Uniformly at Random

The death of Fafnir

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The passage quoted below is from William Morris’ long poem Sigurd the Volsung.  It describes the dying words of the dragon Fafnir, spoken to his killer Sigurd.  The tale of Sigurd is well-known and told in many medieval versions, notably the Norse prose version of the Volsungasaga, which Morris, along with Eirikr Magnússon, had previously translated.

“Woe, woe! in the days passed over I bore the Helm of Dread,
I reared the Face of Terror, and the hoarded hate of the Dead:
I overcame and was mighty; I was wise and cherished my heart
In the waste where no man wandered, and the high house builded apart:
Till I met thine hand, O Sigurd, and thy might ordained from of old;
And I fought and fell in the morning, and I die far off from the Gold.”

Then Sigurd leaned on his sword, and a dreadful voice went by
Like the wail of a God departing and the War-God’s misery;
And strong words of ancient wisdom went by on the desert wind,
The words that mar and fashion, the words that loose and bind;
And sounds of a strange lamenting, and such strange things bewailed,
That words to tell their meaning the tongue of man hath failed.

Then all sank into silence, and the Son of Sigmund stood
On the torn and furrowed desert by the pool of Fafnir’s blood,
And the Serpent lay before him, dead, chilly, dull, and grey;
And over the Glittering Heath fair shone the sun and the day,
And a light wind followed the sun and breathed o’er the fateful place,
As fresh as it furrows the sea-plain or bows the acres’ face.


Written by uncudh

December 1, 2008 at 4:15 am

Posted in literature

Tagged with , , ,

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