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Dread then he cried in the desert: "Guile-master, lo thy deed! Hast thou nurst my life for destruction, and my death to serve thy need?

Hast thou kept me here for the net and

the death that tame things die? Hast thou feared me overmuch, thou Foe of the Gods on high? Lest the sword thine hand was wield

ing should turn about and cleave The tangled web of nothing thou

hadst wearied thyself to weave. Lo here the sword and the stroke! judge the Norns betwixt us twain!

But for me, I will live and die not,

nor shall all my hope be vain."

Then his second stroke struck Sigurd, for the Wrath flashed thin and white,

And 'twixt head and trunk of Regin

fierce ran the fateful light; And there lay brother by brother a

faded thing and wan.

But Sigurd cried in the desert: "So

far have I wended on! Dead are the foes of God-home that

would blend the good and the ill; And the World shall yet be famous, and the Gods shall have their will. Nor shall I be dead and forgotten, while the earth grows worse and

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The hoard of the wisdom begrudged, the might of the earlier day. Then wise of heart was he waxen, but longing in him grew

To sow the seed he had gotten, and till the field he knew. So he leapeth aback of Greyfell, and rideth the desert bare, And the hollow slot of Fafnir, that led to the Serpent's lair.

Then long he rode adown it, and the ernes flew overhead,

And tidings great and glorious of that Treasure of old they said.

So far o'er the waste he wended, and when the night was come He saw the earth-old dwelling, the

dread Gold-wallower's home: On the skirts of the Heath it was

builded by a tumbled stony bent; High went that house to the heavens,

down 'neath the earth it went, Of unwrought iron fashioned for the heart of a greedy king: 'Twas a mountain, blind without, and within was its plenishing But the Hoard of Andvari the ancient,

and the sleeping Curse unseen, The Gold of the Gods that spared not and the greedy that have been.

Through the door strode Sigurd the Volsung, and the grey moon and the sword

Fell in on the tawny gold-heaps of the ancient hapless Hoard: Gold gear of hosts unburied, and the

coin of cities dead,

Great spoil of the ages of battle, lay

there on the Serpent's bed: Huge blocks from mid-earth quarried, where none but the Dwarfs have mined,

Wide sands of the golden rivers no foot of man may find

Lay 'neath the spoils of the mighty

and the ruddy rings of yore: But amidst was the Helm of Aweing that the Fear of earth-folk bore,

And there gleamed a wonder beside

it, the Hauberk all of gold, Whose like is not in the heavens nor

has earth of its fellow told: There Sigurd seeth moreover Andvari's Ring of Gain,

The hope of Loki's finger, the Ran

som's utmost grain;

For it shone on the midmost goldheap like the first star set in the sky

In the yellow space of even when moon-rise draweth anigh.

Then laughed the Son of Sigmund, and stooped to the golden land, And gathered that first of the harvest

and set it on his hand; And he did on the Helm of Aweing,

and the Hauberk all of gold, Whose like is not in the heavens nor

has earth of its fellow told: Then he praised the day of the Vol

sungs amid the yellow light, And he set his hand to the labour and

put forth his kingly might; He dragged forth gold to the moon,

on the desert's face he laid The innermost earth's adornment, and

rings for the nameless made; He toiled and loaded Greyfell, and

the cloudy war-steed shone And the gear of Sigurd rattled in the

flood of moonlight wan; There he toiled and loaded Greyfell, and the Volsung's armour rang Mid the yellow bed of the Serpent: but without the eagles sang:

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For there he deemed was the gate and the door of the Glittering Heath,

But not a whit moved Greyfell for

aught that the King might do; Then Sigurd pondered a while, till

the heart of the beast he knew, And clad in all his war-gear he leaped to the saddle-stead,

And with pride and mirth neighed Greyfell and tossed aloft his head,

And sprang unspurred o'er the waste, and light and swift he


And breasted the broken rampart, the

stony tumbled bent;

And over the brow he clomb, and

there beyond was the world, A place of many mountains and great crags together hurled.

So down to the west he wendeth, and

goeth swift and light,

And the stars are beginning to wane, and the day is mingled with night;

For full fane was the sun to arise and

look on the Gold set free, And the Dwarf-wrought rings of the Treasure and the gifts from the floor of the sea.

How Sigurd awoke Brynhild upon Hindfell

By long roads rideth Sigurd amidst that world of stone, And somewhat south he turneth; for

he would not be alone, But longs for the dwellings of man

folk, and the kingly people's speech,

And the days of the glee and the joyance, where men laugh each to each.

But still the desert endureth, and afar must Greyfell fare From the wrack of the Glittering

Heath, and Fafnir's golden lair. Long Sigurd rideth the waste, when, lo, on a morning of day From out of the tangled crag-walls, amidst the cloud-land grey Comes up a mighty mountain, and it is as though there burns A torch amidst of its cloud-wreath; so thither Sigurd turns, For he deems indeed from its topmost to look on the best of the earth;

And Greyfell neigheth beneath him, and his heart is full of mirth.

So he rideth higher and higher, and the light grows great and strange,

And forth from the clouds it flickers,

till at noon they gather and change,

And settle thick on the mountain, and hide its head from sight;

But the winds in a while are awakened, and day bettereth ere the night, And, lifted, a measureless mass o'er the desert crag-walls high, Cloudless the mountain riseth against

the sunset sky,

The sea of the sun grows golden, as

it ebbs from the day's desire; And the light that afar was a torch

is grown a river of fire, And the mountain is black above it,

and below is it dark and dun; And there is the head of Hindfell as an island in the sun.

Night falls, but yet rides Sigurd, and hath no thought of rest,

For he longs to climb that rock-world

and behold the earth at its best; But now mid the maze of the foothills he seeth the light no more, And the stars are lovely and gleaming

on the lightless heavenly floor. So up and up he wendeth till the night is wearing thin;

And he rideth a rift of the mountain, and all is dark therein, Till the stars are dimmed by dawn

ing and the wakening world is cold;

Then afar in the upper rock-wall a

breach doth he behold,

And a flood of light poured inward the

doubtful dawning blinds: So swift he rideth thither and the

mouth of the breach he finds, And sitteth awhile on Greyfell on the

marvellous thing to gaze: For lo, the side of Hindfell enwrapped by the fervent blaze, And nought 'twixt earth and heaven.

save a world of flickering flame, And a hurrying shifting tangle, where

the dark rents went and came.

Great groweth the heart of Sigurd with

uttermost desire,

And he crieth kind to Greyfell, and

they hasten up, and nigher, Till he draweth rein in the dawning on the face of Hindfell's steep: But who shall heed the dawning where the tongues of that wildfire leap?

For they weave a wavering wall, that

driveth over the heaven The wind that is born within it; nor

ever aside is it driven

By the mightiest wind of the waste, and the rain-flood amidst it is nought;

And no wayfarer's door and no win. dow the hand of its builder hath wrought.

But thereon is the Volsung smiling as

its breath uplifteth his hair, And his eyes shine bright with its image, and his mail gleams white and fair,

And his war-helm pictures the heavens and the waning stars be


But his neck is Greyfell stretching to

snuff at the flame-wall blind, And his cloudy flank upheaveth, and tinkleth the knitted mail, And the gold of the uttermost waters is waxen wan and pale.

Now Sigurd turns in his saddle, and

the hilt of the Wrath he shifts, And draws a girth the tighter; then

the gathered reins he lifts, And crieth aloud to Greyfell, and

rides at the wildfire's heart; But the white wall wavers before him and the flame-flood rusheth apart,

And high o'er his head it riseth, and wide and wild is its roar As it beareth the mighty tidings to the very heavenly floor: But he rideth through its roaring as the warrior rides the rye, When it bows with the wind of the summer and the hid spears draw anigh;

The white flame licks his raiment and

sweeps through Greyfell's mane, And bathes both hands of Sigurd and the hilts of Fafnir's bane,

And winds about his war-helm and mingles with his hair,

But nought his raiment dusketh or dims his glittering gear;

Then it fails and fades and darkens

till all seems left behind, And dawn and the blaze is swallowed in mid-mirk stark and blind.

But forth a little further and a little further on

And all is calm about him, and he

sees the scorched earth wan Beneath a glimmering twilight, and

he turns his conquering eyes, And a ring of pale slaked ashes on the

side of Hindfell lies;

And the world of the waste is beyond

it; and all is hushed and grey, And the new-risen moon is a-paleing,

and the stars grow faint with day.

Then Sigurd looked before him and a Shield-burg there he saw,

A wall of the tiles of Odin wrought clear without a flaw, The gold by the silver gleaming, and

the ruddy by the white; And the blazonings of their glory

were done upon them bright, As of dear things wrought for the war-lords new come to Odin's hall.

Piled high aloft to the heavens up

rose that battle-wall,

And far o'er the topmost shield-rim for a banner of fame there hung A glorious golden buckler; and against the staff it rung

As the earliest wind of dawning uprose on Hindfell's face

And the light from the yellowing east beamed soft on the shielded place.

But the Wrath cried out in answer as Sigurd leapt adown

To the wasted soil of the desert by that rampart of renown; He looked but little beneath it, and the dwelling of God it seemed, As against its gleaming silence the eager Sigurd gleamed:

He draweth not sword from scabbard, as the wall he wendeth around, And it is but the wind and Sigurd that wakeneth any sound: But, lo, to the gate he cometh, and the doors are open wide, And no warder the way withstandeth, and no earls by the threshold abide;

So he stands awhile and marvels; then the baleful light of the Wrath Gleams bare in his ready hand as he

wendeth the inward path: For he doubteth some guile of the Gods, or perchance some Dwarfking's snare,

Or a mock of the Giant people that shall fade in the morning air: But he getteth him in and gazeth; and

a wall doth he behold, And the ruddy set by the white, and the silver by the gold; But within the garth that it girdeth no work of man is set, But the utmost head of Hindfell aris

eth higher yet;

And below in the very midmost is a Giant-fashioned mound, Piled high as the rims of the Shieldburg above the level ground; And there, on that mound of the Giants, o'er the wilderness forlorn,

A pale grey image lieth, and gleameth in the morn.

So there was Sigurd alone; and he went from the shielded door,

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