Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 3 of 8 from 1860 edition -online book

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SIR ALDINGAE.                           235
The connection of the different forms of the legend has been investigated by the Danish editor at considerable length and with signal ability; and we shall endeavor to present the principal results' of his wide research in the few pages which our narrow limits allow us to give to such questions.
The names of the characters in the Danish ballads are Henry (called Duke of Brunswick and of Schles-wig in the oldest), Gunild (of Spires, called also Gun-der), Ravengaard, and Memering. To these corre­spond, in the English story, King Henry, Queen Eleanor, Sir Aldingar (the resemblance of this name to Ravengaard will be noted), and a boy, to whom no name is assigned. Eleanor, it hardly need be remarked, is a queen's name somewhat freely used in ballads (see vol. vi. 209, and vol. vii. 291), and it is possible that the consort of Henry II. is here intended, though her rep­utation both in history and in song hardly favors that supposition.
The occurrence of Spires in the old Danish ballad would naturally induce us to look for the origin of the story in the annals of the German emperors of the Franconian line, who held their court at Spires, and are most of them buried in the cathedral at that place. A very promising clue is immediately found in the his­tory of King (afterwards Emperor) Henry I1T., son of the Emperor Conrad II. Salicus. This Henry was married, in the year 1036, to Gunhild, daughter of Canute the Great. An English chronicler, William of Malmesbury, writing in the first half of the 12th century, tells us that after this princess had lived many years in honorable wedlock, she was accused of adul­tery. Being forced to clear herself by wager of battle,