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The legend of Walter of Aquitaine is one of the most commonly known legends from the Germanic Heroic Age. Versions of the legend are preserved in Old English, Latin, Middle High German, Norwegian and numerous other versions, thankfully all are collected in English translations in this slim volume. The story is told in the following manner; Walter is the son of Alphere, king of Visigothic Aquitaine. When Attilas Huns push into the western empire, the western kings do not put up a fight, but instead they gain peace by offering tribute and hostages. The king of the Frankish/Nibelungen, gives Hagan as a hostage instead of his infant son Gunther, the Burgundian king Herirīcus, gives his daughter Hiltgunt and Alphere in turn gives his son Walter.Hagan and Walter become companions, fighting at the head of Attilas armies, while Hiltgunt is put in charge of the queens treasure. In the meantime Gunther succeeded his father and refused to pay tribute to the Huns, at which point Hagan flees from Attilas court. Walter and Hiltgunt, who had been betrothed in childhood, also escape from Attila during a drunken feast of the Huns, taking with them the Hunnish treasure. On their journey, Theyre recognised at Worms, however, where King Gunther has designs on their treasure. He takes with him twelve knights, among them Walters old companion Hagan, they pursue the couple and catch them at Wasgenstein in the Vosges Mountains. Walter engages the Nibelungen knights one at a time, until all are slain but Hagan, who holds back from the battle, and is only persuaded by Gunther to attack his old companion on the second day. He lures Walter to leave his strong defensive position, and both Gunther and Hagan cowardly attack at the same time. All three receive incapacitating wounds and the story ends with Hiltgunt bandaging their wounds and them separating on friendly terms.The collection kicks of with the Old English Waldere, unfortunately, all that remains are two short fragments that relate a short portion of the action. Fortunately the next chapter is an English translation of the Latin Waltharius that was composed in the Carolingian period and tells the story in full. Also from Germany are the Graz and Vienna fragments of the lost Middle High German Waltharlied, which tell a chivalric/courtly version of the story in much the same way that the Nibelungenlied does for the fall of the Burgundians. Also included are the passages in the Nibelungenlied that mention Walter of Aquitaine. The last few chapters contain translations of the relevant passages from the Thidrekssaga af Bern and versions of the story from Italy and Poland. For me, two of the most lamentable loses from Medieval Literature are the complete Old English Waldere and the Middle High German Waltharlied. This collection gives us an envious glimpse at what we couldve been reading if not for the ravages of time.This is an excellent little collection that anyone who enjoys Beowulf or the Nibelungenlied will love and is essential reading for those interested in Germanic Heroic Legend. The only problem is that the publication was limited to 150 copies and is now becoming a bit scarce but copies do surface every so often.

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