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p. 72


A wild spot at the foot of a rocky mountain which rises precipitously at the back on the left. Night, storm, lightning and violent thunder. The latter ceases shortly, but the lightning continues to flash from the clouds for some time. The Wanderer enters and walks resolutely towards a cavernous opening in a rock in the foreground, and takes up his position there, leaning on his spear, while he calls the following towards the entrance to the cave.


Waken, Wala!
Wala! Awake!
From thy long sleep,
Slumberer, wake at my call!
I summon thee forth:
Arise! Arise!
From cloud-covered caves
In earth's dim abysses, arise!
Erda! Erda,
Old as the world!
From depths dark and hidden
Rise to the day!
With song I call thee,
I sing to wake thee,
From deep dreams of wisdom
Bid thee arise.
All-knowing one!
Fount of knowledge!
Erda! Erda,

p. 73

Old as the world!
Waken! Awaken, thou Vala! Awaken!

[A dim bluish light begins to dawn in the cavern. In this light Erda, during the following, rises very gradually from below. She appears to be covered with hoar-frost, which glitters on her hair and garments.]


Loud is the call;
Strong the spell that summons;
I have been roused
From dark and wise dreams:
Who wakes me from my sleep?


'Tis I who awake thee
With song of magic,
That what in slumber
Was folded fast may rise.
The wide earth ranging,
Far I have roamed,
Seeking for knowledge,
Wisdom at fountains primeval.
No one that lives
Is wiser than thou;
Thou knowest all
In the hidden depths,
What moves on hill,
Dale, in water and air.
Where life is found,
There thou art breathing;
And where brains ponder,
There is thy thought.
Men say that all
Knowledge is thine.
That I might ask of thee counsels
I have called thee from sleep.

p. 74


My sleep is dreaming,
My dreaming brooding,
My brooding wisdom's calm working.
But while I sleep
The Norns are wakeful:
They twine the rope,
And deftly weave what I know.
The Norns thou shouldst have questioned.


In thrall to the world
Sit the Norris weaving;
They cannot alter
What ordained is.
But I would fain
Be taught of thy wisdom
How a wheel on the roll can be stayed.


Dark and troubled
My mind grows through men's deeds.
A God once subdued
The Wala's self to his will.
A wish-maiden
I bore to Wotan;
From fields of battle
She brought him slain heroes;
Bold is she
And wise to boot:
Why waken me?
Why seek not counsel
From Erda's and Wotan's child?


The Valkyrie, Brünnhild'?
Meanest thou her?
She flouted the storm-controller,
When, sorely urged, himself he controlled.
What the swayer and lord
Of battles longed for,

p. 75

What he refrained from
Against his desire,
Brünnhilde, bold,
Rash, over-confident,
When the fight was at fiercest,
Strove for herself to perform.
Punished the maid:
He pressed slumber into her eyes,
On the flame-girt rock she sleeps.
The hallowed maid
Will waken alone,
That she may love and wed with a man.
Small hope of answer from her.


Dazed have I felt
Since I woke;
Wild, confused
Seems the world!
The Valkyrie,
The Wala's child,
Bound lay, fettered by sleep,
While her all-knowing mother slept!
Does revolt's teacher
Chide revolt?
Does the deed he urged to
Anger him, done?
He who guards the right,
To whom vows are sacred,
Hinders the right?--
Reigns through falsehood?
Let me down to the dark,
That my wisdom may slumber!


I will not let thee descend,
For a potent magic I wield.

p. 76

All-wise one,
Planted by thee
The sting of care was
In Wotan's dauntless heart;
For, through thy wisdom,
Downfall and shameful
Doom were foretold him;
My mind was fettered by fear.
Now let the world's
Wisest of women
Answer and say
How a God may conquer his care.


Thou art not
What thou hast said.
Why art thou come, wild and wayward,
To trouble the Wala's sleep?


Thou art not
What thou hast dreamed.
Thy end draws near,
Mother of wisdom;
Thy wisdom at war
With me shall perish.
Knowest thou Wotan's will?

[A long silence.]

I tell thee
That thou mayest sleep
For evermore unvexed by care.
That the Gods are doomed,
No longer dismays me,
Since I will it so.
What, with myself at war, in anguish,
Despairing, once I resolved,
Gaily, gladly,
With delight I now do.

p. 77

Mad with disgust I decreed once
The world to the Nibelung's hate,
But now to the valiant Wälsung
I leave it with joy.
One who never knew me,
Though chosen by me,
A boy bold and fearless,
Helped not by Wotan,
Has won the Nibelung's ring.
Blest in love,
Void of all envy,
On him shall fall harmless
Alberich's curse,
For no fear does he know.
Soon thy child and mine,
Shall be waked by him;
And when waked
Our child shall achieve
A deed to redeem the world.
So slumber again,
Closing thine eyelids
Dreaming behold my downfall!
Whatever comes after,
The God rejoicing
Yields to youth ever young.
Descend, then, Erda,
Mother of fear!
Descend! Descend!
And sleep for aye!

[Erda, whose eyes are already closed, and who has gradually been sinking deeper, disappears entirely. The cavern has become quite dark again.]

p. 78

Dawn lights up the stage; the storm has ceased. The Wanderer has gone close to the cave, and leans with his back again against it, facing the wings.


Lo! Yonder Siegfried comes.

[He remains where he is without changing his position. Siegfried's wood-bird flutters towards the foreground. Suddenly the bird stops in his direct flight, flutters to and fro in alarm, and disappears quietly towards the back.]


[Enters and stops.]

My bird has vanished from sight!
With fluttering wings
And lovely song
Blithely he showed me the way,
And then forsook me and fled!
I must discover
The rock for myself:
The path I followed so far
'Twere best still to pursue.

[He goes towards the back.]


[Still in the same position.]

Boy, pray tell me,
Whither away?


[Halts and turns round.]

Did some one speak?
Perhaps he knows the road.

[He goes nearer to the Wanderer.]

I would find a rock
That by flaming fire is surrounded:
There sleeps a maid
Whom I would awake.


Who bade thee seek
This rock flame-circled?--
Taught thee to yearn for the woman?

p. 79


It was a singing
Woodland bird;
He gave me welcome tidings.


A wood-bird chatters idly
What no man understands;
How then couldst thou tell
The song's true meaning?


Because of the blood
Of a dragon grim
That fell before me at Neidhöhl'--
The burning blood
Had scarce touched my tongue
When the sense of the singer grew plain.


Who was it urged thee on
To try thy strength,
And slay this dragon so dread?


My guide was Mime,
A faithless dwarf:
What fear is fain he had taught me.
But 'twas the dragon
Roused me himself,
Wrathful, to strike the blow;
For he threatened me with his jaws.


Who forged the sword
So hard and keen
That it slew the daunting foe?


I forged it myself
When the smith was beaten;
Swordless else I should have been still.


But who made
The mighty splinters
From which the sword was welded strong?

p. 80


What know I of that?
I only know
That the splintered steel was useless
Were not the sword forged anew.


[Bursts out laughing with gleeful good-humor.]

I fully agree.



At what dost thou laugh?
Prying greybeard!
Prithee have done;
Keep me no longer here talking.
Speak if thou knowest
Whither my way lies;
And hold thy tongue
Unless thou canst tell.


Good boy, have patience!
If I seem old,
More need to show me due honour.


What an odd notion!
My whole life long
A hateful old man
Has blocked my pathway;
Him I at last swept aside.
Standest thou longer
Trying here to stay me,
I warn thee frankly

[With a significant gesture.]

That thou like Mime shalt fare.

[He goes still nearer to the Wanderer.]

But what art thou like?
Why wearest thou
Such a monstrous hat,
And why hangs it so over thy face?

p. 81


[Still without altering his position.]

That is the way I wear it
When against the wind I go.


[Inspecting him still more closely.]

But an eye beneath it is wanting.
Perchance by some one
Whose way thou didst
Too boldly bar
It has been struck out.
Take thyself off,
Or else very soon
The other thou shalt lose also!


I see, my son,
Where thou art blind,
And hence thy jaunty assurance.
With the eye that is
Amissing in me
Thou lookest now on the other
That still is left me for sight.


[Who has been listening thoughtfully, now bursts involuntarily into hearty laughter.]

Thy foolish talk sets me laughing!
But come, this nonsense must finish.
At once show me my way;
Then proceed thou too on thine own;
For me further
Use thou hast none:
So speak, or off thou shalt pack!



Child, didst thou know
Who I am,
Thy scoffs I had been spared!
From one so dear,
Insult hard to endure is.
Long have I loved
Thy radiant race,
Though from my fury
In terror it shrank.

p. 82

Thou whom I love so,
All too fair one,
Rouse my wrath not to-day;
It would ruin both thee and me.


Still art thou dumb,
Stubborn old man?
Stand to one side, then
That pathway, I know,
Leads to the slumbering maid;
For thither the wood-bird
Was guiding when he flew off.

[It suddenly becomes dark again.]


[Breaking out in anger and assuming a commanding attitude.]

In fear of its life it fled.
It knew that here
Was the ravens' lord;
Dire his plight were he caught!
The way that it guided
Thou shalt not go!


[Amazed, falls back and assumes a defiant attitude.]

Hoho! Interferer!
Who then art thou
That wilt not let me pass?


Fear thou the rock's defender!
My might it is
Holds the maiden fettered by sleep.
He who would wake her,
He who would win her,
Impotent makes me for ever.

A burning sea
Encircles the maid,
Fires fiercely glowing
Surround the rock;

p. 83

He who craves the bride
The flames must boldly defy.

[He points with his spear towards the rocky heights.]

Look up above!
That light dost thou see?
The surging heat,
The splendour, grows;
Clouds of fire rolling,
Tongues of flame writhing,
Roaring and raging,
Come ravening down.
Thy head now
Is flooded with light;

[A flickering glow, increasing in brightness, appears on the summit of the rock.]

The fire will seize thee,
Seize and devour thee.--
Back, back, there, foolhardy boy!


Stand back, old babb'er, thyself!
For where the fire is burning,
To Brünnhilde yonder I go!

[He advances; the Wanderer bars his way.]


Hast thou no fear of the fire,
Then barred by my spear be thy path!
I still hold the haft
That conquers all;
The sword thou dost wield
It shivered long ago:
Upon my spear eternal
Break it once more.

[He stretches out his spear.]


[Drawing his sword.]

'Tis my father's foe,
Found here at last!
Now, then, for vengeance!

p. 84

In luck am I!
Brandish thy spear:
My sword will hew it in twain!

[With one stroke he hews the Wanderer's spear in two pieces. Lightning flashes from the spear up towards the rocks, where the light, until now dim, begins to flame brighter and brighter. A violent thunder clap, which quickly dies away, accompanies the stroke.]


[Quietly picking up the pieces of the spear which have fallen at his feet.]

Fare on! I cannot prevent thee!

[He suddenly disappears in utter darkness.]


With his spear in splinters
Vanished the coward!

[The growing brightness of the clouds of fire, which keep sinking down lower and lower, attracts Siegfried's eye.]

Ha! Rapturous fire!
Glorious light!
Shining my pathway
Opens before me.
In fiery flames plunging,
Through fire I will win to the bride!
Hoho! Hahei!
To summon a comrade I call!

[He sets his horn to his lips and plunges into the fiery billows, which, flowing down from the heights, now spread over the foreground. Siegfried, who is soon lost to view, seems, from the sound of his horn, to be ascending the mountain. The flames begin to fade, and change gradually into a dissolving cloud lit by the glow of dawn.]

p. 83

The thin cloud has resolved itself into a fine rose-coloured veil of mist, which so
divides that the upper part rises and disappears, disclosing the bright
blue sky of day; whilst on the edge of the rocky height, now becoming
visible (exactly the same scene as in the third Act of "The
Valkyrie"), a veil of mist reddened by the dawn remains hanging,
which suggests the magic fire still flaming below. The arrangement
of the scene is exactly the same as at the end of "The Valkyrie."
In the foreground, under a wide-spreading fir-tree, lies Brünnhilde
in full shining armour, her helmet on her head, and her long shield
covering her, in deep sleep


[Coming from the back, reaches the rocky edge of the summit, and at first shows only the upper part of his body. He looks round him for a long time in amaze. Softly.]

Solitude blissful
On sun-caressed height!

[He climbs to the summit, and standing on a rock at the edge of the precipice at the back, gazes at the scene in astonishment. He looks into the wood at the side and comes forward a little.]

What lies in shadow,
Asleep in the wood?
A charger
Resting in slumber deep.

[Approaching slowly he stops in surprise when, still at some little distance from her, he sees Brünnhilde.]

What radiant thing lies yonder?
The steel, how it gleams and glints!
Is it the glare
That dazzles me still?
Shining armour?
Shall it be mine?

[He lifts up the shield and sees Brünnhilde's form; her face, however, is for the most part hidden by her helmet.]

Ha! It covers a man!
The sight stirs thoughts sweet and strange!
The helm must lie

p. 86

Hard on his head
Lighter lay he
Were it unloosed.

[He loosens the helmet carefully and removes it from the head of the sleeper. Long curling hair breaks forth. Tenderly.]

Ah! how fair!

[He stands lost in contemplation.]

Clouds gleaming softly
Fringe with their fleeces
This lake of heaven bright;
Laughing, the glorious
Face of the sun
Shines through the billowy clouds!

[He bends lower over the sleeper.]

His bosom is heaving,
Stirred by his breath;
Ought I to loosen the breastplate?

[He tries to loosen the breastplate.]

Come, my sword,
Cleave thou the iron!

[He draws his sword and gently and carefully cuts through the rings on both fides of the breastplate; he then lifts this off along with the greaves, so that Brünnhilde now lies before him in a soft woman's robe. He draws back startled and amazed.]

That is no man!

[He stares at the sleeper, greatly excited.]

Magical rapture
Pierces my heart;
Fixed is my gaze,
Burning with terror;
I reel, my heart faints and fails!

[He is seized with sudden terror.]

On whom shall I call,

p. 87

For aid imploring?
Mother! Mother!
Remember me!

[He sinks as if fainting on to Brünnhilde's bosom; then he starts up sighing.]

How waken the maid,
Causing her eyelids to open?


Her eyelids to open?
What if her gaze strike me blind!
How shall I dare
To look on their light?
All rocks and sways
And swirls and revolves;
Uttermost longing
Burns and consumes me;
My hand on my heart,
It trembles and shakes!
What ails thee, coward?
Is this what fear means?
O mother I Mother!
Thy dauntless child!

[Very tenderly.]

A woman lying asleep
Has taught him what fear is at last!
How conquer my fear?
How brace my heart?
That, myself, I waken,
I must waken the sleeper!

[As he approaches the sleeping figure again he is overcome by tenderer emotions at the
sight. He bends down lower; sweetly

Softly quivers
Her flower-sweet mouth!
Its lovely trembling

p. 88

Has charmed my despair!
Ah! And the fragrant,
Blissful warmth of her breath!

[Is if in despair.]

Awaken! Awaken,
Maiden divine!

[He gazes at her.]

She hears me not.
New life from the sweetest
Of lips I will suck, then,
Even though kissing I die!

[He sinks, as if dying, on to the sleeping figure, and, closing his eyes, fastens his lips on Brünnhilde's. Brünnhilde opens her eyes. Siegfried starts up, and remains standing before her.]


[Rises slowly to a sitting posture. Raising her arms, she greets earth and sky with solemn gestures on her return to consciousness.]

Sun, I hail thee!
Hail, O light!
Hail, O glorious day!
Long I have slept;
I am awake.
What hero broke
Brünnhilde's sleep?


[Awed and entranced by her look and her voice, stands as if spellbound.]

Through the fierce fires flaming
Round this rock I burst;
I unloosened thy helmet strong:
I awoke thee;
Siegfried am I.


[Sitting upright.]

Gods, I hail you!
Hail, O World!
Hail, O Earth, in thy glory!
My sleep is over now,
My eyes open.
It is Siegfried
Who bids me wake!

Click to enlarge

"Magical rapture
Pierces my heart
Fixed is my gaze,
Burning with terror;
I reel, my heart faints and fails!"
      See p. 86


p. 89


[Breaking forth in rapturous exaltation.]

I hail thee, mother
Who gave me birth!
Hail, O Earth,
That nourished my life
So that I see those eyes
Beam on me, blest among men!


I hail the mother
Who gave thee birth!
Hail, O Earth,
That nourished thy life!
No eye dared see me but thine;
To thee alone might I wake!

[Both remain full of beaming ecstasy, lost in mutual contemplation.]


O Siegfried! Siegfried!
Hero most blest!
Of life the awaker,
Conquering light!
O joy of the world, couldst know
How thou wert always loved!
Thou wert my gladness,
My care wert thou!
Thy life I sheltered
Before it was thine;
My shield was thy shelter
Ere thou wert born:
So long loved wert thou, Siegfried!


[Softly and timidly.]

My mother did not die, then?
Did the dear one but sleep?


[Smiles and stretches her hand out kindly towards him.]

Adorable child!
Nevermore thy mother will greet thee!
Thyself am I,
If I be blest with thy love.

p. 90

All things I know
Known not to thee;
Yet only of my love
Born is my wisdom.

O Siegfried! Siegfried
Conquering light!
I loved thee always,
For I alone
Divined the thought hid by Wotan;
Hidden thought I dared not
So much as utter;
Thought that I thought not,
Feeling it only;
For which I worked,
Battled and strove,
Defying even
Him who conceived it;
For which in penance
Prisoned I lay,
Because thought it was not,
But felt alone!
For what the thought was--
Say, canst thou guess it?--
Was love of thee, nothing but that!


How wondrous sounds
Thy rapturous song!
But dark the meaning to me.


Of thine eyes the splendour
I see plain,
I can feel thee breathing
Soft and warm,
Sweet can hear
The singing of thy voice,

Click to enlarge

"Sun, I hail thee
Hail, O light!
Hail, O glorious day!"
       See p. 88


p. 91

But what thou sayest I strive
Vainly to understand.
I cannot grasp clearly
Things so far distant;
Needed is every sense
To feel and behold thee!
By laming fear
Fettered am I,
For how to fear
Thou hast taught me at last;
Thou who hast bound me
In bonds of such power,
Give me my courage again!

[He remains in great excitement with his yearning gaze fixed on her.]


[Turns her head gently aside and looks towards the wood.]

I see there Grane,
My sacred horse;
In gladness he grazes
Who slept with me!
He too has by Siegfried been waked.


[Without changing his position.]

My gaze on a mouth
Most lovely is feasting;
My lips are afire
With passionate yearning
For the pasture sweet that I look on!


[Points to her armour, which she now perceives.]

I see there the shield
That sheltered heroes;
And there is the helmet
That hid my head:
It shields, it hides me no more!


[With fire.]

By a glorious maid
My heart has been hurt

p. 92

Wounds in my head
A woman has struck:
I came without shield or helm!


[With increased sadness.]

I see there the breastplate's
Glittering steel;
A keen-edged sword
Sundered the rings,
From the form of the maiden
Loosened the mail:
Nor shelter nor shield is left
To the weak and sorrowful maid!


[With heat.]

Through billows of fire
I battled to thee,
No buckler or breastplate
Sheltered or screened;
The flames have won
Their way to my heart;
My blood hot-surging
Rushes and leaps;
A ravening fire
Is kindled within me:
The flames that shone
Round Brünnhilde's rock
Are burning now in my breast!
O maid, extinguish the fire!
Calm the commotion and rage!

[He has embraced her passionately.]


[Springs up, resists him with the utmost strength of terror, and flies to the other side of the stage.]

No God's touch have I known!
With awe the heroes
Greeted the maiden:
Holy came she from Walhall.
Woe's me! Woe's me!
Woe the affront,
The bitter disgrace!

Click to enlarge

Brünnhilde throws herself into Siegfried's arms
    See p. 99


p. 93

He wounds me sore
Who waked me from sleep!
He has broken breastplate and helm;
Now I am Brünnhild' no more.


Thou art to me
The dreaming maid still;
Brünnhilde lies
Lapped still in sleep.
Awake, be a woman to me!



Confused are my senses,
My mind is blank:
Wisdom, dost thou forsake me?


Said not thy song
Thy wisdom drew
Its light from thy love of me?


[Staring before her.]

Shadows drear-falling
Darken my gaze;
Mine eyes see dimly,
The light dies out,
Deep is the dark.
From dread-haunted mists
Fear in a frenzy
Comes writhing forth;
Terror stalks me
And grows with each stride!

[She hides her eyes with her hands in violent terror.]


[Gently removing her hands from her eyes.]

Dread lies dark
On eyelids bound;
With the fetters vanish
The fear and gloom;
Rise from the dark and behold
Bright as the sun is the day.

p. 94


[Much agitated.]

Flaunting my shame,
Bright as the sun shines the day!
O Siegfried! Siegfried!
Pity my woe!
I have always
Lived and shall live--
Always in sweet,
Rapturous yearning,
And always to make thee blest!

O Siegfried! Glorious
Wealth of the world!
Laughing hero!
Life of the earth!
Ah, forbear!
Leave me in peace!
Touch me not,
Mad with delirious frenzy!
Break me not,
Bring me not under thy yoke,
Undo not the loved one so dear!

Hast thou rejoiced
Thyself to see
Reflected clear in the stream?
If into wavelets
The water were stirred,
And ruffled the limpid
Calm of the brook,
Thy face would not be there,
Only water's rippling unrest.
So untouched let me stay,
Trouble me not,
And thy face
Mirrored bright in me
Will smile to thee always,
Gay and merry and glad!

p. 94

O Siegfried,
Radiant child,
Love thyself
And leave me in peace;
O bring not thine own to naught!


I love thee;
Didst thou but love me!
Myself I have lost;
Ah, would thou wert won!
A fair-flowing flood
Before me rolls;
With all my senses
Nothing I see
But buoyant, beautiful billows.
If it refuse
To mirror my face,
Just as I am,
To assuage my fever,
Myself I will plunge
Straight in the stream:--
If only the billows
Would blissfully drown me,
My yearning lost in the flood!
Awaken, Brünnhilde!
Waken, O maid!
Laughing and living,
Sweetest delight,
Be mine! Be mine! Be mine!


[With deep feeling.]

Thine, Siegfried!
I was from of old!


[With fire.]

What thou hast been
That be thou still!

p. 96


Thine I will
Always be!


What thou wilt be
Be thou to-day!
Clasped in my arms
And closely embraced,
Heart upon heart
Beating in rapture,
Glances aglow,
And breath mingled hungrily,
Eye in eye and
Mouth on mouth!
All that thou wert
And wilt be, be thou it now!
The fear and the fever would vanish
Were Brünnhild' now mine!


Were I now thine?

Heavenly calm
Is tossing and raging;
Light that was pure
Flames into passion;
Wisdom divine
Forsakes me and flies;
Jubilant love
Has scared it away!

If I be thine?
Siegfried! Siegfried!
Canst thou not see?
By the blaze of my eyes
Thou art not struck blind?
In my arms' embrace
Thou surely must burn!

p. 97

As my blood like a torrent
Surges and leaps,
The fire fierce-flaming
Dost thou not feel?
Fearest thou, Siegfried?
Fearest thou not
The wild, love-frenzied maid?


[With a shock of joy.]

As the blood swift-surging is kindled,
As our eyes devour one another,
As our arms cling close in their rapture,
Dauntless again
My courage swells,
And the fear I failed
For so long to learn,
The fear that I scarcely
Learned from thee--
The stupid boy fears
That fear is completely forgot!

[With the last words he has involuntarily let Brünnhilde go.]


[Laughing wildly with joy.]

Oh, valorous boy!
Oh, glorious hero!
Unwitting source
Of wonderful deeds!
Laughing, laughing I love thee;
Laughing welcome my blindness;
Laughing let us go doomwards,
Laughing go down to death!

Farewell Walhall's
Radiant world,
Its stately halls
In the dust laid low!

Click to enlarge

The three Norns
        See p. 103


p. 98

Farewell, glittering
Pomp divine!
End in bliss,
O immortal race!
Norns, rend in sunder
Your rope of runes!
Dusk steal darkly
Over the Gods!
Night of their downfall
Dimly descend!
Now Siegfried's star
Is rising for me;
He is for ever
And for aye,
My wealth, my world,
My all in all:
Love ever radiant,
Laughing death!


[While Brünnhilde repeats the foregoing, beginning at "Farewell Walhall's Radiant world".]

Laughing thou wakest,
Thou my delight!
Brünnhilde lives,
Brünnhilde laughs!
Hail, O day
In glory arisen!
Hail, O Sun
That shines from on high!
Hail, O light
From the darkness sprung!
Hail, O world
Where Brünnhilde dwells!
She wakes! She lives!
She greets me with laughter!
Splendour streams
From Brünnhilde's star!

p. 99

She is for ever
And for aye
My wealth, my world,
My all in all,
Love ever radiant,
Laughing death!

[Brünnhilde throws herself into Siegfried's arms. The curtain falls.]

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