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But this sword shall slay the Serpent;

and do another deed, And many an one thereafter till it

fail thee in thy need.

But as fair and great as thou stand

est, yet get thee from mine house,

For in me too might ariseth, and the

place is perilous

With the craft that was aforetime, and shall never be again, When the hands that have taught thee cunning have failed from the world of men.

Thou art wroth; but thy wrath must

slumber till fate its blossom bear; Not thus were the eyes of Odin when

I held him in the snare. Depart! lest the end overtake us ere

thy work and mine be done, But come again in the night-tide and

the slumber of the sun, When the sharded moon of April

hangs round in the undark May.'

Hither and thither a while did the

heart of Sigurd sway;

For he feared no craft of the Dwarfkind, nor heeded the ways of Fate,

But his hand wrought e'en as his heart would: and now was he weary with hate

Of the hatred and scorn of the Gods,

and the greed of gold and of gain, And the weaponless hands of the stripling of the wrath and the rending were fain.

But there stood Regin the Master, and his eyes were on Sigurd's

eyes,

Though nought belike they beheld him, and his brow was sad and wise;

And the greed died out of his visage and he stood like an image of old.

So the Norns drew Sigurd away, and the tide was an even of gold, And sweet in the April even were the fowl-kind singing their best; And the light of life smote Sigurd, and the joy that knows no rest, And the fond unnamed desire, and the hope of hidden things; And he wended fair and lovely to the house of the feasting Kings.

But now when the moon was at full and the undark May begun, Went Sigurd unto Regin mid the slumber of the sun,

And amidst the fire-hall's pavement

the King of the Dwarf-kind stood

Like an image of deeds departed and days that once were good; And he seemed but faint and weary,

and his eyes were dim and dazed As they met the glory of Sigurd where the fitful candles blazed.

Then he spake:

"Hail, Son of the Volsungs, the corner-stone is laid,

I have toiled and thou hast desired, and, lo, the fateful blade!"

Then Sigurd saw it lying on the ashes slaked and pale

Like the sun and the lightning mingled mid the even's cloudy bale;

For ruddy and great were the hilts, and the edges fine and wan, And all adown to the blood-point a very flame there ran That swallowed the runes of wisdom wherewith its sides were scored.

No sound did Sigurd utter as he stooped adown for his sword, But it seemed as his lips were moving

with speech of strong desire. White leapt the blade o'er his head,

and he stood in the ring of its fire As hither and thither it played, till it

fell on the anvil's strength, And he cried aloud in his glory, and

held out the sword full length, As one who would show it the world; for the edges were dulled no whit, And the anvil was cleft to the pavement with the dreadful dint of it.

But Regin cried to his harp-strings:

"Before the days of men

I smithied the Wrath of Sigurd, and now is it smithied again: And my hand alone hath done it, and my heart alone hath dared To bid that man to the mountain, and behold his glory bared. Ah, if the son of Sigmund might wot

of the thing I would,

Then how were the ages bettered, and

the world all waxen good! Then how were the past forgotten and

the weary days of yore,

And the hope of man that dieth and

the waste that never bore! How should this one live through the

winter and know of all increase! How should that one spring to the

sunlight and bear the blossom

of peace. No more should the long-lived wisdom o'er the waste of the wilder

ness stray;

Nor the clear-eyed hero hasten to the

deedless ending of day.

And what if the hearts of the Volsungs for this deed of deeds were born,

How then were their life-days evil and the end of their lives forlorn!"

There stood Sigurd the Volsung, and

heard how the harp-strings rang, But of other things they told him than the hope that the Master

sang;

And his world lay far away from the

Dwarf-king's eyeless realm And the road that leadeth nowhere, and the ship without a helm: But he spake: "How oft shall I say it, that I shall work thy will? If my father hath made me mighty, thine heart shall I fulfill With the wisdom and gold thou wouldest before I wend on my

ways;

For now hast thou failed me nought, and the sword is the wonder of days."

No word for a while spake Regin; but he hung his head adown As a man that pondereth sorely, and

his voice once more was grown As the voice of the smithying-master as he spake: "This Wrath of thine Hath cleft the hard and the heavy;

it shall shear the soft and the fine: Come forth to the night and prove it."

So they twain went forth abroad, And the moon lay white on the river

and lit the sleepless ford, And down to its pools they wended,

and the stream was swift and full; Then Regin cast against it a lock of fine-spun wool,

And it whirled about on the eddy till

it met the edges bared, And as clean as the careless water the laboured fleece was sheared.

Then Regin spake: "It is good, what the smithying-carle hath wrought:

Now the work of the King beginneth and the end that my soul hath sought.

Thou shalt toil and I shall desire, and

the deed shall be surely done: For thy Wrath is alive and awake and the story of bale is begun."

Therewith was the Wrath of Sigurd

laid soft in a golden sheath And the peace-strings knit around it; for that blade was fain of death;

And 'tis ill to show such edges to the

broad blue light of day, Or to let the hall-glare light them, if ye list not play the play.

Of Gripir's Foretelling Now Sigurd backeth Greyfell on the

first of the morrow morn, And he rideth fair and softly through

the acres of the corn; The Wrath to his side is girded, but

hid are the edges blue,

As he wendeth his ways to the mountains, and rideth the horse-mead through.

His wide grey eyes are happy, and his

voice is sweet and soft,

As amid the mead-lark's singing he casteth song aloft!

Lo, lo, the horse and the rider! So

once maybe it was, When over the earth unpeopled the youngest God would pass; But never again meseemeth shall such a sight betide,

Till over a world unwrongful new-born shall Baldur ride.

So he comes to that ness of the mountains, and Gripir's garden steep, That bravely Greyfell breasteth, and adown by the door doth he leap And his war-gear rattleth upon him; there is none to ask or forbid As he wendeth the house clearlighted, where no mote of the dust is hid, Though the sunlight hath not entered: the walls are clear and bright, For they cast back each to other the

golden Sigurd's light; Through the echoing ways of the house bright-eyed he wendeth along,

And the mountain-wind is with him,

and the hovering eagles' song; But no sound of the children of men

may the ears of the Volsung hear,

And no sign of their ways in the world, or their will, or their hope or their fear.

So he comes to the hall of Gripir, and gleaming-green is it built

As the house of under-ocean where

the wealth of the greedy is spilt; Gleaming and green as the sea, and rich as its rock-strewn floor, And fresh as the autumn morning when the burning of summer is o'er.

There he looks and beholdeth the high-seat, and he sees it strangely wrought,

Of the tooth of the sea-beast fashioned ere the Dwarf-kind came to nought;

And he looks, and thereon is Gripir, the King exceeding old, With the sword of his fathers girded, and his raiment wrought of gold;

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