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... In Iron Age Britain two brothers struggle for supremacy. The Archdruid prophesies kingship for one, banishment for the other. But it is the exiled brother who will lead the Celts across the Alps into deadly collision with Rome...
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Völsunga Saga

Page 24

Then went the bondmaid home, and told Sigrun, and sang --

     Go out, Sigrun
     From Sevafell,
     If thou listest to look on
     The lord of thy people!
     For the mound is uncovered
     Thither is Helgi come,
     And his wounds are bleeding,
     But the king thee biddeth
     To come and stay
     That stream of sorrow.
So Sigrun went into the mound to Helgi, and sang --
     Now am I as fain
     Of this fair meeting,
     As are the hungry
     Hawks of Odin,
     When they wot of the slaying
     Of the yet warm quarry,
     Or bright with dew
     See the day a-dawning.

Ah, I will kiss My king laid lifeless, Ere thou castest by Thy blood-stained byrny. O Helgi, thy hair Is thick with death's rime, With the dew of the dead Is my love all dripping; Dead-cold are the hands Of the son of Hogni; How for thee, O my king, May I win healing?

HELGI: Thou alone, Sigrun Of Sevafell, Hast so done that Helgi With grief's dew drippeth; O clad in gold Cruel tears thou weepest, Bright May of the Southlands, Or ever thou sleepest; Each tear in blood falleth On the breast of thy lord, Cold wet and bitter-sharp Swollen with sorrow.

Ah, we shall drink Dear draughts and lovely, Though, we have lost Both life and lands; Neither shall any Sing song of sorrow, Though in my breast Be wounds wide to behold: For now are brides In the mound abiding; Kings' daughters sit By us departed.

Bow Sigrun arrayed a bed in the mound, and sang --
     Here, Helgi, for thee
     A bed have I dight,
     Kind without woe,
     O kin of the Ylfings!
     To thy bosom, O king,
     Will I come and sleep soft,
     As I was wont
     When my lord was living.

HELGI: Now will I call Naught not to be hoped for Early or late At Sevafell, When thou in the arms Of a dead man art laid, White maiden of Hogni, Here in the mound: And thou yet quick, O King's daughter!

Now needs must I ride On the reddening ways; My pale horse must tread The highway aloft; West must I go To Windhelm's bridge Ere the war-winning crowd Hall-crower (4) waketh.

So Helgi rode his ways: and the others gat them gone home to the house. But the next night Sigrun bade the bondwoman have heed of the mound. So at nightfall, thenas Sigrun came to the mound, she sang:
     Here now would he come,
     If to come he were minded;
     Sigmund's offspring
     From the halls of Odin.
     O me the hope waneth
     Of Helgi's coming;
     For high on the ash-boughs
     Are the ernes abiding,
     And all folk drift
     Toward the Thing of the dreamland.

BONDMAID: Be not foolish of heart, And fare all alone To the house of the dead, O Hero's daughter! For more strong and dreadful In the night season Are all dead warriors Than in the daylight.

But a little while lived Sigrun, because of her sorrow and trouble. But in old time folk trowed that men should be born again, though their troth be now deemed but an old wife's dotting. And so, as folk say, Helgi and Sigrun were born again, and at that tide was he called Helgi the Scathe of Hadding, and she Kara the daughter of Halfdan; and she was a Valkyrie, even as is said in the Lay of Kara.

(4) Hall-crower, "Salgofnir": lit. Hall-gaper, the cock of Valhall. Back

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