.. .---I- -.....,.--,I--i, 1 ; ~-r-:---~~,~,.~
" SENT'S EYES SOUGHT THE PORTRAIT "
TALES FROM WAGNER
ColD for o young people
ANNA ALICE CHAPIN
AUTHOR OF THE STORY OF THE RHINEGOLD "
NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
Copyright, x898, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
All rights reserved.
BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
THE STORY OF THE RHINEGOLD (Der Ring
des Nibelungen). Told for Young People. Illus-
trated. Post 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 25.
For a study of Wagner's operas no better book could
be secured than Anna Alice Chapin's "The Story of the
Rhinegold," which bears the marks of careful research.
. Miss Chapin has written this straightforward story
of Wagner's Nibelungenlied for young people. As a
matter of fact, however, the book will make interesting
reading for people of any age, and is especially valuable
as an interpreter of the operas themselves.-Springfield
NEW YORK AND LONDON:
HARPER,& BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS.
WHO MAY HEAR
RICHARD WAGNER'S OPERAS
IN THE HOPE OF AIDING THEM TO UNDERSTAND
"Hark Gay fanfares from halls of old Romance
Strike through the clouds of clamor : who be these
That, paired in rich processional, advance
From darkness . ?
Bright ladies and brave knights of Fatherland,
Sad mariners no harbor e'er may hold,
A swan soft floating towards a magic strand;
Dim ghosts of earth, air, water, fire, steel, gold,
Wind, grief, and love; a lewd and lurking band
Of Powers-dark Conspiracy, Cunning cold,
Gray Sorcery ..
O Wagner, westward bring thy heavenly art,
No trifler thou .
Thine ears hear deeper than thine eyes can see."
RICHARD WAGNER, in constructing his music
dramas, found his materials in the legends of all
lands. The source, or more correctly the sources, of
" The Flying Dutchman "-essentially a sea-myth-
are to be traced to many countries. "Tannhauser,"
the medieval tale of which has been recorded in
poetry, and thus handed down to us from the past,
is distinctly German. So, too, is "Lohengrin,"
though the story of Cupid and Psyche, from which
Wagner obtained part of the plot of this opera, is
Greek. "Tristan and Isolde" is Celtic; and "The
Mastersingers" has an historical foundation, and is
peopled with real, not legendary, personages. It is
my purpose to show, as simply as I can, the origin
of the stories incorporated in the Master's works.
The legend of "The Flying Dutchman" is the
most widely known sea-story in existence. It is
common to all lands, and sailors to this day tell tales
of the strange ship which passes a certain latitude
on a certain night of the year. The captain who
commands her bears many names, though it is gen-
erally believed that the varying tales told in differ-
ent tongues are but versions of one original legend,
which, probably, was diffused over many lands by
repetitions among the sailors. In the world of liter-
ature we often find the unfortunate captain. Cole-
ridge's Ancient Mariner, though from a different
cause, is obliged to
"Pass like night from land to land;"
and in the description of his vessel, given by the
Hermit in the same poem, we find a strange sem-
blance to the ship of the Flying Dutchman:
"'Strange, by my faith,' the Hermit said-
'And they answered not our cheer!
The planks look warped! and see those sails,
How thin they are and sere!
I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were
Brown skeletons of leaves'" .
We are reminded of Wagner's "Traft ihr das
Schiff im Meere an?" in the following:
"But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without nor wave nor wind ?"
It is said that Wagner was influenced in the writ-
ing of this opera by the story contained in Heine's
M/emoirem des Herrn von Schnabelewopski, and by
other writers, Wilhelm Hauff among them. The lat-
ter has told his weird tale of the phantom ship
Carmilhan most effectively, having introduced, in-
stead of a demoniacal chorus, a sad and slow song,
sung by the doomed seafarers. The following de-
scription of the marching of the uncanny procession
down the rocks to their ship, after a short sojourn
on land, is to be found in Edward Stowell's trans-
lation of Hauff's story: The whole procession
marched away in the same order in which it had
come, and with the same solemn song, which grew
ever fainter and fainter in the distance, until finally
it was lost in the roar of the breakers." The tall
and gloomy captain, Alfred Frank von Schwelder, of
Amsterdam, is easily identified with Vanderdecken.
Wagner conceived his plan for the construction
of Der Fliegende Hollander" while on his voyage
from Pillau to London. He declared afterwards that
he had been greatly interested in the tales of the
sailors, and their confirmation of that particular le-
gend, and it is probable that in this way a deeper im-
pression was made upon him than by the works al-
ready written on the subject. On that voyage, too,
he undoubtedly felt and assimilated that wonderful
and indescribable soul of the sea which subsequently
gave so distinct a coloring to Der Fliegende Hol-
Wagner first found the legend of "Tannhauser"
in the verses of Ludwig Tieck. The story is an old
one, but has been less frequently the subject of po-
etry and prose than most of the legends from which
Wagner took his plots. The reason for this is prob-
ably the extreme difficulty of treating the tale ade-
quately. After that of the Master, the best version
which has ever appeared is Owen Meredith's Bat-
tle of the Bards." This poem is most beautiful, and
that Meredith's conception of Elizabeth's character
is the same as Wagner's is shown in the lines in
which he compares her to
Mild-eyed March violet of the North, that blows
Bleak under bergs of ice."
The first part of this poem is the description of
the coming of the Pope's messenger. Here, too, the
poet closely follows Wagner. He says that there
came into the valley
"A flying post, and in his hand he bore
A wither'd staff o'er flourish'd with green leaves."
He was followed by
A crowd of youth and eld
That sang to stun with sound the lark in heaven,
'A miracle! a miracle from Rome!
Glory to God that makes the bare bough green!'"
Sir Walther von der Vogelweide, the Minnesinger,
is the subject of many poems. He was called the
Bard of Love, and was wont to declare that he had
learned his art of song from the birds. Longfellow,
in his Walter von der Vogelweid," relates how the
great master, when dying in the cloister of Wurtz-
burg, enjoined the monks to feed the birds every
day in his name. This was done according to his
"On the cross-bar of each window,
On the lintel of each door,
They renewed the War of Wartburg
Which the bard had fought before."
At last the portly abbot murmured, "Why this
waste of food ?" and thereafter the meal was turned
to loaves for the brotherhood, and the birds went
But around the vast cathedral,
By sweet echoes multiplied,
Still the birds repeat the legend,
And the name of Vogelweid."
Wagner obtained much of his material for the
opera of Lohengrin from Parzival "-Wolfram
von Eschenbach's epic poem. Lohengrin may have
a prototype in Sir Galahad, of whom Tennyson has
written such inspired poetry. The characters of the
two knights are somewhat similar-the strength,
spirituality, nobility, and great personal courage be-
ing equally developed in both. The special differ-
ences between their lives are that Galahad seeks the
Holy Grail, while Lohengrin is one of its recognized
guardians; that Galahad leaves men, to lead his life
alone, in ceaseless endeavor and in communion with
angelic hosts, while Lohengrin abandons his high
and celestial estate to mingle with humanity and
love a mortal woman. The legend of the Holy
Grail is universally familiar, and, as is well known,
figures importantly in the Idyls of the King." I
have written of the mystic cup further on, and need
not speak of it here. The plot of "Lohengrin" is
to be found in the legends of Jupiter and Semele,
and of Pururavas and Urvasi, but its most familiar
form is the tale of Cupid and Psyche. In all these
instances curiosity and anxiety prove stronger than
love, a promise is broken, and sorrow ensues.
Of all Celtic legends, that of Tristan, Tristram, or
Tristrem, and Isolde, Iseult, or Isolt, is the most
popular, the most poetical, and the best suited for
use in literature. Among those who have written
of the love and sorrow of the Knight of Lyonesse,
or Lionelle, and the lady whom he loved, are Mat-
thew Arnold, Algernon Swinburne, Alfred Tennyson,
and Sir Walter Scott. Matthew Arnold sings well of
"Those who lived and loved
A thousand years ago."
Yet, in spite of its poetical beauty, his version of
the tale seems wanting in the dramatic feeling which
caused Wagner to centre the interest in his two lov-
ers alone, entirely omitting Iseult of Brittany. In
Arnold's poem this second Iseult is so sweet and her
fate is so touching that we lose something of the in-
tensity, and much of the concentration, which thrills
us in Wagner's music drama. The second Iseult
figures also in Swinburne's "Tristram of Lyonesse,"
and is a less attractive and touching character than
Arnold's. Swinburne's poem is exquisite, however.
The beginning seems to express Wagner's prelude
in words, and the last part is replete with beauty.
The King, after the lover's death, builds a chapel by
the ocean; in that chapel he entombs the two so
well beloved by him. The years pass, and the water
rises and ingulfs the chapel. So over it forever is
"The light and sound and darkness of the sea."
. Tennyson's story of Tristram and Isolt is con-
i trained in "The Last Tournament," and is unimpor-
Stant as a version of the ancient tale. In "Thomas
the Rhymer," by Sir Walter Scott, we find the sim-
Splest version of the legend. It is identical with
i Wagner's opera, save for the characterization of
SMarke as "cowardly." At a feast spread in Ercil-
doune, Thomas the Rhymer sings to the assembly
many songs of chivalry-tales of the Round Table
and of the great knights of ancient times. At last,
in melodious song, he relates the tale of Tristrem,
Knight of Lionelle, who slew Morholde, and bore a
"venom'd wound for the sake of his uncle, King
Marke of Cornwall. The poem continues as follows:
"No art the poison could withstand,
No medicine could be found,
Till lovely Isolde's lily hand
Had probed the rankling wound.
"With gentle hand and soothing tongue
She bore the leech's part;
And, while she o'er his sick-bed hung,
He paid her with his heart.
"Oh, fatal was the gift, I ween!
For, doomed in evil tide,
The maid must be rude Cornwall's queen,
His cowardly uncle's bride.
"Through many a maze the winning song
In changeful passion led,
Till bent at last the listening throng
O'er Tristrem's dying bed.
"His ancient wounds their scars expand,
With agony his heart is wrung:
Oh, where is Isolde's lily hand,
And where her soothing tongue?
"She comes! she comes!-like flash of flame
Can lovers' footsteps fly;
She comes! she comes!-she only came
To see her Tristrem die.
"There paused the harp; its lingering sound
Died slowly on the ear;
The silent guests still bent around,
For still they seemed to hear."
The Mastersingers of Nuremberg were undoubt-
edly as authentic as other historical persons, and the
twelve good men of the famous guild left behind
them stable proofs that they had lived. There are
poems in existence to-day signed by Sixtus Beck-
messer, Veit Pogner, and the other masters. Hans
Sachs's mastersongs are looked upon with reverence
nowadays, and his name, with that of Albrecht
Dtirer, is invariably mentioned in connection with
"Thy songs, Hans Sachs, are living yet,
In honest, hearty German,"
says Whittier, and we find innumerable references
to the cobbler-poet in both poetry and prose. If
the poem Walter von der Vogelweid be read in
connection with The Mastersingers of Nuremberg,"
new light will be thrown by the legend of the birds
upon Walther von Stolzing's declaration that in
the woods he learned his singing." The feathered
minstrels which had taught song to the gentle Bard
of Love, and which still sang the record of his kind-
liness and tender thought, taught also the knight
who in their voices found the music which best ex-
pressed the emotions of his own heart.
The Mastersingers have attracted more than one
writer, but of all attempts at capturing the spirit of
the old art-loving burghers the best is Longfellow's
" Nuremberg," in which the very soul of Wagner's
work seems manifest:
"In the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadow-
Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg the an-
"Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of
art and song,
Memories haunt thy pointed gables like the rooks that
round them throng.
"Memories of the Middle Ages, when the emperors, rough
Had their dwelling in thy castle, time-defying, centuries
"And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted in their un-
That their great imperial city stretched its hand through
" Through these streets so broad and stately, these obscure
and dismal lanes,
Walked of yore the Mastersingers, chanting rude poetic
"From remote and sunless suburbs came they to the
Building nests in Fame's great temple, as in spouts the
"As the weaver plied his shuttle, wove he too the mystic
And the smith his iron measures hammered to the an-
"Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes the flow-
ers of poesy bloom
In the forge's dust and cinders, in the tissues of the
"Here Hans Sachs, the cobbler-poet, laureate of the gen-
Wisest of the Twelve Wise Masters, in huge folios sang
"Vanished is the ancient splendor, and before my dreamy
Wave these mingled shapes and figures, like a faded tap-
"Not thy Councils, not thy Kaisers, win for these the
But thy painter, Albrecht Diirer, and Hans Sachs, thy cob-
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
(Der Fliegende Holldnder)
I. THE SPELLBOUND SEAMAN . . .. 3
II. IN THE HOUSE OF DALAND . . .. 10
III. SENTA'S SACRIFICE . . .. 23
I. IN THE VENUSBERG. . . . 35
II. THE CONTEST OF SONG .. . ... 45
III. THE POPE'S STAFF .. . . .. 56
I. THE COMING OF THE KNIGHT .. ... .67
II. BEFORE THE MINSTER .... ... 80
III. THE THREE QUESTIONS . . 90
IV. How THE KNIGHT WENT AWAY ...... 95
TRISTAN AND ISOLDE
(Tristan und Isolde)
I. FROM IRELAND TO CORNWALL .... .. . 103
II. IN ISOLDE'S GARDEN . . ... 120
III. KAREOL .................. 129
THE MASTERSINGERS OF NUREMBERG
I. TRIAL BY THE MASTERS . . ... .141
II. HANS SACHS, THE COBBLER. .. . .. .57
III. THE COBBLER'S WORKSHOP. ..... . I69
IV. THE SINGING OF THE MASTERSONG. . ... .82
SSENTA'S EYES SOUGHT THE PORTRAIT" Frontispiece
"THE SAILORS, WAVING THEIR CAPS, SHOUTED
'HOHO! HALOIO !' .. . .. .Facing 10
' HERE I STAND, TRUE TILL DEATH'" .. 32
"'I PLEAD FOR HIM-I PLEAD FOR HIS LIFE'" 52
"ELIZABETH CAME TO KNEEL AT THE SHRINE" 58
"HE REACHED THE BIER WITH DIFFICULTY" .. 60
"'I HAVE COME TO DO BATTLE BEFORE GOD FOR
THIS MAIDEN . . 76
'THE DUCHESS OF BRABANT WITH OUTSTRETCHED
HANDS BIDDING ORTRUD ENTER" .. .. 84
"'I HAVE ASKED YOUR LOVE AND BELIEF IN ME'" 92
"SHE TORE OFF HER VEIL, WAVING IT EAGERLY" 24
"FROM HER LIPS CAME SOFTLY HER HEART'S SPEECH
IN WORDS" . . 136
"THE KNIGHT HAD JUST BESOUGHT EVA TO REPLY" 144
"'SHE BEGAN TO QUESTION HIM IN REGARD TO THE
GUILD MEETING . .. 162
"READING AN OLD FOLIO WITH DUSTY COVERS". 170
"'AHA! NOW I HAVE FOUND THE PLACE THAT
HURTS'". . .. 178
"EVA CROWNED THE VICTOR WITH A WREATH OF
LAUREL AND MYRTLE" . 186
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
(Der Fliegende Holliinder)
Motif of the Flying Dutchman
J iic .-- "
THE SPELLBOUND SEAMAN
SAILORS believe that there is an Evil Spirit of
the ocean who, like the ancient Sea-Queen Ran,
would many a man beguile," and who delights in
casting spells upon unfortunate mortals and in
dragging them down under the waves. He has
terrible power, they declare, and can arouse the
ocean to wrath, collect the thunder-clouds, and let
loose the wild storm-winds-indeed, the number of
vessels he has wrecked cannot be counted. His
mighty magic enables him to doom mariners to
fearful fates if they displease or defy him; and of
this magic you shall now hear.
There was once a Dutch sea-captain named Van-
derdecken, who, after a long and prosperous voy-
age, directed his course towards his home in Hol-
land. He was a brave-hearted but rash man, and,
Son hearing of a certain particularly dangerous cape,
called Good Hope, he vowed that he would double
that cape, come what might, if it took all eternity.
The Flying Dutczman
Now the Sea-Spirit heard this vow, and laughed
-for he loved well to punish men for defying his
power and wove spells about the ship, the cap-
tain, and the crew. From that day enchantment
lay upon them, and they were doomed to traverse
the seas forever-trying always to sail around the
Cape of Good Hope, and failing at every trial.
Long years passed, and Vanderdecken and his crew
were only kept from death by the Sea-Spirit, who
condemned them to sail forever.
The unfortunate seaman had but one hope of
happiness and salvation: if a woman would give
him her love, and remain faithful to him until death,
the spell would be lifted and Vanderdecken freed.
Every seven years he was allowed to cast anchor
and go on shore to search for the woman who
would save him through her love and fidelity.
But, alas! he could find none, and as the end of
every term on land expired, bringing the return
of the fateful spell, the Dutchman put to sea for
seven more long years.
Time passed, and still he wandered over the
ocean in his ship, which seemed winged, so fast was
her flight. Still, the sight of her hull startled pass-
ing mariners, for a wierd light glimmered about it,
her sails were red as blood, and her masts as black
as the black depths of the night. Thus had she
been changed by the Sea-Spirit, to show that his
The Spellbound Seaman
spell was about her and all on board. Every one
who saw the ship felt a sense of mystery creep over
him, and regarded her passing, at the commence-
ment of a voyage, as no auspicious sign.
Sometimes a glimpse of a pale face at the prow
filled all hearts with terror and pity, for every one
knew that it was the spellbound Seaman who gazed
out to sea as though seeking the help which never
Every sailor knew Vanderdecken's story and the
power which doomed him to eternally sail the seas,
and they had given him a name descriptive of his
wanderings. When, with all sails set and the waves
rushing past her sides, his ship flew by in the wind,
seafarers changed their course, and whispered, fear-
fully, "Yonder sails the Flying Dutchman!"
Once upon a time there lived a Norwegian cap-
tain named Daland. He made many long voyages,
none of them very prosperous, and, consequently, he
had a great love for gold. He was not a bad man,
but he was foolish enough to worship and envy all
those in possession of greater wealth than himself.
While he sailed away in search of riches, he used to
leave his daughter in the care of her old nurse.
The day on which the story opens he had re-
turned from a long voyage, and had met a severe
storm, in which he had put to shore on a part of
The Flying Dutchman
the Norwegian coast which he recognized as Sand-
wike Bay, forty miles from his own port. The wind
had fallen, and, as his crew were tired, he ordered
them to rest. He directed the steersman to keep
watch while the others slept; but the man, being
drowsy himself, soon fell asleep at his post, after
singing a song to the south wind, beseeching it to
rise and blow him to his Norwegian sweetheart.
At the moment when his eyes closed a ship ap-
peared on the sea speeding towards the shore. As
she came the storm rose again, with violent mutter-
ings, increasing in rage. The sky darkened rapidly,
and the sea was lashed into fury by the whips of
the wind. The ship approached swiftly, and the
anchor crashed through the water. Noiselessly the
crew furled the blood-red sails and coiled the ropes.
With the uncertain step of one who had not set
foot on solid earth for years, the captain of the ship
went on shore. His face was ghastly pale, his hair
and beard were long and black, in his eyes was an
indescribable yearning. It was Vanderdecken, the
As he stood on the rock-strewn shore he thought
of his seven years' flight over the seas, of the sad-
ness of his doom, and the hopelessness of his quest.
At last he broke into passionate words, saying that
he longed only for the end of the universe, when
the sea, and he with it, would be gone. And in the
The Spellbound Seaman 7
hold of the ship his sailors, under the same strange
spell, echoed his words in hollow tones.
He had relapsed into silence and stood leaning
against a rock, wrapped in gloomy thought, when
Daland came out from the cabin of his ship. See-
ing the vessel at anchor near by, he hastily aroused
his sleeping steersman, upbraiding him for his neg-
ligence and pointing out the strange ship. Once
awake, the steersman seized the speaking-trumpet
and shouted, "'Ahoy !"
Only the echoes answered.
Suddenly Daland perceived Vanderdecken on the
shore, and, advancing to the ship's side, cried aloud,
"Hallo, seaman! What name have you, and what
There was a long silence. Then, without moving,
the Dutchman answered, slowly, I have come from
afar. Would you drive me from anchorage?"
"Heaven forbid !" said Daland, warmly. I give
you welcome, seaman."
He left the ship, and, joining the Dutchman on
the rocks, asked, with friendly interest, Who are
"A Dutchman," was Vanderdecken's sole reply.
"Good greeting!" said Daland. "I suppose you
were brought by the storm to this bare, rocky
strand? I am in that same plight; but my home
is not far away, and I shall soon reach it. Whence
8 The Flying Dutchman
have you come? Have you weathered the storm
My ship is strong," returned the Dutchman.
"It weathers all storms."
Then, speaking in accents fraught with deep sad-
ness, he said that he had long sailed the seas, and
that for certain melancholy reasons he could never
return to his native land. He ended by beseeching
Daland to give him shelter in his house for the
night, saying that he would repay his kindness with
riches brought from every land. To give force to
his words, he motioned to two of his sailors on
board the ship, who raised a large chest between
them and carried it on shore.
Now you will see many treasures," said the
Dutchman, raising the lid. Behold, and convince
yourself that they are of great value."
Daland was fairly dazzled at the wonders revealed
to his gaze; costly pearls, incomparable gems of all
sorts, they formed a spectacle absolutely astounding
to the simple sea-captain. As the Dutchman went
on to declare, sadly, that the stones were useless to
him, who had neither wife nor child, and to offer
them freely for a single night's rest and shelter, Da-
land could scarcely believe that he heard aright.
Vanderdecken continued to talk with him, and on
discovering that he had a daughter, asked permis-
sion to woo her. Though somewhat startled at
The Spellbound Seaman 9
this sudden request, Daland could not forget the
glitter of the jewels, which proved the stranger's
great wealth; moreover, he had described in all that
he had said a melancholy grandeur which seemed
to indicate nobility of soul. After a few doubtful
words, Daland gave his consent to the Dutchman's
suit, speaking tenderly of the unceasing gentleness
and devoted love of the daughter whom he was re-
So she will be mine!" murmured Vanderdecken,
musingly. "Will she be my angel of rescue?"
The storm had blown over, and the wind had
changed. It now blew freshly from the south, and
the steersman sang gayly a few bars of his song in
greeting. The sailors, waving their caps, shouted,
"The wind is fair," said Daland. "The sea is
calm, so let us weigh anchor and set sail for home."
Well knowing that his ship, when under weigh,
bore a strange and uncanny appearance, which none
could fail to recognize, the Dutchman begged leave
to wait and follow later in the day, giving as a rea-
son for his request his crew's fatigue and need of rest.
Daland, with a cheery farewell, went on board his
own ship and blew a signal on his whistle. The
sailors set the sails, singing joyfully; the anchor was
weighed, and the vessel left the bay.
The Dutchman then boarded his ship in silence.
Spinning Chorus of the Norwegian Maidens
IN THE HOUSE OF DALAND
ON the afternoon of the same day a number of
maidens went to pay a visit to Daland's daughter,
Senta, and her old nurse, Dame Mary. As was the
custom among neighbors, they brought their spin-
ning-wheels, and soon installed themselves in the
living-room, chatting, spinning, and singing.
Daland's house was rude and rough, but compara-
tively well furnished, and the room in which the
young girls sat was large and cheerful. There was
a broad fireplace, and because of the cold air of
Norway, all had drawn their chairs close to the
bright blaze. On the walls hung various paintings
and rude prints of sea subjects, and several ocean
charts. At one side of the room was a large por-
trait of a man in black Spanish dress; near it stood
a deep arm-chair, in which Senta sat.
A very beautiful maiden was the daughter of
Daland. Her gray eyes were large and dreamy, her
"THE SAILORS, WAVING THEIR CAPS, SHOUTED HOHO HALOHO !"'
In the House of Daland I
soft hair pale gold, her coloring most delicate and
clear, and a look of intensity, of suppressed emo-
tion, and, above all, of unfulfilled longing, lent a
strange and passionate sadness to her face. She sat
in abstracted meditation, with her eyes fixed on the
pale face of the man in the portrait. It was that of
the Flying Dutchman, painted long years ago, and
had fallen into Daland's possession in the course of
his travels. Old Mary had often sung to the girl
the ballad which told the history of the original of
the picture, and the sad tale had made a deep im-
pression upon Senta's sensitive nature. She spent
much of her time musing beside the portrait and
dreaming of the doomed mariner, the spellbound
The maidens spun on, chatting with old Dame
Mary, who sat by her wheel, urging them to swifter
work, the bright firelight flickering over her kindly
wrinkled face and quaint Norwegian dress. The
girls, interrupting themselves with laughter and
merry jests, sang a harmonious spinning song as
the wheels hummed and the fire crackled in accom-
"Why are you silent, Senta?" asked Mary, with
some impatience. "You lazy child, will you not
spin? See her there," she added, turning to the
laughing maidens, still before that portrait!"
With growing anxiety she again addressed Senta:
The Flying Dutchman
"Why will you so gaze, all your young life, dream-
ing before that picture!"
"Why have you told me the story of his griefs ?"
said Senta, sitting motionless. "Oh, the unhappy
man!" she added, more softly.
"What did she say?" asked the maidens of Dame
Mary. "Is she sighing for that pale man? That is
why she looks so wan."
Senta, turn and join us," begged Mary.
She does not hear you," said the maidens, and
one or two broke out, jestingly, She's in love!
She's in love! It is to be hoped Erik will not be
angry; he has a quick temper, and you would better
say nothing, for he might fall into a rage and shoot
his rival-off the wall!"
They all laughed at this sally, and it was some
time before their merriment subsided. Senta sprang
to her feet in evident displeasure. "Oh, silence
your foolish laughter!" she exclaimed. Are you
trying to anger me ?" The girls began to sing loudly
so as to drown her voice, and turned their wheels
with a great clatter.
Make an end to this stupid song!" besought
Senta, almost wild from the continued noise. "If
you would win me to your way, let me hear some-
thing better than that."
Good !" cried the maidens. "Sing, then, your-
In the House of Daland
"I would rather hear Dame Mary," said Senta,
turning to her old nurse. "If she will sing us the
"I will not!" declared Mary. "Let the Flying
"Then I will sing it myself," announced Senta,
with suppressed excitement. Listen, and mark the
"We will rest and stop spinning," cried the girls,
and, springing up, they put away their wheels, then
drew their chairs close to Senta, and prepared to
listen. Mary, angered by the girl's persistence in
harping on a dreary and useless subject, remained
by the fire and continued to spin.
Sitting in the arm-chair, Senta gazed steadily on
the portrait before her, and gave the sailors' call:
"Yohohoe! Yohohoe! Yohohoe!" Then in clear,
thrilling tones, now powerful, now soft, she sang the
Ballad of the Flying Dutchman:
"See you the ship upon the sea,
With blood-red sails and masts of black?
On board her captain-pale is he!-
Holds restless watch through tempests' wrack.
Hui! How sobs the wind!
Pipes in cordage twined!
Hui! Like an arrow flies he, without end, without hope,
14 The Flying Dutchman
"Yet can this pallid man from his endless spell be set
Finds he a woman true, who at death still faithful will be.
Oh, when mayst thou, lonely Mariner, find her?
Pray ye that Heaven may one soon send, true to the
As she sang the last words Senta gazed with in-
creased intensity at the picture. The maidens,
much interested, leaned forward, forgetting to chat-
ter or laugh. Mary, absorbed in spite of herself in
the oft-told tale, had ceased to spin, and sat listen-
ing in the dying firelight.
"Once through fierce wind and tempest loud,
To sail around a cape wished he,
And to succeed he rashly vowed,
'Though it might take eternity!'
Hui! The Sea-Sprite heard!
Hui! He took his word!
Hui! And enslaved he now sails on the sea, without rest,
"Yet can the mournful man be set free from earthly
Would but an angel stoop, and the way to his salvation
Ah, mightest thou, lonely Mariner, find her!
Pray ye that Heaven may one soon send, true to the
In the House of Daland
Senta had risen to her feet, and now sang, with
strong and overwhelming passion, the last verse of
"He anchors every seven years;
To seek a wife he goes on land;
He seeks through all the seven years,
But no true woman gives her hand.
Hui! Set sails! away !
Hui! The anchor weigh!
Hui! Falsest love--falsest truth! Off to sea, without
rest, without end!"
With the last words Senta sank into the chair,
exhausted, and there was a deep silence.
"Ah, where is God's angel who will guide him?"
whispered the maidens, softly. "Where is she who
will remain true until death?"
A look of wild exaltation shone in Senta's face,
her eyes sought the portrait.
"Through me-through me you shall be saved!"
"Senta!" exclaimed Dame Mary, anxiously.
"Senta! Senta!" cried the maidens in chorus.
They sprang from their seats, and drew back, terri-
fied, believing her to be mad.
"Senta," said a sorrowful voice at the door, will
you so hurt me ?"
The Flying Dutchman
The girls, hearing the words, turned, crying,
" Help us, Erik! Help! She is distraught!"
Erik entered slowly, as though dazed with- grief.
He was a young huntsman, well-beloved in the
neighborhood, and though poor, always generous
with such gifts as were in his power to bestow-
game shot by his own hand on the hills or in the
woods. A handsome, impetuous, and hot-blooded
young hunter was Erik, and Senta's tender and de-
voted lover. Upon leaving home for his long voy-
age, Daland had placed his daughter under Erik's
protection, satisfied that between him and good
Dame Mary she would be well cared for, and as
closely sheltered from every misfortune as if he him-
self were at home. Senta had always been fond of
Erik, but had never returned the deep love which
he felt for her. Of late she had seemed brooding
and dreamy ; nevertheless the shock from her words,
which he had overheard, was no less keen because
it was not wholly unexpected. As he came into
the room his handsome face was pale, and despair
was evident in every line of his naturally erect and
Dame Mary, with an expression of mingled sorrow
and fear upon her face, stood looking at Senta, who
still sat in the arm-chair, seeming blind to her sur-
roundings and with a look of dreamy ecstasy in her
In the House of Daland
My very blood grows cold," said the old nurse,
trembling and sighing. Then, with a rising note of
anger in her voice, she added, Horrible picture,
you will soon go when her father returns!"
"Her father is now coming," said Erik, advancing.
His voice was full of pain; his eyes sought those of
My father comes?" she cried, springing from the
chair as though but just awakened.
From the rocks I saw his ship draw near," re-
At this the maidens, greatly excited, prepared to
run to the shore to meet the ship; but Dame
Mary's chiding voice reminded them of household
duties left undone, all of which must be completed
before they could greet the sailors. They all left
the room, Dame Mary following them, like a bird
driving her brood before her.
The door closed, and Erik was alone with Senta.
She wished to hasten to meet her father, but Erik
passionately besought her to remain and give him
some explanation of her strange behavior. Senta
endeavored to soothe him by declaring that she
naturally felt pity for the sorrowful man in the
picture, and asked him, half-laughingly, if he were
really afraid of a song and a face.
Should not a pitiable fate touch my heart?"
she questioned, gently.
18 The Flying Dutchman
My sorrow touches you not," answered Erik,
"What can your sorrow be compared to his!"
she exclaimed, drawing him before the picture. In-
dicating the pain with which he seemed to look
down from the canvas, she spoke sadly and compas-
sionately of the misery of his doom. When I re-
member that he never finds rest," she said, softly,
"what great woe stirs in my heart!"
"Alas!" said Erik, in tones of deep and tragic
meaning, I think of a dream which lately came to
me." He shuddered.
"What terrifies you so greatly?" asked Senta,
startled by his expression of horror.
Senta," he said, in a low voice, listen, and
heed the warning!"
Senta sank into the arm-chair, and her eyes
closed; she seemed to be in a trance, through the
mists of which she still heard Erik's voice dis-
On the cliffs I lay dreaming," he began, leaning
on the chair in which she sat. I saw under me
the waters of the ocean. I heard the surf as it
rushed, shining, to break on the strand. I perceived
a strange ship near the shore-weird and wonderful
it seemed. Next I saw two men approaching-one
I knew; it was your father."
"The other?" muttered Senta, with closed eyes.
In the House of Daland
Well I knew him, too. In blackest garb, with
palest mien-he it was-the Seaman !" He pointed
to the portrait.
"And I ?" murmured Senta.
"You flew to greet your father. I saw you kneel
at the feet of the stranger-"
He raised me up-" whispered Senta, with
In his arms," said Erik, his voice growing trem-
ulous with suppressed passion. I saw him clasp
you in deep happiness."
"And then?" cried Senta, softly.
Erik gazed at her wonderingly and anxiously.
His voice dropped to a low and sorrowful key: I
saw you put to sea together."
Senta opened her eyes; they were blazing with
excitement and exultation.
He searches for me !" she cried. I must wait
for him! With him I will go to death!"
"Alas!" gasped Erik, despairingly. My dream
He rushed from the house in wild grief and sor-
row. Senta remained seated in the chair, humming
the refrain from the ballad:
"Ah, mightest thou, lonely Mariner, find her!
Pray ye that Heaven may one soon send, true to the-"
The door opened, and two men entered. One,
20 The Flying Dutchman
her father, she hardly noticed; but the face of the
other forced a cry from her lips. She looked swiftly
from the pictured face to that of the man before
her. There was a silence.
My child," said Daland, coming forward, have
you no greeting for me?"
"Welcome," said Senta, clasping his hand in hers.
" My father, say," she added, in a low voice, who
is the stranger?"
Daland explained that his companion was a sailor,
like himself, that he possessed great wealth, and
that, being far from his own home, he desired shel-
ter in theirs for a short time. He then proceeded
to tell her of the Dutchman's desire-that she should
be his wife; and, to enforce the proposal, the foolish
old captain showed her some jewels, declaring that
they were toys compared to the treasures which
would be hers when she should wed the rich
Neither Senta nor the Dutchman spoke, but
stood motionless, gazing into each other's faces, as
though both were under enchantment. Daland,
slightly disappointed at their apparent indifference,
whispered to his daughter that she must not dis-
card such an exceptional opportunity, and left them
In the pause which followed Vanderdecken re-
membered his fruitless quest, and asked himself if
In the House of Daland
it could be true that this maiden would be his angel
of deliverance, and Senta tried to realize this sud-
den and overwhelming happiness-that it was in-
deed she who was the woman who would save
Then the Dutchman slowly approached her. He
asked her if she would abide by her father's choice
and accept him as her husband-if she would re-
main true to him until death.
"Whoever you are," said Senta, solemnly, "wher-
ever you may go, whatever is the fate which you
and I must meet together, I am ready to abide by
my father's choice."
"Alas!" said the Mariner. If you knew who I
was you would fear to give up all things for me
and bid me trust you."
There was a light in Senta's face as she
answered, "I know what truth is -my heart
shows me the right. I will be faithful until
A few moments later Daland entered boister-
ously, and being satisfied that the stranger's wooing
had prospered, asked leave to give his people a
feast in honor of the betrothal. He declared that
some sort of merrymaking was expected at the end
of every voyage, and assured the Dutchman and
Senta that one and all would rejoice with them in
22 The Flying Dutchman
"To the feast!" he cried, joyfully, and led them
out to join in the festivities.
The Ballad of the Flying Dutchman
"See you the ship up on the sea,-With
blood red sails and masts of black?"
Chorus of Norwegian Sailors
Chorus of the Crew of the Dutch Ship
THE night fell, cool and clear; there was no sign
of wind-the ocean was calm, and the sky cloudless.
The two ships were at anchor side by side in a rock-
edged bay near Daland's home. Upon his ship the
sailors were making merry, and rejoicing at the end
of their weary voyage, but the Dutchman's vessel
was wrapped in a silence deep as death.
Daland's seamen had lighted their ship brilliantly,
and sat singing upon the deck. When they had
ended their song they sprang up. and danced boister-
ously, emphasizing the measure with loud stamps.
As they danced the merry Norwegian maidens
came down over the rocks to the bay, carrying
great baskets of food and wine.
"Just look," they said. "They dance! Of course,
they want not maidens!" And, pretending to be
24 The Flying Dutchman
offended, they carried their baskets to the Dutch
ship, and called up from the shore, Hey, sailors!
Hey!" No answer came to them.
"How strange!" they exclaimed, and the Nor-
wegian seamen broke into derisive laughter: Ha!
ha! Wake them not up They are asleep!"
Hey, sailors, answer!" called the maidens.
There was a long, deep silence. Something of the
mystical terror invariably aroused by the ship crept
over maidens and men, though they knew not the
Hey, sailors!" called the young girls, still be-
fore the Dutch vessel, "will you not come to our
"They lie like dragons guarding treasure," said
the Norwegian seamen, laughing.
Hey, sailors will you not have wine?" cried the
maidens; and the Norwegians returned, mockingly,
"They drink not! They sing not! and in their ship
they burn no light."
Have you then no sweethearts on land? Will
you not come and dance with us?"
"They are very old," declared the Norwegians.
"Their hair is white, and their sweethearts are
Then one and all cried loudly, Waken, sailors,
In the silence that followed, the strange horror
again made them shudder. The maidens drew back,
frightened, and murmured:
"They must be ghosts-food and drink they do
not seem to need !"
The Norwegian sailors began to call across to the
unseen crew of the Dutch ship.
"Do you know the Flying Dutchman?" they
cried, jokingly. "Your ship looks like his !"
"Ah, do not wake them up !" entreated the girls.
"They are phantoms-we are sure of it!"
Maidens, give us some of that food," cried the
sailors. "If they are ghosts, we are not, and we
should much enjoy your dainties."
"Very well, since your neighbors refuse them,"
said the girls, and handed up the baskets, which the
sailors received with delight. On opening them
they cried out at the amount of food and drink
within. "Take all you like," laughed the maidens,
still somewhat nervous, but let your tired neigh-
bors rest 1" And they hastened away.
"Good friends!" called the sailors, wake up and
Through the dim light they fancied that they
could see indistinct figures moving on board the
"Wake up !" repeated the Norwegians. "Wake
They drank deeply, and flung their cups to the
26 The Flying Dutchman
deck with a loud noise. The steersman stood
apart, on watch, but joined in the merrymaking.
The sailors finally burst out into a loud drinking-
"Steersman! Leave the watch!
Steersman Come to us!
Now the sails are rolled,
"Watched we many nights in fearful wind,
Drank we many times the sea's salt wave,
Now on watch, we feast and revel find,
Best of wine to drink the maidens gave!
"Steersman! Leave the watch!
Ho! Come and drink with us!"
As they finished singing they noticed that waves
had begun to rise and strike the side of the Dutch
ship. Everywhere else the water was calm, but a
miniature storm seemed to rage around the ves-
sel. A dim blue light played about her prow,
and the weird flames of a ghostly watch-fire flick-
ered on her deck. A shrill wind shrieked in the
rigging, and, as the watch-fire flared up, wild voices
were heard echoing through the darkness, singing
Senta's Sacrifice 27
"Yohohoe! Yohohoe! Yohohoe!
Ho! Ho! Huissa!
Near to land drives the storm,
Sails are in,
Huissa! Run we into the bay!"
The wind in the cordage howled wildly as the
harsh chorus took a definite form.
"Swarthy Master, go on land!
Seven years you sailing flew;
Seek now some fair maiden's hand,
Maiden fair to him be true!
"Gayly now, hui!
Storm winds your Bridal Song,
Ocean to dance to it!
Hui! He pipes!
Captain, ho! are you there?
"Hui! All sails up!
And your bride-say-where stays she?
Hui! Off to sea!
Captain, ho! Captain, ho!
Little love-luck, you see!
"Riot, storm-winds, howl and wail I
Idle rest has not our sail!
Canvas magic-made have we,
Lasting through eternity!
The Flying Dutchman
The ship was tossed up and down as though by
unseen hands; the wind sobbed and shrieked cease-
lessly between the masts.
The Norwegians, thoroughly frightened, still tried
to keep up their courage by continuing their song;
but the wild "Hui!" of the Dutch sailors soon
made itself heard through their singing, and they
relapsed into terror-stricken silence.
The fearful chorus, with its short, shrill exclama-
tions and abrupt changes, continued, increasing in
violence, until the Norwegians, fairly overcome with
horror, hastily left the deck of the ship, making the
sign of the cross to dispel evil magic.
At this wild shouts of laughter were heard from
the Dutch crew, and suddenly the waves sank, the
blue light vanished, and the same-deathlike stillness
reigned over the ship, which but a few moments
before had been a spectacle of weird and appalling
grandeur. The silence was deep, the darkness dense
and mysterious. Not a breath of wind stirred the
black, calm sea.
Suddenly the door of Daland's house opened, and
Senta came out, followed by Erik, who had sought
an interview in which to plead with her once more.
He could scarcely believe that the news which had
been told him could be true-that she was to wed
the gloomy stranger of his dream. He besought
her passionately to consider well what she did, and
Senta's Sacrifice 29
spoke of the utter despair which wrung his heart at
being so quickly forgotten by her.
He reminded her of the days in which she had at
least seemed to love him; when they had wandered
in the green valley, and he had climbed gladly to
pluck her some highland flowers which she coveted;
when her father left them with their hands clasped,
bidding him protect her; when they stood together
on the high rocks and watched the white glimmer
of Daland's departing sail on the far horizon line.
He asked her if she had loved him at none of those
times. His conviction was evident that she had
plighted him her troth and had given him her
At this belief, which wounded him so deeply now
that he felt her love was gone, Senta showed herself
to be frankly surprised. She assured him that she
had never intentionally even seemed to care for
him, and endeavored to comfort him, with great pa-
tience and sadness. But Erik was deaf to all reason
I believed you true," he said, sorrowfully.
She had no opportunity to answer him, for, with a
terrible cry of Lost! Lost!" the Dutchman rushed
past them with a look of deep and tragic despair
upon his face. He had overheard the young man's
last words, and therefore believed that Senta had
been false to Erik, and would, consequently, be false
30 The Flying Dutchman
to him. Hope is eternally lost !" he cried, ad-
vancing towards his ship.
What can this mean !" exclaimed Erik, in aston-
Farewell, Senta !" said the Dutchman, gravely;
and though she sprang forward, passionately be-
seeching him to stay, he only exclaimed, To sea!
To sea! Forget your promise! Forget my salva-
He blew a long call on his signal-pipe, and cried,
"Set sails! Anchor up! Say farewell to the land
His crew proceeded to get the ship in readiness
for departure. Senta endeavored, frantically, to con-
vince him of her constancy, but he would not listen.
At last, turning to her, he told her that he was
condemned to a terrible fate, which could only be
lightened by a true woman's sacrifice. He could
not trust her, he said; and his doom decreed that
all who should be false to him, after the final
vows, would be obliged, like him, to remain under
an evil spell forever. From this fate he saved her
by relinquishing her as soon as he distrusted her,
even vaguely, and before she could regret her de-
termination to be his, or break her promise to be
I know you well," declared Senta; I know
your doom-I knew you when I saw you first. The
end of your spell is near-for I am true. You shall
find your salvation !"
Help!" cried Erik, turning first towards the
house and then towards the Norwegian ship.
Dame Mary, Daland, the maidens, and the sail-
ors appeared in amazement that changed to hor-
ror when they understood the condition of af-
fairs. Poor Daland was especially bewildered and
distressed, and Dame Mary was heart-broken, and
hurried to her charge with gestures of grief.
The Dutchman turned to Senta. His crew were
hoisting the sails and moving about the ship with
strange swiftness and silence.
"You know me not," said Vanderdecken, slowly.
" But ask the seas of all zones, ask all mariners who
have sailed on the seas-they know my ship, whose
passing terrifies all gentle hearts. The Flying
Dutchman I am called."
The blood-red sails were set, and glowed mys-
teriously through the darkness. The Dutchman
swiftly boarded the ship. It rocked and swayed on
the waves, which had now begun to rise. Senta en-
deavored, wildly, to follow him, but Daland, Erik,
and Mary restrained her.
Yohohoe! Yohohoe! Yohohoe !" shouted the
Flying Dutchman's crew, as the ship left shore with
the speed of an arrow. Hoe! Hoe! Hoe!" came
the hoarse, weird voices through the dusk. Huissa!"
32 The Flying Dutchman
Senta Senta!" cried every one, in fear, as she
violently freed herself and darted to a high cliff over-
looking the sea. "Senta What is it you would do ?"
Praise ye the divine will!" she called, with all
the power of her passionate soul in her voice, and
the words floated out over the waves to the depart-
ing ship. Here stand I, true till death!"
She flung herself into the now seething waters.
The surges rolled higher and higher with fierce
anger, making huge black walls on either side of
the enchanted ship. Then, with a great roar, the
water fell upon it, swallowing it from view. The
waves whirled wildly over the place where the ves-
sel had sunk, then gradually decreased in violence.
The bare masts of the wreck could be seen on the
surface of the foaming water.
Then to the watchers a marvellous sight was re-
vealed: as the darkness was dispelled, and in the
eastern sky the light of sunrise glowed, they saw
the figures of Vanderdecken and Senta floating up-
ward together in the radiance. For the spell had
been lifted-the Flying Dutchman was saved.
Motif of Senta's Sacrifice
S r .-: ^-
^^.!^ ^~- = .- =\. E
/ .. ......
" HERE I STAND, TRUE TILL DEATH
Motif of Venus
Song of the Sirens
IN THE VENUSBERG
WHEN Christianity became accepted throughout
the world, the gods and goddesses were divested
of their divinity and relegated to the heart of the
earth, where some of them were still worshipped by
many people. Among these was Venus, the mighty
goddess of Love.
When she was sent from the sunshine and the
flowers of the upper world, Venus's heart grew
hard. She could not endure the loss of all her
power, and as she no longer possessed divine might,
she summoned magic to her aid. She became
known as a beautiful but wicked sorceress, whose
dwelling was a mysterious grotto in a mountain
called the Venusberg, situated in the German valley
of Thuringia. To this grotto she lured unwatchful
mortals, causing them to forget their homes and
friends; and they dwelt there, shut away from the
upper earth's fresh beauty, in a dim under-world
peopled with spirits and sirens and bacchantes-a
world full of misty lakes and rose-tinted clouds, and
strange lights that came from neither sun nor moon
The Venusberg overlooked a broad and fertile
valley, where the winds blew freely, where shep-
herds watched their flocks on the long green slopes,
and through which hunting parties often passed on
their way to the castle. This castle, which was
named the Wartburg, was built on the side of the
valley farthest from the Venusberg, and was very
large and majestic. In it dwelt the Landgrave
Hermann, with his knights and men-at-arms, and
his niece, the Princess Elizabeth, with her court la-
dies. In those days the most cultivated people of
the world took a deep interest in the Minnesinger,*
Minnesinger: composed of the German words Minne,
love, and Singer, singers. Literally, then, singers of love.
In the Venusberg 37
or minstrels; and the Wartburg was the scene of
constant lyrical and musical contests between the
Minstrelsy attracted many knights and nobles so
greatly that they learned the art themselves, and
in trials of voice, skill, and invention the Minstrel
Knights often proved that they well understood the
craft of song. One of the best harpers and sweet-
est singers of Thuringia was a young knight, by
name Tannhauser. He was a favorite at the court
of the Landgrave, and, indeed, it was said that the
stirring strains which he evoked from his harp-
strings, and the wonderful melody of the songs that
he sang, had won the love of the proud and beauti-
ful Princess Elizabeth.
The knight, however, in spite of his beloved mu-
sic, his good friends among the other Minstrel
Knights, the kindness of the Landgrave, and the
love and admiration which, like so many of the
Thuringian nobles, he felt for the Princess, was not
happy. He was sad and dreamy, and dissatisfied
with his life. He wanted some new and strange
In this spirit he passed one day near the invisible
portals of that grotto where so many had entered,
but whence none had ever returned. And the en-
chantress, smiling, put forth her spells and drew him
As he walked moodily on, his harp in his hand,
his mind busy, as usual, he suddenly raised his eyes,
and, behold, a new and beautiful country was before
him, seen as through a doorway. Countless figures
flitted through the gleaming, ever-changeful rose-
color of the mist.that filled the enchanted grotto.
Huge heavy-headed flowers, of strange and lovely
colors, hung in clusters, sending their perfume out
to meet him. Far away he saw the misty waters of
a magical blue lake. The sound of music came to
him, so marvellously, strangely sweet, that to hear it
was almost pain. In the midst of it all was a wom-
an, wondrously beautiful in the rosy light, bending
towards him with beckoning hand. Obeying the
spells which were drawing him with such terrible
power, he passed into the grotto, and could almost
have fancied that a heavy door clanged behind him
as he went.
He stayed in the mystic grotto for a long year,
and thought that he was happy. He watched the
sports of the bacchantes and the nymphs, the mimic
battles, and wild, graceful dances; he listened to the
sweet, chording voices of the sirens; he inhaled the
rich, strong scent of the flowers, and watched the
dissolving mist-wreaths of glowing rose until he
grew almost dizzy. He sat at Venus's feet, and she
taught him songs such as he had never heard be-
fore, and wove her spells about him more and more
In the Venusbcrg 39
densely. He gazed at her beautiful face; but the
magic veil before him prevented him from seeing
the cruel soul which looked out of her eyes, and he
worshipped her as the world had worshipped her of
old, when she was a grand and noble goddess, who
gave the gift of true love to humanity.
Tannhauser had long forgotten his old life; his
friendships, his love for Elizabeth, had alike van-
ished in the mist which enveloped him, body and
soul, when he entered the Venusberg. Sometimes
he played on his harp, but none of his old songs
came to his memory-all that he sang now were
inspired by Venus. Does it not seem sad and ter-
rible that this knight, with his soul full of music
and his heart full of love for the beautiful Princess,
should have been so cruelly enchanted ?
One day Tannhauser felt suddenly that he was
awake once more after a long dream. He told the
enchantress, in answer to her questions as to why
he was so sad and thoughtful, that he had fancied
he heard the distant boom of a far-away church-
bell. The sound had pierced the rock walls of the
mountain, pierced even the almost impenetrable
magic mist, and the faint peal, he said, had re-
minded him of strange things-the sun, the friendly
glimmer of the stars in the far-away heavens, the
freshness of the earth at the time of the new sum-
mer, the nightingale with his song of spring.
"Are these things lost to me?" asked Tann-
Rising from the couch upon which she had been
reclining, Venus laughed at his words and bade him
sing her a song less sad. He obeyed, and accom-
panying himself on the vibrating strings of his harp,
sang a melody which he had learned from the sor-
ceress herself. But the words to which he set the
music were but a further expression of longing for
the upper earth-for the natural joys and sorrows
that belong to a world of men. Again Venus in-
terrupted his song, this time to reproach him for
his ingratitude to her for the beautiful things she
had lavished upon him since he came to her grotto.
Once more Tannhiuser smote his harp. After pay-
ing her musical homage, and describing her gra-
ciousness to him, and his dreamy life in the Venus-
berg, he sang new words. The melody, which was
very lovely, came from his heart as he sang, and his
hands touched the harp-strings softly in accompani-
"In rose-veiled grottos I am longing
To feel the soft wood-breezes thronging;
I long for heaven's crystal blue,
Long for the old earth, fresh anew
In spring, when wild birds sing of love;
I long for noon-hot skies above.
From these, thy splendors, hasten I,
Oh, Sovereign! Goddess! let me fly!"
In the Venusberg 41
His voice rose to passionate pleading with the
last words, and his harp fell to the ground; but Ve-
nus would not withdraw her spells, nor give consent
to his freedom. She spoke to him in soft tones;
she promised him more perfect joys, more wondrous
flowers, more exquisite.music. As she spoke the
shadows deepened, the mist glowed more richly,
the scent from the heavy-headed flowers grew
overpoweringly sweet. From the dim blue lake
came the sirens' voices, softly, with wondrous har-
monies. They sang of flowers, and noiseless blue
waters, and rest, and enchantment. With their
voices sounded that of Venus-she was speaking
My knight," she said, will you fly?"
Passionately Tannhauser again seized his harp,
and his voice soared out with power and the strings
rang beneath his hands. He sang that while he
had life and breath he would sing the praises of
Venus, and Venus alone. She, and none other,
should be his theme-this he vowed, if she would
but let him go.
In a voice breaking with anger the enchantress
gave him permission to depart, but bade him re-
turn if he met with coldness in the upper world.
In a moment the grotto and all within it flashed
Tannhauser found himself lying on a grassy
slope, under the wide blue sky, with the sun shin-
ing down upon him. On one side was a mountain,
the sight of which made him tremble; on the other
was the Wartburg, stately and grand as ever. From
the high pasture-land above him came the sound of
sheep-bells, and up among the rocks lay a shepherd
boy, playing on his pipe, and pausing now and then
to sing a song of Holda, the goddess of spring. A
band of pilgrims passed on their way to Rome,
chanting a slow, melodious prayer, a grand paean of
faith which sounded through the valley harmonious-
ly and impressively. They went on their way with
solemn tread, and their voices were lost in the dis-
tance. Soon the shepherd collected his flock and,
playing his pipe, vanished from view among the high
bowlders and shrubbery. The knight, left alone;
bowed his head humbly and prayed that he might
by righteous works obtain pardon for the year wast-
ed in the Venusberg. The voices of the pilgrims, a
long way off, were wafted faintly to him once more.
Then the chant and the echoes that it had awakened
mingled and died away. Across the quiet of the
valley came the sound of hunting-horns. They an-
swered each other from all sides-now with single
long-drawn challenging notes, now with short jovial
measures, cheery, and full of a sort of excitement
which seemed new to the lonely knight who listened.
A pack of hunting-dogs bounded down a forest path
In the Venusberg
before him, followed by the Landgrave and five
Minstrel Knights, in hunting-dress.
Passing near Tannhauser they recognized him at
once, and surrounded him, with words of welcome
and pleasure. The Landgrave, with much kindness,
asked where he had been during the year of his ab-
"I wandered in strange, strange lands," answered
Tannhauser, gloomily, where I found not the rest
that I am now seeking. Question not, but let me
He would have left them without further words,
but to the urgent entreaties of all Sir Wolfram von
Eschenbach added another more potent persuasion.
He told Tannhauser how sad Elizabeth had been
while he was away, how she would not join in the
revels nor listen to the minstrelsy. All this moved
Tannhauser's heart deeply, and he started up with
Guide me to her!" he cried, feeling a thrill
of tenderness at the thought of the maiden who
had not been in his mind or memory for a long
The knight was at last truly happy. The heavens
seemed to smile down upon him in pardon; the
sunshine blessed and caressed him, and the soft wind
that blew against his face brought him peace and a
sense of freedom. As he mounted the steep ascent
towards the castle with his friends, his heart throb-
Guide me to her !" he cried once more, and with
voices full of jubilance and gladness the Landgrave
and his six Minstrel Knights entered the Wartburg.
The Shepherd Boy's Pipe
Entrance of the Guests
THE CONTEST OF SONG
THE Wartburg was an old and magnificent castle.
It had long been the dwelling-place of the Land-
graves of Thuringia and the high nobles of the
realm. In the castle was a hall, large and lofty,
called-because of the musical contests held within
it-the Minstrels' Hall. At the back of it nothing,
save high pillars, shut out the wide view of the valley.
On the evening of Tannhauser's home-coming the
hall was elaborately decked, in preparation for a
contest between the Minstrel Knights. The contest
had long been planned, but it was decided to enter
Tannhauser's name among the rest in honor of his
return, and also in recognition of his marvellous
skill. A little while before the hour appointed for
the lyrical battle, the Princess Elizabeth hastened
into the hall to gaze on the place where the min-
strel's voice and harp had awakened such sympathy
in her soul. She had heard of his return, and her
heart was beating with tumultuous joy.
The Princess Elizabeth was very beautiful, as a
princess should be. She was of northern birth, and
had the straight, tall figure, the fair hair, the fresh
coloring, and the clear blue eyes with which the
daughters of cold skies so often are endowed. She
entered swiftly, with firm step, her white soft dra-
peries, embroidered in rich, brilliant colors, falling
about her in many folds. Her bright hair was braid-
ed in heavy plaits, and a small, low crown of fretted
gold marked her Princess of Thuringia. No wonder
knights. and nobles and princes came from far and
wide, suing for her hand in marriage. She was kind
to all, but always cold and stately, and though she
was gentle and charitable, she was proud also with
the pride of many generations of noble blood. Only
one knight had ever touched her heart, and during
his absence she had resolutely excluded herself from
the gayeties of the realm. But now he had returned.
All her spirit thrilled with a surge of joy that quick-
ened her heart-beats, and sent a fire of happiness to
her blue eyes. So she was standing, a queenly, beau-
tiful figure, when Tannhauser, led by Wolfram, came
from a doorway at the side of the hall into her pres-
She is there," said Wolfram, softly, and turned
away to lean against a carved column, his gaze fixed
upon the still beauty of the valley. He heard Tann-
h~user cry, Oh, Princess!" Then, after a moment,
The Contest of Song 47
Elizabeth said, softly, "You must not kneel to
He heard no more, save now and then a word-
" happiness," or hope"--which made him cover his
face with his hands in despair. For Wolfram, too,
loved the Princess Elizabeth, and had cherished
hopes of winning her. He relinquished all, now, to
After a while Tannhauser joined him, embraced
him excitedly, and together they left the hall. Eliz-
abeth looked after the two knights for a moment,
then as the Landgrave entered the hall she ran to
him, and flung herself into his arms.
"Ah," said the Landgrave, smiling, "you will
come again to our hall, then, to witness the con-
Together they mounted the royal dais, and await-
ed the arrival of the knights and ladies who had
been bidden to the festivities. Four pages an-
nounced each guest, and then one after the other
they were received by the Landgrave with stately
courtesy, and by the Princess with the utmost gra-
ciousness, made welcome, and escorted by the pages
to their seats in the great rapidly forming semicircle
of people. At last all were seated : the knights and
ladies in richest medieval dress, behind them the
men-at-arms and attendants, while all the castle re-
tainers stood at the back of the hall. Swinging-
lamps lighted up the stately columns of stone, the
minute and exquisite carvings, the rich coloring of
the guests' apparel, the silver hair of the Landgrave,
and the fair face of the Princess by his side. When
all were seated the Minstrel Knights entered, dressed
as harpers, and carrying their harps in their hands.
First came Tannhauser. His unusually handsome
face and free carriage, with the memory of his mu-
sical skill and his mysterious absence, made him an
object of general interest. Close behind him came
his friend, Wolfram von Eschenbach, a brave knight,
quiet, grave, and poetical by nature, and well be-
loved. Walther von der Vogelweide followed. He
was one of the greatest of all the Minnesinger of
that day. Biterolf, a brave but rough and hot-head-
ed knight, came next, followed by Heinrich von
Schreiber and Reinmar von Zweiter. Each bowed
low to the Landgrave and the assembly, and was
conducted to his place by the four pages.
Then the Landgrave arose and addressed the
minstrels. He bade them welcome, and spoke of
their achievements in song. He said that the sword
of Germany had remained unbroken before the
southern foes, and that the harp was worthy of equal
honor. All that was good, all that was noble should
be fitted to its strains; it expressed all the sweetest
and best emotions of life. He welcomed Tannhauser
in especially kindly terms, then proclaimed the theme
The Contest of Song
of the contest to be Love," and promised the hand
of Elizabeth to the winner.
There was a general commotion. All hail to
Thuringia's Sovereign!'" cried many voices. Then
came a deep silence, as the' four pages advanced
with a golden cup, into which each of the min-
strels dropped a folded slip. of paper bearing his
name. The pages then carried the cup to Elizabeth,
who drew out one of the slips and gave it to them.
After reading the name upon it they advanced to
the centre of the hall, and spoke in high, clear voices:
" Wolfram von Eschenbach, begin."
There was a hush, during which Wolfram rose
slowly to his feet. Tannhnaser sat silent, as though
in a net of dreams, leaning on his harp.
Making his harpstrings ripple with a restful ca-
dence, Wolfram began to sing. He sang first of the
brave knights and beautiful ladies who were present,
and then addressed Elizabeth, who, he said, shone
upon them like a gentle star. As he looked into her
face, he said, he saw revealed, as in a vision, the
clear Fountain of Love.
As he ended, there were exclamations of approval
and pleasure from the people. Tannhauser alone
did not join in the applause. As he sat there it
seemed to him that a wreath of rose-colored mist
passed suddenly before his eyes. A swift memory
enchained him. He rose quickly.
"I, too, have seen the Fountain of Love," he
cried, "but I cannot understand all that you say,
Wolfram. Only in search for excitement, and in
magical enchantment, have I found love."
He seated himself in silence. No approbation
met his words, for all felt that a spirit of evil, a dark
enchantment, lingered in what he had said. And
indeed it was so. When Tannhiuser was under
the influence of Venus, he did not understand what
love was. He thought it was a sort of spell, mag-
ical, unreal, and far removed from love itself. And
that night, strange as it seems, the enchantress's
spells were again about him, and he understood
nothing that was good or noble. And this was the
result of restlessness and a foolish desire for change.
We slip under evil influences, and once there, it is
very hard to escape; and even when we think our-
selves free the old spell comes back, and all that is
best and truest in our hearts is blown away, as
though by winds. But it is possible for us to be
free at last, as you will see in this story.
Walther von der Vogelweide arose, and rebuked
Tannhiuser for his words, assuring him that he
could know nothing of love; that it was neither a
wild excitement nor an enchantment, but some-
thing good, and true, and beautiful--something
springing, all purity and tenderness, from the
The Contest of Song
Hail, Walther, good is the song!" cried the no-
Tannhtuser rose hastily, but before he could say
more than a few words of contempt for Walther's
song, Biterolf, starting to his feet, challenged him
to a combat, accusing him of insulting Elizabeth by
his talk of enchantment and magic, instead of sing-
ing to her, the Princess. In furious excitement the
nobles pressed forward. The two knights had drawn
their swords, and were standing with angry faces
and eager hands. The Landgrave spoke to them
with stern authority, ordering them to put up their
swords, and commanding them to be at peace with
each other. The Princess, who had listened with
her face very white, sat silent, her hands clasped con-
Wolfram von Eschenbach again touched his harp,
endeavoring by a few quiet words to still the excite-
ment. He sang with noble fervor to the star of
love, ending with these words:
Thou, holy Love, inspire me,
Thy power voice in me;
Teach me thy tender music,
Thou art by God vouchsafed us,
Thy light we follow far;
On all the lands is shining
Eternally thy star !"
Tannhauser sprang to his feet, hardly conscious
of what he was doing. He seemed surrounded by
wild, unseen influences-voices were in his ears-a
dazzling rose-colored light was in his eyes. He stood
as though blind,.witli throbbing heart, swaying like
one in a tempest. Then he smote his harp, till the
roof rang with the stormy music, and sang. Once,
in the Venusberg, he had vowed that when he sang
Venus and none other should be his theme. Now
he kept his word. Higher, clearer, louder rose his
voice, in a wild eulogy of Venus, Goddess of Love,
and mightiest of all enchantresses. At last he flung
his harp away, crying," Fly! Fly to the Venusberg !"
and stood transfixed, as though in a trance, his harp
unnoticed at his feet.
With anger and indignation the nobles pressed
forward, crying in horror-stricken tones, "Listen
Hear him! He has been in the Venusberg!"
Elizabeth stood shuddering, and clinging to a pil-
lar, but all the other ladies hastened from the hall in
terror and dismay, leaving the knights to gather
about the minstrel and upbraid him in words of
horror and hatred. "Send him away--miserable
creature !" they cried. "Disown him-in his blood
bathe every sword!"
The clamor rose to a tumult, as one and all caught
up the cry, and Kill him !" sounded on every side.
The knights, drawing their swords, closed about
"I PLEAD FOR HIM-I PLEAD FOR HIS LIFE"
The Contest of Song 53
Tannhauser to slay him. Suddenly a figure in trail-
ing draperies rushed the length of the hall, and
threw herself in front of the offender.
"Stop !" cried Elizabeth, in tones of mingled de-
spair and command. "Stand back!-or else kill
The knights whispered together, amazed. Never
could they have believed that the Princess would
have stooped to shield one like TannhRuser. Eliza-
beth continued, her voice full of piteous tragedy,
"What is the wound that your swords could give
to the death-stroke that has been dealt me?"
"You indeed should be the first to scorn and re-
proach him," cried the nobles.
"Why do you speak of me ?" said the Princess,
with passionate sadness. You should speak of him
-his salvation. Would you rob him of his eternal
hope of forgiveness from God ?"
He cannot be forgiven!" shouted the knights,
rushing forward with their swords ready to strike,
but Elizabeth's voice again restrained them.
"Away!" she cried, indignantly," how dare you
judge him? Against your swords he has but one."
She checked her own excitement and continued
more gently, all her soul pleading in her voice:
Hear through me what must be God's will.
This unfortunate one, who has found himself held
by the terrible magic-can he not win forgiveness
in this world through repentance and sorrow? If
you are so strong in holy faith, do you not know
the highest command-to be merciful, and comfort
grief? I plead for him-I plead for his life."
Tannhauser bowed his head in his hands, over-
powered by her words and his own remorse. The
knights, softened and touched, drew near him, talk-
ing together, and speaking to him more gently but
always with reproach. At last the Landgrave, with
slow tread, stepped into the centre of the crowd, and
in grave, sad words, told Tannhauser that he must be
banished from the realm. Around him clung magic
spells, and dark enchantment lingered in his heart.
He and the evil influences about him must depart
from Thuringia, and he must not return until he
should be himself once more, and free from all the
magical chains of Venus. He earnestly advised
Tannhauser to join the band of pilgrims who were
about to start for Rome, to obtain pardon for all
their sins from the Pope. All the knights united in
entreating Tannhauser to do this, and strengthen-
ing their appeals came a slow, sweet chant from
without. The pilgrims were preparing to set forth
on their journey. Their voices fell with restful
power upon the confusion in the Minstrels' Hall.
Tannhauser's face brightened as he listened, and,
with a wild, hopeful impulse, he cried, To Rome !"
and rushed out of the hall to join the pilgrims.
The Contest of Song 55
The Landgrave and Elizabeth, with the minstrels
and nobles, followed him to the great doorway of
the hall, speeding him with eager gestures of en-
couragement and hope, and echoing as with one
voice, "To Rome !"
Motif of Tannhauser's Pilgrimage
THE POPE'S STAFF
FULL of hope, repentance, and longing for pardon,
Tannhauser hastened on his pilgrimage to Rome.
The road was long and rough, and, like the other
pilgrims, he walked all the way with no aid save his
staff; but his own remorse, his new-born faith in
God, and the reverent love which he felt for Eliza-
beth made the road easy, and helped him to find
comfort in all his privations. When he saw the other
pilgrims choose the smooth way over the meadow-
land, he turned aside to bruise his feet among sharp
rocks and brambles; when they paused to drink at
streams by the wayside, he endured his thirst in si-
lence and pressed on. His sorrow and contrition
were complete. He was strangely altered from the
knight who sang in the Wartburg. He felt changed;
older, and graver, and full of noble thoughts for
The Pope's Staff 57
future deeds. Many of the pilgrims rested at the
Hospice, but he remained outside in the snow, happy
in bearing the cold and watching the stars glimmer
in the dark sky.
At last, after many days, he reached Rome. The
bells were pealing, voices were singing anthems, and
the day rose on the weary band of pilgrims as
though with a promise of pardon. One by one they
went into the presence of the Pope; one by one
they returned, with his assurance that God would
forgive them for all their sins. Then came Tann-
hauser's turn. He knelt humbly, and told of all his
foolishness, his wasted year, and the evil spells which
had surrounded him, and which had seized him so
wildly that night in the Minstrels' Hall. Sternly
the Pope answered him:
If you have been in the Venusberg you will
never be free from the magic powers. If you have
been enchained once by the spell you will succumb
to it again. Freedom from enchantment and for-
giveness from God you may hope for on that day on
which my bare staff shall put forth green leaves."
Dumb with despair, Tannhauser staggered away,
and sank down upon the hard earth overpowered by
the hopelessness of what had been told him. After
a time he rose, to find that he was alone. The pil-
grims had passed on their way towards home. From
afar sounded their chorus of thanksgiving for their
pardon. Tannhauser took up his staff and started
on his journey alone, without consolation or hope.
A year had passed since Tannhauser had set out
upon his pilgrimage. Every day Elizabeth prayed
for him at a shrine to the Virgin, in the valley.
Every day Wolfram, watching, saw the longing in
her eyes, the growing sadness that preyed upon her,
the anxiety that made her face white and sorrowful.
It was sunset in the valley below the Wartburg.
As Elizabeth came to kneel at the shrine she seemed
more troubled and disturbed than usual, and Wol-
fram knew that she realized how near it was to the
time when the pilgrims must be expected to return.
He was passing slowly down a forest path, looking
now and then towards the white kneeling figure, when
from the distance the pilgrims' chorus made him stop
abruptly. Elizabeth started to her feet, with clasped
hands, whispering, "It is their song!"
Nearer and nearer came the pilgrims, singing of
God's mercy and forgiveness, and the blessedness of
pardon. They came in sight; Elizabeth strained her
eyes to see the face of the pilgrim whom she loved
and for whom she prayed; they passed, and were
gone from sight, singing triumphantly.
He will never return," said Elizabeth, quietly,
and as the chant died away she sank on her knees in
" ELIZABETH CAME TO KNEEL AT THE SHRINE"
The Pope's Staff
prayer. After a few minutes she rose, and passed
on her way towards the Wartburg.
"May I not go with you ?" asked Wolfram, gen-
tly, coming forward in sorrow and pity. She shook
her head, looking at him with eyes full of gratitude,
and an exaltation which startled him. Raising her
hand, she pointed upward, stood motionless a mo-
ment, then slowly mounted the steep pathway lead-
ing to the castle, and was gone. Wolfram stood
looking after her until she was out of sight, then he
seated himself among some high rocks and struck
his harp. Numberless thoughts passed through his
mind, born of the coming night with its all-shadow-
ing wings of gloom. He sang softly a song in which
he made Elizabeth and the pure evening star one
beautiful shining spirit. Then he ceased singing
and sat silent, playing on his harp among the
The night came down, dark and lowering. From
the upper end of the valley came a figure with un-
certain steps. It was that of a pilgrim, in ragged
garb, leaning heavily on his staff. As he drew near,
Wolfram recognized the wasted face and burning
eyes to be those of Tannhaiuser, and started forward.
"What does this mean?" he cried. "Why do
you look so despairing? Did you not receive par-
don? Speak! tell me all! Have you not been in
"Yes," said Tannhauser, bitterly, I have been in
Unfortunate one," said Wolfram, sadly, "I am
waiting in deepest pity to hear the narrative of your
Tannhauser looked up, astonished at the gentle-
ness of the words. Then seating himself upon a
rock he told the story of his journey to Rome and
repeated the words of the Pope. As he completed
the narrative he rose to his feet with determination.
A memory had come to him of Venus's bidding to
return to her if the world met him with coldness.
The Pope had assured him that there was no hope
for him; then why not voluntarily throw himself be-
neath the sorceress's spell, since he could never es-
cape-from it, even by earnest endeavor? In the
Venusberg the turmoil and struggle in his heart
would be stilled, and he longed to hear the rich music
and see the rosy mists sinking down over the still
waters, and breathe the sweet, heavy perfume of the
"I have tried to do my best," he cried, suddenly.
"I have toiled, with suffering and penitence, to over-
come the evil spells that were about me. Men have
turned from me and refused me their help. They
have told me that I could never be free from the en-
chantment. So what does it matter? Come, Venus
- enchantress, sorceress, marvellous goddess -
" HE REACHED THE BIER WITI DIFFICULTY"
The Pope's Staff 61
come and show me the path by which I may return
to the -Venusberg !"
As he spoke great clouds rolled from above and
below and from all sides, surrounding him and Wol-
fram. Winds heavy with fragrance blew through
the darkness ; piercingly sweet music came to them;
brilliant, rosy light gleamed in the midst of the
clouds, which glowed in answering brightness until it
was as though a surging, rolling sea of rose-color filled
the air. Misty figures appeared in the magical glow,
dancing in dizzy circles through the clouds. The
doors of the Venusberg seemed to have been
opened. Within Venus was seen beckoning in the
radiance. Her voice came softly, caressingly to
the ears of Tannhauser, but he was closely held
by Wolfram and could not go. At last, after a
fierce struggle, he tore himself free and started for-
"Wait--wait," panted Wolfram, with exalted ap-
peal, "God will pardon you! An angel even now
is pleading for you in heaven-Elizabeth."
Tannhauser started, as though a knife had been
thrust suddenly into his heart.
Elizabeth!" he repeated, in hushed tones, and
there came into his heart a strange, new sensation of
freshness and peace, together with a great, over-
whelming sorrow. The light upon the mist faded,
the magic music ceased. From the castle came a
train of people, bearing torches and singing an an-
them in solemn voices.
"Alas," cried the sorceress, wildly, "I have lost
She sank into the earth, the doors of the Venus-
berg crashed together, the mist vanished, and from
over the hills shone the first light of the dawn.
Do you hear the music ?" whispered Wolfram.
"I hear it," answered Tannhauser, with bowed
Higher rose the voices in the fresh morning air as
a number of knights came down the path from the
Wartburg bearing a bier. Upon it lay Elizabeth,
who in prayer and sorrow for Tannhauser had died.
In response to a gesture from Wolfram the bier was
placed upon the ground and Tannhauser was led
slowly to it by his friend, for all his strength seemed
suddenly to have left him. He reached it with dif-.
ficulty, and sank quietly to the earth, putting out
his hands as though in reverent supplication.
Holy Elizabeth, pray for me!" he whispered. He
sank back. The knights, drawing near, saw that he
was dead. One by one the torches were extin-
guished. Suddenly came the sound of voices sing-
ing of the marvel wrought by God: the Pope's
staff had put forth new green leaves, and he had
sent it by messengers out over the land, to bring to
the banished pilgrim the proof of his pardon. One.
The Pope's Staff 63
and all raised their voices in a stupendous paean of
prayerful thanksgiving for Tannhauser's freedom
from evil spells, and for God's mercy to him.
Over the valley the sunshine streamed out brill-
iantly, gloriously, as though in fulfilment of the
promise of the dawn.
The Pilgrims' Chorus
.- = ='- J= w" r:
Elsa's Dream Motif
-1 J--- I I I -
THE COMING OF THE KNIGHT
WE read in an old legend of a cup in which Jesus
Christ's blood was received when He hung, wounded
to death, upon the Cross. Angels took the cup,
which had been made sacred forever, and placed it
in a secret shrine, in a castle named Monsalvat,
where it was worshipped by a mystic Brotherhood
of Knights. The cup was called the Holy Grail,
and those who guarded it became immortal through
its power. Once every year it was unveiled, and a
white dove flew down from heaven and hovered
over it; at other times it was kept concealed in its
shrine, worshipped by all the Knights of Monsalvat.
It is this legend that forms the background for the
story which I shall tell you.
In the first half of the tenth century Germany
was at war with the Hungarians, who threatened in-
vasion. The King of Germany, Heinrich I., often
called Der Vogler (the Fowler), hastened to Brabant
to collect forces to assist in repelling the invaders,
and also to sit in judgment upon disputes, as was
his annual custom. Arriving at Antwerp, he found
that the duchy was in a much confused state, with
apparently no one governing it.
Upon a bright clear day he made his way to the
banks of the Scheldt, where a throne had been placed
for him in the shade of a great tree called the Oak
of Justice. Looking around him upon the assembled
Brabantians, and the many Saxons and Thuringians
who were also present, he caught sight of the dark
features of one who had saved his life in a battle
with the Danes-a noble of Brabant, well-reputed in
war and peace, Friedrich, Count von Telramund.
On being called upon to give an explanation of the
strange condition of affairs in the duchy, Count von
Telramund stepped forward.
He was a tall man with frowning brows and som-
bre black eyes, and wore the rich robes indicating
the state of a Brabantian duke. Behind him stood
his wife, silent and watchful.
I am thankful, my King," said Telramund, with
ill-concealed excitement, that you have come to
judge us of Brabant. I will tell you the truth.
When our Duke lay dying he chose me as guardian
of his children- Elsa, a maiden, and Gottfried, a
boy. I guarded them with care during their child-
The Coming of the Knight 69
hood; their life was dearer to me than my honor.
Hear, my King, how I have been wronged! Elsa and
the boy went gayly wandering into the wood one
day. She returned without him, saying that they
had become separated, and beseeching us to tell her
what we knew of him, and her lamentations and
feigned anxiety were great. Fruitless was all our
search and all our mourning. I spoke sternly to
Elsa, and by her blanched lips and shudderings she
was betrayed. Her appearance of horror and fear
confessed to me the girl's guilt. Her father had
willed me her hand in marriage, but I thankfully re-
linquished the right, and chose a wife who pleased
me well-Ortrud, Princess of Friesland, and daughter
of the brave Radbod."
He turned towards his wife, and she came forward,
bowing low before the King. She was very hand-
some, with a gleam in her eyes like that of a watch-
ing lioness. Upon her head was the coronet of
Brabant, and her carriage was that of a queen. A
beautiful, brave, but treacherous woman was Ortrud,
Countess von Telramund.
"I herewith charge Elsa of Brabant with fratri-
cide !" continued Friedrich, loudly. And because
my wife comes of the race from which this land re-
ceived its rulers long ago, and because I am the
nearest kinsman of our brave dead Duke, I claim
dominion over the duchy of Brabant."
As Count von Telramund ended his story, quick
exclamations of amazement and horror were heard
on all sides. The King himself was troubled and
incredulous, and declared that he would not cease
endeavors until the truth had been determined and
justice dealt. The herald came forward and called,
in loud tones, upon the Princess Elsa of Brabant to
come before the King for judgment.
There was a hush-every one waited breathlessly.
Soon, at the edge of the crowd, soft words could be
heard passing from lip to lip.
"Behold her-she comes nearer! How fair and
pure and sweet she seems! Oh, the truth must be
The people parted eagerly before the train of la-
dies who slowly made their way towards the throne.
All were fair, and robed in pale blue and pure
white, to symbolize the innocence of their mistress.
Among them, dressed simply in white, with her
bright golden hair streaming about her pale face
and a dreamy light in her deep-blue eyes, walked
Elsa, the young Duchess of Brabant, uncrowned and
humbled before her subjects, yet seeming a princess
still, refuting all accusations by the sweetness and
simple majesty of her demeanor. Her ladies re-
mained with the crowd, and she came forward alone
to receive judgment.
"Are you Elsa of Brabant?" asked the King.
The Coming of tIe Knight 71
"Are you prepared to be judged by me? *Can
you meet the accusation that is made against
Elsa met each of these questions with silence.
Her dreamy eyes were turned with a rapt gaze to
the far blue of the distant hills.
"Then," resumed the King-" then you confess
your guilt ?"
Elsa raised her eyes to his.
My poor brother!" she whispered, with lingering
sadness, and was again silent. There was a gen-
eral murmur of astonishment-the people were be-
"Speak, Elsa," said the King, gently."' What do
you wish to confide in me ?"
Every one listened eagerly, as slowly and very
softly Elsa began to speak.
"When I have been lonely, I have often prayed
for help," she said, in low, hushed tones. It came
when I could not know it was so near. It was while
I was asleep."
She did not raise her voice, but a note of exal-
tation crept into it, and the words which followed
were full of triumphant solemnity.
"I saw in shining clouds of glory the figure of.
a knight. The brightness of his countenance was
marvellous, and he leaned upon a glittering sword.
In a low, tender voice he spoke words of comfort,
and I awoke, filled with hope. He will defend me-
he will be my champion !"
Her voice rang more clearly with the last words,
and struck a conviction of truth to all who heard.
Friedrich," said the King, solemnly, "think,
while there is yet time. In the name of all honor,
do you still accuse her ?"
"I have proof," answered Friedrich von Telra-
mund, firmly. I have as witness one who knows.
But let any one who still believes not stand forth
and fight with me, and may Heaven aid the
The people assented, with murmurs of approval,
and the King spoke with great gravity.
"I ask you, Friedrich, Count von Telramund, will
you do battle here, for life or death, and allow
Heaven to decide the truth by the conqueror ?"
"Yes," said'Telramund, defiantly.
"And now I ask you, Elsa of Brabant, will you
submit to Heaven's decision in the battle for life or
"Yes," whispered Elsa, softly; and in answer to
the King's question as to her champion, she said
that she would place her trust in the mysterious
Knight of her dream; he, she declared, would de-
This, you know, was the ancient way of determin-
ing questions of right and wrong. Champions