19. “Remember, Sigurd! what we together said, when on our bed we both were sitting, that thou, brave one, wouldst come to me from Hel’s abode, but I from the world to thee.
20. “Raise, ye Jarls! an oaken pile; let it under heaven the highest be. May it burn a breast full of woes! the fire round my heart its sorrows melt!”
21. May all men’s lot be bettered, all women’s sorrow lessened, to whom this tale of woes shall be recounted.
[Footnote 117: Themselves and the two sons of Atli.]
1. In that court arose woeful deeds, at the Alfar’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, it was by much earlier—when Gudrun, Giuki’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 race. Lonely I am become, as the asp-tree in the forest, of kindred bereft, as the fir of branches; of joy deprived, as is the tree of foliage, when the branch-spoiler 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, for life’s destruction, a sharp-biting sword, that he harm not himself.”
9. Then said Sorli—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. 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.
13. On their way they had found the wily jester. “How will the swarthy dwarf afford us aid?”