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And aloft in the desert of wonder the

Light of the Branstock he bore; And he set his face to the earthmound, and beheld the image


And the dawn was growing about it;

and, lo, the shape of a man Set forth to the eyeless desert on the

tower-top of the world, High over the cloud-wrought castle whence the windy bolts are hurled.

Now he comes to the mound and climbs it, and will see if the man be dead;

Some King of the days forgotten laid

there with crowned head,

Or the frame of a God, it may be, that

in heaven hath changed his life, Or some glorious heart beloved, God

rapt from the earthly strife: Now over the body he standeth, and

seeth it shapen fair,

And clad from head to foot-sole in

pale grey-glittering gear, In a hauberk wrought as straitly as

though to the flesh it were grown: But a great helm hideth the head and

is girt with a glittering crown.

So thereby he stoopeth and kneeleth,

for he deems it were good indeed If the breath of life abide there and

the speech to help at need; And as sweet as the summer wind from a garden under the sun Cometh forth on the topmost Hind

fell the breath of that sleeping


Then he saith he will look on the face,

if it bear him love or hate, Or the bonds for his life's constraining, or the sundering doom of fate.

So he draweth the helm from the head, and, lo, the brow snowwhite,

And the smooth unfurrowed cheeks,

and the wise lips breathing light; And the face of a woman it is, and the fairest that ever was born, Shown forth to the empty heavens

and the desert world forlorn: But he looketh, and loveth her sore, and he longeth her spirit to move, And awaken her heart to the world, that she may behold him and love.

And he toucheth her breast and her hands, and he loveth her passing


And he saith: "Awake! I am Sigurd";

but she moveth never the more.

Then he looked on his bare bright

blade, and he said: "Thouwhat wilt thou do? For indeed as I came by the war-garth

thy voice of desire I knew." Bright burnt the pale blue edges for

the sunrise drew anear, And the rims of the Shield-burg glittered, and the east was exceeding clear:

So the eager edges he setteth to the Dwarf-wrought battle-coat Where the hammered ring-knit collar constraineth the woman's throat;

But the sharp Wrath biteth and rend

eth, and before it fail the rings, And, lo, the gleam of the linen, and the light of golden things: Then he driveth the blue steel onward, and through the skirt, and


Till nought but the rippling linen is wrapping her about;

Then he deems her breath comes quicker and her breast begins to heave,

So he turns about the War-Flame and rends down either sleeve, Till her arms lie white in her raiment, and a river of sun-bright hair Flows free o'er bosom and shoulder and floods the desert bare.

Then a flush cometh over her visage.

and a sigh up-heaveth her breast, And her eyelids quiver and open, and

she wakeneth into rest; Wide-eyed on the dawning she gazeth,

too glad to change or smile, And but little moveth her body, nor

speaketh she yet for a while; And yet kneels Sigurd moveless her

wakening speech to heed, While soft the waves of the daylight

o'er the starless heavens speed, And the gleaming rims of the Shield

burg yet bright and brighter


And the thin moon hangeth her horns

dead-white in the golden glow.

Then she turned and gazed on Sigurd,

and her eyes met the Volsung's eyes.

And mighty and measureless now did

the tide of his love arise, For their longing had met and mingled, and he knew of her heart that she loved,

As she spake unto nothing but him and her lips with the speech-flood moved:

"O, what is the thing so mighty that

my weary sleep hath torn, And rent the fallow bondage, and the wan woe over-worn?"

He said: "The hand of Sigurd and the Sword of Sigmund's son, And the heart that the Volsungs fashioned this deed for thee have done."

But she said: "Where then is Odin that laid me here alow? Long lasteth the grief of the world, and man-folk's tangled woe!"

"He dwelleth above," said Sigurd, "but I on the earth abide, And I came from the Glittering Heath the waves of thy fire to ride."

But therewith the sun rose upward

and lightened all the earth, And the light flashed up to the heavens from the rims of the glorious girth;

But they twain arose together, and

with both her palms outspread, And bathed in the light returning, she cried aloud and said:

"All hail O Day and thy Sons, and thy kin of the coloured things! Hail, following Night, and thy Daughter that leadeth thy wavering wings!

Look down with unangry eyes on us today alive,

And give us the hearts victorious, and

the gain for which we strive! All hail, ye Lords of God-home, and

ye Queens of the House of Gold! Hail thou dear Earth that bearest,

and thou Wealth of field and fold! Give us, your noble children, the glory of wisdom and speech, And the hearts and the hands of healing, and the mouths and hands that teach!"

Then they turned and were knit together; and oft and o'er again They craved, and kissed rejoicing, and their hearts were full and fain.

Then Sigurd looketh upon her, and

the words from his heart arise: "Thou art the fairest of earth, and

the wisest of the wise;

O who art thou that lovest? I am Sigurd, e'en as I told;

I have slain the Foe of the Gods, and gotten the Ancient Gold; And great were the gain of thy love, and the gift of mine earthly days,

If we twain should never sunder as

we wend on the changing ways. O who art thou that lovest, thou

fairest of all things born? And what meaneth thy sleep and thy slumber in the wilderness forlorn?"

She said: "I am she that loveth: I

was born of the earthly folk, But of old Allfather took me from the Kings and their wedding yoke: And he called me the Victory-Wafter, and I went and came as he would,

And I chose the slain for his war-host, and the days were glorious and good,

Till the thoughts of my heart over

came me, and the pride of my wisdom and speech, And I scorned the earth-folk's Framer and the Lord of the world I must teach:

For the death-doomed I caught from the sword, and the fated life I slew,

And I deemed that my deeds were goodly, and that long I should do and undo.

But Allfather came against me and the God in his wrath arose; And he cried: 'Thou hast thought in thy folly that the Gods have friends and foes,

That they wake, and the world wends onward, that they sleep, and the world slips back,

That they laugh, and the world's weal waxeth, that they frown

and fashion the wrack: Thou hast cast up the curse against me; it shall fall aback on thine head;

Go back to the sons of repentance, with the children of sorrow wed!

For the Gods are great unholpen, and their grief is seldom seen, And the wrong that they will and must be is soon as it hath not been.'

"Yet I thought: 'Shall I wed in the world, shall I gather grief on the earth?

Then the fearless heart shall I wed, and bring the best to birth, And fashion such tales for the telling, that Earth shall be holpen at least,

If the Gods think scorn of its fairness, as they sit at the changeless feast.'

"Then somewhat smiled Allfather; and he spake: 'So let it be! The doom thereof abideth; the doom of me and thee.

Yet long shall the time pass over ere thy waking-day be born:

Fare forth, and forget and be weary 'neath the Sting of the Sleepful Thorn!'

"So I came to the head of Hindfell and the ruddy shields and white, And the wall of the wildfire wavering

around the isle of night; And there the Sleep-thorn pierced me, and the slumber on me fell, And the night of nameless sorrows that hath no tale to tell. Now I am she that loveth; and the day is nigh at hand

When I, who have ridden the searealm and the regions of the land,

And dwelt in the measureless mountains and the forge of stormy days,

Shall dwell in the house of my fathers

and the land of the people's praise;

And there shall hand meet hand, and

heart by heart shall beat, And the lying-down shall be joyous,

and the morn's uprising sweet. Lo now, I look on thine heart and be

hold of thine inmost will, That thou of the days wouldst heark

en that our portion shall fulfill; But O, be wise of man-folk, and the

hope of thine heart refrain! As oft in the battle's beginning ye vex the steed with the rein, Lest at last in its latter ending, when

the sword hath hushed the horn, His limbs should be weary and fail,

and his might be over-worn. O be wise, lest thy love constrain me, and my vision wax o'er-clear, And thou ask of the thing that thou shouldst not, and the thing that thou wouldst not hear.

"Know thou, most mighty of men, that the Norns shall order all, And yet without thine helping shall no whit of their will befall; Be wise! 'tis a marvel of words, and a mock for the fool and the blind; But I saw it writ in the heavens, and its fashioning there did I find: And the night of the Norns and their slumber, and the tide when the

world runs back,

And the way of the sun is tangled, it is wrought of the dastard's lack.

But the day when the fair earth blossoms, and the sun is bright above, Of the daring deeds is it fashioned and the eager hearts of love.

"Be wise, and cherish thine hope in the freshness of the days, And scatter its seed from thine hand in the field of the people's praise; Then fair shall it fall in the furrow,

and some the earth shall speed, And the sons of men shall marvel at the blossom of the deed: But some the earth shall speed not;

nay rather, the wind of the heaven Shall waft it away from thy longing

-and a gift to the Gods hast thou given,

And a tree for the roof and the wall in the house of the hope that shall

be, Though it seemeth our very sorrow,

and the grief of thee and me.

"Strive not with the fools of manfolk: for belike thou shalt overcome;

And what then is the gain of thy hunting when thou bearest the quarry home?

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