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its author, but also in its objectivity, its realism, the primitive passions of its heroes, and the wondrous acts of valor performed by them. It contains many passages of wonderful beauty, and gives a striking picture of the social customs and the religious belief of the time.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM, THE NIBELUNGEN LIED. Mary Elizabeth Burt's Story of the German Iliad, 1892; Thomas Carlyle's Nibelungen Lied (see his Miscellaneous Essays, 1869, vol. iii., pp. 111-162); Sir G. W. Cox and E. H. Jones's Nibelungen Lied (see their Tales of the Teutonic Lands, 1872, pp. 79-132); G. T. Dippold's Nibelungenlied (see his Great Epics of Mediæval Germany, 1882, pp. 1-117); William T. Dobson's Nibelungenlied Epitomized (see his Classic Poets, 1878); Auber Forestier's Echoes from Mistland, or the Nibelungen Lay Revealed, Tr. by A. A. Woodward, 1877 ; Joseph Gostwick's and Robert Harrison's Nibelungenlied (see their Outlines of German Literature, n. d., pp. 16-24); Hugh Reginald Haweis's Nibelungenlied (see his Musical Memories, 1887, pp. 225-250); Frederick Henry Hedge's Nibelungenlied (see his Hours with the German Classics, 1887, pp. 25-55); James K. Hosmer's Nibelungen Lied (see his Short History of German Literature, 1891, pp. 23–77) ; J. P. Jackson's Ring of the Nibelung, Cosmopolitan, 1888, vol. vi. pp. 415433 ; Henry W. Longfellow's Nibelungenlied (see his Poets and Poetry of Europe, new ed., enlarged, 1882, pp. 217–227) ; J. M. F. Ludlow's Lay and Lament of the Niblungs (see his Popular Epics of the Middle Ages, 1865, pp. 105-183); E. Magnusson and William Morris's Völsunga Saga, story of the Völsungs and Niblungs, 1870; William Morris's Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs, 1887; F. Max Müller's Das Nibelungenlied (see his German Classics, new ed., 1893, vol. i., pp. 136); Ernst Raupach's Nibelungen Treasure, a tragedy from the German with remarks, 1847 ; A. M. Richey's Teutonic and the Celtic Epic, Fraser's Magazine, 1874, vol. lxxxix., pp. 336–354; Wilhelm Scherer's Nibelungenlied (see
his History of German Literature, 1893, vol. i., pp. 101115); Leda M. Schoonamaker's Nibelungen Lied, Harper's Magazine, 1877, vol. lv., pp. 38-51; Bayard Taylor's Nibelungen Lied (see his Studies in German Literature, 1893, pp. 101-134); Wilhelm Wagner's Nibelungenlied (see his Epics and Romances of the Middle Ages, 1883, pp. 229306); Henry Weber's The Song of the Nibelungen (see Weber and Jamieson, Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, 1874, pp. 167-213).
STANDARD ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS, THE NIBELUNGEN. The Nibelungen Lied, Tr. by Alfred G. Foster Barham, 1887; The Lay of the Nibelungers, Tr. into English text after Lachman's text by Jonathan Birch, ed. 3, 1887; The Nibelungenlied, Tr. by Joseph Gostwick (see his Spirit of German Poetry, 1843); The Fall of the Nibelungers, Tr. by William Nanson Lettsom, ed. 2, 1874.
THE STORY OF THE NIBELUNGEN LIED.
In the beautiful city of Worms, in Burgundy, dwelt the maiden Kriemhild, surpassing all others in beauty.
Her father, long since dead, was Dancrat ; her mother, Uta, and her three brothers, – Günther, Gernot, and Giselher, — puissant princes whose pride it was to guard their lovely sister. Among the noble lords their liegemen were Hagan of Trony, Dankwart, his brother, Ortwine of Metz, Eckewart, Gary, Folker, Rumolt the steward, Sindolt the butler, and Humolt the chamberlain.
The peace of the beautiful Kriemhild was one night disturbed by a dream, in which she saw a young falcon that she had long reared with tender care torn to pieces by two fierce eagles. When she confided this dream to her mother, the wise Uta declared that it meant that she would one day wed a fair prince threatened with a dreadful doom.
“ Then I will never wed!” cried Kriemhild. “ Better to forego the bliss thou tellest me attends only the wedded state than to taste the anguish foretold by my dream.” Alas ! little could she guess of what the future held in store for her.
In the wide country of the Netherlands, in the city of Xanten, dwelt the great prince Siegmund and his wife Sieglind. Their kingdom was wide, their wealth great, but nothing gave them so much happiness as the renown of their glorious son Siegfried. Such mighty deeds of valor had he performed that his fame was already world-wide, though he was but a youth. To Xanten the fame of the peerless princess Kriemhild had penetrated, and the young prince declared to his parents his intention of seeking her out in Burgundy, and wooing her for his wife. All entreaties were in vain ; with but twelve companions, each fitted out with the most gorgeous vestments, by the care of the queen mother, the haughty prince advanced into Burgundy.
King Günther, surprised at the sight of the splendidly attired strangers, called one after another of his knights to inform him who they were. None knew, until Hagan was at last called because he was familiar with the warriors of every land. He did not know them. “ But,” said he,
though I have never set eyes on him, I'll wager that is the noble Siegfried, the mighty warrior who slew the Nibelungers. Once, so I have heard the story, when he was riding alone, he saw the two kings Nibelung and Shilbung dividing the treasure of the Niblungs. They had just brought it out from the cavern where it was guarded by the dwarf Albric, and they called Siegfried to come and divide it for them. The task was so great that he did not finish it, and when the angry kings set upon him he slew them both, their giant champions and chiefs, and then overcame the dwarf Albric, and possessed himself of his wondrous cloud-cloak. So he is now lord of the Nibelungers and owner of the mighty treasure. Not only this, my king; he once slew a poisonspitting dragon and bathed in its blood, so that his skin is invulnerable. Treat the young prince with respect. It would be ill-advised to arouse his hatred.”
While the king and his counsellors were admiring his haughty bearing, Siegfried and his followers advanced to the hall and were fittingly welcomed. Siegfried haughtily declared that he had come to learn if Günther's renown for knighthood was correct, and wished to fight with him, with their respective kingdoms as stakes. Günther had no desire to fight with such a doughty warrior, and he hastened to soothe Siegfried's wrath with gentle words, inviting him to remain as his guest.
So happy was Siegfried in the tourneys and games enjoyed by Günther's court, that he remained in Worms for a year, and in all that time never set eyes on Kriemhild.
How enraptured would he have been had he known that the gentle maiden watched for him daily at her lattice, and came to long for a glimpse of the handsome stranger!
At the end of the year tidings were brought to Worms that the Saxons, led by King Lüdeger, and Lüdegast, king of Denmark, were marching against Burgundy. The Burgundians were terrified at the news; but Siegfried, delighted at the thought of war, begged Günther to give him but a thousand Burgundians, in addition to the twelve comrades he had brought with him, and he would pledge himself to defeat, unaided, the presumptuous enemy. Many were the camps of the foe; full forty thousand were there mustered out to fight, but Siegfried quickly scattered them, slew many thousands, and took the two kings prisoners.
How joyful the melancholy Kriemhild became when the messenger bore to her the glad tidings ! Ruddy gold and costly garments he gained for his good news.
On Siegfried's return he first met and loved Kriemhild. More blooming than May, sweeter than summer's pride, she stood by the gallant warrior, who dared not yet to woo her. The twelve days of revel in celebration of the victory were one long dream of bliss to the happy lovers.
While Siegfried was still lingering at Günther's court, tidings were brought thither of the beauty, prowess, and great strength of Brunhild, Queen of Issland, and Günther determined to go thither and woo her. Siegfried implored him not to go.
“ Thou knowest not what thou must undertake,” he said. “ Thou must take part in her contests, throw the javelin, throw the stone and jump after it, and if thou fail in even one of these three games thou must lose thy life and that of thy companions."
When Siegfried found that he could not move Günther, he promised to go with him and assist him, on condition that on their return Günther would give him the beautiful Kriemhild for his wife.
Attired in the most splendid raiment, prepared by the willing fingers of Kriemhild and her maids, Günther, with only three companions, Siegfried, Hagan, and Dankwart, set forth to Issland. Siegfried requested his companions to inform Brunhild that he was Günther's man; and when she welcomed him first, he himself told her to speak first to his master.