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large or to the empire in particular, he sets him aside and puts another in his stead. As an example of this Otto is cited. He was deprived of empire and honour through the Landgraf's instrumentality and influence. Heinrich von Ofterdingen, scornfully adds the Schreiber, would do better to keep silence, and not compare together things incomparable. He should remember that when a hound starts on a false scent, he is liable to punishment at the hands of his master.
Ofterdingen, as may be imagined, is not content to allow the superiority of the Schreiber as implied in the figure. He acknowledges no master. Reinmar and Eschenbach he recognises as his judges. With these he now associates Herr Walther, whose excellence in song is famous through the whole German land. Here we discover why, at the outset, Walther was not made to take an active part in the contest. It was intended that later he should assume the duties of umpire. For this reason, likewise, he selected the King of France. Evidently, in Ofterdingen's mind, the choice of a foreigner has virtually excluded Walther from the contest, and allows him to form an unbiassed judgment as to the claims of the native princes. The Schreiber, doubtless coinciding in these views, sees no cause to challenge his opponent's further choice. He accepts the third judge, and bids him call in Stempel, the executioner of Eisenach, with his broadsword.
The contest is resumed, and Ofterdingen continues his eulogy of “the noble Austrian hero whom all the world praises, even from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet.” Compared with him all other princes are as a cloud, whilst he is like the sun.
So great is his generosity that, whenever he bestows on any noble the gift of a suit of clothes, he never omits to send a dress for the wife as well, that she, too, may say, “ This has the rich prince given to me.” Can any three, yea, any four, princes equal such virtue? The Schreiber does not deny Leopold's munificence, but is ready with the reply that to whatever degree the Duke or any other prince may possess this excellent quality, it is only in imitation of the one supreme model, the Landgraf of Thüringen. To this the Austrian minstrel can answer only by asserting in still more emphatic terms the generosity of his patron, about whom the friendless swarm as do the bees about the hive in which their real queen is, and whom he likens to an eagle, whilst other sovereigns are but falcons. This figure, be it parenthetically observed, is a departure from the mythology of the heroic cycle, in which the eagle is considered as subordinate to the falcon. In their metamorphoses the gods are VOL. CCLIII. NO. 1819.
always represented as assuming the shape of the latter, mere heroes of the former bird.
Biterolf, no longer able to curb his indignation, rushes to the fray “with the eagerness of a raven pouncing on a carcass.” Ofterdingen's presumptuous challenge reminds him of the cat that wooed the sun, but in the sequel was content to wed a mouse-eating creature of his own kind. The adventures of the ambitious cat to which the poet here makes a passing allusion, are more fully related by two old poets, Stricker and Herrand von Vildonie. The sunit may be well to remember that in German “die Sonne" is of the softer sex to whom the cat pays his addresses, declines the honour in favour of the cloud that obscures it. The cloud passes him on to the wind that drives it. The wind recommends the wall that breaks its force; whilst in its turn, the wall urges the higher claims of the mouse that gnaws its foundation. Thus the cat that would a-wooing go gradually descends from his high aspirations to a plain alliance with the tabby that eats the mouse.
Ofterdingen accepts the simile. He is willing to be the cat. In that case, however, his rivals are the vile vermin that he will scatter right and left, and Biterolf—the biting wolf-sinks to the level of a gnawing mouse.
The Graf von Henneberg is the theme of Biterolf's praise, not, indeed, as opposed to Hermann, but as another of the three who are “ to outweigh” Leopold. Who was at Cologne on that memorable day when the Landgraf's attempt to assert the precedence of the Abbot of Fulda over the Bishop resulted in a bloody fray? Did not the Henneberger fight like a lion for the Landgraf who, in the struggle, was struck down and carried away as dead? Nor is courage the Graf's only virtue. It is accompanied by modesty, decency, fidelity, liberality, and mercy. Hermann himself, called upon to give his testimony, allows that the Henneberger's courage might well deserve an empire. But Ofterdingen thinks but lightly of Biterolf's panegyric, as he also affects to ignore, or at least to put aside, the French King whom Walther has set up as a rival of the Duke of Austria. With ironical condescension, he himself mentions a third German prince, the Markgraf of Brandenburg, to help his opponents out of their difficulty. But, even then, he maintains, Leopold excels them all. Had God given him four eyes and four hands, these would not meet the needs of his courage and of his liberality. What a noble example of both was given to the world in the battle with the Hungarian King! As the Duke, with his shield on his arm, was going out to meet the foe, his last recommendation
to his treasurer was to redeem the minstrels' pledges--the pledges which the innkeepers of little faith exacted from the wandering brotherhood. Let the three be compared to him now !
At this point Herr Reinmar, forgetting the impartiality of his office, and ready to stamp with anger, “like a child to whom an egg has been refused,” bursts out into an indignant protest against Ofterdingen's presumptuous and impertinent folly. Neither the Austrian nor any other prince, he emphatically asserts, can equal the virtues of the “ Dürenge.” Were other princes angels, Hermann would be their God. The wise Wolfran, too, lays aside his judicial character, and goes over to the side of the Landgraf, reminding Ofterdingen of the punishment inflicted on the angels because of their overweening pride. Ofterdingen does not even deign to reply to Reinmar's attacks. As to Wolfran, he welcomes his entry into the lists, and promises him a reception worthy of the warriors of the “ Willehalm," half hinting a doubt as to the orthodoxy of the poet, whose praise is bestowed as impartially on the heathen as on the Christian heroes of his poems.
The contest has now reached a point where it can be decided only by Walther von der Vogelweide. It is he who now comes forward. His first words are a recantation of the judgment which he has prematurely uttered, and an expression of sorrow for having thus severed himself from the Duke of Austria. To all princes he now gives the glory of the stars, the best of them being, at most, on an equality with the morning star. One king and two princes, however, are superior even to this. Indeed, one of these three he would compare to the very sun.
And who, he asks, is this one ? Ofterdingen, who has already made use of this very figure to express the Duke of Austria's pre-eminence, does not hesitate again to claim for his patron the supreme excellence implied in a comparison with the orb of day. But now it appears that Walther has throughout been sustaining an assumed character. The whole of his conduct at once becomes intelligible. It has been shaped, with more skill than sincerity, so as to deceive Ofterdingen, and to lead him into the snare prepared for him. He has now brought his praise to the highest point. He stands pledged to his comparison with the sun. But Walther is ready with a victorious rejoinder. Leopold, he allows, may be as the sun amongst the paler stars, but Hermann is as the very day itself. This would scarcely meet our modern views, but it is strictly in accordance with what we may call the poetical astromony of the Middle Ages. The light of day and that of the sun were not considered to be identical. Incomprehensible as the distinction may seem to us, we must bear in mind that it is drawn from the Bible. According to the first chapter of Genesis, “Let there be light” was the fiat of the first day of creation. “The greater light to rule the day" was the work of the fourth. In the heathen mythology of the North, a similar distinction is to be traced. Baldur, the light-god, has a chariot of his own, which precedes that of the sun.
Walther's victory is acknowledged by Ofterdingen. But he complains of the device by which he has been misled, and protests that he has been beaten with “false dice.” Even now he will not allow that his cause is lost. He demands permission to summon to his assistance Klingsor, the Hungarian magician. At first, indeed, his opponents refuse to accede to his request, and loudly clamour for his death.
At the intercession of the Princess, however, they abandon their cruel resolve of insisting on the immediate infliction of the penalty incurred by the conquered minstrel. They even consent that he should go to Hungary in search of his defender, and bring him to Eisenach. Here the first part ends. The concluding words afford us a good clue as to the place whence the Wartburgkrieg has come : “Meantime at Mainz much of the lucid Rhine shall flow."
Vür Megenze gât
does not state what length of time Ofterdingen was to be allowed for his journey to Hungary and back. Neither does it make any mention of the events which are supposed to take place between the two parts. The Chronicles are more explicit. From these we are able to gather a few details which, besides being interesting in themselves, will also serve as a connecting link. Ofterdingen, we are informed, was granted a whole year for his quest after Klingsor. This is strictly according to precedent, not only in Northern Mythology, but, as we may remember, in the more familiar Arabian Nights. It is also a usual, almost a necessary circumstance, that the whole twelvemonth should be allowed to elapse to the very last day, and that then the journey homewards should be accomplished by supernatural means. Originally, in the old Tentonic legends, it was effected by the instrumentality of a god, later by the help of a spirit, good or evil, as circumstances seemed to warrant.
In conformity with these legendary bye-laws, Ofterdingen, to whom the Landgrat has given letters of introduction to Klingsor, is detained by the magician till the very eve of the day on which, according to agreement, he is to resume the contest at the Wartburg. The poet, whose
honour and life are at stake, is naturally a prey to the greatest anxiety. Klingsor endeavours to reassure him, telling him that they have a light chariot and swift horses, and that they will soon cover the space between Hungary and Thüringen. Even this fails to banish fear from Ofterdingen's mind; indeed, he is so troubled that it is only under the influence of an opiate administered by the magician that he is able to fall asleep. Whilst in a state of unconsciousness produced by the draught, he is placed upon a bed and covered over with a leather counterpane-evidently manufactured out of Odin's cloak. Klingsor with two attendants takes his place beside the sleeper, then they are all swiftly and gently transported in one night from Hungary to Eisenach, and safely deposited in a room of the inn kept by Heinrich Hellegreve, and situated near the St. George gate, on the left-hand side going out of the town. In the morning Ofterdingen awakes as the watchman from the top of the tower is calling out daybreak, and the bell of St. George's ringing for early mass. He perceives that he is in Eisenach, but how he has got there he can explain neither to himself nor to those that question hin.
Returning to our poem, we find the second part opening with Klingsor's appearance before the Landgraf. This is brought about in a manner widely different both from the anticipations raised by the first part and from the chronicled records ; to this, however, we shall return later. Just now, we have merely to give a summary of the poem in its present shape. A pavilion has been erected near the water's edge for the noble “Dürenge." It is there that a hawker presents himself, offering for sale a wondrous article “ never seen of eyes and never to be seen,” which, out of curiosity, Hermann is willing to buy, if the price be within his reach. But that which Klingsor-he is the hawker-brings with him is more costly than gold, more precious than jewels. It is a riddle-poem. Whoever shall solve the enigma is to be recognised as a master in his art. If he fail in any point, “ if he break one strand of the rope,” he is to be branded as a bungler. Eschenbach stands in high repute for wisdom, and, Klingsor has heard, excels every “lay mouth” in his legends. Him, therefore, he challenges to explain the riddle. Wolfran, un. daunted by Klingsor's boasting, and trusting not to his own knowledge but to the help of God, in whose hand is victory, demands to hear the enigma. His adversary proposes it as follows :-A father cried to his child that lay asleep co the edge of a lake : “Awake, my child! It is from kindness that I rouse you ; the wind rages over the waters, night is coming on; awake, my child! Were I to lose you, my sorrow would know no comfort." Still the child continued to