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be revenged on the murderers of her former lord. The assassins, accordingly, and all their kin, are induced to visit the royal Etzel at Vienna, where, by the instigation of the queen, a deadly feud arises; in the course of which, almost the whole army on both sides are cruelly slaughtered. By the powerful but reluctant aid of Dieterich of Bern, however, the murderer of Siegfried is at last vanquished, and brought bound to the feet of the queen, who relentlessly raises the sword of the departed hero, and, with her own hand, strikes off the head of his enemy. Hildebrand instantly avenges the atrocious and inhospitable act, by stabbing the Queen,—who falls exulting on the body of her hated victim. The work is divided into thirty-eight books or adventures; and, besides a liberal allowance of sorcery and wonders, contains a great deal of clear and animated narrative, and innumerable curious and picturesque traits of the manners of the age. The characters are in general very powerfully and naturally drawn, especially that of Haghen, the murderer of Siegfried, in whom the virtues of an heroic and chivalrous leader are strangely united with the atrocity and impenitent hardihood of an assassin. There are also occasional traits of humour in this piece, that add to the effect of the picture; but its predominant character certainly is that of gloom and terror-by no means unadorned with epic dignity. The abstract of this singular work by Mr. Weber is one of the most curious parts of the English collection; and the specimens which are translated appear to us to be rendered with equal spirit and fidelity.

It would require a minute analysis of the Scandinavian and German poems and manners, to show how the history of Siegfried, as preserved in the traditions of different nations, corresponds in most of the leading points, though with great variations in the detail. As to Attila, his reign made an indelible impression. To this day the Swabian hinds point out the ruins occasioned by his devastations; and the very child-eating ogres of Mother Goose prove how severely the inhabitants of Gaul smarted under the Ugri or Hungri, the savage armies of the Scourge of God. Whether the present Hungarians are or are not descended from the ancient Huns, they have prided themselves in reckoning Attila amongst their monarchs; and in the time of the oldest historian of Hungary, the secretary of King Dela, he was already the subject of the “fables of the peasants and the trivial songs of the minstrels." The catastrophe of the Nibelungen is thought by Grimm to be a poetical fiction, founded on the great battle of Chalons. Goths fought there against Goths; and the vassal kings of Attila, Walamir, Theodomir, and Widemir, of the noble race of the Amali, like Dieterich the “King of the Amelungen,” are forced to bear arms against the Ostrogoths and Burgundians under Ælius. An additional feature of resemblance is given by Jornandes, who relates, that a brook which flowed through the field of baitle was swelled to the size of a torrent by human gore, so that the wounded were compelled to slake their feverish thirst by drinking the blood of the killed and wounded; an incident which occurs in the Nibelungen, as well as in the Danish ballad corresponding to that portion of the story.

The author of the Lay of the Nibelungen, has not been ascertained. Taking the language as a criterion, it must have been written, according lo Grimm, between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; but he is of opinion that this is only a rifacciamento of a much earlier work. The remaining metrical romances, which form the German cycle, are of different dates. The adventure of the Emperor Otnit, and of Hug-Dieterich and Wolf-Diete

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rich, the ancestors of Dieterich of Bern, were composed by Wolfram of Eschenbach, a poet who will be again mentioned. These poems, together with the Rose-Garden of Chrimhild, and the Rose-Garden of the magic dwarf, King Lawrin of the Tyrol, form the ancient collection, called the “Heldenbuch,” or book of heroes; and they have been ably analysed by Mr. Weber. Others relate to Siegfried, and to the adventures of Dieterich of Bern; such as his flight lo the Huns, and his battles with Ecke, Fasold, and Ebenrot, the giants of the land of Aggrippinan.” The most modern of the series, is Attila's Court, which was written, or at least patched together, from ancient traditional legends, by Caspar von der Roen, a singer al fairs and markets in the fifteenth century.

The works of which we have now been speaking relale lo the oldest period of German history,—and form, by their subjects, a link between the ancient and the modern world. Some of these, however, we have seen, are not of themselves of very great antiquity;--and though probably fabricated from materials of an older date, are not, in their present form, by any means, the oldest compositions in the language. For, these, we must go back to the days of Charlemagne, who actually began to compile a grammar of his native dialect ; in which, however, it is to be presumed, he had considerable assistance; as Eginhart confesses, that his royal master, although he kept his table-book constantly under his pillow to practise at every leisure moment, yet was never able to make any great progress in the art and mystery of writing. But the first important work in which it was employed, was due to his son, Lewis the Pious. This monarch, being desirous that all his subjects speaking the “ Theodisc language” should be enabled to read the Scriptures, “ordered a Saxon, who, amongst his own people, was reputed to be no vulgar bard, to make a poetical translation of the Old and New Testament into the German tongue.” This we learn from a Latin fragment published by Du Chesne. And it is added by Hincmar, that the translator was a peasant, who fancied that he had been specially inspired by Heaven, and gifted with a supernatural vein of poetry, to enable him to execute his undertaking. It is supposed by Eccard, and the other German philologists, that the “Harmony of the four Evangelists," in the Cottonian Library, forms a part of this translation. This ancient translation is written in an alliterative metre, which, according to Hickes, is the same which was employed by the Pseudo-Cædmon; but Hickes soon abandoned his first opinion, that it had been composed by an Anglo-Saxon, and adjudged it to "a Frank of the age of Charlemagne.” Junius imagined that it had been composed in a language invented by the translator himself, and compounded of the Anglo-Saxon, the Danish, and the Gothic, which would hardly have made it more intelligible to King Cnule, for whose use he conjectured it had been intended. Others consider it as a monument of the ancient Sason, then spoken belween the Rhine and the Weser. The fact seems to be, that in the ancient Teutonic, like the Greek of the days of Homer, the different dialects were nascent and faintly marked; and we may judge from the expressions of the Latin preface, that Lewis intended that the translalion should be intelligible throughout the whole extent of his German dominions. Hickes was delighted with the “magnificence of the diction" of this “golden codex.” Ii is less known that Klopstock, who chanced to peruse the printed extracts, thought so highly of its poetical merit that he endeavoured to procure a transcript of the whole. A manuscript, with some lamentable lacune, but agreeing very clearly with the Cottonian codex, was discovered some years ago by M. Gleg, a very modest and intelligent Frenchman, in the Cathedral library at Bamberg, where the librarian sagaciously described it as “ an old bible, which nobody could understand;” and of this manuscript, the defects being supplied from that in the British Museum, an edition has been very long in preparation by the veteran Reinwald. In a notice now before us, he states, that the study of the lext, and the composition of the commentaries and glossaries which are to elucidate it, have employed him during five and twenty years. If this important work ever does appear, it will form a valuable accompaniment to the Gospels of Ulfila.

The request of some of the brethren of Ottfried, a monk of the abbey of Weissenburgh, added to the more powerful entreaties of the venerable matron Judith, induced this good Benedictine to compose his paraphrase of the four Gospels, about the year 870. Alliteration appears to have fallen quickly into disuse in Germany; and Ottfried gives us the earliest known specimen of German rhyme. His religious adherence to the biblical text necessarily precluded much display of imagination ; but he occasionally ventures on a few embellishments and similes. The messenger of God, the angel of heaven, in bringing his “ errand of love,” flies “ through the path of the sun,” the “slarry way,” and “the sea of clouds”.

“ Tho quam boto fona Gote, Engil in himile,

Brahi er therera worolii, duri, sin arunii
Floug er sunuu pad, sterrno straza,

Wogo wolkono, zi iher witins frono." And the infant Saviour is described as growing amongst men, like a lily amongst thorns :

“ Thaz Kinda wuahs untar mannon, so lilia untar thornon." The victory gained in the year 883, by Lewis the Third, at Sodalenich, where he defeated the Normans, was* recorded, as is slated in a conlemporary chronicle, “not only in our annals, but also in our national songs.” The Franks had not yet adopted the language of their vassal Gauls. And one of their national songs, which has been fortunately preserved, is written in the pure Franco-Theolisc dialect, and consequently belongs to the history of German poetry. There are animated passages in this ancient ballad. "Hludwaig lakes shield and spear," and leads on his troops “singing the joyful lay Kyrie eleison." This pious strain inspires them with confidence, “and the blood rises in the cheeks of the Franks as they justed.” The “ rhythm,” or rather ode, in praise of the virtues of Anno, a holy archbishop of Cologne, “who put on immortality” in the year 1070, and which was composed at no great interval after that event, has greater originality than would be readily anticipated from its title. The archbishop, like Theron and Hiero, and the rest of the swift charioteers of Pindar, is almost lost in the vast exuberance of the poet's imagination. The history of the four great monarchies, introduced by the mystic vision of the prophet, is sketched by him with a masterly hand. He loses no opportunity of expatiating on the glory of the German name; and the mixture of history and fable adds greatly to the romantic spirit of the poem. Cæsar is described as approaching to the country of bis “kinsmen the noble Franks :-both their ancestors came from Troy, the ancient town." The settlement of the Franks“ far on the Rhine,

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under the Trojan Francus, is next described; and the poet then resumes the history of Cæsar till the battle of Pharsalia; enquiring “who can count the numbers that hastened to oppose the hero? They came in hosts and legions, as the snow falls on the Alps, as the hail pours forth from the cloud !” Battles then follow upon battles ; and we hear nothing of Anno's virtues and miracles till the poet's learning is exhausted.

From these scanty remains we pass on to the period (from 1136 to 1254) during which the Imperial dignity was enjoyed by the House of Hohen-Staulfen. Upon the accession of Conrad the Third, the founder of the Swabian line, the banquet-hall suddenly unfolds its portals, and we behold the high-places filled with kings and dukes, mailed knights and trusty squires, each of whom

“ took the harp in glee and game,

And made a lay, and gave it naine.” And the fathers of romantic poetry emerge out of the gloom of antiquity, arrayed in chivalrous splendour.

Under this new.race of rulers, the dialects of the south and west of Germany obtained a decided preponderance. The Swabian or Allemannic hecame blended with the Franco-Theotisc, and thus formed the basis of the language of the present day, which, as in the parallel instance of the “volgare illustre” of Italy, has superseded its sister idioms, and become the sole vehicle of information.

Whatever literary impulse may have been given by the first crusade, it appears that the second produced a more decided effect, by generally diffusing the cultivation which had been maturing in the favoured regions of the South. The geographical position of the Empire caused it to become the high road for the warlike pilgrims who assembled under the banner of the cross. Its population was brought into closer connection with the songsters of Provence and Catalonia ; and their polished strains were soon re-echoed in the harsher tones of the " MINNE-SINGERS,

or bards of love, as they chose to name themselves, of the Swabian era. There is a familiar observation, that although courtship is agreeable enough to the parties who are engaged in it, it affords but a sorry amusement to the spectators; and we cannot help thinking that this is almost equally true of love verses. The " Minne-Lieder," however, of the ancient German poets, possess as much merit as is consistent with the class to which they belong and the school which they imitated. Their elaborate and sometimes intricate versification was copied from the laborious stanzas of the masters of the “gaye science.” Their verse was less harmonious; but the decided accentuation of the German (a quality which it possesses in common with all other Teutonic dialects) enabled them to mark the rhythm of their lines with greater accuracy. The imagery of their lyrics is full of languid prettiness; although it presents too frequent a repetition of the same objects. The merle and the mavis are ever heard at the beginning of the song; the weather is always clear, the sun warm, and the fields enamelled with flowers ; and many an important lesson is conveyed to the dreamer, whilst he is slumbering by the side of the glassy fountain, under the shade of the verdant plane-iree. King Thibault's criticisms on the commonplaces of the Provençals may be justly applied to their German imitators :

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“ Feuille ne flors ne vaut riens en chantant,

Fors ne pas defaute sans plus de riinoicr,
Et pour faire soulas moienne gent
Qui mauvais mos font sovent abayer.”

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The Minne-singers, however, frequently burst out in a flow of jovial feeling, and warm, bridegroom-like sincerity, unknown to the sentimental troubadours, by whom, as in the lay of Guillen d’Aismar, “un dolz pleurai" was preferred to an hundred smiles,--and whose raptures, too, are often affected, overcharged, and unnatural. A noble author is now considered as a rather rare occurrence. But in the age of the “Minne-singers,' hardly any one dared to cultivate the art of poetry, unless he could prove his sixteen quarters. The sovereigns of Germany themselves, emulating perhaps the example of our captive Richard, shared in the general fervour. In the valuable volume of Rudiger Maniss, which we apprehend has passed by this time from Paris to Berlin, the collection, with due regard lo royal precedency, is headed by the poems of the Emperor “Henry.” There were three sovereigns of this name; but, from the antiquity of Henry's diction, he is supposed to have been the son and successor of Frederick Barbarossa. The next place is held by Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia, whose flowing versification would have recommended him to notice, even had he been of meaner rank. A ballad, distinguished for its tenderness, is given as the production of the Duke of Breslau. The rude simplicity of the times has annexed an ungraceful epithet to the person of Henry, the Fat Duke of Anhalt; but his poetry is by no means devoid of taste and elegance: and a single lay bears witness to the talents of the unfortunate Copradin, the last member of that powerful family which had filled the chief throne in Christendom during so many generations, and who was deprived of his life by the hands of the executioner, in the midst of the capital which he had endeavoured to wrest from his enemies. An old tradition ascribes the insecurity of the throne of Naples to the baneful spells of the wizard Arbatel !-It is full time that the sanctity of St. Januarius should exert itself to counteract them.

Although the poets of the Swabian era derived their name from their lyrical compositions, it must not be supposed that the other branches of poetry were overlooked by them. Henry of Veldeck, one of the earliest of the Minne-singers, has left a spirited paraphrase of the Æneid, taken however from the translation of Chrestien de Troyes, and not from the original. The name of "Wolfram of Eschenburg and Pleienfeld” has been transmitted to posterity, accompanied by the warmest praises of his contemporaries. "The learned Wolfram,” « the wise master of the art," is never mentioned by them without some tribute of applause. This distinguished writer was ihe younger son of a nobleman, the Lord of Eschenburg in the Palatinate ; and after receiving the order of knighthood from the Count of Heuneberg, he appears to have wandered from castle to castle, like a true courleous knight, dividing his time between feats of arms and minstrelsy. He is afterwards traced to the court of Hermann of Thuringia; and he is introduced as one of the personages in a singular poetical dialogue, in which he is represented as contending with other bards of note for the Jaurel crown. This trial of skill is said to have taken place at the castle of Würtzburg, in the presence of the Landgrave and his wife Sophia, and is noticed as an historical fact in the German chronicles. Few other particulars of Wolfram's life have been preserved. It can only be gathered from

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