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But far otherwise it proved: Siegfried by main with a Dwarf Army; he was driven back into the cave: plundered of his Tarnkappe; and obliged with all his myrmidons to swear fealty to the conqueror, whom indeed thenceforth he and they punctually obeyed.

force slew this Dragon, or rather Dragonized Smith's-Brother; made broth of him; and, warned by some significant phenomena, bathed therein; or, as others assert, bathed directly in the monster's blood without cookery; and hereby attained that Invulnerability, complete in all respects, save that Letween his shoulders where a limetree leaf chanced to settle and stick during the process, there was one little spot, a fatal spot as afterwards turned out, left in its natural state.

Whereby Siegfried might now farther style himself King of the Nibelungen; master of the infinite Nibelungen Hoard (collected doubtless by art-magic in the beginning of Time, in the deep bowels of the Universe) with the Wünschelruthe, (Wishing or Divining-rod,) pertaining thereto; owner of the Tarnkappe, which he ever after kept by him, to put on at will; and though last not least, Bearer and Wielder of the Sword Balmung,* by the keen edge of which all this gain had come to him. To which last acquisitions, adding his previously acquired Invulnerability, and his natural dignities as Prince of Netherland, he might well show himself before the foremost at Worms or elsewhere; and attempt any the highest adventure that fortune could cut out for him. However, his subsequent history belongs all to the Nibelungen Song; at which fair garden of poesy we are now, through all these shaggy wildernesses and enchanted woods, finally arrived.

Siegfried, now seeing through the craft of the Smith, returned home and slew him; then set forth in search of adventures, the bare catalogue of which were long to recite. We mention only two, as subsequently of moment both for him and for us. He is by some said to have courted and then jilted the fair and proud Queen Brunhild of Isenland; nay, to have thrown down the seven gates of her Castle; and then ridden off with her wild horse Gana, having mounted him in the meadow, and instantly broken him. Some cross passages between him and Queen Brunhild, who understood no jesting, there must clearly have been, so angry is her recognition of him in the Nilebungen; nay, she bears a lasting grudge against him there, as he, and indeed, she also, one day too sorely felt.

only as by far the finest monument of old Apart from its antiquarian value, and not German art, but intrinsically, and as a mere excellence that cannot but surprise us. With detached composition, this Nibelungen has an little preparation, any reader of poetry, even in these days, might find it interesting. It is not without a certain Unity of interest and purport, an internal coherence and completeinforms it: these are the highest characteristics ness; it is a Whole, and some spirit of Music of a true Poem. Considering farther what intellectual environment we now find it in, it is doubly to be prized and wondered at; for it differs from those Hero-Books, as molten or

His other grand adventure is with the two sons of the deceased King Nibelung, in Nibelungen-land: these two youths, to whom their father had bequeathed a Hoard or Treasure, beyond all price or computation, Siegfried, "riding by alone," found on the side of a mountain, in a state of great perplexity. They had brought out the treasure from the cave where it usually lay; but how to part it was the difficulty; for not to speak of gold, there were as many jewels alone "as twelve wagons in four days and nights each going three journeys could carry away;" nay," however much *By this Sword Balmung also hangs a tale. Doubtyou took from it there was no diminution;" less it was one of those invaluable weapons sometimes besides, in real property, a Sword, Balmung, which our modern Foxes, and Ferraras, and Tolefabricated by the old Northern Smiths, compared with of great potency; a Divining-rod "which gave dos are mere leaden tools. Von der Hagen seems to power over every one;" and a Tarnkappe, (or think it simply the Sword Mimung under another name; Cloak of Darkness,) which not only rendered the maker of it, and called it after himself, as if it had in which case Siegfried's old master, Mimer, had been the wearer invisible, but also gave him twelve been his son. In Scandinavian chronicles, veridical or men's strength. So that the two Princes Royal, not, we have the following account of that transaction. without counsel save from their Twelve stupid Veliant, once an apprentice of his) was challenged by Mimer (or as some have it, surely without ground, one Giants, knew not how to fall upon any amicable another Craftsman, named Amilias, who boasted that he arrangement; and, seeing Siegfried ride by so had made a suit of armour which no stroke could dint,to equal that feat, or own himself the second Smith opportunely, requested him to be arbiter; offer then extant. This last the stout Mimer would in no ing also the Sword Balmung for his trouble. case do, but proceeded to forge the Sword Mimung; Siegfried, who readily undertook the impossible with which, when it was finished, he, “in presence of the King," cut asunder "a thread of on problem, did his best to accomplish it; but, of water." This would have seemed a fair fire-edge to course, without effect; nay the two Nibelungen most Smiths: not so to Mimer: he sawed the blade in Princes, being of choleric temper, grew impa-pered it with "milk and oatmeal," and by much other pieces, welded it in "a red hot fire for three days," temtient, and provoked him; whereupon, with the cunning, brought out a sword that severed "a ball of Sword Balmung he slew them both, and their wool floating on water." But neither would this suffice Twelve Giants (perhaps originally Signs of only to himself, produced in the course of seven weeks him; he returned to his smithy; and by means known the Zodiac) to boot. Thus did the famous a third and final edition of Mimung, which split asunder Nibelungen Hort, (Hoard,) and indeed the whole a whole floating pack of wool. The comparative trial Nibelungen-land come into his possession; penetrable coat of mail, sat down on a bench, in presence now took place forthwith. Amilias, cased in his imwearing the Sword Balmung, and having slain of assembled thousands, and bade Mimer strike him. the two Princes and their champions, what Mimer fetched of course his best blow, on which Amilias was there farther to oppose him? Vainly did his inwards. "Shake thyself," said Mimer; the luckobserved that there was a strange feeling of cold iron in the Dwarf Alberich, our old friend Elberich less wight did so, and fell in two halves, being cleft sheer of the Heldenbuch, who had now become special through from collar to haunch, never more to swing hammer in this world.-See Illustrations of Northern keeper of this Hoard, attempt some resistance Antiquities, p. 31.

carved metal does from rude agglomerated ore; | shows itself without the other following,almost as some Shakspeare from his fellow there is something which reminds us not so Dramatists, whose Tamburlaines and Island much of poverty, as of trustfulness and childPrincesses, themselves not destitute of merit, like innocence. Indeed a strange charm lies first show us clearly in what pure loftiness and in those old tones, where, in gay dancing meloloneliness the Hamlets and Tempests reign. dies, the sternest tidings are sung to us; and deep floods of Sadness and Strife play lightly in little curling billows, like seas in summer.

The unknown Singer of the Nibelungen, though no Shakspeare, must have had a deep, poetic soul; wherein things discontinuous and It is as a meek smile, in whose still, thoughtinanimate shaped themselves together into ful depths a whole infinitude of patience, and life, and the Universe with its wondrous pur-love, and heroic strength lie revealed. But in por: stood significantly imaged; overarching, other cases, too, we have seen this outward as with heavenly firmaments and eternal har- sport and inward earnestness offer grateful monies, the little scene where men strut and contrast, and cunning excitement; for example, fret their hour. His Poem, unlike so many in Tasso; of whom, though otherwise different old and new pretenders to that name, has a enough, this old Northern Singer has more basis and organic structure, a beginning, mid- than once reminded us. There, too, as here, dle, and end; there is one great principle and we have a dark solemn meaning in light idea set forth in it, round which all its multi-guise; deeds of high temper, harsh self-denial, farious parts combine in living union. Re- daring, and death, stand embodied in that soft, markable it is, moreover, how along with this quick-flowing, joyfully-modulated verse. Nay, essence and primary condition of all poetic farther, as if the implement, much more than virtue, the minor external virtues of what we we might fancy, had influenced the work done, call Taste, and so forth, are, as it were, pre- these two Poems, could we trust our individual supposed; and the living soul of Poetry being feeling, have in one respect the same poetical there, its body of incidents, its garment of lan- result for us: in the Nibelungen as in the Geruguage, come of their own accord. So, too, in salemme, the persons and their story are indeed the case of Shakspeare: his feeling of propriety, brought vividly before us, yet not near and as compared with that of the Marlowes and palpably present; it is rather as if we looked Fletchers, his quick sure sense of what is fit on that scene through an inverted telescope, and unfit, either in act or word, might astonish whereby the whole was carried far away into us, had he no other superiority. But true In- the distance, the life-large figures comprised into spiration, as it may well do, includes that same brilliant miniatures, so clear, so real, yet tiny, Taste, or rather a far higher and heartfelt elf-like, and beautified as well as lessened, Taste, of which that other "elegant" species their colours being now closer and brighter, is but an ineffectual, irrational apery: let us the shadows and trivial features no longer see the herald Mercury actually descend from visible. This, as we partly apprehend, comes his Heaven, and the bright wings, and the of Singing Epic Poems; most part of which graceful movement of these, will not be want- only pretend to be sung. Tasso's rich melody still lives among the Italian people; the Nibelungen also is what it professes to be, a Song.

ing.

No less striking than the verse and language is the quality of the invention manifested here. Of the Fable, or narrative material of the Nibelungen, we should say that it had high, almost the highest merit; so daintily, yet firmly, is it put together; with such felicitous selection of the beautiful, the essential, and no less felicitous rejection of whatever was unbeautiful or even extraneous. The reader is no longer afflicted with that chaotic brood of Firedrakes, Giants, and malicious turbaned Turks, so fatally rife in the Heldenbuch: all this is The language of the Heldenbuch, as we saw swept away, or only hovers in faint shadows above, was a feeble half-articulate child's-afar off; and a free field is opened for legiti speech, the metre nothing better than a misera- mate perennial interests. Yet neither is the ble doggerel; whereas here in the old Frank- Nibelungen without its wonders; for it is poetry ish (Oberdutsch) dialect of the Nibelungen, we and not prose; here too, a supernatural world have a clear decisive utterance, and in a real encompasses the natural, and, though at rare system of verse, not without essential regu- intervals and in a calm manner, reveals itself larity, great liveliness, and now and then even there. It is truly wonderful with what skill harmony of rhythm. Doubtless we must often our simple, untaught Poet deals with the marcall it a diffuse diluted utterance; at the same vellous; admitting it without reluctance or time it is genuine, with a certain antique criticism, yet precisely in the degree and garrulous heartiness, and has a rhythm in the shape that will best avail him. Here, if in no thoughts as well as the words. The simplicity other respect, we should say that he has a deis never silly, even in that perpetual recur- cided superiority to Homer himself. The whole rence of epithets, sometimes of rhymes, as story of the Nibelungen is fateful, mysterious, where two words for instance lib (body, life, guided on by unseen influences; yet the leib) and wip (woman, wife, weip) are indis- actual marvels are few, and done in the far solubly wedded together, and the one never distance: those Dwarfs, and Cl aks of Dark

With an instinctive art, far different from acquired artifice, this Poet of the Nibelungen, working in the same province with his contemporaries of the Heldenbuch, on the same material of tradition, has, in a wonderful degree, possessed himself of what these could only strive after; and with his "clear feeling of fictitious truth," avoided as false the errors and monstrous perplexities in which they vainly struggled. He is of another species than they; in language, in purity and depth of feeling, in fineness of invention, stands quite apart from them.

ness, and charmed Treasure-caves, are heard of rather than beheld, the tidings of them seem to issue from unknown space. Vain were it to inquire where that Nibelungen land specially is: its very name is Nebel-land or Nifl-land, the land of Darkness, of Invisibility. The "Nibelungen Heroes," that muster in thousands and tens of thousands, though they march to the Rhine or Danube, and we see their strong limbs and shining armour, we could almost fancy to be children of the air. Far beyond the firm horizon, that wonder-bearing region swims on the infinite waters; unseen by bodily eye, or at most discerned as a faint streak, hanging in the blue depths, uncertain whether island or cloud. And thus the Nibelungen Song, though based on the bottomless foundation of Spirit, and not unvisited of skyey messengers, is a real, rounded, habitable Earth, where we find firm footing, and the wondrous and the common live amicably together. Perhaps it would be difficult to find any Poet of ancient or modern times, who in this trying problem has steered his way with greater delicacy and success.

To any of our readers, who may have personally studied the Nibelungen, these high praises of ours will not seem exaggerated: the rest, who are the vast majority, must endeavour to accept them with some degree of faith, at least, of curiosity; to vindicate, and judicially substantiate them would far exceed our present opportunities. Nay, in any case, the criticisms, the alleged Characteristics of a Poem are so many Theorems, which are indeed enunciated, truly or falsely, but the Demonstration of which must be sought for in the reader's own study and experience. Nearly all that can be attempted here, is some hasty epitome of the mere Narrative; no substantial image of the work, but a feeble outline and shadow. To which task, as the personages and their environment have already been in some degree illustrated, we can now proceed

without obstacle.

The Nielungen has been called the Northern Epos; yet it has, in great part, a Dramatic character: those thirty-nine Aventuren (Adventures) which it consists of, might be so many scenes in a Tragedy. The catastrophe is dimly prophesied from the beginning; and, at every fresh step, rises more and more clearly into view. A shadow of coming Fate, as it were, a low inarticulate voice of Doom falls from the first, out of that charmed Nibelungen-land: the discord of two women, is as a little spark of evil passion, that ere long enlarges itself into a crime; foul murder is done; and now the Sin rolls on like a devouring fire, till the guilty and the innocent are alike encircled with it, and a whole land is ashes, and a whole race is swept

away.

This is the brief artless Proem; and the pro mise contained in it proceeds directly towards fulfilment. In the very second stanza we learn:

Uns ist in alten maren Wunders vil geseit,
Von helden labebaren Von grozer chuonheit,
Von vrouden und Loch-geziler Von weinen und von chlagen,
Von chuner rechen striten Muget ir nu wunder hören

sagen

We find in ancient story, Wonders many told,
Of heroes in great glory, With spirit free and bold,
Of joyances, and high-tides, Of weeping and of wo,
Of noble Recken striving, Mote ye now wonders know.

Es wühs in Burgonden Ein vil edel magedin, Das in allen landen Niht schoners mohte sin, Chriemhilt was si gehein Si wart ein schöne wip, Darumbe müsen degene Vil verliesen den lip. A right noble maiden Did grow in Burgundy, That in all lands of earth Nought fairer mote there be Chriemhild of Worms she hight, She was a fairest wife: For the which must warriors A many lose their life.*

Chriemhild, this world's-wonder, a king's daughter and king's sister, and no less coy and proud than fair, dreams one night that "she had petted a falcon, strong, beautiful, and wild; which two eagles snatched away from her: this she was forced to see; greater sorrow felt she never in the world." Her mother, Ute, to whom she relates the vision, soon redes it for her; the falcon is a noble husband, whom, God keep him, she must suddenly lose. Chriemhild declares warmly for the single state; as indeed, living there at the Court of Worms, with her brothers, Gunther, Gernot, Geiselher, "three kings noble and rich," in such pomp and renown, the pride of Burgunden-land and Earth, she might readily enough have changed for the worse. However, dame Ute bids her not be too emphatical; for "if ever she have heart-felt joy in life, it will be from man's love, and she shall be a fair wife, (wip), when God sends her a right worthy Ritter's lip.' Chriemhild is more in earnest than maidens usually are when they talk thus; it appears, she guarded against love "for many a lief-long day;" nevertheless, she too must yield to destiny. Honourably she was to become a most noble Ritter's wife." "This," adds the old Singer, "was that same falcon she dreamed of: how sorely she since revenged him on her nearest kindred! For that one death died full many a mother's son.”

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It may be observed that the Poet, here, and all times, shows a marked partiality for Chriemhild; ever striving, unlike his fellow singers, to magnify her worth, her faithfulness, and loveliness; and softening, as much as may be, whatever makes against her. No less a favourite with him is Siegfried, the prompt, gay, peaceably fearless hero; to whom, in the Second Aventure, we are here suddenly introduced, at Santen (Xanten) the Court of Netherland; whither, to his glad parents, after achievements (to us partially known) “of which one might sing and tell for ever," that noble prince has returned. Much as he has done and conquered, he is but just arrived at man's

This is the first of a thousand instances, in which the two inseparables, Wip and Lip, or in modern tongue, From these two opening stanzas of the Nibelungen Lied, Weib and Leib, as mentioned above, appear together. in its purest form, the reader may obtain some idea of the versification; it runs on in more or less regular Alexandrines, with a cesural pause in each, where the capital letter occurs; indeed, the lines seem originally to have been divided into two at that point, for sometimes, as in Stanza First, the middle words (æren, lobebæren; geziten, striten) also rhyme; but this is rather a rare case. The word Rechen or Recken, used in the First Stanza, is the constant designation for bold fighters, and has the same root with rich, (thus in old French, hommes riches; in Spanish, ricos hombres,) which last is here also synonymous with powerful, and is applied to kings, and even to the Almighty, Got dem richen.

years it is on occasion of this joyful event, | " gold-red saddles," come to joust, and better that a high-tide (hochgezit) is now held there, than whole infinities of kings and princes with with infinite joustings, minstrelsy, largesses, their saddles, the fair Chriemhild herself, under and other chivalrous doings, all which is sung guidance of her mother, chiefly too in honour with utmost heartiness. The old King Siege- of the victor, is to grace that sport. "Ute the mund offers to resign his crown to him; but full rich" fails not to set her needle-women to Siegfried has other game a-field: the un- work, and "clothes of price are taken from paralleled beauty of Chriemhild has reached his their presses," for the love of her child," whereear and his fancy; and now he will to Worms, with to deck many women and maids." And and woo her, at least "see how it stands with now, "on the Whitsun-morning," all is ready, her." Fruitless is it for Siegemund and the and glorious as heart could desire it: brave mother Siegelinde to represent the perils of that Ritters "five thousand or more," all glancing enterprise, the pride of those Burgundian in the lists; but grander still, Chriemhild herGunthers and Gernots, the fierce temper of their self is advancing beside her mother, with a uncle Hagen; Siegfried is as obstinate as young hundred body-guards, all sword-in-hand and men are in these cases, and can hear no coun- many a noble maid "wearing rich raiment," in sel. Nay, he will not accept the much more her train! liberal proposition, to take an army with him, "Now issued forth the lovely one, (minnechand conquer the country, if it must be so; he liche,) as the red morning doth from troubled will ride forth, like himself, with twelve cham-clouds; much care fled away from him, who pions only, and so defy the future. Where- bore her in his heart, and long had done; he upon, the old people finding that there is no saw the lovely one stand in her beauty. other course, proceed to make him clothes ;*at least, the good queen with "her fair women sitting night and day," and sewing, does so, the father furnishing noblest battle and riding gear; -and so dismiss him with many blessings and lamentations. "For him wept sore the king and his wife, but he comforted both their bodies (lip); he said, 'ye must not weep, for my body ever shall ye be without care.'

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39

Sad was it to the Recken, Stood weeping many a maid,
I ween, their heart had them The tidings true foresaid

That of their friends so many Death thereby should find;
Cause had they of lamenting Such boding in their mind.

There glanced from her garments full many precious stones, her rose-red colour shone full lovely; try what he might, each man must confess that in this world he had not seen aught so fair.

"Like as the light moon stands before the stars, and its sheen so clear goes over the clouds, even so stood she now before many fair women; whereat cheered was the mind of the hero.

This is a never-filing preparative for all expeditions, and always specified and insisted on with a simple, loving, almost female impressiveness.

"The rich chamberlains you saw go before her, the high spirited Recken would not forbear, but pressed on where they saw the lovely maiden. Siegfried the lord was both glad and

sad.

Nevertheless, on the seventh morning, that adventurous company "ride up the sand," (on the Rhine beach to Worms,) in high temper, in dress and trappings, aspect and bearing, more than kingly.

"Thus stood so lovely the child of Siegelinde, as if he were limned on parchment by a master's art; for all granted that hero so beautiful they had never seen."

Siegfried's reception at King Gunther's court, and his brave sayings and doings there for some time, we must omit. One fine trait of his chivalrous delicacy it is that, for a whole year, he never hints at his errand; never once sees or speaks of Chriemhild, whom, nevertheless, he is longing day and night to meet. She, on her side, has often through her lattices In this passage, which we have rendered, noticed the gallant stranger victorious in all from the Fifth Aventure, into the closest prose, tiltings and knightly exercises; whereby it it is to be remarked, among other singularwould seem, in spite of her rigorous predeter-ities, that there are two similes: in which minations, some kindness for him is already figure of speech our old Singer deals very gliding in. Meanwhile, mighty wars and sparingly. The first, that comparison of threats of invasion arise, and Siegfried does Chriemhild to the moon among stars with its the state good service. Returning victorious, sheen going over the clouds, has now for both as general and soldier, from Hessen, many centuries had little novelty or merit; (Hessia,) where, by help of his own courage in some illuminated Manascript, is graceful in but the second, that of Siegfried to a Figure and the sword Balmung, he has captured a Danish King, and utterly discomfited a Saxon itself; and unspeakably so to antiquaries, selone; he can now show himself before Chriem- dom honoured, in their Black-letter stubbing hild without other blushes than those of timid and grubbing, with such a poetic windfall. love. Nay, the maiden has herself inquired pointedly of the messengers, touching his exploits; and "her fair face grew rose-red when she heard them." A gay High-tide, by way of triumph, is appointed; several kings, and twoand-thirty princes, and knights enough with

that I should woo thee? That was a foolish "He thought in his mind, how could this be dream; yet must I for ever be a stranger, I were rather (sanfer, softer) dead. He became from these thoughts, in quick changes, pale and red.

A prince and a princess of this quality are Nay, on the clearly made for one another. motion of young Herr Gernot, fair Chriemhild is bid specially to salute Siegfried, she who had never before saluted man: which unparalleled grace the lovely one, in all courtliness, openly does him. "Be welcome," said she, "Herr Siegfried, a noble Ritter good;" from which salute, for this seems to have been all, "much raised was his mind." He bowed

with graceful reverence, as his manner was king and himself, shall go. The grand subwith women; she took him by the hand, and ject of waete* (clothes) is next hinted at, and with fond stolen glances, they looked at each in general terms elucidated; whereupon a soother. Whether in that ceremonial joining of lemn consultation with Chriemhild ensues; hands there might not be some soft, slight and a great cutting out, on her part, of white pressure, of far deeper import, is what our silk from Araby, of green silk from Zazemang, Singer will not take upon him to say; how- of strange fish-skins covered with morocco ever, he thinks the affirmative more probable. silk; a great sewing thereof for seven weeks, Henceforth, in that bright May weather, the on the part of her maids; lastly a fitting-on two were seen constantly together: nothing of the three suits by each hero, for each had but felicity around and before them.-In these three; and heartiest thanks in return, seeing days, truly, it must have been that the famous all fitted perfectly, and was of grace and price Prize-fight with Dietrich of Bern and his ele-unutterable. What is still more to the point, ven Lombardy champions, took place, little to Siegfried takes his Cloak of Darkness with the profit of the two Lovers, were it not ra- him, fancying he may need it there. The ther that the whole of that Rose-garden trans- good old Singer, who has hitherto alluded only action, as given in the Heldenbuch, might be in the faintest way to Siegfried's prior advenfalsified and even imaginary; for no mention tures and miraculous possessions, introduces or hint of it occurs here. War or battle is this of the Turnkappe with great frankness not heard of; Siegfried, the peerless, walks and simplicity. "Of wild dwarfs, (gelwargen,)” wooingly by the side of Chriemhild the peer- says he, "I have heard tell, they are in hollow less matters, it is evident, are in the best mountains, and for defence wear somewhat possible course. called Tarnkappe, of wondrous sort:" the qualities of which garment, that it renders invisible, and gives twelve men's strength, are already known to us.

The voyage to Isenstein, Siegfried steering the ship thither, is happily accomplished in twenty days. Gunther admires to a high degree the fine masonry of the place; as indeed he well might, there being some eighty-six towers, three immense palaces, and one immense hall, the whole built of "marble green as grass;" farther he sees many fair women looking from the windows down on the bark, and thinks the loveliest is she in the snowwhite dress; which, Siegfried informs him, is a worthy choice; the snow-white maiden being no other than Brunhild. It is also to be kept in mind that Siegfried, for reasons known best to himself, had previously stipulated that, though a free king, they should all treat him as vassal of Gunther; for whom accordingly he holds the stirrup, as they mount on the beach; thereby giving rise to a misconception, which in the end led to saddest consequences.

Queen Brunhild, who had called back her maidens from the windows, being a strict dis ciplinarian, and retired into the interior of her green marble Isenstein, to dress still better, now inquires of some attendant, Who these strangers of such lordly aspect are, and what brings them. The attendant professes himself at a loss to say; one of them looks like Siegfried, the other is evidently by his port a noble king. His notice of Von Troneg Hagen is peculiarly vivid.

But now comes a new side-wind, which, however, in the long run also forwards the voyage. Tidings, namely, reached over the Rhine, not so surprising we might hope, " that there was many a fair maiden;" whereupon Gunther the King "thought with himself to win one of them." It was an honest purpose in King Gunther, only his choice was not the discreetest. For no fair maiden will content him but Queen Brunhild, a lady who rules in Isenland, far over sea, famed indeed for her beauty, yet no less for her caprices. Fables we have met with of this Brunhild being properly a Valkyr, or Scandinavian Houri, such as were wont to lead old northern warriors from their last battle field, into Valhalla; and that her castle of Isenstein stood amidst a lake of fire; but this, as we said, is fable and groundless calumny, of which there is not so much as notice taken here. Brunhild, it is plain enough, was a flesh-and-blood maiden, glorious in look and faculty, only with some preternatural talents given her, and the strangest, wayward habits. It appears, for example, that any suitor proposing for her has this brief condition to proceed upon: he must try the adorable in the three several games of hurling the Spear (at one another), Leaping, and throwing the Stone; if victorious, he gains her hand; if vanquished, he loses his own head; which latter issue, such is the fair Amazon's strength, frequent fatal experiment has shown to be the only probable one.

Siegfried, who knows something of Burnhild and her ways, votes clearly against the whole enterprise; however, Gunther has once for all got the whim in him, and must see it out. The prudent Hagen von Toneg, uncle to love-sick Gunther, and ever true to him, then advises that Siegfried be requested to take part in the adventure; to which request Siegfried readily accedes on one condition; that should they prove fortunate he himself is to have Chriemhild to wife, when they return. This readily settled, he now takes charge of the business, and throws a little light on it for the others. They must lead no army thither, only two, Hagen and Dankwart. besides the

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