Guðrúnarkviða I – The First Lay of Gudrún

11. Grieving could not | Guthrun weep,
Such grief she had | for her husband dead,
And so grim her heart | by the hero’s body.

12. Then spake Gollrond, | Gjuki’s daughter:
“Thy wisdom finds not, | my foster-mother,
The way to comfort | the wife so young.”
She bade them uncover | the warrior’s corpse.

13. The shroud she lifted | from Sigurth, laying
His well-loved head | on the knees of his wife:
“Look on thy loved one, | and lay thy lips
To his as if yet | the hero lived.”

14. Once alone did | Guthrun look;
His hair all clotted | with blood beheld,
The blinded eyes | that once shone bright,
The hero’s breast | that the blade had pierced.

15. Then Guthrun bent, | on her pillow bowed,
Her hair was loosened, | her cheek was hot,
And the tears like raindrops | downward ran.

16. Then Guthrun, daughter | of Gjuki, wept,
And through her tresses | flowed the tears;
And from the court | came the cry of geese,
The birds so fair | of the hero’s bride.

17. Then Gollrond spake, | the daughter of Gjuki:
“Never a greater | love I knew
Than yours among | all men on earth;
Nowhere wast happy, | at home or abroad,
Sister mine, | with Sigurth away.”

Guthrun spake:

18. “So was my Sigurth | o’er Gjuki’s sons
As the spear-leek grown | above the grass,
Or the jewel bright | borne on the band,
The precious stone | that princes wear.

19. “To the leader of men | I loftier seemed
And higher than all | of Herjan’s maids;
As little now | as the leaf I am
On the willow hanging; | my hero is dead.

20. “In his seat, in his bed, | I see no more
My heart’s true friend; | the fault is theirs,
The sons of Gjuki, | for all my grief,
That so their sister | sorely weeps.

11. Cf. stanza 5 and note. The manuscript abbreviates to first letters.

12. Gollrond: not elsewhere mentioned. Line 4 looks like an interpolation replacing a line previously lost.

13. The manuscript indicates line 3 as the beginning of a stanza. and some editors have attempted to follow this arrangement. Many editors assume the loss of a line from this stanza.

16. The word here translated “tresses” is sheer guesswork. The detail of the geese is taken from Sigurtharkvitha en skamma, 29, line 3 here being identical with line 4 of that stanza.

17. Line 1, abbreviated in the manuscript, very likely should be simply “Gollrond spake.”

18. Cf. Guthrunarkvitha II, 2. The manuscript does not name the speaker, and some editions have a first line, “Then Guthrun spake, the daughter of Gjuki.”

19. Herjan: Othin; his maids are the Valkyries; cf. Voluspo, 31, where the same phrase is used.

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