When Mr. Ainsworth was engaged in the laborious work of his Dictionary of the Latin Language, and had reached the letter “S,” his wife in a fit of ill nature … committed the whole MS. to the flames … the persevering industry of Ainsworth repaired the loss … by his assiduous industry.—Cyclopædia of Literary and Scientific Anecdote (Griffin and Co.).

Nibelung, a mythical king of Nibelungenland (Norway). He had twelve paladins, all giants. Siegfried [Sege-freed], prince of the Netherlands, slew the giants, and made Nibelungenland tributary.—Nibelungen Lied, iii. (1210).

Nibelungen Hoard, a mythical mass of gold and precious stones, which Siegfried [Sege-freed], prince of the Netherlands, took from Nibelungenland and gave to his wife as a dowry. The hoard filled thirty- six waggons. After the murder of Siegfried, Hagan seized the hoard, and, for concealment, sank it in the “Rhine at Lockham,” intending to recover it at a future period, but Hagan was assassinated, and the hoard was lost for ever.—Nibelungen Lied, xix.

Nibelungen Lied [Ne.by-lung.’n leed], the German Iliad (1210). It is divided into two parts, and thirty- two lieds or cantos. The first part ends with the death of Siegfried, and the second part with the death of Kriemhild.

Siegfried, the youngest of the kings of the Netherlands, went to Worms, to crave the hand of Kriemhild in marriage. While he was staying with Günther king of Burgundy (the lady’s brother), he assisted him to obtain in marriage Brunhild queen of Issland, who announced publicly that he only should be her husband who could beat her in hurling a spear, throwing a huge stone, and in leaping. Siegfried, who possessed a cloak of invisibility, aided Günther in these three contests, and Brunhild became his wife. In return for these services, Günther gave Siegfried his sister Kriemhild in marriage. After a time, the bride and bridegroom went to visit Günther, when the two ladies disputed about the relative merits of their respective husbands, and Kriemhild, to exalt Siegfried, boasted that Günther owed to him his victories and his wife. Brunhild, in great anger, now employed Hagan to murder Siegfried, and this he did by stabbing him in the back while he was drinking from a brook.

Thirteen years elapsed, and the widow married Etzel king of the Huns. After a time, she invited Brunhild and Hagan to a visit. Hagan, in this visit, killed Etzel’s young son, and Kriemhild was like a fury. A battle ensued, in which Günther and Hagan were made prisoners, and Kriemhild cut off both their heads with her own hand. Hildebrand, horrified at this act of blood, slew Kriemhild; and so the poem ends.—Authors unknown (but the story was pieced together by the minnesingers).

The Völsunga Saga is the Icelandic version of the Nibelungen Lied. This saga has been translated into English by William Morris.

The Nibelungen Lied has been ascribed to Heinrich von Oftendingen, a minnesinger; but it certainly existed before that epoch, if not as a complete whole, in separate lays, and all that Heinrich von Oftendingen could have done was to collect the floating lays, connect them, and form them into a complete story.

F. A. Wolf, in 1795, wrote a learned book to prove that Homer did for the Iliad and Odyssey what Oftendingen did for the Nibelungen Lied.

The Nibelungen Lied was translated into English verse (12-syl.) by Lettsom, in 1850. Richard Wagner composed, in 1850, an opera called Die Niebelungen.

Nibelungen Nôt, the second part of the Nibelungen Lied, containing the marriage of Kriemhild with Etzel, the visit of the Burgundians to the court of the Hun, and the death of Günther, Hagan, Kriemhild, and others. This part contains eighty-three four-line stanzas more than the first part. The number of lines in the two parts is 9836; so that the poem is almost as long as Milton’s Paradise Lost.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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