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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Waking of Brunhilde on the Hindfell by Sigurd

By The Eddas (Icelandic; Ninth to Thirteenth Centuries)

From ‘The Story of Sigurd the Völsung,’ by William Morris

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 sore;

And he saith, “Awake! I am Sigurd;” but she moveth never the more.

Then he looked on his bare bright blade, and he said, “Thou—what 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 rendeth, 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 out,

Till naught 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 upheaveth 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 grow,

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 Völsung’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:—

“Oh, 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 Völsungs 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;…

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.