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father, to whose grave at Sauisey she steals hy night on purpose to crave it; and afterwards it passes to her son. There are two versions of the Hervararsaga, both very imperfect. One, contained in the Hauksbtik, ended probably with the death of Heidrek, while the other, composed in Norway, included an account of a terrible battle between the Goths and the Huns. Hlod, who had been brought up at the court of Humli of Hunaland, demands from his half-brother Arganty'r, Heidrek's son, the half of his father's kingdom, but, being a bastard, he is contumeliously rejected. Thereupon Humli collects his Huns and prepares to revenge his fosterling in battle. The fight lasts eight days, and ends in victory for the Goths.
Closely related to that of Hervor is the Orvar Oddssaga, the visur being many of them practically the same. Odd, who gets his name " Orvar Odd" from a giant on account of his wonderful arrows, travels for three hundred years in search of adventures, and dies at last, in accordance with an old prophecy, from the bite of a serpent. Ere he expires he sings an erfidr&pa, or dirge, on himself, in which he reviews his life; and this dirge forms the conclusion of the saga. The song has no artistic merit . It is, in fact, one of the last offshoots of the ancient thulir or popular poetry, and represents an older song which celebrated Odd's achievements in the same way that the songs of the Herverarsaga do those of its heroes.
In general, Orvar Odd much resembles a personage of wide popularity in the North—Starkad Storverksson, stated by Saxo Graminaticus to have composed the magnificent song on the Battle of Bravalla, in which he, Starkad, took part. This song is known to us from the Sogubrot af Fornkonungum, which preserves the relics of a great saga formed out of a series of ancient writings in honour of the mythical Kings of Denmark and Sweden. Of Starkad's youthful exploits something is told us in the second part of the Gautrekssaga.
The most noticeable thing about Icelandic literature in its prime is its independence of other literatures.
Farcin In the fourteenth century this insularity is
eiewmtt. no longer maintained. Romantic traits are to be found in the Hervararsaga, the Orvar Oddssaga, and the Sbgubrot af Fornkonungum, in the last of which there are tournaments. This circumstance prepares us for the statement that during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries there arose a complete set of Fornsogur Sudrlanda—i.e., free translations of "south-country" epics and romances, which, in point of style, have been thoroughly naturalised. From Germany came the Thidrekssaga, or, as it was formerly called, Vilkinasaga, and, according to the Norwegian author, his information was derived orally from Low German traders. The central and dominant figure is Thidrik,1 but there are included in the work stories of King Samson, Wieland the Smith, Kriemhild, Sigurd and the Volsungs, &c.
About the year 1250, in which this saga was produced, a Norwegian Karlamagnussaga was composed, although in its complete form it is found only in Icelandic versions some fifty years later. This translation-literature was greatly encouraged by Hakon Hiikonarson (1217-63), his chief agent being a mysterious Abbot Robert, to whom were due tho fflissaga ok Rosamundu, perhaps also the Ivenlsaga (the saga of Iwein), the Mbttuhsaga (the story of the enchanted mantle), and, above all, the Strenghikar or Ljodabok, a translation of at least nineteen North French lais of Marie of France. Even this enumeration conveys only an imperfect idea of the wealth and variety of the fornsbgur which (many of them by way of England) wandered northwards to the land of snows and much leisure. Germany is represented by the Konradssaga and the Magussaga (story of the children of Haimon, &c.); France, by the Florentsmga (obtained through a Latin medium) and a whole row of Arthurian romances not yet published. Ireland furnishes a Duggalsleizla; and England, a Beverssaga, as well as Bretasbgur based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Britoimm. The Icelanders possessed also a rich store of tales and legends, which in the Islendzk Aeventyri of the learned and travelled Bishop of Skalholt, Jon Halldorsson, attained to the dignity of a distinct branch of literature.
1 German, Dietrich (Theodoric).
We come now to the Eufemiavisor—i.e., metrical renderings named after Queen Eufemia, wife of Hiikon The Euphcmia Magniisson (1299) and daughter of a Gerviaor. man count, who, for the pleasure of her
stepson, Duke Eric, is stated to have caused three poems to be translated into Swedish. The first, Ivan Lcjonriddaren, was written probably in 1303, and at the conclusion the translator observes that it was rendered into " our speech" out of the French. From this it has been supposed that the immediate model was a version, now lost, of Chrestien de Troyes' wellnown Ivain or the Chevalier an Lion. On the other hand, Ivan already existed in Norwegian prose, and certain features contained in the Swedish poem occur in the saga, but in no hitherto discovered French text. The second poem, Hertig Fredrik af Normandie, was written about 1308. The story is that the Emperor Otto had it translated from French into German, and Queen Eufemia from German into Swedish. Here, again, matters are not free from difficulty. The difficulty consists in this, that no French original can be traced, and, consequently or inconsequently, no German translation can be found. It may be that Hertig Fredrik was first composed in Low German, and thence translated into Swedish. The third poem is the universally popular Flores och Blanzefior, which dates from the year 1312, and is based directly on a Norwegian prose romance.
Lastly, as to the lygisogur, or lying sagas. This term, it is said, was employed by King Sverrir of the Sturlungasaga (a history of Iceland written in the early part of the thirteenth century), and in different senses might be employed, perhaps, all round. As between this and that class of writing, it is a question of comparative lying, and the distinction is largely artificial. Bound up with the Orvar Oddssaga, a canonical work, is the Ketilssaga Haengs, which treats of the hero's grandfather, and describes a number of mythical adventures, such as fights with giants. As a further illustration of the overlapping of fornsbgur and lygisogur, it may be mentioned that the journey to Odainsakr, the Land of the Immortals, which occurs in the Hervararscuja, is reproduced in thji Eirikssaga Vidf&rla. Finally, the Krdka Refssaga, of which the scene is partly in Greenland, is a kind of historical novel, and, as with other more celebrated novels, the history is shaky.
English romances differ from those of France, and Germany, and Iceland during this period, in that they English iu- do not pale by comparison with a more glorivbnL ous past. They may be looked upon rather
as the school-exercises of youth than the laboured efforts of age, as a sort of preparation for Chaucer. This reawakening of the English speech to dignity and recognition was due partly to internal causes, partly to the wars with France. The various elements of society, glowing with resentment against the common foe, were fused by patriotic ardour into a single nation. The adoption of the English language as the medium of intercourse was sure to follow. For a while French might continue to be spoken, as Robert of Gloucester testifies that it was, by "heie men," but even in respect of them, before the century was out, a revolution was accomplished, for, says John of Trevisa, "gentil men haveth now mych ylefte for to teche her children Frensch."
It is natural to suppose that complete recognition and triumph, as in the days of Chaucer and Gower,