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p. 41


A deep forest

[Quite in the background the entrance to a cave. The ground rises towards a flat knoll in the middle of the stage, and slopes down again towards the back, so that only the upper part of the entrance to the cave is visible to the audience. To the left a fissured cliff is seen through the trees. It is night, the darkness being deepest at the back, where at first the eye can distinguish nothing at all.]


[Lying by the cliff, gloomily brooding.]

In night-drear woods
By Neidhöhl' I keep watch,
With ear alert,
Keen and anxious eye.
Timid day,
Tremblest thou forth?
Pale art thou dawning
Athwart the dark?

[A storm arises in the wood on the right, and from the same quarter there shines down a bluish light.]

What comes yonder, gleaming bright?
Nearer shimmers
A radiant form;
It runs like a horse and it shines;
Breaks through the wood,
Rushing this way.

p. 42

Is it the dragon's slayer?
Can it mean Fafner's death?

[The wind subsides; the light vanishes.]

The glow has gone,
It has faded and died;
All is darkness.
Who comes there, shining in shadow?


[Enters from the wood, and stops opposite Alberich.]

To Neidhöhl'
By night I have come;
In the dark who is hiding there?

[As from a sudden rent in the clouds moonlight streams forth and lights up the Wanderer's figure.]


[Recognises the Wanderer and shrinks back at first in alarm, but immediately after breaks out in violent fury.]

'Tis thou who comest thus?
What wilt thou here?
Go, get thee hence!
Begone, thou insolent thief!



Wanders here?
Guardest thou Fafner's house?


Art thou intent
On mischief again?
Linger not here!
Off with thee straightway!
Has grief enough
Not deluged the earth through thy guile?
Spare it further
Sorrow, thou wretch!


I come as watcher,
Not as worker.
The Wanderer's way who bars?

p. 43


Thou arch, pestilent plotter!
Were I still the blind,
Silly fool that I was,
When I was bound thy captive,
How easy were it
To steal the ring again from me!
Beware! For thy cunning
I know well,


And of thy weakness
I am fully aware too.
Thy debts were cancelled,
Paid with my treasure;
My ring guerdoned
The giants' toil,
Who raised thy citadel high.
Still on the mighty
Haft of thy spear there
The runes are written plain
Of the compact made with the churls;
And of that
Which by labour they won
Thou dost not dare to despoil them:
Thy spear's strong shaft
Thou thyself wouldst split;
The staff that makes thee
Master of all
Would crumble to dust in thy hand.


By the steadfast runes of treaties
Thou hast not,
Base one, been bound;
On thee my spear may spend its strength,
So keen I keep it for war.

p. 44


How dire thy threats!
How bold thy defiance!
And yet full of fear is thy heart!
Foredoomed to death
Through my curse is he
Who now guards the treasure.
What heir will succeed him?
Will the hoard all desire
Belong as before to the Niblung?--
That gnaws thee with ceaseless torment.
For once I have got it
Safe in my grasp,
Better than foolish giants
Will I employ its spell.
The God who guards heroes
Truly may tremble!
I will storm
Proud Walhall with Hella's hosts,
And rule, lord of the world!



Thy design I know well,
But little I care:
Who wins the ring
Will rule by its might.


Thou speakest darkly,
But to me all is plain.
Thy heart is bold
Because of a boy,


A hero begot of thy blood.
Hast thou not fostered a stripling
To pluck the fruit thou durst not

[With growing violence.]

Pluck frankly for thyself?

p. 45



With me
'Tis useless to wrangle;
But Mime thou shouldst beware;
For thy brother brings here a boy
To compass the giant's doom.
He knows not of me;
He works for Mime alone.
And so I say to thee,
Do as seems to thee best.

[Alberich makes a movement expressive of violent curiosity.]

Take my advice,
Be on thy guard:
The boy will hear of the ring
When Mime tells him the tale.



Wilt thou hold thy hand from the hoard?


Whom I love
Must fight for himself unaided;
The lord of his fate,
He stands or falls:
All my hope hangs upon heroes.


Does none but Mime
Dispute me the ring?


Only thou and Mime
Covet the gold.


And yet it is not to be mine?


[Quietly coming nearer.]

A hero comes
To set the hoard free;
Two Nibelungs yearn for the gold.
Fafner falls,
He who guards the ring;
Then a hand, seizing, shall hold it.

p. 46

More wouldst thou learn,
There Fafner lies,
Who, if warned of his death,
Gladly would give up the toy.
Come, I will wake him for thee.

[He goes towards the cave, and, standing on the rising ground in front of it, calls towards it.]

Fafner! Fafner!
Wake, dragon! Wake!


[With anxious amazement, aside.]

Does the madman mean it?
Am I to have it?

Fafner's voice

Who troubles my sleep?


[Facing the cave.]

A well-wisher comes
To warn thee of danger;
Thy doom can he averted,
If thou wilt pay the price
With the treasure that thou guardest.

[He leans his ear towards the cave, listening.]

Fafner's voice

What would he?


[Has come to the Wanderer and calls into the cave.]

Waken, Fafner!
Dragon, awake!
A doughty hero comes
To try his strength against thine.

Fafner's voice

I want a meal.


Bold is the boy and strong;
Sharp-edged is his sword.


The ring he seeks,
Nothing besides.

p. 47

Give me the ring, and so
The strife shall be stayed.
Still guarding the hoard,
In peace shalt thou live long!



I have and I hold:--
Let me slumber!


[Laughs aloud and then turns again to Alberich.]

Well, Alberich! That ruse failed,
But call me rogue no more.
This one thing thou shouldst
Never forget:
Each according to his kind must act;
Nothing can change him.
I leave thee the field now;
Show a bold front,
And try thy luck with thy brother;
Thou knowest his kind perhaps better.
And things unknown
Thou also shalt learn!

[He turns away, and disappears quickly in the wood. A storm arises and a bright light breaks forth; then both quickly cease.]


[Looks after the Wanderer as he gallops off.]

Away on his shining
Horse he rides,
And leaves me to care and scorn!
Laugh on! Laugh on,
Ye light-minded
And high-spirited
Race of immortals!
One day ye shall perish
And pass!
Until the gold
Has ceased to gleam,

p. 48

Will wise Alberich watch,
And his hate shall prevail.

[He slips into the chasm at the side. The stage remains empty. Dawn.]

As the day dawns Siegfried and Mime enter. Siegfried carries his sword in a sword-belt of rope. Mime examines the place carefully. At last he looks towards the background, which remains in deep shadow, whist the rising ground in the middle becomes, after a time, more and more brightly illuminated by the sun.


Our journey ends here;
Here we halt.


[Sits down under the lime-tree and looks about him.]

So here I shall learn what fear is?
A far way thou hast led me;
We have wandered lone together
A whole night long in the woods.
This is the last
Of thee, Mime!
Can I not master
My lesson here,
Alone I will push forward
And never see thee again.


Lad, believe me,
If thou canst not
Learn it here and now,
No other place,
No other time
Ever will teach thee fear.
Dost thou see
That cavern yawning dark?
Yonder dwells
A dragon dread and grim,
Horribly fierce,

p. 49

Enormous in size,
With terrible jaws
That threaten and gape;
With skin and hair,
All at a gulp,
The brute could swallow thee whole.


[Still sitting under the lime tree.]

'Twere well to close up his gullet;
His fangs I will therefore avoid.


Poison pours
From his venomous mouth;
Were he to spue out
Spittle on thee,
Thy body and bones would decay.


That the poison may not consume me,
I will keep out of its reach.


A serpent's tail
Sweeping he swings;
Were that about thee wound
And folded close,
Thy limbs would be broken like glass.


That his swinging tail may not touch me,
Warily then I must watch.
But answer me this:
Has the brute a heart?


A pitiless, cruel heart.


It lies, however,
Where all hearts lie,
Brute and human alike?


Of course! There, boy,
The dragon's lies too.
At last thou beginnest to fear?

p. 50


[Who till now has been lying indolently stretched out, sits up suddenly.]

Nothung into
His heart I will thrust!
Is that what is meant by fearing?
Hey, old dotard!
Canst thou teach me
Nothing but this
With all thy craft,
Linger no longer by me:
No fear is here to be learnt.


Wait awhile yet!
What I have told thee
Seems to thee empty sound;
When thou hast heard
And seen him thyself,
Thy senses will swoon, overwhelmed?
When thine eyes grow dim,
And when the ground rocks,
When in thy breast
Thy heart beats loud,

[Very friendly.]

Thou wilt remember who brought thee,
And think of me and my love.


Thy love is not wanted!
Hast thou not heard?
Out of my sight with thee;
Let me alone!
Begin again talking of love,
And on the instant I go!
The horrible winking,
The nods and blinking
When shall I see
The last of them,
And rid be at length of the fool?

p. 51


Well, I will off,
And rest there by the spring.
Thou must stay here,
And as the sun scales the sky
Watch for the foe:
From his cave
He lumbers this way,
Winds and twists
Past this spot,
To water at the fountain.



Liest thou by the spring,
Unchecked thither the brute shall go;
He shall swallow thee
Down with the water,
Ere with my sword
To the heart I stab him!
So heed well what I say:
Rest not beside the spring.
Seek somewhere else
A far-off spot,
And nevermore return.


Thou wilt not refuse
Cooling refreshment
When the fierce fight is over?

[Siegfried motions him angrily away.]

Call on me too
Shouldst thou need counsel,

[Siegfried repeats the gesture with more violence.]

Or if felled on a sudden by fear.

[Siegfried rises and drives him away with furious gestures.]


[Aside, as he goes away.]

Fafner and Siegfried--
Siegfried and Fafner--
Might each the other but slay!

[He disappears in the wood on the right.]

p. 52


[Stretches himself at his ease under the lime-tree, and looks after Mime as he departs.]

He is no father of mine!
How merry of heart I feel!
Never before
Seemed the forest fair;
Never day
Wore as lovely a smile,
For the loathed one has gone at last,
To be looked on by me no more.

[He meditates in silence.]

My father--what was he like?--
Ha! like me, without doubt.
Had Mime by chance had a son,
He would have been
Mime's image:
Quite as disgusting,
Filthy and grey,
Small and bent,
Hunchbacked and halting,
With ears long and hanging,
Rheumy eyes running--
Off with the fright!
To see him makes me sick!

[He leans further back and looks up through the branches of the tree. Deep silence. Woodland murmurs.]

What could my mother,
I wonder, be like;
That is not
So easy to picture.

[Very tenderly.]

Her clear shining eyes
Must have been soft,
And gentle like the roe-deer's,
Only far fairer.

[Very softly.]

In fear and woe she bore me,

Click to enlarge

The hot blood burns like fire!
                     See p. 58


p. 53

But why did she die through me?
Must then all human mothers
Thus die on giving
Birth to a son?
That would truly be sad!
Ah, if I only
Could see my mother!--
See my mother,
A woman once!

[He sighs softly, and leans still further back. Deep silence. Louder murmuring of the wood. His attention is at last caught by the song of the birds. He listens with growing interest to one singing in the branches above him.]

O lovely warbler,
I know not thy note;
Hast thou thy home in this wood?
If I could but understand him,
His sweet song might say much--
Perhaps of my mother tell me.
A surly old dwarf
Said to me once
That men might learn
To follow the sense
Of birds when they were singing;
Could it indeed be done?
Ha! I will sing
After him,
On the reed follow him sweetly.
Though wanting the words,
Repeating his measure--
Singing what is his language-
Perhaps I shall know what he says.

[He runs to the neighbouring spring, cuts a reed of with his sword, and quickly makes himself a pipe out of it. He listens again.]

p. 54

He stops to hear,
So now for my song!

[He blows into the pipe, breaks of, and cuts it again to improve it. He resumes his blowing, shakes his head, and cuts the pipe once more. After another attempt he gets angry, presses the pipe with his hand, and tries again. He ceases playing and smiles.]

That rings not right;
For the lovely tune
The reed is not suited at all.
I fear, sweet bird,
I am too dull;
Thy song cannot I learn.

[He hears the bird again and looks up to him.]

He listens so roguishly
There that he shames me;

[Very tenderly.]

He waits, and nothing rewards him.
Heida! Come hearken
Now to my horn;

[He flings the pipe away.]

All I do sounds wrong
on the stupid reed;
To a song of the woods
That I know,
A merry song, listen now rather.
I hoped it would bring
Some comrade to me,
But wolves and bears
Were the best that came.
Now I will see

Click to enlarge

The dwarfs quarrelling over the body of Fafner
                                       See p. 59


p. 55

Who answers its note:
What comrade will come to its call.

[He takes the silver hunting-horn and blows on it. During the long-sustained notes he keeps his eyes expectantly on the bird. A movement in the background. Fafner, in the form of a monstrous lizard-like dragon, has risen from his lair in the cave. He breaks through the underwood and drags himself up to the higher ground, so that the front part of his body rests on it, while he utters a loud sound, as if yawning.]


[Looks round and gazes at Fafner in astonishment. He laughs.]

My horn with its note
Has allured something lovely;
A jolly companion wert thou.


[At the sight of Siegfried has paused on the high ground, and remains there.]

What is that?


If thou art a beast
Who can use its tongue,
Perchance thou couldst teach me something.
Here stands one
Who would learn to fear
Say, wilt thou be his teacher?


Is this insolence?


Courage or insolence,
What matter?
With my sword I will slay thee,
Wilt thou not teach me to fear.


[Makes a laughing sound.]

Drink I came for;
Now food I find too

[He opens his jaws and shows his teeth.]

p. 56


What a fine set of teeth
Thou showest me there!
Sweetly they smile
In thy dainty mouth!
'Twere well if I closed up thy gullet
Thy jaws are gaping too wide!


They were not made
For idle talk,
But they will serve
To swallow thee.


Hoho! Ferocious,
Merciless churl!
I have no fancy
To be eaten.
Better it seems to me
That without delay thou shouldst die!



Pruh! Come,
Boy, with thy boasts!


[Draws his sword.]

Beware, growler!
The boaster comes!

[He springs towards Fafner and remains defiantly confronting him. Fafner drags himself further up the knoll and spits at Siegfried from his nostrils. Siegfried a voids the poison, springs nearer, and stands on one side. Fafner tries to reach him with his tail. Siegfried, who is nearly caught, springs over Fafner with one bound, and wounds him in the tail. Fafner roars, pulls his tail angrily away, and raises the front part of his body so that he may throw its full weight on Siegfried, thus offering his breast to the stroke. Siegfried quickly looks to see where his heart is, and thrusts his sword into it up to the hilt. Fafner raises himself still higher in his pain, and, when Siegfried has let go his sword and sprung aside, he sinks on the wound.]

p. 57


Lie there, envious brute!
Nothung's point home has speeded!


[In a weaker voice.]

Who art thou, boy bold-hearted,
That hast pierced my breast?
Who stirred up thy childish soul
To the murderous deed?
Thy brain schemed not the harm
Wrought by thy hand.


Not much have I learned,
Not even who I am;
Thou thyself with thy taunting
Stirred me to fight and to slay.


O boy bright-eyed,
Who knowest not yet who thou art,
Whom thou hast murdered
Hear from me.
Two mighty giants there were,
Fasolt and Fafner;
The brothers now are both fallen.
For the cursèd gold
We got from the Gods
I did Fasolt to death.
He who now guards
The hoard as dragon,
Fafner, the last remaining,
Falls, by a rosy boy slain.
Boy in thy bloom,
Watch and be wary:
He who stirred thee blind to this deed
Takes thought how to compass thy death.


Mark the ending!
Think on me!

p. 58


Who was my father?
Tell, if thou canst.
Dying, thou showest,
Wild one, much wisdom.
Siegfried my name is; haply
That may help thee to guess.


Siegfried! . . .

[He raises himself and dies.]


The dead can tell no tidings.
My living sword, lead!
Lead onward, my sword!

[Fafner has rolled to the side in dying. Siegfried now draws the sword from his breast. In doing so his hand gets sprinkled with the blood; he draws it back quickly.]

The hot blood burns like fire!

[Involuntarily he raises his fingers to his mouth to suck the blood from them. As he looks musingly before him his attention becomes more and more attracted by the singing of the birds.]

I almost seem
To hear the birds speaking to me.
Is there a spell,
Perhaps, in the blood?
The curious bird up there--
Hark! he sings to me.

Voice of the Wood-bird

[From the branches of the lime-tree above Siegfried.]

Hei! Siegfried now owns
All the Nibelung hoard!
Oh! could he the hoard
In the cave but find!
Tarnhelm, if he could but win it,
Would help him to deeds of renown;
And could he discover the ring,
It would make him the lord of the world!

p. 59


[Has listened holding his breath and beaming with delight.]

Thanks, bonnie bird,
For the counsel good
I follow the call!

[He turns towards the back and descends to the cave, where he at once disappears.]

Mime steals up, looking about him timidly to assure himself of Fafner's death. At the same time Alberich comes out of the cleft on the opposite site. He observes Mime, rushes on him and bars his way, as the latter turns towards the cave.


On what errand
Furtive and sly,
Knave, dost thou slink?


Accursèd brother,
That thou shouldst come!
What brings thee here?


Rogue, has my gold
Provoked thy greed?
Dost covet my goods?


Get thee gone quickly!
This corner is mine;
What huntest thou here?


Have I disturbed thee,
Thief, at thy work,
Secret and sly?


What I have slaved
And toiled to win
Shall not escape me.


Who was it robbed
The Rhine of gold for the ring?
And whose cunning wrought
The spell of magical might?

p. 60


Who made the Tarnhelm,
Changing its wearer's form?
Though thou didst want it,
Was it designed by thee?


And what of thyself
Couldst aright have fashioned, thou bungler?
The magic ring
Forced thee to master thy craft.


And where is the ring?
'Twas reft from thy clutch by the giants.
What thou hast lost
I will gain and keep by my guile.


What the boy has won
Would the niggard deny him?
'Tis not thine; the hero
Who won it is now its lord.


I brought him up;
For my pains now he shall pay;
For its reward
My trouble has waited too long.


Just for rearing him,
The old niggardly,
Beggarly knave,
Bold as brass,
A king now would become?
The ring would befit
Better a dog
Than bumpkin like thee.
Never to thee
The magical ring shall fall!

p. 61


[Scratches his head.]

Well, keep it, then,
And guard with care
The gleaming gold;
Be thou lord,
But treat me as a brother;
Give me against it
Tarnhelm for toy,
Fairly exchanged;
Divided thus,
There will be booty for both.

[He rubs his hands confidingly.]


[With a mocking laugh.]

Share it with thee?
And the Tarnhelm too!
How sly thou art!
I could never
Sleep for a moment safely.


[Beside himself.]

What I not even
Strike a bargain!
I must go bare,
Beggared of gain!
Thou wouldst leave me with nothing!



Nothing, not so
Much as a nail,
Shall fall to thy portion.


[In a fury.]

Neither ring nor Tarnhelm
Shall thy hand touch, then;
'Tis I will not share!
I will call on Siegfried,
Summon the aid
Of his keen-edged sword;
The lad will make
Short work, dear brother, of thee!

p. 62


[Siegfried having appeared in the background.]

Turn and look there!
From the cavern hither he comes.


He will have chosen
Trivial toys.


He bears the Tarnhelm!


Also the ring!


Curst luck! The ring!


[Laughing maliciously.]

Get him to give thee the ring now!
'Tis I, not thou, who shall win it.


And yet to its lord
Must it at last be surrendered!

[He disappears in the cleft.]

[During the foregoing Siegfried, with Tarnhelm and ring, has come slowly and meditatively from the cave; he regards his booty thoughtfully, and stops on the knoll in the middle of the stage.]


I do not know
Of what use
Ye are; I chose you
From out the heaped-up hoard
Because of friendly advice.
Meanwhile, of this day
Be ye worn as witness,
Recalling to mind
How with fallen Fafner I fought,
And yet could not learn how to fear.

[He hangs the Tarnhelm on his girdle and puts the ring on his finger. Silence. His notice is involuntarily drawn to the bird again, and he listens to him with breathless attention.]

p. 63

The Wood-bird's voice

Hei! Siegfried now owns
Both the helm and the ring!
Oh! let him not listen
To Mime, the false!
He were wise to be wary of
Mime's treacherous tongue.
He will understand
Mime's secret intent,
Because he has tasted the blood.

[Siegfried's mien and gestures show that he has understood the bird's song. He sees Mime approaching, and remains without moving, leaning on his sword, observant and self-contained, in his place on the knoll till the close of the following scene.]


[Steals forward and observes Siegfried from the foreground.]

He weighs in his mind
The booty's worth;
Can there by chance
Have come this way
A Wanderer wise
Who talked to the child,
And taught him crafty runes?
Doubly sly
Be then the dwarf;
My snares must be cunning,
Cleverly set,
That with cajoling
And wily falsehoods
The insolent boy I may fool.

[He goes nearer to Siegfried and welcomes him with flattering gestures.]

Ha! Welcome, Siegfried!
Say, bold fighter,
Hast thou been taught how to fear?


A teacher still is to find.

p. 64


But the dragon grim
Has fallen before thee?
A fell and fierce monster was he.


Though grim and spiteful the brute,
I grieve over his death,
While there live still, unpunished,
Blacker scoundrels than he was!
The one who bade me slay
I hate far more than the slain.


[Very friendly.]

Have patience! Thou wilt not
Look on me long.


In endless sleep
Soon thine eyelids will be sealed.
Thy uses are over,

[As if praising him.]

Done is the deed;
The only task left
For me is to win the booty.
Methinks that task will not tax me;
Thou wert always easy to fool.


To me thou art plotting harm, then?



What makes thee think that?

[Continuing tenderly.]

Siegfried, listen, my own one!
I have always loathed
Thee and all that are like thee.
It was not from love
That I reared thee with care:
The gold hid in Fafner's cave
I worked for as my reward.

[As if he were promising him something nice.]

p. 65

If thou wilt not yield
It up to me,

[As if he were ready to lay down his life for him.]

Siegfried, my son,
Thou plainly must see

[As if in friendly jest.]

I have no choice but to slay thee!


That I am hated
Pleases me;
But must I lose my life for thy pleasure?



I never said that;
Thou hast made a mistake.
See, thou art weary
From stress of strife,
Burning with fever and thirst;
Mime, the kind one,
To cool thy thirst
Brought a quickening draught.
While thy blade thou didst melt
I brewed thee the drink;
Touch it, and straight
Thy sword shall be mine,
And mine the hoard and Tarnhelm too.



So thou of my sword
And all it has won me--
Ring and booty--wouldst rob me?



Why wilt mistake so my words!
Do I drivel or dote?
I use the utmost
Pains with my speech,
That what in my heart
I mean may be hidden;

p. 66

And the stupid boy
Misunderstands what I say!
Open thy ears, boy,
And attend to me!
Hear, now, what Mime means.
Take this: the drink will refresh thee
As my drinks oft have done.
Many a time
When fretful and bad,
Though loth enough,
The draughts I brought thou hast swallowed.


Of a cooling drink
I were glad;
Say, how has this one been brewed?


[Jesting merrily, as if describing to him a pleasant state of intoxication which the liquor is to bring about.]

Hei! just drink it!
Trust to my skill.
In mist and darkness
Soon shall thy senses be sunk;
None to watch or ward them,
Stark-stretched shall thy limbs be.
Thou lying thus,
'Twere not hard
To take the booty and hide it;
But wert thou to awake,
Nevermore would
Mime be safe,
Even owning the ring.
So with the sword
He has made so sharp

[With a gesture of extravagant joy.]

First I will hack
The child's head off!
Then I shall have both rest and the ring!


p. 67


Thou wouldst, then, slay me when sleeping?



Do what, child? Did I say that?

[He takes pains to assume the utmost tenderness. Carefully and distinctly.]

I only mean
To chop off thy head!

[With the appearance of heartfelt solicitude for Siegfried's health.]

For even if I
Had loathed thee less,
And had not thy scoffs
And my drudgery shameful
So loudly urged to vengeance,


I should never dare to pause
Till from my path I thrust thee:

[Jestingly again.]

How else could I come by the booty,
Which Alberich covets as well?

[He pours the liquid into the drinking-horn, and offers it to Siegfried with pressing gestures.]

Now, my Wälsung,
Drink the draught and be choked,
And never drink again!



[Threatens him with his sword.]

Taste thou my sword,
Loathsome babbler!

[As if seized by violent loathing, he gives Mime a sharp stroke with his sword. Instantly Mime falls dead to the ground. Alberich's voice in mocking laughter from the cleft.]

p. 68


[Looking at Mime on the ground, quietly hangs his sword again on his belt.]

Envy's wage
Pays Nothung;
'Twas for this that I forged him.

[He picks up Mime's body, carries it to the knoll, and throws it into the cave.]

In the cavern, there,
Lie on the hoard;
With steadfast guile
The gold thou hast gained:
Now let it belong to its master!
And a watchman good
I give thee, that thieves
Never may enter and steal.

[With a great effort he pushes the body of the dragon in front of the entrance to the cave, which it completely stops up.]

There lie thou too,
Dragon grim;
Along with thy foe
Greedy of gain
Thou shalt guard the glittering gold:
So both at last shall rest in peace.

[He looks down thoughtfully into the cave for a time, and then turns slowly to the front of the stage as if tired. He passes his hand over his brow.]

Hot I feel
From the heavy toil;
Fast and furious
Flows my blood,
My hand burns on my head.
High stands the sun in heaven;
From azure heights
Falls his gaze
Through a cloudless sky on my crown.

p. 69

Pleasant shadows will cool me under the linden.

[He stretches himself out under the lime-tree, and again looks up through the boughs.]

If only, pretty warbler,
So long and so
Rudely disturbed,
I could once more hear thee singing!
On a branch I see thee
Merrily swaying;
Chirping and chattering,
Brothers and sisters
Are happily hovering round.

But I--I am alone,
Without brother or sister;
My mother died,
My father fell,
Unseen by their son!
The one soul I knew
Was a loathsome old dwarf;


Love he festered not
By kindness;
Many a cunning
Snare did he set me;
At last I was forced to slay him.

[He looks sorrowfully up at the branches.]

Bird sweet and friendly,
I ask thee a boon:
Wilt thou find for me
A comrade true?--
Wilt thou choose for me the right one?
So oft I have called,
And yet no one has come!

p. 70

Thou, my friend,
Wilt manage it better,
So wise thy counsel has been.


Now sing! I hearken to thy song.

The Wood-bird's voice

Hei! Siegfried has slain
The deceitful dwarf!
I know for him now
A glorious bride.
She sleeps where rugged rocks soar;
Ringed is her chamber by fire.
Who battles the flames,
Wakens the bride,
Brünnhilde, wins as reward.


[Starts up impetuously from his seat.]

O lovely song,
Flower-sweet breath!
Thy yearning music
Burns in my breast!
Like leaping flame
It kindles my heart.
What races so swift
Through soul and senses?
Sweetest of friends, O say!

[He listens.]

The Wood-bird's voice

Grieving yet glad,
Love I am singing;
Blissful, from woe
Weaving my song:
They only who yearn understand.


Forth, forth then,
Swift and rejoicing!
Forth from the wood to the fell!
just one thing more
I would learn, sweet singer:

p. 71

Say, shall I break through the fire?
Can I awaken the bride?

[He listens again.]

The Wood-bird's voice.

No coward wins
Brünnhild' for bride,
Or wakes the maid:
Only a heart without fear.


[Shouting with joy.]

The foolish boy
Who has never learned fear,
Dear bird, that dullard am I!
To-day I took endless
Trouble in vain,
To find out what fear was from Fafner.
With longing I burn
Now from Brünnhild' to learn it.
What path soonest leads to the fell?

[The bird flutters up, circles over Siegfried, and flies hesitatingly before him.]

The bird to my goal will guide me.
Fly where thou wilt,
I follow thy flight!

[He runs after the bird, who for a time flies uncertainly hither and thither to tease him; at last he follows him, when, taking a definite direction towards the back, the bird flies away.]

Next: The Third Act