Chapter 42 - Gudrun sends her Sons to avenge Swanhild.
Now Gudrun heard of the slaying of Swanhild, and spake to her sons, "Why sit ye here in peace amid many words, whereas Jormunrek hath slain your sister, and
trodden her under foot of horses in shameful wise? No heart ye have in you like to Gunnar or Hogni; verily they would have avenged their kinswoman!"
Hamdir answered, "Little didst thou praise Gunnar and Hogni, whereas they slew Sigurd, and thou wert reddened in the blood of him, and ill were thy brethren
avenged by the slaying of thine own sons: yet not so ill a deed were it for us to slay King Jormunrek, and so hard thou pushest on to this that we may naught
abide thy hard words."
Gudrun went about laughing now, and gave them to drink from mighty beakers, and thereafter she got for them great byrnies and good, and all other weed1 of
Then spake Hamdir, "Lo now, this is our last parting, for thou shalt hear tidings of us, and drink one grave-ale2 over us and over Swanhild."
So therewith they went their ways.
But Gudrun went unto her bower, with heart swollen with sorrow, and spake--
"To three men was I wedded, and first to Sigurd Fafnir's-bane, and he was bewrayed and slain, and of all griefs was that the greatest grief. Then was I given to
King Atli, and so fell was my heart toward him that I slew in the fury of my grief his children and mine. Then gave I myself to the sea, but the billows thereof
cast me out aland, and to this king then was I given; then gave I Swanhild away out of the land with mighty wealth; and lo, my next greatest sorrow after
Sigurd, for under horses feet was she trodden and slain; but the grimmest and ugliest of woes was the casting of Gunnar into the Worm-close, and the hardest was
the cutting of Hogni's heart from him.
"Ah, better would it be if Sigurd came to meet me, and I went my ways with him, for here bideth now behind with me neither son nor daughter to comfort me. Oh,
mindest thou not, Sigurd, the words we spoke when we went into one bed together, that thou wouldst come and look on me; yea, even from thine abiding place among
And thus had the words of her sorrow an end.
[1. Weed (A.S. "weodo"), clothing.
2. Grave-ale, burial-feast.
* The chapter numbering has been skewed by one, this is Chapter 41 in the Old Norse.]
Guðrún spyrr nú líflát Svanhildar ok mælti við sonu sína: "Hví siti þér kyrrir eða mælið gleðiorð, þar sem Jörmunrekr drap systur ykkra ok trað undir hesta fótum
með svívirðing? Ok ekki hafið þit líkt skaplyndi Gunnari eða Högna. Hefna mundu þeir sinnar frændkonu."
Hamðir svarar: "Lítt lofaðir þú Gunnar ok Högna, þá er þeir drápu Sigurð ok þú vart roðin í hans blóði, ok illar váru þínar bræðra hefndir, er þú drapt sonu þína,
ok betr mættim vér allir saman drepa Jörmunrek konung. Ok eigi munu vér standast frýjuorð, svá hart sem vér erum eggjaðir."
Guðrún gekk hlæjandi ok gaf þeim at drekka af stórum kerum. Ok eptir þat valdi hún þeim stórar brynjur ok góðar ok önnur herklæði.
Þá mælti Hamðir: "Hér munu vér skilja efsta sinni, ok spyrja muntu tíðendin, ok muntu þá erfi drekka eptir okkr ok Svanhildi."
Eptir þat fóru þeir.
En Guðrún gekk til skemmu, harmi aukin, ok mælti:
"Þrimr mönnum var ek gift, fyrst Sigurði Fáfnisbana, ok var hann svikinn, ok var þat mér inn mesti harmr. Síðan var ek gefin Atla konungi, en svá var grimmt mitt
hjarta við hann, at ek drap sonu okkra í harmi. Síðan gekk ek á sjáinn, ok hóf mik at landi með bárum, ok var ek nú gefin þessum konungi. Síðan gifta ek Svanhildi
af landi í brott með miklu fé, ok er mér þat sárast minna harma, er hún var troðin undir hrossa fótum, eptir Sigurð. En þat er mér grimmast, er Gunnarr var í
ormgarð settr, en þat harðast, er ór Högna var hjarta skorit, ok betr væri, at Sigurðr kæmi mér á móti ok færa ek með honum. Hér sitr nú eigi eptir sonr né dóttir
mik at hugga.
Minnstu nú, Sigurðr, þess, er vit mæltum, þá er vit stigum á einn beð, at þú mundir mín vitja ok ór helju bíða."
Ok lýkr þar hennar harmtölur.