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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~
Ring of the Nibelung: "The Valkyrie", 3. act, 3. scene
(Wotan takes leave of Brunhilde, enclosing her in a circle of fire.)
Farewell, thou valiant, glorious child!
Thou once the holiest pride of my heart!
Farewell! farewell! farewell!
(very passionately) Must I forsake thee,
and may my welcome
of love no more greet thee;
may'st thou now ne'er more ride as my comrade,
nor bear me mead at banquet;
must I abandon thee, whom I loved so,
thou laughing delight of my eyes?
Such a bridal fire for thee shall be kindled
as ne'er yet has burned for a bride!
Threatening flames shall flare round the fell:
let withering terrors daunt the craven!
let cowards fly from Brünnhilde's rock!
For one alone winneth the bride;
one freer than I, the god!
(Brünnhilde, deeply moved, sinks in ecstasy on
Wotan's breast: he holds her in a long embrace.)
(She throws her head back again and, still
embracing Wotan, gazes with deep enthusiasm in his eyes.)
Thy brightly glittering eyes,
that, smiling, oft I caressed,
when valor won a kiss as guerdon,
when childish lispings of heroes' praise
from sweetest lips has flowed forth:
those gleaming radiant eyes
that oft in storms on me shone,
when hopeless yearning my heart had wasted,
when world's delights all my wishes wakened,
thro' wild wildering sadness:
once more today, lured by their light,
my lips shall give them love's farewell!
On mortal more blessed once may they beam:
on me, hapless immortal,
must they close now forever.
(He clasps her head in his hands.)
For so turns the god now from thee,
so kisses thy godhood away!
(He kisses her long on the eyes. She sinks back with
closed eyes, unconscious, in his arms. He gently bears
her to a low mossy mound, which is overshadowed
by a wide-spreading fir tree, and lays her upon it.)
(He looks upon her and closes her helmet: his eyes
then rest on the form of the sleeper, which he now
completely covers with the great steel shield of the
Valkyrie. He turns slowly away, then again turns
around with a sorrowful look.)
(He strides with solemn decision to the middle of
the stage and directs the point of his spear toward a
Loge, hear! List to my word!
As I found thee of old, a glimmering flame,
as from me thou didst vanish,
in wandering fire;
as once I stayed thee, stir I thee now!
Appear! come, waving fire,
and wind thee in flames round the fell!
(During the following he strikes the rock thrice
with his spear.)
Loge! Loge! appear!
(A flash of flame issues from the rock, which swells
to an ever-brightening fiery glow.)
(Flickering flames break forth.)
(Bright shooting flames surround Wotan. With his
spear he directs the sea of fire to encircle the rocks; it
presently spreads toward the background, where it
encloses the mountain in flames.)
He who my spearpoint's sharpness feareth
shall cross not the flaming fire!
(He stretches out the spear as a spell. He gazes
sorrowfully back on Brünnhilde. Slowly he turns to
depart. He turns his head again and looks back. He
diasappears through the fire.)
(The curtain falls.)
Richard Wagner (1813-1883), German composer
Translation 1896 Frederick Jameson (1839-1916)
Image: "Wotan takes leave of Brunhild", detail.
Author: A.Bauer, Engraver: P.Jazet (19th century)