Rather, important excerpts from the life of the prophet are strung together like snapshots, some of which are highly dramatic. The prophet's ascension into heaven concludes a series of powerful, dramatic and pathetic circumstances, effectively depicted by Mendelssohn music.
The oratorio ends both with a somewhat mystical reference to the Messiah as the figure who truly consummates faith and the divine work, as well as a vision of divine grandeur. Despite the lack of a continuous plot, Mendelssohn manages to create gripping, dramatic episodes. One example is the scene in which Baal's priests are derided by Elijah and become extremely irritated; their abandonment is made evident in an ingenious way: "O Baal, hear us!
This alternation of dramatic and lyrical sections defines the work. The chorus plays a special, important role. It sustains the action over long segments, taking the part of the people or of Baal's priests; elsewhere, it slips into the role of the community of the faithful "Blessed is he who fears the Lord" or "He who persists until the end" and comments on the events.
Mendelssohn, with the help of the minister Julius Schubring, essentially took the entire text from 1 Kings and 2 Kings Mendelssohn wrote Schubring on 2 November , with regard to the character Elijah: "For Elijah I had in mind a proper prophet through and through, of the sort we could use again today: strong, zealous, as well as angry, furious and grim, in opposition to the rabble of the court and of the people, in opposition to nearly the whole world, and yet borne as if by angels' wings.
Peter Lika Elijah Peter Lika, who began his singing career as a boy soloist with the Regensburger Domspatzen, is considered one of the leading basses in the concert and opera repertoire. His unmistakable timbre is paired with delicately balanced dramatic expressive power, which makes him a natural soloist for roles such as that of Elijah. It is not surprising, therefore, that conductors like Masur, Schreier, Rilling, Gardiner, Marriner, Norrington, Celibidache and Herreweghe have appreciated working with Lika, as have renowned orchestras, not least for his extensive repertoire and many years of experience, also with early music.
Heidi Elisabeth Meier Widow, Angel is considered an exceptional phenomenon among up-and-coming soloists and can already look back on numerous successes in concerts, operas and song. In , Ms. In addition to concert activity in oratorios, operas and song, Ms. Michalska-Taliaferro teaches singing at the conservatory for church music in Esslingen.
Hans Peter Blochwitz Obadjah, Ahab is one of the most highly respected German tenors at the important international opera houses, particularly for the Mozart parts. The Kantorei Maulbronn is the large oratorio choir of the monastery in Maulbronn, founded in In addition to regular participation in the services at the monastery, the performance of great oratorios is the focus of its choral work. Their concert activity with renowned orchestras and soloists in Germany and abroad demonstrates the high quality of this ambitious amateur choir.
He studied music pedagogy, church music and musicology at the academy of music in Stuttgart and since , has taught at the Evangelisch-theologisches Seminar in Maulbronn. For his teaching and artistic activity he has received the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande, the Bruno-Frey-Preis of the Landesakademie Ochsenhausen and was named "best conductor" at the International Choral Festival in Prague. Several concert recordings have been made under his artistic direction that received international recognition and high praise from critics.
W hen the directors of the Birmingham Festival commissioned Felix Mendelssohn to compose and conduct a new oratorio in , the thirty-eight year old composer had long been the most celebrated musician in Europe. Mendelssohn had been a child prodigy, a virtuoso performer on both piano and organ as well as a composer.
By the age of seventeen he had already written such outstanding works as the Octet for Strings and the Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream. His compositions were extraordinarily popular; his violin concerto was performed so often that a little ditty was sung to the opening bars, "Schon wieder, schon wieder, das Mendelssohn Konzert," "And yet again, that Mendelssohn Concerto! As with Mozart, Mendelssohn's talent blossomed early. He made his debut as a soloist at age nine, the same year he had the first public performance of one of his compositions. Unlike Mozart, however, there was never any question of exploiting his talent.
His father was a successful and wealthy banker, and young Felix had the opportunity to master his craft without public scrutiny. His memory was phenomenal. He could play all of Beethoven's symphonies by heart while still a boy and it was said that he remembered every piece of music he ever heard. He could instantly play anything after hearing it once. His compositional skills were equally remarkable and he came into his mature style far earlier than Mozart. The Octet for Strings was written when he was only sixteen. With its expansive lyricism, it is not only one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written but it also comes close to compositional perfection in its balance, form and structure.
With the unprecedented gossamer-like texture in the opening strings, it broke new ground in musical tone painting and was followed with equally evocative works such as The Hebrides Overture and the Symphony No. Mendelssohn made another outstanding contribution to music of different sort when the twenty-year-old composer mounted a revival of Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Berlin in Bach's music had not been forgotten by any means, but he was known mainly by his keyboard music. Bach's sacred music, composed largely as part of his duties as cantor of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, was considered merely service music.
Mendelssohn's performance of the St. Matthew Passion reawakened an interest in Bach's choral music that has lasted to this day. That performance also helped Mendelssohn embark on yet another simultaneous career as a conductor. Although composers and soloists traditionally led orchestral performances, much of the interpretation as well as keeping time and cueing entrances was left to leaders within the ensemble. The concept of conductor as music director, who shaped the performance according to his interpretation, was a novel one at that time.
Mendelssohn was one of the first conductors to use a baton and to take charge of conducting an entire performance. This caused quite a bit of controversy with the musicians when he was invited to take over the Leipzig Gewandhaus concerts in , and Robert Schumann finally intervened to smooth matters out. An eyewitness related Mendelssohn's conducting style.
Reciprocally, all eyes were on the tip of his conductor's baton. Thus he was able, with sovereign freedom, to lead the masses at all times according to his will. He was not, however, the prototype of the autocratic conductor. He realized that musicians required financial security in order to excel at their craft and he engaged in long and ultimately successful negotiations with municipal officials in Leipzig to obtain a guaranteed salary and pension benefits for the Gewandhaus Orchestra, laying the foundations of the modern professional orchestra.
He also was the driving force for the founding of the Leipzig Conservatory, the first such institution in Germany dedicated to training musicians. The scope of Mendelssohn's genius and his accomplishments astound us even today. It is puzzling why his reputation languishes. It is certainly not that his music is not played, for his symphonies, overtures, concerti and chamber music have long been in the standard repertoire.
Some of his music has even made it into the public domain: his Spring Song and the Bridal March from A Midsummer Night's Dream have taken on lives of their own apart from their origins. In some ways Mendelssohn has become a victim of his own talent. Like Mozart, he had such facility at composition and worked out musical problems so smoothly that his music almost sounds obvious or predictable in unskilled hands. We respect music that bears the mark of the forge, the occasional rough spot or seam. We can perhaps forgive Mozart his ease of composition because of the circumstances of his life, but it is difficult to forgive Mendelssohn for having had every advantage in life and incredible talent as well!
Mendelssohn had long contemplated the idea of an oratorio dealing with Elijah. He had already composed the first successful oratorio since the days of Handel and Haydn, St. Paul, and had even tried to interest a librettist for a time. The commission from the Birmingham Festival afforded him the opportunity to take the project up again. He returned to the Rev. Julius Schubring, who had also supplied the libretto for St. Schubring had a rather didactic view of the project and wanted to include explicit. Christian theology. Mendelssohn had another view altogether and wrote, "I would fain see the dramatic element more prominent as well as more exuberant and defined T he dramatic element should predominate.
Although Mendelssohn spoke English fluently, he engaged his English friend William Bartholomew to prepare the English translation which would be set. The score was finally completed in mid-August of , just in time for Mendelssohn to conduct the premiere at the Birmingham Festival on August 26, The oratorio was an instant success. There was thunderous applause and repeated encores this was quite unusual in Britain at that time, where oratorio performances were seen as quasi-religious events and generally not applauded and Elijah quickly took its place alongside Messiah and The Creation in the pantheon of oratorios.
The libretto of Elijah does not provide a continuous story line so a brief recounting of Elijah's story may be in order. Ahab is king in Israel and has married Jezebel, the daughter of the king of the Phoenician city Sidon. Jezebel has introduced the worship of the false god Baal, and Ahab has begun persecuting those who remained faithful to the Lord. Obadiah, Ahab's vizier, has remained faithful to the Lord and is providing a place of refuge to as many prophets and holy men as he can. Elijah suddenly appears and prophesies a drought.
Elijah goes into the desert while Ahab searches in vain for him. After a while, Elijah goes to Zarephath, where he asks a widow to give him lodging and food. The widow has just enough for a single meal, but Elijah convinces her to trust in the Lord and He will provide for her. She agrees and during the time that Elijah stays with her, her food is miraculously replenished. Her son, however, sickens and dies, but Elijah prays to the Lord and the son's life is restored. At the end of three years, Elijah returns to Israel to face Ahab. He challenges Ahab to have a sacrifice prepared but no fire lit under it.
The priests of Baal will invoke their god while Elijah will invoke the Lord to ignite the fire. The priests of Baal summon him in vain while Elijah mocks them. His own prayer to the Lord is answered by fire, and the people, seeing this, repent. Elijah has the priests of Baal taken and executed.
He then prays for an end to the drought and the Lord sends rain again upon the land. Elijah's triumph is short lived, for Jezebel stirs up the people against him. He is forced to flee into the desert, where he despairs over his failure to bring the people back to the Lord. Angels come to comfort him and he is directed to Mount Horeb, where the Lord will come to him. As he waits on the mount there is first a violent wind, then an earthquake and finally a raging fire, but the Lord is in none of them.
He comes as a small, still voice, telling Elijah to return to Israel. Elijah passes from history for a time, but returns for one more confrontation with Ahab, who eventually repents of his ways, and a confrontation with Ahab's son and successor Ahaziah. Meanwhile, Elijah has been training his own successor Elisha. The Lord sends a fiery chariot with fiery horses to Elijah and the prophet is taken up into heaven in a whirlwind, much to the astonishment of Elisha. Elijah opens in dramatic fashion, not with the customary overture but with Elijah proclaiming the curse, much as the prophet himself abruptly appeared to Ahab.
Mendelssohn in fact planned to omit the overture altogether since it interfered with the developing story line, but was later persuaded by Bartholomew to add one, placing it, however, after Elijah's introduction. This performance returns to Mendelssohn's original concept and the overture has been discarded. An angel sends Elijah to the widow of Zarephath "Elijah, get thee hence. The magnificent chorus "Blessed are the men who fear Him" is one of Schubring's interpolations into the story, but provides Mendelssohn with an opportunity for some wonderfully evocative writing, such as the ascending triads to the text "through darkness riseth light.
The priests invoke Baal "Baal, we cry to thee" while Elijah mocks them "Call him louder". This is the dramatic high point of the oratorio, with Elijah's calm contrasting with the increasingly frenetic music of the chorus. Their invocation ends with a fortissimo "Hear and answer! By contrast, Elijah then invokes the Lord with music of great nobility and simplicity "Draw near, all ye people.
At the third time the rain comes, and the people join in an exuberant hymn of praise "Thanks be to God. He confronts Ahab, taking him to task for his idolatry "The Lord hath exalted thee" while Jezebel stirs up the people against Elijah "Woe to him. Here Mendelssohn again uses some vividly descriptive music depicting the fury of the wind, the earthquake and the fire, contrasting that with the simplicity to which he sets the text "and in that still voice, onward came the Lord.
Those familiar with Elijah may have detected another omission, the solo aria "O rest in the Lord. The melody bore a resemblance to a popular ballad and Mendelssohn did not really like it. It "is a song to which I have always had an objection," he wrote. I believe it an improvement if it is left out. All rights reserved. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Oratorium Elias. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Oratorio Elijah.
Elijah As God the Lord of Israel liveth, before whom I stand: There shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. Chor Das Volk Hilf, Herr! Hilf, Herr! Die Ernte ist vergangen, der Sommer ist dahin. Und uns ist keine Hilfe gekommen. Will denn der Herr nicht mehr Gott sein in Zion? Die jungen Kinder heischen Brot und da ist niemand, der es ihnen breche! Obadjah " So ihr mich von ganzem Herzen suchet, so will ich mich finden lassen", spricht unser Gott. Chor Das Volk Aber der Herr sieht es nicht, er spottet unser! Und tue Barmherzigkeit an vielen Tausenden, die mich lieb haben und meine Gebote halten.
The People Help, Lord! Wilt Thou quite destroy us! The harvest now is over, the summer days are gone, and yet no power cometh to help us! Will then the Lord be no more God in Zion? Recitative The People The deeps afford no water! And the rivers are exhausted! The suckling's tongue now cleaveth for thirst to his mouth!
The infant children ask for bread! And there is no one breaketh it to feed them! Two Women Zion spreadeth her hands for aid, and there is neither help nor comfort. Obadiah Ye people, rend your hearts and not your garments for your transgressions: the prophet Elijah hath sealed the heavens through the word of God. I therefore say to ye: forsake your idols, return to God; for He is slow to anger, and merciful, and kind, and gracious, and repenteth Him of the evil. Obadiah " If with all your hearts ye truly seek Me, ye shall ever surely find Me.
The People Yet doth the Lord see it not, He mocketh at us; His curse hath fallen down upon us, His wrath will pursue us till He destroy us. For He, the Lord our God, He is a jealous God, and He visiteth all the fathers' sins on the children to the third and the fourth generation of them that hate Him.
His mercies on thousands fall, on all them that love him and keep his commandments. Ein Engel Elias! Gehe hinweg von hinnen und wende dich gen Morgen, und verbirg dich am Bache Crith! Ein Engel Nun auch der Bach vertrocknet ist, Elias, mache dich auf, gehe gen Zarpath und bleibe daselbst! Die Witwe Was hast du an mir getan, du Mann Gottes? Hilf mir, du Mann Gottes! Du schaust das Elend, sei du der Armen Helfer!
Hilf meinem Sohn! Es ist kein Odem mehr in ihm! Elias Gib mir her deinen Sohn! Herr, mein Gott, vernimm mein Flehn! Herr mein Gott, lasse die Seele dieses Kindes wieder zu ihm kommen! Die Witwe Wirst du denn unter den Toten Wunder tun? Elias Herr, mein Gott, lasse die Seele dieses Kindes wieder zu ihm kommen! Es wird lebendig!
Wie soll ich dem Herrn vergelten alle seine Wohltat, die er an mir tut? Den Frommen geht das Licht auf in der Finsternis. An Angel Elijah! Get thee hence, Elijah! Depart and turn thee eastward: thither hide thee by Cherith's brook. There shalt thou drink its waters; and the Lord thy God hath commanded the ravens to feed thee there: so do according unto His word.
Angels For He shall give His angels charge over thee; that they shall protect thee in all the ways thou goest; that their hands shall uphold and guide thee, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
An Angel Now Cherith's brook is dried up, Elijah; arise and depart; and get thee to Zarephath; thither abide: for the Lord hath commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. And the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.
Help me, man of God! I go mourning all the day long; I lie down and weep at night. See mine affliction. Be thou the orphan's helper! Elijah Give me thy son. Turn unto her, O lord my God; in mercy help this widow's son! For thou art gracious, and full of compassion, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Lord my God, O let the spirit of this child return, that he again may live. The Widow Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Elijah Lord my God, O let the spirit of this child return, that he again may live! Elijah Lord, my God, let the spirit of this child return, that he again may live!
The Widow The Lord hath heard thy prayer, the soul of my son reviveth! My son reviveth! The Widow Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that His word in thy mouth is the truth. What shall I render to the Lord, for all his benefits to me? Elijah Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
O blessed are they who fear Him! Both Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. People Blessed are the men who fear Him, they ever walk in the way of peace. Through darkness riseth light, light to the upright.
He is gracious, compassionate; He is righteous. Elias Ruft euren Gott zuerst, denn eurer sind viele. Send uns dein Feuer, und vertilge den Feind! Elias Rufet lauter! Rufet lauter! Ritzt euch mit Messern und mit Pfriemen nach eurer Weise! Hinkt um den Altar, den ihr gemacht! Rufet und weissagt! Da wird keine Stimme sein, keine Antwort, kein Aufmerken. Chor Die Propheten Baals Baal! Gib uns Antwort, Baal! Siehe, die Feinde verspotten uns! Gib uns Antwort!
Herr, Gott Abrahams! Die Engel Wirf dein Anliegen auf den Herrn, der wird dich versorgen, und wird den Gerechten nicht ewiglich in Unruhe lassen. Denn seine Gnade reicht so weit der Himmel ist, und keiner wird zu Schanden, der seiner harret. Chor Das Volk Das Feuer fiel herab! Fallt nieder auf euer Angesicht! Der Herr ist Gott! Will man sich nicht bekehren, so hat er sein Schwert gewetzt, und seinen Bogen gespannt, und zielet!
Weh ihnen! Elijah As God the Lord of Sabaoth liveth, before whom I stand, three years this day fulfilled, I will shew myself unto Ahab; and the Lord will then send rain again upon the earth. Elijah I never troubled Israel's peace: it is thou, Ahab, and all thy father's house ye have forsaken God's commands, and thou hast follow'd Baalim. Now send, and gather to me the whole of Israel unto Mount Carmel; there summon the prophets of Baal, and also the prophets of Baal, and also the prophets of the groves who are house feasted at Jezebel's table.
Then we shall see whose God is the Lord. Elijah Rise then, ye priests of Baal; select and slay a bullock, and put no fire under it; uplift your voices and call the god ye worship; and the god who by fire shall answer, let him be God. The People Yea, and the God who by fire shall answer, let him be God. Elijah Call first upon your god, your numbers are many. I, even I only, remain one prophet of the Lord. Invoke your forest gods, and mountain deities.
At that time, the book is highly influential as many German readers as well as readers in all European countries, who underwent unfulfilled love, decided to end their lives as Werther did. However, there is no metaphorical use in the TT. Bis heute ist das aber niemandem gelungen. For domestication, translator has power in adding or cutting off some expressions, which sounds unfamiliar for the culture of TT, while for foreignization, translator has no right to change or replace any expression. The themes of these works reflect the interests and social position of the noble and princely patrons by whom they were commissioned, and for whose households they provided not only entertainment and instruction but also a public manifestation of political aspirations. Erscheinung Gottes - Himmelfahrt des Elias.
Prophets of Baal Baal, we cry to thee, hear and answer us! Heed the sacrifice we offer! Hear us, Baal! Hear, mighty god! Baal, oh answer us! Baal, let thy flames fall and vanquish the foe! Elijah Call him louder, for he is a god! He talketh, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey; or, peradventure, he sleepeth: so awaken him! Call him louder, call him louder! Prophets of Baal Hear our cry, o Baal, now arise! Wherefore slumber? Elijah Call him louder! He heareth not. With knives and lancets cut yourselves after your manner.
Leap upon the altar ye have made, call him and prophesy! Not a voice will answer you: none will listen, none heed you. The manuscript has the German and the Latin in parallel columns, and the German text does not always match the Latin, nor indeed is that Latin version the same as other western European versions. The Isidoregroup includes also parts of a sermon called De vocatione gentium, of another sermon by Augustine, of an unidentified work, and of Matthew s Gospel. In the Paris manuscript the left-hand page has the Latin text of Isidore s tract, the right the German, though the latter was not completed, and after a few blank pages the Latin fills both sides.
The translator seems actively to have avoided Latin constructions such as participial forms and tries consistently to make clear who is presenting the argument at any point. There is also a clear and consistent orthographic system. In the fragments from Monsee, the translation of the Gospel is not as free, perhaps due to the desire to keep to the sacred language once again, although it is not as literal as the Tatian version.
These translations again indicate the potential of High German at an early stage. Religious poetry: Heliand, Otfrid and later pieces 15 long-lines divided into just over seventy cantos. The work seems to show the influence of Fulda; the narrative is based on the Tatian Gospelharmony, and the poet may have used a commentary on Matthew by Hrabanus himself, written around The work presents and explains the many miracles uundarlicas filo , 36b of Christ.
The epic elements strike the reader, but the interpretative parts are also important. The exegesis is a familiar one, going back to Gregory the Great, and Otfrid himself uses it too. The effect of the whole work, though, is to stress the power of God over the attacks of the enemy, and the conclusion to the raising of Lazarus X L I X epitomises this: as Lazarus was healed, so may the mikile maht godes God s mighty power preserve any man uuid fiundo nid against the envy of the enemy.
Of course the Heliand Germanises to an extent; it employs a Germanic poetic form, and hence in its build-up of formulaic phrases, with echoes of secular heroic poetry, it can sometimes look like more an heroic epic than is justified. But Christ does not become a Germanic warrior, nor is there really evidence of supposed Germanic delights in battle. In the struggle between Malchus and Peter, for example, which is sometimes seen as evidence for such interest, the implications of the story are spelt out very clearly indeed.
Part of an Anglo-Saxon poem on Genesis now called Genesis B proved to be a translation of an Old Saxon original, of which fragments have survived. The Genesis is close to the Heliand in form, and the treatment of the two poles of man s salvation, the fall and the redemption, is understandable. Surviving fragments present the fall, Cain, and Sodom and Gomorrah, using formulas that again echo heroic poetry. Otfrid conceived the work as it appears in the principal manuscript, now in Vienna, and in simplest terms it is a German poem of over seven thousand long-lines, narrating and expounding material from the Gospels though not based, like the Heliand, on a harmony.
The German poetry is at the centre, arranged in couplets of long-lines, rhyming at caesura and cadence, and with the second line indented, the work is divided into five books, the books into chapters, and there are introductory and concluding chapters in each. But the chapters have Latin titles in red , and tables of these titles are prefaced to each book.
A German dedicatory poem to Lewis the German opens the work, and a prose letter in Latin to Liutbert, archbishop of Mainz and Otfrid s ecclesiastical superior, comes next. These poems have Latin titles which are spelt out as acrostics and telestichs by the first and last letters of the German strophes. That the title is also spelt out by the last letters of the third half-line is not always clear in modern editions, however.
The capital letters that begin each strophe are red, and they vary in size Otfrid used this as a further structuring element and there are also Latin marginal indications which tend to become submerged in the apparatus to modern editions in red, pointing to biblical passages. The Vienna manuscript has three coloured illustrations the entry into Jerusalem, last supper, crucifixion , and the cover has an image of a labyrinth.
But another copy was made without the dedicatory poems at the Bavarian monastery of Freising and the dialect is Bavarian, rather than Otfrid s South Rhenish Franconian. There are several distinct differences from the Heliand, and it has been argued both that Otfrid used, and that he deliberately avoided similarities with that work.
Both works present Gospel material in the vernacular, of course, and both mix narrative and interpretation, but the form is different, archaic alliterative line against rhymed long-line couplets, as is the artistic complexity of Otfrid s work. Religious poetry: Heliand, Otfrid and later pieces 17 WeiEenburg he became magister scholiae , played a major role in the building up of the now dispersed library, and may have been involved with glossing. His name is on a WeiEenburg document dated , and he probably died in about , although there is no record of his death. The dedications indicate that the Evangelienbuch was completed between , when Liutbert became archbishop, and , when Salomo of Constance died.
In the letter to Liutbert Otfrid gives a number of reasons for writing the poem. One is to counter German secular songs cantus obscenus , but he refers also to the encouragement of friends, and to the inspiration of Latin Christian writers. This invites us to make comparisons, and of those Otfrid names, Juvencus fourth century produced a largely narrative Gospel poem in four books rather than five , while Arator fifth century combined commentary and narrative in his metrical version of the Acts of the Apostles. Otfrid s five books represent, he tells us, our five imperfect senses to be countered by the four Gospels, and contain 28, 24, 26, 37 and 25 chapters respectively, few having more than a hundred long-lines.
Book , chapter 20 on the man born blind in John ix, 1 has nearly two hundred plus an additional chapter offering a spiritual interpretation , and one v, 23 , contrasting heaven and earth, has nearly three hundred. The books deal with the prophecies about and nativity of Christ 1 , the ministry, teaching and miracles 11 and in , the passion iv and the resurrection, ascension and last judgement v.
It remains unclear whether Otfrid is selecting Gospel passages from memory, or using either a lectionary or a Vulgate marked with pericopes for reading. His technique, however, is to integrate narrative augmented according to the literal sense with interpretation, and this integration can be subtle. The contrast betweeen the misery of the world and the delights of paradise is a repeated motif. There are in the Evangelienbuch striking lyrical passages and refrains, but the meat of the work is in passages like these, or the chapters dealing with the wedding feast at Cana 11, , where a spiritual interpretation is followed by a consideration of why Christ turned water into wine rather than creating it from nothing.
So, too, the story of the man born blind in, is again seen as referring to sinful humanity, and the relevant chapter is in the form of a prayer ending with an amen that man s inner eyes might be opened. Otfrid shares with other Old High German poets a vivid image of the day of judgement, and stresses the impossibility of escape from a justice which is no respecter of persons in his apocalyptic description in v, 19, where a refrain underlines the good fortune of anyone who can face that doom with equanimity.
Further chapters continue the theme down to the longest and most complex chapter of all v, 23 , contrasting heaven and earth, and containing prayers for mercy, just before the conclusion of the whole work. To refer to the Evangelienbuch as a biblical epic is misleading, as it places too great an emphasis on the narrative aspects. It is a teaching work for use with the Vulgate, and the marginal indicators refer the reader to given verses. Religious poetry: Heliand, Otfrid and later pieces 19 preacher, however, and the interpretations are frequently homiletic. The work is intended presumably both for a listening audience, as reinforced by the frequent interpolated comments referring backwards and forwards in the text as I have said and as a reading or study text, as when Otfrid tells the audience Lis selbo, theih thir redion Go and read for yourself what I am telling you , 11, 9, The Evangelienbuch is polyfunctional, narrating, teaching and commentating, and the stylistic tension between his use of voices - ih and uuir T and you - is that between the teacher and the preacher.
Otfrid s work is the first major German text to use rhymed verse, and he was aware of the novelty. His rhymes are sometimes on unstressed final vowels, or are assonantic, though only two lines are unrhymed. The origin of rhyme in German has occasioned much debate, and possible influences include the colometric style found in the Vulgate Psalter as well as in Latin prose, where recurring sequences cola can demonstrate omoioteleuton , the word Otfrid uses for end-rhyme. He clearly knew formal works on grammar and metre and he plays on metrical terms. The Latin rhythmi known as Ambrosian hymns developed rhymed short lines especially in England and Ireland, possibly influenced by native Irish verse , while the Leonine hexameter is a longer rhymed Latin form.
In one major respect, Otfrid is a revolutionary: in his choice of German. This cannot be overstated, and he justifies it in the first chapter of the first book, headed in Latin why the writer wrote this book in German. Although he is less apologetic about the barbaric nature of German by which he means that it is unlike Latin in orthography and grammar here than in his letter to Liutbert, there is a nationalistic note in both. To Liutbert he complains that the Franks use the languages of other peoples. In 1,1 he stresses that the Franks are just as good as the Romans and Greeks, and should not be inhibited from writing God s praise in their own language.
Otfrid s desire to replace secular vernacular poetry may be in line with the cultural policy of Charlemagne s successors, but there are echoes of the nationalism implicit in the translatio imperii. The Conclusio voluminis totius The conclusion of the whole volume, v, 25 picks up the idea, calling for the eternal singing of God s praises by all men and angels, placing the Franks into a scheme that is not only world-wide, but eternal. Composed perhaps at the Reichenau and written down in the tenth century, it breaks off at the end of a manuscript page.
There is a homely feel about the dialogue, and the Samaritana exclaims uuizze Christ , Christ knows on one occasion. It ends at John iv, 20, leaving us the question of why this somewhat unpretentious fragment was written, although the pericope one of the readings for Lent , was adapted separately later in the Middle Ages in English. The purpose may have been to stress that those who are not Jews can believe in Christ.
At the end of the Freising manuscript of the Evangelienbuch, following an indication in Latin that the copy was done at the behest of Bishop Waldo by the unworthy scribe Sigihard, comes Sigihard s prayer St. Another Rhenish Franconian rhymed prayer, probably made in the late ninth century, renders into four lines of German verse the Latin prose collect Deus qui proprium. O God, whose nature. One, in a Trier manuscript in an eleventh-century hand uses the crude code sometimes found in glosses St. L X X X , and another, from a different monastery in Trier and written rather earlier, has two longlines adapted from Gregory the Great St.
The rhymed Zurich house-blessing St. L X X V is the bluntest attempt to keep away devils, however, challenging any demon to pronounce the word chnospinci. Specific rhymed prayers ask that bees might not swarm elsewhere, or that valuable dogs might not run away St. Religious poetry: Heliand, Otfrid and later pieces 21 aid in gaining the kingdom of heaven, is a hymn rather than a prayer. That St Peter, as keeper of the gate of heaven, can intercede for the sinner is familiar enough, and is echoed closely in a Latin hymn, albeit not a rhymed or rhythmic one.
The real interest of the work lies in the implicit sense of community: God is unsar trohtin , our Lord , and the prayer concludes pittemes. The hymnic feel is unmistakable, and the text is provided in the manuscript with musical notation. The work is less easy to associate with the dedication of a specific church than with St Peter s See in Rome, something voiced long ago by Hoffmann von Fallersleben, who noted in a description of the coronation there of Henry IV in a reference to the singing by the clergy of the parallel Latin hymn, and by the laity of a German song to St Peter with the kyrie.
It is more difficult to categorise another work, again almost certainly composed under the influence of the Freising Otfrid. The final long-line of this group is repeated in the same way to begin a concluding six lines. The first part follows the Vulgate fairly closely and concludes with an idea that comes later in the Psalm, that of shunning those who do murder.
The section concludes, however, with an idea from the first part of the Vulgate text: the impossibility of escaping from God. This becomes the theme of the six-line concluding prayer for God to preserve the speaker. This time the precise year of composition is known, but the work raises an odd question: why is it in German at all?
The poem was written down in France by a French scribe, from the look of his errors , probably in the monastery of St Amand, near Valenciennes. Next to it in the otherwise Latin manuscript is an Old French hagiographic poem in the same hand. Lewis came to the throne in his teens in , and shared the West Frank territories at the Agreement of Amiens in with his brother, Carloman.
Lewis III was faced with various real problems: he needed to establish his throne, and his accession coincided with a series of attacks on northern France by the Vikings. From contemporary chronicles we know that Lewis and Carloman together defeated a would-be usurper, Boso, Duke of Provence, after which Lewis rode north and defeated a Viking force at Saucourt in Picardy in August , a victory that was bound to be the subject of immediate acclaim, but was of limited significance, since Lewis died almost exactly a year later. In his dedicatory poem to Lewis the German, Otfrid, too, made references to God s aid in victory, to the loyal followers, to the king s ability to withstand suffering, his service of God, and to the hope of long life, all of which are echoed here.
The Ludwigslied is consistently theocentric in its approach, however. The Vikings are sent by God for two reasons: to test the young king whose premature loss of a father, we are told, has been compensated for by his adoption by God ; and to punish the Franks for their sins. The Vikings themselves are not characterised at all, because they are simply instruments, and there is none of the vivid presentation of these feared invaders found in some of the annals. The notion of a divine scourge goes back to the Old Testament and continues well beyond the ninth century; Alcuin wrote to Ethelred of Northumbria interpreting the Viking raids on Lindisfarne in June, as a punishment against fornication, avarice, robbery , precisely the sins mentioned here.
God commands Lewis we are told simply that he was away, not where he was to avenge my people, a significant formulation, and Lewis rallies his troops, joins battle and is victorious. Religious poetry: Heliand, Otfrid and later pieces 23 special knowledge. Lewis is not told that victory will be his, and in an address to his troops not unlike those found in Germanic heroic poetry points out that men s lives are in God s hands. They ride into battle after singing the kyrie , submissive to God s mercy, then, rather than confident of victory or of heaven.
A somewhat repetitious amount of critical attention has been paid to the historical context of the poem, rather than its approach to history. Certainly it may be seen as propaganda for a young king under threat, and his birthright is underscored, but to seek specific connections with events outside the poem is of dubious relevance.
Why, however, is the poem in German and not in Old French or Latin? St Amand, where the poem was probably written, had a celebrated school, attracting men from abroad, including probably this Rhenish poet. The poem may have been intended for German speakers amongst the West Franks, but the interesting suggestion has been made that it was designed as propaganda on a broader scale. The king s German counterpart, Lewis the Younger, died in January , leaving no absolutely clear successor.
Perhaps the poem was intended to make a case to a lay nobility in Germany for the West Frank king as overall ruler? While there was an extensive tradition of Latin hagiography in prose and verse by German writers such as Walahfrid, we know of only two saints lives in German, one of which survives only in a later adaptation, so that Ratpert s life of St Gall must be considered under Ottonian Latin.
The poem was added to the Heidelberg Otfrid-manuscript by a scribe called Wisolf, who seems to have given up in mid-narrative though he still had space available with the word nequeo , I can t manage. The text is garbled, the orthography eccentric looking occasionally like dyslexia , and there are copy errors. A Latin Vita like one in St Gallen may be the source, and the dragon-slaying episode, incidentally, was not associated with the saint until far later. Galerius of Dacia who may have had the real St George killed and who appears here as Dacianus tries to kill him in the poem, but whenever he tries to do so, we are told in a repeated line that George rose up again.
This is the alliterative poem known as Muspilli St. Although the basis is the alliterative long-line, there are also rhymes. The work has three themes: first, the battle between the forces of heaven and hell for the individual soul after death, with the implications for the afterlife of misdeeds on earth; then doomsday itself, brought about by victory of Antichrist over Elijah and the spilling of Elijah s blood, with the inescapability of the judgement stressed, and also that things will go badly for anyone who has not judged honestly; and the summoning of the quick and the dead, when Christ will appear in majesty.
At this point the poem breaks off. The theme of the work as we have it is judgement after death, of the individual soul and of the world, and the message is clear enough: right behaviour is needed during man s earthly life. Whether Muspilli came before or after Otfrid s Gospel-book is hard to determine, and the fact that both share an alliterative line describing paradise dar ist lip ano tod lioht ano finstri there is life without death, light without darkness , need imply no more than that both writers drew on a tradition which is well attested in Latin too.
There is no evidence that either poet knew the other s work, but both had a clear idea of doomsday, and we shall encounter again homiletic poems on the same theme. The Germanic hero: the Hildebrandslied and Waltharius The Germanic hero: the Hildebrandslied and Waltharius The secular songs to which Otfrid objected doubtless included heroic poems, of which only one early German example survives.
But it is less than useful to try to discuss in detail what we do not have, and our sole written example is a poem of sixty-nine lines in a mixture of High and Low German, preserved, though we have no idea why, in a theological document. The work is important because it is unique, but in spite of problems it is still clearly of literary value.
A description early in the work of the two central figures putting on their armour can be matched phrase-for-phrase in Anglo-Saxon, and other formulas are repeated within the work. Nevertheless, our manuscript is a late copy there are mistakes in it that can only have come from a written source and it is impossible to guess how many written stages preceded it.
Preserved on the front and back pages of a manuscript, it is incomplete, though only a few lines seem to be missing. Its language, though, is impossible; an attempt has been made to render a work written in the Bavarian dialect the alliteration only works in High German into Low German, but with such lack of success that false forms appear. This version was copied using some Anglo-Saxon characters probably early in the ninth century at Fulda, but when the poem was composed can only be guessed at.
The poem deals with a battle between a father and a son set within a distorted but recognisable context, namely the east-west division of the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. From what is now south-west Russia, the Visigoths moved in the fifth century westwards to Rome and then to Burgundy and Spain, while the Ostrogoths remained in the east. The Ostrogoths under Theoderic known in German as Dietrich took Rome in from Odoacer, but the poem and later German writings assume that Odoacer had driven Theoderic out of his rightful kingdom, after which he spent time as an exile at the court of Attila Theoderic s father had been an ally of the Huns , returning to regain his lands.
In our poem, Hildebrand is one of Theoderic s men, who had fled with him into exile, and, having returned, has to face in single combat the son he left behind. The story might well have passed thence to Bavaria, and then northwards. Two champions are picked to fight in single combat before their respective forces, and we are told at the outset that they are father and son. Repetition of their names and patronymics underscores a relationship of which the father becomes aware, though the son never believes it.
Much of the work is in dialogue. Hildebrand was a brave warrior, but Hadubrand supposes, since he was always in the forefront of battle, that he must be dead. Old men, who are now dead and cannot bear witness, have told him so. There is no question of actual recognition, and the leaving of a bride means that this is an only son. When Hildebrand now states that he is the closest of relatives, the son understands, but does not believe him. Hildebrand, furthermore, makes a mistake when he offers the son a conciliatory gift, a gold arm-ring that the narrator tells us came from Attila.
To us, the ring identifies Hildebrand as a great and therefore well-rewarded warrior, albeit with some connection with the Huns. To Hadubrand, the ring identifies Hildebrand as a Hun. He has no reason to believe this man, and his supposition that Hildebrand is dead becomes definite when he tells us that he has heard from sailors also unavailable witnesses that his father was killed in battle. The arm-ring also reintroduces the idea of inheritance. Hadubrand has clearly inherited from his father the abilities of a great warrior, but if this gold is to be his inheritance he can gain it only by earning it, that is, by defeating and killing his father.
At this point there seems to be some textual corruption, but if we accept a small amount of editing, the son now denies that his adversary was ever the exile he claims to be. Hildebrand himself realises at this point that battle is inevitable, that wewurt skihit cruel fate will take its course. We do not have the ending, but the battle is brief, and it does not seem as if much is missing. The Germanic hero: the Hildebrandslied and Waltharius the tragedy is that Hildebrand destroys his own posterity. And yet the true inheritance of Hildebrand is the song itself; he could neither cheat fate nor prove his own identity, but the song preserves his fame.
The only comparable long work in our period written by a German is a Latin poem of over 1, Vergilian hexameters with a large number of actual quotations from Vergil. The superficial Christianity of the Hildebrandslied, however, is much strengthened here. There is no agreement on when, where or by whom the work was written. It has been placed in the Carolingian period and in the eleventh century, and even its ascription to Ekkehard I of St Gallen in the early tenth century is now considered unsafe.
In some of the manuscripts there is a prologue by a monk who names himself as Geraldus, but since nothing is known about him, this is unhelpful. Waltharius was composed by a young monk he tells us so in an epilogue whose native language, German, is clear from his word-plays, but who might have been writing any time between the early ninth and the end of the tenth century. Waltharius is a prince of Aquitaine, taken as hostage and brought up by Attila, together with Hiltgund, princess of the Burgundians, and Hagano, a noble youth given as hostage by the Franks in place of their prince, Guntharius.
Attila did, of course, rule the Huns, and Waltharius may be identified with a fifth-century Visigoth from Toulouse. The historical Gundahari was a Burgundian, but his seat at Worms had become Frankish by the time of the poem, so that he has become a Frank, while a fictitious princess represents Burgundy. Tribute is also paid, and the hostages are brought up at the court of Attila. When Guntharius grows up, however, he revokes the tribute, causing Hagano to flee.
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Attila tries to marry Waltharius to a Hun princess ensuring political stability , but Waltharius plans an escape with Hiltgund, whom he loves. They arrange for Attila and his warriors to get drunk at a feast, escape with a great amount of treasure, and Attila, waking with a hangover, can persuade no one to pursue them. Hagano is torn between a reluctance to attack his old friend also on grounds of prudence, since Waltharius is a great warrior and loyalty to his king.
The last battle is with Hagano, but after Waltharius loses a hand, Hagano an eye and some teeth, a truce is called, and a settlement made, after which Waltharius returns to his kingdom, marries Hiltgund and rules for many years. The fighting is more vivid than in the Hildebrandslied, if some of the plot is a little contrived, including the abrupt ending.
The role of Hiltgund is slight, although Waltharius s chaste behaviour towards her on their flight is noteworthy. Yet in spite of the language the work is a German heroic poem, in which loyalty, reputation, and the rightful possession of specific wealth here the tribute paid originally to the Huns , as well as prowess in combat all play a part.
The avoidance of tragedy in particular betrays church influence, though primitive elements are still present in Waltharius s beheading of his victims. The story was well known, and now-lost versions may have had a tragic ending, loyalty forcing Hagano to kill his friend. What we actually possess, however, is a Latin poem told thus Geraldus s preface for entertainment, but with pace and charm. The division of Charlemagne s empire by the middle of the ninth century separated Germany and France, and Charlemagne s own line in Germany came to end with the disastrous rule of Lewis the Child , who was still in his teens when he died.
Salomo III, abbot of St Gallen, wrote in about a Latin poem lamenting the misfortunes of a country under attack from the Magyars and torn internally as well. Nor was stability restored by the election of a firm military leader, the Frankish nobleman Conrad I, who died in Ottonian Latin literature As regards literature in German, the tenth century is often viewed as a kind of wasteland. Ottonian Latin literature 29 sparse in any case, and several of the works we do have were copied at that time.
The Latin literary traditions established in Germany under the Carolingians, however, continued vigorously under the Saxons and the Salians, especially biblical commentary and religious poetry, including sequences and hymns by Notker s followers at St Gallen. Existing annals were continued and new ones begun, some on the Saxons, such as the prose Res gestae Saxonicae of Widukind of Corvey, or the Historia Ononis of Liutprand of Cremona c. Of special interest, though, is a collection of short Latin poems in a manuscript copied probably in Canterbury in the eleventh century, but compiled earlier in the Rhineland, and now in Cambridge, whence the title for the nearly fifty Cambridge songs.
They include rhymed poems and several sequence-like modi, the most impressive of which, the Modus Ottinc, celebrates Otto I and his defeat of the Magyars, though it is also intended to honour his successors. The collection contains other panegyrics and coronation-poems, and there is one sequence on the life of Christ. He takes the child and sells it, claiming that it melted.
Sacerdos et lupus Priest and wolf , which is described as a iocularis cantio humorous narrative , is a quasi-Aesopian fable of a priest s failure to catch a wolf, whilst the tale of Unibos, the farmer who only has a single ox, is a framework for several comic anecdotes. A much-translated poem about Heriger, archbishop of Mainz, recounts his punishment of a traveller who claimed to have visited Heaven, and one about Proterius and his daughter is a moralising piece on the avoidance of despair, a recurrent theme in later literature. Especially effective is that about Johannes, a short but over-ambitious hermit, who wants to live like an angel, but has to learn to be a good man instead.
Two poems stand out because they are macaronic, their rhymed longlines being half Latin and then half German. Suavissima nonna Sweetest of nuns is apparently a dialogue between a nun and a man not necessarily a priest, as used to be assumed , who urges the nun to come with him. She resists, but may have changed her mind at the end of the work; we can no longer tell. The twenty-seven lines in eight strophes of two or three longlines give an account of an incident in which Henry, Duke of Bavaria, is received by the emperor Otto, after a messenger has instructed him to do so.
Otto did not become emperor until , however, and the two Henrys passage is a problem, so that the poem may be about Henry s son, the equally rebellious Henry the Quarrelsome, who was reconciled with the child emperor Otto III in and a child could have been told to receive the Duke as in the poem. But there are too many possibilities for the content to be clear. It is hard to assess the literary importance of the nun Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim a Saxon house in the Harz, closely associated with the Ottonian royal family , who was born about and died in the s.
She wrote a series of eight saints lives and legends in Latin metrical verse, one of them about Theophilus an early analogue of the Faust-legend , and also panegyrics on Otto I, but is best known for her dramatic writings. Yet to locate the beginnings of drama in Germany in the Ottonian period is at best misleading.
Hrotsvitha s Latin plays may never have been performed, and they certainly had no successors. In a preface to her collection of six short theological dialogues, all about pious ladies who either convert pagans or are themselves converted, she explains that she is imitating the comedies of the Roman dramatist Terence, and indeed, when in her Dulcitius the eponymous central figure tries to seduce three Christian women, he becomes mad and embraces pots and pans instead.
The church throughout the Middle Ages objected regularly to what we have to call histrionic entertainment. In the development of an officially sanctioned drama it is not Hrotsvitha who attracts our interest, but a tiny piece of dialogue once thought to have been composed at St Gallen specifically by a monk called Tutilo at the start of the tenth century , and certainly known there: the so-called Quern quceritis trope.
Tropes were a dramatic embellishment to the Mass, developed especially at St Gallen, although also at the French monastery of St Martial in Limoges, and there is debate as to which was the home of this dialogue between the angel and the Maries at the sepulchre. The angel asks whom do you seek , and then announces that Christ has risen. Notker 3i writing in German. Notker c. He favoured what has been called a Mischsprache , in which the Latin is accompanied sentence by sentence by a German version, plus a commentary in Latin and then German, with some Latin words untranslated as a prompt for the learner to assimilate them.
Thus at the beginning of Boethius s Consolation, Lady Philosophy is described as having eyes that see beyond those of ordinary men. Notker translates literally durhnohtor sehenten. Notker s coinages and his consistent rendering of the sense are striking, and he also developed a coherent orthography for his Alemannic dialect. Notker s works were much copied especially the Psalter , and his Mischsprache recurs later in the eleventh century in the writings of Williram and continues well into the twelfth see N.
Palmer s edition of the Klosterneuburger BuSpredigten , Preserved within Notker s writings, finally, are a few brief German poems and some proverbs. Of the former, one describes the clash of warriors and the other a monstrous boar; both illustrate rhetorical devices, and are probably of classical rather than Germanic origin. Notker was aware, finally, of an historical end that could be near. The German preface to his Boethius-translation opens with a reference to St Paul s prophecy that the day of judgement will not come until the fall of Rome, and Notker links this with Theoderic, who, as ruler of Rome, had Boethius killed.
Theoderic, too, died, and the Goths were driven out, and then came the Lombards, who ruled for more than two centuries, and nah langobardis franci. So ist nu zegangen romanvm imperivm. Beside the scraps of German in the works of Notker are others which, while evidence of a sort for vernacular literary activity, cannot be afforded much prominence St.
They are usually so opaque that the over-interpretation to which they are often subjected must be viewed as suspect. Thus the nine-word Hirsch und Hinde Hart and hind, St. The piece has been connected with folk-plays and fertility festivals, without substantial conclusions. Similarly cautious comments must be made about a number of little verses from manuscripts in St Gallen, including one that appears to be a lampoon, telling how Starzfldere returned a wife to Liubwin St. There are also some proverbs St.
One final small rhymed poem is now lost, but was once carved over a school or library, probably in the late ninth century. It was copied by the map-maker Mercator to decorate his town plan of Cologne in ; the Cologne inscription Lb. Latin literature in the eleventh century With some Latin texts we can be fairly sure that a German original lies behind them. An identifiable historical event lies behind this, but since the Latin prose suggests a rhyme in German, scholars have reconstructed an original in Old High German, though it would be an early instance of end-rhyme indeed MSD vin.
His carmen barbaricum German song was translated into the more acceptable medium of Latin by Ekkehart IV of St Gall, who was born towards the end of the tenth and died in the mid eleventh century. Three versions, in Ekkehart s own hand, of an accented metrical Latin poem of seventeen strophes of five long-lines each survive. Ekkehart mentions the melody of the original, so that the two forms may have matched, but deducing a German original is difficult. Latin literature in the eleventh century 33 by St Michael, as well as the story of the chain he wore about his body as a penance.
Latin writings in Germany in the eleventh century include the muchread commentaries of the aristocratic Bruno of Wurzburg d. Two scholars deserve special mention. The first, Otloh of St Emmeram c. He wrote on world history, astronomy, mathematics and music, and his complex and linguistically inventive sequences are typified by the use of adapted Greek words.
An interesting pendant to the hagiography of this later period is the De Mahumete by Embricho of Mainz who became bishop of Augsburg in , which presents in verse various legends of Mohammed from a Christian point of view. He wrote a eulogy for Conrad s predecessor, Henry the Saint, and his Gesta Chuonradi remains the principal source for Conrad s reign, although he is still known for the famous Easter sequence Victimae paschalis. Later still come chroniclers like Adam of Bremen, who wrote around a detailed history of the archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen with a wealth of comments on the Vikings.
Religious and other poetry continued to flourish in Latin. Sextus Amarcius described later as satiricus, amator honestatis a satirist and lover of the truth wrote four books of Sermones a title he borrowed from Horace , directly spoken verses and dialogues, dealing satirically with sins and virtues. In one poem, three songs sung by a minstrel are identifiable as from the Cambridge songs, including that on the snow-baby. Two final Latin poems of the eleventh century demand attention: the romance of Ruodlieb, and the beast-narrative known as the Ecbasis cuiusdam captivi per tropologiam The escape of a certain prisoner, moralised.
The first is a series of eighteen fragments about 2, partly damaged lines from Tegernsee of an extended version of the folk-tale usually known as the three points of wisdom. In its basic form it is found in the medieval collection of anecdotes known as the Gesta Romanorum and in languages as diverse as Irish and Cornish , a servant is given pieces of advice in lieu of payment; he is not to leave an old road for a new one, not to lodge where an old man has a young wife, and not to act in anger. His real payment is baked into a cake.
The last fragments we have are concerned with Ruodlieb s search for a wife, and as far as can be made out, the wife suggested for him has had a previous affair with a cleric. Ruodlieb sends her a messenger with a love-declaration which contains four words of Old High German but also with evidence of her previous indiscretions. An outer plot tells how a runaway calf falls into the clutches of a wolf, who feeds it well for one night, prior to eating it. The wolf s account of his hatred of the fox now forms the content of the Aesopian inner fable used again later in German in the writing of Heinrich der Glichezare , in which the fox finds a cure for the sick lion which involves flaying a wolf.
Meanwhile a dog has raised the alarm with the other animals, and brings them to the wolf s lair. When we return to the outer story, the wolf is tricked into emerging, and is gored by the bull, so that the calf escapes and returns home. The promised allegorical implications are made clear: the wolf represents the wiles of the world. Late Old High German prose 35 in after thirty-seven years as abbot of the small monastery of Ebersberg.
In around he produced an exposition of the biblical Song of Songs that remained influential, with one manuscript copy as late as , not much more than a century before it became the object of philological study by the Dutch scholar Francis Junius in Williram s Expositio in Cantica Canticorum is formally unfamiliar, and its German component is limited.
The major manuscripts have three sometimes ornately separated columns, the central one containing in large script the Vulgate text. The left-hand column has a Latin paraphrase in hexameters, while on the right is a prose commentary in a mixture of German and Latin. Trudperter Hohelied, and was sometimes though not often copied independently. However, on other occasions even the German parts were translated into Latin. Williram s work is a late example of the opus geminatum, each part having a separate function, the hexameters enhancing and explaining, the Mischsprache clarifying the text for a different audience.
Its content is not original: much derives from Latin commentaries which allegorise the Song of Songs as a dialogue between Christ and the Church. Indeed, Williram claims in his preface that de meo nihil addidi I have added nothing of my own , and he is studiedly conservative, complaining that an excess of dialectic has obscured biblical interpretation. More clearly literary is the brief text known as Himmel und Holle Heaven and hell, St. What lies behind the composition is unclear, although it may have some link with the Bamberg confession St. One late translation into Old High German is of intrinsic interest.
The Physiologus St. Its single horn indicates the unity of the Father and the Son, and its capture the Virgin Birth. These are still, like the few earlier pieces, largely from patristic sources. Of the three groups distinguished, the first has three fragments of sermons by Augustine, the second four from Gregory the Great on the Gospels, and the third some Lenten material largely from Bede. The sermons were intended either for preaching in the language, or for reading.
Associated with them, and specifically with the first group, since the scribe appears to be the same, is a collection of Geistliche Ratschlage Spiritual precepts, St. Not until well into the twelfth century do we find more complete vernacular sermon collections, again designed either for reading or as handbooks for preaching. A Benediktbeuern collection from the mid twelfth century, for example, known as the Speculum Ecclesiae Mirror of the Church , contains sermons of varying lengths, not in strict liturgical order, and sometimes with more than one for a given feast.
However, the Speculum Ecclesiae and the influence of the French schoolmen take us beyond our limits. Although attempts were made to identify these language changes with a new spirit in German literature, there is no basis for doing so. There is a gradual increase in the amount of German written, but its status is still low. The period was one of monastic reforms including that associated with the monastery of Cluny, in France , but there are no real effects upon German literature. Early Middle High German religious literature 37 vernacular writing from the monasteries to the schools associated with the cathedrals.
Where writers like Otloh and Williram were monks, named writers are now described often as secular priests or canons. Early Middle High German religious literature Virtually all of the German material in the Salian period is religious, and most of it develops from what has gone before. Thus the essential mixture in Otfrid of narrative and often homiletic commentary is found in the second part of the eleventh century in metrical adaptations of Genesis and Exodus. A twelfth-century all-German codex now in Vienna whence the names Wiener Genesis and Exodus contains the two biblical poems written out consecutively, with rhyme-points , and between them an assonantic prose version of the Physiologus which is longer than the Old High German version.
There has been some discussion over the form of the poems, although a short couplet style seems already to be replacing Otfrid s rhymed long-line. In content, the poems draw on the authorities just as much as Otfrid did, however. Thus the creation of Adam is expanded on the basis of medieval encyclopaedias to a detailed physical description considering even the function of his little finger for digging in the ear to enable him to hear clearly, and the poet attaches to the promise made to Eve that she will bruise the serpent s head Genesis iii,i5 a homiletic excursus derived from Carolingian Latin commentaries of nearly a hundred lines on the theme of stopping sin as soon as it begins.
If the Genesis-poet was a secular canon as is possible , the implied audience might, however, be a lay one. The eleventh-century material of the Vienna manuscript was reworked towards the end of the twelfth century. The new version, the Millstatt codex, has the Physiologus in rhymed form, and a very large number of illustrations, while a further German collective codex from Vorau in Styria which also contains the Kaiserchronik has a rather different adaptation of the first part of the Old Testament in the Vorauer Bucher Mosis although the Joseph-narrative overlaps with the Vienna version , plus a number of shorter religious poems.
Shorter religious poems maintain the conservative-homiletic tone, and the year can only be an arbitrary cut-off point. The work is known as Memento mori there is no title in the original and capitals indicate nineteen strophes of four long-lines each, though a few lines are missing in the middle. The work is perhaps by Noker the name appears in the last line , abbot of Zwiefalten d. Like Muspilli, this poem stresses that no one however rich can avoid the final judgement, and again an aristocratic lay audience seems to be implied.
Another space-filler in the same manuscript is Ezzos Gesang Ezzo s hymn. Only seven strophes were written here, but in the Vorau codex is a twelfth-century augmented reworking of it. One of the additions is a prefatory verse telling how this song of the miracles of Christ , was written at the behest of Bishop Gunther of Bamberg d. The earlier version is addressed to iv herron my lords , which is changed in the Vorau text to iv. A far later fragmentary poem, the Scopf von dem lone Poem of reward , written probably in the late twelfth century by a secular canon at the Cathedral of St Martin in Colmar points out, with reference to the tax-gatherer Zachaeus and to St Martin, that the rich can also enter the kingdom of heaven in spite of Luke xviii, 24 if they lead proper lives.
The motif is unsurprising with literature aimed at a particular class, that for which Muspilli or Memento Mori was intended.
Reimpredigt rhymed sermon is a term of slightly dubious validity, but the direct homiletic tone remains a key feature of early German poetry. Some vernacular poems are problematic. That known as Merigarto The world , from the last part of the eleventh century is in places now extremely hard even to decipher.
The first part of this strophic poem which has some Latin headings describes seas, real and otherwise, and after another heading which refers to an unidentifiable Bishop Reginbert, goes on to say how a wise man in Utrecht had told the poet who seems to have fled there from Bavaria in time of war about a visit to Iceland and of its geography. Frankly, very little can be made of this hydrographic enigma, although it does demonstrate the continuity of Carolingian learning.
Anno II, the extremely powerful though not always entirely scrupulous archbishop of Cologne and regent for Henry IV, died in and was canonised in , although the poem the date of which is fixed by a reworked section in the Kaiserchronik , refers to him as a saint already. Nearly nine hundred rhymed lines in couplets, divided into forty-nine strophes, present first a brief history of the world from Adam to Anno , making clear once more the contrast between Adam s fall and the incarnation before moving on to the saints of Cologne and then to Anno, the latest saint given to the Franks.
The second section describes the four ages of the world based on interpretations of the dream in Daniel vii,, taking us down to Rome, and then looking at the histories of various German tribes, Swabians, Bavarians, Saxons and Franks.
The latter are the inheritors of the Trojans, since the mythical eponym Franko builds eini luzzele Troie a litle Troy , on the Rhine, and of the Romans, who built Colonia Cologne. The poem now moves rapidly from the earliest stages of Christianity, and again to the Franks and Anno. The final strophes 34—49 are hagiographic, presenting Anno as the vatir aller weisin father of orphans , founder of monasteries including Siegburg , and stressing his political role.
After his death, healing miracles are associated with him. The Annolied has some relationship with Latin genres: chronicles, hagiographic vitae and local historical writing. Its mixture of theological and secular harks back to the Ludwigslied in some respects, and there are echoes, too, of Otfrid, in the linking of the Franks with the ancient world. Otfrid simply stated that the Franks were as good as the Romans or Greeks, but the Annolied places them more firmly into an historical context which is, unlike Notker s, onward-looking.
The divine economy of fall and redemption is present in the poem as well, however, as is the parenetic didacticism of so much early Middle High German writing; Anno entered the heavenly paradise and we should keep his example in mind. The theology is hardly new. What is different is this combination of genres in a German-language poem celebrating both a German saint and at the same time his people. It is a nice historical accident that the work was discovered by Martin Opitz, the author of Das Buch von der deutschen Poeterey Let us take just one area as an example. The new German vernacular biblical epic in couplet verse begins in the second half of the eleventh century with the Altdeutsche Genesis also known as the Vienna Genesis, most likely c.
Verfasserlexikon, 2nd revised edn by Kurt Ruh et al. Introduction 41 shorter Old High German poems. Lay brothers and those monks who had entered the order later in life, rather than as child oblates, were as a rule illiterate and could only understand readings in German. It could develop its own conventions of poetic form, tonality, affective engagement with an audience and literary structure in response to the needs of a specific historical situation.
The materials presented in the works named had all been gathered from authoritative Latin sources, but these works are for the most part not simply translated from Latin. The world of oral poetry is recalled for a moment in the Annolied. The poem begins with famous lines directing the community to turn its backs on those songs on profane subjects which it had in the past favoured and to think of how we will all meet our end - and to do so inspired by the life of Bishop Anno.
Such oral tales, which might have told of the sack of Troy, the friendship of Roland and Oliver, or the downfall of King Gunther of Worms and his brothers Gemot and Giselher, formed an essential part of medieval literary culture, but in their oral form they lie outside literary history.