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 ~ By Courtesy of Others ~

Brynhild´s Hel Ride

After Brynhild’s death two pyres were raised, one for Sigurd, who was burned first, and Brynhild after.
She was in a wagon decked with rich fabric, so it was said that Brynhild rode the wagon to Hel,
and passed the place where a giantess lived.
The giantess spoke:

1. Here you may not make your path,
Through my garth, girt with stone.
Better it were to work the loom,
Than chasing after another’s man.

2. Why this visit from Valland come,
Here to my house, whorish woman?
Gold-goddess, to give the truth,
Hands you’ve bathed in blood of men.

Brynhild spoke:
3. Blame not me, bride of stone,
Though once I led a warrior’s life.
Better than yours my birth will seem
To men, if they our measure take.

The Giantess spoke:
4. You, Brynhild, Budli’s daughter,
Woman born to worst of fates,
Grief you’ve brought to Giuki’s sons,
Laying waste their lofty house.

Brynhild spoke:
5. I in my wagon, wiser than you,
Will tell you, fool, if truth you’ll hear,
How Giuki’s heirs through guile left me
Love-barren, breaker of oaths.

6. The worthy king our feather-cloaks took
From sisters eight under an oak.
Twelve I was, if you wish to know,
When oaths I yielded the youthful king.

7. ‘Hild under helm’ in Hlymdale was
The name that I was known by then.

8. Then after that the aged Goth,
Hjalm-Gunnar to Hel I sent,
And Auda’s brother the battle gave.
Odin for that was angry with me.

9. Hemmed me with shields in Hero’s Grove,
Red ones and white, rims o’erlapped,
And bade that none should break my sleep,
But he that nothing knew of fear.

10. Then circled my hall, southward facing,
With branches’ bane blazing high,
Decreeing that none should cross but he,
Who fetched the gold from Fafnir’s bed.

11. The gold-giver on Grani came
To my foster-father’s folk-hall then.
And he of all the host around,
The viking Dane, most valiant seemed.

12. Happy, we slept in a single bed,
As though he’d been my brother born,
Eight full nights, and never once
Either a hand on the other lay.

13. Yet Gudrun charged, Giuki’s daughter,
That I had slept in Sigurd’s arms.
Secrets I learned, I’d sooner forget,
That I’d been tricked to take a mate.

14. To sorrows that last too long to bear,
Women and men in the world are born.
But we two now shall never part,
Sigurd and I. Giantess, Sink!

© Jack Hart

Poetic form: Fornyrðislag (Old Meter)

Meadhall: Asatru Jack´s site, including the medieval rune poems and modern rune poems by various authors.

Ship of Fools - Jack Hart´s Poetry Magazine. Submissions welcome.

Image: Jenny Nyström (1854-1946), Public Domain
A scene from "Helreið Brynhildar", from Fredrik Sander's 1893 edition of the Poetic Edda.

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