea of the sun grown golden, as it ebbs from the day's desire ;
And the light that afar was a torch is grown a river of fire,
And there is the head of Hindfell as an island in the sun.
Night falls, but yet rides Sigurd, and hath no thought of rest.
So up and up he wendeth till the night is wearing thin ;
And he rideth a rift of the mountain, and all is dark therein,
Till the stars are dimmed by dawning and the wakening world is cold ;
Then afar in the upper rock-wall a breach doth he behold,
So swift he rideth thither and the mouth of the breach he finds,
And sitteth awhile on Greyfell on the marvellous thing to gaze :
For lo, the side of Hindfell enwrapped by the fervent blaze,
And nought 'twixt earth and heaven save a world of flickering flame,
Great groweth the heart of Sigurd with uttermost desire,
The wind that is bom within it ; nor ever aside is it driven
By the mightiest wind of the waste, and the rain-flood amidst it is nought ;
And no wayfarer's door and no window the hand of its builder hath wrought.
But thereon is the Volsung smiling as its breath uplifleth his hair.
And his war-helm pictures the heavens and the waning stars behind :
But his neck is Greyfell stretching to snufF at the flame-wall blind,
And his cloudy flank upheaveth, and tinkleth the knitted mail,
And the gold of the uttermost waters is waxen wan and pale.
Now Sigurd turns in his saddle, and the hilt of the Wrath he shifts,
But he rideth through its roaring as the warrior rides the rye.
When it bows with the wind of the summer and the hid spears draw anigh ;
The white flame licks his raiment and sweeps through Greyfell's mane,
And bathes both hands of Sigurd and the hilts of Fafnir's bane,
But nought his raiment dusketh or dims his glittering gear ;
Then it fails and fades and darkens till all seems left behind,
And dawn and the blaze is swallowed in mid-mirk stark and blind.
But forth a little further and a little further on
Beneath a glimmering twilight, and he turns his conquering eyes,
And a ring of pale slaked ashes on the side of Hindfell lies ;
And the world of the waste is beyond it ; and all is hushed and grey,
And the new-risen moon is a-paleing, and the stars grow faint with day.
A wall of the tiles of Odin wrought clear without a flaw,
The gold by the silver gleaming, and the ruddy by the white ;
And the blazonings of their glory were done upon them bright.
As of dear things wrought for the war-lords new come to Odin's hall.
And far o'er the topmost shield-rim for a banner of fame there hung
A glorious golden buckler; and against the staff it rung
As the earliest wind of dawning uprose on Hindfell's face
And the light from the yellowing east beamed soft on the shielded place.
But the Wrath cried out in answer as Sigurd leapt adown
But, lo, to the gate he cometh, and the doors are open wide,
And no warder the way withstandeth, and no earls by the threshold abide;
So he stands awhile and marvels ; then the baleful light of the Wrath
Gleams bare in his ready hand as he wendeth the inward path :
Or a mock of the Giant people that shall fade in the morning air :
But he getteth him in and gazeth; and a wall doth he behold.
And the ruddy set by the white, and the silver by the gold ;
But within the garth that it girdeth no work of man is set.
And below in the very midmost is a Giant-fashioned mound.
Piled high as the rims of the Shield-burg above the level ground ;
And there, on that mound of the Giants, o'er the wilderness forlorn,
A pale grey image lieth, and gleameth in the morn.
So there was Sigurd alone ; and he went from the shielded door,
Now he comes to the mound and climbs it, and will see if the man be dead ;
And clad from head to foot-sole in pale grey-glittering gear,
In a hauberk wrought as straitly as though to the flesh it were grown :
But a great helm hideth the head and is girt with a glittering crown.
So thereby he stoopeth and kneeleth, for he deems it were good indeed
And as sweet as the summer wind from a garden under the sun
Cometh forth on the topmost Hindfell the breath of that sleeping-one.
Then he saith he will look on the face, if it bear him love or hate,
Or the bonds for his life's constraining, or the sundering doom of fate.
And the smooth unfurrowed cheeks, and the wise lips breathing light;
And the face of a woman it is, and the fairest that ever was born.
Shown forth to the empty heavens and the desert world forlorn :
But he lookcth, and loveth her sore, and he longeth her spirit to move,
And he toucheth her breast and her hands, and he loveth her passing sore;
And he saith: "Awake I I am Sigurd;" but she moveth never the more.
Then he looked on his bare bright blade, and he said : "Thou — what wilt thou do?
And the rims of the Shield-burg glittered, and the east was exceeding clear:
So the eager edges he setteth to the Dwarf-wrought battle-coat
Where the hammered ring-knit collar constraineth the woman's throat;
But the sharp Wrath biteth and rendeth, and before it fail the rings,
Then he driveth the blue steel onward, and through the skirt, and out,
Till nought but the rippling linen is wrapping her about ;
Then he deems her breath comes quicker and her breast begins to heave,
So he turns about the War-Flame and rends down either sleeve,
Flows free o'er bosom and shoulder and floods the desert bare.
Then a flush cometh over her visage and a sigh up-heaveth her breast.
And yet kneels Sigurd moveless her wakening speech to heed,
While soft the waves of the daylight o'er the starless heavens speed,
And the gleaming rims of the Shield-burg yet bright and brighter grow,
And the thin moon hangeth her horns dead-white in the golden glow.
And mighty and measureless now did the tide of his love arise,
For their longing had met and mingled, and he knew of her heart that she loved,
As she spake unto nothing but him and her lips with the speech-flood moved :
" O, what is the thing so mighty that my weary sleep hath torn,
He said : " The hand of Sigurd and the Sword of Sigmund's son,
But she said : "Where then is Odin that laid me here alow?
" He dwelleth above," said Sigurd, " but I on the earth abide,
But therewith the sun rose upward and lightened all the earth,
"All hail O Day and thy Sons, and thy kin of the coloured things !
Hail thou dear Earth that bearest, and thou Wealth of field and fold !
Give us, your noble children, the glory of wisdom and speech,
And the hearts and the hands of healing, and the mouths and hands that teach !
Then they turned and were knit together ; and oft and o'er again
Then Sigurd looketh upon her, and the words from his heart arise :
If we twain should never sunder as we wend on the changing ways.
O who art thou that lovest, thou fairest of all things born ?
And what meaneth thy sleep and thy slumber in the wilderness forlorn?"
She said : "I am she that loveth : I was born of the earthly folk,
And he called me the Victory- Wafter, and I went and came as he would.
And I chose the slain for his war-host, and the days were glorious and good.
Till the thoughts of my heart overcame me, and the pride of my wisdom and speech,
And I scorned the earth-folk's Framer and the Lord of the world I must teach :
And I deemed that my deeds were goodly, and that long I should do and undo.
But Allfather came against me and the God in his wrath arose ;
And he cried : "Thou hast thought in thy folly that the Gods have friends and foes,
That they wake, and the world wends onward, that they sleep, and the world slips back,
Thou hast cast up the curse against me; it shall fall aback on thine head;
Go back to the sons of repentance, with the children of sorrow wed !
For the Gods are great unholpen, and their grief is seldom seen,
And the wrong that they will and must be is soon as it hath not been.'
"Yet I thought: 'Shall I wed in the world, shall I gather grief on the earth?
" Then somewhat smiled Allfather ; and he spake : ' So let it be !
Yet long shall the time pass over ere thy waking-day be born :
Fare forth, and forget and be weary 'neath the Sting of the Sleepful Thorn ! '
" So I came to the head of Hindfell and the ruddy shields and white.
And the night of nameless sorrows that hath no tale to tell
Now I am she that loveth ; and the day is nigh at hand
When I, who have ridden the sea-realm and the regions of the land,
And dwelt in the measureless mountains and the forge of stormy days.
And there shall hand meet hand, and heart by heart shall beat,
And the lying-down shall be joyous, and the morn's uprising sweet.
Lo now, I look on thine heart and behold of thine inmost will,
That thou of the days wouldst hearken that our portion shall fulfill ;
As oft in the battle's beginning ye vex the steed with the rein,
Lest at last in its latter ending, when the sword hath hushed the horn,
His limbs should be weary and fail, and his might be over-worn.
O be wise, lest thy love constrain me, and my vision wax o'er-clear,
"Know thou, roost mighty of men, that the Norns shall order all,
And the way of the sun is tangled, it is wrought of the dastard's lack.
But the day when the fair earth blossoms, and the sun is bright above,
Of the daring deeds is it fashioned and the eager hearts of love.
"Be wise, and cherish thine hope in the freshness of the days,
Then fair shall it fa11 in the furrow, and some the earth shall speed,
And the sons of men shall marvel at the blossom of the deed :
But some the earth shall speed not; nay rather, the wind of the heaven
Shall waft it away from thy longing — and a gift to the Gods hast thou given.
Though it seemeth our very sorrow, and the grief of thee and me.
"Strive not with the fools of man-folk: for belike thou shalt overcome;
Yet thereof a gain hast thou gotten ; and the half of thine heart hast thou won
If thou mayst prevail against him, and his deeds are the deeds thou hast done:
Yea, and if thou fall before him, in him shalt thou live again,
And thy deeds in his hand shall blossom, and his heart of thine heart shall be fain.
" When thou hearest the fool rejoicing, and he saith, 'It is over and past,
" Wilt thou do the deed and repent it? thou hadst better never been born :
"Love thou the Gods — and withstand them, lest thy fame should fail in the end,
" I have spoken the words, beloved, to thy matchless glory and worth;
For I am she that loveth, and I know what thou wouldst teach
From the heart of thine unlearned wisdom, and I needs must speak thy speech."
Then words were weary and silent, but oft and o'er again
Then spake the Son of Sigmund: "Fairest, and most of worth,
So she took his right hand meekly, nor any word would say,
And they sat on the side of Hindfell, and their fain eyes looked and loved,
As she told of the hidden matters whereby the world is moved :
And she told of the framing of all things, and the houses of the heaven;
And she told of the star-worlds' courses, and how the winds be driven;
And she told of the ways of King-folk in their anger and their mirth;
And she spake of the love of women, and told of the flame that burns.
And the fall of mighty houses, and the friend that falters and turns.
And the lurking blinded vengeance, and the wrong that amendeth wrong.
And how man shall bear and forbear, and be master of all that is ;
And how man shall measure it all, the wrath, and the grief, and the bliss.
" I saw the body of Wisdom, and of shifting guise was she wrought,
And I woke and might not remember, nor betwixt her tangle deem :
She spake, and how might I hearken ; I heard, and how might I know ;
I knew, and how might I fashion, or her hidden glory show?
All things I have told thee of Wisdom are but fleeting images
Yet wise is the sower that sows, and wise is the reaper that reaps.
And wise is the smith in his smiting, and wise is the warder that keeps :
And wise shalt thou be to deliver, and I shall be wise to desire;
— And lo, the tale that is told, and the sword and the wakening fire !
And Fafnir's Bed is gleaming, and green go the downward ways, -
The road to the children of men and the deeds that thou shalt do
In the joy of thy life-days' morning, when thiiie hope is fashioned anew.
Come now, O Bane of the Serpent, for now is the high-noon come.
But the soul is so great within thee, and so glorious are thine eyes,
And me so love constraineth, and mine heart that was called the wise,
That we twain may see men's dwellings and the house where we shall dwell.
And the place of our life's beginning, where the tale shall be to tell."
So they climb the burg of Hindfell, and hand in hand they fare,
And the woodland wastes and the mountains, and all that holdeth all ;
The house and the ship and the island, the loom and the mine and the stall,
The beds of bane and healing, the crafts that slay and save.
The temple of God and the Doom-ring, the cradle and the grave.
Then spake the Victory- Wafter : "O King of the Earthly Age,
There dwelleth mine earthly sister and the king that she hath wed ;
There morn by morn aforetime I woke on the golden bed ;
There eve by eve I tarried mid the speech and the lays of kings ;
There noon by noon I wandered and plucked the blossoming things;
Where Brynhild once was I called in the days ere my father died;
The little land of Lymdale 'twixt the woodland and the sea,
Where on thee mine eyes shall brighten and thine eyes shall beam on me."
"I shall seek thee there," said Sigurd, "when the day-spring is begun.
"I shall bide thee there," said Brynhild, "till the fullness of the days,
From his hand then draweth Sigurd Andvari's ancient Gold ;
No change, and no beginning, no flaw for God to mend:
Then Sigurd cries: "O Brynhild, now hearken while I swear,
That the sun shall die in the heavens and the day no more be fair,
If I seek not love in Lymdale and the house that fostered thee,
And she cried : "O Sigurd, Sigurd, now hearken while I swear
Then he set the ring on her finger and once, if ne'er again,
So the day grew old about them and the joy of their desire,
And sure if the first of man-folk had been born to that starry night,
And had heard no tale of the sunrise, he had never longed for the light :
But Earth longed amidst her slumber, as 'neath the night she lay,
And fresh and all abundant abode the deeds of Day.