lundi 7 août 2017



1. In that court
arose woeful deeds,
at the elf's
doleful lament;
at early morn,
men's afflictions,
troubles of various kinds;
sorrows were quickened.

2. It was not now,
nor yesterday,
a long time since has passed away,
few things are more ancient,
when Gudrun,
Gjuki's daughter,
her young sons instigated
Svanhild to avenge:

3. «She was your sister,
her name Svanhild,
she whom Jormunrek
with horses trod to death,
white and black,
on the public way,
with grey and way-wont
Gothic steeds.

4. Thenceforth
all is sad to you,
kings of people!
Ye alone survive.

5. Branches of my kin,
as the asp-tree in the forest,
lonely I am become,
when the scather of twigs,
of kindred bereft,
as the fir of branches;
as the leaves of the tree
comes in the warm day.»

6. Then spake Hamdir,
the great of soul,
«Little, Gudrun!
Didst thou care Hogni's deed to praise,
when Sigurd they
from sleep awaked,
on the bed thou satst,
and the murderers laughed.

7. Thy bed-clothes,
blue and white,
woven by cunning hands,
swam in thy husband's gore.
When Sigurd perished,
o'er the dead thou satst,
caredst not for mirth
- so Gunnar willed it.

8. Atli thou wouldst afflict
by Erp's murder,
and by Eitil's life's destruction:
that proved for thyself the worse:
therefore should every one
so against others use,
a sharp-biting sword,
that he harm not himself.»

9. Then said Sorle
- he had a prudent mind -
«I with my mother
will not speeches exchange:
though words to each of you
to' me seem wanting.
What, Gudrun! Dost thou desire,
which for tears thou canst not utter?

10. For thy brothers weep,
and thy dear sons,
thy nearest kin,
drawn to the strife:
for us both shalt thou,
Gudrun! Also have to' weep,
who here sit fated on our steeds,
far away to' die.»

11. From the court they went,
for conflict ready.
The young men journeyed
over humid fells,
on Hunnish steeds,
murder to avenge.

12. On their way they had
found the wily jester.
«Maybe auburn-little
offer us aid?»

13. He of another mother answered:
so he said aid he would
to his kin afford,
as one foot to the other.
«What can a foot
to a foot give;
or, grown to the body,
one hand the other?»

14. Then said Erp,
all at once
- the noble youth was joking
on his horse's back -
«Ill 'tis to a timid man
to point out the ways.»
They said the bastard
was over bold.

15. From the sheath
they drew the iron blade,
the falchion's edges,
for Hel's delight.
They their strength diminished
by a third part,
they their young kinsman
caused to earth to' sink.

16. Their mantles then they shook,
their weapons grasped;
the high-born were clad
in sumptuous raiment.

17. Forward lay the ways,
a woeful path they found,
and their sister's son
wounded on a gibbet,
wind-cold outlaw-trees,
on the town's west.
Ever vibrated the ravens' whet:
there to tarry was not good.

18. Uproar was in the hall,
men were with drink excited,
so that the horses'
tramp no one heard,
until a mindful man
winded his horn.

19. To announce they went
to Jormunrek
that were seen
helm-decked warriors.
«Take ye counsel,
potent ones are come;
before mighty men
ye have on a damsel trampled.»

20. Then laughed Jormunrek,
with his hand stroked his beard,
asked not for his corslet;
with wine he struggled,
shook his dark locks,
on his white shield looked,
and in his hand
swung the golden cup.

21. «Happy should I seem,
if I could see
Hamdir and Sorle
within my hall.
I would them then
with bowstrings bind,
the good sons of Gjuki
on the gallows hang.»

22. Then said Hrothglad,
on the high steps standing;
«Prince» said she
to her son,
for that was threatened
which ought not to happen,
«shall two men alone
ten hundred Goths
bind or slay
in this lofty burgh?»

23. Tumult was in the mansion,
the beer-cups flew in shivers,
men lay in blood
from the Goths' breasts flowing.

24. Then said Hamdir,
the great of heart:
«Jormunrek! Thou didst desir
 our coming,
brothers of one mother,
into thy burgh:
now seest thou feet,
seest thy hands
Jormunrek! Cast into
the glowing fire.»

25. Then roared forth
a godlike mail-clad warrior,
as a bear roars:
«On the men hurl stones,
since spears bite not,
nor edge of sword,
nor point,
the sons of Ionacr.»

26. Then said Hamdir,
the great of heart:
«Harm didst thou, brother!
When thou that mouth didst ope.
Oft from that mouth
bad counsel comes.»

27. SORLE:
«Courage hast thou, Hamdir!
If only thou hadst sense:
that man lacks much
who wisdom lacks.»

«Off would the head now be,
had but Erp lived,
our brother bold in fight,
whom on the way we slew,
that warrior brave
- me the goddess instigated -
that man sacred to us,
whom, we resolved to slay.»

29. SORLE:
«I ween not that ours
should be the wolves' example,
that with ourselves we should contend,
like the grey norns,
that voracious are
in the desert nurtured.

30. Well have we fought,
on slaughtered Goths we stand,
on those fallen by the sword,
like eagles on a branch.
Great glory we have gained,
though now or to morrow we shall die.
No one lives till eve
against the norns' decree.»

31. There fell Sorle,
at the mansion's front;
but Hamdir sank
at the house's back.

This is called the ancient lay of Hamdir.

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