By Professor Burton Raffel

No poem in German literature is so popular and studied in Germany and Europe because the 800-year-old Das Nibelungenlied. within the English-speaking global, despite the fact that, the poem has remained little identified, languishing with out an sufficient translation. this excellent new translation by way of eminent translator Burton Raffel brings the epic poem to existence in English for the 1st time, rendering it in verse that does complete justice to the unique excessive center German. His translation underscores the formal elements of the poem and preserves its haunting good looks. known as the German lliad, Das Nibelungenlied is a heroic epic either nationwide in personality and sweeping in scope. The poem strikes inexorably from romance via tragedy to holocaust. It portrays the existential struggles and downfall of a complete humans, the Burgundians, in an army clash with the Huns and their king. In his foreword to the publication, Michael Dirda observes that the tale “could be simply up-to-date to explain the downfall of a Mafia crime relatives, anything just like the Godfather, with swords.” The great charm of Das Nibelungenlied during the 19th and 20th centuries is mirrored in such works as Richard Wagner’s opera tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen, Fritz Lang’s two-part movie Die Nibelungen, and, extra lately, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  

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Either you keep your lands by fighting as well as you can, or all you own is mine. Whatever I may inherit is also yours for the taking— but only, by fighting, if you merit it. 114 ‘‘Your lands are mine, or mine will come to you instead. ’’ Hagen and Gernot were as one, rejecting Sifried’s demands. 115 ‘‘We haven’t the slightest interest,’’ Gernot said at once, ‘‘in taking anyone’s lands or striking anyone dead by any hero’s hands. We hold lands in abundance, ours by right. ’’ 116 Those who’d come with Gernot among them Ortwin from Metz, stood grim and angry at his side, who said: ‘‘To answer this knight 18 HOW SIFRIED CAME TO WURMS so tamely hurts my heart, Mighty Sifried’s challenge offends against my pride.

Burgundy’s confident stance alarmed him, filled him with doubt and fear. ’’ This was not welcome news, for he knew at once just what it meant. 169 And then the Danes, warned by these pressing words, hurriedly urged their friends to send as many more men as they might, until King Ludegast, who still was deeply worried, found he could bring the invading army twenty thousand knights. 170 And Ludiger, too, the Saxon king, called for aid both far and wide, until between the Saxons and Danes an invasion army of forty thousand men had been raised.

In truth, they mean to invade your kingdom. 144 ‘‘They’re terribly angry at you. We’ve heard enough to know both have sworn your destruction, both are determined foes. 22 HE FIGHTS AGAINST THE SAXONS They’ve raised a vast new army Many knights have joined them, aimed at Wurms on the Rhine. and that’s God’s truth, as you will find. 145 ‘‘Another three months, or less, and this army will be at your door. You’ll soon discover, indeed, how many good friends there are who’ll help you protect your lands, your castles, and all your treasure.

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