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Princess Kriemhilda Dreams that Her Pet Falcon is Killed by Two Eagles

1839
Heinrich Karl Anton Mücke, (German, 1806–1891)

This scene is drawn from the first chapter of a thirteenth-century German poem based on a fifth-century Teutonic saga, Das Niebelungenlied, which recounts the story of the hero Siegfried, son of the king and queen of the Netherlands, and his unfortunate marriage to the Burgundian princess Kriemhilda. Epic struggles between royal families ensue, especially over possession of the Niebelung hoard, and in the end all of the main protagonists are slain.

Meanwhile, amid this splendour, the maid Kriemhilda dreamed
That she had reared a falcon-strong, fair and wild he seem'd-
And that two eagles tore him, and eke before her eyes;-
No worse grief could life bring her in any evil guise.


Quick to her mother Uté she told the vision dread,-
Who, after her own manner, the dream interpreted:
"This falcon of thy rearing, thy noble husband he,-
And now may God defend him, or he is lost to thee!"


Translated by Alice Horton, The Lay of the Nibelungs . . ., London, 1898, stanzas 13-14.
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