Dr. Woerner's Lecture.
In 1816 a German philologist declared that the Nibelugenlied was the work of one man. He made out twenty component parts in it, the rest having been added at different times as it was handed down. These twenty lays dealing with the Nibelungen note form the nucleus of the song. The Nibelungenlied is in substance a tragedy, and an unparalleled phenomenon in the world's history. It assumed its present form in the 12th century, and it is from Norwegian sources that we have poems showing its form. The song is a myth signifying the victory of the seasons. Summer appeared to the old Teutonic tribes as a kind god with golden hair and blue eyes as distinguished from winter, the dark god. Siegfried, the hero of the story and the Teutonic ideal of youth and strength was the summer god. Spring was represented as a virgin in order that she might marry summer. Brunhilde was the spring god. Winter, against whom summer warred, was termed the Dragon. These mythical personages came in time to be regarded as real. The Dragon becomes a real serpent and Siegfried the light haired god becomes a real hero symbolizing victory. The treasure, the famous Nibelungen horde, whatever its original nature becomes actual but unfortunate gold.
We have the Saga down to the 6th century in something of this form. The song was transmitted by wandering singers, the chroniclers and newsmongers of their day.
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