Hildebrandslied manuscript fragment

Das Hildebrandslied fragment


{Old German Text}

Ik gihorta ðat seggen, 
ðat sih urhettun ænon muotin: 
Hiltibrant enti Haðubrant untar heriun tuem. 
sunufatarungo iro saro rihtun, 

5 garutun sê iro guðhamun, gurtun sih iro suert ana,
helidos, ubar hringa, do sie to dero hiltiu ritun. 
Hiltibrant gimahalta, Heribrantes sunu,—her uuas heroro man,
ferahes frotoro—her fragen gistuont 
fohem uuortum, hwer sin fater wari 

10 fireo in folche,
"eddo hwelihhes cnuosles du sis. 
ibu du mi enan sages, ik mi de odre uuet, 
chind in chunincriche. chud ist mi al irmindeot." 
Hadubrant gimahalta, Hiltibrantes sunu: 

15 "dat sagetun mi usere liuti,
alte anti frote, dea érhina warun, 
dat Hiltibrant hætti min fater, ih heittu Hadubrant. 
forn her ostar giweit, floh her Otachres nid, 
hina miti Theotrihhe enti sinero degano filu. 

20 her furlaet in lante luttila sitten,
prut in bure barn unwahsan, 
arbeo laosa. her raet ostar hina. 
des sid Detrihhe darba gistuontun 
fateres mines: dat uuas so friuntlaos man. 

25 her was Otachre ummet tirri,
degano dechisto miti Deotrihhe. 
her was eo folches at ente: imo was eo fehta ti leop. 
chud was her chonnem mannum. 
ni waniu ih iu lib habbe." 

30 "wettu irmingot", quad Hiltibrant, "obana ab heuane,
dat du neo dana halt mit sus sippan man 
dinc ni gileitos!" 
want her do ar arme wuntane bauga,  cheisuringu gitan, so imo se der chuning gap,

35 Huneo truhtin: "dat ih dir it nu bi huldi gibu."
Hadubrant gimahalta, Hiltibrantes sunu: 
"mit geru scal man geba infahan, 
ort widar orte. 
du bist dir, alter Hun, ummet spaher; 

40 spenis mih mit dinem wortun, wili mih dinu speru werpan
pist also gialtet man, so du ewin inwit fortos. 
dat sagetun mi seolidante 
westar ubar wentilseo, dat inan wic furnam: 
tot is Hiltibrant, Heribrantes suno." 

45 Hiltibrant gimahalta, Heribrantes suno:
"wela gisihu ih in dinem hrustim, 
dat du habes heme herron goten, 
dat du noh bi desemo riche reccheo ni wurti." 
welaga nu, waltant got", quad Hiltibrant, "wewurt skihit! 

50 ih wallota sumaro enti wintro sehstic ur lante,
dar man mih eo scerita in folc sceotantero. 
so man mir at burc enigeru banun ni gifasta. 
nu scal mih suasat chind suertu hauwan, 
breton mit sinu billiu, eddo ih imo ti banin werdan. 

55 doh maht du nu aodlihho, ibu dir din ellen taoc,
in sus heremo man hrusti giwinnan, 
rauba birahanen, ibu du dar enic reht habes." 
"der si doh nu argosto", quad Hiltibrant, "ostarliuto, 
der dir nu wiges warne, nu dih es so wel lustit, 

60 gudea gimeinun. niuse de motti,
hwerdar sih hiutu dero hregilo rumen muotti, 
erdo desero brunnono bedero uualtan!" 
do lettun se ærist asckim scritan 
scarpen scurim, dat in dem sciltim stont. 

65 do stoptun to samane staimbort hludun,
heuwun harmlicco huitte scilti, 
unti im iro lintun luttila wurtun, 
giwigan miti wabnum [..]

{My English translation}

I heard it said, for it was surely told,
that they met one-on-one from each army:
Hildebrand and Hadubrand, the warriors twain.
Of consanguine blood were they, who readied their gear,

(5) righted their armor and girt their swords
over the ring[-mail], riding forth to combat.
Hildebrand, son of Heribrand commenced speech — it was the elder and more inveterate one who with sparse words asked who the other's father was, [*1]

(10) and which line he stemmed from.
"Tell me to which family you belong.
Utter me one [name] and I shall know the rest, for I am wise to [the names of] all of the tribesmen in the kingdom."
Hadubrand, Hildebrand's son, answered:

(15) "My people have told me,
Old Veteran, who have lived so long,
that my father hight Hildebrand. I am hight Hadubrand.
Once ago, my father withdrew to the east, fleeing before Odoacer's wrath, with Theodoric and his doughties. [*2]

(20) He left a young wife in the homeland,
helpless and bereft of inheritance,
[ and ] a small child [ there besides ].
He rode away to the east. Hence the father of mine became one who Dietrich could scarce dowithout: for so few friends had he.

(25) [ However, my father, ] Dietrich's most faithful follower,
shared that hatred which knew no bounds towards Odoacer.
He always rode at the vanguard of the army. Every fight he openly welcomed. [Only] the most courageous could have done that. I do not believe him still alive."

(30) "I call upon the God of Heaven", Hildebrand then said,
"to be [my] witness. Never have you faced so close a kin as your foe."
Whereupon he removed the [armlet-]ring,
forged from the emperor's gold, which the king

(35) of the Huns had given him: "I give you this out of friendship." But Hadubrand, Hildebrand's son, answered:
"one ought give a gift by point of the spear ![*3]
Old Hun, you truly are cunning;

(40) lulling me with your words into a [ sense of false ] security, only then to strike me with your spear. You are already so old, and you are as full of tricks as ever. — I know from seafarers who [came] westward over the sea, and who fought alongside father in battle: Hildebrand, the son Heribrands is dead! "

(45) Hildebrand, son of Heribrand, then said: "On your armor I see clearly, that you serve in the household of a mighty lord, and you have not yet been banished by your master. — O wieldly God"[*4], quoth Hildebrand, "Fate wills to run its course!

(50) I have been gone sixty summers and winters[*5] away in a foreign land. There I was e'er put up against a whole batallion of archers. One castle upon another. Death never overcame me all that time, but alas it comes to me now, for my own son with the sword shall slay me, with his weapon shall fell me to ground — unless I bring death to him.

(55) Nonetheless, you can vanquish me now easily, if your strength is equal to it, win the spoils of this old warrior's armor, if you can prove your mettle. — Now [I] would really be one of the wretchedest cowards that ever went east," said Hildebrand, "if I fain refuse to fight you, since you are seething so much to

(60) [have this] fight between us. So let us now have the test imposed upon us, as to who between the two of us will lose our harness[*6], which of us will win both our byrnie."[*7]
There they hurl the ashwood spears at each other, with a so hard impact that they lodged firmly in their shields.

(65) From this, they rebounded off each other in recoil, their shields banging loudly[*8]. Full of wrath, they struck at their white shields, until the linden-wood boards were shivered to bits by the weapons [..][*9]


Footnotes:
[*1]Though this may be a form of flyting, or verbal contest, it is much more civil than the example one sees in the Volsunga Saga, Ch. 9. In Robert Graves' I, Claudius, two Germanic chieftains called Sigimerus/Siegmyrgth and Arminius/Hermann participate in such contest, one which is based on Tacitus' account. [*2]Odoacer/Ottovacar (434?-493 A.D.) is known for deposing the Roman emperor and declaring himself ruler of Italy, and eventually defeated and murdered by Theodoric the Great (the usual figure identified with Dietrich, who appears here as Hildebrand's master). In most other works of the Dietrich cycle, Ermanrich appears in the place of Odoacer. It is often commentated that Theodoric was victor and was never put to flight by Ermenrich/Odoacer, but I don't think this is completely true. When Tufa, who was originally Odoacer's general, entered Theodoric's service, only to revert back to his old allegiance, Theodoric suffered a serious reversal of fortune, and took flight (although the exile certainly did not endure for 30 years &madash; see footnote5).
[*3]This might be interpreted as the custom where the giver places the ring at the tip of his spear, and passing it to the receiver spear, so he can let the ring slide down the shaft and catch it. (I attribute this interpretation to Lee Edgar Tyler — thx. ) [*4]It is an open question whether this God is Christian or heathen.
[*5] Sixty summers and winters is thirty years. In this poem, this is the length of time since Hildeberand left his homeland, wherever that may be. In other works, thirty years is the amount of time Dietrich spent in exile (in the service of Attila the Hun) before he got his vengeance. [*6] hregil is the etymological root for rail (garment or mantle). Here I used "harnsess" (MHG harnische) which applied to gear worn by men-at-arms, and not just to horses.
[*7] Brünne:  (OHG brunia ON brynja) is most commonly rendered in English as "byrnie" (though "brynie" seems phonetically closer). Though one cannot pinpoint the form of this armor, it may well be a leather jacket with metal lames or scales sewn onto them.
[*8]Germanic practice of banging on their own shield with their swords, to muster their own courage and strike fear in the enemy.
[*9]The so-called "younger" Hildebrandslied (in Old High German) gives this an ending, and Hildebrand defeats his son but does not kill him.

* The above rendition of mine in English is entirely based on the modern German and English translations I found below:
LINKS
OGer. Text{modern German tr.(1): www.nd.edu/~gantho/anth1-163/Hildebrandslied13-20.html#n1
another modern German tr. (2): http://hub.ib.hu-berlin.de/~hab/arnd/Start.html
D. L. Ashliman's English textF http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/hildebrand.html

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