Singing the Past: Turkic and Medieval Heroic Poetry

By Karl Reichl | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR

Heroic Epic and Tribal Roots

Sing ich dien liuten mîniu liet,
sô wil der êrste daz
wie Dieterîch von Berne schiet.
der ander, wâ künc Ruother saz,
der dritte wil der Riuzen sturm, sô wil der vierde Ekhartes nôt,
der fünfte wen Kriemhilt verriet ...

When I sing my songs to the people,
Then the first wants to hear
How Dietrich parted from Berne.
The second wants to hear where King Rother lived and reigned,
The third wants to hear the battle of the Riuzen, the fourth Ekhart's distress,
The fifth who was betrayed by Kriemhild ...

This is the beginning of a well-known Spruch of the Middle High German poet “Der Marner, ” a clericus vagans of the thirteenth century (c. 1230-c. 1280). 1. The term Spruch (or Sangspruch) denotes basically a poem in a topical, didactic, political, or moralizing strain, which is definitely not a love lyric, whether of a courtly or more popular nature. 2. In this poem the Marner provides us with one of the best Middle High German indications of the repertoire of a public singer and narrator. He complains that when he sings his liet,3.

____________________
1.
For the complete Spruch in the standard reading, see Strauch 1965, 124 — 25; for a more recent critical text, see Haustein 1995, 222, and his discussion, 222 — 26. For basic information on the Marner, see Wachinger 1987; compare also Wachinger 1985.
2.
There is some controversy on the meaning of this term; for a recent general discussion of the Middle High German Spruch (in the sense of Sangspruch, i.e., sung poetry), see Tervooren 1995.
3.
Middle High German liet has a number of meanings, such as “stanzaic poem, ” “song, ” “didactic poem, ” and “epic.”

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Singing the Past: Turkic and Medieval Heroic Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Singing the Past - Turkic and Medieval Heroic Poetry *
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Note on Transcription, Pronunciation, and Translations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Turkic Bards and Oral Epics 12
  • Chapter Two - Variations on Epic and History 44
  • Chapter Three - In Search of the Heroic Lay 73
  • Chapter Four - Heroic Epic and Tribal Roots 101
  • Chapter Five - Heroic Past and Poetic Presence 135
  • Conclusion 165
  • Appendix One - The Text of Täwke-Batïr 181
  • Appendix Two - The Text of Ormanbet-Biy 189
  • Works Cited 195
  • Index 217
  • Myth and Poetics *
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