"WILLIAM MORRIS (1834 – 1896) was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement. He founded a design firm in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones, and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti which profoundly influenced the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century. He was also a major contributor to reviving traditional textile arts and methods of production, and one of the founders of the SPAB, now a statutory element in the preservation of historic buildings in the UK. Morris wrote and published poetry, fiction, and translations of ancient and medieval texts throughout his life." -- Wikipeda
The Story of Sigurd the Volsungby William Morris
But Siggeir, the jealous king of the Goths, slew Volsung, and took Sigmund prisoner that he might have the sword for himself. Only after many toils and perils did Sigmund win it back and reign in his father's kingdom. At last in his old age he fell in
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The story deals first with a certain King Volsung, to whose son, Sigmund, Odin presented a magic sword.
But Siggeir, the jealous king of the Goths, slew Volsung, and took Sigmund prisoner that he might have the sword for himself. Only after many toils and perils did Sigmund win it back and reign in his father's kingdom. At last in his old age he fell in battle and the sword of Odin was shattered. But his wife, Queen Hiordis, kept the fragments for the son who was born to her soon after in Denmark, whither she fled for safety. This son of Sigmund and Hiordis was Sigurd the Volsung. He was brought up in Denmark and grew strong and beautiful, brave, kind of heart, and utterly truthful in word and deed.
When he became a man he longed to win fame and kingship by mighty deeds, and when his tutor told him of a great dragon that guarded a hoard of ill-gotten gold in the mountains, he resolved to kill it. So the fragments of Odin's sword were forged into a new blade, and Sigurd slew the dragon and took the gold, but with it he brought on himself a curse which had been put upon the treasure by the dwarf from whom it had been stolen.
Sigurd then found and wakened Brynhild, a maiden who lay in an enchanted sleep upon a high mountain. They loved one another, and Sigurd gave her a ring from the dragon's treasure, promising to return and marry her.
Then the curse led him to join with the fierce and treacherous Niblungs or Cloudy People. Their king and his mother grew jealous when they saw Sigurd more mighty and more beloved than themselves, and by enchantments they caused him to forget Brynhild, to wed the princess Gudrun, and at last to aid the Niblung king, Gunnar, to win Brynhild for his own wife.
Then the curse of the gold brought death to many, for Sigurd and Brynhild discovered all the treachery of the Niblungs, who, in their anger, slew Sigurd, and Brynhild killed herself that she might not live and sorrow for him.
Such is the story of Sigurd as it was told a thousand years ago in distant Iceland, and as it is retold in this poem by William Morris.
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