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After this Alfadur (the Almighty) will cause a new heaven and a new earth to arise out of the sea. The new earth, filled with abundant supplies, will produce its fruits without labor or care. Wickedness and misery will no more be known, but the gods and men will live happily together.
This twilight of the gods is aptly described in a conversation held between Balder and Hermod, after Hermod has a second time ridden to Hel:
And the fleet-footed Hermod made reply:-1
He spake; but Balder answered him, and said:--
1 From Matthew Arnold's "Balder Dead."
And his black brother-bird from hence reply,
He spake; and the fleet Hermod thus replied: “ Brother, what seats are these, what happier day? Tell me, that I may ponder it when gone."
And the ray-crowned Balder answered him: " Far to the south, beyond the blue, there spreads Another heaven, the boundless — no one yet Hath reached it; there hereafter shall arise The second Asgard, with another name. Thither, when o'er this present earth and heavens The tempest of the latter days hath swept, And they from sight have disappeared and sunk, Shall a small remnant of the gods repair ; Höder and I shall join them from the grave. There re-assembling we shall see emerge From the brighf ocean at our feet an earth More fresh, more verdant than the last, with fruits Self-springing, and a seed of man preserved, Who then shall live in peace, as now in war. But we in heaven shall find again with joy The ruin'd palaces of Odin, seats Familiar, halls where we have supp'd of old, Re-enter them with wonder, never fill Our eyes with gazing, and rebuild with tears. And we shall tread once more the well-known plain
Of Ida, and among the grass shall find
MYTHS OF NORSE AND OLD GERMAN HEROES.
§ 185. The Saga of the Volsungs.1 — Sigi, the son of Odin, was a mighty king of the Huns whom Odin loved and prospered exceedingly. Rerir, also, the son of Sigi, was a man of valor and one who got lordship and land unto himself; but neither Sigi nor Rerir were to compare with Volsung, who ruled over Hunland after his father Rerir went home to Odin.
To Volsung were born ten sons, — and one daughter, Signy by name ; and of the sons Sigmund was the eldest and the most valiant. And the Volsungs abode in peace till Siggeir, king of Gothland, came wooing Signy, who, though loth to accept him, was, by her father's desire, betrothed to him.
Now on the night of the wedding great fires were made in the hall of the Volsungs, and in the midst stood Branstock, a great oak tree, about which the hall had been built, and the limbs of the tree spread over the roof of the hall ; and round about Branstock they sat and feasted, and sang of ancient heroes and heard the music of the harp that went from hand to hand.
But e'en as men's hearts were hearkening some heard the thunder pass?
i See the Story of the Volsungs, by William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson; William Morris' Sigurd the Volsung: Vigfusson and Powell's Corpus Poeticum Boreale; and Commentary $185.
2 The extracts in verse are from William Morris' Sigurd the Volsung. *
A bill he bore on his shoulder, whose mighty ashen beam
So strode he to the Branstock, nor greeted any lord,
So sweet his speaking sounded, so wise his words did seem
Then all made trial, Siggeir and his earls, and Volsung and his people, to draw forth the sword from Branstock, but with no success, till Sigmund, laying his hand carelessly on the precious hilt, drew forth the naked blade as though it were loose in the oak. Whereupon Siggeir offered money for the sword, but Sigmund scorned the offer.
But in time Siggeir had his vengeance. Inviting King Volsung and his sons to Gothland, he fell upon them, slew the king, and suffered the sons, fastened under a log, to be devoured in succes