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they excused themselves by saying, falsely, that such was the common custom of Burgundy. After mass there was a tournament, but the Huns declined engaging with the fierce visitors. Haghen (who could never be quiet), on seeing a Hun arrayed in splendid armour, rode at him in the crowd, and pierced him through and through with his lance. Then began a general engagement, which was interrupted by Etzel, who threatened to hang any Hun who harmed his guests. After this the knights of both nations went to dinner, at which they sate in complete armour, every one mistrusting the other. Towards the end of the repast, Ortlieb, the young son of Chrimhild and Etzel, was brought in: Haghen spoke lightly of the boy, thereby incensing the king, and increasing the wrath of the queen. Meanwhile Blodelin, the brother of King Etzel, incited by Queen Chrimhild, went with his knights into another hall, where Dankwart, the brother of Haghen, was dining with the Burgundian squires, and defied him to his teeth as one of the murderers of Siegfried. Dankwart swore he was innocent, and then, with his first blow, cut off Blodelin's head. The Burgundian squires, though mostly unarmed, drove out the Hunnish knights, but they soon, returning in greater force, slaughtered all the nine thousand squires ! Dankwart fought his way through the mêlée, and rushing to the hall, where the kings and knights were dining, told his brother what had happened, upon which Haghen commenced a general slaughter of the Huns, by cutting off young Ortlieb's head, which fell into his mother's lap. Chrimhild now began to fear for her own life, but Dietrich of Berne, a friendly guest, who had nothing to do with the champions of Burgundy, took up her majesty under one arm, and her husband Etzel under the other, and carried them out of the hall, away from the fearful affray, which ended in the champions remaining sole masters of the hall, after killing and throwing out of window seven thousand Huns! In the conflict Folker particularly signalized himself.
“King Etzel cried, “Alas and woe! that to this feast they came,
And oh! its dreadful tones strike many a champion dead!"" After a short truce, the fight was renewed, Chrimhild offering great ] riches to anyone who would attack Haghen. Iring, Margrave of Denmark, at length undertook the task, and wounded Haghen on the skull, but he was killed by that champion, and so were Irnfried and Hawart, and all their knights, who tried to avenge Iring's death. Chrimhild then brought up twenty thousand Huns to attack the heroes,
who fought furiously, but not without heavy losses, till nightfall, when the assailants, not knowing what better to do, set fire to the hall. The heroes, now reduced to six hundred, were at the last extremity. They had nothing wherewith to quench the raging thirst caused by the fire and smoke, till, by the advice of Haghen, they drank the blood of their foes. Fortunately, the hall-roof was arched, “which," says the song, "prevented a general conflagration;" and Haghen, Folker, and their fellows, were only half-roasted by the following morning, when they were attacked by a fresh host of Huns, whom they slew to a man.
Rudiger, who had gone to Worms to obtain the unlucky hand of Chrimhild, was one of the bravest warriors at court; but as he had entertained the Burgundians on their journey, and shown them hospitality in his own house, he could hardly be prevailed upon to attack them: and even when he yielded to the king and queen on their knees, and prepared himself and his knights, with heavy hearts, for the attack, he advised the Burgundians, that they might get ready to withstand him, and told them he was only persuaded to it by the entreaties of Chrimhild. The only glimpses of the generous spirit of chivalry that are caught in this foul and murderous epic are in the character of Rudiger. When told by Haghen that the shield he had given him at his castle was hewn to pieces, Rudiger insisted on his accepting the one he then wore, that so they might be on a more equal footing in the fight. Even Haghen was touched by his generosity, and, with Folker, swore he would not fall upon Rudiger, who, however, was slain by Ghernot, one of King Gunter's brothers, after he (Ghernot) had received a mortal wound on the head from the sword of Rudiger. All Rudiger's knights were then added to the heap of dead, but not before the Burgundian band was almost exterminated. Dietrich of Berne, who, very prudently, had abstained from an active interference, then sent his follower Hildebrand, a wise old warrior, to demand the dead body of Rudiger from the Burgundians. Wolfhart, Sighestab, and Helfrich, three nephews of Dietrich of Berne, would follow Hildebrand, in spite of the good advice of their uncle. And now the catastrophe approaches, which, in some respects, resembles that of the immortal drama of "Tom Thumb,' when all the heroes lie dead on the stage together.
When they entered the hall, and saw the hospitable and noblehearted Rudiger lying dead, the lamentations of Dietrich of Berne's messengers were excessive, and Wolfhart could not refrain from insulting the heroes of Burgundy, who refused to deliver the body. Folker answering in the same style, Wolfhart broke loose from Hildebrand, who would have kept the peace, and struck the fiddler a mighty blow,—but the fiddler felled him dead in return. Nothing could now restrain the heroes from the fight. Folker slew Sighestab, and the wise old Hildebrand slew Folker, whose “red fiddlestick” thus at last dropped from his hand. Helfrich, Dietrich's last nephew, and Ghiseler, Gunter's last brother, exchanged death-wounds with one another ;-80 that, at length, none remained on either side, except Haghen, King Gunter, and Hildebrand. The wise Hildebrand endeavoured to carry off the body of the brave Wolfhart, but he was put to flight by Haghen, and flying to Dietrich, told him all that had happened. Then the mighty Dietrich of Berne armed himself, and going to the hall where Haghen and Gunter stood among the dead, bade them surrender : they refused. Upon this, Dietrich attacked Haghen, and, after a fierce combat, bound him, and carried him to Chrimhild, imploring that queen not to take his life. Dietrich returned to the hall, and, after another hard fight, also brought King Gunter bound. The Knight of Berne then departed, loudly lamenting.
Chrimhild offered Haghen his life if he would tell where he had concealed the Niebelungen treasure ; but Haghen, well knowing her malice, refused the condition.
“Then I'll bring it to an end,' spake the noble Siegfried's wife.
Off they struck his head, and she grasped it by the hair!”
“When that sorrowing hero his master's head did see,
Thou hast brought it to an end, and quenched thy bloody thirst;
Never, thou fiend-like woman, that treasure shalt thou nigh!!”
"Foully hast thou spoken;' thus she spake with eager word;
Up and spake old Hildebrand,—Thus she shall not speed;
THE CLERK'S TALE.
FROM CHAUCER'S CANTERBURY TALES. In our 'Half-Hours with the Best Authors,' will be found the story which Chaucer has given us in . The Clerk's Tale,' as it was told by Boccaccio. Chaucer says
“I will tell you a tale which that I
Learned at Padua of a worthy clerk,
Hight this clerk.” Mr. Tyrwhitt, in his admirable edition of Chaucer, says:-“It is not easy to say why Chaucer should choose to own an obligation for this tale to Petrarch rather than to Boccace, from whose 'Decameron' it was translated by Petrarch, in 1373, the year before his death, as appears by a remarkable letter, which he sent with his translation to Boccace. It should seem, too, from the same letter, that the story was not invented by Boccace; for Petrarch says, "that it had always pleased him when he had heard it many years before, whereas he had not seen the * Decameron' till very lately."
On the west side of Italy, by the base of Mount Vesulus, there is a fruitful and pleasant plain, where many a town and tower founded in old times may be seen, and the name of this country is Saluces. A | Marquis named Walter was, at one time, lord of that land, as his fathers had been before him. He was a man beloved for himself, and dreaded for his power and position. He was young, of a fair person and strong, full of honour and courtesy, and possessing discretion enough to guide his people. In some things, however, he was to blame; he considered nothing of the future, all his thoughts were upon the present and passing pleasure. He hawked and he hunted, and let weightier cares and duties slide by; above all, he would not marry, and for that especially his people grieved.
One day, accordingly, they went to him in a crowd, and one of them thus spoke: “O noble Marquis, your humanity giveth us boldness to tell you our grief. Accept, then, lord, of your gentleness, what we, with piteous hearts, complain of unto you; let not your ears disdain my voice,
“For certes, lord, so well us liketh you
And all your work, and e'er have done, that we