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« The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún » (cont'd)

Cursed be Atli,
king of evil,
of glory naked,
gold-bereavéd,
gold-bereavéd,
gold-tormented,
murder-tainted,
murder-haunted!

Then Atli, crazed with anger, commanded that Gunnar be thrown naked into the serpents' pit. But Gudrún had a harp sent to him, and as he played the serpents fell asleep: all but a huge adder that glided slowly towards him, and stung him in his breast.
When Gudrún heard his cry as he died she called to her her sons by Atli, Erp and Eitill.

The Niflungs were burnt on a pyre, and the Huns made a great funeral feast for their fallen, praising Atli, and drinking deep and long. But Gudrún entered the hall bearing goblets, and coming to Atli she wished him health; and he laughed as he drank, for though the gold was lost to him, yet Gunnar was dead. But she said: 'My brothers are slain that I begged from you. Erp and Eitill do you ask to look on? Ask no longer - their end has come!' She told him how in her madness she had murdered her sons, and that at their debauch they had eaten their hearts, and drunk from bowls that were made from their skulls.
Atli fell on his face in a swoon, and they brought him to his bed, and laid him down and left him to his dreams. But Gudrún came into the chamber and stabbed him to death. Cursing her as he died, he said that she should burn and wither at the stake; but she mocked him, saying 'The doom of burning is dight for thee!' And she set fire to Atli's dwellings.

Thus Atli ended
earth forsaking,
to the Niflungs' bane
the night was come;
of Völsung, Niflung,
of vows broken,
of woe and valour
are the words ended.

But Gudrún wandered witless through the world until she came to the sea, and there she threw herself into the waves and was drowned.

Thus glory endeth,
and gold fadeth,
on noise and clamours
the night falleth.
Lift up your hearts,
lords and maidens
for the song of sorrow
that was sung of old.


(cont'd)

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