On those banks the angry nations gathered them of old,
Northern hordes and Southern legions joined their battles
Till the dark, cold waves were flowing red and warm with
Hideous Hun and haughty Roman, how they choked the
crimson flood !
There, the sweet old rhymers tell us, Etzel held his court,
When he made, at Kriemhild's suing, feast for high disport,
Bidding fair her royal brothers from the distant Rhine —
Ah ! ill-fated Nibelungen, wherefore did ye not divine
That an injured, vengeful woman, — though her message fell
Loving as became a sister — could not mean you well !
All in vain the pitying mermaids warned them hence
to fly −
There, betrayed, the homelorn heroes died as heroes still
should die !