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George Henry Needler.

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half of line two, also before the first and the third accent of the
second half of line foiu:. There are two imaccented syllables at
the beginning {Aujtakt) of the second half of line three. The absence
of the unaccented syllable between the second and the third accent
of the last half of the fourth line of a strophe, as here, is so frequent

♦ Strophes 1,17, 102, and possibly 841.

t Strophes j8, 69, 103, 115, 129, 148, 177, 190, 198, 222, 231,
239» 293» 325* 345» 363. 485. $84, 703. 7". 859, 864, 894, 937. 1022,
1032, II 14, 1225, 1432, 1436, 1460, 1530, 1555, 1597, 1855, 1909,
X944. I956» 2133, 2200, 2206, 2338.



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xxxvi THE NIBELUNGENLIED

in the poem as to amount almost to a rule; it shows an utter mis-
conception, or disregard, of its true character, nevertheless, to treat
this last half-line as having only three accented syllables, as all
translators hitherto have done.

8. Editions op the Nibelungenued

MS. A. (Hohenems-Mimich).

Lachmann, Der Nibdunge N6i und die Klage, sth ed.,
Berlin, 1878. Several reprints of the text alone later.
MS. B. (St. Gall).

Bartsch, Das Nibdungenlied, 6th ed., Leipzig, 1886. (Vol.

3 of the series Deutsche Classiker des Mittelalters.)
Piper, Die Nibelungen, (Vol. 6 of Kiirschiier*s Deutsche
National-Litteratur.)
MS. C. (Donaueschingen).

Zamcke, Das Nibdungenlied^ 6th ed., Leipzig, 1887.



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THE NIBELUNGENLIED



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THE NIBELUNGENLIED

FIRST ADVENTURE

Icrfembild'd 2>team

I
To us in olden story are wonders many told
Of heroes rich in glory, of trials manifold:
Of joy and festive greeting, of weeping and of woe,
Of keenest warriors meeting, shall ye now many a wonder know.

2

There once grew up in Burgundy a maid of noble birth,
Nor might there be a fairer than she in all the earth:
Kriemhild hlght the maiden, and grew a dame full fair.
Through whom high thanes a many to lose their Uves soon doomed
were.

3
TVould well become the highest to love the winsome maid.
Keen knights did long to win her, and none but homage paid.
Beauty without measure, that in sooth had she.
And virtues wherewith many ladies else adorned might be.

4
Three noble lords did guard her, great as well in might,
Gunther and Gemot, each one a worthy knight.
And Giselher their brother, a hero young and rare.
The lady was their sister and lived beneath the princes' care.

S
These lords were free in giving, and bom of high degree;
Undaunted was the valor of all the chosen three.
It was the land of Burgimdy o'er which they did command.
And mighty deeds of wonder they wrought anon in Etzel's land.

3



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FIRST ADVENTURE



6
At Wonns amid their warriors they dwelt, the Rhine beside,
And in their lands did serve them knights of mickle pride,
Who till their days were ended maintained them high in state.
They later sadly perished beneath two noble women's hate.

7
A high and royal lady, Ute their mother hight,
Their father's name was Dankrat, a man of mickle might.
To them his wealth bequeathed he when that his life was done.
For while he yet was youthful had he in sooth great honor won.

8
In truth were these three rulers, as I before did say,
Great and high in power, and homage true had they
Eke of knights the boldest and best that e'er were known,
Keen men all and valiant, as they in battle oft had shown,

9
There was of Tronje Hagen, and of that princely line
His brother valiant Dankwart; and eke of Metz Ortwein;
Then further the two margraves, Gere and Eckewart;
Of Alzei was Volker, a doughty man of dauntless heart.

ID

Rumold the High Steward, a chosen man was he,

Sindold and Himold they tended carefully

Each his lofty office in their three masters' state.

And many a knight beside them that I the tale may ne'er relate*

II
Dankwart he was Marshal; his nephew, then, Ortwein
Upon the monarch waited when that he did dine;
Sindold was Cup-bearer, a stately thane was he,
And Chamberlain was Hunold, masters all in courtesy.

12

Of the kings' high honor and their far-reaching might.
Of their full lofty majesty and how each gallant knight
Found his chiefest pleasure in the life of chivalry.
In scoth by mortal never might it full related be*



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KRIEMHILD'S DREAM



Amid this life so noble did dream the fair Kriemhild

How that she reared a falcon, in beauty strong and wild,

That by two eagles perished; the cruel sight to see

Did fill her heart with sorrow as great as in this world might be.

The dream then to her mother Queen Ute she told,
But she could not the vision than thus more clear unfold:
"The falcon that thou rearedst, doth mean a noble spouse:
God guard him well from evil or thou thy hero soon must lose."

IS
"Of spouse, O darling mother, what dost thou tell to me?
Without a knight to woo me, so will I ever be.
Unto my latest hour 1*11 live a simple maid,
That I through lover's wooing ne'er be brought to direst need."

16
"Forswear it not so rashly," her mother then replied.
"On earth if thou wilt ever cast aU care aside,
^Tis love alone will do it; thou shalt be man's delight.
If God but kindly grant thee to wed a right good valiant knight."

17
"Now urge the case, dear mother," quoth she, "not further here.
Fate of many another dame hath shown full clear
How joy at last doth sorrow lead oft-times in its train.
That I no ruth may borrow, from both alike I'll far remain."

18
Long time, too, did Kriemhild her heart from love hold free,
And many a day the maiden lived right happily.
Ere good knight saw she any whom she would wish to woo.
In honor yet she wedded anon a worthy knight and true.

19
He was that same falcon she saw the dream within
Unfolded by her mother. Upon her nearest kin.
That they did slay him later, how wreaked she vengeance wild!
Through death of this one hero died many another mother's child.



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SECOND Adventure



SECOND ADVENTURE

Sicgtticb

20
There grew likewise in Netherland a prince of noble kind,
Siegmund hight his father, his mother Siegelind —
Within a lordly castle well known the country o'er,
By the Rhine far downward: Xanten was the name it bore.

21
Siegfried they did call him, this bold knight and good;
Many a realm he tested, for brave was he of mood.
He rode to prove his prowess in many a land around:
Heigh-ho! what thanes of mettle anon in Burgundy he foimd!

22
In the springtime of his vigor, when he was yoimg and bold,
Could tales of mickle wonder of Siegfried be told,
How he grew up in honor, and how fair he was to see:
Anon he won the favor of many a debonair lady.

23
As for a prince was fitting, they fostered him with care:
Yet how the knightly virtues to him native were!
'Twas soon the chiefest glory of his father's land.
That he in fullest measure endowed with princely worth did stand.

24
He soon was grown in stature that he at court did ride.
The people saw him gladly, lady and maid beside
Did wish that his own liking might lead him ever there.
That they did lean imto him the knight was soon right well aware.

2S
In youth they let him never without safe escort ride;
Soon bade Siegmund and Siegelind apparel rich provide;
Men ripe in wisdom taught him, who knew whence honor came.
Thus many lands and people he won by his wide-honored nanxe.



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SIEGFRIED 7

26
Now was he of such stature that he could weapons bear:
Of what thereto he needed had he an ample share.
Then to think of loving fair maids did he begin,
And well might they be honored for wooer Siegfried bold to win.

27
Then bade his father Siegmund make known to one and all
That he with his good kinsmen would hold high festival.
And soon were tidings carried to all the neighboring kings;
To friends at home and strangers steeds gave he and rich furnishings.

28
Wherever they found any who knight was fit to be
By reason of his kindred, all such were courteously
Unto the land invited to join the festal throng,
When with the prince so youthful on them the knightly sword was
hung.

29
Of this high time of revelry might I great wonders tell.
Siegmund and Siegelind great honor won full well,
Such store of goodly presents they dealt with generous hand.
That knights were seenfullmany fromfar come pricking to their land.

Four himdred lusty squires were there to be clad

In knight's full garb with Siegfried. Full many a beauteous maid

At work did never tire, for dear they did him hold,

And many a stone full precious those ladies laid within the gold,

3^
That they upon the doublets embroidered cunningly
Of those soon to be knighted: 't was thus it had to be,
Seats bade the host for many a warrior bold make right
Against the highmidsummer, when Siegfried won the nameof knight.

32
Then went unto the minster full many a noble knight
And gallant squires beside them. The elder there with right
Did wait upon the younger, as once for them was done.
They were all light-hearted, in hope of pleasure every one.



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8 SECOND ADVENTURE

33
(Sod to praise and honor they sang the mass' song;
yhere, too, were crowds of people, a great and surging throng,
When after knightly custom knighthood received they then,
In such a stately pageant as scarce might ever be again.

34
They hastened where they found them saddled many a steed;
In die court of Siegmund's castle they tilted with such speed
That far the din resounded through castle and through hall,
As in the play with clamor did join the fiery riders all.

35
Well-tried old knights and youthful met there in frequent clash,
There was sound of shattered lances that through the air did crash,
And along before the castle were splinters seen to fly
From hands of knights a many: each with other there did vie.

36

The king he bade give over: they led the chargers out:
There was seen all shattered many a boss well-wrought.
And many a stone full costly lay there upon the sward
From erstwhile shining shiedd-bands, now broken in the jousting
hard.

37
The guests all went thereafter where seats for them were reared;
They by the choicest viands from weariness were cheered.
And wine, of all the rarest, that then in plenty flowed.
Upon both friends and strangers were fitting honors rich bestowed.

38

In such merry manner all day did last the feast.

Many a wandering minstrel knew not any rest.

But sang to win the presents dealt out with boimteous hand;

And with their praise was honored far and wide King Siegmund's

land.

39
The monarch then did order Siegfried his youthful son
In fee give lands and castles, as he erstwhile had done.
To all his sword-companions he gave with such full hand.
That joyed they o*er the journey they now had made unto that land.



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SIEGFRIED 9

40
The festival yet lasted until the seventh day.
Siegelind after old custom in plenty gave away
— ^For so her son she honored — rich gifts of shining gold:
In sooth deserved she richly that all should him in honor hold.

41
Never a wandering minstrel was unprovided found:
Horses there and raiment so free were dealt around,
As if to live they had not beyond it one day more.
I ween a monarch's household ne'er bestowed such gifts before.

42
Thus dosed the merry feasting in this right worthy way,
And 't was well known thereafter how those good knights did say
That they the youthful hero for king would gladly have;
But this nowise he wished for, Siegfried the stately knight and brave.

43
While that they both were living, Siegmund and Siegelind,
No crown their son desired, — thereto he had no mind.
Yet would he fain be master o'er all the hostile might
That in the lands aroimd him opposed the keen and fiery knight.



THIRD ADVENTURE.
t)ow Sicgtticb came to TKIlocme

44
Seldom in sooth, if ever, the hero's heart was sad.
He heard them tell the story, how that a winsome maid
There lived afar in Burgundy, surpassing fair to see:
Great joy she brought him later, but eke she brought him misery.

45
Of her exceeding beauty the fame spread far and near.
And of the thing, moreover, were knights oft-times aware
How the maid's high spirit no mortal could command:
The thing lured many a stranger from far unto King Gunther's land.



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lo THIRD ADVENTURE

46
Although to win her favor were many wooers bent,
In her own heart would never Kriemhild thereto consent
That any one amongst them for lover she would have:
Still to her was he a stranger to whom anon her troth she gave.

47
To true love turned his fancy the son of Siegelind.
'Gainst his, all others' wooing was like an idle wind:
Full well did he merit a lady fair to woo,
And soon the noble Kriemhild to Siegfried bold was wedded true,

48
By friends he oft was counselled, and many a faithful man,
Since to think of wooing in earnest he began,
That he a wife should find him of fitting high degree.
Then spoke the noble Siegfried : ' ^ In sooth fair Kriemhild shall it bC:

49
"The noble royal maiden in Burgundy that dwells,
For sake of all her beauty. Of her the story tells,
Ne'er monarch was so mighty that, if for spouse he sighed,
'Twere not for him befitting to take the princess for his bride."

SO
Unto King Siegmund also the thing was soon made known.
His people talked about it, whereby to him was shown
The Prince's fix^d purpose. It grieved him sorely, too,
That his son intent was the full stately maid to woo.

Siegelind asked and learned it, the noble monarch's wife.
For her loved son she sorrowed lest he should lose his life,
For well she knew the humor of Gunther and his men.
Then gan they from the wooing strive to turn the noble thane.

Then said the doughty Siegfried: "O father dear to me.
Without the love of woman would I ever be.
Could I not woo in freedom where'er my heart is set.
Whate'cr be said by any, I'll keep the selfsame purpose yet,"



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HOW SIEGFRIED CAME TO WORMS ii

S3
"Since thou wilt not give over," the king in answer said,
"Am I of this thy purpose inwardly full glad,
And straightway to fulfil it I'll help as best I can.
Yet in King Gunther's service is many a haughty-minded man.

54
**And were there yet none other than Hagen, warrior-knight.
He with such haughty bearing is wont to show his might.
That I do fear right sorely that sad our end may be,
If we set out with purpose to win the stately maid for thee."

55
"Shall we by that be hindered?" outspake Siegfried then;
"Whate'er in friendly fashion I cannot obtain
I'll yet in other manner take that, with sword in hand.
I trow fKMn them I'll further wrest both their vassals and their land."

56
"I grieve to hear thy purpose," said Siegmimd the king;
"If any one this story unto the Rhine should bring,
Then durst thou never after within that land be seen.
Gunther and Gemot, — ^well known to me they long have been,

57
"By force, however mighty, no man can win the maid,"
Spaike King Siegmimd further, "to me hath oft been said.
But if with knightly escort thither thou wilt ride,
Good friends — an have we any — shall soon be siunmoned to thy
side."

S8
"No wish," then answered Siegfried, "it ever was of mine.

That warrior knights should follow with me unto the Rhine

As if arrayed for battle: 'twould make my heart full sad,

To force in hostile manner to yield to me the stately maid.

59
"By my own hand — thus only — trust I to win my bride;
With none but twelve in company to Gunther's land I'll ride.
In this, O royal father, thy present help I pray."
Gray and white fur raiment had his companions for the way.



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12 THIRD ADVENTURE

60
Siegelind his mother then heard the story too,
And grieved she was on hearing what her dear son would do^
For she did fear to lose him at hands of Gunther's men.
Thereat with heart full heavy began to weep the noble queen*

61
Then came forth Sir Siegfried where the queen he sought.
And to his weeping mother thus gently spake his thought:
"No tear of grief thou shouldest ever shed for me,
For I care not a tittle for all the warriors that be.

62
"So help me on my journey to the land of Bm-gundy,
And furnish such apparel for all my knights and me.
As warriors of our station might well with honor wear.
Then I in turn right truly to thee my gratitude will swear.*'

63

"Since thou wilt not give over," Siegelind then repliMt,
"My only son, I'll help thee as fits thee forth to ride.
With the best apparel that riders ever wore,
Thee and thy companions: ye shall of all have goodly store."

64
Then bowed the youthful Siegfried the roysl dame before,
And said: "Upon the journey will I take no more.
But twelve good knights only: for these rich dress provide,
For I would know full gladly how 't doth with Kriemhild betide."

65
Then sat at work fair women by night and eke by day,
And rest indeed but Httle from busy toil had they.
Until they had made ready the dress Siegfried should wear.
Firm bent upon the journey, no other counsel would he hear*

66
His father bade a costly garb for him prepare,
That leaving Siegmund's coimtry he the same might wear.
For all their glittering breastplates were soon prepared beside,
And helmets firmly welded, and shining shields long and wide.



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HOW SIEGFRIED CAME TO WORMS 13

67
Then fast the day grew nearer when they should thence depart
Men and likewise women went sorrowing in heart,
If that they should ever see more their native land.
With full equipment laden the simipter horses there did stand.

68
Their steeds were stately, furnished with trappings rich with gpld;
It were a task all bootless to seek for knights more bold
Than were the gallant Siegfried and his chosen band.
Be longed to take departure straightway for Biurgundian land.

69

Leave granted they with sadness, both the king and queen,
The which to turn to gladness sought the warrior keen,
And spakjd then: "Weep ye shall not at all for sake of me,
Forever free from doubtings about my safety may ye be."

70
Stem warriors stood there sorrowing, — ^in tears was many a maid.
I ween their hearts erred nothing, as sad forebodings said
That 'mongst their friends so many thereby were doomed to die.
Good cause had they to sorrow at last o'er all their misery.

Upon the seventh morning to Worms upon the strand

Did come the keen knights riding. Bright shone many a band

Of gold from their apparel and rich equipment then;

And gently went their chargers with Siegfried and his chosen men.

72
New^nade shields they carried that were both strong and wide
And brightly shone their helmets as thus to court did ride
Siegfried the keen warrior into King Gunther's land.
Of knights before was never beheld so richly dad a band.

73
The points of their long scabbards reached down unto the spur,
And spear full sharply pointed bore each chosen warrior.
The one that Siegfried carried in breadth was two good q»n,
And grimly cut its edges when driven by the fearless man.



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14 THIRD ADVENTURE

74
Reins with gold all gleaming held they in the hand,
The saddle-bands were silken. So came they to the land.
On every side the people to gape at them began,
And also out to meet them the men that served King Gmither ran.

75
Gallant men high-hearted, knight and squire too.
Hastened to receive them, for such respect was due,
And bade the guests be welcome unto their master^s land.
They took from them their chargers, and shields as well from out the
hand.

76

Then would they eke the chargers lead forth unto their rest;
But straight the doughty Siegfried to them these words addressed:
"Yet shall ye Jet our chargers stand the while near by;
Soon take we nence our journey; thereon resolved full well am I.

77
"K that be known to any, let him not delay,
Where I your royal master now shall find, to say, —
Gunther, king so mighty o'er the land of Burgundy."
Then told him one amongst them to whom was known where that
might be:

78
"K that the king thou seekest, right soon may he be found.
Within that wide hall yonder with his good knights around
But now I saw him sitting. Thither do thou repair,
And thou may'st find around him many a stately warrior there."

79
Now also to the monarch were the tidings told.
That within his castle were knights arrived full bold,
All clad in shining armor and apparelled gorgeously;
But not a man did know them within the land of Burgundy.

80
Thereat the king did wonder whence were come to him
These knights adventure seeking in dress so bright and trim.
And shields adorned so richly that new and mighty were.
That none the thing could tell him did grieve him sorely to hear.



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HOW SIEGFRIED CAME TO WORMS 15

81
Outspake a knight then straightway, Ortwdn by name was he,
Strong and keen as any well was he known to be:
"Since we of them know nothing, bid some one quickly go
And fetch my uncle Hagen: to him thou shalt the strangers show.

82
"To him are known far kingdoms and every foreign land.
And if he know these strangers we soon shall understand."
The king then sent to fetch him: with his train of men
Unto the king's high presence in stately gear went he then.

83

What were the king's good pleasure, asked Hagen grim in war.
"In the court within my castle are warriors from afar,
And no one here doth know them: if them thou e'er didst see
In any land far distant, now shalt thou, Hagen, tell to me."

84
"That will I do, 'tis certain." — To a window then he went,
And on the unknown strangers his keen eye he bent.
Well pleased him their equipment and the rich dress they wore.
Yet ne'er had he beheld them in land of Burgundy before.

8s
He said that whencesoever these knights come to the Rhine,
They bear a royal message, or are of princely line.
"Their steeds are so bedizened, and their apparel rare:
No matter whence they journey, high-hearted men in truth they
are."

86
Further then spake Hagen: "As far as goes my ken,
Thou^ I the noble Siegfried yet have never seen.
Yet wiU I say meseemeth, howe'er the thing may be.
This knight who seeks adventure, and yonder stands so proud, is he.

87

" 'TIS some new thing he bringeth hither to our land.
The valiant Nibelungen fell Sy the hero's hand,
Schilbung and Nibelung, from royal sire sprung;
Deeds he wrought most wondrous anon when his strong arm he
swung.



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i6 THIRD ADVENTURE

88
"As once alone the hero rode without company,
Found he before a mountain — as hath been told to me —
With the hoard of Nibelimg full many stalwart men;
To him had they been strangers until he chanced to hnd them then.

89

"The hoard of King Nibelung entire did they bear

Forth from a mountain hollow. And now the wonder hear,

How that they would share it, these two Nibelimg men.

This saw the fearless Siegfried, and filled he was with wonder then.

90

"He came so near imto them that he the knights espied.

And they in turn him also. One amongst them said:

'Here comes the doughty Siegfried, hero of Netherland.'

Since 'mongst the Nibelungen strange wonders wrought his mighty

hand.

^^ 91

"Right well did they receive him, Schilbung and Nibelimg,

And straight they both together, these noble princes young,

Bade him mete out the treasure, the full valorous man,

And so long time besought him that he at last the task began.

92
"As we have heard in story, he saw of gems such store
That they might not be laden on wagons full five score;
More still of gold all shining from Nibelungenland.
*Twas all to be divided between them by keen Siegfried's hand.

93
"Then gave they him for hire King Nibelimg's sword.
And sooth to say, that service brought them but small reward.
That for them there performed Siegfried of dauntless mood.
His task he could not finish ; thereat they raged as were they wood.

94
"They had there of their followers twelve warriors keen.
And strong they were as giants: what booted giants e'en?
Them slew straightway in anger Siegfried's mighty hand.
And warriors seven hundred he felled in Nibelungenland



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HOW SIEGFRIED CAME TO WORMS 17

95
"With the sword full trusty, Balmung that hight.
Full many a youthful warrior from terror at the sight
Of that deadly weapon swung by his mighty hand
Did render up his casde and pledge him fealty in the land.

96

"Thereto the kings so mighty, them slew he both as well.
But into gravest danger through Alberich he fell,
Who thought for his slain masters vengeance to wreak straightway,
Until the mighty Siegfried his wrath with strong arm did stay.



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