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Then spoke the king to Kriemhild, “Sister, I ask of thee
From an oath to set me by thy kindness free.
Thee to a knight I promis'd; if thou become his bride,
Thou 'lt do the will of Günther, and show thy love beside."

Then spake the noble maiden, “Dearest brother mine,
It needed not to ask me; whate'er command be thine,
I'll willingly perform it; so now, for thy sake,
Whom thou for husband giv'st me, fain I, my lord, will take."

With love and eke with pleasure redden'd Siegfried's hue;
At once to Lady Kriemhild he pledg'd his service true.
They bade them stand together in the courtly circle bright,
And ask'd her if for husband she took that lofty knight.

In modest maiden fashion she blush'd a little space,
But such was Siegfried's fortune and his earnest grace,
That not altogether could she deny her hand.
Then her for wife acknowledg’d the noble king of Netherland.

He thus to her affianc'd, and to him the maid,
Straight round the long-sought damsel in blushing grace array'd
His arms with soft emotion th' enamour'd warrior threw,
And kiss'd the high-born princess before that glitt'ring crew.

Lettsom's Translation, Tenth Adventure.


The Margrave Rüdeger did not take part in the battle fought in Etzel's ball between the Burgundians visiting the Hunnish court and the Huns, because of his friendship for the Burgundians, and the betrothal of his daughter to Prince Giselher. Because of this, he was taunted by a Hun, who said to the queen that although Rüdeger had accepted many favors from Etzel he did not fight for him. When the Hun fell dead under Rüdeger's blow, Etzel reproached him for slaying one of his followers when he had need of so many.

Then came the fair Queen Kriemhild; she too had seen full well
What from the hero's anger the luckless Hun befell;
And she too mourn'd it deeply; with tears her eyes were wet.
Thus spake she to Rüdeger, “ How have we ever yet

“Deserv'd that you, good Riideger, should make our anguish more?
Now sure to me and Etzel you 've promised o'er and o'er,
That you both life and honour would risk to do us right.
That you 're the flower of knighthood is own'd by every knight.

"Now think upon the homage that once to me you swore,
When to the Rhine, good warrior, King Etzel's suit you bore,
That you would serve me ever to either's dying day.
Ne'er can I need so deeply, that you that vow should pay.

"'T is true, right noble lady; in this we're not at strife;
I pledg'd, to do you service, my honour and my life,
But my soul to hazard never did I vow.
I brought the princes hither, and must not harm them now."

With that, to beg and pray him the king began as well;
King and queen together both at his feet they fell.
Then might you the good margrave have seen full ill bestead,
And thus in bitterest anguish the faithful hero said :-

“ Woe's me the heaven-abandon'd, that I have liv'd to this!
Farewell to all my honours ! woe for my first amiss !
My truth — my God-giv'n innocence - must they be both forgot?
Woe's me, O God in heaven! that death relieves me not!"

Then thus bespake him Kriemhild, "Right noble Rüdeger,
Take pity on our anguish; thou see'st us kneeling here,
The king and me before thee; both clasp thy honour'd knees.
Sure never host yet feasted such fatal guests as these."
With that the noble margrave thus to the queen 'gan say,
“Sure must the life of Rüdeger for all the kindness pay,
That you to me, my lady, and my lord the king have done.
For this I’m doomed to perish, and that ere set of sun.

" Full well I know, this morning my castles and my land
Both will to you fall vacant by stroke of foeman's hand,
And so my wife and daughter I to your grace commend,
And all at Bechelaren, each trusty homeless friend."

So to war the margrave under helmet strode;
Sharpest swords his meiny brandished as they rode;
Each in hand, bright-flashing, held his shield before.
That saw the dauntless minstrel, and seeing sorrow'd sore.

Then too was by young Giselher his lady's father seen
With helm laced as for battle. “What,” thought he," can he mean?
But nought can mean the margrave but what is just and right.”
At the thought full joyous wax'd the youthful knight.

“I know not what you trust in ; " thus the stern minstrel spake;

Where saw you warriors ever for reconcilement's sake With helmets laced advancing, and naked swords in hand? On us will earn Sir Rüdeger his castles and his land.”

Scarcely the valiant minstrel his words had utter'd all,
When the noble Rüdeger was close before the hall.
His shield, well proved in battle, before his feet he laid,
But neither proffered service, nor friendly greeting made.

To those within he shouted, “Look not for succor hence;
Ye valiant Nibelungers, now stand on your defence.
I'd fain have been your comrade ; your foe I now must be.
We once were friends together; now from that bond I'm free."

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“Now God forbid,” said Günther, " that such a knight as you
To the faith wherein we trusted, should ever prove untrue,
And turn upon his comrades in such an hour as this.
Ne’er can I think that Rüdeger can do so much amiss."

“ I can't go back," said Rüdeger, " the deadly die is cast;
I must with you do battle; to that my word is pass’d.
So each of you defend him as he loves his life.
I must perform my promise; so wills King Etzel's wife.”

“ Tarry yet a little, right noble Rüdeger!
I and my lords a moment would yet with you confer;
Thereto hard need compels us, and danger gathering nigh;
What boot were it to Etzel though here forlorn we die?

“I'm now,” pursued Sir Hagan, “ beset with grievous care;
The shield that Lady Gotelind gave me late to bear,
Is hewn, and all-to broken by many a Hunnish brand.
I brought it fair and friendly hither to Etzel's land.

“Ah! that to me this favour heaven would be pleas'd to yield,
That I might to defend me bear so well-prov'd a shield
As that, right noble Rüdeger, before thee now display'd !
No more should I in battle need then the hauberk's aid."

“ Fain with the same I'd serve thee to th' height of thy desire,
But that I fear such proffer might waken Kriemhild's ire.
Still, take it to thee, Hagan, and wield it well in hand.
Ah! might'st thou bring it with thee to thy Burgundian land !”

While thus with words so courteous so fair a gift he sped,
The eyes of many a champion with scalding tears were red.
'T was the last gift, that buckler, e'er given to comrade dear
By the lord of Bechelaren, the blameless Rüdeger.

However stern was Hagan, and of unyielding mood,
Still at the gift he melted, which one so great and good
Gave in his last few moments, e'en on the eve of fight,
And with the stubborn warrior mourn'd many a noble knight.

“Now God in heaven, good Rüdeger, thy recompenser be!
Your like on earth, I 'm certain, we never more shall see,
Who gifts so good and gorgeous to homeless wanderers give.
May God protect your virtue, that it may ever live!

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“ Alas! this bloody business !” Sir Hagan then went on,
“We have had to bear much sorrow, and more shall have anon.
Must friend with friend do battle, nor heaven the conflict part?
The noble margrave answer'd, “ That wounds my inmost heart.”


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“Now for thy gift I'll quit thee, right noble Rüdeger !
What e'er may chance between thee and my bold comrades here,
My hand shall touch thee never amidst the heady fight,
Not e'en if thou shouldst slaughter every Burgundian knight.”
For that to him bow'd courteous the blameless Rüdeger.
Then all around were weeping for grief and doleful drear,
Since none th' approaching mischief had hope to turn aside.
The father of all virtue in that good margrave died.


What a fearful clatter of clashing blades there rang!
From shields beneath the buffets how the plates they sprang,
And precious stones unnumber'd rain'd down into the gore !
They fought so fell and furious as man will never more.

The lord of Bechelaren went slashing here and there,
As one who well in battle knew how himself to bear.
Well prov'd the noble Rüdeger in that day's bloody fight,
That never handled weapon a more redoubted knight.

Loud o'er the din of battle stout Gernot shouted then,
“How now, right noble Rüdeger? not one of all my men
Thou 'It leave me here unwounded; in sooth it grieves me sore
To see my friends thus slaughter'd; bear it can I no more.

“Now must thy gift too surely the giver harm to-day,
Since of my friends so many thy strength has swept away.
So turn about and face me, thou bold and high-born man !
Thy goodly gift to merit, I'll do the best I can."

Ere through the press the margrave could come Sir Gernot nigh,
Full many a glittering mail-coat was stain'd a bloody die.
Then those fame-greedy champions each fierce on th’ other leapt,
And deadly wounds at distance with wary ward they kept.

So sharp were both their broadswords, resistless was their dint,
Sudden the good Sir Rüdeger through th' helmet hard as flint
So struck the noble Gernot, that forth the blood it broke;
With death the stern Burgundian repaid the deadly stroke.

He heaved the gift of Rüdeger with both his hands on high,
And to the death though wounded, a stroke at him let fly
Right through both shield and morion ; deep was the gash and wide.
At once the lord of Gotelind beneath the swordcut died.

In sooth a gift so goodly was worse requited ne'er.
Down dead dropp'd both together, Gernot and Rüdeger.
Each slain by th other's manhood, then prov'd, alas! too well.
Thereat first Sir Hagan furious wax'd and fell.

Then cried the knight of Trony, “Sure we with ills are cross'd;
Their country and their people in both these chiefs have lost
More than they'll e'er recover ; — woe worth this fatal day!
We have here the margrave's meiny, and they for all shall pay!”

All struck at one another, none would a foeman spare.
Full many a one, unwounded, down was smitten there,
Who else might have 'scap'd harmless, but now, though whole and sound,
In the thick press was trampled, or in the blood was drown'd.

“ Alas! my luckless brother who here in death lies low!
How every hour I'm living brings some fresh tale of woe!
And ever must I sorrow for the good margrave too.
On both sides dire destruction and mortal ills we rue."

Soon as the youthful Giselher beheld his brother dead,
Who yet within were lingering by sudden doom were sped.
Death, his pale meiny choosing, dealt each his dreary dole.
Of those of Bechelaren 'scaped not one living soul.

King Günther and young Giselher, and fearless Hagan too,
Dankwart as well as Folker, the noble knights and true,
Went where they found together out-stretched the valiant twain.
There wept th' assembled warriors in anguish o'er the slain.

" Death fearfully despoils us,” said youthful Giselher,
“But now give over wailing, and haste to th' open air
To cool our heated hauberks, faint as we are with strife.
God, methinks, no longer, will here vouchsafe us life.”

This sitting, that reclining, was seen full many a knight;
They took repose in quiet; around (a fearful sight!)
Lay Rüdeger's dead comrades; all was hush'd and still;
From that long dreary silence King Etzel augur'd ill.

" Alas for this half friendship!” thus Kriemhild frowning spake,
“If it were true and steadfast, Sir Rüdeger would take
Vengeance wide and sweeping on yonder murderous band;
Now back he'll bring them safely to their Burgundian land.

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