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-strong castle, which is now the castle of Bern.' The city of Verona, to which the name of Bern was given in the Gothic dialects, was the capital of Dieterich's kingdom, from which he was expelled by his uncte Ermenrich, the Emperor of Rome, and compelled to take refuge in the royal camp of Etzel (Attila), the King of the Huns. It happens, unfortunately indeed, that Attila died in 453; while Erinanaric flourished nearly a century earlier; and the great Theodorick the Ostrogoth, was born some years after Attila's death: But, notwithstanding these anachronisms, and the contradictory statements in the romances, which we have not room to notice, there is good reason to suppose, that Theodorick is the historical prototype of Dieterich of Bern, he, who was the greatest captain known in the wide world, and whose name shall never be lost in the Southern kingdoms, so long as the world shall stand.' These are the expressions of the romancers, who may well have been dazzled by the fame of the son of Thodomir (Dietmar), when the hostile Greek pronounces him to have been inferior to no one who had borne the Imperial dignity. The frenzy which preceded the death of Theodorick, when he beheld the countenance of the murdered Symmachus in the head of the fish which was served on his royal table, has furnished matter both for the fictions of superstition and romance. At the hour of his death, a Catholic hermit saw the Arian monarch conducted to the volcano of Lipari, bound and barefooted, between Pope John and Symmachus, who join forces to hurl him into the crater. The romantic legends have shown scarcely more mercy than Gregory the Great, who relates the foregoing story. In the Helden Buch,' he is summoned to depart by a dwarf, who warns him, that his kingdom is no longer of this world;' and then disappears with him, no man knows whither.' And in the poem of Attila's Court,' he is placed under the power of Satan, who bears him to the desert, where, as a punishment for his sins, he is condemned to defend himself against the attacks of three serpents,-a dreadful conflict, which is to continue till the day of judgment.
The flight of Theodorick to the Huns, is attributed with less chronological inconsistency, although history is silent as to the fact, to the envy of Ottacher (Odoacer), in an exceedingly curious fragment, which, from the language and metre employed in it, must have been composed in the eighth century, and which stands at the head of the history both of German poetry and of German romance. In ancient manuscripts, particularly of the Northern languages, it is very usual to find poetical compositions, written straight on like prose, without any breaks at
the ends of the verses; the terminations of which are sometimes, though not uniformly, indicated by metrical points at the ends of the lines. And this circumstance having been overlooked by Eccard, who first published the Lay of Hildebrand and Hadabrand,' he considered it as poetical prose, in which he has been followed by Mr Weber. The late editors, Messrs J. and W. Grimm, have successfully regulated the metre of this valuable relic (No. 6.), and shown that it is exactly the same in principle with that employed in the Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon; to which latter language, the dialect of the poem bears a near affinity.
It is thought that the traditions respecting Dieterich are chiefly derived from the Lombards. But the favourite hero of the Northern parts of Germany was Siegfried or Sifrit, the Sigurd of the Volsunga Saga. Romance has her relics as well as religion. The maces of Orlando and Oliver were long shown by the Monks of Roncesvalles; and the spear of Siegfried, a mighty pine beam,' was kept with equal veneration at Worms, where Siegfried was fabled to have reigned. There also, in the church of St Cecilia, his grave is to be found, which the Emperor, Frederick the Third, caused to be opened, in search of the giant's bones. The German romances do not represent him as overtopping his brother heroes; but they all agree that he became invulnerable by bathing in the blood, or, as some have it, in the fat, of the slaughtered dragon, by which he acquired the name of Hörnen Siegfried, i. e. Horny, or Impenetrable Siegfried. ' The vengeance which was wreaked on Siegfried's murderers by Chrimhild, (who corresponds to Godrunn in the Saga), is the subject of the celebrated Nibelungen Lied,' which in every respect may be considered as one of the most remarkable productions of the middle ages. Madame de Staël, who gives a very superficial notice of this poem, seems to have supposed that it had then lately been discovered, which is not altogether correct: Many fragments of it were published by Old Wolf-gang Lazius, who quotes it as historical authority, with the same intrepidity as he has given a full-length portrait of an antediluvian gentleman in pantaloons and galloches. The revival of good taste in Germany, is in great measure owing to the critical writings of Bodmer. He will be recollected as the warm admirer of English literature, which he defended against the objections of Gottschid; and he was also one of the first who attempted to draw the ancient German poets from their obscurity. Having found a MS. of the Nibelungen in the old family library of the Counts of Hohenems, he published the latter half of the poem, under the title of Chrimhildren Rache;' for, as to the former
half, he suppressed it, for the same reason that Homer did not begin the Trojan War with the egg of Leda;' and a complete edition was not given to the public, till the appearance of the first volume of Müller's Collection of ancient German poetry in 1784. M. von der Hagen, the late editor, bears the name of one of the principal characters in the poem,-which Aubrey would have added to his chapter of Name fatalities, His second edition (No. 10.), a work of great value and labour, is on the plan of those which have been given of the works of classical antiquity,' the text being formed by a careful collation of such manuscripts as he could procure; and a very copious Appendix of various readings is added. The merit of M. von der Hagen's edition has been much canvassed; for it seems that he has occasionally acted with a certain degree of Brunckian boldness: But if a critical editor were deprived of the bliss of conjectural emendation, there would be little left to encourage
him in his toil.
This national epic, as it is termed by M. von der Hagen, in an appropriate dedication to the celebrated Wolf, has lately attracted a most unprecedented degree of attention in Germany. It now actually forms a part of the philological courses in many of their Universities; and it has been hailed with almost as much veneration as the Homeric songs. Great allowances must be made for German enthusiasm; but it cannot be denied, that the Nibelungen Lied,' though a little too bloody and dolorous, possesses extraordinary merits. The story turns upon the adventures of the Princess Chrimhild of Burgundy, who is first won by the valiant Siegfried, and, after he is treacherously murdered, gives her hand to Etzel (or Attila) King of the Huns, chiefly in hopes that through his power and influence she may 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 Actius. An additional feature of resemblance is given by Jornandes, who relates, that a brook which flowed through the field of battle 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 por tion 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 to Grimm, between the 12th and 13th 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-Dieterich, 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 Chrïmhild, and the Rose-garden of the magic dwarf, King Lawrin of the Tyrol, form the ancient collection called the
Helden-buch,' or book of heroes; and they have been ably analyzed by Mr Weber. Others relate to Siegfried, and to the adventures of Dieterich of Bern; such as his flight to 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 at fairs and markets in the 15th century.
The works, of which we have now been speaking, relate to 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 valgar 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 Hinemar, 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 suppos ed 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-Cadmon; bat Hickes soon abandoned his first opinion, that it had been coin