The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

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II. The Nibelungenlied

1. The Manuscripts

Among the German epic poems of the Middle Ages the Nibelungenlied [4] enjoyed an exceptional popularity, as is evident from the large number of manuscripts–some thirty, either complete or fragmentary–that have been preserved from the centuries immediately following its appearance. Three are of prime importance as texts, namely, those preserved now in Munich, St. Gall, and Donaueschingen, and cited as A, B, and C respectively. Since the time when Lachmann, about a century ago, made the first scientific study of the poem, a whole flood of writings has been poured forth discussing the relative merits of these texts. Each in turn has had its claims advocated with warmth and even acrimony. None of these three principal manuscripts, however, offers the poem in its earliest form; they all point to a still earlier version. It is now generally admitted that the St. Gall manuscript (B), according to which the present translation has been made, contains the best and most nearly original text.

[4] The closing strophe of MS. C calls the poem der Nibelunge liet, or Nibelungenlied, i.e. the lay of the Nibelungen, and this is the title by which it is commonly known. MSS. A and B have in the corresponding strophe der Nibelunge not, i.e. the ’need’, ’distress’, ’downfall’ of the Nibelungen. In the title of the poem ’Nibelungen’ is simply equivalent to ’Burgundians’: the poem relates the downfall of the Burgundian kings and their people. Originally the Nibelungen were, as their name, which is connected with nebel, ’mist’, ’gloom’, signifies, the powers of darkness to whom the light-hero Siegfried fell a prey. After Siegfried obtains possession of the treasure the name Nibelungen is still applied to Alberich and the dwarfs who guard it and who are now Siegfried’s vassals. Then after Siegfried’s death the name is given to the Burgundians. It is a mistake to suppose that the name was applied in each case to those who became possessors of the hoard, for Siegfried himself is never so designated.

2. Stages in the Evolution of the Poem

Hand in hand with the discussion of the relative authenticity of the manuscripts went the consideration of another more important literary question,–the evolution of the poem itself. Even if we knew nothing of the history of the Nibelungen saga as revealed in the Edda and through other literary and historic sources, a reading of the poem would give us unmistakable hints that it is not, in its present form, a perfect literary unit. We detect inconsistencies in matter and inequalities of style that prove it to be a remodelling of material already existing in some earlier form. What, then, has been the history of its evolution? How did this primeval Siegfried myth, this historical saga of the Burgundians and Attila, first come to be part of the poetic stock of the German people? What was its earliest poetic form, and what series of transformations did it pass through during seven centuries of growth? These and many kindred questions present themselves, and the search for answers to them takes us through many winding labyrinths of the nation’s contemporary history. Few products of German literature have so exercised and tantalized critics as the Nibelungenlied.

In this connection we have to remind ourselves that comparatively little of what must have been the large body of native poetry in Germany previous to the eleventh century has come down to us. Barely enough has been preserved to show the path of the nation’s literary progress. Some of the important monuments have been saved by chance, while others of equal or perhaps greater value have been irrecoverably lost. The interest in the various incidents of the Nibelungen story was sufficient to keep it alive among the people and hand it down orally through many generations. If we could observe it as it passed from age to age we should doubtless see it undergoing continuous change according to the time and the class of the people that were the preservers of the native literature in its many ups and downs. Lachmann in the year 1816 was the first to bring scientific criticism to bear on the question of the Nibelungenlied and its origin. Applying to it the same methods as had recently been used by Wolf in his criticism of the Homeric poems, he thought he was able to discover as the basis of the complete epic a cycle of twenty separate lieder, ballads or shorter episodic poems, on the strength of which belief he went so far as to publish an edition of the poem in which he made the division into the twenty separate lays and eliminated those strophes (more than one third of the whole number) that he deemed not genuine. It is now generally admitted, however, that the pioneer of Nibelungen investigation fell here into over-positive refinements of literary criticism. Separate shorter poems there doubtless existed narrating separate episodes of the story, but these are no longer to be arrived at by a process of critical disintegration and pruning of the epic as we have it. An examination of the twenty lieder according to Lachmann’s division convinces us that they are not separate units in the sense he conceived them to be. Though these twenty lieder may be based upon a number of earlier episodic poems, yet the latter already constituted a connected series. They were already like so many scenes of a gradually developing drama. Events were foreshadowed in one that were only fulfilled in another, and the incidents of later ones are often only intelligible on the supposition of an acquaintance with motives that originated in preceding ones. It is in this sense only, not according to Lachmann’s overwrought theory, that we are justified in speaking of a liedercyclus, or cycle of separate episodic poems, as the stage of the epic antecedent to the complete form in which we now have it. But beyond this cycle we cannot trace it back. How the mythical saga of Siegfried and the Nibelungen, and the story of the Burgundians and Attila, were first sung in alliterative lays in the Migration Period, how as heathen song they were pushed aside or slowly influenced by the spirit of Christianity, how with changing time they changed also their outward poetical garb from alliteration to rhyme and altered verse-form, till at last in the twelfth century they have become the cycle of poems from which the great epic of the Nibelungenlied could be constructed–of all this we may form a faint picture from the development of the literature in general, but direct written record of it is almost completely wanting.

3. Character of the Poem

The twelfth and thirteenth centuries witnessed far-reaching changes in the social and intellectual life of the German lands, the leading feature of which is the high development of all that is included under the name of chivalry. It is marked, too, by a revival of the native literature such as had not been known before, a revival which is due almost entirely to its cultivation by the nobility. From emperor down to the simple knight they were patrons of poetry and, what is most striking, nearly all the poets themselves belong to the knightly class. The drama has not yet begun, but in the field of epic and lyric there appear about the year 1200 poets who are among the greatest that German literature even down to the present time has to show. The epic poetry of that period, though written almost entirely by the knights, is of two distinct kinds according to its subject: on the one hand what is called the Court Epic, on the other hand the National, or Popular, Epic. The Court Epic follows for the most part French models and deals chiefly with the life of chivalry, whose ideals were embodied in king Arthur and his circle of knights; the National Epic drew its subjects from the national German saga, its two great products being the Nibelungenlied and the poem of Gudrun. Court Epic and National Epic are further distinct in form, the Court Epic being written in the rhymed couplets popularized in modern times in English by Sir Walter Scott, while the National Epic is composed in four-lined strophes.

Though we know the name and more or less of the life of the authors of the many court epics of the period, the name of the poet who gave the Nibelungenlied its final form has not been recorded. As we have seen, the poem is at bottom of a truly popular, national character, having its beginnings in mythology and early national history. For centuries the subject had been national property and connected with the name of no one individual. We have it now in the form in which it was remodelled to suit the taste of the court and the nobility, and like the court epic to be read aloud in castle hall. That it is written in four-lined strophes[5] and not in the usual rhymed couplets of the court epics is doubtless due to the fact that the former verse-form had already been used in the earlier ballads upon which it is based, and was simply taken over by the final moulder of the poem. This latter was probably a member of the nobility like the great majority of the epic poets of the time; he must at least have been well acquainted with the manners, tastes, sentiments, and general life of the nobility. Through him the poem was brought outwardly more into line with the literary ideals of the court circles. This shows itself chiefly in a negative way, namely, in the almost complete avoidance of the coarse language and farcical situations so common with the popular poet, the spielmann. Beyond this no violence is done to the simple form of the original. The style is still inornate and direct, facts still speak rather than words, and there is nothing approaching the refined psychological dissection of characters and motives such as we find in Wolfram von Eschenbach and the other court writers.

[5] For description of the Nibelungen strophe see below, Chapter 7.

When we look to the inner substance we see that the ground ideals are still those of the original Germanic heroic age. The chief characters are still those of the first stages of the story–Siegfried, Brunhild, Gunther, Kriemhild, Hagen. The fundamental theme is the ancient theme of triuwe, unswerving personal loyalty and devotion, which manifests itself above all in the characters of Kriemhild and Hagen. Kriemhild’s husband Siegfried is treacherously slain: her sorrow and revenge are the motives of the drama. Hagen’s mistress has, though with no evil intent on Siegfried’s part, received an insult to her honor: to avenge that insult is Hagen’s absorbing duty, which he fulfils with an utter disregard of consequences. Over this their fundamental character the various persons of the story have received a gloss of outward conduct in keeping with the close of the twelfth century. The poet is at pains to picture them as models of courtly bearing, excelling in hofscheit, zuht, tugent. Great attention is paid to dress, and the preparation of fitting apparel for court festivities is described and re-described with wearisome prolixity. A cardinal virtue is milte, liberality in the bestowal of gifts. Courtesy toward women is observed with the careful formality of the age of the minnesingers. It was above all Siegfried, the light-hero of the original myth, whose character lent itself to an idealization of knighthood. Ruediger holds a like place in the latter part of the poem. In the evident pleasure with which the minstrel-knight Volker of the sword-fiddlebow is depicted, as well doubtless as in occasional gleams of broader humor, the hand of the minstrels who wrought on the story in its earlier ballad stages may be seen. And the whole poem, in keeping with its form in an age strongly under church influence, has been tinged with the ideals of Christianity. Not only does the ordinary conversation of all the characters, including even the heathen Etzel, contain a great number of formal imprecations of God, but Christian institutions and Christian ethics come frequently into play. Mass is sung in the minster, baptism, marriage, burial are celebrated in Christian fashion, the devil is mentioned according to the Christian conception, we hear of priest, chaplain, and bishop, Christians are contrasted with heathen, and Kriemhild, in marrying Etzel, has a hope of turning him to Christianity. In Hagen’s attempt to drown the chaplain whom the Burgundians have with them as they set out for the land of the Huns we have perhaps an expression of the conflict between the heathen and the Christian elements, possibly also a reflection of the traditional animosity of the spielmann to his clerical rival.

The Nibelungenlied and the Iliad of Homer have often been compared, but after all to no great purpose. The two epics are alike in having their roots deep in national origins, but beyond this we have contrasts rather than resemblances. The Iliad is a more varied and complete picture of the whole Greek world than the Nibelungenlied is of the German, its religious atmosphere has not been disturbed in the same way as that of the saga of early Germanic times projected several centuries into a later Christian age, and it possesses in every way a greater unity of sentiment. In the varied beauty of its language, its wealth of imagery, its depth of feeling and copiousness of incident the Iliad is superior to the Nibelungenlied with its language of simple directness, its few lyrical passages, its expression of feeling by deeds rather than by words. Homer, too, is in general buoyant, the Nibelungenlied is sombre and stern. And in one last respect the two epics differ most of all: the Iliad is essentially narrative and descriptive, a series of episodes; the Nibelungenlied is essentially dramatic, scene following scene of dramatic necessity and pointing steadily to a final and inevitable catastrophe.

4. Later Forms of the Saga

In the Northern Edda and in the German Nibelungenlied the Nibelungen saga found its fullest and most poetic expression. But these were not to be the only literary records of it. Both in Scandinavian lands and in Germany various other monuments, scattered over the intervening centuries, bear witness to the fact that it lived on in more or less divergent forms. The Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus of the latter part of the twelfth century has a reference to the story of Kriemhild’s treachery toward her brothers. About the year 1250 an extensive prose narrative, known as the Thidrekssaga, was written by a Norwegian from oral accounts given him by men from Bremen and Munster. This narrative is interesting as showing the form the saga had taken by that date on Low German territory, and holds an important place in the history of the development of the saga. It has much more to say of the early history of Siegfried than we find in the Nibelungenlied, and yet in the main outlines of the story of Kriemhild’s revenge it corresponds with the German epic and not with the Northern Edda. A chronicle of the island of Hven in the Sound, dating in its original form from the sixteenth century, as well as Danish ballads on the same island that have lived on into modern times, tell of Sivard (Siegfried), Brynhild, and also of Grimild’s (Kriemhild’s) revenge. In Norway and Sweden traces of the saga have recently been discovered; while songs that are sung on the Faroe Islands, as an accompaniment to the dance on festive occasions, have been recorded, containing over six hundred strophes in which is related in more or less distorted form the Nibelungen story.

In Germany the two poems known as the Klage and Hurnen Seyfrid are the most noteworthy additional records of the Nibelungen saga, as offering in part at least independent material. The Klage is a poem of over four thousand lines in rhymed couplets, about half of it being an account of the mourning of Etzel, Dietrich, and Hildebrand as they seek out the slain and prepare them for burial, the other half telling of the bringing of the news to Bechlaren, Passau, and Worms. The poem was written evidently very soon after the Nibelungenlied, the substance of which was familiar to the author, though he also draws in part from other sources. Compared with the Nibelungenlied it possesses but little poetic merit and is written with distinctly Christian sentiment which is out of harmony with the ground-tone of the Germanic tragedy.

The Hurnen Seyfrid is a poem of 179 four-lined strophes which is preserved only in a print of the sixteenth century, but at least a portion of whose substance reaches back in its original form to a period preceding the composition of the Nibelungenlied. It is evidently, as we have it, formed by the union of two earlier separate poems, which are indeed to a certain extent contradictory of each other. The first tells of the boyhood of Seyfrid (Siegfried) and his apprenticeship to the smith; how he slew many dragons, burned them, and smeared over his body with the resulting fluid horny substance (hence his name hurnen), which made him invulnerable; how he further found the hoard of the dwarf Nybling, and by service to King Gybich won the latter’s daughter for his wife. The second part tells how King Gybich reigned at Worms. He has three sons, Gunther, Hagen, Gyrnot, and one daughter, Kriemhild. The latter is borne off by a dragon, but finally rescued by Seyfrid, to whom she is given in marriage. The three brothers are jealous of the might and fame of Seyfrid, and after eight years Hagen slays him beside a cool spring in the Ottenwald.

The poem Biterolf, written soon after the Nibelungenlied, and Rosengarten of perhaps a half-century later, represent Dietrich in conflict with Siegfried at Worms. The famous shoemaker-poet Hans Sachs of Nuremberg in 1557 constructed a tragedy, Der hornen Sewfriedt, on the story of Siegfried as he knew it from the Hurnen Seyfrid and the Rosengarten. A prose version of the Hurnen Seyfrid, with free additions and alterations, is preserved in the Volksbuch vom gehornten Sigfrid, the oldest print of which dates from the year 1726. Of the vast number of Fairy Tales, those most genuine creations of the poetic imagination of the people, in which live on, often to be sure in scarcely recognizable form, many of the myths and sagas of the nation’s infancy, there are several that may with justice be taken as relics of the Siegfried myth, for instance, The Two Brothers, The Young Giant, The Earth-Manikin, The King of the Golden Mount, The Raven, The Skilled Huntsman, and perhaps also the Golden Bird and The Water of Life;[6] though it would seem from recent investigations that Thorn-Rose or the Sleeping Beauty, is no longer to be looked upon as the counterpart of the sleeping Brynhild. Finally, it is probable that several names in Germany and in Northern countries preserve localized memories of the saga.

[6] These will be found in Grimm’s Marchen as numbers 60, 90-93, 111, 57, and 97.

5. Poem and Saga in Modern Literature

Fundamentally different from the foregoing natural outgrowths of the Nibelungen saga are the modern dramas and poems founded upon it since the time of the romanticists at the beginning of the nineteenth century.[7] Nearly all of these have already vanished as so much chaff from the winnowing-mill of time: only two, perhaps, are now considered seriously, namely, Hebbel’s Die Nibelungen and Richard Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen. Hebbel in his grandly conceived drama in three parts follows closely the story as we have it in our epic poem the Nibelungenlied, and the skill with which he makes use of its tragic elements shows his dramatic genius at its best. But not even the genius of Hebbel could make these forms of myth and saga live again for us upon a modern stage, and the failure of this work with its wealth of poetic beauty and many scenes of highest dramatic effectiveness to maintain its place as an acting drama is sufficient evidence that the yawning gap that separates the sentiment of the modern world from that of the early centuries in which these sagas grew is not to be bridged over by the drama, however easy and indeed delightful it may be for us to allow ourselves to be transported thither to that romantic land upon the wings of epic story. Wagner in his music-drama in three parts and prelude has followed in the main the saga in its Northern form [8] up to the death of Siegfried and Brunhild, but to the entire exclusion of the latter part of the story in which Atli (Etzel) figures; his work has accordingly hardly any connection with the Nibelungenlied here offered in translation. Only the pious loyalty of national sentiment can assign a high place in dramatic literature to Wagner’s work with its intended imitation of the alliterative form of verse; while his philosophizing gods and goddesses are also but decadent modern representatives of their rugged heathen originals.

[7] The curious will find a list of these in the introduction to Piper’s edition, cited below, Chapter 7. [8] See above, Chapter 2.

6. Modern German Translations

The language of the Nibelungenlied presents about the same difficulty to the German reader of to-day as that of our English Chaucer to us. Many translations into modern German have accordingly been made to render it accessible to the average reader without special study. In the year 1767 Bodmer in Zurich published a translation into hexameters of a portion of it, and since the investigations of Lachmann raised it to the position of a national epic of first magnitude many more have appeared, both in prose and verse. The best in prose is that by Scherr, of the year 1860. Of the metrical translations that by Simrock, which in its later editions follows pretty closely the text of MS. C, is deservedly the most popular and has passed through a great number of editions. Bartsch has also made a translation based on his edition of MS. B. These modern versions by Simrock and Bartsch reproduce best the metrical quality of the original strophe. Easily obtainable recent translations are those by Junghans (in Reclam’s Universalbibliothek) of text C, and by Hahn (Collection Spemann) of text A.

7. English Translations[9]

[9] For a complete list of these, also of magazine articles, etc., relating to the Nibelungenlied, see F. E. Sandbach, The Nibelungenlied and Gudrun in England and America, London, 1903.

Early in last century interest in the Nibelungenlied began to manifest itself in England. A synopsis of it, with metrical translation of several strophes, appeared in the year 1814 in Weber, Jamieson and Scott’s “Illustrations of Northern Antiquities” (London and Edinburgh), in which, according to Lockhart, Sir Walter Scott’s hand may perhaps be seen. Carlyle, laboring as a pioneer to spread a knowledge of German literature in England, contributed to the Westminster Review in 1831 his well-known essay on the Nibelungenlied which, though containing an additional mass of rather ill-arranged matter and now antiquated in many particulars, is still well worth reading for its enthusiastic account of the epic itself in the genuine style of the author. Carlyle here reproduces in metrical form a few strophes. He has said elsewhere that one of his ambitions was to make a complete English version of the poem. Since then an endless number of accounts of it, chiefly worthless, has appeared in magazines and elsewhere. The first attempt at a complete metrical translation was made in 1848 by Jonathan Birch, who however only reproduces Lachmann’s twenty lieder, with some fifty-one strophes added on his own account. His version of the first strophe runs thus:

Legends of by-gone times reveal wonders and prodigies,
  Of heroes worthy endless fame,–of matchless braveries,–
  Of jubilees and festal sports,–of tears and sorrows great,–
  And knights who daring combats fought:–the like I now relate.

In 1850 appeared William Nansom Lettsom’s translation of the whole poem according to Braunfels’ edition, with the opening strophe turned as follows:

In stories of our fathers high marvels we are told
  Of champions well approved in perils manifold.
  Of feasts and merry meetings, of weeping and of wail,
  And deeds of gallant daring I’ll tell you in my tale.

The next metrical rendering is that by A. G. Foster-Barham in the year 1887. His first strophe reads:

Many a wondrous story have the tales of old,
  Of feats of knightly glory, and of the Heroes bold,
  Of the delights of feasting, of weeping and of wail,
  Of noble deeds of daring; you may list strange things in my tale.

In the year 1898 follows still another, by Alice Horton (edited by E. Bell). This latest translation is based on Bartsch’s text of MS. B, and is prefaced by Carlyle’s essay. First strophe:

To us, in olden legends, / is many a marvel told
  Of praise-deserving heroes, / of labours manifold,
  Of weeping and of wailing, / of joy and festival;
  Of bold knights’ battling shall you / now hear a wondrous tale.

Apart from the many faults of interpretation all of the metrical translations of the Nibelungenlied here enumerated are defective in one all-important respect: they do not reproduce the poem in its metrical form. Carlyle and other pioneers we may perhaps acquit of any intention of following the original closely in this regard. None of the translators of the complete poem, however, has retained in the English rendering what is after all the very essence of a poem,–its exact metrical quality. Birch has created an entirely different form of strophe in which all four lines are alike, each containing seven principal accents, with the caesura, following the fourth foot. Lettsom makes the first serious attempt to reproduce the original strophe. It is evident from the introduction to his translation (see p. xxvi) that he had made a careful study of its form, and he does in fact reproduce the first three lines exactly. Of the fourth line he says: “I have not thought it expedient to make a rule of thus lengthening the fourth lines of the stanzas, though I have lengthened them occasionally"(!). What moved him thus to deprive the stanza of its most striking feature–and one, moreover, that is easily preserved in English–he does not make clear. The versions of Foster-Barham and of Horton and Bell show the same disfigurement, the latter omitting the extra accent of the fourth line, as they say, “for the sake of euphony"(!). It is just this lengthened close of each strophe that gives the Nibelungenlied its peculiar metrical character and contributes not a little to the avoidance of monotony in a poem of over two thousand strophes. In theory the form of the fourth line as it stands in the original is no more foreign to the genius of the English language than to that of modern German, and few of the many Germans giving a modernized version of the epic have been bold enough to lay sacrilegious hands upon it to shorten it.

A brief account of the Nibelungen strophe may not be out of place here, owing to the fact that its character has generally been misunderstood. The origin and evolution of the strophe have been the subject of much discussion, the results of which we need not pause to formulate here. As it appears in actual practice in our poem of about the year 1200, it was as follows: Each strophe consists of four long lines, the first line rhyming with the second, and the third with the fourth. The rhymes are masculine, that is, rhymes on the end syllable. Each line is divided by a clearly marked caesura into two halves; each half of the first three lines and the first half of the fourth line has three accented syllables, the second half of the fourth line has four accented syllables. The first half of each line ends in an unaccented syllabic–or, strictly speaking, in a syllable bearing a secondary accent; that is, each line has what is called a “ringing” caesura. The metrical character of the Nibelungen strophe is thus due to its fixed number of accented syllables. Of unaccented syllables the number may vary within certain limits. Ordinarily each accented syllable is preceded by an unaccented one; that is, the majority of feet are iambic. The unaccented syllable may, however, at times be wanting, or there may, on the other hand, be two or even three of them together. A characteristic of the second half of the last line is that there is very frequently no unaccented syllable between the second and the third accented ones. Among occasional variations of the normal strophe as here described may be mentioned the following: The end-rhyme is in a few instances feminine instead of masculine; while on the other hand the ending of the first half-lines is occasionally masculine instead of feminine, that is, the caesura is not “ringing.” In a few scattered instances we find strophes that rhyme throughout in the caesura as well as at the end of lines;[10] occasionally the first and second lines, or still less frequently the third and fourth, alone have caesural rhyme.[11] Rhyming of the caesura may be regarded as accidental in most cases, but it is reproduced as exactly as possible in this translation.

[10] Strophes 1, 17, 102, and possibly 841. [11] Strophes 18, 69, 103, 115, 129, 148, 177, 190, 198, 222, 231, 239, 293, 325, 345, 363, 485, 584, 703, 712, 859, 864, 894, 937, 1022, 1032, 1114, 1225, 1432, 1436, 1460, 1530, 1555, 1597, 1855, 1909, 1944, 1956, 2133, 2200, 2206, 2338.

In the original the opening strophe, which is altogether more regular than the average and is, moreover, one of the few that have also complete caesural rhyme, is as follows:

Uns ist in alten maeren / wunders vil geseit
  von heleden lobebaeren, / von grozer arebeit,
  von frouden, hochgeziten, / von weinen und von klagen,
  von kuener recken striten / muget ir nu wunder hoeren sagen.

Here the only place where the unaccented syllable is lacking before the accented is before wunders at the beginning of the second half of the first line. A strophe showing more typical irregularities is, for instance, the twenty-second:

In sinen besten ziten, / bi sinen jungen tagen,
  man mohte michel wunder / von Sivride sagen,
  waz eren an im wuchse / und wie scoene was sin lip.
  sit heten in ze minne / diu vil waetlichen wip.

Here the rhyme of the first and second lines is still masculine, tagen and sagen being pronounced tagn and sagn. The unaccented syllable is lacking, e.g., before the second accent of the second half of line two, also before the first and the third accent of the second half of line four. There are two unaccented syllables at the beginning (Auftakt) of the second half of line three. The absence of the unaccented syllable between the second and the third accent of the last half of the fourth line of a strophe, as here, is so frequent in the poem as to amount almost to a rule; it shows an utter misconception, or disregard, of its true character, nevertheless, to treat this last half-line as having only three accented syllables, as all translators hitherto have done.

8. Editions Of The Nibelungenlied

MS. A. (Hohenems-Munich).
Lachmann, Der Nibelunge Not und die Klage, 5th ed., Berlin, 1878.
Several reprints of the text alone later.

MS. B. (St. Gall).
Bartsch, Das Nibelungenlied, 6th ed., Leipzig, 1886. (Vol. 3 of the series Deutsche Classiker des Mittelalters.)
Piper, Die Nibelungen. (Vol. 6 of Kurschner’s Deutsche National-Litteratur.)

MS. C. (Donaueschingen).
Zarncke, Das Nibelungenlied, 6th ed., Leipzig, 1887.


Preface  •  I. The Nibelungen Saga  •  II. The Nibelungenlied  •  The Nibelungenlied - First Adventure - Kriemhild’s Dream  •  Second Adventure - Siegfried  •  Third Adventure - How Siegfried came to Worms  •  Fourth Adventure - How Siegfried fought with the Saxons  •  Fifth Adventure - How Siegfried first saw Kriemhild  •  Sixth Adventure - How Gunther fared to Isenland to Brunhild  •  Seventh Adventure - How Gunther won Brunhild  •  Eighth Adventure - How Siegfried fared to his Knights, the Nibelungen  •  Ninth Adventure - How Siegfried was sent to Worms  •  Tenth Adventure - How Brunhild was received at Worms  •  Eleventh Adventure - How Siegfried came home with his Wife  •  Twelfth Adventure - How Gunther bade Siegfried to the Feast  •  Thirteenth Adventure - How they fared to the Feast  •  Fourteenth Adventure - How the Queens Berated Each Other  •  Fifteenth Adventure - How Siegfried was Betrayed  •  Sixteenth Adventure - How Siegfried was slain  •  Seventeenth Adventure - How Kriemhild mourned for Siegfried, and How he was Buried  •  Eighteenth Adventure - How Siegmund fared Home Again  •  Nineteenth Adventure - How the Nibelungen Hoard was Brought to Worms  •  Twentieth Adventure - How King Etzel sent to Burgundy for Kriemhild  •  Twenty-First Adventure - How Kriemhild fared to the Huns  •  Twenty-Second Adventure - How Etzel kept the Wedding-feast with Kriemhild  •  Twenty-Third Adventure - How Kriemhild thought to avenge her Wrong  •  Twenty-Fourth Adventure - How Werbel and Schwemmel brought the Message  •  Twenty-Fifth Adventure - How the Knights all fared to the Huns  •  Twenty-Sixth Adventure - How Gelfrat was Slain by Dankwart  •  Twenty-Seventh Adventure - How they came to Bechelaren  •  Twenty-Eighth Adventure - How the Burgundians came to Etzel’s Castle  •  Twenty-Ninth Adventure - How He arose not before Her  •  Thirtieth Adventure - How they kept Guard  •  Thirty-First Adventure - How they went to Mass  •  Thirty-Second Adventure - How Bloedel was Slain  •  Thirty-Third Adventure - How the Burgundians fought with the Huns  •  Thirty-Fourth Adventure - How they cast out the Dead  •  Thirty-Fifth Adventure - How Iring was Slain  •  Thirty-Sixth Adventure - How the Queen bade set fire to the Hall  •  Thirty-Seventh Adventure - How the Margrave Ruediger was Slain  •  Thirty-Eighth Adventure - How all Sir Dietrich’s Knights were Slain  •  Thirty-Ninth Adventure - How Gunther and Hagen and Kriemhild were Slain