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valuable lessons for young and old. These lessons here are given by a father to his son. He begins by telling him, above all, to love God:

Sun, inneclichen minne Got,

số kan dir niemer missegân. To be honourable and brave (to respect his shield) :

Sun, du solt wizzen, daz der shilt

hât werdekeit und êren vil. To select a good wife, for her virtue will make him forget his cares :

Sô minne un êre guotin wip,

ir tugent uns ie von sorgen nam. To keep his tongue from evil speaking:

Sun, du solt diner zungen pflegen. Not to be covetous, or proud; but forgiving and generous towards enemies, charitable towards our neighbours, and pure in thought and actions:

Sun du solt kiuschen worte sîn. The son not only follows the advice of his father, but induces the latter to devote his whole property to the founding of a charitable institution, in which they both spend the rest of their lives.

WINDSBECKIN, a poem of the same tendency, in which a mother gives to her daughter rules of wisdom and morality, and, among precepts, remarks :

Scham unde mâze sint zwô tugent,
die gebent uns frouwen hôhen prîs :
Lat si Got leben in dîner jugent,
sô gruonet diner saelden rîs,
Du maht in êrin werden grîs.

WINTERSTETTEN (ULRICH SCHENK VON DER—13th century), describes rural scenery. His language, rather loose, is, on account of its light and graceful character, especially adapted to popular poetry.

DANCING.
Springet vroelich an den tanz!
hiure ist der sumer glanz:
da wirt diu vroude ganz;

man siht dâ manigen kranz. · WÜRZBURG (KONRAD VON), Kuonrat (13th century), appears to have resided principally on the borders of the Upper Rhine. He was one of the most fertile poets of his time, cultivating the lyric,

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epic, and didactic field. His productions, without possessing the higher qualities which spring from inspiration, were remarkable for beauty and elegance of language. Among his didactic poems, we mention 'Der Welte Lohn,' descriptive of Heinrich Wirnt of Gravenberg's worldly pursuits and repentance, Die Goldene Schmiede,' a poem of great merit, Der heilige Sylvester,' and 'Das Herzmäre.

Konrad is said to have died in a convent at Freiburg (Breslau) in the year 1287.

ZERCLAR (THOMASIN Von), descended from the family of the Circlaria in Friaul. Of his poem, Der Welsche Gast,' written about the year 1216, we possess only a fragment. Philologists disagree respecting its merit; but it is an excellent mirror of the manners of the age, and, in its tendency, distinct from those subjects treated in court poetry.

Zerclar addresses principally the fair sex, whom, in the interest of propriety, he requires not to go out without a cloak:

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Wil sich ein vrowe mit zuht bewarn,
sô sol si niht an hülle varn.
If woman wants to remain decent
She ought not to go out without a cover.

ZWETER (Von) (Reinmar), born on the banks of the Rhine, invented a metrical form, called after him, Reinmar's Frau Ehrenton.' His poems, of a didactic character, are full of philosophy. Of the freedom of thought, he speaks thus :

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THOUGHTS ARE FREE.

«Gedanke muoz man ledic, vrî, ungevangen lazen gân;

ez wart nie Keiser, Kûnic sô hêr, der gedank unt merken kunne erwern.' 'Thoughts are to be free ; no emperor or king ever succeeded in preventing

liberty of thought.'

EARLY EPIC POETRY.

"THE LAY OF THE NIBELUNGEN.' Of the three existing manuscripts, of which two were found at Hohen-Ems; one is still at Munich, the second belongs to Herr von Lassberg, at Moesburg, and the third, formerly belonging to the Swiss historian, Tschudi, is kept in the library of St. Gall. Without entering here into the long-sustained controversy respecting origin, age, or authorship, we should state, that the

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poem is supposed to have appeared for the first time in the last quarter of the 12th century, or at the beginning of the 13th, an opinion coinciding with that of Lachmann, the distinguished philologist, who tells us that it appeared about the year 1210. Its contents are very contradictory as regards names, dates, and events; the notion of its being the production of only one author is evidently erroneous. The first part is called · Siegfried's Tod,' or 'Der Nibelungen Hort,' the second, · Kriemhild's Verrath und Rache.'

All writers have agreed respecting its intrinsic literary merit; it is a happily chosen, essentially national subject, its characters are vividly and truthfully delineated; the author, who is unknown, has shown throughout the most cultivated and refined mind, and we look upon it with national pride, as being one of our greatest treasures of antiquity. In order better to understand the poem, exclusively based on the first four mythical eras of our history, we shall draw a line of demarcation between the legends on which it is founded, according to the various nationalities alluded to. I have, for the guidance of the reader, mentioned here the primitive eras in their entirety, so that the legends to which I shall subsequently refer, may also be better understood.

The First Era is called the lower Rhenish or Franconian; its hero is Sigfrid. The scene where the events take place, Santen, on the lower Rhine.

The Second is the Burgundian Era ; its heroes are King Gunther, who resides at Worms, his brothers Gernot and Giselher, his sister Kriemhild, his wife Brunhild, and his vassals, Hagan von Tronei and Volker.

The Third is the East Gothic Era ; its heroes Dietrich von Bern, Hildebrand, Dietrich's principal master of arms, with Wolfhart, Wolfrin, Wolfbrant, Sigestab, and Helferich, his vassals.

The Fourth is that of Etzel or Attila, king of the Huns, of his first wife Helche, and her sons, his vassal Rüdiger von Becklarn, Hawart, duke of Lorraine, and Irnfrid, prince of Thuringia, both allies of Attila. Attila's residence is at Etzel Castle (now Ofen), in Hungary.

The FIFTH, the Northern German, Frisian Danish Normannic, deviates from the preceding eras, and represents the maritime life of Northern Germany. The events take place in Friesland, its heroes are Hettel, the Frisian king, Horant, the Stomarn king, Wate, his uncle, and Hettel's daughter, Gudrun. The poem of Gudrun, based on the legends of this era, is, after the song of the Nibelungen, considered the richest pearl of our epic poetry.

The Sixth and last Era is the Lombardian; its heroes are King

Rothe, King Otnit, Hugdietrich, and his son, Wolfdietrich. The events take place in Lombardy, the Tyrol, and the East.

From certain allusions made in the legends of Hug. and Wolfdietrich, referring to a period antecedent to theirs, it has been inferred by some, that they lived before Dietrich von Bern, but from these productions bearing so unmistakeably the stamp of the time of the Crusades, we must conclude that they were written after the third mythical era, until philological researches shall have established this point more clearly.

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THE NIBELUNGENLIED.'* Many, many years ago, there lived in the ancient royal castle of Worms, a king's daughter of matchless beauty and loveliness, called Kriemhlid.

Having lost her father at an early age, she lived in the greatest retirement with her mother, to whose tender care she had been entrusted. Mysterious forebodings of her future unhappy career, had, even at this early age, spread a certain gloom over her mind, to be still increased, when one night she dreamt, that her favourite falcon had been suddenly attacked by two fierce eagles, and cruelly killed before her eyes. Full of grief, she relates on the following morning her sad dream to her mother, who thus explains it: • The falcon, dear child, is a noble warrior, to whom you are destined; may God protect him from an untimely death!'

The shades of this early dream seem to have obscured the bright heaven of her life; darker and darker they spread over the vernal days of her first, sweet, and only love; they thicken threateningly when the festive season of her marriage approaches, until the sun of her life sets for ever in its gloomy majesty.

Meanwhile, Sigfrid, son of Sigmund and Sigelinda, living at Santen on the Rhine, had grown up in all the pride of strength and manhood. Possessing Herculean strength, he, even at this early age, had challenged many a knight, and never found his equal. He hears of the lovely Kriemhild, I and determines to

* Condensed from VILMAR'S Geschichte der Deutschen National Literatur. + In seinen besten Zeiten, bei seinen jungen Tagen,

Mochte man viel Wunder von Siegfriden sagen,
Was Ehren an ihm wuchsen und wie schön war sein Leib,

Drum dachte sein in Minne manches waidliche Weib.
I Dem Herrn mühte selten irgend ein Herzeleid,

Er hörte Kunde sagen wie eine schöne Maid,
In Burgonden wäre, nach Wünschen wohlgethan,
Von der er bald viel Freuden und auch viel Leides gewann.

*

possess her. Disregarding the wise counsels of his aged father, and the tears of his mother, he leaves the paternal roof, loaded with rich gifts. Attended by a brilliant suite, mounted on a magnificent charger, he arrives at the castle gate of Worms. Nobody knows them, not even the experienced traveller Hagan von Tronei, who at last exclaims :

• The most prominent among them can be no other but Sigfrid, the hero, who overcame the race of Schildung, he who, during a fierce struggle with the dwarf Alberich, took from him the garment, which renders invisible whoever wears it; yes, that must be the same Sigfrid, who slew the dragon, whose blood has rendered him invulnerable ever since.'

Let us receive him hospitably !*

Sigfrid enters the gates, with his followers, tournaments and banquets are given in his honour, and Kriemhild, for the first time, throws a stealthy glance from her window on the splendid youthful hero; but keeping in strict seclusion, he for a considerable time to come has no opportunity of seeing her, for whom he so ardently aspires.

He accompanies the Burgundian King during his campaign in Hessen and Saxony, of which the King Liutger, allied with Liutgast, king of Denmark, had declared war against the Burgundians. Sigfrid, always foremost in battle, makes King Luitgast a prisoner; after which, Liutger is also compelled to yield. Messengers announcing the joyous news of victory arrive at the Rhine, they are conducted before Kriemhild, who, when hearing of Sigfrid's heroic deeds, rewards them with rich gifts.t

Shouts of victory at last announce the arrival of Sigfrid and his followers; Kriemhild still keeps secluded in her chamber.

When the time of Pentecost at last approaches, a tournament takes place at the Burgundian Court. Kriemhild, followed by her mother Ute, and a hundred beautiful and richly attired maidens, is allowed to appear for the first time in public. All eyes are directed upon the King's lovely daughter, when, according to the etiquette of those times, Gernot, her brother, desires Sigfrid to approach.

* Er bringet neue Märe her in dieses Land :

Die kübnen Nibelungen schlug des Helden Hand,
Die reichen Königssöhne Schilbung und Nibelung,

Er wirkte grosse Wunder mit des starken Armes Schwung,
† Als sie in ihre Kammer den Boten kommen sah,

Kriemhild die schöne gar gütlich sprach sie da:
Nun

sag mir liebe Märe, so geb ich dir mein Gold.
Und thust du's ohne Lügen, will ich dir bleiben immer hold.'

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