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So the thought in a little moment through King Elf the Mighty


Of the years and their building and burden, and toil of the sons of


The joy of folk and their sorrow, and

the hope of deeds to do: With the love of many peoples was

the wise king smitten through, As he hung o'er the new-born Volsung: but at last he raised his head,

And looked forth kind o'er his people,

and spake aloud and said:

"O Sigmund King of Battle; O man

of many days,

Whom I saw mid the shields of the

fallen and the dead men's silent praise,

Lo, how hath the dark tide perished

and the dawn of day begun! And now, O mighty Sigmund, wherewith shall we name thy son?"

But there rose up a man most ancient, and he cried: "Hail Dawn of the Day!

How many things shalt thou quicken,

how many shalt thou slay! How many things shalt thou waken, how many lull to sleep! How many things shalt thou scatter,

how many gather and keep! O me, how thy love shall cherish, how

thine hate shall wither and burn! How the hope shall be sped from thy

right hand, nor the fear to thy left return!

O thy deeds that men shall sing of! O

thy deeds that the Gods shall see! O SIGURD, Son of the Volsungs, O Victory yet to be!"

Men heard the name and they knew it, and they caught it up in the air,

And it went abroad by the windows and the doors of the feast-hall fair,

It went through street and market; o'er meadow and acre it went, And over the wind-stirred forest and the dearth of the sea-beat bent, And over the sea-flood's welter, till the folk of the fishers heard, And the hearts of the isle-abiders on the sun-scorched rocks. were stirred.

But the Queen in her golden chamber, the name she hearkened and knew;

And she heard the flock of the wom

en, as back to the chamber they

drew, And the name of Sigurd entered, and the body of Sigurd was come, And it was as if Sigmund were living

and she still in her lovely home, Of all folk of the world was she well, and a soul fulfilled of rest As alone in the chamber she wakened and Sigurd cherished her breast.

But men feast in the merry noontide,

and glad is the April green That a Volsung looks on the sunlight and the night and the darkness have been.

Earls think of marvellous stories, and along the golden strings Flit words of banded brethren and names of war-fain Kings: All the days of the deeds of Sigmund who was born so long ago; All deeds of the glorious Signy, and her tarrying-tide of woe;

Men tell of the years of Volsung, and how long agone it was That he changed his life in battle, and

brought the tale to pass: Then goeth the word of the Giants, and the world seems waxen old

For the dimness of King Rerir and the tale of his warfare told: Yet unhushed are the singers' voices,

nor yet the harp-strings cease While yet is left a rumour of the mirk

wood's broken peace,

And of Sigi the very ancient, and the unnamed Sons of God,

Of the days when the Lords of Heaven

full oft the world-ways trod.

So stilleth the wind in the even and the sun sinks down in the sea, And men abide the morrow and the Victory yet to be.

Sigurd getteth to him the horse that is

called Greyfell

Now waxeth the son of Sigmund in

might and goodliness,

And soft the days win over, and all

men his beauty bless.

But amidst the summer season was

the Isle-queen Hiordis wed To King Elf the son of the Helper, and

fair their life-days sped.

Peace lay on the land for ever, and the

fields gave good increase, And there was Sigurd waxing mid the

plenty and the peace.

Now hath the child grown greater,

and is keen and eager of wit And full of understanding, and oft

hath he joy to sit Amid talk of weighty matters when the wise men meet for speech;

And joyous he is moreover and blithe and kind with each.

But Regin the wise craftsmaster heedeth the youngling well, And before the Kings he cometh, and saith such words to tell.

"I have fostered thy youth, King Elf, and thine O Helper of men, And ye wot that such a master no king shall see again;

And now would I foster Sigurd; for,

though he be none of thy blood, Mine heart of his days that shall be speaketh abundant good."

Then spake the Helper of men-folk: "Yea, do herein thy will: For thou art the Master of Masters,

and hast learned me all my skill: But think how bright is this young

ling, and thy guile from him withhold

For this craft of thine hath shown me

that thy heart is grim and cold, Though three men's lives thrice over

thy wisdom might not learn; And I love this son of Sigmund, and mine heart to him doth yearn."

Then Regin laughed, and answered:

"I doled out cunning to thee; But nought with him will I measure:

yet no cold-heart shall he be, Nor grim nor evil-natured: for whate'er my will might frame, Gone forth is the word of the Norns,

that abideth ever the same. And now, despite my cunning, how deem ye I shall die?"

And they said he would live as he listed, and at last in peace should


When he listed to live no longer; so mighty and wise he was. But again he laughed and answered:

"One day it shall come to pass, That a beardless youth shall slay me:

I know the fateful doom; But nought may I withstand it, as it heaves up dim through the gloom."

So is Sigurd now with Regin, and he learns him many things;

Yea, all save the craft of battle, that

men learned the sons of kings: The smithying sword and war-coat;

the carving runes aright; The tongues of many countries, and

soft speech for men's delight; The dealing with the harp-strings,

and the winding ways of song. So wise of heart waxed Sigurd, and of

body wondrous strong: And he chased the deer of the forest,

and many a wood-wolf slew, And many a bull of the mountains: and the desert dales he knew, And the heaths that the wind sweeps over; and seaward would he fare,

Far out from the outer skerries, and

alone the sea-wights dare.

On a day he sat with Regin amidst the unfashioned gold,

And the silver grey from the furnace; and Regin spake and told Sweet tales of the days that have

been, and the Kings of the bold and wise;

Till the lad's heart swelled with long

ing and lit his sunbright eyes.

Then Regin looked upon him: "Thou too shalt one day ride

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Now do thou after my counsel, and

crave of thy fosters here That thou choose of the horses of Gripir whichso thine heart holds dear."

He spake and his harp was with him, and he smote the strings full


And sang of the host of the Valkyrs, how they ride the battle to meet, And the dew from the dear manes drippeth as they ride in the first

of the sun, And the tree-boughs open to meet it when the wind of the dawning is done:

And the deep dales drink its sweet

ness and spring into blossoming grass,

And the earth groweth fruitful of men, and bringeth their glory to


Then the wrath ran off from Sigurd,

and he left the smithying stead While the song yet rang in the doorway: and that eve to the Kings he said:

"Will ye do so much for mine asking as to give me a horse to my will?

For belike the days shall come, that shall all my heart fulfill, And teach me the deeds of a king."

Then answered King Elf and spake:

"The stalls of the Kings are before

thee to set aside or to take, And nought we begrudge thee the best." Yet answered Sigurd again;

For his heart of the mountains aloft and the windy drift was fain:

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Then sweetly Sigurd thanked them; and through the night he lay Mid dreams of many a matter till the dawn was on the way; Then he shook the sleep from off him,

and that dwelling of Kings he left And wended his ways unto Gripir.

On a crag from the mountain reft Was the house of the old King build

ed; and a mighty house it was, Though few were the sons of men that

over its threshold would pass: But the wild ernes cried about it, and the vultures toward it flew, And the winds from the heart of the mountains searched every chamber through,

And about were meads wide-spread

ing; and many a beast thereon, Yea some that are men-folk's terror, their sport and pasture won.

So into the hall went Sigurd; and amidst was Gripir set

In a chair of the sea-beast's tooth; and his sweeping beard nigh met The floor that was green as the ocean

and his gown was of mountaingold

And the kingly staff in his hand was knobbed with the crystal cold.

Now the first of the twain spake Gripir: "Hail King with the eyen bright! Nought needest thou show the token, for I know of thy life and thy light.

And no need to tell of thy message; it

was wafted here on the wind, That thou wouldst be coming to-day

a horse in my meadow to find: And strong must he be for the bearing of those deeds of thine that shall be.

Now choose thou of all the waywearers that are running loose in my lea,

And be glad as thine heart will have

thee and the fate that leadeth

thee on, And I bid thee again come hither when the sword of worth is won,

And thy loins are girt for thy going on

the road that before thee lies; For a glimmering over its darkness is

come before mine eyes."

Then again gat Sigurd outward, and adown the steep he ran

And unto the horse-fed meadow: but lo, a grey-clad man,

One-eyed and seeming-ancient, there met him by the way: And he spake: "Thou hastest, Sigurd; yet tarry till I say A word that shall well bestead thee: for I know of these mountains well

And all the lea of Gripir, and the beasts that thereon dwell."

"Wouldst thou have red gold for thy tidings? art thou Gripir's horseherd then?

Nay sure, for thy face is shining like the battle-eager men

My master Regin tells of: and I love

thy cloud-grey gown And thy visage gleams above it like a thing my dreams have known."

"Nay whiles have I heeded the horse

kind," then spake that elder of days,

"And sooth do the sages say, when

the beasts of my breeding they praise.

There is one thereof in the meadow,

and, wouldst thou cull him out, Thou shalt follow an elder's counsel, who hath brought strange things about,

Who hath known thy father aforetime, and other kings of thy kin."

So Sigurd said, "I am ready; and what is the deed to win?"

He said: "We shall drive the horses. adown to the water-side, That cometh forth from the mountains, and note what next shall betide."

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