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ain0 i0t in altm ntaeten tounDets bil itgtitt 

tarn t^eiven lobeBeeten, ban ctonn i^umi^tlt; 

tSlm ftoetien, |)oc|)0e;eiten, bon tpeinen unH bon filaeen, 

tUm c^uonn mf^en mtitt, mom it nu tounlier lioeren 0aeen» 

S)a0 Liet Dn Jl9iiieIunoen, a£ initio. 



ftonjeni antiquities, 





a&ieittact of t{)e ^ooii of ^eroeiet, anD Jl^itielunffen Ha? ; 




mii <l5ttmim, ^ani»h ^totiii»'b> tmit ^ttlatHiit %msuafit»; 




Printed by James Ballantyne and Co- 







The purpose of the present Publication is to introduce the 
reader to the Metrical Poems and Romances of the ancient 
Gothic Dialects, a subject intimately connected with the earlier 
history of European literature, but to which English antiqua- 
ries have as yet but partially turned their eyes. The field of 
Icelandic Antiquities has indeed been investigated by Percy, 
by Johnstone, and more lately by Mr Herbert, with zeal, per- 
severance, and success. But the Romances of ancient Ger- 
many have been as yet unnoticed, and, with the Metrical Tales 
of Denmark and Sweden, offer a new and interesting subject 
of speculation to the English reader. 

Should the present volume be favourably received by the 
public, it is the purpose of the Editors to extend their re- 
searches to the Romances of Russia ; to the more rare and less- 
known Sagas of Scandinavia ; to the Original Songs of the Letts 
and Esthonians ; and to the Poetry of the Celtic Dialects. Upon 
each of these subjects materials have been collected, and means 
of access to eminent antiquaries and libraries on the continent 



are in the power of the Editors. They would also esteem 
themselves honoured by communications from any man of li- 
terature, whose taste may have led him to this field of investi- 

The intended prosecution of the work will depend on the 
public taste : and although the Editors cannot augur brilliant 
or extensive success for a work which relishes too much of pure 
antiquity to be generally popular, they are not without hopes 
that, since their materials are new to British literature, enough 
of countenance may be extended to their labours, to encourage 
perseverance in their present undertaking. Its end and im- 
port may be expressed by reference to the beautiful lines by 
which Pope has described the northern front of the Temple of 
Fame : — 

" Of Gothic structure was the Northern side, 
O'erwrought with ornaments of barb'rous pride : 
There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'd, 
And Runic characters were graved around. 
There sat Zamolxis with erected eyes, 
And Odin here in mimic trances dies. 
There on rude iron columns, smear'd with blood. 
The horrid forms of Scythian Heroes stood ; 
Druids and Bards (their once-loud harps unstrung,) 
And Youths that died to be by Poets sung." 



On the Antient Teutonic Poetry and Romance, — By Henry Weber, 3 

Sect. I. — A'Sketch of the History of Teutonic Poetry and Romance 5 

Sect II. — Of the Teutonic Cyclus of Romance 20 

Das Heldenbuch.— The Book of Heroes, — By the same, 45 

Book First— Of the Emperor Otnit, and the Dwarf Elberich, ib. 

Book Second.— Part I.— Of Hughdietrich and his Son Wolfdietrich 62 

Book Second.— Fart II. — Of Hughdietrich, and his Son Wolfdietrich 96 

Book Third.— Of the Garden of Roses at Worms, 137 

Book Fourth. — Of the Little Garden of Roses, and of Laurin, King of the Dwarfs, 149 

Dee Nibelungen Lied. — The Song of the Nibelungen, — By the same, 167 

Adventure I. — Of the Nibelungen, , ib. 

Adventure II. — Of Siegfried, 170 

Adventure III How Siegfried came to Worms, 171 

Adventure IV. — How Siegfried fought with the Saxons, 173 

Adventure V.— How Siegfried first beheld Chrimhilt, ,.„.,.. 175 

Adventure VI. — How Gunter proceeded to Isenlaud, to obtain the Hand of Brun- 
hild, 176 

Adventure VII. — How Gunter obtained the Hand of Brunhild, 177 

Adventure y III. — How Siegfried went to the Nibelungen 180 

Adventure IX. — How Siegfried was sent to Worms, 181 

Adventure X— How Gunter held his Bridal Feast with Brunhild, 182 

Adventure XI. — How Siegfried came home with Chrimhilt to Netherland, 184 

Adventure XII How Gunter invited Siegfried and Chrimhilt to a High Feast, .. 185 

Adventure XIII.— ^How Siegfried and Chrimhilt went to the High Feast, ,. ib. 

Adventure XIV. — Of the Altercation between the Queens ib. 



Adventure XV. — How Siegfried was betrayed, 186 

Adventure XVI — How Siegfried was slain, 187 

Adventure XVII. — How Siegfried was bewailed and interred, 189 

Adventure XYIII How Siegmund departed from Worms, 190 

Adventure XIX. — How the Nibelungen Treasure came to Worms, ib. 

Adventure XX. — How King Etzel sent to Burgundy to obtain the Hand of Chrimhilt, 191 

Adventure XXI How Chrimhilt came to the Huns, 192 

Adventure XXII. — How Etzel and Chrimhilt held their Bridal Feast, ib. 

Adventure XXIII. — How Chrimhilt invited her Brothers to a High Feast, ».,. 193 

Adventure XXIV. — How Werbel and Swemmel did their Message, ib. 

Adventure XXV.- — How the Nibelungen went to the Huns, 194 

Adventure XXVI How Ghelfart was slain by Dankwart, 198 

Adventure XXVII How the Nibelungen were received by Rudiger, , 199 

Adventure XXVIII. — How the Nibelungen came to the Huns, ib. 

Adventure XXIX How Haghen and Folker sat before the Hall of Chrimhilt, .... 200 

Adventure XXX. How Haghen and Folker guarded the Kings, 201 

Adventure XXXI — How the Kings went to hear Mass, 202 

Adventure XXXII. — How Blodelin fought with Dankwart, 203 

Adventure XXXIII. — How Dankwart brought the News of the Slaughter to his 

Masters, ib. 

Adventure XXXIV. — How Iring was slain, 204 

Adventure XXXV. — How the three Kings spoke with Etzel and Chrimhilt of a 

Truce, 205 

Adventure XXXVI. — How Rudiger was slain, 206 

Adventure XXXYll How Dietrich's Champions were slain, 207 

Adventure XXXVIII The Death of Gunter and Haghen, 208 

Die Klage. — The Lament, — JSy the same, , 211 

Appendix I. — Fragment of a prose Romance, in the Saxon Dialect of the Teutonic, 
written about the eighth Century, and printed from a Manuscript preserved in 

Cassel, in Eccardi Comment, de Rebus Franciae Orientalis, — Bi/ the same, 215 

Appendix II. — The Song of Old Hildebrand, — Bt/ the same, 221 

Appendix III — The Battle of King Tidrich and the Lion with the Linden-Woi-m, 

Bi/ the same, 22S 

Popui-AR Heroic and Romantic Ballads, translated from the Northern 

Languages, with Notes and Illustrations, — By R. Jamieson, „..,.. 231 

Introduction, ,,., 233 

Sir Peter of Stauffenbergh and the Mermaid, , 255, 265 







No nation can boast of a larger, and, in general, more ancient and 
valuable stock of early poetry in the vernacular language, than the 
Germans. The era during which the best and most considerable of 
their romances were produced, was exactly co-eval with the most 
flourishing period of the Norman romanciers and the Pr0ven5al trouba- 
dours, who have given occasion for volumes of dissertations, historical 
deductions, and hypotheses as romantic, to the full, as the poems 
they were intended to illustrate and recommend, while that of their 
eastern neighbours has been absolutely unknown to foreigners, arid, 
till within these few years, very little studied by the natives themselves. 
The respectable volumes of Schilter, which were published after his 
death, by the learned Scherz, in 1727, were almost confined to the 
most ancient biblical and monkish rhymes, and chiefly compiled with . 
a view of deducing the gradual advancement of the language ; for 
which reason they afford great gratification to the students of etymo- 
logy, but furnish little which can interest the lovers of romance, and 


of ancient poetry, for its own sake.' About the middle of the eigh- 
teenth century, several laudable attempts were made by the poetic 
veteran Bodmer, in conjunction with Breitinger, a learned Swiss, to 
revive the study of their early poetry ; the principal of which were the 
publication of the Parisian Codex of the works of a hundred and forty 
troubadours, (Minnesaenger,) which appeared in two volumes quarto, at 
Zurich, in the year 1Y58, and an edition of the latter half of the great 
romance of the Nibelungen. In 1784, a second attempt of the same 
kind was made by another learned Swiss, Professor Miller. He pub- 
lished two quarto volumes of Teutonic romances, and a third was be- 
gun some years after,* by Koch, a clergyman of Berlin, author of a 
most valuable Catalogue Raisonne of German poetry. But the en- 
couragement for this species of research was so cold, though the work 
was liberally supported by several German princes, and by most of the 
universities, that the third volume remained incomplete, being broken 
off in the middle of a long romance ; and the greater part of the im- 
pression was sold for waste paper. 

Within these ten years, however, the study has suddenly become 
popular, and was carried on, with the characteristic enthusiasm of the 
Germans, so rapidly, that the greater and more valuable part of their 
romances would have been given to the public, if the confused state of 
the nation, the complete abolition of the constitution, and the intoler- 
able tyranny of their Gallic oppressors, had not entirely paralysed the 
press, and the exertions of the learned. A second large collection of 
romances' was projected, and the first volume published by F. H. von 

' The same observations hold good with respect to the valuable publications of Goldast> 
Eccard, Laftnbeccius, Michaelis, Petz, &c. 

* The following are the contents of this scarce work. Vol. I. The romance of the 
Nibelungen, with the Lament, (Klage ;) the iEneis of Veldeck ; God Amor, a pretty 
allegorical poem in the style of the Troubadours ; Percival, by Wolfram of Eschenbach ; 
and some fabliaux. — Vol. II. Gotfried of Strasburgh's Sir Tristan, with Vriebert's con- 
tinuation ; Florice and Blancheflour ; Ywain, by Hartman of Ouwe ; Fridank, a conti- 
nued string of gnomes ; and a collection of lays of love and devotion. — The fragment of 
the third volume contains one half of Conrad of Wurzburg's Trojan War ; fragments of 
Wigolais and of Partenopex ; and a score of fabliaux. 

• Entitled, ' Deutsche Gedichte des Mittelalters,' Berlin, 1808, 4to. The volume con- 


der Hagen, a nobleman, enthusiastic and indefatigable in the cause, 
and Dr J. G. Buesching, the son of the great geographer of that name. 
But we understand (though we sincerely hope our intelligence is errone- 
ous) that the undertaking, for want of the very moderate encourage- 
ment required, has been dropped. Several other works of a similar 
nature, though not of such extent, have been published ; the most 
valuable of which we have been so fortunate as to procure from the 
continent, for insertion in the present Work. 

To give a short and general sketch of the history of Teutonic 
poetry of the middle ages, and to exhibit an analysis, with specimens 
of their original and most interesting romances, is the purport of this 
portion ^of our work ; and we sincerely hope to be able to communi- 
cate some of our enthusiasm in the cause to our readers. At any rate, 
the subject is entirely new in this country ; and if the abstracts of the 
romances should fail to amuse, on the score of the interest of the 
story, or the merit of the translated specimens, they cannot fail to 
awaken the curiosity of those who are anxious to investigate the very 
singular history of the connection between the romantic legends and 
traditions of the different nations of Europe. 

Sect. I. — A Sketch of the History of Teutonic Poetry and Romance, 

We need not make any reference here to the songs of the ancient Ger- 
man bards, mentioned by Tacitus, which are irrecoverably lost. They 
have been said to have been collected by the order of Charlemagne ; but 
it is more than probable that the passage in Eginhart' has been generally 
misunderstood. There is no actuar reference to the bards, who, in- 

tains King Rother, Duke Ernest of Bavaria, Wigamur, St George, and Solomon and 

• Barbara et antiquissima carmina, quibus veterum regum actus et bella canebantur, 
scripsit memoriaeque mandavit.- — Eginharti Hist. Caroli, — See on this subject some inge- 
nious remarks in Schlegel's Athenaeum, Berlin, 1799, II. 306, from which some of the ar- 
guments in the text are copied. 


deed, do not seem to have been a separate order of men among the 
Germans, as they were among the Celts. The barbara et antiquisstma 
carmina were, no doubt, ancient poems in the vernacular language ; 
but it is very improbable that Charlemagne would have collected the 
pagan war-hymns of the time of Arminius and Ariovist ; or that he 
could have accomplished such a collection, which was very unlikely 
to have been so long preserved by tradition, and which would have 
been quite unintelligible in his time. The poems mentioned by 
Eginhart were more likely to have celebrated the first Christian 
monarchs among the Teutonic nations. It will be seen in the sequel, 
that the most ancient Teutonic romances actually refer to the kings 
of the Franks, Longobards, and Burgundians ; and though their pre- 
sent state by no means indicates an age prior to the twelfth and thir- 
teenth centuries, it is very possible that their continued popularity 
induced the minstrels of those centuries to revise and modernize them, 
and, by loading them with marvellous fictions, and introducing refer- 
ences to customs and discoveries of their own age, to render them 
more acceptable to their contemporaries. There are frequent allusions 
to more ancient times dispersed in the Nibelungen ; ' and a fragment 
of a prosaic romance of Hildebrant, one of the principal heroes of the 
original German cyclus of romance, printed by Eccard,* appears, 
from the language, to have been composed previous to the reign of 

The oldest specimen of Teutonic poetry, actually in existence, is a 
creed, entitled De Poeta Kazungali, and appears to be considerably 
older than the era of Charlemagne. A facsimile of the only manu- 
script extant, which is preserved in the Bavarian monastery of Wei§- 
sobrunn, has been given in the very valuable antiquarian repertory 
entitled, Braga and Hermode, (vol. II. p. lis,) ably illustrated 

' Thus, V. 1433 : 

In riterlichen zyhten die herren taten daz. 
i. e. The lords did this in the knightly times. 
^ Comment, de rebus Franciae orient. Wirceb. 1729, I. 864-902. See the sequel of 
this dissertation, and the fragment itself, in the Appendix. 


by the venerable and learned editor, Graeter. The next, in point of 
time, is the well-known paraphrase of the four evangelists, by Otfried 
of Weissenburg, a monk of St Gallen, ably edited by Schilter ; if the 
very similar work of an anonymous poet, preserved among the Cotton 
MSS., be not of higher antiquity/ A song on St George, preserved 
in the Vatican manuscript of Otfried, and printed by Sandwig, at 
Copenhagen, in 1783, seems to be co-eval with that poet's paraphrase. 
But the most valuable specimen of the poetry of that age is undoubt- 
edly the encomium on the victory of Louis III. of France over the 
Normans, printed by Mabillon, Hickes, Schilter, and others. About 
the beginning of the twelfth century, another anonymous poet wrote 
a poetical legend of St Anno, archbishop of Cologne, who died in 
1075. It was first printed in 1639, by the poet Martin Opitz, and 
exhibits thq strangest medley of chronicle and legend. Half of the 
work, which contains 880 lines, is occupied by a history of the crea- 
tion, and of the four monarchies, and only a small part is dedicated to 
the miracles and sufferings of the archbishop. 

Soon after this, the most splendid period of Teutonic poetry and 
romance commenced. For the space of a century and a hatf, begin- 
ning about the middle of the twelfth, and ending with the reign of 
Rudolph of Hapsburgh, emperors, kings, princes, nobles, monks, and 
menial minstrels, vied with each other in producing and translating 
lays of love, romances, fabliaux, chronicles, fables, and sacred legends. 
The names and works of above three hundred minstrels of that period 
have been preserved ; among whom we find the emperor Henry, 
(either the fourth or sixth of that name,) Conrad, king of the Ro- 
mans, (probably the unfortunate Conradin, beheaded in the year 1268,) 
Wenceslaus, king of Bohemia, (who died 1253,) John, duke of Bra- 
bant, and many others of high rank. 

• A long Anglo-Saxon poem on the expedition of Regner Lodbrog is preserved in the 
Museum, the publication of which would be a very desirable object. Professor Thorke- 
lin had prepared a manuscript and translation for the press, and from his learning and 
zeal every thing could be expected. But it is much to be feared, that, together with the 
other iavaluable stores of his library, it was consumed during the bombardment of Copen- 


With the exception of the original Teutonic romances, which form 
a separate cyclus, the minstrels of these two centuries contented 
themselves with following the tract of the Provengal troubadours, and 
the Norman trouveurs. On the models furnished by the former, they 
built a vast number of love canzonets, very artificial in their construc- 
tion, and with a most laboured multiplicity of rhymes. The general 
subjects, like those of their prototypes, and of Petrarch, with his host 
of imitators, are amatory and devotional. Both the emperor Henry 
and « Conrad, the virtuous clerk,' adore the shadow, even the neighbour- 
hood of their mistress, deplore her cruelty, and declare that nothing 
can induce them to break their vow of fidelity. Songs to the Virgin 
Mary are equally the production of Friar Eberhard of Sax, and of 
the doughty knight. Wolfram of Eschenbach. This is quite in the 
style of chivalry, and common to the poets of France and the Pro- 
vence. It cannot be denied, however, that we not unfrequently meet 
with passages of great pathos, and descriptions very luxuriant ; and 
that the versification is fi-equently wonderfid, considering the age 
of the poems. The following almost hterally-translated specimen is 
one of the least complicated of these songs of love. It is the pro- 
duction of Otto, margrave of Brandenburgh, surnamed, ' with the 
arrow,' who died in 1298 : 

Make room unto my loved lady bright, " 
And let me view her body chaste and fair ; 
Emp'rours with honour may behold the sight, 
And most confess her form without compare. 

' This will remind the readers of old poetry of a beautiful song, printed in Tottel's 
Miscellany, among the works of Uncertaine Auctors, beginning, — 

Give place, ye ladies, and be gone, 
Boast not yourselves at all. 
For here at hand approacheth one, 
Whose face will staine you all. 

The song is evidently a counterpart of one among Surrey's poems, but far better than 
its prototype. 



My heart, when all men praise her, liigher sweDs j 

Still must I sing how far the maid excells, 

And humbly bow toward the region where she dwells. 

Oh, lady Love, ' be thou my messenger ; 

Say I adore her from my inmost soul. 

With faith entire, and love no maid but her ; 

Her beauties bright my senses all controul ; 

And well she might my sorrowing fears beguile ; 

If once her rosy lips on me would smile, 

My cares would all be gone, and ease my heart the while. 

Two bitter woes have wounded me to death ; 

Well may ye ween, all pleasures did they chace : 

The blowing flow'rs are faded on the heath j 

Thus have I sorrow from her lovely face : 

'Tis she alone can wound my heart and heal : 

But if her heart my ardent love could feely 

No more my soul would strive its sorrows to conceal. 

Beside the lays of love and devotion, the troubadours of Germany 
were fond of a peculiar species of composition, which they entitled 
Watchmen's Songs, possessing considerable variety, and a degree of 
sprightliness which we look for in vain among their usual productions. 
They generally begin with a conversation between the lover and the 
sentinel stationed to guard the castle wherein the lady of his heart 
dwells. The sentinel lends his assistance to convey the knight into 
her chamber, and when he feels the dews of morning arise, warns 
the lovers of its approach j for which unwelcome intelligence he is 
generally severely reproached ; but, fearing the consequences, he 
insists upon their separation. I have ventured to present the reader 

• Literally translated frwn the origitia], ' Frau Minne,' the general deity to whom the 
amatory poets of the age addressed their invocations. 


with the following translation of one of these pieces, printed in a late 
collection of ballads and songs.' The general outKne of the versifica- 
tion is the same, but it was found impossible to preserve the multipli- 
city of rhymes in the original. 

I heard, before the dawn of day, 
The watchman sing aloud, 
" If any loving ladies lay 
With knightly lovers proud. 
Arise ! the sun will soon appear : 
Then fly, ye knights, your ladies dear, 
And let the bed grow cold. 

" Brightly gleams the firmament, 
In silvery splendour gay ; 
Rejoicing that the night is spent 
The lark salutes the day : 
Then fly, ye lovers, and be gone ! 
Take leave before the night is done, 
And dangerous foes appear." 

• ' Des Knaben Wunderhorn,' published at Berlin, 1806, 8vo. in three volumes, by Achinl 
von Arnim, and Clemens Brentano. The following stanza is the last, and is subjoined 
to give the German reader some idea of the merit of the original, and the diflBcuIty of its 
measure : 

Seit macht mit Heiss, jed Faehnlein weiss, im Kampfe heiss, 

Mich ihrer Lieb gedenken, 

Auf Todes- Au, in rothem Thau, seh ich mein Frau 

Ihr Tuechlein traurig schwenken ; 

Den Ring ich schau, ich stech und hau, 

Hindurch ich dring, und zu ihr sing, 

" Mein Leib ist dir behalten." 

The orthography has been modernised in the printed copy, which was taken from an an- 
cient MS. of troubadour songs. I have omitted two stanzas, and fear that the song is still 
of too great a length. 


The watchman's call did wound my heart, 

And banished my delight : 

" Aks ! the envious sun will part 

Our loves, my lady bright !" 

On me she looked with shamefast eye, 

Awaking at my mournful cry, — 

" Lady, we slept too long." 

Sf:raight to the window did she speed : 

" Good watchman, leave thy joke ! 

Awake us not till o'er the mead 

The morning sun has broke. 

Too short, alas ! the time since here 

I rested with my leman dear, 

In love and sweet delight." — 

" Lady, be warn'd ! On roof and mead 

The dew-drops glitter gay ; 

Quickly bid thy leman speed. 

Nor linger till the day ; 

For by the twilight did I mark 

Wolves hyiijg to their caverns dark, 

And stags to covert fly."— 

Now by the rising sim I viewed 

In tears my lady's face : 

@he gave me many a token good, 

And many a soft embrace. 

Our parting bitterly we mourned j 

The breasts which erst in rapture burned, 

Were cold with woe and care. 

A ring with glittering ruby red 
Gave me the lady sheen, 
And with me from the castle sped 
Along the meadow green ; 


And wfajlst I saw my leman bright, 
She waved on high her kerchief white, 
And loud, * To arms !' ' she cried. 

In the raging fight each pennon white 

Reminds me of her love j 

In the field of blood, with mournful mood, 

I see her kerchief move : 

Through foes I hew whene'er I view 

Her ruby ring, and blithely sing, 

" Lady, I fight for thee !" 

There are several manuscript collections of the ' Minnelieder,' (lays 
of love,) in different libraries. The most extensive is the one already 
mentioned, as preserved in the Imperial library at Paris, and published 
entire in the year 1758. It was made at the beginning of the four- 
teenth century, and therefore exactly at the close of the golden 
period of German romance and song, by Rudiger of Manasse, him- 
self a troubadour, and a nobleman. The most valuable lays were 
selected, and somewhat modernised, by substituting modern spelling, 
and translating the most obsolete terms into the language of the pre- 
sent day, by Tieck, a poet of great merit, though too frequently car- 
ried away by his enthusiasm.* There are also manuscripts at Jena, 
(the greater part of which has been printed in Miller's collection, but 
without the music, which must be highly curious, as the MS. is of the 
fourteenth century,) in the abbey at Weingarten, at Bremen, Erlangen, 
Landshut j six among the Heidelberg MS., in the Vatican ; and one in 
the possession of Brentano, an ingenious poet. From the latter the 
above specimen is taken. The codices at Colmar, at Weimar, and in 

' In the original, * Waffen !' a usual cry in the old German poems, generally used to 

give alarm when any danger approaches, or to encourage champions in the fight. Sheen, 

a few lines above, is a common old English word, signifying beautiful, bright. 

» Minnelieder ausdem Schwaebischen Zeitalter, Berlin, 1803, 8vo. 


the possession of Professor Rudiger, at Halle, do not belbng to this 
flourishing era. 

The number of romances produced during this period is prodigious, 
and the length of some of them very wonderful. A catalogue, by no 
means complete, is prefixed to the first volume of the projected publi- 
cation mentioned before, in this introduction, divided into six classes.' 
The first contains the original German cyclus of romance, which we 
shall treat of more at large at the end of this historical sketch. The 
second are those relating to Charlemagne, and, like the greater part 
of the remaining classes, have French originals. Of the oldest romance 
of Charlemagne, in the language, only a fi-agment has been preserved, 
and printed by Schilter, in the second volume of his Thesaurus. It 
was afterwards modernised, extended, and rendered very dull, by the 
poet Strieker. His work is printed in the same collection ; and there 
are no less than fifteen manuscripts in existence. The romances of 
Ogier le Danois, Rinaldo, and Malagis (the Malagigi of Bojardo and 
Ariosto) are in the Vatican. Valentine and Orson has been printed, 
as well as two copies of Floren and Blancheflour ; one in Miller's col- 
lection, and another, very short and good, in the Platt-Dutch (Lower 
German dialect,) by Bruns.* The large French romance of Aymeri 
de Narbonne (containing in the original no less than 77,000 verses,) 
was translated by two poets, and the two first divisions printed at 
Cassel, 1781 and l784. 

The fourth cyclus, of which King Arthur is the central hero, is still 
more extensive than the last. That monarch's own romance was 
translated by Henry of Turlin. One of the most curious is Titu- 
rel, or the guardians of the holy Graal, by the indefetigable Wolfram 
of Eschenbach, which was printed in 1477. How far it coincides 
with the voluminous St Grayl, by Thomas Lonelich, in Bennet college 

■ Many readers will consider this catalogue as dry and uninteresting, but it was necessary 
to give it, in order to enable collectors and admirers of English metrical romances and 
traditionary ballads to view at once the extensive popularity of many heroes celebrated 
in them. 

* Romantische und andere Gedichte in Altplattdeutscher Sprache, Berlin, 1798, 8vo. 


library, Cambridge, it would be a curious matter to investigate. 
Percival was translated by the same poet ; not, as he professes, from the 
false narrations of Chretien de Troyes, but from the faithfiil story of 
the Provengal Kyot.' It was printed in the same year with the last, 
and again from an ancient MS. in Miller's collection. The adven- 
tures of Lohengrin, son of Sir Percival, are in the Vatican. The 
beautifiil romance of Ywaine and Gawaine, by Hartmann von Aue, 
who flourished about 1180, very exactly coinciding with the English 
poem printed by Ritson, was also edited by Miller, and separately by 
Michaelis, a learned etymologist at Vienna. Of the famous tale of 
Tristrem there are no less than three translations ; the principal one 
by Gotfried of Strasburgh, (fl. circa 1230,) which, after his death, was 
completed by Vribert, and is printed by Miller. Lancelot was cele- 
brated by Ulrich of Zazichoven ; and other poets wrote romances of 
Wigolais, Tandarius and Flordibel, Daniel of Blumenthal, and Wiga- 
mur, all of them belonging to this cyclus. The French originals of 
none of these are extant, and the latter, which has been printed by 
Hagen, is highly curious. A singular cyclic£|,l romance of Arthur's 
knights is the work of Furterer, a Bavarian poet of the fifteenth cen- 
tury. It is divided into the following thirteen sections : Of the Ori- 
gin of Knighthood, from the Times of the Argonautic expedition and 
the Trojan war, of Merlin, Gawainand Gamuret, Tschionadulander 
and Sigune, Percival, Lohengrin, Florice and Wigolais, Siegfried de 
Ardemont, Melerance of France, Ywaine, Persybein, Poytisleir, and 

The iifith class contains romances founded on ancient history, 
amongst which there are three different poems founded on Guido de 
Colonna's fabulous history of the Trojan war ; other three relating to 
Alexander, besides several which are known to have existed, but are 
supposed to have perished." Albrecht of Halberstadt translated, 

« See • Metrical Romances,' Edinburgh, 1810, III. 309. 
* See Romances ut supra, vol. I. Intr. 


Ovid's Metamorphosis, and Henry of Veldeck, one of their earliest 
poets, wrote the iEneis, probably from some French original. 

The sixth and last class embraces all the romances which are uncon- 
nected with any of the former. Those of German growth are, Duke Er- 
nest of Bavaria, by Henry of Veldeck, printed by Hagen, an abstract 
of which may be found in the third volume of the late collection 
of Metrical Romances j Otho the Red ; Henry the Lion, duke of 
Brunswick, (only a modernised copy of which, circulating among the 
common people, is extant ;') Reinfried of Brunswick, (said to refer to 
the imprisonment of Richard Coeur de Lion ;) Frederick, duke of 
Austria ; the crusade of Albrecht of Austria in Prussia ; William of 
Austria ; Louis of Thuringia ; Frederick of Swabia ; Henry of Swa- 


bia and the princess Amelberg; and the Moorish Lady. Those 
which refer to foreign heroes are, William of Brabant, (founded on the 
history of WUham the Conqueror ;) Geoffrey of Boulogne ; the 
daughter of the king of France j Count Mai and Belflor ; Wittich of 
the Jordan 5 Partenopex and Meliura, (only two fragments ;) Dari- 
fant ; Apollonius of Tyre, (said to contain about 100,000 verses ;) 
Solomon and Morolf, (printed by Hagen, which is the prototype of the 
popular Italian tale of Bertoldo, Bertoldino, and Cacasenno, and the 
French original of which is in the Imperial library at Paris ;) the Seven 
Wise Masters ; Engeldrut and Engelhart, (the same as our Amis and 
Amiloun ;) St George, (printed in Hagen's collection ;) Barlaam and 
Josaphat, and many more. Many of these, it must, however, be ob- 
served, are of a later age. A very curious romance of fairy, printed 
about 1480, but evidently of the thirteenth or fourteenth century, the 
subject of which is still popular in the south of Germany, is in the 
valuable Ubrary of Francis Douce, Esq., who permitted me to copy it. 
It seems to have escaped the notice of the German collectors. The 
author names himself Eckenolt, and the romance relates the marriage 
of the knight Peter of Stauffenberg with a mermaid. Master 
Eckenolt is very tedious, but a later minstrel has condensed it into 

* See Romances ut supra, vol. III. p. 340, note t- 


the shape of a ballad, printed in 1595, which has considerable poetical 
merit, and has been faithfully translated into the language of the ro- 
mance of Ywaine and Gawaine, by Mr Robert Jamieson. His ver- 
sion will be found in a subsequent part of this volume. 

The reader's patience has already been severely tried, and I forbear 
to enumerate the numerous chronicles, universal and partial, the 
legends of saints, the great host of fabliaux, (scarcely less consider- 
able than that of the French trouveurs,) and sixty-six different didac- 
tic and moral poems.' The most ancient of the latter are three 
printed in the second volume of Schilter ; one of which, ' Der Wins- 
beck,' bears a striking resemblance to a poem printed by Ritson, and 
entitled, ' How the Wise Man taught his Son.' 

When this flourishing period of German poetry and romance was 
past, a system of the most singular kind gradually overspread the 
whole country, blasting every exertion of genius, and banishing all 
the playful and wild products of imagination, which had hitherto 
ruled without controul, and flourished with irregular exuberance. 
Poetry was no longer cultivated by princes and nobles, and sung by 
minstrels in the castle halls : it transferred its seat into cities, became 
a severe study, and was almost confined to the horde of mechanics, 
who measured lines by the yard, constituted themselves into guilds, 
with masters, treasurers, and other officers, and in their metrical 
court passed judgment upon any member who did not coofoirm to 
their established rules and regulations. Versifiers (for poets there 
were none, or but a very inconsiderable number amongst them) had 
to pass through the degrees of apprentice and journeyman, before 
they received the envied title of master. They were sent on their 
travels through Germany, as young mechanics in other arts are to this 
diay. The principal schools at Strasburgh and Nuremberg were con- 

' It is a singular circumstance that one of these, entitled, ' Der Waelsche Gast,' i. e. 
the Italian Guest, was written by Thomas Tircklere, an Italian, who chose to write in 
German, and who makes many excuses for the inaccuracy of his language, being a fo- 
reigner. The same circumstance gave rise to the title of his work, in which he calls upon 
the hospitality of the German nation to be indulgent to their ' Welsh («. e. Italian) 



sidered in the light of universities, and a metrical constitution was 
established throughout the empire. Nor was this phenomenon mCTely 
transitory. It endured for nearly three centuries and a half, and 
some ruins are still to be traced of its existence, in the old-fashioned 
city of Nurimberg. The jiedantry of the rules established by this 
constituted body can only be equalled by King James I.'s ' Rules and 
CautelS," or by Bossu's vauated, arrogant, and dictatorial directions 
for epic poets. 

A few classes of poetry were, however, cultivated :with considerable 
success, and chiefly long allegorical and satirical poems, in which the 
vices of the times were lashed with considerable effect ; the whole 
being shadowed under the disguise of commonwealths estabUshed 
among animals. The most ancient of these, and which properly be- 
longs to the former period, is the Renner, by Hugo of Trymberg, a 
schoolmaster at Bamberg, who flourished between the years 1260 and 
1300 ; a long poem, formed by the concatenation of numerous fables. 
The next was the renowned Reynard the Fox, undoubtedly a trans- 
lation from the French of Perot de Saint Cloot, and his continuators, 
but formed into a regular and connected poem, of very considerable 
merit, written by- Henry of Alkmar, -who lived about 1470, in the 
dialect of Lower Germany, very nearly approaching to the Dutch. 
Amongst several imitations of this poem, I will only mention the 
' Froschmeeuseler,' or the Battle of the Frogs and Mice, founded upon 
the mock-epic attributed to Homer, but extended to the length of 
nearly twenty thousand lines. It was the work of George Rollenhagen, 
and first appeared in the year 1595. The author: frequently proves him- 
self in possession of considerable poetical and satirical abilities. Ano- 
ther poem, which bears some resemblance, at least in its scope, to those 
just enumerated, is the Ship of Fools, by Sebastian Brandt, who was 
born at Strasburg, in 1458, and died in 1520. His work acquired 
great popularity, and was translated several times into Latin, as well 
as into French and Dutch. The English translation, by Alexander 
Barclay, was made confessedly " out of Laten, Frenche, and Doche," 



but chiefly from the Latin version of Locher, a pupil of the ori- 
ginal author. The work, including the' numerous German altera- 
tions of it, underwent twenty editions before the year 1626. The 
only romance of these times, worth mentioning, is the Theuerdank of 
Melchior Pfinzing, who lived between the years 1481 and 1531 ; a re- 
markably dull and stupid allegorical poem, on the deeds of the empe- 
ror Maximilian, and which owes the renown it has obtained entirely 
to the exquisite cuts in the two first editions. In the seven subse- 
quent impressions, the text is altered, and the cuts of no value. 

But the most prolific, and, at the same time, the best of the master- 
singers is the shoemaker Huns Sachs, who took up the awl and the 
pen alternately. He was born in 1494, and died in 1576. Besides 
4275 master-songs which he was obliged to furnish for the trade, and 
which he very judiciously ordered no future editor to force into the 
world, he wrote no less than 6840 poems, within the period of 33 
years. They were printed in five volumes, with the date of the poems 
annexed to each. Among them are 197 comical fabliaux, 116 alle- 
gorical, and 272 profane tales, 59 fables, 107 hymns, 64 plays for 
Twelfth night, 52 profane and 26 sacred comedies, and 28 profane 
and 27 sacred tragedies. This extraordinary member, both of the 
metrical and of the gentle craft, was a man of considerable learning, 
an intimate friend of Albert Durer, and of Wilibald Pirkheimer, 
and, by his satirical and sacred songs, contributed considerably to the 
advancement of the reformation. 

This poet was, however, not the first who cultivated the drama of 
Germany. If we could reckon those who did not write in the ver- 
nacular language into the number of native dramatists, the oldest 
in Germany is Helena von Rossow, commonly called Hroswitha, who 
was a nun in the abbey of Gandersheim about the year 980, and has 
left six religious Latin comedies, in imitation of Terence, the popu- 
larity of whose profane plays in the monasteries they were meant 
to usurp. The most ancient appearance of a drama, if it can be 
called so, in the German language, is ' The War at Wartburg,' a kind 
of poetical warfare by eight ancient poets, celebrated in the year 1207. 


In 1322, the tragedy of ' The Ten Virgins' was acted at Eisenach, 
before Frederick, landgrave of Thuringia, upon whom it had a very 
tragical effect. The play is not in existence. About the year 1450, 
Hans Rosenblut wrote six short plays for Twelfth Night, (Fastnacht- 
Spiele,) a kind of dramatic composition which obtained great popula- 
rity. They are very singular ; and one of them, in which the Grand 
Sultan of Turkey gives audience to the Christian ambassadors, is still 
acted by puppets at the fairs. But the most curious relic of the German 
drama was produced in the year 1480, by Theodoricus Schernbeck, a 
priest, and entitled Apotheosis Johannis VIII. Pontificis Romani. The 
piece is in German rhymes, and the principal persons are, Jutta, the 
supposed female pope, her lover, called Magister noster Parisiensis, the 
Virgin Mary, St Nicolas, the seraphs Michael and Gabriel, Mors, or 
Deathi Lucifer the prince of Devils, and his mother Lillis, with a 
whole host of fiends. At the opening of the drama, Lucifer convenes 
his diabolical attendants, one of whom sings an infernal song, during 
which Lillis and all the fiends join in a dance. Lucifer communicates 
his intention of employing Jutta, a young Englishwoman, who, in the 
dress of a student, was going to the university of Paris, for his ends, 
and dispatches two devils, Sathanas and Spiegelglantz, to her. Their 
tempting the virgin is the subject of the next scene. 'After the suc- 
cessftil performance of their errand, they return to hell, where Sathanas 
is promised a fiery crown, ornamented with adders and snakes, for re-* 
ward. The Clericus and Jutta are next introduced, journeying to, 
and arriving at Paris, where they prosecute their studies with great 
success, and are created doctors. Then they proceed to Rome, and 
are introduced by the four cardinals to Pope Bafeilius, into whose 
service they enter, and are themselves raised to the dignity of cardi- 
nals. Basilius soon after dies, and Jutta is chosen his successor. The 
son of a Roman senator is brought to the female pope, possessed by a 
devil ; who, tefore he consents to leave the body, acquaints the cardi- 
nals with the pregnancy of Pope Jutta. In the following scene Christ 
complains to his mother of the sinftil abomination at Rome. But 
Maria intercedes for mercy to the soul of Jutta, and Gabriel is sent to 


advise her to leave her lewd life, and to abandon the tiara ; which she 
promises. Death is sent to her, and warns her of her speedy dissolu- 
tion. She cries for mercy to the Virgin, who appears to her, and pro- 
mises to intercede for her soul. Then she is delivered of the child, and 
Mors kills her instantly after. The devil whom she had forced out 
of the body of the senator's son was waiting to seize the soul, which 
he carried to hell. There she was forced to drink the infernal potion, 
and threatened with the most merciless treatment. But she con- 
tinued to call upon the Virgin; for help and deliverance. In the mean- 
time the most portentous signs had appeared at Rome. Blood had 
rained for three days^and earthquakes and famine had desolated the 
country. The cardinals go in procession, with torches and banners, 
and institute the famous chair for trying the virility of aU future 
popes. The soul of Pope Jutta was in the meantime tormented by 
the devils, but the Virgin and St Nicolas intercede for her so effec- 
tually, that Christ sends St Michael to fetch it from hell, which enter- 
prise he accomplishes with considerable difficulty. The drama ends 
with the soliloquy of the delivered soul. Notwithstanding the great 
incongruity of the plot, there is considerable merit in the execution, 
and some humour in the dialogues between the devils. 

With the exception of some fine church hymns, by Luther and se- 
veral of his cotemporaries, there occurs no one among the German 
metrifiers, from the time of Hans Sachs, worthy of mentiffio, till the 
appearance of Opitz, Fleming, and Weckherlin, who flourished in the 
first half of the seventeenth century, and produced some poems of the 
very first rank, particularly the former, who obtained the name of fa- 
ther of German poesy. But their successors, till within the last fifty 
years-, are worthy of no regard whatever. 

Sect. II. — Of the Teutonic Ctfclm of Romance. 

Before we enter into a general investigation of this comprehensive 
class of romances, and attempt to trace their connection amongst them- 


selves, and with their romantic brethren of the North, we shall pre- 
fix an enumeration of such as are in existence at present, in the dif- 
ferent libraries, and dwell peculiarly upon those of which abstracts are 
presented to the reader in this volume. For this purpose we shall fol- 
low the arrangement of Hagen, in the collection of ancient German 
poems mentioned above, which comprehend^ all. those that have 
been hitherto discovered, with the exception of the oddeat fragment 
extant of any of them, in prose. This, on account of its extreme an- 
tiquity, will be given entire in the Appendix, with a Latin and Eng- 
lish literal translation. It is in the dialect of Lower Germany, ap- 
proaching very nearly to the Anglo-Saxon, and was printed in J. G. 
Eccardi Commentar. de rebus Franciae Orientalis, (torn. I. p. 864,), 
with a Latin translation, and a very extensive body of notes, from a 
MS., which once belonged to the abbey of Fulda, from whence it 
was transferred to the library of the landgrave of Hesse-Cassel. The 
age of the MS., according to the learned editor, is the eighth century, 
and the romance, of which it is a short fragment, seems to have been 
produced in the times of paganism, as the principal hero, Hildebrand, 
invokes Irmin, the god of war amongst the Teutonic nations. The 
fragment consists of a dialogue between Hildebrand, (who is one of 
the heroes in all these romances), and his son Hatubrand, which ends 
in a combat between them, and seems to have been the original of the 
song of Hildebrand, mentioned in the ensuing Ust, (No. 13,) a transr 
lation of which will likewise be found in the Appendix. 

1. The first among the romances of this cyclus, not in point of the 
time of its production, but in priority of the events recorded in it, 
consists of the adventures of Otnit, and of Hugh-and Wolfdietrich, 
and forms the first and second part of the great Book of Heroes, or 
Legend of Champions ; an abstract of which is given in this volume. 
Besides this romance, it contains two other portions, enumerated in 
this list, (No. 7, 8.) There are several manuscripts of this extensive 
work in the Vatican at Rome, at Strasburg, Vienna, Frankfort, &c, 
It was first printed in the fifteenth century, without date, and re^ 
printed, with little variation, in the years 1491, 1509, 1545, 1560j and 


1590; all of these editions having wooden cuts tolerably executed. 
From a transcript of the last, the present abstract has been taken. 
The author of the two first divisions (and probably also of the 
third) of this work is the knight Wolfram of Eschenbach, born in 
Bavaria, who flourished about 1207, and was patronised chiefly by the 
landgrave of Thuringia. He was a most prolific poet. Besides the 
present work, he is asserted to be author of Titurel, or the Guar- 
dians of the Holy Graal, of Percival, William of Oranse, Lohengrin, 
Duke Frederick of Swabia, the History of the Emperors, and Godfrey 
of Bouillon, all of them poems of great length. 

2. Etzel's Hofhaltung, or The Court of Etzel, (Attila j) exists at 
Dresden, in MS. 

3. Dietrich and Sighenot ; was printed in the years 1490, 1577, 1613, 
and 1677. 

4. Ecken Ausfahrt, the Expedition of the Ecken; printed in 1491, 
1512, and 1577. 

5. The Earlier Combats of Dietrich and his Champions, in MS., at 
the Vatican. 

6. Romance of the youthful Adventures of the Homy Siegfried ; 
printed at Nurimberg, without date. It relates the same adventures 
of this hero which are the subject of a popular book still very current 
in Germany. The hero leaving his father, wanders about for many 
days, till, driven by hunger, he is forced to work for a smith ; but his 
strength is so prodigious, that he splits the anvil with the first stroke. 
The smith gives him some blows, and he in return thrdws him to the 
ground. In order to be revenged upon the young apprentice, the 
smith sends him, under pretence of fetching charcoal, to a forest, in- 
habited by his brother, who had been transformed into the shape of a 
dragon. But Siegfried tore out several trees, threw them on the mon- 
ster, and then set fire to the pile. The fat of the dragon run upon 
the ground like a rivulet, and Siegfried accidentally dipping his finger 
in, and finding it become of a horny consistence, bathed his whole 
body in the fat, and thus rendered it invulnerable, with the exception 
of a place on his back, where a leaf happening to stick, prevented the 


fat from having its due effect. (See the Nibelungen.) Afterwards he 
releases the daughter of King Gilibaldus, who dwelt upon the Rhine, 
from a dragon who had ravished her from her father's court ; and 
achieves many other adventures with wild beasts, giants, and dwarfs. 
He is married to the princess, and killed by the envy of her three bro- 
thers, in the same manner as in the Nibelungen. 

7. The Great Garden of Roses at Worms, which forms the third 
division of the Book of Heroes. Another poem on the same subject, 
but differing widely from the printed copy, is at Strasburg, and in the 

8. The little Garden of Roses, or Laurin, King of the Dwarfs, being 
the fourth and last part of the Book of Heroes. It was the production 
of Henry of Ofterdingen, a cotemporary of Eschenbach's, and a citizen 
of Eisenach. A copy, greatly enlarged, has been printed from a 
Copenhagen MS., by Nyerup, (Symbolse ad Lit. Teut. Antiq. Havniaa, 
1787, p. 1 — 82.) 

9. The Duke of Aquitania exists in MS. at Vienna, and is probably 
either the original, or a translation of a very curious Latin poem, 
which appears to have been written by a monk. It was printed by 
Professor Fischer in 1780, under this title, — De prima expeditioTie At- 
tilcEf regis Hunnorum^ in Gallias, ac de rebus gestis Waltharii Aqmtano- 
rum principis. Carmen epicum secuke F/., from a manuscript of the thir- 
teenth century. Another edition was given by Molter, in 1798. The 
poem opens with the praise of Attila and his expedition from Panno- 
nia. Gibicho, king of the Franks, sends the youth Hagano, a descen- 
dant of the Trojans, with rich treasures, to deprecate his wrath. 
Herrik, king of Burgundy, whose residence is at Cauillon, beyond 
the Aar and Rhone, gives his daughter Hiltegund as hostage to 
Attila, and Alphere, king of Aquitania, sends his son Walther for the 
same purpose. Hiltegund, Hagano, and Walther are educated at the 
Hunnish court, and to the former the royal jewels are given in charge. 
Meantime King Gibicho dies, and his son Gunthar refuses to do 
homage to the Huns, which Hagano hearing, he flies from Attila. 
Walther persuaded the 'princess Hiltegund to accompany him in his 



flight. She filled two chests with golden rings from the treasury ; and 
they took occasion to effect their purpose during a feiast. Walther rode 
on his horse Leo, armed after the manner of the Huns, with a two- 
edged sword on his left, and a orie-edged one on his right side. The 
princess rode on another horse with the treasure. They only travelled 
during the night, and arrived in a fortnight at Vuormatia, (Worms,) the 
residence of the Frankish king. Walther gave some fishes which he 
had caught by the way to the ferryman who had ferried them over 
the Rhine, which the latter brought to the royal table. Gunthar know- 
ing them not to be the produce of the Rhine, and inquiring how he 
obtained them, heard of the arrival of the knight and the princess, and 
of the two chests, which, from the sound they emitted, appeared to con- 
tain gold. Hagano, by the description, recognised his fellow Walther ; 
but King Gunthar resolved to seize on the treasures, and indemnify him- 
self for those his father had sent to Attfla. He accordingly assembled 
his champions, and pursued Walther, whom he overtook in the forest 
ofVasgovia. In a place where two rocky mountains formed a nar- 
row cave, the Aquitanian prince was attacked, after he had refiised to 
give up the treasure -, notwithstatiding Hagano had used every exer- 
tion to prevent the combat, the evil consequence of which to the king 
he had beheld in a dream. For this counsel he was upbraided as a 
coward by the king, and sullenly retired to a neighbouring hill, where 
he beheld the fight. Of the other eleven champions who had accom- 
panied Gunthar, eight defied Walther, one after another, and were all 
felled to the ground by him. The remaining three use a very curious 
weapon, which is described in several chronicles of the Franks, against 
him. They throw a trident with strings at his feet, and endeavour to 
cast him to the ground, and then to murder him. But he stands firm, 
and kills them all. Gunthar flies to Hagano, who is reconciled to 
him, and advises him to get Walther into a snare, by a feigned retreat. 
Walther not suspecting the stratagem, remains in a cave, and in the 
morning, when he issued to proceed on his journey, is attacked by the 
king and Hagano. The former soon falls before the Aquitanian, and 
fractures his thigh-bone ; and the latter, after having struck off his 


opponent's right hand, had his head opened, and his right eye thrust 
out, by the poniard of WaUher. Then the three heroes reconcile 
themselves, drink together on the field of battle, and joke upon the 
loss of their limbs. The Franks return to Worms, and Walther to 
Aquitania, where he reigned in peace foi; thirty years. — The sub- 
ject of this poem is alluded to, towards the conclusion of the Song of 
the Nibelungen ; and a very similar story occurs in the 86th and the 
following chapters of the Wilkina-Saga, an account of which will be given 
in p. 28, &c. There the hero is called Walther of Waskastein, which 
name he also bears in the third part of the Book of Heroes. Fischer 
judges the poem to have been written in the sixth century. It was 
probably produced in the time of King Pepin. The MS. at Carlsruhe 
appears to be of the ninth century ; and in the chronicle of the abbey 
of Novalese, founded in the eighth century, at the foot of Mont Cenis, 
printed by Muratori, and by him judged to have been compiled about 
1060, an account is given of .Walther, son of Alfer,king of Aquitania, 
■who was a monk in that monastery, and underwent similar advea." 
tures. A quotation is given in the chronicle from the Latin poem. 
The principal heroes of it also occur in the Nibelungen and the Book 
of Heroes, but there, instead of Franks, they are Burgundia,ns. 

10 and 11. The Flight of Dietrich to the Huns, and his vain en- 
deavour to recover his realm. Both in a MS. of the Vatican, tran- 
scribed in 1477. 

12. The Song of the Nibelungen, and the Lament. Of this most 
ancient among the Teutonic metrical romances, there are three MSS. 
at St GaHen, Hohenems, and Munich. The latter half, with the La- 
ment, was printed separately by Bodmer ; and the whole in Miller's 
collection, mentioned above, A new edition, in which the ortho- 
graphy and the principal antiquated^ words have been modernised, 
but the versification and the antique cast of the language retain- 
ed, was published in 1807, by Hagen.' From a compairison of 

' We have to regret that the copy which has reached us wants the introduction, 
which would have given us great light upon the history of the poem, and its connection 
with Scandinavian, as the learning of M. v. d. Hagen insijres the great research 
of his investigations. 


the latter with the old copy in Miller, the abstract in this volume has 
been made. It is not easy to determine in what age the poem was 
written, and the author is unknown. At the end of the Lament, which 
is in a different measure, and was probably written by a different per- 
son, and in a subsequent period, the author of that poem names him- 
self Conrad ; from which evidence Miller very absurdly concluded the 
whole to be the work of Conrad of Wuerzburg, who did not flourish 
till the years 1280 and 1300. I have no doubt whatever that the 
romance itself is of very high antiquity, at least of the eleventh cen- 
tury, though certainly the present copy has been considerably mo- 
dernized. It wiU be seen immediately that it is quoted in the Wilkina- 
Saga, as being very ancient at the time that work was compiled, 
which was about the year 1250. 

13. The Song of Master Hildebrand. The oldest copy is at Dres^ 
den, in MS. From an ancient edition, in which it has been considerably 
shortened ; it was reprinted by Eschenburg, and a translation of the 
latter will be found in the Appendix, No. II. The chief value of the 
ballad, besides that of the poetry, is its coinciding so nearly with the 
ancient prose-fragment already mentioned.' 

14. King Rother ; a very ancient poem, which has lately been pub- 
lished from the only manuscript of it which is known, in the Heidel- 
berg library, at the Vatican. It forms, as it were, an intermediate 
chain between the German cyclus of romance and that of Charlemagne. 
The hero is the grandfather of that emperor, and the father of Pepin. 
Almost the same story, but attributed to a different set of actors, occurs 
in the Wilkina-Saga, (p. 113 — 132.) The German editor supposes, 
with great probability, that it was produced in the first half of the 
twelfth century. The antiquity of the language, and the rudeness of 
the versification and of the rhymes, which are very similar to those 
used in the poem of St Anno, mentioned above, vouch for the truth 
of his supposition. The fable of the poem is so singular, that an ab- 
stract of it deserves to be given to the English public. 

• In the Danish Kaempe Viser there is a literal translation of the ballad. 


It will now be necessary to give some account of the Scandinavian 
romances and poems, in which the same heroes, and very similar 
actions occur. The oldest mention of this cyclus, in that language, is 
in the Flateyan Codex, at Copenhagen, written in the fourteenth cen- 
tury. There it is related by the historian Gunlog, how, at the court 
of King Olaf Tryggvin, who first introduced the Christian religion in 
Norway, about the year 1000, the poems of the Edda, the second ode 
of Sigurd, who had killed the smith, that of Brynhildar's ride to hell, 
(translated partly by the Hon. W. Herbert,') that of Gudrunar Ruida, 
and, finally, the song of Gunnar, were sung to the harp. Of these 
four poems, only the three first are preserved in the Edda of Ssemund. 
In these pieces, which have not as yet been published, as well as in 
the Wolsunga-and Norna-Gest's Sagas, printed in the valuable col- 
lection entitled, Nordiska Kaempe Datter by Bioerner, Brynhildr 
is a inythological personage, one of the Valkyriae, not a mere mortal 
virgin, as in the Teutonic romances. She is the daughter of Budla, 
king of the Saxons and Franks, and lived in a lonely castle, encircled 
by the fire Vaftloga. The Sigurd of the Edda, according to Warnefrid, 
was the son of Sigmund, king of Hunnenland and of Hiordisa, and 
had two wives, Brynhildr, and Gudruna Grimhild, daughter of Giuko, 
(the Gibich of the German Book of Heroes,) king of Niflungaland. 
His daughter Asloeg was the wife of the celebrated Regner I,pdbrog. 
According to this account, Sigurd must have lived in the eighth cen- 
tury ; but the Hyndlu Lioth, in the Edda,* makes him a cotempo- 
rary of Jormunrek, (the Ermanrek of the WilkinarSaga,) and there- 
fore also of Dietrich of Bern, which is more consonant to the Teuto- 
nic romances. For an abstract of the Wolsunga-Saga, which may be 
considered as a digest of the Scandinavian traditions, respecting 
these celebrated heroes, the reader is referred to the elegant work of 
Mr Herbert.* The discussion of the question respecting the relative 

• Miscellaneous Poetry, Vol. II. Part II. p. I*. 

" Edda rhythmica seu antiquior, vulgo Ssemundina dicta, Pars. I. Hafniae, 1787, 4tQ. 
Praef. p. xxxviii. 
^ Ibid, p. 381. 
+ Misc. Poet, ut supra, pp. 20—33, 


antiquity of these and of the Teutonic traditions is reserved till the 
end of the following enumeration of the other remains in the northern 

Saxo Gfammaticus, who wrote about the year 1200, relates, that 
Magnus, the younger son of the Danish king Nicolas, conspired 
against the life of his elder brother Canute, to prevent his succeed- 
ing to the throne of his father, and sent a Saxon minstrel, one of the 
conspirators, to invite Canute to a conference, at which he was to be 
slain. But the minstrel had compassion on Canute, and having 
sworn not to betray the secret, he chaunted, in order to give him an 
indirect warning, the well-known treachery of Grimhild towards her 
brothers, formed into a well-ordered poem. This poem is probably 
still extant ; for in the valuable collection of Danish ballads entitled 
Kaempe Viser, there are three which relate the revenge of Grimhild, 
or Chrimhild, very httle differing, as to the facts, from the Teu- 
tonic romances. But the scene, which in these, as well as the older 
Scandinavian romances, is laid upon the Rhine, is here transferred to 
the island of Hvena,' situated between Zealand and Sconia, and cele- 
brated in latter times by the residence of Tycho de Brahe. One of 
these very curious and ancient ballads will be found in a subsequent 
part of this volume, translated by Mr Jamieson, together with some 
others relative to these heroes, whose popularity was nearly as exten- 
sive as that of Charlemagne and Arthur. 

The most comprehensive of the romances in the Scandinavian tongue 
is the Wilkina-and Niflunga-Saga,^ which is, however, to be considered 
entirely as a Teutonic work. It is, in fact, a digest of several metrical 
romances in the latter dialect of the Gothic, in the same manner as 
Malory's Mort Arthur was formed from the French romances. In 
several passages there is a direct reference to far more ancient Teu- 

" Perhaps the reason of this variation may be accounted for, by the corruption of Heu- 
naland, the land of the Huns, which is so called in the Teutonic romances, as well as in 
some of the Scandinavian, into the island of Hvena. 

» Wilkina Saga, eller Historien om Kong Thiderich af Bern och hans Kaempar; samt 
Niflunga Saga, &c. Published by Peringskiold. Stockholm, 1715, fol., with a Latin and 
Swedish translation. 


tonic songs and poems, from which it was compiled. Thus in the 
328th chafiter, where Queen Ostacia sends an army of wild beasts, 
such as lions, bears, and dragons, German songs and poems are 
quoted as authority.' Again, in the Niflunga-Saga, chapter 363* and 
367,' similar references occur. And in the Blomsturwalla-Saga 
it is said that " the History of King Thidrik was first written in Ger- 
many, and afterwards brought to Norway by Master Bioern i Nidaros, 
who was bishop of Norway." He was sent by King Hackan Hack- 
anson, about 1250, to the court of Frederick II., emperor of Ger- 
many, whose brother was to espouse Christina, the daughter of King 
Hackan. At the German court he heard the history read, and 
brought it with him to Norway, where it was translated into Scandi- 
navian. Several manuscripts were preserved. One of them seems to 
be nearly of the age in which the bishop lived. The following is a 
bare outline of this extraordinary romance, a more dilated abstract of 
which should certainly be given to the public. In order to exhibit 
the connection of the Teutonic romances, it was, however, deemed 
eligible to exhibit some general account of it in this place. The pre- 
face to the Book of Heroes relates several parts of the Saga which 
are not at present known to be extant in German, shortly, but with 
considerable variations. 

The romance begins with the history of the doughty knight Sam- 

' Sva seigir i kvsedum Thydverskum, at hennar haer vaeri likur fiocedum sialfom, oc hon 
sialf var oc sem einn ilugdreki. i. e. The German songs say that her armies were like the 
devils themselves, and she herself was in the shape of a fire-drake. 

* Sva er sagt^i Thydeskum kvsedum, &c. German poems speak of the bloody fight 
between Thidrik and the Niflungen, and how the sword Eckisax resounded on the 

5 Hier ma nu haejra frasogn Thydeskra manna, &c. Worthy of notice are those Ger- 
man songs of the inhabitants of Snsa, [so the residence of Attila is called in this romance, |] 
where these memorable actions happened. They can tell where Hogen fell, where Irung 
was slain, and where the dungeon was where King Gunnar was killed : They show the 
garden, which is still called the Niflung-Garden, where the heroes were slain, &c. And 
men of Munster and Bremen, worthy of belief, relate the same facts, without knowing 
any thing of the others, almost without variation; from which may be deduced the fidelity 
of the histories sung in poems in the Teutonic tongue, to the commemoration of the 
deeds of illustrious men. (Oc er that mest eptir thvi sem seigia forkvaedi i Thyderskri 
tunga, er giort hafa storir raenn umm thau stortidendi er i thessu landi hafa ordit. ) 


son, bom in the city of Salerno, who became enamoured of Hildes- 
vida, daughter of Rodger Jarl, lord of that city, with whom he escaped 
from her father's court, and Isilled him and King Brunstein, his bro- 
ther. Then he became king of the Goths, and begot three sons ; 
Ermenrek, king of the Goths in Puli, (Apulia,) Thietmar, king of 
Bern, (Verona,) and a natural son, named Aka Orlungatrost. After 
the death of Samson, Thietmar married Odilia, the daughter of Elsung 
Jarl, and begot the celebrated Thidrek, (Dietrich, Theoderic,) of 
Bern, king of Aumlungaland, (Italy,) who is the central hero of this 
whole connection of histories, which relates successively the deeds of 
the champions who attached themselves to him, and the manner in 
which they joined his fellowship. The first of these was Hildebrand, 
son of Reginbald, duke of Venice, who came to the court of Thietmar 
at the age of five ; Thidrek being at the time seven years old. A 
strict intimacy between the boys took place, and when they grew up 
to manhood they achieved several adventures, the most remarkable of 
which was their making the dwarf Alpris ' captive, and their obtaining, 
by his assistance, the valuable sword Nagelring. The next hero who 
joins the fraternity, after being subdued in battle by Thidrek, was 
Heimer, the son of Studo, who dwelt beyond the Alps, near Segard, 
the castle of the Lady Brynhild, famed for her matchless beauty. 

The history of the third champion, Vidga, (the Wittich of the Book 
of Heroes,) is next related. His remote ancestor was Wilkinus, king 
of Wilkinaland, (Sweden,) who, by a sea-monster, begot the giant 
Wada, who lived in Sealand, and had a son called VeUnt, one of the 
most excellent smiths who ever lived. His father hearing of the 
great skill of the smith Mimer, in Hunaland, sent him thither in his 
ninth year, where he learnt the trade at the same time with the cele- 
brated Sigurd, (Siegfried.) Afterwards he prosecuted his study with 
the dwarfs in a mountain, and there reached the summit of his art. 
His father was killed by the fall of a rock, occasioned by an earth- 
quake, which his tremendous snoring produced.* Velint proceed- 

" A very sitnilar adventure occurs in the first part of the Book of Heroes, which see, 
* This ludicrous adventure is very like one of the god Thor, in the twenty-third chapter 
«f the prose Edda, translated by Goranson. 


ed to the court of Nidung, king of Waringia, living in Jutland, at* 
whose court he was challenged by the smith Amilias to a trial of 
skill. The latter fabricated a suit of armour. Velint forged the 
sword Mimung in seven days, with which he cut [a ^'thread of wool, 
floating on the water, asunder, in the presence of the king. But find- 
ing the falchion heavy and unweildy, he sawed it in pieces, and, in a 
mixture of milk and meal, forged it in a red-hot fire for three days, 
and at the end of thirteen produced another sword, which cut through 
a whole ball of wool floating on the water. Still he was not satisfied 
with its goodness, but committed it again to the flames, and after seven 
weeks, having separated every particle of dross from the metal, fabri- 
cated a falchion of such exquisite goodness, that it split a whole bun- 
die of wool, floating on the water, in two. The smith Amihas trust- 
ing to the impenetrability of his breastplate and helmet, sat down upon 
a bench, and bade his rival strike at him with the sword. But Velint 
split him to the navel; and when he complained that he felt as if cold iron 
had passed through his ehtrails, Velint bade him shake himself a little, 
upon which his body fell to the ground in two pieces. ' Velint after- 
wards assisted King Nidung in his wars, and obtained his daughter in 
marriage ; but, by the order of the king, he was mutilated. After 
several other adventures, which would occupy too much room in this 
introduction, to particularize them separately, Velint begot a son, 
named Vidga, who, going to seek adventures when he had attained to 
manhood, fought with several of Thidrek's knights, and at last suc- 
ceeded in vanquishing that hero himself, upon which he joined his 
company of champions. After the wounds had been cured which 
Thidrek had received from the sword Mimung, he undertook a pere- 
grination in search of adventures, anxious to recover his fame, which 
had been tarnished in the late engagement. In this expedition he 
killed Ecka, and obtained from him the celebrated sword Eckisax ; 
disarmed Fasold, and rescued Sintram from the jaws of a dragon; both 
of whom become his sworn companions. 

' This singular story was adopted into the Edda by. Saemund, under the title of Vcelun- 




After this an episode is introduced respecting the wars of Wilimer, 
and of his four giants, Aspilian, Aventrod, Etgeir, and Widolf, (the lat- 
ter of whom is so strong, that in time of peace he is led by a chain,) 
against the Russians ; and, after that, the battles of Osantrix, king of 
Wilkina-land, and his obtaining Oda, the daughter of Melias, king of 
Hunaland, for his spouse. ' After the death of King Melias, AttUa, 
the younger son of Osid, king of Frisia, made himself master of his 
dominions, while his brother obtained those of their father. Attila 
sent Rodolf, * margrave of Bechelar, to Osantrix, demanding his daugh- 
ter Erka in marriage. But his request being refused, he invaded the 
territory of Osantrix. Rodolf^ however, went in disguise to Wil- 
kinaburg, the residence of the latter, and persuaded the virgin to 
elope with him. She was brought to Attila, who made her his queen. 
After this follows the history of Walter of Waskastein, and his elope- 
ment with HUdegund, very nearly coiaciding with the fable of the La- 
tin epic, an abstract of which has already been given. In the mean- 
time an altercation had happened between Heimer and Vidga. The 
forme?: joined a robber named Ingram, who molested the forest of Fal- 
ster, (a Danish isle near Zealand, here described as a forest lying be- 
tween Saxony and Denmark.) 

The si^th hero who joined the society of Thidrek was Thetlef, the 
son of Bitterulf, who dwelt in Denmark and Sconia. ' After the fa- 
ther and son had driven Heimer and his associates from their haunts, 
the latter was knighted, and proceeded in search of adventures. He 
fought duels with Sigurd the Grecian, and with Walter of Waska- 
stein, and then joined the knights of Thidrek. Soon after, the old king 
Thietmar died, and left the inheritance of his dominions to Thidrek. 
Wildifer and Herbrand, two illustrious heroes, join the chivalrous 
association. The wars of Osantrix and Attila had continued with 

' This is the part of the fable which has nearly the same subject with King Rother. See 
above, p.' 26. 

'■ The Rudiger of the Nibelungen. 

' Dietlieb and his father Bitterolf are mentioned, in the third and fourth parts of the 
Book of Heroes, as dwelling in Styria. 


varied success, but the latter, craving and obtaining the assistance of 
Thidrek, vanquished his opponent in a bloody battle. Vidga, how- 
ever, fell into the power of the Swedes ; but his friend Wildifer re- 
leased him out of captivity by a stratagem. 
V Now the celebrated Sigurd (Siegfried) is introduced into the cir- 
cle of heroes who assemble round Thidrek of Bern. His father, Sig- 
mund, king of Jarlungaland, obtained the hand of Sisile, daughter of 
the Spanish king Nidung. Being forced to leave her during an ex- 
pedition which he undertook for the relief of Drasolf, king of the 
Poles, he gave her in charge to his two counsellors, Hartvin and Her- 
man. They prove unfaithful in their charge, and not being able to 
obtain their desires, accuse the queen of adultery, on the return of 
Sigmund, who orders her to be executed. She is led away by the two 
counts, but they cannot agree in what manner to deprive her of life : 
A battle is the consequence, in which Hartvin is killed. The queen 
had meanwhile been delivered of a boy, whom she had laid into a 
drinking-cup of glass. Hartvin, when he fell dead on the ground, 
accidentally threw the cup into the river, which when the queen be- 
held, she instantly died of grief. ' Herman returning to the court, 
related the manner of her death, and that of his fellow, which exciting 
the suspicion of Sigmund, he ordered him immediately to quit his 
sight. The child was found floating on the river by the celebrated 
smith Mimer, by him rescued, and educated in his smithy. But the 
boy acquired prodigious strength, and continually quarrelled with the 
others who worked there, so that Mimer began to fear him, and in 
order to be rid of so troublesome a workman, sent him into a forest 
haunted by his brother Regin, who, for his malice, had been metamor- 
phosed into a dragon. Sigurd, however, killed the monster, and boiled 
a piece of his body for his food. He put his finger into the broth, and 
bringing it, in order to cool it, to his tongue, a few drops fell upon it. 

• This part of the story is very similar to the beautiful legend of St Genevieve. The 
reader may compare the history of Sigurd, as here related, with that contained in the Ger- 
man popular book, a short abstract of which is given above, and with that given in the 
Wolsunga-Saga and the Edda. 



He instantly understood the language of the birds, ' who were just con- 
versing about the danger in which he stood from the anger of Mimer, 
the brother of the dragon. Sigurd, warned by their conversation, re- 
turned to the smith, and killed him. Then he proceeded to the castle 
of Brynhild, threw down the seven gates, and took away the wild horse 
Grana, which was grazing in a meadow. Then he entered into the 
service of Isung, king of Bertangaland,* 

About the same time flpurished the three sons of Aldrian, king of 
Niflungaland, ' and of Oda, his queen, Gunnar, Gernoz, and Gissler. 
Hogen was also the son of Queen Oda, but was the produce of a con- 
nection she had had with an elf, (Alfiir.) He was a hero of a fierce 
and angry disposition, just as he is described in the Nibelungen. These 
four heroes proceeded to Bern, where Gunnar and Hogen joined the 
fellowship of Thidrek. The latter celebrated a feast, at which he, with 
Gunnar, Hogen, Hildebrand, and Hornbog Jarl, sat upon the right 
side of the table, and Widga the strong, Aumlung, the son of Horn- 
bog, Thetlef, Fasold, Sintram, Wildifer, Herbrand, denominated the 
wise, on account of his distant peregrinations, and Heimer the fierce, 
who was the Ganelon of the society, sat upon the left. During the 
feast, Thidrek and his twelve champions conversing of deeds of arms, 
Herbrand related to them how King Isung of Bertangaland had 
eleven sons, and that the matchless Sigurd was also at his court ; that 
their swords and steeds were superior to those of the champions of 
Bern, and that they were more bold and heroic than themselves. A 
trial of their comparative skill was immediately concluded on. The 
knights proceed on the expedition, during which Vidga slays the 
giant Etgeir,* on the frontiers. When they arrived they defied Isung, 

' From this circumstance it would seem as if this part of the romance was oriental. 
Gerbert, afterwards Pope Sylvester II., who died in 1003, is said, by William of Malmes- 
bury, among other magic arts, to have learned the language of birds from the Moors at 

• Peringskiold translates this, Britannia. 

5 The country about Worms, called in the German romances Burgundy. 

* See the Danish ballad of the Ettin Langshanks, in this volume. 


his sons, and Sigurd, to do battle with them.' Hildebrand, Heinier, 
Hogen, Sintram, and Gunnar are vanquished and bound, but Vidga 
and Thedef are more fortunate against their opponents, and. release 
their captive companions. The final and most obstinate combat takes 
place between Thidrek and Sigurd, which is thrice renewed, but at 
length the former remains victor, having borrowed Mimung, the sword 
of Vidga. Aumlung espouses Fallborg, the daughter of King Isung, 
and Sigurd joins the twelve knights of Bern. Upon their return, 
Hornbog, with his son Aumlung, Sintram, and Herbrand, return home 
to their dominions. 

After this, the nuptials between Sigurd and Grimhild, the sister 
of Gunnar, and of that king with Brynhild, are related shortly, and 
nearly in the same manner as in the Nibelungen, excepting the expedi- 
tion to Isenland, and the trial of skill between Brunhild and Siegfried. 
Sigurd, however, actually takes advantage of lying by the side of 
Brynhild, and subduing her, as proxy for Gunnar. After these marri- 
ages several episodes are introduced, which have but Httle connection 
with the main action. The first relates the death of Herthegn, by the 
hand of his brother Sintram, and the elopement of their third brother, 
Herburt, with Hilder, the daughter of Artais, king of Bertangaland ; 
which forms a singular connection between the. Teutonic cyclus of 
romance, and that of which King Arthur is the central hero. Then 
the marriage of Thidrek himself, with the daughter of King Drusian, 
follows. Her two younger sisters are espoused by Thetlef and Fasold, 
two of his champions. After this triple espousal, the consti'uctor of 
this chain of fictions returns somewhat confusedly to King Artus, who, 
at his death, left his empire, to his two sons, Iron andApollonius > but 
they were expelled by Isung and his eleven sons, who have been al- 
ready mentioned. They fled to Attila, by whom they were well re- 
ceived. ApoUonius was created earl of Thuringia, and Iron earl of Bran- 
denburgh. Solomon was at that time king of the Franks, and.the young 
earl of Thuringia fell in love with his daughter, with whom he eloped, 

* This portion of the work is very similar to the third part of the Book of Heroes. 


assisted by his brother Iron, and his wife. The latter soon after died. 
After this, the two earls and the king made continual chaces and de- 
predations in each others' forests. At length ApoUonius died, and 
Iron was made prisoner by Solomon, but reconciled to him by his 
wife, who shortly after died. Then he had an amour with Bolfriana, in 
Fritilabdrg, wife; of the duke Ake Orlungatrost, by whom he was 
killed. Ake was half-brother to Ermenrek, and dying soon after, the 
strong knight Vidga married his widow, and thus became vassal to 
that king who bore the crown at Rome, his dominions extending far 
on both sides of the Alps. 

Ermenrek had one day dispatched his counsellor Sif ka to a distant 
castle, and took the opportunity of his absence to ravish Odilia, his 
wife. When SiOca returned, and heard of the crime perpetrated by 
the king, he resolved to obtain revenge in the most studied and mali- 
cious way. By false insinuations he persuaded the king to cause his 
own three sons, and then the two of Ake Orlungatrost, who had 
been left to the care of Vidga, to be murdered during the absence of 
the latter.' Sifka then advised Ermenrek to demand tribute of King 
Thidrek, and when it was denied, to invade his territories. The lat- 
ter, not able to withstand him, was forced to fly, and abandon Bern, 
and to seek shelter with Attila. For thirty years he fought the battles 
of that king with him, against Osantrix, king of Wilkinaland, who was 
slain, and Waldemar, king of Russia. Queen Erka at last persuaded 
Attila to assist Thidrek in an attempt to recover his kingdom, which, 
however, proved fruitless. Thidrek was defeated, his youngest bro' 
ther Thetter, and Erp and Ortwin, the two sons of Attila, were killed 
by Vidga, who, flying from Thidrek, was drowned in a river. Queen 
Erka died soon after of grief. 

Here the Niflunga-Saga begins with the altercation of the two 
queens, Brynhild and Grimild, and the fable proceeds nearly in the 
same manner as that of the Nibelungen, and with very few varia- 
tions, excepting Hogen's living some days in the dungeon, and be- 

' The beautiful popular story of Eckard the True bears great resemblance to this tale. 


getting a son, Aldrian,' who revenges the death of his father upon 
Attila, by enticing him into the treasury of the Niblungen, and shutting 
him up in it. Grimild, according to this narration, was killed by the 
hand of Thidrek. 

A short episode is introduced in the Niflunga-Saga, which relates 
the warfare between King Isung of Bertangaland, and Hertnid, son 
of Osantrix and king of Wilkinaland, in which the former, and his 
eleven sons, were killed by the enchantment of Ostacia, the wife of 
Hertnid, who conjured up an army of fiends and war-wolfs, commanding 
them herself, in the shape of a dragon. Fasold the Proud, and Thetlef 
the Dane, who served in the army of Isung, were also slain. The 
magic queen, after her return from the battle, sickened, and died. 

After the heroes had fallen at Susa, the residence of Attila, to gra- 
tify the revenge of Grimild, and no one of Thidrek's companions 
being left alive but Hildebrand, he resolved to return to Bern, 
accompanied by the latter, whose son, Alebrand, had that castle in 
his possession. On their road thither they heard of the death of 
King Ermenrek. When Hildebrand came to Bern, he met with his 
son, with whom he fought a severe battle, before they recognised each 
other.* Alebrand gave up the castle to Thidrek, killed Sifka in a 
battle, in which the latter endeavoured to drive Thidrek from his pos- 
sessions, and became his faithful servant till his death. Thidrek was 
crowned emperor at Rome, and, together with Hildebrand, embraced 
the Christian faith. The latter soon afterwards died, at the age of 
180, or, according to others, 200 years. Thidrek having lost his 
wife Herraud, a relation of Attila's, reigned many years^ amusing him- 
self chiefly with the chace.3 

' See the Danish ballad of Grimild's Wrack, in this volume. 

* This chapter, the 376th, bears great similarity to the Song of Hildebrand, and the 
ancient Teutonic fragment in the Appendix. 

' A singular passage occurs in the Annals of Snorro, where he relates the history of 
Widfor, or Magus Jarl. Charlemagne having heard much of those ancient heroes, Diet- 
rich of Bern, Vidgo, the son of Velint, Gunnar the Niflung, Isung, and the northern hero 
Haldan, wished to see them. A magician immediately, by a spell, brought them all before 
the emperor, armed, sitting on their war-horses, and marching in three rows. Among the 


The comparison of this extensive chain of fiction, certainly grounded 
upon historic truth, with the ensuing abstracts of the principal Ger- 
man romances, and with the real Scandinavian remains mentioned 
above, will lead to curious investigations, but a positive and undeniable 
result can hardly be expected at present. The subject is compara- 
tively so new, and the means of complete investigation so difficult of 
access, that we must content ourselves chiefly with hypothetical con- 
clusions. The most rational way of accounting for the wide diffiision 
of these romantic tales, is, perhaps, to consider them as a congeries of 
Gothic fictions of various times, (some of them possibly imported from 
Asia, at the time of the emigration of the Goths from thence,) engrafts 
ed upon real history ; and as a confusion of fictions and actual facts, pro- 
duced by continual addition to the real original foundation. We have 
seen that there is unquestionable authority to prove the existence of some 
parts, at least, of this cyclus of romance in the eighth and ninth century ; 
and there is reason to believe that they were popular a considerable 
time, perhaps two centuries, before. The singular question, whether 
they owed their origin to the Teutonic Goths, or to their northern 
brethren, we have some data to determine. The residence of the 
principal heroes is placed, even in the older Scandinavian romances on 
the subject, in Germany ; and that of Lady Grimild was not trans- 
ferred to the Danish islands till the time when the popular ballads of 
Denmark were produced. It is true that the mythological cast which 
the fictions acquired in Scandinavia, and the magic name of the Edda, 
may startle our belief in their Teutonic origin ; but there are such 
stubborn facts against deducing them from Scandinavia, that the 
claims of the former certainly carry more weight. It is well known 
that the most ancient Edda (if we except the Voluspa and a few 
fragments) was compiled by Saemund, who \yas born about 1054, 
and studied for several years in Germany, at Erlangen and Cologne. 

twelve spectres, Dietrich, who was the third, and appeared more powerful and gigantic 
than the rest, leaped from his horse. His example was followed by the others, and they 
all seated themselves around the throne of Charlemagne. 


It requires no great stretch of hypothesis to suppose that he might 
have adopted some of the Teutonic traditions into his mythological 
collection, particularly as in those portions which refer to Bryn- 
hild, Gunnar, Grimhild, and Sigurd, the scene is placed on the 
Rhine, and in Saxony. But even without having recourse to this 
supposition, the antiquity of the fragment so often referred to, and of 
the Latin epic analysed above, is evidently greatly superior to any 
thing which the Scandinavians can show upon positive proof. To this 
may be added, that the most extensive Saga on these subjects, in their 
language, is professedly a compilation from ancient Teutonic metrical 
romances and songs. 

Of the historical origin of the great epic Song of the Nibelungen, 
(for the Book of Heroes, though placed before that poem, on account 
of its relating the actions of older heroes, was evidently compiled in 
much later times, and is far- more fabulous,) a few data and coinci« 
dences are all that can be expected. Attila (there named Etzel) 
needs no explanation ; and it is well known that he had Thuringia, 
Poland, and Wallachia unden. his dominion, as related in the poem. 
His wife Halche, the -Herka of the Wilkina-Saga, is mentioned in the 
fragments of the embassy of Priscus to that king, where she is named 
Erca. In the Hungarian chronicle of Thwortz, Dietrich, (that is, rich 
in people, afterwards corrupted into Theoderictis, but by Procopius 
always spelt Sivli^ix,) not the celebrated Theoderic, king of the Os- 
trogoths, but one of his predecessors, who lived 80 years before, is re- 
presented as fighting with an army composed of Ostrogoths, Germans, 
and Longobards, against the Huns, at their first irruption into Europe, 
by whom he was defeated, and forced to join Attila with his own forces, 
as in the Wilkina-Saga and the Nibelungen. . It is there likewise re- 
jated, that Attila left his kingdom to his two sons, Chaba and Aladar, 
the former by a Grecian mother, the latter by Kremheilch, (Chrim- 
hild,) a German ; that Theoderic sowed dissension between them, and 
took, with the Teutonic nations, the party of the latter, in consequence 
of which a great slaughter took place, which lasted for fifteen days. 


and terminated in the defeat of Chaba, and his flight to Asia. ' There 
is, however, some confiision respecting the Theoderic (Dietrich) of 
these romances. Several allusions are made, which would cause us 
to believe Theoderic the Great was intended. In the fragment of 
Hildebrand, he is evidently and indubitably alluded to, as well as his 
enemy Odoacer. But he was not born till about the year 442, his 
great irruption into Italy, and his defeat of Odoacer did not take place 
tUl 480, nor his death till 526 ; whereas Attila was leader of the Huns 
already about 428, invaded Italy, and defeated the Western Goths, 
about 450, and died soon after. It is therefore probable, that an 
earlier Theoderic is the subject of these romances. Gunter, king of 
Burgundy, is probably Guntachar, who was actually king of the Bur- 
gundians, resided at Worms, and was slain in a battle with the Huns, 
about 436. Siegfried cannot so easily be traced to any historic9,l per- 
sonage. It has been conjectured, with some probability, that he was 
Sigbert, who is said to have been major-domo to Theoderic, and to 
have dwelt, with his wife Chrimhild, at Worms. His castle of Santen 
is undoubtedly Xanten, a town on the left side of the Lower Rhine. 
Tronek, the possession of Hagen, may have been (according to the sup- 
position of Johannes Mueller, the admirable historian of Switzerland) th? 
ancient Tournus, (Tornucium.) Isenland may either have been a super- 
added fiction about Iceland, or the "celebrated castle of Isenburgh, on 
the left side of the Rhine, Charlemagne's favourite place of residence, 
may be intended. There is great and inexplicable confusion re- 
specting the real meaning of the title of the poem. In some places, 
Nibelungenland is evidently Norway ; but, in general, here, as well as 
in the Niflunga^Saga, it means Burgundy. The Nibelung heroes in the 
latter are always Burgundians, but in the poem sometimes warriors 
of that nation, at others, Siegfried's auxiliaries from Norway. The 
great Niblung treasure is represented as having come from that coun- 

" For this and numerous other notices I am indebted to a learned dissertation in the 
Zeitung fuer Einsiedler, by J. Goerres. 



try where Siegfrie'd slew Prince Niblung and his brother. Bern, the 
residence of Dietrich, is not the city so called in Switzerland, but was 
the original Gothic name of Verona. 

When we compare these Teutonic romances with those of France, 
England, and Spain, we are immediately struck with the want of chi- 
valrous courtesy of the knights, and with the praises bestowed upon the 
most savage and ferocious among them. We have not here that con- 
stant obedience and attention to the ladies, who are indeed frequently 
more savage than their lovers. The peculiar diablerie of these ro- 
mances, is, perhaps, their most striking feature. The dwarfs, who, by 
the French minstrels, were represented as mere naturals, and humble 
attendants upon the knights, are here exalted into creatures of great 
cunning, having dominion over the interior of the earth, consequently 
possessing incalculable riches in gold and gems, and having the stronger, 
but less sagacious, race of giants entirely under their controul. The 
history of the creation of those three great classes, the dwarfs, giants, 
and heroes, is given by the author of the preface to the Book of He- 
roes, in the following manner. " It should be known for what reason 
God created the great giants and the little dwarfs, and subsequently 
the heroes. First, he produced the dwarfs, because the mountains 
lay waste and useless, and valuable stores of silver and gold, with gems 
and pearls, were concealed in them. Therefore God made the dwarfs 
right wise and crafty, that they could distinguish good and bad, and 
to what use all things should be applied. They knew the use of gems — 
that some of them gave strength to the wearer, others made him invi- 
sible, which were called fog-caps. ' Therefore God gave art and wisdom 
to them, that they built them hollow hills j he- gave them nobility, so 
that they, as well as the heroes, were kings and lords ; and he gave them 
great riches. And the reason why God created the giants, was, that 
they should slay the wild beasts and worms, (dragons, serpents,) and 

' Nebel-kappen, tam-kappen. In the romances themselves, they are not represented 
3S gems, but as a kind of veils, which rendered every thing covered by them invisible. 



thus enable the dwarfs to cultivate the mountains in safety. But after 
some time, it happened that the giants became wicked and unfaithful, 
and did much harm to the dwarfs. Then God created the heroes, 
who were of a middle rank between the dwarfs and giants. And it 
should be known, that the heroes were worthy and faithful for many 
years, and that they were created to come to the assistance of the 
dwarfs, against the unfaithful giants, the beasts, and the worms. The 
land was then waste, therefore God made strong heroes, and gave 
them such a nature, that their mind was ever bent on manhood, and 
on battles and fights. Among the dwarfs were many kings, who had 
giants for their servants ; for they possessed rough countries, waste fo- 
rests, and mountains near their dwellings. The heroes paid all ob- 
servance and honour to the ladies, protected widows and orphans, did 
no harm to women, except when their life was in danger, were always 
ready to assist them, and often shewed their manhood before them, both 
in sport and in earnest. It should also be known, that the heroes were 
always emperors, kings, dukes, earls, and served under lords, as knights 
and squires, and that they were all noblemen, and no one was a pea- 
sant. From them are descended all lords and noblemen." 

With respect to the following abstracts of the two principal Teutonic 
romances, and particularly the passages of which a poetical translation 
has been given, the reader will not here be troubled with many apo- 
logies. We were chiefly anxious to give somewhat more than a mere 
outline of these ancient romantic relics, which have not hitherto 
been known in this island, and the value of which we, perhaps, rate too 
highly. The poetical specimens in the Nibelungen are in the exact 
measure of the original^ which closely resembles that employed by the 
Spaniards, in longer poems, previous to the time of Boscan. The most 
proper model of translating them was therefore the elegant and spi- 
rited version of some passages of the Poema del Cid, in the appendix to 
Mr Southey's Chronicle of that hero. The chief difference of this mea- 
sure from the one employed by the German minstrel, is, the lines termi- 
nating in rhymes instead of assonance, and being regularly formed into 
stanzas of four lines. The original measure of the Book of Heroes is not 


exactly the same, every stanza containing eight short lines, or rather ha- 
ving a rhyme, (generally feminine,) at the caesura of each line, corres- 
ponding with the rhyme of the caesura of the next. But as it would have 
been almost impossible to preserve this exactly in an Enghsh version, 
and as the metre is, at best, very fatiguing, by its uniformity, the same 
measure has been employed as in the Nibelungen. The variation is, 
moreover, warranted, by some ancient MS. fragments of the Book of 
Heroes actually employing the exact form of the stanza in the Nibe- 
lungen. In the latter, the translations are line for line, and almost lite- 
ral. Those from the Book of Heroes are also very close ; but it was 
necessary, on account of the verbosity, and the frequent repetitions, 
to omit several stanzas, and often to condense two into one. The 
Nibelungen and the first part of the Book of Heroes are divided into 
adventures in the original. The other parts of the latter are not ; but, 
for the sake of uniformity, and for the ease of the reader, similar divi- 
sions have been introduced here. 

Basf jlellimbtufj. 








Adventure I. 

" In the town of Surders, in Syria, a book has been diseovered, which 
had been buried there by the savage pagans, containing many marvels, 
which I will relate <b you." In the realm of Lombardy reigned the 
mighty King Otnit,' and dwelt in his strong castle of Garten. He 
was possessed of the strength of twelve other men, and by his valour 
had rendered himself master of Rome, and of all the surrounding 
countries, counting no less than seventy-two vassal-princes in his 

His barons advised him, when he was come to a mature age, to 
espouse some princess, and he professed himself perfectly willing to 
comply with their desire ; but Hellnot, margrave of Tuscany, declared, 

• Perhaps this name has been corrupted from Odenetus, the Roman emperor. He is 
known to have fought against the Goths, and the era in which he lived suits that of the 
poetical Otnit, vt Ottenit, remarkably well. 


that, in all Italy and Germany, no damsel existed who could aspire 
to his bed. At length Eligas of Russia, his most powerful vassal, de- 
clared, that he had heard of the fairest virgin on earth : 

" She shines all other dames before, right as the precious gold ; 
Believe me^ prince, her form is dight with beauties manifold : 
Even as the mid-day sun upon the roses gleams 
And on the ILIy fair, the lovely lady seems." 

She was the daughter of Machahol, king of Syria. All who had 
hitherto endeavoured to obtain her hand had lost their lives, and the 
battlements of the burgh of Montebure had thus been ornamented 
with the heads of many heralds and lovers. The paynim king had 
used this cruelty in the hope of his wife's speedy death, when he him- 
self intended to put his daughter in her place. But Otnit, undismayed 
at these tidings, declared his resolution to besiege the king in his cas- 
tle, and obtain the hand of the princess ; nor could the persuasions of 
HeUnot deter him from his resolution. 

Eligas undertook to bring five thousand men to his assistance : Hell- 
not and Duke Gherwart promised the same number each. Duke 
Zacheris offered twenty thousand men, and twelve ships laden with 
provisions. In this manner Otnit collected an army of eighty thou- 
sand men, in complete armour, amongst whom he distributed his 
treasures. He appointed his uncle Eligas standarS-bearer. The pagan 
king of Messina undertook to furnish the ships necessary for the expe- 
dition. Then Eligas, with the other dukes and vassals, took leave, in or- 
der to prepare the troops they had undertaken to furnish, within the 
space of one year. 

Adventure II. 

The queen, his mother, incessantly entreated Otnit to relinquish 
his design, but finding that all her prayers were in vain, she informed 
him of a wonderful dream she had dreamt, of a hollow rock. Otnit, 


who for some time had been without any adventure, supposed this to 
be a very marvellous one, and undertook it without hesitation. His 
mother gave him a ring, and conjured him never to part with it, as it 
contained a stone of mighty power, which would guide him on his 
road, and in the space of one year would be of more use to him than 
thirty thousand marks of gold. She then instructed him to proceed 
in the following manner : 

" If thou wilt seek th' adventure, don thy armour strong ; 
Far to the left thou ride the toVring rocks along : 
But bide thee, champion, and await, where grows a Unden-tree, 
There, flowing from the rock, a well thine eyes will see. 

" Far around the meadow spread the branches green, 

Five hundred armed knights may stand beneath the shade I ween. 

Below the linden-tree await, and thou wUt meet full soon 

The marvellous adventure ; there must the deed be done." 

The hero armed himself, took leave of his mother, who again re- 
commended the ring to his particular care, and set out alone, in search 
of the promised adventure. 

And now the noble champion to a garden did he pass, 
Where all with lovely flowers sprinkled was the grass ; 
The birds right sweetly chaunted, loud and merry they sung : 
Rapidly his noble steed pass'd the mead along. 

Through the clouds with splendour gleam'd the sun so cheerfully ; 
And suddenly the prince beheld the rock and the linden-tree. 
To the ground the earth was prest, that saw the champion good j 
And there he foimd a foot-path small, with little feet was trod. 

Quickly rode the fearless king along the rocky mount. 
Where he view'd the linden-tree, standing by the fount : 
The linden-tree with leaves so green was laden heavily ; 
On the branches many a guest chaunted merrily : 


Many a duel sung the birds,' with loud and joyous cheer. 
Then spake the noble emperor, " Rightly did I spier." 
Up spake the champion joyfully, " The linden have I found ;" 
By the bridle took his steed, and leap'd upon the ground. 

By the hand the noble courser led the champion stout. 

And eagerly he looked the hnden-tree about : 

He spake : " No tree upon the earth with thee may compare." — 

He saw where in the grass lay a child so fair. 

• Much did the hero marvel, who that child might be : 
Upon his little body knightly gear had he j 
So rich, no princess' son nobler arms might bear ; 
Richly were they dighted with gold and diamonds fair. 

And as the child before him lay all in the grass so green, 
Spake Otnit, " Fairer infant in the world may not be seen. 
I rode to seek adventures all the mirky night. 
And along with me I'll bear thee, thou infant fair and bright." 

Lightly he weened the child to take, and bear him o'er the plain, 
But on his heart he struck him, with wond'rous might and main ; 
That loudly cried Sir Otnit, writhing with pain and woe : 
" Where lies thy mighty power hid, for fidl weighty was thy blow ?" 

The combat between the two champions, to all appearance so un^ 
equally matched, was of long duration, and notwithstanding Otnit's 
being possessed of the strength of twelve champions, he found it no 
easy undertaking to subdue his little opponent, who was named Elbe- 
rich." At last, however, he succeeded in throwing him to the ground, 
where he-threatened to slay him for his presumption : 

Thus in the original : 

Die vcegel mit gebrsechte 

Sif> siino-pn wifiHprst.rf^it. 

Sie sungen wiederstreit. 

» If we believe the romantic legends, this dwarf must have lived till the times of Sieg- 
fried, as he is mentioned both in the Song of the Nibelungen, and the Wilkina-Saga. 


Forc'd by the hero's strength, he knelt upon his knee : 
" Save me, noble Otnit, for thy chivalry ! 
A hauberk will [ give thee, strong, and of wondrous might : 
Better armour never bore champion in the fight. 

" Not eighty thousand marks would buy the hauberk bright. 
A sword of mound I'll give thee, Otnit, thou royal knight : 
Through armour, both of gold and steel, cuts the weapon keen j 
The helmet could its edge withstand, ne'er in this world was seen. 

" Better blade was never held in hero's hand : 

I brought it from afar, Almary hight the land : 

'Twas wrought by cunning dwarfs, clear as the clearest glass : 

I found the glittering falchion in the mountain Zeighelsass." 

Elberich informed him that the weapon was named Rosse. He pro- 
mised to give him also golden armour for the legs, a helmet and a 
shield of incomparable goodness. He informed him that he was mo- 
narch over great numbers of wild dwarfs, and that his dominions were 
three times as extensive as his own. Otnit, however, would not re- 
lease him unless he promised him his assistance in the expedition to 
Syria. The dwarf was very importunate to obtain from Otnit the 
ring which his mother had given him, and when he was denied, up- 
braided him with his niggardly disposition, and the fear which he stood 
in of his mother's displeasure. At last he cunningly drew it from his 
finger, and disappeared in an instant. 

When Otnit found himself alone he was greatly dismayed, and his 
wrath was much increased by the bitter taunts and reproaches, for his 
foolish inattention, by the invisible dwarf; who told him the amount 
of the loss he had sustained by allowing the ring to be taken from 
him, which had the quality of rendering the wearer invisible ; jeered 
him with the scolding he would receive when he got home to his 
mother ; and refused to give him the armour which he had promised. 
The emperor, despairing of ever beholding him again, was mounting 
his steed to depart, when the dwarf stayed him, began to give him 



some hopes, and at last, upon his promising not to take any revenge, 
returned the ring. Being thus rendered visible again, he greatly 
astonished Otnit, by the assertion that he was his father. 

" Thou art my son. Sir Otnit," the little champion spake. — 

" Then in the fire I'll burn her, and her faithless love a-wreak ; 
Because in the land of Lombardy she loved another knight. 
She shall not live upon this earth another day, I plight." — 

" Softly, noble emperor ! When first by her I lay, 
'Twas when brightly gleamed the sun, in the merry month of May; 
With my might I forc'd the lady, for I found her all alone : 
Bitterly she wept the deed ; against her will 'twas done." 

He said that the father of Otnit had incessantly prayed for an heir, 
and that he had taken compassion upon him, and had procured him 
one in that manner. Otnit finding that he could not prevent his own 
illegitimacy, contented himself, and resolved to conceal the circum- 
stance from his vassals. 

Elberich entered the cave, and soon returned with the promised 
arms, which greatly exceeded the expectation of Otnit. The rings 
of the hauberk were so bright, that his eyes could scarcely endure 
their splendour, and the helmet was ornamented with two carbuncles, 
and a diamond of matchless value. Having put on his new armour, 
he mounted his horse, and took leave of his diminutive father, who, 
upon obtaining a vow from him never to revenge himself upon his 
mother, promised to appear whenever he should desire his presence. 

Otnit was anxious to prove the vaunted qualities of the arms he had 
obtained, and for that purpose wandered about the forests for four 
days ; but, to his great mortification, he did not meet with a single ad- 
venture. Then he resolved to engage the knights at his own castle 
in combat. 

The king of Lombardy, in the morning-tide. 
Sped him, all alone, to his burgh to ride j 


While through the dusky clouds broke the star of morning bright, 
And on his helm resplendent gleamed gaily the glitt'ring light. 

Silently the knight abode all in a meadow green. 
Until the rising sun in the firmament was seen. 
Rashly through the castle-moat the noble champion run. 
As if he deemed to storm the castle all alone. 

Loudly from the battlements shouted the careful wait : 

" Though your hauberk gleam like fire, ye come not to the gate." — 

" To your lord and master wide your gates unfold ; 

Bid my knights come forth !" Thus spake the hero bold. 

The emperor then pretended that he was a pagan knight, who had 
slain Otnit in battle, and who was come to challenge his seventy- 
two vassals to combat with him. When his knights heard this, they 
threw down the draw-bridge, and issued to the fight, where he found 
the virtues of his sword and armour fully equal to the commendations 
bestowed on them by the dwarf. Having unhorsed the burghgrave ' 
and his brother, he suddenly stopped the combat, and revealed him« 
self, to the great content of the combatants. Then he proceeded to 
visit his mother, whom he found drowned in tears, but whose lamen- 
tations were soon quieted by his appearance. He related his adven- 
tures with the dwarf, whose paternal connection with him she did not 

Adventure III. 

When th^ year came about which had been appointed for the col- 
lection of the forces to be employed in the expedition to Syria, the 
several princes and dukes arrived with their respective quotas, and im- 
mediately marched to Messina, where the heathen king had prepared 

' The burghgrave is the same officer as the chastellain of the French — sometimes th^ 
lord of a castle ; at others, only the governor. 


every thing for their embarkation. After having sailed for six weeks, 
the mariner on the mast saw the city of Suders. He at the same 
time acquainted Otnit how dangerous it would be to enter the har- 
bour, as the town's-people were greatly addicted to robbery. 

Otnit was in great perplexity, and cursed the negligence he had 
committed, in leaying his principal counsellor, the dwarf, behind him. 
But turning suddenly round, he beheld him close at his side, invisible 
to any one but himself, and could not help exclaiming with joy, " Ah, 
father, what has brought thee here ?" The dwarf answered, smiling, 
that he had sat on the top of the mast along with the mariner. When 
the latter exclaimed that the pagans with great force were coming 
out of the harbour, he gave it as his opinion, that Otnit should pre- 
tend to have come to Syria as a merchant. Eligas was greatly asto- 
nished at this conversation, and demanded who the invisible speaker 
might be : 

" I ween some strange adventure of magic this must be." — 

" No," spake the king of Lombardy ; " if thou the dwarf wilt see 

Clearly before thine eyes, place this ring thy finger round." — 

A loud laugh laughed the Russian king, when the little knight he found. 

Quickly spake Sir Eligas : " Thou little babe, alas ! 

Why, far from friends and kindred, o'er the ocean didst thou pass ?" — 

" Not all so young am I as thy wits, sir champion, ween ; 

Fifty and three hundred years in this world have I seen." 

Otnit objected to the advice of Elberich, that he was not capable of 
speaking the language of Syria ; but the dwarf soon removed the ob- 
jection : 

" Fear thee not. Sir Otnit ; here is a gem of mound : 
Thou wilt speak all languages the spacious world around ; 
Each one canst thou answer, from the north unto the south. 
When secretly the precious gem lies hid within thy mouth/' 


This marvel staggered the faith of Otnit at first ; but when the hea- 
then ships came within hearing, he soon had reason to dismiss his 
unbelief; for he found no difficulty in conversing with the pagans on 
board. He informed them that he was come with merchandize from 
Kerlingen ;' and the heathens sent the account of his arrival to the 
judge of the town, who ordered no one to interrupt their ships, and 
sailed himself in a war-gaUey, to convoy them into the harbour with 
forty trumpeters, bearing crosses on his flags, in token of his amica- 
ble disposition* 

When Otnit's navy arrived in the harbour, he consulted with the 
dwarf, and proposed to enter the town during the night, and destroy 
it, putting men, women, and children to the sword, they being no 
better than pagans. But Elberich advised him to adopt more honour- 
able measures; and himself undertook to proceed to the king, and de- 
clare to him the purport of the expedition. He accordingly set out, 
and in the morning arrived at the burgh of Montebure, where he sat 
him down on a stone by the gates. Machahol appeared on the bat- 
tlements, and being interrogated by the dwarf, where the king was, 
the monarch informed him that he bore the crown himself. The 
dwarf recommended to him to leave his false gods ; but, though greatly 
disnmyed at the invisibility of his monitor, he refused. Elberich then 
demanded his daughter in marriage for the emperor Otnit, at which the 
heathen was greatly enraged, answering him with insults and execra- 
tions, and throwing a great stone, which knocked down Elberich, who 
threatened the king, and scoffed at him, saying, that his master would 
hang him before his own gates. 

The enraged monarch awakened all his attendants, and calling on 
Apollo and Mahound for revenge, told them of the insults he had re- 
ceived. They descended into the moat, and with their swords pierced 
and hewed the air, hoping to wound the invisible messenger. But 
Elberich laughed and scoffed at them, advising the king to spare the 
useless labour of his attendants. 

' The country of the Franks, on both sides of the Rhine. 


Wrathfully he struck him ; afar the blow did souad 
Cursing fell, and foaming, the evil pagan hound. 
Mother and daughter knelt, lowly on the ground ; 
Loudly the insult did they 'plain to Apollo and Mahound. 

Adventure IV, 

Elberich returned to his master, and left the king raging mad, and 
bound with cords by his subjects. By the assistance of his magic 
lore, he stole the ships of the heathens, five hundred in number, and 
delivered them to the Christians. 

Otnit then disembarked his troops, and marched to the gates ; Eligas 
taking the charge of the standard, in which a red lion was depicted. 
When the pagans beheld this army, they collected their troops in 
great numbers, and met the enemy. They were under the command 
of a Constantinopolitan general. A most bloody battle commenced, 
in which all the champions of the Russian king were slain, and him^- 
self thrown to the ground. But Otnit came to his relief, and got him 
again mounted. After a long and severe fight, the pagans were com- 
pletely defeated. But Eligas was inconsolable for the slaughter of his 
knights, and loudly called for revenge. The dwarf heard his lamen. 
tations, arid, to console him in some degree, brought him to a cave 
where a thousand pagans had concealed themselves, with their wives. 
Eligas drove them out ; and though the men fell upon their knees, he 
beheaded them all without mercy ; nor would he spare the women, 
who offered to become Christians. At this cruelty the dwarf was en- 
raged, and brought the news to Otnit. The emperor strongly up- 
braided his uncle for his want of inclination to make proselytes ; but 
the enraged Russian exclaimed, 

" Sir Otnit, leave thy preaching ! little for thy wrath care I : 

Another priest thou mu^t appoint to baptize this pagan fry ; 

Wherever I may meet them, their death-wound have they caught ; 

Never will I leave them, till all to the ground are brought." 




Otnit, after much persuasion, prevailed upon Eligas to spare the re- 
mainder of the women, who were willing to be baptized, and to wreak 
his vengeance upon the idols, whom he dashed in pieces wherever he 
found them. "When the evening broke in, and Otnit was forced to 
desist from the combat, he found that no less than nine thousand of 
his knights had lost their lives in the battle. 

Adventure V. 

In the morning the army broke up, and marched towards the castle 
of Montebjire j but Eligas declaring that he knew not how to guide 
them, the dwarf himself took the banner, and rode before the host. 
The soldiers marvelled greatly when they saw no one upon the horse ; 
and Otnit, by the previous advice of Elberich, pretended that they 
were guided by an angel, come from heaven to take charge of the 
souls of such as fell in the fight ; whereat they were greatly comforted, 
and encouraged to fight with greater boldness^ When they arrived 
among the mountains within sight of the castle, Elberich returned 
the banner to Eligas, who led the army to the walls, and arranged 
them in the plains- 
There the royal tent was struck, wove of the silken twine ; 
Richly was it furnished, . by the pagan of Messyne. 
Upon the blooming meadow the noble tent was pight ; 
Under its shade five hundred keraps stood ready for the fight. 

Of ivory were the poles, clear as the mirror-glass ; 
With many a gem of mound the tent adorned was : 
Right in the middle hung a bright carbuncle stone, 
Like a flaming torch all around the tent it shone. 

Elberich proceeded, unseen of any one, to the battlements of the 
castle, and threw all the warlike engines and weapons over the wall. 
The heathens supposed the evil fiend had entered the burgh, and 
advised the king by all means to give up his daughter. The old queen 


admonished hira to comply with their request, but was punished for 
her presumption, by the loss of some of her teeth. He bade the 
dwarf tell his master, that he would give him battle in the morning, 
with seventy thousand men. Elberich never ceased to scoff at the 
enraged monarch, and when the latter threw a heavy stone at him, he 
sprung aside, and in return tore a handful of hair out of the beard of 
the pagan," and then left him raging and foaming at the insults he 
had received. 

When the morning came, both parties prepared for battle, and the 
pagans issued from the gates of the fortress. 

Fiercely raged the battle JQ the tented field ; 

And when the lovely virgin the bloody fight beheld, 

Down into her lap fell full many a tear : 

For her father in the combat she wept with sorry cheer. 

Her swelling heart did burn like the ruby bright ; 
Glittering with tears her eyes shone like the moon at night : 
Fairly was her body dight with pearls and roses red : 
No one there consoled the sorrow of the maid. 

Tied with a silken snood, hung her lovely hair 

All adown her back : never was maid so fair : 

A crown, with richest gems inlaid, she wore of the gold so red. — 

Quickly Elberich, the dwarf, up to the lady sped. 

Right before her crown lay a carbuncle stone. 

Which, like a glitt'ring cross, o'er all the palace shone : 

The hair upon her head clear it was and fine. 

Brightly around it gleamed, as the sun at noon does shine. 

Weeping came the mother where stood her daughter fair ; 
Silently she led her to the house of prayer : 
On their knees they lowly fell down upon the ground. 
And told their woe and sorrow to Apollo and Mahound. 

» This indignity may have suggested to Wieland the adventure of the Sultan of Baby- 
lon's beard in his Oberon. 


Suddenly the cunning dwarf took her hands in his. 
Affrighted spake the virgin : " What marvel strange is this ? 
Some one has caught my hands. Alas !" she cried, and " woe ! 
I would the man unseen safely let me go !" 

She demanded of the invisible messenger whether he was Apollo or 
Mahomet ; but when he had informed her of his real errand, she would 
not hearken to his propositions, though he threatened that Christ 
would make her blind and crooked, in case she refused baptism. 

Elberich finding his endeavours unavailing, proceeded to the bat- 
tlements, and was delighted to observe the great number of dead pagans 
lying in the moat of the castle. He brought the ladies thither, and 
again tried to persuade the virgin to save her father's life, by accept- 
ing Ptnit for her husband. Though her mother joined in her en- 
treaties, she steadily refused, and dared him to touch any of her gods. 
Quickly he seized them, knocked them about the walls, and threw 
them into the ditch, to the great delight of the combatants below. 
At last, when she beheld her father in imminent danger, she consented 
to send a ring to her lover, but wished previously to view him in the 
fight. Elberich pointed him out to her : 

" Behold the knightly champion, all other knights before ; 
Heaps of the dead around him lie welt'ring in their gore : 

Bright his hauberk gleaming* the battle shines among. 

As if a torch were lighted in the warring throng : 

With his bloody falchion he fights for all his host." — 

*' Of all those champions," cried the maid, " I could love that hero most." 

To his great joy he observed this sudden exclamation of passion, and 
having obtained the promised ring, departed, to communicate the 
intelligence to Otnit. 

Elberich in vain endeavoured to stop the battle, and to pacify the 
barbarous rage of Eligas, who drove all the pagans into the castle. 



Otnit having consulted with the dwarf how he might gain the virgin 
into his possession, they resolved to proceed to the moat of the burgh, 
where the former concealed himself. Elberich went up to the battle- 
ments, where the two queens stood, placed himself between them, and 
reminded the maiden of the vow she had made, to become the wife 
of his master. The old queen at last consented that her daughter 
should go to the edge of the battlements, and call upon the gods for 
assistance : but when they came thither, Elberich led her down into the 
moat, where they found Otnit fallen into a sound sleep, after the fa^ 
tigues of the day. He was rudely awakened by the' dwarf, and highly 
gratified by obtaining actual possession of the object of his voyage. 
Elberich warned him, however, not to commit: any indiscretions, nor 
to espouse her till she had been baptised. 

The dwarf, to indulge his jocular humour, carried the idols again 
into the burgh, and placing himself near them, unseen, spoke words, as 
it were out of their mouths, indicating that they had been prevailed 
upon by the curses of the young qiieen to return to their former places, 
and a,dmonishing the king not to cross her inclinations. 

Adventure VI. 

Elberich returning to the emperor, found him, at a considerable 
distance, with his beloved. — When the king of Syria understood that 
his daughter had eloped, he plucked out his beard, making woeful 
lamentations. Immediately he collected his remaining forces, to the 
number of twenty thousand, and issued from the palace. When Otnit 
beheld the helmets glittering by the light of the moon, he was sorely 
dismayed, for his horse was ready to fall down for weariness. By the 
advice of the dwarf he carried the princess over a rivulet, and there 
put himself in a posture of defence. The heathen host was at first 
unable to pursue him across. Meanwhile Elberich proceeded to ad- 
vertise the Christian army of the dangerous situation of their monarch. 



The heathens at last crossed the water, and attacked the emperor, who 
defended himself with great valour till the evening came ; but then he 
was so overcome with fatigue, that he offered to surrender, if his life 
were granted to him. The pagans refused, and Otnit prepared himself 
to renew the fight, when he heard the sound of horses' hoofs, and 
discovered that Eligas was coming to his relief. 

Otnit retired from the fight, and laid his head in the lap of the maid- 
'en, with whom he commenced a long amorous conversation, which was 
interrupted by the appearance of Eligas, who admonished him to pre- 
pare for battle, as they had not as yet been able to vanquish the 
pagan host. After a long and bloody combat, in which Otnit granted 
the Syrian king his life, the heathens took flight, and retired to the 
burgh of Montebure. The young queen was easily pacified, by the 
'assurance that her father's life had been preserved, and willingly 
embarked with the emperor and the small remainder of his army. 
She was baptized in- the sea by Eligas and Elberich, and named 

On their arrival at the burgh of Garten, they were welcomed by the 
whole nobility of Lombardy. Six weeks were spent in rejoicings, 
tournaments, and games of all kinds. One day Queen Sidrat expressed 
a wish to behold the god of Otnit, for such she supposed Elberich to 
be ; and, at the desire of his son, he consented to make himself visible 
to the whole company < 

A crown of carbuncle he bore glittering on his head. 

And came where sat in royal hall many a knight and gentle maid. 

There spake noble ladies, marvelling at his cheer. 

That ne'er their eyes had viewed for loveliness his peer. 

Elberich, the little'wlght, bore a harp into the hall j 
Quickly o'er the strings flew his fingers small ; 
Loud his tones and sWeetly did in the hall resound : 
Joyful sat the gentle dames, smiling all around. 


The empress interrogating him, how he, being of such. a Kttle 
stature, had dared to throw her gods over the battlements, he decla- 
red that he was ready to serve all the pagan deities in that manner, 
though they filled the bulk of three vessels. Otriit seeing the igno- 
rance of his queen in points of religion, caused learned clerks to teach 
her reading and writing, and the psalter j and they soon extinguished 
every remnant of paganism in her mind. By the admonition of Elbe- 
rich, he distributed ^reat riches among the poor, and armour and 
horses among the knights. 

Adventure VII. 

In the mean time King Machahol was raging mad, and for eight 
weeks would not suffer any one to approach him. But one day a gi- 
gantic and sage huntsman arrived, and insisted upon being admitted to 
the king. He burst into his room, and pacified Machahol's rage, by 
offering to procure the death of his arch-enemy the emperor.' The 
pagan, highly delighted with the proposal, promised to load him with 
rewards. The huntsman informed him that his name was WeUe, and 
that of his wife Rutz. 

" One day the hounds I followed in forest drear and dark. 
Till to a hollow rock I came, where I heard them fiercely bark: 
Sudden two serpents venomous issued from the cave : 
I would not fight the monstrous worms, the world in gree to have. 

<' The man who dared to nigh them would soon his death have found. 

Secretly I hid me, and, creeping on the ground. 

Sped me to their nest, where two little worms ' I viewed, 

Lying all alone, the monstrous dragons' brood. 

• The terms worm, drake, dragon, and serpent, are indiscriminately applied to these 
monsters, as well as lind-drake and lind-worm ; probably from their haunt being gene- 
rally under a linden or lime tree, which, (perhaps from the holiness in which trees were 
held by the ancient Germans,) were also supposed to be frequented by dwarfs and fairies 


*' In a cage of iron safely them I brought. 
They shall wreak on him thy vengeance, who thy ruin wrought. 
To Lombardy I'll bear them, and breed them in a cave : 
Evil mischief shall they do, and bring Otnit to his grave." 

The pagan monarch- bugged himself in the prospect of this diaboli- 
cal revenge, and at the request of the huntsman, gave him two sump- 
ter-horses laden with gold, as a specious introduction to the empress, 
whom he was to present with the treasure, and with a letter fraught 
with the most hypocritical fondness, and congratulations on her hap- 

When Welle arrived at Otnit^s burgh, he unloaded his sumpter- 
horses, and delivered the treasures with the letter to the empress, who 
was highly delighted with her father's pretended reconciliation to her 
husband. Three of the packages had been opened ; the fourth, con- 
taining the young dragons, remained locked up. The huntsman pre- 
tended that it contained a young elephant, and a toad gifted with the 
faculty of breeding precious stones. * " When she comes to matu- 
rity," he exclaimed, " she Avill produce a gem whose like has never 
been seen, in this world." In order to breed up these animals, he 
demanded a cavern ; and one was accordingly delivered up to his use, 
near the town of Trient, in the Tyrol. There he fed his young dra- 
gons, who, as they grew up, demanded such immense quantities of 
food, that the people of the country refused to furnish any more. At 
the same time the huntsman found himself in great danger from his 
monstrous pupils, and therefore sent them into the world, himself 
escaping with great difficulty from their rage. They spread their 
devastations over all the dominions of Otnit, even to the gates of 

Leave we now Sir Otnit, the emperor of might: 
With another matchless hero (Wolfdietrich was he hight) 
Merrily we'll pass the time, and speak of his chivalry, 
And say no more of Otnit, by the serpents doom'd to die. 

' Latterly the toadstone was not considered as a gem, but as a concretion formed in the 
head of the animal, of matchless medicinal virtue. 








^ART I. 

"«* In the abbffjr of Tagmunde, in Franconia, an ancient volume was 
.discovered. There it was held in high honour, and was sent to the 
bishop of Eichstaedt, who was greatly delighted with the adventures 
related in it. Ten years after his death, it fell into the hands of his 
■chaplain, and when he began to tire of reading it, he presented it to 
-the abbey of St Walpurg, in the town of Eichstaedt. The abbess, a 
lady of uncommon beauty, was highly amused by it, as well as her 
nuns. She caused two clerks' to copy it in the German tongue, for the 
good of the whole Christian world. In it were related the following 

* By these two clerks may possibly be indicated the two authors of the Book of -Heroes, 
Wolfram of Eschenbach, who was a native of the bishopric of Eichstaedt, and Henry of 


Adventure I. 

In Constantinople resided the mighty King Hughdietrich, enriched 
with every qualification which might render him a powerful and noble 
monarch. His father. King Attenus of Greece, when he found him- 
self dying, convened his nobles, and gave his son into the particular 
charge of Bechtung, duke of Meran,' whom he had educated and 
bred up for sixty years in every chivalrous exercise, in which he was 
now to instruct the young king. Soon after Attenus died, and the 
duke began to execute the charge committed to him.- 

Bechlung bred bis lord till twelve years he had seen : 
Many a game he taught him, , and many a figbt^ I ween. 
The prince's mood was risings . and be spake with eagercheer, , 
" By thy noble faith, Sir Bechtung, thy counsel would I hear. 

" Full fain some gentle maiden would I gain for wedded fere : 
O'er many a wide dominion am I lord, without a peer ; 
I am rich in lands and honours : then find some maiden fair. 
Should I'die or fall in battle> say who should be mine heir ?"' 

Right joyous was Sir Bechtung, and glad of the saw was he ; 
He spake, — " Far have I traversed Paynim and Christiante, 
But maid so fair and noble never have I seen. 
Who in the realm of Greece might be-tby fitting queen : 

" For if her mind be noble, she is born of villain-blood ; 

If rich she be, and high of birth, she is black and foul of rode : 

Far and wide around me, know I no queen so fair. 

Who might be good and fitting thy bed and board to share." 

' Bechtung is a contraction of Berthold, and Meran is a town in the TyroL The first 
duke of Meran was created in the poet's time, and was called Berthold of Andechs ; which 
makes it very probable that Eschenbach wished to pay his court to that duke, by descri- 
bing his qualities, shadowed under those of the imaginary Bechtung. 


The king convened all his nobles, and required them to give their ad- 
vice respecting his marriage ; but they all referred him to the duke of 
Meran ; who at length recollected that the most beautiftd damsel he 
had ever beheld, and the only one qualified to share his throne, was 
Hiltburg, the daughter ofWaligund,fcing of Salneck; but he had sworn 
never to give her in marriage to any one, and had inclosed her in a 
fortress situated on a rock, surrounded by two walls and a triple 
moat, where no one had access to her excepting her father and mo- 
ther, and a maiden who attended upon her. He then informed the 
king ihat he had seen her twenty years before, but gave him little 
hopes of obtaining her hand. 

Hughdietrich, who was now twenty years of age, was, however, not 
so easily to be deterred from an undertaking which he had resolved 
upon. Knowing himself to be too young to gain her by fofce, he 
had recourse to a device, so strange and cunning, that the courtiers 
complimented him unanimously upon his premature wisdom. 

*' Firmly my mind is fixed^ Hiltburg the fair to win ; 

Then, if ye think it fitting, I will learn to work and spin j 
To sew like cunning virgin, quaintly with silken thread ; 

All the mast'ry will I learn which well-taught maidens need. 

" Richly will I clothe me in gentle lady's guise : 
Then find me, noble Bechtung, a mistress quaint and wise ; 
Bid her come and teach me works fit for ladies mild ; 
On the silk to broider . beasts, both tame and wild." ' 

The young monarch soon became a prodigy in all kinds of female 
work ; and when he was dight in ladies' attire, every one allowed that 
he personated a female with great propriety. He was now ready to set 
out, and Bechtung advised him to take fifty knights, four hundred 
warriors, and six-and-thii-ty virgins with him, and when he arrived at 

• The reader will immediately observe the similarity of this adventure with the classical 
tale of Achilles and Dejanira. 


Salneck, to encamp before the castle. He described the king as being 
of a very courteous disposition, who would soon send his messengers 
to inquire where the strange lady came from. Then he was to pre- 
tend to be the sister of Hughdietrich, who had left Greece to avoid 
marrying a heathen king, to whom her brother wished to espouse 
her. He bade him remain three years at Salneck, and obtain the love 
of the young lady, at the end of which he himself would come to con- 
duct him back to his dominions. 

Adventure II. 

Every thing being prepared, the pretended lady set out, with Bech- 
tung and the rest of her train, and safely arrived before the castle. 
King Walgund viewed their encampment, issued from the castle, and 
inquired what had brought the feigned princess into his dominions. 
Hughdietrich told the tale he had been instructed by Bechtung to 
relate, and concluded by asking for shelter and protection. The 
courteous king offered to receive her whole suite into his castle, but 
was answered that the old duke was forced to return. Walgund pre- 
sented his old acquaintance with rich gifts, and the latter soon de- 
parted, after his master had been admitted into the burgh. The king 
introduced his new guest to the queen, who immediately suspected 
the trick. 

Quaintly she look'd upon her lord, — " I fear we shall be shent ; 
Hearken to my words, sir king, nor too late thy courtesy repent : 
Much I fear that virgin ; like a warrior does she seem. 
Who comes to gain thy daughter with cunning arts, I deem." 

" Lady, leave thy carping," spake Walgund to the queen ; 
" Never such blooming ros«s on the cheeks of man were seen." — 
" I will counsel thee no more,' said Lady Liebegart, 
" But much 1 fear the virgin will gain thy daughter's heart." 



Hughdietrich, who went by the name of Hiitgund, began to amuse 
himself with exercising the female arts he had acquired, and astonished 
the whole court by fabricating a table-cloth, on which a great variety 
of animals were worked to the life. The queen begged him to teach the 
art to two of her virgins, which he readily undertook : and in order to 
gain the favour of the king, he worked a cap for him of the most splen- 
did description, and, as a reward, begged to be introduced to the young 
princess. His request was granted ; and so highly was he honoured, as 
to be placed opposite to her at the table, after having been six months 
at court. 

Never felt Hughdietrich such joy and such delight. 
As when before his eyes he viewed the virgin bright : 
The royal guest in courtly guise carved and cut the bread. 
And with humble courtesy served the lovely maid. 

The two virgins were admired by all the company, and still more 
the richness of Hiltgund's workmanship, which induced Hiltburg to 
request her father's permission that the Grecian maid might teach her 
all the arts of which she was possessed ; and Walgund readily gave his 
consent. They were shut up together in a tower, and Hughdietrich 
was so discreet as not to touch the virgin for twelve weeks, though he 
was her bed-fellow every night. But he could then no longer resist the 
temptation. He discovered his sex, and the design of his expedition 
to the maiden, and, after some struggles, he subdued her modesty. In 
this new character he remained with her for six-and-thirty weeks and 
a day, at the end of which Hiltburg discovered that she was with 
child. Her fears were of course violent ; but she succeeded in con- 
ceahng her pregnancy from her mother, who visited the two compa- 
nions daily. 

One morning, while they were taking the air on the battlements, a 
troop of horsemen appeared, and Hughdietrich discovered by the ban- 
ner that his faithful Bechtung was come, according to their agreement, 
to fetch him from the castle. When the night came, the Grecian king^ 


used every endeavour to pacify Hiltburg, and begged her, in case she 
was deUvered of a boy, to give him in charge to the centinel, and per- 
suade him to bear the child to the cathedral, where he was to be bap- 
tised by the name of Dietrich. He also instructed her to take the 
first opportunity to escape from the castle, and confide herself to the 
care of the centinel, the porter, to four knights and four maids, who 
would conduct her to Constantinople, there to be crowned queen on 
her arrival. Then he took occasion to speak secretly to the centinel 
and to the porter, to whom he revealed his secret, and, by bribes, en- 
gaged them to undertake the enterprise. 

When the morning came, Bechtung went before the king, saying, 
that the brother of the Grecian princess had remitted his anger against 
her, and had sent him to bring her back to Constantinople. Walgund 
heard the tidings with great sorrow, and at first refused to permit her 
return, upon which the duke requested to see the two maidens. 
Hughdietrich whispered to his master that he should by all means 
insist upon taking him away, having fully accomplished his design. 
Then he himself knelt before the king, and asked for permission to 
return to Greece, which was at last granted. The parting with Hilt- 
burg, whom he presented with a gold ring as a token, was of course 
very mournful, but the promise of speedy re-union appeased her grief. 
The king of Salneck presented the fictitious princess with splendid 
presents, and accompanied her part of the way. The subjects of 
Hughdietrich at Constantinople heard the news of his return with 
transport, and received him with every mark of attachment. For a year 
he remained alone, in continual pain for the absence of his bride. 

Adventure III. 

Hiltburg, whenever she cast her eye upon the ring, could not 
restrain her tears, nor keep her hands from tearing out her silken 
hair. At last she was delivered of a boy, which greatly appeased 
her melancholy. On his body she discovered a small cross, which 


proved subsequently a very useful token. Unfortunately the old 
queen shortly after came to pay* her accustomed visit, which put the 
young mother into the greatest consternation. But the centinel was 
ready with an ingenious device, proposing to let the child down into 
the castle-moat with a rope, and to leave it there during tlje unwelcome 
visit of Liebgart. As there was no time for reflection, the proposal 
was accepted, and executed without hesitation. 

Liebgart seeing her daughter very pale, asked the cause, but was 
put off with the pretence of sudden illness, which, however, detained 
her in the tower till the evening. During her presence her daughter 
was in the greatest alarm, and her suspicious proved not to have been 

In the moat the new-born babe meanwhik in silence lay. 

Sleeping on the verdant grass, gently all the day ; 

From the swathing and the bath the child had stinted weeping : 

No one saw or heard its voice in the meadow sleeping. 

But prowling for his prey, roved a savage wolf about ; 
Hens and capons for his young, oft in the moat he sought: 
In his teeth the infant suddenly he caught ; 
And to the mirky forest his sleeping prey he brought. 

Unto an hollow rock he ran the forest-path along : 

There the two old wolves abode, breeding up their young : 

Four whelps, but three days old, in the hollow lay ; 

No wiser th^n the child they were, for they never saw the day. 

The old wolf threw the babe before his savage brood ; 
To the forest had he brought it, to serve them for their food : 
But blind they were, and sought about their mother's teat to gain ; 
And safely lay the infant young, sleeping in the den. 

When the old queen was departed from her daughter, the centinel 
descended into the moat, and became desperate when he found the in- 
fant gone. All night he remained there, and having resolved what 


course to take, returned, and informed the princess that he had carried 
the child to the church, where it hadbeen'baptised, and had then given 
it in charge to a wealthy nurse, who had undertaken to educate it. 

In the morning King Walgund went a-hunting, and pursued the 
very wolf that had done the mischief to the cave. He ordered one 
of his knights to enter, and bring the beast forth ; but no one had the 
hardihood to undertake the enterprise. At last the cave was digged 
open, and the wolves pierced with the spears of the huntsmen. One 
of them, who had gone into the cave to bring out the bodies, heard 
the cries of the infant, and brought it to the king, who was so de- 
lighted with the discovery, that he immediately returned to the castle, 
gave the boy in charge to a nurse, promised to bestow on him a 
thousand marks of gold when he came to maturity, and ordered him 
tp be presented to him three days in the week. 

Liebgart, in one of her visits, had related the history of the child to 
her daughter, and thereby brought her own to her recollection. She 
began to suspect the veracity of the centinel's narration, and at last 
extorted the truth from him. She proceeded to lament the loss of 
her infant, which would draw after it the wrath of God, and the ha- 
tred of Hughdietrich, and began to beat her breasts and tear out her 
hair. But the centinel hinted the possibility of the child found in the 
cave being the identical one she had lost, and. advised her to procure a 
sight of it. She soon prevailed upon Liebgart to cause the nurse tabring 
the young boy to her chamber, when, to her great joy, she discovered 
the token upon his back. At last she saw the absolute necessity of 
communicating her history to her mother ; and when she found her in 
a confidential humour, related the whole affair ; informing her that the 
fair virgin, Hiltgund, was no other than the Grecian monarch, her 
pretended brother. The old queen was well content to hear the high 
quahty of the lover, and complimented herself on her sagacity, in ha- 
ving discovered the virility of the princess, at the very first introduc- 
tion of Hiltgund. She undertook to reveal the truth to the king, and 
to manage the affair to the complete satisfaction of the Grecian king 
and her daughter. 


At night, when the king and his spouse had retired to their cham- 
ber, she craftily obtained a promise from him not to revenge himself 
for the tidings she was about to communicate, and then related to him 
the amour of her daughter and Hughdietrich; reminding him of his 
having refused to hearken to her suspicions, at the very first arrival of 
the feigned princess. The king, however, would not so easily give 
up his belief in her virginity, and caused the centinel and porter, one 
of whom he suspected to have broken his faith, to be imprisoned and 
interrogated. By their examination he was at last perfectly satisfied of 
the truth of their narrations, and caused his barons formally to ab- 
solve him of the oath he had taken, never to give his daughter in mar- 
riage to any one. 

Preparations were now made for the baptism of the infant. Count 
Wolfelin and the margravine of Gallicia were associated with the ce- 
lebrated St George," as witnesses at the baptism, in which the child 
was named Wolfdietrich, in commemoration of his miraculous preser- 
vation. The count presented him with a hundred marks of gold, 
and the saint gave five hundred, and a ring of great value. It was 
now resolved to send messengers to Constantinople, and invite the 
king to come to Salneck for his bride. Wolfelin, with four-and- 
twenty knights, and St George with fifty, undertook the embassy. On 
the fifteenth day they arrived in the city of Constantinople, where 
they were received royally, and richly rewarded for the welcome 

Hughdietrich summoned Duke Bechtung and many others of his 
vassals to attend him on his journey. After eighteen days they ar- 
rived at Salneck, where the king had prepared a splendid camp for 
their reception, before the castle. Walgund went forth to meet him, 
and jocularly reminded him of the part he had played in the castle. 
Queen Liebgart and her daughter received him at the gates, and the 

' The poet, though he has thus fabulously introduced St George, is pretty correct in 
point of time. That saint was martyred in 303, and this period suits very well to that of 
Hughdietrich, the great grandfather of Dietrich, who was the contemporary of Attila. 


nurse brought the infant to his father, on whom Walgund promised to 
bestow his kingdom at his demise. 

After Hughdietrich had been entertained for fourteen days at Sal- 
neck, he returned to his own realm, accompanied by his father-in-law. 
There the feast was renewed, with stiU greater splendour, for the space 
of two weeks, and Walgund, with his attendants, sent home mth rich 
presents. Wolfelin was made marshal, and the margravine governess 
of the child. Nor were the faithful porter and centinel forgotten, and 
the latter was created an earl. 

Adventure IV, 

In the following year Hiltburg produced two sons, who were named 
Boghen and Wassmut. They, with their elder brother, were given 
in charge to Duke Bechtung, who bred them up in every kind of 
warlike exercises. 

The princes young were taught to protect all ladies fair ; 

Priests they bade them honour, and to the mass repair ; 

All holy Christian lore were they taught, I plight : 

Hughdietrich and his noble queen caused priests to guide them right. 

Bechtung taught them knightly games ; on the war-horse firm to sit; 
To leap, and to defend them ; rightly the mark to hit ; 
Cunningly to give the blow, and to throw the lance afar : 
Thence the victory they gain'd in many a bloody war. 

Right before their breasts to bear the weighty shield. 
In battle and in tournament quaintly the sword to wield. 
Strongly to lace their helmets on, when called to wage the fight, 
AH to the royal brothers Bechtung taught aright. 

He taught them o'er the plain far to hurl the weighty rock : 
Mighty was their strength, and fearful was the shock. 
When o'er the plain resounded the heavy stone aloud : 
Six furlongs threw beyond the rest, Wolfdieterich the proud. 


When Boghen and Wassmut had reached their eleventh, and Wolf' 
dietrich his thirteenth year, they were knighted, at a tournament given 
in honour of that ceremony. Wolfdietrich did more deeds of arms 
than twelve others of the boldest knights among the combatants. The 
king appointed three hundred warriors to serve each of them. 

Two.years after, Wolfdietrich went in search of adventures to the 
forests of Transylvania, accompanied by Bechtung and his sixteen 
sons. Mean time the Grecian realm was invaded by the pagan king 
Alfan, with a hundred thousand men under his command. Hugh- 
dietrich prepared to give them battle on the plain before Constanti- 
nople, but could collect only forty thousand warriors to withstand 
them. The shock of the two armies was dreadful. 

Fiercely o'er the plain they spurr'd their coursers good ; 
Together rush'd the warriors to the fight of death and blood ; 
Far they liurl'd around them shafts of wond'rous length ; 
Wide ahout the splinters flew, for mighty was their strength. 

Quickly drew their falchions^ Wassmut and Boghen bold ; 
Many a cursing infidel in the dust before them roll'd ; 
Helmets they split asunder, shields to shivers hew'd ; 
Many a glitt'ring hauberk they dimm'd with the gush of blood. 

The two royal brothers were however wounded, and the victory, 
notwithstanding the valour of the Christians, inclined to the side of 
the pagans, when Wolfdietrich fortunately returned from his expedi- 
tion, and hearing of the dangerous situation of the Christian host, im- 
mediately joined the combat, and encouraging those who had already 
begun to turn their backs to renew the fight, attacked the pagans, 
and by his irresistible valour completely routed them. The heathen 
king fled, leaving eighty thousand of his troops dead in the field. The 
salvation of the Grecian kingdom was entirely attributed to the timely 
arrival of Wolfdietrich. 


Adventure V. 

In those times the mighty emperor Otnit reigned in Lombardy, 
and ruled over many a wide dominion. One day he boasted before 
his nobles, that no monarch could withstand him, and that not only 
Italy, but Swabia, Bavaria, "Westphalia, Kei'neten, and St Jacob's land,' 
obeyed his command. One of his courtiers observed, that there 
was a mighty king in Greece, who had never paid tribute to him ; 
and thereby stimulated the emperor immediately to send an embassy, 
consisting of twelve earls, to demand tribute of Hughdietrich. 

Upon their arrival in Greece, they appeared in Hughdietrich's pre- 
sence-chamber, where Count Herman communicated the message to 
him. The Grecian king convened his sons, and asked their advice. 
Wolfdietrich recommended sending back a defiance ; but his father, un- 
willing to risk the life of him and his other sons, sent a sumpter-horse, 
laden with gold, as tribute. But Wolfdietrich bade the messengers 
carry his defiance to Otnit, and inform him that he himself would 
come to wage war with him, when he arrived at man's estate. The 
messengers returned, each having been rewarded with twelve gold- 
en bows. 

When Hughdietrich's death approached, he divided his dominions. 
To his eldest son he gave Greece ; to Wassmut, Widren and Zyprian ; 
and to Boghen, Swabia and Profand.* He recommended his first-born 
to the peculiar care of the faithful duke of Meran. 

Adventure VI. 

Bechtung proceeded in the tuition of his pupil, and was particularly 
careful to teach him the art of throwing knives, which he had learned 
from King Attenus, and in which he was a great proficient. At a 

» Kerneten is the country of the Franks ; St Jacob's land, Spain. 
» Zyprian, is Cyprus ; Profand, the Provence. 



trial of skill, the two combatants were placed upon two chairs, and 
before they threw, gave notice what part they intended to hit ; 
each taking three knives for the purpose. The young hero warded 
and threw so well, that Bechtung declared he had far outdone him 
in the science. He related, that once having had an altercation 
with King Attenus, he had entered into service with the heathen king 
Grippigon, to whom, and to whose son Belligan, he had taught all the 
throws, with the exception of two, the secret of which he had thought 
proper to retain. 

Boghen and Wassmut gave out that their elder brother was illegi- 
timate, and seized upon his kingdom. He asked counsel of Bech- 
tung, who immediately promised him every assistance in his power. 
The young king was knighted on a Whitsunday, and Bechtung and 
his sixteen sons swore fealty to him, together with four dukes, twelve 
earls, and a hundred knights, who entered into his service. He then 
collected four thousand warriors, and issued from his town of Meran, 
to attack the unnatural brothers. They embarked, and landed in a &. 
rest near Constantinople, where Bechtung ordered his men to wait 
till they heard the sound of his horn. Himself and the young king 
proceeded to Constantinople, and came into the hall of audience. 
Wolfdietrich was utterly neglected, but great attention was paid to 
the old duke. Wassmut bade him leave the service of the illegiti- 
mate oftspring of Count Wolfelin, as he termed Wolfdietrich. The 
latter offered to divide the kingdom with his brothers, but was an- 
swered only with abuse and scorn. Boghen, when he saw that he 
could not succeed in detaching Bechtung from his fidelity to his bro- 
ther, threatened him, but was so terrified at the menaces of the duke, 
that he voided the hall with his brother, and escaped into the interior 
of the palace. Then Bechtung blew his horn at the gate, and his 
champions immediately entered the city. 

A dreadful slaughter ensued upon both sides. Two thousand of 
the townsmen threw themselves between Bechtung and his knights, but 
by dint of extraordinary exertions, they rescued him and his lord. 
The battle lasted for three days, till the whole of Bechtung's forces 
were slain, excepting his sixteen sons. 


Up and spake Sir Bechtung,— *' Master, keep thee well ; 

Boldly shall my sixteen sons the enemy repel ; 

Hundred men shall every one sturdily withstand : 

Oft two hundred in the field repuls'd this wither'd hand." 

They graithed them for the battle, when three days were gone and past : 
But six of Bechtung's noble sons dead on the ground were cast : 
Cheerfully the faithful duke his master smiled upon. 
That he might not view the fall of each hardy son. 

Wolfdietrich was at last thrown to the ground, by a stone hurled on 
him ftom the roof, and it required the greatest exertions of his re- 
maining followers to rescue him, and restore him to life. When they 
at last succeeded, he was forced to fly into the forest, narrowly pur- 
sued by the champions of his brothers. 

Adventure VII. 

Rapidly the Greeks pursued, all the day, until the night : 
Hastily the heroes fied, while their steeds had strength and might ; 
To the forest green they hied them, there lay they all concealed. 
Till the morning chac'd the night, and the rising sun revealed. 

Down they laid then) on the grass, gently to repose, 

(But long they rested not, for with terror they arose :) 

Their bloody armour they unlaced, their weapons down they laid ; 

By a fountain cool they rested, beneath a linden's shade. 

But one did keep his armour on ; Wolfdieterich he hight ; 
Would not lay down his weapons, nor unlace his helmet bright ; 
Silently he wander'd through the forest wide> 
And left his weary champions by the fountain's side. 

Twelve giants found the knights all on the grass recliu'd : 
Silently did creep along those sworn brothers of the fiend ; ' 

• Des teufels eidgenossen. Orig. — The heavy iron poles are the invariable attributes of 
the Teutonic and Scandinavian giants. 


In their hands huge iron poles and falchions did they hold ; 
Naked and unarmed, they seized and bound the heroes bold. 

Quick they sent the tidings to the castle of Tremound ; 

Glad was Palmund, giant fierce, when he saw the champions bound ; 

Cast them in a dungeon dark ; heavily he chain'd them : 

Of their woe and sad mischance, there to God they plain'd them. 

Scornfully fierce Palmund spake with bitter taunt : 

" Alfan in the field ye conquered ; but where is now your vaunt f 

'Would I had in prison dark. King Hughdietrich's son ! 

He should feed on bread and water, in a dungeon all alone." — 

But now Wolfdieterich back to the fountain sped. 

Beneath the linden's shade, where he ween'd the kemps were laid : 

All around he sought them : woefully he cried, 

" Alas, that e'er I left them by the fountain's side !" 

He threw him on the grass, and sighed in mournful mood ; 
Many a blow upon his breast struck the hero good ; 
Loudly on their names he called, the forest all around. 
Up the giants started, when they heard his voice resound. 

" Arise, and seize your weapons!" Palmund cried aloud ; 
" Quickly to my prison bring that champion proud." 
Many falls they caught, running down the mountain. 
Ere they viewed Wolfdieterich, standing by the fountain. 

Giant Wilker led them on ; before the king he sprung, 
Stamping on the grass with his pole of iron long. 
" Little wight !" he shouted, *' straight thy falchion yield ; 
Captive will I lead thee quickly o'er the field. 

I » 

" Proudly I bore my weapon from all the Grecian host ; 

No hand but this shall wield it, for all thy taunting boast ; 

If thou wilt gain the blade, hotly must thou fight : 

Come near, and shield thee well ; I defy thee, monstrous wight !" 


The giant was "soon laid low by the hero's sword.. He was immedi- 
ately attacked by the second, who struck him down with his pole, and 
bade him yield to his mercy. But Wolfdietrich roused himself, and 
with one blow severed his right leg from his body. Upon this the 
remaining ten giants attacked him jointly, but were all of them dis- 
patched by the sword of the Grecian king. 

Palmund hearing the lamentations of his gigantic companions, 
quickly armed himself, and when he found Wolfdietrich standing sur- 
rounded by the dead bodies of his champions, he bade him defend 
himself. But the hero was wary, and struck him a blow, which felled 
him to the ground. The pagan, however, soon renewed the combat 
with redoubled vigour ; nor did the battle end till the evening, when 
the giant fled into the forest. 

Now the shades of evening came, when a little dwarf ^appear'd, 

Welcom'd the noble champion^ and his drooping spirit cheer'd : 

" Soon shalt thou strike to death Palmund, that kemp of fame : 

For thy father's love, sir knight, to thy relief I came." — 

'' God reward my father, that e'er he honour'd thee. 
For a gentle dwarf thou art, and full of loyalty." 
Much lov'd the little wight the noble Grecian king. 

And soon upon his finger he thrust a golden ring. 

" When the giant back returns, stick thy falchion in the sand. 
His hauberk soft as lead will turn ; then pierce him with thy brand. 
Now fare thee well, Wolfdiet^rich ; to the woods must I be gone." — 
Over was the mirky night, the sun with splendour shone. 

The giant returned ; Wolfdietrich followed the directions of the 
dwarf, who was a rich king, named Bibunk ; and the fight was re- 
newed, and lasted all that day, without any success on either side. 
When the evening came, Palmund ran into the woods, where he drank 
of a miraculous fountain, which had the quality of giving the strength 
of sixteen men to whoever tasted the water. 


In the night the dwarf Bibunk appeared again, and informed the 
king what additional might the giant had received j but his mind was 
not dismayed thereat. When he renewed the battle in the morning, 
he found that the giant's armour was not able to withstand the blows 
of his sword ; and after fighting all that day, he brought him to the 
ground at last. He immediately unlaced his armour, and took from 
his body an invaluable silken shirt, which originally belonged to St 
George, and which admitted no weapon to penetrate through it. The 
pagan had found this treasure in a monastery he had destroyed. The 
Christian hero used every persuasion to convert the giant, but all his 
endeavours were vain ; the latter expressing himself perfectly content 
to become a martyr for his faith. After this he could not expect any 
mercy, and his head was accordingly struck off. The conqueror now 
unlaced his armour, in order to put the miraculous shirt upon his 
body, armed himself anew, and proceeded on his way. 

Adventure VIII. 

At the termination of the forest he found the castle of Tremound, 
and was discovered from the battlements by the heathen queen. At 
the gate stood a giant, named Alfan, who acted as porter. The 
Christian demanded of him to liberate his knights ; but instead of 
receiving an answer, the giant rushed upon him, and threatened to 
hang him up at the gate. But Wolfdietrich gave him a deep wound 
in the side, and when he still reftised to deliver the prisoners, struck 
off his head. 

He rushed up to the hall, where he found the queen and thirteen 
of her vassal princes, about to regale themselves with a splendid re- 
past. When he entered, they attacked him with benches and tables, 
but were so well received, that after a severe combat, not one remained 
alive. None of the servants would give him information who had the 
charge of the dungeon ; but when he began to employ his sword, a 

pagan started up, and acknowledged himself ta be their jailox*, though 



he refused to give up the keys. He soon fell, however, beneath the 
hero's falchion j who could not even then wrench them out of his hands, 
till he had struck off his head. 

Having obtained the keys, he proceeded to the dungeon, and by 
the help of a leathern thong, drew up his knights to the Ught of day. 
Fearing a further attack from the friends of Palmund, they immedi- 
ately rode into the forest, and towards evening made a fire in the 
thickest part. Wolfdietrich observed that only ten sons of Bechtung 
were present, and asking what had become of the other six, the old 
duke told him what hitherto he had carefully concealed firom him, — 
that they had fallen in Constantinople. This, added to Wolfdietrich's 
other misfortunes, made him so desperate, that he endeavoured to 
plunge his sword into his breast, but was prevented by the interposi- 
tion and the persuasions of Bechtung. When night came, he insisted 
upon guarding his knights during their sleep, though the old duke 
warned him that a wild woman had been in search of him for seven 
years past, in order to obtain him for her husband. Till midnight he 
stood centinel by the fire. 

Adventure IX. 

When soundly slept Sir Bechtung, came the rough and savage dame. 

Running where the hero stood watching by the flame : 

On four feet did she crawl along, like to a shaggy bear. 

The champion cried : " From savagjS beasts, why hast thou wandered here ?" 

Up and spake the hairy Else: " Gentle I am and mild : 

If thou wilt blip me, prince, from all care I will thee shield ; 

A kingdom will I give thee, and many a spacious land ; 
Thirty castles, fair and strong, will I yield to thy command." 

With horror spake Wolfdieterich, — " Thy gifts will I not take. 
Nor touch thy laithly body, for thy savage kingdom's sake : 
The devil's mate thou art, then speed thee down to hell : 
Much I marvel at thy visage, and I loath thy horrid yell." 


She took a spell of grammary, and threw it on the knight : 

Still he stood, and moved not : (I tell the tale aright :) 
She took from him his falchion, unlac'd his hauberk bright. 

Mournfully Wolfdietrich cried, " Gone is all my might. 

" If my faithful kemps eleven should from their sleep awake. 

How would they laugh, that woman's hand could from me my weapon take ! 

Scornfully the knights would say, that, like a coward slave. 

My falchion I had yielded, this wretched life to save." 

But vain were his laments ; for through the forest dark. 
With arts of witching grammary, a path-way she did mark : 
Following through the woods, with speed along he past ; 
For sixty miles he wander'd, till he found the Else at last. 

" Wilt thou win me for thy wife, herp young and fair ?" — 
WrathfuUy Wolfdieterich spake with angry cheer : 
" Restore my armour speedily; give back my weapon bright. 
Which thou with witching malice didst steal this hinder night." 

" Then yield thy gentle body, thou weary wight, to me ; 
With honours will I crown thy locks right gloriously." — 
" With the devil may'st thou sleep : little care I for my life. 
Well may I spare the love of such a laithly wife." 

Another spell of might she threw upon the hero good ; 
Fearfully she witched him ; motionless he stood : 
He slept a sleep of grammary, for mighty was the spell : 
Down upon his glittering shield, on the sod he fell. 

All above his ears, his golden hair she cut ; 

Like a fool she dight him, that his champions knew him not : 

Witless rov'd the hero for a year the forest round ; 

On the earth his food he galher'd, as in the book is found. ' 

» A very similar adventure occurs in the beautiful romance of Ywaine and Gawaine 
mheve the former hero roves about the forest in the same manner as Wolfdietrich. 


When Bechtung awoke, and found that Wolfdietrich was gone, 
his sorrow was boundless. He awakened his ten sons, and communi- 
cating the woeful intelligence to them, bade them go to Constantino- 
ple, and offer their service to his brothers, under the condition of be- 
ing allowed to rejoin Wolfdietrich as soon as he should again make his 
appearance. Himself, in the garb of a palmer, wandered about many 
countries, till he came to the land of Troy, where he found the rough 
Else standing before a castle situated on a high rock. He immedi- 
ately charged her with having borne away his pupil, and begged her 
to deliver him out of her bondage ; but she swore that he was not in 
the castle, and threw a spell upon him ; the duke was however wary, and 
escaped her toils. He wandered around all the countries of Paynim, 
and not succeeding in his search, concluded that his pupil was killed, 
and returned mournfully to Constantinople, where he viewed his sons 
standing upon the battlements, to whom he communicated the-iU suc- 
cess of his pilgrimage. The two kings, Boghen and Wassmut, offered 
to take him into their service, but would not hearken to the condition 
he proposed, to return to his original lord as soon as he should re-ap- 
pear. They ordered him and his sons to be heavily chained, and 
forced them to do nightly watch upon the battlemoits of Constan- 

Adventure X. 

Now roved Wolfdieterich, the prince without a peer. 

Around the mirky forest> witless for a year : 

But God his sorrows pitied, when he saw the hero shent ^ 

Quickly to the ugly witch message did he send. 

An angel bright before her suddenly she viewed : 

" Say, wilt thou bring," he questioned, " to bis death the hero good ? 

God has sent his sond, to warn thee, woman fell ; 

If thou wouldst save thy life, quickly undo the spell. 



When the threat'ning message the savage woman heard, 
And that at God's supreme command the angel had appear'd. 
Rapidly she sped her where rov'd the champion 
Around the mirky forest, witless and alone. 

There naked, like an innocent, run the hero bold : 
Strait the spell of grammary from his ear she did unfold : 

His wits he soon recover'd, when the spell was from his ear. 

But his visage and his form was black and foul of cheer. 

" Wilt thou win me for thy wife, gentle hero, say i" — 
Speedily he answer'd to the lady, " Nay ; ' 
Never will I wed thee, here I pledge my fay. 
Till in holy fount thy sins are wash'd away." — 

" Son of kings, oh care thee not ! If thou my love wilt gain. 

Soon, baptis'd in holy fount, will I wash me clean : 

In joy and sweet delight merry shalt thou be. 

Though now my body rough and black with loathing thou dost see." — 

" No, since my knights are lost, not for woman's love I long, 
T'S'hen wild about the woods drove me thy magic strong." — 
" To thy brothers hied they, gentle hero, hark ! 
But heavily they chain'd them ; threw them in dungeon dark." — 

" How may I woo thee in the woods, lady, quickly speak ? 
Or how embrace thy hairy form, or kiss thy bristlj' cheek i" — 
" Fear not : I will guide thee safely to my realm ; 
Give thee back thy falchion, thy hauberk, and thy helm." 

By the hand she led Wolfdietrich unto the. forest's end ; 
To the sea she guided him; a ship lay on the strand : 
To a spacious realm she brought him, hight the land of Troy. 
" Wilt thou take me to thy wife ? all around thou shalt enjoy." 

To a rich and gorgeous chamber she led the wond'ring knight ; 
There stood a well of youth,' flowing clear and bright ; 

• The well of youth is probably an oriental fiction, and occurs in the French fabliau of 
Coquaigne : 


The left side was full cold, but warmly flowed the right : 
She leap'd into the wond'rous well, praying to God of might. 

Rough Else, the mighty queen, in the baptism did he call 
Lady Siegheminn,* the fairest dame of all. 
Her bristly hide she left all in the flowing tide : 
Never gazing champion lovelier lady eyed. 

Her shape was form'd for love, slender, fair, and tall, 
Sti'f^ight as is the taper burning in the hall ; 
Brightly gleam'd her cheeks, like the opening rose : 
Wond'ring stood Wolfdiet^rich, and forgot his pains and woes. 

" Wilt theu win me to thy love ? gentle hero, say i" — 
Quickly spake Wolfdieterich, — " Gladly, by my fay ; 
Mirrour of ladies lovely, fain would I lay thee near. 
But alas ! my form is laithly, and black am I of cheer." 

To the loving youth she said, " If beauteous thou wilt be. 

In the flowing fountain bathe thee speedily : 

Fair thy visage will become, as before a year ; 

Nobly, champion bold and brave, will thy form appear." 

Black and foul he leaped into the well of youth. 
But white and fair he issued, with noble form, forsooth. 
In his arms, with gentle love, did he clip the maid ; 
Merrily he kissed the dame, as she led him to her bed. 

Wolfdietrich considered that the best mpde of delivering his knights 
was to fight his promised battle with the emperor Otnit, and thus to 
induce him to become his sworn brother at arms. He communicated 
his purpose to his queen, who, perceiving his resolution unalterable, 

lajbntaine de Jovent, 

Q_uijet rajovenir le gent. 

Barbazan, ed. 1808, IV. 180. A curious wooden cut, representing a well of youth, ^d 
the effects of bathing in it, is in the possession of F. Douce, Esq. 
• The name is compounded of sieg, victory, and minne, love. 



furnished him with a ship, the sails of which were made of the wings 
of griffons, and with every thing necessary for the voyage, amongst 
which were the shirt of St George, and the precious holy unguent of 
St Beatrix. 

After a prosperous voyage he arrived in Lombardy, close to the 
burgh of Garten. There he beheld a linden tree, under which no one 
was suffered to repose without being attacked by the emperor. Ha- 
ving given provisions for two years to the mariners, to await his re- 
turn, he proceeded to the tree, and laid himself down in its shade. 

Merrily sung the birds all under the linden tree ; 
Rapidly their notes they chaunted ; sweeter none might be : 
Full joyously the hero heard their melody arise : 
Nightingales and thrushes strove to gain the prize. 

Right winsome was their voice, as they flew the tree around : 
Cheerful was Wolfdietrich's mood, when he heard their song resound : 
Lull'd to gentle slumber, he lay beneath the tree ; 
But Otnit from the battlements soon the sleeping knight did see. 

The empress in vain endeavoured to dissuade Otnit from the fight: 
he even^accused her of being favourable to the strange knight j nor 
would he allow any of his vassals to accompany him to the tree. He 
awakened the Grecian king somewhat harshly, ordered him to pre- 
pare for the combat, and, at his request, assisted him in putting on his 
armour. Wolfdietrich refused to tell his name, but the emperor 
guessed who he was, and was answered, — 

" Defend thyself. King Otnit ; 'tis the Wolf dares thee to fight." 

The battle between the two heroes lasted for three hours. "Wolfdietrich 
was struck to the ground, but soon revenged his fall. Lifting his 
sword with both his hands, he inflicted such a blow upon Otnit, that 
he fell senseless to the ground, bleeding profiisely from his mouth and 
ears. The empress, who had approached to view the combat, re- 


quested the victor to bring some water from a neighbouring fountain ; 
which he cheerfully complied with, filling his helmet with the liquid. 
When Otnit recovered from his swoon, he requested to be admitted 
brother at arms to his opponent, who swore fidelity to him, under the 
condition of receiving assistance for the liberation of his imprisoned 

The noble guest remained, to the great discontent of Lady Sieghe- 
min, twelve weeks with his newly-acquired friend, who could not be- 
hold the amorous looks which the empress threw upon him without 
jealousy, and gave him frequent hints, recommending him to rejoin 
his own spouse. The Grecian therefore took leave, to make a pil- 
grimage, as he pretended, to the holy sepulchre. 

Adventure XI. 

At the sea-shore Wolfdietrich found his queen, who, impatient of 
his absence, had come to search for him. They returned to Troy, 
and there remained for half a year, in the full enjoyment of their ma- 
trimonial felicity. One day they issued from the castle, to amuse 
themselves with the chace. 

They sped them to the forest in the merry month of May, 
When for the glowing summer the fruit-trees biossom'd gay. 

A gorgeous tent was pitch'd upon the meadow green : 
Straight a stag of noble form before the tent was seen. 

Round his spreading antlers was wound the glittering gold ; ' 

Full of joy and marvel, gaz'd on the stag the hero bold : 

'Twas done with arts of magic, by a giant fierce and wild. 

With subtle sleights to win to his bed Dame Sieghmin mild. 

' A fiction similar to this occurs in the legend of St Julian, the tutelary saint of travel- 
lers, who was informed by a stag, bearing a cross between the antlers, that he would kill 
his father and mother"; which accordingly came to pass. His legend is the subject of a 
comedy, by Lope de Vega, which, notwithstanding the absurdity of the fable, has consi- 
derable merit. 


And when Wolfdieterich beheld the noble deer, 

Harken how the hero spake to his gentle peer : 

" Await thou, royal lady ; my meiny spon returns ; 

With my hounds I'll hunt the stag with the golden horns." 

To their palfreys speedily the king and his meiny flew : 

Through the woods they chac'd the stag, with many a loud halloo. — 

But silently the giant came where the lady lay ; 

With the tent he seiz'd her, and bore the prize away. 

O'er the sea he brought the dame, to a distant land. 
Where, deep within a forest, his qastle strong did stand. 
Though for half a year they sought all around that lady fair. 
They never found the castle' where she lay in woe and care. 

Around the forest hunted Wolfdietrich and his men; 
Down they brought the noble stag, and proudly turned again : 
Merrily they spurred through the wood with speed. 
Where they left the gorgeous tent on the verdant mead. 

When Wolfiiietrich returned, found his tent carried off, and heard. the 
kmentations of the queen's attendants, he was nearly distracted, and 
leaving the charge of governing the kingdom to one of his knights, clotht- 
ed himself in the garb of a palmer, and concealed his sword in his pil- 
grim's staff. Thus he wandered through many a land, without hearing 
any tidings of his queen ; and, at last, came again to the castle of Otnit, 
where no one recognised him excepting the erhpress, who, sitting bppo- 
site to him, knew him by his eyes, and by his adroit manner of carving. 
She spoke secretly to him, and inquired his reason for wandering about 
in such a mean guise. He related his misfortunes to her, but charged 
her not to acquaint the emperor with the secret. Notwithstanding 
this injunction, she awakened Otnit, , and communicated to hir» the 
welcome intelligence of his brother in arms being in the castle. The 
emperor imihfediately prbceeded to Wolfdietrich," upbraided him with 
his want of confidence, and, when he heard of the purport of his ex- 
peditioU) declared his resolution to accompany him^ notwithstanding 


the remonstrances of his friend," and to the great sorrow of Dame 

Adventure XII. 

The two companions set out on their perilous expedition, as palmers, 
and towards evening entered a forest, where -they met with an old 
woodman, and were entertained by him with great hospitality. lOtnit,' 
tired with the fatigues of the day, fell asleep, arid his friend bade 
the woodman not awake him, fearing he should fall in the expected 
combat. Inquiring for adventures, he was told, to his great joy, that 
an old giant, named Tress3,n, had carried a lady to his castle, of Alten- 
feUen. When Wolfdietrich requested the wpodijian to point out the 
way to him, he was unwilling, fearing the angerofhis gigantic lord j 
but when he understood the high rank of the palmer, and obtained 
the promise of being made sovereign of a country, h^ consented. 

The king followed the instructions, but, losing his way among the 
wild thickets of the forest, he wandered for fourteen days about, feed- 
ing upon the leaves of trees, and such game as he happened to find on 
his way. 

Wearily he wandered, for gone was all his strength : 
Before a woody rock came the knight at length : 
From the rock a flowing well issued, bright and clear; 
And o'er the well was laid, a stone of the marble fair. 

Many a herb of virtue bloom'd the well around i 
By the marble laid him the champion on the ground : 
O'er his head their melodies sung the birds aloud. 
Cheering up the weary soul of the palmer proud. 

Lady Sieghemin was leaning over the battlements of Tressan's castle, 
and beheld the pil^im lying by the well. She sent her damsel to ga- 
ther some of the medicinal herbs which flourished round about it. 


When the maiden approached the well, the palmer inquired by whom 
she had been sent thither. She informed him that her mistress was 
the disconsolate Sieghmin, who had made a covenant with the giant, 
to fulfil his desires at the end of six months, which expired that even- 
ing. At her departure the knight gave her a ring, bade her show 
it to her mistress, and demand of her to give him lodging for the 

When, Sieghmin beheld the ring, she knew that Wolfdietrich had 
eome in search of her; and promising to become the wife of the old 
giant that night, she prevailed upon him to bring the palmer into the 
castle, and entertain him till day-break.. 

He led the weary pilgrim into the castle-hall. 

Where hrightly hurnt the fire, and many a taper tall : 

On a seat he sate him down, and made him right good cheer ^ 

His eyes around the hall cast the hero without fear. 

With anxious care he looked for his lady bright, 
And he view'd the gorgeous tent once in the forest pight. 
Cheerfully the hero thought, " Rightly have I sped : 
In the perilous adventure God will be mine aid !" 

From the glittering flame straight the champion sprung ; 
Sharply he eyed the tent, which the giant stole with wrong. 
Wondering, spake Sir Tressan, — " Weary palmer, stay ; 
Rest thee by the fire, for long has been thy way." 

Up and spake Wolfdiet^rich, — " Strange marvels have I seen. 
And heard of bold adventures, in lands where I have been ; 
Once I saw an emperor, Otnit is his name. 
Would dare defy thee boldly, for mighty is his fame." 

When he had spoke the speech to the giant old. 
Grimly by the fire sate him down the palmer bold ; 
Waiting with impatience, long the time him thought,^ 
Till into the glittering hall the supper-meat was brpught. 


But to call them to their meat, loud did a horn resound^ 
Soon entered many high-bom men^ and stood the hall around : 
In the giant's courtly hall, winsome dwarfs appeared. 
Who the castle and the mount with cunning arts had reared. • 

Among the dwarfs the gentle queen up to the deas was led : 
The palmer straight she welcomed, her cheeks with blushes red. 
" With that palmer will I sit at the board," she cried. 
Soon they plac'd Wolfdieterich by the lady's side. 

The queen inquired of the pilgrim if he had been in Troy, or had 
heard of Wolfdietrich. He answered, that since the loss of his spouse 
that hero hsyi never been seen, which brought the tears into her eyes. 
Tressan prepared to avenge the sorrow which the palmer had occa- 
sioned, but, at the intercession of the lady, he mitigated his anger. 
The feast was now over. 

Suddenly Sir Tressain seized his struggling bride. 
Ho ! how sOon Wolfdietferich his sclaveyn threw aside: 
Out he drew his falchion ; " Hold !" spake he wrathfuUy ; 
" That lovdy bride of thine, sir giant, leave to me." 

" Dar'st thou fight me, silly swain i" cried Sir Tressan fierce ; 

" But shame befall the champion who an unarmed knight would pierce ! 

Dight thee in hauberk quickly, and he who in the fight 

Strikes his opponent down, let him take the lady bright." 

Glad was the palmer when he heard that thus the giant said. 
Speedily the cunning dwarfs upon the ground have laid, 
Kigbt between the champions, three weighty coats of mail : 
" Palmer, choose in which thou wilt the giant fierce assail." 

Here lay an ancient hauberk, fast was every ring ; 
There lay two of glittering gold, fit for the mightiest king : 
But soon the palmer seized the hauberk old and black. 
" Who bade thee take that hauberk old ?" in wrath the giant spake. 



While the giant armed himself, Sieghmiti assisted her lord. The com- 
bat lasted for three hours. Wolfdietrich was thrown to the ground, 
and the dwarfs cast stones upon him j but his lady encouraged him, 
bade him call to God for help, and reminded him of his former deeds. 
He leaped from the ground, and lifting his sword with both hands,, split 
the giant to the girdle. He wished to seize upon Tressan's treasures, 
but the malicious dwarfs had locked themselves in the treasury, to es- 
cape his wrath. Immediately he set fire to the house, and burnt them 
alive. Now he wished to depart with his lady, but was informed that 
he had previously to encounter a more perilous adventure than the 
one he had just achieved. She related to him, that in a neighbouring 
cave dwelt Sir Tressan's sister, named Grel, a most unwieldy and war- 
like giantess ; who would, upon seeing the castle in flames, instantly 
attack him. Wolfdietrich resolved to await her arrival before the gate, 
where she soon made her appearance. Her form was most hideous,' 
and in her hand she bore a sharp pole of steel, which she threw at the 
hero's shield. Unable to stand the shock, he fell upon the ground, 
and was seized and bound by the monster, who bore him away, to 
hang him on a neighbouring willow. But previously she took his 
weapon, and leaving him lying on the ground, carried it to her cave. 
At this very time a most seasonable shower came on, and he had soon 
the satisfaction of finding himself disencumbered of his bonds. 

But mournfully he sighed, for Dame Grel his sword had ta'en : 
A dwarf 'gan hear and pity the hero's woeful strain : 
He saw where she had hid in the rock the noble blade ; 
Straight he run where on the sod Wolfdieterich was laidi 

O'er the champion did he cast a tarn-cap* speedily. 

And has led him to the cave, where his falchion he did see. 

» The original describes her form at length; The following may sei-ve as a specimen. 

Gross waren ir die brueste, 
Als ichs vernommen han, 
Wenn sy lauffens gelueste 
So stiess sy sich daran. 
» See p. 41. 


Novr, with leathern thongs, the savage giantess 

Run where the hero she had left, bound upon the grass. 

But when there no more she saw him, back to her cave she came : 
Scornfully Wolfdietrich laughed, when he saw the uncouth dame : 
Off he throws his tarn-cap, and in her sight appears : 
WrathfuUy upon him grins that fiend-Jike woman fierce. 

With the first blow he cut off the right breast of the giantess, who 
soon fell down dead. Then he proceeded to the castle with the 
friendly dwarf Otwell, whom the queen loaded with thanks, and to 
whom half the possessions of Tressan were promised; the other half 
being reserved for the woodman who had shown him the way to the 
giant's castle. 

They departed from Altenfellen, and rejoined the woodman, whom 
they informed of his advancement. He brought them where they found 
the emperor Otnit, whose colour they were surprised to find had be- 
come perfectly black. He related to them that he had sought his 
companion for many days in the forest, and, among other adventures, 
had come to a hollow hill, guarded by a savage giant, whom he sub- 
dued, and entered the cavern, which he found inhabited by malicious 
giants and dwarfs. When they found his force superior to their own, 
they filled the cave with sulphureous smoke, which forced him to eva- 
cuate it, and changed his complexion to that of a negro. 

They proceeded to the emperor's castle of Garten, where the em- 
press received them, but did not recognise Otnit, and for some time 
would not beHeve the sable knight to be her husband. When Wolf- 
dietrich and the emperor parted, they again swore fidelity to each 
other ; "and the former renewing his resolution to visit the holy sepul- 
chre, was promised every assistance to recover his country, by Otnit. 
After Wolfdiel rich had dwelt twelve weeks in peace with his spouse, 
in the castle of Troy, the latter departed out of this life, to the great 
sorrow of her husband. 


Adventure XIII. 

It was about this time that Machahol, the father-in-law of Qtnit, 
had sent the gigantic huntsman Welle, with the brood of dragons, into 
Lombardy. The terrible devastation which they committed brought 
the emperor to the resolution to attempt their extermination ; nor 
could the prayers of his empress divert him from his purpose. He 
charged her, in case he should perish in the attempt, to take that man 
for her husband who should revenge his death, and particularly recom^- 
mendedhis companion. Wolfdietrich for the enterprise. 

Accompanied only by a grey-hound, he set out to the forest, and 
blew his horn under a linden tree. The gigantic huntsman soon appear- 
ed, and the battle commenced. He was armed, Avith an immfiuse pole oi 
iron, with which he struck down one half of the tree, but Otnit 
hewed the weapon asunder with his bladei. Well^ now drew his 
sword, the length of which was eleven ells, and struck the emperor 
to the ground. Supposing him dead, he called to his wife Rutz, who 
yielded nothing to him in size and strength, and bade her prepare to 
ascend the imperial throne with him. During her presence, Otnit 
thought it prudent to lie still, but fortunately she heard the barking ot 
his dog, and run into the wood, to pursue him. The emperor took 
this opportunity of her absence^ arose, and again attacked the giant, 
whose legs he hewed from the body, one after the other. But Dame 
Rutz hearing her spouse roaring with pain, ran to his succour, and for 
want of a better weapon, tore up a whole tree by the roots. Otnit 
was, however, so alert, as to avoid the blow, and with one stroke 
cut off her head, which he proposed to present to the empress, but 
found himself unable to lift it. 

Otnit returned with the tidings of his success to the empress, and 
demanded his mother's ring from her ; informing her that the person, 
who returned the ring to her would bring her tidings of his death ; 


he who brought the heads of the two serpents had slain them, but she 
should not believe him unless the tongue was in the head j' but him 
who brought his hauberk to her she should immediately make lord of 
her person, and of the realm. Again he set out on his perilous en- 
terprise, and found the dwarf Elberich standing before his cave, who 
strongly advised him to abandon his intention, and when he found 
his resolution firm, demanded the ring, which Otnit delivered to him. 
Having taken final leave of the dwarf, he pursued his journey, and in 
the evening kindled a large fire, to induce the serpents to come and 
attack him. Having refireshed himself, his horse, and his dog, during 
the night, he proceeded at day-break, and rode on till he came to a lin- 
den tree, which had been enchaated by a female magician. All who 
lay down under the tree fell into a profound sleep, which lasted for 
three days. Otnit being fatigued, and lying down on the grass, was 
immediately thrown into the magic sleep.^ One of the serpents in the 
mean time approached. In vain did the horse endeavour to wake 
the hero, by biting, and scratching him with his hoofs, and the dog 
with barking. The serpent threw down the tree, swallowed Otnit 
entire, and bore him towards its nest. But the female enchantress 
had beheld the fact, recovered him out of the serpent's maw, and 
bringing him back to life by a root of great virtue, carried him into a 
hollow hill, where he was courteously, received by a nuniber of dwarfs, 
fl«d detained for a year among them. 

Adventure XIV. 

In the mean time the faithful dog returned to Garten, where every 
one concluded that the emperor- had fallen in the attempt. The dog 
endeavoured, by pulling them by their garments, to induce some of 
the knights to go and attack the dragons ; and one of them actually 

' This was a common expedient among dragon-slayers. The reader will recollect an ad- 
venture in Sir Tristrem, very similar to this, and will find a complete parallel to its con- 
clusion in the sequel of this romance. 


undertook the enterprise. He was led: by the dog to the cave ; but 
when he viewed their enormous footsteps, he abandoned his resolution, 
and returned. The barons endeavoured to_ induce the empress to 
take another husband, and when she would not hearken to them, they 
turned her out of the palace, obliging her to gain her sustenance by 
the work of her hands. The burghgrave, however, received her, and 
entertained her according to her quality. 

When God beheld the affliction of the empress, and of the whole 
realm of Lombardy, he sent an angel to the enchantress, charging her 
to -deliver Otnit out of the cave. She obeyed the divine mandate, and 
Otnit proceeded to the cave of his father, who returned to him the 
magic ring, and proceeded in his company to the burgh of Garten, 
where they were received with all manner of rejoicings. A tourna- 
ment was proclaimed, to which all the vassal princes repaired. The 
gifts distributed by the emperor and the dwarf Elberich were of ines- 
timable value. He who begged one mark received three ; and many 
who never had a shilling in their possession, obtained a hundred pounds 
at the tournament. 

Soon after the conclusion of the high feast, the mother of Otnit 
died. After her interment, Elberich took his leave of the emperor:,, 
and informed him that he would no more see him ; charging him 
never to attempt battle against the serpents. Notwithstanding every 
entreaty, he departed to his subterraneous dominions, where he was 
received by his numerous subject dwarfs and giants. 

Adventure XV. 

Otnit now reigned in peace over his realm for the space of eleven 
years, but the damage done by the serpents, who had now increased 
to the number of twelve, was so dreadful, that he again resolved to go 
and attack them ; closing his ear against all the entreaties of the em- 
press and his barons. Accompanied only by his faithful grey-hound, 
he proceeded to the forest, and had not rode far when he found an 



elephant fighting with one of the serpents. As he bore an elephant 
in his shield, he considered himself bound to assist the distressed ani- 
mal. After wounding the monster in three different places, he put him 
to flight, and asked the elephant if he would assist him in the accom- 
plishment of his adventure. The sagacious beast answered with a signi- 
ficant nod. The two companions proceeded on their way, but Otnit 
unfortunately laid himself under the enchanted tree, and yielded soon 
to its soporific effects. Meanwhile the worm approached, and was at- 
tacked by the elephant j but when the latter found himself unable to 
.overcome the monster, he endeavoured to aid the horse and the dog 
in waking their master ; but they could not rouse him from his magic 
sleep. The, serpent again attacked the elephant, and tore him in 
pieces ; then he swallowed the emperor in complete armour, and 
bore him to his cave. By the way he awoke, and endeavoured to draw 
his sword in the belly of the dragbn, who, perceiving his intention, 
killed him, by running his head against a tree. 

The horse and the dog returned to the emperor's castle, whose death 
was now concluded as certain. The empress incessantly wept for his 
loss, and would not hearken to any proposition of marriage. For the 
space of three yeai's no one . dared to withstand the ravages of the 









Adventure I. 

After the death of Sieghmin, Wolfdietrich resolved to execute his 
long.prqjected pilgrimage to the holy sepulchre. Entering a forest, 
he was perceived by twelve robbers,* who immediately divided the 
expected prey between them, and expressed their gratitude to Ma- 
homet, Jove, and Apollo, and to their lord Tressan. One of them 
reserved the shield for. himself, another the horse, the third his hel- 
met ; the f est claimed his leg-armour, hauberk, and sword, the foot- 

* In the more modern editions of the Book of Heroes, the second book begms here, 
but that of 1509 is divided more properly, and has been followed in this abstract. 

* In the Wilkina-Saga occurs a similar battle, between Vidga the Strong, and Grama- 
leif, with his twelve companions. In the Danish ballad of Child Vonved, the armour and 
equipment of that knight are also divided previous to the battle, by his twelve opponents 
as in the text. 


cloth and trappings of his horse, his silken mantle, his collar, his steel 
cap, &c. Then they attacked him, but after a long fight they were 
all of them put to death by Wolfdietrich. 

At the end of the forest he discovered the castle of a friendly baron, 
named Ernest, by whom he was courteously received and entertained. 
Every thing was done to accommodate him, particularly when he re- 
vealed his quality to the beautiful daughter of the old knight. Ha- 
ving taken his leave, he traversed many a country, and passing through 
Austria, Lombardy, and Tuscany, proceeded to Bullen,' and from 
thence to Melfrit, where he took a • ship, and crossed the Mediterra- 
nean. He landed on a desert shore, and commanded the mariner to 
await his return. During his absence a most ghastly giant seized the 
mariner, and throwing him over his shoulder, bore him to his hut. 
The head of the monster was an ell broad, his eyes yellow, the nose 
shaped like the horn of a ram, his hair rough as gum, and white as a 
swan, his mouth of an enormous width, and the ears of the length of 
those of an' ass. He was clothed in the skins of bears. 

Wolfdietrich on his return beheld the giant's hut, and entered it at 
the moment when he was preparing to roast his murdered victim over 
the fire. The giant viewing the champiouj conceived he would be a 
more delicate morsel" than the mariner, and attacked him with a tre- 
mendous club, but soon repented his enterprise 5 for Wolfdietrich with 
one blow, struck off both his hands, and then finished his life by se- 
vering the head from the body. Then he returned to the vessel, and 
consulted with the ship-boy on the possibility of their navigating the 
ship. He was soon instructed how to govern the helm, and they stood 
out to sea ; but had not sailed far before they were attacked by a pi- 
rate, manned by seventy pagans, who did such damage to the ship with 
their cross-bows and wild-fire, that Wolfdietrich, whose breast-plate 
began to burn with the heat, leaped into their ship, and began a most 
dreadftil slaughter. AH the mariners were killed, with the exception 

' BuUen is Bologna, and Meffrit probably Manftedonia. 



of one, who craved for mercy, and expressed himself willing to be 
baptised. For this purpose, he was thrown into the sea, and named 
Werner, and became a most faithful servant to the Grecian hero. 

Adventure II. 

Wohdietrich, accompanied by Werner and the ship-boy, landed in 
the harbour of Acres, and proceeded to the house of the Teutonic 
order. They were received courteously, but the grand master of the 
order complained of the misfortunes which had befallen them, and 
that no less than eleven hundred of the knights had fallen in battle with 
the Saracens, who, on the following morning, were expected to renew 
the attack. Wolfdietrich undertook to defeat them, and only required 
forty knights to accompany him. 

The night was spent in conviviality, and in the morning the hero 
issued with his little troop, and soon discovered the pagan host ad- 
vancing, to the number of a hundred thousand. 

The Christians rushed into the throng of their enemies, and com- 
menced such a terrible slaughter, that not one of them escaped. 
Eighty thousand lay dead on the field, and the rest were drowned in 
the sea." Wolfdietrich returned in triumph to Acres, and the fol- 
lowing day, to the greatgrief of the brethren of the order, proceeded 
on his pilgrimage. 

» The poet, conscious of having here exceeded the bounds of probability, thinks it ne- 
cessary to mention his name, in order to induce his readers to believe the miraculous vic- 
tory, for the sake of his poetical celebrity. He says. 

Das ist mir gar wol kund, 
Mir Wolferam dem werden 
Meyster von Eschenbach. 

i, e. " Those deeds are well known to me, Wolfram, the worthy master of Eschenbach." 


Adventure III. 

Accompanied by his two companions, he arrived, after seven days, 
at Jerusalem, without having met with any adventures. They found 
the city surrounded by a great host of heathens, and, undismayed at 
their number, immediately commenced the attack, upon a detachment 
of a thousand. Wolfdietrich was unhorsed by the pagan Telfigan, 
but calling upon God, who died on the cross, he roused himself again, 
and attacked and slew him, while his companions fought in other parts 
of the field. 

'Twixt the champions and the host was fought a sturdy fight. 
Against the Christian hero advanced, with falchions bright. 
Beneath their waving banners, with loud and savage shout, 
Dimming the air with arrows, many a pagan rout. 

Their heathen tongues with blasphemy at the Christians railed. 
Many a youthful Saracen the knight of Greece assailed ; 
Round him did they crowd, and struck him many a blow; 
But where his glittering falchion fell, they cried alas and woe ! 

On their bucklers loud his blows . did to the sky resound. 
And the blood his wrath had spilt in torrents rolled around ; 
Many a ring of steel from their hauberks down he felled. 
Blows of death and horror his trusty weapon dealt. 

Warriors from their prancing steeds to the ground he thrust ; 
The number was right marvellous, whom he rolled into the dust. 
The battle's din resounded in the firmament like thunder. 
Thrice he cleft, with sword in hand, the pagan host asunder. 

The ship-boy, who had been left under a tree, was pierced by the 

sword of a Saracen ; but Wolfdietrich soon revenged his death, and 


was so incensed, that he speedily finished the battle, and by the as- 
sistance of his fellow, Werner, left all the pagans dead on the field. 
Then he retired into a neighbouring forest to rest, after the fatigues 
of the fight. 

The heathen king Mertzigan soon heard of the defeat cff his knights, 
and of the death of his nephew TeMgan. He sent out another de- 
tachment of a thousand knights, under the conduct of Terferis. The 
Christian champions came out of the forest to meet them. Terferis 
was killed by Werner, and the fight continued till the night. It 
was renewed in the morning. Werner, after performing wonders of 
chivalry, was slain. This misfortune made Wolfdietrich desperate. 
He pursued the flying pagans into the middle of the royal camp, where 
his horse fell, and himself being entangled among the tent-ropes, made 
captive, and brought before the king, who adjudged him to be hanged 
the following morning. But a pagan having beheld his matchless va- 
lour with admiration, and unwilling that such a champion should die 
an ignominious death, released him, restored his horse, and assist- 
ed him to arm himself. When he found himself again at liberty, 
he rode into the tent of Mertzigan, and made his table flow with the 
blood of his vassal princes. The pagan host was summoned to arm 
themselves, and Wolfdietrich again found himself in great danger. 

Fortunately a Christian knight in the city beheld the battle, and 
immediately admonished his brother knights to issue for the relief of 
the hero. Five hundred followed his advice, and found Wolfdietrich 
in the midst of an innumerable host of pagans. After a terrible com- 
bat, they succeeded in completely defeating them, and Mertzigan was 
happy to escape, with a few followers, into his realm of Martzfell. 

The Christians returned into the city of Jerusalem with the rescued 
hero, after having buried two hundred of their knights, who had fallen 
in battle. Wolfdietrich now accomplished his vow, and paid his de- 
votions at the holy sepulchre : then he departed, repelling every soli- 
citation of the knights to remain ampngst them. 


Adventuee IV. 

And now the Grecian hero from the holy city hied : 

His ship with gentle gales sailed o'er the ocean-tide : 
Among the savage Paynims he came to Russian land ; 

His ship he left at Budin^' and leaped upon the strand. 

A gorgeous castle stood upon the meadow green, 
(Never fairer did he view,) built of the marble sheen. 
With battlements five hundred, and hundred turrets high ; 
But there a sight of horror met his wondering eye. 

Hearken, gentle lordings ! that marvel will I tell : — 
If Christian knight adventurous came to the burghgrave fell. 
Rest and ease he purchased dear : in the morn he left to wed. 
Fight upon the battlements, with treachery, his head. 

Belligan, the pagan fierce, had a daughter fair and young ; 
She could not be more beauteous, but she wrought with woe and wrong : 
By her evil arts of grammary each wand'ring Christian knight 
Left his head in pledge, high on the turrets pight. 

When Christian to the castle came, weary and alone. 
Courteously Dame Marpaly received the champion ; 
Without his arms she led him to her chamber, richly dight. 
There to rest him from his travel with the lady alii the night, 

But when, full of love, he hied him to the bed,* 
And thought within his arms to clasp that matchless maid, 
A potion mix'd with potent herbs the wanton youth she gave : 
Soon into a magic sleep fell the warrior brave. 

■ If by Budin the poet means the city of Buda, in Hungary, he is no better geographer 
than most of his fellow-romanciers. 

* See the beautiful fabliau of The Knight and the Swdrd, translated by Way, where a 
similar adventure is told of Sir Gawain. 


Secretly Sir Belligan into the chamber crept. 
When the morning sun had dawned, where by the maid he slept : 
In fetters strong he bound him, and struck the champion dead. 
And pitched, in triumph of the deed, on the battlements his head. 

One tower exceeded all the rest in beauty and strength, being sur- 
rounded by nine ditches, and the pinnacles ornamented with an un- 
usual number of heads. It was covered with transparent glass, and 
no bird of the air could enter it. Wolfdietrich could not refrain from 
the wish to be enabled to transfer such a splendid castle to Constanti- 
nople. He did not greatly admire the manner in which the battle- 
ments were ornamented, but, being greatly fatigued, resolved to enter 
the castle. 

Belligan was charmed with the appearance of the knight, and obser- 
ving one of the highest battlements, which was not as yet adorned in 
the same manner as the others, resolved to honour his head with such 
a distinguished place. He issued with his meiny to receive the cham- 
pion, and ordered his daughter to be in readiness to play her part. 
The porter took the horse ; but when his sword was demanded, Wolf- 
dietrich alleged that it was not the manner of his country to deli- 
ver up that weapon, and persisted in retaining it by his side. The 
pagan king finding his resolution firm, offered him his daughter in 
marriage, and acquainted him with the penalty of not having accom- 
plished the amorous enterprise. Many hundred knights had lain by 
her side, but she was as yet a virgin. Hearing the perilous condition, 
the Grecian hero resolved to leave the castle, and his horse was ac- 
cordingly returned to him. 

Now before the castle gate spurred the noble knight; 
But he viewed a swelling sea, wrought by magic sleight. 
" Who caused the roaring waves to flow the burgh around. 
Where grass and flowers blossomed before upon the ground ?" 

Into the roaring waters he spurred his courser good ; 
But raging all around him rushed the magic flood ; 


The power of the swelling waves his streogth could not withstand ; 
With mighty force they drove him aback upon the land. 

He called upon God and St George to assist him in his perilous situa- 
tion, and kneeling before the king, prayed him to present him to his 
daughter, and to give him an opportunity of judging whether the 
damsel was worthy to be his spouse. She appeared with a train of 
sixty maidens, and Wolfdietrich was so str^ick with her beauty, that 
he declared himself willing to make her his queen, if she would per- 
mit herself to be baptised. She prevailed upon him to take off his ar- 
mour, very courteously assisted him in unlacing it, and then led him 
to the hall. , But his charms had an effect upon her heart, which no 
knight had as yet been able to produce. Against the instructions of 
her father, she declared her love to him, and giving him many tokens 
of her real affection, bade him be without fear. 

In midst the gorgeous hall stood of gold a linden tree. 

And on the branches many a bird was framed right cunningly ; 

Cast of the precious gold, inlaid with many a gem. 

And brightly pearls of mound glittered upon the stem. 

Through the stem and branches silver reeds ascended. 
Quaintly framed by master's hand, in the birds they ended : 
Bellows drove the wind through the reeds along ; 
Nightingales and thrushes there sweetly tun'd their song. 

Around this superb piece of machinery was placed an ivory table, of 
a size sufficient for a thousand knights to sit around it. Belligan now 
entered the hall with his attendants, who ranged themselves around 
the table, giving the place of honour, by the side of the princess, to 
Wolfdietrich. Many of the pagan knights, and amongst them, Gra- 
maly the porter, pitied his fate. The king insisted upon his taking 
his daughter to wife that night, and when the supper was over, con- 
ducted him to the fatal chamber. The chamberlain brought the 


sleeping potion, but Marpaly advised the hero not to touch it, warn- 
ing him of the consequences ; so it was poured upon the ground. 
Seeing the unwiUingness of Wolfdietrich to approach the bed, she up- 
braided him with his unmanhke coldness, but was answered, that he 
could not touch an unbaptised woman, under the penalty of being 
condemned eternally to the pains of hell. Nothing, however, could 
induce her to part with her attachment to Mahound, who had enabled 
her, notwithstanding such numerous temptations, to preserve her chas- 
tity for fifty years, in the hopes of meeting the Grecian hero Wohdie- 
trich, whom she found, by the magic books of Sybilla, to be at that 
time exactly thirty years, twelve weeks, and two days old, and who 
was destined to reign over all other kings. Then Wolfdietrich disco- 
vered himself to her, and each of them endeavoured to convince the 
other of the superior power of their deities, but without effect. Mar- 
paly made every effort to tempt him, and had nearly succeeded, but 
a salutary prayer to the Virgin Mary soon banished every wicked idea 
from his mind. 

In the morning, Belligan came to the chamber with a drawn sword, 
and inquired of his daughter, whether the Christian knight was ready 
for execution. But she called out aloud, cursing him, and lamenting 
that all her temptations had proved fruitless. The pagan then defied 
him to battle, which Wolfdietrich immediately accepted. They is- 
sued from the chamber, and proceeded to another, where an image 
stood, which Belligan alleged to be Death ; and said, that any one 
who dared to approach too near was sure to feel the penalty of his 
rashness instantaneously. But the Grecian king took up the image, 
and dashing it against the walls, broke it into a thousand fragments ; 
ironically complimenting the pagan upon the long life he Would en- 
joy, now that his Death was no more. 

A heathen knight then defied him to leap over a ditch nine fathoms 
wide, bearing a shield on his arm. He accepted the defiance, and 
leaped a fathom beyond his adversary. Then he demanded his steed, 
but was informed that he must first fight a duel, of a very singular na- 
ture, with Belligan. A chair was placed at some distance on the cas- 


tie green, upon which were laid three sticks, and upon these the cham- 
pion was to stand, and not to touch the ground, under the penalty 
of immediate death. Each combatant received three sharp knives, 
and a small buckler, scarcely the breadth of a hand. Before proceed- 
ing to the combat, Wolfdietrich, who fortunately wore the impenetra- 
ble silk shirt of St George, knelt down, and addressed prayers to God, 
for himself-and his eleven knights imprisoned in Constantinople. The 
heathen upbraided him with the length of his oration, and shewed the 
empty battlement destined to be ornamented with his head ; saying, 
that he himself feared no champion but Wolfdietrich, king of Greece, 
by whose hands he was destined to fall ; and offering him his whole 
kingdom, in case he was that hero. But the Christian concealed his 
rank, and called himself a poor knight-errant. 

" Look to thy foot, sir knight," spake the heathea Belligan ; 
" Thou must leave it here to pledge, nor bear it hence again ; 
Fast uuto the ground I will pin it with my knife ; 
Such is my skill and mastery : Christian, guard thy life!" 

The heathen threw the weapon rathly through the air ; 
But cunningly Wolfdieterich leapt quickly from the chair. 
And down upon the sticks again he did alight ; 
No bird in air had done it, to tell the truth aright. 

Foully cursed the pagan, when he had tint that throw. 

And to Mahomet, his god, he plained him of his woe : 

" Never will I leave thee, thou god of might and main. 

If thou wilt grant thy help, when I throw the knife again. 

" Who taught thee thus to leap ? say, thou bold compeer." 
But Sir Wolfdieterich spake with cunning cheer : 
" Say no more. Sir Belligan : what boots that speech of thine ? 
With thy second throw, alas ! I must lose this life of mine." 

Again the heathen cried, " That leap I learnt of yore. 
From my noble master, Bechtung ; right wdhderous was his lore. 



Say, is thy name Wolfdiet^rich, and art thou bred in Greece f 
If thou be, thou shall baptise me, and our enmity shall cease." 

But when the Christian knight his fear and terror viewed, 
" May knight be born of savage wolves ?" cried the champion good : 
" Alas ! my rank I must conceal ; but thou shalt know my name 
When thrice thy blows have missed. Come, renew the bloody game." 

Again with wrath the pagan heaved his hand on high ; 
Again he threw the weapon, and prayed for victory; 
Two locks from the hero's temple he cut with cunning skill. 
As if the shears had dipt them ; but he did none other ill. 

Speedily Wolfdieterich cried to God his life to save. 

" Heathen hound, how cunningly a tonsure thou canst shave ! 

I shall need a priest no more, to shrive me of my sin ; 

By the help of God on high, I hope the fight to win." 

" Have I not hit thee yet ?" spake Belligan with wrath. 
" Ay, thou hast shav'd my crown, but done no other scath : 
As yet I bear no wound, then throw the other knife : 
If once again thy weapon miss, it's I have gained the strife." 

" Christian, guard thy heart !" cried the heathen king accurst ; 

" Soon a bloody well from thy side shall burst. 

Keen is the trusty weapon, and bears the name of Death ! 

Thou need'stnot guard thy life ; thou hast breathed thy latest breath." 

The Christian wound St George's shirt his body all about. 
Quickly passed the weapon keen through the buckler stout ; 
But from the wonderous shirt, to the ground the knife did start. 
Shivered into splinters, nor touched the champion's heart. 

" I have stood thy throws. Sir Belligan," spake the knight aloud : 
" Better I can cast than thou the knife, thou pagan proud." — 
" Boast not of thy cunning," cried King Belligan ; 
" Thy knives with magic art are dight, thou foolish Christian man." 



Safe he thought his body ; but the knight bade him bewaie 
His right foot and his left eye, that the heathen cried, with care, 
" How may I guard them both? In this fearful stound. 
Save me from that Christian fell, with thy power. Sir Mahound !" 

Wolfdietrich quickly threw the knife, and he heaved his hand on high ; 

He pinned the right foot on the chair, and laughing did he cry, 

" My skill it is but little ; much I feared thy flight. 

So I pinned thee to the chair : now thou canst not quit my sight." 

The second knife he threw, and he hit him in the side : 
" Heathen, thou must die, for all thy boast and pride." 
Woefully spake Belligan, — " Knight without a peer, 
Quickljhtell thy name, for much thy throws I fear.". — 

" I am the king of Greece, Wolfdietrich is my name." — 
Trembling cried the pagan, " Save me, thou knight of fame. 
In the fount thou shalt baptise me, and teach me Christian lore : 
Save me, noble champion ! I pray thee, throw no more." — 

" Thou must die, Sir Belligan ; many Christians hast thou shent : 
Alas ! I view their bloody heads upon thy battlement." — 
The pagan bade his meiny his gods before him bring : 
Vainly by their might he ween'd to quell the Grecian king. 

But over them Wolfdieterich signed the holy cross. 
And instantly the idols false broke down to dust and dross. 
Up and spake fair Marpaly, — " He works with magic sleight: 
Much I dread the malice of that Christian knight." 

With sorrow cried Sir Belligan, " Mahoun, help with thy might : 
I will give thee to thy spouse Marpaly the bright." 
Laughing, cried the champion, " A god full strange is thine ! 
Does he seek to spouse the dame ? but his marrow he shall tine. 

" Guard thy heart, sir king ; I warn thee, guard it well ; 
Quickly will I pierce it, with this weapon fell ; 


If I fail asunder straight thy heart to cleave. 

This head upon the battlement, in forfeit, will I Ieav«." 

Speedily Wolfdieterich the third knife heaved on high : 
Trembling stood Sir Belligan, for he felt his death was nigh. 
The pagan's heart asunder, with cunning skill he cleft : 
Down upon the grass he fell, of life bejreft. 

When the pagans beheld the death of their sovereign, they rushed 
upon Wolfdietrich, to the number of five hundred. He grasped the 
sword of one of them, and made great slaughter amongst them ; but 
the mother of Marpaly, who was a great magician, caused a fog to 
come over him, that he could not see any of his adversaries. The 
hero took the knife with which he had pierced the heart of Belligan, 
and fortunately laid the enchantress dead on the ground. Instantly 
the sun shone again in all his splendour, and the hero recommenced 
the slaughter. Unfortunately his sword broke. His friend the porter 
beheld him in this extremity, delivered another to him, and rush- 
ed to his assistance. The two knights stemmed their backs against 
each other, and soon forced their assailants to give over the battle, 
and to crave baptism of their conqueror. This he refused, unless 
God caused a manifest token of his pleasure that they should receive 
baptism, by causing a well to flow from the rock. The infidels laughed 
at what they supposed an impossibility, but were soon convinced of 
the superior power of the God of the Christians over that of Maho- 
met, and were baptised in the well. The young queen refused bap- 
tism, but was informed by Wolfdietrich that she must prepare her- 
self to accompany him. To the faithful porter Gramaly he trans- 
ferred the possession of the castle and the country; and the heads of 
the Christians on the battlements he caused to be taken down and 

His armour and horse being re-delivered to him, he exclaimed on the 
folly of any knight who gavp iip bis weapon on entering a castle. The 


young queen he bound on his horse before him, and having mounted, 
issued from the gate. 

With magic art all o'er the lake a broad bridge threw the dame ; 
But onward as they rode, still narrower it became : 
In wonder stood the hero ; to the maiden he 'gan say, 
" Damsel, truly tell, who has borne the bridge away." 

" Little care I though thou drown," cried Dame Marpaly. 

" Then graithe thee," spake Wolfdiet^rich ; " 'tis thou must plunge with me."- 

" No harm the waves can do me ; with magic am I dight." — 

" Then speed we to the castle back," cried the Christian knight. 


Back the fearless hero turned his trusty horse; 

But down the bridge was broken, by the lady's magic force. 

In his sorrow, cried the champion, " Help, God, in this my need ! 

Say, how may we hither pass, damsel, right ai"eed." 

From the courser Marpaly suddenly would fly. 

" Stay thee here, thou woman fell ! quickly must thou die." 

Piteously she wept, prayed him her life to save. 

He tied her to his body fast, and plunged into the wave. 

In the name of God he leapt into the lake amain ; 

But the water suddenly was gone; on the mead he stood again. 

" Lady, say, how passed the waters? How bloomed the mead so green?" 

" Alas !" she cried, " tby God is strong, or dead thou sure hadst been. 

" Let me pass, Wolfdiet^ricb, for thy chivalry ! 

Knightly deed it were not, but evil treachery. 

If thy hand thou didal imbrue in gentle lady's blood." 

S traight her bonds he loosened, and she leapt from the courser good. 

Suddenly, upon-the mead, her garments down she threw. 
And shewed her beauteous form to the wondering champion's view. 



Hex hands she clapt together,' on the hev6 did she look, 
And straight, by arts of grammary, a rain's form she took. 

High upon a tree perched the raven black. 
" The devil's fere thou art ; to hell then speed thee back ! 
Had I done thy vvill, by the foul fiend had I lain." — 
He grasped his courser's bridle, and away he rode amain. 

But suddenly around him a laithly fog she cast ; 

Fouler it grew, and thicker still, as he onward past : 

And straight beside his courser stood a champion fell 

A club the black man brandished, and seemed the hound of hell. 

Up and spake Wolfdieterich, — " Say, thou doughty knight, 
Why wilt thou give me battle ? I have done thee no despight." 
But fiercely struck the monster on his helm a blow of might : 

Down he fell upon the mead, and saw nor day nor night. 

Full of shame he rose again ; his glittering shield he clasped. 

Run against the fiend of hell, and fast his falchion grasped : 

In the dreadful stour he took the monster's life. 

Fondly he weened the fight was done, nor thought of further strife. 

But suddenly two other fiends, fouler than the other. 
Brandished on high their iron clubs, to avenge their fallen brother. 
Down they struck him to the ground, in deadly swoon he fell ; 
Gone was all his strength, and his face grew wan and pale. 

But God on high was with him : quickly he arose. 
Run upon the hell-hounds, and struck them mortal blows. 
When the two were dead, behold ! by his side four others stood. 
And rushed upon the Christian, thirsting for his blood. 

Hotter was the battle, bolder the champion grew ; 

Quick his might o'ercame them ; to the ground the fiends he threw ; 

' This is avery common way of producing an enchantment in the Arabian Tales. 


Powa he felled the four, dead lay they by his side ; 
Butj alas ! upon the plain, eight fouler he descried. 

The uncouth champions black upon the hero rushed; 
With their weighty clubs of steel, him to the ground they pushed ; 
Mickle was his pain and woe ; his force was well nigh spent : 
Loudly of his sorrow to the heavens did he lament. 

Again he grasped his buckler, and from the plain arose ; 

Again, with his good falchion, he dealt them heavy blows. 

And all the evil hell-hounds rathly made he bleed ; 

Deep were the wounds his weapon carved ; dead fell they on the mead. 

But the battle* was not over ; he came in greater pain ; 
Sixteen fouler fiends than they stood upon the plain ; 
And as their clubs they wielded, the champion cried amain, 
" When a fiend, alas ! I vanquish, two fiercer come again." 

Amongst the hell-hounds fierce he rushed, and thought to be awroke : 
With their iron clubs they struck him, that his helmet seemed to smoke. 
He feared his fatal hour was nigh ; astounded and dismayed. 
On the ground in crucial form he fell, and called to Heaven for aid. 

O'er him stood the foul fiends, and with their clubs of steel 
Struck him o'er the helmet, that in deadly swound he fell : 
But God his sorrow saw ; to the fiends his sond he sent : 
From the earth they vanished, with howling and lament. 

And with them to the deep abyss they bore the sorceress fell : 

Loudly did she shriek, when they cast her into hell. 

The Christian hero thank'd his God ; from the ground he rose with speed ; 

Joyfully he sheathed his sword, and mounted on his steed. 


Adventure V. 

On the fifteenth day, after he had passed, without any adventure, 
through many countries, he arrived at the Straits of St George,' 
where he was overtaken and attacked by five hundred Saracens. He 
behaved with his usual bravery, but when the night came, was 
forced to leap i»to the sea, after having killed two hundred of his ad- 
versaries. His horse, who had been wearied in the battle, began to 
sink. In his need he called to God for assistance, and immediately 
heard himself called by his name. Turning round, he discovered a 
dwarf, who, in a very diminutive ship, came to his assistance, and car- 
ried him over to the shore of Greece. He saw the royal burgh of 
Constantinople, but did not recognise it in the dark, tiU the dwarf in- 
formed him that his brothers dwelt there, and that his eleven faithfixl 
champions were forced to mount guard upon the battlements. Ap- 
proaching to the walls, he heard the lamentation of Bechtung and his 
sons, which affected him so much, that he fell to the ground, and 
cursed his unfortunate fate. But the dwarf warned him that two hun- 
dred of his brothers' knights were on the watch, and that he had lit- 
tle chance of escaping, if they discovered him. Again he mounted 
his courser, and taking his leave of the dwarf, continued his journey. 
But his knights had heard his voice, and in> vain consoled themselves 
in the prospect of being speedily relieved from their bondage. 

Wolfdietricb rode on till he came to the oceam, which he crossed, 
and was rejoiced to see on the opposite shore, at some distance, a 
splendid castle, built of white marble. He pursued a narfow path 
through the forest, and soon met a giant, taller than any he had yet 
encountered. His head reached far above the tallest trees, his iron 
pole was twelve ells in length, and his shield appeared like a great 

' No uncommon appellation for the Hellespont, and which was used as late as the 
twelfth century. 


rock. But the champion's courage and aversion against giants was 
not subdued. He ran to the monster, and calling him the devil's com- 
panion, defied him to the combat. The latter answered contemptu- 
ously, that he would suffer him quietly to depart, upon delivering him 
either a foot oi* an arm, which was no more than the usual toll he exact- 
ed from passengers. But when he felt the heavy blows of the hero, he 
soon changed his opinion, and was content to engage in the battle. 
The combatants were very equally matched ; what the one wanted in 
size was fully made up by his superior skill. Wolfdietrich first cleft 
his opponent's shield, and then shivered his pole to splinters. The 
giant then drew his tremendous falchion ; but being unable, by the loss 
of his shiold, to cover his body, he was^ soon wounded in the heart, 
and his enormous body fell thundering to the ground. When he found 
himself dying, he cursed Apollo and Mahound, that they had suffered 
him to die such a shameful death, and that he had not received his 
mortal wound honourably matched with one of his own size. The 
Grecian having stru<;k off the monster's head, proceeded to the tree 
to which he had tied his steed, who welcomed him with every mark 
of joy. Exhausted with the fight, he lay down by its side, and fell 

The gorgeous castle he had beheld belonged to the heathen king 
Marsilius of Messina, the vassal of Otnit, whose land had long been 
ravaged by the giant ; and no merchant had dared to land in his domi- 
nions, in dread of being forced to pay the cruel tribute exacted by the 
monster. At the very time when the Grecian hero had struck ofi^ his 
headi an old astrologer was reading the stars, and discovered the fall 
of their uncouth enemy. He straight awakened the king with- the 
welcome intelligence, and advised him to cause the deed to be pro- 
claimed throughout his dominions, in order to produce a revival of 
commerce. But the old king preferred first to show his gratitude and 
hospitality to- the doughty champion, sent four-and-twenty of his 
knights to conduct him to the castle, and issued himself with his queen 
to receive him. Unfortunately Wolfdietrich mistook them for ene- 


mies, and mounting his steed, unhorsed twenty of the knights, some 
of whom fell to rise no more. In the mean time the king and queen 
arrived, and made use of every persuasion to sooth the hero's anger, 
and convince him of their friendly intentions, in which they succeeded 
at last, and conducted him in triumph to the palace. Every exertion 
was made to entertain the noble stranger, and the king recommended 
to his queen to pay every attention to him. She offered him one of 
her beauteous damsels for his wife, but he answered, — 

" I did not hither hie with ladies fair to sport : 
The weighty spear and buckler, gentle queen, I court; 
For the love of bloody battles around the world I rove ; 
Leave then, royal dame, to talk of ladies' love." 

The queen presented him with the richest garments, and with a crown 
inlaid with the most valuable gems. She accompanied him herself 
to the chamber, to assist him in unlacing his armour, and put on the 
garments she had prepared. 


But when his hauberk she would doff, the champion blushing said, 
" Lady, 'tis far unmeet to stain thy hand with the rusty red. 
Whilst I dight me in those garments, leave me for a while : 
Lady, spare my blushes." — She departed with a smile. 

When he entered the hall, dressed in the gorgeous garment, and 
crowned with the rich coronet, he was. received by five hundred la- 
dies, and allowed by all to be a miracle of beauty: And when he re- 
lated his adventures, every one praised him as matchless, and themin- 
strels sung his actions to the sound of their harps. 

Ever the host's right noble fame will I praise and sing. 
Who richly for his guests prepares the feast like that proud king ; 
And the guest I praise him too, who shows his high-born blood. 
By honouring the landlord, as a courteous champion should. 


After he had been entertained for the space of thirteen days, Wolfdie- 
trich took his leave, to the great sorrow of his royal host and his 
queen. He travelled towards Lombardy, and soon entered a dark 

Adventure VI. 

He had not proceeded far before he was encountered by a giantess 
of the most horrible appearance, and of enormous size, who grinned 
upon him in a very friendly manner. But Wolfdietrich, who did not 
much relish her appearance, nor covet her friendship, began to draw 
his sword.' The lady, however, informed him that her name was Runy, 
that she had the best intentions towards him, and would entertain him 
for any length of time, and, finally, that she was a near relation of his, 
no less than his aunt. The hero began to repose confidence in her, 
and followed her into her fastness, where he was welcomed in a most 
courteous manner by seven other women, equal to her in size, over 
whom she reigned as queen. For three days he was most royally 
feasted ; and when he signified his resolution to proceed to Lombardy, 
she took him under one arm, as if he had been a squirrel, and his 
horse in the other, and carried them above a hundred miles with ease 
that day. When she had set him down in the realm of Lombardy, 
she returned back, having received many thanks from her nephew. 

Wolfdietrich passed through Lombardy, and on the fifth day came 
to Terfis, which was possessed by the rich burghgrave Werner. He 
was just holding a tournament, at which his daughter, the beautiful 
Amey, presided. Hitherto Count Herman of Tuscany had bore the 
prize away ; but the lady having hung a ring on a small thread, and 
challenged the knights to throw their spears through it, for which 
they were to be rewarded with a kiss, no one could accomplish the 
enterprise. At this moment Wolfdietrich arrived, and the lady sup- 
posing him to be a knight adventurous, prayed her father to invite him 
to partake of the games. Werner rode towards him, but was obliged 


to start aside J for the Grecian supposing him to come with hostile in- 
tentions, had laid his lance in rest. When he understood the real in- 
tentions of the burghgrave, he proceeded with him to the throng of 
knights, and was courteously received. Count Herman begged him 
to try his skill in piercing the ring. At first he pleaded the fatigue 
his horse had undergone, but the count offered to lend him his own, 
which was found incapable of bearing him. His own steed had been 
fed in the mean while, and when it was perfectly recovered, he mount- 
ed, and the horse making a leap twelve fathoms high, he pierced the 
ring, and presenting it to the lady of the tournament, received three 
kisses for his reward. 

Count Herman seeing the skill of the unknown knight, defied him 
to joust with him for a thousand marks ; and when the latter answered 
that he had not a single one in his possession, he upbraided him for 
joining the company of such wealthy and high-born knights. But 
Amey, unwilling to lose the sport, and enraged at the insolence of the 
count, undertook to stand good for the knight, and vowed to become 
Herman's spouse, if he could unhorse the unknown champion ; stipu- 
lating, however, that the latter should be allowed fourteen days to 
recruit himself and his courser. During the interval he was enter- 
tained very splendidly, and distinguished before all other knights by 
the fair Amey. 

When the day appointed for the jousting arrived, the count was 
ready upon the field, and, at the request of the lady, pledged himself 
that his knights should attempt nothing against the unknown cham- 
pion, if he vanquished him. She armed Wolfdietrich, presented him 
with an excellent old hauberk, which had belonged to Otnit, and or- 
namented his helmet. Upon his arriving in the field, Herman pro- 
posed to him to be allowed to have the first jousting, and if Wohdie- 
trich was not unhorsed, he would receive the shock of his lance in re- 
turn. The proposal was accepted, and the count, who had the strength 
of eight other men, chose a heavy lance. Eight hundred knights had 
assembled to view the tournament, and the lady-arbitress was seated 
among her maidens, to decide the combat. 


Count Herman spurred his courser, and gallopped o'er the plain ; 
With anger burnt his heart, and he hoped the prize to gain : 
Against the Grecian hero he ran with envious force, . 
But he could not stand the shock, and tumbled from his horse. 

Firmly sat Wolfdieterich, his shield repell'd the spear. 

From his courser to the ground leap'd he without fear ; 

But Sir Herman bowed full courteously to the unknown knight : 

^ Take the gold, thou champion, for I may not stand thy might." 

" Nay," cried the Idng of Greece, " it must not, count, be so. 
For first before the lady my power must I show." 
A long and weighty spear he chose, as in the book is told ; 
And the ^ear a fathom in the ground thrust the hero bold. 

Amongst the knights resounded, aloud, a joyful cry. 
When, withouten stirrups, on his steed he leaped on high.' 
Count Heiman on his courser mounted, full of care ; 
But through his shirt of mail ran the sweat of fear. 

O'er the court in full career the Grecian did advance. 

And above the saddle bow he hit him with the lance ; 

Little could the count withstand that thrust of might and maitt; 

Fathoms eight it cast him, down upon the plain. 

The knights of Count Herman, to the number of two hundred, when 
they beheld the fall of their master, drew their falchions, and rushed 
upon his conqueror. But Wolfdietrich wielded his lance so well, that 
he unhorsed sixty of them. The burghgrave parted the fray with his 
champions, and was glad to find that no harm was done, save the 
breaking of a few limbs. 

The unknown champion had made such an impression upon the fair 

* This was reckoned one of the requisites of a knight; and in some countries no noble- 
man could succeed to certain lands possessed by his ancestors, without leaping upon his 
horse completely armed, and without touching the stirrups. 


Amey, that she declared to her father that he was the man of her 
heart, and notwithstanding his objections on the score of his apparent 
low rank and poverty, insisted upon having no other husband. Wer- 
ner accordingly made the proposal, which he was surprised to find re- 
jected. The guest declared his resolution to visit the emperor Otnit ; 
and when Werner informed him that he had been destroyed by the 
serpents three years before, he resolved to cpmbat against them, and 
in case the empress was as yet a widow, to obtain her hand. Werner 
returned, and acquainted his daughter with the bad success of his er- 
rand, upon which she declared to the Grecian, that she would take no 
husband, if he was not recommended by him, and returned with a 
mantle of ermine, which she then gave him. He promised her the 
most worthy among his eleven imprisoned champions. As he stood 
in need of a hauberk, above a hundred were offered to his choice. In 
order to try their strength, he threw them on the ground, and, to the 
great astonishment of the spectators, shivered twelve of them in pieces, 
before he met with one upon which he could rely. 

Adventure VII. 

The burghgrave accompanied Wolfdietrich to the castle of Garten, 
and by his advice he remained under the walls till night, in order to 
hear the lamentations of the empress, and thereby to understand whe- 
ther she was as yet unmarried. Meantime Werner took his leave, 
and returned home. When night came, the Grecian hero rode up to 
the castle-moat, but the centinel hearing his approach, and calling out 
to him not to approach the walls, he thought it prudent to leap from 
his horse, and silently to conceal himself in the moat. The centinel 
began to lament the death of Otnit, and the unfortunate situation of 
the empress ; and the latter hearing his complaints, arose from her 
chamber, and joined him. They began mutually to deplore her misfor- 
tunes ; her being kept from any share in the government by the barons, 
and obUged to gain her livelihood by spinning and embroidery ; and 


sorrowing for the death or absence of Wolfdietaich, the best ftiend 
of Otnit. The hero could not endure her lamentations, but, in token of 
his presence, threw a heavy stone up to the battlements. The em- 
press swooned for fear, and the centinel was scarcely less terrified. 
When she recovered, and considered the strength of the throw, she 
exclaimed that no one had so much force since the death of Otnit, 
except Wolfdietrich ; and sighed for the abseince of the latter, who 
was alone capable of destroying the dragon-brood, and to whom she 
would willingly deliver up the realm of Lombardy, in case he suc- 
ceeded in the enterprise. 

When she had recovered from her consternation, she called out from 
the battlemepts whether any one lay concealed there, and why he had 
so rudely interrupted her lamentations. He answered that he was 
come to do battle with the serpents, and had thrown the stone to give 
her a specimen of his strength. She promised to make him master of 
Lombardy and Germany, if he was successful ; but he declared that 
he would never undertake the enterprise, unless she promised to be- 
come his spouse, and gave him a ring in token. After some diflSculty 
she consented, and bade him enter the castle, which he refused. Then 
she let down a ring tied to a thread, and informed him that it would 
give him the additional strength of two men, and preserve him from 
the effects of the fiery breath of the dragons. When she inquired his 
name, he reftised to discover it, but leaped upon his horse without 
stirrups, which again brought the strength of Otnit and his brother in 
arms to her recollection. 


Having taken leave of the empress, he -proceeded on the perilous 
adventure, and entered the forest. At the very entrance he found a 
knight dying, and incapable of giving any answer to his offers of as- 
sistance. As he stood over him, he heard the cries of a, woman at a 
distance, and immediately ran to her assistance. He found her naked 


above the girdle, and clasping a tree with great agony. He threw the 
ermine mantle given to him by the damsel Amey over her shoulders, 
and inquired the cause of hev misfortunes. She related, that having 
been married to a young knight, she was proceeding to her mother, 
in. order to be delivered of her first child, when they were attacked by 
the dragon called Schadesan, ' who had devoured eleven knights of 
their train, and had left her husband lying on the ground bleeding. 
She had escaped the dragon's fury, but was then in labour. The 
courteous knight of Greece offered her his assistance, and directed 
her to blindfold his eyes, that he might play the part of a midwife 
modestly.* But she refused what she considered incompatible with a 
lady's honour, and begged the hero to bring her some water, in order 
to be rid of his presence. He fetched water from a neighbouring well 
in his helmet ; but when he returned, he found both the lady and her 
new-born infant dead.. 

The knight, the mother, and the child, he lifted from the ground. 
And bore them to the forest's end, where a chapel old he found : 
Amongst the mouldering ruins he bore the bodies three : 
With his falchion he digged a grave right mournfully. 

With sorry cheer he digged the grave with his trusty blade ;, 
Many bitter tears he shed, and. many a prayer he pray'd. 
In the grave he laid the knight, the child, and lady fair. 
And for their souls to God he prayed the funeral prayer;. 

The champion having performed this pious office, proceeded in 
search of the dragons, and soon discovered their den. He defied them 
aloud, but found that they were gone in search of prey. Anxious to 
conclude his adventure, he traced their footsteps through the forest ; 
but being aware of the soporific efiect of the magic linden, he avoided 

• Literally, " without damage ;" a very improper name for the monster, as indeed the 
poet himself observes in another place. 
' See the Danish ballad of Fair Midel, in this volume. 


approaching every tree of that species. He had not proceeded far 
before he heard a great noise at a distance. Upon his approach, he 
found a lion giving battle to one of the dragons ; and as he bore a 
golden lion in his shield, he considered himself bound to give every as- 
sistance to the distressed animal. The latter signified his gratitude 
by an inclination of the head, and redoubled his exertions in support 
of the champion. The dragon's head was of a horny consistence, his 
shoulders were two ells in length, and he walked upon four-and- 
twenty feet. The battle lasted all the day, but, notwithstanding the 
faithful assistance of the lion, Wolfdietrich found himself unable to in- 
flict any wound upon his enemy. By the monster's fiery breath his 
sword became soft, and the rings of his hauberk glowed with heat. 
He lamented the lion's inability to understand his directions, wish- 
ing him to maintain the fight whilst he cooled his armour. But the 
noble animal guessed his intentions, and rushing upon the dragon, kept 
him at bay for some time, till he was driven back to his preserver. The 
latter then leaped on the back of the serpent, but unfortunately broke 
his falchion against the impenetrable scales. Now he despaired of ac- 
complishing his undertaking, and was proceeding to mount his horse, 
when the dragon threw his tail around his body, and took him prison- 
er. The faithful lion attempted to rescue him, but was himself made 
captive, and carried away in the mouth of the monster. 

The dragon bore his prisoners over hill and dale, to the den where 
his young brood were famishing with hunger. He threw down the 
lion, who was soon devoured, without satisfying their appetite. Wolf- 
dietrich was then cast before them, but he covered himself among the 
bones of his predecessors, and eluded their fury for some time. At 
last they discovered him, but the miraculous shirt of St George bade 
defiance to their teeth. When the parent saw their rage, he issued 
from the cave, and returned with the champion's horse, which at last 
put a stop to their appetite. They now bore Wolfdietrich into the 
middle of the cave, and amused themselves with throwing stones up- 
on him, which cast him into a swoon. The young ones at last tired 



of their diversion, and fell into a sound sleep. The hero having reco- 
vered from his swoon, had time for recollection, and roused himself by 
considering the dangerous situations in which Noah, Jonas, and 
Daniel, had been preserved. He resolved to follow their example, 
and confide in Providence. Stumbling about in the dark, among the 
dead bodies, he fortunately found a sword, which had once belonged 
to the giant Egkeleit. To try its mettle, he struck it several feet in 
the rock, and filled the cave with fire occasioned by the stroke. By 
this light he discovered the old worm Schadesan, lying amongst his 
young ones. Convinced of the excellence of the weapon, he struck a 
heavy blow at the dragon, who found himself severely wounded when 
he awoke. The battle was very severe, and lasted all the day. The 
champion was obliged to fly, and hide himself behind a corner of the 
cave. But he soon renewed the fight, and was at last so fortunate as 
to sever the monster's head from his body. In the agony of death, 
the dragon striking his tail against the rock, illumined the whole cave 
with the fire he struck out of it, very opportunely for WolfdietWch, aS 
he was thereby enabled, though with much difficulty, to find his way 
to the entrance of the cavern. 

But the combats of the champion were not over. He was soon (En- 
countered by the oldest and fiercest of the dragons, whose head he 
cut off, after a severe battle. Then he entered the cave, and slew ten 
of the young brood. Unfortunately an old dragon and a young one 
escaped. One of these was not destroyed? till eighty years after, when 
he fell by the sword of Dietrich of Bern.' Wolfdietrich cut out the 
tongues of the dragons which he had subdued, and proceeded' to the 
place where Otnit's body lay, and appropriated to himself his crown^ his 
cross, and his armour, praying the dead body to forgive the deed! An 
angel suddenly entered the body, and bade him take them, promising 
him at the same time the crown of Lombardy, and the empress for 
his spouse. Wolfdietrich armed himself in the dead emperor's ar- 

' His battle with the remaining dragon is described in a Danish ballad, a translation of 
which will be found in the Appendix. Most of the circumstances are closely copied from 
the combat related in the text. 


mour, and placed his bones in a corner, to distinguish them from those 
of the other dead knights. He then issued from the cave, in search 
of the worms who had escaped, but found his new armour so heavy, 
that he could not proceed. 

Adventure IX. * 

In the mean time Duke Gherwart came to Garten, with eighty of 
his knights, and craved the permission of the empress to proceed to 
the forest, and give battle to the dragons. But she denied her con- 
sent, informing him that a stranger knight had already undertaken the 
adventure. The duke, however, would not desist, but went with his 
knights into the forest, where he found the dragon Schadesan lying 
dead before the cave. He struck so many blows upon the body with 
his sword, that the forest resounded with them. Then he declared 
his resolution to be emperor, and made his knights swear that they 
would make a false report that he had killed the monsters. But two 
brothers^ Count Hartman and Count Herman, refused, for which they 
were threatened with the vengeance of Gherwart, when he should 
bear the imperial crown. They left the duke, who took the dragon's 
head, and set out on his return. He found Wolfdietrich standing un- 
der a tree. The duke oifered him a horse, if he would enter his ser- 
vice. But when the Grecian beheld the head of the dragon, he scorn- 
fully asked him on what adventure he had rode ; and when the duke 
asserted that he had slain the dragon, he gave him the lie. Gherwart 
ordered his knights to strike down the champion, but he defended 
himself so well, that, with the assistance of Hartman and Herman, he 
unhorsed two-and-twenty, though he himself was on foot. The duke 
struck him to the ground, but he soon arose again, and wounded his op- 
ponent in three places, so that he was glad to own his treacherous inten- 
tion, and to present his conqueror with his own courser. Wolfdietrich 
convinced him of his folly, by showing the tongues which he had cut out 


of the dragons' heads ; and they all confessed that he deserved the 
crown and the empress. 

One of the fugitive knights gallopped to Garten, with the intelligence 
of the destruction of the sei'pents by the stranger knight, and was 
richly rewarded for the intelligence by the empress. He was soon 
followed by the two counts Hartman and Herman, who recounted to 
her the intended treachery of the duke, and the valour of the unknown 
champion. Hartman undertook to carry a message from the empress, 
who advised him to bear a falcon on his fist, in token of his intentions 
being peaceable. The precaution was very seasonable, for Wolfdie- 
trich supposing him one of the fugitive knights, ashamed of his cowar- 
dice, and returning to give him battle, gallopped against him with his 
lance couchant ; but beholding the token of peace, threw it away, and 
inquired his errand. The count asked him why he did not proceed 
to court, after having destroyed the dragons. The Grecian answered, 
that two had escaped, so that he had not wholly fulfilled his vow ; and 
gave him the empress's ring, in token of his having executed the mes- 
sage. When the empress beheld him, she concluded that the stranger 
despised her love, and fell into a swoon. On her recovery, the count 
informed her of the reason of his absence, with which she was not 
entirely satisfied. Duke Gherwart, who now arrived, she would 
not suffer to remain in her presence ; so he returned into his own 

Wolfdietrich meanwhile proceeding in search of the two dragons, 
came to a lake, where he found a lion fighting fiercely with a very di- 
minutive worm, and roaring out with pain. At first he could not dis- 
cern the worm, but the latter beholding him, flew at his golden shield, 
and threw fire at it so fiercely, that the gold began to burn and con- 
sume away. His whole armour became glowing hot, and every effort 
to strike the animal was in vain, as it avoided aU his blows, leaping 
over his head, and again attacking him with the greatest celerity. The 
heat was so intense, that he threw himself into the lake, to quench the 
fire. In the mean time the lion had caught the worm, which the 


knight perceiving, leaped upon the land, struck it asunder with his 
sword, and threw the fragments into the water. The whole lake was 
soon in a flame, and continued burning when the hero left it. " I 
will now tell you of that marvellous worm : In French it is called Zun- 
der, in German, Saribant, and in the country of Sittelenland,' Viper. 
Only two of them exist in the world at a time ; for when the young 
ones are grown to a certain age, they fall upon their parents, and de- 
vour them. You have heard of these strange animals : I wiU now re- 
turn to the knight." 

Having obtained the fellowship of the lion by a significant nod of 
the head, he proceeded to Garten, to have the wounds of the animal 
cxired. On their road they encountered the two fugitive dragons, 
and Wolfdietrich having instructed the lion to remain quiet, unless he 
beheld him in imminent danger, attacked the old dragoness. The 
latter, astonished at the blows which'she received from the champion, 
run against him, and struck him to the ground; The lion immediately 
came to his assistance, but when the monster found herself assailed on 
both sides, she sent forth a doleful cry, and fled so speedily, that the 
attempt to overtake her proved fruitless. 

Adventure X. 

Wolfdietrich proceeded with the lion to the burgh, and caUing to 
the watchman, informed him that he was the knight who had killed 
the dragons, and instructed him to request the empress to heal the 
wounds of his faithful lion. Then he departed, refusing to enter the 
•astle. The watchman bore his message to the empress, and she 
arose to comply with the request of her champion. But. when the 
burghgrave, who was now inimical to her, heard her rising, and in- 
quired the cause, she pretended that she had dreamt of the arrival of 
the knight and of his Hon. She issued from the castle-gate where the 

' Perhaps Sicilj. 


lion stood, whom she conjured, for his master's sake, to submit quietly 
to her operations. The animal was borne into a chamber, where she 
cauterized and bound up his wounds. 

The following night she silently arose, and joined the watchman, in 
the expectation of the champion's arrival, in search of his lion ; nor 
did she wait long, for he soon rode up to the castle walls, and de- 
manded his companion. The empress used every persuasion to induce 
him to enter the castle, and at last succeeded. The centinel opened 
the gates, took his horse from him, and led him to the empress, by 
whom he was well entertained, but at whose request he lay at the 
furthest side of the bed, fearing the malice of her knights. 

But the burghgrave had observed the entrance of Wolfdietrich, and 
came in the morning, accompanied by two hundred knights, to the 
chamber door, accusing the empress of having committed adultery 
with the murderer of Otnit, whose armour they had observed upon 
the hero. The lion was now let loose, and committed great havoc 
amongst the enemies. As soon as his master was armed, he joined 
him, arid commenced a dreadful slaughter, but his faithful companion 
fell in the fight ; and the hero, though he re-doubled his exertions 
to avenge him, was at last forced to yield to numbers. A heavy stone 
thrown upon him benumbed his senses, and he would have become a 
prey to his enemies, had not the two faithful knights, Hartman and 
Herman, bestridden and defended him tiU he recovered from his 
swoon. Then he re-commenced the slaughter, striking so many 
knights to the ground, that the empress, fearing the destruction of all 
her vassals, prayed him to desist, and persuaded the burghgrave to 
accompany her to the forest, where the truth might be discovered, 
whether he had murdered the emperor, or had actually killed the ser* 

The empress issued to the forest, accompanied by her knights. They 
soon came to the place where the little Saribant lay dead, at which 
sight Count Helnot of Tuscany scoffed at the boasted prowess of Wolf- 
dietrich. But he was soon convinced of his folly, when one of the 
fugitive dragons appeared, which put him and the other knights of 


Lombai'dy into such a panic, that they were glad to escape, and climb 
the neighbouring trees. The dragoness attacked Wolfdietrich, and 
notwithstanding a severe wound which he inflicted upon her, he found 
himself unable to bear her fiery breath, as he had not the preservative 
ring upon his finger. But the empress beholding his danger, bade him 
enter the cave, and take the shield of Otnit, which was inlaid with 
gems, having also the virtue of rendering the fire innocuous. When he 
had obtained the shield, he attacked the monster, and allowed himself 
to be driven to the place where the terrified knights had concealed 
themselves. Then he employed his falchion so well, that he struck 
her into two pieces. Four young ones who fell out of her body then 
attacked him, but soon shared the fate of their parent. 

The knights were now satisfied of the valour of Wolfdietrich, and 
unanimously offered the imperial crown to him. He insisted upon 
their entering the cave, and viewing the dragon Schadesan, which they 
could hardly be prevailed upon to do. Above eighty bodies of dead 
knights were brought out and buried, and amongst them the head of 
Otnit, which removed every scruple in the mind of the empress and 
her barons. 

Adventure XI. 

Great preparations were made for the marriage and coronation. 
Duke Helnot was appointed to invite the neighboming princes to the 
high feast, and a splendid encampment was made before the castle of 
Garten. Thither resorted, among others, three noble kings, with their 
knights ; Hartenit, king of Spain, Adelgar of France, and Fridolt of 
Sicily. The high feast was held for fourteen days, and in the jousting 
the new emperor bore the""prize fi:om all the competitors. Immense 
sums of money were distributed among the poor, and many squires re- 
ceived tlie order of knighthood from the monarch. 

Notwithstanding these rejoicings, Wolfdietrich moui-ned in his heart 
for his companions imprisoned at Constantinople ; and his spouse ha- 


ving one night understood the cause of his sorrow, upbraided him for 
his neglect, and for preferring eleven of his knights to her, and to the 
innumerable champions whom she had placed under his command. 
But when he answered that he preferred his faithful eleven to a thou- 
sand empresses, she waxed wroth, and assembling thirty thousand war- 
riors, complained of her husband's neglect, and called upon them for 
vengeance. They were just proceeding to attack him, when one, 
more prudent than the rest, stayed their fury, and requested the 
emperor to explain who the champions for whom he had such an af- 
fection were. Wolfdietrich then related the matchless fidelity of 
Bechtung and his ten sons. When the empress understood that her 
new spouse was no other than the companion and brother at arms of 
Otnit, she fell upon her knees, prayed his forgiveness, and offered all 
the assistance of her empire to procure the release of his knights. Out 
of the thirty thousand warriors he chose twelve thousand to accom- 
pany him. The realm of Westria he gave to the faithful counts Hart- 
man and Herman, pardoned the treachery of Duke Gherwart, and 
permitted him to embark, with his thousand knights in his company. 
The empress bade him beware of the beauty of the Grecian ladies, 
and prevailed upon him to spare the life of his two treacherous bro- 

Adventure XII. 

After having sailed twenty days, the emperor arrived near Con- 
stantinople, and landed five miles from the city. By the advice of 
Count Herman, the camp was struck in a dark forest, and Wolfdietrich, 
with twelve of his bravest knights, proceeded to the walls, disguised as 
palmers, where he heard two of Bechtung's sons, Hache and Herbrant 
lamenting their misfortunes. Approaching to the walls, he prayed them 
to bestow alms upon him and his brother pilgrims, for the souls of his 
dead friends. Herbrant lamented his inability to give him any money, 
but. threw down a hauberk, and bade him sell it in the city, saying, 


that he had bestowed the gift for the souls of Wolfdietrich and of their 
father Bechtung, who shortly before had died of grief at a feast pre- 
pared by the two brother kings, at which they had been forced to of- 
ficiate in wretched raiment. When the emperor heard of his faithful 
master's death, he sunk to the earth with grief, and revealed himself 
to his faithful knights. 

Herbrant blew his horn aloud ; to his brothers did he call, 
" Quickly speed ye hither, brethren, to the wall ! 
Behold that palmer on the green 1 boldly did he speak : 
'Tis I your king Wolfdietrich, come your sorrows to awreak." 

On the w^ls the champions knelt, lowly on their knee ; 

To God on high they called to aid them speedily : 

" Help us," cried Sir Herebrant, " help us for thy might ! 

Still we kept our faith and truth, then our chains asunder smite." 

God did help them in their need, those faithful brothers young ; 
Suddenly asunder broke their fetters strong : 
Their care was past, a shout of joy was heard the knights among. 
And down upon the meadow, from the battlements they sprung. 

The sons of Bechtung did not at first recognize their master, who, 
during an absence of ten years, had become hoary. But when he 
shewed them the wound on his head, which he had received when his 
brothers expelled him from his inheritance, they were immediately satis- 
fied. By their advice the city was set fire to in four places, and a loud 
war-cry informed the citizens of Wolfdietrich's arrival. Twenty thou- 
sand opposed his entrance, whom himself and his two-and-twenty 
champions kept at bay, until he had sounded his horn, and given warn- 
ing to his concealed troops to join him. After a long and bloody bat- 
tle, an ancient knight stept before his feUow-citizens, reminded them 
of their allegiance to Wolfdietrich, and recommended to throw them- 
selves on his mercy. Instantly all their banners were cast to the 



gfbund, and the town was delivered up to the rightful owner, who gave 
it in charge to Duke Gherwart, and marched to the burgh of Atnis, 
where his brothers resided. 

When Boghen and Wassmut understood his approach, they proposed 
to give him battle after seven days. They sent their messengers to 
the different parts of Greece, and soon collected an army of forty thou- 
sand, against whom Wolfdietrich could only bring into the field his 
twelve thousand Lombards, and four thousand citizens of Constanti- 

And now the truce was over, and on th' appointed day 

The armies rushed together, all to the bloody fray ; 

From, their tents the^r issued in glittering array. 

Before the city on the plain, their fortune to essay. 

Proudly marched the Grecian host, their helmets laced they on ; 
Bright their gleaming falchions, and bright their brunies shone. 
O'er the blooming meadow trampled the destrers proud. 
And all around resounded the horns of war aloud. 

Wolfdieterich the brave straight his helmet laced. 
And all his host in ireful mood, fast their hauberks braced : 
He chose the boldest of his knights, the trusty Herebrand, 
Grasped the storming banner, and placed it in his hand. 

The banner of the faithless kings bore a noble duke : 
Tow'rds Herebrant he spurred his steed that all the meadow shook • 
But he recked not for his boasting : together have they sped 
Herbrant pierced him with his lance, on the meadow fell he dead. 

Together flew the hei-oes, the steeds together rushed ; 
'Gainst the weighty bucklers their spears to splinters crushed ; 
Many a warrior in the press lost his courser's rein. 
Fell among the horses' hoofs, ne'er to rise again. 

Many a noble courser, lances sharp did pierce : 
There lay many riven shields, and many shiven 


many shivered spears. 


Then their glittering falchions from the sheatha they drew, 
Down they cast with deadly blows warriors brave and true. 

Ever their noble. chivalry and courage will I sing, 
How their blades cut many a helm, and many an iron ring. 
How they struck from hauberks, sparks of fire on high. 
How the dust in clouds arose, darkening all the sky. 

All the £eld was streaming with the tide of blood ; 
From many a dying warrior's side rushed the gory flood. 
But bolder far than other kemps, Wolfdietrich waged the fight ; 
Steeds and champions dead lay around the noble knight. 

There his matchless force he showed, burning in his wrath ; 

Habergeons he hewed asunder, striking blows of death ; 

All the Grecian chivalry fled before his brand : 
E'en the boldest of them all feared his deadly hand. 

After a most bloody combat, the forces of Boghen and Was'smut were 
completely routed ; and they, with the principal barons of their party, 
taken prisoners. They were brought to Constantinople, and there 
swore fealty to their conqueror and rightful sovereign. 

Wolfdietrich proceeded to the cathedral, where he saw the tomb of 
Bechtung. He heaved* up the stone, and beheld the dead body of his 
beloved master. He called upon God to give him some token of his 
soul's welfare, and immediately the bones assumed a ghttering white- 
ness. Many masses were sung for his soul by the command of the 

Adventure XIII. 

Having established the Grecian kingdom in peace, Wolfdietrich re- 
turned to Lombardy, where the empress received his captive brothers 
with so much courtesy, that he upbraided her with bestowing such fa- 
vours upon his enemies, and neglecting his faithful companions. He 


resolved, notwithstanding his promise, to execute the two kings ; but 
his knights understanding his purpose, persuaded the empress to ask 
their lives of him. At, length he yielded to her intreaties, took their 
oaths of allegiance, and sent them to the possessions which his father 
had bequeathed to them. 

The emperor having prevailed over all his enemies, proceeded to 
Rome, where he was crowned, and held a splendid plenar court. Sit- 
ting on his throne, he received the oaths of aU the vassals of the Ro- 
man empire. On his return to Garten, he recollected the promise he 
had made to the beautiful daughter of Count Werner of Terfis, and 
sent Hartman with twelve knights to her father. Having expedited 
this message, and received a hundred marks of gold, and rich dresses 
of scarlet silk in reward, he returned to the emperor, and was soon fol- 
lowed by the count and the fair Amey, accompanied by eight hundred 
knights. A tournament was given in their honour, but no one dared 
to run a course against Wolfdietrich. Herbrant exchanged rings with 
the beauteous Amey, and they were that night married. 

And when the evening sun was down, under pall they laid. 

And oh ! how full of love was Herbrant and the maid ! 

Gently in her snowy arms lay the loving champion ; 

But ere they weened the night half past they cursed the morning sun. 

After another tournament had been held in the morning, the em- 
peror rewarded his faithM knights with rich possessions. To the new 
bridegroom he gave the burgh of Garten, where he lived many years 
with his wife, who bore three sons, from whom the Wolfings (Guelphs) 
are descended. The eldest was named Hildebrand, and proved the 
faithful tutor and companion of Dietrich of Bern, the grandson of 
Wolfdietrich; the second was Ner, a brave champion; and the third 
the renowned monk Ilsan. He had also a daughter named Mergant, 
from whom the doughty Wolfhart descended. The second of Bech- 
tung's sons, Hache, was created duke of Brisac ; he was father to 

Eckart, surnamed the true ; on the third, who bore his father's own 



name, the emperor bestowed the duchy of Meran, which the old duke 
had possessed ; the fourth, Bechtwin, was made lord of Kemerland;" 
the fifth and sixth obtained Saxony and Brabant ; and the other four 
were sent to Greece, and rewarded with large dominions in that coun- 
try. After they had sworn fidelity to the emperor, they departed to 
their several possessions. 

Wolfdietrich reigned for twenty years over the Roman empire, and 
had a daughter, called after the empress, Sidrat, and a son named Hugh- 
dietrich the young. The latter was given in charge to Herbrant, who 
educated him with his own son Hildebrand, in all knightlike exercises. 
When the young prince was twelve years old, his mother Sidrat died, 
and the emperor calling his barons together, declared his resolution to 
retire into a monastery, for the welfare of his soul, and to give up the 
crown to his son. All the vassals swore fealty to the young emperor, 
nor could their most pressing solicitations dissuade the old monarch 
from his pious intentions. 

Adventure XIV. 

At the very furthest extremity of Christendom stood the monastery 
of Tuskal, dedicated to St George. Thither Wolfdietrich proceeded, 
became a monk, and led a most exemplary life. Having sent back his 
son and his knights, who had accompanied him thither, he laid his arms 
and his golden crown upon the altar, and commenced his holy occu- 

But the friars' wicked gluttony lie saw with angry mood; 
Unequally amongst them they dealt their drink and food. 
" Brethren," he spake, " to poor and rich alike the food divide : 
Alas ! for your poor souls little boots your pride., 

" Thus into your filthy maws your precious souls ye eat ; 
But, gluttons, in the fire of hell, hotly shall ye sweat." 

" Carniola. 


He snatched the dainty viands, and the poorer friars, fed : 

" Thus, bretluen, let us honour him, that on the cross has bled." 

Wrathfully two princes old, 'gainst the hero hied ; 

But by their chins he caught them, and their beards together tied ; 

O'er a pole he hanged them ; for mercy loud they cried. 

Swore to honour the poor friars, and leave their wicked pride. 

The heathen king Tharigas had long bqrne enmity to the abbey, 
and sent a messenger thither, ordering the monks to deHver themselves 
into his hands. But Wolfdietrich consoled, them, and bade the mes- 
senger return and defy the pagan king. The latter was glad to escape 
his 'fierce looks, and when he reached the capital of Tharigas, refused 
to carry any further messages to the abbey. When the pagan heard 
that the renowned champion Wolfdietrich was become a friar there, 
he convened a great host, and marched to the abbey. Five other 
kings served under him, all thirsting to revenge the injuries they had 
sustained from Wolfdietrich. But when they sent to demand the hero 
from the monks, he issued out of the abbey, and made a great slaugh- 
ter amongst them. For half a year he continued these excursions, 
and seldom returned without having killed sixty of them. 

In the mean tiine he sent word of the perilous situation of the ab. 
bey to his son, who immediately assembled his army, and was joined 
by the sons of Bechtung. With eighty thousand troops they marched 
to the relief of the abbey, and were met by Wolfdietrich with his five 
hundred friars. The host of the young emperor, according to his fa- 
ther's direction, attacked the pagans on one side, while he with the 
friars rushed against them on the other. The young Hughdietrich, 
and his fellow Hildebrand, shewed themselves worthy of their descent; 
but they were at last surrounded and unhorsed. Herbrant seeing them 
fall, flew to their assistance, rescued them, and slew an incredible num- 
ber of the enemies. But the deeds of the regular troops were not to 
be compared to the atchievements of the friars and their leader. 

Up and spake an ancient pagan, and plained him to Mahound : 
" Alas and woe ! that friar old was born in evil stound ! 


With his letters long and red, foully we are perplex'd. 

For yyhere that evil priest doth write we dare not read bis text." 

The heathen king Borok, brother to Palmunt the giant, was killed 
by Wolfdietrich, and Tharigas himself was struck ]to the ground, and 
taken prisoner, after the pagan banner had been cast down. Sixty thou- 
sand of their host lay dead on the field, and the rest fled with precipita- 
tion. The Christians had lost two thousand, amongst whom were six sons 
of Bechttmg. They were buried with many lamentations in the ab- 
bey, and subsequently a splendid repast was provided in the f efectdry. 
Tharigas was pardoned on his consenting to be baptised, and swearing 
eternal fealty to the monastery. He sent for his vassals, who were 
all christened, and swore allegiance to the abbots and monks. Then 
they returned to their possessions, remaining ever after faithful to 
their superiors. 

Wolfdietrich now took leave of his son and companions, and pro- 
mised to visit them once every year. Hildebrand begged him to give 
him armorial bearings } and he gave him a shield with a wolf depicted 
upon it, which his descendants have borne ever since, and from which 
they have derived the denomination of Wolfings.' 

Strictly Sir Wolfdieterich kept his holy slate. 
But to cleanse him of his sins he begged a penance great : 
His brethren bade him on a bier in the church to lay. 
There to do his penance all the night until the day. 

When the night was come, to the church the hero sped : 
Sudden all the ghosts appeared who by his sword lay dead. 
Many a fearful blow they struck on the champion good ; 
Ne'er such pain and woe he felt when on the field he stood. 

Sooner had he battle fought with thousands in the field. 
Striking dints with falchions keen on his glittering shield. 

• The German writers abound in fabulous genealogies of this race of princes. See Me- 
trical Romances, &c. Edinburgh, 1810, 1, p. xliii. 


Half the night against the ghosts he waged the battle fierce : 

But the empty air he struck when he weened their breasts to pierce. 

Little recked they for his blows : with his terror and his woe. 

Ere half the night was past his hair was white as snow. 

And when the monks to matins sped, they found him pale and cold : 

There the ghosts in deadly swoon had left the champion bold. 

Having restored him to life, the friars thanked God for having granted 
him such a severe penance, and cleansed him of his sins. He conti- 
nued for sixteen years in this transitory life, and when his soul left its 
mortal habitation, the angels appeared and conducted it to eternal 








Adventure I. 

On the banks of the Rhine is situated the magnificent city of Worms, 
where in ancient time King Gbibich' reigned. He had three sons, 
and a daughter of great beauty, named Chrimhilt, who was promised 
.in marriage to Siegfried, a hero from Netherland, whose courage was 
so superlative, that " he caught the lions in the woods, and hung them 
, over the walls by their tails." Chrimhilt had a garden of roses before 
the city, seven miles in length, surrounded only by a silken thread; 
but no one was suffered to enter it without giving battle to the twelve 
gigantic guardians. These were the old King Ghibich, Gunter, Gher- 
not, Haghen, Folker, Pusolt, Schruthan, Ortwin, Asperian, Walter of 
Wachsenstein, Staudenfuss, and Siegfried himself 

* So he is denominated also in the older Scandinavian romances, but in the Nibelungen 
and the Wilkina-Saga he is called Aldrian. 


One day Lady Chrimhilt was boasting of the invincibility of her 
, champions, when Folker of Alsace upbraided her for her pride and 
presumption, and bade her beware of the Wolfings at Bern, in Lom- 
bardy, and particularly of- their leader, the renowned Dietrich. She 
immediately called upon him to bear a message of defiance to him ; but 
he refused, on account of the bravery and fierceness of the heroes of 
Bern. But the youthful Duke Sabin of Brabant came before her, and 
expressed himself wilUng to undertake the expedition, on the condi- 
tion of obtaining the beautiful Saba, one of Lady ChrimhUt's damsels, 
for his spouse. The damsel consented reluctantly, apprehensive of 
never beholding her lover again. 

The duke having collected five hundred knights, set out on his 
journey, and on the sixth day arrived within sight of the castle of Bern. 
To guard themselves against any sudden attack, they grasped their 
shields, and made themselves ready for battle. Dietrich was juSt sit- 
ting at the high table, with his thousand knights and their ladies, and 
when he beheld the strangers, bade his champions prepare for the 
fight. But the noble duchess of Ghisel, in Lombardy, recognised the 
duke of Brabant, and issuing from the castle, demanded the reason of 
his entering the dominions of Dietrich without his safeguard. He 
explained the nature of his message, and she conducted him into the 
presence. It was, however, not easy to pacify the wrath of the 
enraged Lombard. The chaplain read the letter of defiance, in which 
-the knight of Ben* was challenged to come to Worms, with eleven 
of his champions, every one of whom was to fight with one of Chrim- 
hilt's, and the conqueror to be rewarded with a chaplet of roses, and 
a kiss from the young queen. In the conclusion she threatened to 
drive him from his possessions, if he rdiised the challenge ; which. 
so enraged Dietrich, that he swore none of the messengers shotdd re- 
turn alive. Both the parties prepared themselves for the engagement, 
but the duchess begged the bold Sir Wolfort to intercede for the Bur- 
gundians, offering to bestow on him one of her fairest damsels. He 
declared that his mind was not bent on lady's love, but promised to 
defend the guests, and to strike down the first who lifted up his hand 


against them. He armed himself, collected his knights, and rode up 
to the Berner, declaring his resolution to defend the guests, and up- 
braiding him with his treacherous intention. Old Hildebrant applaud- 
ed his purpose ; and at last Dietrich saw his error, and received the 
duke of Brabant courteously. They were splendidly entertained for 
ten days, and a thousand marks of gold distributed amongst them. 
Dietrich accompanied them through his dominions, and bade them 
bear message to Lady Chrimhilt, that he would shortly appear before 
Worms with twelve champions, and an army of sixty thousand men. 
The duke returned to Burgundy, and having dispatched his message, 
was rewarded with the hand of the beauteous Saba, with whom he re- 
turned to his own dominions. 

Adventure II. 

Dietrich sitting in counsel, prayed Hildebrand to choose the seve- 
ral champions who were to fight against the twelve guardians of the 
garden of roses. The old hero advised Dietrich to fight with Sieg- 
fried of Netherland. He himself undertook to challenge the old 
King Ghibich. Against the other ten he directed Wolfort, Sighestab, 
Heyme, Wittich, young Ortwin, Eckart the true, Helmschrot, Duke 
Amelolt, Monk Ilsan, and Dietlieb of Styria. Sighestab was sent as 
messenger to Styria, with five hundred knights, to induce the latter to 
accompany them. But when he came thither, Bitteroff, the father of 
Dietlieb, admonished him to abandon such a dangerous and fruitless 
enterprise, and informed him. that his son was gone to Bettelar. Sig- 
hestab cared Jittle for his admonitions, and immediately proceeded in 
search of Dietlieb. But the old margrave Rudiger informed him 
that the hero whom he sought was at the time in Transylvania, where 
he had been wounded by a sea-monster. The indefatigable messenger 
renewed his journey, but had the satisfaction ofrflnding Dietlieb stand-, 
ing before the cathedral of Vienna ; who accepted the fight in the gar- 



den of roses without hesitation, and proceeded to Bern with Sig- 

Dietrich had now assembled his army and all the champions, with 
the exception of the warlike monk Ilsan, who dwelt in the abbey of 
Eisenburg. Thither he marched with his host, and encamped before 
the walls. When Ilsan beheld the army lying on the territory of the 
abbey, his face waxed green and yellow with anger. None of his bre- 
thren dared to inquire the cause of his wrath. He explained to them 
his alarm, bade them bring his armour, and declared his resolution 
singly to attack and drive away the supposed enemies. He took an 
iron pole, twelve fathoms long, and issued from the abbey. His bro- 
ther Hildebrand was the first to descry him, and perceiving his me- 
nacing attitude, bade the host beware, armed himself^ and came out to 
meet him. He endeavoured to avoid the blow of the monk's pole, 
but was hit on the head, and his helmet struck off. Then Ilsan disco- 
vered him to be his brother, and demanded the reason of the warlike 
encampment before the abbey. Hildebrand related the challenge from 
Worms, and Ilsan bade him ask the abbot to grant him leave of ab- 
sence. Dietrich, with all his champions, proceeded to the gate of the 
monastery, and the abbot issued with all his monks. He did not at 
first grant the request, but expatiated on the impropriety of friars en- 
gaging in temporal warfare. But Ilsan threatening to make him and 
the friars answerable for the death of any of the Lombard champions, 
the abbot granted him leave to accompany Sir Dietrich, on the con. 
dition of his bringing him a chaplet of roses from Worms. Ilsan ex- 
claimed, that every one of the friars should receive one, if they would 
pray for his success, and for the welfare of his soul ; and that to obtain 
them, he would fight with a immber of champions equal to that of the 
friars. They promised to pray for him day and night; but they were 
weary of such a savage companion, and offered up daily prayers that 
he might fall under the blows of the giant Staudenfuss. 

Hildebrand guided the host towards Worms, and on the fifth day 
they arrived on the opposite shore of the Rhine. There he acquainted 


his companions that the ferryman was the most fierce and savage one 
in Christendom, and that he and his twelve sons demanded, as re- 
ward, a foot and a hand from every one whom they ferried over. 

Up and spake Monk Ilsan, — " Quickly will I ride. 
And beg the savage ferryman to lead us o'er the tide; 
When he views my mickle beard, and this grey cowl of mine, 
He will deem us friars, and speed him o'er the Rhine." 

" Marvel strange," spake Wolfort, " were it thus to beg, 
And for such a host as our's to lose a hand and leg. 
Pray him as ye pray an ass, when the sack he will not bear ; 
Tel] him his lord and master, Satan, give him care." 

Quickly sped Monk Ilsan, and cried to the ferryman bold, 
" Say, wilt ihou ferry over and fetch twelve friars old ?" 
.When he viewed his beard he spake, — " Yes, holy father mine." 
He took his oars and rudder, and ferried o'er the Rhine. 

But when he beheld the armed champions instead of the twelve cowled 
monks, he heaved up his oar, and struck a weighty blow on the monk, 
who had leaped into the boat. But the latter returned his blows so 
forcibly, that he was obliged to pray for mercy, exclaiming that he 
had never before met his match. And when he understood that the 
heroes came upon Lady Chrimhilt's invitation, he quickly provided 
ships for them, and ferried them to the opposite shore. 

Adventure III. 

When the arrival of the Lombard heroes was made known. King 
Ghibich went forth to receive them, accompanied with five hundred 
knights. A splendid encampment was prepared for the guests be- 
fore the city. Queen Chrimhilt soon appeared, with a train of three 
hundred virgins, richly apparelled, to welcome Dietrich and his cham- 


pions. Wolfort was so enraged at her pride and presumption, that he 
declared he would give her a blow if she.approiaehed him ; but Hilde- 
brand upbraided him for his want of courtesy, and Dietrich command- 
ed every mark of honour to be paid to her. On her approach she 
bade them be without feiar, and gave them a truce of eight days, du- 
ring which they were splendidly entertained with feasts and tourna- 

On the ninth morning the truce was at an end, and Chrimhilt came 
to propose the conditions ; but old Hildebrand, who had little cour- 
tesy towards the ladies, bade her beware, and leave the camp. She 
complained of his uncourteous behaviour to the old king, who com- 
manded the giant Pusolt to revenge her injury. When the Lombards 
beheld him, they armed Wolfort, who leaped into the garden, tread- 
ing the roses under his feet. The giant struck him to the ground, 
but Hildebrand called to him, and encouraged him, that he arose again, 
and, after a fierce fight, struck oft' the giant's head ; upon which Lady 
Chrimhilt gave him the stipulated chaplet and the kiss. The old 
king called upon Pusolt's brother, the giant Ortwin, to avenge his 
death, against whom Sighestab appeared. They drove one another 
about the garden for a long time, but in the end the giant shared his 
brother's fate, and his opponent received the promised reward. Ghi- 
bich cursed the fatal garden of roses^ and begged Schruthan to re- 
venge the fall of his champions, promising him half his kingdom if 
he succeeded. The giant called out aloud, and demanded upon whom 
he should take vengeance for the death of his two nephews. Heyme 
was called upon to engage him, but was not immediately willing, 
pleading the enormous strength of Schruthan. At last Hildebrand 
encouraged him to the fight, and he leaped into the garden, felled the 
giant to the ground, and was rewarded with the chaplet and the kiss. 
Asperian, a bolder giant than the former, now appeared, and defended 
the garden, bearing a sword in each of his hands. Wittich, a cham- 
pion of little size, but great strength, was called upon, but felt little 
inclination to encounter the uncouth champion. Not even the proffer 
of a dukedom could prevail upon him. Hildebrand advised Dietrich 


to offer his invaluable grey horse in exchange for Wittich's falcon, to 
which the Berner was very unwilling to consent. But when he saw 
nothing else would induce Wittich to hazard the combat, he made the 
offer, which was immediately accepted. The champion assaulted the 
giant with the two swords, and after receiving many severe wounds^ 
put his opponent to flight, and received for reward from Dietrich the 
horse, and from Chrimhilt the kiss and the chaplet. The old king 
could not stifl.e his wrath, and called upon Staudenfuss, the fiercest of 
all the giants, who lamented that he had not been the first, as he would 
have put all the knights of Bern to flight. 


'Mongst the roses Staudenfuss , trod with tnickle pride ; 
With rage and with impatience, his foe he did abide ; 

Much he feared no Longobard would dare to meet his blade ; 

But a bearded monk lay ready for the fight arrayed. 

" Brother Ilsan, raise thine eyes," spake Sir Hildebrand, 

" Where, 'mongst the blooming roses, our threatening foe does stand ! 

Staudenfuss, the giant hight, born upon the Rhine. 

Up, and shrive him of his sins, holy brother mine !"— » 

" It's I will fight him," cried the monk ; " my blessing shall he gain; 
Never 'mongst the roses shall he wage the fight again." 
Straight above his coat of mail his friar's cowl he cast. 
Hid his sword and buckler> and to the garden past. 

Among the blooming roses leaped the grisly monk : 

With laughter ladies viewed his beard, and his visage brown and shrunk ; 

As he trod with angry step o'er the flowery green. 

Many a maiden laughed aloud, and many a knight, I ween>^ 

Up spake Lady Chrimhilt,-:- " Father, leave thine ire ! 
Go and chaunt thy matins with thy brothers in the choir." 
" Gentle lady," cried the monk, " roses must I have. 
To deck my dusky cowl in guise right gay and brave." 


Loudly laughed the giant, when he saw his beard so rough,— 
" Should I laughing die to-morrow, I had not laughed enough. 
Has the kemp of Bern sent his fool to fight i" — 
" Giant, straight thy hide shall feel that I have my wits aright," 

TJp heaved the monk his heavy fist, and Tie struck a weighty blow, 
Down among the roses he felled his laughing foe. 
Fiercely cried Sir Staudenfuss, " Thou art the devil's priest ! 

Heavy penance dost thou deal with ihy wrinkled fist." 

Together rushed the uncouth kemps ; each drew bis trusty blade ; 
With heavy tread below their feet they crushed the roses red ; 
All the garden flowed with their purple blood ; 
Each did strike full sorry blows, with their falchions good. 

Cruel looks their eyes did cast, and fearful was their war. 
But the friar cut his enemy o'er the head a bloody scar; 
Deeply carved his trusty sword through the helmet bright: 
Joyful was the hoary monk, for he had won the fight. 

They parted the two champions speedily asunder : 
The friar's heavy interdict lay the giant under. 
Up arose Queen Chrimhiit, to Sir Ilsan has she sped. 
On his bald head did she lay a crown of roses red. 

Through the garden roved he, as in the merry dance ; 
A kiss the lady gave him, where madly he did prance. 
" Hear, thou lady fair ; more roses must I have ; 
To my two-and-fifty brothers I promised chaplets brave. 

" If ye have not kemps to fight, I must rob thy garden fair. 

And right sorry should I be to work thee so much care." 

" Fear not, the battle shalt thou wage with champions bold and true : 

Crowns and kisses mayst thou gain for thy brothers fifty-two." 

The next combat was fought between Walter of Wachsenstein and 
the noble Dietlieb of Styria, both of them yoxHig heroes. By the 


persuasion of Hildebrand, Chrimhilt consented to allow them to be 
parted, and to bestow the stipulated reward on each of them. Then 
King Ghibich called Folker of Alsace, surnamed the Fiddler, to the 
fight, who bore a golden fiddle on his back. Young Ortwin was op- 
posed to him, and put him to flight. The giant Haghen was now or- 
dered to defend the garden, and the true Eckart defied him to the 
combat. After a courteous salutation, they commenced the fight ; but 
Chrimhilt, when she found her champion in danger, relieved him, by 
crowning Eckart with the chaplet ; he, however, refiased the kiss of a 
maiden so cruelly inclined, and without truth. The young kings 
Ghernot and Gilnter fought successively with Helmschrot and Duke 
Amelolt, and were both forced to fly to the ladies for shelter, cursing the 
bloody disposition of their sister. When King Ghibich saw the evil 
success of his champions, he armed himself, and was attacked by old 
Hildebrand. The two aged champions waged a long and bloody fight. 
At last the king was felled to the ground ; but Hildebrand spared his 
life, at the intercession of his daughter. He received the chaplet, but 
refused the kiss. 

" Lady, keep thy kisses," spake Hildebrand the bold ; 
" Mine will I carry home with me, to my housewife old; 
Far her love is famed around, her stedfast faith and sooth ; 
Why then should I kiss a maiden without truth i" 

No champions now remained but Dietrich of Bern, and the horny 
Siegfiried. The latter leaped into the garden, and loudly upbraided 
his opponent for making him wait. The knight of Bern was admo- 
nished by Hildebrand and Wolfort to the fight, but he accused them 
of conspiring his death. He feared particularly three things : — Sieg- 
fried's sword Mimung,' his hauberk, made by Master Eckenbrecht, 

» We have here another instance of the confusion which has taken place among the 
writers of these romances. Mimung, according to the Wilkina-Saga, was the swoi-d of 
Vidga, or Wittich, not that of Siegfried, to whom the former lent it in the adventure cor- 
responding with this portion of the Book of Heroes. (See page 35.) 



and the horny consistence of his skin, in consequence of his having 
bathed in the dragon's blood. Hildebrand used every persuasion to 
stimulate his master to the fight, and at last gave him a severe blow, 
which Dietrich returned, and threw him to the ground. Ghibich up- 
braided him with the disgrace he had received ; and at last, growing 
ashamed of his fears, he mounted his horse, and entered the garden, 
This battle was the fiercest that had yet been fought. Siegfried gave 
the knight of Bern a severe wound, and was very near gaining the 
victory, when Wolfort, to rouse his rage, cried out aloud, that Hilde-. 
brand had been murdered. This had the desired effect. Dietrich cut 
through the hauberk and the horny hide of his oppoflent, and forced 
him to fly into the lap of Chrimhilt, who covered him with a veil, 
and begged his life of the conqueror. But Dietrich would not be 
pacified till Hildebrand shewed himself. Then he received the re- 
ward from Chrimhilt, and retired. 

Up spake the queen, — " Monk Ilsan, see your chaplets ready dight; 
Champions two-and-fifty stand waiting for the fight." 
Ilsan rose, and don'd his cowl, and run against them all ; 
There the monk has given them many a heavy fall. 

To the ground he felled them, and gave them his benison ; 
Beneath the old monk's falchion lay twelve champions of renown. 
And full of fear and sorrow the other forty were ; 
Their right hand held they forth, begged him their lives to spare. 

Rathly ran the monk, to the queen Chrimhilt he hied : 

" Lay thy champions in the grave, and leave thy mickle pride: 

I have dight them for their death ; I did shrive them and anoint them ; 

Never will they thrive or speed in the task thou didst appoint them. 

" When again thy roses blow, to the feast the monk invite." 
The Lady Chrimhilt gave him two-and-fifty chaplets bright. 
" Nay, lady queen, remind thee ! By the holy order mine, 
I claim two-and-fifty kisses from your lips so red and fine." 


And when Chrimhilt, the queen, gave him kisses fifty-two. 
With his rough and grisly beard full sore he made her rue. 
That from her lovely cheek 'gan flow the rosy blood : 
The queen was full of sorrow, but the monk it thought him good. 

Thus should unfaithful maiden be kissed, and made to bleed. 
And feel such pain and sorrow, for the mischief she did breed. 

The old King Ghibich was obliged to swear fealty to Dietrich, and 
take his dominions from him in fee. Chrimhilt never re-established 
the garden of roses. The Lombards returned to Bern, where their 
victory was celebrated with feasts and tournaments ; at the expiration 
of which the monk took his leave, and returned to the abbey. When 
he knocked at the gate, every thing was in consternation, and the 
friars issued forth in procession, to deprecate his anger. 

" Brothers mine, approach ! coronets I bring : 
Come, your bald heads will I crown, each one like a king." 
He pressed a thorny chaplet on each naked crown. 
That o'er their rugged visages the gory flood ran down. 

They sighed that all their prayers for his death had been in vain ; 
Loud they roared, but silently they cursed him in their pain. 
" Brothers we are," so spake the monk, " then must ye have your share; 
For me to bear the pain alone, in sooth it were not fair. 

" See how richly ye are dight ! beauteous still ye were ; 
Now ye are crowned with roses, none may with ye compare." 
The abbot, and the prior, and all the convent wept. 
But no one, for his life, forth against him stept. 

" Ye must help to bear my sins, holy brethren all ; 
For if ye do not pray for me, dead to the ground ye fall." 
A few there were who would not pray for Monk Ilsan's soul : 
He tied their beards together, and hung them o'er a pole. 


Loud they wept, and long they begged, " Brother, let us go ; 
At vesper and at matins will we pray for you." 
Ever since, where'er be went, they knelt, and feared his wrath ; 
Helped to bear his heavy sins, untill his welcome death. 








Hearken, knights of uoble cheer ! 
Many marvels shall ye hear ; 
Wonders done in times of old. 
In ancient parchments truly told r 
How, in many distant lands. 
Champions fought with glittering brands. 
With giants bold, and dwarfish knights. 
Many fierce and sturdy fights. ' 

• These lines are given as a specimen of the versification employed in this part of the- 
work, (perhaps the most valuable of the four,) in the printed copy. To have translated 
all the specimens in this metre, would not have been very eligible, as the nakedness of the 
original, and the frequent repetition of the same epithets and the same rhymesj would 
have appeared too evident in a close version ; and to avoid this, great latitude in the 
translation would have been necessary, to make it any way palatable, and more poetical 
imagination than the present writer can make any pretensions to possess. But the most 
valid confirmation of the propriety of employing the same metre as in the other parts of 
the Book of Heroes, is the circumstance, that the MS. copy of this part, in the library at 
Dresden, is actually in the same stanza as the other parts. 


In the land of Styria dwelt a youthful kemp of fame ; 

Far was spread his high renown, and Dietlieb was his name. 

A fair and lovely sister bre^ the noble bjade : 

Ever with laud and honour 'will I crown the gentle maid. 

One morn, with all her virgins, she issued to the plain ; 
Dietlieb, with three noble earls, followed in her train : 
With many knights and squires she rode to an ancient linden tree ; 
There in mirth and feasting lay the gallant company. 

But sudden from their wondering eyes vanished Similt the bright : 
With arts of cunning grammary, the robber wrought the sleight. 
A tarn-cap o'er the fair he cast, and his prize he quickly bore. 
Many a day and many a night, 'through forests dark and hoar. 

He bore her to his cavern, where he ruled in royalty, 

O'er savage hills and valleys, with his Utile chivalry. 

The gentle maid he welcomed : " Thou shalt wear theicrown of gold. 

And reign o'er many cunning dwarfs, and many giants bold."' 

" Hear, thou king of might and main," cried the beauteous may; 
" If Dietlieb gave me for thy bride, I will dwell with thee for aye : 
If not, no pleasure shall I know, but rest in dark despair. 
Till back to the land of Styria a maiden I repair." 

Up and spake the royal dwarf, — " Cast thy fears away : 
Fifteen lordly kings thy sceptre shall obey. 
On this middle-earth, not the richest king commands 
Nobler peers and champions, nor rules o'er richer lands." 

" But say," cried Lady Similt, " thy name, thou little knight ; 

Why so small thy body, and so great thy royal might ?" — 

" Lady, my name is Laurin ; bloody fights I fought. 

Before I gain'd my royal crown, and deeds full knight-like wrought." 

" Then," cried the lovely damsel, " since thy pow'r so great and wide. 

Here I pledge my faith to thee." — The dwarf smiled on his bride. 


In the mean time Dietlieb and his knights had sought the lady in 
vain, but fearing themselves the spells of the magician by whom she 
had been borne away, they abandoned the pursuit, and returned to 
the casde. But Dietlieb was inconsolable for the loss of his sister. 
He left his castle, and proceeded to the burgh of Garten, to consult 
with old Hildebrand, whose wisdom was renowned in those days. The 
old hero marked his dejected countenance as he approached, and led 
him into his chamber, where he received the news of the sudden dis- 
appearance of Similt. He consoled the young knight, and promised 
to :make every exertion to discover and punish the ravisher, and bring 
the lady back. Having armed themselves, they proceeded into the 
forest, accompanied by the knights of Hildebrand, where they met a 
forester, and were about to take him prisoner, when he deprecated 
their wrath, and infprmed them that he had been outlawed by Laurin, 
the mighty king of the hills and valleys. 

He dwells among the mountains^ and rules with royal might ; 
What though his form be little^ he bears him like a kuight. 
Should hundred armed champions against him wage the fight. 
They would fall in fearful jeopardy, before that little wight. 

For two-and-thirty years he has graithed a spacious mead. 
And a garden fair has planted all with the roses red ; 
A silken line is drawn around : there many a champion good 
Upon the blooming meadow has shed his purple blood. 

Four portalsWthe garden lead, and when the gates are closed. 

No living wight dare touch a rose, 'gainst his strict command opposed. 

Whoe'er would break the golden gates, or cut the silken thread. 

Or would dare to crush the flowers down beneath his tread. 

Soon for his pride would leave to pledge a foot and hand : 

Thus Laurin,.king of dwarfs, rules within his land. 

In this manner Laurin committed great ravages in the forest of the 
Tyrol, and Hildebrand resolved to communicate his intelligence to 


Dietrich and his heroes, and to stimulate younger knights than him- 
self to undertake the enterprise, and punish the presumption of the 
dwarf. Having returned to Bern, and remained there some time, he 
one day related to Wittich, the son of Wieland, who was extolling the 
matchless prowess of Dietrich, the strange and perilous adventure. 
But Dietrich overheard him, blamed him for having so long concealed 
it, and immediately resolved to put down the pride of the little mo- 
narch. Wittich undertook to accompany him in the expedition. 
Having put on their armour, they issued from the burgh of Bern, and 
entered the thick and mountainous forest of the Tyrol ; and after having 
proceeded about thirty mUes, they discovered the spacious meadow, 
and the garden of roses. The knight of Bern was so charmed with its 
beauty, that he was unwilUng to begin the work of destruction ; but 
Wittich exclaiming against the pride and presumption of Laurin, im- 
mediately began its desolation. 

Wittich, the mighty champion^ trod the roses to the ground. 
Broke down the gates, and ravaged the garden far renowned : 
Gone was the portals' splendour, by the heroes bold destroyed ; 
The fragrance of the flowers was past, and all the garden's pride. 

But as upon the grass they lay, withouten fear. 
No heed they had of danger, nor weened their foe was near : 
Behold, where came a little kemp, in warlike manner dight ; 
A king he was o'er many a land, and Laurin was he hight 

A lance with gold was wound about, the little kinged bear : 

On the lance a silken pennon fluttered in the air ; 

Thereon two hunting grey-hounds lively were pourtrayed ; 

They seemed as though they chaced • the roebuck through the glade. 

His courser bounded like a fawn, and the golden foot-cloth gay 

Glittered with gems of mound, brighter than the day. 

Firmly in his hands he grasped a golden rein ; 

And with rubies red his saddle gleamed, as he pricked along the plain. 



In guise right bold and chivalrous in the stirrups rich he stood : 
Not the truest blade could cut his pusens red as blood : 
Hardened was his hauberk in the gore of dragons fierce. 
And his golden bruny bright not the boldest knight might pierce. 

Around his waist a girdle he wore of magic power ; 
The strength of twelve the strongest men it gave him in the stour. 
Deeds of noble chivalry and manhood wrought the knight ; 
Still had he gained the victory in every bloody fight. 

Cunning he was, and quaint of skill, and when bis wrath arose. 
The kemp must be of mickle might could stand his weighty blows. 
Little was King Laurin, but from many a precious gem 
His wondtous strength and power, and his bold courage came. 

Tall at times his stature grew, with spells of grammary ; 
Then to the noblest princes fellow might he be : 
And when he rode, a noble blade bore he in his baud ; 
In many fights the sword was proved wOrth a spacious land. 

Silken was his mantle, with stones of mound inlaid. 
Sewed in two-and-seventy squares, by many a cunning maid. 
His helmet, strong and trusty, was forged of the weighty gold. 
And when the dwarf did bear it, his courage grew more bold. 

In the gold, with many gems, a bright carbuncle lay. 

That where he rode the darkest night was lighter than the day. 

A golden crown he bore upon his helmet bright ; 

With richer gems and finer gold ho mortal kjng is dight. 

Upon the crown and on the helm birds sung their merry lay ; 
Nightingales and larks did chaunt their measures blithe and gay; 
As if in greenwood flying, they tuned their minstrelsy : 
With hand of master were, they wrought, and with spells of grammary. 

On his arm he bore a gilded buckler bright ; 

There many sparhawks,tame and wild, were pourtrayed with cunning slight, 



And a savage leopard ranging, pi'owling through the wood. 
Right in act to seize his prey, thirsting for their blood. 

When Wittich beheld the gorgeous array of the dwarf, he imagined 
some angel, most probably St Michael, appeared to them ; but Diet- 
rich immediately supposed him to be the lord of the garden, and ad- 
vised his companion to fasten his helmet, and lace his armour tight. 
Upon the dwarf's approach, they saluted him courteously, but were 
overwhelmed with the most insulting reproaches in return. He or- 
dered them instantly to quit the garden, and to choose between death 
and the usual penalty he had imposed upon all those who transgressed 
his commands — Closing the left foot and the right hand. Wittich, who 
possessed great valour, but little prudence, said to the knight of Bern, 
that he would revenge the insults they had received ; and taking the 
horse, which was the size of a goat, and the dwarf in one hand, throw 
them against the rock. But Dietrich counselled him to beware, know- 
ing the miraculous strength which was often inherent in the most di- 
minutive dwarfs ; and recollecting what unprovoked injury they had 
done to the little king, he wished himself safely returned to his castle of 
Bern, and advised his companion to collect all his strength when he 
attacked their diminutive opponent. Wittich was wroth at what he 
supposed cowardice in his master, and boasted that he would hang up 
a thousand such champions, if they dared to oppose him. King Lau- 
rin heard his bravadoes, and courteously invited him to try the com- 
bat. Wittich, having laced his helmet fast, leaped upon his courser, 
and run against him. . But his force was of no avail against the magic 
power of his opponent, whose lance hit him on the helmet, and struck 
him to the ground, where he writhed with shame and anguish. The 
dwarf leaped out of his stirrups, bound him, and was about to take 
the forfeit he usually exacted upon the knights whom he vanquished, 
when Dietrich struck his falchion aside, and defied him to the combat. 
King Laurin upbraided him for the insults he had dared to commit 
against him, and rejoiced in the hope of subduing the far-famed hero 
of Bern. 


They both mounted their horses, and were just about to run the 
course, one against the other, when the sage Hildebrand arrived, with 
Dietlieb and Sir Wolfort. The old hero advised Dietrich to beware 
of the dwarf's strength, and to recollect that he could never appear 
with honour at the court of princes, if he should be felled to the ground 
by such a diminutive opponent. He counselled him to try the com- 
bat on foot, and not to attempt to penetrate his armour, but strike 
him a heavy blow upon the ear. .Dietrich followed the old hero's ad- 
vice, leaped from his horse, and defied the dwarf to close combat, 
which he immediately accepted. King Laurin at the first outset struck 
the shield out of Dietrich's hand, but the latter gave him such heavy 
blows upon his helmet, that he began to despair of the victory, and 
cursed the untimely arrival of Hildebrand, without whose intervention 
he could not have failed to gain the day. When he found that he 
would fall under the sword of his opponent, he took a tarn-cap out of 
his pouch, <;ast it over his head, and instantly disappeared from the 
sight of the five knights. But though invisible, he continued to strike 
at his foe, and wounded him in twelve different places. The rage of 
Dietrich was boundless, and his breath became fiery ; a quality which 
it always possessed when he was greatly enraged, and which proved 
very useful to him in the sequel of this adventure. He struck the air 
in all directions, and cut into the rocks the depth of an ell, but the 
dwarf knew weU how to avoid his blows. Hildebrand continually en- 
couraged his master to keep up the battle ; and when he found that all 
was vain, he counselled him to challenge his little enemy to wrestle 
with liim, and if he once caught him, not to let him escape. The dwarf 
accepted the defiance, and, pulUng him by the legs, threw him to the 
ground. There they wrestled for a long time, till Hildebrand called 
to the champion of Bern to seize him by the magic girdle, and en- 
deavour to break it asunder. Dietrich followed the advice, heaved 
the dwarf up by his girdle, and threw him so violently against the 
rocks, that all the valleys re-choed to the fall. The necromantic gir- 
dle was broken asunder, and fell on the ground. Hildebrand imme- 
diately seized it, and thus left to King Laurin no more than the ordi- 


nary strength of a dwarf. He was now forced to submit to the victor, 
and humjjly to pray for his life. But though he offered to deUver up 
all the immense treasures concealed in his subterraneous dominions, 
Dietrich was so enraged at the opposition he had experienced from an 
enemy apparently so contemptible, that he bade him prepare for death, 
nor indulge in the hope of being suffered to live longer. 

Laurin had now recourse to the only resource he had left. He 
called upon Dietlieb, flattered his vanity, by extolling his prowess, and 
begged him to savehis Ufe, for the sake of his sister, whom he had in 
his possession. The knight of Styria promised to intercede for him, 
and prayed him of Bern to deliver up the dwarf to him, offering to 
continue in his service for his whole lifetime. But Dietrich refused 
to hearken to any of his offers, whereupon the brother of Similt laced 
fast his helmet, took his horse by the bridle, and coming up to Diet- 
rich, told him that he was prepared to be the dwarf's champion, and 
to defend his brother-in-law to the last extremity, against any one who 
dared to offer him an injury. Having given this defiance, he took 
the little king by the hand, led him away, and concealed him in the 

Dietrich did not say a word, but by his angry eye Dietlieb saw his 
rage, and knew that he would be obliged to combat with him. The 
knight of Bern grasped his shield and spear, and bade Hildebrand 
bring his steed. Having mounted, he rode to the course, and found 
the Styrian ready to abide his fury. They rushed together with such 
force, that both the knights fell over the crupper of their horses. 
Dietlieb struck his opponent's shield out of his hand, but Dietrich, 
heaving up his sword with both his hands, felled him to the ground. 
He rose again, and the fight was renewed ; but Hildebrand, seeing the 
fury of the champions, bade Wohbrt and Wittich part them, and be- 
gan to negociate a peace, in which Laurin was to be included. When 
the dwarf understood this, he came forth from his retreat, and gave 
Dietheb an account of the manner of his having obtained his sister, 
who was as yet a virgin, vaunting to him the power and immense 
riches which were at her command. Dietlieb demanded to see her, 


and promised, in case he found his account true, to give her to him for 
his spouse. Hildebrand had in the meantime advised the knight of 
Bern to endeavour, by every concession, to obtain the service of the 
valorous Dietheb, to which he consented ; and a general peace was con- 
cluded between the champions and King Laurin, who promised to 
lead them into his subterraneous dominions, and to show them their, 

To his brother spake the king of dwarfs, — " Since fellows now we be, 

I will subject all my treasures and all my might to thee : 

With your knighits I'll lead you into the hollow hill; 

There many a dwarf, alert and fair, shall serve ye at your will. 

*' There, ray fellows, shall ye find pastimes blythe and gay; 
With song of birds and play of harps, a week will seem a day : 
All the merry pastimes never may I tell : 
Tl^ere, without all guile and fear, in pleaaui"es shall ye dwell." - 

Dietrich and his companions counselled with Hildebrand, on the 
propriety of believing the fair promises of King Laurin. The old hero 
advised them, as they trusted their reputation, to accept the invita- 
tion, and not to cast any imputation upon their courage. Wohbrt 
expressed great curiosity to view the wonders of the caverns, but 
Wittich warned them not to confide in the deceitful words of the lit- 
tle king, and to beware of " his lies and idle phantasies, wrought by 
the devil's cunning ;" for which he was upbraided and laughed at by 
his companions. Enraged at their ridicule, he leaped on his courser, 
and, without uttering a word, gallopped on before them. When the 
other knights came up, they inquired of the dwarf what distance they 
were from his cavern, and were informed that they had yet fifleen miles 
to ride. 

Darker grew the night, and the little monarch cried, 
" Follow me, you heroes bold, through the forest wide ; 


Soon before a cavern shall ye view a fountain : 

We'll spend the night v?ith mirth and glee in the hollow mountain." 

The little king they followed, but the night was dark and dreary. 
And as through the forest's shade they rode, the kemps grew wroth and weary ; 
But soon their anger past away, when the fountain clear they viewed: 
There King Laurin bade them leap from their coursers good. 

To the mountain's gate he hied ; there hung a bell of gold ; 
Quickly he drew the string, and the bell has loudly tolled ; 
Through all the hollow hill aloud the sound did ring : 
Soon the portals they unclosed, to their master and their king. 

And when the gates were opened, forth a splendour gleamed ; 
Brighter than the day it shone, and around the forest beamed; 
From many a gem the splendour came, hung in the cavern bright : 
Wond'ring stood the heroes, when they viewed the magic light. 

Up spake the trusty knight of Bern, — " Marvels strange we view ! 
I ween, carbuncles in the cave, are hung of glittering hue." — 
" Leave your coursers on the mead,"— spake King Laurin, bold and free ; 
" Come, ye kemps, we'll spend the night in mirth and jollity. 

" A knight of worth and courage high that hollow hill commands ; 
In fee I gave him castles strong, and many spacious lands ; 
He will graithe ye noble cheer, the bread and sparkling wine : 
Follow me without all fear, gentle brothers mine." 

The champions sped into the cave, where many dwarfs appeared ; 
There the merry song of birds, and the sound of harps they heard : 
The trumpets clear resounded in the royal hall aloud : 
To the deas had sped the host, when he viewed the champions proud. 

There they brought him tiding of.his royal guest : 
Laurin, his mighty suzerain, bade him graithe the feast. 
The heroes five he welcomed, and bade his meiny dight 
Noble cheer and chambers fair, to rest them for the night. 


They placed them all the table round, and made them royal cheer ; 
Costly meats and wine they brought for each bold compeer ; 
At the feast the noble host made them blythe and gay : 
When they had supped in royal guise, the deas was borne away. 

To Laurin spake the host, — " Say, thou king of might. 
How long the royal feast for these champions shall I dight ?" — 
" To-morrow, with the rising sun, to my palace will we ride. 
There to shew these noble kemps all its gorgeous pride." 

The night they spent right merrily, with pastimes blythe and gay. 

Leave took the little monarch, and prepared to pass away. 

When the dwarfs unclosed the portals, quickly *gan he say, 

" Pale grows* the moon, and speedily in the east will gleam the day." 

The champions having severally taken leave of the ruler of the cave, 
and thanked him for his noble entertainment, departed. The sun 
broke out in aU its splendour, and King Laurin led the way. They 
travelled through the forest with speed, and, after riding fifteen mQes, 
arrived before the habitation of the little king of the mountains. 

Before the hollow mountain lay a meadow green ; 
So fair a plain upon this world never may be seen ; 
There with the fruit full many a tree was laden heavily ; 
No tongue e'er tasted sweeter, fairer no eye might see. 

All the night and all the day the birds full sweetly sung. 
That the forest and the plain to theii: measures loudly rung ; 
There they tuned their melody, and each one bore his part. 
That with their merry minstrelsy they cheered each hero's heart. 

And o'er the plain were ranging beasts both wild and tame. 

Playing, with merry gambols, many alusty game : 

On the noble champions fondly 'gan they fawn t 

Each mom, beneath the linden tree, they sported on the lawn. 


The meadow seemed so lovely, the flowers bloomed so fair, 
That he who had the plain in rule would know nor woe nor care. 
Up and spake the knight of Bern, — " So high my heart doth rise. 
So full of joy the meadow, that I hold it paradise." 

Up spake hero Wolfort, — " Bless him who brought us here ! 
So fair a sight did ne'er before to mortal eye appear." 
" Enjoy the scene, young kemps," cried Hildebrand the proud ; 
" Fair day should in the evening be praised with voice aloud." 

But Wittich spake a warning word, — " Hark to my reed aright ! 
The dwarf is quaint, and full of guile, then beware his cunning sleight ; 
Arts he knows right marvellous, if to his hollow hiil 
We follow, much I dread me, he will breed us dangerous ill." 

" Fear not," cried King Laurin ; " doubt not my faith and truth ; 
The meadow blythe your own shall be, and my treasures all, forsooth." 
Proudly cried bold Wolfort, — " Wittich, stay thee here ; 
Enter not the hollow hill, if his treachery thou fear." 

" NeveV," cried fierce Wittich ; " here will I not stay." 
In wrath he left his courser ; without fear he sped away : 
Before the mountain-gate he run, there hung a horn of gold ; 
Quick he blew a merry strain : Loud laughed. Sir Dietrich bold. 

Soon toward the mountain sped the little knight. 
And with him all the heroes of high renown and might : 
King Laurin blew upon the horn a louder note, and shrill. 
From all the mountains echoing, and resounding on the hill. 

Quickly ran the chamberlain where he found the golden key, 
And threw the spacious portals open speedily. 
King Laurin led his guests through the golden gate ; 
There many dwarfs, alert and fair, their coming did await. 

When through another gate of steel the noble knights had passed. 
At the little king's command, were closed the portals fast. 



A necromancer, old and sage, dwelt in the hollow hill ; 
Soon he came to Laurui, and asked his master's will. 

" Look upon those strangers," spake the little knight ; 

" Kemps they are of high emprise, and love the bloody fight : 

Cast upon them, master mine, for the love of me, 

A magic spell, that none of them may the others see." 

Upon the knights his magic charms cast the sorc'rer fell ; 
None could behold his brothers, so mighty was the spell. 
Loudly cried Sir Wittich, " Mark my counsel now ; 
I told ye that the little king would breed ye cares enow. 

" What thint ye now. Sir Wolfortf" spake the hero stern : 
" I warned ye all to shun the dwarf, and speed ye back to Bern." 
About the cavern roved they, in mickle woe and care ; 
Fiercely to the king tljey cried, " Is this thy promised fare ?" 

But up spake little Laurin, " Fear not, my noble guests ; 
All my courtiers shall obey quickly your behests." 
Many a winsome dwarf was seen, graithed in rich attire ; 
Garments bright with gold and gems bore each little sire. 

From the gems full mighty strength had the dwarfish chivalry : 
Quaintly they danced, and on their steeds they rode right cunningly ; 
Far they cast the heavy stone, and in their warlike g&me. 
They broke the lance, and tourneyed before the knights of fame. 

There many harpers tuned their lay, aad played with mirth and glee. 

Loudly, in the royal hall, their merry minstrelsy. 

Before the table high appeared four learned singing men. 

Two short, and two of stature tall, and sung in courtly strain. ' 

■ The lines stand thus in the origmal: 

Auch sah man vor dem tische stahn, 
Vier wol gelehrte singend mau, 
Zwen kurz, und auch darzu zwen lang, 
Die sangen hoefelichen gsang. 


Soon to the table sped the king, and bade his meiny all 

Wait upon his noble guests, in the royal hall. 

" Chosen knights, and brave they are," he spoke with friendly cheer : 

Guile was in l)is heart, and cunning'; but his treach'ry bought he dear. 

Similt, the lady fair, heard of the royal feasts : 

Of her meiny did she speir, " Who are the stranger guests ?" 

" Noble knights of German birth," spake a kemp of stature small ; 

" Laurin bids ye speed to court, for well ye know them all." 

Quickly spake the lady, — " Up, my damsels fair ; 

Deck ye in your richest guise, for to court we will repair." 

Soon they dight them royally in glittering array; 

Full blythe they were to speed to court with Similt, the gentle may. 

There came many a minstrel, tuning his lay of mirth ; 
Shawms and trumpets shrill they blew, the sweetest on the earth. 
There full many a song was sung, by learned singing men ; 
Of war and chivalrous emprize they tuned the noble strain. 

Now to court, in bright array, all the maids are gone. 

With many a knight not two feet long ; one leaped, the other run ; 

Merry were they all : and before the lovely dame. 

Two tall, two little gleemen sung the song of fame. 

Before the queen they chaunled the merry minstrelsy. 
And all who heard their master-notes dwelt in mirth and glee. 
There fiddlers quaint appeared, though small their stature were. 
Marching, two and two, before the lady fair. 

Similt into the palace came, with her little maiden? all ; 
Garments they wore which glittered brightly in the hall. 
Of fur and costly ciclatoun, and broches of the gold : 
No richer guise in royal courts might mortal man behold. 

The gentle lady Similt bore a golden crown ; 

There full many a precious stone around the cavern shone ; 


But one before the others glittered gorgeously : 

The wight who wore that noble gem ever blythe must be. 

And now the spell was ta'en away from the champions bold : 
Full glad they were when openly their feres they might behold. 
Right noble cheer was offered to the champions brave ; 
In royal guise the feast was held the whole day in the cave. 

Similt received the guests, and particularly her brother, with the 
greatest affection ; and when the latter inquired whether she wished 
to stay with the dwarf, or whether he should endeavour her libera- 
tion, she answered, that though she had all her heart's wishes in the 
cave, and was attended upon in the most splendid manner, she could 
not endure the absence of her friends, nor the paganism of her pre- 
sent pigmy attendants. Dietlieb promised to effect her liberation by 
whatever means he could devise. 

The guests were now invited to the high table, after having unwarily 
laid off their armour and weapons, which were borne away by two 
chamberlains. The high table was of ivory, quaintly carved with 
figures of men and beasts, and the benches covered with scarlet vel- 
vet. During the feast they were entertained with singing, reading, 
and juggling ; and when it was over. King Laurin bade Similt go in- 
to her chamber : but as soon as she quitted the hall, the knights were 
again spell-bound, and unable to see one another. The king proceeded 
to the chamber of Similt, and related to her all the injuries he had 
received from the guests, dwelling particularly on the loss of the 
girdle. He excepted, however, her brother, against whom he had 
no malice, and whom he promised to treat with all manner of cour- 
tesy. Similt having obtained his vow, that he would merely punish 
the four heroes, but not touch their life, gave him a ring, endued with 
the same qualities as the magic girdle. Feeling his strength increa- 
sed twelve-fold, he sent for DietUeb, and endeavoured, by every per- 
suasion, to win him over to his service, and to separate him from his 
companions. But Dietlieb steadily refused, declaring, that he wished 


to share the same fate as his brethren ; for which refusal King Lau» 
rin locked him up in a chamber, apart from his companions. 

The little king returned to the four knights, and challenged them 
to drink, having previously prepared a strong potion, which threw 
them instantly into a death-like sleep, that they fell off the benches 
upon the floor. Then Laurin sent for a giant, who took them up, 
and tied them to a pole, which he lifted upon his shoulders. Follow- 
ing the king through many vaults, he bore them to a black and deep 
dungeon, and threw them into it. There they lay all the night, and 
awoke in the morning in terror and despair. Fortunately Dietrich 
was seized with his habitual rage, and the fiery breath which issued 
from his nostrils burnt the cords with which one of his hands was fas- 
tened, and liberated it. He soon released the other, and struck the 
iron chains with which his legs were bound asunder. Then he freed 
his companions, one after the other, from their bonds ; but without 
their armour they could not issue from the dungeon, where they lay, 
without food or drink, for three days. 

Dietlieb was in the mean time confined in the chamber; but his 
sister having at last found the key, liberated him. He immediately 
asked after his companions ; and when he heard of their imprisonment, 
called for his armour, which she delivered to him, giving him at the 
same time a ring of magic virtue, whicli gaVe victory to him who bore 
it in battle. Then she led him to the place where the armour of his 
companions lay, which he took up, and bore to the dungeon. He 
endeavoured to call to them, but the depth of the prison prevented his 
voice from reaching their ears. Then he threw their arms down to 
them, and prepared to oppose himself to King Laurin, who, observing 
his liberation, had blown his horn in the cavern. All the dwarfs 
flocked around him, to the number of a thousand, clad in glittering 
hauberks. He bade them attack the great Christian knight, and im- 
mediately three hundred rushed upon him. A champion, scarcely an 
ell in length, stepped before the host, and defied the knight, who fell- 
ed him to the ground with a weighty stone. Laurin bade his little 
army rush against him in a body, and at the same time to guard the. 


entrance to the dungeon, and prevent the imprisoned knights from 
escaping. But DietHeb standing^ with his back against a wall, de- 
fended himself so well with his good sword Walsung, that he felled 
many of the little knights to the ground. Meanwhile Dietrich and 
his knights had issued from the dungeon, but, by reason of the spell, 
they could not see any of their friends or enemies. HUdebrand gave the 
magic girdle which Laurin had borne to the knight of Bern, which 
at once undid the spell, and gave him the power of twelve men ; ad- 
vising him to take the magic ring from the hand of the king, if he 
could subdue him. Dietrich instantly rushed into the little multitude, 
the number of which had now increased to twenty thousand, amongst 
whom hejnade such slaughter, that above two thousand lay dead 
around him. King Laurin Adewing his valour, opposed himself to 
him, but was struck to the ground by the knight of Bern. His ring 
was taken from him, and given to Hildebrand, who, recovering his 
sight, and obtaining the additional strength of twelve men, rushed in- 
to the midst of the dwarfs, and made great havoc amongst them. 

One of the pigmy knights seeing the jeopardy in which King Lau- 
rin was placed, issued from the hollow hill, blew the horn aloud, and 
rung the alarum bell. Five giants dwelt in the forest, who were sub- 
ject to the little king. When they heard the sound of the horn, and 
of the bell, they armed themselves, convened together on a meadow, 
and resolved to succour their sovereign. When the horn was blown 
the third time, they appeared before the cavern. The three cham- 
pions had in the mean time killed twelve thousand of the dwarfs, and 
the others fled, or concealed themselves in the different chambers. 
When the five giants saw the streams of blood which flowed in the 
cave, they defied the three champions, and grasping their iron poles, 
attacked them. Hildebrand had advised Wolfort and Wittich to re- 
main quietly in the cave, as they were unable to view their enemies ; 
but they could not subdue their courage, when they heard the blows 
of their companions resounding in the cavern. They laced their 
helmets, grasped their swords and bucklers, and leaped into the 
throng. Similt had heard their discourse, and admiring their valour, 


gave each of them a ring, which instantly restored their sight. Two 
thousand dwarfs rushed against them, and endeavoured to oppose 
their junction with their companions ; but their valour was irresis- 
tible : they hewed their way through the host, and found Dietrich, 
Dietlieb, and Hildebrand engaged with three of the giants. They 
engaged the two others, who, with their brothers, endeavoured to es- 
cape from the hollow hill, but were soon felled by the falchions of the 
five knights. King Laurin viewing the destruction of all his chivalry, 
gave himself up to despair, and was forced to surrender as prisoner. 
No living creature was found in the cavern, with the exception of 
himself and Lady Similt. Many waggons were laden with the riches of 
the hollow hill, and King Laurin was brought to Bern, and there 
obliged to serve in the disgraceful office of juggler to the court. 
On their return, they found Bitterolf, the father of Dietlieb, under 
the linden tree where Similt had been borne away. He invited them 
to the castle of Styria, where they were entertained splendidly, and 
Similt was married to a worthy knight. After some days, Dietrich, Hil- 
debrand, Wittich, and WoLfort took leave of Bitterolf and Dietlieb, 
and returned to Bern, where they celebrated their victory with feast- 
ing and tournaments. 

*' Here ends the adventure of Similt the beauteous queen, of the 
little Laurin, and of Dietrich and his companions, who lived in mirth 
and joy ; and God send us his help, that at all hours we may live in 
joy, and succeed in our undertakings. Henry of Ofterdingen has 
sung this adventure "so masterly, that princes loved him for it, and 
gave him silver and gold, pennies, and rich garments. Here ends the 
Book of the chosen Heroes. God give us all his blessing !" 

Ber Jltbeluttgm lieD. 



Adventure I. — Of the Nibelungen. 

In ancient song and story marvels high are told, 
Of knights of high emprize, and adventures manifold ; 

Of joy and merry feasting ; of lamenting, woe, and fear ; 
Of champions' hloody battles many marvels shall ye hear. 

A noble maid, and fair, grew up in Burgundy ; 

In all the land about fairer none might be : 

She became a queen full high ; Chrimhild was she hight ; 

But for her matchless beauty fell many a blade of might. 

For love and for delight was framed that lady gay ; 
Many a champion bold sighed for the gentle may : 
Full beauteous was her form, beauteous without compare ; 
The virgin's virtues might adorn many a lady fair. 

Three kings of might and power had the maiden in their care, — 
King Gunter and King Ghernot, (champions bold they were,) 
And Ghiseler the young, a chosen, peerless blade : * 
The lady was their sister, and much they loved the maid. 

* Original, digeri, a sword. The term is very often used for a knight or hero, and in. 


These lords were mild and gentle, born of the noblest blood ; 
Unmatched for power and strength were the heroes good : 
Their realm was Burgundy, a realm of mickle might. 
Since then, in the land of Etzel, dauntless did they fight. 

At Worms, upoii the Rhine, d weli. they virith their meiriy bold ; 

Many champions served them, of countries manifold ; 

With praise and honour nobly, even to their latest day. 

When, by the hate of two noble dames, dead on the ground they lay. 

Bold were the kings, and noble, as I before have said ; 

Of virtues high and matchless, and served by many a blade ; 
By the best of all the champions whose deeds were ever sung ; 
Of trust and truth withouten fail ; hardy, bold, and strong. 

There was Haghen of Tronek, and Dankwart, Haghen's brother, 
(For swiftness was he fatned,) with heroes many other ; ., 

Ortwin of Metz, with Eckewart and Ghere, two markgraves they ; 
And Folker of Alsace ; no braver was in his day. 

Rumold was caterer to the king; a chosen knight was he ; 
Sir Sindold and Sir Hunold bore them full manfully ; 
In court and in the presence they served the, princes three. 
With many other knights ; bolder none might be. 

Dankwart was the marshal ; his nephew Ort^win, 
Was sewer * to the king ; much honour did he win : 
Sindold held the cup ^ the royal prince before : 
Chamberlain was Hunold : braver knights ne'er hauberk bore. 

Of the court's gay splendour ; of all the champions free ; 
Of their high and knightly worth, and of the chivalry, 

one instance is applied even to the Deity. Perhaps this is the original meaning of the word, 
and the present sense {i. e. sword) derived from it. In that case, degen may be traced 
from taugen, tuegen, (Lower German dialect, dcegen,) to be useful, or virtuous. In the 
same way, tugend (virtue) frequently occurs for valour, prowess. 

' The office of a truchsess was to set the meat upon the table of his lord. 


Which still they held in honour to their latest day. 
No minstrel, in his song, could rightly sing or say. 

One night the queen Chrimhilt dreamt her, as she lay. 
How she had trained and nourished a falcon wild and gay, 
When suddenly two eagles fierce the gentle hawk have slain : 
Never, in this world, felt she such bitter pain. 

To her mother. Dame Uta, she told her dream with fear : 
Full mournfully she answered to what the maid did speir, — 
" The falcon whom you nourished, a noble knight is he ; 
God take him to his ward ! thou must lose him suddenly." — 

" What speak you of the knight f dearest mother, say : 

Without the love of champion, to my dying day. 

Ever thus fair will I remain, nor take a wedded fere. 

To gain such pain and sorrow, though the knight were without peer." — 

" Speak thou not too rashly," her mother spake again ; 

" If ever in this world thou heartfelt joy wilt gain. 

Maiden must thou be no more ; leman must thou have : 

God will grant tliee for thy mate some gentle knight, and brave."— 

" Oh, leave thy words, lady mother, nor speak of wedded mate : 
Full many a gentle maiden has found the truth too late ; 
Still has their fondest love ended with woe and pain : 
Virgin will I ever be, nor the love of leman gain." — 

In virtues high and noble that gentle maiden dwelt 
Full many a night and day, nor love for leman felt ; 
To never a knight or champion would she'plight her truth. 
Till she was gained for wedded fere by a right noble youth. 

That youth he was the fakon she in her dream beheld. 
Who by the two fierce eagles dead to the ground was felled ; 
But since right dreadful vengeance she took upon<his foen : 
For the death of that bold hero died full many a mother's son. 



Adventure II. Of Siegfried. — Siegmund, king of Netherlands 
had, by his queen Sieghelind, a son of high renown, who, in his earli- 
est youth, achieved many marvellous deeds of chivalry. He did not 
remain with his father in the burgh of Santen, ' but traversed many a 
country, ever distinguished for the strength of his arm, and the cour- 
tesy of his behaviour ; so that he obtained the" love of many a fmr 
lady. When he came to a ripe age, he returned to court. Then his 
father, the king, caused proclamation to be made, and commanded 
his knights to assemble on the day of the turn of summer, * when 
his son should be knighted, together with four hundred sons of the 
noblest of the realm. The ladies were employed in embroidering 
rich garments with many a precious stone, for the young prince. In 
honour of his knighthood, mass was sung at the cathedral, and a 
splendid tournament and jousting was held. 

There they run and saddled many a tilting horse ; 

In the court of Siegmund run they many a course. 

That far and wide the noise was heard, in palace and in hall : 

Ther« many a high-bred hero's name heralds did loudly call. 

Many a, fall to youthful knights, by ancient kemps was given : 
Lances shiv'ring, clash of swords, resounded to the heaven : 
Full high the splinters flew about the warlike throng; 
There was mirth and jollity virgins and dames among. 

The king he bade them stint the strife ; the horse were led away : 

There many a buckler strong to shivers broken lay : 

Many a stone of mound down in the grass was seen. 

Struck from the edge of shields, by the falchions sharp and keen^ 

The evening was concluded with a splendid feast ; palmers and pil- 

' Xanten, in the ci-devant duchy of JuKers, forming now the department of the Beer. 

■^ In the original, sunnemewde, the turn of \he sun, solstice. That of summer fell upon 
St John's day, and the winter-solstice on Christmas day. Both periods, particularly the 
former, were devoted to festivities, as well as Whitsuntide. 



grims from distant countries were royally regaled. Siegfried was in- 
fefted in his father's dominions, and his sword-companions' presented 
with rich gifts. In this manner the high feast was celebrated for 
seven days ; at the end of which Siegfried took his leave, to search 
for deeds of arms ; and refused the request of his father, who wished 
to resign to him his crown. 

Adventure III. How Siegfried came to Worms. — During his 
search for adventures, Siegfried heard of the matchless beauty of 
Chrimhilt, and of her determination to refiise the love of any man. 
He immediately resolved to obtain her, and no other, for his spouse. 
This resolution he communicated to his parents, who spared no en- 
treaties to dissuade him from the enterprise ; and warned him to be- 
ware of the pride of Gunter and Ghernot, and the savage fierceness 
of Haghen. When they found themselves unable to divert him from 
his purpose, diey advised him to conquer her by force of arms, and 
invade Burgundy with a large army ; but Sie^ried refused the offer, 
and only demanded twelve knights to accompany him, to the great 
sorrow of Siegmund and Sieghelind, and of the whole countiy. Then 
they piovided him and his knights with the richest garments, and the 
most splendid armour. 

Arrayed in this guise, they took leave at the court, and set out for 
Worms, where they arrived in seven days. The splendour of their 
apparel drew great crowds about them, who wished to take their 
horses and shields, and to lead them into the town. But Siegfried 
refused their offer, demanded where he could find Gunter, the king 
of Burgundy, and was informed that he was at that time sitting in his 
hall of state. 

The king had by this time been informed of the arrival of these 
strangers, and beheld them from a window. Marvelling who they 
might be, he sent for his uncle Haghen, who had travelled far and 

• This term {schivert-genossen, Schwert-degen) was peculiarly applied to squires who 
were 'knighted with a young sovereign, or the son of their suzerain ; and were consequent- 
ly in a peculiar manner attached to his service. 


wide, and demanded of him who the leader of the champions was. 
Haghen went to the window, but declared he had never seen him. 
However, he guessed that no hero could be of such a knightly sta- 
ture and martial aspect, but Siegfried, the prince of Netherland. 
He took the occasion to relate the wonderful adventures which had 
been achieved by him. " The arm of that hero struck down the 
bold Nibelungeri, and killed Schilbung and Nibelung, the rich sons 
of a king. As he travelled alone in their country, he found, before a 
mountain, many a man of might around the treasure of the Nibelun- 
gen, which had been brought thither from a cave in the hill, and 
which they were about to divide among them. When Siegfried ap- 
proached, he was recognised, and courteously received by Schilbung 
and Nibelung ; and by them requested to take the partition of the trea- 
sure upon himself, which was of immense value. There were preci- 
ous stones in such quantity, that an hundred waggons could not have 
carried them away ; and gold to a still greater amount, from the mines 
of Nibelung-land. As a reward for his service, the kings presented 
him with Balmung, the invaluable sword of their father. Siegfried 
found himself unable to divide the treasure ; whereat the Nibelungen 
were so enraged, that they began a furious battle with him. But the 
hero struck them dead with the sword of their father, and then kiUed 
their twelve companions, who were giants of mighty strength. Thus 
he conquered the treasure, and then subdued the whole country, for- 
cing seven hundred champions to do him service. But he was sud7 
denly attacked by the powerful dwarf Alberich, who, not aware of his 
invincible strength, attacked him with his pigmy army, and sought to 
revenge the death of his sovereigns. ' Siegfried chased them into the 
cave, took from Alberich the magic tarn-cap,* and forced him to 
swear fidelity to him. Then he again placed the treasure in the cave. — 
Another marvellous adventure," continued Haghen, " have I heard 

" See the preceding abstract of the Book of Heroes, p. 48. 

' The qualities of this singular magic utensil have, been already explained, p. 41 

The origin of the fiction may perhaps be traced to the passages in Homer and Virgil, 
where the heroes are rendered invisible by a fog cast around them by some deity, 



bf him ; how he killed a fire-drake, ' and bathed him in the blood ; 
whereby his skin became of a horny consistence, which no sword or 
other weapon can penetrate. Therefore I advise you, sir king, that 
ye give him good welcome, and not draw the wrath, of the hero upon 
yourself and your subjects." 

. Gunter, with his brothers and his knights, went down into the court 
of the palace, and welcomed Sir Siegfried right courteously. Then 
he demanded of him what purpose had brought him into Burgundy. 
Siegfried answered, in his pride, that he had heard how the best 
knights and the boldest xihampions served at the court of Burgundy ; 
but that, in despite of their strength, he would bring them and^Jie 
whole kingdom under his subjection. Thereat were the. kings and 
champions greatly moved ; and Ortwin and Haghen defied him. But 
Ghernot and Ghiseler softened their wrath, and conducted the guests 
into the palace, where they were feasted right royally. There Sieg- 
fried dwelt many a day ; and in every sport and game, both at joust- 
ing and throwing the stone, he was ever accounted the best ; win- 
ning the love of many a fair lady. But he was still intent how he 
might behold Chrimhilt. That maiden often viewed him from her 
window, bearing away the prize from her brother's champions ; but 
she thought not what joy and what sorrow she should have of him. 
Thus Siegfried dwelt one year at the court of Burgundy, and achieved 
many knightly deeds. 

Adventure IV. How Siegfried fought with the Saxons. — One 
day it befel, that messengers came from Ludeger, king of Saxony, 
and Ludegast, king of Denmark, to defy King Gunter and his bro- 
thers. They threatened him with war and invasion, unless he would 
pay them tribute. Haghen advised the king to send for Siegfried, 
and crave his help. But Siegfried had seen the king's sorrow, and 
the little cheer that was made at his court, and demanded of Gunter 
what had thus depressed his spirit. When he heard of the defiance 

' See p. 6a 


of thfe two kings, he offered to go against them with a thousand 
men onljj though the enemy had thirty thousand. The messengers 
were presented with rich gifts, and returned to their homes. But 
when the kings of Denmark and Saxony heard that the strong hero 
of Netherland was coming against them, they were greatly dismayed, 
and levied mighty armies, to the number of forty thousand warriors. 

Siegfried appointed Folker his standard-bearer, and Haghen mas- 
ter of the camp. Sindold, Hunold, Dankwart, and Ortwin served 
also in the army, which traversed Hessia, and safely reached the lands 
of Ludeger, which they wasted with fire and sword. Siegfried left 
the command of his host to Haghen, and proceeded to view that of 
the enemy. There he met the strong king of Denmark, who, after 
defending him nobly, yielded himself prisoner ; nor were thirty of his 
knights able to rescue him. Now a cruel battle began between the 
two hosts, and the heroes of Burgundy fought with great valour. But 
Siegfried, with his twelve champions, outdid them all. Thrice he tra- 
versed the adverse host, and at last met with the Saxon king, who was 
full of rage, when he heard that his brother Ludegast had yielded 
himself prisoner. The combat was now general, and the blood flow- 
ed in torrents. But when Ludeger beheld the crown on the shield of 
his opponent, he despaired of success. 

He cried, " Give o'er the fight,. champions of my host; 
I behold the son of Siegmund ; I fear the battle's lost : 
The mighty hero Siegfried amid the field I see-: 
The evil fiend has sent him to the realm of Saxony." 

Ludeger then ordered his standard to be lowered, and begged for 
peace, yielding himself as hostage. Five hundred prisoners did Sieg- 
fried take along with him ; the rest returned sorrowftilly to their 
homes. Ghernot sent the welcome news of the victory to Worms, 
where Chrimhilt rejoiced in the deeds of the knights, but, above all, 
in the matchless achievements of Siegfried. When the host returned 
with the prisoners, they were full royally received by the king, and 


great care was taken 6f the wounded. The two captive kings were 
allowed to return to their countries, leaving hostages, and promising 
to return to a high feast, to be celebrated in six weeks. 

Adventure V^ How Siegfried first beheld CnRiMHiLT.—When 
the time which was appointed for the high feast came, many knights and 
other guests thronged to the city of Worms, and, among others, two- 
and-thirty princes, emulating one another in the richness of their attire. 
On the morning of Whitsunday, no less than five thousand guests were 
assembled at the court. The king had long observed the fervent love 
which Siegfried bore to Chrimhilt, and yielding to the persuasions of 
Ortwih and*Ghernot, he sent to Uta and her daughter to prepare 
themselves, and grace the feast with their presence. A hundred knights 
were chosen to attend the two queens, who bore glittering falchions 
in their hands. 

And now the beauteous lady, like the rosy morn. 
Dispersed the misty douds ; and he, who long had borne 
In his heart the maiden, banished pain and care. 
As now before his eyes stood the glorious maiden fair. 

From her broidered garment glittered many a gem. 

And upon her lovely cheek the rosy red did gleam : 
Whoever in his glowing soul had imaged lady bright. 
Confessed that fairer maiden never stood before his sight. 

And as the moon, at night, stands high the stars among. 
And moves the mirky clouds above, with lustre bright and strong ; 
So stood before her maidens the maid without compare : 
Higher swelled the courage of many a champion there. * 

* That the author of this abstract may not be suspected of embellishing, the original of 
these stanzas is subjoined, (v. 1112 — 1123.) 

Nu gie diu minnechliche also der morgan rot 

Tuot uz truoben wolchen : do schiet von maniger not 


And full of love and beauty stood the child of Sighelind, 
.As if upon the parchment by master's hand design'd : 
He gained the prize of ^eauty from all the knightly train ; 
They swore that lady never a lovelier mate could gain. 

Gunter, the more to honour the hero, bade his sister, " who never 
before had saluted man," to bestow that favour upon Siegfried. 

The feast was held for twelve days, and Siegfried enjoyed the sight, 
and obtained the thanks of Chrimhilt daily. When the guests pre- 
pared to 'leave -the court, Gunter demanded of Siegfried how he should 
deal with the captive kings, who, for their ransom, had offered five 
hundred sumpter-horses, laden with gold. By his advice, the king 
refused the treasure, and dismissed them, taking surety for their re- 
maining at peace with him in future. Siegfried also wished to take 
his leave of the king ; but at the request of Ghiseler, he was conte* 
to remain at the court of Burgundy.. 

AnvENTunE VI. How Gunter proceeded to Isenland, to obtain 
THE HAND OF Brunhild. — Tidings came to the court of King Gunter, 
of a queen of matchless beauty, who dwelt in a land far over the sea. 
But she was haughty of mind, and so mighty was her strength, that she 
forced every champion who came to woo her to contend with her at the 
three masculine games of throwing the spear, of leaping, and of cast- 
ing the stone. Whoever was unable to match her strength, lost his 
life for presuming to make the attempt. Many chanqpions had endea- 

Der«i da truoeh im herzen, vxid lange hete getan : 
Er sach e minnechlichen nu vil herlichen stan. 

la luhte ir von ir waete vil manich edel stein ; 

Ir rosen rotiu varwe vil minnechlichen schein. 

Ob ieman wunsen solde der kunde niht geiehen 

Daz er ce dirreweflde hete iht schceners gesehen. 

Sam der liehte mane vor den sternen stat, 
Der schin so luterliche ob den wolchen gat, 
Dem stuont sie nu geliche vor andem frouwen giiot : 
Des v/art wol gehcehet vil raaniges heldes rauot. 


voured to win the maid, but none of them had returned. Gunter 
determined to undertake the voyage ; nor could Siegfried dissuade 
him from the resolution. By the advice of Haghen, that hero was 
requested to give his assistance, and consented, upon the condition, 
that, on their return with Brunhild, he should obtain the hand of the 
king's sister. 

Great preparations were made for the voyage. Siegfried carried 
along with him the miraculous tarn-cap which he had gained from 
the dwarf Alberich. It had the property to render the person enve- 
loped in it invisible, and to give him the strength of twelve men. 
Gunter wished to take thirty thousand kemps with him ; but by the 
advice of Siegfried, the number was diminished to four — Gunter, Hag- 
hen, Dankwart, and himself. Chrimhilt undertook to provide for 
each three suits of the richest apparel ; and, with thirty of her virgins, 
she was employed for seven weeks in the task. Their mantles were 
made of white silk, brought from Arabia, and of green silk, from the 
land of Zazamank, embroidered with many a gem. The covers of 
the mantles were made of the skins of strange fishes, covered with 
silk, from Morocco and Lybia. The choicest ermine was procured, 
and the heroes richly adorned with gems set in Arabian gold. When 
they were thus apparelled, they parted, with many tears, from Uta and 
Chrimhilt, and embarked in a strong ship, which Siegfried undertook 
to steer. They sailed prosperously down the Rhine, and on the twelfth 
morning arrived at the stMng castle of Isenstein, in the land of Brun- 

Adventuee VII. How Gunter obtained the hand of Brunhild. — 
When the ship was arrived at the castle, the king beheld many a fair 
lady at the window, and Siegfried demanded of him whom he would 
choose for his spouse. Gunter pointed to one clad in a snow-white 
robe, and Siegfried informed him that he had chosen the fair Brun- 
hild. The ladies were ordered by the queen to leave the window, 
which they were ftdl loth to do. In the mean time the four knights 
landed, and proceeded to the castle, which they found to contain 


eighty-six towers, three spacious palaces, and one splendid hall, built 
of marble, " green as grass." When they entered, their horses and 
swords were demanded of them. Haghen' refused to deliver his fair 
chion ; but when Siegfried informed him that it was the custom of. 
the court, he reluctantly complied. The guests were splendidly en- 
tertained, and welcomed by the knights of Brunhild. The queen in-» 
quired of one of her chamberlains, who might be the strangers come 
to her court. 

Up and spake the chamberlain^^- '* Lady fair and free. 
Never to this day those champions did I see : 
One, if rightly I areed, is Siegfried, of high-born blood : 
I warn ye, lady queen, that ye give him welcome good, 

" The second of the champions, full richly is he dight ; 
His form is brave and noble ; he seems a king of might 
O'er many a wide dominion, and many a distant land : 
Proudly, and full lord-like, by the others does he stand. 

" The third of those bold champions, of sullen mood seems he ; 
But tall of form, and noble, and of courage brave and free ; 
Fiercely his looks he throws around ; his eyes full grimly roll ; 
I ween his mind is cruel, deadly and dark his soul. 

" The youngest kemp among them seems a knight of high emprize, 
But gentler far his mind ; right courteous is his guise : 
With countenance full mild, he stands the four among. — 
Much may we fear the wrath of those champions bold and strong." 

The queen, however, declared^ that she would not even dread the 
combat with Siegfried himself. She welcomed the guests with great 
courtesy, and being informed of the object of their enterprise, order- 
ed immediate preparations to be made for the three several games, 
which were to decide the fate of Gunter and herself. 

Siegfried mean while proceeded secretly to the ship, and returned 
enveloped in his tarn-cap, so that no one on the field could see where 


he stood. He found every thing ready, and Brunhild in complete 
armour, with a shield of the thickness of three spans, and of such 
weight, that four chamberlains could scarcely bear it. Haghen fierce- 
ly exclaimed, 

" And how js't now, King Gunter i Here must you tine your life ! 
The lady you would gain, well may she be the devil's wife." 

But when the king beheld a mighty spear, carried by three knights, 
and a stone of such weight, that no less than twelve carried it along, 
he would fain have been safe in his castle, without the love of Brun- 
hild. Whea Haghen loudly complained that their swords had been 
taken from them, the queen, with a scornful smile, ordered her knights 
to restore them. Siegfried, to the great astonishment of Gunter, who 
could not see him, instructed him to give the shield to him, and to 
imitate the actions which he was to perform. Brunhild shot the shaft 
with marvellous force ; Siegfried received it upon the shield ; but both 
he and Gunter were struck to the ground, that the blood flew <&ut of 
their mouths. Siegfried returned the spear, and struck her down. 
WrathfuUy she heaved up the weighty stone, threw it to a great dis- 
tance, and leaped after it, that her armour resounded loudly. Sieg- 
fried took up the stone, and threw it to a far greater distance, and 
leaped after it, taking up Gunter in his arms. The maid was enraged, 
but seeing herself conquered, fell down at the king's feet, and acknow- 
ledged herself vanquished. Siegfried having laid aside his tarn-cap, 
returned, and pretending ignorance, asked when the games were to 
begin ; and when the queen informed him that they were over, he seem- 
ed much astonished. 

When Gunter wished to return with his bride to Worms, she refti- 
sed to go till she had assembled her vassals ; whereat the heroes of Bur- 
gundy, fearing to be treacherously slain, were greatly dismayed. Sieg- 
fried, however, comforted them, promising to proceed to his own do- 
minions, and to return with a thousand knigljts to their relief. 



Adventure VIII. How Siegfried went to the Nibelungen. — 
Siegfried went into the ship in his tarn-cap, and sailed away. The 
knights of Brunhild seeing no mariners on board, imagined that the 
wind had drifted the vessel away. Before the next night was ended, 
he reached a castle upon a mountain, in the land of the Nibelungen, 
where his treasure was deposited. He went ashore, and in order to 
try the vigilance of his vassals, proceeded to the gate, and in manner of 
a pilgrim, knocked at the gate. The porter, who was a giant of great 
strength, demanded who asked for admittance. Siegfried, in an al- 
tered tone of voice, exclaimed, " A champion I am ; and unless you 
instantly unlock the gate, many a one who wishes to lie at his ease 
in the chambers shall feel the effects of my anger." The porter ha- 
ving armed himself, threw the gate open, and attacked the hero with 
his iron pole. His master was highly delighted with the severe blows 
he received from his servant, but at length struck him down, and 
bound him. 

But now the battle fierce did in the cave resound : 
The wild dwarf Alberich heard the blows rebound ; 
Quick he put his armour on, and sped him where he found 
The noble guest of might, where he the giant bound. 

Full fierce was Alberich, and of mickle strength ; 
Shirt of mail and helmet bore the kemp of little length ; 
And in his hand he brandished a scourge of the gold so red : 
Where stood the hero Siegfried, full quickly is he sped. 

And from his scourge adown hung seven knots of weight. 
With which he struck the champion, and on his buckler beat ; 
With his blows the splinters far from the shield did fly : 
Of his life Sir Siegfried was in bitter jeopardy. 

Far the shivered buckler threw the hero strong. 

And he pushed into thf sheath his weapon sharp and long s 


His faithful chamberlaia, he would not strike him dead. 
But saved his trusty vassal ; for in virtues was he bred. 

Suddenly to Alberichj Siegfried, the hero, ran. 
And by 'his hoary beard be caught the ancient man ; 
Down to the earth he threw him : for mercy did he pray. 
When, by the champion's might, on the ground he lay. 

The dwarf acknowledged himself vanquished, and said he would 
have become the knight's vassal, if he had not sworn fidelity to ano- 
ther. Then he was bound down like the giant. When he asked the vic- 
tor's name,' and heard that he was Siegfried, he rejoiced greatly, and 
oifered him any service. The hero unbound him and the giant, and 
bade him go to ihe Nibelung champions, and awake them. In a short 
time thirty thousand were ready in their armour, out of which number 
a thousand of the best were chosen. They were clad in splendid ap. 
parel, and embarked. 

When they arrived at the burgh of Isenstein, Brunhild demanded 
who the warriors were, and was told by Gunter that they were his 
men, whom he had left behind, and who had followed him. Rich gifts 
were distributed among the heroes, and the remainder of Brunhild's 
treasure embarked. The government of the country, in Gunter's ab- 
sence, was intrusted to her uncle. With her she took six-and-eighty 
dames, a hundred maidens, and two thousand champions. Guntey 
was refused any familiarity with his bride during the voyage. 

Adventure IX. I^ow Siegfried was sent to Worms. — When the 
heroes had sailed nine days, it was resolved that a messenger should 
be sent to Worms, to Chrimhilt and Uta, to inform them how they 
had sped in their enterprise, and to bid them prepare for the recep. 
tion of the bride. Siegfried was chosen to bear the message, and, ac- 
companied by four-and-twenty knights, speedily arrived at the capital 
of Burgundy, where he soon quieted the fears of the two queens, and 
the rest of the court, and received many thanks. Chrimhilt re- 
warded him for his message, with twenty-four brapelets, whicl\ he dis? 


tributed among hler maidens. The preparations made for the recep- 
tion of Gunter and 3runhild were of the most splendid description ; 
and when their approach, was discerned, ChrimhUt, accompanied by 
eighty-six dames, and fifty maidens of supreme beauty, and with many 
champions in heir train, pfoceeded before the town gates, to give them 

Adventure X. How Gunter held hi^ Bridal Feast with Bkun- 
HiLD. — Gunter's arrival with his bride was celebrated on the plain be- 
fore the city, with tournaments and other games ; nor did they return 
to the palace till the sun had gone down. As they were washing their 
hands, previous to supper, Siegfried reminded the king how he had 
promised him his sister for his spouse, if he should achieve his expedi- 
tion to obtain the hand of Brunhild. Gunter readily complied, and 
Chrimhilt was that night given in marriage to Siegfried. But Brun- 
hild was greatly mortified at what she conceived a match below the 
dignity of her sister ; and rouhdly informed the king, that he should 
not obtain any favour of her, unless he declared to her why he had 
given his assent to a marriage between a vassal of his and his sister^ 
He informed her that Siegfried was a king in Netherland, not far in- 
ferior in power to himself; but she was not satisfied with his answer. 
The supper appeared very long to the two bridegrooms, who soon dis- 
missed their attendants, and retired to their chambers. The scene 
which was transacted in that of Siegfried was, however, of a very dif- 
ferent nature from that which happened in that of Gunter. 

When the king was alone with his bride, indulging in the hope of 
being supremely happy, he found, to his great sorrow, every favour 
denied, unless he would acquaint Brunhild with the real reason of his 
giving Chrimhilt to the hero of Netherland ; and when he endea- 
voured to use force, he found his strength far unequal. She took her 
girdle, and, tying his feet and hands together, hung him upon a nail in 
the wall ; nor could his lamentations and entreaties prevail with her to 
release him, nor prevent her from enjoying a sound sleep. When the 
morning came, she unbound him ; and after he had promised not to 


touch her body, she allowed him to lie by her side, and thus obviate 
the shame he would have received, had his chamberlains found him in 
that disgracefiil situation.' 

It will readily be supposed that the king was not in good humour 
during the day : Neither the tournament, the dubbing of six hundred 
new knights, nor tiie mass in the cathedral, could divert his melan- 
choly. Siegfried had shrewd suspicions of the cause, and found them 
verified, when, upon inquiry, the king related the dreadful situation 
in which he had passed the night. 

To his guest spake Gunter, — " With shame and woe I sped ; 
I have brought the evil devil, and took her to my bed : 
When I hop'd her love to gain, she bound me fis hey thrall j 
To a nail she bore me, and hung me on the wall. 

" There I hung with fear and anguish till the sun of morning shone. 

While soundly in the bed slept Brunhild all alone. 

Loudly to thee I plain of my shame and sorrow sore." 

Then spake the hero Siegfried, — ^' Right sorry am I therefore." 

He, however, consoled the poor king, and promised to put Brun- 

• Josian, in the far-famed history of Sir Bevis, proves herself as great an Amazon as her 
predecessor Brunhild. Being treacherously decoyed into marriage by Earl Miles, she 
persuades him to dismiss out of his bed-chamber all attendants : 

Than was before his bed i-tight, 

As fele ban of this gentil knight^ 

A coverture on raile-tre. 

For no man schold on bed i-se, 

Josian bethoughte on highing ; 

On a towaile she made knotte riding ; 

Aboute his neldse she hit threw, 

And on the raile-tre she drew; 

Be the nekke she hath him uprtight, 

And let him so ride al the night. 

AucHiNLECK MS. V. 3213 — 3222. 

For the whole of this curious adventure the reader is referred to Mr Ellis's elegant ab- 
su-act of the romance, in his Specimens of Romances, vol. II. p. I**, et seq. 


hild completely in his power the next night ; and for that purpose 
required to be admitted to their bed-chamber, where he would render 
himself invisible, by the means of his tarn-cap. Gunter consented, 
upon his swearing not to take advantage of the opportunity. 

When the night came^ and thebridegrooins had retired with their 
wives, Chrimhilt was astonished at the sudden disappearance of her 
husband, who had put on his tarfl-cap, and joining the chamberlains of 
Gunter, entered the chamber. When the chamberlains and attend- 
ant maids retired, and the lights were extinguished, Siegfried entered 
the bed, and a most violent and singular combat commenced. Brun- 
hild threw him out of the bed at the very beginning, that his head 
" loudly resounded on the footstool." He again resumed his task, and 
was again defeated. She embraced him with great force, and bearing 
him out of the bed, pressed him between a door and the wall, that he 
cried aloud with pain. Ashamed of this defeat, he again commenced 
the attack, and threw her on the bed, where she pressed his hand, 
that the blood flowed from his naUs. He took from her the girdle 
and ring which he gave in his pride to Chrimhilt some time after j 
and for this gift he and many other champions lost their lives. At 
length the knight of Netherland bruised her so violently, and held her 
so close, that she surrendered at discretion. Siegfried then retired, as 
if to take off his dress, and leaving the joyful king to reap the fruits 
of his hard-gained victory, rejoined his own spouse. 

In the morning the king was in high good humour, and dispensed 
many rich gifts to the knights and courtiers. The high feast lasted 
fourteen days, at the end of which the guests parted for their several 

Adventure XI. How Siegfried came boME with Chrimhilt to 
Netherland. — When the other guests had taken their leaves, Sieg- 
fried also desired to return to his country, and Chrimhilt was content. 
But she first wished to obtain a part of the dominions of Burgundy 
for her husband ; which were readily offered to him by the three royal 
brothers. But Siegfried refiised them, saying, that he himself would 


make his queen the richest on the face of the earth. At last he was 
persuaded to take five hundred champions. Chrimhilt desired to 
take Haghen and Ortwin with her, but the former sternly refused. 
Duke Eckewart, however, accompanied her. 

The hero was splendidly received with his spouse at his father's 
court, who resigned his kingdom in his favour. For ten years he 
bore the crown with great honour, and also had the land of the Nibel- 
ungen under his <x)mmand. Chrimhilt bore him a son, who was named 
Gunter ; and a son of the king of Burgundy was, in return, called a& 
ter the king of Netherland. 

Adventure XII. How Gojnter invited Siegfried and Chrimhilt 
TO A High Feast; — Brunhild one day was ruminating how Siegfried 
was vassal to Gtmter, and had not for a long time done any service 
for his lord. She persuaded the king to invite him and Chrimhilt to 
a high feast at Worms. Ghere was accordingly chosen messenger, 
and, with thirty other knights, proceeded to the burgh of the Nibel- 
ungen, in the marches of Norway, where they arrived in three weeks. 
Siegfried, after consulting with his barons, determined to accept the 
invitation, and to proceed to "Worms, accompanied by a thousand of 
his knights, and by his father Siegmund, with a hundred of his own 

Adventure XIII. How Siegfried and Chrimhilt went to the 
High Feast. — The guests came safely to Worms, and were welcomed 
by the king, with his usual magnificence. For eleven days, tourna- 
ments and other chivalrous games were celebrated, and the most com- 
plete harmony prevailed ; hut at length, in a procession to hear mass 
celebrated at the cathedral, their concord was fatally interrupted. 

Adventure XIV. Of the Altercation between the Queens. — 
One day Brunhild and Chrimhilt began to praise the several perfections 
of their husbands ; and when they grew warm upon the subject, the 
former asserted that Siegfried was the vassal of Gunter, because he 

2 a 


had declared himself so when he came to Isenland. Chrimhilt de- 
nied it, and said she would precede her in the procession to the ca- 
thedral. Accordingly she went, accompanied by fortyTthree maidens, 
in far more splendid apparel than those of Brunhild, and by all the 
knights Siegfried had brought with him, and preceded her sister-in- 
law. When Brunhild saw this, she exclaimed, that no wife of a vassal 
should go before a queen. Chrimhilt, enraged at these words, told 
her that she had been concubine to another than her husband, but, 
that Siegfried had gained her virginity. She then went into the ca- 
thedral before Brunhild, who was highly afficted and enraged. When 
mass was over, she again assailed Chrimhilt, and demanded what 
proofs she could adduce. The latter immediately shewed the ring 
and girdle which Siegfried had given her ; upon which the queen de- 
parted, in great anger, and complained to Gunter of the insulting 
words which his sister had spoken of her. Siegfried swore an oath that 
he had not said the words, and the queens were at last parted. 

Haghen of Tronek hearing the lamentations of Brunhild, undertook 
to revenge her injuries upon Siegfried, and Ortwin and Ghernot join- 
ed with him to procure his death. Ghiseler wished to dissuade them 
from the resolution, and the king himself was at first unwilling to give 
his consent, but at last agreed, when he heard in what manner the 
treason was to be executed. 

Adventure XV. How Siegfried was betrayed. — The conspirators, 
with the king's consent, procured thirty messengers, who pretende4 
to have been sent fi'om the kings of Denmark and Saxony, to defy 
Gunter. Siegfried offered immediately to go against them, and as- 
sembled his thousand heroes for the purpose. Haghen then proceed- 
ed to Chrimhilt, and pretending great friendship for her husband, 
asked her if there was any part of his body which required pecuhar 
defence in battle. She regretted that she had offended Brunhild, and 
told him that her husband " beat her black and blue for it." Then she 
informed him, that when Siegfried bathed himself in the dragon's 
blood, a leaf had stuck between his shoulders, and had prevented that 


part from becoming impenetrable. Haghen instructed her to sew 
a small cross upon his garment, in the place where the spot was, 
and promised to defend that part with peculiar care. Siegfried now 
was informed, to his great mortification, that peace had been conclu- 
ded. The king then proposed a great chace of boars and bears, in the 
forests of Vasgovia, where the treason was to be executed. 

Adventure XVI. How Siegfried was slain. — Great preparations 
were made for the chace ; and, by the advice of Brunhild, every kind 
of meat was carried to a well in the forest, but no wine. Siegfried 
took his leave of Chrimhilt, who made every exertion to dissuade him 
from the chace, as she had been warned of his fate in two dreams : But 
his fate was irrevocable. When the chace began, no one distinguish- 
ed himself so much as he ; killing every kind of ferocious animals, and 
among them a demi-\yolf, a lion, a buffalo, an elk, a bison, four ure-oxen,' 
and one fierce bull, besides deer and boars. Gunter then ordered a 
horn to be blown, to give notice that he would dine at the well. Sieg- 
fried caught a great bear alive, to make disport for the king, and 
brought him to the well, where the animal made great havoc among 
the kitchen utensils, to the exceeding amusement of the company. He 
was at last killed by his victor, who then rode back to the well. 

In gorgeous guise the hero did to the fountain ride : 
Down unto his spurs, his sword hung by his side ; 
His weighty spear was broad, of mighty length, and strong ; 
A horn, of the gold so red, o'er the champion's shoulder hung. 

Of fairer hunting garments ne'er heard I say before : 
A coat of the black velvet the noble hero wore ; 

• A demi-wolf (halb-wolf) is probably an animal bred between a wolf and a dog. The 

h/ciscee of Virgil (Eel. iii. v. 18.) are by Servius explained to be canes nati ex Ittpis et 

canibus, cum inter sejbrte miscuntur. The uri, mentioned by Caesar and other writers, 

seem to have been common in Germany down to the thirteenth or fourteenth century, 

but are not to be found at present in any part of that country, though they are to be met 

with in Poland and Prussia. 



His hat was of the sable, full richly was it dight ; 

Ho, with what gorgeous belts was hung his quiver bright I 

A fleece of the panther wild about the shafts was roU'd ; 

A bow of weight and strength bore the huntsman bold : 

No hero on this middle earth, but Sir Siegfried, I avow. 

Without some engine quaint, could draw the mighty bow. 

His garment fair was made of the savage lynx's hide ; 

With gold the fur was sprinkled richly on every side; 

There many a golden leaf glittered right gorgeously. 

And shone with brightest splendour round the huntsman bold and free. 

And by his side hung Balmung, that sword of mickle might ; 
When in the field Sir Siegfried struck on the helmets bright. 
Not the truest metal the noble blade withstood : 
Thus right gloriously rode the huntsman good*. 

If right I shall areed the champion's hunting guisej. 
Well was stored his quiver with shafts of wond'rous size ; 
More than a span in breadth were the heads of might and main t 
Whom with those arrows sharp he pierced, quickly was he slain. 

The huntsmen commenced their meal j and Sir Siegfried was full 
wroth with Haghen, for having forgotten the wine ; but that treacher- 
ous knight pretended it had been sent to another part of the forest. 
Siegfried then proposed to him a foot-race to the well, and for that 
purpose stripped himself to the shirt j and bearing his garments on 
his back, far out-ran his rival. Then he laid down his weapons, which 
Haghen carried secretly to a great distance. Gunter first drank of 
the well ; Siegfried followed his example, and lying down to drink, 
was treacherously pierced with a lance in the vulnerable spot, by 
Haghen. He started up, and pursued his murderer ; and though 
mortally wounded, and weaponless, struck him down, and broke his 
shield in two. Then he fell down with the loss of blood, and up- 
braided his murderers with ingratitude and cowardice, bat recom« 


mended his spouse to the mercy of the king. When he was dead, 
Gunter wished to give out that he had been slain by robbers ; but the 
fierce knight of Tronek expressed his perfect indifference whether the 
truth was made known or concealed. . 

Adventure XVIL How Siegfried was bewailed and interred.— 
Haghen caused the dead body to be laid before the door of Chrim- 
hilt's chamber. When she came out in the morning, and discovered 
that her' husband lay there murdered, her lamentations were bound- 
less. She sent for his father Siegmund, who, as well as his eleven 
hundred champions, swore immediate revenge. But Chrimhilt per- 
suaded him to leave the vengeance to her, for which she would find 
some fitting opportunity. She ordered a splendid coffin of gold and 
silver to be made, in which the body was carried to the cathedral. 
Gunter, with Haghen and his attendants, came to bewail the death of 
Siegfried, and pretended it had been perpetrated by robbers ; but 
Chrimhilt bade those who knew themselves innocent go and touch 
the dead body. 

A marvel high and strange is seen fiill many a time : 
When to the murdered body nighs the man who did the crime. 
Afresh the wounds will bleed : the marvel now was found, — , 

That Haghen felled the champion with treason to the ground. ' 

Ghernot and Ghiseler seemed to bewail the hero with unfeigned 
sorrow ; and the lamentations, whether sincere or feigned, resound- 
ed through the whole court. Three days and three nights Chrimhilt 
watched the body, without food or drink ; and when the corpse was 
about to be sunk into the grave, she caused it to be again opened, 
and once more took leaye of her husband. More than thirty thousand 

* This IS perhaps the earliest instance in which this kind of ordeal (the hahr-recht of the 
Germans) is mentioned. The subject has received full illustration in Mr Scott's notes op 
the ballad of Earl Richard, (Minstrelsy of the Border, ed. 18iO, II. 419.) 



marks of gold were distributed among the poor, for the welfare and 
repose of his soul. 

Adventure XVIII. How Siegmund departed from Worms. — 
Siegmund went to Chrimhilt, and used strong persuasions to induce 
her to return with him, promising that she should bear the crown in 
her husband's dominions. But her youngest brother Ghiseler dissua- 
ded her from leaving Worms, and was seconded in his solicitations by 
Queen Uta and Ghernot. Siegmund and the Nibelung herdes left 
the city of Worms without taking leave of any one. But Ghernot and 
Ghiseler followed them, and assured Siegmund that they were inno- 
cent of the murder. The king returned to his country, and the dis- 
consolate Chrimhilt was left to bear the insolence of her rival Brun- 
hild, for which she cruelly revenged herself subsequently. 

Adventure XIX. How the Nibelung Treasure came to Worms. 
— When Chrimhilt had bewailed her husband for three years and a 
half, without seeing Gunter or Haghen, the latter advised the king 
to reconcile himself with her, in order to get the invaluable trea- 
sure of the Nibelungen into his possession ; which she had received 
from Siegfried as her jointure. She consented, after some difficulty, 
and Ghernot and Ghiseler were sent to bring it to Worms. They em- 
barked with eight thousand knights, and the treasure was delivered to 
them by the dwarf Alberich, who greatly bewailed the loss of Sieg- 
fried's tarn-cap. The treasure was now einbarked, for whicK purpose 
twelve waggons were employed for the space of four days and nights. 
Under the treasure lay a wishing-rod, ' which enabled the possessor to 
be master over the whole world ; but this quality appears to have been 
unknown to the knights of Burgundy. 

• The wishing-rod of Fortunatus has given to this fiction very extensive popularity. The 
passage in the text is very remarkable ; but the mention of it in an ancient Teutonic glos- 
sary, of the ninth or tenth century, discovered by Junius, and published by Nyerup, 
proves the existence of the superstition among the Germans at a still earlier period. Ca- 
duceuma is there rendered uunshiligarta. 


When the treasure arrived, Chrimhilt so prodigally distributed rich 
gifts, and obtained such popularity, thereby, that Haghen advised Guii- 
ter to take it from her ; undertaking to obtain the keys, and guard it 
himself. When Ghernot and Ghiseler saw his intention executed, 
they were highly enraged ; and the former said, it would be far bet- 
ter to sink it to the bottom of the Rhine. Accordingly the king and 
his whole court for some days absented themselves from the city ; 
during which time Haghen, who had remained behind, sunk the whole 
treasure into the river, and all the conspirators were sworn never to 
reveal the place. Chrimhilt, after enduring this additional injury, 
dwelt thirteen years at court, unable to forget the losses she had 
sustained. , 

Adventure XX. How King Etzel sent to Burgundy to obtain 
THE HAND OF Chrimhilt. — It happened that at this time Helka, the 
wife of Etzel, king of the Huns, died, and his counsellors advised him 
to send messengers to Worms, and sue for the hand of Chrimhilt. 
He expressed his fear that she would refuse him, he being a heathen, 
and she Christian. Markgrave Rudiger, of Bechelaren, however, un- 
dertook the expedition, and provided himself with apparel and arms 
at Vienna. Hewas accompanied by five hundred knights, and ta- 
king leave of his wife Gotiland, set out for Worms. He was well re- 
ceived upon his arrival, and Gunter, with his brothers, were well con- 
tent to give their sister in marriage to King Etzel ; but the fierce 
Haghen strongly opposed the resolution. It was at last determined 
that Chrimhilt should decide herself. At first she declared her firm 
resolution to remain a widow, and particularly never to espouse a 
heathen, though Rudiger told her that twelve kings and thirty princes 
were vassals to the king of the Huns j and Ghiseler exclaimed. 

From the Rhone unto the Rhine, from the Elbe to the distant sea. 
No king of greater riches and greater power may be. 

Rudiger at last found the means to conquer her disinclination,, by 


swearing that he and his men would be ever ready to revenge her in- 
juries, and would never refuse her any request. 

Preparations were made for her departure, but she wished previ- 
ously to distribute the treasure which was sfill in her possession. But 
"Haghen seized upon it, and kept it back from her. Ghernot, how- 
ever, took it from him by force, and returned it to her ; but Rudiger 
Taade her leave it behind, as she would stand in no need of bringing 
any into the realm of Hungary, where she would command riches of 
incalculable value. Eckewart, with five hundred men, swore to con- 
tinue his fidelity to her, and follow her to Hungary. Gunter accom- 
panied her only before the gates ; but Ghernot and Ghiseler, and a 
thousand of their meiny, did not take leave of her till she came to 
the banks of the Danube. 

Adventure XXI. How Chrimhilt came to the Huns* — Messen- 
gers were sent to apprise King Etzel that Chrimhilt would speedily 
arrive. At Passau she was received by her uncle. Bishop Pilgerin, 
who accompanied her to Bechelaren, where splendid feasts were given 
■to her by themargrave and his wife and daughter. She then pro- 
ceeded to Medilke and Mautern, and reposed for three days at Trai- 
semmaur, a strong castle which King Etzel had built upon the river 

Adventure XXII. How Etzel and Chrimhilt held their Bri- 
dal Feast. — Etzel received his new bride at the town of Tuln, ac- 
companied by a great host of vassals, among whom were Russians, 
Greeks, Poles, Wallacbians, Kyben, the savage Petscheners, and many 
other nations. He had four-and-twenty princes in his train, among 
whom were Ramung, sovereign of the Wallachians ; Gibecke, Horn- 
bog, Hawart, and Iring, from Denmark ; Irnfried, duke of Thurin- 
gia; Blodelin, the king's brother-, and, finally, Dietrich of Bern. Chrim- 

^ Most of the towns mentioned in this and the following adventure still exist in Aus- 
ttia and Hungary. 


hilt was instructed by Rudiger to kiss twelve of the noblest champions : 
the others she also received with great courtesy. A tournament was 
held till the evening broke in, and the whole train then proceeded to 
Vienna, where the bridal feast was celebrated for seventeen day^. 
The gifts distributed by Etzel and his subject princes were incalcul- 
able ; and his two minstrels, ' Werbel and Swemmel, received no less 
than athousand marks. At the end of the feastj the king, with his bride 
and his attendants, left Vienna, and proceeded by the old fortress of 
Hunentourg, and by Misenburg, to his own residence, at the castle of 
Etzeknburg. ChrimhUt was served by seven daughters of kings, and 
particularly by Herrat, niece to Etzel, and wife of Dietrich of Bern. 

Adventure XXIII. How Chrimhilt invited her Brothers to a 
High Feast.' — Chrimhilt dwelt with King Etzel for thirteen years, 
during which time she bore him a son, who, by her influence^ was 
baptised, and called Ortlieb. Chrimhilt, ever intent on her meditated 
revenge, persiiaded King Etzel to send his two minstrels, Swemmel 
and Werbel, to the Rhine, and to invite King Gunter and his brothers, 
with all their knights, to a high feast in Hungary. She instructed the 
messengers secretly to give out„that she lived in perfect happiness at 
the court of Etzel, and not to suffer any one of her brothers' princi- 
pal champions to remain behind. 

Adventure XXIV. How Werbel and Swemmel did their Mes- 
sage. — The messengers arrived safely at Worms, and were received 
with every mark of attention ; but the answer to their message was 
deferred to the seventh day. Haghen strongly opposed accepting the 
invitation, from which he presaged utter ruin, and was not won over 
to give his consent tiU Ghernot and Ghiseler taunted hipi, and bade 
him remain behind, if he feared to go with them. Rumold, the mas- 

• This passage, and the honourable reception of the minstrels at the court of Burgundy, 
fully prove the rank held by mmstrels in former ages, and their frequent occupation in 
confidential embassies ; and strongly militate against the general degradation they have 
suffered from the learned, but capricious and tasteless Ritson. 



ter of the kitchen, alsp made a very characteristic, but ineffectual at- 
tempt to persuade the kings from the journey, by painting their present 
feUcity, having abundance of meat, drink, and clothes. When Ha- 
ghen found all were fuUy determined on the expedition, he undertook 
to select a thousand of the best knights, among whom were his bro- 
ther Dankwart, and the hero Folker of Alsace, who was called the 
Minstrel, or the Fiddler, on account of the excellence of his playing 
and singing.' The messengers from the Huns were detained till every 
thing was ready for the journey, by Haghen, to prevent them from 
coming too soon back to Chrimhilt, and giving her an opportunity of 
making great preparations for the destruction of himself and the other 

Adventure XXV. How the Nibelungen went to the Huns. — ' 
Queen Uta dreamt that all the birds in the kingdom had dropt down 
dead ; but Haghen, urged on by the taunts of Ghernot, was now bent 
on proceeding. The care of the two queens and the kingdom being left 
to Rumold, the host, consisting of a thousand knights, and nine thou- 
sand esquires, proceeded on their journey, and traversing Swabia and 
Franconia, under the condiict of Haghen, who was their guide, and 
of Dankwart, marshal of the host, arrived on the banks of the Da- 

Haghen of Tronek rode before the noble host. 
Guiding the Niblung knights, their leader and their boast : 
Now from his horse the champion leaped upon the ground ;. 
Full soon unto an oak the courser has he bound. 

The ferryman, he sought by the river far and wide : 
He heard the water bullering closely by his side : 
In a fountain fair, sage women he espied. 
Their lovely bodies bathing, all in the cooling tide. 

• Folker is not a professed minstrel, but, like many of the French, German, and northt. 
em princes and knights, cultivated music and j^oetry as an accomplishment. 


And whenhe saw the mermaids,* he sped him silently ; 
But sooD they heard his footsteps, and quickly did they hie. 
Glad and joyful in their hearts, that they 'scaped the hero's arm : 
From the ground he took their garments, did them none other harm. 

Up and spake a mermaid, Hildburg was she hight :— ~ 

" Noble hero Haghen, your fate will I reed aright ; 

At King Etzel's court what adventures ye shall have. 

If back thou give our garments, thou champion bold and brave." 

Like birds they flew before him upon the watery flood. 

And as they flew, the mermaid's form thought him so fair and good. 

That he believed full well what of hi^ fate she spoke ; 

But for uie hero's boldness she thought to be awroke. 

" Well may ye ride," she said, " to the rich King Etzel's court ; 
I pledge my head in troth, that in more royal sort 
Heroes never were received in countries far and near, ; 
Nor with greater honours ; then hie ye without fear." 

Glad of their speech was Haghen, right joyous in his heart : 
He gave them back their garments, and sped him to depart : 
But when their bodies they had dight in that full wond'rous guise. 
Rightly the journey to the Huns told the women wise. 

Then spake the other mermaid, Sighlind was her name : — 

" I will warn thee, son of Aldrian, Haghen, thou knight of fame ; 

For the garments fair, my sister loudly did she lie : 

Foully must ye all be shent, if to the Huns ye hie. 

" Turn thee back. Sir Haghen, back unto the Rhine, 
Nor ride ye to the Huns with those bold feres of thine ; 

' In the same manner the knight Gruelan, (or Graelent,) in the lay so denominated, 
steals the garments of the beautiful fsary. See the original, in the new edition of Barba- 
zan, (IV, 57,) and a beautiful translation in Way's Fabliaux, (I, 177.) The reader is 
referred for much curious information on the subject of mermaids to a note subjoined to 
the Danish ballad of Lady Grimild's Wrack, (relating the adventures of the present 


Ye are trained unto your death, into King Etzel's land : 

All who ride to Hungary their death may they not withstand." 

Up and spake Sir Haghen, — " Foully dost thou lie : 

How might it come to pass, when to the Huns we hie. 

That I, and all our champions bold> should to the death be dight ?' 

The Niblung knights' adventures they told unto the knight. 

Lady Hildburg spoke :• — " Tiirn ye back to Burgundy : 
None will return from Etzel, of all your knights so free ; 
None but the chaplaia of the king ; your cmel fate to tell. 
Back to Lady Brunhild comes he safe and well." 

Fiercely spake Sir Haghen to that prophetic maid, — 
" Never to King Gunter your tidings shall be said. 
How he and all his champion's must, die at Etzel's court.-.- 
How may we pass the Danube, ladies sage, report." 

" If yet thou wilt not turn back to Burgundy, 
Speed ye up the river's edge, where thou a house wilt see ; 
There dwells a ferryman bold ; no other .mayst thou find : 
But speak him fair and courteously^ and bear my saw in mind. 

" He will not bring you over, for savage is his moody 

If angrily ye call him, with wrathful words, and lewd : 

Give him the gold and silver, if he guides you o'er the flood : — 

Ghelfrat of Bavaria serves the championgoodi. 

" If he will not pass the river, call o'er the flood aloud. 
That your name is Amelrich : he was a hero proud. 
Who for wrath and enmity left Bavaria's land : 
Soon will he ferry over from the further strand." — 

Haghen then dis-sped him from the mermaids wise : 

The champion said no more, but bowed in courteous guise : 

poem, abridged,) translated by Mr Jamieson, which will be found in a subsequent part of 
this volume. 


He hied him down the river, and on the further side. 
The house of that proud ferryuaan quickly has he spied. 

Loud and oft Sir Haghea shouted o'er the flood : — 

" Now fetch me over speedily," so spake the hero good : 

" A bracelet of the rich red gold will 1 give thee to thy meed : 

To cross the swelling Danube full mickle have I need." 

Rich and right proud of mood was that ferryman bold ; 
Full seldom would he serve for silver or for gold : 
His servants and his hinds haughty of mind they were. 
Alone the knight of Tronek stood in Wrath and care. 

With wohd'rous force he shouted, that with the dreadful sound. 
Up and down the river did the waves and rocks rebound : — 
" Fetch ye oyer Sir Amelrich, soon and speedily. 
Who left Bavaria's land for wrath and enmity." 

A weighty bracelet on his sword the hero held full soon. 
That to the sun the gold so red fair and brightly shone : 
He bade him bring him over to the noble Ghelfrat's land : 
Speedily the ferryman took the rudder in his hand. 

O'er the swelling Danube rowed he speedily ; 

But when his uncle Amelrich in the boat he did not see ; 

Fearful grew his wrath , to Haghen loud he spake, — 

" Leave the boat, thou champion, or thy boldness will I wreak." 

Up he heaved the rudder, broad, and of mickle weight. 

And on the hero Haghen he struck with main and might ; 

In the ship he felled him down upon his knee : 
Never such fierce feiTyman did the knight of Tronek see. 

He seized a sturdy oar, right wrathful was his mood ; 
Upon the glittering helmet he struck the champion good, 
That o'er his head he broke the oar with all his might ; 
But for that blow the ferryman soon to the death was dight. 


Up started hero Haghen, unsheathed his trusty blade. 

Grasped it strongly in his hand, and off he struck his head: 

Loudly did he shout, as he threw it on the ground : 

Glad were the knights of Burgundy, when they heard his voice resound. 

During their fight, the ship had drifted down the river, and in endea- 
vouring to row himself ashore, he broke the rudder. He tied it toge- 
ther with his sword-belt, and at last succeeded to bring it to the land. 
Haghen himself undertook the ofiice of ferryman, and was employed 
the whole day in bringing over the host. When he espied the chap- 
lain, he thought to frustrate the prophecy of the mermaids, and threw 
him into the river. The friar, however, reached the opposite shore 
in safety, "and returned to Worms. The whole army being ferried 
over, Haghen destroyed the ship j and being asked by Dankwart, why 
he thus prevented their return from the Huns, he answered, that it 
was done to frustrate any opportunity for cowards to fly. 

Adventure XXVI. How Ghelfrat was slain by Dankwart.-— 
Haghen now acquainted the heroes with the prophecy of the mer- 
maids, and the death of the ferryman ; and it was resolved to march 
with the greatest circumspection ; Folker commanding the van, and 
Haghen, with Dankwart, the rear. The following night, the latter 
was attacked by the Bavarian dukes Ghelfrat and Else, with seven 
hundred horse, in revenge for the slaughter of their ferryman. Ghel- 
frat struck Haghen from his horse, but was himself kiUed by Dank- 
wart, upon which Else fled, with the loss of a hundred of his men. 

Having marched forwards all the night, they found a knight, who 
lay sleeping by the way. Haghen took away his arms, but returned 
them when he found him to be Duke Eckewart. The latter told them 
of the inimical disposition of his mistress ; but Haghen exclaimed, 
that they stood in need of no information, but where they might rest 
from the fatigues of the night. Eckewart informed them that they 
were near Bechelaren, the burgh of the hospitable Rudiger. 


Adventure XXVII. How the Nibelungen were received by Ru- 
DiGER. — Rudiger, with Gotelind and her beautiful daughter, welcomed 
the guests at the gate ; and the latter was instructed to salute'the three 
kings and the principal heroes ; but when Haghen was presented to 
her, she was appalled by his fierce countenance ; and it required the 
interference of her father, to make her shew due respect to the hero. 
During the feast, it was determined to give the beauteous Dietelind 
in marriage to Ghiseler, the youngest of the kings. When the guests 
were about to proceed on their journey, many gifts were distributed 
among them by Rudiger. Among others, he gave to Gunter a coat 
of mail, and to Ghernot a sword, which was fatally destined to end 
his own life. Haghen requested of Gotelind the gift of a shield, which 
had been borne by Nudung, who was slain by Wittich. • FoUcer, 
when he took his leave, played " sweet tones" upon his fiddle, and 
sung his songs before Gotelind, who rewarded him with six bracelets, 
which she stuck on his arm.* The news of the arrival of the Nibel- 
ungen were soon brought to King Etzel ; and Chrimhilt rejoiced in 
the near prospect of revenge. 

Adventure XXVIII. How the Nibelungen came to the Huns. — 
Old Master Hildebrand had informed Dietrich of Bern of the approach 
of the knights of Burgundy, and they proceeded to meet them on the 
road, where Dietrich gave the Nibelungen a full account of the una- 
bated sorrow of Chrimhilt, and warned them of its effects. When they 
arrived at Etzelenburg, the residence of Etzel, the queen received 
young Ghiseler with great affability, but took little notice of the 
others. When Haghen saw that, he tied his helmet faster. She asked 
what presents they had brought to her from the Rhine ; and Haghen 

■ This is the only mention of Wittich, who is the Achilles of the Wilkina-Saga, in this, 
poem. See page 31 of the Dissertation prefixed to this work. 

* Bracelets, in the times of chivalry, were not confined to the ladies, but frequently wora 
by knights. According to the learned Suhm, bracelets, twisted in a serpentine manner,, 
have been found in Scandinavia, of the weight of 159 ducats. 


replied scornfully', that he regretted not having brought hei* some gift 
from his own treasure. She asked him why they had not brought the 
Niblung treasure ? He replied, that it was suflScient for a knight to 
carry his armour and his sword. She bade them give up their arms be- 
fore they entered the hall, and when H^ghen and Gunter refiised, she 
discovered t}iat some one had warned the heroes, and swore vengeance 
against him ; but Dietrich took Haghen by the hand, and openly avow- 
ed that he had done it. Etzel asked who the fierce herb was whom 
King Dietrich led by the hand ; and when he heard his name, he re- 
collected that his father Aldrian had been his subject, and that Haghen 
and Walter of Spain, who. since eloped with Hildegund, had been his 

Adventure XXIX. How Haghen and Folker sat before the 
Hall of Chrimhilt. — Haghen took Folker aside, and they went to- 
gether across the court, and sat them down on a bench before the hall 
of Chrimhilt. When she beheld them, she wept bitterly, and com- 
plained to her sixty knights of the indignity, and what injuries Haghen 
had done to her. They offered immediately to avenge her, and to 
slay the two champions ; but she informed them that they were too 
few. They increased their number to a hundred, and went down to 
the court with Chrimhilt, who had told them they should have a con- 
firmation of his crijnes from the mouth of Haghen himself. When she 
approached, Folker wished to rise from his seat, but Haghen hinder- 
ed him, saying, their enemies would take it for a sign of their fear. 

'Twas then the hero Haghen across his lap he laid. 

Glittering to the sun, a broad and weighty blade ; 

In the hilt a jasper stone, greener than the grass: 

Well knew the lady Chrimhilt that Siegfried's sword it was. 

When she beheld sword Balmung, woe and sorrow did she feel : 
The hilt was of the precious gold, the blade of shining steel : 

' The adventures here alluded to are (related in the Latin epic analysed in this work, 
(p. 23,) and in the Wilkina-Saga, (chap, 85, etseq.) 



It minded her of all her woes : Chrimhilt to weep began : 
Well I ween Sir Haghen in her scorn the sword had drawD> 

Folker, knight of courage bold, by his side sat he ; 

A sl^arp and mighty fiddlestick ' held the hero free ; 

Much hke a glittering sword it was; sharp, and broad, and long : 

Fierce, without all fear, sat there the champions strong. 

Chrimhilt bitterly upbraided Haghen with the injuries he had done 
her, which he readily acknowledged. Mean time one of the Huns 
began to relate the deeds of Haghen (whom he had seen in his youth 
distinguish himself in two-and-twenty battles) to the others ; in con- 
sequence of which they resolved not to encounter the two champions, 
but departed from them in peace. Then Haghen and Folker rejoined 
the kings, and they all prpcepded to the hfiU of King Et?iel, who recei^ 
ved them with every mark of courtesy. 

Adventure XXIX< How Haghen and Folker guarded the Kings. 
— When night broke in, and the guests were retiring to the large haU, 
where their beds were prepared, Haghen undertook the guard, and 
Folker readily associated himself with him in the charge. 

Before the palace door Folker sat him on a stone ; 

Bolder and more knight-like fiddler ne'er shone the sun uppn : 

Sweetly from his strings resounded many a lay ; 

And many thanks the heroes to the knight of fame did say. 

At first his tones resounded loudly the hall around ; 
The champion's strength and art was heard in every sound : 
But sweeter lays, and softer, the hero now began. 
That gently closed his eyes full many a way-tir'd man. 

Folker having resumed his sword and shield, discovered helmets glit- 

' Continual jokes upon the musical accomplishments of Folker occour in the original, 
a few of which have been translated. 

2 C 


tering by the light of the moon. They were Tonights whom Chrim- 
hilt had sent to murdef Hagheh in his sleep. But when they viewed 
the hall door guarded, they retired, taunted for their cowardice by 
Folker, who wished to follow and attack them, but was prevented by 

Adventure XXXl. How the Kings went to hear Mass. 

" Cold grows my shirt of mail : I ween the mirky night 
Will soon be at an end, and the morning sun shine bright ; 
For I feel the air grows sharper." Thus Sir Folker spake. 
And soon the sleeping knights did the champiotis two awake. 

By thfe advice of Haghen, they prepared themselves to go to the 
church and hear mass, and for that purpose were about to put on rich 

But up spake hero Haghen :— ^ " Other garments must ye wear : 
Not dight with flow'rs and roses, glittering falchions must ye bear ; 
For your rich-gemm'd chaplets ' put on your helmets good : 
Well know ye, noble gentlemen. Lady Chrimhilt's angry mood. 

*' Fiercely must we fight to-day, and try our fortune soon : 
DofF your silken shirts, and gird your hauberks on ; 
For your spacious mantles must each one bear his shield : 
If ye meet your enemies, your weapons bravely wield." 

When King Etzel beheld his gu§sts in complete armour, he mar- 
velled greatly ; but Haghen disdaining to tell the real cause, pretend- 
ed it was the common custom of Burgundy. After the mass, a tour- 
nament was held; but Dietrich and Rudiger, when they saw the 
angry mind of the Nibelungen, restrained their knights from enga- 
ging among the others. Folker seeing a Hun arrayed in splendid ar- 

' In the original, schapel, from die French^ chapelet, a kind of diadem of gold, inlaid 
with pearls and precious stones. 



mour, could not restrain his wrath, but rode into the throng, and 
pierced him mth his lance. A general engagem^it began, which was 
interrupted by the interference of Etzel, who tHreateneid to hang any 
one who did harm to the guests from Surgiindy.^ The knights tkea 
proceeded into the palace, and sat down to dinner in complete ar- 
m6ur, every one mistrusting titic other. Chrimhilt endeavoured in vain 
to persuade Dietrich and Hildebrand to revenge her- upmi Haghen. 
Blodelin, Etzers brother, at last undertook the deed, a£ber receiwng 
the promise of large possessions, and the wife of N«d«ng, a king, who 
had been slsiin by Wittieh. Towards the end of the dinner, Ortiieb, 
the young son of Chrimhilt and Etzel, was brought in, and the latter 
expressed his wish that he might accompany the kings to Burgundy, 
and be educated at their court. But Haghen spoke lightly of him, 
and declared that he would full seldom go and pay his court to him 
if he came to Worms ; at which speech King Etzel was wroth,, and 
began to detest the knight of Tronek. 

Adventure XXXII. How Blodelin fought with Dankwart.— 
In the mean time Blodelin had assembled his knights, went to the 
haU where Dankwart dined with the squires, and immediately defied 
him. Dankwart denied having had any hand in Siegfried's death, but 
was notwithstanding assailed. At the very first blow he severed the 
head of Blodelin from his body ; and though few of the squires were 
armed, they at last sueceeded in driving out the Huns. But they re» 
turned, with two thousand others, and slaughtered all th& youths. 
Dankwart, however, fought Jus way through his foes, and at last reach- 
ed the haU where the kings and knights were dining, at the very mo- 
ment when Of tlieb was borne out of the hall-door. 

Adventure XXXIII. Hpw Dankwart brought the News of the 
Slaughter to his MASTERS.r-TWhen Dankwart was come -to the court, 
and had informed his brother aloud what had happened to him and 
his men, Haghen bade him keep the door, and prevent any one from 
ipscaping. He then began the slaughter, by striking pff the head of 


Ortlieb, which fell into his mother's lap. Fplker, as well as he, com- 
menced a dreadful battle ; but at the request of Haghen, he joined 
Dan kwa!rt, to guard the door. Chrimhilt began to be in fear of her 
life, when she saw the battle become general, and requested Dietrich 
of Bern to bring her out of the hall. That hero immediately leapt on 
the table, and demanded to be allowed to leave the hall with his 
knights. His request was granted, and he quitted the hall, bearing 
Chrimhilt under one arm, and Etzel in the other. Truce was also grant- 
ed by the interference of Ghiseler, to Rudiger and his champions. But 
when he was departed, no one was spared, and the Bufgundian he- 
roes soon found no enemy to oppose. No one distinguished himself 
like Folker. 

King fitzel cried, " Alas and woe, that to this feast they came, 
For there a feai'ful champion fights, Folker is his name. 
Raging like a savage boar ; a fiddler mad is he : 
Praised be my luck, that from the fiend safely I could flee. 

" Foully his lays resound ; his fiddlestick is red ; 

And ah ! the dreadful tones strike many a champion dead !" 

The champions of Burgundy threw the dead bodies, to the number 
of seven thousand, out of the windows, and with their spears prevent- 
ed any of the Huns on the outside of the palace from approaching 
them. Chrimhilt offered great riches to any one who would attack 
Haghen, but no knight seemed inclined to undertake the enter- 

Adventure XXXIV. How Iring was slain. — At last Iring, mar- 
grave of Denmark, resolved to encounter Haghen. Irnfried, land- 
grave of Thuringia, and Hawart, with a thousand men, would fain have 
accompanied him, but he prevailed upon them to let him proceed 
alone. Finding himself unable to slay Haghen, he successively at" 
tacked Folker, Gunter, and his two brothers, and then returned to 


Haghen, whom he wounded in the head, and returned to his country- 
men. But when he had rested a while he renewed the fight, and was 
killed by Haghen with a spear. Irnfried and Hawart, who went to 
revenge his death, were also slain by Folker and Haghen, and their 
knights shared the same fate. 

Adventure XXXV. How the three Kings spoke with Etzel and 

Chrimhilt of a TRucii. 

" Se ye proud of mood, my champions," Haghen aloud did say j 
" For aye the Huns shall rue that they brought us here this day ; 
Ever the feast shall they lament which the queen for us has dight : 
What boots it now to Chrimhilt that she brought us here to fight ? 

" Unlace ye now your helmets," so spake the champion ; 
" I, and my fellow, Folker, will shield you from the foen ; 
And if King Etzel's meiny dare try the combat bold, 
1 warn ye, noble gentlemen, your courage to unfold." 

There many goodly Icemps unlac'd their helmets good ; 
Down they sat them on the dead, (amongst the tide of blood,) 
Whom they had done to death in the sturdy fight : 
But soon of Etzel's noble guests fell many a hardy knight. 

Before the evening-tide. King Etzel did command. 
And so did Lady Chrimhilt, that the kemps of Hunnen^Iand 
Graithe them for the battle : and straight before them stood. 
Ready for the fight, twenty thousand champions good. 

In the hall, and eke without, a fearfull fight was fought : 

Dankwart, Haghen's brother, noble deeds he wrought ; 

To his enemies he leapt rathly through the door : 

When they ween'd he had bled to death, he was hardier than before. 

Ev'n till the night did sever them, they fought the fight of blood : 
The guests defended them, as noble heroes should, 


Against the dhampions of the Huns a full long summejr's day : 
Ho! how many a aobl^ blade .dead befor^ them lay! 

At the turn of summer * was done this m^rd'rous deed : 
'Twas for the Lady Chrimhilt the champions bold did bleed: 
There fell her nearest kindred, and many a man of fame ; 
For which King Etzel never more knew nor joy nor game. 

She never thought such battle fierce among -them would be fought ; 
For she had bent her mind all only to have brought 
To the death the hero Haghen ; but while his blood she sought, 
All this bloody mischief by the foul fiend was wrought. 

. Gunter and his brothers now issued before the hall, and demanded 
truce, which was refused to them by King Etzel. He was, however, 
willing to allow them -to come out and rest from the fight, but Chrim* 
hilt ordered her champions to drive them in, and set fire to the hall. 
The heroes of Burgundy, now reduced to six hundreds were driven to 
the last extremity. They had no means to quench the raging thirst 
caused by the fire, till, by the advice of Haghen, they drank the blood 
of their enemies.* Fortunately the hall-roof was arched, which pre- 
vented a general conflagration. They remained quiet till the momr 
ing, when they were attacked by twelve hundred Huns, allured by 
the offers of Chrimhilt, who were slain to the last man. 

Adventure 'XXXVI. How Rudiger was slain. — ^Rudiger was 
disconsolate to see such dreadful havoc among his. friends. A Hun, 
who saw him standing unarmed, upbraided him with cowardice, but 
was struck dead to the ground by the hand of the margrave. Both 
Jltzel and Chrimhilt used every prayer, an,d even fell on their knees, to 
persuade him to attack the Burgundians. Long did he deny their rer 
quest, pleading his friendship for them, and the hospitality which they 

' See the note on p.. 170. i 

» This circumstance has, been transferred, with considerable improvements, into the t>at 
nish ballad of Lady Grimild's Wrack, printed in this volume. 


had enjoyied in hi* house. At length the tears of Chrimhilt prevailed, 
and be prepared himself and his men, \dth heavy hearts, for the attack. 
He told the knights of Burgnndy to get ready to withstand him, and 
informed them that he was only petsttaded to it by the commands and 
entreaties of Etzel and Chrimhilt. Haghen told him that the shield 
he had presented to him at Bechelaren was hewn to pieces; and 
Rudiger insisted that he should accept the one he then bore in re- 
turn. Touched with the generosity of the gift, Haghen vowed not 
to attack Rudiger, and Folker followed his example. The battle be- 
came generail, and was very bloody. In the end, Ghernot and Rudi- 
ger met. The latter wounded his Opponent in the head mortally, but 
was in return struck dead by the very sword he had given to Gher- 
not. The remainder of Rudiger's knights were slain, one after ano- 
ther. When Chrimhilt heard that the noise had ceased, she supposed 
that Rudiger had made his peace with her brothers, and upbraided 
him aloud for his treachery. But Folker shewed her his dead body, 
and she began to despair of accomplishing her vengeance. 

Adventure XXXVII. How Dietrich's Champions were slain.-*- 
A champion of Dietrich of Bern heard the lamentations of the Huns, 
and dreading that Etzel himself was slain, communicated his fears to 
his master. Wolf hart, the nephew of Dietrich, and one of his bravest 
knights, offered to inquire the truth of the Burgundians ; but the hero 
of Bern fearing his rashness, sent Helfrich, who returned with the in- 
telligence that the noble Rudiger had been slain. Dietrich then or- 
dered old Hildebrand to demand the dead body. Wolfhart and all the 
others prepared themselves to accompany him, notwithstanding the 
command of their master to the contrary. When they entered the 
hall, and found Rudiger lying dead, their lamentations were exces- 
sive, and Wolfhart could not refrain from insulting the heroes of Bur- 
gundy, who had reftised delivering the body* Folker answering him 
in the same style, he broke loose from Hildebrand, and struck the 
fiddler a mighty blow, but was felled down by him in return. Nothing 
could now restrain the heroes from the fight* Folker slew Sighestab, 


another nephew of Dietrich, and was himself slain by Hildebrand, 
Ghiseler and Wolf hart gave the death- wound one to the other ; and 
at length no one remained on either side, excepting Haghen, Gunter, 
and Hildebrand. The latter endeavouring to carry off' the body of 
the brave Wolfhart, was put to flight by the knight of Tronek, and 
communicated the disastrous intelligence to his master, that he alone 
of all his champions remained alive. 

Adventure XXXVIII. The Death of Gunter and Haghen. — » 
Dietrich armed himself, and went to the hall where Gunter and Ha- 
ghen stood among the dead, and demanded that they should yield 
themselves prisoners to him. They refused ; upon which he attacked 
Haghen, and after a fierce combat, wounded him severely, bound him 
down, and brought him prisoner to Chrimhilt, to whom he gave, him 
in charge, conjuring her not to take his life. Then he returned to 
Gunter, and commenced another combat with him. At length he 
also succeeded in binding him, and dehvering him to Chrimhilt, who 
caused him to be taken to a separate prison. Dietrich then departed, 
loudly lamenting. 

Chrimhilt. offered Haghen his life, if he would discover the Niblung 
treasure ', but he refused, saying, he had taken a strong oath not to re- 
veal the place, and well knowing that Chrimhilt would never pa,rdori 
the offences he had committed against her. 

" Then I'll bring it to an end," spake the noble Siegfried's wife. 
Grimly she bade her meiny take King Gunter's life. 
Off they struck his head ; she grasped it by the hair: 
To the woeful kemp of Tronek the bloody head she bare. 

"Vy^hen the sorrowing hero his master's head did see. 

Thus to Lady Chrimhilt spake he wrathfully : 

" Thou hast brought it to an end, and quenchedthy bloody thirst ; 

AH thy savage murders 1 prophesied at first. 

" The noble king of Burgundy lies welt'ring in, his bloody 
With Ghiseler anjl Folker, Dankwart and Ghernot good. 


Where was sunk the Niblung treasure knows none but God and I : 
Never, thou fiend-like woman, that ti-easure shalt thou nigh." 

" Foully hast thou spoken/' thus she spake«with eager word ; 
" But still I hold in my right hand Balmung, that noble sword. 
That bore my Siegfried dear, when by your treacherous deed 
Basely he was murdered ; nor shall you the better speed." 

From out the sheath she drew that blade so good and true ; 

She meant the noble champion with his life the deed should rue : 

Up she heaved the falchion, and off she struck his head. 

Loudly mourned King Etzel, when he saw the hero dead. 

He wept and mourn'd aloud : " Oh woe ! by woman's hand 
Lies low the boldest champion, the noblest in the land. 
Who ever shield and trusty sword to the bloody combat bore ! 
Though he was my fiercest foe, I shall mourn him evermore." 

Up and spake old Hildebrand, — " Thus she shall not speed ; 

She has dared to strike the champion dead, and it's I will 'quite the deed. 

Full oft he wrought me wrong, oft I felt his direful wrath ; 

But bloody vengeance will I have for the noble hero's death." 

Wrathfully Sir Hildebrand to Queen Chrimhilt he hied : 

Grimly he struck his falchion all through the lady's side: 

In sooth she stood aghast, when she viewed the hero's blade : 

What might her cries avail her i On the ground the queen fell dead. 

There bled full many a champion, slaughtered on that day ; 

Among them Lady Chrimhilt, cut in pieces, lay. 

Dietrich and King Etzel began to weep and mourn. 

For their kemps, and for their kindred, who there their lives had lorn. 

Men of strength and honour welt'ring lay that morrow ; 
All the knights and vassals had mickle pain and sorrow. 
King Etzel's merry feast was done, but with mourning did it end : 
Thus evermore does Love with pain and sorrow send. 



Whal sithence there befd, I cannot sing or say- 
Heathens bold and Christians full sorely wept that day, : , 
With many a swain and lady, and many maidens young. — 
Here ends the tale adventurous, hight theiNiblung song.' 

' The MS. in the Munich library has been followed in the concluding stanza, out of 
which, in the Hohenembs MS., two are formed, containing mere repetitions and needless 


This is a isiilgular appendix to the Song of the Nibelungen, probably 
added by a later hand. It is not in the same metre as that poem, but 
in eight-syUable couplets, and contains 4566 lines. The contents are 
not such as to require a regular analysis. In the beginning the adven- 
tures of the Nibelungen are shortly recapitulated ; after which King 
Etzel is introduced, accompanied by Dietrich of Bern and Hildebrand, 
searching for the fallen heroes among the ashes of the hall where the 
combat had taken place, and lamenting over every one of themj as 
they discover their features. The general dulness of these lamenta- 
tions is sometimes interrupted by passages of considerable merit; 
from which the following is selected, to give the reader some idea of 
the best parts of the poem, and of the versification. It occurs at verse 
1843, and the translation is nearly Hteral : 

Sir Dietrich viewed with mourning cheer> 
Dead on the ground his champions dear : 
Loud he inourtied the herbes true. 
When their hlood-stain'd forms he kne*^. 
There his bold nephew Wolf hart lay. 
Slaughtered on that bloody day ; 


Red his beard and fierce his mien, 
Welt'ring in the gore was seen. 
Dietrich wept full mournfully 

The fall of all his chivalry. 

Wolf hart clenched his ghtt'ring brand 

Firmly in his bloody hand : 

In many a fight that noble blade 

Had struck the fierqpst champions dead. 

Not Dietrich nor old Hildebrand 

Could grasp the falchion from his hand. 

Till with iron tools tHey drew 

From his clench the weapon true. 

" Woe and alas !" Sir Dietrich said, 

" Who now shall bear thee^ noble blade ? 

Never such blows of might and main 

In battle shalt thou strike again. 

As when to kings and heroes brave 

Strokes of death Sir Wolf hart gave." 

Sir Dietrich' sTied full matiy a tear 

Where Ihe chumpiok Vithout jfe^r 

III the gory* flood lay drfenchfed. 

Firmly iiis teeth together clenched. 

. 1/ J 

After the burial of all the . heroes, and of the:dead of every descrip- 
tion, King Etizel, by the advice of Dietrich and Hildebrand, collected 
aU the armour and horses of the skin, ^and sent thenx to the countries 
from -^rhence they had come. When Gnnte^'s arms,' and those of his 
brothers and champions, were brought to Worms, 'Bftwihild repented 
her treachery to Siegfried too late, and Queen Uta died of grief. The 
son of Brunhild and Gunter was crowned king. In the mean time 
Dietrich of Bern, to the great sorrow of King Etzel, returned to his 

The poet expresses his wish to be able to give an account of King 
Etzel further, but, says he, " Some say he W£|,s killed in battle, which 
others deny. I have never been able to ascertain whether he suddenly 

disappeared, or was taken up into the air j if he was buried alive, or 



was taken up into heaven, or fell out of Ms skin, or shut himself up in 
caves among the rocks, or fell into an abyss, or, finally, if he was swal- 
lowed up by the devil." 

The minstrel proceeds to inform us, that Pilgerin, the bishop of 
Passau, in honour of his nephews, the three Burgundian kings, caused 
their fate to be registered in the Latin tongue by learned clerks, as it 
was related to theiy by fiddlers, (i. e. minstrels, heralds ;) and that his 
clerk Conrad, who has made many poems in the German tongue, also 
wrote the present romance, 



See the Dissertation on Ancient Teutonic Poetry and Romance, pp. 6, 24, 26. 

The Original. 
Ik gihorta that seggen, that sih urhettun 
aenon muotia Hiltibraht enti Hatubrant 
uDtar heriuntuem. Sunu fatarungo iro saro 
rihtuu : garutun se iro guthhamun ; gurtun 
sih iro suert ana helidos ubarringa. 

Do si to dero hiltu ritun, Hiltibraht gima- 
halta Heribrantes sunu (her uuas heroro- 
man ferahes frotoro, her fragen gistount fo- 
hem uuortum) wer sin fater wari, fireo in 
folche, eddo welihhes cnuosles du sis ; ibu 
du mi aen ansages, ik luideo dre uuet. 

Chind in Chunineriche, chut ist min alir, 
min deotjHadubrahtgiinahalta, Hiltibrantes 
sunu; dat sagetun mi unsere liuti alte anti 
fote, dea ^rhina warun, dat Hiltibrant 
hsetti min fater, ih heittu Hadubrant. Fo^^ 

Eccard's Latin Translation. 

Audivinarrare, quod constituerint pariter 
Hiltibrahtus et Hatubrandus in expedition- 
em ire. Patrueles ambo equos suos prepa- 
rabant : Induebant vestes suas militares ; 
appendebant gladios suos capuli annulis 

Cum ad coadunationem exercitus perge- 
rent, Hiltibrahtus, Heribrandi filius, (erat 
is ex primoribus, et vir animse sapientioris, 
quaestionesque proponebat brevibus verbis) 
• interrogabat [Hatubrahtum] quis pater il- 
lius esset. [Die mihi, inquiebat] cujus po- 
puli aut familiae sis s quod si mihi ilium in- 
dicaveris, ego dono [tibi] tres vestes. 

Princeps [^sum] in Hunorum regno, nota 
est aetas mea [et] gens mea, inquiebat Hat 
dubrahtus, Hiltibrandi filius ; id indicarunt 
mihi homines nostri senes et sapientes, qui 
ante nos fuerunt, Hiltibrandum appellatuni 



her Ostar gih, ueit floh her, Otachres nid, 
hi na miti Theotrihhe enti sinero degano 
filu. Her furlaet in lante luttila sitten, prut 
in bure, bam unvvahsan, arbeo losa. Hera 
Ostar hina der sid Detrihhe, dar bagi stuon- 
tum fatereres mines, dat was so friuntlos 
man, her was Otachre ummettiri, degano 
dechisto, unti Deotrichhe dar bagi stontun : 
her was eo folches at, ente imo was eo fe- 
hetati ; leow chud was her chonnem man- 
num ; ni waniu ih, ju Hb habbe. 

Wertu Irmin Got, quad Hiltibraht, oba- 
na ab heuane, dat du neodana halt, mit sus 
sippan man dine ni gileitos. Want her do 
ar arme w^untane bouga, Cheisuringa gitan, 
so imo seder Chuning gap, huneo truhtin: 
Dat ih di nit nubi huldi gibu. 

Hadubraht gimalta, Hihibrantes sunu: 
Mit geru seal man geba infahan, ort widar 
orte. Du hist der alter him ummet, spa- 
her spenis mih, mit dinem wuortun wilihi 
ih di nu spera werpan. Pist also gialtet man, 
so du ewiii in wit fortdr. Dat sagetun , mi 
seolidante Westar, ubar Wentilsep dat man 
wic furnam : Totist Hiltibrant, Heribrantes 

Hiltibraht gimahalta, Heribrantes suno : 
Wela gisihu ih ih dinem hrustim, dat, du 
habes heine herron goten, dat du noh bi 
desemo riche reccheo ni wurti. Wela ga 
nu, waltant Got, quad Hiltibrant, we wfirt 
sMhit, ih wiUota sumaro enti wintro sehstic 
urlante, dar man mih eo scerita in folc sceo- 

fuisse meum patrem, ego nominor Hadu- 
brandus. Antequam in Orientem iret, ini- 
micitiam is fugiebat, Odoacri iram, ferme 
cum Theoderico et suorum militum multis. 
Rellnquiebat in patria parvulos, eonjugem 
in thalamo, filium tenellum, hereditate ca- 
rentem. [Pergebat] versus orientem post 
hsec ad Theodericum, ubi contentiones fer- 
vebant patrui mei, qui amicis carebat, et 
erat Odoacro viribus impar ; miles [aliasj 
optimus, usque dum Theodericus ibi decer- 
tabat ; erat idem olim populi pater, et ipsi 
dim erant diviti8e ; amice cognitus erat for- 
tibus viris ; non puto, quod vos superstitem 

Bone Deus Irmine, inquiebat Hiltibrah- 
tus, summo de coelo, quod tu inferius susti- 
nes, cum tam arete cognate viro contraver- 
siam non concedes. Devolvehat tunc de 
brachio suo plexa monilia, annulosque Im- 
peratorios, quos ipsi antea Rex, dominus 
ejus, dederat [opto, inquiens] ut nihil tibi 
nisi grata largiar. 

Hatubrahtus Hildebrandi filius ajebat: 
gratanter accipienda sunt dona ; acies vero 
contra aciem vertenda est. Tu aetate illi 
dispar es, artificiose me seducere tentas, sed 
tuis verbis ego te convincam. Tu adeo pro- 
fectae aetatis es, ut aetate prior sis illi. Hoc 
dixere mihi naufragi, in Oceidente in man 
Mediterraneo, quod praelium susceptum sit : 
Mortuus est Hiltibrandus, Heribranti fi^ 

Hiltibrahtus, Heribranti filius responde- 
bat : Video jam in armis tuis, te habere nul- 
lum Deum, et sub hoc regno vindicatorem 
[patris tui] non futurum. Qiiod bene nunc 
rertat, omnipotens Deus, ajebat Hiltebrand- 
us, cujus jussa fiunt, peregrinatus sum aeg- 
tates et hyemes sexaginta extra patriaro. 


2 If 

tantero, so man mir at burc enigeru banun 
ni gifasta : nu seal mi suasat chind suertu 
hauwan breton mit sinu billiu, eddo ih imo 
ti banin werdan ! Doh maht du nu aodlihho, 
ibu dir din ellenta oc, in sus heremo man 
hrusti giwinnan rauba bi hrabanen, ibu du 
dar enic reht habes. 

Der si doh nu argosto, quad Hiltibrant, 
Ostar-liuto, der dir nu wiges wame, nu dih 
es so wSl lustit. Gudea gimeinunniu, se 
demotti, wer dar sih, dero hiutu hrelzilo 
hrumen muotti, erdo desero brunnono be- 
dero waltan. * 

Do lettun se aerist asckim scritan scar- 
pen scurim, dat in dem sciltim stont. Do 
stop'tun tosamane staimbort chludun, hSfiun 
harmlico huitte scilti, unti im iro lintun lut- 
tilo wurtun giwigan miti wambnun. 

ubt seligebar inter turmam sagittariorum, 
nee in uUa civitate pedibus meis vineula in- 
jectasunt : nuncautem eonsanguineus prin- 
caps collum mibi late feriet bipenni sua, aut 
ego pedes ipsius vinciam ! Poteris tamen 
facilius, si virtus tua tibi augebltur, inviri 
adeo venerandi armis acquirere manubias 
de oeciso, modo justam aliquatenus eausam 

Ille sit omnium Orientalium ignavissimuB^- 
ajebat [porro] Hiltibrandus, qui tibi nunc 
pugnam dissuadeat, quando illam tantopere 
desideras. Boni concives, estote judicantes, 
quisnam sit, qui hodie campo eedere, aut 
has duas loricas habere debeat. 

Mox tela tam valido impetu progredi fa- 
ciebant, ut in scutis haererent. Inde eoUi- 
debant lapideos cuneos sonoros, [et] attol- 
lebant inimice alba scuta, usque dum ip^is 
lumbi paulisper commoverentur una cum 

The following translation has been made immediately from the German, and has been 
rendered as literal as language of the present day can be made to approximate to that of 
the seventh or eighth century. As the fragment is evidently written in the dialect of the 
northern parts of Germany, now denominated Plat-t, or Low Grerman, which was once 
nearly identical with the Anglo-Saxon, a great number of the words have been rendered 
into such as, with little variation, existed in the old English and Scottish. 

I heard it related that Hiltibraht ' and Hatubrant with one mind agreed to go on a 

' Eccard gives the following derivation of this name. Hilde, coadunatio, congregafio, exerdtus, 
and braht, (in the present German language, pracht,) pompa, splendor ; hence Hildebraht, societatis 
splendor. 'The name is, however, generally spelt Hildebrand, which signifies, acies exerdtus, and 
this is the more probable etymology 

2 £ 


warlike expedition. The relatives ' made ready their horses, prepared their war-shirts,* 
girded on their swords [which were fastened] at the hilt with chains.' 

As they rode to the rendezvous of the host, Hiltibraht, Heribrant's son, inquired (he 
was a man of hosts of wise mind : he put questions with few words) who was his [|Hatu- 
brand's] father, '< and of what people thou art : If thou tellestme, I will give thee three 

" [I am] child (prince)* in the Hunnish realm ;S known is ray age, my people," said 
Hadubraht, the son of Hiltibraht ; " that our people aged and wise told me, who were in 
former times, that my father hight (was called) Hiltibrant, I hight Hadubrant. In for- 
mer times he proceeded eastwards : enmity fled he, the envy (rage) of Ottocbar (Odoa- 
cer;) it [his flight] being with Theoderic and many of his blades (champions.) He left 
behind in his land few dwelling ; bride in hour (his wife in child-bed ;) an ungrown bairn 
(child) without inheritance. He [wandered] eastward after this to Theoderic, where 
contentions stood (happened) to my father. He was such'a friendless man, was unequal 
[in power] to Ottochar : [he was] a valiant champion, till Theoderic there ggt into con^ 
tentions. He was once his people's father, and once he possessed fees (dominions :) 
dearly was he known to bold men. I do not ween that he have life (that he lives."*) 

" Worthy (dear, beloved) Godlrmin,"^ quoth Hiltibraht, " above from Heaven, which 
thou boldest below, with such related man do thou not concede battle." Then he wou'nd 
from his arm twisted bracelets, imperial rings made,° which formerly the king, his lord, 
had given him : " That I give thee not, if not with good will," 

' Sunu fatarungo, literally, sons of [the same] fathers, 

* That is, shirts of mail. From guth, war, and ham, hemd, shirt. 

^ The swords of ancient horsemen were generally fastened with chains. 

♦ Chind, kind, child, infante, son of noble extraction. The word was used in this sense almost in 
every language of Europe. 

' The Hunni are denominated Chunnim many of the ancient authors. 

^ In several passages of this literal version I have considerably differed from the Latin of Eccard. 
In the present instance I have very little doubt that the interpretation of that learned antiquary, as 
well as his Teutonic text, is erroneous. Every one in the least acquainted with old manuscripts 
knows that the u and the n are generally not to be distinguished, except from the context. He 
reads : " Ni vvaniu ih, ju lib habbe," which he translates, Non puto, quod vos superstitem habeat. 
We should certainly read, " Ni waniii ih, jn lib habbe," literally, £go non puto, ilium vitam haberf. 

^ The god Irmin, or Arminius, must not be confounded with the valiant conqueror of Varus. He 
was the Mars of the Gothic nations, and was also denominated Erich, whence Friday (dies Martis) 
was named Erichsdag, the day of Erich. The celebrated Irminsul, (pillar of Irmin,) which was de- 
stroyed by Charlemagne, was placed at Eresburg, (Erichsburg, viz. the burgh of Erich, or Irmin,) now 
Stadburg, in the ci-devant bishopric of Paderbom, in Westphalia. Leibnitz identifies the god Ir- 
min with Arimanius, an evil god of the Persians, and thence derives the national name Herminimes, 
pr Germani. 

^ That is, made for the emperor. Eccard seems to have conceived these imperial rings to have 
differed from the bracelets mentioned before; but the terms are probaMy synonymous, and the se- 
cond only introduced to give an account of their prigin, having been given by the "emperor to Theo- 


Hadubraht, the son of Hiltibrant, said, " Gladly gifts should be received ; ord (spear's 
point) against ord. ' Thou art unequal to him in age. Craftily thou seekest to deceive 
me ; with thy own words will I refute thee.* Thou art a man so aged, that thou far ex- 
ceedest him [in age.] Sea-sufferers ' told me, that westwards, beyond die Wendel-sea,* 
war was undertaken. Dead is Hiltibrant, Heribrant's son." 

Hiltibrant, the son of Heribrant, said, " Well I see in thy arms that thou hast no Lord 
God, and that under this reign thou wilt be no avenger [of thy father.] ' Well give now, 
(Turn thou this to good,) wielding God," quoth Hiltibrant, " whose word is done. I 
wandered summers and winters sixty out of [my] land ; there they detached me among 
shooting people (archers;) never in any burgh (city, castle) fastened they my legs: [but] 
now my nearest relation will hew my neck with his bill (battle-axe,) or I entangle his legs 
(tie him as a captive.) Yet may'st thou now easily, if thy valour should encrease, from 
a man so to be venerated gain prey of the dead, if thou there (in this cause) hast any 

" May he now be even the worst," said Hiltibrant, " of the Eastern people, * who would 
warn (dissuade) thee from the battle, now thou desirest it so greatly. Good fellow-citi- 
zens, be judges who it be that this day must quit the field of battle,^ or who will have 
both these brunies (hauberks) in his possession." 

Then they first let ashen [spears] fly with rapid force, ° that they stuck in the shields. 

deric, and by him to Hildebrand. The Teutonic word bouga still exists in the French hague, and 
was probably formed from beugen, to bend. 

' The Anglo-Saxon word horde, or orde, is used for the point of a epear or a sword, in the Romance 
of Alexander, (Metr. Rom. Edin. 1810, vol. I.) 

They metith heom with speris hordes, (v. 932.) 

The horn is scharp as a sweord. 

Both by the greyn and at ord. (v. 6537.) 

That is, ' both along the edge and at the point.' The meaning of the text is probably, " Gifts should 
be gratefully received, [but at present] the point of one spear [is to be opposed] against that of an- 
other." I prefer this interpretation to another which has been su^ested to me, viz. point forpointi 
another gift is to be returned for the one received. 

* The literal meaning of the text is, " with thy words will I now throw spears [against] thee." 

^ This is the literal meaning of seolidante, (seeleidende.) I have again differed in this place from 
the interpretation of Eccard. The reader is left to the choice of either version. 

* This is a frequent appellation given to the Mediterranean by the Goths, which was probably call- 
ed so from the Wenden, or Vandal nation. 

^ This is the most obscure passage in the whole fragment, and a corruption in the MS. is strongly 
to be apprehended. 

^ Eccard explains the Ostar-liuto as the Ostfalen, or Saxons, in opposition to the Westphalian 

^ In the original, hrelzilo, that is, " the aim of lances," the space measured out for the two oppo- 
nents to gallop against each other, with their lances in rest. 

* Literally, " with sharp schoure." The latter word occurs in a similar way in Kyng Ah'saunder, 
quoted above : 


Then they thrust together resounding stone-axes;' they wrathfidly heaved white shields, 
till their loins were slightly moved with [their] bellies.' 

Hit is beter that we to heom [to the enemies] schoure. 
So long so we may dure. (v. 3722.) 

' Staimbort, in the original, is composed of stein, stone, and barte, securis manualis, (whence the 
word hellebarte, halbert.) This is a very early allusion to the stone-axes, or celts, still found in vari- 
ous countries. Eccard has given a long note on the present passage, which he has illustrated with 
engravings of various stone-axes used by the Goths and other nations, that have been found in 

* Wambun, wombs. The word is used for belly in Kyng Alisaunder, (v. 6622,) and wambe is 
still employed in the same sense in the Scottish dialect. 



This poem has not been translated for its intrinsic merit, which is very inconsiderable, 
but for the reasons specified in the Introduction, (p. 21 and 26,) and also because it seems 
to have formed a portion of the original Book of Heroes, to which it forms no unapt sup- 
plement. In the translation, both the German and Danish copies have been consulted, 
and though the difference between them is but trifling, any variations in the latter, which 
were deemed improvements, have been adopted. In the original, the son of the old 
knight bears his father's name. The Danish ballad, which in this point has been fol- 
lowed, calls him, in conformity with the Wilkina-Saga, (see the Introd. p. 37,) Alebrand. 
The German copy occurs in Eschenburg's Denkmaeler, (p. 437,) and in the Knaben Wun- 
derhorn, Berlin, ,1806, (p. 128,) but the former copy is far better. The Danish ballad 
is preserved in the Ksempe Viser, 1695, (p. 67-) 

Ich will zu Land.ausreiten 

Sprach sich Meister Hildebrant; 

Der mir die weg will weisen 
Gen Bern wol in die Land i &c. 

« It's I will speed :me far away," cried Master Hildfebrand; 
" Who will be my trusty guide to Bern, in the Lombard land? 
I have not passed the weary road since many a day, I ween ; 
For more than two-and-thirty years Dame Utta have I not seen." 

Up and spake Duke Amelung, — " If thou wilt ride to Bern, 

Who will meet thee on the heath f A youth right brave and stem* 

Who wiU meet thee on the march J ' ' Alebrand the young ; 

Though with twelve of the boldest knights thou pass, thou must fight that hero strong." 

' March, borders, frontier. . At present the word is only used in the plural. 


" And if he break a lance vrith me in his high and fiery mood, 
I will hew asunder his buckler green, that fast shall stream his bI6od : 
Asunder his hauberk will I hew with a slanting blow of might ; 
I ween for a year to his mother he will plain him of the fight."— 

" Nay," cried Dietrich, lord of tiern, " battle shalt thoU not wage 
Against the youthful Aldbrand, for in sooth I love the page. 
I rede thee, knight, to do my will, and ask him courteously 
To let thee pass along in peace, for the love of me."-^ 

When he rode through the garden of roses, right on the march of Bern, 
He came in pain and heavy woe with a hero young and stern : 
Against him rushed, with couchant lance, a hero brave and bold :- 
" What seek'st thou in my father's land I say on, thou champion old. 

'' A bruny clear and bright thoh bear'st, like sons of mighty kings ; 

I ween thou deem'st to strike me blind with thy hauberk's glittering rings^ 

Bide at home in quiet, I rede thee, man of age; 

Sit thee down by thy good fire-side !" — Loud laughed the hero sage. 

" And why should I in quiet be, and sit by the chimney-side ? 

I have pledged me, night and day, to wander far and wide ; 

To wander o'er the world, and fight until my latest day : 

i tell thee, young and boasting knight, for that my beard grows grey." 

" It's I will pull thy beard of grey, I tell thee, ancient man. 
That all adown thy furrowed cheeks the purple blood shall run : 
Thy hauberk and thy buckler green yield without further strife; 
My willing captive must thou be, if thou wilt keep thy life." — 

" My hauberk and my buckler greeil, i'enown and bread have gain'd. 

And well I trust in Christ on high, in the stour my life to defend." — 

They left their speech, and rapidly drew out their falchions bright, 

And what the heroes bold desired, they had in the bloody fight. 

I know not how Sir Alfebrand dealt a heavy slanting blow. 

That the ancient knight astounded at his heart with pain and woe. 

And hastily he started back seven fathoms far, I ween, — 

" Say, did not a woman teach thee, young knight, that dint so keen ?"— " 

« Foul shame it were if women taught me to wield the brand : 
Many a gallant knight and squire dwell in my father's land ; 

" This lady, as Eschenburg conjectures, is perhaps Chrimhilt. See the third book of the Book 
of Heroes, and the Song of the Nibelungen. 



Many earls and knights of high renown in the court of my father dwell. 
And what I have not learnt as yet, they can teach me right and well."'^ 

^' He who will scour old kettles, black and fiiul his hands will be : 
Even so, young kemp, from the champion old, will soon betide to thee; 
And quickly shalt thou shrive thee upon the blooming heath, 
Or else, thou youthful hero, thou must graithe thee for thy death."—' 

He caught him by the middle, where the young man weakest was, 
And heavily he cast him behind him, on the grass, 
" Now say to me, thou champion young, thy confessor will I be ; 
If thou art of the Wolfing race, thou shalt gain thy life from me."-^ 

" Thou speak'st to me of savage wolves, that roam the woods about ; 
Of noble Grecian blood I came, of high-bom champions stout: 
My mother is I«ady Utta, a dtfchess of main and might ; 
And Hild^brand, the ancient kemp, my dearest father hight."— t 

" If Utta be thy mother, who rules o'er many a land, 

I am thy dearest father, the ancient Hild^brand." 

Soon has he doffed his helmet green ; on his cheek he kissed the swain; 

" Praised be God we ar« sound and safe, nor ever will battle again,"— 

" Father, dearest father mine, the wounds I dealt to thee. 
Gladly would I bear them thrice on my head, right joyfully." — 
" Oh, bide in quiet, my gentle son ; my wounds will soon be well ; 
But thank'd be God in Heaven ! we now together will dwell."— 

The fight began at the hour of pone, they fought till the vesper-tide : * 

Up rose the youthful Al^brand, and into Bern they ride : 

AVhat bears he on helmet .' A little cross of gold ; 

And what on his right hand bears he ? His dearest father old. 

He led him into his mother's hall, set him highest at the board. 

When he gave him meat and drink, his mother cried aloud, with angry word, 

" Oh, son, my son, so dear to me, 'tis too much honour to place 

So high a captive champion, the highest at the deas."-^ 

' This and the following stanza are improperly reversed in the German ballad. They are regu- 
lated as in the text in the Kaempe Viser. 
* The hour of none is three o'clock in the afternoon ; vesper-tide at six* 


" Rest in quiet, my mother dear ; let him sit at the table head : 

Upon the blooming heath so green ' he bad well nigh struck me dead. 

Oh, hearken, lady mother mine ! captive shall he not be ; 

It is my father, Old Hildebrand, that kemp so dear to thee." — 

It was the Lady Utta, her heart was blythe and glad ; 
Out she poured the purple wine, and drank to the ancient blade. 
What bore in his mouth Sir Hildebrand ? A ring of the gold it was. 
And for his lady. Dame Utta, he has dropped it in the glass. 



Translated Jrcm the Danish. 

J. HE reasons for inserting a translation of this ballad in this place have been already ex- 
plained in the Analysis of the third Division of the Book of Heroes, (page 122, note 1.) 
As has been there remarked, the incidents are closely copied from the adventure of 
Wolfdietrich with the dragons. The Danish ballad-singer has substituted for the latter 
hero, his grandson, Dietrich of Bern, and has ignorantly confounded the emperor Ot- 
nit with the renowned Siegfried, whose fall is very differently related in the German and 
Scandinavian romances. The value of the ballad is not great, but there is something 
whimsical and ludicrous in attributing the gift of speech to the lion and the dragon. 

Det var Mester kong Tidrich, 

Hand skuldefra Bern udride : 
Derjant hand den Lowe og lede Lind-Orm, 

Saaynckelig monne de stride. 

Den Lindorm hand tog en af, Sfc. ifC. 

The royal Master Tidrich 
Sped him to ride from Bern : 

A lion he found and a laithly worm. 
Fighting the battle stem. 

• That linden-worm is one of the numerous appellations for the ideal monster usually called the 
dragon, has been already observed, (p, 60. note.) 



They fought a day, and they fought two. 
Till the third at night they fought ; 

But then the laithly linden-wonn 
To the ground the lion brought. 

In his need the lion cried. 

When the valiant king he viewed, 

" Help me, and shield me from the worm, 
Tidrich, thou champion good. 

" Free me for thy high renown. 
And for thy royal might; 

Free me for the golden lion 
Thou bear'st in thy buckler bright. 

" Come to my aid, thou noble king, 
I conjure thee by thy name ! 

With gold am I painted in thy shield, 
Burning like a flame." 

Long stood the royalliero; 

It thought him well and right, 
" I will help the lion in his need. 

Whatever may betide." 

It was the bold King Tidrich 
Drew out his falchion good : 

He fought with the laithly linden-worm; 
His sword stood deep in blood.' 

The noble lord no longer bode, - 
He hewed with might and main ; 

Deep in he thrust his blade of steel. 
At the hilt it broke in twain. 

The lind-worm took him on his back. 
The steed beneath her tongue ; 

Bore them into the hollow hill. 
To her eleven young. 

She cast the steed before them j 
To a cave she bore the knight :— 

' Hans svasrd stoed alt i blod. 

APPENBIX m. 2£7 

** Eat up the little morsel. 
While I rest me from the fight. 

« Eat up the prey, though small it be, 

While I rest me from the stour. 
And when I from my sleep awake. 

The man ye shall devour." 

The royal Master Tidrich 

Sought all the hill around ; 
There that noble falchion 

Hight Adelring he found. 

There he found that trusty blade, 

And two knives were burnished bright ^- 
" God rest thy soul. King Sigfred ! 

Thou here to death wert dight, 

" I have been with thee in lord-like hosts, 

In many a bloody strife; 
Never have I known that here 

Thou hast lost thy noble life." 

And now the royal hero- 
Would try the sword of fame ; 

He hewed into the rocky sides. 
That the cave stood all in flame. 

But when a dragon young beheld 

The flames gleam far and wide, 
" Who dares disturb the hostess 

In her own chamber i" be cried. 

Angry grew the dragon young. 

And he raised him wrathfuUy, 
" Who dares disturb the hostess 

In her own house i" cried he. 

He told it to the other young worms^ 

Where in the cave they lay :-!- 
" If our mother old awake; . 

It's thou shalt rue the day," 

Up and ^pake the royal knight, 
Uis mind in turmoil deep,. 


" Thy mother with an i^npouth dream 
Will I wake, out of her sleep. 

" Thy mother slew King Sigfred, 
That high renowned sire; 

Soon, with this haqd, upoij ye all, 
Will I wreak my vengeance dire." 

Up awoke the lind-wprm old. 
And her heart began to fear ; — 

" Who dares so boldly wake me? 
What sounds are those 1 hear?" — 

« 'Tis I, King Tidrich, lord of Bern ; 

Fain \^ould I speak to thee. 
Yestreen, beneath thy curled tail. 

To thy cave thou carried'st me." — 

" Oh, kill me not, thou noble king ! 

Lo, here the precious gold; 
I ween 'twere better we abide 

Thy friends, thou champion bold." — 

" I will not trust thy lying tongue ; 

Thou fain wouldst me beguile ; 
Full many heroes hast thou done 

To death with thy evil wile." — 

" Hear, thou royal champion, 
Oh! strike me not to death ! 

It's I will shew thee thy true love. 
Who lies in the cave beneath. 

" Search high above ray head, 
Thou wilt find the little key ; 

Search low beneath my feet, 
And enter the cave with me." — 

" Above thy head will I not search. 
But there the fight begin ; 

Nor will I search below thy feet. 
But there the battle win." 

First he killed the laithly linden-worm. 
And then her eleven young ; 


But he could not leave the hollow hill 
For the laithly dragon's tongue. 

Soon he digged a hole so deep. 

His left foot straight before. 
That he might not lose his life 

In the venomous dragons' gore. 

And now against the lion 

Cursed the hero bold : 
" Shame and woe befal him. 

With curses manifold ! 

" Right cunningly the wily beast 
With wrong has me beguiled ; 
' Safely my steed had borne me hence, 

Were he not on my shield." 

But when the lordly lion heard 

The wailing of the knight, — 
" Stand thou fast, King Tidrich ; 

I dig with all my might." 

The lion he digged, and the hero struck, 

That the rock stood all in fire ; 
And had not the lion digged him out. 

He had died with sorrow and ire. 

'Twas he had slain the laithly worm. 

And her eleven young ; 
Quickly he left the hollow hiU, 

With his shield and hauberk strong. 

And when he had sped him from the cave. 

For his courser 'gan he mourn ; 
For now he had killed the laithly worms, 
He would fain to Bern return. ' 

" Hearken, thou royal champion, 

And mourn not for thy steed : 
Leap upon my back so broad ; 

I will bear thee in thy need." 

' This is not literal. The original is too prosaic, and runs thus : 

Faa hannem torde hand vel lide, 
De hafde hver andre'frist. 


The lion bore him o'er the dales, 
And o'er the meadows green ; 

Gently through the forests dark 
He bore the king, I yreen. 

The h'on and King Tidrich' 
Together did they go, 

For each had saved the other 
From sorrow and from woe. 

When the king beyond his marches rode^ 
By his side the lion sped; 

But when in royal hall he sat, 
In his lap he laid his head. ' 

He was called the knight of the lion ; 

With honour the name did he bear;. 
And ever until their latest day 

They held each other dear. 






R. JAMIESON, A.M. and F.A.S. 


A ENGLA [l.]lOD. 



During the present writer*s residence on the continent, there was 
published at Edinburgh a Collection of Popular Ballads and Songs, 
which he had made with a view of doing somewhat towards the illus- 
tration of the real state of traditionary poetry, as well as of preserving 
some pieces of that kind which he had procured, and which appeared 
to be curious and interesting. Circumstances did not admit of that 
work being prepared for the press with due care and diligence ; and 
to the Editor*s omissions and commissions, which were great and ma- 
nifold, others were added in consequence of his absence, while the 
work was at the press. However great were his regret and mortifica- 
tion for having suffered his first publication to come into the world in 
so undigested a state,: after it was once before the public, the evil ad- 
mitted only of one remedy. In order to apply, this, he collected 
a very large assortment of Popular Poetry in the Danish,' Swedishj 
German, Slavonic, Lettish (Livonian,) and Esthonian languages, from 
which he began to make translations, with a view of publishing an 
Appendix to his Miscellany, correcting the errors of the first work^ 
and adding as much as possible to its value. With this he continued 
from time to time to amuse his leisure, till at last the Appendix swelled 

2 G 


out to the size of a large volume. As the success of the volumes al- 
ready printed has been at least no greater than their merit ; on re- 
turning to this country, he readily embraced the opportunity of in- 
serting his translations in the present work, in which they will appear 
along with other more important things, with which they are in their 
nature intimately connected, as they tend mutually to illustrate each 
other, and are still, in their present form, most likely to fall into the 
hands of those more especially for whom they were originally in- 

Such is the brief history of the following tales, so far as concerns 
the Translator. How far they may be found to answer the end pro- 
posed, will best be seen, when they have all been laid before the pub- 
lic. To most readers in this country, they have at least the merit of 
novelty ; and it is presumed wUl, rude as they are, not be found alto- 
gether uninteresting to those who are fond of .tracing human nature 
through those darker paths of history, where siich lights, however ob- 
scure, are desirable, because we have no surer guides to follow. If 
the department which they fill is an inferior one, still theit evidence 
comes in veiy opportunely where other evidence fails ; and it is much 
to be regretted, that the fastidiousness of taste has too often induced 
historians, in more cultivated ages, to overlook these rude, but strongly, 
characteristic monuments of the times that are gone by. The legieiids 
of a rude people are, it is true, when first produced, wild and striange, 
like themselves 5 and when preserved only by tradition, soon become 
extravagant and confused, furnishing but very insufficient data for 
establishing the certainty of political events ; they afford, neverthe- 
less, the only pictures which remain of the ages which gave rise to, 
and which preceded them. If we see how things are at present, and 
feel a laudable desire to know from what origin they arose, through 
what gradations they have passed, and how they came to be moulded 
into the form in which we find them, we must look for the state of 
our forefathers, " carminibus antiquis, quod unum apud illos memo- 
.jjae et annalium genus est.'" Considered in this hght, the very ex- 

' Taciti Germania, cap. 2. 


travagance of the productions of the Scald, Bard, and Seannachy adds 
not a little to their value ; and the rational inquirer into the History 
of Man and of Mind, will be much more pleased and instructed by 
learning what were the habits, ideas, prejudices, and superstitions of 
the fabulist who composed and recited, and of his audience who heard 
and were gratified, than he could possibly be with a list, however ac- 
curate, of a series of Kings and Heroes, whether they lived in caves, 
in cotitages, or in castles. The general outlines of human nature 
are nearly the same in all ages and countries, in all stages of civiliza- 
tion, and in all ranks of society : it is the multifarious and ever-vary- 
ing details arising from education, habit, and circumstances, that is 
interesting.;^ Of this the more that we know, the wiser we have the 
means of becoming ; and if we do not also become the better, the 
fault is not in the knowledge, but in our appHcation of it. 
. If so high a value is set upon a coin of hardly any intrinsic worth, 
v/^hich exhibits a legend scarcely legible, and figures so disfigured 
as to be barely recognizable, merely because it assists conjecture, and 
throws an obscure light upon some unimportant event ; how much 
more precious must the Saga or Romance be, which exhibits even 
fictitious characters, if it furnishes a picture either of the manners of 
the times which produced it, or of the opinions entertained by the 
men of those times respecting their neighbours, or those who inha- 
bited distant regions ? 

To those whose lot it has been to live in a cultivated age and coun- 
try, it becomes of importance to know not only what their forefathers 
in distant periods did know, but also what they did not know ; and 
even the errors and credulity of a comparatively barbarous people are 
no less instructive than amusing. Had Thucydides been a Spartan, 
a Theban, or a Persian, he would probably have represented many of 
the events which he has recorded, in a very different manner from 
what, as an Athenian, he may be supposed to have done ; yet his his- 
tory is, perhaps, beyond any other merely human production, inte- 
resting, because he tells what he had the best means of knowing, and 
the events which he commemorates have affected, at one time or an- 


other, in a greater or less degree, almost all the nations of the earth. 
Yet valuable as his memoirs are, and great as is the pleasure resulting 
from the confidence in his veracitj' with which we read them, who 
does not rejoice that the " Muses" of Herodotus also have so long 
survived the goddesses after whom they were denominated ? This is 
not written with a view, of exalting fable at the expence of truth, but 
of allotting to each its proper province, use, and application. 

The name of Herodotus naturally suggests a period in the history 
of all nations, which have risen from a state of unsettled barbarism to 
civilization and refinement, which is intimately connected with the 
subject now under consideration. What Herodotus was among the 
Greeks, Snorro Sturleson, Adam of Bremen, Saxo Grammaticus, and 
the earlier prose annalists of the. North were among the Goths. They 
collected, like him, such, materialsas genius and superstition furnished, 
andin such a state as the lapse of time, and the changes of men and 
manners, in their country, had left them.; and, fortunately for succeed- 
ing ages, the impression of the truth, or at least probability, of the 
wonders they had to relate, arising from the implicit acquiescence 
with which they had heard these legends repeated from their earliest 
infancy, was too strong to give way either to the severity of religion/ 

' Many of the earlier apostles and ecclesiastical dignitaries of the North were foreigners. 
They found the half-converted Goths still strongly attached to.their ancient superstitions, 
particularly magic and runic charms. Tablets and books, containing all the supposed 
mysteries oiBlach or Magic Runes,twere common; arid were held in a reverence which 
the preachers of . Christianity found it very difficult to excite among a rude and unsettled 
people, for the doctrines which they could but imperfectly illustrate in a language which 
was but imperfectly understood. Partly from ignorance and want of taste for the contents of 
the books and monuments which these, zealous strangers found in Scandinavia, and partly 
with a view effectually to remove one powerful obstacle to that great, and no doubt salu- 
tary change, which they meditated introducing into the manners and faith of their disci- 
ples, these good fathers /Condemnedindiseriminately, without trial or examination, every 
tiling committed to .writing in pagan times, whether in parchment, wood, or stone, that 
they could come at. Not only temples andimages, but books of poetry, the monuments 
of the dead, with their inscriptions, and every -relic of past times that was peculiarly re- 
vered bys the people,. was. represented as monstrous and horrible, the invention of the ene- 
my of mankind himself, leading to certain damnation, and to be effaced without mercy. 
Thus the poetry and antiquities of Scandinavia suffered more fi-om the ill-managed zeal of 
these men, than those of Wales are said to have done. from the politic fury of anambitious 
. conqueror.^ 


or the pride of learning. This gives an additional charm to their nar- 
ratives ; for the best historian that can be expected to arise during the 
first dawn of true learning, in a barbarous age, is he who, 

" Lest they meet his blasted view, 

". Holds each strange tale devoutly true ;" 

and the talents, learning, and industry of Oluf Orm, the two Mag- 
nuses, Rudbeck, Verelius, Peringskiold, Vedel, Syv, Pontoppidan, 
Suhm, Holberg, and the other illustrious worthies of northern litera- 
ture, have never been employed to better purpose than in examining 
and illustrqjting the productions of their predecessors, and the mate- 
rials which they made. use of. Such materials are^ to a certain extent, 
tfii0us farrago libelli. We come late in time, and are only gleaners in 
a wide field, the harvest of which has already been gathered into the 
barns of the learned ; yet rude and uncouth as are the productions 
which we propose; to bring forward, they seem to us to have a certain 
claim to dignity and respect, as- being the most genuine examples re- 
maining of a species of composition which we consider as having been 
at one time the. production off the first efforts of human genius, the 
vehicles of all knowledge, human and divine, and the foundation and 
ground-work of all that is now -most admired in the most cultivated 

The Narrative Ballad we believe to be the oldest of all composi- 
tions ; and we are not induced to alter our opinion by all that has 
been said of love and innocence, and of golden, pastoral, and patri- 
archal ages.' It is natural to suppose, that the first ebullitions of ge- 
nius and fancy were prompted by admiration, and shewed themselves 
in celebrating the praises either of gods or of men. These praises 

' We fear much that the poetical progression of ages ought to be-rieversed, and to be- 
gin with the- /rsK. At least the case is so iw the world at present, in which we find ^wo- 
ranee of all things the least simple, amiable, safe, and-desirable to be connected with. 
Violence, weapprehend, is as old as selfishness and property; and the warrior's club and 
horn of more venerable antiquity than the shepherd's crook and pipe. 


were founded upon actions such as were then most admired; for men 
learnt to act sooner than to think ; and abstract virtues, as well as ab- 
stract ideas of virtue, are of slow, and therefore of late growth. These 
actions furnished the story, and the composition was short ; for sa- 
vages do not dehght in unnecessary exertion, where necessity gives 
them so much to do ; and copious eloquence, whether in poetry or in 
prose, is always connected with leisure, and a regular state of society^ 
Between sacred and profane poetry, in its first rudiments, there is lit- 
tle essential difference j as the characters of divine and human na- 
tures, according to the crude conceptions of an unenlightened people, 
are but ill distinguished from each other, and their attributes, and 
even their essences, are constantly blended, mingled, and confounded 
together; in so much, that a tale of the iactions of gods, if the names 
are but changed, may be equally read as a tale of the actions of men. 
It is highly probable that the songs of Orpheus and Linus, if any 
such remained, although the production of an age of comparative re- 
finement, would tend strongly to illustrate this ; and the hymns as- 
cribed to Homer are themselves either legendary odes or ballads on 
actions and adventures of the gods, described as men, or scraps of 
pieces containing only simple allusions to actions which were gene- 
rally and popularly known. They seem to be a curious specimen of 
one species of rhapsodies, such as those of which the lUad and the 
Odyssey are a splendid tissue. ~ Such was the poetry of the Greeks be- 
fore they ceased to be Gothic ; and such certainly was the more anti- 
ent poetry of the Goths in the West, before they became in their ha- 
bits and ideas Romano-Grecian, as all the civilized nations of Europe 
to a certain degree now are. 

If these assumptions are allowed, we naturally conclude that the 
first poetical productions were short narrative odes, celebrating one 
principal event. Every event had its own separate ballad or rhap- 
sody. This rhapsody was always introduced by some general intima- 
tions respecting the subject, and after being sung, was followed by a 
detailed prose accpunt of the various circumstances connected with 


it.' This practice seems to be as old as the use of numbers and stu- 
died compoisitiori. ' It formed a principal part of the entertainment at 
the beginning or close of an expedition ; celebrated the praises of the 
dead, and roused the living to emulate their deeds, or revenge their 
fall ; amused the Sea Kjng and his confederates as they rested upon 
their oars, waiting for the appearance of the star that was to di- 
rect their course, or, when they moored their barks in a creek, and 
kindled their evening fire under a rock, till the moon should rise to 
light them to their prey ; it often agreeably suspended the boisterous 
merriment of the hunter or warrior at the long-protracted winter even- 
ing's carousal ; and, being a favourite amusement and dekctamenhtm 
Mice, during the short intervals of rational relaxation, which the lives 
:of a bold, adventurous, and unsettled race of men allowed of, it ever 
•changed its character with the times, and was at all times popular and 

While the ruling powers were petty chieftains, each independent of 
the other, presiding in a single district, tribe, or family, and acting for 
himself, their actions, like the lays that celebrated them, were abrupt 
and desultory. ' Their sphere was too confined, at least in its general 
influence, and their state too precarious, either to give rise to long and 
elaborate details, or to produce a relish for them. But after many 
petty dynasties were subjected to one head, when dukes, kings, and 
■emperors, in the detail of administration, committed the truncheon, 
the sword, and the balance to delegated hands, the great events of the 

* This is still the practice in the Highlands of Scotland, in Ireland, the Isle of Man, and 
Wales ; and we believe in every other country where such productions are preserved by oral 
tradition. " I have prefixed," says Mr Syv, in his Preface to the K. Viser, " short notices 
to some of the ballads, and annexed such explanatory notes as seemed to be required ; 
thus following in my publication the usage of those by whom these ditties ■ have been 
handed down to us, who were accustomed first to sing the ballad, and when they had 
finished, to relate the story, with all the circumstances connected with it, in prose. The 
explanation was called JJrskyring, a word still in use in the Islandic language. This 
manner of giving text and commentary tended to impress the tale upon the memory, and 
facilitated the traditionary preservation of these relics ; and it is to such materials, handed 
down in this manner from one to another, that we are indebted for the historical labours 
of Adam of Bremen, Snorro Sturleson, Saxo, and Erishop Absalon." 


time assumed a different aspect, and formed a more connected series 
of events. The state and safetjr of the monarch, with- all the circum- 
stances connected with a more settled, extended, and complicated po- 
lity, kept constantly about the palaces and castles of the great, a large 
train of retainers, of knights and dames, who, being now restrained by 
a stronger hand, were subjected. to a more orderly and regular deport- 
ment, and to that jealous, stately, punctilious, and dignified formality^ 
which characterised the ages of chivalry. But the proud and impatient 
liegemen, thus brought together, sacrificed much of what was dearest 
to their habits and th^ir wishes, in attending the court of a sovereign^ 
where they 

" Were eich from home a banished man ; 
" There thought upon their own grey towery ■. 
" Their waving woods, their feudal power, 
" And deemed themselves a shameful pact 
" Of pageant which they cursed in heart." 

Such fiery and indignant spirits were to be soothed and flattered^ and 
reconciled to their dependence, by every possible means. Hence, du- 
ring the intervals of remission from war, huntings, hawkings, tourna- 
ments, masks, and mummeries,, jugglers and players of anticks, and, 
above all, Minstrels^ were employed; to arrest the attention, and beguile 
the tediousness inseparable from a. state of leisure, with a people whose 
minds were rude and uninformed; and whose sources of more quiet, 
retired, and rational enjoyment were few. The subjects of history and 
poetry now became more extended ; and a connected series of events 
required a connected series of narratives. But the subject bard, who 
celebrates recent events, must touch the harp in the presence of a des- 
pot, however liberal, with a trembling hand : entertainment was what 
was principally aimed at by the minstrels of all ages ; and remote 
events gave more scope and liberty to the imagination, in adorning the 
narrative with whatever, of strange and. wonderful, was most likely to 
excite interest and admiration in rude minds. Hence the detached tales 


or ballads of the " olden time," with the traditions which accompanied 
them, were assumed as a ground-work. These were arranged and de- 
corated according to the taste, fancy, talents, or knowledge of the com- 
piler, worked into a long " perpetuum carmen," such as the leisure of 
the hall and bower could now tolerate, and indeed called for; and 
formed a cifchis of events, often extending to a narrative of twenty or 
thirty tl^pusand. verses, thus forming the Longer Romance of the ages 
of chivalry. This kind, of composition being once in vogue, more re- 
cent subjects were assumed, and treated in the same manner; In times 
in which the Reverend Bishop, the relative and associate of " knights 
and barons bold," often exchanged the mitre and crosier for the hel- 
met and spear, and laid aside the crucifix to grasp the battle-axe, the 
legends of ^romantic heroism were no less popular in the monastery 
than in the palace ; and the leisure of the cloister, co-operating with 
the taste of the hall, tended to preserve and bring them down to a very 
late period.. , But when the learning of the better days of Greece and 
Rome was once more introduced into Europe, a new light wa» poured 
upon the minds, of men j their sources of intellectual enjoyment were 
extended and multiplied j their manners and condition, and Avith them 
their taste and ideas, were changed; and the extravagant fictions 
which had lately been their delight, now became tedious and dis- 

But although the refinements of the court now rejected the amuse- 
ments of ruder periods, the peasant still continued to be, as he must 
be in every country, comparatively simple and rude ; and the min- 
strel now 

" Tuned to please a peasant's ear, 

" The harp a king had deign'd to hear." 

But the minstrel, however welcome a guest, could not long sojourn in 
the cabin of the poor rustic, nor would the leisure of the latter admit 
of his listening to long stories ; and the song naturally 

" Was sad by ^^* ; by starts 'twas wUd ;" 


And so the long; romance, in itself a cychs of detached: adventures, 
-gradually fell to pieces, and relapsed into, its :original. state, giving rise 
to a. number of distinct narrative odes, ballads, or rhapsodies. — Such 
is our iapinion.of±he origin, of that kind of ppetry. which we have pro- 
iposed to illustrate.' ...Indeed it seems highly probable, fhatthis kind 
of lesser tale was at all times a favourite with the vulgar j and that many 
<of .those which have reached our .times have claims (could Jjiey no\«ir 
be properly adjusted) to a very high antiquity. 

.. Having premised thus much concerning the narrative baUad in ge- 
neral, it may not be improper now, as the book is little, if at lall, known 
in this country, and. the pieces, it fcontaiiis have so singular a resem- 
blance in all. fespects to the legends of the same class among us, to 
give a short account qf .tha Danish KjEmpe Viser,' or Heroic Songs, 
from which the. greater. part.. of- the^-following translations have been 
made. The.edition which has been used. is that of lj695ii b^ the Keve- 
jeead Andrew Syv,* from. whose prefe.ce. the following account of the 
Barkis digested.. It contains, two Jhundred pieces, the first centenaS-y 
of which w;as published ih. 1591, at the rBqijesEt of Sophia Queen of 
Denmark, to whom,, it was dedicatedyby the Reverend Andrew Sot 
Jcehson ^e^el, or "Veile, an, intimate, friend, of -the celebrated Tyge 
Bfahe,^ and chaplain to the king in Copenhagen, iand afterwards. ffis- 
toriographer for Denmark, and pastor of Ribe Cathedral and Kahick ; 

' The full title is, " An Hundred Select Danish Songs, concerning all manner of war- 
like and other singular Adventures which have happened in this Kingdom with old Cham- 
pions, illustrious Kings, and other distinguished Persons, from the Time of Arild, down to 
the present Day ; to which are added. Another Hundred Songs, concerning Danish Kings, 
Champions, and others, with No^es both !amjj^ng.and.instnuctive annexed. By his Royal 
Majesty's most gracious Authority. Copenhagen,i^c.,169S." 

■* In " Popular Ballads and Songs, &c. 1806," he is erroneously called Sai/, instead of 

V- ^^ ' - ...... .-,., ..... .,:,f r..,.,.' 

'•' *' Sophia Queen of Demhark,^ having been for several days storm-stayed at Knutstr'up, 
whither she had gone to see TygeBrahe'siobservatory and astroijomical'apparatus, and ex- 
pressing, in conversation with the astronomer, a desire that the heroic. songs,, which she \^as 
very fond of, might be preserved, Mr Vedel was recommended by his friend to her ma- 
jesty as a fit person to undertake that task ; and this was the first prigin of the collection 
entitled " Ksempe Viser." 


a very industrious aiid curious antiquary, who died in the year 1616, 
aged 74.' In republishing these, Mr Syv made no alterations in the 
text or notes, &,rther than correcting errors of the' presp, and adding, 
in a fewof thii pieices, sonie stanzas from MS. collections of ballads. 
* The second centenary Afras^^Ueeted by Mr Syv, as he informs us, 
from the dead and the living ; jfrom MSl^s. and oral tradition. o " Some 
of the ballads," he says; " that have already; been printed separate, and 
Jtrie now difficult to'^be procured, are inserted, both to preserve them, 
arid make th6in more easily accessible, and to render the coUectipn 
more complete. Some of them hive been eked out, and others cur- 
tailed, although not by me. It would h'avle been easy to have improved 
those of the middle ages, in the nieasure and rhymep ;,ibut I anj. of 
opinion that it is mnch better to leave them as they are, in the vener- 
able rudieness of their ancient simplicity, with all their unmeanii^g 
burdens and expletives.*^ 

}' The first hundred are divided by Mr Veile into three parts ; and 
I have divided the second hundred into two ; the first half concerning 
kings, great lords, and personages of the first rank ; and the second, 
concerning persons of distinction also, although of inferior note. They 
miglit have been divided into domic, or such as end fortunately, and tra- 
gic, or such as end unfartuSnately ; or into sacred and profane. Of the 
sacred kind we have abundance, such as, " Adam he was so rich a Man," 
&c. &c. &c. ; but many of them contain miracles and extravagancies 
which are not to be found in the Bible ; as, in Job's Song, where he 
gives the riiihstrel's scabs Scorn his sores, which are converted into 
gold ; which'fabulous circumstance is introdiifced in- a painting in, the 
chapel of Roskild cathedral ; and in theiSojag on the Nativity, in which 

» Besides these hundred songs, he has published a Chronicle of the Popes in Rh3Tne^ 
Saxo in Danish ; Adam of Bremen, with Latin notes ; Funeral Eulogy over King Fridrik 
the Second, in Danish, with a chronological Table of the Occurrences of his Reign, — with 
other Funeral Sermons; concerning the Sfev;en5ages of Greece, with other small Tracts ; 
besides several Danish chronological and historical works, which he left behind him ia - 
Msi ' 


Herod says, that he would no more believe what is told of the won* 
derous birth, than he would believe that the roasted cock that lay be- 
fore him on a dish would crow; on which the cock immediately 
clapped his -wings and crew, and Herod, thunderstruck at the pro- 
digy, tumbled from his stool C throne,) &c. &c. &c. 

" Among the rest are many smaller pieces of little intrinsic merit, 
but which, being found in better company, it is hoped may be allowed 
to pass. Although each of these relics, considered separately, may, to 
many readers, appear hardly worthy of preservation, it must not be for- 
got, that it is not for such readers alone that this collection is made ; and 
that, by bringing a number of these pieces together, we consider our- 
selves as fiirnishing our part of evidence, such as it is, for the illustra- 
tion of our ancient histories and sagas, manners and language. We 
write neith-er for the learned, who do not want our information, nor 
for the ignorant, who cannot profit by it ; but it is hoped that we have, 
upon the whole, produced a farrago, in which readers of all descrip- 
tions may find something which may be read with pleasure and 

So far the worthy pastor gives a very just and modest account of 
his work ; and the last paragraph, digested from the conclusion of his 
preface, speaks so truly the sentiments of the present writer respecting 
his own views and motives in making the following translations, that it 
leaves him little farther to say upon the subject. The " Kaempe Viser" 
is indeed a most curious and interesting work, and, for the age and 
country in which it was produced, deserving of all approbation. The 
editors had little of profit or of praise to look for ; and the ballads, to 
save room, much to our convenience and satisfaction, are printed in 
stanzas, in the manner of prose, as church hymn books and stall bal- 
lads are still printed in Germany and in the North. We are the more 
desirous to do justice to this work and its editors, because it seems to 
be known in this country only by name, and has been mentioned by 
some of the northern antiquaries in such a manner as was not likely 
to excite any very lively interest. A new edition of it, however, was 
several years ago undertaken by the learned Professor Nyerup of Co- 


penhagen ; but whether, in the present calamitous state of that unfor- 
tunately-situated country, it has been published, we have not been able 
to ascertain. It is hoped, at least, that the very praise-worthy editor 
has taken care to obviate the objections made to it, which were prin- 
cipally levelled at its inaccuracy, as being a work of no historical au- 
thority. So far as dates, places, and persons, are concerned, this ob" 
jection is certainly just ; but who would look for this kind of accuracy 
in a popular ballad ? Even in the ages in which bards, scalds, and min- 
strels, (by whatever name they are called,) were the only preservers of 
the records of time, truth was cpnstantly blended with the most extra- 
vagant fictions and exaggerations. Most of these fictions, with the 
incidents which they embellished, have perished, or become difficult of 
access : 

<« Yet fragments of the lofty strain 

Float down the tide of years, 
i As buoyant on the stormy main 

A parted wreck appears." \ 

The songs mentioned by Tacitus, in his account of the Germans, 
those collected by the order of Charlemagne, and those which the 
Goths brought with them out of the East, are now not to be found j 
yet it is more than probable., that much more of them is preserved, in 
however altered a form, than we are aware of ; in the elder Northern 
and Teutonic Romances, the Danish and Swedish, Scottish and Eng- 
lish Popular Ballads, and those which are sung by old women and 
nurses, and hawked about at fairs, in Germany. To shew the intimate 
connection which these haA'e with each other, is the principal object 
in view in this publication j and the jnaterials brought forward for 
this purpose have in general one merit at least, that of being altoge- 
ther new, in any form whatever, to. most, if not all, of our readers. 

As to the execution of tiie part of this work assigned to the present 
writer, he begs leave to observe, that he wishes himself to be consi- 
dered rather as a commentator and editor, than a poetical translator ; 


for his translations ttetttselves have beeii done, to the best of his abi- 
lity, in such a manner as to supersede the necessity of illustration j 
and such pieces have been SiClected as might best illustrate, eg^chother, 
as well as the general subject of our ballad romance and traditionary 
poetry. Where there seemed to be occasion' for throwing light uppn, 
or preserving the memory of, peculiar usages, superstitions, &c. notes 
have been subjoined. 

As to the dialect adopted in these versions, he is under considerable 
anxiety, being aware that it may be received with diffidence, and its 
propriety questioned. They were written in Livxjnia, after a residence 
of upward of twelve years in England, and four on the continejitj 
and it will with justice be concluded, that he must have lost much of 
the natural facility in the use of his native dialect, which is above all 
necessary for poetical narrative. Of this he is himself sufficiently sen- 
sible ; and therefore would never have attempted to adapt it to origi- 
nal composition ; at the same time that he is far from considering it 
as a valid objection to his undertaking his present task. Having cul- 
tivated an intimate acquaintance with the -Scottish language in all its 
stages, so far back as any monuments of it remain, he might be supposed 
to have some confidence in his use of it. If in his translations -he has 
blended the ditilects df different ages, he has at least endeavoured to 
do judiciousl/'^vhat his subject seemed to require of him, in order to 
preserve as entire as possible, in every particular, the costume of his 
bflginals. This is one of the strongest-features, of resemblance between 
the Northern and Scottish Ballad, in which there is founda phraseo- 
log/ which has long been obsolete in both countries, and many- terms 
not understood by thoSe who recite them, and for the meaning of 
which we must refer to the Norse or Mandic^of the eighth and -ninth 
centuries. On the other points of resemblance, it -^ill not be neces- 
sary to say any thing, as they must strike every attentive observer ; 
nor can the style which has been-atdopted be more satisfactorily justi- 
fied, than by informing the reader, that the general cast of structure, 
diction, and idiom, has been so Sedulously followed, that, for whole 
stanzas together, hardly any thing has been altered but thearthogra- 


phy. How easy a task this was, wilLbe seen from the Swedish Popu- 
lar Ballad which -we have given With an intercalated Scotish prose 
translation, in the introduction to " Fair Midel." 

Of the manner in which a style so singular was formed, and the 
causes to which it is owing that its identity has been so long preser- 
ved among nations that have for aiany ages had no such intercourse 
with each other, as was likely to have, in any degree, affected their 
popular poetry, this is not the plafee to speak ; as any thing we may 
have to advance on that subject must be more satisfe.ctory, aftet a largel: 
body of evidence has been laid before the public ; and it wiU then be 
the I'^s necessary, if we shtAl be found to have furnished the reader 
with sufficient data, from wh^gh to judge for hims6lf. In the tfiean 
time, enough has been done, not only to excite curiosity, but, We 
hope, in a considerable degree, to gratify it. We have at least the 
merit of pointing out where ptoper materials are to be found ; a,nd if 
the subject should bp tJaken up by some more able hand, we Shall be 
aaraoBg the first to encourage the undertaking, and to rejoice at its 

. Wie shall now conclude this article with some conjectures which 
have su^ested themselves to us in the xjourse of our investigations of 
the nature of traditionary poetry; and, giving them with all deference, 
as -mere harmless ;conjectures, leave the reader -to decide for himself. 

There rmay be remarked in all the Scottish and Danish itraditionary 
ballads, -a ^frequent and almost unvaried recurrence of certain terms, 
epithets, metaphors, and phrases, which have obtained general cur- 
rency, and seem peculiarly^dedicated to this -kind of. composition. The 
same ideas, actions, and circumstaflces are almost uniformly expressed 
in the same forms of words ; and -whole lines, and even stanzas, are so 
■hackneyed among the reciters of popular ditties, that it is impossible 
-to gives them their due appropriation, and to say to which they origi- 
nally belonged. Although this feature is also distinguishable in Our 
longer romances, it is but very faintly marked in such as have not been 
•in their time treated as traditionary legends. This fact, and the cause 
of it, are so obvious, that we should not have considered it as deser- 


ving of notice here, were it not for the light which it seems to throw on 
a subject the most interesting of all others to the classical and poetical 

It seems to be not merely a characteristic of simple composition, 
such as may be expected to be produced in a rude age, and among a 
rude people, but to be decidedly the reigning distinction of tradition- 
ary poetry, in whatever language, country, or age ; and we consider 
the want of it in the poems ascribed to Ossian, as one of the strongest 
evidences of the disingenuousness of Macpherson, and of the care and 
industry which he has bestowed in working up his slender materials 
into the form in which they have been given to the world. That an 
Ossian would, in describing the same sg^nes and circumstances, have 
perpetually varied his forms of expression, and added or with-held cer- 
tain minutice, so as to produce an endless variety, may be possible, but 
is certainly very improbable ? but that his^ compositions could have 
been preserved in that state by tradition, during a period of fifteen 
centuries, in spite of local, habitual, and political changes, is a suppo- 
sition too absurd to be contended for. 

But although Macpherson, writing in a cultivated age, when the 
rules of correct and elegant composition were familiar to every school- 
boy, has banished these characteristics from the poems which he has 
ascribed to Ossian, they are every where distinguishable in an emi- 
nent degree in the Iliad and Odyssey ; while they are found in no 
other effusions of the Greek muse, except where they are evident imi- 
tations, not of the style of the ages in which they were produced, but 
of the two great models and treasures of heroic and mythological fic- 
tion above-mentioned. This never appeared to us in so striking a 
light, till we had perused the traditionary rhapsodies. of the Danes and 
Swedes, after cultivating an intimate acquaintance with those of our 
own countiy, and comparing them with the more ancient written re- 
mains of the Scandinavian* and British Muse. 

' We do not mean hereto insinuate, that aU the iVowe poetry which has come down to 
us, was committed to writing by the scalds who composed it, or that all of them could 



We are disposed to Jiook upon the Iliad and Odyssey, then, as 
" perpetua carmina," compacted from various materials of different 
ages, nations, dialects, and tongues, and constituting a methodized, 
corrected, and new-modeUed anthology of all the best traditionary, 
heroic, narrative, and mythological poetry that came within the reach 
of the compiler. Of the Fable which he has so admirably decorated, 
it is probable that he had as little certain knowledge, as he had of the 
history of Bacchus, Hercules, or Jason, or as we have of that of Brute 
the Trojan, King Arthur, or Fion Mac Comhal j and the existence 
of Homer himself appears to us to be even more doubtful than that 
of Troy. — The Rhapsodies of Homer mean neither more nor less than 
the BUnd-nmn's Ballads, such as were sung for their daily bread by 
blind itinerant minstrels, a description of men for which Greece was 
famous. But 'o^hj e? , *' a blind man," is a local, and not a general term 
in the Greek language j and therefore we are disposed to think that 
Lycurgus has couched under this equivocal appellation, the real his- 
tory of the poems which he produced in Greece. Deriving the term 
in the manner the most natural and the most agreeable to the genius 
of the Greek language, from e^ov, " together," and tj «»-, " to bind, or 
connect," the Homeric rhapsodies will literally signify what we have 
supposed them to be — ^a splendid tissue of ballad patch-work. 

That seven illustrious cities of Greece contended for the affiliation 
of Homer is less to be wondered at, than that many more cities of 
Greece, and even of India, Persia, and Thrace, did not claim the same 

write ; but when we consider the weight of the subjects, the poetical enthusiasm of. the 
distinguishe'd men among the Goths, for whom these pieces were composed ; the peculiar 
kind of pride and prejudice which led to the preservation of their purity and integrity ; the 
characters of those who committed them to writing, and who neither were nor could have 
been vulgar men, because writing was no vulgar accomplishment ; the rank and spirit of 
those among whom they were most likely to be fotmd, and from whose recitation they were 
taken down ; and lastly, the manner in which the writer was likely to execute his task ; — 
when we consider all these circumstances, we cannot reckon the Scaldic remains in the 
list of traditionary popular poems ; while the rhapsodies imputed to Homer appear to us 
to be decidedly of thiat description ; at the same time that they have other characteristics 
of uniformly regular and correct composition, which remain to be accounted for. 



honour ; for the two great epics obtained currency among men Who 
were much more sensible of poetical beauty, than curious about the 
authenticity of what they admired, in an age that produced neither a 
Johnson, a Laing, nor a Ritson, to confute, confound, or carp at the 
editor ; and it was perfectly natural for those who recognised, in the 
" Tale of Troy divine," many passages which they had been taught 
from their infancy to consider as indigenous among themselves, and 
which they now regarded only as parts of a beautiful whole, to claim 
the wonderful author as their countryman.' It was also perfectly na- 
tural that, when those rhapsodies had, like the rod of Aaron, swallow- 
ed up all the others, appropriated all their energies, and afterward come 
out in a more dilated, splendid, and engaging form, the beauties of the 
entire composition should eclipse, and bring into neglect and disre- 
pute the detached, rude, and imperfect fragments from which it was 
originally constructed. The men of those rude times were much more 
likely to admire the beauty and grandeur of a noble fabric, adorned 
with the statues and busts, and enriched with reliefs of the heroic 
deeds of their ancestors, than to turn over the rubbish of the quarry, 
or ruin, (whether of palace, temple, tomb, or pyramid,) from which 
the materials were dug, in order to discover the original bed of every 
particular stone of which it was composed. The age assigned to Ho- 
mer was an age of poetry, in which not only history, but also the 
maxims of theological, moral, and political wisdom, were all delivered 
in a poeticalform ; but it was an age in which antiquarian curiosity 
was not yet awaked, and in which truth and fable were received with 
equal confidence, and without scruple or scepticism. Long before the 
days of Herodotus, it was already impossible to ascertain with preci- 
sion any thing respecting either Homer or Troy ; and the traditionary 

• We live in an age mucli more curious and inquisitive than that which intervened be- 
tween the production of the poems of Homer and the time of Herodotus ; yet, had tlie 
poems ascribed to Ossian been published 300 years ago, how difficult would it by this 
time have been to say any thing with certainty on the subject of their authenticity ? And 
why should we wonder at the obscurity in which the history of the Greek Epos is in- 
volved i 


tales must have been become vulgar and degraded, and likely to be 
considered rather as defective and deteriorated scraps of the Diad and 
Odyssey, than as the materials from which these poems had been fa- 
bricated J and these appear to us to have been the causes why Homer 
was believed to have invented every thing for himself, and to have had 
no prototypes ; a supposition as absurd as the thing is impossible.. 

Respecting Homer and Troy, Herodotus, twenty centuries and a 
half ago, had only conjectures and vague and contradictory traditions 
to offer, and we can promise no more; but of conjectures, the most 
probable are the best, and the field is wide, and open to us as to others. 
If, through necessity, we should be too brief and general to be satisfac- 
tory, we must beg leave to suggest, that we are writing an introduc- 
tion to traditionary ballads, and not an " Inquiry into the Life and 
Writings of Homer," which will require a more favourable season of 
leisure and conveniency. 

Plutarch, in his admirable " Life of Lycurgus," has informed us, 
that when that great legislator, sacrificing every private and personal 
concern to the good of his country, became a voluntary exile, " He 
passed from Crete into Asia, in order to be an eye-witness of the 
luxury and refinement of the lonians, to compare their manner of liv- 
ing with the simple and austere discipline and habits of the Cretans, 
and thereby to be able to judge with more certainty of the political 
effects produced by the influence of modes of life so opposite to each 
other. It was in all probability there that he first became acquainted 
-with the poems of Homer, which were preserved by the descendants 
of Cleophilus ;■ and having found that the moral and political maxims 
which they contained were no less useful than the tales and fictions 
were delightful, he was at the pains to collect, arrange, connect, and 
copy them, in order to carry them into Greece. It is true, that these 
poems were already not altogether unknown in that country, and de- 

* CleophUus is said to have entertained Homer in his house ; but Lycurgus also is said 
to have seen and conversed with him. The one tradition is just as well supported as 
the otiier. 


tached fragments of them were in a few hands ; but Lycurgus was 
the first who produced them in a perfect form in Greece." * * * 

" Another measure of Lycurgus w^as very beneficial to his country ; 
for he prevailed upon Thales, who was reckoned one of the wise men 
of Greece, and a profound politician, to come and settle there. This 
Thales was a lyric poet, who, although ostensibly only a writer of 
songs, was capable of producing in a more engaging manner, upon 
the minds and manners of his hearers, by the irresistible charms of 
his compositions, the same salutary effects as are aimed at' by the grave 

This is an interesting picture of the Greeks, and more particularly 
of the Spartans, in the days of Lycurgus, and of his opinion respect- 
ing the proper application of poetry as a political engine j and Ly- 
curgus appears to us to be the person who may with most probabiUty 
be fixed upon as the -fabricator of the Iliad and Odyssey. The for- 
mer poem he may have compiled during his residence in Asia Minor, 
to prejudice his countrymen in favour of monarchical government ; to 
inculcate unanimity, to encourage and strengthen the national pride 
of the Greeks, as a people who could only hope to flourish while they 
continued faithful to each other ; and, above all, to fortify them against 
the dangerous influence of Asiatic luxury, vice, ambition, and perfidy, 
the effects of which, upon the liberties of the lonians, he already with 
a prophetic eye foresaw. Upon a careful comparison of the Iliad with 
the history of Lycurgus, we are convinced that a large body of e\d- 
dence will be found to give probability to this conjecture ; while the 
incongruities in manners, which seem to belong to different ages and 
states of society; the striking marks of the rhapsodies having been, in 
one form or another, traditionary; and the middle course which the 
collector, to keep up the deception, has pursued, seem distinctly to 
point to the original sources from which a great part of his materials 
were drawn. Hence we are enabled to account for the general uni- 
formity which they derived from being new-modelled by one man, and 
for the particular incongruities arising from the discrepancy of the ma- 
terials which he had employed ; hence the variety of dialects with 


which the text is infected^ in -vrhj^lt it resembles the Scottish aJid. Da- 
nish ballads ;, arid hiSnce also the prevaleiicfe s of the Ionic Mdkcti de- 
rived froite tbe circdmstatice of the diffelrent ditties having been dol- 
kcted and;araalgam&ftedin thatscotintrjr, with the view of beang ini- 
ported as Ionic productions into Greece. , 

As to the " Gdyssey," the^ success ijf the Iliiad mayhavjee^coiiraged 
him to produce it, as Macpherson produded bis TMnora; jandwe take 
Lycurgus himself to have been the man, 

cf fA.a.Kx iroKKo. 


IToAAa)' (T aVflf WB-wV J'tAc area, kki yoov lyva, 

for he is said to have visited, not only the islands in the east of the 
Mediterranean, and to have travelled into India, Eygpt, and other 
parts of Africa, but even to have visited Spain. In his old age he 
ceased from all his wanderings, left the laws he had enacted to be ad- 
ministered by others, withdrew from Lacedaemon, and settled in Crete,' 
the land of fable, where Jupiter was educated, and which was peopled 
by Phrygians, Dorians, Achceans, &c. And in this island we think it 
probable, that he produced the " Odyssey," to shew the baneful con- 
sequences of luxury and of travelling, both which were sedulously pro- 
vided against by the laws of Lycurgus. That he should have been 
guilty of such an imposture, is no-wise to be doubted or wondered at ; 
for among the Spartans, a publicly-useful lie was accounted not only 
innocent, but virtuous. 

As the productions of an unknown author, also, the poems carried 
with them a degree of historical dignity, among a people accustomed 
only to poetical annals, which the acknowledged inventions of a man 
whom they familiarly knew could never have hoped to attain ; and al- 
though they were admirably calculated to second the views of Lycur- 

' If, as some say, he retired to "Delphi, that place was the greatest emporium in the 
world for topographical, historical, ethical, and mythological information, and therefore 
the most favourable for the composition of such a poem as the Odyssey. 



gus,.the severe maxims of the grave legislator would have lost not a 
little of their weight and influence, had their author been confounded 
•with the fabling minstrel, who sung the wars of Troy, and the wander- 
ings of Ulysses. These appear "to us to be inducements sufficiently 
strong for introducing them to the Greeks in the manner he did ; and 
his giving up for ever the fame to be derived from being their author, 
was a very trifling sacrifice when compared with others, which Lycurgus 
is said to have made for the welfare of his country. 


This is the tale allud:ed to in the Dissertation on the Antient Teuto- 
nic Poetry and Romance, in this work, p. 16, and is put at the bead 
of the pieces translated by the present writer for two reasons j first, 
because it is an entire and not unfavourable sample of a German Ro- 
mance, holding a middle place between the longer romance and the 
common ballad, and exhibiting a specimen of an abridged and balla- 
dised copy of a longer tale which is still preserved, and may; be con- 
sulted by the curious ; and, secondly, on account of the dialect into 
which it has been rendered. — As the translator has used with consi- 
derable latitude the dialect which he has adopted, in turning the Da- 
nish ballads, he hoped, that his version of " Sir Peter" might at the 
out-set somewhat conciliate the confidence of the reader, by shewing 
how far he was master of the style and manner of one particular cera, 
and might therefore be justified in presuming to use his own discre- 
tion, in adopting promiscuously antient and modern terms and idioms, 
as circumstances seemed to require. 

Imagining that the German tale would appear to mdst advantage, 
when clothed in the costume of its own age among us, it was at first 
intended to adopt the language and orthography of Barbom's " Bruce." 
But, fearing that this would appear stiff and unpleasing to southern 
readers, he has preferred as a model, the admirable Romance of 
" Ywain and Gawin," in Ritson's collection. This he has found so 


closely to resemble the dialect of Barbour, that they might both pass 
for the productions, not only of the same age and country, but of the 
same author, At the same time, the liberties which he supposes to 
have been taken by a more southerly transcriber, may render the 
property of " Ywain and Gawin" disputable ; so, in order to recon- 
cile all parties, he judged it best to follow, even in its irregularities, 
the style of a piece which he found every way adapted to his purpose, 
and of which it was not easy to say whether it was Enghsh or Scotish ; 
and so intimate is the connection which language, ideas, and manners, 
have with each other, that he found it infinitely more easy to execute 
his translation in the style which he has used, than in modern Eng- 
lish. ■ 

The slory of" Sir Peter of StaufFenbergh" is one of the most popu- 
lar in Germany; and has of late years obtained fresh celebrity from 
the favourite opera of Das Donawweibchen) " The Nymph of the Da- 
nube,j" in the Russian imitation of which, acted at Petersburgh, in 
which many fine old Russian melodies are introduced, the scene has 
been transferred from the Danube to the Dnieper. The following 
version has been made fi:om the copy in vol. I. p. 407, of JJes Kna- 
ben TVunderhorn, published at Heidelberg, in 1806, (to which two 
other volumes have siiice been added,) which is given fi:om the Stras- 
burg edition of 1595 ; but with the same licentiousness, so far as re- 
gards orthography and obsolete terms, with which the conceited, 
:^ithless, and slovenly editors have given ievery thing else that has 
passed through their hands. From the general cast of the diction, 
we take the piecfe to be of nearly the same age with the fine old bal- 
lad of Der edele Moringer, The Noble Moeringer, (See Sammlung 
Deutscher VolksUeder, he. Berlin, 1807 ; and a still more genuine and 
antient copy in Bragur ;J that is, about the middle of the fifteenth 
century .-^An aspirate has been added to the name of Staiiffmberg, 
in compliance with the German pronunciation. 

' It is rendered line for line througbout. 





Fele nobil ernes by has flown : 

A knyght of pryse and grete renown 

Sir Peter was, chast, nobil, dene, 

Slike in his face mot wele be sene ; 

Ay prestly b'ayn at ilka hour 

For mows or emyst, gaym or stour. 

In might of youth, in fremmed land, 
Hys manhede mekyl wirship wand ; 
And als he hamewart drogh ogayn, 
Thoght on his luk, and maid him fayn, 
And sla gan to his kastel ryde, 
"What did his squier se hym bisyde ? 

Thar sagh he sit a ladye bright. 
In shemrand golde and silver dight. 
With perry and fele preciows stane. 
That riche and cler als son sho shane. 
Tho til that knight the squyer gan say, 
*' "Wold I mot ser that kmnli may !" 
2 K 


The knight curtais and debonayr, 

Hailsed that fre with gretyng fayr. — 

" Thou err, Sir Knight, thou nobil pere, 

The ferly fode that drogh me here ; 

In ilka land wyth the I fard. 

To bete thi blis, and worth thi ward." 

" Ar sagh I nevyr fayrer fre ; 
I luf the, als thou wele may se. 
Aft sagh I the in swevenes depe ; 
Uneth I trow yit bot I slepe. 
Wold God, thou war my lefe ladye. 
And I thi walit fere to be !" 

" So far, so gude !" tho spak that hende ; 

Slike rede did I £co the attende. 

Mi luf to luf the op has broght ; 

Thi ilka kraft by me was wroght ; 

I am thin awin, for evyr thyne. 

And thou mon now for aye be myne. 

" Bot wyv hot me mon thou ha naue ; 
Mi faire bodye es al thyhe ane 
EverUka night at thi desyre ; 
And might and store, if thou requyre, 
And ehdles lyf, mi power kan give, 
So thou for luf and me bot hye. 

" Uneth thi fay ontryd will be ; 
Fele wyl the seke, at mell wyth the : 
Bot, dois thou evyr woman wed. 
So in thre dayes err thou ded. 
Now fares thou hyn ; bithynk the wel, 
And wirk als can thi herte the tel." 

" Now, leve ladye, es it alswa ? 
So the to mi lele luf I fa! 


What gives thou me, than, for taken 
That I sail be nagates forsaken ?" 
•* So tak this golden ryng fro me ; 
Fro al onhap it wyl wer the." 

With kyss and mowes leve he nam ; 
To Nutsbeck till the mess he cam ; 
Tho, with the ChapeUan in fere, 
The haJy reke he neghed nere } 
His sawl and body he betaght 
To God, that solde hym haif in aght. 


Als he till Stauffeiibergh now cam, 
Down lyghted snell that nobil man ; 
So blyth cam al him thar to kepe. 
To here, to scj and kyndli klepe ; 
The knaves al in eger hest. 
And may and dame to plese him prest. 

And now to bed the knyght wyll gang : 
Sar for hys ladye dois he lang. 
The bed with kostli pryde prepard^ 
Riche reke of encens es na spard, 
Wyth swete odouris redolent ; 
And may and swayn to slepe es sent. 

He doft his dais, sat on hys bed. 
And swa gan till hymselven red : 
" Wold in myn armes the kumU may 
War now, that I with spak to day !" 
And sed uneth that word had he, 
Bot ryght afore hys ene stod she. 


What luf thar was, ye ghess ful viel, 
A herte may. fele, na tong dow tel* . 
And wha swilk luf did ever tast, . 
Wyll sygh to thynk on that es past. — 
At morn, hot for his ryng, hym semed 
A sweven al he mot haif demed. 


" Als at this tyd, ful wele yhe wis, 
Our stamm wel nere hot burgeoun es. 
So nim a wiflF, riche and nobyU ; 
A princes wel mai fa the tyU : 
Fele damysels of high degre 
Right fayne wil be at mell wyth the." 

Sir Peter tho was sar agast, 
And til hys brodyr sed at last : 
*' I thank the, nobU brodir myne ; 
Bot yit es for swDk red na tym ; 
The Kesars crownyng I til far, 
Wirship and gre at win me thar." 

The mermay gaf tyl him Ijiis red, 
And wele tofore him avised ; 
Sho gaif him golde and riche aray ; 
Glanst nevir kny^t in gere sa gay : 
Sho kyssid hym, and bad hym thar 
Of wyving, bvyr aU, bewar. 



Ilkane hys best aray mon haif ; 
The StauiFenbergh omell the laif. 
And als he rajd- in real stait, 
Lyk hym. mot nane be sene, I wait : 
The Kyng wenit hys fere to se ; 
Ladyes demit it wel mot be.' 

Now blew the trompes al on hight ; 
Now stedes pransit in thair might ; 
And glad at hert was hors and man 
Whiles the turnament bigan : 
Bet short space darit the tumay ; — 
Sir Petei: smate down al that day. 

Now cam the evintyd, and swa 

Of neu the trompes gan at bla ; 

And, don the festj thai made thaim bane, 

And to the courtli danse err gane : 

The kynges kosyn, fin and far. 

In hand die pryss of boimte bar. 

A gold and perry coronall 
The knyght sho decorit wythall ; 
Sho set it on his yellow bar ; 
Pressyt his fyagei kyndli thar ; 
Wyth blenkes swete hyr luf sho tald, 
And covert takenes moni &ld. 



The kyng lay mewsand in hys bed : 
Ser ferly thyng cam in hys hed, 
Of hys kosyn, ying fayr and fayne, 
And how that sho lay burd-alayne ; 
And thoght on thoght cam thyk and fast 
Als beis whan so a skap will cast. 

Air on the morn he sent hys dwergh 
To Peter lord of StauiFenbergh : 
" Mi kosyn, born of nobil ling. 
The princes lofsum riche and ying, 
Hir to your wif I will geve yhe, 
Wyth land and slot, thyn awin at be." 

The knyght agast and sar adred 
Stode in that stownd, but na thyng sed. 
" Mi rede, par fay, yhe wel may trow ; 
So God me se, it es na mow : 
Sho sal be thyn, that prynces frej 
To haif and hald, sa mot I the !" 

Wyth tong fill lele Sir Peter tald, 
That bone he wyth malese mon hald ; 
How he the Mermay spousit air ; 
Sith than how, bbt wa want and cair, 
Wyth gold and fe» in joy he lyvit, 
Bot now mon de whan so he wyvit. 

" O wa, that evyr thou was born ! 
Thy sawl for evir es forlorn ! 
Godes face it nevyr mar can se, 
Bot and fro hir thou twinnit be. 


At wyve a gaist war luk forfarn j 
Sho never can ber the a barn. 

" Thy fay es to the devyl plyght. 
Thou sary man, thou wordy wyght !" 
So spak the byschop and the kyng : 
He til the ky^ig made answeryng : 
" Intyll min hert it senkes depe ; 
Of Godes grace I men ta kepe." 

Sir Peter spousit was onane : 
With perry golde and real stane 
Glansed the prynccs, that swete wyght, 
And al was luf and lyst and lyght ; 
And swa tyl StaufFenbergh thai far, 
The high-daye to solempne thar. 

Als thurgh the skuggy wod thai went, 
Blumes ira Uka bogh war sprent ; 
Abone, obowt, was al olyfe, 
Wyth jubel sang and noyis ryfe ; 
The wassail rowt in girlands gay j 
And ai was frolyk lyst and play. 


At Stauffenbergh on the first night 
Hys herte thoght on the ladye bright } 
And snell so thoght, the soth to say, 
Fast lokyd in hir armes he lay. 
Sho gret, and sed : " O wa es the ! 
In vane has thou bene avise ! 

" Syn thou a wyf mon algate wed. 

So the thrid day mon dead ; 


I tel the that mon be thi fa ; 
Als taken I mi fote wyll sha ; 
And man and wyf sal se it clar, 
And eke tjiareat sal. wonder sar. 

" So sone als it thyne eighen se, 
At dwell na langare tho mon ye ; 
And swith als it fro sight es went. 
Ye tak the haly sacrament. 
Yhe wit how trew has bene mi fay : 
Bot sondred err we now for ay." 

Wyth eighen wate sho sed in stede : 
" Bithynk the. Sir, upon mi rede ; 
Mi hert es sar, och ! sar and wa 
That be wyth the na mar I ma ! 
Bot ather luf I her forswere ; 
Nor evyr man sal se me mere." 

Emyst sho lukit^t the Knyghti— 
" Sal I na mar of the haif syght ? 
Wold God in pete, than, bot sends 
Mi sorow sone mai tak an ende ! 
AUas ! that til swUk gre I cam. 
Other to wyv a prynces nam !" 

Sho kissyt his mowth wyth dreri cher ; 
Sar gret thai bath that §towad in fer ; 
In armes aither uther fald ; 
Fast bre^t to brest in luf thai held : 
" A ! sely es thi fa, to de ! — 
"Wyth the na mar now mon I be !" 



Mar real high-daye nevyr nane 
Was ar, til far the night was gane : 
Menstralles sang ; the glewmen plaid ; 
The castel rang ; Ukane was glaid ; 
The fest was ful ; thai skynked fre ; 
And al was lyst and lyf.and gle. 

Thai sat intyl the bygle hal. 

And shortle mot be sane be al, 

And knyght and ladye sagh it thar, 

That al motvesy it ful clar, 

How sumthyng thurgh the hordes grew ; 

A humane fote glent doun to vew. 

It kythed out bot tiU the kne ; 
Fote fayrer man mot nagate se ; 
Wyde over al the hdl it shatie, 
Als white and fin so real bane. 
Ful styU the knyght hys bryd sat by. 
That loud for dred and fear gan cry. 

The knyght, whan so the fote gan kyth, 

"Wex al agast and sari swyth : 

" O wa es me, unsely man !" 

And worth that stound al pale and wan : 

His krystal glass thai broght hym hyn : 

He sagh it, and worth paler syn. 

He sagh, that krystal cop thareyn, 
A bam on slepe, for al thair dyn, 
Unther the^tvyn sloumand in saght } 
A lytel fote it out has straght : 


Bot als the wyn was dronkyn op, 
Na lytel barn was yn the cop. 

" Alias, mi werd !" the knyght tho sed ; 
" In thre dayes mon I be ded !" 
Now hyn the fete gan disapere. 
And al the 4}ordes neghed nere ; 
Bot man fand thar nathyrl ne rent, 
Ne wist whor it by cam, ne went. , 

Al myrth and soUas now was don ; 
The menstralles war styl ilkone ; 
Na mar thai danse, na mar thai syng ; 
The joust, the melle, and. the ryng. . 
Deturbed war, and al was lown i: 
The ghestes fled fro out the town. 

The bryd alane bade wyth her man ; 
Wyth sari cher he sagh hir than : 
" God sayne the wele, thou Hobyl bryd, 
For that by me thou trew can byd !" — 
" That thou mon de es long of me ; 
Now Chryst myn onely spous sal be !" 

The haly oynement he tais. 

And whan thre dayes er don, he sais : 

•' Loverde and God, intyll thi hend 

Mi synful sawl I her cummend ; 

Mi sawle to the I do beteke ; 

An esy end I the biseke*," 

Hys ladye lele, hir luf to kyth, 
A moniment hym bygged swyth } 
And, nere forby, a lytell ceD, 
Hir bedes thar for hym at tell. 
Thar tyll hir aft the mermay cam. 
And dele in all hir cures nam. 

C 267 3 


TiDERiCH of Bern, (Verona,) or Theoderic, king of the Ostrogoths, 
died A. D. 527, in the 34th year of his reign ; and the circumstances 
attending his death were almost as strange and romantic as any that 
have since been connected with the actions of his hfe. (Procop. Goth. 
Hist. B. 1.) Holger, or Olger the Dane, flourished in the days of 
Charlemagne, nearly three centuries after ; and here we have a very 
hard battle fought between them ; a thing which is no-wise surprising, 
as Olger is well known to the readers of romance, to have eaten of the 
fruit of the trees of the sun and moon : " And men say tho that kepe 
tho tres, and eten frewght of hem, they leve cccc. or v'. yere." See 
Weber's Metrical Romances, vol. III. p. 331. 

For a more detailed account of what has been said and sung about 
him, see " Bartholini Dissertatio de Hblgero Dano," in the second vo- 
lume of Oelrich's " Daniag et Sueciae litteratae opuscula hist. phil. 
theol. Bremae, 8vo. 1774," where will also be found a copy of this 
ballad, which, for lively and strong characteristic painting, has cer- 
tainly very great merit, and may well bear a comparison with the 
finest heroic ballad productions of our own country, Chevy Chace it- 
self not excepted ; and this is saying much ! 

[ 268 3 





Sierk Tidrich hoer sig udi Bern, 

Med atten Brodre giefoe ; 
Kver of dent hafde Sonner Tolf, 

Stoer Mandom monne de hedrifve. 
(Nu slander Striden Norden under Jutland- J 

Stark Tidrick bides him intiU Bern, 

Wi' his bald brithers acht ; 
Twall stalwart sons had they Uk ane, 

O' manhead and great macht. 

(Now the strife it stands northward under Jutland.) 

And he had fifteen sisters, 

And twaU sons ilk ane had ; 

' The youngest she had thirteen ; — 

Their hfe they downa redd. 

(Now the strife it stands northward under Danmarck.) 


Afore the Bemers they can stand, 

Fiel stalwart kempis Strang : 
The sooth to say, they kythit o'er 

The beech-tree taps sae lang. 
(Noa» the strife, Sac.) 

" Now striven hae we for mony a year, 

Wi' kemps and knightis stark : 
Sae mickle we hear o' Olger Danske, 

He bides in Dannemarck. 

" This hae we heard o* Olger Danske,—!^ 

He bides in North Jutland ; 
He's gotten him crown'd wi' red goud. 

And scorns to be our man." 

Up Sverting hent a stang o' steel. 

And shook it scornftdlie : 
" A hunder o' King Olger's men 

I wadna reck a flie !" 

" Hear thou, Sverting, thou laidly page, 

lU sets thee sae to flout ; 
I tell thee King Olger's merry men 

Are stalwart lads and stout. 

" Nae fear for either glaive or swerd,' 

Or grounden bolt hae they ; 
The bloody stour's their blythest hour ; 

They count it bairns' play." 

This word heard the high Bermeris, 

And took tent o' the same : 
" We wiU ride us till Dannemarck, 

See an Olger be at hame." 

' " De frygte ick^ glafvend eller swerd." 


They drew out o' the Berner's land ; 

Acht thousand Strang they were : 
" King Olger we will visit now, 

And a' till Danmarck fare." 

King Tidrich sent a ftiessager, 

Bade him till Olger say : n i 

" Whilk will ye loor now stand the stour, 
Or to us tribute pay ?" , 

Sae grim in mood King Olger grew, 
lU could he thole sic taimts : 

" Thou bid them bide us on the bent ; — 
See wha the payment vaunts ! 

" Tribute the Dane to nae man pays. 
But dane-gelt a' gate taks ; • ' 

And tribute gin ye will hae, ye's hae't 
Laid loundring on your backs !" 

King Olger tiQ his kempis said : 
" I've selcouth news to tell; 

Stark Tidrich has sent us a message 
That we maun pay black-mail. 

" And he black-mail maun either hae, 
Or we maun fecht him here ; 

But' he is na the first king, 

Win Danmarck win this year." 

Syne tiU King Tidrich's messager 
Up spak that kemp sae stout :, 

" Come the Berners but till Danmarck in, 
Uneath they'll a' win out." 

Sae glad was he then, Ulf of Airn, 
Whan he that tidings fand ;' 


Sae leugh he, Hero Hogen ; 
And they green'd the stour to stand. 

It was Vidrich Verlandsbn,' 

He grew in mood sae fain ; 
And up and spak he, young Child Orme, 

" We'll ride the Bemers fwegaini" 

" The foremaist on the bent I'se be !" 

That said Sir Iver Blae ; 
" Fojsuith I'se nae the hindmaist be !" 

Answer'd Sir Kulden Gray. 

• King Olger and Stark Tiderich, 
They met upon the muir ; 
They laid on load in furious mood. 
And made a fearfu' stour. > 

They fought ae day ; for three they fought ;* 

Neither could win the gree ; 
The manfu' Danes their chieftain ware, 

Nae ane will flinch or flee. 

The bluid ran bullering in burns 

Bedown baith hill and dale ; 
Dane-gelt the Bemers now maun pay. 

That ween'd to get black-maiL 

The yowther drifted sae high i' the sky ; 
The Sim worth a' sae red :' 

• In the Heldenbuch he is called Wittick Weylandson. This Wittich, or Vitig, was 
married to Mathasventa, grand-daughter of Theoderic, who, after the death of Vitig, be- 
came the wife of Germanics, cousin to the Emperour Justinian, and who commanded for 
him against the Goths. 

* This is a sort of current Danish ballad expression, which commonly occurs in the de- 
scription of a severe conflict of any kind. 

' This sublime picture of the sun looking dark aiid red over the field of battle, through 


Great pity was it there to see 
Sae mony stalwart dead ! ' 

There lay the steed ; here lay the man ; 

Gude friends that day did twin : 
They leuch na a' to the feast that cam 

Whan the het bluid-bath was done. * 

High Bermeris' bethought him than, 

AH sadly as they lay : 
" There scarce live a hunder o' our men j 

How should we win the day ?" 

Then took Tiderich till his legs. 

And sindle luikit back ; 
Sverting forgat to say gude-night ; 

And the gait tUl Bern they tak. 

Tidrich he turn'd him right about. 
And high in the lift luik'd he : : 

" To Bern I trow is our safest gait ; 
Here fa we scoug nor lee !" 

the clouds formed by the vapours which arose from the blood and sweat of the combat- 
ants, will call to the mind the admirable stanza in Campbell's Ode on the Battle of the 
Linden Hills : 

•' 'Tis morn ; but scarce yon level sun 
Can pierce the war-clouds,, rolling dun, 
Where furious Frank, and fiery Hun, 
Shout in their sulph'rous canopy." 

' " And many a gallant gentleman 

Lay gasping on the ground." — Chevy Chace. 

* This is a very affecting picture, as every generous mind will recognise : the author 


— .^— non sordidus aiictor 
Naturce, Verigue.—Hoji. 

^ Bermeris is Bermer Ris, i. e. the Giant Bermer' 


Syne stay'd him Vidrich Verlandsbn, 

AH under a green know :' 
" Ye've Kttle to ruse ye o* your raid 

The Danish kemps to cow !" 

That tyde they drew frae Bernland out, 

Acht thousand Strang were they : 
And back to Bern but only five 

And fifty took their way. 

* In the German translation of this piece by Mr Graeter, in Bragur, he has in this line 
mistaken lide, a hill, for linde, a (linden) tree. 

2 M 

C 274 2 


P. 271, V. 20. — King Olger and Stark Tiderich, 8fc. 
If we have succeeded according to our wish in rendering them into the dialect which we 
have adopted, it will be needless to point out to readers of taste, the singular beauty of 
this stanza, and the four that follow, which we trust will be found to justify the expec- 
tations which the introduction to the piece may have raised. As we have spoken of a 
higher degree of poetical merit in the original than will perhaps be allowed to our copy 
it is a justice due to all parties, by subjoining the Danish, to enable the reader to de- 
cide for himself. 

St. 20.— Kong Olger og sterdc Tidrich, 
De modtis paa den hedfe ; 
Da slogfe af magt foniden skemt, 
De varfe i hu saa vredfe. 

De slogis i dagfe; de slogis i tre ; 

Ingen vildfe bin anden vigfe ; 
De Danskfe stride saa mandelig, 

Deris herrfe vildfe de ick^ svigfe. 

Blodet rinder saa stride som strom. 

Under birgfe og dybfe dalfe: 
Den skat som f orrfe var lofvet, 

Den maattfe de Bemer betald. 

Rcigen dref saa hiiyt i sky ; 

Og solen giordis saa rod ; 
Det var stoer ynck at see der paa, 

Der blef saa mangen helledS dod ! 

Der laa hesten; og hissed laa mauden ; 

Der skildis godd venner at : 
De loi ickS all^ til gildd komm£, 

Der stoed saa hit et bad. 

C 275 3 


This piece, being the first of three on the same subject, in the Ksempe 
Viser, is given here on account of its relationship to the Teutonic Ro- 
mances, of which Mr Weber has given a digest in this work. The 
following account of it is given by the editor of 1695. 

" Hereafter follow three ballads of Hero Hogen and Lady Gri- 
mild, of whom Saxo Grammaticus writes in his SOth Book, (the pas- 
sage is found in Lib. xiij. F. 118. b. c. Edit. Basil. 1534.) in the His- 
tory of the Duke Saint and Martyr Knut j from which it is obvious 
to remark, that the piece is very old. Lady Grimild's father was Nog- 
ling, who is also called Niding, and lived on the island between Co- 
penhagen and Kroneborg, which is called Hvcen, after Maiden Hve- 
nild, by whom the Hero Hogen had his son Rank^. On this island 
are still to be seen the vestiges of strong-holds, graves, and founda- 
tions of buildings, where stood formerly these four castles, Ndrborg, 
Sdnderborg, Tarlshdy, and Hammer. Here lived Lady Grimild, 
whose first husband was Sigfred Home, as is stated in the Heldenbuch. 
But on the occasion of her second marriage, she invited her two bro- 
thers. Sir Hogen and Sir Folqvard, and caused them both to be put 
to death, as is related in the ballad. 

*' The Swedish Chronicle, however, tells the story somewhat differ- 
ently, and says, that, after Folqvard had slain the kemps whom Lady 

Grimild turned out upon him, learning that his brother was slain at 



Ndrborg, he was so enraged, that he drank a hornful of the blood of 
the dead, and so died with the other keraps. Upon which she went to 
Norborg ; and observing that the Hero Hogen had the better of the 
combat with the kemps there, she made an agreement with him, that 
after her kemps had once brought him to the ground, he should make 
no attempt to get Upon his legs again, but should defend himself upon 
his knees as well as he could. On which this artful woman caused 
pease to be strewed upon wet hides upon the draw-bridge, where three 
of her kemps at once attacked the Hero Hogen, who fell upon his 
knees, and received a wound of which he afterwards died. He, ne- 
vertheless, slew the three kemps ; and with the consent of Lady Gri- 
mild, in order* that this race of heroes might not utterly fail, he be- 
came the father of a son by the maiden Hvenild. This son of Hei'o 
Hogen's, called Rankcj revenged the death of his father and his uncle 
upon his aunt Lady Grimild, whom he took with him to Hammershoy, 
to shew her Niding's treasures, which his father had left him at Noge- 
len. When she had entered the cavern with him, he leapt out, and 
locked the door on her j so she remained sitting there, and died of 

So far the last editor of the Kaempe Viser, who seems not to have 
been acquainted with the Wilkina and Niflunga Sagas, afterwards pub- 
lished, in 1715, at Stockholm by Peringskiold. How popular the 
story was seven or eight centuries ago, may be learnt from the follow- 
ing passage in Saxo Grammaticus : " Tunc cantor — sub involucro rem 

prodere conabatur . Igitur speciosissimi carminis contextu no- 

tissimam GrimUdae erga fratres perfidiam de industria memorare ador- 
sus, famosse fraudis exemplo similium ei metum ingenerare tentabat." 
Sax. Gram. Hist. Dan. Lib. xiij. 

With the circumstances of the story, as detailed in the Teutonic Ro- 
mances, the reader is already acquainted. In the Wilkina Saga, a 
work which is in few hands, most of them are found, although with 
considerable variation as to names and places^ and minute particulars. 
As we attach no historical authority to our ballad, we shall select from 


the antient prose legend only a few passages which are most curious 
in another point of view. 

The sea-lady, who makes so striking a figure in the baUad, is thus 
introduced, c. 338, p. 458 : " When the others laid themselves down 
to sleep, Hogni took all his arms, and went out along the banks of the 
stream, under a clear moonlight, which enabled him to see his way dis- 
tinctly. Now comes Hogni to a water which is called Mori, and there 
he sees some human beings on the water, and sees their clothes lying 
near the water between the two streams. He takes the clothes, and 
hides them ; and these persons were no other than those that are 
called Mer-women, whose natural element is the sea or water. These 
Mer-women had gone out into the Rhine to sport. Now called the 
Mer-women to him, and begged him to give them their clothes ; and 
came up out of the water. Now answers Hogni, ' First tell me where 
we may best cross the river ; if you will not tell me what I ask of you, 
you shall not get your clothes.' Then said she, ' you may get safe 
over this river, but by no means return, however much you may exert 
yourself.' Now draws Hogni his sword, and kills the Mer-woman, 
cutting in two both her and her daughter. 

" Hogen, advancing farther along the banks of the river, saw the fer- • 
ryman with his boat in the middle of the stream, called to him, and, in 
order to make himself the more interesting to him, tells him he comes 
from Earl Elsung's land. The ferryman tells him that he cared as lit- 
tle about Earl Elsung as about any body else, and only carried people 
over for ready payment. Hogen offers him his gold bracelet if he wiU 
ferry him over ; which the ferryman accepts with the more readiness, 
because he knows it will be a very acceptable present to his handsome 
young wife. Hogen orders him to row more against the stream, 
which he says was no part of his agreement ; but Hogen compels him. 
In the mean time, Gunnar was ferrying over his men in small parties, 
in a skiff he had found, which the strength of the current upset, and 
the men with difficulty reached the land. Hogen now took Gunnar, 
with 100 men, on board the ferry-boat, and himself plying the oars 
somewhat too lustily, they broke in his handsi After bestowing some 


hearty execrations on the carpenter who had made them so weak, he 
drew his sword, and struck off the head of the ferryman, who sat op- 
posite to him. The King Gunnar exclaimed against such an act of 
wanton barbarity ; but Hogen excused it on the score of good policy, 
to prevent his giving warning of their arrival." 

Of the circumstance of Grimild being starved to death in the trea- 
sury, the reader has already found a variety in Mr Weber's digest of 
the Lay of the Nibelungen, to which these ditties are only an appen- 
dage ; but here it may not be improper to remark, that all these trea- 
suries were either natural caverns in mountains, or earth-houses, (as 
they were called,) built under ground in hillocks, the entrance to which, 
being concealed by trees and underwood, was known only to those to 
whom they belonged. Here money, plate, jewels, armour, or what- 
ever was more precious, was deposited for security against any sudden 
invasion, such as they were constantly exposed to ; and those who were 
interested in preventing the place from being explored, industriously 
propagated reports of its being the retreat of a Drac (daemon) of the 
most malignant and terrible description. Every chief had his pecu- 
liar cavern, treasury, or hiding-place, which was known only to those 
whom it most concerned. Caverns of this kind are everywhere point- 
ed out at this day in Norway, Sweden, and the Highlands of Scotland ; 
and, if they are but sufficiently large and dark, never without some terri- 
ble story of the dragon or demon, who was encountered by the war- 
rior, harper, or bag-piper, who, in quest of the treasure, ventured to 
advance too far. As it not unfrequently happened, that the whole fa- 
mily to which such a dep6t belonged was cut off at once, the secret of 
its existence was lost ; and being afterwards accidentally discovered, 
the strange treasure, combined with the popular belief of the place be- 
ing the den of a dragon or daemon, (for all dragons were daemons,) 
gave rise to the common superstition of dragons brooding over hid- 
^den treasures ; and, perhaps, was also in some degree connected with 
the belief of the dwarfs^ who live in hollow hills, being invariably pos- 
sessed of immense riches. It is also very credible, that the vanity of 
him who first explored the cavity often induced him, on coming to 


the light of day again, to astonish his friends with strange stories of 
the dangers he had encountered, and the monsters he had subdued ; 
and it is also worthy of notice, that it was one of the highest pretensions 
of those who affected to understand magic runes, that they were able 
to charm, or put to flight, the dragon who brooded over heaps of gold ; 
and that dragons uniformly chose for their residence such places as we 
have been describing. These superstitions, the relics of antient man- 
ners, are found difiused every where over Europe and Asia, and where- 
ever else the Asae have settled. 

The oldest and most remarkable Gothic treasury or earth-house 
now remaining, and which I consider as the greatest architectural cu- 
riosity in Europe, is what is vulgarly called the Tomb of Agamem- 
non, at Mycenae, which has lately been cleared out and examined with 
the most accurate minuteness, by the Earl of Elgin, who is likely soon 
to favour the public with his delineations and description. 

As one of the heroes drinking human blood has already been men- 
tioned, we give the following stanzas on that subject, from the second 
ballad of Lady GrimUd's Wrack, in the Kaempe Viser. There is some- 
thing horrible in the solemnity of the last stanza. 

" It was Hero Hogen, 

He rais'd his helmet syne : 
'I burn all so sorely 

Under hard brynie mine ! 

'♦ For-foughten all and weary, 

And quail'd this heart of mine : 
Might God, my heavenly father^ grant; 

I had a horn of wine ! 

" Up he struck his helmet } 

He drank the human blood : 
' In nomine Domini P 

Was Hero Hogen's word.'' 

[ 280 ] 



Det var stolte Fru GrimUd, 
Hun lader midden blande : 
Hun binder til sig de raske ridder 
Af aUeJremmede lande, Sfc. 

It was proud Lady Grimild 
Gar'd mask the mead sae free,'' 

And she has bidden the hardy knights 
Frae ilka frem countrie. 

She bade them come, and nae deval, 

To bargane and to strife ; 
And there the Hero Hogen 

Forloot his young life. 

It was the Hero Hogen, 
He's gane out to the strand. 

And there he fand the Ferryman 
AU upo' the white sand. 

«• Hear thou now, gude Ferryman, 
Thou row me o'er the sound, 


And I'U gie thee my goud ring v 
It weighs well fifteen pound." 

« I \mina fare thee o'er the sound* 

For a' thy goud sae red ; 
For and thou come tiU Hrenild's laztd, 

Thou wilt be slaen dead." 

'Twas then the Hero .^ogen, 

His swerd out he drew. 
And frae the luckless Ferryman 

The head aiF he hew. '^ 

He strak the goud ring frae his arm, 

Gae it the Ferryman's wife : 
*' Hae, tak thou this, a gudely gift. 

For the yoimg Ferryman's life." 

It was the Hero Hogen, 

He danner'd on the strand ; 
And there he fand the Mer-lady 

Sleeping on the white sand. 

" Heal, heal to thee, dear Mer-lady,. 

Thou art a cimning wife ; 
And I come in till Hvenild's land,, 

It's may I brook my life ?" 

* *• It's ye hae mony a straJUg castell; 

And mickle goud sae red ; 
And gin ye come tiH Hvenoe land, 
Ye will be slaen dead." 

'Twas then the Hero Hogen, 

His swerd swyth he drew. 
And frae the luckless Mer-lady 

Her head afFhe hew. 

2 N 


Sae he has taen the bloody head. 

And cast it i' the sound : 
The body's croppen after, 

And join'd it at the ground. 

Sir Grimmer and Sir Germer 

They laimch'd sae bald and free, 

Sae angry waxt the wild winds. 

And stormy waxt the sea. 

/»ae angry waxt the wild winds, 
And fierce the sea did rair ; ^ 
In twain in Hero Hogen's hand 
Is brast the iron air. 

In twain it brast, the iron air. 

In Hero Hogen's hand ; 
And wi' twa gilded shields then 

The knights they steer'd to land. 

Whan they were tiQ the land come, 

They ilk' ane scour'd his brand,' 
And there sae proud a maiden 

Saw what they had in hand. 

Her stature it' was stately. 

Her middle jimp and sma ; 
Her body short, her presence 

Was maiden-like witha'. 

They've doen them till Norborg, 

And to the yett sae free : 
" O whare is now the porter. 

That here should standing be ?" 

' This ceremony of Uihetting and toiping their weapons in the Danish Ballad, as here and 
in Sir Ebbe's Daughters in Buroe, is generally somewhat better timed than in the Scotish 
ballads, where it commonly takes place when the heroes are likely to have thought of 
something else. 


•• It's here am I, the porter 

That here stand watch and ward ; 
I'd bear your tidings gladly, 

Wist I but whence ye far'd.." 

" Then hither are we come frae 

A' gaits whare we hae gane ; 
Lady Gximild's our sister — 

It's a the truth I've ssyn" 

In syne cam the porter, 

And stood afore. the deas ; 
Fu' canny i' the tongue was he. 

And well his words could placOk 

Fu camiy i' the tongue was he. 

And well his words could wale : • 
" There out afore your yett stand 

Twa wordy kemps but fail, 

" It's out there stand afore your yett 

Twa sae well-wordy men ; 
The tane he bears a fiddle. 

The tither a ^ded helm.. 

" He that bears a fiddle bears 't 

For nae lord's meat or fee ; 
And whaxesoe'er they come frae, 

Duke's sons I wat they be«" 

It was proud Lady Grimild, 

Put on the pilche sae fipe^ 
And she is to the castell yett 

To bid her brithers in» 

" Will ye gae till the chamber 
And drink the mead and wine t 

' This is a favourite expression, and is found in a number of other Danish ballads. 


And sleep upon a silken bed 
Wi' twa fair ladies mine ?" 

It was proud Lady Grimild 
Put on the pilche sae braw, 

And she's intill tiie ha' gane •«• 
Afore her kempis a'. 

" Here sit ye a', my merry men. 
And drink baith mead and wine ; 

But wha will Hero Hogen sla, 
Allerdearest brither mine ? 

" It's he that will the guerdon £a. 
And sla this Hogen dead. 

Sail steward o' my eastje be, 
And win my goud sae red." 

It's up and spak a kemp syne, 
A lording o' thafland, 

" It's I will win your guerdon. 
Forsooth, wi' this right hand. 

" It's I wiU fa your guerdon ; 

Sla Hero Hogen dead ; 
Be steward o' yoaar castell, 

And win your gdud sae red*" 

And up spake Fdbqvar Spilemand, 

Wi's burly iron stang : 
" Come thou witMn my aims' letig<Ji, 

I'U mark thee or ihou gang !" 

The first straik fifteen kempis 
Laigh to the card did strik : 

" Ha, ha, Folqisai- i^illemiand ! 
Well wags thy fiddlestick !" 


Syne dang he down the kempis 

Wi' deadly dints and dour ; 
And braid and lang the brig^ was 

Whare they fdl in that stour. 

Aneath were spread wet hides, and 

Aboon were pease sae sma, 
And Hero Hogeti stumbled^ 

And was the first to fa'. 

It was the Hei!0 llogea 
He wad van. up again : 
, " Hald, hald, my dearest biidiier. 
Our paction well ye ken. 

*' Ye keep your troth, my brither j 

StiD. keepit it maun be ; 
And ance thou till the eard fa, 

Nae rising is Sir €aee." 

Sae moody Hero Hogen is. 

Still keep his word will he ; » 
Till he has got his death->straik 

A-fighting on his knee. 

Yet dang he down three kempis ; 

Nane o' the least were they : 
Wi' hammers syne he brast whare 

His father's treasures lay. 

And him betid a luck sae blyth, 

He gat the lady's fere, 
And she was the proud Hvenild, that 

A son to him did bear. 

» The readers of the real histories, as well as of the romances of the middle ages, will 
find nothing unnatural or incredible in the conditions of this combat, any more than in the 
agreement entered into between Folqvard and Grimild respecting his marriage, however 
extraordinary they may appear when judged of by the criterion of modern manners. 


Ranke, ' hight that kemp, that 

Revenged his father's dead : 
Grimild in the treasury, 

She quaU'd for want o' bread. 

Sae drew he frae that land out 

Till Bern in Lolnbardy } 
There UVd amang the Danish mea, 

And kyth'd his valour hy. 

His mither she gaed hame again, 

And Hvenske-land bears her name j 
'Mang gallant knights and kempis 

Sae wide is spread their fame. 

' In the Wilkina and Niflunga Saga, cap. 367, p. 493, it is stated, that after Hogni had 
received his death-wound, Theoderic went to him, and inquired how he was ? On which 
Hogni informed him that he might live a few days, but must certaiijly die of the wounds 
he had received. " Then King Tidrich caused Hogni to be carried to his inn, and his 
wounds to be bound up. For this office he sent a female relation of his own, called Her- 
rad. In the evening, Hogni requested Tidrich to give him this lady as his companion for 
the night, wliich was readily granted. In the morning, Hogni advised her to call the son 
which she should afterwards bear to'him, Alldrian. At the. same time he gave her the 
keys of the vault of Sigisfrod, where the Niebelung treasures were kept, which were to be 
delivered to her son Alldrian when he came to man's estate. And thereafter died Hogni, 

C 287 ] 


" There hejand the Mer-lady 
Sleeping o' the white sand." — P. 281, v. 8. 

The reader may compare this situation of the Mermaid with that of Proteus, in the 
fourth rhapsody of the Odyssey, and the imitation of that in the fourth Book of Virgil's 

The existence of these sooth-saying syrens of the wave has been generally believed in 
every part of Asia and Europe, and has b&en as often defended as questioned, not only by 
the most learned philosophers, but by the most grave divines in modern as well as in an- 
cient times. Those who have leisure and curiosity to amuse themselves with the waste of 
ingenuity and erudition which has been devoted to this subject, may consult Girald. in 
Nymphis, NataL lib. 8, Eustath. in Horn. 11. lib. xiix ; Plat. Atl, ; Plin, Hist. Nat. lib. 9, 
c. 4. Ed. Bip. s Alex, ab Alex. Genial. Dier. lib, 12. c. 8.,* PtearcA'* entertaining treatise 
B-egi rat 'aCM^mi-ruv j^jjjtrTngiain ; the learned Eric Pontoppidan's Nat. History of Noraiay, 
SfC. SfCt 

As the anecdotes preserved of these marine people, both male and female, in various 
countries and ages, are so similar as to leave us no doubt of their being all referable to the 
same origin, we shall not detain our readers with vain distinctions about Greek, Gothic, 
and Celtic, such distinctions having in general produced little else but nonsense, when- 
ever they have been attempted. The following notices are brought forward rather with 
a view of shewing the general consent of the various ages and nations on this subject ; and 
offering a conjecture as to some of the phaenomena by which such delusions were first 
created, and have been since continued. That the theories by which they were reduced 
to a system, and became the objects of reasoning speculation, came to the Greeks from 


the Goths, and to the Goths from India, (the great cradle and nursery of Man and of 
Mind,) was the opinion of the best informed among the antients : " Those," says Plu- 
tarch (de defect, orac.) " appear to me to have solved many doubts and di£Sculties, who 
have assigned to the daemons and genii an intermediate place in the creation between gods 
and men, and have thus discovered a means of communion between us and the superior 
natures ; whether this doctrine originated with Zoroaster and the Magi, or was brought 
among us by Orpheus out of Thrace, 8fc"* 

For the extraction and relationships of this dubious race, the best authorities are old 
Hesiod (Theog.) and the Eddas. Of their power, passions, and other peculiarities, we 
must be contented to form our opinions from their history, and the anecdotes with which 
credulity has furnished us. Their number is uncertain ; and those who have attempted to 
fix it, have spoken in very vague terms, and made no allowance for their wide dispersion 
and generally-allowed fecundity, which we find most frequently exemplified in their in- 
tercourse with beings of a superior or inferior nature: 

Hes. Theog. 1. 1018. 
Hesiod speaks of fifty : 

— — Nv^gSfos ufcvfttvcf e|6y8w»T« 

Ibid. 1. 263. 

' Both these conjectures are probably right ; and we beg to recommend, in a particular manner, 
to the consideration of the readers of the Eddas, the history of the Thracian Orpheus, and the sin- 
gular coincidence between some of the most remarkable passages in it and that of the Gothic Odin. 
—The modern hymns ascribed to Orpheus, are as little the production of Orpheus, as Saemund'a 
Eddas are the production of Odin or of Braga. It seems hardly possible, that the songs of the Thra- 
cian bard and mythotegist, had they even been committed to writing, could have been understood 
in Greece so late as the age of Lycurgus, (the preserver, and most probably the author, of the Iliad 
and Odyssey;) as, long before then, commerce, and a more settled state of society in Greece, had 
modelled their once common dialect in such a manner, as to make it quite a new language. At the 
same time, it is very likely that many of the Gothic {Thracian) hymns and legends may have been 
preserved among the Greeks, as our ballads have been among us, and may even now remain, ha- 
ving been incorporated with other pieces of the kind, in the all-embracing rhapsodies of " The Tale 
of Troy divine."^— Seethe introduction to these ballads in this work. 

^ This is the oriental and gothic doctrine of the origin of giants, heroes, and demi-gods, which we 
find also in the sixth chapter of Genesis, and fourth verse;— so, at least, the Greek translators have 
understood that passage. In the Danish Bible, these GianU are very properly called Kanq>i; the 
cautious Swedish translators have used the equivocal term, tyrants, which is a compound of Tyr, 
ThyffOi Thor, and means eminently powerful men. 


Homer names thirty-three, ' 

AMxif »» Kifri fiiiici <eXo; Kngii'Je; i)o-«>' 

It. B. 18. 

\rho were in the train of Thetis ; an4 Plato {Atlant.) mentions one hundred. 

The elder Pliny informs us (Hist. Nat. lib. 9. c. 4. Ed. Bip.) that an embassy was sent 
from 01ysipo( Z,m6o») on purpose to inform the Emperour Tiberius, that in a certain 
grotto, or cavern, a Triton, of the same shape under which he is usually designated, had 
been distinctly seen, and heard blowing his conch, or spiral shell. " Nor,"says the his- 
torian, " are we to disbelieve the stories told of Nereides compleatly covered over with 
rough scales-; as one has actually been seen on the same coast, and the inhabitants heard 
at a great distance her lamentable whinings and bowlings, when she was dying ; and his 
lieutenant wrote to Augustus, that a number of Nereides had been found dead on the 
coast of GauU. Several distinguished men of equestrian rank, have assured me, that they 
themselves have seen off the coast of Gades {Cadiz,) a Mer-man, whose whole body was 
of a human form. He was accustomed to come on board ships in the night-time, and the 
part upon which he stood gradually subsided, as if pressed down by his weight, till, if he 
staid long, it sunk altogether." 

Here we have a very remarkable story of an apparition on board a ship at sea, esta- 
blished upon such authority as no reasonable man can question; and the reality of such 
appearances is still confidently afiSrmed from their own experience, by mariners in every 
country ; who, on such occasions, supposing the phantom to be the devil, have recom'se 
to crucifixes, holy water, pater nosters, or such other prayers or spells, as religion or su- 
perstition suggest. As it cannot well be supposed, that all these people are either them- 
selves deceived, or wish to deceive others, several useful purposes * may be answered, by 
endeavouring to throw some light upon a subject, which, at first glance, appears not a little 
mysterious and embarrassing.— In the story just quoted, the subsiding of the wssel under 

' Of all the specimens of bad taste and faulty composition adduced by Pope in the " Bathos," per- 
haps there is not one more perfect in its kind, than his own translation of this passage of the Iliad. 
It would be difficult to specify such another jumble of contradictions and nonsense. In disposing of 
such a string of compound Greek names in English rhyming numbers, we grant that epithets and 
amplifications were necessary, but these were suggested by the names themselves ; Eustathius had 
explained them all ; and if Pope himself neither understood the text nor the commentary, he ought 
to have had recourse to some of his more learned friends who did. — This censure is not meant to 
extend farther than to the passage specified, which, as having been written by Pope, in the full ma- 
turity of his taste and judgment, is really a curiosity. 

* The story of Maclean of Lochbuy is still fresh in the memory of every one; and this is not the 
only instance in which such delusions have been followed by the most fatal consequences, which 
could have happened only to people who were unable to refer them to any natural cause. 

2 O 


the weight of the phantom, must be imputed to the fears of the spectators. They felt 
their hearts sink within them at the sight, and naturally enough imagined that the vessel was 
sinking under them. Had any vessel ever been sunk under such circumstances, it is 
hardly probable that any of the crew, already unnerved and palsied by terror, could have 
survived to tell the tale. But the existence of the appearance described by the Roman 
knights being admitted, it remains for us only to say, that there is no necessity for believ- 
ing that there was any trick in the case ; and that it was not a Mer-maa, hut a real and 
virtual Chimcera begotten upon- a cloud, — Centaurs of the same description have often been 
seen by travellers on horseback ,• and we have no doubt, but most of our readers will, from, 
their own recollection and experience, be disposed to confirm our opinion, that many of 
the most imposing deceptions of sight, arise from the power of reflecting objects, which 
certain dispositions of light and shade give to clouds. Nor is the solution of such pheno- 
mena either incurious or unimportant ; as it furnishes one reason why, in all hilly and 
cloudy regions, and in the neighbourhood of rivers, lakes, and morasses, the stories of 
ghosts, giants, dwarfs, mer-men, mermaids, kelpies, spunkies, &c. SiC, are more common, 
than in level and dry co,untries : 

(■" Quis Deus, ihcertum est) habitat Deus.*" 

Si tibi occurrit vetustis arboribus, et solitam altitudinem egressis frequens lucus, et con- 
spectum coeli densitate ramorum aliorum alios protegentium submovens ; ilia procerita^ 
silvae, et secretum loci, et admiratio umbrae, in aperto tam densse atque continuae, fidem 
tibi numinis facit. £t si quis specus saxis penitus exesis mortem suspenderit, non manu- 
factus, sed naturalibus causisin tantam laxitatem>exacuatus; anlmum tuum quadam reli- 
gionis suspicione percutiet. Magnorum fluminum capita veneramur ; subita ex abdito 
vasti amnis eruptio.aras habet. Coluntw aquarum calentium fontes ; et stagna quaedam, 
vel opacitas, vel immensa altitudo sacravit."- (Senec. Epist. lib. 1. £p. xlj.) 

Yet it is not, as is commonly supposed, merely to the solitude, awful vastness,.and gloomy 
wildness of an uncultivated country, and the ignorance and simplicity of its thinly-scat- 
tered inhabitants, that we are to impute that credulity and superstition, and those strange 
wanderings of imagination by which they are distinguished. In mental energy, activity, 
sagacity, and intelligence, a Norwegian, Swedish, Swiss, Tyrolese, or Scoto-Gaelic pea- 
sant, is in general much superior to a man of the same rank in England, or in the more 
cultivated par.ts of Germany ; and^ among mountaineers,, (the goitrous Alpine idiots ex- 
cepted,) imbecility and derangement of mind are not "more common than feebleness and 
deformity of body. They know those people very ill, who consider them a£ mere raving 
extravagant visionaries ; for imagination has much less to do with their belief in appari- 
tions, and shadowy and supernatural inhabitants of mountains, rocks, woods,, and streams, 

' ^iCirgil. .i!En. lib. viij.I. 352.. 


than is generally supposed. Experience shews, that in proportion as a country is culti- 
vated, the woods are cleared, fewer damp, noxious, and fieiy vapours, (such as formerly 
hovered near the earth, and exhibited phenomena altogether inexplicable to the unletter- 
ed forester) are produced; clouds, mists, and meteors, become more rare; the air be- 
comes more pure and dry ; the marshes, even of their own accord, change their nature ; 
and the boundaries of the lakes and rivers are considerably contracted. The shadowy and 
fiery forms, which every where hovered around the belated hunter, shepherd, and fisher- 
man, are no longer to be found; and when evidence ceases, there is no great merit in no 
longer believing. 

When the Highlander, returning amid the clouds of night, or even in broad day, from 
the chace, or from tending his flocks, sees delineated in the fogs which cover the precipi- 
tous sides of the opposite mountain, the dilated, multiplied, and infinitely diversified re- 
flections of his own form, robed in mist, and often bordered or broken by bickering flames 
and meteorous exhalations, those stupendous and colossal forms, 

" Like ghaist of Fian brim, 
That stride frae craig to cleugh, hung round 
Wl' gloamin vapours dim—" 

while he is treading on the edge of a precipice, with all his senses awake to his situation^ 
can it be imagined he should either believe he is dreaming, or should disbelieve the evi- 
dence of his own eyes ? Put the man who despises his credulity in the same situation, how- 
ever he may affect to reject conviction, he will often find It extremely difficult to remove 
the impression made upon his senses. 

Of the power which bodies of mist, of certain forms and in certain situations, have of 
magnifying and removing the objects which they involve, every one who has lived in a 
mountainous country has had constant experience. This effect is common and generally 
known ; but their power of reflecting objects is less understood, and therefore much more 
imposing. Now, as to the apparitions which have been seen on board ships, they have 
generally appeared during those dreadful calms, which in warm latitudes often precede a 
storm, and they have fi:equently been accompanied by blue streams of light, which have 
all the while flitted and played about the ship, and among the shrouds. The air at such 
a time is in the exact state in which vapours and eidialatimis are most likely to be col- 
lected and embodied for a time on board a ship at sea, that being the only solid object to 
which they can attach themselves. It is also to be observed, that both the distance and 
the cloud being necessarily small, the figures seldom exceed the stature of the person they 
represent, and that they have always been the perfect likeness of a man, because no ico- 
man has been present. These spectres being single, may be imputed to the columns of 
mist being smaller, and the distribution of light and shade more uniform at sea, than on a 
more diversified surface at land. Their locomotion, going round the ship, &c. before they 
vanish, must be regulated by the manner in which the vapours are attracted ; and the sul- 


phureous smell which sometimes remains behind on the disappearance of such objects, 
both at sea and on shore, can only be imputed to the electrical element and other vapours 
of which the cloud consists. - . 

As to Mer-maids, they are commonly said to be seen above water as low as ±he 
waist, by people when fishing not far from the shore, in creeks, and near the mouths of 
rivers; on which we shall only observe, that a person in a fishing-boat cannot see- either 
the shadow or reflection of his own form, lower than the part which appears over the gun- 
wale of the boat ; and that in Wales and the Isle of Man, and more particularly in Nor- 
way and Sweden, (which places are most famous for mermaids,) 'women are still employed 
in rowing fishing^boats, while the men fish ; and very often there are only women in the 
boats.-^But we desire not to be understood, as meaning to give too extensive an applica- 
tion to a theory, which is here merely hinted at. It is no wish of ours to systematize and 
account for all the deliramenta of imbecility, ignorance, and credulity. 

Nor have clouds only the power of magnifying, but also, according to their form and 
consistency, (like convex mirrors,) oi diminishing the images which they reflect. Hence 
the Ettins {giants) of colossal magnitude, and the Dvergar {dwarfs) of three span long ; 

" Manch Ritter nur einer Ellen lang,"— (Heltenb. Th. 4.) 

who in Scandinavia are supposed to live in rocks and hollow mountains. How these came 
to be all great enchanters, and to be peculiarly endowed with the power of being invisible 
when they please, is easy to be understood ; as they are most frequently seen among rocks 
and caverns, and vanish on being approached. The singular noises produced at certain 
times in the interior of rocky mountains and caverns, by concealed vapours, winds, and 
waters, account for the belief, that the giants labour in the work-shops of the dwarfs, and 
that the dwarfs are cunning artificers in all kinds of metals. How these dwarfs come to 
be so often seen and heard in mines, may be understood, by considering the nature of a 
miner's employment, the situations in which he is continually placed, and the phenomena 
of which he is a constant witness. 

" The body's croppen after, 

And join' d it at the ground." — P. 282, v. 1 2. 
Here we have a very notable trait in the character of a mermaid, who, although suscep- 
tible of pleasure and pain, and subject to accidents, like all the more-than-hutnan beings 
in the pagan daemonology, was nevertheless exempted from dissolution, till the arrival of 
the period of existence assigned to her nature. Concerning the duration of this period 
the opinions are various and dissonant ; but all agree that it was very long. By Hesiod ' 
the oldest and best authority on this subject, it is thus shadowed forth : 

' See Plutarch, de defect, orac 


'Ati^at i^iitTCir eXte^o; ie te Tir^aKi^mti' 
£»ve» Ttvf Kc^cucxc eiKcc a Cftii; rain ftiuxxi 

That is, " the clamorous crow lives nine times the flourishing age of man ; the stag four 
times the age of the crow; theraven thrice the age of the stag ; the phoenix nine times 
as long as the raven ; but' ye, ye beautiful-haired Nymphs, daughters of Jove, the eternal 
ruler 'of the world,* ye live ten times the age of the phcenix." 

Adopting the most general 'opinioii that the Nourishing age of Man is thirty years, the 
life of a Merirtaid must extend to no less a pferiod than 291,600 years ! 

The end of so long a life is a very notable event, and excites, as may be expected, in a 
very extraordinary manner, the sympathy not only of the kindred daemons, (as in the ro- 
mantic story t6ld by Plutarch (ai supra) of the miraculous annunciation of the death of 
the Great Pan,) but also df the elements which.tbey inhabit. 

" The far-travelled' grammarian, " Demetrius, said,.3that there<are a number bf uncullti- 
vated islands scattered around the coast of Britain, some of which are said to be inhabited 
by daemons and heroes. Visiting these by order of the emperour, to make observations 
and colliect information, he came to one which lay next to those that were uncultivated, 
containing ft jfew ■ inhabitants who were esteemed sacred and- inviolable by the Britons. 
Shortly after his arrival, the air became troubled ; the most portentous tumult of the ele- 
ments ensued ; the winds blew a hurricane ; and vertiginous volumes of fire were precipi- 
tated from the clouds to the earth. When the storm had subsided, the islanders told him 
that some of the supernatural beings had ceased to exist ; and that such events were often 
followed, not only by hurricanes and storms, as in the present instance, but by pestilen- 
tial infections of the air. — In one of these islands, moreover, Kronos (Saturn) is said to 
be confined, in a profound sleep, under the care and custody of Briareos, and has with him 

' Not much admiring Jupiter's goat-skin buckler, we have ventured to suppose the popular epi- 
thet, used by Hesiod, and in the Homeric rhapsodies, to have had originally a more dignified mean- 
ing; and have according derived it from am, ayj always, and yaiiopgo;, terram tenons; which applies 
equally to Jupiter Supreme, or to Jupiter the prince of the power of the air. 

^ See Dr Leyden's Mermaid, Bord. Min. v. iii. p. 297. 

^ See Plut. de defect, orac. Among other curious tales, the same interlocutor tells one of a singu- 
lar character, whom he met with near the Bed Sea, who was supernaturally beautiful and wise, spoke 
many languages, and was endowed with the gift of prophecy ; all which accomplishments were con- 
ferred upon him by the mermaids and fairies, with whom he spent most of his time, shewing himself 
among men only twice every year. — The following may be compared with the story on which Mr 
Scott's Glenfinlas is founded :— " During my long stay in Crete, I observed an absurd sacrifice, in 
which they exposed a body without the head. This, they told me, was Molos, the father of Merion, 
who, having ravished a mermaid, was found without the head." 



many daemons, as his companions and servants. The chains which have been devised for 
securing him are the chains of sleep." 

The foregoing anecdote is deserving of attention on several accounts. It brings the 
subject home to us at a very early period ; it is the oldest exemplification with which we 
are acquainted, of the popular belief of the Britons in these matters ; and it shews in one 
point of view the identity of the Eastern and Western, Greek, Gothic, and Celtic mytho- 
logical creeds. We shall not here stop to inquire which of the Eddie gods and demi-gods 
are designated under the Greek names of Kronos* and Briareos, nor what kind of society 
and service the Daemons can furnish to a sleeping deity ; as these notes have already beea 
extended to a much greater length than was at first intended. — But the commentator has 
been reading Plutarch, and may have caught the infection of his garrulity ; which would 
be the less to be regretted, had he also learnt from him the art of making garrulity rater- 

*'' Sae angry luaxt the iuild tuinds. 

And stormy tuaxt the sea." — P. 182, v. 14. 
This is to be imputed to the displeasure of the marine lady, at being put to the troidile 
of groping for and fastening on her own head again ; and if we may trust the tales of our own 
times, as well as of those who have.gone before us, the resentment of these demi-goddesses 
has often been more fatal when not so justly provoked ; unless it be allowed that the 
sprette iiyuriaformee in having her love slighted, is a greater outrage in the eyes of a fe- 
male, than having her head cut off. 

' Kronos was probably the same as Krodo, who remained among the Saxons till the days of Char- 
lemagne, by whom his shrine was destroyed. See Schedius de Dies Geimanis, Syngr. 4. c. 2. For 
Briareos, see Sax, Gramm. Bist. Dan, lib, vj. Fol. 53. A. 

C 295 3 


In the Wilkina Saga, this Langbeen Riser , or Ettin Langshanks, is 
called the Giant Etgeir, (cap. 174, p. 255,) and the detail of his ad- 
venture with Vidrich, Vidig, Witticln or Vidga-, the son of the re- 
nowned smith Velint, Veyland, or Verland, (the fabricator of the ce- 
lebrated sword Mimmung, or Mimmering,) diflFers very little from that 
given in the ballad. In the Preface to the Kaempe Viser, the editor 
objects to the incongruity of making King Tidrich come intoBriting- 
shaw to seek for the Ettin Langshanks, " whereas in the MS., it is 
with more propriety said, that it was the king of Denmark's men that 
went in quest of him, which is most probable.. Vidrich- slew him, and 
says, that it could be said in Denmark, that he overcame the Ettin 
Langshanks, as that took place in Zealand, the largest island in 
Denmark, which is otherwise called Birtinggland. As a farther proof, 
there is found a (Danish) mile from Roskild, Birke, and Birking-shaw; 
and there also, not only the Ettin Langshanks's grave, both long and 
large, but also a hoUow in the hill, where his house was, and a hole 
close to it, which is called his oven. In the year 1658, the College 
Rector, Mr Rasmus Brokmand, caused the barrow to be opened, but. 
fr)und only a pot full of ashes,,and a riisty fragment of a-sword." — Had 
the writer of this passage been acquainted with the Wilkina Saga, he 
would probably have been less confident in the force of his proofs.. 
In the introduction to the piece which, follows that with which we 


are now engaged in the Ksempe Viser, Mr Veile makes Bratingsborg 
to be " a castle near Tranberg church, in Samsoe, whose triple ditch, 
rampart, wall, &c. could still be traced. Others were of opinion that 
it lay in Ifvoenis, north from Ifti'oe. — Some think that Vidrich Verland- 
son (who ought to be called ViUandson,) was born in the large dis- 
trict of Scania, which is now called Villands-herret, and lies buried 
on the side of SoUesborgs Ore, near Eisbeck Mill, where a large stone 
is still seen standing. Villands-herret still has a hammer on its seal, 
in memory of Sir Vidrich Verlandson." 

The following description is given of the giant's person in the Wil- 
kina Saga : " He was fearfully large ; his legs were prodigiously thick 
and long ; he had a strong, thick, and long body ; there was the space 
of an ell between his eyes ; and his whole stature was in proportion.'* 
— He is there represented as being placed to guard one of the passes 
into his brother's kingdom, for which he seemed, from his natural pro- 
pensity to sleeping, to be but indiiferently qualified. When Vidrich 
first found him, he snored so tremendously, that the leaves on the trees 
shook and rustled for a great distance round. It required many hard 
kicks in the ribs from^ Vidrich to make him open his eyes at all ; and 
they were hardly well Opened when they closed again, and the process 
of kicking must be commenced anew. The Highland and Irish He- 
roes, or, if you please, Giants, are many of them full as prone to som- 
nolency as the Gothic ones ; and, in the moment of danger^ it was 
sometimes necessary to rouse them by dashing a fragment of a rock 
against their heads with such violehce, that it rebounded for miles, &c. 

C 297 ] 




Koning Tidrick sidder icdi Bern, 

Hand roser of sin VeeUe : 
Saa mangen hqfeer hand tmcngen, 
Baade Keemper og raske Helte. 

Der slander en Berg heder Bern, og der 
boer i Konning Tidrick. 

King Tidrick sits intill Bern, 

He rooses him of his might ; 
Sae mony has he in battle caw' A, , 
Baith kemp and doughty knight. 

There stands a fortress higkt Bern, and thereintill 
dwelleth King Tidrick. 

King Tidrick stands at Bern, 

And he looks out sae wide : 
" Wold God I wist of a kemp sae bold 

Durst me in field abide !" 


Syne answer'd Master Hildebrand, 
In war sae ware and wight : 

" There liggs a kemp in Birting's Bierg ;- 
Dare ye him rouse and fight ?" 

" Hear thou, Master Hildebrand, 
Thou art a kemp sae rare : 

Ride thou the first i' the shaw the day, 
Our banner gay to bear." 

Syne answer'd Master Hildebrand ; 

He was a kemp sae wise : 
" Nae banner will I bear the day, 

For sae unmeet a prize." 

Syne answer'd Vidrich Verlandson, 
He spoke in full good mood : 

" The first i' the press I'se be the day, 
To march to Birting's Wood." 

Up spak he, Vidrich Verlandson, 
And an angry man he grew ; 

" Thro' hauberk as thro' hacketon 
The smith's son's swerd sail hew." 

They were weU three hunder kemps. 
They drew to Birting's land : 

They sought the Ettin Langshanks, 
And in the shaw him fand. 

Syne up spak Vidrich Verlandson : 
" A selcouth game you's see. 

Gin ye lat me ride first to the wood. 
And lippen sae far to me. 

" Here bide ye a', ye kingis men, 

Whare twa green roads are met, 


While I ride out in the wood alane, 
To speer for you the gate." 

It was Vidrich Verlandson^ ' 

Into the wood he rade'; 
And there he fand a little foot-path, 

To the Ettin's lair that led. 

Syne up spak he, King Tidrick : 

" Hear what I say to thee ; 
Find ye the Ettin Langshanks, 

Ye healna it frae me." 

It was Vidrich Verlandson, 

To Birting's hythe he wan ; 
And there the Ettin Langshanks 

Laidly and black he fand. 

It was Vidrich Verlandson 

Strak the Ettin wi' his stang : 
" Wake up, ye Langshanks Ettin; 

Ye sleep baith hard and lang !" 

" On this wild moor I've lien and slept 

For lang and mony a year : 
Nor ever a kemp has challenged me, 

Or dared my rest to steer." 

" Here am I, Vidrich Verlandson, 

With good swerd by my side. 
And here I dare thy rest to steer. 

And dare tiby wrath abide." 

It was the Ettin Langshanks, 

He wink'd up wi' his ee : 
'* And whence is he, the page sae bald, 

Dares say sic words to me ? 


*• Verland was my father hight, 

A smith of cunning rare ; 
Bodild was my mother call'd, ' 

A kingis daughter fair. 

" My fiill good shield that Skrepping highly 

Has mony a dent and clour ; 
On Blank my helmet mony a swerd 

Has brast, of temper dour. 

'• My noble steed is Skimming hight, 

A wild horse of the wood ; 
My swerd by men is Mimmering nam'd, 

Temper'd in heroes blood. 

" And I hight Vidrich Verlandson, 

AH steel-clad as you see ; 
And, but thy lang shanks thou bestir, 

Sorely shalt thou abie. 

" Hear thou, Ettin Langshanks, 

A word I winna he ; 
The king is in the wood, and he 

Maun tribute hae frae thee." 

" What gold I have fiill well I know 

Sae well to guard and ware. 
Nor sauey page saU win't frae me, 

Nor groom to claim it dare." 

" Thou to thy cost salt find, all young 

And little as I be. 
Thy head I'll frae thy shoulders hew, 

And win thy gold frae thee." 

It was the Ettin Langshanks 
Nae langer lists to sleep : 

* Bodild is, in another ballad, said to be the mother of Hogen. 


" Young kemp, away, and to thy speed. 
If thou thy life wilt keep." 

Wi' baith his hooves up Skimming sprang 

On the Ettin's side bel3rve ; 
There seven o' his ribs he brake ;— 

Sae they began to strive. 

It was the Ettin Langshanks 

Grip'd his steel stang in hand ; 
He strak a stroke at Vidrich, 

That the stang i' the hill did stand. 

. It was the Ettin Langshanks, 

He ween'd to strike him stythe ; 
But he his firsten straik has mist. 
The steed sprang alF sae swyth. 

'Twas then the Ettin Langshanks, 

And he took on to yammer : 
" Now Ues my stang i' the hillock fast 

As it were driven wi' hammer." 

It was Vidrich Verlandson, 

And wroth in mood he grew : 
" Skimming, about ! Good Mimmering, 

Now see what thou canst do !" 

In baith his hands he Mimmering took, 

And strak sae stern and fierce. 
That through the Langshanks Ettin's breast / 

The point his thairms did pierce. 

Then first the Ettin Langshanks 

Felt of a wound the pain ; 
And gladly, had his strength remain'd, 

Wad paid it back again. 


<* Accursed, Vidrich,; be thy arm, 

Accursed be thy brand, 
For the deadly wound that in my breast 

I've taken frae thy hand !" 

" Ettin, I'll hew and scatter thee 
Like leaves before the wind, 

But and thou tell me in this wood 
Whare I thy gold may find." 

" O spare me, Vidrich Verlandson, 
And never strike me dead j 

Sae will I lead thee to the house 
Roofd with the gold sae red." 

Vidrich rode and the Ettin crept ; 

Deep in the wood they're gone ; 
They found the house with gold sae red 

Like burning light that shone; 

" Away ye heave that massy stane, 
Lift frae the bands the door ; 

And mair gold nor 's in a' this land 
Within ye'll find in store." 

Syne answer'd Vidrich Verlandson ; 

Some treason he did fear : 
" The kemp is neither ware nor wise 

That sic a stane wad steer." 

" Well Vidrich kens to turn a steed ; 

'Tis a' he imderstands : 
But I'll do mair wi' twa fingers. 

Nor thou wi' baith thy hands." 

Sae he has taen that massy stane, 
And lightly o'er did turn : 


Full grimly Vidrich etded then 
That he should rue that scorn. 

" There's mair gold in this treasury 

Nor fifteen kings can shaw : 
Now hear thou, Vidrich Verlandson, 

The first thou in sail ga." 

Syne up spak Vidrich Verlandson, 

His ciuming well he knew : 
" Be thou the first to venture in. 

As fearless kemp should do," 

It was the Ettin Langshanks, 

In at the door he saw : 
Stark Vidrich strak wi' baith his hands, 

And hew'd his head him fira. 

And he has taen the Ettin's blood 

And smear'd wi' it his steed : 
Sae rade he to King Tidrick, 

Said, " Foul has been my speed !" 

And he has taen the Ettin's corpse, 

Set it against an aik ; 
And all to tell the wondrous feat 

His way does backward take. 

" Here bide ye a', my doughty feres, 

Under this green hill fair : 
How Langshanks Ettin's handled me. 

To tell you grieves me sair." 

" And has the Ettin maul'd thee sae ? 

That is foul skaith and scorn ; 
Then never anither sail be foil'd ; — 

We'll back to Bern return." 


" Thou turn thee, now, King Tidrich, 
Thou turn thee swythe wi'me ; 

And a' the gold the Ettin had 
I'll shew belyve to thee." 

" And hast thou slain the Ettin the day? 

That mony a man sail weet ; 
And the baldest kemp i' the warld wide 

Thou never need fear to meet." 

It was then King Tidrich's men. 
They green'd the Ettin to see : 

And loud they leuch at his laidly bouk. 
As it stood by the tree. 

They ween'd that he his lang shanks 
Yet after them might streek ; 

And nae ane dared to nigh him near. 
Or wake him frae his sleep. 

It was Vidrich Verlandson, 

Wi' mickle glee he said : 
*♦ How would ye bide his living look 

That fleys ye sae ^han dead ?" 

He strak the body wi' his staff; 

The head feU to the eard : 
" In sooth that Ettin was a kemp 

That ance might well be fear'd." 

And they hae taen the red gold, 
What booty there did stand ; 

And Vidrich got the better part. 
Well won with his right hand. 

But little he reck'd a spoil sae rich ; 
'Twas a' to win the gree ; 


And as the Ettin-queller wide 
O'er Danmark fam'd to be. 

Sae gladly rode they back to Bern ; 

But Tidrick maist was glad ; 
And Vidrich o' his menyie a' 

The foremost place ay had. 


i: 306 ] 





It may be observed that this piece is a sort of counterpart to " The Wassel Dance." 
All the irregularities of the measure in the original have not been preserved ; but it is 
probable that the reader would have thought a greater licence in this respest a very 
venial fault. This little ditty is of a very different cast from those connected with the 
history of the Niebelungen ; but we have given it here on account of its characteristic 
peculiarities, and to shew what use ballad-reciters make of the names of popular heroes, 
in appropriating to them parts which do not belong to them. 

Kongen hand sidder i Ribe ; 

Hand drikker vin ,• 
Saa hyder hand de Danske riddere 

Hiem til sin. 

{Saa herlig dandser hand Hogen ! Sfc.) 

The king he's sitting in Ribe ; 

He's drinking wine ; 
Sae he has bidden the Danish knights 

To propine. 

{Sae nobly dances he, Hogen !) 


" Ye stand up a' my merry men 

And knightis bold, 
And gaily tread the dance wi' me 

O'er the green wold." 
{Sae nobly, &c.) 

Now lists the king o' Danmarck 

To dance in the ring ; 
And neist cam Hero Hogen 

Afore them to siag. 

Up wak'd the queen o' Danmarck j 

In her bower she lay : 
*• O whilken o' my ladies. 

Strikes the harp sae ?"• 

" It is nane o' your ladies 

Whase harp ye hear ; 
It is Hero Hogen. 

Singing sae clear." 

" Ye a' get up, my maidens, 

Rose chaplets on your hair 5 
Forth we will us a' ride, 

Wassel to share*" 

First rade the queen 0' Danmarck, 

In red scarlet tho ; 
Syne ladies rade, and maidens,. 

And maries a^row. 

Fu' lightly rade the Qiieen round 

And round the dance sae free ; 
'Twas a' on noble Hogen ay 

Turned her ee. 

'Twas then Hero Hogen,^ 
, His hand raught he : 


" O, list ye, gracicrewkdjyj 
To dance wi' me ?" 

Now dances Hero Hogen ; 

He dances wi' the queen ; 
And mickle glee, the sooth to say. 

There passes them atween. 

Up there stood a little may 

In kirtle blue : / ; 

" O 'ware ye 'fore the fause claverers ; 

They lyth to yeu." ' . r 

It was the king o' DamnaTd£» '- 
And he can there speer, ,1. ; 

" What does the queen o' Danmarck 
A-dancing here ? ; 

" Far better in her bower 'twere ; 

On her goud harp to play, 
Nor dancing here sae lightly 

Wi' Hogen thus togaae." . 

Up there stood a little may 

In kirtle red : 
" 'Ware now, my gracious lady ; 

My lord's grini) I red^/' - 

" I've just but i' the dance come in ; 

It's nae near tiU an en' ; 
And sae my lord the king may 

Mak himsell Uyth again." * 

' From the peculiar turn of this stanza, the fidelity of the translation may be suspected. 
Here is the original : 

" Jag er saa nylig i dandsen kommen, 

Hun haver ikkfe faaet endfe ; 
Saa vel maa min Herrfe eg Konning 

Blivfe blid igen." 


Up there stood a little page 

Intill a kirtle green : 
" 'Ware ye, my gracious lady ; — 

My lord is riding hame." 

Shame fa' Hero Hogen, 

That e'er he sang sae clear ; 
The queen sits in her bower up, 

And dowy is her chear. 

(Sae nobly dances he, Hogen /) 

C 310 3 


The following rude, uncouth, and ridiculous piece, seems to be an 
imitation of the balladized copy of the Eddie Tale of Thor's Ham- 
mer, (which has been admirably translated by the Hon. W. Herbert,) 
inserted in the K^mpe Viser, in which the characters are all giants 
merely, and not gods. — ^It shews in what manner the heroes and he- 
roines of Gothic Romance have been treated by the vulgar in later 
times ; and gives a rude and barbarous, but just and characteristic, 
picture of an ancient Scandinavian wedding. Capricious and extra- 
vagant as the painting may seem, it is nevertheless, in all essential 
points, true to Nature, and the manners and usages of the times. 

Who is meant by Mother Skrat, we do not pretend to say, as we 
have never had the pleasure of meeting with her elsewhere, and do 
not find her in any of our repositories of Gothic divinities. But this 
is, probably, because we have so few ludicrous compositions of the el- 
der Scandinavians remaining. We take her to be the goddess who 
presided over obstreperous mirth and horse-play of every kind, and to 
be here invoked by the spectators, to save them from bursting their 
sides with laughter. " Skratte" in Danish, signifies generally " to 
split or crack ;" and particularly to " split the sides with laughing." 

C 311 3 



Del var Grefue Herr Guncelin, 

Hand taler til moder sin .• 

Jeg vil ride mig op pan Land, 

OgJHste Manddom min. 

( Vel opJ"6rre Dag, m komme 
vel qfver den Hede.) 

It was the Earl Sir Guncelin 

To his mother he can say, 
" It's I will ride me up-o-land, 

My manhood to essay." 
{Up, up afore day, sue come we well over the Aeath-0.) 

" And wilt thou ride thee up-o-land, 

And dost thou tell me sae ? - 
Then I'll gie thee a steed sae good, 

Men call him Karl the gray. 
{Up, up afore, 8fc.) 

" Then I'll gie thee a steed sae good. 
Men call him Karl the gray ; 


Ye ne'^er need buckle on a spur 
Or helm, whan him ye hae.. 

" At never a kemp maun ye career, 

Frae never ane rin awa', 
Untill ye meet with him, the kemp 

That men call Ifver Blaa." 

It was the Earl Sir Guncelin 

Can by a green hill ride. 
There met he him, little Tilventin, 

And bade him halt and bide. 

" Well met, weU met, young Tilventin, 
Whare did ye he last night ?" 

" t lay at Bratensborg, whare they 
Strike fire frae helmets bright." 

It was the Earl Sir Guncelin 
Look'd under his helmet red : 

" Sae be't wi' little Tilvehtin !— 
Thou's spoken thy ain dead." 

It was the Earl Sir Gimcelin, 

He his swerd out drew ; 
It was little Tilventin 

He in pieces hew. 

Sae rade he till Bratensborg, 

He rapped at the yate : 
" Is there here ony kemp within ' 

That dares wi' me debate }" 

It was Sir liver Blaa, 

To the east he turn'd about : 

" Help now Ulf and Ismer Grib j 
I hear a kemp thereout." 


It was Sir Ifver Blaa, 

And he look'd to the West : 
" Thereout I hear Sir Guncelin : 

Help, Otthin ! as thou can best'* 

It was the Earl Sir Guncelin, 

And helm o'er neck he flang ; 
Sae heard, though mony a mile away. 

His mother dear the clang. 

That lady she waken'd at still midnight, 

And till her lord she said : 
" May God Almighty rightly rede 

That our son may well be sped !*' 

The firsten tilt they thegither rode, 

Those kemps sae stark and bold. 
Wide on the field Sir liver Blaa 

Was cast upon the mold. 

" Hear thou, Earl Guncelin, 

An thou will lat me live> 
I ha'e me a betrothed bride, 
^ And her to thee I'll give." 

'« I'll none of thy betrothed bride ; 

Yet wedded would I be : 
Give me Salenta, sister thine. 

As bettei; liketh me." 

Sae rode they to the bride-ale s 

They roundly rode in fere } 
And they hae bidden the kempery men 

To come frae far and near. 

They bade him, Vidrich Verlandson, 
Stark Tidrich out of Bern, 


And Holger Danske, that ay for feats 
Of chivalry did yearn. 

Child Sivard Snaren they haei bidden, 

Afore the bride to ride ; 
And Ettin Langshankshe maun be 

All by the bridegroom's side. 

They've bidden Master Hildebrand, 
And he the torch maun bear ; 

Him followed twice sax kemps, and they 
Drank and made lusty cheer. 

And hither came Folquard Spillemand ; 

For that the kemps sail pay ; 
And hither came King Sigfrid Home, 

As he shall rue the day. 

It was proud Lady Grimild, 
Was bidden to busk the bride ; 

But hard and fast her feet -and hands 
Wi' fetters they hae tied. 

Theretill came Lady Gunde Hette, 
In Norden Field that bade ; 

She drank and she danced, ">'-' 
And luckily was sped. 

There in came Lady Brynial, ' > . . 

And she carved for the bride ; 

Her follow'd seven sma damsels,- J ''^^ ; 

And sat the kemps beside. - ' r ' ;! 

They follow'd the bride to the chamber in, 
Their breakfast there to eat ; 

Of groats four barrels she ate up, ' t'^i'- ' 
Sae well she lik'd that meat. ■'• ' 



Sax oxen she ate up, theretill 

Eight flitches of the brawn ; 
Seven hogsheads of the ale she drank, 

Or she to yex b^an. .Mb k. 

They foHoVd the bride intill the ha' j 

Sae bowden was her skin,. 
They dang down five elk o' the wa' 

Ere they could get her in. ,:'. 

They led the the bride-bench, i^.I :! l 

And gently set her. down -: - _ nr eaV/ 

Her weight it brake the marble bench. 

And she came to the ground. 

They serv'd her wi' the best o' fare ; 

She made na brocks o' meat ; 
Five oxen, and ten gude fat swine 

Clean up the witch did eat. 

That mark'd the bridegroom (well he might !) 

'Twas little to his wish : 
" I never yet saw sae young a bride 

Lay her lugs sae in a dish !" 

Up syne sprang the kempery men ; 

Thegither they advise : 
" Whilk wiU ye rather pitch the bar, 

Or kemp in knightly guise ?" 

The kempery men a ring they drew 

All on the sward sae green ;, 
And there, in honour o' the bride, 

The courtly game begin. 

The young bride wi' the mickle neives 
Up frae the bride-bench sprang : 


And up to tulzie wi' her there lap 
The Ettin wi' shanks sae lang. 

There danced and dinnled bench and board, 
And sparks frae hehnets fly ; 

Out then leapt the kemps sae bold : 
" Help, Mother Skratt !" they cry. 

And there a sturdy dance began, 

Frae Ribe, and in till She : 
The least kemp in the dance that was- 

Was five ell under the knee. 

The least kemp in the dance that was 
Was htde Mimmering Tand ; 

He was amang that heathen folk 
The only Christian Man. 

[ 317 2 


The follofwing belongs to a numerous class of Danish Ballads, and has 
been here selected on account of its near resemblance to some of the 
most noticed of our own. Of these, one of the most distinguished is 
the " Child of EUe," which seems (as well as " Erlington,") from the 
name, to be of Scandinavian origin. As the value of the original 
fragment of that piece is much enhanced by the publication of several 
similar tales which have lately appeared, it is hoped that, in whatever 
state it may be, it will no longer be with-held from the public. 

" Erlinton," in the Bord. Min» (vol. iii. p. 235,) has, as much as any 
of oiu: antient ditties, the appearance of being Scandinavian. The 
complete locality ascribed to the fipe ballad of " The Douglas Tra- 
gedy," (Bord. Min. vol. iii. p. 243,) in Selkirkshire, aflfords no pre- 
sumption of the event having happened in that country ; as the scene 
of action cannot be more distinctly pointed out, than it is in Ribolt 
and Guldborg. Popular tales and anecdotes of every kind soon ob- 
tain locality wherever they are told ; and the intelUgent and attentive 
traveller will not be surprised to- find the same story which he had 
learnt when a child, with every appropriate circumstance of names, 
time, and place, in a glen of Morven, Lochaber, or Rannoch, equally 
domesticated amid the mountains of Norway, Caucasus, or Thibet. 

Of Ribolt and Guldborg it may be observed, that it seems to con- 


tain almost all the materials of Erlinton, the Douglas Tragedy, and 
the Ghild of EUe, especially if the latter piece originally ended tra^- 
cally for the hero and heroine. 

Those who wish to see from what kind of materials these tales have 
been fabricated, may compare this piece with the romantic story of 
Sir Sampson and Hildesvida, the daughter of Jarl Rudgeir, with which 
the Wilkina Saga commences. In the Saga, as in the Swedish and 
Danish ballads of Fair Midel, &c., the knight causes the lady to pack 
up all the plate and treasures she can get her hands on, to carry away 
with her. 

As we have pointed out the particular resemblance which Ribolt 
bears to the Child of EUe, &c., it may be proper to observe, that we 
have selected the five which immediately follow it, as having, in their 
subjects and narrative, a more intimate relationship to ballads of our own 
country. Two of this class have already been given to the public in 
" Popular Ballads and Songs, &c." Of these, " Fair Annie," on the 
same subject with " Wha will bake my bridal bread, &c." is one of 
the most interesting of the Danish Ballads ; and the " Merman Ros- 
mer," which we intend still farther to illustrate, is a very curious relic 
of antiquity. In the Notes to " the Lady of the Lake" will be found two 
more, « The Elfin Gray" and the « Ghaist's Warning." The first of 
these is a favourable specimen of a large class of Danish Ballads, which, 
like many of our most wild and antient Scotish ditties, are founded on 
stories of disenchantment. The last I have not met with in the form 
of a ballad in Scotland ; but on the translation from the Danish being 
read to a very antient gentleman in Dumfrieshire, he said the story of 
the mother coming back to her children was quite familiar to him in 
his youth, as an occurrence of his own immediate neighbourhood, with 
all the circumstances of name and place. The father, like Child Dy- 
ring, had married a second wife ; and his daughter by the first, a child 
of three or four years old, was once amissing for three days. She was 
sought for every where with the utmost diligence, but was not found. 
At last she was observed, coming fi-om the barn, which, during her 
absence, had been repeatedly searched. She looked remarkably clean 


and fresh ; her clothes were in the neatest possible order ; and her 
hair, in particular, had been anointed, combed, curled, ■ and plaited, 
with the greatest care. On being asked where she had been, she said 
she had been with her mammie, who had been so kind to her, and given 
her so many good things, and dressed her hair so. prettily.' 

As I have lately heard it insinuated, upon authority that ought to 
have had some weight, that nothing was known of the tragical frag- 
ment beginning, *' O whare ha'e ye been. Lord Ronald, my Son ?" 
(Bord. Min. vol. ii. p. 263. ed. 1810,) till the publication of Johnson's 
Scots Musical Musaeum, I am happy to be able to furnish the reader 
(along with the assurance, that there are many persons in Scotland 
who learnl^it long before it was printed) with two curious scraps, the 
genuineness of which is unquestionable. An English gentleman, 
who had never paid any attention to ballads, nor, ever read a collec- 
tion of such things, told me, that when a child, he learnt from a 
playmate of his own age, the daughter of a clergyman in Suffolk, the 
following imperfect ditty : * 

'* Where have you been to-day, Billy, my son ? 
Where have you been to-day, my only man ?" 
" I've been a wooing, mother, make my bed soon, 
For I'm sick at heart, and fain would lay down." 

" What have you ate to-day, Billy, my son ? 
What have you ate to-day, my only man ?" 

' The fairy Melusina had enjoineid her husband not to see or enquire after her on a Sa- 
turday. The husband, however, having bored i. hole with his sword lii the door, beheld 
her in the bath, half woman, half fish, lamenting her fate. Haying some years after, in 
an altercation, hinted at her deformity, she flew out of the window with loud lamentations, 
and being metamorphosed into her Saturday's shape, flew thrice ^out ^e castle, and then 
departed. She had shortly before born two infants, and the nurse^ freijuently observed 
her entering the room " in the shape of a ghostj" caressing the children, warming them 
at the fire, and giving them suck. By order of the count, no one disturbed her; and, in 
consequence, the children throve with amazing rapidity.. This is the account in the Ger- 
man popular story-book, which is somewhat different fi-om the French original. 

* Every child knows the nursery tale of the " Crowdin' Dow." 


" I've ate eel-pie, mother, make my bed soon ; 
For I'm sick at heart, and shall die before nooja." 

In the above fragment I have put the word only in italics, not so 
much on account of the singularity of the expression, as of its resem- 
blance to the following German popular ditty, inserted in the Knaben 
Wunderhom, of which, as it is too humble to, be attempted in verse., 
we have given a verbatim English prose translation. 


" Maria, wo bist du zur Stube gewesen ? 
Maria, mein einziges kind?" 

" Jch bin bey meiner Grossmutter gewesen;— 
Ach weh ! Frau Mutter, wie weh .'" 

" Was hat sie dir dann zu essen gegeben, 
Maria, mein einziges kindf 

" Sie hat mir gehackne Fishlein gegeben;-^ 
Ach weh.' Frau Mutter! wie weh .' Sfc" 


•• Maria, what room have you been in, 
Maria, my only child ?" 

" I have been with my grandmother 5— 
Alas ! lady mother, what pam !" 

'* What then has she given thee to eat, 
Maria, my only child ?" 


" She has given me fried fishes } — 
Alas ! lady mother, what pain !" 

" Where did she catch the little fishes, 
Maria, my only child ?" 

" She caught them in the kitchen-garden ;— 
Alas ! lady mother, what pain !" 

" With what did she catch the little fishes, 
Maria, my only child ?" 

" She caught them with rods and little sticks ; 
Mas ! lady mother, what pain !'* 

" What did she do with the rest of the fishes ; 
Maria, my only child ?" 

" She gave it to her little dark-brown dog : 
Alas ! lady mother, what pain !" 

" And what became of the dark-brown dog, 
Maria, my only child ?" 

'< It burst into a thousand pieces : 
Alas ! lady mother, what pain !" 

" Maria, where shall I make thy bed, 
Maria, my only child ?" 

" In the church-yard shalt thou make my bed, 
Alas ! lady mother, what pain !" 

That any one of these Scotish, EngKsh, and German copies of the 
same tale has been borrowed or translated from another, seems very 
improbable ; and it would now be in vain to attempt to ascertain what 

2 s 


it originally was, or in what age it was produced. It has had the great 
good fortune in every country to get possession of the nursery, a 
circumstance which, from the enthusiasm and curiosity of young ima- 
ginations, and the commilnicative volubility of little tongues, has in- 
sured its preservation. Indeed, many curious relics of past times are 
preserved in the games and rhymes found among children, which are 
on that account by no means beneath the notice of the curious travel- 
ler, who will be surprised to find, after the lapse of so many ages, and 
so many changes of place, language ^ and manners, how little these 
differ among different nations of the same original stock, who have 
been so long divided and estranged from each other. As an illustra- 
tion of this, which we happeia to have most conveniently at hand, we 
give the following child's song to the Lady-hird, which is commonly 
sung while this pretty insect is perched on the tip of the fore-finger, 
and danced up and down. Every child knows the English rhyme, 

" Lady-bird, lady-bird, fly and begone, 

Your house is a-fire, and your children at home, &c." 

The German children have it much more perfect, as well as much 
prettier, the English having preserved only the second stanza in their 

Marienwiirmchen, setze dich 
Auf meine hand, auf meine hand ; 

Ich thu dir nichts zu leide. 
Es soU dir nichts zu leide geschehn, 
WiJQ nur deine bunte Fliigel sehn, 

Bunte Fliigel, meine Freude. 

Marienwiirmchen, fliege weg, 

Dein Hseuschen brennt, die kinder schrein, 

So sehre, wie so sehre. 
Die bose Spinne spinnt sie ein, 


Marienwiinnchen ; flieg hinein, 
Deine kinder schreien sehre. 

Marienw'iirmchen, fliege hin 

Zu nachbars kind, zu nachbars kind, 

Sie thun dir nichts zu leide ; 
Es soil dir da kein leid geschehn, 
Sie wollen deine bunte Fljigpl sehn, 

Und griiss sie alle beyde. 

C 324 ] 



Riholt er en Greve-son, 
{Om det er eders villie ,•) 

HandgiBed Gtddborg, det var i Torii 
^Der huen legtesjbr dem, ) 

Hand giUed hendejra hun var bartii 
{Om det er, Sfc.) 

RiBOLT was the son of an Earl gude ; 

{Sae be that ye are willing ;) 
Guldborg he lang in secret lo'ed. 

(^There's a hue and cry for them.) 

"Whan she was a bairn he lo'ed her sair, 

(Sae be, 4rc.) 
And ay as she grew he lo'ed her the mair. 

{There's clfc.) 

" Guldborg, will ye phght your troth to me, 
And I'll tin a better land bring thee. 

" Till a better land I will thee bear, 
Whare there never comes or dule or care. 


** I will bring thee untill an be 
Whare thou sail live and nagate die." 

" It's till nae land can ye me bear 
Whare there never comes or dule or care ; 

" Nor me can ye bring to sic an oe ; 
For to God I owe that I should die." 

" There leeks are the only grass that springs, 
And the gowk is the only bird that sings ; 

** There a' the water that rins is wine : 
Ye well may trow this tale o' mine." 

" O how sail I frae the castell win, 
Sae fiel they watch me out and in ? 

" I'm watch'd by my father, I'm watch'd by my mitlier, 
I'm watch'd by my sister, I'm watch'd by my brither ; 

" My bridegroom watches wharever I ga. 
And that watch fears me maist ava !" 

" And gin a' your kin were watching ye, 
Ye maim bide by what ye hecht to me. 

" And ye maun put on my brynie blae ; 
My gilded helm«t ye sail hae ; 

" My gude brand belted by your side j 
Sae unlike a lady ye will ride : 

" Wi' gouden spur at your heel sae braw, 

Ye may ride thro' the mids o' your kindred a'." 

His mantel blue he has o'er her thrown. 
And his ambler grey he has set her upon. 


As o'er the muir in fere they rade. 
They met a rich Earl that till them said : 

" O hear ye, Ribolt, dear compere mine, 
Whare gat ye that page sae fair and fine ?" 

** O it is nane but my yomigest brither. 
And I gat him frae nane but my mither." 

" In vain ye frae me the truth wad heal : 
Guldborg, Guldborg, I ken ye weU. 

" Your red scarlet ye well may Jen. ; 
But your rosy cheeks fii' well I ken. 

*• I' your father's casteU I did sair. 
And I ken you well by your yellow hair. 

" By your claiths and your shoon I ken ye iU, 
But I ken the knight ye your troth gae till ; 

" And the Brok I ken, that has gotten your han' 
Afore baith priest and laic man." 

He's taen the goud bracelet frae his hand, 
And on the Earlis arm it band : 

" Whaever ye meet, or wharever ye gae. 
Ye naething o' me maun to nae man say." 

The earl he has ridden to KaUb-house, 
Whare, merrOy-drinking, the kemps carouse. 

Whan Sir Truid's castell within cam he. 
Sir Truid at the deas he was birling free : 

" Here sit ye, Sir Truid, drinking mead and wine, 
Wi' your bride rides Ribolt roundly hyne." 


Syne Truid o'er die castell loud can ca' : 

" Swyth on wi' j^our brjrnies, my merry men a' !" 

They scantly had ridden a mile but four, 
Guldborg she luifcit her.shoulder o'er : 

" O yonder see I my father's steed. 
And I see the knight that I hae wed." 

" Light down, Guldborg, my lady dear, 
And hald our steeds by the renyies here. 

" And e'en sae be that ye see me fa', 
•Be sure that ye never upon me ca' ; 

" And e'en sae be that ye see me bleed, 
Be sure that ye namena me till dead." 

Ribolt did on his brynie blae ; 
Guldborg she clasp'd it, the sooth to say. 

In the firsten shock o' that bargain 
Sir Truid and her father dear he's slain. 

r the nexten shock, he hew'd down there 
Her twa brethren wi' their gouden hair. 

" Hald, hald, my Ribolt, dearest mine, 
Now belt thy brand, for it's mair nor time. 

•' My youngest brither ye spare, O spare 
To my mither the dowy news to bear ; 

" To tell o' the dead in this sad stour— 
O wae, that ever she dochter bure !"' 

" O vae, hun nogentid dotter fijdd^ !" 


Whan Ribolt's name she nam'd that stound, 
'Twas then that he gat his deadly wound. 

Ribolt he has belted his brand by his side : 
" Ye come now, Guldborg, and we will ride." 

As on to the Rosen-wood they rade, 
The never a word till ither they said. 

" O hear ye now, Ribolt, my love, tell me 
Why are ye nae blyth as ye wont to be ?" 

" O my Ufe-blood it rins fast and free. 
And wae is my heart, as it well may be ! 

" And soon, fu' soon I'll be cald in the clay, 
And my Guldborg I maim a maiden lea'." 

'• It's I'll tak my silken lace e'en now, 
And bind up yoiu' wound the best I dow." 

" God help thee, Guldborg, and rue on thee ; 
Sma boot can thy silken lace do me !" 

Whan they cam till the castell yett, 
His mither she stood and leant thereat. 

•' Ye're welcome, Ribolt, dear son mine, 
And sae I wat is she, young bride thine. 

" Sae pale a bride saw I never air. 

That had ridden sae far but goud on her hair." 

*' Nae wonder, nae wonder, tho' pale she be, 
Sae hard a fecht as she's seen wi' me ! 

" Wold God I had but an hour to live ! — 
But my last bequests awa' I'U give. 


" To my father my steed sae tall I gie ; — 
Dear mither, ye fetch a priest to me ! 

" To my dear brither that stands me near, 
I lea' Guldborg that I hald sae dear." 

" How glad thy bequest were I to fang, 
But haly klrke wad ca' it wrang." 

'* Sae help me God at my utmost need, 
As Guldborg for me is a may indeed. 

" Ance, only ance, with a lover's lyst, 
And but only ance, her mouth I kist." 

" It ne'er sal be said, till my dying day, 
That till twa brithers I plight my fay." 

Ribolt was dead or the cock did craw ; 
Guldborg she died or the day did daw- 
Three likes frae that bower were carried in fere, 
And comely were they withouten peer ; 

Sir Ribolt the leal and his bride sae fair, 

{Sae be that ye are mlling,) 
And his mither that -died wi' sorrow and care. ' 
> ( There's a hue and cry for them.) 

• See " Popular Ballads and Songs, &c. 1806," vol. I. p. 222. 

2 T 

i: 350 ] 


There leeks are the only grass that springs. 

And the gowk is the only bird that sings— P. S'ii, v. 8. 

In tliis couplet, Ribolt intimates, by two very characteristic metaphors, that the land to 
which he proposes to carry his mistress is a perfect paradise, enjoying a perpetual spring, 
" The leek," says the Danish editor, " was formerly, as among the Israelites, esteemed a 
very valuable herb, and the cuckoo a fine singing bird ; who, nevertheless, only utters a 
cry which, in the learned language, is called " coccysmus." His song is agreeable, be- 
cause it is seldom heard, and dien only in the most delightful season of spring, and the 
early part of summer." 

It is not without good reason that the Welch, as well as most other mountaineers, are 
partial to leeks, which were formerly believed to be possessed of great medicinal virtues ; 
and certainly, as kitchen physic, their nutritive qualities, their lightaess, and their kindly 
exhilarating warmth, as well as the facility with which they are cultivated, render them 
peculiarly salutary and acceptable to the poor and frugal peasant, who breathes the sharp 
keen air of a mountainous country. In the East they are still a favourite vegetable; and 
the modern Egyptians eat them with as much cordiality, and with more than as much 
good reason, as the antient Egyptians worshipped them. 

In the days of old, they were food for heroes, and supposed to contribute not a little to 
military ardour, as well as to manly vigour ; as we learn from a poem on the actions of King 
Svein, quoted by Snorro, in " Heims Kringla," p. 828. 

Var a sunnudag svanni, 
' Seggur hnie margur und eggiar, 
Morgin than sem manne 
Mser lauk ethur 61 bsere : 


That is, " On the Sunday morning early, many fell by the edge of the sword, before the 
maidens had brought any one leeks or ale for his breakfast." In such high esteem, in- 
deed, was this herb among the Scandinavians, that they did not call a man who was the 
ornament of his name, as we would do, ihe^ower of his family, but jettar laukr, the 
leek of his family ! — We shall not stop here to inquire what connection the Scotish porridge 
and purry have with the Latin porrus (a leek ;) but the learned editors of" Orkneyinga 
Saga," not without an appearance of probability, suppose (in which they are supported 
by Schilter and Junius) that the original meaning of leek is found' in the Greek y^ct^ant, 
which signifies pot-herbs in general ; and that the porrus, on account of its superior quali- 
ties, was, by way of distinction, called leek, i; e. the herb. 

Oar Scotish kail, meaning originally pot-herbs in general, is in much the same predica- 
ment with the leek, and derives its denomination from a similar association of ideas. In 
Greek, p^oXu means pot-herbs. The Germans, who prefer putting the aspirate after the 
vowel, instead of Tchol, write kohl, from whence our specific name cole-wort, in Latin cavMs, 
Now in German, kohle, which was fonnerly written without tlie final vowel, has also the 
same signification as the English coal; fire, and the Latin color, &c. &c. And here we 
have to observe,, that,, so far as^our knowledge of languages extends, we have found all 
the generic names, which imply Jbod, to be composed of roots, which signify heat and m- 
goiir ; and we are disposed to think, that the leek, on account of its heating, nourishing, 
and invigorating qualities, was by the antient Egyptians chosen from the vegetable king- 
dom, as the fittest emblem of the all-inspiring and animating power of heat, or Jlre s as 
the ox was chosen from the animal kingdom by them and other agricultural nations, and 
the quiet,, useful, apd milk-giving cow, by herdsmen, to be dedicated to Mother Earth, 
the prolific wife of Mithra, the power of meethness, or heat^ 

" And the gowk is the only^ bird that sings": — P. 324?, v. 8. 
Mr Sy V is certainly right as to the charm found in the note of the cuckoo ; and, under 
certain circumstances, the croaking of a frog might be no less acceptable to the ear. — 
" You have nothing like that in your country ! Is it not delightful ?" said an Englishman 
to his Scotish guest, whom he had taken out for the first time, in a fine summer's even- 
ing, to hear the song of the nightingale. " Ha' 'wa'. !" said Saunders ; " I wadna gi'e 
ae wheeple o' a luhaup for a' the nichtingales in England !" — a sentiment which was per- 
fectly natural, although perhaps more honourable tor the animal than to the musical sym- 
pathies, of my honest countrymen ; for Saunders had lived till his days in a parish in the 
west of Scotland, which was so bleak and bare, that not even the rural lark ever conde- 
scended to visit it; and the only bird of song they had was the ixhaup, or curlew,. that 
frequented their moors upon the apiproach of Spring. 


I'm watch' d by my father, <^c.— P. 324, v. 11. 
So in " Erlinton :" 

" And he has warn'd her sisters six. 
And sae has he her brethren se'en, 

Outher to watch her a' the night, 
Or else to seek her mom and e'en." 

« And the Brok I ken, .^c.-"— P. S25, v. 25. ' 

Guldborg's bridegroom was SzVTrMJrf the Brok. " TheJBroks," (Brook Okays' the Danish 
editor, " as well as the Brysh* and Sinklarsi came from Scotland ; and_E«Ae Brok of Estrup 
was the sixth in descent of that family. One of his daughters was the Dame Elizabeth 
Brok, who gave her name to Broksoe in Portmosen. There is a long story about the hat 
which Eskfe Brok took in an encounter he had with a Dvir^'i who, in order to get it again, 
gave him very advantageous terms, but with this deduction, that he should leave oidy female 
issue hehind him. In like manner Ransov's lady received a gift from these subterraneous 
people, as Dame Sophia Ransov of Sbeholm related to me, and as may be found elsewhere 

" They scantly had ridden a mile hvifour, 
Guldborg she looUt her shoulder o'er." — P. 326, v. 32. 
The original term Stund, which signifies an hour, signifies also an hour's walk, or a Ger- 
man mile, or league ; so, in the " Child of Elle :" 

" Fair Emmeline scant had ridden a niile, &c" 
And in " Erlmton :" 

" They hadna ridden in the bonnie green wood 
A mile but barely ane, &c." 

As the German mile, or league, is the more probable distance, I have translated accord- 
ingly. The Scotish ballad phrase, " luikit her shoulder o'er," is perfectly Danish ; thus, 

" Dot var hoyfe Bermerijs, 
Hand sig ofver Axel saafe, &c." 

' Qu. Braces ? Bruce is a common name in Normandy at this day, and was originally Danish. 


It teas high Bermeriis, 

He him der hit shoulder looKd.' 

" Light da/wn, Guldborg, my lady dear. 
And hold my steed by the renyies here." — P. 326, v. 84. 
It seems deserving of remark, that although the circumstance of knights in armour 
(who never quitted the saddle while they could keep their seat in it) alighting from their 
horses in order to fight, is very unusual, and hardly ever to be met with either in the real 
or fabulous histories of the preux Chevaliers, more especially where one had to fight, pele 
mele, with many ; yet this singularity occurs in all the Scotish versions of this tale : 

" Bat light nowe downe, my ladye faire, 

■ Xight downej and hold my steed, &c," — C. of klle. 

'' He lighted off his milk-white steed, 
And gae his lady him by the head, &C."— EsLiNTOir. 

" Light down, light down, Lady Marg'ret," he said, 
^ " And hold my steed in your hand,"— Doug, Trag. 

If this is really an anachronism, it is not a little surprising, that the reciters of all the four 
pieces, in Denmark, England, and Scotland, should agree in the same mistake; as there 
is faar^y a probability, that it came to Scotland later than the middle of the fifteenth cen- 
tury", at which period, an armed knight and his charger were almost, like a Centaur, one 


(■ ' ■ '. 

" Arid 'e*en sae he that ye see me bleed. 
Be sure that ye namena me till dead" — P. 325, v. 36. 
There is in the Kaerape Viser no note upon this passage, which wants illustration. It 
seems to have a reference to some prediction, wierd, fatality, or enchantment. In " Er- 
linton," the original idea appears to be still more obscured and deteriorated : 

" Sa/n • See ye dinna change your cheer, 
Untill ye see my body bleed." 

This " untill," if there was nothing supernatural in the case, seems very much out of place 
in the mouth of such a man as Ribolt, 


" My youngest brither ye spare, O spare, 

To my mither the doviy neius to bear" — P. 326, v. 41. 

So also in •« Erlinton :" 

" An' he has— ^ 

killed them a' but barely ane; 

For he has left that aged knight. 

And a' to carry the tidings hame."' 


" It's I'll tak my silken lace e'en nofw. 
And bind up your mound the best I dolu." — P. 327, v.- 49. 
This is the strongest proof that Guldborg could possibly give her lover of virtuous af- 
fection and unbounded confidence. So indecorous was it accounted for a lady to appear 
unlaced before any man, to whom she was not married, that many a, prtide dame of Guld- 
borg's days would have esteemed it hardly pardonable in her to use such means, although 
the only means she had, of saving her lover from bleeding to death; and so much is the 
case now altered, that we doubt not but many of our readers will wonder what we could 
find in a couplet apparently so insignificant to call for a commentary ! 

It is from the manner and motive, rather than from the action itself, that the character 
of the actor is to be estimated. For a gentle lady to ride over hill and dale, through wood 
and wild, by night or by day, with a gentle knight, was held to be no disparagement to 
her chastity and delicacy; and such elopements as that of Guldborg with Bibolt were very 
common, and perfectly consistent with the adventurous spirit of the times. The fre- 
quency of such occurrences, as well as the dignity and interest with which they appear in 
our ancient ballads, is to be referred to the pride, jealousy, and stern, unbending severity 
of parents among the nobles ; their quarrels and feuds with their neighbours ; the unli- 
mited power which they had over their children, the little social and endearing familiar in- 
tercourse, which the stately formalities then kept up, admitted of their having with them ; 
and the peculiar manners and habits of the age, which gave the young, the brave, and 
the fair, opportunities of observing each other under ckcumstances which were calculated 
to make the most lively impressions, and to give rise to the most romantic and enthusiastic 

" Ribolt 'was dead or the cock did cratn ; 

Guldborg she died or the day did davo, Sjc." — P. 328, v. 62. 

So in the Douglas Tragedy : 

" Lord Williad was dead lang ere midnight, 
Lady Margaret lang ere day." 

L 335 j 



The readeif may compare this piece with the ballad of " Catharine Janfarie," in the Min- 
strelsy of the Scotish Border, and " The Young Lochinvar," in Marmion. Each of 
these belongs to a numerous class of Danish and Scotisfa Ballads. 

Det var ungen Her Svend Dyring^ 

Hand raade med Moder sitit 
Jeg vil mig udride, 

Her Magnicses hrud igeti. 

(/ dag tager svenden sig orlov udqfherren.) 

It was the Young Child Dyrifig, 

Wi' his mither rede did he : 
*« I will me out ride 

Sir Magnus?s bride to see." 
{His leave the page takes to-day frae his master.) 

" Will thou thee out ride. 

Sir Magnus's bride to see ? 
Sa6 beg I thee by Almighty God 

Thou speed thee home to me." 
{His leave, ^c.) 


Syne answer'd Young Child Dyre — 
He rode the bride to meet ; 

The silk but and the black sendell 
Hang down to his horse' feet. 

All rode they there, the bride-folk. 

On row sae fair to see ; 
Excepting Sir Svend Dyre, 

And far about rode he. 

It was the Young Child Dyre rode 

Alone along the strand ; 
The bridle was of the red gold 

That gUtter'd in his hand. 

'Twas then proud Lady Ellensborg, 

And under weed smU'd she : 
" And who is he, that noble child 
That rides sae bold and free ?" 

Syne up and spak the maiden fair 
Was next unto the bride : 

" It is the Young Child. Dyre , ,,,^„ , !,> '. 
That sfetely st«ed does ride." 

'< And is't the Young Child Dyr^ 
That rides sae bold and free ? 

God wot, he's deafprithg.t tides that steed. 
Nor a' the lav^ tcf ISie !" 

All rode they theiB,^the, bridal trJain, i 

JEaeh rode his. steed to gtall, . 

All but Child Dyre, that look'd whare he 
Should find his seat. in the hall. > 

" Sit whare ye list, my Jordings ;- 
For me, whate'er betide, > '■■ 


Here I shaQ sickerly sit the day, 
To haJd the sun £rae the bride." 

Then up spak the bride's father, 

And an angry man was he : 
" Whaever sits by my dochter the day. 

Ye better awa' wad be." 

'* It's I have intill Paris been, 

And well my drift can speD ; 
And ay whatever I have to say, 

I tell it best my sell." 

" Sooth thou hast intill Paris lear'd, 

A worthless drift to spell : 
And ay whatever thou hast to say, 

A rogue's tale thou must tell." 

Ben stept he, Young Child Dyre,, 

Nor reck'd he wha might chide ; 
And he has ta'en a chair in hand. 

And set him by the bride. 

'Twas lang i' the night ; the briderfi>lk 

Ilk ane look'd for his bed ; 
And Young Child Dyre amang the lave 

Speer'd whare he should be laid. 

" "Without, afore the stair steps,. 

Or laigh on the cawsway stane» 
And there may lye Sir Dyre ; 

For ither bed we've nane." 

'Twas late intill the evening, 

The bride to bed maun ga; 
And out went he, Child Dyring,, 

To rouse his mmyie a'.. 


" Now busk and d'on your harnass, 
But and your brynies blae ; 

And boldly to the bride-bower 
Full merrily we'll gae." ''" 

Sae folloVd they to the bridcbowerf ' 
That bride sae young and bright : 

And forward stept Child Dyre, 
And quenched the marriage hght. 

The cresset they've lit up again, , 
But and the taper clear. 

And followed to the bride-bower. 
That bride without a peer. 

# * * #.*!#. 

^d up Child Dyre snatch'd the bride, 

All in his mantle blae ; 
And swung her all 'so hghtly 

Upon his ambler gray. 

They lock'd the bower, they lit the torch ; 

'Twas hurry-scurry a' ; 
Wlule merrily ay the loVe*^ gay 

Rode roundly to the shaw. 

In Rosen-wood they turn'd about 

To pray their bridal prayer : 
" Good night and joy, Sir Magnus ! 

For us ye'U see nae mair." 

Sae rode he to the green wood. 

And o'er the meadow green. 
Till he came to his mither's bower, 

Ere folks to bed were gane. 


Out came proud Lady Metelild, 

In menevair sae free : 
She's welcom'd him, Child Dyring, 

And his young bride him wi'. 

Now joys attend Child Dyring, 

Sae leal but, and sae bold ; 
* ' ...» 
He's ta'en her to his ain castell, 

His bride-ale there to hold. 

{His leave the page takes to-day frae Ms master.) 

[ 340 ] 



Thb reader may compare this piece with " Cospatrick," (sometimes Gil Brenton) in the 
Border Minstrelsy, vol. iii. p. 52, ed. 4<. 

Ingefred og Gudrutie, 

De sade udi deres bure, Sfc, 

{Det er saajavret om sommeren.) 

Ingefred and Gudrune 

Intill their bower sat ; 
Proud Ingefred sew'd her goud girdle ; 

Sae sair Gudrune grat. 
^Jnd it's sae fair i' the summertide.) 

" Hear ye, dear sister Gudrune, 
Whareto greet ye sae sair ?" 

" Fu' well may I now sair greet, 
My heart's sae fu' o' care. 
{And it's, S;c.) 

" And hear ye, dear sister Ingefred ; 
Be bride the night for me ; 


It's a' mjr bonny bride-daes 

Sae freely I'll gie thee ; 
And mair atour, the bridal gifts, 

Whatso that they may be." 

" Gin I be bride ihe night for ye. 

Your bridegroom maun be mine." 
" And come o' me whatso God will. 

My bridegroom's ne'er be thine." 

IntUl the kirke they led her, 

Buskit in silk $ae fine ; 
The priest stood in his gilt shoon, 

Samsing and her to join. 

As they fiire o'er the meadoW>, 

A herd gaed wi' his foe : 
** Ware Samsing's house, fair lady, 

And near it comena ye ! 

" Twa nightingales Sir Samsing has, 

They ladies ken sae well ; 
And fas he a may, or fas he nane, 

Sae sootiily they can tell." 

They turn'd their carrs in greenwood. 

And chang'd their claes sae free ; 
They changed a' but their rosy cheeks. 

That changed cou'dna be. 

They've taen her till the castell, 

Whare nane the red goud spare ; 
And the knights afore the bride-bink < 

Their bridal gifts they bare. 

It's up and spak a leach syne. 
As in his place stood be : 


*' Methinks ye are proud Ingefted, 
That mickle marvekjme." --.. 

She took the goud ring frae Ijer arm. 

And to the minstrel gae — 
" I'm but a drucken havrel ; nane 

Needs reck what I may sayi?' 

She trampit on the leaches ' foot ; 
Frae's nail-root sprang the blude : 

•^ It's nane needs reck a word I say- 
But it be Sir Samsinggude." 

*Twas late, and down the dew fell, 

And the bride to bed can gae ; 
Sir Samsing says till his nightingales, 

*' Now sing what luci Ihae. 

*' Hae I a may, or hae I nane 

r the bride-bed now wi' me ?" 
" Gudrune stands i' the floor alane,, 

And ye've a may you wi'." 

" Rise up, rise up, proud Ingefred,— 

Gudrune, here come ye ; 
What ails Gudrune, dearest mine, 

To quat her bed and me i" - 

" On the sea-strand my fether liv'd; 

Ae night the rievers came ; 
Achtsome intill my bower brak ; 

A kiiight did work me shame. 

" His man he held my hands there ; 
The knight he did that sin" — 

' The iftinstrel and physician here seem to be the same person ; a very antient union 
ef professions. 


" Chear up thy heart, my dearest !" 
And kist her cheek and chin. 

" 'Twas my men that your bower brak : 

Mysel that did that sin ; 
My man did hald your hands there ; 

Mysell the flower did win." 

Proud Ingefred, for she bride was, 

Sae Wyth a luck had she, 
She married sae rich a courtier, 

A knight in his degree. ' 

{^nd ifs saefair i' thcsummertide.) 

' In apublication (of no credit) which has just reached uS, entitled " Remains of Niths- 
dale and Galloway Song," by R. H. Cromek, (which is executed in such a manner as, 
were it of sufBcient importance, to bring the authenticity of all popular poetry in ques- 
tion,) there is a very poor and mutilated copy of " Gil Brenton," in a note upon which 
is the following passage : " There are many incongruities in Mr Scott's copy, which it is 
strange that so able an antiquary could have let pass. For example, we never hear of 
mass being said in the evening, but vespers, as in the original here given. Mr Scott also 
omiis that interesting personage, the " BillJe Blin," and axuhxiardly supplies the loss by 
making the bed, blankets, and sheets, speak, which is an outrage on the consistency even of 
a fairy tale." 

Now, in Mr Scott's copies, and the present water's, where the hero is called Gil Bren- 
ton, the blankets and sheets are just as in the Minstrelsy;, there is no word of " Billie 
Blin," and we doubt if ever any reciter of the ballad mentioned him ; and as to vespers, 
neither the thing itself, nor the name, is known among the peasantry of Scotland ; whereas 
the mass, having been the war-cry of the Reformers, and afterwards of the Covenanters, 
during the struggles between presbytery and episcopacy, is still familiar to every one. 


C 344 ] 



This piece bears a very striking resemblance to " Willie's Lady," in the Border Min- 
strelsy, vol. ii. p. 394, ed. 4., and " Sweet Willie of Liddisdale," in Popular Ballads 
and Songs, 1806, vol. ii. p. 179^ 

Her Ove har ej daatter uden een, 
{Op under saagr'dn en lind) 

Hand giver hejide til Elling hen. 
{De ride saa varlig gennem lunden,} 

Sir Ove has never a dbchter but ane i 

( Up under sae green a lime) 
He's parted wi' her, and till Elling she's gancf 

{They ride to the greenwood sae warily.) 

To a knight he has gi'en her, his bride to be ; 

{Up under, Sfc.) 
To Sir Stig Kop, for sae hight he.. 

{They ride, Ssc) 

Sith then was a tovraion well near fulfill'd ; 
Sae heavy wi' twins gaed Tor^Iild. 


She gaed out and gaed in, kent na what to do, 
And ay the longer the warr she grew* 

Sir Stig he in hy did on his claes, 

And in to the bowei* till his mither he gaes ; 

" O hear ye, dear mither, ye teU now me 
How lang wi' bairn maim Tor^hld be ?" 

" It's forty ouks and a towmon mair 
Maun Torelild gang, or a bairn she bear." 

" O na, dear mither, it canna be sae ; 
But forty ouks Mary wi' Christ did gae." 

" Sin lax nor lee I hear can fa. 
Then carry me back whare I cam fra.',' 

" My horses are a* i' the meadow down, 
My men in bed are sleeping soun'." 

" Gin car nor driver I can fa, 
It's then o;i my bare foot I sail ga." 

But that word scarcely out had she. 
Whan horse and car at the yett they see. 

Sir Stig took her kindly up in his arm ; 
In the gilded car hfted her but harm ; 

On a bowster blue set her saftly syne. 

And himself he drave to the greenwood hyne. 

Whan they thro' Rosen-wood can found, 
The car it brak in that same stound. 

" A selcouth woman I sure maun be, 
When my ain car canna carry me." 



" O grieve ye for this, sweet love, nae mae ; 
For ye sail ride, and I sail gae." 

Whan they cam till the castell yett. 
His sister she stood and leant thereat 

" O rede me, dear sister, thou rede now me 
How my dear lady may lifter be." 

Proud Metelild's till the wild-wood ' gane ; 
Twa dowies o' wax she's wrought her lane ; 

She's wrapt her head in her pilche sae fine,- 
And gane to the bower till her mither hyne. 

" O mither, forleet now a' your harms. 
And tak your knave-bairn oys i' your arms." 

" My cantrip circles I coost a' round ; 
A' thing and place I ween'd was bound ; 

" A' butt and ben well charm'd I troVd, 
A' but whare Torelild*s bride-kist stood." 

The kist swyth frae that stede they fet, 
And Torelild on it they have set ; 

And she was scarce well set down there, 
Whan twa knave-bairns sae blyth she bare* 


" O God, gin my life sae lang mat be !— 
But my last bequests awa' I'll gi'e. 

' " Wildwood," in the original, " orke," i. e. desert, heathy mldeniess. 


" I'll gie Stig's mither my silken sark ; — 
God gif she may brook it Tvi' care and cark ! 

" To his sister mybrowder'd shoe I lea' ; — 
God grant she may brook it ay free frae wae ! 

*' Last, like to like, to Sir Stig I gie 
A rose-bloom sweet and fair as he !" 

r.nfiVSi! ■ : I:'.: 

C S48 } 


J HE following ballad is popular, in the nurseries particularly, where- 
ever the German language is spoken. As a ballad, (at least, in any 
thing like a perfect state,) I have never met with it in Scotland ; but 
as a tak, intermixed with scraps of verse, it was quite familiar to me 
when a boy ; and I have since found it in much the same state, in the 
Highlands, in Lochaber and Ardnamurchan. According to our tra- 
dition, Ulrich had seduced the younger sister of his wife, (as indeed 
may be gathered from the German ballad,) and committed the miu:- 
der to prevent discovery. — I do not remember that any names were 
specified either in the Scotish or Gaelic manner of telling the story: 
in every other particular, the British tradition differed nothing from 
the German. 

C 349 3 



Es ritt einst Vlrich spazieren atts ; 
Er ritt vmhl vor lieb Annchens Haus : 
" Lieb Annehen, milt mit in griinen Wald? 
Ich mil dir lemen den Vogelsang," 8fc. 

It's out rade Ulrich to tak the air, 
And he to dear Annie's bower can fare : 
" Dear Annie, wi' me to the greenwood gang, 
And I'll lear you the sma birds' sang." 

The tane wi' the tither they out are gane, 
The copse o' hazel they've reekit alane ; 
And bit and bit they gaed farther on. 
Till they a green meadow cam upon. 

On the green grass syne down sat he : 

" Dear Annie, come set you down by me." 

His head on her lap he saftly laid. 

And het gush'd the tears she o'er him shed. 

•' O Annie, dear Annie, why greet ye sae ? 
What cause to greet can Annie bae ? 


Greet ye, belike, for your father's gude ? 
Or is't that ye greet for your young blude ? 

" Or am I nae fair eneugh for thee ?" 
** It's gudes or gear they reckna me } 
Fu' little thro' my young blude I dree, 
And Ulrich is fair eneugh for me. 

" Up on that fir sae fair and lang 
Eleven young ladies I saw hang — " 
" O Annie, dear Annie, that did ye see ? 
How soon sail ye the twelfthen be !" 

" And sail I then the twelfthen be ? 
To cry three cries then grant ye me !" 
The firsthen cry that she cried there, 
She cried upon her father dear ; 

The nexten cry that she did cry. 
She cried to her dear Lord on high ; 
And the thirden cry she cried sae shiU, 
Her yoiuigest brither she cried imtill. 

Her brither sat at the cule red wine ; 
The cry it cam thro' his window hyne ; 
" O hear ye, hear ye, my brethren a'. 
How my sister cries thereout i' the sha\v ! ' 

*' O Ulrich, Ulrich, gude-brither mine, 
Whare hast thou youngest sister mine ?" 
*' Up there upon that linden green, 
The dark-brown silk ye may see her spin." 

" Whareto are thy shoon wi' blude sae red ?" 

" Well may the red blood be on my shoe. 
For I hae shot a young turtle dow." 



" Thf turtle dow that ye shot there. 
That turtle dow did my mither bear." 

If 8 deep in the greaf dear Annie was laid ; 
Fause Ulrich was high on the wheel display'd. 
O'er Annie the cherubim sweetly sung ^ 
O'er Ulrich croak'd the ravens young. 

C 352 ] 

-;i:;! J.. 





It will be amusing to compare this traditionary fragment with " A merry ballet of'the 
Hawthorn Tree," in Ritson's Antient Songs, p. 46, and in the new Edition of Evans's 
Ballads, vol I. p. 342. 

Es tuollt ein mcedchen rosenbrechen gehn 

Wohl in die grune heide. 
Wasjand sie da am luege stehn? 

Ein hasel, die inar grime, 8jc- 

A LASSIE gaed out a rose-gathering 

F the greenwood a' her lane ; 
And she fand by the gaite a hasel tree 

Was growing fresh and green, 

" Gude morrow, gude morrow, my hazel dear, 
How comes that ye're sae green ?" 

" O thank ye, thank ye, maiden gay, 
How comes that ye're sae sheen ?" 


" I'll naething heal, but trulj tell 

How comes that I'm sae sheen ; 
I eat white bread, and I drink red wine, 

And that maks me sae sheen." 

" Ye eat white bread, and ye drink red wine, 

And that maks ye sae sheen ; 
And the cauler dew fa's ilka mom on me, 

And that maks me sae green." 

" The cauler dew fa's ilka mom on ye. 

And that maks ye sae green -, 
But anca that a lassie her garland tines, 

It's never foimd 

" But the lassie that wishes her garland 
To keep, maun bide at hame ; 

JNor daaoe o'sr 'late in the gfloapdn, 
Jfor gang to flie gieemwoo^ her lane." 

'* O thank ye, thank ye, my hasel4ear, 
For the counsel ye hae gi'en ; 

I mith danced o'er late i' the gloamin, 
But now I'll bide at hame." 

2 y 

r 354 ] 


AVe consider this piece as a very favourable specimen of the old nar- 
rative ballad, equally simple, perspicuous, and satisfactory ; where no- 
thing seems to be wanting, and nothing redundant. The natural pas- 
sions are sketched with a masterly and chaste hand, and the more in- 
teresting features are marked with such happy dexterity, that, in the 
successive scenes, as they pass in review before us, every thing seems 
to be alive, exactly in its place, and acting its proper part ; and there 
is in the whole a propriety, neatness, and elegance, which is deserving 
of all approbation. 

As one of the most affecting passages (where Child Axelvold's mo- 
ther takes off her coronet) derives its beauty entirely from fashions 
and usages now little thought of in this country, it may not be impro- 
per here to subjoin some such account of them, as may tend to illus- 
trate the text. 

The Maiden Coronet, or tire for the head, although of various 
forms and qualities, according to the taste or condition of the wearer 
was uniformly open at the top ; and no one covered her head, till 
she had forfeited her right to wear the coronet, chaplet, garland, or 


bandeau. ' This was the case in many parts of Scotland, till within the 
last twenty or thirty years. The ballads and songs of the northern 
nations, as will be seen by the specimens we have produdSH, abound 
with allusions to this very antient usage ; and eveiy body in Scotland 

" The lassie lost her silken snood, 
A-puing o* the bracken.'"' 

Of the coronets worn by the peasant girls in Livonia, Courland, Es- 
thonia, Lithuania, &c., a curious assortment has been sent me by ray 
learned and zealous friend, the Reverend Gustav von Bergmann, pas- 
tor of Ruien, in Livonia ; and some of them are very picturesque and 
elegant. The older ones, worn by brides on their wedding-day, are 
simple bandeaus of dyed horse-hair, curiously plaited, diversified, and 
figured, which wUl be referred to elsewhere.* The others are of cloth, 
silk, velvet, &c., tastefully ornamented with beads, spangles, gold and 
silver embroidery, precious stones, artificial emblematic flowers, &c. j 
and some raised before in form of a retroverted crescent, and tyed 
with a ribbon behind. One, which seemed of very antique workman- 
ship, I have seen upon a Lithuanian damsel, which was a solid, radiated, 
open crown of gilt brass, lined with royal purple velvet, perfectly or- 
bicular, resting upon the top of the head, (where the Scotish maidens 
used to wear the cockemonie,) and held on by a fillet tyed under the 
hair, which was plaited down the back, and adorned with a bunch of 
different-coloured ribbons at the end, as is the fashion all over that 
country, as well as in a great part of Russia. No entreaty could in- 

• To this purpose is the Lettish {Livonian) metrical adage : 

Viiieem schihdeem mellas galvas 
Vi^jeem gnihdu pilnas ; 
Kurrai meitai mitschka galv4, 
Ta irr veena mauka. 

" Every Jew has black hair fiill of nits ; the girl that wears a close cap is a w — — " 
*,See in the subsequent part of this volume, the notes on " Sir Lave and Sir John." 
5 The ends of the hairs are turned inward, which makes it very uneasy, as no lining was 
originally allowed. The moral intended to be conveyed by this is simple and obvious. 


duce her to part with it, although as much money was offered as might 
have been a temptation. But whatever were her reasons for prizing 
it so higt^, they must have been good ; and to give her coronet, for 
love or money, to a young man and a stranger, would have been a 
transaction of most inauspicious omen ; so I left her, much more 
pleased with her scruples and her delicacy, than I could have been 
with the possession of the relic which I was so desirous to obtain. 

This metal crown seems to be an humble relative of the golden one 
worn by the mother of Child Axelvold, which was probably substi- 
tuted, in a more ostentatious age, by the richer Asiatics and their 
descendants, for the more simple, significant, and elegant garlaind of 
flowers, which the Greeks borrowed from them, or retained after their 
separation from them. This ornament the Greeks called MIt^h, with 
an allusion, we suppose, to the radiated crown or circlet which sur- 
rounded the head of Mithra, the God of Fire, and to the Apollinis in- 
jula^ and 5-£^/<fli 3-eo7o, worn by his priests, and those who officiated ift 
his sacrifices.--^As Venus, as well as Freija, was originally the same as 
Mithra, that is, the power of vivifying andfecundifying heat ; this crowtt 
was, at the first entrance upon her mysteries, dedicated by the bride 
to that goddess : 

Tyi Ilaip/ii reyaVouf, tm YVoLwdti rrir 7rK0xa.ju.1Jei, 

Apnjuiat {oyny ayS'iro Kahkiaoyi' 
Ev^iTO ya.^ /Avti^r^^a., Toy ^^iKi, xa/ KoL^iy ijSny 

Xaff'oya,, )ta.i TiKiuy aptriy trmTt ykyoQ, 

Agath. apud Sched.syngr, 1. c. 4. 

" CaUirhoe dedicated her coronet to Venus, her hair to Minerva, and 
her girdle to Diana ; for ^he had found the suitor whom she loved ; 
she had obtained the prudent youth ; and becoming pregnant, she 
had brought forth a man-child." 

In this statement we have been the more particular, because the 
translators of the Greek poets, who abound with elegant allusions to 
the nuptial ceremony of takii:\g off the bride's coronet, generally inter- 


pret /ilr^n by the zone or girdle ' (of plaited rushes,) which, among the 
Greeks and Romans, was not properly a virgin zone, because it was to 
be worn by the wi^, till it became too short. 

In later times, the unbinding the coronet, and unbuckling the ^- 
dle, in putting the bride to bed, were so nearly connected with each 
other, that the z»ne and coronet were sometimes put for each other, 
and fii'rpn applied to the former, as in the Argon, oi Apoll. Rhod, B. 1, 
1. 287 : — 

MiTfiiy iTfUToy thvtroi Kni u^curor. 

This ma^ be partly accounted for from the circumstance of the zone 
being otherwise related to the coronet, as an astronomical and mythi- 
cal emblem. 

The Jews still retain the usage of the nuptial coronet : " A muli- 
eribus quoque et virginibus in peculiare cubiculum [sponsaj non ve- 
LATo CAPITE, passis capillis deducitur ; festivae cantilenae nuptiales co- 
ram ilia canuntur j illam in pulchro sedili coUocant ; crinem iUi 
pectunt ; capiUosque in elegantes cirros et cincinnos distribuunt ; mag- 
nificam vittam imponunt, &c — Singularis est mulierum in hoc capil- 
lorum comtu laetitia, quam elegantibus cantilenis, saltatione, ludisque 
omne genus testantur, ut sponsam exhilarent : magno id enim habent 
loco, Deoque gratissimum et acceptissimum opus esse censent." — 
See Buxt(yiji Synagoga Judaica, a B.Jilio ancta, ^c. 12mo. Basil. 1680, 
p. 629. 

Writing " De honestate copulae conjugaUs," among the Sveo-Goths 
of his time, Olaus Magnus, (Lib. xiiij. c. x.) says: " Est et alia ratio 
continentiae, quod die desponsationis suae, coronata diademate imagi- 
nis Divae Virginis (quod dono parochianorum pro tali eifectu rema- 

MoscH. EuROP. 1. 73. 

This is only one of many examples. 



net,) incedere valeat [^sponsa] inviolate pudore. Praeterea spe bona 
ducuntur, ut quascunque sponsa tali diademate amicta fuerit, nunquam 
a fide marati fsecundidate prolis, et morum honestate confirmata dis- 
cedet : imo ut ha9c a Deo novi conjuges consequantur, doctrina pa- 
rentum admoniti, per aliquot noctes et dies a carnalibus lasciviis sese 

rej&enant. i 

" Praeterea mos est, ut aliquot delicatiora fercula in lecto se- 

dentibus nuptis exhibeantur, ut iis cum astantibus brevi mora vescan- 
tur : tandemque, valedicentibus amicis, sua pace fruuntur. Sequenti 
tamen die, nova nupta, crinibus absconsis, afiabili incessu convivis ar- 
genteos scyphos electiore liquore repletos, in signum quod materfami- 
lias effecta sit, liberaliter propinat." 

Among Christians, Our Lady, the Queen of Heaven, was the suc- 
cessor of the Syrian Astarte, (who held in her hand a cnwjfix,^ the 
Greek and Roman Venus, &c., and the Gothic Freija ; and to Our 
Lady the maidens continued to dedicate their virgin garlands, as they 
had formerly done to her predecessor. This has been in a great mea- 
sure done away by the zeal (whether discreet or otherwise) of the 
clergy ; but a usage of so long standing had too fiist a hold on the 
prejudices of the people to be easily aboKshed ; and the walls of the 
country churches in Livonia and Courland still display multitudes of 
garlands and votive chaplets of flowers, ever-greens, and aromatic 
herbs, which, after having been carried to the grave on the coffins of 
the deceased, have been nailed up there by the parents, relatives, or 
lovers of maidens who have died in the parish. This pious offering, 
not being suspected of a heathen origin, has been indulged. 

The Abbe Fortis informs us, that a Morlach girl, who has been con- 
victed of having " lost her garland," has her mitre, or head tyre, torn 
from her head in the church by the clergyman, in the presence of the 
whole congregation ; and her hair is cut, in token of ignominy, by 
some relation ; — a barbarous and indecent brutality, which, like our 

' The learned archbishop informs us, that the newly-married wives were accustomed 
to sleep for several nights with a naked sword between them and their husbands. 


cutty-stool, is much more likely to make the unfortunate object cease 
to be ashamed of vice, than to recall her to the ways of virtue. 

In the island of Zlarine, near Sebenico, according to the same au- 
thor, one of the bride-men (who by that time is generally intoxicated) 
must, at one bloWj with his broad sword, strike the bride's chaplet of 
flowers off her head, before she is put to bed. This is to indicate the 
violence which is necessary before the lady will resign her virgin ho- 
nours. The same farce' of violence, and a sham-fight between the 
friends of the parties in carrying off the bride, (as is the custom among 
the New Hollanders,) has long been in use, and is still kept up among 
many of the Vandal nations : " Moschovitae autem, Rutheni, Lithu- 
ani, Livonienses, praesertim Curetes, * quos ritus maxime plebeiae con- 
ditionis, in nuptiis celebrandis observent, matrimonia absque sponsali- 
bus per raptum virginum saltem contrahunt. — Quicunque enim pa- 
ganorum sive rusticorum, filius sui^s uxorem in animo habet, agnatos, 
cognatos, cceterosque vicinos in unum convocat, illisque talem isto in 
pago puellam nubilem versari, quam rapi, et suo. filio in conjugem ad- 
duci proponit : hi commodum ad hoc tempus expectantes, ac tunc 
armati equites suo more unius ad edes conveniunt, posteaque ad cam 
rapiendam proficiscuntur. Puella autem, quoad matrimonii contrac- 
tionem libera, ex insidiis opera exploratorum ubi moretur per eos di- 
repta, plurimum ejulando, opem consanguineorum amicorumque ad se 
liberandam implorat : quod si consanguinei vicinique clamorem istum 
exaudierint, ipso momento armati adcurrunt, atque pro ek liberandd 
proelium committunt, ut qui victores ista pugna extiterint, his puella 
cadat." (Ol. Mag. Lib. xiiij. c. ix.) 

The same writer informs us, that among the Swedes, at the marri- 
ages of the nobles, the spear, (an appendage also of the Roman Juno,) 
which was a necessary implement in the furniture of a marriage cham- 

• This, 300 years ago, was no farce, and the contest was often a hloody one. 

* The Curish and Livonian songs still retain the memory of this violent carrying off of 
the bride, which was then done without the consent of the party or her friends. It is now 
not permitted, because the poor slave, in marrying, must noiu not consult his own liking, 
but the will and convenience of his master. The dead letter of the Lata says, " the slave 
is free to choose ;" but who is to inforce the execution of such a law ? 


ber, was next morning thrown out of the window, in the sight of all 
the guests, to indicate that the arduous deed was now atchieved, and 
all violence between the parties at an end ; at the same time that the 
bridegroom, to shew how well he was pleased with his choice, speci- 
fied the morning gift, or jointure which he settled on his wife. This 
is the morning gift alluded to in " Skidn Anna," ' and which we fre- 
quently meet with, under the same name, in our antient laws and 

At how early a period these indelicate indications of delicacy be- 
gan, we win not pretend to say ; but we consider their being found 
among the inhabitants of New Holland as at least a presumptive evi- 
dence, that they are among the oldest usages of which any traces are 
preserved ; perhaps as old even as \he fashion of uniformly walMngon 
the hind legs. 

' " See vol. li. p. 103, of Popular Ballads and Songs, from Tradition, Manuscripts,^ and 
scarce Editions, with Translations of similar Pieces from the ancient Danish Langu^e, 
Ac. Edinb. 1805," in 2 Vols. 8vo., printed by Ballantyne. 

r 361 j 



De Kongens moend rid^paa vold'i, 
De iedh baade hiort^ og hind ; 

Ttefunde under den lind saa gran 
Et saa lidet kind. 

( Udi Iq/iet der iofver stoUen Eline.) 

The Kingis men they ride till the wold, 
There they hunt baith the hart and the hind ; 

And they under a linden sae green 
Sae wee a bairn find. 
(/' the loft whare sleeps she, theprona Eline.) 

That little dowie up they took, 

Swyl'd him in a mantle blae ; 
They took him till the kingis court, 

Till him a nourice gae. 
(r the loft, ^c.) 

And they hae carried him till the kirk, 
And christen'd him by night ; 
2 z 


And the/ve ca'd him Young Axelvold, 
Arid hidden him as they might. 

They foster'd him for ae winter, 
And sae for wintei:s three ; 

And he has grown the bonniest bairn 
That man on mold mat see. 

And they hae foster'd him sae lang, 

Till he was now eighteen, 
And he has grown the wordiest child 

Was in the palace seen. 

The kingis men till the court are gane, 

To just, and put the stane ; 
And out stept he. Child Axelvold, 

And waur'd them ilka ane. 

" 'Twere better ye tUl the house gang in, 

And for your mither speer, 
^or thus wi' courtly knights to mell, 

And dare and scorn them here." 

Up syne spak Young Axelvold, 
And his cheek it grew wan : 

" I's weet whaso my mither is. 
Or ever we kemp again." 

It was the Young Axelwold 

Thought mickle, but said na mair ; 

And he is till the bower gane 
To speer for his mither there. 

" Hear ye this, dear foster-mither, 
- What I now speer at thee, 
Gin aught ye o' my mither weet, 
Ye quickly tell it me." 


" Hear ye this, dear Axelvold, 

"Why will ye tak on sae ? 
Nor living nor dead ken I thy mither, 

I tell thee on my fay." 

It was then Young Axelvold, 
And he drew out his knife : 

" Ye's tell me wha my mither is, 
Or it sail cost thy life." 

" Then gae thou till the ladies' bower, 

Ye hendly greet them a' ; 
Her a goud coronet that wears, 
• Dear mither ye may ca'." 

It was then Young Axelvold 
Put on his pDche sae braw, - 

And he's up till the ladies' bower, 
'Fore dames and maidens a'. 

" Hear sit ye, ladies and mariee, 

Maiden and courtly fre ; 
But and allerdearest mither mine 

F the mids o' you should be." ; : 

All sat they there, the proud maidens, 
Nae ane durst say a word ; 

But it was proud Lady Eline, — 
She set her crown o' the board. 

" Here sit ye, my right mither, 
Wi' hand sae saft and fair : 

Whare is the bairn ye bure in dem, 
Albe goud crown ye wear ?" 

Lang stuid she, the proud Eline, 
Nor answer'd ever a word ; 


Her cheeks, sae richly-red afore. 
Grew haw as ony eard. 

She doiFd her studded stemmiger, 
And will of rede she stuid : 

" I ture nae bairn, sae help me God 
But and our Lady gude !" 

'• Hear ye this, dear mither mine ; 

Forsooth it is great shame 
For you sae lang to heal that ye 

Was mither to sic a man. 

" And hear ye this, allerdearest mither. 

What now I say to thee. 
Gin aught ye o' my father weet, 

Ye heal't nae mair frae me." 

" To the king's palace then ye maun pass ; 

And, trow ye well my word, 
Your dear father ye may ca' him there 

That has knights to serve at his board. 

" And do ye till the kingis ha', 
'Fore knights and liegemen a'. 

And see ye Erland the kingis son, 
Ye may him your father ca'." 

It was then Young Axelvold 

Put on the scarlet red. 
And in afore the Danish king 

F the kingis ha' he gaed. 

" Here sit ye, knight and chUd, and drink 
The mead and wine sae free, 

But and allerdearest father mine 
I' the raids o' you should be. 


" Here sit ye, dearest father mine: 

Men me a foimdling name ; 
And a man like me sae scorn'd to be, 

Forsooth it is great shame !" 

A]l sat they then, the kingis men, 

As haw as ony eard. 
But it was Erland the kingis son, 

And he spak the first word. 

Up spak he, Erland, the kingis son^ 

Right unassur'd spak he : 
" I'm nae thy father, Axelvold, 

Sic like thou say'st I be." 

It was then Young Axelvold, 

And he drew out his knife : 
" My mither ye sail either wed. 

Or it sail cost thy life." 

'* Wi' knight and squire it were foul scorn. 

And deadly shame for me. 
That I should father a bastard bairn, 

A kingis son that be. 

" But hear thou this. Young Axelvold, 

Thou art a prince sae fine. 
Then gie thou me, my wiie to be, 

Eline, mither thine." 

And glad were they in the kingis court, 

Wi' lyst and mickle game ; 
Axelvold's gi'en his mither awa ; 

His father her has taen. 

It was the Young Axelvold 

Gae a dunt the board upon : 
" r the court I was but a foundling brat ; 

The day I'm a kingis son !" 
(i' the loft whare sleeps she, the proud Eline.) 

E 366 J 


« That little dome up they took."—'P. 361, v. 2. 
In the Danish : 

« Togfe de op dennfe lillfe Mard, &c." 

Mard, the Danish editor says, means a pretty girl, a doll, and the editors of " Fair Mi- 
del," say, it means either a male or ajemale. We have resolved to err upon the safe side, 
in rendering it a doiuie (little doll ;) as that is the name commonly given, in Scotland, to 
a child before it has got any other ; and, indeed, till it is of an age to be put into short pet- 
ticoats. The truth is, that maar, mard, or maard, has these significations only in a me- 
taphorical sense ; and in its direct import, is neither more nor less than a martin ; an ap- 
pellation which, if directly rendered, would have little |)eauty or meaning for such of our 
countrymen as have not, Uke us, experienced the severity of a northern winter, and can 
have little conception of the association of ideas by which a martin, fi-om the recollection 
of the comfort derived from its skin, naturally suggests an object of favour and endear- 

Thirty degrees of cold (by Keaumur's thermometer,) and a cloak lined with vair, or 
martin's fur, has given us a light upon this subject which we had in vain sought for in 
glossaries and commentaries. 

It is amusing to observe how the same circumstances suggest the same associations of 
ideas to different nations, who can for several thousand years back have had no connec- 
tion or intercourse with each other. Thus Mr Hearne observes, that among the North- 
American savages about Hudson's Bay, the names of girls are chiefly taken from some 
part or property of a Martin ; as the White Martin, the Black Martin, the Martin's head, 
the Martin's tail, 8fc. 


" All sat they there, the proud maidens, 

Nae ane durst say a word j 
But it tvas proud Lady Eline, — 

She set her crown o' the board." — P. 363, v. 16. 
There is something peculiarly characteristic and affecting in this conduct of " Burd 
(gentle) Ellen." Surprised, confounded, and abashed, and unable to utter a word, she 
mechanically, and almost unconsciously, divests herself of her maiden coronet and stomach- 
er, ' which she feels that she must now no longer hope to wear ; and then, in her confu- 
sion and embarrassment, stammers out a disavowal, which we presume those only will blame 
who are sure that, in the same situation, they would not have done as much. — The difiFer- 
ent deportment of Child Axelvold, in the presence of his nurse, his mother, and his fa- 
ther, is finely marked. 

* " It was the Young Axelvold 

Put on the scarlet red, Sjc." — P. 364, v. 24. 
The term red, as applied to scarlet, in the Scotish, Danish, Swedish, and Teutonic Ro- 
mances, is not, as has been supposed, a pleonasm ; for scarlet had formerly the same 
meaning as purple, and included all the different shades and gradations of colour, formed 
by'a mixture of blue and red, from indigo to crimson. Cloths, silks, and samites (velvets) 
of this description the Scandinavians had from the Mediterranean, either directly through 
piracy, in plukidering the Dromounds of the Moors, ' or through their intercourse witt 
Italy and Spain. They were worn only by people of condition ; and the quality of the 
colour designated the rank of the wearer. Thus we find in the foregoing ballad, " the 
kingis men" dressed in blue mantles, which were also oi scarlet, in which blue was predo- 
minant ; whereas Child Axelvold no sooner learns that he is of royal extraction, than he 
dresses himself in red scarlet, or royal purple, before he goes into the presence of his fa- 
ther to challenge his birth-right. Such a challenge was warranted by the manners of the 
age, in which the claims of royal blood, when justified by royal virtues and accomplish- 
ments, were often allowed, without illegitimacy being objected to them. 

' See the notes on " Sir Lavfe and Sir John," in the subsequent part of this volume. 

^ See " Orkneyinga Saga," p. 298, and " Forsiig til en Afhandling cm de Danskes og Norskes 
Handel- og Seilads i den bedenske Tid," in Suhm's " Samlede Skrifter," vol. viii. — The ostentatious 
manner in which the northern sea-rovers were accustomed to display the fruits of their adventurous 
valour, on their return from a successful expedition, on a matrimonial visit, or on any other occa- 
sion of pomp and pageantry, gave rise to the " silken sails," " gilded anchors/' " gilded masts," 
" gilded sail-yards," &c. &c., which one meets with in the Scotish and Danish Ballads; the barbar- 
ous pomp of wliich is perfectly Gothic, and has no connection with purely oriental manners, or ori- 
ental fictions. 

[ 868 J 


The following affecting ballad is translated from the Danish original 
in Bragur, vol. iii. p. 292, which was first printed in the Danish Spec- 
tator, No. 14, for Feb. 1793. It was sent to the learned and ingeni- 
ous editor of that work, Professor Rahbeck, by a gentleman who de- 
signs himself H. J. ; and says that he had it some years ago from a 
female friend, whose mother had learnt it in her youth in Jutland. 
For the verbal exactness of the couplets included within brackets, the 
correspondent does not pretend to answer ; having been obliged to 
rely upon his memory, as it was not committed to writing upon the 
spot, when he learnt it from the lady whom he had heard sing it to a 
sweet, simple, and characteristic tune. 

In the Spectator for October of the same year, is a letter signed L., 
from Faroe, from which it appears that this old ditty is still popular, 
and, as in all other popular tales, the story is told in several ways. 
One copy begins thus : 

Fair Sidselil yerked the loom sae Strang, 
That the milk out o' her breastis sprang. 

" Hear thou, Sidselil, dear dochter mine, 
Why rins the milk out o' breastis thine ?" 


" It is nae milk, tho* sae ye think ; 
It's the mead I yesterday did drink." 

« The things are twa, and they are unlike; 
The mead is brown, but the milk is white." 

After tjiis she says, 

" It boots na now to heal frae thee, 
Fair Medevold has lured me." 

Then follow the stanzas printed in Italics, from the copy given in our 
notes, from the Kaempe Viser. In the above-quoted copy, Medevold, 
(of which Midel is a colloquial abbreviation) says to his servants, 

" Ye howk a greaf baith lang and braid, 
Lat my dearest there wi' her babes be laid." 

The conclusion is also less tragic, as Medevold says, 

" Whan ither knights are drinking wine. 
Then sorrow I for allerdearest mine. 

" Whan ither knights are glad in bower. 
Then sorrow I for my lily flower." 

It is sung with various burdens, one of which is found in Dalin's Swe- 
dish Songs, where he has presei-ved the airs of several old ballads. — 
But on this subject we hope at some future peripd to say something 
more satisfactory. 

The following air, communicated by Mr Abrahamson, was taken 
down from his singing, by the celebrated musical composer, Mr 

3 a 



I iM|! | i^ ,i,|i:/i' \\fy i I IJ 1 ^ 

Sfcion Mi-del ban tie-ner i Eom - gens Gaard. Haiilokked£<ing;eiisDatter den va;- neMaar. 

"[ II 



.1 r °i fM-i [ 

r - 

This he gives as the Jirst Danish national melody that has been pre- 
served through the medium of the press, and asks whether ii must be 
the last ?—a pathetic appeal, which it is to be hoped his countrymen 
have not disregarded. 

According to the best information received in Copenhagen, from 
men equally distinguished for their extensive learning and deep re- 
search in northern antiquities, there now exist no antient popular 
ballads or national airs among the people, either in Denmark or in 
Norway. If this is true, it is a melancholy truth, because it implies 
other considerations of still greater importance, and much more to be 
lamented ; for ill fares the land, when the people cease to cherish the 
poetry, the music, and the memory of their fathers ! That such is the 
case, however, notwithstanding the weight of the authority upon 
which it is affirmed, I find it extremely difficult to admit ; not merely 
because I am very unwilling to do so, but because it seems to be al- 
together incredible. In Zealand, and the other Danish islands in the 
Belts, and in a few of the sea-ports, it is true, the manners and habits 
of the lower classes have, through the influence of commerce, during 
the last sixty years, been very much changed, without being much 
ameliorated ; but that in the less frequented parts of Jutland and 
Norway, among farmers, fishers, and foresters, the tale and the song, 


(to which they were but lately so passionately attached, that it formed a 
distinguishing feature in their character as a people, and which have 
descended from one generation to another, in a language which has 
assumed its present form by very slow, and almost imperceptible de- 
grees,) should, without any adequate assignable cause, have altogether 
ceased, seems quite inconceivable, and indeed almost impossible. That 
the conclusion drawn from Zealand is not generally applicable to all 
the Danish dominions, is shewn by the ballad of" Fair Midel," of which 
the reader is here presented with so many different copies, that it can- 
not be imagined that this is the only tale of the kind preserved in the 
same manner. 

In the province of Ditmarsk, (which, notwithstanding what it has 
suffered trough its odious subjection to Denmark, still retains more 
of its antient manners and usages than any other part of the Cimbric 
Chersonesus,) it is but a few years ago, that there was in the posses, 
sion of a peasant, a large MS. collection of antient popular Anglo- 
Saxon heroic and romantic ballads, in the dialect of the country. 
This curious treasure, the Honourable the Privy Counsellor Niebuhr, 
(the every-way worthy son of the learned oriental traveller of that 
name) bestowed much pains, but in vain, to recover. He, neverthe- 
less, took down, from oral recitation, two very fine Anglo-Saxon bal- 
lads, one of the heroic, and the other of the wild romantic kind, which 
he had very kindly destined to make their first appearance in this col- 
lection ; but the misfortunes of a neighbouring kingdom,' to which the 
present writer is indebted for the honour of Mr Niebuhr's acquaint- 
ance, have put it out of his power to make good his promise ; and it 
is possible that even these relics are lost, and have served a French 
soldier to light his pipe, or to wrap up cartridges. 

In Holstein there is to be found, although rare, a collection of 
" Godly. Songs," in the modern A. S. dialect, printed with the music, 
about the time of the Reformation, and set to popular airs. I have 
been promised a copy, which is in the possession of a clergyman in 
Ditmarsk ; but the pffesent calamitous state of Europe does not admit 
of its being transmitted. 

• Prussia, in whose service Mr Niebuhr still is. This was written in Livonia; 


If in these remarks I have been more circumstantial than the text 
may seem to require, I beg leave to observe, that I consider the sub- 
ject as particularly interesting to my countrymenj on account of its 
intimate connection with the Music of our northern forefathers and 
kinsmen ; which will probably be found to be as nearly related to our 
own, as we trust the reader is by this time disposed to think their bal- 
lads are. — For the illustration of this subject, equally curious and ob- 
scure, our chief hope must rest on Sweden, where measures have al- 
ready been taken for procuring ample materials. 

The Swedish peasantry are great singers, and, if possible, more at- 
tached to old ballads and the airs to which they are sung, than even 
the lowland Scots, to whom, in their language, habits, characters, and 
appearance, they bear a most striking resemblance. ' 

Just before the commencement of the present war," I procured from 
a common sailor on board a Swedish ship in the Diina, a parcel of these 
ballads, printed for the stalls, and to be sold at a half-penny a sheet. 
They are exactly of the same kind with those which I have given from 
the Kaempe Viser ; and several of them have the identical burdens which 
were printed with other pieces in that work above two hundred years 
ago ; which induces me to hope that I may still be able to procm*e 
many of the melodies to which these pieces were formerly sung. 

Till I can obtain a larger and better assortment for selection, I have 
contented myself for the present, with inserting as a specimen, only 
one ditty on the subject oi Fair Midel. As it contains some idioms 
and expressions peculiar to the Danish, Swedish, and Scotish ballad, 
and iiohich are found in no other compositions 'whatsoe'ver, I have given the 
original, rude as it is, with dt. verbatim intercalated prose translation. — 
It is given from a stall copy, because I had no other j and I am bound 
to be faithful. 

' This was written just after the irruption of the Russians into Finland, which cut off 
all communication with that country. I have since visited Sweden, but at a time when it 
was not deemed advisable for an Englishman to remain longer there than was absolutely 
necessary. ^ 



To be sung to its own pleasant Timet 

Det war lilla Lisa och hennes kjaera mor, : , : 
Och begge sa sutio de uti en bur. 
H'd, ha, n'd nd, det rm nu sd ga; 
Och begge, &c. 
It was lyle Lisa and her dear mother, 
And baith sue sat they in ae bower. 

Ho ho, no no, that may now so go; 
And baith, Ifc. 

Och modrcn hon talte til kjsere dottren sin : : ,: 
" Hwad ser det for mjolk du har i brbstena din ?" 
Ha. ha, &c. 
And the mother she tald till dear dother hers, 
" What is that for milk thou hast in breastis thine ?" 
Ho ho, &c. 

" !bet ser wael ingen mjblk, fast eder tyckes sa; 

Det aer af det mjbd som jag drak uti gar." 
" It is well nae milk, though ye think sue ; 
It is of the mead that I drank yesterday." 

Och modren slog dottren pa blekrbda kind : 

" Skal du sa swara kjaer modren din ? 
And the mother struck the dother upo' the blaiken'd-red cheek ; 
" Shalt thou sae answer dear mother thine ? 

Och dig sa skal jag nu basa med et ris ; 

Riddar Wal, den skal jag hasnga pa qwist." 
" And thee sae shall I now baste (beat) with a lyse (rod ;) 
Sir Wal, him shall I hang upo' a twist (branch.") 


Lilla Lisa sadlar up sin gangare gra j 
Sa rider hon sig til Riddar Wals gard. 

la/le Lisa saddles up her ganger (ambler) gray; 

Sae rides she her till Sir Wal's [castle-] yard. 

Och naer hon kom fram til Riddar Wals gard, 
Skjon Riddar Wal ute for henna daer star. 
And whan she cam on till Sir Wal's [castle-] yard. 
Sheen (fair) Sir Wal out afore her there stands^ 

'* Min moder hon ser mig sa grymraelig wred, 
Hon hwarken horer, ej heller hon ser. 

" My mother she is with me sae grimly wroth. 

She neither hears, nor yet sees, 

" Och mig sa wii hon nu basa med ris : 
Skjbne Riddar Wal wil hon haenga pa qwist." 

" And me sae will she baste with a ryse ; 

Sheen Sir Wal will she hang upo' a twist." 

" Ao horor och skjiikor skal hon basa med ris; 

Tufwar och skjaelmar skal hon haenga pa qwist." 
" O' whores and scouts shall she beat with a ryse ; 
Thieves and skellums [rogues] shall she hang upd a twist.' 

Riddar Wal sadlar sa up sin gangare gra ; 

Sa lyfter han lilla Lisa deruppa. 
Sir Wal saddles sae up his ganger (ambler) gfay ; 
Sae lifts he lyle IJsa thereupo'. 

Sa rida de baegga bort til en grbn lund ; 

Daer lyster Ma Lisa hwila en stund. 
Sae ride they baith forth till a green lind (wood •^) 
There lists lyle Lisa to rest a stound. 

Sa rida de baegga, alt til en grbn aeng ; 
Daer lyster liUa Lisa at baedda en saeng, 
Sae ride they baith, a,ll till a green mead; 
There lists lyle Lisa to make a bed. 


Riddar Wal han breder ut sin kappe bl'a ; 

Sa fodde lilla Lisa sbnnerne tw'a. 
Sir Wal he spreads out his mantle blae ; 
Sae bare lyle Lisa sonnis twae. 

" Och nog wet jag en rinnende brunn ;— 

Ack ! om jag hade wattn i samma stund !" 
" -4wd [sure] eneugh weet I[p'2 a rinning bum; — 
Och ! gin I had water i' [this] samen stound P' 

Riddar Wal sadlar up sin g'angare gra ; 

Sa rider han sig bfwer bbljorna bl'a. 
Sir Wal saddles up his ganger gray ; 
^ae rides he him over the billows (?) blae,^ 

Och nser som han kom til en rinnande strbm, 

Daer satt en nsektergal i et traed, som sjbng. 
And whan that he cam till a rinning stream, 
There sat a nightingale in a tree, that sang. 

Han sjbng sa mycket om bsede fruar och mbr, 

Men aldramsest om lilla Lisa som war dbd. 
He sang sae mickle about baith fres and mays ; 
But allermaist about lyle Lisa that was dead. 

Riddar Wal han tjente den jungfru i tro ; 

Och hsemtade wattn i bsegga sina skor. 
Sir Wal he served the maiden in truth ; 
And hame took water i' baith his shoon, 

Riddar Wal sadlar up sin g'angare gr'a ; 

S'a rider han sig bfwer bbljorna bl'a. 
Sir Wal saddles up his ganger gray; 
Sae rides he him over the billows (?) blae. 

Han rider ju fortare sen fogel han flbg, 

Til dess han kommer der lilla Lisa war dbd. 
He rides, ay faster an {than) fowl he flies. 
Till there he comes where lyle Lisa was dead. 

' Perhaps green slopes or rising grounds. 


Riddar Wal drager ut sit forgyllande swserd ; 

Da satte ban faestet alt emot en sten. 
Sir Wal draws out his glittering swerd. ; 
Tho (then) set he the hilt all against a stane. 

S'a at udden i bans brbste-ben nu der stod, 
Och der utrann bara idel kaerleks-blod." 
Ha ha, n'a tia,, det ma nil sa ga, 
Och der utrann bara idel kgerleks-blod. 
Sae at (that) the point in his breast-bane now it stood. 
And there out ran barely (but) his pure lover's blood." 
Ho ho, &c. 

Having thus exhibited the Danish, Swedish, and Scotish ballad, as 
nearly as possible, in one point of view, we leave the reader to make 
comparisons, and draw conclusions for himself. 

[ 377 3 





Skion Midel han tiener i Kongens gaard ; 
Han lohhed Kongens datter den voene maar, ^c. 

Fair Midel he serves in the king's palay,' 

He has lur'd the king's daughter, that bonny may. 

The queen ca'd her daughter, and thus said she, 
" And is it true they say about thee ? 

" Sae first in a widdie he's hing, and then 
The neist in a bale-fire thou sail bren." 

* " Palay," i. e. palace. We fear this Frenchified form of the word is hardly warranted ; 
and we only used it, because we knew not well how to do better, without deviating more 
than we wished to do from our original. What we have translated may, is literally a mar- 
tin ; which will be found explained in a note on " Child Axelvold." 

3 B 


Her mantle blue Kirsten lyle has taen, 
And she to fair Midel's bower is gane : 

[And sair was her heart as she chapp'd at the gin : 
" Won up, fair Midel, and lat me in."] 

" A tryst wi' nae man I hae set, 
And in I nae man the tiight wll let." 

" Won up, fair Midel, ^fafl lat me in, 
For I hae spoken wi' mither jnine. 

" Thee first in a widdie she'll hang, and then 
Me neist in a bale-fire she will brenn." 

" O na, Fse never be hung for theej 
Nor ever sail thou be brent for me. 

•' Then swyth thy goud in a Tcoflfer lay, 
While I am saddling my ambler gray." 

A mantle blue he has D'«r her^jewfi^ 
And Tiis ambler gray lifted her ttpon. 

Whan cmt &ae the tastdl they «an "vMn, 

The saut tears hspp'fl o'er her cheek said diin. 

" O greet ye, love, that the gait's sae dreigh, 
Or is't that your saddle's o'er narrow and high ?" 

*• It's nae that I greet for the dreary gait. 
But it's that my saddle's o'er high and strait." 

His mantle blue he has spread p' the ground : 
" List ye, Kirsten lyle, to rest a stound ?" 


" O had I but ae bower-woman wi' me i — 
Now I for the &ut o' help maun die !" 

[" Och ! far thy bower-women are, far &i^th^ ;^— 
Thou has nane ither now left but me I"] 

" Far loor on the card I'll lye end dio, 
Nor dree my pain for a man to see." 

" Then tye o'er my een this scarf wi' your han% 
And I'll be yoUr nourlce the best I can." ' 

'* " O Christ ! for ae drink o' the water sae clear, 
My wae and my dowy heart to cheer !" 

•Fair Midel was ay sae kind and true. 

The water he'll bring in his browder'd shoe. 

Out thro' the thick hythe fair Midel can gang ; — ■ 
The gait to the burn it was dreich and lang. 

And whan to the burn fair Midel he wan, 
A nightingale sat on a twist and sang : 

" Little Kirsten she lyes i' the greenwood dead ; - 
Twa baimies are in her oxter laid." 

O' the nightingale's sang sma reck he's taen. 
And back the lang gait thro' the wood he's gane. 

And whan he the hythe sae thick wan to, 
Sae fand he the nightingale's sang was true. 

I See the abstract of the " Book of Heroes," in this volume, p. 120. 


He's howkit a greaf baith deep and braid, 
And he the three lykes therein has laid. 

O' the greaf as he stuid, aneath his feet ■ 

He thought that he heard the bairnies greet. 

The hilt he has set till a eard-fast stane. 
And swyth thro' his heart the swerd is gane. 

[Kirsten lyle ay leal and kind did keep, 
And now in the mools in sacht they sleep.] 

C S81 ] 


" Then tye o'er my een this scarf luith your han'. 
And I'll be your nourice the best I can." — P. 379, v. 19. 
The term nourice (in the orig. Jbstermdder) has probably been substituted by the fe- 


male reciters out of delicacy, for Midwife, which in the Danish language is called Jorde- 
moder ; a curious vestige of the more simple and natural antient religion of the Goths ; 
among whom, as well as among the Vandals, Mother Earth ( Terra Mater) the prolific and 
bountiful goddess of fecundity, growmg, and nourishing, was universally considered as the 
guardian of bearing, nursing, education, virtue, wealth, and happiness ; and, next to the 
vivifying principle of heat, as the " giver of all good things." This beUef must be refer- 
red for its origin, to a period long anterior to the iron age of Gothic and Vendish celebrity. 
—See our notes on " Libussa." 

" A nightingale sat on a tmst" Sfc- — P. 379, v. 23. 
This nightingale could have been spared ; but he forms a link in the chain that connects 
the Scotish and Scandinavian tales; and in the company of our bonny birdies, pretty par- 
rots, mly pyots, and gay goss-haiuks, may hope, " for the fashion of the thing," to be al- 
lowed to pass. 

" 0' the greqfas he stuid, aneath his feet 

He thought that he heard the bairnies greet." — P. 380,. v. 28. 

In the Danish, 

Og da han over graven stod, 

Han syntes, de born grat unter bans fed. 

In the whole compass of tragic and descriptive poetry, it would be difficult to find a finer 
passage than this, where so simple and unambitious, and at the same time so strong, na- 
tural and impressive a picture is given of the workings of a disturbed and distracted ima- 
gination. Never, certainly, was suicide more appropriately introduced ! 


Having thus performed with due zeal the last offices for " Fair Midel and Kirsten lyle," 
it now only remains for us to lay before our readers another piece (K. Viser, p. S61,) in 
which the poet has devised for the loyal pair " a consummation more devoutly to be wished 
for," but by which others are less likely to be powerfully affected — Its best recommenda- 
tion is its shortness ; although there is something pleasing in the passage where the harp 
is introduced. The lines printed in italics are often recited as part of " Fair Medevold." 

" Little Kirsten and her piither. 
They sew'd a silken hood thegither. 

" Her mither sew'd sae fine a seam ; 
The dochter's tears ran like a stream. 

" Hear ye, little Kirsten, my dochter dear. 
Why blaikens your cheek and your bonny hair i" 

" Nae ferly I'm dowy and wan o' hu^ 
Sae mickle as I've to shape and sew." 

" Here's maidens eneugh, I wat, but you, 
That better can shape, and better can sew. 

<< But it boots nae langer to heal frae thee. 

That our young king has lured me." 

" And has our young king lured thee ? 
What for thy honour did he gie f" 

" He gae to me a silken sark : 

I more it with mickle care and cark. 

" Taa hroKDdet'd shoon to me he gae : 
Pve brookit them wf mickle wae. 

" And he gae me a harp o' gated. 
To play whan in my dowy mood"—— 

She strak upon the firsten string: 

That heard, as he lay in his bed, the king. 

She strak upon the nexten string : 
Short while deval'd then the young king. ' 

' In the Geiman translation of this piece by Wilhelm Grimm, in the Heidelberg" Zeitung fiir Eioseid- 
ler, 7 Mai, 1808," the translator, by mistaking the Danish negative ei, for the German inteijection, has 
completely reversed the meaning of this line. 


Our young king ca'd His pages twae: 
" Ye bid Kirsten lyle afore me gae," 

Kirsten lyle cam in, stood afore the board : 

" What will the yowig king, that he's sent me word ?" 

He clappit her cheek sae wan wi' a smile: 
" Sit down, Kirsten lyle, and rest a while." 

" I'm nae sae tir'd, I well can stand ; 

Sae tell me yom: errand, and lat me gang." 

Kirsten lyle he in1lis>arms has ta'en; 

Gae her a goud crown, and made her his queen. 

" Kirsten lyle has cour'd now a' her harms. 
She sleeps ilka night i' the kingis arms." 

This little Kirsten, or Kirsten lyle, is as great a favourite with the northern minstrels 
as is " proud Mine" who is the identical " hwrd EUen" of the Scots ; la prude dame Eline, 
or in English, the gentle lady Eline. Prud, which we have corrupted into burd, is applied 
in old Danish and Swedish, as in French, to knights as well as to ladies ; and the Rittet 
hinprud of the Danish ballads, is ^ipreux Chevalier of the French, and the gentle htight 
of the English, romances. 

C 384 ] 






Kongens dotter of EngeUand, 

Hun lever Jbruden aid kvide ; 
Hende er gangen sorg til haand; 

Hun haver trolovet' hin unge Her St^ge. 

Hun er til tukt og cere vant ; 
Hun vil ej have anden mand. 

Kongens son aJ'Danmarck, 

Hand beder omjomfruen of aid magt, 8fc. 

The Kingis dochter of EngeUand 

She liveth withouten all sorrow ; 
But she ha^ sorrow eneugh at hand ; 

She has taen the young Sir Stige till her marrow. 

» " Trolovet," from " tro," troth or Jaith, and " lov6," to promise. This seems to be 
the origin of the term " true-love" in many of our old ditties, which has, I believe, never 
been properly understood by modern editors and readers. Thus, in the beautiful song, 
beginning " O wala, wala up the bank," &c. 

" I leant my back unto an aik ; 
I thought it was a trusty tree ; 


Ay wont sae. gude and leal to be, 
Nae ither man now hae will she. 

The King's son of Danmark 

He Courtis that maiden wi' a his macht. • 

Forty owks hae mony a dowy day, 

And lang thought she, and was weary and wae. 

Her mantel blue that maiden* has taen, 
And down to her bower is heavily gane. 

She's doen her till her bower sae fair, 
' And there a knave bairn sae bonny she bare. 

The bairnie she swyl'd in Unnen sae fine, 
In a gilded casket laid it syne ; 

But first it bow'd, and syne it brak, 
And sae did my tme-love to me. 

" O whareto should I busk my head ? 

Or whareto should I kerab my hair ? 
For my true-love's forsaken me, ^ 

And says he'll never lo'e me mair !" 

Here the lady's true-love is really her Jause love, and some of the editors have altered it 
accordingly- But the expression, meaning betrothed, seems to be perfectly correct, and 
tends much to heighten the interest of the piece. It is true, true-love may mean trueli/- 
loved ; but probability and propriety seem to be in favour of the other interpretation. 

These verses are abominable as verses ; but what better can be made out of such ma- 
terials ? He who has carved men only out of " cheese-parings" and " forked radishes af- 
ter supper" must not expect to be admired as a statuary : but those who see his produc- 
tions will be satisfied at least, that in the age in which he lived, cheese was made, and 
radishes known ; and there are circumstances which sometimes render even the knowledge 
of such trifles not uninteresting.— There is no note in the Kaerape Viser to inform us whe- 
ther the second and fourth lines of the first stanza were to be sung throughout as a burden, 
or whether they made a part only of this stanza. 

* Sk in orig. 

3 C 


Mickle saut and light' she's laid therein, 
Cause yet in God's house it hadna been. 

Her mantel blue that madden has taen. 
And down to the strand wi' it she's gane. 

She's doen her out tUl the strand, 
And shot the casket far frae the land. 

She shot it far out in the sea : 

" To Christ, my babe, beteech I thee ! 

" To Ghristis grace beteech I thee ; 
Thou has nae mair now mither in me." 

The King is a hunting by the strand ; 
He fand the casket was driven tUl land. 

The casket he open'd, and saw therein 
The bonny knave bairnie that smil'd on him. 

The King took money frae his spung, 
And gar'd be christen'd that bairnie young. 

Syne he has taen that little knave, 
And tili a foster-mither him gave. 

" And hear ye, well foster'd lat him be ; 
For he's surely come o' high degree." 

She has foster'd him till five years' age ; 
He's now the King's ain Uttle page. 

He grew till he was eighteen year. 

And the King's ain banner now can bear. 

' i. e. Salt and consecrated tapers, such as ought to have been used at his baptisfis. 


The King has gi'en him tower and fee, 
But and his dochter, that comely fire.* 

The King untill his dochter said, 

" And whan, my dochter, will ye wed ?" 

" It's I will wed whan my fiither will ; 
And FU wed him that his heart lies till." 

" Sir Karl is the first man in my ha'" — 

" Och ! but fairi were my heart Sir Stige to fa !" 

Now a' for the bridal blyth is prest ; 

But sair was the heart in that lady's breast. 

The bride-ale they've drucken for five days lang, 
But the bride for naething to bed will gang. 

The sixthen day the bride they've taen, 
And, nill she or will she, to bed she's gane. 

The bride in her bed they down hae laid 5 
Sir Karl but short wlule after staid. 

On her cheek sae white he clappit her syne : 
" Ye turn to me, allerdearest mine !" 

•' Prythee, Karl, be still now, dear son mine, 
For I am dearest mither thine ; 

" And a scorn it were in my father's Ian', 
That a mither shoiild hae her son for a man." 

" And it is a scorn intiU this be 

To wear a goud crownet whan ye're nae may." 

' In the orig. " bans dotter hin venne ;" i. e. his daughter who [was] bonny. See 
Gloss, art. honny. 


The morn the King speer'd at them right 
" How rested ye this lasten night ?" 

" I thank the King for his bounty free j «,.: 
But my mither to wed's great scorn to me!' 

• " The King has to me aJl in kindness made ; 
But sooth 'tis my mither that I ha'e wed !" 

" My dochter we will stick and brend. 
Or to the Heathen King her send." 

" Och, na ! wi' my mither ye dealna sae ; 
Gie her to Sir Styge, as I now say." 

I 389 3 




Det er i nat vaage-nat, 

{Der vaager hvo som vil) 
Der Jcomme saa mange til dandsen brat, 

{Der vaager hun stolt SigneliM under 
saagronnen Oe.) 

The night is the night o' the wauk ; 

{There wauk may he that will;) 
There's fiel come to dance and wassel mak, 

( Whare wauks she, the proud Sigmlild, 
under me green an oe.) 

Proud Signild speer'd at her mither right, 

{There wauk, ^c.) 
" May I gae till the wauk the night ?" 

{TVhare wauks, ^c.) 

" O what will ye at the wauk-house do, 
But sister or brither to gang wi' you ? 

» This is the counterpart of" Hero Hogen and the Queen of Denmark" in this work. 


" Brither or gude-brither hae ye nane, 

Nor gang ye to wauk ouse the night alane." 

That maiden fine has prigget sae lang, 
Her mither at last gae her leave to gang. 

" Thou gang, thou gang now, dochter mine. 
But to nae wauk-house gangs mither thine. 

" The King he is coming wi' a' his men ; 
Sae lyth my rede, and bide at hame." 

" There comes the Queen wi' her maries a' ; 
To talk wi' them, mither, lat me fa." 

She to the green wood her way has tane. 
And she is till the wauk-house gane. 

.Afore she wan the green strath o'er. 
The Queen was gane to bed in her bower. 

Ere she to the castell yett can win. 
The wassel was begun. 

There danced all the Kingis men. 

And the king himsel he danced wi' them« 

The King raught out his hand sae free : 
" Fair maiden, will ye dance wi' me ?" 

" I'm only come o'er the dale, to see 
An the Danish queen can speak to me." 

" Ye dance wi' us a wee but fear. 

And the Queen herseU wiU soon be here." 

Out slept Signild, jimp and sma j 

The King gae'r his hand, and they danced awa'. 


'< Hear ye what, Signild, I say to thee ; 
A lay o' love ye maun sing to me." 

<* In lays o' love nae skill I hae. 
But I'll sing anither the best I may." 

Proud Signild can sing a sang vn' that ; 
This heard the Queen in her bower that sat. 

This heard the Queen in her bower that lay : 
" Whilk ane o' my ladies is singing sae ? 

" Whilk ladies o' mine dance at this late hoiu- ? 
* "Why didna they follow me up to my bower ?" 

Syne up spak a page in kirtle red : 

" It's nane o' your ladies, I well ye rede ; 

" Nae ane o' your ladies I reckon it be, 
But it is proud Signild under be." 

" Ye bring my scarlet sae fine to me, 
And I wiU forth this lady to see." 

Whan she came tiU the castell yett, 
The dance gaed sae merrily and sae feat. 

Around and around they dancing gae ; 
The Queen she stood and saw the deray ; 

And bitter the pangs her heart did wring, 
Whan she saw Signild dance wi' the King. 

Its Sophi says till her bower-woman ; 

** Bring a horn o' wine sae swyth ye can 5 

" A horn o' goud come hand to me, 
And lat it wi' wine well filled be." 


The King raught out his hand sae free : 
" Will ye, Sophia, dance wi' me ?" 

" To dance wi' thee nor can I nor will, 
'Less first proud Signild drink me tm." 

She hent the horn, and she drank sae free :- 
Her heart it brast, and dead fell she. 

Lang Imkit the King in speechless wae. 
As dead at his feet the maiden lay : 

" Sae young and sae fair ! wae, wae is me. 
Thy dowie sakeless wierd to see !" 

Sair grat the women and maries there 
As intiU the kirk her like they bare . , 

Had she but lythit her mither's rede, 
(JIhere wauk may he that will,) 

That maiden she never sae iU had sped, 
(Whare wauks she, the proud Signelild, 
under sae green an be.) 

*^* The name of Sophia, Queen of Denmark, is rather an evidence of the antiquity of 
this piece than otherwise. In a modern production, the subject of which is fresh in the 
memory of every one, the author is likely to be faithful, at least, to the names and desig- 
nations of the actors ; but in very old popular tales, the reciters are apt to appropriate 
the most distinguished parts to characters which have made a figure in their neighbour- 
hood a century or two ago, and whose names are still in the mouths of the people. 

C 393 ] 



OliifPant hand sidderpaa Korsber-Kuus, 

Og drikker med sine svenne ; 

At dejaa dem etjidd godt ruiis, 

Saa de sig ei kunde iemmh 

(OhifPant hin venne^ 

Med sine svenne, 

De monne saa sorgelig kvide.) 

OtUF Pant he sits in Korsoer-house, 

A-drinking wi' his" men ; 
And merrily drink they and carouse,, 
Till themselves they downa tame. 
[Oluf Pant the. bonmf, 
Wi' a' his menyie, 
They maun a' sae sorry and wae be .') 

•* My service now will ye forleet, 

And lose baith meat and fee j 
Or follow me swyth to Gerlev, 
For a lemman there to see ?" 
{OliifPant the bonny, Sjc.) 
3 D 


His service nane wad there forleet, 

Amang his merry-men a', 
Nor langer while deval, but till 

They took their steeds frae the sta'. 

He's bidden them saddle the bonniest steed 

They in thie sta' can find : 
" Mat Burmand's be mt host the flight. 

As he this while sail mind !" 

Sae on they've ridden to Studeby, 
Thro' wood and shaw in haste ; 

Tyge Olesen stood i' the cauler air. 
And bade litem in 'to guest. 

It was then Rich Oluf Pant 

Rade up till Gerlev yett ; 
His steed that day, the sooth to say, 

Full proudly did curvett. ' 

He rade intiH Mat Burmand's yard, 
Well wrapt in vair sae gay ; 

And out the husbande he could come, 
All in his kirtle gray. 

" Thou shalt ted US thy holiie the night. 
And mak us bierdly <lbs^ ; 

But and gie us thy huswife swyiJi, 
Or I saU feU thee here." 

" Gin I lend you myTiouse tlie night, 
. And mak ye bierdly cheer ; 
But and gie you my husW4!fe sw3rth, 
'TwiU gang my heart right tieai-." 

' In the Danish it is, " his steed sprang like a magpie, (skade,") or a sJcate, for the 
word signifies both. 



Tlieir steeds he's till the stable led % 

Gien tEem baith com and hay ; 
And merrily they to the chalmer gang, 

To talk wi' huswife and may. 

The husbande turn'd him aaell about> 

All in his kirtle gray,^ 
And he has sought the gainest gate 

To Andershaw that lay. 

Oluf Mortensen^ that gude prioTt. - 

Speer'd at the husbande ri^t, 
" What has befa'n that thee has drawn 

Up here sae Ikte the night i" 

«< O sad's my teen and wnforeseen : 

Oluf Pant is in my ham.e 5 
But him and his rout I may drive out, 

My wife is brought to shame." 

'Twas then the ginde Prior Oluf Mortensen 

O'er a' the house can d^,', 
'* Up, up in haste, and swythe do on 

Your bryniesii my merry-men a' !: 

" Swyth busk ye weel frae crown to heel 

r your gear, as best ye may ; 
Oluf Pant to cow will be nae mow -, 

We'll find nae bairns play. 

'< And bye, thou luckless husbande, hame,. 

And lock thy dogs up weel ; 
And keep a' quiet as ye may ; — 

We'll tread dose at your heel." 

Buskit and boun the stout Prior 
Till Burmand's yard he rade : 


Now God in Heaven his help mat be ; — 
Oluf Pant he draws his blade ! 

Oluf Mortensen at the door gaed in, 

In a grim and angry mood ; 
Oluf Pant lap lightly till his legs, 

'And up afore him stood. 

" Wha bade thee here till Gerlev-town, 

Wi' my husbande leal to guest ? 
Up, up, to horse, and swyth be gone. 

Or thou's find a bitter feast." 

Oluf Pant wi' that gaH smile aneath 

His cleading o' towsy vair. 
And, " They are mine as well as thine," 

He saftly whisper'd there. 

•Swyth out the Prior drew his swerd ; 

He scorn'd to flinch or flee ; 
The light in the chandler Oluf Pant put out, 

And wi' Helene fight maun he. 

I' the hen-bauks up Oluf Pant he .crap ; 

There he was nagate fain : 
The Prior took tent whareas he sat. 

And in blood-bath laid him then.'* 

Sae they the rich Oluf Pant hae slain. 

And his men a', three times three, 
A' but the siHy little foot-page. 

And to him his Hfe th^ gie. 

' Oluf Pant was slain in the year 1397. The Pants were a noble family in Denmark; 
and I find (says the Danish editor) from the book of genealogy, that the Prior of Ander- 
shaw was called Jep Mortensen, and was an Jernskeggfe. Michel Petersen Jernskeg was. 
from Erling, which is now called Birkholm. 

C 397 ] 


When on a former occasion, " in Popular Ballads and Songs," vol. ii. 
p. 282, the present writer laid before the public a translation of the 
first ballad of " Rosmer," he expressed an opinion that this was the 
identical romance quoted by Edgar in " King Lear," which in Shake- 
speare's time was well-known in England, and is still preserved, in 
however mutilated a state, in Scotland. Having the outline of the 
story so happily sketched to his hand, it would have required no very 
great exertion of talents or industry for one exercised in these stu- 
dies, to have presented this Romance in a poetical dress, far more 
correct and generally engaging, than that in which it can be expected 
to be found ; but, as he accounts an original, however imperfect, which 
bears the -genuine marks of the age which produced it, and of the taste 
of those who have preserved it, much more interesting to the historian 
or antiquary, than any mere modern tale of the same kind, however 
artfully constructed, he has preferred subjoining the Scotish legend 
in puris naturalibus, in the hope that the publication of it may be 
the means of exciting curiosity, and procuring a more perfect copy 
of this singular relic. 


[" King Arthur's sons o' merry Ctolisle] 

Were playing at the ba' ; 
And there was their sister Burd Ellen, 

I' the mids amang them a'. 

" Child Rowland kick'd it wi' his foot. 

And keppit it wi' his knee ; 
And ay, as he play'd out o'er them a'. 

O'er the kirk he gar'd it flee. 

" Burd Ellen round about the isle 

To seek the ba' is gane -, 
But they bade lang and ay langer, 

And she camena back agsm- 

" They sought her east, they sought her west,, 

They sought her up and down ; 
And wae were the hearts [In merry Carlisle} 

For she was nae gait found !" v' 

At last her eldest brother went to the Warluck MqfKn, (MtfrtiAt 
TFi/Mt,') and asked if he knew where his sister, the &,n burd EUen, 
was ? " The fair biird Ellen," said the Warluck Merlin, " is carried 
away by the fairies, and is now in the castle of the king of Elfland j 
and it were toa bold an undertakimg for the stoutest knight in Chris- 
tendome to bring her back»" " Is it possible to bring her back," 
said her brother, " and I will do it, or perish in the attempt." « Pos- 
sible indeed it is," said the Warluck Merlin ; " but woe to the man 
or mother's son wha attempts it, if he is not well insti'ucted before- 
hand of what he is to da." 

Inflamed no less by the glory of such an enterprise, than by the de- 
sire of rescuing his sister, the brother of the fair burd Ellen resolved 


to undertake the adventure ; and after proper instractions from Mer- 
lin (which he failed in observing,) he set out on his perilous expe- 

" But they bade lang and ay iMiger, 

Wi' dout and mickle maen ; 
And wae were the hearts [in merry Carlisle,] 

For he camena back again." 

The second brother in like manner set out ; but failed in observing 
the instructions of the Warluck Merlin ; and 

" They bade lang and ay langer, 

Wi' mickle dout and maen ; 
And wae were the hea«*s [in meriy Carlisle,] 

For he camena back again." 

Child Rowland, the youngest brother of the fair burd Ellen, then re- 
solved to go J but was strenuously opposed by the good queen [^Gwe- 
nevra,] who was afraid of losing all her children. 

At last the good queen fGwenevra] gave him her consent and her 
blessing ; he girt on (in great form, and with all due solemnity of sa- 
cerdotal consecration) his father's good claymore j^Excahbar,] that 
never struck in vain, and repaired to the cave of the Warluck Mer- 
lin. The Warluck Merlin gave him all necessary instructions for his 
journey and conduct, the most important of which were, that he should 
kiU every person he met with after entering the land of Fairy, and 
should neither eat nor drink of what was offered him in that country, 
whatever his hunger or thirst might be ; for if he tasted or touched in 
EWand, he must remain in the power of the Elves, and never see mid- 
^le eard again. 

So Child Rowland set out on his journey, and travelled " on and ay 
farther on," till he came to where (as he had been forewarned by the War- 


luck Merlin) he found the king of Elfland's horse-herd feeding his horses. 
" Canstthou tell me," said Child Rowland to the horse-hefd, " where the ' 
king of Elfland's castle is ?" — " I cannot tell thee,'' said the horse-herd ; 
" but go on a little farther, and thou wilt come to the cow-herd, and he 
perhaps may tell thee." So Child Rowland drew the good claymore 
[Excalibar,] that never struck in yain, and hewed off the head of the 
horse-herd. Child Rowland then went on a little farther, till he came 
to the king of Elfland's cow-herd, who was feeding his cows. " Canst 
thou tell me," said Child Rowland to the cow-herd, " where the king 
of Elfland's castle is ?" — " I cannot tell thee," said the cow-herd ; 
" but go on a little farther, and thou wilt come to the sheep-herd, and 
he perhaps may tell thee." So Child Rowland drew the good clay- 
more [Excalibar,] that never struck in vain, and hewed off the head of 
the cow-herd. He then went on a little farther, till he came to the 
sheep-herd. * * * * 

[TAe slieep-herd, goat-herd, and swine-herd are all, each in Ms 

turn, served in the same manner ; and lastly he h referred to 

the hen-wife.^ 
" Go on yet a little farther," said the hen-wife,' till thou come to a 
round green hill surrounded with rings (terraces) from the bottom to 
the top ; go round it three times mdershins, and every time say, " Open, 
door ! open, door ! and let me come in ; and the third time the door 
will open, and you may go in." So Child Rowland drew the good 
claymore pExcalibar,] that never struck in vain, and hewed off the head 
of the hen-wife. Then went he three times mdershins round the green 
hill, crying, " Open door ! open, door ! and let me come in j" and the 
third time the door opened, and he went in. It immediately closed 
behind him ; and he proceeded through a long passage, where the air 
was soft and agreeably warm like a May evening, as is all the air of ' 
Elfland. The light was a sort of twilight or gloaming ; but there were 
neither windows nor candles, and Jie knew not whence it came, if it 
was not from the walls and roof, which were rough and arched like a 


grotto, and composed of a clear and transparent rock, incrusted with 
sheepS'Silver and spar, and various bright stones. At last he came to 
two wide and lofty folding-doors, which stood a-jar. He opened them, 
and entered a large and spacious hall, whose richness and brilliance no 
tongue can tell. It seemed to extend the whole length and height of 
the hill. The superb Gothic pillars by which the roof was supported 
were so large and so lofty (said my seannachy,) that the pillars of 
the Ghanry Kirk, or of Pluscardin Abbey, are no more to be compa- 
red to them, than the Knock of Alves is to be compared to Balrinnes 
or Ben-a-chi. They were of gold and silver, and were fretted like the 
west window of the Chanry Kirk,' with wreaths of flowers composed 
of diamonds and precious stones of all manner of beautiful colours. 
The key-stones, of the arches above, instead of coats of arms and other 
devices, were ornamented with clusters of diamonds in the same man> 
ner. And from, the middle of the roof, where the principal arches 
met, was hung by a gold chain, an immense lamp of one hollowed 
pearl, perfectly transparent, in the midst of which was suspended a 
large carbuncle, that by the power of magic continually turned round, 
and shed over all the haU a clear and mild light like the setting sun ; 
but the hall was so large, and these dazzling objects so far removed, 
that their blended radiance cast no more than a pleasing lustre, and 
excited no other than agreeable sensations in the eyes of Child Row- 
land. , 

The furniture of the; hall was suitable to its architecture ; and at the 
fiirther end, under a splendid canopy, seated on a gorgeous sopha of 
velvet, silk, and gold, and " Kembing her yellow hair wi' a silver 

" There was his sister hurd.EUeft; 
She stood up him before." 

* The cathedral of Elgin naturally enough furnished similes to a man who had never in 
Iljs life been twenty miles distant from it. 

3 E 



" God rue on thee, poor luckless fode f ' 
What hast thou to do here ? 

" And hear ye this, my youngest brither, 

Why badena ye at hame ? 
Had ye a hunder and thousand lives. 

Ye canna brook ane o' them. 

" And sit thou down ; and wae, O wae 

That ever thou was born ; 
For come the king o' Elfland in, 

Thy leccam* is forlorn i" 

A long conversation then takes place ; Child Rowland tells her the 
news [of merry Carlisle,] and of his own expedition; and concludes 
with the observation, that, after his long and fatiguing journey to the 
castle of the king of Elfland, he is very hungry. 

Burd Ellen looked wistfully and mournfully at him, and shook her 
head, but said nothing. Acting under the influence of a magic which 
she could not resist, she arose, and brought him a golden bowl full of 
bread and milk, which she presented to him with the same timid, ten- 
der, and anxious expression of solicitude. 

Remembering the instructions of the Warluck Merlin, " Burd El- 
len," said Child Rowland, " I will neither taste nor touch till I have 
set thee free !". Immediately the folding-doors burst open with tre- 
mendous violence, and in came the king of Elfland, 

" With « /, Jl, fo, and fum ! 

I smell the blood of a Christian man ! 
Be he dead, be he living, wi' my brand 

I'll clash his harns frafe his harn-pan !" 

'* Strike, then. Bogle of Hell, if thou darest !" exclaimed the undaunt- 

' Fode — man, , » Leccam — loiy. 


ed Child Rowland, starting up, and drawing the good claymore [Ex- 
calibar,] that never struck in vain. 

A furious combat ensued, and the king of Elfland was feUed to the 
ground ; but Child Rowland spared him on condition that he should 
restore to him his two brothers, who lay in a trance in a comer of the 
hall, and his sister, the fair burd Ellen. The king of Elfland then pro- 
duced a small crystal phial, containing a bright red liquor, with which 
he anointed the lips, nostrils, eye-lids, ears, and finger-ends' of the two 
young men, who immediately awoke as from a profound sleep, during 
which their souls had quitted their bodies, and they had seen &c. &c. 
&c. — So they all four returned in triumph to [merry Carlisle.] 

Such was the rude outline of the Romance of Child Rowland, as it 
was told 'to me when I was about seven or eight years old, by a coun- 
try tailor then at work in my father's, house. He was an ignorant and 
dull good sort of honest man, who seemed never to have questioned 
the truth of what he related. Where the et. cceteras are put down, 
many curious particulars have been omitted, because I was afraid of 
being deceived by my memory, and substituting one thing for an- 
other. It is right also to admonish the reader, that " The Warluck 
Merlin — Child Rowland — and Burd Ellen," were the only names in- 
troduced in his recitation j and that the others inclosed witliin. brackets 
are assumed, upon the authority of the locality given to the story by 
the mention of Merlin, In every other respect I have been as faithful 
as possible. 

It was recited, in a sort of formal, drowsy, measured, monotonous 
recitative, mixing prose and: verse, in the manner of the Islandic 
Sagas ; and as is still the manner of reciting tales and fabulas miles in 
the winter evenings, not only among the Islanders, Norwegians, and 

" This anointing the seats of the five senses seems borrowed from the sacrament of ex- 
treme unction in the Catholic church ; but extreme unction (with blood,) lustration hy tiiater, 
the sign of the cross, breaking of bread and drinkiiig of wine, &c. were in use among the 
Goths long before the introduction of Christianity ; and the Mitres of our bishops are 
lineally descended from theradiated turbans of the priests of Mithra, the Persian God qf 
the San.— The Rosary is i^sed by the followers of Lama, among the Kalmucks, &c. 


Swedes, but also among the Lowlanders in the North of Scotland, and 
among the Highlanders and Irish. This peculiarity, so far as my me- 
mory' could serve me, I have endeavoured to preserve; but of the 
verses which have been introduced, I cannot answer for the exactness 
of any, except the stanza put into the mouth of the king of Elfland, 
which was indelibly impressed upon my membry, long before I knew 
any thing of Shakespeare, by the odd and whimsical manner in which 
the tailor curled up his nose, and sniffed all about, to imitate the ac- 
tion which " fi, fi, fo, and fum !" ' is intended to represent. 

Pleased with the fire which his tales struck from me, as well as teazed 
by my indefatigable importunity and endless questions, as I sat on a 
creepy* by his knee, my good Seannachy let me into the following 
secrets in the natural history of Elfland, which I can still find as inte- 
resting as I did thirty years ago, although for somewhat different 
reasons. ,. 

*' You have seen," said he, " on a fine day in the go-harst^ (post- 
autumnal season) when the fields are cleared, a number of cattle from 
different farms collected together, running about in a sort of phrensy, 
like pigs boding windy weather ; capering, leaping, bellowing, and 
goring one another, as if they were possessed, although there is no 
visible cause for such disorder. 

*' If, at such a time, you were to look through an elf-bore in wood, 
where a thorter knot (the knarry end of a branch) has been taken out, 
or through the hole made by an elf-arrow, (which has probably been 
made by a ivarbk') in the skin of a beast that has been- elf-shot, * you 
may see the elf-bull haiging (butting) with the strongest buU or ox in 

" I question whether any of our actors on the stage now understand this ejaculation, if 
it may be so called, so well as my Seannachy did. 
* " Creepy," short-legged stool. 

3 It is pity that this word is not English, as we hare none to supply its place. 

4 In his notes upon the ballad of Sir Oluf and the Elf King's Daughter, (of which a 
translation will be found in " Popular Ballads and Songs," vol, i. p. SI 9, ) the Editor of the 
K. Viser says, that Sir Oluf was « Elf-shot." 


the herd ; but you will never see with that eye again.— Many a man 
has lost his sight in this manner ! ' 

" The elf-bull is small, compared with earthly bulls, of a mouse-co- 
lour ; mosted (crop-eared,) with short corky horns ; short in the legs ; 
long, round, and skimp (supple) in the body, like a wild animal ; with 
short, sleek, and glittering hair, like an otter ; and supernaturally ac- 
tive and strong. They most frequently appear near the banks of 
rivers ; eat much green corn in the night time ; and are only to be 
got rid of by,J&c. &c. (certain spells which I have forgot.') 

" A certain farmer, who lived near the banks of a river, had a cow 
that never was known to admit an earthly bull ; but every yea,r, in a 
certain day in the month of May, she regularly quitted her pasture, 
walked slowly along the banks of the river, till she came opposite to 
a small holm covered with bushes ; then entered the river, * and waded 
or swam to the holm, where she continued for a certain time, after which 
she again returned to her pasture. This went on for several years, 
and JEvery year, after the usual time of gestation, she had a calf. They 
were all alike, mouse-coloured, mosted, with corky horns, round and 
long bodied, grew to a good size, and were remarkably docile, strong, 
and useful, and all ridgels.' At last, one forenoon abo^it Martinmas, 
when the com was all " under thack and raip,*' as the farmer sat with 
his family by the ingle*side, they began to talk about killing their Yuh 
Mart. " Hawkie," said the gude-man, " is fat and sleek; she has 
had an easy life, and a good goe of it all her days, and has been a good 

' Here, among many others of the same kind, he specified one instance of a man of his 
own acquaintance who lost the sight of an eye in consequence of looking through an elf- 
hore. " It is true," said he, " the man himself always denied it, from the fear of the ven- 
geance of the fairies, but every body knew that he lost it in that way." — Such is the power 
of credulity in forcing evidence for its own delusion ! — There was no danger of my Sean- 
nachy putting his eye-sight in jeopardy by such a rash indulgence of curiosity. 

' In the southern counties of Scotland, this story, or one very similar, has been peculi- 
liarly appropriated to Saint Mary's Loch, in SelkiAshire. 

3 This is a fortunate circumstance for the fabulist, as otherwise the ceremony of castra- 
tion, by obliging the steers to declare themselves too soon, would have quite spoiled the 


cow to us ; for she has filled the plough and all the stalls in the hyre 
with the finest steers in this country side; and now I think we may 
afford to pick her old bones, and so she shall be the Mart!"— 

The words were hardly uttered, when Hawkie, who was in the byre> 
beyond the kalian, with her whole bairn-time, tyed by their thra-mmeh 
to their stalls, walked out through the side of the byre w^ith as much 
ease as if it had been made of hrown paper ; turned round' on the 
midditig-head ; lowed once upon each of her calves ; then set out, 
they following her in order, each according to his agCj along the banks 
of the river ; entered it ; reached the holm ; disappeared among the 
bushes ; and neither she nor they were ever after seen or heard of. 
The farmer and his sons, who had with wonder and terror viewed this 
phenomenon from a distance, returned with heavy hearts to their 
house, and had little thought of Marts or merriment for that yeiar." 

The foregoing tale will be found in the unpublished MS. of the latia 
Mr Boucher of Epsom's Glossary, as it was furnished by the present 
writer, who was then altogether unacquainted with the foUbwil^ tra- 
gical and curious history of an elf-bull, in " Eyrbyggiasaga,?' pubUshed 
in 4to., in Copenhagen, by the learned Professor G. J. Thorkelin, in 
1787, p. 317, who with much probability supposes it to be of a date 
anterior to 1264. 

^' It was milking^time, about nine in the evening, whea Thoroddr 
returned J and as he rode towards the stable, a cow, running before 
him, broke her foot. The cow, which was yeld, was taken ; and, be- 
ing too lean to be slaughtered, Thoroddr caused her foot to be bound 
up ; and,, as soon as it was strong enough, she was sent to Ulfarsfell to 
be fattened, as the pasture there was as good as on the holms.- There 
are some who say that the islanders, when carrying their dried fish to 
the inner part of the creek, saw with the cow, as she was feeding upon 
the side of the fell, a strange bull of a mouse-colour, that nobody knew. 
Next autumn Thoroddr thought of killing the cow ; but those who 
were sent to. fetch her could no- where find her. After much search 


to no purpose, tliey at last gave her up for lost, supposing she must 
have been either dead or stolen. A little before the Yule-time, one 
morning as the neatherd at Kcerstead was going as usual to the: cow- 
house, he saw the broken-footed cow, that had been so industriously 
sought for, standing before the door. Turning her mto the cow-house, 
and tying her up, he carried the news to Thoroddr, who, entering the 
cow-house, and viewing and handling the cow, discovered that she was 
\yith calf, and therefore not fit for a mart, especially as he had flesh 
enough besides for his family. About the end of the following spring, 
she had a qttei/-calf, and shortly after a bull-calf, which was so large 
that S'he died soon after calving. This large bull-calf was brought into 
the house, and was of a mouse-colour, and seemed well worth preser- 
ving. When the calves were carried into the room, there, happened 
to be present an old Kerling (sic. in orig.) who had been foster-mother 
to Thoroddr, and yrss now become blind. In her younger days she 
had been reputed to have the second sight ; but as she grew old, her 
predictions were regarded as the ravings of dotage, although many of 
them were verified by the events. The calf, with his legs bound, being 
laid on the floor, bellowed aloud, on which the Kerling, in the great- 
est terror, cried out, " That is the low of an ElPs imp, . and of no 
earthly creature ; and you will do well to destroy it immediately !" 
Thoroddr said it would be a pity to kill such a fine calf, which, if pro- 
perly taken care of, must turn out an excellent steer. The calf then 
lowed a second time'; on which the Kerling threw away What she had 
in her hand, and said, " My bairn ! let the calf be killed ; for if he is 
brought up, we shall all one day have great cause to rue it." " Well, 
nurse, since you will have it so," said Thoroddr, " he shall be killed." 
Both calves were then taken out of the room, and Thoroddr gave or- 
ders to kill the quey, and carry the bull into the barn, to be brought 
up, with strict injunctions that nobody should undeceive the old 
nurse. This calf grew so fast, that before spring he was full as large 
as those that had been calved several months before him. When let 
out, he ran very much about the meadow, and roared hke a full-grov/n 
bull, so loud that it was heard in the house. Then the Kerling said. 


*' As this monster is not killed, he will assuredly do us more mischief 
than words can express !" — The calf grew a-pace, and that summer 
was turned into a field of saved grass ; and by autumn, he was so large 
that few year-olds could match him. He was well-horned, and of all 
the cattle the most sleek and beautiful to see, and was thence called 
Gkesir. Before he was two years old he was as large as a five-year- 
old ox ; fed mostly among the cows, not far from the house ; and as 
often as Thoroddr went into the fold, Glaesir went up and smeUed him, 
and licked his cloaths, and Thoroddr patted him. He was gentle as 
a lamb both to men and cattle ; but when he roared, it was tremen- 
dous, and the old woman never heard it without expressing the great- 
est consternation and horror. When Glassir was four years old, if 
women, or children, or striplings, went near him, he took no notice 
of them; but if men passed, he chafed and threatened, and was so 
surly and unruly that he would hardly sufier himself to be driven out 
of the way." 

I^Glaesir continuing to be unmanageable, and to roar as terribly as 
ever, Thoroddr, moved by the continual warnings and apprehensions 
of his nurse, promises in good earnest to slaughter him next autumn, 
as soon as he should be fat enough. But the old spae-mfe tells him 
that it will be too late ; and breaks forth into a yehement, prophetic, 
and poetical ra,pture, in strains which, far firom resembling those of 
Cassafidra, except; in their inefficacy, were perfectly perspicuous and 
to the point.] 

" So it fell out, that same summer, that one day after Thoroddr had 
got the hay in a hay-field raked together, and made up into cocks 
there fell a great deal of rain. Next morning the servants going out 
observed Glaesir in the hay-field, disencumbered from the board which 
since he became vicious, had been 'fastened upon his horns, running 
about, overturning the cocks, and scattering the hay all over the field 
which he had never been accustomed to do ; at the same time that his 
roarings and bellowings so terrified the servants, that no one durst ven- 
ture to go and drive him away. • On their telling Thoroddr what Gla- 
sir was at, he ran out, and snatching up a large birchen stake by the 


two forks, hastened into the field, with it over his shoulder, to attack 
the bull. Glassir, seeing this, desisted from the havoc which he was 
making, and advanced to meet him« regardless of his threat^, and the 
noise he made to intimidate him. On this Thoroddr struck him so 
hard between the horns, that the stake broke short close by the forks. 
Glaesir then rushed upon Thoroddr, who, seizing him by the hpms, 
turned his head aside j and in this manner they struggled for some 
time ; Glaesir always striking, and Thoroddr avoiding, till the latter 
began to be fatigued. Then Thoroddr leaped- upon his neck, and 
leaning over between his horns, clasped his hands under his throat, 
which he griped with all his might, in hopes of stifling him, or ti- 
ring him out ; and in this manner the bull ran about the field, carry- 
ing him upon his neck. ' 

" The servants seeing their master in such danger, and, being wea- 
ponless,, not daring to interfere, ran home to arm themselves, and re- 
turned with spears and other weapons. When the bull saw that, he 
stooped his head between his legs, and shook it till he got one of his 
horns under Thoroddr, then raised it with a jerk so suddenly, that he 
threw up Thoroddr's legs, so that he stood almost upon his head upon 
the bull's neck. When his legs fell down again, Glaesir stooped his 
head once more, and struck him with his other horn in the belly, 
goring him so that he let go his hold, and the bull, roaring tre- 
mendously, ran along the meadow towards the river. The servants 
pursued him through a ravine of the mountain called Geirvaur, tiU he 
reached a fen below the farm-stead of Hello, where he ran into a 
pool, dived, and never after came up again ; and ever since, the fen 
has been called Glaesiskellda. — Returning to the house, they found 
Thoroddr dead of his wound." 

This idea of peopling the subterraneous and submarine regions, not 
only with supernatural men and women, but with beasts also, which in- 
dulge in frequent intercourse with those of our element, is found in 
Arabia, Persia, India, Thibet, among the Kalmuck and Mongol Tar- 

3 F 


tars, Swedes, Norwegians, Scotish Lowlanders, Highlanders, and He- 
bridians ; and it may, perhaps with more propriety than any other super- 
stition, be denominated Gothic, (if the term is used in contradistinction to 
Greek and jRowjaw,) because no distinct traces of it, it is presumed, are 
to be found among the latter, who seem to have lost sight af it. And 
here, as a justification of this gossiping), the present writer begs leave to 
remark, that almost all the superstitions, and . antient popular usages 
which are accounted national among us, particularly in the Highlands 
and Hebrides, are still found in various parts of Sweden and Norway. 
How fax these, as well as the language and poetry of the Highlandersi 
have been affected by the residence of the Nor-m en among them, may 
on some future occasion be; the subject of inquiry, to which end mea- 
sures have been taken for procuring ample materials from curious and 
learned friends in the university of Lund, with whom the writer's cor- 
respondence has at present been broken off, by the disastrous war in 
which these countries are unhappily involved. ' 

/ ' This was written two years and a half ago. 

r 411 '} 




OR THE ■* '^''l ''■' 


EIBST PUfitrSHED iif 1591. 

Bucke Been og Elfver Steen, 
Ogjleer kandjeg icke nefiie, 

De lod^ sig hygge saa Iiaard en Knar; 
Til Island monne de stefne. 
{Jeg hryder aMrig mtn tro.) 

B0W-HOUGH3 and Elfia-stane, , 
And fiel inair I canna name, 

They loot them bigg sae stark a ship 5 
Till Island maun they stem. 
(/ never mil break my troth.) 

They shot the ship out in the brim 
That bremm'd like ah angry bear : 


The "White Goose ' sank ; the laidly elves 
Loot her rise up nae mair. 
(J never, Sfc.) 

'Twas then the young Child Roland, 

He sought on the sea ground, 
And leading untill Eline's bower, 

A little green sty he found. 

Roland gaed to the castell ; — 

He saw the red fire flee : 
" Now come o' me whatso God will, 

It's here that I maim be." 

And it was the Child Roland, 

Intill the court rade* he. 
And there stood his sister proud Eline, 

In menevair sae free. 

And Roland into llie castel came : 

His hands he downa steer : 
" God rue on thee, poor luckless fode, 

What hast thou to do here ?" 

This Eline was to him unkent: 

•• What for soe'er thou came, 
What so thy letter or errand be. 

Would thou had bidden at hame ! 

" And gae thou till that chalmer in, 

Sae frozen wat and haw ; 
But come the lang-shanks Ettin in. 

He'll rive thee in dugits sma. 

" And sit thou down, thou luckless fode, 
And warm thou thy shin-bane ; 

* The name of the ship. » Orig. " Hand kom der ridendis i gaard.' 


But come the lang-shanks Ettin in, 
He'll stick thee on this stane." 

Hame cam Rosmer Lang-shanks, 

And he was wroth and grim ; 
" Sae well I wiss there's come in here 

A christian woman or man !" 

Proud Eline lyle is gane to him. 

To win him as she dow : 
" There flew a craw out o'er the house, 

Wi' a man's bane in his mou." 

Rosmer screeched and sprang about : 

" Here's a christian man I ken ; 
But and thou tell me truth, but lies, 

I wiU thee stick and bren !" 

Eline lyle took o'er her her blue mantel. 

And afore Rosmer can stand : 
" Here is a Child fi-ae Island come, 

O' my near kin and land." 

" And is a Child frae Island come, 

Sae near a-kin to thee ? 
His ward and warrant I swear to be ; 

He's never be drownd by me." 

Sae here in love and lyst fii' deme 

Scarce twa years o'er them flew. 
Whan the proud lady Eline's cheek 

Grew a' sae wan o' hue. 

About twa years he there had been ; 

But there maim be nae mair ; 
Proud Eline lyle's wi' bairn by him j 

That wirks tliem mickle care. 


Proud Eline lyle's now ta'eh on her 

Afore Rosmer to stand : 
" Will ye gie till this fremmit page 

Forlof hame tiU his land ?" i , 

" And will he gae hame till his land ? 

And say'st thou that for true ? 
Then o' the goud and white money 

A kist rU gie him fiiV . 

Sae took he mickle- red goud, 

And laid it in a kist v 
And proud Eline lyle laid hersell wi' it ; — 

That Rosmer little wist. 

He took the man under his arm ; 

The kist on his back took, he ; . 
Sae he can imder the saut-sea gang, 

Sae canny and sae free. , 

*' Now I hae bom^ thee till the land} 
Thou seest baith sun and moon : 

And I gie thee this kist o' goud, 
That is nae cburlis boon." 

" I thank thee, Rosmer, thou gude fellow; ^;i 
Thou'st landed me but harm } 

I tell thee now for tidings new. 
Proud Eline lylfe's wi'^bairn." 

Then ran the tears down Rosmer's cheeks. 
As the bum rins down the brae : 

" But I hae sworn thee ward and warrant, 
Here drowning thou should hae." 

Hame to the knock syne Rosmer ran. 
As the hart rlns to the hind ; 


But whan to the knock that he cam hame, 
Nae Eline lyle could he find. 

But proud Eline and ChUd Roland, 

Wi' gaming lyst and joy, 
Gaed hand in hand, \n' kindly talk. 

And mony an amorous toy. 

Rosmer waxt sae wroth and grim. 

Whan he nae Eline fand. 
He tum'd intill a whinstane gray, 

Siclike he there does stand. 

C 416 ] 





Island Konning lader hygge et skih, 

Saa ncer ved Islands side ; 
Og der det gaml^ raad <oar dod, 
Det gik de svenne til gvide, 8fc. 
{Der defingefred udi hafvet ud, 
da seylede de Normcend.') 

Island's King gar'd bigg a ship, 

Sae near to Island's side ; 
That sair did young Child [Aller] rue, 
Whan the gude aid rede-man died. 
{There mak they peace i' the saut sea out, 
w/mre sailed the Normen.) 

Rosmer lap out i' the brim : 

'* And wha my cann sail scorn ?" 


Seven score ships to the ground he sank^, 
Loot never nane return. 

There mak they, l^c. 

Down sank the noble kingis men ; 

Down sank they every man, 
But him, Child Aller, the kingis son, 

A little green sty that fand. 

And there he fand sae wee a. house. 

The roof was gilded fair : 
" God's will be done ! However it gang 

Wi' me, I'se gang in there !" 

It was AUer the kingis son. 

He braids in at the door ; 
It was proud Lady Eline lyle. 

She stood up him before. 

" Sit thou down, thou luckless page. 

And warm thy limbs sae froren ; 
But come the lang-shanks Ettin in^ 

Thy leccam is forloren. 

And sit thou down, thou luckless page. 

And beek thy Umbs ere lang, 

The Ettin Rosmer will be in. 

And spit thee on a stang." 

Late at e'en came Rosmer hame. 

About the gloaming hour ; 
« What ha'e ye done wi' the Christian man 

That ye had in your bower?" 

" There flew a bird out o'er the house, 
Wi' a man's leg in his mouth ; 
S G 


I turn'd me about, and I coost it out. 
As fast as e'er I couth." 

It was proud Lady Eline lyle 
Afore Rosmer can stand : 

" It's here is come a little page, 
W^s born in my father's land." 

" And is there come a little page * 
Was in thy kingdom born ? 

Then true I swear, he well sail fare. 
Nor dree or skaith or scorn." 

For eight years now he there had been» 
A tryal hard and sair ! — 

Now EUne lyle's wi' bairn by him, 
Tho' they were ever sae ware. 

It was proud Lady Eline lyle. 
Afore Rosmer she gaed : 

" Sae lang the Childe has now been here, 
For langer he'U be dead. 

" Ye lat him gang, he's o' my kin, 
And gi'e him goud sae red ; 

For gin he bide i' the «astle lock'd, 
For langer he'll be dead." 

" Then, gin he here sae lang has bidden,^ 
And greens for hame and land ; 

Then I'U gi'e him a kist o' goud 
Sae fitting till his hand." 

" Though ye gi'e bim a kist o' goud 
Sae fitting till his hand. 


Sae little will the gift bestead, 
But ye set him on the strand." 

It was proud Lady Eline lyle, 

Sae well her part she wist ; 
She's gane intill her still chamber, 

And laid hersel i' the kist. 


He took the kist upon his back, 

The man intill his hand, 
And thro' the saut sea he is gane, 

The lang gaite to the strand. 

« Now I ha'e borne thee till the land, 

Thou seest the sun ance mair ; 
Till father and mither, till sister and brither, 

Sae gladly may'st thou fare." 

" Thou hast gi'en me a goodly gift. 

And landed me, but harm ; 
Hosmer, I canna heal frae thee, 

Lady Eline is wi' bairn." 

Astonish'd Rosmer stood thereat. 

And fast his tears ran down : 
" But I ha'e pledged my oath to thee, 

I'd sink thee to the ground." 

Rosmer lap i' the saut sea out. 

And he can rope and rair ; 
Aback he sterte, whan he cam hamc ;— 

Nae Eline lyle was there. 

*^* The last stanza has been omitted, because it appeared to be nonsense, something 
like the penult stanza of the first ballad on the same subject. From the three pieces on 
this adventure, all translated as literally as possible, which are now before the public, it 
will be seen what confidence we can have in the authenticity and identity of traditionary 

[ '420 2 



[This piece, and that which foDows it, have been inserted here as specimens of the old 
Danish humorous popular ballad ; the only specimens I have ever met with, if " Sir 
Guncelin," in this volume, does not come under that description. " Sir Lave" 
seems to have been originally a very serious composition, and has a good many stan- 
zas in common with other serious pieces in the Danish Collection ; but is rendered 
perfectly ludicrous by the quaint impertinence of Sir John's strange rejoinders, most 
of which, from the former popularity of the piece, are become in Denmark, at this 
day, proverbial expressions applied to an unwelcome guest of any kind, whom one 
does not know well how to get rid of.] 

Her Lave hand reed sig under pe 

{J ere vel baarn) 
Derjeste hand sig saa ven en mbe. 

Jeg rider med, sagde Jon. 

{J binder op hiehn afguld, ogjblger Her Jan, ijG.) 

Sir Lave he raid bim under oe, 

( Ye are well born) 
And he has wedded sae fair a may. 
" I ride wi'm !" quo' John. 

(Ye hind up your lielm of gold, and follow Sir John.) 



He's married a bride, and he's brought her hame, 
And Knight and Child gaed to welcome them. 
*' Here ride I !" quo' John. 

They set the bride on the bridal bink ; 
Sir John he challenged them round to drink : 
" Swyth ! waucht it out !" quo' John. 

They've taen the bride to the bridal bed ; 
To loose her snood nae mind they had- 
" rn loose it !" quo' John. 

In lap Sir John, and the door lock'd he : 
" Ye bid Sir Lave gude night frae me : 
Here lye I !" quo' John. 

Wi' that word's gane to Sir Lave syne : 
" Sir John is sleeping wi' young bride thine !" 
« That I'm doing !" quo' John. 

Sir Lave he rapp'd at the door wi' din : 
" Get up. Sir John, and lat us in !" 

" See an I do that !" quo' John. 

*' Gin ye winna lat my bride alane, 
I'll gae to the king> and I'U complain." 
" In a gude hour !" quo' John. 

Ear on the morn, whan day did spring, 
Sir Lave is gane to complain to the king.- 
" I wiU wi'm !" quo' John. 

" I wedded yestreen sae fair a bride ; 
Sir John has hen a' night by her side." 
«' That I did !" quo' John. 


" Gin baith o' you hald the lady sae dear, 
Then ye for her sake should break a spear." 
" Content !" quo' John. 

The morn, the sun ho shone sae bright ; 
The knights they met to see the sight. 
" Here am I !" quo' John. 

The first ae tilt that they raid sae free, 
Sir John's horse he fell down on his knee. 
« Help now, God !" quo' John. 

The neisten tilt they thegitherraid, 
O' the eard Sir Lave was sprawling laid. 
" There lies he I" quo' John. 

Sir John he has gane to the castell in t 
Up stood the lady there afore him. 

" Thou art mine !" quo' John. 

Sir John's made amends for a' his harms, 
{Ye are well born,) ,: iJ h. jno^. 

And now he sleeps in the lady's arms. 

" I have her bodily," quo' John. 
( Ye bind up your helm of gold and follow Sir John.) 

I 423 ] 


The notes on the foregoing piece, and on Libussa, which are referred to in another part 
of this work, having been by some accident mislaid while at the press, and it being im- 
possible to replace them at present, as no copy or reference is preserved ; I shall only 
briefly observe here, that the ceremonies of " setting the bride on the bridal bench," 
loosing her snood, &c., are still preserved in Jutland, Ditmarsh, and Sleswig, and probably 
in Holstein, and other parts of the antient Angle-land.- Immediately on her return from 
the church, aAer being married, the bride is set in great state, on the sopha or bench near 
the stove or fire-place, in the best room in the house, to receive the compliments, and wed- 
ding gifts, of the guests^ The presents are laid beside her on the bench, while the bride- 
men hand round drink, bride-cake, Sec, In Scotland,, the presents were formerly laid on 
the marriage bed ; and in some parts of the country this usage is still kept up, although 
with little of its original benevolence and patriarchal dignity. I remember several instances 
of it in Morayshire when I was a boy ; in one of which a droll old fellow (still alive) threw 
a flail on the bed, for the young goodman's use, should his wife, prove disobedient; on 
which his wife, in order to preserve the balance of power in their new state, presented the 
young good wife with a large new kitchen tongs, with suitable instructions how and when 
it was to be used. The flail, however, soon found its way to its proper place, the barn ; 
and the tongs probably still serves the goodwife to stir up the ingle against John's coming 
in cold and weary from his labour.- 

The ceremony of putting on the curtsh, or close cap, on the morning after the marriage, 
when the young wife is no longer entitled to wear the snood, or maiden tyre, is still obser- 
ved in the north of Scotland, and gives the matrons in the neighbourhood an opportunity 
of enjoying a scene of jollity and gossiping, from which those who may still wear snoods are 
very properly excluded. 

I 424 J 



[Compare this ballad with the Scotish one in Ritson, beginning, " Our gudeman cam 
hatne at e'en, &c.,^' a translation of which is so popular in Germany, that I have found 
many well-informed Germans, who were very unwilling to admit that it was not origi- 
nal, and peculiar to their country.]] 

Sroder spurde sbster ad, 

Tidt og mange sinde, 
Viltu dig ej mand give i stad. 

Aldt sorger hurt for hiertekiere sin, Sfc. 

The brither did at the sister speer, 

{Oft and many times,) 
" WiQ ye na tak a man to your fere ?" 

{It's a' for her dearie she sorrows sae.) 

" O na, O na, dear brither I" she said, 

(Oft and many, S^c.) 
For I am o'er young yet to wed, 

{Ifs a', 8;c.) 


Gin they say true in this gate en', 
Ye've nae been ay sae fleyt for men." 

*' They say was ay for a lyar kent ; 
O* they says nane but fools tak tent." 

" But wha was that for a Knight sae braw, 
That rade &ae your castle this morning awa?" 

" A Knight !" quo' she ; " braw knights indeed ! — 
'Twas my little foot page upon his steed !" 

" But what were they for twa pair o' sheen, 
That lay afore your bed yestreen ?" 

" Twa pair o' sheen !" quo' she ; " o' sheen !" 
'Tis surely my slippers, Billy, you mean." 

" And what wee baimies, the tither day, 
Was it i' the bed wi' you that lay ?" 

" Wee baimies! — O aye ! — the tither day, 
Wi' my dowie, I mind now, I did play !" 

" But what for a bairnie was it that cried 
Sae loud i' your bower this morrow tide ?" 

" Could ever sic greeting a bairnie' s be? 
'Twas my lassie that grat, she had tint her key." 

*' And what bonny cradle was it sae braw. 
That I i' the neuk sae cannily saw ?" 

" Bonny ~cra& .'" quo' she; " gude sain your een ! 
It's my silk loom wi' the wab you've seen. 
3 H 


" Now, brither, what mair ha'e ye to speer ? 
I've answers eneuch> ye needna fear !" 

» * * * 

Whan women for answers are at a stand, 

{Oft and many times,) 
The North Sea bottom will be dry land 

{It's a' for her dearie she sorrows me.) 

C 427 ] 


This very amiable little piece owed its origin to rather an unami- 
able cause, having been an ebullition (not of tenderness and love, but) 
of spite. The following translation of it is done from the original 
Prussian Low Dutch, in " Sammlaug Deutscher Volkslieder, mit einem 
Anhange Flammaendischer und Franzoesischer, nebst melodien. He- 
rausgegeben durch Buesching und von der Hagen. Berlin, 1807." 
It appeared in a large collection of songs from various poets, with mu- 
sic, by Alberti, printed at Koenigsberg in 1638 and 1650, and has 
often been reprinted. A High German translation of it will be found 
in Herder's " Volkslieder," vol. i. p. 92 ; the first nine couplets of 
which ai*e reprinted in " Des Knaben Wunderhorn." 

The author was Simon Dach, who was born at Memel (a somewhat 
singular place to give birth to a poet !) in 1605, and died in 1659, of 
consumption and hypochondria. " Anke van Tharaw" was produced 
as a poetical revenge on the occasion of his first love having jilted 
him. But however subject^r^^ love may be to those spurts of spleen 
and passion by which our fates in life are so often decided, its impres- 
sions are seldom entirely effaced from the mind j and poor Simon 
Dach never forgave himself for having written a song which has been 
admired by every body that understood it, for nearly two centuries. 
During his last illness he suffered mucb ; and after a dreadful access 
of pain, " Ha !" said he, " that was for the song of Anke van Tha- 


[ 428 ] 



Anke van Tharatu bss, de mi gefollt, 

Se bss mihn Leuien, mihn Goet on mihn Gblt. 

Anke van Tharaiv heft teedder eer Hart 
Op migerbehtet on Low' on on Schmart, 8fc. 

Annie o' Tharaw, I've waled for my fere, 

My life and my treasure, my gudes and my gear. 

Annie o' Tharaw, come weal or come wae, 
Has set her leal heart on me ever and ay. 

Annie o' Tharaw, my riches, my gude, 

Ye're the saul o' my saul, ye're my flesh and my blude. 

Come wind or come weather, how snell sae or cald, 
We'll stand by ilk ither, and closer ay hald. 


Fain, sickness, oppression, and Fortune unkind^ 
Our true-love knot ay but the faster sail bind. 

As the aik, by the stormy winds toss'd till and fra, 
Ay roots him the faster, the starker they blaw ; 

Sae love in our hearts will wax stranger and mair. 
Thro' crosses and down-drug, and poortith and care. 

Should ever my fate be frae thee to be twinn'd. 

And wert thou whare man scarce the sun ever kenn'd, 

111 follow thro' deserts, tliro' forests and seas, 
* • Thro' ice and thro* iron, thro' armies o' faes. 

Annie o' Tharaw, my light and my sun, 

Sae twined our life-threads are, in ane they are spun. 

Whatever I bid you's ay sure to be dane. 
And what I forbid, that ye'U ay lat alane. 

The love may be warm, but how lang can it stand 
Whare there's no ae heart, and ae tongue, and ae hand ? 

Wi' cangling, and wrangling, and worrying, and strife, 
Just like dog and cat, live sic man and sic wife. 

* This, and the following stanza, stand thus in the original : 

" War om sock hartaget, kabbelt on schleiht, 
On glihk den hungen on katten begeiht. 

" Anke van Tharaw, dat war wi nich dohn, 

Du host mihn DUhfken, mihn Schahpken, mihn Hohn." 


Annie o' Tharaw, that we'll never do, 

For thou art my lammicj my chufckie,* my dow. 

My wish is to you ay as gude's a comman', 
I lat you be gudewift, ye lat me be gudeman ; 

And O how sweet, Annie, our love and our lee. 
Whan thou and I ae soul and body sail be ! 

'Twill beet our bit ingle wi' heavenly flame ; 
But wrangling and strife mak a hell of a hame. 

' So Macbeth, Act iii. Scene ii. — " Be innocent of the knowledge, deai'est chuck. 

Till thou applaud the deed." 

It is still in use in Scotland as a term of endearment : In England, an uxorious old fool calls 
his young wife, " ray chicken." 

[ 431 1 



As Mr Weber has given in this voltime (p. 8,) two translations from 
the German Minnescenger, or Love-poets, I have ventured, as a com- 
panion 'to Simon Dach's ditty, to attempt putting into an English 
dress, a very pretty trouveur " Balade" of the English poet Gower. 
It is the thirty-sixth in order, of the " Cinquante Balades" in the Mar- 
quis of Stafford's MS. of that poet ; which it is hoped that nobleman, 
so distinguished for his good taste and liberality, will give to the 
world J as I believe no other copy of these very curious pieces exists. 
This, I doubt not, will be the wish of all men of taste, who have read 
the following account of them by the Historian of English Poetry : 
" They are tender, pathetic, and poetical ; and place our old poet 
Gower in a more advantageous point of view than that in which he has 
hitherto been usually seen. I know not if even any among the French 
poets themselves, of this period, have left a set of more finished son- 
nets. — Nor had yet any English poet treated the passion of love with 
equal delicacy of sentiment, and elegance of composition — although 
I must confess, there are some lines which I do not exactly compre- 

The original will be found in Warton's Histoiy of English Poetry, 
among the " Addenda," and in the Life of Gower, in the second vo^- 
lume of Alexander Chalmeis's edition of the English Poets.. 

[ 432 ] 



Now in this jolly time of May, 

To Eden I compare the ground j 

While sings the Merle and Popingay,* 

Green herb and tree bloometh around, 

And all for Nature's feast are crown'd ; 
Venus is Queen, all hearts obey, 
And none to Love may now say Nay. 

When this I see, and how her sway 

Dame Nature over all extends ; 

And all that lives, so warm, so gay. 

Each after kind to other tends, 

Till liking life and being blends ; — 

What marvel, if my sighs bewray 
That none to Love may now say Nay ! 

To nettles must the rose give way. 
And Care and Grief my garland weave ; 
Nor ever Joy dispense one ray 
To chear me, if my Lady leave 
My love unblest, and me bereave 

• In this country the " popinjay" certainly adds very little to the melody of the groves; 
but when the beautiful golden jay, which is common on the continent, condescends to sing, 
his notes, five or six in number, are remarkably sweet, full, and mellow ; and are the more 
to be prized, because he screams horribly at least ten times for once that he sings. 


Of everjr hope to 8inile, and say, 
That none to Love may novr say Nay. 

Then go, and try her ruth to move. 
If aught thy skill, my simple lay ; 
For thou and I too well approve, 

That none to Love may now say Nay. 

C 43* ] 


This wild and extraordinary romance of early Pagan times in the 
North has hitherto been little, if at all, known in this country. In 
1794, it was printed at Copenhagen, with translations in Latin and Da- 
nish ; but it was never published, and is in few hands. Two copies 
of it in Icelandic were brought to Edinburgh, in MS., last year, by Mr 
F. Magnusen, from Island, and are now here, along with all the other 
unpublished Eddie remains j of which advantage should have been 
taken in the course of this work, had not my part of it been nearly 
printed off two years ago, before I had access to them. 

It is not very easy to conjecture why this very curious piece should 
have been rejected, or rather so long neglected, by Sandvig, and the 
Arna-Magnean editors of the Edda of Sgeinund. It is found in all the 
MS. copies of that collection, except the parchment one in the king's 
library at Copenhagen; and has this peculiarity in its favour, that 
it is the only one of all the Ssemirad lays which is found entire in 
the Edda of Snorro ; ' a proof, if not of its superior antiquity, at least oi 
the esteem in which it was held by Snorro. Had it no other merit, 
however, its having survived so many changes of religion, manners, 
language, and government, during eleven centuries, surely entitles it 
to some notice. The prose translation here given, is intended merely 
to make the original more intelligible. The tale is thus introduced in 
the Edda : 

' Not that published by Resenius, but Oluf Orm's copy, a transcript of which is now in 
this country. 

C 435 J 

jTormali til dTrotta g^abngs?. 


*' Gold is called (by the poets) the meal of Frothi ; the origin of 
which is found in this story. Odin had a son called Skioldr, (from 
whom the Skioldvngar are descended) who settled and reigned in the 
land which is now called Danmaurk, but was then called Gotland. 
Skioldr had a son named Frithleif, who reigned after him. Frithleif's 
son was called Frothi, and succeeded him on the throne. At the time 
that the Emperor Augustus made peace over the whole world, Christ 
was born. But as Frothi was the most powerful of all the monarchs 
of the North, that peace, wherever the Danish language was spoken, 
was imputed to him ; and the North-men called it Frothi's peace. 

" At this time no man hurt another, even if he found the murderer 
of his father or brother, loose or bound.* Theft and robbery were then 
unknown, insomuch that a gold ring (armlet) * lay for a long time un- 
touched in Jalangursheath. 

" Frothi chanced to go on a friendly visit to a certain king in Sweden, 
named Fiolnir j and there purchased two female slaves, called Fenia 
and Menia, equally distinguished for their stature and strength. In 
those days there were found in Danmaurk two Quernstones of such a 
size, that no one was able to move them ; and these mill- stones were 
endued with such virtue, that the Quern in grinding produced what- 

» The point of honour, which obliged every North-man in those days, as an indispensa- 
ble duty of piety, to revenge the death of a relative, makes a striking feature in the Da- 
nish ballads, as it does in the manners of many nations at this day. 

* These rings were often ^f great weight and value. See Note on Rigs-mal. 



ever the grinder wished for. The quern was called Grotti ;' he who 
presented this quern to Frothi was called Hengikioptr (hanging 
chops.) The king caused these slaves to be brought to the quern, and 
ordered them to grind gold, peace, and prosperity for Frothi, allowing 
them no longer rest or sleep than while the cuckow was silent,* or a 
verse could be recited. Then they are said to have sung the lay 
which is called Grotta-Savngr j and before they ended their song, 
to have ground a hostile army against Frothi, insomuch, that a cer- 
tain sea-king, (pirate) called Mysingr, arriving the same night, slew 
Frothi, taking great spoil, and so ended Frothi's Peace. Mysingr 
took with him the Quern Grotti, with Fenia and Menia, and ordered 
them to grind salt. About midnight they asked Mysingr whether he 
had salt enough ? On his ordering them to go on grinding, they went 
on a little longer, till the ship sunk under the weight of the salt. A 
whirlpool was produced where the waves are sucked up by the mill- 
eye, and the waters of the sea have been salt ever since !" 

Such is the Eddie prose account of this extraoi;dinary adventure. 
Had the learned Bishop of Drontheim, Eric Pontoppidan, been ac- 
quainted with it, it might have helped him wonderfully in accounting 
for the MoL-sTROM off the coast of Norway, which has puzzled and 
terrified so many men as well as monsters.' 

• I take this to be an old Gothic name for a mill of any kind, perhaps from the grey 
stone used for mill-stones ; hence the Gaelic grattan, meal ground on a mullin-grattan, or 
hand-mill ; the Scotish, groats ; Eng. grits ; Germ, groui ; Dan. grytte, to grind ; and 
the Swedish, grot, in Scotish, crtmdy, 

' Even in the north of Scotland, about Midsummer, when the weather is fine, as it ge- 
nerally is at that time, there is so little darkness during the night, that the morning and 
evening twilights almost melt into each other : the cuckow calls through the whole night, 
and the lark and thrush are silent but a very short space. 

3 This is not meant as a sneer at that venerable prelate, whose life, as well as his learn- 
ing, were an ornament to his country, and to the age in which he lived. 

C 437 3 




Nv erom komnar 
til konvngs hvsa 
framvisar tvser 
fenia oc menia. 
thaer ro at frotha 
frithleifs sonar 
matkar meyiar 
at mani hafthar. 

jFenia anD a^enia* 

" Now are we come 

to the king's house, 

two fore-seers, 

Fenia and Menia." 

These were at Frotha's [house,] 

FrithleiPs son, 

(mighty maidens) 

held as thralls. 

Thasr at Ivthri 
leiddar varo 
oc griotz gria 
gangs of beiddo. 
het hann hvarigri 
hvild ne yndi 
athr han heyrthi 
hli6m ambatta. 

They to the Quern [eye] 
were led, 

and the grey millstone 
were bid set a-going. 
He promised to neither 
rest nor relief, 
ere he heard 
the maidens' lay. 

Thser tbyt thvlo 
thavgn horvinnar, 

They made to rumble, 
ceasing silence, 



leggiom Ivthvr 
lettom steinom. 
bath hann enn meyiar 
at thaer mala sklydo 

Svngo oc slvngo 
snvthga steini 
sva at frotba man 
flcst sofnatbi. 
tha qvath that mcnia 
var til meldz komin. 

with their arms, the Quern's 
light stones. 

He bade again the maidens, 
that they should grind. 

They sang, and whirled 

the grumbling stone, 

so that Frothi's folk 

mostly slept. 

Then thus sang Menia, 

who had eome to the grinding : 

Avth mblom frotha 
mblom alsaelann 
fibld fiar 
a fegins Ivthri 

Siti hann a avthi 
sofi hann a dvni 
vaki hann at vilia 
th^ er vel maUt. 
her skyli engi 
avthrom granda 
til bavls bva 
ne til bana orka 
ne hoggva thvl 
hvavsso sverthi 
tho at bana brothvr 
bvndinn finni. 

" Let us grind riches to Frothi ! ^ 
Let us grind him happy 
in plenty of substance, 
on our gladdening Quern. 

" Let him brood over treasures } 

Let him sleep on down ! 

Let him wake to his will } 

There is well ground ! 

Here shall no one 

hurt another, 

to plot mischief, 

or to work bane (death,) 

nor strike therefore 

with sharp sword, 

though his brother's murderer 

bound he found.' 

En han qvath ecki 
orth it fyrra. 
sofit ei thit 
ne of sal gavkar 

" But he spake no 

word before this : 

• Sleep not ye, 

nor the cuckows withouti 



etha lengvr enn sva 
li6th eitt qvethac. 

Varrattv frothi 
fvllspakr of thic 
in^vinr manna 
er thu man keyptir. 
kavss thu at afii 
oc at alitom 
en at seterni 
ecki spvrthir. 

longer than while 
I sing one strain." 


" Thou wast not, Frothi, 
sufficiently provident, 
£tho'] persuasively eloquent, 
when thou boughtest slaves. 
Thou boughtest for strength, 
and for outward looks ; 
but of their ancestry 
didst nothing ask." 

Harthr var harvngnir 
oc hans fathir. 
tho var thiassi 
thelm avflgari. 
ithi oc avrnir 
okrir nithiar 
braethvr bergrisa 
theim erom bornar. 

" Hardy was Hrangnir 

and his father ; 

yet was Thiassi 

stouter than they. 

Ithi and Arnir 

our relations, 

moiuitain ettin's brethren,- 

of them are we born." 

Komia grotti 
or gria fialli 
' ne sa hinn harthi 
hallr or ibrtho. 
ne moli sva 
mser bergrisa 
ef vissi 6tt 
vaetvr til hennar. 


" The Quern had not come 
from the grey fell, 
nor thus the hard 
stone from the earth, 
nor thus had ground 
the mountain-ettin maiden, 
if her race known 
had not been to her." 

Vaer vetor nio 
vorom leikor 


" We nine winters, 
playful wierd-women. 



avflgar alnar 
for iorth nethan. 
stotho meyiar 
at meginverkom 
faertbom sialfar 
setberg or stath. 

Velltom grioti 
of garth risa 
sva at fold fyrir 
for skicilfandi. 
sva slavngdom vith 
snvthga steini 
hafga halli 
at halir toco. 

were reared to strength, 

under the earth. 

We maidens stood 

to our great work ; 

we ourselves moved 

the set mountain from its place. 

We whirled the Quern 

at the giant's house, 

so that the earth 

therewith quaked. 

So swung we 

the whirling stone^ 

the heavy rock, 

that the subterraneans heard, it."^ 

En vith sithan 
a svithiotho 
framvisar tvser 
i folk stigom 
braeddom biiirno 
en brvtom skioltho 
gengom i gegnom 
gr^serkiat lith. 

Steyptom stilli 
stvddom annaniv 
veittom gothom 
gvttormi lith. 
vara kyrrseta 
athvr knvi felli. 

" But we since then, 

in Sweden^ 

two fore-seers, 

have fought. 

We have fed bears, 

and cleft shields ; 


grey-shirted (maikd) men. 

We've cast down one prince ; 

stayed up another. 

We gave the good {brave) 

Guttormi help. 

Unstably we sat 

Till the heroes fell. 

Fram heldom thvl 

thav misseri 

at vith at kavppom 

Forward held we 
these six months [so] 
that we in conflicts 



kcndar voro. 
thar skortbo vith 
skavrpom geirom 
bloth or beniom 
oc brand rvthom. 

were known. 
There scored we 
with sharp spears 
blood from wounds, 
and reddened brands. 

1^ erom komnar 
til konvngs hvsa 
oc at mani hallhan 

Now are we come 

to the King's house, 


dud held as thralls. 

avrr etr iliar 
en ofan kvldi 
drogum d61gs siotvi 
dapvrt er at frotha. 

Hendor skvlo hvllaz 
hallr standa mvn 
malit hefi ec fyri mik, 
mit ofleiti. 

■nv mvna havndom 
hvild vel gefa 
^thvr fvllmalit 
fr6tha thycki. 

Hendor skvlo havlda 
harthra trionor 
vapn valdreyrvg. 

vaki thv frothi. 
vaki thv frothi 
ef thv Hytha vill 

The earth bites our feet beneath, 
and the cold above ; 
we drive an enemy's Quern ; 
^ad is it at Frothi's [house] ! 

Hands shall rest ; 
the stone must stand ; 
I've ground for my part 
with diligence." 

" Now must not to hands 
rest well be given, 
till enough ground 
Frothi thinks. 

Hands of men shall 
harden {temper) swords, 
Wood-dropping weapons.^' 


" Awake thou, Frothi ! 
Awake thou, Fjfothi ! 
If thou wilt listen to 
3 K 



savngom ockrom 
oc savgom fornom. 

Eld se ec brenna 
fyrir avstan borg. 
vigspiavll vaka 
that rnvn viti kallathr. 
mvn herr koma 
hinnig at bragthi 
oc brenna bae 
fyri bvthlvngi. 

Mvnnatv halda 
hieithrar stoli 
ravthom hringom 
ne regingri&ti. 
tavkom k mavndli 
niaer skarpara. 
eroma vafhar 
i valdreyra. 

M6I mins favthvr 
mser ramliga 
thviat hon feigth fira 
fiblmargra sa. 
stvkko st6rar 
stethor fr^ Ivthri 
iarnar fiarthar. 
mblom enn framarr. 

Mblom enn framarr 
mon yrsv sonr . 

nith halfdana 
hefna frotha. 

our song, 

and prophetic sayings. 

I see fire burn 

east of the town ; 

the war heralds wake; 

it must be called the beacon. 

An army must come 

hither forthwith, 

and burn the town 

for the prince. 

Thou must no more hold 
the throne of state, 
nor red rings, 
nor stone {royal) edifice. 
Let us drive the Quern, 
maiden, more sharply ! 
We shall not be armed 
in the bloody fray." 

" My father's daughter 
ground more furiously, 
because the near deaths she 
of many men saw. 
Wide sprung the large 
prop (from the quern-eye) 
of iron to a distance. — 
Yet let us grind on !" 


" Yet let us grind on ! 
Yrsu's son must 
with the Kalfdani 
revenge Forthi. 



sa mvn hennar 
heitinn vertha 
bvrr oc brothir. 
vitom bathar that. 

M&lo meyiar 
megins kostotho 
voro vngar i 
skvlfo skaptre 
skavtz Ivthr ofan 
hravt hinn havfgi 
haHy svndvr i tvav. 

En bergrisa 
brvthvr orth vm qvath. 
malit havfom fi:6tfai 
senn mvnom haetta. 
hafa fvUstathit 
fli6th at meldri. 

So must he of his [mother ] 

be called 

son and brother : — 

we both know that." 

The maidens ground, 

and bestowed their strength. 

The young women were in 

cttin mood. 

The spindle flew wide ; 

the hopper fell oflF; • 

burst the heavy 

nether millstone in two ! 

But the mountain giantess 
woman these words said : 
" We have ground, Forthi ! 
Now must we finish. 
Full long stood 
we maidens at the grinding." 

[ 444 J 


Rig, (^Ricli) or Eric, the second, who ruled in Scandia about the 
end of the second century, is the hero of the following piece, which 
is supposed to be a production of the seventh or eighth century. This 
Rig, or Eric, is said to have been the first of the Goths in Scandia who 
assumed the denomination of Kong (king,) his predecessors having 
been styled Diar, or Drottnar, that is, chiefs, or lords. He was like- 
wise the first who divided his subjects into the three distinct classes of 
Nobles, Husbandmen, and Slaves, distinguishing precisely the rights 
and privileges of each ; and upon this foundation, the following allegori- 
cal poem was constructed. The fiction is exceedingly simple, being 
no more than a personification erf the different orders of society, and 
making them the children of King Rig ; but this simplicity in the de- 
sign, and the plain and unambitious manner in which the story is told, 
constitute the principal excellence of the piece, which is certainly, so 
far as it goes, one of the most curious and interesting " manners-paint- 
ing strains" that have been preserved, not even excepting the Odyssey 
of Homer. On this account, it is deserving' of much more attention, 
in a historical point of view, than it has hitherto met with, as it gives 
us, in a few short lines, a complete picture of the manners, dress, edu- 
cation, pursuits, and habits of life, of our Northern forefathers, up- 
wards of a thousand years ago. Of the fidelity of the outline there 
can be no doubt, as the Scald (if he deserves that name) has painted 

8 . 


from nature, and given us the manners of his own time ; and the bald- 
ness of the execution is the best warrant for the accuracy of his deli- 
neations. Those who are acquainted with the present state of the 
lower class of Scotish Highlanders,' will be surprised to find their 
out-of-doors and fire-side scenes so minutely described by a Scandina- 
vian poet of the seventh or eighth century. 

The following copy is no more than a reprint of that which was edi- 
ted at the university of Lund, in Sweden, in 1801, by Emanuel Wen- 
ster. It was only a College Exercise ; but the imprimatur of the learn- 
ed President, Professor Sjoborg, (to whom I am indebted for my copy) 
is sufficient security for its accuracy. 

[ 446 ] 



Svo segia men i fornum sognm ad 
ein hver af Asum, s^ er Heimdallr hiet, 
f6r ferdar sinar oc fram med si^ar 
strondu nockri oc nefnedist Rigr. Ef- 
tir saugu theirri er kvsedi thetta : 

Ar quadu ganga 
graenar brautir 
adgann oc alsaeminn 
As' kunnigann 
romann oc roskvan 
Rig stiganda. 

Geek hann meir at that 
midrar brautar 
kom hann at husi 
hurd var k gaetti 
inn vann ad ganga 
elldr k g61fi* 

Narratur in antiquis fabidis unus 6- 
liorum Odini, qui Heimdallr dictus est, 
constitutum iter ingressus, ad littus quod- 
dam pervenisse, et appellatus fiiisse Rigr. 
Ex hac narratione hoc compositum est 
carmen : 

Olim profectus est 
virentibus viis 
fortis et grandsevus 
multiscius As, 
robustus ille et alacer 
progrediens Rig. 

Ultra procedens 
media via, 
adiit domum ; 
subpatente janua, 
statim ingressus est. — 
In pavimento ignis. 

* Odinus divus et Asiaticus, omnesque ab eo oriundi As dicti sunt. 
"■ Focus enim {sicut et nunc etiam upud Scotomontanos plerumqtie moris est,} in medio 
paviraenti erat, et fumus per foramen, quod in culmine tecti fuit, transiit. 



Hi6n sktt that 
haurd af e^rne 
Ai oc Edda' 
alldin fallda. 

Sederunt hie conjuges, 
durati laboribus^ 
Ai et Edda, 
veterl vestitu. 

Rigr kunni theim 
r^d at segia* 
meir settizt hann 
midra fletia 
enn k hlid hvara 
lii&n salkynna. 

His potuit Rigr 
dare consilia; 
ipse insedit 
medio scamno : 
ad utrumque latus 
familia domus. 

Thk t6k Edda 
okuiui leif 3 

thtingann oc thyckvann 
thrdnginn s^um. 

Protulit turn Edda 
conspersum cinere panem 
ponderosum et crassum^ 
plenum furfuribus. 

Bar hon meir at that 
midra skutia 
sod var i bolla 
sette k biod 
war kkUr sodinn 
krisa beztr. 

Plura quoque apposuit 
media mensa ; 
vas jure repletum 
admotum fuit, 
elixus vitulus, 
deliciae epularum. 

Reis ban upp thadan 
reidzt at sofna 
Rigr kunni theim 
rkd at segia 
meir lagdizt hann 
midrar reckiu 
enn a hlid hvara 
hi6n salkynna. 

Hinc surrexit, 
dormire cupiens. 
Rigr lis potuit 
dare consilia ; 
procubuit autem 
medio lecto : 
ad utrumque latus 
familia domus. 

' Proavus et Proavia. 

' Id enim temporis nobilissimi, omnium sapientissimi et insimul litteratissimi fuerunt. 
2 Nam in cinere et prunis coctus fuit. Describitur scilicet conditio et fortuna hominum 
infimi generis. 



Thar var hann at that 
thriar nsettr saman 
geek hann meir at that 
midrar brautar 
lidu meir at that 
m^nudir nio. 

Ibi moratus est 

tres noctes continuas; 

Inde profectus est 

media via. 

Post hiec absoluti 

menses novem. 

J&d 61 Edda 
j&su vatni ' 
horvi svartann 
hietu Thrael* 
han nam at vaxa 
oc vel at dafiia. 

Filium Edda peperit, 
quern baptizarunt : 
cute nigra fuit; 
dictus est Thrael ; 
cito crevit, 
optime valens. 

War thar a hondum 
kropner kniiar 
fingur digrir 
fulligt andlit. 
lotr hrygr 
langir haelar. 

Nam hann meir at that 
magns um kosta 
bast ad binda 
byrdar gibrva 
bar han heim ad that 
hris gibrstann 4ag. 

Manuum fuit 
rugosa cutis, 
lapsae gense, 
digiti crassi, 
vultus torvus, 
dorsum curvum, 
calces longse. 

Tempore didicit 
robore niti, 
philyras nectere, 
et fasces componere, 
deinde virgas domum 
tulit quotidie. 

Thar kom ad gardi 


or Tar k ilium 

Ad villam venit 
ambulando ilia, 
quae in manibus cicatrices, 

* Multo ante acceptam Beligionem Christianam, moris majorum fuit, ut aquam infanti- 
bus die lustrico superfunderent, nominaque dicerent. V. Kagnar Lodbroks Saga, p. 15. 
Suhm, I. c p. 243, 279. Lagerbring, 1. c. p. 446. 

» Servus ; Ang. thrall. 



armr solbrunninn 
nidrbiugt var nef 
oc nefiiidzt Thye. ' 

Midra fletia 
meir settizt hon 
sat hi^ henni 
sonr huss 
raeddu oc ryndu 
reckiu giordu 
Thrsell oc Thye 
thrdngin daegr. 

Baiurn 6Iu thau 
biuggu oc undu 
hygg ec heti 
Hreimr oc Fibsnir 
Klur oc Kloggr 
Kefser Fulner 
Drottr oc Digralldi 
Drumbr oc Hosnir 
Lutr Leggialdi.* 

Logdu garda 
akra toddu 
unnu at svinum 
geita gaettu 
oc gr&fu torf, 

Daetur voro thser 
Dumba oc Kumba 

fuscatum brachium, 
nasumque coUisum habens, 
appellata fuit Thye. 

Medio scamno 

se locavit, 

et juxta assedit 

jilius domus. 

Loquebantur et confabulabantur, 

lectum parantes, 

Thrael et Thye, 

diebus profestis. 

Suis rebus content! 

domos edificarunt et liberos genuerunt, 

quos credo vocatos 

Hreimarus et Fiosnir 

Klur et Kloggr 

Kefser, Fulner, 

Drottr et Digralldi, 

Dmmbr et Hosnir, 

Lutr, Leggialdi. 

Saepibus segetes cingebant, 
agros oblimabant, 
sues nutriebant, 
capras custodiebant, 
et cespites eifodiebant. 

Filiae fuerunt 
Dumba et Kumba, 

• Serva ; Ang. a female doer, worker, or labourer. 

* Quae omnia nomina varia servorum negotia et proprietates indicabunt, q. d. gelu per- 
ferens; stabularius, bubulcus; servus ; oppletus; onustus; corpulentus; tarde progrediens ; 
dorsi inflexi ; ad impositionem aptissimus. 

3 t 



oc Arinn-nefia 
Ysia oc Ambatt 
Tortiug Hypia 
oc Tronubenia' 
thadan eru komnar 
thraela settir. 

et Arinn-nefifl, 
Ysia et Ambatt, 
Tortrug, Hypia, 
et Tronubenia : 
hinc origo 
prosapiae servorum. 

Geek Rigr at that 
midrar brautir 
kom ban at h(]si 
hurd var h. gaetti 
inn nam ad ganga 
elldr var k g&lfi 
hion sato thar 
helldu 4 syslu. 

Rigr procedebat 
media via, 
domum adiit, 
subpatuit janua, 
hie statim ingressus est. 
Ignis erat in pavimento : 
sederunt hie conjuges, 
negotiis districti. 

iladr telgdi thar 
meid til rifiar 
var skegg skapat 
skaur var fyri enni 
skyrtu throngva 
smockr k halsi. 

Maritus hie hgnum 
machinae textoriae paravlt, 
barba ei pexa fuit, 
et a fronte capilli, 
arctumque indusium, 
ad collum patens. 

Sat thar kona 
oc sveigdi rock 
breide fadm 
bi& til vadar 
sveiffr var k h(3fdi 
smockr var k bringu 
duckr var k haJsi 
dvergar h oxlum 

Uxor hie sedebat 
et colo nevit, 
extenso brachio, 
fila ad vestes paravit, 
cacumen pilorum caput tegebat, 
sub colobio pectora subpatebant, 
focale collum circumdabat, 
ad humeros fibulae, 

' Muta; membro laesa; irrisa; nasum aduncum habens ; immodesta; domestica; cir- 
cumvincta ; ponderosa et molesta trua, lasciva j cicatricosa. 



Afi oc Amma ^ 
attu hus. 

Rigr kunni theim 
rad ad seggia 
reis fik bbrdi 
red at sofna 
meir lagdist hann 
midrar reckiu 
en k hlid hvara 
hi6n salkynna. 

Thar var hann at that 
tly:iar ijaetur saman 
lidu meir at that 
m^nudir nio 
j6d 61 Amma 
j6su vatni 
kona sveip ripti 
raudann oc riodann 
ridudu raudu.* 

Han nam at vaxa 
oc vel at dafna 
oxn nam at temia 
ardr at giorva 
h^s at timbra 
hladur at smida 
karta at giorfa 
oc keyra pI6g. 

Afi et Emma 
domum possidebant. 

His Rigr potuit 
optima suadere ; 
mensa surrexit^ 
cupiens dormire : 
ille cubuit 
in medio lecto : 
et ad utrumque latus 
familia domus. 

Ibi cunctatus est 

tres noctes continuas, 

post hasc completis 

mensibus novem 

filium Amma peperit, 

quem baptizatum 

Karl vocarunt, 

materque linteo involvit : 

crines erant rubri, rubicundas gense, 

et arguti oculi. 

Cito crevit, 

optime vigens j 

boves didicit mansuefacerej 

aratra fabricare, 

domos edificare, 

horrea struere, 

currus parare, 

et aratro terram vertere. 

' Avus et Avia. 

* Homo plebeius, rusticus, fundi possessor' 

5 Eximise pulchritudinis insignia. 



Heim 6ku tha 
oc giptu karii 
Snor' heitir su 
settizt undir ripti 

Domum duxerunt 

claves sonantes portantem^ 

pellibus caprinis indutam^ virginem, 

eamque Karl nuptam dederunt ; 

appellata fuit Snor, 

et sedebat sub linteo. 

Biuggu hi6n 
oc bauga deildu 
breiddu blaeiur 
oc bu giordu 
baurn 61u thau 
binggu oc vndu. 

Connubio jungebantur, 
annulos permutabant, 
lodices sternebant, 
et domum adornabant, 
liberos gignebant, 
et laeti sedificabanC. 

Heit Hair oc Dreingr 
HauUdr Thegn Smidr 
Breidr Bondi 
Bui oc Boddi 
Brattskeggr oc Seggr.* 

Dicti fuerunt liberi Hair et Drdngr, 

HauUdr, Thegn, Smidr, 

Breidr, Bondi, 


Bui et Boddi, 

Brattskeggr et Seggr. 

Enn hetu svo 
Audrum nbfnum 
Snot Brudr Svanni 
Svarri oc Sprakki 
Fliod^ Sprund oc Vif 
Feima, Ristill* 
thadan eru komnar 
karla ^ttir. 

Aliis quoque 

appellati fuerunt nominibus, 

Snot, Brudr, Svanni 

Svarri et Sprakki, 

Fliod, Sprund et Vif, 

Feima, Ristiil : 

hinc origo 

prosapise rusticoriim.^ 

' Snori pro sneri, neo, plecto. 

* Vir; subditus ; miles; dominus; faber; humerosus; herus ; vinctam cultamque bar- 
bam habens ; colonus ; incola, vel fundi possessor ; cui barba prominet ; qui gladio arma- 
tus est. 

3 Sagax; sponsa ; Candida (cygni instar;) magnifica; loquax ; blandiens ; saliens ; pu- 
ella ; hilaris ; incavata vel sculpta. 



Geek Rigr thadan 
rettar brautir 
kom ban at sal 
sudr borfdu dyr' 
var hurd bnigin 
bringr var i gsetti. 

Hinc Rigr abiit 
recta via, 
ad atrium venit, 
versus austrum 
subpatuit janua, 
habens annulum {ansam.) 

Geek hann in at that 
g&lf var str^ad 
s^tu bion 
s&z i augu 
Fadir oc Modir 
fingrum at leika. 

Mox irrupit ; 

pavimentum erat stramine velatum, 

conjuges sedebant 

seque invicem intuebantur. 

Pater et Mater, 

digitis ludentes. 

Sat bus gumi 
oe snerre streing 
aim of bendi 
brvar skepti 
enn buss kona 
hugdi at ormum 
strauk of ripti 
strekti ermar. 

Paterfamilias sedens 
funes torquebat, 
arcum ulmeum tendebat, 
et manubria telis parabat, 
sed Materfamilias 
brachia inspiciebat, 
linteum levigabat, 
ct amylo manicas polibat. 

Keiste falld 
ringa var k bringu* 
sidar slsedur 
ser bl^fa^ 
brun biertare 
briost liosare 
hals hvitari 
hreinni miollu. 

Eleeta sedebat, 
in pectore annuli, 
syrma erat promissum, 
indusium cceruleum, 
crines fuerunt pulchriores, 
pectus candidius, 
et collum magis album 
purissima nive. 

' Et domicilia majorum et sepulcra, immo templa, ostia habuerunt vel orientem spectan- 
tia, vel saltern solem versus, dutn cursum flectit ad meridiem. 

' Ring hoc loco ornamentum quoddam lunatum indicat, simile fovsan fibulls pectoralibus 
puellarum nostrarum Scanensium. 



Rigr kunni theim 
rad at seggia 
meir settizt hann 
midra fleita 
en k hlid hvara 
hi6n salkynna. 

His Rigr potuit 

dare consilia, 

se locavit 

medio scatnno, 

et ad utrumque latus 

familia domus. 

Tha tok Modir 
merktann ddk 
hvitann af" horvi 
oc huldi bi6d 
hon t6k at that 
hieifa thunna 
hvita af hveiti 
oc huldi duk 

Proferens turn Mater, 

mappam pictura textili ornatanii 

candidam et linteam, ' 

inensamque stravit 

deinde sumpsit 

tenues placentas, 

tritico albentes, 

quibus mappam velabat. 

Framsetti hon 
fuUa skutla 
silfri varda k bi6d 
fan oc fleski 
fugla skeita 
vin var i konnu 
vardir kalkar 
drucku oc dsemdu 
dagr var a sinnum 
Rigr kunni theim 
r^d at segia. 

Apposuit mensa 

repletas patinas, 

argenteis laminis obductas^ 

fruges et lardum, 

aves assas, 

in cantharo vinum, 

laminis obducta erant pocula, 

potabant et fabulabantur 

ad seram vesperam : 

Hos Rigr novit 

optima monere. 

Reis Rigr at that 

reckiu giordi 

thar var hann at that 

Tum Rigr surrexit, 
sternebatur autem lectus, 
hie ille cunctatus est 

" The Swedes of the present day excel perhaps all other nations in the art of bleaching 
and washing their linen, which is beautiful. This love of white linen is a very old Gothiq 
virtue, which I fear makes a striking feature of distinction between the Goths and Celts. 
Of all the Greeks, the Thessalians retained most traces of their Gothic origin j and the 
love of fine linen among the rest. 




tbrlar nsetr saman 
geek hann meir at that 
midrar brautar 
lidu meir at that 
manudir nio 

tres noctes contmuas, 
deinde abiit 
media via : 
transact! fuerunt 
menses novem. 

Svein ol Modir 
silki vafdi 
j6su vatni 
Jarl letu heita.' 
bleikt var h&,r 
enn biartar vangar 
otul voru augu 
sera i yrmlingi. 

Filium nobilem Modir peperit, 
quem serico involvit, 
quemque baptizatum 
Jarl vocarunt, 
crines candicantes, 
gense albae, 
oculi ardentes, 
quales serpentum. 

Upp 6x thar 
Jarl k fletium 
lind nam at skelfa 
leggia k streingi 
khn at beygra 
orvar at skepta 
fleini att fleygia 
frijckur at dyia 
hestum rida 
hundum verpa 
sverdum bregda^ 
sund at fremia. 


Jarl domi, 

tilias quatere discens, 

aptare sagittas nervo, 

ulmos fiectere, 

manubria telis parare, 

hastas jacere^ 

lanceas trajicere, 

equo vehi 

canes ad venandum instituere, 

gladium vibrare, 

natationibus uti. 

Kom thar at ranni 
Rigr gangandi 
Rigr gangandi 
runar kenndi 
sitt gaf heiti 
son kvedzt eiga. 

Venit ad domum 
Rigr pedibuS; 
Rigr pedibus, 
runas eum docuit, 
promissaque fecit, 
eumque suscepit. 

Jarl, equestris dignitas, comes, vir apud plebem honoratior, pri°^tor. 



Thann bad hann eignatzt 

6dal vollu 

6dal vollu 

oc alldnar bygdir. 

Reid ban meir thadan 
myrkvann veg 
lieilug fibll 
vnz at hollo kom 
skapt nam at dyia 
skelfdi lind 
hesti hleypti 
oc hiovi bra. 

Eum possidere jussit 
avitos agros, 
avitos agros 
et antiqua rura. 

Hinc equo vectus {J art) 
tenebrosa via 
ad pruinosa juga, 
suumque venit ad atriuir, 
hastam protendere discais, 
tillas concussit, 
equos domuit, 
gladiumque gessit. 

Vig nam at vekia 
voll nam at ri6da 
val nam at fella 
va til Ian da. 

Aggressus est caedem quserere, 
campos sanguine inficere, 
strages facere, 
et in terras invadere. 

Red hann einn at that 
&,tian buvra 
aud nam skipta 
ollum veita 
meidma oc mbsma 
mara svangrifia 
hringum hreytti 
hi& sundr baug. 

Fostea solus tuitus est 
decem et octo prsedia, 
divitias suas divisit, 
omnibus largiendo 
cinielia et munera, 
equos pingues, 
annulos nitidos, 
aureosque circulos secuit. 

Oku mserir 
vrgar brautir 
komu at hollu 
thar ed Hersir* bio 

Illustres viri curru vecti 

sordidis viis 

ad atrium venerunt, 

in quo Hersir habitabatj 

' Many of these massy rings of gold are preserved in the North, some of thera having 
smaller rings hanging on them. These were used as money, and given, either whole or 
in parts, as presents, or for other purposes. See the Ballad of " Lady Grimild's Wrack" 
in this collection. 

' Hersir, liber baro, provinciae prrefectus. 



maetti han 
ini6Rn garde 
hvitri oc hoskvi 
hetu Erna.' 

Badu hennar 
ok helm 6ku- 
giptu Jarli 
gek hun vnd line ' 
saman biuggu thau 
oc ser undu 
aettir j6ku 
oc alldrs nutu. 

cui se obtulit 
tenui corpore 
Candida, pulchra virgo 
appellata Erna. 

Illam exorarunt, 
domumque revertentes, 
Jarl nuptum dederunt, 
ilia vero sub linteo incessit, 
sic cohabitarunt 
mutuo se amantes, 
Qt stirpem propagarunt, 
vita fruentes. 

Bur 3 var hinn ellzti 
enn barn annat 
J6d oc Adal 
Arfi, Mogr 
Nidr oc Nidiungr 
namu leika 
Sonr oc Sveinn 
sund oc tafl 
Kundr het einn 
Konr var hinn yngsti.* 

Upp 6xu thar 
Jarli bornir 
hesta tomdu 
hlifar bendu 

Bur natu fuit maximus 

et liberi huic proximi 

Jod et Adal 

Arfi, Mogr, 

Nidr et Nidiungr 

Sonr et Svein 

natare didicerunt 

et latrunculis ludere, 

Unus ex filiis Kiuidr dictus est, 

Konr erat natu minimus. 

Educati domi sunt 
Jarli filii, 
equos domuerunt, 
clypeos fabricarunt^ 

' Aquila. > 

* Umbraculis lintels vel sericis, peU dictis, nostro quoque tempore, dum perageretur 
eonsecratio nuptialis, vsi sunt, antiquum obtinentes, rustic!. 

3 Bur, partus, fcetus, filius, puer. Propria nomen Patris Odini. 

* Infans ; uobills ; liere^ ; robustus juvenis ; filius ; nepos ; adolescens ; coguatus ; cob- 

3 M 



skeyti skofa 
skelfdu aska. 

vaginas formarunt, 
arbores dejecerunt. 

Enn Konr vngr 
kunni runar 
aefinn runar 
oc alldr runar' 
meir kunni hann 
monnum biarga 
eggiar deyfa 
elldi at laegia. 

Klok nam fugia' 
kyrra elda 
saeva oc sveiia 
sorgir laegia 
afl hafdi oc eliun 
atta mana.^ 

Et Konr natu minimus 
novit runas 
antiquas runas^ 
et sui temporis runas, 
ille quoque potuit 
heroibus opem ferre> 
acies hebetare^ 
incendia extinguere. 

Intellexit quid garriant aves» 
potuit ignem restingueie, 
fluctus compesoere, 
dolores lenire: 
robur et vires habuit 
octo virorum. 

Hann vid Rig Jarl 
runar deildi 
brijgdum beitti 
oc betr kiinni 
tb^ bdladist oc 
th^ eiga gat 
Rigr* at heita 
rfinar kunna. 

Reid konr vngr 
kibrr oc skoga 
kolfi fleigdi 
kyrdi fngla 

Rigr cum Jarl 

runas divisit^ 

et doctrina certavit ; 

sed plures artes edoctus, vicit 

divitiis quoque abundavit^ 

ex quo factum est 

ut appellaretur Rigr, 

et runarum peritus. 

Konr junior equo vectus 
ad paludes sylvasque 
tela emittebat, 
avesque domitabat, 

* Itaque vel id temporis plura runarum genera fuerunt. 

* Nod de attspicialibus solum, sed de nuntiis ctiam et premonentibus avibus loquitur. 
3 Eadem miracula Ynglinga Saga enumerat, C. 7> de artibus Odini magicis. 

* That is, Rick. 



tha quad that kraka ein 
sat quisti k : 

Hvat skalltu Konr vDigr 
kyrra fugla 
heUdr maettu thier 
hestum rida 
oc her fella. 

turn cecinit comix, 
ramo supersedens : 

" Cur cupis, Konr juvenis, 

aves domare ? 

te magis deceret 

equis vehi 

et exercitus prostemere. 

As Danr oc Danpr 
dyrar hallir 
sedri odul 
en thier hafit 
their kunno vel 
kiol at rida 
egg at kienna 
vndir rififa. 

Danr et Danpr 
pretiosa atria, 
et tuig Dieliores 
hsereditates possident, 
et bene norunt 
navibuB vehi, 
acies tentare, 
vnlneraque facere." 

[ 460 ] 

L IB U S S A, 




Those who wish to know more of this beautifully romantic and poe- 
tical, historical, and moral tale of Pagan times, may consult Herder's 
" Volkslieder," vol. iii. ; the third volume of " Die Deutchen Volks- 
maerchen," by Musaeus, where it is very agreeably amplified ; Ha- 
geck's " Boehmische Chronik," near the beginning, referred to by 
Herder, but which I have not seen ; " Jo. Dubravii Olmutzensis 
Episcopi Historia Bohemica, ab origin e gentis, &c. Hanoviae, 1602," 
and " ^neae Sylvii Historia Bohemica," in the works of that learned 
prelate, (afterwards Pope Pius the Second) printed at Basil, in 1551 j 
and " Stranskii Respublica Bohemise, Elzev. 1634." 

The narrative of the good Bishop of Olmutz is given in the true 
spirit of faithful and ingenuous credulity, and is extremely curious and 
interesting. It differs from the poetical legend only in entering more 
fully into detail. In the hands of the more judicious ,/Eneas Sylvius, 
it assumes a more dignified and classical, but perhaps to readers of 
such a work as' this, a less engaging form. Both, however, have made 


use of the same materials, although the latter has been more &stidi- 
ously scrupulous. 

As to the translation, strict fidelity, and a plain, unambitious, and 
characteristic simplicity, is all that has been aimed at : 

" DeKfiptas servare vice$, operumque labores" 

Hob. de A. P. L 86. 

C 462 J 



Who is that Lady on the green wold sitting 
Amid twelve noble Chieftains ? 'Tis Libussa, 
'Tis the wise daxighter of the prudent Kroko, 
Boehmia's Princess^ sits, and thinks and judges. 

Even now sharp sentence on the wealthy Rotzan 
Has she awarded. Fierce in wrath he rises, 
And thrice the'ground strikes with his spear, exclaiming 

« Woe to us Boehmians ! Woe to us bold warriours ! 
Thus by a woman to be rul'd and cozen'd; 
A long-hair'd woman, with short understanding ! 
Death — Death were better than a female ruler !" 
This heard Xibussa : deep in her still bosom 
Sank the harsh words ; for an indulgent mother 
To all the land, and friend to justice ever 
Was she ; yet kindly thus she answer'd, smiling : 


" Woe to you then, ye Boehmians, ye bold warriours, 
Thus rul'd and cherish'd by a gentle Woman ; 
A Man henceforth shall ye have for a Ruler, 
The Dove shall to the Eagle yidd the sceptre 1" 

Serene and beautiful in anger rose she : 

*' To-morrow, when again we meet, — to-morrow 

Your wish shall be accomplish'd." 

All in silence, 
Awe-struck, and sore abash'd remain'd before her. 
And felt how ill-requited were her wisdom, 
Her truth, and mother's love. — But she had spoken, 
Anil all new-fangled parted, every fancy 
But on the morrow and their Prince now dwelling. 

Long, to Libuasa's hand and throne aspiring. 
With gay attire and courtly adulation, 
And proud parade of herds and rich possessions, 
Had many a Magnate woo'd her. But Libussa 
For wealth or splendour, hand nor throne will barter. 
Whom will she choose ? In anxious care the nobles 
All pass'd the sleeple&s night, hoping the morrow. 

The morrow comes. The prescient Libussa, 
Reckless of sleep or slumber, takes her journey 
All lonely to the high and holy mountain; 
There to the Goddess Klimba prays : The Goddess 
Hears, and discloses thus the rich futurity. 

" Up, up, Libussa ! quick from hence descending. 
Behind the mountain, on the banks of Bila, 
Thy snow-white steed shall find the Prince, thy Hudband, 
Where now, with two white steers industrious ploughing, 


The goad, the emblem of his stem, he holdeth. 
And eats his viands from an Iron Table. 
Haste, daughter, haste ! The hour of Fate is hasting !• 
The Goddess ended ; and Libussa hasted, 
Conveen'd her Boehmians, on the earth low laying 
Her crown, and thus address'd them : 

" Up, ye Boehmians ! 
Up, ye bold warriours ! There, behind the mojintainj 
On Bila's banks, my snow-white steed shall find him ; 
The Prince, my Husband, and my Offspring's Father, 
Where now with two white steers he ploughs industrious. 
The goad, the emblem of his stem, he holdeth. 
And eats his viands from an Iron Table : 
Haste, children, haste ! The hour of Fate is hasting !" 

And they did haste, and, took the Crown and Mantle, 
The steed, swift as the wind, before them running, 
And the white eagle hovering stately o'er them, 
Till on the Bila's banks, beyond the mountain. 
Still stood the steed, upon a peasant neighing 
That in his field was ploughing. Struck with wonder 
Stood all ; while he strode onward, inly musing, 
Eager and anxious, with his white steers ploughing. 
In his right hand a wither'd goad-staff holding. 

With friendly salutation loud they greet him : 
He, his white steers. more keenly urging, hears not. 
" Hail, stranger, darling of the Gods !• our Ruler!" 
And they approach him, round his shoulders throwing 
The Mantle, and the Crown on his head setting. 
" O had ye, sapient, let me end my labour. 
And p ough my field out, nothing it had injur'd 
Your kingdom ! — But the hour of Fate is flying ! 


The goad-stafiF in the earth anon he planted ; 

The snow-white steers he from the yoke unloosed : 

" Go where ye came from 1" ■ Through the air ascending 

Soar'd the white steers, and in the neighbouring mountain 

Entering, vanish'd, and the mountain closed ; 

And where it clos'd, a muddy torrent issued 

Of water, and still issues ; and the goad-staff 

Green from the earth, in three fair branches parting, 

Luxuriant rose, and beautiful ! Amazement 

Chain'd every tongue ; when Przemysl the Thoughtful 

(Such was his name) anon the plough up-turning, 

And from his scrip his homely dinner drawing 

Of b^ead and cheese, upon the plough-share laid it. 

Low on the sward with courteous cheer he set them : 

" Approach, and share the, cates your prince provides ye !" 

And they, astonish'd at the true fulfilment 

Of Fate's prediction, saw the Iron Table, 

And goad green-flourishing ; when lo ! a wonder ! 

Two of the stately branches straight were blasted, 

And the third blossomed. They with amazement 

Broke silence, and the plougher thus address'd them : 

" Cease, cease, my friends, your wonder ! There before ye 

Is of my royal house the stem that blossoms. 

Many shall seek to wear the crowh, and wither. 

And one alone with royal honours flourish." 

" But wherefore is that Table strange of Iron ?" 
" And wot ye not what table 'tis a monarch 
Must ever eat from ? Iron is it; iron; 
And ye the steers that plough to earn him viands !" 
" But why so eager was our prince in ploughing ? 
Why griev'd he that the field had not been ended ?" 

3 N 


" O had it ended been ! Had wise Libussa 

But later sent ye to me ! So 'twas destin'd^ 

Rich fruit and plenty never in your kingdom 

Had fail'd. — But now my steers are in the mountain !" 

Then graceful rising, on the white steed mounted, 
That paws, curvetts, and prances in proud triumph. 
His sandals of the linden bark were plaited. 
And his own hand with simple bast had sew'd them. 
And on his feet they put the royal buskin : 
" O leave me," said the prince on the white charger, 
" My sandals of the linden bark, O leave me. 
That my own hand with simple bast has sewed ; 
'Twill to my sons and grandsons be a token 
How once their royal ancestor was sandai'd ;" 
Then kiss'd, and in his bosom hid the sandals. 
And they rode on ; and still so kindly spoke he. 
Still with such wisdom, that they ween'd they saw hira 
A Deity in his long garments riding. 

And they approach'd the palace of Libussa. 
With joy she greets him there with all her maidens; 
The people hail'd him for their Prince and Ruler; 
And wise Libussa chose him for her Husband. 
And long they reign'd ; were good and happy ever; 
And Faith and Right and Justice ever triumph'd ; 
And they built cities ; and the goad still flourished ; 
And still remain'd the sandals for a token ; 
And ever clear with labour was the plough-share, 
While PbemisI/Aus liVd with Wise Libussa. 


* * * * 

* * • # 

O woe ! O woe ! The goad-staff now is wlther'd ; 
The sandals of the linden bark are stolen ; 
And th' iron board's become a gilded table ! 

[ 468 J 


Amid twelve noble Chieftains. — P. 462. v. 1. 

This Eoyal Folksmote, or Court of Twelve Judges, where the prince presides, is the 
prototype of our Parliament, which was at first only a Supreme Court of Judicature ; and 
of our trial by a Jury of Twelve ; and marks the antiquity of the legend, and simplicity of 
manners which it commemorates. 

The antient and widely-extended partiality to the number Twehe, in all things divine 
and human, where power and civil rule were concerned, was probably first connected with ■ 
religious observance, relating to the passing of the Sun through the Signs of the Zodiack ; 
and as we have the highest of all authorities for it, the generally received impressions 
among mankind may in this, as in many other cases, have been consulted and conformed 
to, in the adoption of human means for the effecting of divine purposes. Hence the 
Twelve Patriarchs sitting upon Twelve Thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel; the 
Twelve Apostles, under their divine Head; Jupiter and the Twelve Dii Majores Gen- 
tium ; Odin and his Twelve Gods, in the Gothic Mythology ; and their secularised repre- 
sentatives, under the second Odin, in Scandinavia ; Arthur, and his Knights of the Round 
Table, in Britain ; Charlemagne, and his Dussiperes, in France, &c. &c. 

Having examined many of those antient Circles of Stones which are commonly called 
Druidical, and finding them in places where it seemed very improbable, making all due 
allowance for the altered face of the country, that there ever could have grown groves of 
oak, such as the Druids are said to have chosen for celebrating their mysteries ; I have 
been inclined to suspect that they were Celtic Mote Hills, and dedicated to juridical ra- 
ther than sacrificial purposes. May not the Judge have sat, sub dio, on the large flat stone 
facing the south or east side, dispensing, like the sun, (whom, as the arbiter and dispen- 
sator of Nature, he represented) the blessings of Order, Justice, and Prosperity? And 
may not each of the Patres and Notables who had a seat in the court, have sat by one of 
the perpendicular stones, with those who were to be judged, and their advocates and evi- 


dences, in the middle, and the attending multitude on the outside of the circle ? And were 
not these circles of stones erected, as God was worshipped, in the high places, to be at 
all times seen by the people of the surrounding district or circle, to remind them of their 
duty, when the court was not sitting i 

'Tis Libussa ; 

'Tis the wise daughter of the prudent Kroko. — P. 462. v. 1. 
" Crocus tunc erat [qui] ante alios boni justique viri speciera prae se ferebat, sermoneque 
comis et affabilis habebatur, ac multitudini maxime gratus ex opinione divinitatis, quam ex 
divinatione augurioque coUegerat. — Cseterum valde superstitiosus erat, ut qui fontes et 
lucos pro diis coleret." Dubrav. p. 5. — " Moriens autem tres filias reliquit, Brelam, her- 
barum et medicinae peritam ; Therbam sive Therbizam, augurem et sortilegam ; tertiam 
Libussam, quae ut natu minor fuit, ita divinarum humanarumque rerum scientia major." 
^n. Sylv. p. 85. — " Vetus autem mos etiam Germanis fuit, ut mulieribus fatidicis sum- 
mos haberent honores." Dubrav. 

the high and holy mountain ; 

There to the goddess KUmha prays. — P. 463. v. 7- 
The seat of the guardian goddess of these herdsmen and agriculturists was supposed to 
be on thetop of a mountain, (every nation had its own Olympus,) from whence she looked 
broad upon the ways of men, distributing rewards and punishments according to their 
deserts. At this day, this circumstance is often alluded to in the popular ditties of the 
aboriginal inhabitants of these countries ; a fine example of which occurs in the following 
fragment of a Lettish orphan's Ode to Hope : 

Noswihduii laime brauze, Eager, hasting, sweat-becover'd, 

No«wihduichi kummelin'. Laima drove her foaming steeds,* 

Man nabbagam bahri«cham Me poor orphan, left forlorn, 

Ruhmes weetu mekledam'. Me a little place to find. 

Zitti feudis ta «azzii'. Other folks then of me said : 

" Tew laimite Thy good Fortune 

Noilihkua' : Drown'd [in tears] is. 

• « * * * * * [No!] * * 

Man' laimite kalnin^ My Laima sits on a hill, 

Sehich sudrab' sohliwS, On [o] silver pedestal, 

Man weetiw dohmadam'. Musing of [aj spot for me ! 

' See in next note, the account of the " Horse" Svantovit. 


Were such a device of Greek or Roman origin, its appropriate beauty would often- have 
been adverted to. 

Klimba was the Goddess of Fate, answering to the Fortuna of the Romans. By the 
Esthonians, Livonians, Curlanders, ancient Prussians, &c., she was worshipped under the 
name of Laima,' the prefix K being omitted. Of this worship, many traces still remain 
in the tales, superstitions, and popular usages of these people. But the gods, as well as 
the men of early ages have been so mixed and jumbled together, that it is now extremely 
difGcult to distinguish them. Klimba or Laima was accounted the general, patroness of 
the country, and seems to have been originally the same as Ops, Terra Mater, the Hertha, 
(Tacit. Germ. c. 40.) of the Germans, and the Triglas of the Yandalsj (Sched. de Diii 
Germanis, Syngr. 3, c, 10, &c.&c.) 

This supposition is justified by the attributes of the goddess, as well as by the consider- 
ation that the Goddess of the Earth was worshipped by the same people under the name 
of Lauma. This latter had the distribution of rain and haU particularly in her disposal, 
and every Friday-eve was dedicated to her, on which it was unlawful for any woman to 
spin, &c. This vigil, {PeeMs wakkars, i. e. the fifth-day wake, or vigil) is still religiously 
kept in Livonia and Curland, by every woman who has it in her power, and whose pietjjr 
is not interfered with by the whip of a taskmaster or mistress.^ 

When the Teutonic knights, and the ecclesiastical rufiSans who accompanied them, in- 
troduced the Christian religion into this unhappy land with fire and sword, and not only 
rivalled, but if possible exceeded, the horrors to which their own forefathers had not long 
before been subjected by Charlemagne under a similar pretence, the monks persuaded 
the poor Neophytes that Lauma, instead of being, as they believed, a beneficent power, 
the protectress of women in childbed, and of infants and sucklings, was no other than the 
Roman Lamia, a she-devil, or sorceress, famous, like Mr Lewis's Grim White Woman, 
for devouring babes alive. In this the good fathers so far succeeded, that in the dialect 
of Livonia and Curland, Lauma bears the same import as Lamia, the Night-hag, or Night- 

But it is much easier to give up names than prejudices. The Lauma or Lamia of the 
monks, was resigned to the fury of their ghostly tyrants with the more readiness, because 
they still had remaining their old and amiable divinity, TkeMa, Tehla, or Tikla,* the god- 
dess of benison, growing and thriving, who among the good old Letts had long presided 
over the tender bodies and minds of children, to guard them from accident, disease, and 

' Letticfe, lemt, to ordain, and ma', mother. In the Lithuanian dialect laimus signifies gain. 

'^ Tikis in the Lettish dialect signifies discreet and virtuous. Tikla is invoked in Livonia, to still 
children when naughty, not as The Saxons are ; or as the wolf was (and the Cossicks probably will 
be) in France, and Brownie in Scotland ; but as the rewarder of infant virtue, as well as the punisher 
ef infant vice. 



vice, and to form them to vigour, beauty, and virtue. And ^diat slave is there, however 
subdued, degraded, and oppressed, who can so far resign every hope and prospect of fu- 
turity, as no more to offer incense at the altar of Fate and Fortune ? Klimha or Laima, 
and Tikla, are still resorted to by young and old. To Tikla the midwife and patient still 
address their secret vows ; her invisible hand is still believed to receive the little strangei- 
on his first visit to the light ; she spreads his first flannel under him ; blesses the child- 
bed ; and then and there bestows the gifts and graces by which the colour of his future 
destiny is to be decided. It was very natural that quiet and unambitious husbandmen, 
as were these antient tribes when their merciless German invaders first came among them, 
should make Mother Earth the source of fortune and prosperity ; and accordingly Laima 
in the Lettish dialect now signifies Fortune or Fate ; and fragments of antient hymns are 
sung by the peasants at their popular festivals, in which the beneficent goddess is celebra- 
ted under the endearing name of Laima Mahmima, or Mother Goodltick. 

The beautiful execution -oi the mythical emblems upon marbles and coins, often dis; 
poses us to find an elegance and propriety in their allusions, to which they are not always 
entitled. Designing the Goddess of Fortune as she was designed by the Greeks and Ro- 
mans, conveys a very bad moral. The people ought to be taught, that Fortune is the least 
blind of all Goddesses; and that she is, like the Slavonic Laima, the wide-surveying 
and never-slumbering rewarder of Perseverance, Industry, Economy, Integrity, and Do- 
mestic Virtue. 

As the eagle was the bird of Jupiter, the woodpecker of Mars, the peacock of Juno, 
the owl of Minerva, and the dove of Venus, so the lesser titmouse' is the favourite bird 
of " Mother Goodluck," and consequently a bird of omen, as in the following Lettish 
fragment, of which I shall give a verbatim prose translation. 

Sihle sMiSd padseedaj 
Brah/is istabs gallina. 
Eij mahsit klau«itees, 
Kahdu d«ee«mu sihle dseed. 
&c. &c. &c. 

The Titmouse sang very sweetly. 
My brother is in the chamber : 
' Go, my little' sister, and hear 
What song the Titmouse sings.' 

■ This hardy and lively little bird remains in Russia during all the severity of the hardest 


The Titmouse sings tliis song : 

" Brother must to the wars." 

" Go, my little sister, into the garden. 

Adorn thy brother's cap {with roses.") — 

She sang, and adorned his cap, 

And accompanied him with tears. 

" Weep not, 

My little sister ! 

If I return not myself, 

Yet if my charger, perchance, return. 

Ask of my charger, 

« Where fell thy rider ?"— 

* * # * * 

The rider fell there, 
Where blood ran in streams ; 
Where men made a bridge of bones ; ' 
Where hedges were plaited of swords 
Nine rows thick. 

* * # * # 

I saw my brother 
Shouting in the battle ; — 
Five rose-sprigs in his cSp,— 
The sixth at his sword's point. 

* * * # # 

There lie the heroes like oaks. 
By the heaps of piled-up swords. 

Tht/ sm'w-'white steed shall Jind the prince, thy husband. 
Where netu, tdth two white steers, industrious ploughing. — P. 463. v. 3. 
It is to be observed, that all these animals, sacred to the guardian goddess of a virtuous 
people, are white ; the white Eagle, the emblem of empire founded on Wisdom and Jus- 
tice • the white Horse, of honourable defensive War ; and the white Steers, of honest agri- 

' Walked on the bodies of the dead. 

* i. e. Earning by his valour a sixth rose to compleat his ebaplet. 


cultural Industry. — There is something finely poetical in the idea of the goddes? of In- 
dustry lending her own sacred steers to the husbandman the most distinguished among 
her worshippers for wisdom, integrity, and industry. Worshipping the Ox, as the Egyp- 
tians did, was a much less'iimple and rational manner of dedicating him to the same deity. 

Respecting the sacred Horse, a good illustration is found in Saxo Grammaticus, lib. siiij. 
F. 158, d. " Praeterea peculiarem albi coloris equum titulo possidebat ; cujus jubae aut 
caudae pilos convellere nefarium ducebatur. Hunc soli sacerdoti pascendi insidendique jus 
erat, ne divini animalis usus, quo frequentior, hoc utilior haberetur. In hoc equo, opinione 
Rugise, SvANToviTcs (id simulacro vocabulum erat) adversum sacrorum suorum hostes 
bella gerere credebatur. . Cujus rei prsecipuum argumentum extabat, quod is nocturnQ 
tempore stabulo in^istens, adeo plerumque mane sudore ac luto respersus videbatur, tan- 
quam, ab exercltatione' veniendo, magnorum itinerum spacia percurrisset. Auspicia quo* 
que per eundem equum hujusmodi sumebantur, &c. &c." 

" Effigies [Svantoviti] erat quadrifrons, qualis olim Jani apud nonnulloa, ut circum- 
stantes ab omni fani parte, conspectu simulachri perfruerentur. Dextr4 cornu, leva ar- 
cum gestabat, proxime suspensa erant, ensis, frenum, sella, juxtaque candidus equus sta- 
bulabatur simulachro consecratus. * * * Vinum pridie solenniter in cornu quod dextrd 
gerebat, infusum, si postridie integrum sine ulla diminutione manebat, bonum incrementi 
liquidarum fluentiumque rerum illius anni eventum significari dicebat [sacerdos :] malum 
vero, si quid de vino fuerat sua sponte diminutum. Habuit et placenta, a sacerdote et po- 
pulo comesa, sua praesagia, futuram ejus anni copiam aut inopiam praesagiens. * * * Diu 
haec superstitio, et cultus ejusdem simulachri etiam inter Boiemos viguit, donee Divus Vin- 
ceslaus, Principem Boiemiae agens, impetratis ab Othone Caesare Divi Viti reliquiis, sanc- 
tum virum idolo profano abolito, venerandum Boiemis exhibuit."-i-Dubrav. p. 6. 

Dubravius calls this idol Svatovit ; and it is called Suiantovii by Stranskius (Respub. 
Boiem. p. 248,) who enters more into detail on the subject of Libussa and. her religion. 
Whatever may have been the origin of the name, the attributes of Svantovit had certainly 
nothing to do with Saint Vitus, whose image was full as useless, and much more expensive, 
to his worshippers, than that of his predecessor. 

The goad-staff' in the earth anon he planted, — P. 465. v. 11. 
" Stimulum vero, quo boves urgebantur, terrae defixum, mox fronduisse, ac Ires corili 
ramos emisisse : ex quibus duo statim exaruerunt, tertiura in arborem ejusdem generis 
proceram excrevisse. * * * Vidi inter privilegia regni, litteras Caroli Quartj' Romano- 
rum Imperatoris, Divi Sigismundi Patris, in quibus haec tanquam vera continentur, villae- 

' Fpr the nature of his supposed exercise, see the preceding note. 
» Charles the Fourth was set up by the Pope, in 134r, and crowned at Rome. 

3 O 


«iue illias incolae in qua haec gesta creduntur, libertate donantur, nee plus tributipeiidere 
jubentur, quam nucum illius arboris exiguam mensuram."— JBn. Sylr. p. 86> 

^— Through the air ascending, 

Soar'd the ivhite steers. — P. 465. v. 11. 
" Solutos bores elevatos in aera ferunt, et in altissimam prsescissae rupis gpeluncam de- 
Utuisse, nunquam postea visos." — Mn, Sylv. 86. 

My sandals of the linden bark leave me, <^c.— P. 465. v. 12. 
" Servati calcei diu apud Bohenios religiose habiti, ac per sacerdotes temjdi Vissegra- 
densis ante Reges delati, dum pompa coronationis educitur." — Ma, Sylr. p. 86. 





i *77 ] 





Of the various records of Icelandic history aild literature, there is 
none more interesting than the Eyrbiggia-Saga, composed (as has 
been conjectured by the learned Thorkelin) before the year 1264, 
Aidien Iceland was still subject to the dominion of Norway. The 
name of the author is unknown, but the simplicity of his annals seems 
a sufficient warrant for their fidelity. They contain the history of a 
particular territory of the Island of Iceland, lying around the pro- 
montory called SnaefeUs, from its first settlement by eihigrants from 
Norway : and the chronicle details, at great length, the feuds which 
took place among the fiimilies by whom the land was occupied, 
the advances whicTi they made towards a more regular state of soci- 
ety, their habits, their superstitions, , and their domestic laws and 
customs. If the events which are commemorated in these provincial 
annals are not in themselves of great importance, the reader may, m, 
recompense, derive, from the minuteness with which they are detail- 
ed, an acquaintance with the manners of the northern nations, not 
to be acquired from the perusal of more general history. It is. 


therefore, presumed, that an abstract of the more interesting parts of 
the E^rbiggia-Saga may be acceptable to the readers of the North- 
ern Antiquities. The learned Thorkelin pubhshed a correct edition 
of this history in 1787, executed at the expence of Suhm, the illus- 
trious and munificent patron of northern literature. A Latin ver- 
sion, supplied by the well-known accuracy of the editor, assists the 
difficulties of those who are imperfectly acquainted with the original 

In the year of God 883, a Norwegian nobleman, named Biorn, ha- 
ving been declared an exile by Harold, King of Norway, had recourse 
to the protection of Rolf, or RoUo, who united the qualities of a priest 
and a warrior, and kept the temple of Thor in the Island of Mestur. 
Biorn was kindly received, and furnished with a vessel to pursue his for- 
tune in the spring. But finding that by this proceeding he had incurred 
the resentment of Harold, Rolf, or, as he was called from his sacred 
office, Thorolf, (quasi Thor's-Rolf,) resolved to abandon his habitation 
and to set sail for Iceland, where, ten years before, a colony had been 
settled by Ingolf, the son of Arne. Thorolf made an immense sacri- 
fice to Thor preparatory to his departure ; and haying received, or fa- 
bricated, an oracle authorizing his change of residence, he set sail, car- 
rying with him the earth upon which the throne of Thor had been 
placed, the image of the Mace-Bearer itself, and the wooden work of 
his temple. When the vessel of the adventurer approached Iceland, 
Thorolf cast the columns of the idol's sanctuary into the sea, and de- 
clared his purpose of establishing his new residence wherever they 
should be thrown on shore. Chance, and the current of the tides, di- 
rected the pillars to a promontory or peninsula, called from that cir- 
cumstance Thorsness.' Here, therefore, Thorolf established himself 

' Thorsness seems to have been that small peninsula, mentioned by Sir George Mac- 
kenzie in his Survey of the Gold-bringe Syssell of Iceland, which js itself a huge indented 
promontory on the south-western coast of that island. Near the peninsula the travellers saw 
the Helgafels, on which there is still a small hamlet, which, they observe, derives its name 
from the superstitious usages with which it was anciently connected,— rraw&jw Igeland, 
p. 1 86, 7. 


and his followers, and, mindful of his tutelar deity, erected a temple 
for Thor, the ample scale of which testified the zeal of his devotion. 
An inner sanctuary contained the altar of the deity, on which was 
placed a silver ring, weighing two ounces, which was used in the mi- 
nistration of every solemn oath, and which decorated the person of the 
priest of Thor upon all occasions of public meeting. Here also was 
deposited the vessel which contained the blood of the sacrifices, and 
the sacred implement for sprinkling it upon the altar and the worship- 
pers. Idols, representing the various deities of Scandinavian mytho- 
logy, were placed around the altar, and a tax was imposed upon all the 
settlers for the maintenance of the solemn rites and sacrifices by which 
they were to be propitiated ; Thorolf reserving to himself the office of 
high-priest, with the duty of maintaining the temple and superintend- 
ing the ritual. A series of curious ordinances marked the foundation 
and extent of his authority. The whole promontory of Thorsness was 
under the protection of the deity, but a small eminence entitled Hel- 
gafels, (i. e. the Holy Mount,) was so peculiarly sacred, that none of 
the settlers were to look upon it until they had performed their morn- 
ing ablutions, and each living creature which should trespass upon its 
precincts was liable to be punished with death. To the terrors of re- 
ligion were added the solemnities of legal authority. Near the Holy 
Mount was estabhshed the place of justice, where the popular assem- 
blies were held.' This spot was also sacred, neither to be defiled by 
blood, nor polluted by any of the baser niecessities of nature, for satis- 
fying which a neighbouring rock was appointed. In these institutions 
we recognize the rude commencement of social order and public law. 
The infant settlement of Thorolf was strengthened by the arrival of Bi- 
orn, the fiigitive upon whose account he had incurred the indignation of 
King Harold, and by that of other northern chiefs, whom the fate of 

• Each little district of settlers had its provincial assembly, for the purpose of making 
laws, imposing punishments, and accommodating differences. At a later period, general 
assemblies of the whole Icelandic people, called Althing, were held at a place called 
Thingvalla, on the shores of a salt-water ]a.'ke-^See Mackenzie's Travels, 


war, or the loye of adventure, had banished from their respective 
homes. Each chose his habitation according to his pleasure, and the 
settlement began to be divided into three districts, called Eyrarvert, 
Alpta-fiord, and Breida-wick, all of which acknowledged the authority 
of the Pontiff Thorolf, and the sanctity of his institutions. 

The death of Thorolf, however, led the way to internal dissension. 
A patriarch, called, from the number of his family, Bama-Kiallak (rich 
in children,) was tempted to dispute the sanctity of the territory of 
Thorsness, which had been sedulously stipulated. His tribe, confident 
in their numbers, openly disputed the power of Thorstein, who had 
succeeded his father Thorolf as pontiff, and announced that when oc- 
casion pressed they would pay no more respect to the soil of the sacred 
territory than to unconsecrated ground, nor would they take the trqiir 
ble to secede to the rock appointed for such purposes. With this fqul 
intent they marched towards Thorsness, and were met by Thorstein 
atfthe head of his tribe, servants, and allies, who, after a sharp skirmish, 
was fortunately able to prevent the intended profanation of the ?acre^ 
soil. But as neither party could boast decisive success, an armistice 
was agreed upon, and a congress opened under the mediation of an 
aged settler called Thordus. This ingenious referee at once removed 
the ostensible cause of dispute, by declaring that the territory havipg 
been polluted by human blood shed in the conflict, had lost its sane- 
tity in future, and, to take away the secret cause of contention, he de- 
clared that Thorgrim, one of the sons of Kiallak, should -be conjoined 
with Thorstein in the charge of the temple of Thor, with an ^gual 
share in the duties and revenues of the office of pontiff, and in the 
charge of protecting. from sacrilege a new place of justice, which was 
now to be established. It is described as a circular range of upright 
stones, within which one more eminent marked the Stpne of Thor, 
where human victims were immolated to the Thunderer, by breaking 
or crushing the spine. And this description may confute those anti- 
quaries who are disposed to refer such circles exclusively to the Celtic 
tribes, and their priests the Druids. 


Thorstein, son of Thorolf, perished by shipwreck. His grandson 
Suorro became the most distinguished support of his family, and the 
following commencement of his history marks the singular system of 
laws which already prevailed in Iceland, as well as the high honours 
in which the female sex was held in that early period of society. The 
tutelage of Snorro, whose father died young, had devolved upon Borko 
the Fat, his father's brother, who had married Thordisa, his mother, 
and was thus at once his uncle and father-in-law. At the age of four- 
teen, Snorro, with two companions, went abroad to visit his relations 
in Norway, and returned to Iceland after the lapse of a year. His 
companion Thorlef was splendid in dress, a,rms, and equipment, being 
girded with a sword of, exquisite workmanship, and bearing a shield 
painted*blue, and exquisitely gilded, and a spear, the handle of which ' 
was plated with gold. But Snorro was dressed in a dark garment, 
mounted upon a black mare, and his whole appearance intimated want 
and dejection. This assumed poverty rendered Snorro more accept- 
able at Helgafels, the abode of his uncle Borko. For, by the law of 
descent, Snorro was entitled to one half of the possessions of his grand- 
father, now administered by Borko ; , and his appearance gave the lat- 
ter ground to think that he-would sell them in his necessity for an in- 
considerable price. He was, therefore, not displeased to see his ne- 
phew retwn in a condition which did not seem to supply to him the 
means of escaping from his tutelage. A singular incident, however, 
interrupted their family, concord. Shortly after Snorro had taken up 
his abode with his uncle, a party of twelve armed- men, headed by 
Eyolf Gray, suddenly appeared at Helgafels, and their leader announ- 
ced that he had slain a relative of Thordisa, the mother of Snorro, 
Borko, to whom the slaughter was indifferent, and who was connected 
with Eyolf, received him joyfully, and commanded his. wife to make 
him good cheer. While she obeyed his commands with undisguised 
reluctance, Eyulf chanced to drc^ the spoon with which; he was eat- 
ing j as he stooped to recover it, the vindictive matron, unable to sup- 
press, her indignation, snatched his sword, and severely wounded hint 

S p 


ere he could recover his erect posture. Borko, incensed at this at- 
tack upon his guest, struck his wife, and was about to repeat the blow, 
when Snorro, throwing himself between them, repelled his attack, and 
placing his mother by his side, announced haughtily his intention to 
protect her. Eyulf escaped with difficulty, and afterwards recovered 
from Borko a fine for the wound which he had sustained, and the un- 
cle and nephew were obliged to have recourse to justice, to arrange 
their mutual claims, which were rendered yet more inextricable by 
this brawl. When they appeared before the assembled patriarchs of 
the settlement, Borko admitted that his nephew, in right of his fa- 
ther deceased, was entitled to one half of the territory of Helgafels, 
and he also agreed that they could not conveniently possess it in com- 
munity. Wherefore he offered to purchase that property from Snorro, 
and to make payment of an adequate price. To this proposal Snorro 
replied, that his uncle ought first to fix the price to be given, and that 
he, as descended of the elder brother, should then have it in his op- 
tion either to sell his own share in the property, or to purchase Bor- 
ko's moiety at the price to be so named. Borko, confident in the 
supposed poverty of his nephew, estimated the half of the joint pro- 
perty at sixty ounces of silver, a sum far beneath the real value ; when, 
to his astonishment, Snorro at once made payment of the stipulated 
sum, and obtained full possession of his paternal mansion and estate. 
Nor did the vexations of Borko end here. For when he was about to 
depart from Helgafels, his wife Thordisa invoked witnesses to bear 
testimony that she solemnly divorced her husband Borko, alleging, as 
a sufficient reason, that he had raised his hand against her person. And 
such were the rights of an Icelandic Mater-famiiias, that the divorce 
and division of goods immediately took place between her and her hus- 
band, although one would have presumed that the attempt to murder 
a guest in his own presence, might have been admitted as a satisfactory 
apology for the violence of the husband. Snorro having thus at an 
easy rate obtained possession of his whole paternal inheritance of Hel- 
gafels, lost no time in assuming the sacred character of priest of Thor, 


and continued, firom his boldness, craft, and dexterity, to act a conspi- 
cuous part in the various feuds which agitated the settlers in this sterile 
and dreary country, as fiercely as if they had been contending for the 
mines of Peru, or the vineyards of Italy ; so that the subsequent part 
of this history may be considered as the annals of Snorro's pontificate. 

Our annalist has not left the scene altogether unvaried. Wars and 
prosecutions before the assembly of the people are indeed the ground- 
work ; but such spells and supernatural incidents, as the superstition 
of the age believed in, are introduced like the omens and miracles of 
classic history. Such incidents, indeed, make an invariable part of 
the history of a rude age, and the chronicles which do not afibrd these 
marks of human credulity, may be grievously suspected as deficient 
in authenticity. The following account of a trial of skill between two 
celebrated sorceresses, occupies several pages of the Eyrbiggia-Saga. 

•« Tell me," said Katla, a handsome and lively widow, to Gunlau- 
gar, an accomplished and gallant young warrior, " tell me why thou 
goest so oft to Mahfahlida ? — Is it to caress an old woman ?" " Thine 
own agcj Katla," answered the youth inconsiderately, " might pre- 
vent thy making that of Geirrida a subject of reproach." " I lit- 
tle deemed," replied the oflfended matron, " that we were on an equa- 
lity in that particular — ^but thou, who supposest that Geirrida is the 
sole source of knowledge, mayst find that there are others who equal 
her in science." It happened in the course of the following winter 
that Gunlaugar, in company with Oddo, the son of Katla, had renew- 
ed one of those visits to Geirrida, with which Katla had upbraided 
him. " Thou shalt not depart to-night," said the sage matron, " evil 

spirits are abroad, and thy bad destiny predominates." " We are 

two in company," answered Gunlaugar, " and have therefore nothing 
to fear." — " Oddo," replied Geirrida, " will be of no aid to thee, but 
go, since thou wilt go, and pay the penalty of thy own rashness." — 
In their way they visited the rival matron, and Gunlaugar was invited 
to remain in her house that night. This he declined, and passing for- 
ward alone, was next morning found lying before the gate of his father 


Thorbiorn, severely wounded and deprived of his judgment. Various 
causes were assigned for this disaster, but Oddo, asserting that they 
had parted in anger that evening from Geirrida, insisted that his com- 
panion must have sustained the injury through her sorcery. Geirrida 
was accordingly cited to the popular assembly, and accused of witch- 
craft. But twelve witnesses, or compurgators, having asserted upon 
their oath the innocence of the accused party, Geirrida was honour- 
ably freed from the accusation brought against her.' Her acquittal 
did not terminate the rivalry between the two sorceresses, for Geirri- 
da belonging to the family, of Kiliakan, and Katla to that of the pon>- 
tiff Snorro, the animosity which ,still subsisted between these septs be- 
came awakened by the quarrel. 

It chanced that Thorbiorn, called Digri (or the corpulent,) one of 
the family of Snorro, had some horses which fed in the mountain pas- 
tures, near to those of Thorarin, called the Black, the son of the en- 
chantress Geirrida. But when autumn arrived, arid the horses were 
to be withdrawn from the mountains, and housed for the winter, those 
of Thorbiorn could nowhere be found, and Oddo, the son of Katla, 
being sent to consult a wizard, brought back a dubious answer, which 
seemed to indicate that they had been stolen by Thorarin. Thorbiorn, 
with Oddo, and a party of armed followers, immediately set forth for 
Mahfahlida, the dwelling of Geirrida and her son Thorarin. Arrived 
before the gate, they demanded permission to search for the horses 
which were amissing. This Thorarin refused, alleging, that neither 
was the search demanded duly authorized by law, nor were the pro- 
per witnesses cited to be present, nor did Thorbiorn offer any suffici- 
ent pledge of security when claiming the exercise of so hazardous a 
privilege. Thorbiorn replied, that as Thorarin declined to permit a 
search, he must be held as admitting his guilt ; and constituting for 

' This ceremony of compurgation formed, as is well known, the remote origin of the 
trial by jury. The compurgators were at first a kind of witnesses, who, upon their ge- 

.neral knowledge of the character of the accused, gave evidence of his being incapable of 
committing the crime imputed, but gradually obtained the character of judges, who formed 

their opinion upon the evidence of others adduced in their presence. 


that purpose a temporary court of justice, by chusing out six judges, 
he formally accused Thorarin of theft before the gate of his own house. 
At this the patience of Geirrida forsook her. *' Well," said she to her 
son Thorarin, " is it said of thee, that thou art more a woman than a 
man, or thou wouldst not bear these intolerable afironts." Thorarin, 
fired at the reproach, rushed forth with his servants and guests j a 
skirmish soon disturbed the legal process which had been instituted, 
and one or two of both parties were wounded and slain, before the 
wife of Thorarin, and the female attendants, could separate the fray 
by flinging their mantles over the weapons of the combatants. Thor- 
biorn and his party retreating, Thorarin proceeded to examine the 
field of battle. Alas ! among the reliques of the fight was a bloody 
hand, too 'slight and fair to belong to any of the combatants. It was 
that of his wife Ada, who had met this misfortune in her attempts to 
separate the skirmish. Incensed to the uttermost, Thorarin threw 
aside his constitutional moderation, and mounting on horseback, with 
his allies and followers pursued the hostile party, and overtook them 
in a hay-field, where they had halted to repose their horses, and to ex- 
ult over the damage they had done to Thorarin. At this moment he 
assailed them with such fury, that he slew Thorbiorn upon the spot, 
and killed several of bis attendants ; although Oddo, the son of Katla, 
escaped free from wounds, having been dressed by his mother in an 
invulnerable garment. After this action, more bloody than usually 
happened in an Icelandic engagement, Thorarin returned to Mahfah- 
lida, and being questioned by his mother concerning the events of the 
skirmish, he answered in the improvisatory and enigmatical poetry of 
his age and country, — 

From me the foul reproach be far, 
With which a female waked the war, 
From me, who shunned not in the fray 
Through foemen fierce to hew my way ; 
(Since meet it is the eagle's brood 
(On the fresh corpse should find their food,) 


Then spared I not in fighting field, 
With stalwart hand my sword to wield; 
And well may claim at Odin's 8hrine> 
The praise that waits this deed of mine. 

To which effusion Geirrida answered, « Do these verses imply the 
death of Thorbiorn ?"— And Thorarin, alluding to the legal process 
which Thorbiorn had instituted against him, resumed his song. 

Sharp bit the sword beneath the hood 
Of him whose zeal the cause pursued, 
And ruddy flowed the stream of death, 
Ere the grim brand resumed the sheath ; 
Now, on the buckler of the slain 
The raven sits, his draught to drsdn. 
For g<n:e>drenched is his visage bold. 
That hither came his courts to hold. 

As the consequence of this slaughter was likely to be a prosecution 
at the instance of the pontiff Snorro, Thorarin had now recourse to his 
allies and kindred, of whom the most powerful were ArnkilL, his ma- 
ternal uncle, and Verimond, who readily promised their aid both in 
the field and in the Comitia, or popular meeting, in spring, before 
which, it was to be presumed Snorro would indict Thorarin for the 
slaughter of his kinsman. Arnkill could not, however, forbear asking 
his nephew how he had so far lost his usual command of temper. He 
replied in verse. 

Till then, the master of my mood. 

Men called me gentle, mild, and good ; 

But yon fierce dame's sharp tongue might wake 

In wintry den the frozen snake. 

While Thorarin spent the winter with his uncle Arnkill, he received 
information from his mother Geirrida, that Oddo, son of her old rival 


Katla, was the person who had cut off the hand of his wife Ada, and 
that he gloried in the fact. Thorarin and Arnkill determined on in- 
stant vengeance, and traveUing rapidly, surprised the house of Katla. 
The undismayed sorceress, on hearing them approach, commanded 
her son to sit close beside her, and when the assailants entered tihey 
only beheld Katla, spinning coarse yarn from what seemed a large dis- 
taff, with her femaler domestics seated around her. — " Her son," she 
said, " was absent on a journey •" and Thorarin and Arnkill having 
searched the house in vain, were obliged to depart with this answer. 
They had not, however, gone far, before the well-known skill of Katla 
in optical delusion occurred to them, and they resolved on a second 
and stricter search. Upon their return they found Katla in the outer 
apartment; who seemed to be shearing the hair of a tame kid, but was 
in reality cutting the locks of her son Oddo. Entering the inner room 
they found the large distaff flung carelessly upon a bench. They re. 
turned yet a third time, and a third delusion was prepared for them; 
fijr Katla had given her son the appearance of a hog, which seemed to 
grovel upon the heap of ashes. Arnkill now seized and split the dis- 
taff which he had at first suspected, upon which Katla tauntingly ob- 
served, that if their visits had been frequent that evening, they could 
not be said to be altogether ineffectual, since they had destroyed a 
distaff. They were accordingly returning completely baffled, when 
Geirrida met them, and upbraided them with carelessness in searching 
for their enemy. " Return yet again," she said, " and I will accom- 
pany you." — Katla's maidens, still upon the watch, announced to her 
the return of the hostile party, their number augmented by one who 
wore a blue mantle. " Alas !" cried Katla, *• it is the sorceress Geir- 
rida, against whom spells will be of no avaiL" Immediately rising 
from the raised and boarded seat which she occupied, she concealed 
Oddo beneath it, and covered it with cushions as before, on which she 
stretched herself, complaining of indisposition. Upon the entrance of 
the hostile party, Geirrida, without speaking a word, flung aside her 
mantle, took out a piece of seal's-skin, in which she wrapped up Kat- 


la's head, and commanded that she should be held by some of the 
attendants, while the others broke opeii the boarded space beneath 
which Oddo lay concealed, seized upon him, bound him, and led him 
away captive with his mother. Next morning Oddo was hanged, and 
Katla storied to death ; but not until she had confessed that through 
her sorcery she had occasioned the disaster of Gunlaugar, which first 
led the way to these feuds. This execution is remarkable, because it 
seems to have taken place without any previous ceremony of judicial 
procedure, which, in general, we find the Icelanders considered^ as ne* 
cessary preliminaries to the condemnation and execution of criminals. 
Spring now approached, and it became necessary for Thorarin to take 
some resolution ; for, although it seemed possible that the slaughter 
might be atoned by a pecuniary imposition, yet so many persons had 
been slain, that the usual fines corresponding to their rank was more- 
than sufficient to exhaust his fortune : And, to hasten his determina- 
tion, Snorro, accompanied by a band of eighty horsemen, appeared 
before the house of Arnkill, for the purpose of citing Thorarin to an- 
swer for the slaughter of Thorbiorn. This citation was performed in 
obedience to the Icelandic law, which permitted no accusation to be 
brought against any party, who had not been- previously apprized of 
the charge by a summons delivered to him personally, or at bis dwel- 
ling place.' The ceremony being peaceably performed, Thorarin, ob- 
serving the strong party in attendance upon. Snorro, broke forth into^ 
a poetical rhapsody: 

No feeble force, no female, hand, 
Compels me from my native land"; 
O'er-match'd in numbers and in might. 
By. banded hosts in armour bright, . 
In vain attesting laws and gods, 
A guiltless man, I yield to odds. 

' This law of summons is often mentioned, and seems to have been regularJy, insisted, 
upon. It was attended with some risk to the party who ventured to make the citation, 
and often ended in a skirmish. 



Accordingly, ere the popular assembly met, Thorarin, with his relative 
Verimond, embarked in a vessel for Scandinavia. Of the former the 
history tells us no more ; but "Verimond, who separated from him, 
and spent the subsequent winter at the Court of Count Haco, son of 
Sigurd, then regent of Norway, continues to make a figure in the Eyr- 
biggia-Saga. - 

It seems that Haco had at his court two of thos6 remarkable cham- 
pions, called Berserkir, men, who, by moral or physical excitation of 
some kind or other, were wont to work themselves into a state of 
frenzy, during which they achieved deeds passing human strength, 
and rushed, without sense of danger, or feeling of pain, upon every 
species -of danger that could be opposed to them. Verimond con- 
tracted a sort of friendship with these champions, who, unless when 
seized with their fits of fury, were not altogether discourteous or evil- 
disposed. But as any contradiction v^as apt to excite their stormy 
passions, their company could not be called very safe or commodious; 
Verimond, however, who now desired to return to Iceland, conceived 
that in the feuds to which he might be there exposed, the support of 
the two Berserkir would be of the greatest advantage to him. Act- 
ing upon this idea. When Haco at his departure offered him any rea'- 
sonableboon which he might require, he prayed that he would peraiit 
these two champions to accompany him to his native country. The 
count assented, but not without showing him the danger of his re- 
quest. They are only accustomed, said Haco, to submit to men of 
great power and high rank, and will be reluctant and disobedient sti- 
pendiaries to a person of a meaner station. Verimond, however, 
grasped at the permission of the count, though reluctantly granted, 
and was profuse in promises to HalH and Leikner, providing they 
would accompany him to Iceland. They frankly objected the poverty 
of the country, yet agreed to go thither, apprizing their conductor at 
the same time, that their friendship would not endure long if he refu- 
sed? them any boon which was in his power to grant, and which they 



might cliuse to dpniand. Verimoiid again assured them of his anxious 
wish to gratify them in every paiticuJar, and transported them U> Ice- 
land, where he was not Jong of dispoverang that he had burthened 
himself with a very dfflcult task, HalJi'3 first request was, that bi& 
should be provided with a spouse, rich, nobly-horn, and beautifijl. 
But, as it was not easy to find a maiden so gifted, who would unite 
her fate with a foreigner of mean birth, who was besides a JSersetVar, 
V^erimond wa* compelled to ehidfi the j^ecjuest of his champmn. This 
was likely to ocpasion such jenmity, that Verinjonjd b^W- to think of 
transferring his troablesome and ungoyerpable satellites to bis brother 
Arjigriin, a man of a stern, fierxie, .and active disposition, wb© bad car;- 
ijexi on numerous feuds, and in every case refused to make peci^ji^ 
compensation for the slfiughters which he had ecanmitted. Thus he 
was usually called iStyr, (z. e, the StitriBg^ or Tumultuous;) as Veri- 
mond was termed Miofii, or the Delicate. Styr, nevertheless, tunaul- 
tuous as he was, could not be prevailed upon, to accept of the pal;riQ»- 
age of tihe Berserkie. It was in vain that Verimopd protested that he 
giflted him with twa such champions as would enable him to become 
an easy victor in every quarrel he imght engage in, and that he de> 
-signed this present as. a gage of thdr fi'aternal union. Styr, professing 
a sincere confidence in his. brxDtherfy afiection, intimated, that he had 
heard enough of the disposition of these foreign warriors, to satisfy 
him that they would be ratlier embarrassing than useful dependants, 
and was fully determined never to admit them within, his fe,mily. 
Verimond was therefore obliged to> change lus tone, to acknowledge 
the dread in which he stood of the Berserkir, and request his brother's 
advice and assistance to rid him of them ; •• That,"' answered Styr, 
'« is a difierent proposal. I could never have accepted them as a pledge 
of favour or friendship ; but to relieve th^ from darker and difficulty, 
I am content to encumber myself with the charge of thy associates." 
The next point was to reconcile the Berserkir, (who might resent be- 
ing transfei:i!ed, like bondsmen fpom the one brother ta the other,) to. 


this ehaage of irias^ers. The warlike and fierce disposition of Styr 
seemed, however, so iriucb more sukaljle to their own, than that ot 
Verimond, that th^ speedily acquieacetj, and accompac^ing their new 
pati'on upon a noctut^nal excursion, evinced the»]^ st]?ength in breaking 
to pifeces a strong wooden &ame^ or bedy in which his. enemy had ta- 
ken reiiige,' so that Styr^ had an opportuaity of staying him. The pre- 
sumption of Halliv hK&W«very soon discomposed their union. The 
champion cast this eyesof affection on .Asdisa, the daughter of his pa^ 
tttmf a baikgihtyy fiei^,- and robust daHlsel, w^U qualified to captivate 
the heart <^a B^serkar. He forma%' anneimoed to Styr that he de- 
manded her hand in marriage^ that a refusal would be a breach of 
their frienMiipi, but that if he would accept of his alliance, he and his 
brother would render him the most powerful man in Iceland. At this 
unexpected proposal Styr for a time remained silent, considering how 
best he might evade the presumptuous deinand of this frantic cham- 
pion, and at length observed', that the friends of his family must be 
consulted upon his daughter's establishment. " Three days' space," an- 
swered Halli, " will suffice for that purpose, and be mindful that our 
friendship depends on thine answer." Styr in great doubt and trou- 
ble journeyed to Helgafels, to consult the experience of the pontiff 
Snorro. When Snorro learned that he came to ask advice, " Let us 
ascend," he said, « the sacred mount, for such councils as are taken 
on that holy spot rarely prove unpropitious." They remained in deep 
conference on the mount of Thor until evening, nor did any one know 
the purpose which they agitated, but what followed sufficiently shows 
the nature of the councils suggested upon the holy ground. Styr, so 
soon as he returned home, announced to Halli his expectation, that 
since he could not redeem his bride by payment of a sum of money 
as was usual, he should substitute in lieu thererf, according to aincient 
right and custom, the performance of some unusual and difficult task. 
« And what shall that task be ?" demanded the suitor. « Thou shalt 
form," said Styr, " a path through the rocks at Biarriarhaf, and a fence 
betwixt my property and that of my neighbours, also thou shalt con- 


struct a house for the reception of ray flocks, and these tasks accom- 
plished thou shalt have Asdisa to-wife."^ — " Though unaccustomed to 
such servile toil," replied the Berserkar, ". I accept of the terms thou 
hast ofiered." And by the assistance of his brother he accomplished 
the path, required, a work of the greatest labour, and erected : the 
bound-fence, of' which vestiges remajned ia the days of our historian. 
The Berserkir were now labouring at the stable- for the flocks, while 
the servants of Styr were employed -in the construction of a subterra- 
nean bath, so contrived that it could on a sudden be deluged with, 
boiling water, or heated to a sufibcating degree. On the last day, 
when the brethren were labouring at the conclusion of their task, As^ 
disa, the daughter of Styr, passed by them splendidly arrayed. Then 
sung HalU, 

Oh whither dost thou bend thy way,. 
Fair maiden, in such rich array, 
^or never have I seen thee roam 
So gaily dressed, so far from home i—r 

Then Leikner also sung, — 

Till now that stole of purple rare- 
Full seldom did the maiden wear. 
Why is she now attired so fair i 
The cause, O maid, benign display. 
Of that unwonted raiment gay, 
Nor thus disdainful pass us by 
With silent lip and scornful eye. 

But Asdisa, disliking eij;her the bard or the poetry, or both, passed 
on without making any answer. Evening now approached, and, the 
stipulated task being ended, the champions returned to the dwelling 
of Styr. They were extremely exhausted, as was common with per- 
sons of their condition, whose profuse expenditure of strength and spi-. 
lits induced a proportional degree of relaxation after severe labour^. 


They, therefore, gladly accepted Styr's proposal, that they should oc- 
cupy the newly-constructed bath. When they had entered, their in- 
sidious patron caused the trap-door to be blockaded, and a newly- 
stripped bullock's skin to be stretched before the entrance, and then 
proceeded to pour in scalding water through the aperture contrived for 
that purpose, and to heat the bath to an intolerable pitch. The unfor- 
tunate Berserkir endeavoured to break out, and Halli succeeded in for- 
cing the door, but his feet being entangled in the slippery hide, he was 
stabbed by Styr ere he could make any defence : his brother attempt- 
ing the entrance, was forced headlong back into the bath, and thus 
both perished. Styr caused their bodies to be interred in a narrow 
glen, of such depth that nothing but the sky was visible from its re- 
cesses. Then Styr. composed this song concerning bis exploit : — 

These charapioBS fromibeyond the mam< 
Of Iceland's sons I deem'd the bane^ 
Nor fear'd I to endure the harm 
And frantic fury of their arm, 
But, conqueror, gave this valley's glooni 
To be the grim Berserkir's tomb. 

When the pontiff Snorro heard that the stratagem of Styr had pro- 
ved successful, he paid him a visit, in which, after a day's consulta- 
tion, Asdisa, the daughter of Styr, was betrothed to Snorro. The mar- 
riage was solemnised shortly afterwards, and the activity and intrepi-i 
dity of Styr being aided by, and aiding in turn, the wisdom and expe- 
rience of Snorro, the power of both was greatly extended and fortified 
by this alliance. 

Passing some feuds of less interest, we come to the history of Tho- 
rolf Baegifot, This chief had in his youth defied to combat an aged 
champion called Ulfar, for the sake of acquiring his territory. Ulfar, 
though old and dim of sight, preferred death to dishonour, and met 
Thorolf in single combat. Ulfar fell, but Thorolf received a wound 
in. the leg, on which he ever after halted, and thus acquired the nam© 


of Ba£gifd>t, OF the Crddc-footed. Thdroif had one son, the same Afti- 
kill who figured irt the history of Thdrarirf the Black,- and two daiigh- 
ters, one of whom was the celebrated enchantreas- GekrMa. As Tho- 
folf waxed aged,, he became of a canikered and savttg^ dis^ioski^, and 
as crooked in his mind as in his limbs. Many cauaes of discord oc- 
curred betwixt him and his son ArnkiU, tfntil at lerfgth they were iii 
a state of utter erimifiy; The nearest neighbour of Thbrelf Baegifot 
was Ulfar, a freed man of ThtJrbrand, possessed of a fair propei?fiyr It 
was said of this cultivator, that he understood the art of making bay 
better than any man in Iceland, and that his crop was never injured 
by the rain, or his cattle by the storms. Thorolf went to consult this 
sage upon the management of the hay-crOp oil a field which they pcis* 
sessed in common. " This week," said UMar, "^ will be rainy ; let us 
use it in cutting the hay ; it will be followed by a fortnight of dry 
weather, which we Avill employ in drying it/' Thorolf, however, be- 
came impatient, and dubious of a change of Weather, ordered his hay 
to be carried to his yard, and ricked up, while that of Ulfar was yet 
lying in the swathe, and then, whether impelled by cupidity, caprice, 
or jealousy, does not appear, he carried home also that part of the crop 
which belonged to the weather-wise Ulfar. The latter reclaimed his 
property;, but, after some altercation, saw no means of redress so ef- 
fectual as to appeal to the justice of Arnkill, the son of Thorolf. Ami 
kill, after vain applications for justice to his fether, was at length con- 
tented to indemnify Ulfar by making payment to him of the value of 
the hay, a proposal to which his father had refiised to accede, sayiMgi 
in the plenitude of oppressive power, " That the churl was already too 
wealthy." Arnkill, however, indemnified himself of the price of the 
hay by driving off twelve fat oxen belon^ng to his father, which he 
alleged were compensated by the money thus advanced to Ulfe,r. It 
was now the feast of Jol> and Thorolf, who had drank freely, and cir- 
culated much liquor among his bondsmen, was so incensed against 
Ulfar, that he offered liberty to any of his serfe who would burn his 
house, and consume him among the flames. Six of his bondsmen set 


out uppn this neighbourly exploit ; but the flames, as they began to 
rise, became visible to Arnkill, who hastened to the house of Ulfar, 
extinguished the fire, and made prisoners the incendiaries. These he 
transported to his own house, and hanged them next morning without 
ceremony, to the great increase of his father's discontent. Ulfar, on 
-the other hand, re^cuced at hsuving acquired so active and powerful a 
protector, chose Arnkill for his immediate patron, to the displeasure 
of the family of his original master Thorbrand, who viewed, with re- 
sentment, the chance of losing the inheritance of their father's freed 
man. Meanwhile the wrath of Thorolf grew so high against his son, 
that he wei?t ito the pontiff Snorro, to prevail on him to prosecute 
Arnkill to the uttermost for the slaughter of bis six bondsmen. Snorro, 
■at fir-at, dqplined to have any interference with the matter, alleging the 
good character of Arnkill, ^nd the foul treason in which the serfs of 
Thorolf had been engaged when seized and executed. " I wot well 
-the cause of thy regard for Arnkill," answered Thorolf; " thou think- 
est 1^ will pay for thy support in th^ assembly more freely than I. 
But hearken : I know thy desire to possess the fair woods of Kraka- 
ness, which pertain to me. I will bestow them on thee, if thou wilt 
prasecute the cause arising from the slaughter of my bondsmen with 
(the utmost severity, without sparing, on account of Arnkill's relation 
to me, or his friendship to thyself." Snorro could not resist the pro- 
spect of gain thus artfi^ly held out to him, and agreed to prosecute 
the cause to the uttermost. The pleadings were ingenious on both 
sides, and show some progress in the intricate punctilios of municipal 
jurisprudence. The death of the bondsmen was urged by Snorro. 
The accused defended himself upon the feet of their being apprehend- 
ed in the act of burning Ulfar's habitation. It was replied, that 
though this might have justified their being slain on the spot, yet it 
gave those who seized them no right to execute them elsewhere after 
^ day's interval. At length the matter was referred to the award of 
the two brethren, Styr and Verimond, who appointed Arnkill to pay 
a fine of twelve ounces of silver for the death of each domestic. Tho- 


rolf, incensed to the highest pitch at this lenient imposition, brbke 
forth into complaints against Snorro, whom he considered as having 
betrayed his cause, and retired from the convention to meditate a 
bloody revenge against all his enemies. Ulfar, the most helpless and 
inoffensive, was the first' to experience his resentment. He had been 
feasting with his patron Arnkill, and had departed loaded with pre- 
sents, when he was waylaid and assassinated by Spagil, a villain whom 
Thorolf had hired to the deed by an ample bribe. ArnkiU, who 
chanced to be abroad that evening, observed a man at a distance bear- 
ing the shield which he had so lately bestowed on Ulfar. " That 
buckler," said he, " Ulfar hath not parted from willingly 5 pursue the 
bearer of it, and if, as 1 dread, he has slain my client through my fe- 
ther's instigation, bring him not before my sight, but slay him instant- 
ly." A part of his followers instantly pursued Spagil, and having 
seized and compelled him to avow his crime, and confess by whomi it 
was prompted, they killed him on the spot, and brought back to Tho- 
rolf the spoils of the unh^^y Ulfar. The disputes concerning the 
inheritance of Ulfar now augmented the dissensions of the settlement. 
It was claimed by the family of Thorbrand, as Ulfar had been his freed 
man, and by Arnkill as his immediate patron and protector. The for- 
mer, however, proved the weaker party; and on having recourse to 
Snorro, received little encouragement to cope with Arnkill: "You 
share only," said the pontiff, " the general lot of the tribe, which, 
while Arnkill lives, must put up with such aggressions unavenged." 
" Most truly spoken," replied the sons of Thorbrand, " nor can we 
complain of thee, Snorro, for refusing to advocate our cause, who art 
so tame and cold in asserting thine own." With these words of re- 
proach, they left the assembly in great discontent. 

Thorolf Baegifot began now to repent having bestowed upon Snorro 
the woods of Krakaness without obtaining the stipulated gratification 
of his resentment. He went to the pontiff and demanded restitution, 
alleging, that he had transferred the woods in loan, not as a gift. But 

Snorro refused to listen to his request, and appealed to the testimony 



of those who witnessed the transaction, that he had received the 
woods in full property. In the warmth of passion, Thorolf now had 
recourse to his son, and proposed to him to renew their natural alU- 
ance, and that the pledge of their friendship should be the union of 
their forces, to recover from Snorro the woods of Krakaness. '« It 
was not for love of me," said Arnkill, " that thou gavest Snorro pos- 
session of these woods ; and although I know he has no just title to 
them, I wiU not enter into feud with the pontiff to gratify thy resent- 
ment by our quarrels." " Thy cowardice," said Thorolfi " rather 
than any other motive, causes thy affected moderation." " Think on 
the matter what thou wUt," said Arnkill, " but I wiU not enter into 
feud with Snorro on that subject." Thus repulsed at every hand, and 
in all the 'agony of impotent fury, Thorolf Baegifot returned to his own 
house. He spoke to no one, partook not of the evening meal, but, 
sitting in silence at the hi^est part of the table, suffered his domes- 
tics to retire to rest without quitting his seat. In the morning he was 
ibund dead in the same place and posture. A message instantly con- 
veyed to Arnkill the news of his father's death. When he came, the 
corpse remained seated in the posture in which Thorolf had expired, 
and the terrified family hinted that he had fallen by the mode of death 
of all others most dreaded by the Icelanders.' Arnkill entered the 
apartment, but in such a manner as to approach the body fronf be- 
hind, and he cautioned the attendants that no one should look upon 
the face of the corpse until the due propitiatory rites were performed. 
It was not without application of force that the corpse could be re- 
moved from the seat which it occupied j the face was then veiled, and 
the customary ceremonies paid to the dead body. This done, Arn- 
kill commanded the wall of the apartment to be broken down behind 
the spot where Thorolf had died, and the corpse being raised up with 
difficulty, and transported through the breach,* was deposited in a 

* Suicidie seems to be indicated. 

» It is still an article of popular superstition in Scotland, that the corpse of a suicide 
ought not to be carried out of the apartment by the door, but lowered through a window, 

3 R 


grave strongly built. But these meet honours, and this grave, how- 
ever fortified, could not appease the restless spirit of Thorolf Baegifoi. 
He appeared in the district by night and day, slew men and cattle, 
and harrowed the country so much by his frequent apparition and mis- 
chievous exploits, that his son Arnkill, on the repeated complaints of 
the inhabitants, resolved to change his place of sepulture. Some op- 
position was threatened by the sons of Thorbrand, who refused to 
permit the corpse to be carried through their domains, until reminded 
by their father, that it was illegal to refuse passage to those who were 
travelling in discharge of a duty imposed by law, and such was the 
burial of the dead. The body of Thorolf was found on opening the 
tomb, but his aspect was fearfiil and grisly to a preternatural degree. 
He was placed on a bier between two strong oxen, which, neverthe- 
less, were worn out by fatigue ere they had transported him many 
miles. Others were substituted in their room, but when they attained 
the summit of a hill, at some distance from the destined place of sepul- 
ture, they became frantic, and, breaking their yokes, rushed down the 
precipice and perished. The corpse, too, became of such ponderous 
weight, that it could by no means be transported any fahher, so that 
Arnkill was fain to consign it to the earth on the ridge of the hill, 
where it lay, and which took its name henceforward fi-om that of Bae- 
gifot. Arnkill caused a mound of immense height to be piled above 
the grave, and Thorolf, during the lifetime of his son, remained quiet 
in his new abode.' 

or conveyed through a breach in the wall. Neglect of this observance is supposed to ex- 
pose the house to be haunted. 

' After the death of Arnkill, Baegifot became again troublesome, and walked forth from 
his tomb to the great terror and damage of the neighbourhood, slaying both herds and 
domestics, and driving the inhabitants from the canton. It was, therefore, resolved to con- 
sume his carcase with fire ; for, like the Hungarian Vampire, he, or some evil demon in 
his stead, made use of his mortal reliques as a vehicle during commission of these enormi- 
ties. The body was found swoln to a huge size, and equalling in size the corpulence of an 
ox. It was transported to the sea-shore with diiEculty, and there burned to ashes. A cow, 
licking some part of these ashes, brought forth the bull Glaeser, by whom Thorodd, his 
master, was slain, as is mentioned in a legend quoted elsewhere in this volume. - See p. 406. 


After the death of Thorolf, Arnkill engaged in various disputes with 
the pontiff Snorro for the recovery of the woods of Krakaness, and 
with the sons of Thorbrand, on account of their old feud. He had 
the better in many skirmishes,, and in many debates before the na- 
tional convention. Nor was Snorro for a length of time more suc- 
cessful in his various efforts to remove this powerful rival. For, al- 
though a priest, he was not in any respect nice in his choice of means 
on such occasions, and practised repeatedly against Arnkill's life by 
various attempts at assassination. At length, however, irritated to the 
highest pitch, by a conversation in which he heard strangers extol the 
power and courage of Arnkill above his own, he resolved to employ 
in his. revenge the sons of Thorbrand. To Thorlef Kimbi, the strong- 
est of these champions, he gave a choice war-axe, and, bidding him 
observe the length of the handle, added, " Yet it will, not reach the 
bead, of Arnkill while making hay at the farm of Ulfar." It must be 
observed}, that Arnkill durst not occupy the farm of Ulfar^, which had 
been so fiercely disputed between him and the sons of Thorbrand, other? 
wise than, by sending labourers. there in the day, and withdrawing them 
before night-faU. In the hay-season, however^ he also employed his 
wains by moon-light to transport the hay from these possessions to his 
own domain. The sons of Thorbrand, embracingthe hint of the pon^ 
tiff, now watched his, motions ; and learning that one moon-light night 
Arnkill had himself accompanied three of his bondsmen for the above 
purpose, they dispatched a messenger to inform Snorro, that " the old 
eagle had taken his flight towards Orligstad." The pontiff instantly 
rose, and, accompanied by nine armed followers, traversed the ice to 
Altifiord, where he joined the party of the sons of Thorbrand, six in 
number. Arnkill, who descried his enemies advancing towards him, 
dispatched his unarmed attendants to his dwelling, to summon his 
servants to his assistance. " I meantime," said he, " will defend my- 
self on the heap of hay, nor will I afford an easy victory to my foe- 
men." But of these messengers one perished in crossing a torrent, 
the other loitered, by the, way. Meantime Arnkill,^ after defending 


himself valiantly, was finally overpowered and slain. Of which sings 
the Scald Thormoda Ulfilson : — 

A noble meal the pontiff strewed 
For the wild eagle's hungry brood, 
A noble corpse hath filled the tomb, 
When valiant Arnkill met his doom. 

Arnkill is regretted by the annalist as a model of the qualities most 
valued in an Icelandic chief. He excelled all in accurate observance 
of ancient rites and customs, was stout-hearted and brave in enter- 
prize, and so prudent and eloquent, that he was always successful in 
the causes which he prosecuted in the popular assemblies — qualities 
which drew upon him the envy that occasioned his death. His se- 
pulchral mound, raised upon the sea-shore, was visible in the time of 
the historian. The property of Arnkill, and the charge of exacting 
vengeance for his blood, passed to females, and hence the duty was 
but indifierently discharged. Thorolf Kimbi, who had struck the 
deadly blow, was banished for three years from Iceland, a poor atone- 
ment for the slaughter of such a champion. And hence, says the an- 
nalist, it was enacted that neither a woman, nor a youth under sixteen 
years, should prosecute in a cause for avenging of blood. Arnkill was 
slain in the year 993. 

Omitting a desperate feud between the sons of Thorbrand and those 
of Thorlak, we shall only notice the accuracy with which the compen- 
satio injuriarum was weighed in the Comitia of Helgafels, when the 
quarrel was accommodated. Every disaster which had been sustained 
by the one party was weighed against one of a similar nature inflicted 
upon the other. Life for Hfe, wound for wound, eye for eye, and tooth 
for tooth, were adjusted with the utmost precision, and the balance 
arising in favour of one of the contending septs was valued and atoned 
for by a pecuniary mulct. This compact, ^hich was followed by an 
internal peace of unusual duration, took place in the year 999. 


In the year lOOO, the Christian religion was introduced into Iceland 
by her apostles Gizur the White, and Hialto.' Snorro became a con- 
vert, and lent the greatest assistance in extending the new faith.* It is 
not easy to see what motive the priest of Thor could have for exchan- 
ging a worship, over which he himself presided, for a new religion, 
since the unprincipled cunning and selfish character of Snorro seem to 
deprive hijn of the credit of having acted upon conviction. He pro- 
cured the erection, nevertheless, of a Christian church at Helgafels, 
upon the scite of the temple dedicated to Thor, and acted in every 
other respect as a sincere convert. As this was the third attempt to 
preach Christianity in the island, it seems probable that the good sense 
of the Icelanders had already rejected in secret the superstitions of 
paganism, and that the worship of Thor had declined in the estima- 
tion of the people. 

The same year is assigned as the date of a very curious legend, A 
ship from Iceland chanced to winter in a haven near Helgafels. 
Among the passengers was a woman named Thorgunna, a native of 
the Hebrides, who was reported by the sailors to possess garments and 
household furniture of a fashion far surpassing those used in Iceland, 

' Hialto was an Icelander by birth, but had been banished fi)r composing a song in dis- 
paragement of the heathen deities, of which the following is a literal version :— 

I will not serve an idol log 

For one, I care not which, 
But either Odin is a dog. 

Or Freya is a bitch. 

Historia Ecclesiastica Islandia, vol. I. p- 51. 

* We learn from another authority that the heathen priests and nobles held a public 
conference with the Christian missionaries in the general assembly of the tribes of Iceland. 
While the argument was yet in discussion, news arrived that an eruption of lava was lay- 
ing waste a neighbouring district. " It is the effect of the wrath of our offended deities," 
exclaimed the worshippers of Odin and Thor. «• And what excited their wrath," answered 
Snorro, the hero of the Eyrbiggia-Saga, though still himself a heathen, " what excited 
their wrath when these rocks of lava, which we ourselves tread, were themselves a glow- 
ing torrent?" This ready answer silenced the advocates of heathenism.— flM^ona Eccle- 
siastica Islandia, vol. I, p> 62. 


Thurida, sister of the pontiff Snorro, and wife of Thorodd, a woman 
of a vain and covetous disposition, attracted by these reports, made a« 
visit to the stranger, but could not prevail upon her to display her 
treasures. Persisting, hawever, in her enquiries, she pressed Thor-. 
gunna to take up her abode at the house of Thorodd. The Hebrideau 
reluctantly assented, but added, that as she could labour at every, usual 
kind of domestic industry, she trusted in- that manner ta discharge 
the obligation she might lie under to the family, without giving any* 
part of her property, in recompense of her lodging. As Thurida con- 
tinued to urge her request, Thorgunna accompanied her to.Froda, the 
house of Thorodd, where the seamen deposited a huge chest and ca- 
binet;, containing the property of her new guest, which Thurida view- 
ed with curious and covetous eyes. So soon as they had pointed out 
to Thorgunna the place assigned for her bed, she opened the chest, 
and took forth such an embroidered bed coverlid, and such a splendid 
and complete sefc of tapestry hangings, and bed furniture of English 
linen, interwoven with silk, as had never been seen in Iceland. " Sell 
to me," said the covetous matron, '* this fair bed furniture." — ". Be- 
lieve me," answered Thorgunna, " I will not lie upon straw in order to 
feed thy pomp and vanity j" an answer which so greatly displeased Thu- 
rida, that she never again repeated her request. Thorgunna, to whose 
character subsequent events added something of a mystical, solemnity,,^ 
is described as being a woman of a tall and stately appearance, of a 
dark complexion, and having a profusion of black hair. She was ad- 
vanced in age 5 assiduous in the labours of the f?eld and of the loom • 
a faithful attendant upon divine worship ; grave, silent, and; solemn 
in domestic society. She had little intercourse with the household of 
Thorodd, and shewed particular dislike to two of its inmates. These 
were Thorer, who, having lost a leg in the skirmish between Thorbiorn 
and Thorarin the Black, was called Thorer- Widlegr (wooden-leg,) from 
the substitute he had adopted ; and his wife, Thorgrima, called Galldra- 
Kinna (wicked sorceress,) from her supposed skill in enchantmentsi. 


Kiartan, the son of Thurida,' a boy of excellent promise, was the only 
person of the household to whom Thorgunna shewed much affec- 
tion ; and she was much vexed at times when the childish petulance of 
the boy made an indifferent return to her kindness. 

After this mysterious stranger had dwelt at Froda for some time, 
and while she was labouring in the hay-field with other members of 
the family, a sudden cloud from the northern mountain led Thorodd 
to anticipate a heavy shower. He instantly commanded the hay- 
workers to pile up in ricks the quantity which each had been engaged 

* He also passed for the son of Thorodd, but this was not so certain. Biorn, a stran- 
ger, who had acquired the name of the Hero of Bradwick, was assiduous in his visits to 
Thurida in the year preceding the birth of Kiartan. The jealousy of the husband was 
awakened, «nd he employed a sorceress to raise a nocturnal tempest to destroy Biorn on 
his way to his mistress. This attempt proved in rain as well as several others to take his 
life by violence. At length, while Snorro was about to surround Biorn with a body of 
horse, conceiving his own honour interested in that of his sister Thurida, the champion 
perceiving their purpose, suddenly seized on the pontiiF, and, holding a dagger to his 
throat, compelled him to a treaty, by which Snorro agreed to withdraw his followers ; 
and Biorn, on his part, consented to remove all further stain upon Thurida's reputation 
by departing from Iceland. Biorn kept his word, and for a long time was not heard of. 
Many years afterwards, however, an Icelandic vessel, while on the western coast of Ice- 
land, was surprized by a storm, which drove her far into the Atlantic ocean. After sail- 
ing far to the west they reached an unknown land, occupied by a savage people, who im- 
mediately seized on the merchants and crew of the vessel, and began to 'dispute whether 
they should reduce them to a state of slavery, or kill them on the spot. At this moment 
there came up a body of horsemen, headed by a leader of eminent stature and distin- 
guished appearance, whom the assembled natives regarded as their chief. He addressed 
the merchants in the Norse language, and learning that they came from Iceland, made 
many enquiries concerning the pontiff Snorro and his sister Thurida, but especially concern- 
ing her son Kiartan. Being satisfied on these points, he intimated his intention to set them 
at liberty, cautioning them never to return to that country, as the inhabitants were hostile 
to strangers. The merchants ventured to enquire the name of their benefactor. This he re- 
fused to communicate, lest his Icelandic friends coming to seek him, should encounter the 
danger from which his present guests had been delivered, without his having the same 
power to protect them ; for in this region there were chiefs, he said, more powerful than he 
himself. When they were about to depart, he requested them to present, on his behalf, a 
sword to Kiartan, and a ring to Thurida, as coming from one who loved the sister of Snorro 
better than the pontiff himself. These words were supposed to indicate Biorn, the Hero of 
Bradwick ; and the whole story serves to show that the Icelanders had some obscure tra- 
dition, either founded on conjecture, or accidental intercourse, concerning the existence 
of fl continent to the westward of the Atlantic. 


in turning to the wind. It was afterwards remembered that Thor- 
gunna did not pile up her portion, but left it spread on the field. The 
cloud approached with great celerity, and sunk so heavily around the 
farm, that it was scarce possible to see beyond the limits of the field. 
A heavy shower next descended, and so soon as the clouds broke 
away, and the sun shone forth, it was observed that it had rained, 
blood. That which fell upon the ricks of the other labourers soon dried 
up, but what Thorgunna had wrought upon remained wet with gore. 
The unfortunate Hebridean, appalled at the omen, betook herself to 
her bed, and was seized with a mortal illness. On the approach of 
death she summoned Thorodd, her landlord, and entrusted to him the 
disposition of her property and eflfects. " Let my body," said she, 
" be transported to Skalholt, for my mind presages that in that place 
shall be founded the most distinguished church in this island. Let my 
golden ring be given to the priests who shall celebrate my obsequies, 
and do thou indemnify thyself for the funeral charges out of my re* 
maining effects. To thy wife I bequeath my purple mantle, in order 
that, by this sacrifice to her avarice, I may secure the right of dispo- 
sing of the rest of my effects at my own pleasure. But for my bed, 
with its coverings, hangings, and furniture, I entreat they may be all 
consigned to the flames. I do not desire this, because I envy any one 
the possession of these things after my death, but because I wish those 
evils to be avoided which I plainly foresee will happen if my will be 
altered in the slightest particular." Thorodd promised faithfully ta 
execute this extraordinary testament in the most pointed manner. 
Accordingly, so soon as Thorgunna was dead, her faithful executor 
prepared a pile for burning her splendid bed. Thurida entered, and 
learned with anger and astonishment the purpose of these preparations. 
To the remonstrances of her husband she answered, that the menaces 
of future danger were only caused by Thorgunna's selfish envy, who 
did not wish any one should enjoy her treasures after her decease. 
Then, finding Thorodd inaccessible to argument, she had recourse to 
caresses and blandishments, and at length extorted permission to se- 


parate, from the rest of the bed-furniture, the tapestried curtains and 
coverlid ; the rest was consigned to the flames, in obedience to the 
will of the testator. The body of Thorgunna being wrapt in new linen, 
and placed in a coffin, was next to be transported through the preci-' 
pices and morasses of Iceland to the distant district she had assigned 
for her place of sepulture. A remarkable incident occurred on the 
way. The transporters of the body arrived at evening late, weary, 
and drenched with rain, in a house called Nether-Ness, where the nig- 
gard hospitality of the proprietor only afforded them house-room, with- 
out any supply of food or fuel. But so soon as they entered, an un- 
wonted noise was heard in the kitchen of the mansion, and the figure 
of a woman, soon recognized to be the deceased Thorgunna, was seen 
busily employed in preparing victuals. Their inhospitable landlord 
being made acquainted with this frightful circumstance, readily agreed 
to supply every refreshment which was necessary, on which the vision 
instantly disappeared. The apparition having become public, they had 
no reason to ask twice for hospitality, as they proceeded on their jour- 
ney, and arrived safely at Skalholt, where Thorgunna, with all due ce- 
remonies of religion, was deposited quietly in the grave. But the con- 
sequences of the breach of her testament were felt severely at Froda. 
The author, for the better understanding of the prodigies which 
happened^ describes the manner of living at Froda ; a simple and pa- 
triarchal structure, built according to the fashion used by the wealthy 
among the Icelanders. The apartment was very large, and a part board- 
ed off contained the beds of the family. On either side was a sort of 
store-room, one of which contained meal, the other dried fish. Every 
evening large fires were lighted in this apartment, for dressing the vic- 
tuals ; and the domestics of the family usually sat around them for a 
considerable time, until supper was prepared. On the night when the 
conductors of Thorgunna's funeral returned to Froda, there appeared, 
visible to all who were present, a meteor, or spectral appearance, re- 
sembling a half-moon, which glided around the boarded walls of the 

s s 


mansion in an opposite direction to the course of the sun,' and con- 
tinued to perform its revolutions until the domestics retired to rest. 
This apparition was renewed every night during a whole week, and 
was pronounced by Thorer with the wooden leg, to presage pestilence 
or mortality. Shortly after a herdsman shewed signs of mental alien- 
ation, and gave various indications of having sustained the perse- 
cution of evil demons. This man was found dead in his bed one morn- 
ing, and then commenced a scene of ghost-seeing unheard of in the 
annals of superstition. The first victim was Thorer, who had presaged 
the calamity. Going out of doors one evening, he was grappled by 
the spectre of the deceased shepherd as he attempted to re-enter the 
house. His wooden leg stood him in poor stead in such an encoun- 
ter ; he was hurled to the earth, and so fearfully beaten, that he died 
in consequence of the bruises. Thorer was no sooner dead, than his 
ghost associated itself to that of the herdsman, and joined him in pur- 
suing and assaulting the inhabitants of Froda. Meantime an infec- 
tious disorder spread fast among them, and several of the bondsmen 
died one after the other. Strange portents were seen within doors, 
the meal was displaced and mingled, and the dried fish flung about in 
a most alarming manner, without any visible agent. At length, while 
the servants were forming their evening circle round the fire, a spec- 
tre, resembling the head of a seal-fish, was seen to emerge out of the 
pavement of the room, bending its round black eyes fall on the tapes- 
tried bed-curtains of Thorgunna. Some of the domestics ventured to 
strike at this figure, but, far from giving way, it rather erected itself 

• This is an important circumstance. Whatever revolved with the sun was reckoned 
a fortunate movement. Thus, the highlanders in making the deasil, a sort of benediction 
which they bestow in walking round the party to be propitiated, always observe the course 
of the sun. And witches, on the other hand, made their circles, widdershins, as Scottish 
dialect expresses it, {bidder-sins Germ.) or in opposition to the course of the orb of 
light. See p. 4'00. The apparition of the half-moon reminds us of Hecate, of the my- 
steries of Isis in Apuleius, and of a passage in Lucian's " Lears," where the moon is for- 
ced down by magical invocation. 


further from the floor, until Kiartan, who seemed to have a natural 
predominance over these supernatural prodigies, seizing a huge forge- 
hammer, struck the seal repeatedly on the head, and compelled it to 
disappear, forcing it down into the floor, as if he had driven a stake 
into the earth. This prodigy was found to intimate a new. calartiity. 
Thorodd, the master of the family, had some time before set forth on 
a voyage to bring home a cargo of dried fish ; but, in crossing the ri- 
ver Enna, the skifl^ was lost, and he perished with the servants who 
attended him. A solemn funeral feast was held at Froda, in memory 
of the deceased, when, to the astonishment of the guests, the appari- 
tion of Thorodd and his followers seemed to enter the apartment 
dropping with water. Yet this vision excited less horror than might 
have been expected ; for the Icelanders, though nominally Christians, 
retained, among other pagan superstitions, a belief that the spectres 
of such drowned persons as had been favourably received by the god- 
dess Rana, were wont to shew themselves at their funeral feast. They 
saw, therefore, with some composure, Thorodd, and his <iripping atten- 
dants, plant themselves by the fire, from which all mortal guests re- 
treated to make room for them. It was supposed this apparition would 
not be renewed after conclusion of the festival. But so far were their 
hopes disappointed, that, so soon as the mourning guests had depart- 
ed, the fires being lighted, Thorodd and his comrades marched in on 
one side, drenched as before with V,ater ; on the other entered Thorer, 
heading all those who had died in the pestilence, and who appeared 
covered with dust. Both parties seized the seats by the fire, while the 
half-frozen and terrified domestics spent the night without either light 
or warmth. The same phaenomenon took place the next night, though 
the fires had been lighted in a separate house, and at length Kiartan 
was obliged to compound matters with the spectres by kindling a large 
fire for them in the principal apartment, and one for the family and 
domestics in a separate hut. This prodigy continued during the whole 
feast of Jol 5. other portents also happened to appal this devoted family, 
the contagious disease again broke forth, and when any one fell a sa- 


crifice to it, his spectre was sure to join the troop of persecutors, who 
had now almost full possession of the mansion of Froda» Thorgrima 
Galldrakinna, wife of Thorer, was one of these victims, and, in short, 
of thirty servants belonging to the household, eighteen died, and five 
fled for fear of the apparitions, so that only seven remained in the ser- 
vice of Kiartan. 

Kiartan had now recourse to the advice of his maternal uncle Snorro, 
in consequence of whose counsel, what will perhaps appear surprising 
to the reader, judicial measures were instituted against the spectres. 
A Christian priest was, however, associated with Thordo Kausa, son of 
Snorro, and with Kiartan, to superintend and sanctify the proceedings. 
The inhabitants were regularly summoned to attend upon the inquest, 
as in a cause between man and man, and the assembly was constituted 
before the gate of the mansion, just as the spectres had assumed theu- 
wonted station by the fire. Kiartan boldly ventured to approach them, 
and snatching a brand from the fire, he commanded the tapestry be- 
longing to Thorgunna to be carried out of doors, set fire to it, and re- 
duced it to ashes with all the other ornaments of her bedi which had 
been so inconsiderately preserved at the request of Thurida. A tribu- 
nal being then constituted with the usual legal solemnities,' a charge 
was preferred by Kiartan against Thorer with the wooden leg, by 
Thordo Kausa against Thorodd, and by others chosen as accusers 
against the individual spectres present, accusing them of molesting the 
mansion, and introducing death and disease among its inhabitants. All 
the solemn rites of judicial procedure were observed on this singular 
occasion ; evidence was adduced, charges given, and the cause for- 
mally decided. It does not appear that the ghosts put themselves on 
their defence, so that sentence of ejectment was pronounced against 
them individually in due and legal form. When Thorer heard the 

• It does not appear that the judges in Iceland were a separate order. On the con- 
trary, every tribunal appears to have been constituted by a selection, ex astantibus, and so 
far every court of justice resembled a jury chosen to decide a special cause, and dissolved 
when that task was performed. 


judgment, he arose, and saying, " I have sate while it was lawful for me 
to do so," left the apartment by the door opposite to that at which the 
judicial assembly was constituted. Each of the spectres, as they heard 
their individual sentence, left the place, saying something which indi- 
cated their unwillingness to depart, until Thorodd himself was solemnly 
appointed to depart. " We have here no longer," said he, '* a peace- 
ful dwelling, therefore will we remove." Kiartan then entered the 
hall with his followers, and the priest with holy water, and celebration 
of a solemn mass, completed the conquest over the goblins, which had 
been commenced by the power and authority of the Icelandic law. 
We have perhaps dwelt too long on this legend, but it is the only in- 
stance in which the ordinary administration of justice has been suppo- 
sed to extend over the inhabitants of another world, and in which the 
business of ekorcising spirits is transferred from the priest to the judge. 
Joined to the various instances in the Eyrbiggia-Saga, of a certain re- 
gard to the forms of jurisprudence, even amid the wildest of their 
feuds, it seems to argue the extraordinary influence ascribed to muni- 
cipal law by this singular people, even in the very earliest state of so- 

Snorro, who upon the whole may be considered as the hero of the 
history, was led into fresh turmoils and litigation by the death of his 
brother-in-law, Styr, slain by the inhabitants of a neighbouring district, 
for which slaughter neither Snorro's eloquence in the popular assem- 
bly, nor his power in the field, were able to procure adequate ven- 
geance. He came off with more credit in his feud with Ospakar. 

This Ospakar, a man of huge stature, and great personal strength, 
surrounded always by satelHtes of the same description, differed from 
the other Icelandic chiefs, in the open disregard which he professed 
for the laws of property. He kept a stout vessel, always ready for pi- 
ratical excursions, and surrounded his house with a mound so as to con- 
vert it into a kind of citadel. It happened that a whale had been cast 
ashore upon a part of the island, where the law assigned a part of it 


in property to the pontiff Snorro, and part to his neighbour Thorer. 
While, however, Thorer, and Alf'ar, called the Little, steward of the 
pontiffj were engaged in making tl^e partition, Ospakar appeared at the 
head of his armed followers, and, after stunning Thorer with a blow 
of his war-axe, appropriated the whole whale to himself. Skirmish 
followed skirmish, arid blood was spilled on both sides, until Snorro 
bestirred himself in invoking the justice of the Comitia against the 
lawless Ospakar, and obtained a sentence condemning him and his fol- 
lowers to banishment. They submitted to this doom for a time, and 
Snorro caused the effects of Ospakar to be divided amongst those who 
had sustained the greatest losses by his rapine, of which spoil Thorer 
and Alfar obtained the larger share. It was, however, a gift fatal to 
the former. Ospakar, who still followed his piratical profession, made 
a sudden descent on the coast, and seizing Thorer, put him to death 
before his own door. Alfar escaping with difficulty, fled to the pro- 
tection of Snorro ; and Ospakar, in defiance of the sentence pronoun- 
ced against him, resumed possession of his fortified mansion, a,nd fur- 
nished it with provisions to stand a siege. Snorro proceeded on this 
occasion with his characteristic caution. It has been seen that an or- 
dinary hay-stack was accounted a strong post in Icelandic tactics, but 
a house surrounded with a bank of earth was a much more serious for- 
tification ; nor did Snorro deem it safe to attempt storming the pirate's 
strong- hold, till he had assembled his most chosen friends and satel- 
lites. Amongst these was Thrandar, who, before assuming the Chris- 
tian faith, had been a Bersarkar, and although he had lost the super- 
na,tural strength exercised by such persons, which the author states to 
have been the usual consequence of baptism, he nevertheless'retained 
his natural vigour and prowess, which were very formidable. On the 
slightest hint from Snorro's messenger, he attended the pontiff, armed 
as one who has ,a dangerous task in hand. Snorro's other allies being 
assembled, they made a hasty march to the fortress of Ospakar, and 
summoned him to surrender at discretion. The robber having refused 


compliance, the mound was valiantly assaulted on the one part, and 
stoutly defended on the other. Thrandar, by striking the steel of his 
battle-axe into the top of the rampart, actually scaled it, raising him- 
self by the handle, and slew Rafen, a pirate of great fame, who as- 
saulted him upon his ascent. Ospakar himself fell by a stroke" of a 
lance, and his followers surrendered upon the sole condition of esca- 
ping with life and limb. On this conflict, the Scald Thormodar conu 
posed his poem called Rafh-maal, or the Death of Rafen, 

The birds of Odin found their prey, 

When slaughter raged in Bitra's bay ; 

There lay extended on the vale. 

The three fierce plunderers of the whale. 

And all his toils of rapine past. 

Grim Rafen found repose at last. 

The annals proceed to detail the remarkable legend, elsewhere men- 
'tioned in these Antiquities, concerning the death of Thorodd by the 
bull called Glsesir ; (see p. 406,) and, finally, they inform us of the 
death of Snorro, during the winter after the death of St Olave, leaving 
a powerful and flourishing family to support the fame which he had 
acquired. He was buried in the church at Tunga, which he himself 
had founded, but when it was removed his bones were transported to 
its new site. From these reliques the celebrated Snorro seemed to 
have been a man of ordinary stature j nor, indeed, does it any where 
appear that he attained the ascendency which he possessed in the is- 
land by personal strength, but rather by that subtlety of spirit which 
he displayed in conducting his enterprizes, and by his address and elo- 
quence in the popular assembly. Although often engaged in feuds, 
his valour seems to have been duly mingled with discretion, and the 
deeds of war, for which he was celebrated in poetry, were usually 
achieved by the strong arm of some ally or satellite. He was so equal 


in his demeanour, that it was difficult to observe what pleased or dis- 
pleased him ; slow and cautious in taking revenge, but tenacious and 
implacable in pursuing it j an excellent counsellor to his friends, but 
skilful in inducing his enemies to take measures which afterwards pro- 
ved fatal to them. In fine, as the ecclesiastical historian of Iceland 
sums up his attributes, if Snorro were not a good and pious man, he 
was to be esteemed wise, prudent, and sagacious, beyond the usual 
pitch of humanity. This pontiff, or prefect, is mentioned with great dis- 
tinction in other Icelandic chronicles, as well as in the Eyrbiggia-Saga. 
In the Landnama Bok, part II, chapter 13, many of the foregoing in- 
cidents are alluded to, and also in the Laxd^la-Saga, and the Saga 
of Oluf Tryggason. 

That such a character, partaking more of the jurisconsult or states- 
man than of the warrior, should have risen so high in such an early 
period, argues the preference which the Icelanders already assigned 
to mental superiority over the rude attributes of strength and courage, 
and furnishes another proof of the early civilization of this extraordi- 
nary commonwealth. In other respects the character of SnOrro was 
altogether unamiable, and blended with strong traits of the savage. 
Cunning and subtlety supplied the place of wisdom, and an earnest 
and uniform attention to his own interests often, as in the dispute be- 
tween Arnkill and his father, superseded the ties of blood and friend- 
ship. Still, however, his selfish conduct seems to have been of more 
service to the settlement in which he swayed, than would have been 
that of a generous and high-spirited warrior who acted from the im- 
pulse of momentary passion. His ascendency, though acquired by 
means equally unworthy of praise, seems, in his petty canton, to have 
had the effect produced by that of Augustus in the Eoman Empire ; 
although, more guiltless than the emperor of the world, the pontiff of 
Helgafels neither subverted the liberties of his country, nor bequeath, 
ed the domination he had acquired to a tyrannical successor. His 
sons succeeded to the paternal property, but not to the political power 


of their father, and his possessions being equally divided amongst 
them, they founded several families, long respected in Iceland as de- 
scendants of the pontiff Sriorro. 


October, 1813. 



[As this is an Antiquary's Book, it has not been thought necessary to set down mere pro- 
vincial and^rthographical variations of modern words, as every reader may, be. presu- 
med to be su£Bciently acquainted with these, to render such minuteness unnecessary. 
Etymologies, and more extended definitions, have only been attempted, where it was 
supposed that such were particularly wanted, as being desiderata in that very curious 
branch of philology.] ' ' i '. 

Abie, abide the consequences ; suffer for, 

Abone, ahoven; ahoon; above, 

Acht, eight. ; . ;. 

Acht, aucht, aght, keeping. 

Air, e'arhf. ;.!•,. 

Air, oar. 

Aither, either. 

Algate, at all events. 

Als, as. 

Alswa, thus. 

Ar, ere; till now, ,:. ^ ■ 

At, to. 

Ather, other. 

Atour, out over ; besides s moreover. 

Attend, expect. 

Ava, of all. 

Bade, abode. 
Bald, bold. 

Bane, bone; real-bane, royal bone; ivory. 

Bane, bayn, boun ; ready. 

Bargain, battle. 

Barn, child. 

Beek, bast. 

Beet, add to. 


Ben, towards the inner apartment. 


Betaught, bequeathed. 

Bierdly, boardh/; hospitable; well Jed and 

Biseke, beseech. 
Bla, blow. 
Bla, blae, blue. 
Black-mail, tribute paid to freebooters Jbr 

Blaikened, blanched ; Jaded in colour. 
Blenkes, blinks, Ranees, 




Bluid-bath, blood-bath ; a Danish denomina- 
tion for a battle. 

Bogh, hough. 

Bold, gentle. 

Bolt, arrow. 

Bone, boon. 

Bonny, beautiful ; fair. In the Gaelic, ban 
(in the oblique cases bhdn, pronounced 
van) signifies white, Jair ; as does t^e Swe- 
dish vaen, and venne, and the Welsh 
gwin. Hence Ven-us; Faw-wr, the Gothic 
Apollo, &c. &c. The country of the Goths 
was called Vanaheimr, i. e. the home of 
the Jair people. 

Bot, but, except; without; the outer cham- 
ber ; towards the door of the house from, 

Bouk, bulk; body* 

Bounte, courage; Worth. 

'Bowdei>,full ; swollen. 

Bowster, bolster ; cushion ; bed. 

Braw, brave ; fne^ 

Bremmed, chafed; grumbled; murmured^ 
like the roaring of the sea. Thisi term is 
found in all the Gothic dialects,, as well as 
in the Greek. In the Celtic dialects, it, is 
now applied to a very undignified kind of 

Brim, sea. 

'Brocks, fragments ; waste., 

Brynie, brunie, a cuirass. 

BuUering, boiling; bubbling. 

Burd-alayne, single ; unmarried. 

Burgeoun, bud. 

Burn, brook. 

Busk, dress. 

Byggett, biggit ; built. 

Bygle, bigly; large. 

Child, young gentleman ; candidate for 

Claes, clothes. 
Clappit, patted. 
Clar, clear. 

Claverers, idle talkers. 
Cop, cup. 
Cures, cares. 

Dane-gelt, security money exacted hy the 

Danish marauders. 
Dannered, sauntered. 
Debate, contend. 
Dele, part. 

Dent, gap; indentation. 
Darn, secret. 
Deval, stay ; cease. 
Dight, dressed. 

Dinnled, made a tremulous jmgUng noise. 
Dour, hard. 
Dow, dove. 
Dow, can ; is able. 
To Dow, to thrive ; to be strong. This is the 

meaning of the term do in the last instance, 

in the common salutation, " How do you 

Dowie, little doll; infant. 
Dowie, dowy, doleful. 
Downa, cannot. 
Dree, siiffer. 
Dreigh, tedious; slow. 
Dreri, dreary. 
Drogh, drew. 
Dugits, pieces. 
Dule, grief. 
Dunt, blow. 
Dwell, delay ; stay. 
Dyn, din ; noise. 
Dwergh, dwarf. 



Eard, earth. 

Eighen, eyes, 

Ene, eyen, eyes. 

Ernes, eagles. 

Err, art. 

Errand, business. 

Ettin, a Giant ; in Islandic JatUan, and Jo- 
tun ; the J being sounded as our Y con- 
sonant. This word is compounded oi Jo, 
Jau, Jao, Jah, Ju, (in Gaelic vocat. Dhia, 
pronounced Yhia,) which in so many Ori- 
ental, Gothic, Celtic, and Slavonic dia- 
lects, signifies Gou; and Tun, or Dun, 
signifying, in a secondary sense, Man ; so 
that Ettin signifies a God-man, or Demi- 
god; a mixed breed, as are all the " ^t- 
naei fratres," between the Sons of God, 
and the Daughters of Men. — I have never 
met with any good derivation of this word. 

Ettled, aimed i attempted, 

Everilka, each. 

Fa, n. s. ^aU ; luck ; fortune. 

Fa, V. get. 



Fang, take. 

Far, go. 

Fard, vient. 

Fe, fee, cattle. 

Fele, fiel, many. 

Fere, equal; in fere, together. 

Ferly, strange. 

Fin, fine; the original meaning of which was 

white; fair. v 
Fode, man. 
Forby, near by.. 
Fot'egain, against ; to meet. 

Forleet, let go. 

Yorlof, furlotii. 

Forloren, lost. 

Found, go. 

Fleys, affrights. 


Fre, iuoman ; lady. 

Fremmed, strange. 



Fwce, Jared ; went; drove in a carriage, 

Ga, gae, gang, go. 

Gaed, went. 

Gaist, ghost. 

Gate, way; a' gate, in all places. 

Ghess, guess. 

Glaive, sword. 

Glent, sprung. 

Glewmen, glee-men, 

Goud, gold, 

Gowk, euekow. 

Grat, gret, wept. 

Gre, renown. 

Greened, longed. 

Grim, gram, angry. 

Grounden, sharp. 

Gude, brave ; gude-brither, brother-in-law. 

Haif, have. 

Hailsed, hailed; greeted. 

Hamewart, homeward. • 

Hams, brains. 

Havrel, halfwitted. 

Haw, lead-coloured; lividly pale, 

He'al, conceal) 

Hecht, promised. 

Hen-bawks, hen-roost. 

Hende, gentle. 



Hent, took. 

Het, hot. 

Hew, hewed. 

Hight, was called. 

Howk, dig. 

Hyn, hence s straight Jrom one place to an- 

Husbande, a villain, or agricultural bond- 
man qfthejirst class. , ' 

Hy the, thicket ; heath, nxihere a tuood has once 

Ilka, each. 

Jimp, slender. 

Kepe, kep, receive; catch. 
Kepe, attention. 

Kempis, kempery-men, champions. 
Kemp, V. to contend or strive Jbr mastery. 
Klepe, clepe, call. 

Knaves, boys ; servants ; knave-bairn, man- 
Knife, dirk ; dagger. 
Knock, small pointed hill. 
Know, knoll. 
Kumli, comely. 
Kythed, made to appear ; appeared. 

Laif, rest. ' 

'Lsk&y,\dii\h\y, loathsome ; ugly. ' , 

Laigli, law. ;, ■ ' 

Lave, rest ; 'what is left. 

Lee, peace / quiet. 

Lea', leave, 

Lef'e, dear. 

Ijele, loyal; true ; Jaithful. 

Lemraan, lover; mistress. 

Lev, conceal. 

Leve, dear. 

Leugh, laughed. 

Liggs, lies. 

Ling, line. 

Lippen, rely upon ; trusTto. 

Lofsum, lovely. 

JjOor, liefer; rather. ■ ^ ■ *■ 

Loundringi beatingi ;tKr ashing ; thiiiacMt^. 

Lown, quiet. 

Luf, love^ ' 

Lykes, bodies. 

Lyle, little; a North English word. 

Lyst, joy ; desire ; pleasure. 

Lyth, listen to. 

Ma, mae, more. 

Ma, v. may. 

Macht, might. 

Malese, uneasiness ; tfovble, 

Man, vassal; servant ; husband. 

Manhede, manhood. 

Marrow, mate; match. 

Mask, mash. 

May, maid. 

Mekyll, mickle ; large; much. 

Mell, mix with. 

Menevair,^ne martin's Jkr. 

Menye, Menie, retinue ; train ; attendants,' 
The word means originally a power, or 
Jbrce ; as in England they say a power of 
people; a power of fine ladies, &c. ' ft is 
the same radically as the English many, 
which referred at first to power, not to 
numbers ; and is of the same origin with 
the English " with might and main ; by 
main force, &c." So the Greek- fiim, the ■ 
Latin magnus, and mcenia, the English, 
man, &c. In many languages, (as in the 
Greek a-s^us) the word which indicates 



many, originally implied force, or power, 
which men naturally adopted before lan- 
guage had made such progress among 
them as to contain terms of distinct and 
definite numeration. 

Moni, inony; many. 

Mools, mould; earth. 

Mind, remember. 

Mote, mought ; might. 

Mow, mows ; game ; play. 

Mermayi mermaid. 

Merry , renowned } famous ; merry men, fo- 

In the old Teutonic Romance of " Die 

^neidtj?' Queen Dido, as in Virgil, af- 

. ter hearing the "Tale of Troy Divine," 

lay all night restless in her bed ; at last, 

Nach der mugesten hanen crat 

Rechte nach der tagrat 

Da gelag vrowe Dydo '^ 

Nu quam iz also '■ 

Das ir das ouge zu quam 

Ir deckelachen sie nam 

Under ir arme vaste , 

Ir getrovmet von dem gaste ' P 

Sie geduchte das is were 

Eneas der mere, &c. 

which in characteristic Scottish would run 
thus: , •. ■ 

Quhan cokkis maist had. done to crawy 
Richt als the day bigan to daw, 
, Tho Lady Dydb bed. 
Till hyr it happinit in sted. 
That slepe vpon hir eyen cam. 
The couverlet bilyf scho nam 

Undir hir armis ferly fest ; ' 

Hir swevenit tho of hir gest ; 
Scho wenit, wele I wate, it nas 
. Nane bot the mery Eneas, &c. 

In the old German, mar, mare, mer, mere, 
&c. signify great, and thence renowned, 
famous, answering to the Latin mactus. 
The Welsh mawr, and the Gaelic m6r, sig- 
nify great. The word is a compound of 
mo, ma, or mu, and ar or er, all haying the 
same meaning. The Sanscrit mha,' Scot- 
tish and Northern ma and :mae,'. English 
and Teutonic mo, and the' Gaelic compa- 
rative mu bear the same import. In Gae- 
lic mha implies goorf; but goorf, great, and 
strong, were once synonymous terms. 

Nagates, nonmse. 

Nam, took, 

Nas, ne was ; was not, 

Neghed, nighed; approached. 


Ogayn, again, 

Olyfe, alive. < .i 

Omell, among. 

Onhap, unhapj misfortune. 

Op, up, 

Ouks, weeks.^ ' • 

Oys,' grandi^ildren. 

Oxter, the arm-pit. ■. 

Perry, pearls. 

Pilche, peltz ijiir mantle. 

Press, crowd; throng. 

Prest, ready. 

Prigget, importuned; intreated' 



Proud, gentle. 
Pryse, price ; value, 

Quailed, quelled; made to die aiusay ; died 

Bair, roar. 

Baught, reached. 

Real, royal; real bane, imry. 

Bedd, clear ; extricate. 

Bede, speech ; advice. 

Bede-tnan, counsellor. 

Beek, reke; smoke. 

Beekit, readied. 

Benyies, reins of a bridle. 

Bievers, robbers. 

Booses, ruses ; praises ; boasts of. 

Bope, roar ; call aloudt 

Sagh, sa'vo. 

Saght, peace. 

Sakeless, causeless ; innocent. 

Sar, sore. 

Sark, shirt ; shift. 

Scoug, shelter. 

Scouts, vagabonds. The term in Scotland 
is now applied to worthless women. This 
is the real origin of the denomination of 
Scythians, Scots, &c. A Highlander would 
knock down a man' who, speaking his own 
language, called him a Scot : he calls him- 
self Gaelfi. e. ajair-complexioned man, 

Se, see. 

Sely, blessed. 

Selcouth, strange ; rare. 

Ser, serve, 

Ser, several; many. 

Sets, becomes. 

Shane, shone. 

Shaw, wood} grove. 

Sheen, shoon ; shoes. 

Shemrand, sparkling ; glittering. 

Sho, she. 

Sickerly, securely ; certainly. 

Sicklike, like as, 

Sindle, seldom. 

Sith, time ; since. 

Skap, bee-hive. 

Skuggy, shady. 

Skynked, skiaked ; poured out liquor. 

Slike, (Dan. slige,) the same as sicklike. 

Slot, people ; relinue ; train qf^foUoiuers ; in 
the Gaelic sliochd, being the prefix s, and 
the Gothic liod, lioth, hut, leute, &c. peo- 
ple. This word is left umexplained in 
Barbour's " Bruce." 

Slowmand, slumbering, 

Smate, smote, 

Snell, quick. 

So, as. 

Son, sun. 

Sondred, sundered; separated. 

Speer, ask. 

Sprent, scattered; sprinkled. 

Spung, {T)a.n. pung,) purse. 

Stalwart, (Germ, stahl-tiierth,) steel-tiiorthy ;. 
stout, stately, and martial-looking, 

St^ng, pole. 

Stark, strong. 

SteAe, place; in stede,.on the spot ; immedi- 
ately ; then. 

Steer, stir ; disturb. 

Stound, time. 

Stour, battle ; in Teutonic, sturm. So in the 
" Heldenbuch," F. 235, b. 

Darumb so lag ein Guertelein 
Moecht wol von Zauberlisten seyn; 



Davon hett er zwoelf Mannes kraSl ; 
Er pflag Manheit vnd Ritterschaft. 
Drum gesiget er zu alien zeiten 
In harten sturmen vnd in streiten. 

In Scotish, 

Thartyl ane Gyrtel smal had he 
Saynit sa wel wyth gramarye, 
Tharfra als xij men wes he wyght ; 
And held manhede and knychtly myght ; 
And swa the gre algate he wan, . 
In stouris hard, and in bargan. 

Armour was called sturmgewand, and the 
tocsin, sturmglock : 

Darnach ein Sturmglock erklang, 
Die hoert man einer Meilen lang ; 

Thereafter rang a larrum-bell. 
Men heard a gude mile lang the knell. 

Sty, (Dan.) a narrow path, or lane, 

Straght, stretched. 

Streek, stretch. 

Swa, so. 

Swevenes, dreams. 

Swilk, such. 

Swith, immediatehf. 

Swyled, stuaddled. 

Syn, then ; after that. 

Taken, token. - 

Teen, grief. 

Tent, attention ; care. 

Thairms, small-guts ; entrails. 

The, thrive. 

Tho, then. 

Tliole, bear ; suffer. 

Thyrl,Aofe. ' 

Til, to. 

Tine, lose. 

Tint, lost. 

Tofore, before. 

Towmon, twelve months. 

Towsy, shaggy. 

Tryst, appointment-; rendezvous. 

Tulzie, struggle; wrestle. 

Twinnit, divided. 

Tyd, tide; time. 

Uneath, uneth ; with d^kulty ; uneasily. 
Unsely, unhappy. 
Up-o-land, into the country. 
Uther, other. 

Vesy, vieai. 

Wa, woe. 
Walit, chosen. 
War, wert. 
Ware, wer ; defend. 
Warr, worse. 
Wate, wet ; wote. 
Wel nere, almost. 
Went, gone. 

Werd, weird, wierd ; destiny. 
Whor, where. 
Widdie, withy ; gallows. 
Will of rede, bewildered in thought. 
Wirk, work. 

Wirschip, worship; dignity. 
Wold, wald ; would. 

Wold, wild; a wood. Many places retain 
the name after the wood is gone. 

3 u 



Wordy, worthy ; brave. In old German, this 
word wehrde comes from the old ruehr, 
{Jnod^ geteehre) armour, and answers to the 
Scotish stalworth. Thus, in the " Hel- 
denbuch," Ed. 1590, R 138, b. 

Jeglich hatt an der seiten 

Da sitzen jren Mann ; 
Sie sahen zu den zeiten 

Den teehrden Ritter an : 

" The ladyes, everichon 
Ther sal; h3rr man by syd ; 

That viordi knyght up on 
Thei loked in that tyd." 

* # # 

£in horn von gold so klare 
Hieng an der ijixhrde mann ; 

Ein leydhund, das its wahre, 
Lief mit jm in den than : 

Id. F. 91, L 

" Ane horn of gold that shane 
Hong fra that luordi man ; 

Ane lesche-hund, soth to sayne. 
On ground by syd him ran.*' 

Worth, become ; be. 
Wyv, luift. 
Wyvit, tuedded. 

Yett, gate. 
Yex, hiccup. 
Ying, young. 
Yowther, vapour. 


Edinburgh : 
Printed by James Ballantyne & Co,