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Title: Operas Every Child Should Know - Descriptions of the Text and Music of Some of the Most Famous Masterpieces
Author: Bacon, Mary Schell Hoke, 1870-1934
Language: English
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_OPERAS_ EVERY CHILD SHOULD KNOW

Descriptions of the Text and Music of Some of the
Most Famous Masterpieces

by

DOLORES BACON



[Illustration]


New York
Grosset & Dunlap
Publishers

All Rights Reserved

Copyright, 1911, by Doubleday, Page & Company

Printed in the United States
at
the Country Life Press, Garden City, N.Y.



[Illustration: Brünnhilde the Valkyrie]



FOREWORD


In selecting a few of the operas every child should know, the editor's
greatest difficulty is in determining what to leave out. The wish to
include "L'Africaine," "Othello," "Lucia," "Don Pasquale," "Mignon,"
"Nozze di Figaro," "Don Giovanni," "Rienzi," "Tannhäuser," "Romeo and
Juliet," "Parsifal," "Freischütz," and a hundred others makes one
impatient of limitations.

The operas described here are not all great compositions: Some of them
are hopelessly poor. Those of Balfe and Flotow are included because
they were expressions of popular taste when our grandfathers enjoyed
going to the opera.

The Nibelung Ring is used in preference to several other compositions
of Wagner because the four operas included in it are the fullest both
of musical and story wonders, and are at the same time the least
understood.

"Aïda" and "Carmen" belong here--as do many which are left
out--because of their beauty and musical splendour. Few, instead of
many, operas have been written about in this book, because it seemed
better to give a complete idea of several than a superficial sketch of
many.

The beginnings of opera--music-drama--are unknown; but Sulpitius, an
Italian, declared that opera was heard in Italy as early as 1490. The
Greeks, of course, accompanied their tragedies with music long before
that time, but that would not imply "opera" as we understand it.
However, modern opera is doubtless merely the development of that
manner of presenting drama.

After the opera, came the ballet, and that belonged distinctively to
France. Before 1681 there were no women dancers in the ballet--only
males. All ballets of shepherdesses and nymphs and dryads were
represented by men and boys; but at last, the ladies of the court of
France took to the ballet for their own amusement, and thus women
dancers became the fashion.

Even the most heroic or touching stories must lose much of their
dignity when made into opera, since in that case the "music's the
thing," and not the "play." For this reason it has seemed necessary to
tell the stories of such operas as "Il Trovatore," with all their
bombastic trimmings complete, in order to be faithful in showing them
as they really are. On the other hand, it has been necessary to try to
treat "Pinafore" in Gilbert's rollicking fashion.

Opera is the most superficial thing in the world, even if it appears
the most beautiful to the senses, if not to the intelligence. We go to
opera not specially to understand the story, but to hear music and to
see beautiful scenic effects. It is necessary, however, to know enough
of the story to appreciate the cause of the movement upon the stage,
and without some acquaintance of it beforehand one gets but a very
imperfect knowledge of an opera story from hearing it once.

A very great deal is said of music-motif and music-illustration, and
it has been demonstrated again and again that this is largely the
effort of the ultra-artistic to discover what is not there. At best,
music is a "concord of sweet sounds"--heroic, tender, exciting, etc.;
but the elemental passions and emotions are almost all it can define,
or even suggest. Certain music is called "characteristic"--anvil
choruses, for example, where hammers or triangles or tin whistles are
used, but that is not music in its best estate, and musical purpose is
best understood after a composer has labelled it, whether the
ultra-artistic are ready to admit it or not.

The opera is never more enjoyed than by a music lover who is incapable
of criticism from lack of musical knowledge: music being first and
last an emotional art; and as our emotions are refined it requires
compositions of a more and more elevated character to appeal to them.
Thus, we range from the bathos and vulgarity of the music hall to the
glories of grand opera!

The history of opera should be known and composers classified, just as
it is desirable to know and to classify authors, painters, sculptors,
and actors.

Music is first of all something to be felt, and it is one of the arts
which does not always explain itself.

DOLORES BACON.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                                  PAGE

   I. BALFE: THE BOHEMIAN GIRL                              3

  II. BEETHOVEN: FIDELIO                                   35

 III. BERLIOZ: THE DAMNATION OF FAUST                      51

  IV. BIZET: CARMEN                                        69

   V. DEKOVEN: ROBIN HOOD                                  95

  VI. FLOTOW: MARTHA                                      105

 VII. HUMPERDINCK: HÄNSEL AND GRETEL                      135

VIII. MASCAGNI: CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA                      152

  IX. MEYERBEER: THE PROPHET                              163

   X. MOZART: THE MAGIC FLUTE                             191

  XI. SULLIVAN: PINAFORE                                  218

 XII. VERDI: RIGOLETTO, IL TROVATORE, AÏDA                238

XIII. WAGNER: THE NIBELUNG RING, THE
        MASTERSINGERS OF NUREMBERG,
        LOHENGRIN                                         306



OPERAS
EVERY CHILD SHOULD KNOW



OPERAS EVERY CHILD SHOULD KNOW



BALFE


The story of The Bohemian Girl is supposed to have been taken from a
French ballet entitled The Gipsy, which was produced in Paris in 1839.
Again, it is said to have been stolen from a play written by the
Marquis de Saint-Georges, which was named La Bohémienne. However that
may be, it would at first sight hardly seem worth stealing, but it has
nevertheless been popular for many decades. Balfe, the composer, had
no sense of dramatic composition and was not much of a musician, but
he had a talent for writing that which could be sung. It was not
always beautiful, but it was always practicable.

The original title of La Bohémienne has in its meaning nothing to do
with Bohemia, and therefore a literal translation does not seem to
have been especially applicable to the opera as Bunn made it. The
story is placed in Hungary and not in Bohemia, and the hero came from
Warsaw, hence the title is a misnomer all the way around. It was Balfe
who tried to establish English opera in London, and to that purpose he
wrote an opera or two in which his wife sang the principal rôles; but
in the midst of that enterprise he received favourable propositions
from Paris, and therefore abandoned the London engagement. When he
went to Paris, The Bohemian Girl was only partly written, and he took
from its score several of its arias for use in a new opera. When he
returned to London he wrote new music for the old opera, and thus The
Bohemian Girl knew many vicissitudes off, as well as on, the stage.

The first city to hear this opera, outside of London, was New York. It
was produced in America at the Park Theatre, November 25, 1844. The
most remarkable thing about that performance was that the part of
Arline was sung in the same cast by two women, Miss Dyott and Mrs.
Seguin: the former singing it in the first act, the latter in the
second and third. When it was produced in London, Piccolomini (a most
famous singer) sang Arline and it was written that "applause from the
many loud enough to rend the heavens" followed.

Because of this inconsequent opera, Balfe was given the cross of the
Legion of Honour from Napoleon III., and was made Commander of the
Order of Carlos III. by the regent of Spain. This seems incredible,
for good music was perfectly well known from bad, but the undefined
element of popularity was there, and thus the opera became a living
thing.

A story is told of Balfe while he belonged to the Drury Lane
orchestra. "Vauxhall Gardens" were then in vogue, and there was a call
for the Drury Lane musicians to go there to play. The "Gardens" were a
long way off, and there was no tram-car or other means of
transportation for their patrons. Those who hadn't a coach had no way
of getting there, and it must have cost Balfe considerable to go and
come each day. He decided to find lodgings near the Gardens to save
himself expense. He looked and looked, on the day he first went out.
Others wanted the same thing, and it was not easy to place himself.
However, by evening, he had decided to take anything he could find; so
he engaged a room at an unpromising looking house. He was kept waiting
by the landlady for a long time in the passageway, but at last he was
escorted up to his room, and, being tired out, he immediately went to
bed and to sleep. In the morning he began to look about, and to his
horror and amazement he found a corpse stowed away in a cupboard. Some
member of his landlady's family who occupied the bed had died. When he
applied for the room, he had been made to wait while the previous
occupant was hastily tucked out of sight. After that, he never hired
lodgings without first looking into the cupboards and under the bed.

Balfe was a good deal of a wag, and his waggishness was not always in
good taste, as shown by an incident at carnival time in Rome. His
resemblance to a great patroness of his, the Countess Mazzaras, a
well-known woman of much dignity, induced him upon that occasion to
dress himself in women's clothes, stand in a window conspicuously, and
make the most extraordinary and hideous faces at the monks and other
churchmen who passed. Every one gave the credit of this remarkable
conduct to the Countess Mazzaras. Balfe had pianos carried up to the
sleeping rooms of great singers before they got out of bed, and thus
made them listen to his newly composed tunes. He sometimes announced
himself by the titles of his famous tunes, as, "We May Be Happy Yet,"
and was admitted, and received as readily as if he had resorted to
pasteboard politeness.

In short, Balfe was never a great musician, yet he had all the
eccentricities that one might expect a great musician to have, and he
succeeded quite as well as if he had had genius.

Balfe was born May 15, 1808, and died October 20, 1870.



THE BOHEMIAN GIRL

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA WITH THE ORIGINAL CAST

Arline                             Miss Romer.
Gipsy Queen                        Miss Betts.
Thaddeus                           Mr. Harrison.
Devilshoof                         Mr. Stretton.
Count Arnheim                      Mr. Borrani.
Florestein                         Mr. Durnset.

Scene laid in Hungary.

Composer: Michael Balfe.
Author: Alfred Bunn.

First sung at London, England, Her Majesty's Theatre, Drury Lane, Nov.
27, 1843.


ACT I

Many years ago, when noblemen, warriors, gipsies, lovers, enemies and
all sorts and conditions of men fraternized without drawing very fine
distinctions except when it came to levying taxes, a company of rich
nobles met in the gardens of the Count Arnheim to go hunting together.
The Count was the Governor of Presburg, and a very popular man, except
with his inferiors.

They began their day's sport with a rather highfalutin song sung by
the Count's retainers:

     "Up with the banner and down with the slave,
       Who shall dare dispute the right,
     Wherever its folds in their glory wave,
       Of the Austrian eagle's flight?"

The verses were rather more emotional than intelligent, but the
singers were all in good spirits and prepared for a fine day's sport.

After this preliminary all the party--among whom was the young
daughter of the Count, whose name was Arline, and a girlie sort of
chap, Florestein, who was the Count's nephew--came from the castle,
with huntsmen and pages in their train; and what with pages running
about, and the huntsmen's bright colours, and the horns echoing, and
the horses that one must feel were just without, stamping with
impatience to be off, it was a gay scene. The old Count was in such
high feather that he, too, broke into song and, while singing that

     "Bugles shake the air,"

he caught up his little daughter in his arms and told how dear she was
to him. It was not a proper thing for so young a girl to go on a hunt,
but Arline was a spoiled young countess. When a huntsman handed a
rifle to Florestein, that young man shuddered and rejected it--which
left one to wonder just what he was going to do at a hunt without a
rifle, but the others were less timid, and all separated to go to
their various posts, Arline going by a foot-path in charge of a
retainer.

These gay people had no sooner disappeared than a handsome young
fellow, dishevelled, pursued, rushed into the garden. He looked
fearfully behind him, and stopped to get his breath.

"I can run no farther," he gasped, looking back upon the road he had
come; and then suddenly at his side, he saw a statue of the Austrian
Emperor. He was even leaning against it.

"Here I am, in the very midst of my foes!--a statue of the Emperor
himself adorning these grounds!" and he became even more alarmed.
While he stood thus, hesitating what to do next, a dozen dusky forms
leaped the wall of the garden and stood looking at him. Thaddeus was
in a soldier's dress and looked like a soldier. Foremost among the
newcomers, who huddled together in brilliant rags, was a great
brigand-looking fellow, who seemed to lead the band.

"Hold on! before we undertake to rob this chap, let us make sure of
what we are doing," he cautioned the others. "If he is a soldier, we
are likely to get the worst of it"--showing that he had as much wisdom
as bravado. After a moment's hesitation they decided that caution was
the better part of valour, and since it was no harm to be a gipsy, and
there was a penalty attached to being a robber, they nonchalantly
turned suspicion from themselves by beginning to sing gaily of their
gipsy life. Frequently when they had done this, they had received
money for it. If they mayn't rob this soldier chap, at least he might
be generous and toss them a coin. During this time, Thaddeus was not
napping. The Austrian soldiery were after him, and at best he could
not expect to be safe long. The sight of the vagabonds inspired him
with hope, although to most folks they would have seemed to be a
rather uninspiring and hopeless lot. He went up to the leader,
Devilshoof:

"My friend, I have something to say to you. I am in danger. You seem
to be a decent sort--gay and friendly enough. The Austrian soldiers
are after me. I am an exile from Poland. If I am caught, my life will
be forfeited. I am young and you may count upon my good will. If you
will take me along with you as one of you, I may stand a chance of
escaping with my life--what do you say?"

The gipsies stared at him; and Devilshoof did so in no unfriendly
manner. The leader was a good-natured wanderer, whose main fault was
stealing--but that was a fault he shared in common with all gipsies.
He was quite capable of being a good friend.

"Just who are you?" he asked, wanting a little more information.

"A man without country, friends, hope--or money."

"Well, you seem able to qualify as a gipsy pretty well. So come
along." Just as he spoke, another gipsy, who was reconnoitering, said
softly:

"Soldiers are coming----"

"Good--we'll give them something to do. Here, friend, we'll get ready
for them," he cried, delighted with the new adventure.

At that the gipsies fell to stripping off Thaddeus's soldier clothes,
and exchanging them for a gipsy's smock; but as this was taking place,
a roll of parchment fell at Devilshoof's feet.

"What's this?" he asked, taking it up.

"It is my commission as a soldier of Poland--the only thing I have of
value in the world. I shall never part with it," and Thaddeus snatched
it and hid it in his dress and then mixed with the gipsies just as the
Emperor's soldiers came up.

"Ho, there! You vagabonds--have you seen anything of a stranger who
has passed this way?"

"What--a Polish soldier?"

"That's our man."

"Young?"

"Yes, yes--where did he go?"

"A handsome fellow?"

"Have done there, and answer--where did he go?"

"I guess that may be the one?" Devilshoof reflected, consulting his
comrades with a deliberation which made the officer wish to run his
sword through him.

"Speak up--or----"

"Yes, yes--that's right--we have the right man! Up those rocks there,"
pointing. "That is the way he went. I shouldn't wonder if you might
catch him."

The officer didn't wait to hear any more of this elaborate
instruction, but rushed away with his men.

"Now, comrade," Devilshoof said to Thaddeus: "It is time for us to be
off, while our soldier friends are enjoying the hunt. Only you lie
around here while we explore a little; this gipsy life means a deal of
wear and tear, if a fellow would live. There is likely to be something
worth picking up about the castle, and after we have done the picking,
we'll all be off."

As the gipsies and Thaddeus went away, the huntsmen rushed on,
shouting to each other, and sounding their horns. Florestein came
along in their wake. He was about the last man on earth to go on a
hunt. He made this known without any help, by singing:

     Is no succour near at hand?
       For my intellect so reels,
     I am doubtful if I stand
       On my head or on my heels.
     No gentleman, it's very clear,
       Such a shock should ever know,
     And when once I become a peer,
     They shall not treat me so----

That seemed to suggest that something serious had happened, but no one
knew what till Thaddeus and a crowd of peasants rushed wildly in.

"The Count's child, Arline, is attacked by an infuriated animal, and
we fear she is killed,"--that is what Florestein had been bemoaning,
instead of hurrying to the rescue! The Count Arnheim ran in then,
distraught with horror. But Thaddeus had not remained idle; he had
rushed after the huntsmen. Presently he hurried back, bearing the
child in his arms. The retainer whose business it was to care for
Arline fell at the Count's feet.

"Oh, great sir, just as we were entering the forest a wild deer rushed
at us, and only for the bravery of this young gipsy,"--indicating
Thaddeus--"the child would have been torn in pieces. As it is, she is
wounded in the arm."

The Count took his beloved daughter in his arms.

"Her life is safe and the wound is not serious, thank God. Take her
within and give her every care. And you, young man--you will remain
with us and share our festivities--and ask of me anything that you
will: I can never repay this service."

"Humph! Thaddeus is a fool," Devilshoof muttered. "First he served his
enemy and now has to stand his enemy's thanks."

Thaddeus refused at first to remain, but when his refusal seemed to
draw too much attention to the gipsy band, he consented, as a matter
of discretion. So they all seated themselves at the table which had
been laid in the garden, and while they were banqueting, the gipsies
and peasants danced to add to the sport; and little Arline could be
seen in the nurse's arms, at a window of the castle, watching the fun,
her arm bound up.

"Now," cried the old Count, when the banquet was over, "I ask one
favour of all--and that is that you drink to the health of our great
Emperor." He rose and lifted his glass, assuming that all would
drink. But that was a bit too much for Thaddeus! The Emperor was the
enemy of Poland. Most certainly he would not drink--not even to save
his life.

Florestein, who was always doing everything but what he ought, walked
up to Thaddeus and pointed out his glass to him.

"Your fine acquaintance, uncle, is not overburdened with politeness,
it seems to me. He does not respond to your wishes."

"What--does he not drink to the Emperor? My friend, I challenge you to
drink this health." The old Count filled Thaddeus's glass and handed
it to him.

"And thus I accept the challenge," Thaddeus cried; and before
Devilshoof or any one else could stop him, the reckless chap went up
to the statue of the Emperor and dashed the wine in its face.

This was the signal for a great uproar. The man who has dared insult
the Emperor must be punished. The nobles made a dash for him, but the
old Count was under an obligation too great to abandon Thaddeus yet.
He tried to silence the enraged guests for a moment, and then said
aside to Thaddeus:

"Go, I beg of you, your life is not worth a breath if you remain here.
I cannot protect you--and indeed I ought not. Go at once," and he
threw Thaddeus a purse of gold, meaning thus to reward him, and get
him away quickly. Thaddeus immediately threw the purse amidst the
nobles who were threatening him, and shouted:

"I am one whom gold cannot reward!" At that the angry men rushed upon
him, but Devilshoof stood shoulder to shoulder with Thaddeus.

"Now, then, good folks, come on! I guess together we can give you a
pretty interesting fight, if it's fighting you are after!" A scrimmage
was just in Devilshoof's line, and once and forever he declared
himself the champion of his new comrade.

"Really, this is too bad," Florestein whimpered, standing at the table
with the bone of a pheasant in one hand and a glass of wine in the
other. "Just as a man is enjoying his dinner, a boor like this comes
along and interrupts him." But by that time the fight was on, and
Thaddeus and Devilshoof were against the lot. The old Count ordered
his retainers to separate the nobles and the gipsies, and then had
Devilshoof bound and carried into the castle. Thaddeus was escorted
off by another path.

The row was over and the nobles seated themselves again at the table.
The nurse, who had Arline at the window, now left her nursling and
came down to speak with the Count.

Immediately after she left the castle chamber, Devilshoof could be
seen scrambling over the castle roof, having escaped from the room in
which he was confined. Reaching the window where Arline was left, he
closed it. The nurse had been gone only a moment, when she reëntered
the room. Whatever had taken place in her absence caused her to scream
frightfully. The whole company started up again, while the nurse threw
open the window and leaned out, crying:

"Arline is gone--stolen--help, help!" All dashed into the castle.
Presently some of the nobles came to the window and motioned to those
left outside. It was quite true. Arline was gone. Out they all rushed
again. Every one in the place had gone distracted. The poor old
Count's grief was pitiable. At that moment Devilshoof could be seen
triumphantly mounting the rocks, with Arline in his arms. He had
avenged his comrade Thaddeus.

All at once the crowd saw the great gipsy leaping from rock to rock
with the little child in his arms, and with a roar they started after
him. Then Devilshoof seemed fairly to fly over the rocks, but the
crowd gained upon him, till they reached a bridge which spanned a deep
chasm; there Devilshoof paused; he was over, and with one tremendous
effort he knocked from under the structure the trunk of a tree which
supported the far end of the bridge, and down it went! The fall of
timbers echoed back with Devilshoof's shout of laughter as he sped up
the mountain with Arline.

The old Count ran to the chasm to throw himself headlong into it, but
his friends held him back.


ACT II

Twelve years after that day of the hunt in Count Arnheim's forests,
the gipsies were encamped in Presburg. In those strange times gipsies
roved about in the cities as well as in the fields and forests, and it
was not at all strange to find the same old band encamped thus in the
public street of a city. There, the gipsy queen had pitched her tent,
and through its open curtains Arline could be seen lying upon a
tiger's skin, while Thaddeus, who had never left the band, watched
over her. There were houses on the opposite side of the street, and
the gipsy queen's tent was lighted only dimly with a lamp that swung
at the back, just before some curtains that formed a partition in the
tent.

It was all quiet when the city patrol went by, and they had no sooner
passed than Devilshoof entered the street, followed by others of the
gipsy band, all wrapped in their dark cloaks.

"The moon is the only one awake now," they sang. "There is some fine
business on foot, when the moon herself goes to bed," and they all
drew their daggers. But Devilshoof, who was a pretty decent fellow,
and who didn't believe in killing, whispered:

"Fie! Fie! When you are going to rob a gentleman, you shouldn't draw a
knife on him. He will be too polite to refuse anything you may ask, if
you ask politely"--which was Devilshoof's idea of wit. There was a
hotel across the street, and one of the gipsies pointed to a light in
its windows.

"It will be easy when our fine gentlemen have been drinking long
enough. They won't know their heads from their heels." They stole off
chuckling, to wait till they imagined every one to be asleep, but they
were no sooner gone than Florestein, that funny little fop who never
had thought of anything more serious than his appearance, reeled out
of the hotel. He was dressed all in his good clothes, and wore golden
chains about his neck--to one of which was attached a fine medallion.
Rings glittered on his fingers, and altogether, with his plumes and
furbelows, he was precisely the sort of thing Devilshoof and his
companions were looking for. He was so very drunk that he could not
imagine what a fool he was making of himself, and so he began to sing:

     Wine, wine, if I am heir,
       To the count, my uncle's line;
       Wine, wine, wine,
     Where's the fellow will dare
       To refuse his nephew wine?

This excellent song was punctuated by hiccoughs. There was another
stanza which rebuked the boldness of the moon--in short, mentioned the
shortcomings of most people compared to this elegant fellow's.
Altogether, he was a very funny joke to the gipsies who were waiting
for him and peering and laughing from round a corner as he sang. Then
Devilshoof went up to him with mock politeness. He bowed very
seriously.

     My ear caught not the clock's last chime,
     And might I beg to ask the time?

Florestein, even though he was drunk, was half alive to his danger. He
hadn't enough courage to survive a sudden sneeze. So he braced up a
little and eyed Devilshoof:

     If the bottle has prevailed,
     Yet whenever I'm assailed,
     Though there may be nothing in it,
     I am sobered in a minute.

One could see that this was quite true. Florestein was a good deal
worried. He took out his watch, and assured Devilshoof that it was
quite late.

     I am really grieved to see
       Any one in such a state,
     And gladly will take the greatest care
       Of the rings and chains you chance to wear,

Devilshoof said still more politely; and bowing all of the time he
removed the ornaments from Florestein's person.

     What I thought was politeness, is downright theft,
     And at this rate I soon shall have nothing left,

the unfortunate dandy moaned, clutching his gewgaws hopelessly, while
all the gipsies beset him, each taking all he could for himself. But
Devilshoof having secured the medallion, made off with it. He was no
sooner gone than a dark woman wrapped in a cloak came into the street
and, when she was right in the midst of the squabble, she dropped her
cloak and revealed herself as Queen of the band. All the gipsies were
amazed and not very comfortable either!--because, strange to say, this
gipsy queen did not approve of the maraudings of her band; and when
she caught them at thievery she punished them.

"Return those things you have stolen," she commanded, and they made
haste to do so, while the trembling Florestein took a hurried
inventory of his property. But among the things returned, he didn't
find the medallion.

"I'm much obliged to you, Madame, whoever you are, but I'd like a
medallion that they have taken, returned."

"That belongs to the chief--Devilshoof," they cried.

"I'll answer for your safety," the Queen said to Florestein, who was
not overmuch reassured by this, but still tried to make the best of
things. "Now follow me," she called the band, and went, holding
Florestein and dragging him with her.

They had no sooner gone than Arline, who had been awakened by the
noise outside the tent, came out into the street. Thaddeus followed
her. She was greatly disturbed.

"Thaddeus," she said, "I have had a strange dream":

[Music:

     I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls,
       With vassals and serfs at my side,
     And of all who assembled within those walls,
       That I was the joy and the pride.]

     I had riches too great to count;--could boast
       Of a high ancestral name;
     But I also dreamt (which pleased me most)
       That you loved me still the same.

     I dreamt that suitors sought my hand,
       That knights upon bended knee
     And with vows no maiden heart could withstand
       They pledged their faith to me.

     And I dreamt that one of that noble host
       Came forth my hand to claim,
     But I also dreamt (which pleased me most)
       That you loved me still the same.

When she had ceased to sing, Thaddeus embraced her tenderly and
assured her that he should love her always, "still the same."

Arline had often been troubled because of some difference between
herself and the gipsies, and she had also been curious about a scar
which was upon her arm. So upon that night she questioned Thaddeus
about this, and he told her of the accident in the forest twelve years
before, when she got the wound upon her arm. However, he did not
reveal to her that she was the daughter of a noble.

"Thou wert but six years old when this accident befell thee," Thaddeus
told her. But Arline was not yet satisfied.

"There is more to tell! I know that I am not of this gipsy band--nor
art thou!--I feel that this is true, Thaddeus. Wilt thou not tell me
the secret if there is one?" and Thaddeus had decided that he would do
this, when the curtains at the back of the Queen's tent were parted
and the gipsy Queen herself appeared.

"Do you dare throw yourself into the arms of this man, when I love
him?" the Queen demanded angrily, at which Arline and Thaddeus were
thrown into consternation. But Arline had plenty of courage,
especially after what had just happened; hence she appealed to
Thaddeus himself. He declared his love for her, and the two called for
their comrades. All ran in and asked what the excitement was about.

Arline declared to them that she and Thaddeus loved each other and
wished to be married--which pleased Devilshoof mightily. All life was
a joke to him, and he knew perfectly that the Queen was in love with
Thaddeus.

"Ho, ho," he laughed. "Now we shall have everybody by the ears. Come!"
he cried to the Queen. "As queen of the gipsies, it is your business
to unite this handsome pair. We are ready for the ceremony," and they
all laughed and became uproarious. The Queen's pride would not let her
ignore the challenge, so she advanced haughtily and took the hands of
the lovers.

     "Hand to hand and heart to heart,
     Who shall those I've united part?"

she chanted; and with this gipsy rite, they were united.

Then the band sat down in groups and made merry; but the Queen began
to plot revenge against Arline.

While they lounged about, prolonging the revel, a gipsy entered and
told them that day was dawning, and that already the people of the
city were awake and wending their way to a fair which the gipsies were
bound for; and if they were to make anything by their dances and
tricks they had better be up and doing.

"Up, all of you!" cried the moody Queen, "and meet me in the public
square; while you, Devilshoof, stay behind for further orders."
Whereupon all went down the street, Thaddeus and Arline hand in hand.

As soon as the last gipsy had disappeared, the Queen turned on
Devilshoof. "Now, then--that thing you are wearing about your
neck--that medallion you stole! hand it over; and as for what has just
happened, I shall not forget the part you had in it--it was you who
urged the marriage and compelled me to perform it or else betray
myself! You shall pay for this. Meantime, see that you take nothing
more that doesn't belong to you," and she snatched the medallion from
him. This did not endear her to Devilshoof, and he determined to have
his revenge.

"Now be off and join the rest!" she cried; and while she left the
square by one route Devilshoof departed by another.

After going a little way, Devilshoof was certain to come up with those
who had gone before and who were dancing along, in front of Arline and
Thaddeus, singing gaily about the wedding.

     Come with the gipsy bride,
       And repair
       To the fair.
     Where the mazy dance
       Will the hours entrance.
     Come with the gipsy bride,
       Where souls as light preside.

Thus they pranced along having a fine gipsy time of it till they
arrived at the fair, which was held in a great public square in the
midst of the city. The courthouse was on one side, and over the door
there was a sign which read "The Hall of Justice." Everybody seemed to
be at the fair: peasants, nobles, soldiers, and citizens;
rope-dancers, quack doctors, waxworks, showmen of all sorts, and bells
rang and flags flew, and altogether it was just the thing for a
gipsy's wedding day.

The quack doctor blew his horn, and everybody surged about him, and
while all that movement and fun were taking place, Devilshoof and
Thaddeus formed a sort of flying wedge on the outskirts of the crowd
and forced a passage for the gipsy band. At that moment Florestein
came along, taking part in the day as all the rest of Presburg were
doing, and the first man his eye lighted upon was that miscreant,
Devilshoof. There stood the man who had stolen his medallion! There
were several gentlemen with Florestein, and he called their attention
to the gipsy group. Meantime Arline, like any gipsy, had been going
about selling flowers and telling fortunes, and while those things
were taking place the old Count Arnheim and some officers of the city
entered and tried to pass through the group to the courthouse, where
the old Count presided as judge. Florestein stopped him.

"Uncle, just stop a bit and look at those gipsies! Do you see that
pretty girl? I am delighted with her. Even an old gentleman like you
should have an eye to a girl as pretty as that," he laughed. This was
not in very good taste, but then, nobody ever accused the little idiot
of having either good taste or good courage.

"I have no eyes for beauty since my Arline was lost to me, nephew,"
the old man returned sadly, and passed to his courtroom. But
Florestein pressed through the crowd till he reached Arline's side.

"You are a pretty girl," he said boldly, ogling her. "Come! you are
teaching others" (Arline had been telling a fortune), "teach me."

"A lesson in politeness, sir?--you need it," and Arline slapped his
face; not at all the sort of thing a countess would do, but then she
had been brought up a gipsy, and couldn't be expected to have all the
graces of her ancestors. The Queen, who had been watching, ready to
make trouble, called Thaddeus's attention to the incident, and
Thaddeus shouldered his way through the crowd just in time to slap
Florestein's face from the other side, as he turned about. The fop was
somewhat disturbed, while Arline and Thaddeus burst out laughing at
him. The Queen, watching this episode, recognized in Florestein the
chap to whom she had restored the trinkets. She herself had the
medallion, and instantly a malicious thought occurred to her: it was
her opportunity to revenge herself on Arline for loving Thaddeus. She
approached Arline, and held out the medallion.

"You should be rewarded, my girl, for giving this presumptuous fellow
a lesson. Take this from me, and think of it as my wedding gift," and
she left the medallion with Arline. The girl was very grateful and
kissed the Queen's hand.

"Now we must go! call the band together," she commanded, leading the
way; and slowly they all assembled and prepared to go. Thaddeus hung
the medallion on Arline's neck and, with her, came last of the band.
Now Florestein, smarting under their blows, saw the medallion on
Arline's neck and at once drew the attention of his friends to it.
They recognized it as his. He then went up to Thaddeus and Arline and
pointed to the trinket.

"You may stay awhile, my girl. How about that medallion of mine which
you have on your neck? My friends here recognize it!"

"The Queen has given it to me--only now," she replied in amazement;
but as she looked about she saw that the Queen was gone, and
Devilshoof, who had witnessed all, was then sneaking off.

"That is a good story. We have all heard that sort of thing before.
Come along," and he would have arrested her instantly, but Thaddeus
sprang forward and took a hand in the matter. When Florestein saw the
affair had grown serious he ran into the Hall of Justice, and returned
with a guard who arrested the girl. Arline, in tears, declared her
innocence, but everything appeared against her. She had only Thaddeus
to stand by her, but at this crisis the other gipsies ran back,
hearing of the row, and tried to rescue her. There Thaddeus, too, was
seized, and a free fight took place in which the gipsies were driven
off; finally, Arline, left alone, was marched into the Hall of
Justice. The Queen then returned, and stood unseen, enjoying the young
girl's peril, while Thaddeus threatened everybody concerned.

Now before the guards reached the Count Arnheim's apartment where
Arline was to be tried, the Count had been sitting before a portrait
of his lost daughter, which pictured her as she was twelve years
before. He had never known a happy hour since her loss. As he looked
at her portrait he sang:

[Music:

     The heart bow'd down by weight of woe,
       To weakest hope will cling,
     To tho't and impulse while they flow,
       That can no comfort bring, that can, that can no comfort bring,
     With those exciting scenes will blend,
       O'er pleasure's pathway thrown;
     But mem'ry is the only friend,
       That grief can call its own,
       That grief can call its own,
       That grief can call its own.]

     The mind will in its worst despair,
       Still ponder o'er the past,
     On moments of delight that were
       Too beautiful to last.
     To long departed years extend
       Its visions with them flown;
     For mem'ry is the only friend
       That grief can call its own.

Thus, while the old Count's mind was lingering sadly over the past,
calling up visions of the hopes that had fled with his daughter, she
was being brought to him charged with a crime of which she was
innocent. Soon the Count heard a noise near his apartment, and the
captain of the guard burst in to tell him a robbery had been committed
in the square. No sooner had Arnheim seated himself in his official
place than the people hustled in Arline. Florestein was in the midst
of the mob; going at once to his uncle he cried:

"Your lordship, it is I who have been robbed!"

"Ah! some more of your trouble-making. Why are you forever bringing
the family name into some ill-sounding affair?"

"But, uncle, it is true that I am a victim. There is the very girl who
robbed me!" he cried, pointing to Arline. The Count looked pityingly
at her.

"What--the pretty girl I saw in the square? So young and innocent a
face!"

"However that may be, she has stolen my medallion: we found it upon
her!"

"Can this be true, my child?" the Count asked gently.

"No, your lordship. I have done nothing wrong; but alas! there is no
one to help me."

At that the Count became more distressed. The thought of his own child
returned to him. She might be somewhere as hardly pressed and as
helpless as this young gipsy girl.

"We can prove her guilty," Florestein persisted.

"Tell me your story, my child. I shall try to do you justice," the
Count urged, looking kindly at Arline.

"The Queen of our tribe gave me that medallion. I do not know how she
possessed herself of it, unless----" Arline suddenly remembered the
scene at her wedding, and half guessed the truth. "Your lordship, I
cannot prove it, but I believe she gave me a medallion which she knew
to be stolen, in order to revenge herself upon me for giving her
displeasure last night!" The old Count gazed thoughtfully at her. He
believed her story: she looked truthful, and her tone was honest.

"I believe you," he answered, at last, "yet since you cannot prove
this, I have no alternative but to hand you over to justice."

"Then, sir, I can deliver myself!" she cried, drawing a dagger, and
was about to plunge it into her heart when the horrified Count sprung
forward and stopped her. As he seized her arm, he glanced at the scar
upon it: then started and looked closely at her face. Again the face
of his lost daughter was before him. He looked at the painting of the
little girl upon the wall, and again at Arline. They were so like that
he could doubt no longer.

"Tell me--how did you come by that scar upon your arm--speak the
truth, because my very life hangs upon it, my child." By this time the
whole mob had gathered excitedly about the girl and the old judge.

"When I was six years old a wild deer wounded me--" the Count nearly
fainted with hope--"I was saved and--" at this moment, Thaddeus,
having shaken off his guard, rushed in to help Arline. She cried out
happily and pointed to him. "It was he who saved my life," she said.
"It was Thaddeus!" The Count recognized the man who had refused to
drink the health of the Emperor at the banquet years before! Clearly
it was his own child who had been brought before him!

With a joyous cry he clasped her in his arms, but she did not know the
meaning of his joy or of the excitement, and, frightened and
bewildered, she ran to Thaddeus. Thaddeus pointed sadly to the Count:

"It _is_ thy father, Arline. It is true," and he buried his face in
his hands. He must now give her up. Since she had found a noble father
he could not hope to be near her again, and while he stood with his
face in his hands, and Arline was again in the arms of the Count,
Devilshoof made his way in through the crowd, and tried to drag
Thaddeus away. He loved his comrade of twelve years, and he saw that
harm might come to him in the new situation.


ACT III

After leaving the Hall of Justice, Arline returned with her father to
the home of her childhood, for her dream had come true: she "dwelt in
marble halls, with vassals and serfs at her side." Yet she was far
from happy: Thaddeus had left the hall with Devilshoof on the day of
Arline's arrest, and she had not seen him since. Gorgeously dressed in
a ball gown, she was in a beautiful room in her father's house. Her
father entered with Florestein and begged her to think kindly of her
silly foppish cousin.

"You have every reason to be resentful toward Florestein," he said,
"but if you can think kindly of him for my sake it would make me very
happy. I have always intended you to marry each other."

At that Arline was very wretched; and after a moment she said:
"Father, I should like to please you, but I cannot think
affectionately of my cousin," and before the argument could be carried
further, a servant entered to tell them that the palace was filling
with guests, and that the Count was needed. Florestein and the Count
then went to meet the company, leaving Arline alone to recover her
self-possession. She became very sad for she was thinking of Thaddeus
and of the days she had spent wandering over the world with him and
the gipsies. Suddenly she went to a cabinet, took her gipsy dress from
it, and looked at it, the tears streaming from her eyes. While she was
lost in the memories of other days, Devilshoof jumped in at the window
and Arline nearly screamed upon seeing him so suddenly.

"Don't scream! Don't be frightened," he said quickly. "I have come to
say how we all miss you, and to beg you to come back to the tribe. I
have brought with me one whose powers of persuasion are greater than
mine," he added, and instantly Thaddeus appeared at the window, while
Arline, unable to restrain herself, rushed into his arms.

"Ah, I feared you would forget me in the midst of so much luxury and
wealth," he said happily.

"Oh, Thaddeus, did I not also dream--which pleased me most--that you
loved me still the same?" she reminded him.

"I came only to entreat you sometimes to think of me," he now said
with a lighter heart, "and also I came to tell you--" he paused,
kissed her, and then sang:

[Music:

     When other lips and other hearts
       Their tales of love shall tell,
     In language whose excess imparts
       The pow'r they feel so well:
     There may, perhaps, in such a scene,
       Some recollection be
     Of days that have as happy been,
       And you'll remember me, and you'll remember,
       You'll remember me.]

     When coldness or deceit shall slight
       The beauty now they prize,
     And deem it but a faded light
       Which beams within your eyes;
     When hollow hearts shall wear a mask
       'Twill break your own to see:
     In such a moment I but ask
       That you'll remember me.

The song only added to Arline's distress. She could not let Thaddeus
go.

"You must never leave me, Thaddeus," she cried.

"Then will you fly with me?" he begged.

"It would kill my poor father; he has only now found me. I would go if
it were not for love of him, but how can I leave him?" And while the
lovers were in this unhappy coil Devilshoof, who had been watching at
the window to warn them if any one was coming, called out:

"Your doom is sealed in another moment! You must decide: people are
coming. There is no escape for you, Thaddeus."

"Come into this cabinet," Arline cried in alarm. "No one can find you
there! and you, Devilshoof, jump out of the window." No sooner said
than done! Out Devilshoof jumped, while Thaddeus got into the cabinet.
The great doors were thrown open and the company streamed in to
congratulate Arline on being restored to her father. The old Count
then took Arline by the hand and presented her to the company, while
Florestein, as the suitor who expected to be given her hand in
marriage, stood beside her, smiling and looking the coxcomb. Everybody
then sang a gay welcome, and Florestein, who seemed born only to do
that which was annoying to other people, picked up the forgotten gipsy
dress, declaring that it was not suitable to such a moment, and that
he would place it in the cabinet.

That was the worst possible thing he could do, and Arline watched him
with horror. If he should go to the cabinet, as she was now certain he
would, he could not possibly help finding Thaddeus. She watched with
excitement every moment; but in the midst of her fears there was a
great noise without, and the gipsy Queen forced her way in, to the
amazement of the company. She went at once to the old Count, who it
seemed was never to have done with surprises.

"Who art thou, intruder?" he asked angrily. Upon this the Queen lifted
her veil, which till then had concealed her face.

"Behold me!" she cried, very dramatically, "heed my warning voice!
Wail and not rejoice!" A nice sort of caution to be injected into a
merrymaking. "The foe to thy rest, is the one you love best. Think not
my warning wild, 'tis thy refound child. She loves a youth of the
tribe I sway, and braves the world's reproof. List to the words I say,
he is now beneath thy roof!" This was quite enough to drive the entire
company into hysterics.

"Base wretch," the Count cried, "thou liest!"

"Thy faith I begrudge, open that door and thyself be the judge," she
screamed, quite beside herself with anger. Of course everybody looked
toward the door of the cabinet, and finally the Count opened it, and
there stood Thaddeus.

He staggered back, the Queen was delighted, but everybody else was
frightened half to death.

Everybody concerned seemed then to be in the worst possible way.
Arline determined to stand by Thaddeus, and she was quite appalled at
the wickedness of the Queen.

"Leave the place instantly," the Count roared to Thaddeus.

"I go, Arline," Thaddeus answered sorrowfully.

"Never!--unless I go with thee," she declared, quite overcome by the
situation. "Father, I love thee, but I cannot give up Thaddeus," she
protested sorrowfully to the Count. Then the Count drew his sword and
rushed between them.

"Go!" he cried again to Thaddeus, and at the same time the Queen urged
him to go with her. Then Arline begged to be left alone with her
father that she might have a private word with him. Everybody withdrew
except Thaddeus, wondering what next, and how it would all turn out.

"Father," Arline pleaded when they were alone, "I am at your feet. If
you love me you will listen. It was Thaddeus who restored me to you;
who has guarded me from harm for twelve years. I cannot give him up,
and to send him away is unworthy of you." The Count made a despairing
gesture of dismissal to Thaddeus.

"But, father, we are already united," she urged, referring to the
gipsy marriage. At that the Count was quite horrified.

"United?--to a strolling fellow like this?" This was more than
Thaddeus could stand, knowing as he did that he was every bit as good
as the Count--being a Polish noble. True, if he revealed himself, he
might have to pay for it with his life, because he was still reckoned
at large as the enemy of the Emperor, but even so, he decided to tell
the truth about himself for Arline's sake.

"Listen," he cried, stepping nearer to the Count. "I am not what you
think me. Let this prove to you my birth," and he took the old
commission from his pocket where he had carried it for years, and
handed it to the Count. "This will prove to thee, though I am an
exile, that I am a noble like thyself; and my birth does not separate
me from thy daughter." The Count read the paper tremblingly and then
looked long at Thaddeus. Tears came to his eyes.

"The storms of a nation's strife should never part true lovers," he
said softly, at last: "Thy hand!"--and taking Thaddeus's hand he
placed it tenderly in that of Arline. As they stood thus united and
happy, the Queen appeared at the window, pointing him out to a gipsy
beside her. The gipsy was about to fire upon Thaddeus at the Queen's
command, when Devilshoof knocked up the gipsy's arm, and the bullet
meant for the lover killed the revengeful Queen.

"Guard every portal--summon all the guests!" the Count cried. "Suspend
all festivities," at which the music which had been heard in the
distant salon ceased, and the guests began to assemble. Arline rushed
to the arms of Thaddeus. The Count explained all that had occurred,
the danger Thaddeus had just been in, that he had been given the
Count's daughter, and that congratulations were in order.

As you may believe, after so much fright and danger, everybody was
overjoyed to find that all was well--everybody but Florestein, and he
was certain to be satisfied presently when the banquet began, and he
got some especially fine tit-bit on his own plate!



BEETHOVEN


The most complete, at the same time picturesque, story of Beethoven
and his "Fidelio" is told in "Musical Sketches," by Elise Polko, with
all the sentimentality that a German writer can command. Whole
paragraphs might be lifted from that book and included in this sketch,
but the substance of the story shall be told in a somewhat inferior
way.

"Leonora" (Fidelio) was composed some time before it was produced.
Ludwig van Beethoven had been urged again and again by his friends to
put the opera before the public, but he always refused.

"It shall never be produced till I find the woman in whose powers I
have absolute confidence to sing 'Leonora.' She need not be beautiful,
change her costume ten times, nor break her throat with roulades: but
she must have _one_ thing besides her voice." He would not disclose
what special quality he demanded; and when his friends persisted in
urging the production of his first, last, and only opera, Beethoven
went into a great rage and declared if the subject were ever mentioned
again, he would burn the manuscript. At one time friends begged him to
hear a new prima donna, Wilhelmina Schröder, the daughter of a great
actress, believing that in her he would find his "Leonora."

This enraged him still more. The idea of entrusting his beloved
composition to a girl no more than sixteen years old!

His appearance at that time is thus described:

"At the same hour every afternoon a tall man walked alone on the
so-called Wasserglacis (Vienna). Every one reverentially avoided him.
Neither heat nor cold made him hasten his steps; no passer-by arrested
his eye; he strode slowly, firmly and proudly along, with glance bent
downward, and with hands clasped behind his back. You felt that he was
some extraordinary being, and that the might of genius encircled this
majestic head with its glory. Gray hair grew thickly around his
magnificent brow, but he noticed not the spring breeze that played
sportively among it and pushed it in his eyes. Every child knew: 'that
is Ludwig van Beethoven, who has composed such wondrously beautiful
music.'"

One day, during one of these outings a fearful storm arose, and he
noticed a beautiful young woman, whom he had frequently seen in his
walks, frightened but standing still without protection from the
weather. She stared at him with such peculiar devotion and entreaty
that he stopped and asked her what she did there in the storm.

She had the appearance of a child, and great simplicity of manner. She
told him she waited to see him. He, being surprised at this,
questioned her, and she declared she was Wilhelmina Schröder, who
longed for nothing but to sing his Leonora, of which all Vienna had
heard. He took her to his home, she sang the part for him, and at once
he accepted her.

It was she who first sang "Fidelio," and she who had the "quality"
that Beethoven demanded: the quality of kindness. It is said that her
face was instinct with gentleness and her voice exquisitely beautiful.
It was almost the last thing that Beethoven heard. His deafness was
already upon him, but he heard her voice; heard his beloved opera
sung, and was so much overcome by the beauty of the young girl's art
that during the performance he fainted.

Of all temperamental men, Beethoven was doubtless the most so, and the
anecdotes written of him are many. He was especially irascible. His
domestic annoyances are revealed freely in his diary: "Nancy is too
uneducated for a housekeeper--indeed, quite a beast." "My precious
servants were occupied from seven o'clock till ten, trying to light a
fire." "The cook's off again--I shied half a dozen books at her head."
"No soup to-day, no beef, no eggs. Got something from the inn at
last." These situations are amusing to read about, decades later, but
doubtless tragic enough at the time to the great composer!

That in financial matters Beethoven was quite practical was
illustrated by his answer to the Prussian Ambassador at Vienna, who
offered to the musician the choice of the glory of having some order
bestowed upon him or fifty ducats. Beethoven took the ducats.

Beautiful as the production of "Fidelio" was, it did not escape
criticism from an eminent source. Cherubini was present at the first
performance at the Karnthnerthor Theatre in Vienna, and when asked how
he liked the overture (Leonora in C) he replied:

"To be honest, I must confess that I could not tell what key it was in
from beginning to end."


FIDELIO

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Marcelline (jailer's daughter).
Leonora (under name of Fidelio).
Florestan (her husband and a state prisoner).
Jaquino (porter of the prison).
Pizarro (governor of the prison).
Hernando (the minister).
Rocco (the jailer).
Chorus of soldiers, prisoners and people.

Scene is laid in Spain.

Composer: Beethoven.


ACT I

Marcelline, the jailer's daughter, had been tormented to death for
months by the love-making of her father's porter, Jaquino. In short,
he had stopped her on her way to church, to work, to rest, at all
times, and every time, to make love to her, and finally she was on the
point of consenting to marry him, if only to get rid of him.

"Marcelline, only name the day, and I vow I'll never make love to you
again," said the soft Jaquino. This was so funny that Marcelline
thought he was worth marrying for his drollery; but just as she was
about to make him a happy man by saying "yes," some one knocked upon
the door, and with a laugh she drew away from him:

     Oh, joy! once again I am free;
     How weary, how weary his love makes me.

Quite disheartened, Jaquino went to open the door.

There had been a time--before a certain stranger named Fidelio had
come to the prison--when Jaquino's absurd love-making pleased
Marcelline, but since the coming of that fine youth Fidelio, she had
thought of little but him. Now, while Jaquino was opening the door,
and she watched his figure (which was not at all fascinating), she
murmured to herself:

"After all, how perfectly absurd to think of it! I shall never marry
anybody but Fidelio. He is quite the most enchanting fellow I know."
At that moment Jaquino returned.

"What, not a word for me?" he asked, noting her change of mood.

"Well, yes, and that word is no, no, no! So go away and let me alone,"
she answered petulantly.

Now Fidelio was certainly a most beautiful youth, but quite different
from any Marcelline had ever seen. Fidelio observed, with a good deal
of anxiety, that the jailer's daughter was much in love with him, and
there were reasons why that should be inconvenient.

Fidelio, instead of being a fine youth, was a most adoring wife, and
her husband, Florestan, was shut up in that prison for an offence
against its wicked governor, Pizarro. He had been placed there to
starve; and indeed his wife Leonora (Fidelio) had been told that he
was already dead. She had applied, as a youth, for work in the prison,
in order to spy out the truth; to learn if her dear husband were dead
or alive.

There was both good and bad luck in the devotion of the jailer's
daughter. The favourable part of the affair was that Leonora was able,
because of her favouritism, to find out much about the prisoners; but
on the other hand, she was in danger of discovery. Although the
situation was tragic, there was considerable of a joke in Marcelline's
devotion to the youth Fidelio, and in the consequent jealousy of
Jaquino.

Love of money was Rocco's (the jailer) besetting sin. He sang of his
love with great feeling:

     Life is nothing without money,
       Anxious cares beset it round;
     Sad, when all around is sunny,
       Feels the man whom none hath found.

     But when to thy keeping the treasure hath rolled,
       Blind fortune thou mayest defy, then;
     Both love and power their secrets unfold,
       And will to thy wishes comply, then.

Rocco was also a man of heart; and since hiring Fidelio (Leonora) he
had really become very fond of the young man. When he observed the
attachment between Fidelio and Marcelline, he was inclined to favour
it.

Don Pizarro had long been the bitterest enemy of Don Florestan,
Leonora's husband, because that noble had learned of his atrocities
and had determined to depose him as governor of the fortress prison.

Hence, when Pizarro got Florestan in his clutches, he treated him with
unimaginable cruelties, and falsely reported that he was dead.

Now in the prison there had lately been much hope and rejoicing
because it was rumoured that Fernando, the great Minister of State,
was about to pay a visit of investigation. This promised a change for
the better in the condition of the prisoners. But no one knew better
than Don Pizarro that it would mean ruin to himself if Fernando found
Don Florestan in a dungeon. The two men were dear friends, and so
cruelly treated had Florestan been that Pizarro could never hope for
clemency. Hence, he called Rocco, and told him that Florestan must be
killed at once, before the arrival of Fernando.

Rocco refused point blank to do the horrid deed; but as a dependent he
could not control matters, and hence he had to consent to dig the
grave, with the understanding that Pizarro, himself, should do the
killing.

Thus far, Fidelio had been able to find out nothing about her beloved
husband, but she had become more and more of a favourite with the
unfortunate old jailer, and was permitted to go about with a certain
amount of freedom.

Upon the day when Pizarro had directed Rocco to kill a prisoner in a
certain dungeon, she overheard a good deal of the plot, and she began
to fear it might be her husband.

She went at once to Rocco:

"Rocco, I have seen very little of the prison. May I not go into the
dungeon and look about?"

"Oh, it would never be allowed," Rocco declared. "Pizarro is a stern
and cruel governor, and if I should do the least thing he did not
command, it would go hard with me. I should not dare let you do that,"
he said, much troubled with the deed that was in hand.

"But wilt thou not ask him, Rocco?" Fidelio entreated so determinedly
that Rocco half promised.

"Fidelio, I will tell thee. I have a bad job to do. It is to dig a
grave in one of the dungeons." Fidelio could hardly conceal her horror
and despair. Her suspicions were confirmed. "There is an old well,
covered by a stone, down there, far underground, and if I lift the
stone that covers it, that will do for the grave. I will ask Pizarro
if I may have thee to help me. If he consents, it will be thy chance
to see the dungeons, but if not, I shall have done all I can about
it." So he went away to discuss the matter with Pizarro, while Fidelio
waited between hope and despair.

Meantime, Pizarro was gloating over his triumph. Soon his revenge
would be complete, and he sang of the matter in a most savage fashion:

     Ha! what a day is this,
       My vengeance shall be sated.
     Thou treadest on an abyss!
       For now thy doom is fated.

The words mean little, but Beethoven's music to them means much:

     Remember, that once in the dust I trembled,
     'Mid mocking fiends assembled;
     Beneath thy conquering steel,
       But Fortune's wheel is turning,
       In torments thou art burning,
       The victim of my hate.

The guards told one another that they had better be about their
business, as some great affair seemed afoot.

Rocco entered again.

"I do not see the need for this killing," he urged. "The man is nearly
dead as it is. He cannot last long; but at least, if I must dig the
grave, I shall need help. I have a youth in my service who is to marry
my daughter--thus I can count upon his faithfulness; and I had better
be permitted to take him into the dungeon with me, if I am to do the
work. I am an old man, and not so strong as I used to be."

"Very well, very well," Pizarro replied. "But see to the business.
There is no time to lose." And going back to Fidelio, Rocco told her
the good news: that Pizarro had consented. Then she sang joyfully of
it:

[Music:

     Oh Hope, thou wilt not let the star of sorrowing love be
       dimm'd for ever!
     Oh come, sweet Hope, show me the goal,
     However, however far forsake it will I never,
       forsake it will I never,
       forsake it I will never, etc.]

"But, Rocco, instead of digging a grave for the poor man, to whom we
go, couldst thou not set him free?" she begged.

"Not I, my boy. It would be as much as my life was worth. I have not
been permitted even to give him food. He is nearly dead from
starvation already. Try to think as little as you can of the horrors
of this place. It is a welcome release for the poor fellow."

"But to have a father-in-law who has committed a murder," Fidelio
shuddered, trying to prevail upon Rocco by this appeal. But he sang:

[Music:

     My good lad, thou need'st not fear,
     Of killing, of killing him I shall be clear,
     Yes, yes, I shall be clear,
     My lord himself, my lord himself will do the deed.]

"Nay, do not worry--you'll have no murderer for a father-in-law. Our
only business is to dig the man's grave."

In spite of herself Leonora wept.

"Come, come. This is too hard for thee, gentle boy. I'll manage the
business alone."

"Oh, no! No! I must go. Indeed I am not afraid. I must go with thee,"
she cried. While she was thus distracted, in rushed Marcelline and
Jaquino.

"Oh, father! Don Pizarro is frantic with rage. You have given the
prisoners a little light and air, and he is raging about the prison
because of this. What shall we do?" Rocco thought a moment.

"Do nothing! He is a hard man, I--" At that moment Pizarro came in.

"What do you mean by this? Am I governing this prison or are you?"

"Don Pizarro," Rocco spoke calmly. "It is the King's birthday, and I
thought it might be politic for you to give the prisoners a little
liberty, especially as the Minister was coming. It will look well to
him." At that Pizarro was somewhat appeased, but nevertheless he
ordered the men back to their cells. It was a mournful procession,
back to dungeon darkness. As they went they sang:

[Music:

     Farewell, thou warm and sunny beam,
     How soon thy joys have faded,
     How soon thy joys have faded!]

While they were singing, Rocco once more tried to soften Pizarro's
heart.

"Wilt thou not let the condemned prisoner live another day, your
highness?" The request enraged Pizarro still more.

"Enough! Now have done with your whimpering. Take that youth of thine
who is to help, and be about the job. Go! and let me hear no more."
With that awful voice of revenge and cruelty in her ears, the unhappy
Leonora followed Rocco to the dungeons, to dig her husband's grave.


ACT II

Down in the very bowels of the earth, as it seemed to Leonora, was
Florestan's dungeon. There he sat, manacled, despairing, with no ray
of light to cheer him, and his thoughts occupied only with his visions
of the beautiful home he had known, and of his wife, Leonora. When
Leonora and Rocco entered the dungeon, Florestan had fallen, half
sleeping, half dreaming upon the floor of his cell, and Leonora groped
her way fearfully toward him, believing him to be dead.

"Oh, the awful chill of this vault," she sobbed. "Look! Is the man
dead, already, Rocco?" Rocco went to look at the prisoner.

"No, he only sleeps. Come, that sunken well is near, and we have only
to uncover it to have the job done. It is a hard thing for a youth
like thee. Let us hurry." Rocco began searching for the disused well,
into which he meant the body of Florestan to be dumped after the
governor had killed him.

"Reach me that pickaxe," he directed Fidelio. "Are you afraid?"

"No, no, I feel chilled only."

"Well, make haste with the work, my boy, and it will warm you," Rocco
urged. Then while he worked and urged Fidelio to do the same, she
furtively watched the prisoner whose features she could not see in the
gloom of the cell.

"If we do not hurry, the governor will be here. Haste, haste!" Rocco
cried.

"Yes, yes," she answered, nearly fainting with grief and horror.

"Come, come, my boy. Help me lift this great stone which closes the
mouth of the well." The despairing Fidelio lifted with all her poor
strength.

"I'm lifting, I'm lifting," she sobbed, and she tugged and tugged,
because she dared not shirk the work. Then the stone slowly rolled
away. She was still uncertain as to the identity of the poor wretch
who was so soon to be put out of existence. She peered at him
continually.

"Oh, whoever thou art, I will save thee. I will save thee," she
thought. "I cannot have so great a horror take place. I must save
him." Still she peered through the darkness at the hopeless prisoner.
At the same time her grief overwhelmed her, and she began to weep. The
prisoner was roused, and plaintively thanked the strange youth for his
kindly tears.

"Oh, whoever this poor man may be, let me give him this piece of
bread," Fidelio begged, turning to Rocco. (She had put bread into her
doublet, thinking to succour some half-starved wretch.)

"It is my business, my boy, to be severe," he said, frowning. He was
sorely tried, for his heart was kind and yet he dared not show pity.
But she pleaded and pleaded, and finally Rocco nervously agreed.

"Well, well, give it, boy. Give it. He will never taste food again,"
and again the prisoner thanked Fidelio through the darkness of his
cell. When he spoke she felt a strange presentiment. Suppose this
should be the beloved husband whom she sought!

"Oh, gentle youth! That I might repay this humane deed!" the prisoner
murmured, too weak to speak loudly.

"That voice--it is strange to me, yet--it is like some remembered
voice," Fidelio said to herself, and she clasped her hands upon her
heart, because it seemed to beat so loudly that Rocco might hear it.
While she wavered between hope and fear, Don Pizarro entered the
dungeon. He had come at last for his revenge.

"Now, thou dog," he said to the prisoner, "prepare to die. But before
you die, you are to know to whom you owe the deed." At that he threw
off his cloak and showed himself to be Pizarro.

"It is Pizarro whom thou hast insulted. It is he who shall kill thee."

"Do not think I fear a murderer," Florestan replied, with what heroism
his weakness would permit. At that Pizarro made a lunge at him with
the knife, but Fidelio threw herself in front of him, suddenly
recognizing him as he spoke to Pizarro.

"Thou shalt not kill him, unless thou kill his wife as well," she
screamed. Rocco, Florestan and Pizarro all cried out in amazement.

"Wife!" Florestan clasped her weakly to his heart. Pizarro rushed at
Fidelio, becoming frantic with rage. He hurled her away and shouted:

"No woman shall frighten me! Away with ye! The man shall die."
Instantly, Fidelio drew a pistol and pointed it at the murderer.

"If he is to die, you shall die also," she cried, whereupon Rocco
shouted in fright, since it was a dreadful thing to try conclusions
with the governor of the prison. Pizarro himself drew back with fear.

Then a fanfare of trumpets was heard, announcing the arrival of
Fernando, the Minister.

"Hark!" Pizarro cried. "I am undone! It is Fernando!" The assassin
began to tremble. But Florestan and Fidelio knew that liberty was
near. One word of the truth to the Minister, one word that should tell
him of the governor's awful cruelty for a personal revenge, would set
Florestan free and bring punishment to Pizarro. Then Jaquino hurried
in:

"Come, come, quick! The Minister and his suite are at the gates."

"Thank God," said the kind-hearted jailer, under his breath. "The man
is surely saved now. We're coming, my lad, we're coming," he answered.
"Let the men come down and bear torches before Don Pizarro. He cannot
find his way out." Rocco's voice was trembling with gladness,
Florestan was almost fainting with weakness because of the sudden joy
that had come to him. Fidelio was praying to heaven in gratitude,
while Don Pizarro was horrified at the thought of what his punishment
would be.

The jailer and Don Pizarro ascended, and soon Fernando ordered all the
prisoners of the fortress brought before him. He had come to
investigate the doings of the governor who had long been known as a
great tyrant. When the unhappy men, who had been abused by starving
and confinement in underground cells, stood before him, the Minister's
heart was sorely touched, and Don Pizarro was more and more afraid.
Presently, Rocco fearlessly brought Fidelio and Don Florestan in front
of Fernando.

"Oh, great Minister, I beg you to give ear to the wrongs of this sad
pair," he cried, and as Fernando looked at Florestan his eyes filled
with tears.

"What, you? Florestan? My friend, whom I have so long believed was
dead? Thou who wert the friend of the oppressed, who tried to bring to
punishment this very wretch?" he said, looking at Pizarro; and his
speech revealed why Pizarro had wanted to revenge himself upon the
unhappy noble.

"Yes, yes, it is Don Florestan, my beloved husband," Fidelio answered,
while the good Rocco pushed her ahead of him, closer to Fernando's
side.

"She is no youth, but the noblest woman in the world, Don Fernando,"
Rocco cried, almost weeping in his agitation and relief at the turn
things were taking for those with whom he sympathized.

"Just let me be heard," Pizarro called, becoming more and more
frightened each moment.

"Enough of thee," Fernando answered, bitterly, in a tone that boded no
good to the wretch. Then Rocco told the whole truth about the
governor: how he, himself, had had to lend a hand to his wicked
schemes, because as a dependent he could not control matters; and then
all the prisoners cried out for Pizarro's punishment.

Fernando commanded Pizarro to give Fidelio the key of the prison, that
she, the faithful wife, should have the joy of unlocking the doors and
giving her husband his freedom. All the other prisoners and Fernando's
suite, the jailer, his daughter, Marcelline, and Jaquino rejoiced and
sang rapturously of Fernando's goodness. Pizarro was left, still
uncertain of his punishment, but all hoped that he would be made to
take Florestan's place in the dungeon and meet the fate he had
prepared for the much abused noble.



BERLIOZ


"The Damnation of Faust" was first produced as an opera, by Raoul
Gunsburg, in Monte Carlo, about 1903. Before that time it had been
conducted only as a concerted piece. Later it was produced in Paris,
Calvé and Alvarez singing the great rôles. That was in the late spring
of 1903.

In Europe the opera was produced with the dream scene (the
dream-Marguerite) as in the original plan of Berlioz, but in this
country this dream-Marguerite was omitted, also the rain in the ride
to Hell; otherwise the European and the New York production were much
the same. At the Metropolitan Opera House, in New York, there were
three hundred people upon the stage in the first act, and every
attention was given to scenic detail. This piece is meant for the
concert room, and in no sense for the operatic stage, but great care
and much money have been spent in trying to realize its scenic
demands. As a dramatic production, it cannot compare with the "Faust"
of Gounod, but it has certain qualities of a greater sort, which have
made impresarios desire to shape it for the stage.

Berlioz was probably one of the least attractive of musicians. As a
man, he was entirely detestable. He despised (from jealous rather than
critical motives) all music that was not his own; or if he chose to
applaud, his applause was certain to be for some obscure person
without ability, in order that there might be no unfavourable
comparisons drawn between his own work and that which he was praising.
Beyond doubt he was the greatest instrumentalist of Europe, but he was
_bizarre_, and none too lucid.

His method of showing his contempt for other great composers like
Beethoven, Mozart, and the like, was to conduct their music upon
important occasions, without having given himself or any one else a
rehearsal. He called Haydn a "pedantic old baby," and refused as long
as he lived to hear Elijah (Mendelssohn). In short, he was one of the
vastly disagreeable people of the earth, who believe that their own
genius excuses everything.

The story of his behaviour at a performance of Cherubini's Ali Baba
will serve as an illustration of his bad taste.

Cherubini had become old, and was even more anxious about the fate of
his compositions than he had been in his youth, having less confidence
in himself as he declined in years, and on the occasion of Ali Baba he
was especially overwrought. Berlioz got a seat in the house, and made
his disapproval of the performance very marked by his manner. Finally
he cried out toward the end of the first act, "Twenty francs for an
idea!" During the second act he called, "Forty francs for an idea!"
and at the finale he screeched, "Eighty francs for an idea!" When all
was over, he rose wearily and said, loud enough to be heard all over
the place, "I give it up--I'm not rich enough!" and went out.

There is hardly an anecdote of Berlioz extant that does not deal with
his cynicism or displeasing qualities, therefore we may more or less
assume that they pretty correctly reflect the man. One of the stories
which well illustrates his love of "showing up" his fellows, concerns
his Fuite en Egypte. When it was produced he had put upon the
programme as the composer one Pierre Ducré "of the seventeenth
century." The critics, one and all, wrote of the old and worthless
score that Berlioz had unearthed and foisted upon the suffering
public. Some of them wrote voluminously and knowingly of the life of
Pierre Ducré, and hinted at other productions of his, which they said
demonstrated his puerility. Then when he had roused all the discussion
he pleased, Berlioz came forward and announced that there never had
been any such personage as Ducré, and that it was himself who had
written Fuite en Egypte. He had made everybody appear as absurd as
possible, and there is no sign that he ever did that sort of thing for
the pure love of a joke. He was malicious, born so, lived so, and died
so. However great his music, he was unworthy of it.


DAMNATION OF FAUST

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Faust.
Mephistopheles.
Brander.
Marguerite.
Sylphs, students, soldiers, angels.

Composer: Hector Berlioz.


ACT I

One lovely morning, in a Hungarian meadow, a scholar went to walk
before he should begin his day's task of study and of teaching. He was
an old man, who had thought of little in life, so far as his
associates knew, besides his books; but secretly he had longed for
the bright joys of the world most ardently.

While he lingered in the meadow, possessed with its morning
brightness, and its summer dress he heard some person singing not far
away:

[Music:

     The shepherd donned his best array,
     Wreath and jacket and ribbons gay,
     Oh, but he, but he was smart to see,
     The circle closed round the linden tree,
     All danced and sprang,
     All danced and sprang, all danced and sprang;
       like madmen danced away.
     Hurrah, hurrah, huzza
     Tra la, la, la, la.]

At first a single voice was singing, but soon the song was taken up by
a joyous chorus, and Faust, the scholar, stopped to listen.

Alas! It spoke of that gaiety he had so longed to enjoy. A group of
peasants were out for a holiday, and their sport was beginning early.
While he meditated on all that he had lost, the merrymakers drew near,
and he watched them dance, listened to them laugh and sing, and became
more and more heartsick. It was the youth of the revellers that
entered into his heart. There was he, so old, and nearly done with
life; done with its possibilities for joy and with its hardships!

Then, in the very midst of these thoughts the sound of martial music
was heard. Faust shaded his eyes with his trembling old hand:

"Ha! A splendour of weapons is brightly gleaming afar: the sons of the
Danube apparelled for war! They gallop so proudly along: how sparkle
their eyes, how flash their shields. All hearts are thrilled, they
chant their battle's story! While my heart is cold, all unmoved by
glory." He sang this in recitative, while the music drew nearer and
nearer, and as the army passed by, it marched to one of the famous
compositions of history:

[Music]

Then the scene changed, and Faust was once more alone in his study. He
was melancholy.

"I left the meadow without regret, and now, without delight, I greet
our haughty mountains. What is the use of such as I continuing to
live? There _is_ no use! I may as well kill myself and have done it."
And after thinking this over a moment in silence he prepared himself a
cup of poison, and lifted it to his lips. As he was about to drink and
end his woes, the choir from the chapel began to sing an Easter hymn.

"Ah!" he cried, "the memories that overwhelm me! Oh, my weak and
trembling spirit, wilt thou surely ascend to heaven, borne upward by
this holy song!" He began to think of his happy boyhood, of his early
home; then as the glorious music of the choir swelled higher and
higher, he became gentler and thought more tolerantly of life.

"Those soft melodious strains bring peace to my soul; songs more sweet
than morning, I hear again! My tears spring forth, the earth has won
me back." He dropped his head upon his breast and wept. As he sat
thus, in tender mood, a strange happening took place. A queer,
explosive sound, and a jet of flame, and--there stood the devil, all
in red, forked tail, horns, and cloven hoof! He stood smiling wickedly
at the softened old man, while Faust stared at him wildly.

"A most pious frame of mind, my friend. Give me your hand, dear Doctor
Faust. The glad Easter ringing of bells and singing of peans have
certainly charmed you back to earth!"

"Who art thou, whose glances are so fierce? They burn my very soul.
Speak, thou spectre, and tell me thy name." From his very appearance,
one could hardly doubt he was the Devil.

"Why! so learned a man as you should know me. I am thy friend and
comfort. Come, ye are so melancholy, Doctor Faust, let me be thy
friend--I'll tell thee a secret: if you but say the word, I'll give ye
your dearest wish. It shall be whatever you wish. Eh? Shall it be
wealth, or fame?--what shall it be? Come! Let us talk it over."

"That is well, wretched demon! I think I know ye now. I am interested
in ye. Sit, and we shall talk," the poor old Doctor replied, despising
that which nevertheless aroused his curiosity. He, like everybody
else, had heard of the Devil, but he doubted if any other had had the
fortune actually to see him.

"Very well; I will be thine eye, thine ear. I will give thee the
world; thou shalt leave thy den, thy hateful study. Come! to satisfy
thy curiosity, follow me."

The old man regarded him thoughtfully for a moment, and then rose:

"Let us go," he said, and in the twinkle of an eye they disappeared
into the air.

They were transported over hill and dale, village and fine city, till
the Devil paused at Leipzig.

"Here is the place for us," he said; and instantly they descended to
the drinking cellar of Auerbach, a man who kept fine Rhenish wine for
jolly fellows.

They entered and sat at a table. By this time the Devil had changed
Faust the scholar, into a young and handsome man, youth being one of
Faust's dearest wishes.

All about them were coarse youths, soldiers, students, men off the
street, all drinking and singing gaily. Faust and the Devil ordered
wine and became a part of the company. They were all singing together
at that moment:

     Oh, what delight when storm is crashing,
     To sit all the night round the bowl;
     High in the glass the liquor flashing,
     While thick clouds of smoke float around.

The rest of the words were not very dignified nor fascinating, and
Faust looked on with some disgust. Presently some one cried out to a
half-drunken fellow named Brander to give them one of his famous
songs, and he got unsteadily upon his feet and began:

     There was a rat in the cellar-nest
       Whom fat and butter made smoother;
     He had a paunch beneath his vest
       Like that of Doctor Luther;
     The cook laid poison cunningly,
       And then as sore oppressed was he,
     As if he had love in his bosom.

     He ran around, he ran about,
       His thirst in puddles laving;
     He gnawed and scratched the house throughout,
       But nothing cured his raving;
     He whirled and jumped with torment mad,
       And soon enough the poor beast had,
     As if he had love in his bosom.

     And driven at last, in open day,
       He ran at last into the kitchen,
     Fell on the hearth and squirming lay
       In the last convulsion twitching;
     Then laughed the murd'ress in her glee,
       "Ha, ha! He's at his last gasp," said she,
     As if he had love in his bosom.

"Requiescat in pace, amen!" the Devil sang, and all joined on the
"amen." "Now then, permit _me_ to sing you a ballad," the Devil cried,
gaily, and he jumped upon his feet.

"What, you pretend that you can do better than Brander?" they
demanded, a little piqued.

"Well, you see, I am expert at anything nasty and bad; so let us see:

     There was a king once reigning,
       Who had a big black flea,
     And loved him past explaining,
       As his own son were he.
     He called his man of stitches,
       The tailor came straightway,
     'Here, measure the lad for breeches,
       And measure his coat, I say.'

     In silk and velvet gleaming,
       He now was wholly drest,
     Had a coat with ribbons streaming,
       A cross upon his breast.
     He had the first of stations,
       A minister's star and name,
     And also his relations,
       Great lords at court became.

     And lords and dames of honour
       Were plagued awake and in bed.
     The Queen, she got them upon her,
       The maids were bitten and bled.
     And they did not dare to brush them,
       Or scratch them day or night.
     We crack them and we crush them,
       At once whene'er they bite."

"Enough!" said Faust; "I want to leave this brutal company. There can
be no joys found where there is so much that is low and degrading. I
wish to go." And turning angrily to the Devil, he signified that he
would leave instantly.

"Very well," said the Prince of Darkness, smiling his satirical smile.
"Away we go--and better success with thee, next time." At which he
placed his mantle upon the ground, they stood upon it, and away they
flew into the air and disappeared.

When next they stopped, it was upon a grassy bank of the Elbe River.

"Now, my friend; let us rest. Lie thou down upon the grassy bank and
close thine eyes, and dream of joys to come. When we awake we shall
wish again and see what new experience the world holds for us. Thus
far you do not seem too well satisfied."

"I will sleep," Faust answered, reclining upon the bank. "I should be
glad to forget some things that we have seen." So saying he slept. No
sooner had he done so, that the Devil summoned the most beautiful
sylphs to dance before him, and thus to influence Faust's dreams. They
began by softly calling his name. Then they lulled him to deeper
sleep, and his dream was of fair women. In his dream he saw the lovely
dance, the gracious forms, the heavenly voices of youthful women. The
Devil directed his dream-laden eyes toward a loving pair who walked
and spoke and loved apart. Then immediately behind those lovers
walked, meditatively, a beautiful maiden.

"Behold," the Black Prince murmured to Faust; "that maiden there who
follows: she shall be thy Marguerite. Shall it not be so?" And Faust
sank back in his sleep, overcome with the lovely vision. Then the
Devil motioned the sylphs away.

"Away, ye dainty elves, ye have served my turn to-day, and I shall not
forget." They danced to exquisite waltz music, hovering above Faust,
and gradually disappeared in the mists of the air.

Slowly Faust awakened; His first word was "Marguerite!" Then he looked
about him in a daze.

"What a dream! What a dream!" he murmured. "I saw an angel in human
form."

"Nay, she was a woman," said the Devil. "Rise and follow me, and I
will show her to thee in her home. Hello! Here comes along a party of
jolly students and soldiers. They will pass her home. We'll move along
with them, join their shouts and songs, and presently we shall arrive
at her house." Faust, all trembling with the thought that at last he
had found that which was to make his life worth living, joined the
crowd and followed. The soldiers boisterously sang a fine chorus as
they went. No sooner had they finished than the students began their
song. It was all in Latin and seemed to Faust to echo that life which
had once been his. Then the soldiers and students joined in the
jollity and sang together.

This fun lasted what to Faust seemed too long a time. He was impatient
to see and speak with the dear maiden Marguerite; and at last, his
wish was to be granted. The Devil set him down without ceremony in the
young girl's house. There, where she lived, where her meagre
belongings were about, he sang rapturously of her. He went about the
room, looking at her chair, her basket of work, the place where she
should sleep, examining all with rapture. Then the Devil said in an
undertone:

"She is coming! hide thyself, and frighten her not." Then he hid Faust
behind some curtains and took himself off with the parting advice:

"Have a care not to frighten her, or thou wilt lose her. Now make the
most of thy time." Faust's heart beat so with love that he feared to
betray himself.

Then Marguerite entered. She was as lovely as a dream. She was simple
and gentle, and very young and innocent. She had never seen any one
outside her little village. She was so good that she could fairly tell
by instinct if evil influences were about her. She no sooner entered
the chamber than she was aware of something wrong. She felt the
presence of the evil one who had but just gone. She paused and
murmured to herself:

"The air is very sultry," and she felt stifled. "I am trembling like a
little child. I think it is the dream I had last night" (for the Devil
had given her a dream as he had given Faust, and in it she had seen
her future husband). "I think it is because I expect every moment
since my dream, to see the one who is to love and cherish me the rest
of my life." The simple folk of Marguerite's time believed in dreams
and portents of all kinds.

There she sat in her chair and recalled how handsome the lover of her
dream was, and how truly she already loved him. Then she decided to go
to bed, and while she was folding her few things, putting her apron
away, combing out her long and beautiful hair, she sang an old Gothic
song, of the King of Thule:

[Music:

     There was a king in Thule
       Was faithful till the grave
     To whom his mistress, dying,
       A golden goblet gave.
     Naught was to him more precious,
       He drained it at ev'ry bout.
     His eyes with tears ran over
       As oft as he drank thereout.]

     When came his time of dying,
       The towns in his land he told;
     Naught else to his heir denying
       Except the goblet of gold.
     He sat at the royal banquet,
       With his knights of high degree,
     In the lofty hall of his fathers,
       In the castle by the sea.

     There stood the old carouser,
       And drank the last life-glow,
     And hurled the hallow'd goblet
       Into the tide below.
     He saw it plunging and filling,
       And sinking deep in the sea,
     Then his eyelids fell forever,
       And never more drank he.

     There was a King once in Thule,
       Faithful was he--to the grave.

Then the Devil, who was watching all, summoned his imps. This time
they took the form of Will-o'-the-wisps.

"Come! dance and confuse this maiden, and see what we can do to help
this lovesick Faust," he cried to them, and at once they began a
wonderful dance. Marguerite watched them entranced, and by the time
Faust appeared from the folds of the curtains she was half dazed and
confused by the unreal spectacle she had seen. Then she recognized the
handsome fellow as the one she had seen in her dream.

"I have seen thee in my dreams," she said, "and thou wert one who
loved me well." Faust, entranced with her beauty and goodness,
promised to love her forever; and as he embraced her, the Devil
suddenly popped in.

"Hasten," he cried. "We must be off."

"Who is this man?" Marguerite cried in affright.

"A brute," Faust declared, knowing well the devilishness of his
pretended friend in whose company he travelled.

"Nay! I am your best friend. Be more courteous," the Devil cautioned,
smiling.

"I expect I am intruding," he continued. "But really I came to save
this angel of a girl. Our songs have awakened all the neighbours
round, and they are running hither like a pack of hounds to see what
is going on. They know this pretty girl has a young man in here
talking with her, and already they are calling for her old gossip of a
mother. When her mother comes ye will catch it finely. So come along."

"Death and Hell!" Faust cried, not knowing how near he was to both.

"There is no time for that. Just come along. You and the young woman
will have plenty of time hereafter to see each other. But just now we
must be off."

"But she----"

"It will go hard with her if we are found here, so ye had better come
on, if only for her sake."

"But, return, return," Marguerite cried, looking tenderly at Faust.

"I shall return, never to leave thee," he cried, and then, interrupted
by the noise made by men and women in the street, who were coming to
find out what he was doing there, Faust left hurriedly. Every night
thereafter for a time they met, and Marguerite was persuaded by the
Devil to give her old mother a sleeping potion to keep her from
surprising them. Then one day the Devil again lured Faust away.

"Now thou shalt never see her again," the Devil said to himself,
gloating over the sorrow Faust was sure to feel; and away they fled,
the Devil sure of tempting Faust anew.

After that Marguerite, left quite alone, watched sadly, each day for
the return of her lover, but alas! he never came. One night while she
was leaning out of her casement, the villagers were singing of the
return of the army.

"Alas, they are all making merry, soldiers and students, as on the
night when I first saw my lover, but he is no longer among them." And
then sadly she closed her window and kept her lonely vigil, ever
hoping for his return.

Away in a cavern, in the depths of the forest, was Faust. He had never
returned to Marguerite's village, and neither had he known any peace
of mind. He had immediately found other pleasures which had for a
time made him forget her, and then, when he was far away and it was
too late to return, he desired again to be with her. Now, sitting
apart in the wood, mourning, the Devil came to him.

"How about that constant love of thine? Do ye never think of that poor
child Marguerite, lonely and far away, awaiting thee month after
month?"

"Be silent and do not torture me, fiend," Faust cried bitterly.

"Oh I have a lot to tell thee," the Black Prince replied. "I have been
saving news for thee. Dost thou remember how, on those nights when
thou didst go to see that good maiden, she was told to give her old
mother a sleeping draught, that she might sleep soundly while ye
billed and cooed? Well, when ye were gone, Marguerite still expected
ye, and continued to give the draught, and one night the old dame
slept forever, and I tell thee that draught killed her. Now thy
Marguerite is going to be hanged for it." Upon hearing that, Faust
nearly died with horror.

"What is it ye tell me?" he cried. "My God! This is not true."

"All right. All right. Believe it or not, it is the same to me--and to
her--because that poor maid is about to die for killing her mother."

"Thou shalt save her, or I shall kill--" But he stopped in his fury,
knowing that none could kill the Devil. He wrung his hands in despair.

"Now if thou wilt keep thyself a bit civil, I may save her for thee,
but don't forget thy manners."

At that Faust was in a fury of excitement to be off to Marguerite's
village.

"Not so fast, not so fast," the Devil said "Now if I am to save thy
love, I must have a little agreement with thee. I want your signature
to this paper. Sign, and I promise to save her, without fail. But I
must have that first."

"I will give thee anything," Faust cried, and instantly signed the
paper. That paper was really an agreement to give the Devil his soul
when he should die, so Faust had abandoned his last hope on earth or
hereafter. Then the Devil called for his horses--his black horses upon
which damned souls rode with him to Hell.

"Mount," he said to Faust, "and in a trice we shall be with thy
Marguerite and snatch her from the gallows." Instantly they mounted
and then began the fearful ride to Hell.

Presently they came near a crowd of peasants kneeling about a roadside
cross.

"Oh, have a care. Let us not ride upon them," Faust cried.

"Get on, get on," the Devil cried. "It is thy Marguerite we are
hastening to," and the poor peasants scattered in every direction,
some being trampled upon and little children hurt.

"Horrible, horrible," Faust cried. "What is that monster pursuing us?"
he whispered, glancing fearfully behind him.

"Ye are dreaming."

"Nay! and there are hideous birds of prey now joining us. They rush
upon us. What screams? Their black wings strike me." And then a bell
tolled.

"Hark ye! It is the bell for her death. Hasten," the Devil urged.

"Aye, make haste, make haste." And the horses, black as night, were
urged on and on. "See those ghastly skeletons dancing!" Faust
screamed, as the fearful spectres gathered round them.

"Think not of them, but of our Marguerite!" the Devil counselled.

"Our horses' manes are bristling. They tremble, the earth rocks
wildly. I hear the thunders roar, it is raining blood," Faust
shrieked. Then the Devil shouted:

"Ah! Ye slaves of Hell, your trumpets blow. I come triumphant. This
man is mine!" And as he spoke, the two riders fell headlong into the
abyss of Hell.

Then all the fiends of Hell began to sing wildly. The scene was one of
damnation.

Then, grandly above Hell's din rose a mighty chorus. It was a heavenly
strain. Marguerite had not been spared the horror of execution; but
dead, the saints forgave her. In Heaven, as her soul ascended, they
sang:

"Ascend, O trusting spirit! It was love which misled thee. Come, let
us wipe away thy tears. Come, come, and dwell forever among the
blest."

And thus Faust met his end, and Marguerite her reward for faith and
innocence.



BIZET


When Bizet wrote his music around Prosper Mérimée's story of Carmen,
he reflected his familiarity with Spanish life and his long living in
the Pyrenees mountains. The character of Michaela is not found in the
novel, but the clever introduction of it into the opera story adds
greatly to dramatic effect, since the gentle and loving character is
in strong contrast with that of Carmen.

Bizet's name was Alexandre César Léopold, and he was born on October
25, 1838, at Bougival, and died June 3, 1875. He with Charles Lécocq
won the Offenbach prize for the best operetta while Bizet was as yet a
youth, and from that time his art gained in strength and beauty. In
those days it was a reproach to suggest Wagner in musical composition,
but Bizet was accused of doing so. Thus he was handicapped by leaning
toward an unpopular school at the very start, but the great beauty of
his productions made their way in spite of all. He wrote, as his
second composition of importance, an opera around the novel of Scott's
Fair Maid of Perth--in French, La Jolie Fille de Perth--and this was
not a success, but that same opera survives through his Carmen. The
Bohemian dance in that opera was taken from it and interpolated into
the fourth act of Carmen.

Bizet died only three months after the production of this last opera,
but he had lived long enough to know that he had become one of the
world's great composers. He wrote exquisite pastoral music for
"l'Arlésienne"--whose story was adapted from Daudet's novel of that
name. In short, Bizet was the pioneer in a new school of French opera,
doing for it in a less measure what Wagner has finally done for the
whole world.

This genius left few anecdotes or personal reminiscences behind him.
The glory of his compositions alone seems to stand for his existence.


CARMEN

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA WITH THE ORIGINAL CAST, AS PRESENTED AT THE
FIRST PERFORMANCE

Don José, Corporal of Dragoons   M. Lhérie
Escamillo, Toreador              M. Bouhy
Zuniga, Captain of Dragoons      M. Dufriche
Morales, Officer                 M. Duvernoy
Lillas Pastia, Innkeeper         M. Nathan
Carmen, Gipsy-girl               Mme. Galli-Marié
Michaela, a Village Maiden       Mlle. Chapuy
Frasquita                        Mlle. Ducasse
Mercedes                         Mlle. Chevalier
El Dancairo  }
El Remendado } Smugglers.
A guide.
Dragoons, gypsies, smugglers, cigarette-girls, street-boys, etc.

The time of the story is 1820, and it takes place in and near Seville.

Composer: Georges Bizet.

Book: H. Meilhac and L. Halévy.

First sung at the Opéra Comique, Paris, March 3, 1875.


I knew a boy who once said: "That soldier thing in 'Carmen' is the
most awful bully thing to whistle a fellow ever heard; but if you
don't get it just right, it doesn't sound like anything," which was a
mistake, because if you don't get it "just right" it sounds something
awful. That boy's whistle was twenty per cent. better than his syntax,
but his judgment about music was pretty good, and we shall have the
soldier song in the very beginning, even before learning how it
happens, because it is the thing we are likely to recall, in a shadowy
sort of way, throughout the first act:

[Music:

     With the guard on duty going
       Marching onward, here we are!
     Sound, trumpets merrily blowing!
       Ta ra ta ta ta ra ta ta.

     On we tramp, alert and ready,
       Like young soldiers ev'ry one;--
     Heads up and footfall steady,
       Left! right! we're marching on!

     See how straight our shoulders are,
       Ev'ry breast is swell'd with pride,
     Our arms all regular
       Hanging down on either side.

     With the guard on duty going,
       Marching onward, here we are!
     Sound, trumpets merrily blowing,
       Ta ra ta ta ta ra ta ta!]

That is the way it goes, and this is the way it happens:


ACT I

Once upon a time there was a pretty girl named Michaela, and she was
as good as she was beautiful. She loved a corporal in the Spanish army
whose name was Don José. Now the corporal was a fairly good chap, but
he had been born thoughtless, and as a matter of fact he had lived
away from home for so long that he had half-forgotten his old mother
who lived a lonely life with Michaela.

One day, about noontime, the guard, waiting to be relieved by their
comrades, were on duty near the guard-house, which was situated in a
public square of Seville. As the soldiers sat about, or walked with
muskets over shoulders, their service was not especially wearisome,
because people were continually passing through the square, and
besides there was a cigarette factory on the other side of the
square, and when the factory hands tumbled out, about noon, there was
plenty of carousing and gaiety for an hour. Here in the square were
little donkeys with tinkling bells upon them, and donkeys carrying
packs upon their backs, and gentlemen in black velvet cloaks which
were thrown artistically over one shoulder, and with plumes on their
hats. Then, too, there were ragged folks who looked rather well,
nevertheless, since their rags were Spanish rags, and made a fine show
of bright colours.

Just as Morales, the officer of the guard, was finding the hot morning
rather slow, and wishing the factory bell would ring, and his brother
officer march his men in to relieve him, Michaela appeared. She had
come into the city from the home of José's mother, which was somewhere
near, in the hills. His old mother had become so lonely and worried,
not having heard from José for so long, that at last the girl had
undertaken to come down into the city, bearing a note from his mother,
and to seek him out at his barracks. She had inquired her way till she
found the square where the guard was quartered, and now, when she
entered it, Morales was the first to see her.

"That is a pretty girl," Morales decided as he watched her. "Seems to
be looking for some one--little strange in this part of the town,
probably. Can I do anything for you?" he called to her, as she
approached.

"I am looking for Don José, a soldier, if you know him----"

"Perfectly. He is corporal of the guard which is presently to relieve
us. If you wait here, you are certain to see him." Michaela thanked
him quietly, and went away. The soldiers were strange to her, and she
preferred to wait in another part of the square rather than where
they were idling. She had no sooner disappeared than the music of the
relief guard was heard in the distance. It was the soldiers' chorus: a
regular fife and drum affair. It came nearer, nearer, nearer, till it
arrived in full blast, fresh as a pippin, the herald of all that was
going to happen through four acts of opera. There was to be fighting
and smugglers: factory-girls in a row, and Carmen everywhere and
anywhere, all of the time.

With the new guard comes first the bugler and a fifer with a lot of
little ragged urchins tagging along behind; then comes Zuniga
strutting in, very much pleased with himself, and after him Don José,
the corporal, whom Michaela has come to town to see. The street boys
sing while the new guard lines up in front of the old one, and every
one takes up the song. It is the business of every one in opera to
sing about everything at any time. Thus the guard describes itself in
song:

     On we tramp, alert and steady,
       Like young soldiers, every one!
     Head up, and footfall steady,
       Left, right! we're marching on!

     See how straight our shoulders are,--
       Every breast is swelled with pride,
     Our arms all regular--
       Hanging down on either side.

There is not much poetry in this, but there is lots of vim, and the
new guard, as bright as a new tin whistle, has formed and the old
guard marched off during the singing. Meantime, while things have been
settling down, Morales has had a word with Don José.

"A pretty girl is somewhere near here, looking for you, José. She
wore a blue gown and her hair is in a braid down her back; she's----"

"I know her; it is Michaela," José declares: and, with the sudden
knowledge that she is so near, and that she comes directly from his
old mother, he feels a longing for home, and realizes that he has been
none too thoughtful or kind toward those who love him. As everybody
finds himself in place, Zuniga points across to the cigarette factory.

"Did you ever notice that there are often some tremendously pretty
girls over there?" he asks of José.

"Huh?" José answers, abstractedly. Zuniga laughs.

"You are thinking of the pretty girl Morales has just told you of," he
says. "The girl with the blue petticoat and the braid down her back!"

"Well, why not? I love her," José answers shortly. He hunches his
musket a little higher and wheels about. He doesn't specially care to
talk of Michaela or his mother, with these young scamps who are as
thoughtless as himself: he has preserved so much of self-respect; but
before he can answer again the factory bell rings. Dinner time! José
stands looking across, as every one else does, while the factory crowd
begins to tumble out, helter-skelter. All come singing, and the girls
smoking cigarettes, a good many of them being gipsies, like Carmen.
They are dressed in all sorts of clothes from dirty silk petticoats,
up to self-respecting rags. Carmen is somewhere in the midst of the
hullabaloo, and everybody is shouting for her.

Carmen leads in everything. She leads in good and she leads in bad.
She makes the best and the worst cigarettes, she is the quickest and
she is the slowest, as the mood moves her; and now, when she flashes
on to the stage in red and yellow fringes and bedraggled finery,
cigarette in mouth and bangles tinkling, opera has given to the stage
the supreme puzzle of humanity: the woman who does always what she
pleases, and who pleases never to do the thing expected of her!

The first man she sees when she comes from the factory is José. The
first thing that she pleases to do is to make José love her. It will
be good fun for the noon hour. She has her friends with her, Frasquita
and Mercedes, and all are in the mood for a frolic. They sing:

[Music:

     Love is like any wood-bird wild,
     That none can ever hope to tame;
     And in vain is all wooing mild
     If he refuse your heart to claim.
     Naught avails, neither threat nor prayer,
     One speaks me fair--the other sighs,
     'Tis the other that I prefer,
     Tho' mute, his heart to mine replies.]

While Carmen sings, her eyes do not leave Don José, and he is watching
her in spite of himself. The racket continues till the factory bell
rings to call the crowd back to work. Carmen goes reluctantly, and as
she goes, she throws a flower at José.

     This little flower gave me a start
     Like a ball aimed fair at my heart!

he says, half smiling, half seriously, as he picks it up. While he
stands thus, looking toward the factory, holding the flower, thinking
of Carmen, Michaela comes back into the square. They espy each other,
and a sudden warmth and tenderness come upon José: after all, he loves
her dearly--and there is his old mother! His better self responds:
José, in imagination, sees the little house in the hills where he
lived as a boy before he went soldiering. He recalls vividly for the
first time in months, those who are faithful to him, and for a moment
he loves them as they love him. They speak together. Michaela gives
him the note from his mother. There is money in it: she has thought he
might be in debt, or in other trouble and need it. José is surprised
by the tears in his own eyes--it is a far cry from gay Seville to the
little house among the hills!

"Go back to mother, Michaela, tell her I am going to get leave as soon
as I can and am coming back to her and you. I am going to play fair.
There's not much in life, otherwise. Go home and tell her I am coming,
and I mean to make you both as happy as once I meant to."

His sudden tenderness enraptures the young girl, and kissing him she
sets out to leave Seville with a glad heart. José, left alone, on
guard, his life and thought interrupted by this incident of home and
faithfulness, leans thoughtfully upon his musket.

"It hasn't been quite right, and I am not happy. We'll change all
this," he meditates.

As the afternoon sun grows hot the citizens begin to creep within
doors for the _siesta_, as all Spanish life seems to grow tired and
still in the burning day. Suddenly the silence is broken by a scream
from over the way. José starts up and looks across.

"Hey, there! what the devil!" Zuniga shouts from the guard-house, and
runs out. "Hello, hello! José, look alive there! What's gone
wrong?--what the----" And the men start to run across the square.

"Help, help!" comes from the factory. "Will no one come? We're being
killed--the she-devil--look out for her--Carmen! Look out for her--she
has a knife!" Every one is screaming at once and trying each in his
own way to tell what has happened.

"Get in there, José, and bring out the girl. Arrest the gipsy; and you
men here get into this crowd and quiet it down. Make those girls shut
up. Why, what the devil, I say! one would think a lunatic asylum
loose. You've got the girl, José?" he calls across as the corporal
brings Carmen out. "Bring her over," and Zuniga starts across to meet
them, clattering on the cobblestones with his high heels.

"She knifed one of the girls, did she? All right--clap her into jail.
You're just a bit too ready with your hands, my girl," the captain
cries as José takes her into the guard-house.

José is set to guard her; which is about as wise as setting the cream
where the cat can dip her whiskers.

If it pleased the girl a moment before to stab a companion, it pleases
her best now to get out of jail. She begins ably.

"I love you," she remarks to José.

"It does not concern me," replies the heroic José.

"It should," Carmen persists.

"Ah!" replies José, noncommittally. This is unsatisfactory to Carmen.
However, she is equal to the occasion. When is she so fascinating as
when quite preoccupied?--she will try it now. She will sing:

[Music:

     Near to the walls of Sevilla
     With my good friend Lillas Pastia
     I'll soon dance the gay Seguidilla
     And I'll drink manzanilla--
     I'll go see my good friend Lillas Pastia!]

José is disturbed. Carmen is conscious of it. She continues to sing,
meanwhile coquetting with him. Before he is aware of his own mood, he
has cut the cord that he bound her hands with, and has disgraced
himself forever. In the fascination Carmen has for him, he has
forgotten that he is a soldier. Presently Zuniga enters. Carmen is to
be transferred in charge of José, with a guard detailed to go with
him. It is arranged. Carmen also makes some arrangements.

"When we have started, and are about to cross the bridge, I'll give
you a push. You must fall--you could not see me locked up--one so
young and gay!--and when you fall I shall run. After you can get away,
meet me at Lillas Pastia's inn." José seems to himself to be doing
things in a dream. He has earned a court-martial already if it were
known what he has done. A corporal's guard start under José; the
bridge is reached. Carmen makes a leap; down goes José. The others are
taken unawares and she rushes at them. They too fall, head over heels,
one down the bank. Carmen is up, and off! She flies up the path,
laughing at them as they pick themselves up.

"This is a good business, eh?" Zuniga sneers. "On the whole, Don José,
I think you will shine rather better under lock and key, in the
guard-house, than you will as a soldier at large. Men, arrest him!" he
orders sharply, and José has made the first payment on the score Fate
has chalked up against him.


ACT II

Flying to Lillas Pastia's inn, as she had agreed with José, Carmen is
joined by her old comrades--smugglers and gipsy girls, chief of whom
are Mercedes and Frasquita. It is late at night, and a carouse is in
progress. Among those in the inn is Zuniga himself. As a matter of
truth, he has fallen in love with Carmen on his own account, and has
kept José under arrest in order to have him out of the way. There they
are, all together, the gipsies playing on guitars and tambourines. The
girls are mostly dancing. Carmen is coquetting with every man present,
and the fun becomes a riot, so that the innkeeper has to interfere.

"It is so late, I've got to close up," he says. "You'll all have to
clear out." Zuniga looks at Carmen. He wants to have a talk with her.

"Will you go with me?" he asks.

"I've no good reason for going with you," she answers, tantalizingly.

"Perhaps you're angry because I have locked José up," Zuniga suggests.
"If you will make yourself agreeable, I don't mind telling you I have
had him set free."

"What's that? Not in prison?" she asked. "Well, that's very decent of
you, I'm sure," she sneers. "Good-night, gentlemen, I'm off!" she
cries, and runs out into the night. Everybody follows her but Zuniga,
who knows well enough he cannot trust her. They have no sooner
disappeared than Zuniga hears shouts and "hurrahs" outside. He runs to
the window and leans out.

"Hello! They are going to have a torch-light procession, eh?" and he
leans farther out. "By the great horn spoon," he presently
exclaims--or something which is its Spanish equivalent, "it's that
bull-fighting fellow, Escamillo, who won that fight in Granada! Hello,
out there, old friend! Come in here and have something to drink with
me. To your past success and to your future glory!" Motioning to the
bull-fighter outside, Zuniga goes toward the door. In he comes, this
Escamillo, all covered with the glory of having killed some frisky
and dangerous bulls--with all the chances against the bulls,
nevertheless. Everybody else enters with Escamillo and all stand ready
for refreshments at Zuniga's expense. Carmen comes back, and of course
is to be found in the thick of the fun.

"Rah, rah, rah!" everybody yells, calling a toast to the bull-fighter,
who is dressed up till he looks as fine as a little wagon. The toast
suits him perfectly and he says so. He squares himself and strikes an
attitude of grandeur without the least doubt that he is the greatest
thing in the world, and while he is singing about it, half the people
in the opera house are likely to agree with him. Here he goes:

[Music:

     For a toast your own will avail me,
     Señors, señors!
     For all you men of war,
     Like all Toréros, as brother hail me!
     In a fight, in a fight we both take delight!

     'Tis holiday, the circus full,
     The circus full from rim to floor:
     The lookers on, beyond control,
     The lookers on now begin to murmur and roar!
     Some are calling,
     And others bawling
     And howling too, with might and main!
     For they await a sight appalling!
     'Tis the day of the brave of Spain!
     Come on! make ready!
     Come on! Come on! Ah!

     Toréador, make ready!
     Toréador! Toréador!
     And think on her, on her, who all can see:
     On a dark eyed lady,
     And that love waits for thee, Toréador,
     Love waits, love waits for thee!]

While Escamillo is singing the refrain of this song he is about the
most self-satisfied fellow one ever saw. He hasn't the slightest doubt
about himself and neither has any sensible person a doubt about him;
but Carmen is not a sensible person.

The bull-fighter has been trying the same trick upon Carmen that she
tried upon José. She is not indifferent to his fascinations,
but--well, there is trouble coming her way, Escamillo's way, José's
way, everybody's way, but it is some comfort to know that they all
more or less deserve it.

When Escamillo has finished singing of his greatness, he asks Carmen
what she would think of him if he told her he loved her, and for once
in a way she is quite truthful. She tells him she would think him a
fool.

"You are not over-encouraging, my girl, but I can wait," he returns.

"I am sure there is no harm in waiting," she answers him.

Now Carmen's familiar friends, the smugglers, have an enterprise in
hand, and it has been their habit to look to Carmen, Frasquita, and
Mercedes for help in their smuggling. When they find an opportunity,
they approach Carmen.

"We need your help to-night."

"Indeed! well, you won't get it," she declares.

"What! you won't attend to business?"

"I won't."

"What's the matter now?" El Dancairo, chief of the smugglers, demands.

"If you particularly want to know--why, then, I am in love--for
to-night only," she hastens to add, as the smugglers stare at her in
disgust.

"Well, we wish you joy; but you'll show better sense to come along
with us. If you wait here, your lover is likely not to come, and
you'll lose the money in the bargain."

     When any sly intrigue is weaving,
     Whether for thieving,
     Or for deceiving,
     You will do well if you provide,
     To have a woman on your side--

they sing--which shows what the smugglers think of their sisters and
their cousins and their aunts.

When they insist upon knowing for whom Carmen is going to wait at the
inn, she finally tells them she is waiting for José, and pretends to
some very nice sentiments indeed, on his account; says he got her out
of prison, has been locked up for her sake, and of course she must
treat him nicely.

"Well, all we have to say about it is that you had better have a care.
Very likely he'll not come, and----" El Dancairo is interrupted by a
song in the hills. It is José's voice signalling to Carmen.

"Think not?" she asks, nonchalantly.

When José enters, she really is glad to see him: he is very handsome
indeed. After her comrades have gone outside the inn, she tells José
of her regret that he has suffered for her, and starts to entertain
him.

There, in the dingy inn, she begins a wonderful dance, shaking her
castanets and making herself very beautiful and fascinating once more
to José. In the midst of the dance they hear a bugle call. José starts
up.

"Carmen, it is my squad going back to camp. It is the retreat that has
sounded. I must go."

"Go?" she stares at him. Then, realizing that he is going to desert
her for duty, she flies into a rage, throws his shako after him and
screams at him to go and not come back. This puts José in a bad way,
because he has been able to think of nothing but Carmen ever since she
escaped and he went to prison in her place. Meantime, she raves about
the inn, declaring that he doesn't love her, whereupon he takes the
flower she once threw him, now dead and scentless, from his pocket,
and shows it to her. He has kept it safely through all that has
happened to him.

"That is all very well, Don José, but if you truly loved me, you would
leave this soldiering which takes you away, and go live with me and my
companions in the mountains. There, there is no law, no duties,
no----" Don José nearly faints at the idea.

"Disgrace my uniform!" he cries.

"Let your uniform go hang," she answers. She never was any too choice
in her language. Poor José! poor wretch! he buries his face in his
hands, and cries several times, "My God!" and looks so distracted that
one almost believes he will pull himself together, take his shako, and
go back to his men. Presently he decides that he will go, and starts
toward the door, when there comes a knocking.

"What's that?" he whispers, pausing; but almost at the moment, Zuniga,
looking for Carmen, opens the door.

"Fie, Carmen! Is this your taste?" the captain laughs, pointing to
José. José is only a corporal, while Zuniga, being a captain, feels in
a corporal's presence like a general at the very least.

"Come on, get out," he demands of José.

"No," José answers. "I think not," and there is no doubt he means it.
Then the men begin to fight. Carmen, desiring to have one of them to
torment, throws herself between them. Her screams bring the gipsies
and smugglers.

"Seize the captain," she cries, and Zuniga is seized and tied. He
roars and fumes and threatens, but the smugglers carry him off. This
puts José in a truly bad way. How can he return and tell Zuniga's men
what has happened? and then when Zuniga is free he will be tried by
court-martial and suffer the worst, beyond doubt.

"Now then, José. What about it? You can't go back to your company,
eh?"

"This is horrible," he tells her. "I am a ruined man."

"Then come with us and make the best of it," she cries, and Fate
scores again.


ACT III

Disgraced, there is nothing left for José but to go away to the
smugglers' retreat in the mountains. There, in a cave looking out to
sea, well located above the valley for smuggling operations, all the
gipsies and the smugglers, headed by El Dancairo, lie waiting for the
hour when they can go out without being caught. There, too, is Don
José, sitting gloomily apart, cut off from all that is good,
dishonoured and so distressed that he is no longer a good companion.
Carmen looks at him, and feels angry because he seems to be
indifferent to her.

"What do you see, that you sit staring down there into the valley?"
she asks.

"I was thinking that yonder is living a good, industrious old woman,
who thinks me a man of honour, but she is wrong, alas!"

"And who is this good old woman, pray?" Carmen sneers.

"If you love me do not speak thus," he returns, "for she is my
mother."

"Ah, indeed! Well, I think you need her. I advise you to return to
her." Don José needed her more than he knew.

"And if I went back--what about you?"

"Me? What about me, pray? I stay where I belong--with my friends."

"Then you expect me to give you up, for whom I have lost all that I
had in life!" Realizing that he has given so much for so little, his
bitterness becomes uncontrollable, and though he says nothing, Carmen
surprises a horrid look on his face.

"You'll be committing murder next, if you look like that," she laughs.
"Well, you are not very good company. Hello, there! Mercedes,
Frasquita--anybody instead of this fool--let's amuse ourselves. Get
the cards. Let us tell our fortunes, eh?" The three girls gather about
the table; the other two shuffle and cut. The cards turn out well for
them. Carmen watches them. After a moment she reaches for the pack.
She is very nonchalant about it, and glances at José as she shuffles
the cards. Then she sits half upon the table and cuts. A glance! a
moment of sudden fear! she has cut death for herself! The blow has
come to her in her most reckless moment. After an instant's pause she
sings with a simple fatalism in voice and manner:

     In vain to shun the answer that we dread.

She cuts the cards again and yet again. Still her dreadful fate
appears.

"There is no hope," she murmurs to herself, as El Dancairo starts up
and cries:

"'Tis time to be off. The way is clear. Come."

The others, headed by Remendado and El Dancairo, file down the path,
leaving Don José alone in the cave. It is a dismal scene: the
loneliness of José, the menace of death in the air!

While José sits with bowed head, a girl's figure rises behind the
rocks, and almost at the same moment there appears the form of a man,
as well. José hears the rolling of the stones beneath their feet and
starts up, musket in hand. Just as he rises, he sees the man's head.
The girl cries out as he fires upon the man, and misses him; then she
crouches down behind the rock. It is Michaela, come to find José
wherever he may be. She knows of his disgrace; it is killing his
mother. The lonely old woman is dying. Michaela has come to fetch him,
if he has not lost all memory of gentler hours. As José fires, the man
shouts.

"Hey, there! what are you about?"

"What are _you_ about? What do you want up here?"

"If you were not so ready with your gun, my friend, you are more
likely to find out. I'm Escamillo the Toreador."

"Oh, well, then come up. I know you and you are welcome enough, but
you run a fearful risk, let me tell you. You haven't sought very good
company, I suppose you know."

"I don't care particularly; because, my friend, I am in love, if you
want to know."

"Do you expect to find her here?"

"I am looking for her," Escamillo returns, complaisantly.

"These women are all gipsies."

"Good enough: so is Carmen."

"Carmen!" José cries, his heart seeming to miss a beat.

"That's her name. She had a lover up here--a soldier who deserted from
his troop to join her--but that's past history. It's all up with him
now." José listens and tries not to betray himself.

"Do you know that when a rival tries to take a gipsy girl from her
lover there is a price to pay?" he tries to ask with some show of
tranquillity.

"Very well, I am ready."

"A knife thrust, you understand," José mutters, unable to hide his
emotion. He hates Escamillo so much that he is about to spring upon
him.

"Ho, ho! From your manner, I fancy you are that fine deserter. You
want to fight? Good! I fight bulls for pleasure; you used to fight men
for business. Evenly matched. Have at it," and the men fall to
fighting. The fight grows hotter and hotter. Escamillo's knife
suddenly snaps off short. José is about to kill him when Carmen and
the men are heard running back. They have encountered some one in the
valley below and have returned just in time to interrupt the quarrel.

"José," she screams, and holds his arm. Then he is set upon by the
others and held in check. Escamillo throws his arms about Carmen and
taunts the helpless fellow. José rages.

"I'm off, my fine dragoon," he cries, "but if you love me you will all
come to the bull fight next week at Seville. Come, my friend," to
José, "and see what a really good looking fellow is like," he taunts,
looking gaily at Carmen. He goes off, down the path, while José is
struggling to free himself, and at that moment, Michaela, nearly dead
with fright, falls upon the rock, and is heard by the men. El
Remendado hears her and runs out. He returns bringing the young girl
with him.

"Michaela!" José calls.

"José! your mother is dying. I have come for you. For God's sake----"

"My mother dying," he shakes off the men. Then the voice of Escamillo
is heard far down the mountain singing back at Carmen the Toreador's
song. Carmen rushes for the entrance to the cave. She will follow
Escamillo. José goes wild with rage. He bars the entrance.

"My mother is dying. I am going to her--but your time too has come,"
he swears, looking at Carmen. "I have lost friends, honour, and now my
mother for you, and I swear you shall reckon with me for all this
wrong. When we meet again, I shall kill you," and he disappears behind
the rocks with Michaela.


ACT IV

Back in gay Seville, not near to its cigarette factory and the
guard-house, but at the scene of the great bull-fight, where Escamillo
is to strut and show what a famous fellow he deserves to be! The old
amphitheatre at the back with its awning stretched, the foreground
with its orange-girls, fan-girls, wine-pedlars, ragged idlers and
beggars, fine gentlemen, mules--all eager for the entertainment!
Escamillo is the man who kills bulls and makes love to all the pretty
girls he sees. Everybody wants to get a peep at him. The air is full
of excitement. Everybody, wine-sellers, orange-girls, all dance and
twirl about, and donkeys' bells tinkle, and some are eating, and some
are drinking. The Alcalde is to attend, and all the fine ladies and
gentlemen of Seville. Here comes Zuniga.

"Here, bring me some oranges," he orders, in his old
at-least-a-general fashion. The smugglers had let him loose, of
course, as soon as Carmen and José had got away from Lillas Pastia's
inn, that night. He sits to eat his oranges and to watch the gradually
assembling crowd. Frasquita and Mercedes are on hand, and there is a
fair sprinkling of smugglers and other gipsies.

"Here they come, here they come!" some one cries, and almost at once
the beginning of the bull-fighting procession appears. First the
cuadrilla, then the alguazil, chulos, banderilleros--all covered with
spangles and gold lace; and the picadors with their pointed lances
with which to goad the bull. Every division in a different colour, and
everybody fixed for a good time, except the bull, perhaps. After all
these chromo gentlemen have had a chance at him, Escamillo will
courageously step up and kill him. Yes, Spain is all ready for a good
time! Now at last comes Escamillo.

"Viva Escamillo!" If one ever saw a beauty-man, he is one! He might as
well have been a woman, he is so good-looking. He has a most beautiful
love song with Carmen, who of course is in the very midst of the
excitement, and in the midst of the song, the great Alcalde arrives.
Nobody wants to see the bull-fight more than he does. He was brought
up on bull-fights. His entrance makes a new sensation.

In the midst of the hurly-burly Frasquita forces her way to Carmen.

"You want to get away from here. I have seen Don José in this crowd.
If he finds you there will be trouble----"

"For him maybe." Carmen returns, insolently looking about to see if
she can espy José. The girls urge her not to go too far; to keep out
of José's way, but she refuses point blank.

"Leave the fight and Escamillo? Not for twenty Josés. Here I am, and
here I stay," she declares. Everybody but Carmen thinks of the fortune
in the cave: death, death, death! But gradually the great crowd passes
into the amphitheatre, and Carmen has promised Escamillo to await him
when he shall come out triumphant; and Escamillo has no sooner bade
Carmen good-bye than José swings into the square in search of Carmen.

Carmen sees him and watches him. He does not look angry. As a matter
of fact he has gone through so much sorrow (the death of his mother,
and the jeers of his friends) that he has sought Carmen only with
tenderness in his heart. He now goes up to her and tells her this.

"Indeed, I thought you had come to murder me."

"I have come to take you away from these gipsies and smugglers. If you
are apart from them you will do better. I love you and want you to go
away from here, and together we will begin over and try to do better."

Carmen looks at him and laughs. Suddenly she hears cheering from the
amphitheatre and starts toward it. José interposes.

"You let me alone. I want to go in----"

"To see Escamillo----"

"Why not--since I love him----"

"How is that?"

"As I said----" At this, a blind rage takes possession of Don José.
All his good purposes are forgotten. For a moment he still pleads with
her to go away, and she taunts him more cruelly. Then in a flash
José's knife is drawn, another flash and Carmen's fortune is verified:
she falls dead at the entrance to the amphitheatre, just as the crowd
is coming out, cheering the victorious Escamillo. José falls beside
her, nearly mad with grief for what he has done in a fit of rage,
while Escamillo comes out, already fascinated by some other girl, and
caring little that Carmen is dead--except that the body is in the way.
José is under arrest, Carmen dead, and the great crowd passes on,
cheering:

"Escamillo, Escamillo forever!"



DEKOVEN


Smith and DeKoven, who have made countless thousands laugh, are living
still, and will very likely continue to do gracious things for the
comic-opera-loving public.

The very imperfect sketch of the opera, "Robin Hood," given in this
book, is lacking in coherence and in completeness in every way, but a
prompt-book, being necessary properly to give the story, is not
obtainable. Rather than ignore an American performance which is so
graceful, so elegant, and which should certainly be known to every
child, an attempt had been made to outline the story.

Little idea can be had of the opera's charm from this sketch, but the
opera is likely to live, even after the topical stories of "Pinafore"
and "The Mikado" have lost their application, because the story of
Robin Hood is romantic forever, and the DeKoven music is not likely to
lose its charm.

"Robin Hood" was first produced at the Chicago Opera House, June 9,
1890, by the Bostonian Opera Company. In January, 1891, under the
management of Mr. Horace Sedger, the opera was produced, under the
title of "Maid Marian," at the Prince of Wales's Theatre in London.
The cast included Mr. Haydn Coffin, Mr. Harry Markham, Miss Marion
Manola, and Miss Violet Cameron.


ROBIN HOOD

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Robin Hood                 Edwin H. Hoff
Little John                W.H. Macdonald
Scarlet                    Eugene Cowles
Friar Tuck                 George Frothingham
Alan-a-Dale                Jessie Bartlett Davis
Sheriff of Nottingham      H.C. Barnabee
Sir Guy                    Peter Lang
Maid Marian                Marie Stone
Annabel                    Carlotta Maconda
Dame Durden                Josephine Bartlett


ACT I

     In Sherwood forest, the merriest of lives,
       Is our outlaw's life so free!
     We roam and rove in Sherwood's grove,
       Beneath the greenwood tree.
     Through all the glades and sylvan shades
       Our homes (through the glades) are found;
     We hunt the deer, afar and near,
       Our hunting horns do we sound.

And thus begins the merriest tale of the merriest lives imaginable. It
is on a May morning: every young sprint and his sweetheart in
Nottingham are out in their best, for the fair--May-day fair in
Nottingham; and near at hand, Alan-a-Dale, Little John, Will Scarlet,
Friar Tuck, and the finest company of outlaws ever told about, are
just entering the town to add to the gaiety.

Now in the village of Nottingham lived Dame Durden and her daughter,
Annabel. Annabel was a flirtatious young woman who welcomed the
outlaws in her very best manner. She assured them that outlaws of such
high position would surely add much to the happiness of the occasion;
and they certainly did, before the day was over. The outlaws came in,
as fine a looking lot and as handsome as one would wish to see, and
joined the village dance. It was an old English dance, called a
"Morris Dance," with a lilt and a tilt which set all feet a-going.

[Music:

     Fa la, fa la,
     Trip a morris dance hilarious,
     Lightly brightly,
     Trip in measure multifarious,
     Fa la la, fa la la,
     Trip a morris dance hilarious,
     Lightly and brightly we celebrate the fair!]

If anything was needed to add to the gaiety of the day, the outlaws
furnished it, because, among other things, they brought to the fair a
lot of goods belonging to other people, and they meant to put them up
at auction.

Friar Tuck was an old renegade monk who travelled about with the merry
men of Sherwood, to seem to lend a little piety to their doings. He
had a little bottle-shaped belly and the dirtiest face possible, a
tonsured head, and he wore a long brown habit tied round the middle
with a piece of rope which did duty for several things besides tying
this gown. He was a droll, jolly little bad man and he began the
auction with mock piety:

     As an honest auctioneer,
     I'm prepared to sell you here
       Some goods in an assortment that is various;
     Here's a late lamented deer
     (That was once a King's, I fear)
       Killing him was certainly precarious.

     Here I have for sale
     Casks of brown October ale,
       Brewed to make humanity hilarious;
     Here's a suit of homespun brave
     Fit for honest man or knave;
       Here's a stock in fact that's multifarious.

And so it was!

His stock consisted of the most curious assortment of plunder one ever
saw even at a Nottingham fair in the outlaw days of Robin Hood.

While all that tow-wow was going on, people were coming in droves to
the fair; and among them came Robert of Huntingdon. The name is very
thrilling, since the first part gives one an inkling that he beholds
for the first time the future Robin Hood. However, on that May morning
he was not yet an outlaw. He was a simple Knight of the Shire.

The Sheriff, who was a great personage in Nottingham, had a ward whom
he had foisted upon the good folks of Nottinghamshire as an Earl, but
as a fact he was simply a country lout, and all the teachings of the
Sheriff would not make him appear anything different. Robert of
Huntingdon was the Earl, in fact, and the Sheriff was going to try to
keep him out of his title and estates. The merry men of Sherwood
forest were great favourites with Robert and they were his friends.
During the fair a fine cavalier, very dainty for a man, fascinating,
was caught by Friar Tuck kissing a girl, and was brought in with a
great to-do. She declared that she had a right to kiss a pretty girl,
since her business was that of cavalier. Robin Hood discovered her
sex, underneath her disguise, and began to make love to her.

Among other reasons for Robin Hood being at the fair was that of
making the Sheriff confer upon him his title to the Earldom. When he
boldly made his demand, the foxy Sheriff declared that he had a
half-brother brought up by him, and that the half-brother, and not
Robert, was the Earl.

"You are a vain, presumptuous youth," the Sheriff declared. "You are
no Earl, instead it is this lovely youth whom I have brought up so
carefully." And he put forth Guy, the bumpkin. This created an awful
stir, and all the outlaws who were fond of Robin Hood took up the case
for him.

"A nice sort of Earl, that," Little John cried.

"You think we will acknowledge him as heir to the estates of
Huntingdon? Never!" Scarlet declared.

"Traitor!" Robin Hood cried to the Sheriff. "In the absence of the
King I know that your word is law; but wait till the King returns from
his Crusade! I'll show you then whose word is to prevail."

"My friend!" Little John then cried, stepping into the middle of the
row, "take thou this good stout bow of yew. You are going to join us
and make one of Sherwood's merry men till his Majesty returns and
reinstates you as the rightful Earl of Huntingdon. Come! Say you will
be one of us." All the outlaws crowded affectionately about Robert and
urged him.

"You shall become King of Outlaws, if you will," Scarlet cried. "Come!
accept our friendship. Become our outlaw king!"

After thinking a moment, Robert turned and looked at the gay cavalier
whom he knew to be his cousin Marian, in masquerade, and whom he
loved. Then he decided he would go and live a gay and roving life in
the forest till he could return and marry his cousin as the Earl of
Huntingdon should.

"Farewell," he sang to her. "Farewell, till we meet again," and he was
carried off amid the uproarious welcome of the outlaws of Sherwood
forest, to become their leader till the King returned from the
Crusades to make him Earl.


ACT II

Away in Sherwood forest the outlaws were encamped--which meant merely
the building of a fire and the assembling of the merry men. Robin Hood
had become their leader.

     Oh, cheerily soundeth the hunter's horn,
       Its clarion blast so fine;
     Through depths of old Sherwood so clearly borne,
     We hear it at eve and at break of morn,
       Of Robin Hood's band the sign.
         A hunting we will go,
           Tra-ra-ra-tra-ra!
         We'll chase for the roe,
           Tra-ra-ra-tra-ra!
     Oh where is band so jolly
       As Robin's band in their Lincoln green?
     Their life is naught but folly,
       A rollicking life I ween!

Now the merry men gathered about their fire, and while the old monk
was broiling the meat, they all lounged about in comfortable ways and
Little John sang to them:

     And it's will ye quaff with me, my lads,
       And it's will ye quaff with me?
     It is a draught of nut-brown ale
       I offer unto ye.
     All humming in the tankard, lads,
       It cheers the heart forlorn;
     Oh! here's a friend to everyone,
       'Tis stout John Barley-corn.

     So laugh, lads, and quaff, lads!
       'Twill make you stout and hale,
     Through all my days I'll sing the praise
       Of brown October ale!

While the outlaws were lounging thus, in came the Sheriff, Sir Guy,
the spurious Earl, and a lot of journeymen tinkers. Immediately they
began a gay chorus, telling how they were men of such metal that no
can or kettle can withstand their attack, and as they hammered upon
their tin pans, one believed them. Of all the merriment and nonsense
that ever was, the most infectious took place there in the forest,
while the tinkers sang and hammered, and Friar Tuck made jokes, and
the other outlaws drank their brown October ale: but soon Maid Marian,
the dainty cavalier, wandered that way, looking for Robin Hood--Robert
of Huntingdon. She had missed him dreadfully, and finally could not
refrain from going in search of him. She was certain she should find
him thinking of her and as true to her as she was to him.

Robin Hood found that she had come to the forest, and sang to her a
serenade which was overheard by the other outlaws. Alan-a-Dale, who
was in love, became jealous, and the Sheriff came on to the scene, and
the outlaws, finding him on their ground, took him prisoner, and Dame
Durden, who secretly had been married to the Sheriff, and from whose
shrewish tongue the Sheriff had fled, came to free him. She declared
that if the Sheriff of Nottingham would acknowledge her, she would get
him free from the stocks, into which the outlaws had put him, and
would take him home. But the prospect of having to stand Dame Durden's
tongue was so much worse than the stocks, that the Sheriff begged the
outlaws to take him anywhere so long as it was away from his wife.

     Woman, get thee gone,
     I'd rather live alone!
       If Guy should come with the King's men,
       I'd turn the tables on them,

the Sheriff cried, trying to plan a way to get free.

At that all the outlaws danced gaily about him, gibing at him and
making the pompous Sheriff miserable. They were trying to pay him for
his mistreatment of Robin Hood, their beloved leader.

In the height of their gaiety in rushed Sir Guy with the King's men.

"We're lost," all cried.

"You are," Sir Guy recklessly shouts, "because we're brave as lions,
all of us, and shall make short work of you."

     We're brave as lions, every one,
     We're brave as lions--for we're two to one,

all cried, and immediately they marched the gay outlaws off to prison
and set the Sheriff free.

As it turned out, Maid Marian, the cousin and beloved of Robin Hood,
had been commanded by the King himself to become Robin's wife, or
rather the wife of the Earl of Huntingdon. As the false Earl, Guy had
tried to make love to the maid, and to win her, but the cousins loved
each other, and all Guy's efforts were quite hopeless. But now that
the outlaws, and Robin Hood with them, were all in the power of the
Sheriff again, the case looked serious. As outlaws, the Sheriff could
hang them, every one. Little John and the leading outlaws pleaded for
their friend, reminding the Sheriff and Sir Guy that, since Robin
must, by the King's command, marry Marian, the Sheriff dare not kill
him.

"Don't count upon that," the wily Sheriff cried "The King's command
was to the Earl of Huntingdon--and he is my ward, Sir Guy; not your
outlaw friend! Robin Hood shall go to the gallows and Guy shall marry
the Maid Marian." At that everybody sighed very sadly. It really began
to look as if the wicked Sheriff was going to get the best of them.


ACT III

Among the outlaws, the strongest and also the cleverest, perhaps, was
Will Scarlet. He had not been captured with the others of the band,
and so he had come into Nottingham, whence the prisoners had been
taken, to spy out the ground and to see if he could not help to free
his comrades. He had set up a blacksmith's shop and had set about
forging a sword. All the while he was watching what took place about
him, and hoping to get news of his friends.

Friar Tuck was finally discovered locked up in a tower, and with his
dirty face at the window. It would have been a shame for so dirty and
merry a gentleman as the Friar to have his life cut short, and of
course he was freed, but before this happened he had plenty of chance
to get scared half to death.

At the very moment when Maid Marian was distracted because she feared
that her lover, Robin Hood, was to be led to the gallows, a message
came from the King, pardoning all of the outlaws. Some one had
revealed to his Majesty the doings of the Sheriff, and the King had
hastened to look into matters. When everybody's life seemed to be in
danger, the King rushed back from the Crusades and saved them all, and
put the temporary outlaw into his rightful place, and forgave all the
other merry men because they had befriended Robert of Huntingdon.

In the midst of the rejoicing, Robin bade the foresters farewell,
clasped his cousin in his arms, the Sheriff was properly punished, and
the merriest of operas came to an end.



FLOTOW


There has never been more uncertainty and disagreement about the
production, composition, and source of any opera than about the opera
of "Martha." Among the reasonable guesses as to its source is one that
Flotow found the theme for the story in a French ballet named "Lady
Henriette, ou la Foire de Richmond," also, "Lady Harriette, ou la
Servante de Greenwich." Among the German titles we find "Martha, oder
der Markt zu Richmond," and "Martha, oder der Mägdemarkt zu Richmond."
When all is said and done, it is still a German opera.

Flotow belonged to the petty nobility of Mecklenburg. He was destined
for the diplomatic profession and his art work was continually
interrupted by revolutions in his own country and in France.

He had already written a number of unimportant pieces before he
undertook "Martha." This opera was made under particularly interesting
circumstances, being originally the work of three composers. The
Marquis Saint-Georges--the librettist of the day--asked Flotow to
undertake the music of one act only, as the other two had already been
assigned to two different composers. This proved to be on account of a
contract made by the manager of the Grand Opéra with the French
Government to produce a new ballet in three acts every year--and the
Marquis had tried to evade the contract on the ground that it would
bankrupt him. The manager's _Première_ heard of this appeal, and she
in her turn went to headquarters, asking that the manager be compelled
to put on the piece as agreed. The next day he received an offer of
100,000 francs to mount the new ballet if he would put the dancer,
Mlle. Dumilatre, into the leading part, and do it in an incredibly
short time. This was how three composers brought into being the piece
that one day was to become the "Martha" with which we are now
familiar. After Flotow had written "Stradella" he was asked to write
an opera for the court, and remembering the peculiarly carpentered
piece, "Martha," he went to Saint-Georges's ballet for his court-opera
theme. When finished it was "Martha."

The librettist for "Martha" and another Flotow piece was Reise, but he
wrote under the name of W. Friedrich. Balfe used the story for an
opera which he called "The Maid of Honour." The opera was about ten
years in gaining popularity outside of Germany. It was perhaps
somewhat longer than that in reaching Paris and London. It was known
in New York, having been presented at Niblo's Garden, before it was
known in Paris or London, and Madame Anna Bishop sang it. The great
singers who have appeared in the cast are Anna Bishop, Mario, Lehman,
Nilsson, Patti, Brignoli, and others.

Flotow's best claim to distinction lies in this opera of "Martha." He
was not a special favourite nor a genius, but in "Martha" he turned
out a number of fascinating tunes of a humable sort. One of them has
been adapted to sacred words, and is much used in churches, but for
the most part "Martha" is made of a series of jiggy choruses. Berlioz,
who especially hated Flotow, declared that the "introduction of the
Irish melody ('Last Rose of Summer') served to disinfect the
rottenness of the Martha music."

Flotow was born April 27, 1812. Died January 24, 1883.


MARTHA

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA WITH THE ORIGINAL CAST AS PRESENTED AT THE
FIRST PERFORMANCE

Lady Harriet      Anna Zerr
Nancy             Therese Schwarz
Lionel            Joseph Erl
Plunkett          Carl Formes

Sheriff of Richmond, three servants of Lady Harriet, three maid
servants.

Chorus of ladies, servants, farmers, hunters and huntresses, pages,
etc.

The story is enacted in England during Queen Anne's reign.

First sung at Vienna Court Opera, November 25, 1847.

Composer: Friedrich Freiherr von Flotow.
Author: W. Friedrich (F.W. Riese).


ACT I

One morning during fair time in Richmond the Lady Harriet, maid of
honour to her Majesty Queen Anne, was sitting in her boudoir at her
toilet table. She and all her maids and women friends who were
attending at her toilet were bored to death.

"Did any one ever know such a stupid, dismal life as we are leading?"
they declared. "In heaven's name, why doesn't some one think of
something to do that will vary the monotony of this routine existence?
We rise in the morning, make a toilet, go to her Majesty, make a
toilet, breakfast, read to her Majesty, make a toilet, dine, walk with
her Majesty, sup, unmake a toilet and go to bed! Of all the awful
existences I really believe ours has become the most so."

"It is as you say, but we cannot improve matters by groaning about it.
Lady Harriet, Sir Tristram has sent you some flowers," Nancy, Lady
Harriet's favourite, cried, handing them to her ladyship.

"Well, do you call that something new? because I don't! Why doesn't
the cook send me some flowers--or maybe the hostler--somebody,
something new? Take them out of my sight--and Sir Tristram with them,
in case he appears."

"Look at these diamonds: they sparkle like morning showers on the
flowers. The sight of them is enough to please any one!"

"It is not enough to please me," Lady Harriet declared petulantly,
determined to be pleased with nothing.

"Who is that? There is some one who wishes an audience with me! I'll
see no one."

"Ah," a man's voice announced from the curtains, "but I have come to
tell you of something new, Lady Harriet!"

"You? Sir Tristram? Is there anything new under the sun? If you really
have something to suggest that is worth hearing, you may come in."

"Listen, ladies! and tell me if I haven't conceived a clever thought.
The fair is on at Richmond----"

"Well--it is always on, isn't it?"

"Oh, no, ladies. Only once a year--this is the time. There is a fair
and there are cock-fights----"

"Ah--that sounds rather thrilling."

"And donkeys----"

"Oh, there are always donkeys--always!" the ladies cried, looking
hopelessly at poor Sir Tristram.

"I mean _real_ donkeys," the poor man explained patiently.

"So do we mean _real_ donkeys," they sighed.

"And there are the races--and--well, if you will come I am certain
there are several new attractions. Let me take you, Lady Harriet, and
I promise to make you forget your _ennui_ for once. Cock-fights
and----"

"Donkeys," she sighed, rising. "Very well, one might as well die of
donkeys and cock-fights as of nothing at all. It is too hot, open the
window----"

"I fly."

"Oh, heavens! now it is too cold--shut it----"

"I fly," the unhappy Sir Tristram replied.

"Give me my fan----"

"I fly." He flies.

"O lord, I don't want it----"

"I fl--oh!" he sighed and sank into a chair, exhausted.

[Music:

     Come away,
     Maidens gay,
     To the fair
     All repair,
     Let us go,
     Let us show
     Willing hearts,
     Fair deserts!]

"What is that?" Harriet asked impatiently, as she heard this gay
chorus sung just outside her windows.

"A gay measure: the girls and lads going to the fair," Nancy replied.

"Servant girls and stable boys--bah!"

"Yes--shocking! Who would give them a thought?" Sir Tristram rashly
remarked.

"Why, I don't know! after all, they sound very gay indeed. You haven't
very good taste, Sir Tristram, I declare." And at this the poor old
fop should have seen that she would contradict anything that he said.

"Oh, I remember now! Fair day is the day when all the pretty girls
dress in their best and go to the fair to seek for places, to get
situations. They hire themselves out for a certain length of
time!--till next year, I think. Meantime they dance in their best
dresses and have a very gay day of it."

"That sounds to me rather attractive," Lady Harriet remarked
thoughtfully.

"A foolish fancy, your ladyship," the unfortunate Sir Tristram put in.

"Now I am resolved to go! Get me that bodice I wore at the fancy dress
ball, Nancy. We shall all go--I shall be Martha,--Nancy, and old Rob."

"And--and who may be 'old Rob,' your ladyship?" Sir Tristram asked,
feeling much pained at this frivolity.

"Why, you, to be sure. Come! No mumps! No dumps! We are off!"

"Oh, this is too much."

"What, Sir Tristram, is that the extent of your love for me?"

"No, no--I shall do as you wish--but," the poor old chap sighed
heavily.

"To be sure you will--so now, Nancy, teach old Rob how the yokels
dance, and we'll be off."

"This is too much. I can't dance in that manner."

"Dance--or leave me! Dance--or stay at home, sir!" Harriet cried
sternly.

"O heaven--I'll dance," and so he tried, and the teases put him
through all the absurd paces they knew, till he fell exhausted into a
seat.

"That was almost true to nature," they laughed. "You will do, so come
along. But don't forget your part. Don't let us see any of the airs of
a nobleman or you shall leave us. We'll take you, but if you forget
your part we shall certainly leave you," and they dragged him off
recklessly.

At the fair, ribbons were flying, bands were playing, lads and lasses
were dancing, and farmers were singing:

[Music:

     Bright and buxom lasses,
       Come, the fair shall now begin,
     Show your rosy faces
       And our hearts ye soon shall win.]

     Fleet of foot, and clad with neatness,
       Come and let the master choose;
     Sweet of temper, all discreetness,
       Who a prize like this would lose?

     Done is the bargain if the maid is trusty,
       blythe and willing;
     Done is the bargain if she accepts the master's
       proffered shilling!

Thus, the farmers who had come to the fair to choose a maid-servant,
sang together. The maid-servants were meanwhile singing a song of
their own, and everybody was in high feather.

Now to this fair had come two farmers in particular; one being farmer
Plunkett, and the other, altogether a handsome fellow, named Lionel,
who was the foster-brother of Plunkett. As a matter of fact, he was
left in his babyhood on the doorstep of Plunkett's father, who adopted
him and brought him up with his own son. The baby had had nothing by
which he could be identified, but there was a ring left with him, and
the instruction that it was to be shown to the Queen in case the boy
should ever find himself in serious trouble when he grew up. Now both
these gay farmers had come to secure maid-servants for the year, and
Plunkett came up to inspect the girls as they assembled.

"What a clatter! This becomes a serious matter. How on earth is a man
to make a choice with such confusion all about him?"

"Oh well, there is no haste," Lionel replied leisurely.

"No haste? I tell you, Lionel, we can't afford to lose any time. There
is that farm falling to pieces for need of a competent servant to look
after it! I should say there was haste, with a vengeance. We must get
a good stout maid to go home with us, or we shall be in a pretty fix.
You don't know much about these things, to be sure. You were always
our mother's favourite, and I the clumsy bear who got most of the
cuffs and ran the farm; but take my word for it, if we don't find good
maids we shall soon be ruined, because you are of no more use on a
farm than the fifth wheel is on a wagon."

"Oh, come, come, brother, don't----"

"That's all right! I meant no harm. You are my brother and I'll stick
by you forever, but you aren't practical. Leave this maid-servant
business to me, and take my word for it we must hurry the matter up
and get home. Some day you'll be giving that fine ring of yours to
Queen Anne, Lionel, and then heaven knows what will happen; but I
suspect that whatever it is I shall find myself without a brother."

"It shall never happen. I shall live and die quite contented beneath
the roof where we have grown up together and where I have been
happiest."

"Ohe! Ohe! Ohe! the fair begins! Here comes the sheriff with his bell.
Ye maids, come forth now, both young and old! Come forth, come forth!
Make way there for the Law!" bawled a crier, clearing the way for the
sheriff, who had come to preside over the business of contract-making
between the serving maids and the farmers.

     I the statute first will read,
     Then to business we'll proceed,

the burly sheriff called at the top of his voice; and all the yokels
laughed and crowded about him while he mounted a box and began to read
the Law. "'Tis our royal will and pleasure--' Hats off! Rustics, look
at me! Loyal feelings let us cherish! 'We, Queen Anne, hereby decree
to all subjects of the crown, dwelling here in Richmond town, whoso at
the fair engages, to perform a servant's part, for a year her service
pledges; from this law let none depart.'"

     When the earnest money's taken, let the bargain stay unshaken!

"Now, then, ye have heard? Stick to the bargains ye make--or the law
will get ye!"

"And now what can ye do, Molly Pitt?"

     I can sow, sir,
     I can mow, sir,
     I can bake and brew,
     Mend things like new,
     Can mind a house, and rule it, too,
     There's naught I cannot do.

"She's worth four guineas. Who will hire her?"

Molly was at once hired by a farmer.

"And now you, Polly Smith?"

     I can cook, sir,
     By the book, sir,
     I can roast and toast,
     And 'tis my boast
     That nothing in house
     That I preside in yet was lost.

"Polly's worth five guineas. Who wants her?"

Polly was immediately hired by a farmer. After half a dozen buxom
girls had told what they could do, and had found places for the
year--none of them satisfying Plunkett and Lionel, however, who are
feeling almost discouraged at the outlook--Lady Harriet (who called
herself Martha) and Nancy and Sir Tristram came pushing merrily into
the crowd. Lady Harriet (or Martha) was certain to want to see
everything. Old Sir Tristram was protesting and having a most dreadful
time of it.

"This way, Rob," Martha called, dragging him by the hand and laughing.
"What! must I lead you?"

"Come, good, good Rob," Nancy mocked, entering into the spirit of it
and poking the old beau ahead of her. Sir Tristram groaned.

"Oh, I am just like a lamb led to the slaughter."

"Look, brother," Plunkett now said, nudging Lionel. "What pretty
lasses! Theirs are not like servants' faces."

"Let's inquire," Lionel replied, a good deal interested and staring at
Nancy and Martha.

"Do you see how these disgusting rustics are staring? Let us fly,
Lady----"

"Martha," Lady Harriet reproved him. "Don't forget I'm Martha."

"Well, 'Martha,' let us go----"

"Not I! I am having the first moment of gaiety I have known in a year.
No, ye'll not go." Then in bravado and to torment Sir Tristram she set
up a cry:

"No, here in the open fair, I refuse you for my master! I won't go
with you!" By that outbreak she had attracted the attention of
everybody about. Nancy, too, set up a screech and everybody crowded
about them. Sir Tristram dared not say a word to help himself, because
if he should really displease Lady Harriet he knew it would be all up
with him.

"Nonsense, nonsense," he said, confused and tormented.

"Well, you can't force her, Master Rob," the frolicsome Nancy joined
in.

"Force the girl? No, I think not, old fellow," Plunkett now cried,
coming forward with Lionel. The two of them had been watching the
quarrel. "No farmer can hire a maid against her will. There are
servants to spare here; take your pick and let these alone," and the
tricky Martha and Nancy nearly fainted with trying to suppress their
laughter as they witnessed Sir Tristram's plight.

At that moment all the unhired serving maids rushed to Sir Tristram
and crowded about him and began their eternal, "I can bake, sir, I can
brew, sir," etc., and begged him to hire them. Now this was the last
straw, and Sir Tristram looked for Martha and Nancy to come to his
assistance, but they only shrieked with laughter and urged the girls
on. Meantime, Plunkett and Lionel had approached them, and, when
Martha noticed that they were about to speak, she became a little
frightened.

"Oh, see how they are looking at us!" she gasped to Nancy.

"Well, I can't say I mind it. I am willing to be seen," Nancy laughed,
still more giddily than Lady Harriet.

"I'd like her to do the cooking," Plunkett remarked aside to Lionel
and pointing to Nancy.

"I think it would be best to hire them both."

"Well, that might be a good plan. Go up and bargain with them."

"I do not dare," Lionel answered, hanging back.

"Pooh! Then I must show you, now then--er--now then--er--ahem!"
Plunkett, too, found himself embarrassed. In fact, the women did not
seem at all like the other serving maids, though their clothing was
that of the others.

"Pooh, they'll never dare ask us!" Nancy told Martha.

"No, come on! Let's go!" and they turned away. At that Lionel became
excited.

"We shall lose them altogether! They are going!"

So then Plunkett got up courage and went to them.

"Damsels, listen! We would hire you. Have you ears? If your floors and
platters glisten, ye shall stay with us for years!"

"Yes--for--for years," Lionel managed to say.

"What, as your servants?" Lady Harriet gasped. Nancy laughed.

"You are laughing?" Lionel said. He was very anxious to hire them.
They were quite the handsomest serving maids he had ever seen.

"No trouble about that," Plunkett declared. "If she laughs, she will
certainly be good-natured about her work."

"What work?"

"What work?" Lady Harriet and Nancy said in one breath.

"Oh, you are for the farmyard," Plunkett replied, reassuringly to Lady
Harriet, "to keep the house and stable clean, you know. And you," to
Nancy, "are to do the cooking."

"You don't mean that this tender creature is to clean stables,
brother?" Lionel demanded impulsively.

"Well, she might work in the garden instead if she prefers it. Fifty
crowns shall be your wages; and, to be brief, everything found! Beer
and cheese for supper on week days; and on Sundays, good roast beef."

Lady Harriet tried to control her laughter.

"Who could resist so splendid an offer," she asked of Nancy. Nancy for
her part was nearly dying of laughter.

"Not we, not we, Martha."

"'Tis done, then; we will go."

"Then by the powers, here's the shilling to bind the bargain," Lionel
cried, fearful lest after all he and Plunkett should lose them; so he
handed over the shilling to Lady Harriet, who, not knowing that this
bound her to their service for a year, took it as a part of the fun.

     Was there ever so droll a situation?
     I began to feel not quite at ease,

the girls then said to each other, and they began to look about for
Tristram. He had got away, trying to rid himself of the maids, but now
he came back again, still followed by the whole of them. He was the
image of despair.

"Here's a pound to pay the forfeit," he cried to the maids, giving
them money. "And now for heaven's sake let me go. But--but how is
this--all so friendly," he gasped in amazement, observing Plunkett and
Lionel, Lady Harriet and Nancy.

"Who are you?" demanded Plunkett in a threatening manner.

"Oh, good-bye," Harriet cried now to the farmers, and she went to Sir
Tristram. They had had enough of it now, and decided to go home.

"Good-bye?" cried Plunkett. "Are you demented? Did ye not hire to us?
Good-bye?"

"Hush! O lord! That wasn't our intention. What if it should be heard
of at court?"

"Really we must go," she repeated, starting again to go to Tristram
while Plunkett held her back.

"I guess you go no place but home with us! You're hired, do you
understand? You took the shilling. You are hired to serve us for one
year. Now no more nonsense. Here, sheriff, tell these girls about
this."

"Why, if you have taken the earnest money, ye are bound to go," said
the sheriff. "So go along and make no more trouble, or I'll look after
ye." Now the women were in a pickle. If they persisted, of course they
would be set free when it was known they belonged to Queen Anne's
court; but they could never live down the disgrace of their prank.
Plainly there was nothing left for them but to abide by their
arrangement and go with Plunkett and Lionel. Everybody now set up an
indignant howl at their behaviour. Tristram could not help them. The
angry farmers pushed him aside, and Lady Harriet and Nancy were taken
by their arms by the two farmers, and walked back to where the wagon
waited.

"Now then! no more nonsense, girls! Ye are hired to us and ye will
go," Plunkett declared, lifting the women into the wagon, while Lionel
got up beside them, and then amid the shouts of the crowd and the
laughter of the other girls, and the noise of the hurdy-gurdies and
the dancing and the calls of the people, Lady Harriet, Nancy, and
Lionel were driven off to the farm by Plunkett.


ACT II

"Now, damsels, get to bed," Plunkett said to Martha and Nancy as he
opened the door of the farmhouse upon their arrival. "Get to bed,
because ye must get up at dawn." The two giddy young women looked
about them. There were doors at the right and left of the big room
which they first entered, and they doubtless led to bedrooms. On the
table a lamp was burning and there were a couple of spinning wheels to
be seen. As they came in they noticed a bell hung on a pole just
outside the door. Not a bit like the palace of Queen Anne! and
altogether the lark didn't appear to have the advantages it first had.

"O heaven! What shall we do?" Martha said to Nancy. "We must get out
of this soon, in some way."

"Well, the main thing is to get to bed now," Nancy declared, and so
the girls turned to say good-night to the two farmers.

"Good-night? Not so. There are your duties to be done first."

"Our duties?" Martha exclaimed, looking blank.

"Oh, don't disturb them to-night," Lionel interrupted, speaking to his
brother. Lionel was more and more impressed with both of them,
especially with the beauty of Martha. "They are very tired. Don't
disturb them to-night."

"But you will spoil them to begin with," Plunkett insisted. "And by
the way, what are your names?" he asked.

"Mine is Martha," Lady Harriet answered dolefully.

"Mine is--Julia," Nancy said impatiently.

"Ho, ho! Too grand to please me!--but, Julia, my dame of fashion,
pray, put my cloak away," Plunkett returned, handing it to her.

"Upon my life! What impertinence!" she cried, throwing the cloak upon
the floor. "Put away your own cloak."

"What--what?" Plunkett shouted, enraged, and starting up.

"Now, pray be lenient with them, brother. They are quite strange to
our ways, perhaps--and then they are very tired, you know. Probably
overworked by their last master. Leave matters to me. I'll put them
quite at their ease;" whereupon Lionel took his hat and held it out to
Martha.

"Martha--take it, if you please," Martha looked at him haughtily, and
turned her back on him. Poor Lionel was distracted and abashed.

"Well, really, I don't--I don't know just what to do myself," he
declared, as his brother snorted with satisfaction at Lionel's
discomfiture.

"Well," said Lionel, hesitating a moment; then he took his hat and
hung it up himself; then Plunkett picked up _his_ cloak and waited
upon _him_self.

"A pretty kettle-of-fish, I should say," he muttered. "Well, then, to
your spinning!"

"To our spinning?" they cried in unison.

"Yes, yes, to your spinning," Plunkett returned testily. "Do you
expect to do nothing but entertain us with conversation? To your
spinning, I said." Then all at once the women burst out laughing.

"Are ye good for nothing?" Plunkett shouted, in a greater rage. "Come,
we've had enough of this! You go and bring those spindles," and
Plunkett shouted this so loudly that the girls were downright
frightened at last.

"Oh, do not scold us," Martha entreated, shrinking back.

"No, no, brother, let us be gentle."

"Stuff! Now, girls, you get at that spinning wheel as I tell you."

The two girls looked at each other. They no longer dared carry matters
with a high hand, and yet how could they spin? They knew no more how
to spin than did a couple of pussy-cats. After going up to the wheels
and looking at them in wonder, they exclaimed:

"I can't."

"What?" yelled Plunkett.

"We--we don't know how."

"Well, upon my soul!" Plunkett cried. "Now you two sit down there as
quick as you can." They sat as if they were shot. Plunkett seemed very
much in earnest. "Now turn those wheels!"

"They--they will _not_ turn," they cried, trying and making an awful
botch of it.

"Twist the thread," Lionel instructed with much anxiety.

"O Lord! It _won't_ twist, they _won't_ turn. Oh, good gracious! We
can't! we can't do it at all."

"Now then, look at this," Plunkett cried, and he took Nancy from the
chair, and seated himself at the spinning wheel; and Lionel unseated
Martha--gently--and took her place, and then the fun began. "Now
watch--and we will teach you something about this business."

     This way set the wheel a-flying,
     Set it whirring, set it flying.
     Work the treadle with a will.
     While an even thread you're plying,
     Never let your wheel be still.

     Come, you will not lose by trying,
     I can see you have good will.

And while the girls joined in this gay spinning song, the men buzzed
an accompaniment of "Brr, brr, brr," and the fun waxed fast and
furious, the men spinning faster and faster every moment, the girls
becoming more and more excited with watching and trying to
learn--because they now saw that there was nothing for them but to
begin business; and more than this, they began almost to like the
farmer chaps. After a moment, first one began to laugh, then another,
till suddenly they all dragged off into a merry "ha, ha, ha!"

     Look! How the busy task he's plying,
       Hercules is at the wheel;
     Look, I too can set it flying,
       Scold me if I do it ill

Nancy--or rather Julia--sang, as she took a turn at it. All had turned
to fun and frolic, and now even Lady Harriet--or Martha--could not
withstand the temptation to try her hand; so down she sat, and away
she went spinning, and singing with the best of them. Suddenly Nancy
upset her wheel, Plunkett gaily threatened her, and away she ran, with
Plunkett chasing after her. In a minute they had disappeared, and
Martha was left alone with Lionel.

"Nancy--Julia--where are you? here! don't leave me--" Martha cried.

"Have no fear, gentle girl," Lionel said, detaining her. "There is no
one who will hurt you." Martha regarded him with some anxiety for a
moment, then became reassured.

"No--I will not be afraid," she thought. "This stranger has a kind way
with him. True, they are strange in their ways--to me--but then I am
strange in my ways--to them."

"Come! I'll promise never to be impatient with you nor to scold you if
you do not get things right. I am sure you will do your best," he
gently insisted, trying to put her at her ease. "To tell the truth--I
am desperately in love with you, Martha."

"Oh, good gracious--it is--so sudden----" she gasped, looking about
for some chance of escape. "Don't, sir! I assure you I am the worst
sort of servant. I have deceived you: as a matter of fact, I know
almost nothing of housework or farm work--I----"

"Well, at least, you know how to laugh and while the time away. Never
mind about the work--we shall get on; we'll let the work go. Only sing
for me--come, let us be gay."

"Alas! I do not feel gay----"

"Then sing something that is not gay. Sing what you will--but sing,"
he urged. He was more in love with her every moment, and not knowing
what else to do Martha sang--"'Tis the Last Rose of Summer!"

By the time the song was sung, Lionel had quite lost his head.

"Martha, since the moment I first saw thee, I have loved thee madly.
Be my wife and I will be your willing slave--you may count on me to
do the spinning and everything else, if only you will be my wife. I'll
raise thee to my own station." This was really too much. Martha looked
at him in amazement.

"Raise me--er--" In spite of herself she had to laugh. Then, with a
feeling of tenderness growing in her heart, she felt sorry for him.

"I am sorry to cause you pain, but really you don't know what you are
saying. I----" And at this crisis Nancy and Plunkett came in, Plunkett
raising a great to-do because Nancy had been hiding successfully from
him, in the kitchen.

"She hasn't been cooking," he explained; "simply hiding--and I can't
abide idle ways--never could--now what is wrong with you two?" he
asks, observing the restraint felt by Lionel and Martha; but before
any one could answer, midnight struck.

"Twelve o'clock!" all exclaimed.

"All good angels watch over thee," Lionel said impulsively to Martha,
"and make thee less scornful."

For a moment, Plunkett looked thoughtful, then turning to Nancy he
said manfully, while everybody seemed at pause since the stroke of
midnight.

"Nancy, girl, you are not what I sought for--a good servant--but some
way, I feel as if--as if as a wife, I should find thee a good one. I
vow, I begin to love thee, for all of thy bothersome little ways."

"Well, well, good-night, good-night, sirs," Nancy cried hastily and
somewhat disconcerted. To tell the truth, she had begun to think
kindly of Plunkett. Plunkett went thoughtfully to the outer door and
carefully locked it, then turned and regarded the girls who stood
silently and a little sadly, apart.

"Good-night," he said: and Lionel looking tenderly at Martha murmured,
"Good-night," and the two men went away to their own part of the
house, leaving the girls alone.

"Nancy----" Martha whispered softly, after a moment.

"Madame?"

"What next?--how escape?"

"How can we go?"

"We must----"

"It is very dark and the way is strange to us," she said, sadly and
fearfully.

"Well, fortune has given us gentle masters, at least," Martha
murmured.

"Yes--kind and good----"

"What if the Queen should hear of this?"

"Oh, Lord!" And at that moment came a soft knocking at the window.
Both girls started. "What's that?" More knocking! "Gracious heaven! I
am nearly dead with fear," Martha whispered, looking stealthily about.
Nancy pointed to the window.

"Look----" Martha looked.

"Tristram--Sir Tristram!" she whispered excitedly. "Open the window. I
can't move, I am so scared. Now, he'll rave--and I can't resent it. We
deserve anything he may say." Nancy opened the window, and Sir
Tristram stepped in softly, upon receiving a caution from the girls.

"Lady Harriet, this is most monstrous."

"Oh, my soul! Don't we know it. Don't wake the farmers up, in heaven's
name! Things are bad enough without making them worse."

"Yes, let us fly, and make as little row about it as we can," Nancy
implored.

"Then come--no words. I have my carriage waiting; follow me quickly
and say good-bye to this hovel."

"Hovel?" Lady Harriet looked about. Suddenly she had a feeling of
regret. "Hovel?"

"Nay," Nancy interrupted. "To this peaceful house--good-bye." Nancy,
too, had a regret. They had had a gleeful hour here, among frank and
kindly folk, even if they had also been a bit frightened. Anything
that had gone wrong with them had been their fault. Tristram placed a
bench at the window that the ladies might climb over, and thus they
got out, and immediately the sound of their carriage wheels was heard
in the yard. Plunkett had waked up meantime and had come out to call
the girls. It was time for their day's work to begin. Farmer folk are
out of bed early.

"Ho, girls!--time to be up," he called, entering from his chamber.
Then he saw the open window. He paused. "Do I hear carriage
wheels--and the window open--and the bench--and the girls--gone! Ho
there! Everybody!" he rushed out and furiously pulled the bell which
hung from the pole outside. His farmhands come running. "Ho--those
girls hired yesterday have gone. Get after them. Bring them back. I
may drop dead the next instant, but I'll be bound they shan't treat us
in this manner. After them! Back they shall come!" And in the midst of
all this confusion in ran Lionel.

"What----"

"Thieves!--the girls have run off--a nice return for our affections!"

"After them!--don't lose a minute," Lionel then cried in his turn, and
away rushed the farmhands.

"They are ours for one year, by law. Bring them back, or ye shall
suffer for it. Be off!" And the men mounted horses and went after the
runaways like the wind.

"Nice treatment!"

"Shameful!" Plunkett cried, dropping into a chair, nearly fainting
with rage.


ACT III

Plunkett's men had hunted far and wide for the runaways, but without
success. The farmer was still sore over his defeat: he felt himself
not only defrauded, but he had grown to love Nancy, and altogether he
became very unhappy. One day he was sitting with his fellow farmers
around a table in a little forest inn, drinking his glass of beer,
when he heard the sound of hunting horns in the distance.

"Hello! a hunting party from the palace must be out," he remarked, but
the music of the horn which once pleased him could no longer arouse
him from his moodiness. Nevertheless an extraordinary thing was about
to happen. As he went into the inn for a moment, into the grove
whirled--Nancy! all bespangled in a rich hunting costume and
accompanied by her friends who were enjoying the hunt with her. They
were singing a rousing hunting chorus, but Martha--Lady Harriet--was
not with them.

"What has happened to Lady Harriet?" some one questioned of Nancy, who
was expected to know all her secrets.

"Alas--nothing interests her ladyship any more," she replied! Nancy
knew perfectly well that, ever since their escapade, Harriet had
thought of nothing but Lionel. For Nancy's part, she had not thought
of much besides Plunkett; but she did not mean to reveal the
situation to the court busybodies. Then while the huntresses were
roaming about the inn, out came Plunkett! and Nancy, not perceiving at
first who he was, went up to him and began to speak.

"Pray, my good man, can you tell--Good heaven!" she exclaimed,
recognizing him; "Plunkett!"

"Yes, madame, Plunkett; and now Plunkett will see if you get the
better of him a second time. We'll let the sheriff settle this matter,
right on the spot."

"Man, you are mad. Do not breathe my name or each huntress here shall
take aim and bring you down. Ho, there!" she cried distractedly to her
friends; and she took aim at Plunkett, while all of the others closed
round him. It was then Plunkett's turn to beg for mercy.

"They're upon me, they've undone me!" he cried. "This is serious," and
so indeed it was. "But oh, dear me, there is a remarkable charm in
these girls, even if they do threaten a man's life," and still looking
back over his shoulder, away he ran, pursued by the girls. They had no
sooner gone than Lionel came in. He was looking disconsolately at the
flowers to which Martha sang the "Last Rose of Summer." He himself
sang a few measures of the song and then looked about him.

"Ah," he sighed, thinking still of Martha:

[Music:

     None so rare,
     None so fair,
     Yet enraptur'd mortal heart;
     Maiden dear.
     Past compare,
     Oh, 'twas death from thee to part!
     Ere I saw thy sweet face
     On my heart there was no trace
     Of that love from above,
     That in sorrow now I prove;
     but alas, thou art gone,
     And in grief I mourn alone;
     Life a shadow doth seem,
     And my joy a fleeting dream,
     A fleeting dream.
     None so rare, etc.]

And after he had sung thus touchingly of Martha, he threw himself down
on the grass, and remained absorbed in his thoughts. But while he was
resting there, Lady Harriet and Sir Tristram had also wandered
thither. At first they did not see Lionel.

"I have come here away from the others, in order to be alone," Harriet
declared impatiently.

"Alone with me?" Sir Tristram asked indiscreetly.

"Good heaven--it doesn't matter in the least whether you are here or
elsewhere. I am quite unconscious of you, wherever you are," she
replied, not very graciously. "Do go away and let me alone!" and,
finding that he could not please her, Tristram wandered off, and left
her meditating there. After a while she began to sing to herself,
softly, and Lionel recognized the voice.

"It is she!--Martha!" he cried, starting up. Harriet recognized him,
and at once found herself in a dreadful state of mind.

"What shall I do? It is Lionel! that farmer I hired out to!" Well! It
was Lionel's opportunity, and he fell to making the most desperate
love to her--which she liked very much, but which, being a high-born
lady of Queen Anne's Court, she was bound to resent. She called him
base-born and a good many unpleasant things, which did not seem to
discourage him in the least, even though it made him feel rather
badly; but while he was still protesting his love, Tristram returned,
and at once believed Harriet to be in the toils of some dreadful
fellow. So he called loudly for everybody in the hunt to come to the
rescue--which was about the most foolish thing he could do. Then all
set upon Lionel. Plunkett, hearing the row, rushed in.

"Stand by me!" Lionel cried.

Nancy appeared. "What does this mean?" she in turn demanded in a
high-handed manner.

"Julia, too," Lionel shouted, recognizing her.

"Bind this madman in fetters," Tristram ordered.

"Don't touch him," Plunkett threatened.

"I shall die," Nancy declared.

"I engaged these girls in my service," Lionel shouted, "and now they
wish to break the bargain!"

"What?" everybody screamed, staring at Nancy and Harriet. Tristram and
the hunters laughed, Tristram trying to shield the girls and turn it
into a joke.

"Have compassion on this madman"; Harriet pleaded wincing when she saw
Lionel bound and helpless. Lionel then reproached her. She knew
perfectly that she deserved it and felt her love for him growing
greater. Everybody was in a most dreadful state of mind. Then a page
rushed in and cried that Queen Anne was coming toward them, and
immediately Lionel had an inspiration.

"Take this ring to her Majesty--quick," he cried, handing his ring to
Plunkett.

A litter was then brought for Lady Harriet. She, heartbroken, stepped
into it. Lionel was pinioned and was being dragged off. Plunkett held
up the ring, to assure him that it should straightway be taken to the
Queen.


ACT IV

After the row had quieted down and Nancy and Harriet got time to think
matters over, Harriet reached the conclusion that she could not endure
Lionel's misfortune. Hence she had got Nancy to accompany her to the
farmer's house. When they arrived some new maid whom the farmers had
got opened the door to them.

"Go, Nancy, and find Plunkett, Lionel's trusty friend, and tell him I
am repentant and cannot endure Lionel's misfortunes. Tell him his
friend is to have hope," and, obeying her beloved Lady Harriet, Nancy
departed to find Plunkett and give the message. In a few minutes she
returned with the farmer. He now knew who the ladies were and treated
Harriet most respectfully.

"Have you told him?" Lady Harriet asked.

"Yes, but we cannot make Lionel understand anything. He sits vacantly
gazing at nothing. He has had so much trouble, that probably his brain
is turned."

"Let us see," said Harriet; and instantly she began to sing, "'Tis the
Last Rose."

While she sang, Lionel entered slowly. He had heard. Harriet ran to
him and would have thrown herself into his arms, but he held her off,
fearing she was again deceiving him.

"No, no, I repent, and it was I who took thy ring to the Queen! I have
learned that thy father was a nobleman--the great Earl of Derby; and
the Queen sends the message to thee that she would undo the wrong done
thee. Thou art the Earl of Derby--and I love thee--so take my hand if
thou wilt have me."

Well, this was all very well, but Lionel was not inclined to be played
fast and loose with in that fashion. When he was a plain farmer, she
had nothing of this sort to say to him, however she may have felt.

"No," he declared, "I will have none of it! Leave me, all of you," and
he rushed off, whereupon Harriet sank upon a bench, quite overcome.
Then suddenly she started up.

"Ah--I have a thought!" and out she flew. While she was gone, the
farmer and Nancy, who had really begun to care greatly for each other,
confessed their love.

"Now that our affairs are no longer in confusion, let us go out and
walk and talk it over," Plunkett urged, and, Nancy being quite
willing, they went out. But when they got outside they found to their
amazement that Plunkett's farmhands were rushing hither and thither,
putting up tents and booths and flags, and turning the yard into a
regular fair-ground, such as the scene appeared when Lionel and
Harriet first met. Some of the girls on the farm were assuming the
rôle of maids looking for service, and, in short, everything was as
nearly like the original scene as they could possibly make it in a
short time.

"What, what is all this?" Plunkett asked, amazed. Then he learned it
was all done by Harriet's orders, and he and Nancy began to
understand. Then Harriet came in, dressed as Martha. Nancy ran off and
returned dressed as Julia, and then all was complete.

"There is Lionel coming toward us," Nancy cried. "What will happen
now?" and there he came, led sadly by Plunkett. He looked about him,
dazed, till Plunkett brought up Lady Harriet and presented her as a
maid seeking work.

"Heaven! It is Martha----"

"Yes, is this not enough to prove to thee that I am ready to renounce
my rank and station for thee? Here I am, seeking thy service," she
pleaded.

"Well, good lassies, what can ye do?" Plunkett asked, entering into
the spirit of the thing, and then Nancy gaily sang:

     I for spinning finest linen, etc.

Lady Harriet gave Lionel some flowers and then began "'Tis the Last
Rose." Then presently, Lionel, who had been recovering himself slowly
while the play had been going on, joined in the last measures, and
holding out his arms to Lady Harriet, the lovers were united. Nancy
and Plunkett were having the gayest sort of a time, and everybody was
singing at the top of his voice that from that time forth there should
be nothing but gaiety and joy in the world; and probably that turned
out to be true for everybody but old Sir Tristram, who hadn't had a
stroke of good luck since the curtain rose on the first act!



HUMPERDINCK


This composer of charming music will furnish better biographical
material fifty years hence. At present we must be satisfied to listen
to his compositions, and leave the study of the man to future
generations.


HÄNSEL AND GRETEL

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Peter, a broom-maker.
Gertrude, his wife.
Hänsel }
Gretel } their children.
Witch, who eats little children.
Sandman, who puts little children to sleep.
Dewman, who wakes little children up.
Children.
Fourteen angels.

The story takes place in a German forest.

Composer: E. Humperdinck.
Author: Adelheid Wette.


ACT I

Once upon a time, in a far-off forest of Germany, there lived two
little children, Hänsel and Gretel, with their father and mother. The
father and mother made brooms for a living, and the children helped
them by doing the finishing of the brooms.

The broom business had been very, very bad for a long time, and the
poor father and mother were nearly discouraged. The father, however,
was a happy-go-lucky man who usually accepted his misfortunes easily.
It was fair-time in a village near the broom-makers' hut, and one
morning the parents started off to see if their luck wouldn't change.
They left the children at home, charging them to be industrious and
orderly in behaviour till they returned, and Hänsel in particular was
to spend his time finishing off some brooms.

Now it is the hardest thing in the world for little children to stick
to a long task, so that which might have been expected happened:
Hänsel and Gretel ceased after a little to work, and began to think
how hungry they were. Hänsel was seated in the doorway, working at the
brooms; brooms were hanging up on the walls of the poor little
cottage; and Gretel sat knitting a stocking near the fire. Being a gay
little girl, she sang to pass the time:

[Music:

     Susy little Susy, pray what is the news?
     The geese are running bare foot because they've no shoes!
     The cobbler has leather and plenty to spare,
     Why can't he make the poor goose a new pair?]

This sounded rather gay, and, before he knew it, Hänsel had joined in:

     Eia popeia, pray what's to be done?
     Who'll give me milk and sugar, for bread I have none?
     I'll go back to bed and I'll lie there all day,
     Where there's naught to eat, then there's nothing to pay.

"Speaking of something to eat--I'm as hungry as a wolf, Gretel. We
haven't had anything but bread in weeks."

"Well, it does no good to complain, does it? Why don't you do as
father does--laugh and make the best of it?" Gretel answered, letting
her knitting fall in her lap. "If you will stop grumbling, Hänsel,
I'll tell you a secret--it's a fine one too." She got up and tiptoed
over to the table. "Come here and look in this jug," she called, and
Hänsel in his turn tiptoed over, as if something very serious indeed
would happen should any one hear him.

"Look in that jug--a neighbour gave us some milk to-day, and that is
likely to mean rice blanc-mange."

"Oh, gracious goodness! I'll be found near when rice blanc-mange is
going on; be sure of that. How thick is the cream?" the greedy fellow
asked, dipping his finger into the jug.

"Aren't you ashamed of yourself! Take your fingers out of that jug,
Hänsel, and get back to your work. You'll get a good pounding if
mother comes home and finds you cutting up tricks."

"No, I'm not going to work any more--I'm going to dance."

"Well, I admit dancing is good fun," Gretel answered him reluctantly.
"We can dance a little, and sing to keep us in time, and then we can
go back to work."

     Brother, come and dance with me,
     Both my hands I offer thee,
     Right foot first,
     Left foot then,
     Round about and back again,

she sang, holding out her hands.

"I don't know how, or I would," Hänsel declared, watching her as she
spun about.

"Then I'll teach you. Just keep your eyes on me and I'll teach you
just how to do it," she cried, and then she began to dance. Gretel
told him precisely how to do it, and Hänsel learned very well and very
quickly. Then they danced together, and in half a minute had forgotten
all about going back to their work. They twirled and laughed and sang
and shouted in the wildest sort of glee, and at last, perfectly
exhausted with so much fun, they tumbled over one another upon the
floor, and were laughing too hard to get up. Just at this moment, when
they had actually forgotten all about hunger and work, home came their
mother. She opened the door and looked in.

"For mercy's sake! what goings on are these?" she cried.

"Why, it was Hänsel, he----"

"Gretel wanted to----" they both began, scrambling to their feet.

"That will do. I want to hear nothing from you. You are the most
ill-behaved children in the world. Here are your father and I slaving
ourselves to death for you, and not a thing do you do but dance and
sing from morning till night----"

"It would be awfully nice to eat, too," Hänsel replied reflectively.

"What's that you say, you ungrateful child? Don't you eat whenever the
rest of us do?" However harsh she seemed, the mother was only angry at
the thought of there being nothing in the house to eat, and she felt
so badly to think the children were hungry that she made a dive at
Hänsel to slap him, when--horrors! she knocked the milk off the table,
broke the jug, and all the milk went streaming over the floor. This
was indeed a misfortune. There they stood, all three looking at their
lost supper.

"_Now_ see what you have done?" she screamed angrily at the children.
"Get yourselves out of here. If you want any supper you'll have to
work for it. Take that basket and go into the wood and fill it with
strawberries, and don't either of you come home till it is full. Dear
me, it does seem as if I had trouble enough without such actions as
yours," the distracted mother cried; and quite unjustly she hustled
the children and their basket outside the hut and off into the wood.

They had no sooner gone out than the poor, distracted woman, exhausted
with the day's tramping and unsuccessful effort to sell her brooms,
sat at the table weeping over the lost milk; and finally she fell
asleep. After a while a merry song was heard in the wood, and the
father presently appeared singing, at the very threshold. Really, for
a hungry man with a hungry family and nothing for supper, he was in a
remarkably merry mood.

"Ho, there, wife!" he called, and then entered with a great basket
over his shoulder. He saw the mother asleep and stopped singing. Then
he laughed and went over to her.

"Hey, wake up, old lady, hustle yourself and get us a supper. Where
are the children?"

"What are you talking about," the mother asked, waking up and looking
confused at the noise her husband was making. "I can't get any supper
when there is nothing to get."

"Nothing to get?--well, that is nice talk, I'm sure. We'll see if
there is nothing to get," he answered, roaring with laughter--and he
began to take things out of his basket. First he took out a ham, then
some butter. Flour and sausages followed, and then a dozen eggs;
turnips, and onions, and finally some tea. Then at last the good
fellow turned the basket upside down, and out rolled a lot of
potatoes.

"Where in the world did all of these things come from?" she cried.

"I had good luck with my brooms, when all seemed lost, and here we are
with a feast before us. Now call the children and let us begin."

"I was so angry because the milk got spilt that I sent them off to the
woods for berries and told them not to come home till they had a
basket full. I really thought that was all we should have for supper."
At this the father looked frightened.

"What if they have gone to the Ilsenstein?" he cried, jumping up and
taking a broom from the wall.

"Well, what harm?" the wife inquired, "and why do you take the broom?"

"What harm? Do you not know that it is the awful magic mountain where
the old witch who eats little children dwells?--and do you not know
that she rides on a broomstick. I may need one to follow her, in case
she has got the children."

"Oh, heavens above! What a wicked woman I was to send the children
out. What shall we do? Do you know anything more about that awful
ogress?" she demanded of her husband, trembling fit to die.

     An old witch within that wood doth dwell,
     And she's in league with the powers of hell.
     At midnight hour,
       When nobody knows,
       Away to the witches' dance she goes.

         Up the chimney they fly,
         On a broomstick they hie,
         Over hill and dale,
         O'er ravine and vale,
         Through the midnight air
         They gallop full tear,
         On a broomstick, on a broomstick
         Hop, hop, hop, hop, the witches!

     And by day, they say,
     She stalks around,
     With a crinching, crunching, munching sound.
     And children plump, and tender to eat,
     She lures with magic gingerbread sweet.
     On evil bent,
     With fell intent,
       She lures the children, poor little things,
     In the oven hot,
     She pops the lot.
     She shuts the door down,
     Until they're done brown--all those gingerbread children.

"Oh, my soul!" the poor woman shrieked. "Come! We must lose no time:
Hänsel and Gretel may be baked to cinders by this time," and out she
ran, screaming, and followed by the father, to look for those poor
children.


ACT II

After wandering all the afternoon in the great forest, and filling
their basket with strawberries, Hänsel and Gretel came to a beautiful
mossy tree-trunk where they concluded to sit down and rest before
going home. They had wandered so far that they really didn't know
that they were lost, but as a matter of fact they had no notion of
where they were. Without knowing it, they had gone as far as the
Ilsenstein, and that magic place was just behind them, and sunset had
already come. As usual, the gay little girl was singing while she
twined a garland of wild flowers. Hänsel was still looking for berries
in the thicket near. Pretty soon they heard a cuckoo call, and they
answered the call gaily. The cuckoo answered, and the calls between
them became lively.

"There is the bird that eats up other birds' eggs," Gretel said,
poking a strawberry into Hänsel's mouth; and Hänsel sucked the berry
up as if it were an egg. Then in his turn, he poked a berry into
Gretel's mouth. This was very good fun, especially as yet they had had
nothing to eat. They began to feed each other with berries, till
before they knew it the full basket was empty.

Foolish children, who by their carelessness got themselves into all
sorts of scrapes! Now what was to be done? They surely couldn't go
home and tell their mother they had eaten up all the berries!

"Hänsel, you have eaten all the berries. Now this time it is no
joke--this that you have done. What shall we do now?"

"Nonsense--you ate as many as I. We shall simply look for more."

"So late as this! We never can see them in the world. The sun is going
down. Where can we have got to? We are surely lost."

"Well, if we are, there is nothing to be afraid of. Come, don't cry.
We shall sleep here under the trees, and, when morning comes, find our
way home," Hänsel replied, no longer blaming her, but trying to be
very brave, notwithstanding he was nearly scared to death with the
shadows which were then gathering quickly.

"Oh, oh! do you hear that noise in the bushes? I shall die of fright."

"It--it--is nothing, sister," Hänsel answered, his teeth chattering,
while he peered all about him uneasily. "I'm a boy and not afraid of
anything, and can take care of you wherever we are."

     What's glimmering there in the darkness?
     That's only the birches in silver dress.
     But there, what's grinning so there at me?
     Th-that's only the stump of a willow tree.

Hänsel tried to answer heroically. "I'll give a good call," he said,
going a little way toward the Ilsenstein. Then putting his hands to
his mouth, he called loudly:

"Who's there?"

"You there,--you there,--you there," the echoes came--but they seemed
to come from the Ilsenstein.

"Is some one there?" Gretel timidly asked.

"There--where--there--" the echoes from the Ilsenstein again replied.
"I'm frightened to death," Gretel said, beginning to cry.

"Little Gretelkin," said Hänsel, "you stick close to me, and I'll let
nothing hurt you;" and while they huddled together, a thick white mist
slowly gathered and spread between the children and the Ilsenstein.

"Oh! there are some shadowy old women, coming to carry me away,"
Gretel sobbed, hiding her face, as the mist seemed to sway and assume
strange forms. Then while her face was hidden, the mist slowly cleared
away, and a little gray manikin with a little sack upon his back came
out of the shadows. Hänsel held his breath with fear and sheltered
Gretel beside him as best he could.

"It is a shadowy queer little manikin, Gretel dear, with a little sack
upon his back, but he looks very friendly." Then addressing the little
manikin, "Do not hurt us, sir--and will you tell us who you are?"

     I shut the children's peepers--sh!
     And guard the little sleepers--sh!
     For dearly I do love them--sh!
     And gladly watch above them--sh!
         And with my little bag of sand,
         By every child's bedside I stand;
         Then little tired eyelids close,
         And little limbs have sweet repose;
     And if they are good and quickly go to sleep,
         Then from the starry sphere above
         The angels come with peace and love,
     And send the children happy dreams, while watch they keep.

All the while the little sand-man was telling them who he was, the
children got sleepier and sleepier and nodded upon each other's
shoulders.

"The sand-man was here?" little Hänsel asked, trying to rouse a bit.

"I guess so," said Gretel; "let us say our prayers," and so they
folded their hands, and said a little prayer to the fourteen angels
which guard little children. They prayed to the two angels who should
stand at their head, to the two at their feet, two upon their right
hand and two upon the left, and two should cover them warm, and two
should guard them from harm, and two should guide them one day to
Heaven; and so they sank to sleep.

As they slept, a beautiful light broke through the mist, which rolled
up into a glittering staircase down which those angels came, two and
two. They all grouped about Hänsel and Gretel as they had been prayed
to do; and as they silently took their places the night grew dark,
the trees and birds all slept, and Hänsel and Gretel were safe until
the morning.


ACT III

The night had passed, the angels had disappeared again in the mist
which still hung over the forest at the back, and now as dawn broke,
the dew-fairy came out of the mist as the manikin and the angels had
done; and from a little blue bell she shook the dewdrops over the
children's eyes. Just as they began to stir, away ran the dew-fairy,
and when they were quite wide awake they found the sun rising and
themselves all alone.

"Hänsel, where are we?" little Gretel asked, not recalling all that
had happened to them since the day before. "I hear the birds
twittering high in the branches. We certainly are not in our beds at
home."

"No--but I had a fine dream," Hänsel answered--"that the angels were
here looking after us all night, the entire fourteen. But look there!"
he cried, pointing behind them. The mist was gradually lifting and
revealing the house of the Witch of Ilsenstein. It looked very fine,
with the sun's bright rays upon it; very fine indeed! A little way off
to the left of that queer little house was--an oven. Oh, dreadful! It
was well Hänsel and Gretel did not know in the least what that oven
meant. Then, on the other side of the house, was a cage--and heaven!
it was certainly well that they had no idea of what that was for,
either. Then, joining that cage to the house, was a queer-looking
fence of gingerbread, and it looked strangely like little children.

"Oh, what a queer place!" Gretel cried. "And do you smell that
delicious odour? That cottage is made all of chocolate cream!" She was
overcome with joy.

     The roof is all covered with Turkish delight,
     The windows with lustre of sugar are white
     And on all the gables the raisins invite,
     And think! All around is a gingerbread hedge.

"Oh, to eat such a cottage!" they cried ecstatically.

"I hear no sound. Let's go inside," Hänsel urged.

"No, no! Who knows who may live in that lovely house."

"Well, anyway, it can't do any harm to nibble a little. They can have
it repaired next baking day," he persisted.

"Maybe that is true,--and it does look too good to leave"; so Hänsel
reached out and broke a little piece of the house-corner off.

     Nibble, nibble, mousekin,
     Who's nibbling at my housekin?

a voice called from within.

"Good gracious! Did you hear that?" he whispered, dropping the corner
of the house. Gretel picked it up, hesitatingly.

"It's most awfully good," she declared, but at that very minute came
the voice again:

     Nibble, nibble, mousekin,
     Who's nibbling at my housekin?

"Maybe that is the voice of the sweety maker," Hänsel suggested, all
the same a good deal scared. And so they went on nibbling at a bit of
the fence and then at the house-corner, until they became so full of
good things that they began to laugh and caper about in high spirits.
But while all this fun was going on, the upper part of the door opened
and the old witch stuck her head out. Then slowly and softly, out she
crept with a rope in her hand, and getting behind the children she
suddenly threw it over Hänsel's head. When he turned and saw her he
was frightened almost into fits.

"Let me go, let me go!" he howled, while the witch only laughed
hideously at the two and, drawing them closer to her, she began to pat
their heads and talk very nicely to them.

"You are lovely children! Don't give yourselves such airs. I am Rosina
Dainty-Mouth and just love little children like you," but she didn't
say how she preferred them--broiled or stewed. Nevertheless, Hänsel
had his doubts about her, in spite of her affectionate pretensions.

     Come, little mousey,
     Come into my housey!
     Come with me, my precious,
     I'll give you sweets, delicious!

This extraordinary old lady cried, naming things that made the
children's mouths water. But there was Hänsel's caution! He was not to
be caught napping after sunrise. Gretel, however, recalled the flavour
of the eave-spout which she had lately tasted and could not help
showing a certain amount of interest.

"Just what shall I get if I go into your housey?" she inquired; but
before the old creature could reply, Hänsel had pulled Gretel's
petticoat.

"Have a care! Do not take anything from her that you can help. She is
meaning to fatten us and cook us,"--which was the exact truth. At that
moment, Hänsel got clear of the rope which had been about his neck and
ran to Gretel, but the old witch pointed at them a stick which had
been hanging at her girdle, and instantly they found themselves
spellbound. She repeated this blood-curdling rhyme, and there they
stood, quite helpless:

     Hocus pocus, witches' charm!
     Move not as you fear my arm.
     Back or forward, do not try,
     Fixed you are, by the evil eye!

And "fixed" they were. Now, right in the middle of the forenoon, it
began to grow horribly dark, and as it darkened, the little knob on
the end of her stick began to glow brilliantly, and as Hänsel watched
it, fascinated, the witch gradually led him, by the stick's charm,
into the stable, and fastened him in. Then the knob of the stick
gradually ceased to glow, and Gretel was still standing there.

"Now while I feed Hänsel up till he is plump as a partridge, you stand
where you are," said the witch, and into the house she went. Gretel
stood horrified, and Hänsel whispered to her:

"Don't speak loud, and be very watchful, Gretelkin. Pretend to do
everything the witch commands, yet be very watchful. There she comes
again"; and so she did, with a basket full of raisins and other things
for him to eat. She stuck good things into his mouth, as if she were
fattening a Strasburg goose, and after that she disenchanted Gretel
with a juniper branch.

"Now, then, you go and set the table," she ordered, then turning again
to Hänsel she found him apparently asleep.

"That's good! It is a way to grow fat," she grinned. "I'll just begin
my supper with Gretel. She looks quite plump enough as she is. Here,
my love," she cried, opening the oven door, and sniffing some
gingerbread figures within, "just look into the oven and tell me if
it is hot enough to bake in," she called.

     Oh, when from the oven I take her,
     She'll look like a cake from the baker,

the old wretch giggled to herself. But Gretel pretended not to hear
her; and after all, she thought the oven not quite hot enough to push
Gretel into, so she began jabbering about the witch's ride she was
going to have that night at twelve, on her broomstick. As she thought
about it she became very enthusiastic, and getting upon her broom she
went galloping about the house and back. When she got through
performing in this outrageous manner--which fairly froze Gretel's
blood in her veins--the old witch tickled Hänsel with a birch-twig
till he woke.

"Here, my little darling, show me your tongue," she said, and Hänsel
stuck out his tongue as if the doctor had been called to investigate
his liver. "My, but you are in fine condition," the old wretch mumbled
smacking her lips. "Let me see your thumb," she demanded, and instead
of sticking out his plump thumb, Hänsel poked a tiny bone through the
bars of the cage. "Oh! how lean and scraggy! You won't do yet"; and
she called to Gretel to bring more food for him, and there she stopped
to stuff him again. Then she again opened the oven door, looking all
the while at Gretel.

"How she makes my mouth water," she muttered. "Come here, little
Gretelkin, poke your head into the oven and tell me if you think it
hot enough for us to bake in." At this awful moment Hänsel whispered:

"Oh, be careful, Gretel!" Gretel nodded at him behind the witch's
back.

"Just smell that lovely gingerbread. Do poke your head in to see if it
is quite done. Then you shall have a piece hot from the oven." Gretel
still hung back.

"I don't quite know how to do it," she apologized. "If you will just
show me how to reach up," she murmured; and the old witch, quite
disgusted that Gretel should take so long to do as she was bid, and so
delay the feast, said:

"Why, this way, you goose," poking her head into the oven, and
instantly, Hänsel, who had slipped out of the stable, sprang upon the
old woman, gave her the push she had intended to give Gretel, and into
the oven she popped, and bang went the oven door, while the children
stood looking at each other and shivering with fright.

"Oh, my suz! _Do_ you suppose we have her fast?"

"I guess we have," Hänsel cried, grabbing Gretel about the waist and
dancing wildly in glee. Then they rushed into the house and began to
fill their pockets with good things. While they were at this, the oven
began to crack dreadfully. The noise was quite awful.

"Oh, mercy! What is happening?" Gretel cried. And at that moment the
awful oven fell apart, and out jumped a lot of little children with
the gingerbread all falling off them, while they sprang about Hänsel
and Gretel in great joy. But all their eyes were shut.

They laughed and sang and hopped, crying that Hänsel and Gretel had
saved them because by baking the old witch they had broken the oven's
charm.

"But why don't you open your eyes," Gretel asked.

"We shall not be entirely disenchanted till you touch us," they told
her, and then upon being touched by Gretel they opened their eyes like
ten-day-old kittens.

Then Hänsel took a juniper branch and repeated what he had heard the
witch say:

     Hocus pocus elder bush,
     Rigid body loosen, hush!

and there came that gingerbread hedge, walking on legs,--the beautiful
gingerbread falling all over the place, and the whole fence turning
back into little children.

At that very moment came the broom-maker and his wife, who had sought
for the children till they had become nearly distracted. When the
children saw them they ran into their mother's arms. All the
gingerbread children were singing at the top of their voices and were
carrying on in the most joyous way.

Two boys had run to the broken oven, and had begun to drag out an
immense gingerbread--it was the old witch, turned into the finest cake
ever seen. It was well that she turned out to be good in the end, if
only good gingerbread. They dragged her out where everybody could see
her, and broke a piece of her off; and then they shoved her into the
cottage.

"Now, you see how good children are taken care of," the broom-maker
sang; while everybody danced about the disenchanted Ilsenstein, before
they went into the house for supper.



MASCAGNI


This composer is too contemporary to be discussed freely. He has done
no great amount of work, and fame came to him in his youth.
"Cavalleria Rusticana" is his supreme performance, and there is in it
a promise of greater things.


CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA[A]

(Rustic Chivalry)

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Santuzza.
Lola.
Turiddu.
Alfio.
Lucia.

Peasants.

The story is of peasant people in a small Sicilian village, on an
Easter day.

Composer: Pietro Mascagni.
Authors: Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci.

First sung at Rome, May 20, 1890.

[Footnote A: The quotations from "Cavalleria Rusticana" are from the
English version by Nathan Haskell Dole, Copyright, 1891, by G.
Schirmer.]


ACT I

One fine Easter morning, in a small Italian village, a fop, named
Turiddu, came along the little street singing of Lola, an old
sweetheart, who, since Turiddu went to serve his required term in the
army, had married a wagoner. Turiddu was far from heartbroken,
because when he returned and first heard of Lola's faithlessness, he
straightway fell in love with a worthier girl--Santuzza. Neither Lola
nor Turiddu was a faithful sort, but lived for a good time to-day,
leaving luck to look after to-morrow; but it was not the same with
Santuzza. She truly loved Turiddu, and being an Italian peasant, very
emotional and excitable, it was going to be dangerous for Turiddu to
ill-treat her.

If that Easter morning found Turiddu quite gay and free, it found
Santuzza full of despair and misgiving, because she knew that her
lover had returned to his former sweetheart. Lola's husband, the
wagoner, was frequently away from his home, and in his absence his
wife had been flirting. In a little village, where everybody knew
everybody else, and all of each other's business, Santuzza's
companions had learned that Turiddu had thrown his new love over for
the old, and instead of pitying her, they had ridiculed and treated
her unkindly.

On a Sunday morning, just before the villagers started to church,
Santuzza started for Turiddu's home. He lived near the church, with
Lucia, his old mother. Santuzza had been thinking all night of what
she could do to win her lover back; and at daylight had risen with the
determination to go to old Lucia, and tell her how her son had
misbehaved. In Italy, even grown sons and daughters obey their parents
more promptly than the small children in America ever do. Santuzza,
all tears and worn with sleeplessness, thought possibly Lucia could
prevail upon Turiddu to keep his word and behave more like an honest
man. All the little village was astir early, because Easter is a fête
day in Italy, and the people make merry, as well as go to church. The
peasants were passing and repassing through the little square as
Santuzza entered it. She looked very sad and her eyes were swollen
with crying. But no one paid any attention to her as all were going
into the church for early mass. After the crowd had gone in, the sound
of the organ and of the congregation's voices could be heard in the
square. They sang an Easter carol--about flowers and carolling larks
and orange blossoms--which did not make Santuzza any the happier; but
she went to the door of old Lucia's house and called softly:

"Mama Lucia--Mama Lucia--art thou there?"

"Thou, Santuzza? What wilt thou, my dear?" the old woman answered,
hobbling out.

"Mama Lucia, where is thy son?" Santuzza demanded.

"Thou hast come to see Turiddu? I do not know, my girl. I have nothing
to do with quarrels, you must understand," she answered cautiously,
half suspecting Santuzza's trouble, because she had already suffered
many times on account of her son's faithlessness to others.

"Mama Lucia, I beg of you not to turn me away. Listen to my troubles.
It is thy son who has caused them, and I must see him," Santuzza
sobbed.

"Well, I cannot help thee--though I am truly sorry for thee," the
mother answered, after a moment, observing all the signs of the sorrow
that Santuzza felt. "He is not at home. He has gone to fetch the wine
from Francofonte."

"No, no--he hasn't. He was seen about the village only last night."

"Who told thee that? I, his mother, should know if he is at home or
not."

"Mama Lucia, do not turn me away--I am in great sorrow, and you will
be unhappy all your life if you ill-treat me now." At this they were
disturbed by the cracking of whips and jingling of bells which told of
the return to town of the wagoner. Alfio was returning on Easter
morning in time to join the gaiety with his wife, Lola.

He came in jauntily, singing:

[Music:

     Proudly steps the sturdy steed,
     Gayly ring the merry bells,
     Crack! goes the whiplash! O' hi!
     Tho' the icy wind may blow,
     Let it rain or let it snow,
     What in the world care I?]

Soon all the neighbours appeared to welcome him. He was a most popular
fellow--unlike Turiddu, who was a favourite mainly with the girls.

"Well, about all I have wished for all the week, neighbours, was to
get home here to my wife, that we might spend this Easter day
together. When I am away, I think of nothing but her, you may be sure!
I can't stop here with you, jolly as you are. Lola is certain to be
waiting for me, so off I go!" and the wagoner waved his hand gaily and
was about to hurry off, while some went back into the church again,
and some went to their homes. But Mama Lucia could not but regard him
anxiously. She, herself, was in trouble over her wild son.

"Ah, Alfio, you are always in such high spirits----"

"Hello, Mama Lucia! Good day to you--have you any more of that famous
wine?" Lucia's house was also the village inn, where the folks
congregated to drink their wine, to play cards, and have a good
gossip.

"No, not now; Turiddu has gone to Francofonte to get it."

"You are wrong: I met him near my cottage as I came into the village
this very morning," the wagoner answered, and at the same moment
Santuzza pulled old Lucia's skirt, signing to her to be silent. But
the old woman, surprised and confused at the turn things seemed to be
taking, persisted:

"How so? Are you certain of that?"

"Oh, yes, perfectly sure. And now I must be going: Lola will be
expecting me," the unsuspicious wagoner answered, turning in earnest
to go home. Now, while old Lucia and Santuzza stood without, the choir
in the church sang:

[Music:

     Queen of the Heavens, grief is ended!
     He, whom thy love once defended--]

And those peasants who had gradually wandered back into the square
knelt, as they heard the prayer. The scene was very devotional and
beautiful, with the exquisite music floating out from the church, and
the reverent people gathering about it. Presently they broke into a
joyous chorus of "Hallelujah! Christ is risen!" while Santuzza and old
Lucia joined in spite of their sadness. But after all had wandered
away, old Lucia approached Santuzza:

"Why didst thou caution me not to speak when Alfio said he had seen my
son near his house?" she asked, anxiously, already half guessing the
reason.

"Good mama, do you not know that before Turiddu went to the war he was
Lola's lover; and at first after he returned he cared for me, but now
he has forgotten me and is again making love to Lola? If the wagoner
knew of this, what do you think he would do?"

"Oh, what hast thou told me upon this holy morning! You are right--if
Alfio knew of this he would kill them both maybe. He surely would kill
my son."

"It seems to me all are cursed this beautiful day. Go and pray for us
all, Mama Lucia, and so will I," Santuzza replied. And she was about
to enter the church to say her prayers when there came Turiddu,
himself, dressed in his best, ready to meet Lola in the square as she
passed on her way to the church.

"Turiddu!" Santuzza called.

"Devils! What are you here for, Santuzza? Are you on your way to
church?"

"Not now. I am here to speak with you----"

"Well, well, I cannot stop for it; I must go into the inn and see my
mother just now."

"You must stay here and speak with me. I warn you to do it, Turiddu. I
am very unhappy, and if you will give up Lola I will forget all your
wrongdoing. But if you neglect me, and will not give up Alfio's wife,
Alfio will surely learn of it and make you trouble."

"Oh, come now--do you think you can frighten me? I will be a slave to
no woman's whim, Santuzza. Go about your business. I shall attend to
mine without your help. No, I will listen to you no longer," he cried,
becoming angrier as she spoke, and pushing her away from him, as Lola,
in the street near the square could be heard singing.

Santuzza and Turiddu both paused and listened. She was singing of
Turiddu. She was calling him her "King of Roses." And then, while the
two were standing uncertain what to do, Lola entered the square and
spied them.

"Hello," she called loftily, looking at Santuzza. "Have you seen
Alfio, Turiddu?"

"No, I have only just now come into the square."

"Oh, perhaps you have come to church," she persisted impertinently.

"I--I stopped to tell Santuzza--" he hardly knew what to say.

"I stopped to see Turiddu," Santuzza interrupted earnestly. "I stopped
to say that the good Lord beholds all our deeds."

"Ah--then you are not going to mass?"

"No--those who go to mass must have a clear conscience. Which of us
here has that?"

"Really I know nothing about you," Lola answered; "as for mine--it is
clear!" Turiddu foreseeing trouble between them interrupted hastily.

"Let us go in," speaking to Lola.

"Oh, stay with Santuzza--and her conscience! do!"

"Yes, Turiddu--I warn you!" At that Lola laughed and went into the
church.

"Now what have you done? By your folly, angered Lola. I am done with
you!" Turiddu exclaimed, throwing off Santuzza, who held him back
while she spoke. He became so enraged that he treated her brutally;
and in trying to rid himself of her he threw her down upon the stones,
and then ran into the church. When she got upon her feet again she was
furious with anger.

"Now I will punish him for all his faithlessness," she sobbed, and she
no sooner took this resolve than fate seemed to give her the means of
carrying it out, for at that moment Alfio came back into the square.

"Oh, neighbour Alfio! God himself must have sent you here!"

"At what point is the service?"

"It is almost over, but I must tell you--Lola is gone to it with
Turiddu."

"What do you mean by that?" Alfio demanded, regarding her in wonder.

"I mean that while you are about your business Turiddu remains here,
and your wife finds in him a way to pass the time. She does not love
you."

"If you are not telling me the truth," Alfio said, with anguish, "I'll
certainly kill you."

"You have only to watch--you will know the truth fast enough," she
persisted.

Alfio stood a moment in indecision and looked at her steadfastly.

"Santuzza, I believe you. Your words--and the sadness of your
face--convince me. I will avenge us both." And off he ran. For a
moment Santuzza was glad, then remorse overtook her. Now Turiddu would
be killed! She was certain of it. Alfio was not a man to be played
with. Surely Turiddu would be killed! And there was his old mother,
too, who would be left quite alone. When it was too late, Santuzza
repented having spoken. She tried to recall Alfio, but he had gone.

The organ within the church swelled loudly again, and, the music being
most beautiful, Santuzza stood listening in an agony of mind. Soon
people began to come out, and old Lucia hobbled from the church in her
turn, and crossed to her inn, followed by the young men and women. The
men were all going home to their wives, and the women to their duties,
but it was proposed that all should stop a moment at old Lucia's for a
glass of her famous wine before they separated. As they went to the
bar of the inn, which was out under the trees, Lola and Turiddu came
from the church together.

"I must hurry home now--I haven't seen Alfio yet--and he will be in a
rage," she said.

"Not so fast--there is plenty of time! Come, neighbours, have a glass
of wine with us," Turiddu cried to the crowd, going to his mother's
bar, and there they gathered singing a gay drinking song.

"To those who love you!" Turiddu pledged, lifting his glass and
looking at Lola. She nodded and answered:

"To your good fortune, brother!" And while they were speaking Alfio
entered.

"Greeting to you all," he called.

"Good! come and join us," Turiddu answered.

"Thank you! but I should expect you to poison me if I were to drink
with you, my friend," and the wagoner looked meaningly at Turiddu.

"Oh--well, suit yourself," Turiddu replied, nonchalantly. Then a
neighbour standing near Lola whispered:

"You had better leave here, Lola. Come home with me. I can foresee
trouble here." Lola took her advice and went out, with all the women
following her.

"Well, now that you have frightened away all the women by your
behaviour, maybe you have something to say to me privately," Turiddu
remarked, turning to Alfio.

"Nothing--except that I am going to kill you--this instant!"

"You think so? then we will embrace," Turiddu exclaimed, proposing the
custom of the place and throwing his arms about his enemy. When he did
so, Alfio bit Turiddu's ear, which, in Sicily, is a challenge to a
duel.

"Good! I guess we understand each other."

"Well, I own that I have done you wrong--and Santuzza wrong.
Altogether, I am a bad fellow; but if you are going to kill me, I must
bid my mother good-bye, and also give Santuzza into her care. After
all, I have some grace left, whether you think so or not," Turiddu
cried, and then he called his mother out, while Alfio went away with
the understanding that Turiddu should immediately follow and get the
fight over.

"Mama," Turiddu then said to old Lucia when she hobbled out, "that
wine of ours is certainly very exciting. I am going out to walk it
off, and I want your blessing before I go." He tried to keep up a
cheerful front that he might not frighten his old mother. At least he
had the grace to behave himself fairly well, now that the end had
come.

"If I shouldn't come back----"

"What can you mean, my son?" the old woman whispered, trembling with
fear.

"Nothing, nothing, except that even before I go to walk, I want your
promise to take Santuzza to live with you. Now that is all! I'm off.
Good-bye, God bless you, mother. I love you very much." Before she
hardly knew what had happened, Turiddu was off and away. She ran to
the side of the square and called after him, but he did not return.
Instead, Santuzza ran in.

"Oh, Mama Lucia," she cried, throwing her arms about her.

Then the people who had met Alfio and Turiddu on their way to their
encounter began to rush in. Everybody was wildly excited. Both men
were village favourites in their way. A great noise of rioting was
heard and some one shrieked in the distance.

"Oh, neighbour, neighbour, Turiddu is killed, Turiddu is killed!" At
this nearly every one in the little village came running, while
Santuzza fell upon the ground in a faint.

"He is killed! Alfio has killed him!" others cried, running in, and
then poor old Lucia fell unconscious beside Santuzza, while the
neighbours gathered about her, lifted her up and carried her into her
lonely inn.



MEYERBEER


Genius seems born to do stupid things and to be unable to know it.
Probably no stupider thing was ever said or done than that by Wagner
when he wrote a diatribe on the Jew in Art. He called it "Das
Judenthum in der Musik" (Judaism in Music). He declared that the
mightiest people in art and in several other things--the Jews--could
not be artists for the reason that they were wanderers and therefore
lacking in national characteristics.

There could not well have been a better plea against his own
statement. Art is often national--but not when art is at its best. Art
is an emotional result--and emotion is a thing the Jews know something
about. Meyerbeer was a Jew, and the most helpful friend Richard Wagner
ever had, yet Wagner was so little of a Jew that he did not know the
meaning of appreciation and gratitude. Instead, he hated Meyerbeer and
his music intensely. Meyerbeer may have been a wanderer upon the face
of the earth and without national characteristics--which is a truly
amusing thing to say of a Jew, since his "characteristics" are a good
deal stronger than "national": they are racial! But however that may
have been, Meyerbeer's music was certainly characteristic of its
composer. As between Jew and Jew, Mendelssohn and he had a petty
hatred of each other. Mendelssohn was always displeased when the
extraordinary likeness between himself and Meyerbeer was commented
upon. They were so much alike in physique that one night, after
Mendelssohn had been tormented by his attention being repeatedly
called to the fact, he cut his hair short in order to make as great a
difference as possible between his appearance and that of his rival.
This only served to create more amusement among his friends.

Rossini, with all the mean vanity of a small artist, one whose
principal claim to fame lay in large dreams, declared that Meyerbeer
was a "mere compiler." If that be true, one must say that a good
compilation is better than a poor creation. Rossini and Meyerbeer
were, nevertheless, warm friends.

Meyerbeer put into practice the Wagnerian theories, which may have
been one reason, aside from the constitutional artistic reasons, why
Wagner hated him.

Meyerbeer was born "to the purple," to a properly conducted life, and
yet he laboured with tremendous vim. He outworked all his fellows, and
one day when a friend protested, begging him to take rest, Meyerbeer
answered:

"If I should stop work I should rob myself of my greatest enjoyment. I
am so accustomed to it that it has become a necessity with me." This
is the true art spirit, which many who "arrive" never know the joy of
possessing. Meyerbeer's father was a rich Jewish banker, Jacob Beer,
of Berlin. It is pleasant to think of one man, capable of large
achievements, having an easy time of it, finding himself free all his
life to follow his best creative instincts. It is not often so.

Meyerbeer's generosity of spirit in regard to the greatness of another
is shown in this anecdote:

Above all music, the Jew best loved Mozart's, just as Mozart loved
Haydn's. Upon one occasion when Meyerbeer was dining with some
friends, a question arose about Mozart's place among composers. Some
one remarked that "certain beauties of Mozart's music had become stale
with age." Another agreed, and added, "I defy any one to listen to
'Don Giovanni' after the fourth act of 'Les Huguenots'!" This vulgar
compliment enraged Meyerbeer. "So much the worse then for the fourth
act of 'The Huguenots'!" he shouted. Of all his own work this Jewish
composer loved "L'Africaine" the best, and he made and remade it
during a period of seventeen years. In this he was the best judge of
his own work; though some persons believe that "Le Prophète" is
greater.

Among Meyerbeer's eccentricities was one that cannot be labelled
erratic. He had a wholesome horror of being buried alive, and he
carried a slip about in his pocket, instructing whom it might concern
to see that his body was kept unburied four days after his death, that
small bells were attached to his hands and feet, and that all the
while he should be watched. Then he was to be sent to Berlin to be
interred beside his mother, whom he dearly loved.


THE PROPHET

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Count Oberthal, Lord of the manor.
John of Leyden, an innkeeper and then a revolutionist (the
  Prophet).
Jonas    }
Mathison } Anabaptists.
Zacharia }
Bertha, affianced to John of Leyden.
Faith, John's mother.
  Choir: Peasants, soldiers, people, officers.

Story laid in Holland, near Dordrecht, about the fifteenth century.

Composer: Meyerbeer.
Author: Scribe.


ACT I

One beautiful day about four hundred years ago the sun rose upon a
castle on the Meuse, where lived the Count Oberthal, known in Holland
as Lord of the Manor. It was a fine sight with its drawbridge and its
towers, its mills and outbuildings, with antique tables outside the
great entrance, sacks of grain piled high, telling of industry and
plenty. In the early day peasants arrived with their grain sacks,
called for entrance, and the doors were opened to them; other men with
grain to be milled came and went, and the scene presented a lively
appearance.

Sheep-bells were heard in the meadows, the breezes blew softly, and
men and women went singing gaily about their work. Among them was a
young girl, more beautiful than the others, and her heart was
specially full of hope. She was beloved of an innkeeper, John, who
lived in a neighbouring village. He was prosperous and good, and she
thought of him while she worked. She longed to be his wife, but John
had an old mother who was mistress of the inn--in fact, the inn was
hers--and it had been a question how they should arrange their
affairs. John was too poor to go away and make a separate home, and
the old mother might not care to have a daughter-in-law take her place
as mistress there, carrying on the business while the active old woman
sat idly by.

Upon that beautiful day, Bertha was thinking of all of these things,
and hoping something would happen to change the situation. Even while
she was thinking thus fate had a pleasant surprise in store for her,
because the old mother, Faith, was at that very moment approaching the
manor where Bertha lived. Like others of her class she owed vassalage
to some petty seigneur, and while that meant oppression to be
endured, it included the advantage of safety and protection in time of
war.

Bertha, looking off over the country road, saw Faith, John's mother,
coming. Her step was firm for one so aged, and she was upheld on her
long journey by the goodness of her mission. When Bertha saw her she
ran to meet and welcome her.

"Sit down," she cried, guiding the old woman's steps to a seat, and
hovering over her. "I have watched for your coming since the
morning--even since sunrise," the young woman said, fluttering about
happily. "I was certain thou wert coming."

"Yes, yes. John said: 'Go, go, mother, and bring Bertha home to me,'
and I have come," she answered, caressing Bertha kindly. "I have
decided to give over the work and the care to you young people; to sit
by the chimneyside and see you happy; so bid farewell to this place,
and prepare to return with me. John is expecting thee."

"At once, dear mother?" she asked with some anxiety. "You know,
mother, I am a vassal of the Seigneur Oberthal, and may not marry
outside of his domain, without his permission. I must first get that;
but he cannot wish to keep me here, when there is so much happiness in
store for me!" she cried, with all the assurance of her happiness
newly upon her. But while she had been speaking, Faith had looked off
toward the high-road:

"Look, Bertha! dost see three strange figures coming along there?" she
asked in a low tone, pointing toward the road. Bertha looked. It was
true: three men, in black, of sinister appearance, were coming toward
them. The pair watched.

"Who are they?" she repeated, still in low and half-frightened tones.

"I have seen them before," Bertha answered. "It is said that they are
saintly men, but they look sinister to me."

By this time the men had been joined by many of the peasants and were
approaching the castle. They were Jonas, Mathison, and Zacharia,
seditionists; but they were going through the country in the garb of
holy men, stirring up the people under cover of saintliness.

They preached to the people the most absurd doctrines; that they would
have all the lands and castles of the nobles if they should rise up
and rebel against the system of vassalage that then prevailed. They
lacked a leader, however, in order to make their work successful. Now
they had come to Dordrecht and were approaching the castle of the
Count of Oberthal. All the peasants got into a frightful tangle of
trouble and riot, and they called and hammered at the Count's doors
till he and his retainers came out.

"What is all this noise?" he demanded, and as he spoke, he recognized
in Jonas, the leader of the Anabaptists, a servant whom he had
discharged for thievery. He at once told the peasants of this, and it
turned them against the three strangers and stopped the disturbance,
but at the back of the crowd the Count Oberthal had seen the beautiful
Bertha and Faith.

"What do ye do here?" he asked, curiously but kindly, noticing the
beauty of Bertha. At that she went toward him.

"I wish to ask you, Seigneur, for leave to marry outside your domain.
I love John of Leyden, the innkeeper--this is his mother--and she has
come to take me home with her, if I may go." She spoke modestly,
never thinking but she would be permitted to leave. But Oberthal
looked at her admiringly and decided that he would have her for
himself. Then thinking of her love, she began to sing of how John had
once saved her life, and Faith joined her in pleading.

[Music:

     One day in the waves of the Meuse
     I struggled I struggled
     John, John saved me--]

"No," Oberthal said at last, smiling; "I will not have so much
loveliness leave my domain. No! I shall not give my consent." At that
she began to weep, while Faith protested against his decision. This
made him angry and he ordered the two woman taken into his castle and
confined there till he should decide what he wished to do with them.

The peasants, who were still gathered about the Anabaptists, uncertain
how to treat them after the Count's disclosures, now showed great
anger against Oberthal for his action toward Bertha and Faith. As the
two women were dragged within the castle, the peasants set up a howl
of rage, while the Anabaptists extended their hands above them in a
pious manner and began their Latin chant once more.


ACT II

At the little inn belonging to Faith, John had been waiting all day
for her return with Bertha, and trying his best to look after those
who came and went. Outside, people were waltzing and drinking and
making merry, for the inn was a favourite place for the townsmen of
Leyden to congregate.

"Sing and waltz; sing and waltz!" they cried, "all life is joy--and
three cheers for thee, John!"

"Hey! John, bring beer," a soldier called merrily. "Let us eat, drink
and--" At that moment Jonas, followed by the other Anabaptists,
appeared at the inn.

"John! who is John?" they inquired of the soldier.

"John! John!" first one, then another called. "Here are some gentlemen
who want beer--although they are very unlikely looking chaps," some
one added, under his breath, looking the three fellows over. John came
in to take orders, but his mind was elsewhere.

"It is near night--and they have not come," he kept thinking. "I
wonder if anything can have happened to them! Surely not! My mother is
old, but she is lively on her feet, and on her way home she would have
the attention of Bertha. Only I should feel better to see them just
now."

"Come, come, John! Beer!" the soldier interrupted, and John started
from his reverie. As he went to fetch the beer, Jonas too started.
Then he leaned toward Mathison.

"Do you notice anything extraordinary about that man--John of the
inn?" he asked. The two other Anabaptists regarded the innkeeper
closely.

"Yes! He is the image of David--the saint in Münster, whose image is
so worshipped by the Westphalians. They believe that same saint has
worked great miracles among them," Zacharia answered, all the while
watching John as he moved about among the tables.

"Listen to this! Just such a man was needed to complete our success.
This man's strong, handsome appearance and his strange likeness to
that blessed image of those absurd Westphalians is enough to make him
a successful leader. We'll get hold of him, call him a prophet, and
the business is done. With him to lead and we to control him, we are
likely to own all Holland presently. He is a wonder!" And they put
their heads together and continued to talk among themselves. Then
Jonas turned to one of the guests.

"Say, friend, who is this man?"

"He is the keeper of this inn," was the answer. "He has an excellent
heart and a terrible arm."

"A fiery temper, I should say," the Anabaptist suggested.

"That he has, truly."

"He is brave?"

"Aye! and devoted. And he knows the whole Bible by heart," the peasant
declared, proud of his friend. At that the three looked meaningly at
one another. This certainly was the sort of man they needed.

"Come, friends, I want you to be going," John said at that moment, his
anxiety for his mother and Bertha becoming so great that he could no
longer bear the presence of the roistering crowd. "Besides it is going
to storm. Come. I must close up." They all rose good-naturedly and
one by one and in groups took themselves off--all but the three
Anabaptists, who lingered behind.

"What troubles thee, friend?" Jonas said sympathetically to John, when
all had gone, and he looked toward them inquiringly.

"The fact is, my mother was to have returned to Leyden with my fiancée
before this hour, and I am a little troubled to know they are so late
upon the road. I imagine I feel the more anxious because of some bad
dreams I have had lately--two nights." He added, trying to smile.

"Pray tell us what your dreams were. We can some of us interpret
dreams. Come! Perhaps they mean good rather than bad," Jonas urged.

"Why, I dreamed that I was standing in a beautiful temple, with
everything very splendid about me, while everybody was bowing down to
me----"

"Well, that is good!" Jonas interrupted.

"Ah! but wait! A crown was on my brow and a hidden choir were chanting
a sacred chant. They kept repeating: 'This is the new king! the king
whom heaven has given us.' And then upon a blazing marble tablet there
appeared the words 'Woe through thee! Woe through thee!' And as I was
about to draw my sword I was nearly drowned in a sea of blood. To
escape that I tried to mount the throne beside me. But I and the
throne were swept away by a frightful storm which rose. And at that
moment the Devil began to drag me down, while the people cried: 'Let
him be accursed!' But out of the sky came a voice and it cried
'Mercy--mercy to him!' and then I woke trembling with the vividness of
my dream. I have dreamed thus twice. It troubles me." And he paused
abstractedly, listening to the storm without, which seemed to grow
more boisterous.

"Friend, let me interpret that dream as it should be understood. It
means that you are born to reign over the people. You may go through
difficulties to reach your throne, but you shall reign over the
people."

"Humph!" he answered, smiling incredulously, "I may reign, but it
shall be a reign of love over this little domestic world of mine. I
want my mother and my sweetheart, and want no more. Let them arrive
safely this night, and I'll hand over that dream-throne to you!" he
answered, going to the door.

"Listen again!" Jonas persisted. "You do not know us but you have
heard of us. We are those holy men who have been travelling through
Holland, telling people their sacred rights as human beings; and
pointing out to them that God never meant them for slaves. Join us,
and that throne you dreamed of shall become a real one, and thine!
Come! Consent, and you go with us. That kingdom shall be yours. You
have the head and heart and the behaviour of a brave and good man."
Thus they urged him, but John only put them aside. He listened to them
half in derision.

"Wait till I get my Bertha and my mother safe into this house this
night, then we'll think of that fine kingdom ye are planning for me,"
he said. The Anabaptists seeing that his mind was too troubled with
his own affairs, got up and went out.

"Well, thank heaven!" John cried when they had gone. "What queer
fellows, to be sure! I wish it were not so late----" At that moment a
great noise arose outside the inn. "What can that mean?" he said to
himself, standing in the middle of the floor, hardly daring to look
out, he was so disturbed. The noise became greater.

"It is the galloping of soldiers, by my faith!" he cried, and was
starting toward the door when it was burst open and Bertha threw
herself into his arms.

"What is this! What has happened? Good heaven! you are all torn
and----"

"Save me, save and hide me!" she cried. "Thy mother is coming. The
soldiers are after us--look!" And glancing toward the window he saw
Oberthal coming near with his soldiers. He hastily hid Bertha behind
some curtains in one part of the room, just as Oberthal rushed in.

He demanded Bertha, telling John how he had taken the two women and
was carrying them to Haarlem when Bertha got away. Now he had Faith,
the mother, and would keep her as hostage, unless Bertha was instantly
given into his hands. Upon hearing that, John was distracted with
grief.

"Give her up, or I'll kill this old woman before thy eyes!" he
declared brutally. John was torn between love for his old mother and
for his sweetheart, and while he stood staring wildly at Oberthal the
soldiers brought his mother in and were about to cleave her head in
twain when Bertha tore the curtains apart. She could not let John
sacrifice his mother for her. Oberthal fairly threw her into the arms
of his soldiers, while the old mother stretched her arms toward John,
who fell upon a seat with his head in his hands. Then, after the
soldiers and Oberthal had gone, the poor old woman tried to comfort
him, but his grief was so tragic that he could not endure it, and he
begged her to go to her room and leave him alone for a time. Soon
after she had gone out, John heard the strange chant of the
Anabaptists. He raised his head and listened--that was like his
dream--the sacred chant!

"It is my dream," he said. Then he started up furiously. "It is my
revenge. If those strange men should come again and ask----" And at
that very moment they summoned him to the door. They knew what had
passed, and believed it a good time to persuade him to join them.

"Enter, enter, enter!" he cried, half beside himself with his grief;
and the three strange creatures came in.

"John of Leyden, we come to offer you a throne once more, and with it
your revenge for what has happened here this night."

"I will join thee for my revenge. I need no throne--but my revenge! I
must have my revenge!"

"Come, and thou shalt have it. Work henceforth as we direct, and as
that sainted figure of David, beloved by those of Westphalia, and we
promise you revenge against the whole nobility of Holland. Come!"

"Aye--thou shalt be to Holland what Jeanne d'Arc was to France!"

John went softly, yet quivering with hate and sorrow, to his mother's
door.

"She mutters a prayer in her sleep," he said, hesitating what to do,
yet overwhelmed with misfortune and fury.

"Thy revenge!" whispered Zacharia in his ear. John of Leyden looked at
him darkly a moment, then:

"Let us go," he said, and the four conspirators went softly from the
old inn.


ACT III

At the close of day, at the foot of an ice-covered mountain, forests
on every side, the Anabaptists were encamped in Westphalia. John of
Leyden had gone to that part of Germany under the direction of Jonas,
Mathison, and Zacharia, and being introduced to the people as a
sainted man, all had fallen down and worshipped him and he had become
a great power. So many had rallied round him that his army had become
very large, and the nobles and their families were fleeing from it in
consternation.

Just before nightfall, while all seemed quiet in camp, a noise of
battle was heard far off, which grew louder and louder, telling of the
approach of the fighters. Finally, the noise of combat was right at
hand, and when the soldiers rushed into the camp there was great
confusion. Among the prisoners were men and women richly dressed,
little children, and old people, all prisoners, or flying on every
side. The Anabaptists were ferocious in their joy over every success,
and since John of Leyden had joined and led them they had been most
successful.

Peasants came into camp with baskets and loads of food, while those
things were bought by giving in exchange many spoils of war--rich
vases and fine stuffs of all sorts. Then the soldiers fell to eating
and drinking, being served by their women and children while there was
dancing and general rejoicing.

Many of the girls who had brought provisions into camp had skated over
miles of frozen waterway, thinking little of such a performance in
that country, and all was gaiety and expectation. It was known that
the Emperor was marching against the Anabaptist army, and while John
of Leyden had been very successful, he had as yet no stronghold; so he
decided, after talking with Jonas and the other two seditionists, to
attack the city of Münster itself. That city was held by the father of
the Count Oberthal, who had carried off Bertha.

Then, when the rout and camp gaiety were at their height, a stranger
who had been seen wandering about the camp was brought in. He was
looked upon with suspicion, and it was decided that he must
immediately take an oath to belong to the Anabaptists. He agreed to do
so and then, while every one was talking about the Prophet, the
stranger was brought before Jonas.

"Who is it?" he asked, for outside the rays of the camp lights the
wood was dark.

"One who is ready to take the oath and join us," was the answer.

"Very well, but in this dense wood who can see anything at this time
of the night? Strike a light there."

"Yes, have a care, brother," said Zacharia. "Let us be certain the man
is sincere in his purpose to join us."

"To-morrow we go to take Münster, which is in the hands of that
traitor Oberthal," Mathison said.

The stranger started violently.

"We shall massacre the wretch and his people," Jonas continued.

"Massacre!" the stranger exclaimed, then aside he murmured "my
father!" because in truth the stranger who had been caught near the
camp was none other than the Oberthal who had carried away Bertha.

The three Anabaptists continued to speak in so blood-thirsty a manner
of their exploits that Oberthal was horrified by the thought that it
was his father who was to fall into their hands on the morrow. More
than that, they expected him to swear to join their expedition.

"Well, here we stand, talking in the darkness still. Let us get out of
it," Jonas cried, and they moved toward the light of the camp, taking
Oberthal with them. Suddenly when in the bright light, Jonas
recognized his old master who had sent him away and punished him for
stealing.

"Heaven! Well, I have you now!" he cried, wickedly. "Now I'll make
short work of you!" and he called the guard. "Here! surround him. Lead
him instantly to execution."

"Without consulting the Prophet?" all cried in amazement. That was
high-handed work, indeed.

"Wait for nothing. Kill him," Jonas cried, going excitedly by one
path, as John the Prophet came upon the scene by another. He was sad
and cast down, and Zacharia spoke to him. "What is wrong with you?"

"I get small joy from all this," he answered. "Jeanne d'Arc was born
to such affairs, but I was better off in my inn, serving my people. It
is a bad business," and he was very melancholy.

"What is this you say?"

"I say that I think of my Bertha and my mother. I wish I were with
them, while others were reforming Holland."

"But thy mother and thy sweetheart, since they got into the hands of
Oberthal, are doubtless dead."

"Then there is little for me to fight for. I shall stop now; do you
carry on your schemes as best you may. Who is that prisoner?" he
asked, as Oberthal was brought back by the soldiers.

"It is a man who is about to be executed."

"Oh--he is? Who says so, since I say otherwise?" John replied, looking
at Zacharia contemptuously. "I am thy Prophet," he declared with
hardly less contempt in his tone than before. "I am thy Prophet and
settle these matters of life and death. I settle this one. Yonder man
shall not die. I am in a humane mood." He motioned the guard to bring
Oberthal, whom he had not yet seen, before him. When face to face,
John of Leyden lifted his eyes and looked again upon the man who had
brought all his woes upon him; who had so persecuted him that he had
in a mad moment left his peaceful inn, and undertaken to change the
face of Germany. He had already wrought untold pain and suffering.

"Oberthal!" he said, hardly able to speak because of his emotion.

"Ah! thou wilt still treat him tenderly, I doubt not!" Zacharia cried,
sneeringly. For a moment John of Leyden could not speak; then he said:

"Leave us!" His tone was awful, yet showed great self-repression.

"So!" he said, after gazing at Oberthal a moment. "Heaven has
delivered thee into my hands!"

"It is just. My crime merits my punishment," Oberthal said in a low
voice. "But I will tell thee one thing which is thy due and may save
my soul from damnation: thy Bertha, to save herself from my hands,
threw herself into the sea, and thus escaped me."

"Dead, dead!" John of Leyden said, bowing his head a moment upon his
hands.

"No! there is more. Touched with remorse, I saved her."

"And then,--speak!"

"She fled to Münster, and I was on my way there to find her and to try
to restore her to thee, when I was arrested."

"Oberthal, thy fate shall rest with her. I spare thee till she shall
pronounce sentence upon thee." He had no sooner spoken than Mathison
rushed in and cried that the troops had rebelled, and that John alone
could stop the riot and stay the ruin. "The gates of Münster have
been thrown open, its army has marched upon us, and our men are
fleeing."

"Run! run!" John of Leyden shouted. "After them, and turn them back.
Münster must be ours!" And he rushed off, the Anabaptists following.

When he managed to rally the soldiers, they turned upon him and
accused him of being a false Prophet.

"Ye promised us to take Münster; thy dallying has lost it to us. We
shall no longer tolerate a rule like thine. Thou art no Prophet." But
since learning that Bertha was within the city of Münster, John of
Leyden's purpose had become fixed. If he entered that city at all, it
must be as a conqueror; because as a seditionist his head was wanted
there. Yet if he did not enter he could not find Bertha.

When they had cried death to the Prophet, John of Leyden calmly, with
great impressiveness, made them cower before his rage.

"I punish rebellion like this. If you have come to grief--or if the
cause shall--it is because you have offended God by your haste, and by
your disobedience to me," he cried, while the soldiers shouted:

"He speaks like a holy man! We have done wrong."

"Get to your knees, you impious men!" he cried, seeing his advantage
over them, and they all fell upon their knees. His personality had
gained the control over a great people once again. With this spirit of
enthusiasm aroused, the city of Münster was soon taken, and a great
hymn of triumph went up. All the people likened John of Leyden to
David, and rallied round him, proclaiming him king.


ACT IV

Before the city hall of the city of Münster, many citizens were
collected, and many were continually arriving, bearing rich bronzes,
and chests of treasure, which they were hoping to save for themselves
by placing them under the direct protection of the city. The invading
hosts of John's army filled all with fear. No one was more furious
against the Prophet than Bertha, who, being in Münster, had no thought
that the Prophet who had laid waste the whole country could be her
beloved sweetheart.

The public square before the city hall was soon invaded by the
soldiers of John, who were crying, "Long live the Prophet!" while
answering cries of "Down with him! down with thy Prophet!" were
courageously shouted by the people of Münster.

"This Prophet who is to be crowned King of the Anabaptists; he is of
Satan and not of Heaven!" The whole city was full of despair.

While all was in confusion, Faith, John's mother, was seen to wander
in and kneel in prayer.

"What art thou doing there, mother?" one of the crowd questioned.

"I am praying for my son. I am begging for money that I may buy masses
for his soul. I am hungry and cold. I am alone in the world. All the
world seems buried in grief. I pray. There is no other hope save in
prayer!" she moaned, little thinking that it was her son who had
brought upon a nation so much desolation, and who at the same time was
about to be crowned by the revolutionists. As people passed, they
dropped money into her hand, and some led her a little way to a seat
where she could rest her weary body. She had become very old and
trembling since that night when she had last seen her son. She had
wandered from the old inn in search of him, and had never found him;
and she had no sooner left the old home than Bertha, saved from
Oberthal, had flown to the inn again, to throw herself into the strong
arms of her lover. She had found the place closed, for Faith and John
had gone, no one knew where.

After begging and praying in the public square, Faith found herself
near a sick and almost helpless man, close to the palace toward which
she had wandered. Many people were about. The Prophet was going to be
crowned, so it was rumoured. Among others, Bertha had wandered near.

"Thou poor, helpless brother," said Faith. "Let me, out of my poverty,
help thee a little." At the sound of that voice Bertha paused, turned,
and nearly shrieked. She had wandered alone and hopeless; and there
stood Faith, her lover's mother.

"Oh, dear mother!" she cried, and they threw themselves into each
other's arms.

"Oh, mother! How I sought for thee!" she sobbed. "Since you were not
to be found in Leyden, I turned myself toward Münster, hoping against
hope to find you or John. Now take me to him. Let us go quickly!" she
urged, but old Faith held back.

"My child, he is dead. I heard a voice declare to me that I should see
him no more. It was an unseen voice. He is dead." Whereupon, both
women fell to weeping in each other's arms.

"It has to do with these wicked men who have brought ruin upon
Germany!--these Anabaptists!" Bertha cried. "Oh, John, if thou couldst
rise from thy grave and help me now. Thy courage and goodness would
raise up men to drive back these who do bad deeds in the name of God."

She cursed the famous Prophet, neither of them dreaming who he might
be, and that desolation had come because the man whom they loved best
had sought revenge for the wrongs done to them. With those curses in
their hearts, the forlorn women wandered on with the crowd toward the
cathedral where the Prophet was to be crowned.

Some of his suite had already gone into the church, but many were
arriving in a grand procession. The appearance of the Prophet's guard
aroused great indignation among the citizens, who were compelled to
look on helplessly.

Then came the Prophet himself, garbed all in white, from head to foot,
and a wonderful march was being played, while the spectacle grew each
moment more and more magnificent.

[Music]

As John the Prophet passed, the revolutionary crowd threw themselves
at his feet; young girls strewed flowers in his path, the choir
chanted. Then, the Anabaptists having deposed the Elector Princes,
were to take their places. The Prophet was anointed with holy oil, a
great and impressive ceremony took place, and all the city rang with
the cries that proclaimed him king. Faith and Bertha could not see the
new king, but they were in the crowd, and they cursed this Prophet
again--none so vigorously as Bertha, while Faith hailed her as a new
Judith. After a time, all being prostrate upon their knees awaiting
the reëntrance of the Prophet from the church, John appeared upon the
great staircase which led from the cathedral. As he stood there
looking unhappily upon all of those abased people who seemed to be
worshipping him, he thought he heard the voice of his dream of long
ago. "Woe through thee! Let him be accursed!" Overcome by the memory,
he uttered those words aloud. Faith heard the voice and screamed:

"My son! my son!" John of Leyden trembled and started toward her, his
arms outstretched, but Mathison, knowing the disastrous effect such
an acknowledgment would have upon the crowd who believed him of holy
origin, said in a low voice to John:

"Speak! reply to her, and she shall die, instantly! Deny thy mother,
or she shall be killed before thine eyes." The Anabaptists had no mind
to lose all they had risked so much for, when it was just within their
grasp. John looked at his mother, in agony and then he regained his
self-possession.

"Who is this woman?" he asked: it was to save her life that he did it.

At that cold denial of her, Faith clasped her hands and wept. Then she
became enraged at his ingratitude, and began to upbraid him.

"This poor wretch is mad," he said, but by that time the crowd was
beginning to murmur against him.

"He said he was the son of God! He is an impostor." The Anabaptists
seeing how fatal the effect of Faith's words was going to be, spoke
menacingly to John. Then John cried, as Jonas raised his sword to
strike the old mother down:

"Hold! respect the day! I, thy Prophet, hath to-day received His
crown. No bloodshed. This poor creature is demented. A miracle alone
can restore her reason," and he went toward Faith. "Woman, to thy
knees!" he said, but she made a gesture of indignation. He continued
to go toward her, then laying his hands lovingly upon her head he
looked meaningly into her eyes.

"To thy knees." His voice was soft and gentle, and slowly Faith fell
upon her knees, half comprehending that he was acting as fate
compelled him.

"Put up thy swords!" he commanded the people who had drawn them. Then
to Faith: "Thou wert wrong, good mother!" She looked at him a moment
longer.

"Yes!--wrong," she said, and bowed her head. At that the people burst
into cries of enthusiasm.

"Is he thy child?" Jonas asked loudly, placing his sword-point upon
her breast.

"Alas! No, he is not my son!" she answered in a weak voice.

"A miracle! A miracle!" all cried, and then the Prophet passed on,
Faith looking after him without following, the people again acclaiming
him with joyous shouts.


ACT V

In a dungeon underneath the palace, John found his mother. He went to
the place where he had privately ordered the Anabaptists to have her
taken, the moment he could leave the ceremonies of his coronation. The
feast of the day was yet to come, but while the ceremonies had been
going on, the three Anabaptists had had a message from the Emperor of
Germany, which promised safety to themselves, if they would give the
Prophet into his hands. They had treacherously decided to do this at
the coronation feast.

In the dungeon the poor old mother had huddled down, no longer in
fear, because her grief had rendered her insensible to everything
else.

"I forgive him," she sobbed, thinking of her son. "Let no ill come to
him for what he has done to me this day." As she was thus plunged in
deepest grief, the iron door opened, flambeaux lighted the palace up,
and the guard cried the Prophet's name.

"Woman, get upon thy knees; the Prophet is coming to thee," an officer
said.

She started up: "He is coming here--I shall see him?" she whispered to
herself. Then the guard left, and John of Leyden came in. He ran
toward his mother.

"Mother! My mother!" he cried.

"Nay!" she answered. "In the crowd I obeyed thee--I read some strange
message in thy face. But here, with only God's eye upon thee, go down
on thy knees before me."

"Oh, mother, I love thee!"

But the old mother reproached him with what he had done--how he had
brought a people to despair and had imposed himself upon them as the
son of God; but all the while she chided him, she loved him dearly.

"It was my wrongs that made me do this thing, mother," he urged.

But she showed him all his wickedness with such vehemence that he
could not answer, and could only weep. Then she spoke quietly.

"If thou art remorseful for thy sins, proclaim thy wrong. Be thyself,
John of Leyden, the innkeeper, my son!"

"Desert my soldiers?" he asked, in a frightened voice. "I have led
others into danger--dare I desert them?"

"Thy mother demands it: it is the only way to right thy wrongdoing.
The blessing of God will only then descend upon thee." The Prophet,
overwhelmed by her command, opened his arms to Heaven as a sign that
he would obey, and Faith threw herself upon his breast.

Now Bertha, utterly distracted by her troubles, had disguised herself
as a pilgrim, and in her madness she had determined to set fire to the
stores of wood beneath the palace. She found her way into the dungeon
just as John and his mother were embracing. As the iron doors were
heard to open again, John turned around and saw a woman enter. As she
saw John she cried bitterly:

"Behold the Prophet!" Both John and Faith cried out upon recognizing
her voice.

"Now, let us perish together!" Bertha said, wildly, approaching John.
Then suddenly recognizing him she stifled a scream:

"Thou! the Prophet is thou? My God, my God! Then let us perish now!"
She stared in horror at the man she loved, who was also the man she
had cursed and despised--the famous Prophet.

"Oh, my child, speak low, speak low!" Faith implored, looking
anxiously toward the iron door. "Abandon thy hate. I have found my
son. He will do right. Have pity upon him," the old mother pleaded.
Bertha looking at him, felt all the love of her heart enfold him
again. The madness died out her eyes.

"Yes. Let us not hate. Let us curse no more. Far from this dread city,
we three were to have been happy. Yes, I love thee still; but still
thou art the infamous man whom I have cursed. Since I love thee, let
this atone for thee," and before he could answer, she had plunged a
dagger into her heart and fallen dead at his feet.

Then John summoned the guard. He no longer cared to live. The officer
of the guard, who was faithful to him, told him, when he entered, of
the plot to give him over to the Emperor, while the coronation feast
was in progress.

"Very well. I am satisfied. Do thou take my mother to a place of
safety. I shall be at the feast," he said significantly. Embracing
his mother, he handed her into the care of the astonished guard, and
left the dungeon.

Nothing could have been more magnificent than the banquet prepared for
the coronation. The tables were loaded with golden dishes, and young
women passed, scattering flowers, while pages in gay dress ran hither
and thither. There, John entered, and sat apart, as had been arranged.
He was pale and sad. All was gaiety about him, but he had prepared an
awful fate for his betrayers. In the vaults of the palace were stored
powder and firearms of all sorts. Just above those vaults was the
banqueting room, which had great iron gates closed at one end. The
company could only leave the room by those gates. John of Leyden had
brought two officers whom he could trust into the hall with him, and
unheard, he commanded them to close and lock the gates as soon as the
Anabaptists Zacharia, Mathison, and Jonas, with Oberthal, the great
power of Münster and the Bishops--all who were his enemies and to whom
the Anabaptists meant to betray him--were assembled.

Then the feast began. All hailed the Prophet in loud voices,
pretending great affection and faith in him. In the midst of a dance
by which the guests were entertained, Faith, whom he thought quite
safe, entered. She knew what he had done--that he meant to blow up the
palace by firing the vaults below, and she had determined to die with
her son. The Prophet had not yet seen her.

The Anabaptists and John's enemies spoke apart, and John watched them
cynically. He knew well what they intended, and that he had them
trapped.

"Now close the gates," he said in a low voice to his officers. "Lock
them." He had not seen his mother. When the gates were closed, he
turned smilingly to the company. He called for wine.

"Let us drink!" he cried. Then Oberthal rose and shouted:

"Thou art mine, great Prophet! Surrender thyself." Still the Prophet
smiled at them. Jonas then cried:

"Yes, thou tyrant--thou art betrayed. We have thee fast! Surrender!"

"Oh, ye poor creatures," he answered. "Listen! do ye hear nothing?"
Still smiling upon them, as they stared at him, they heard a strange
rumbling below. The train he had laid to blow up the palace had fired
the powder.

"Thy time has come!" John of Leyden cried, and the vast hall began to
fill with smoke and powder fumes. Riot reigned, and just at that
moment Faith, her gray hair streaming about her, pushed through the
crowd and threw herself into her son's arms. He gave a great cry of
agony.

"Mother! Thou art here?"

"To die with thee, my son!" she shrieked, and with a roar the palace
fell about their ears.



MOZART


It is not at all probable that anything so ridiculous as the "Magic
Flute" story was ever before written. It might have been the concerted
effort of Artemus Ward, Theodore Hook, Bill Nye, and Mark Twain. But
an effort at coherence must be made in the putting together of this
story, because the opera is, above all things, one that every man,
woman, and child should know. Mozart's lovely music could not be
ruined, even by this story.

It has been said that the "Magic Flute" might have had some Masonic
significance. That is quite likely, on the ground that it has no other
significance whatever.

This opera proves one thing beyond a doubt: That Mozart could have
written beautiful music with the New York Directory for a theme.

Rossini summed up Mozart very properly: "Who is the greatest musician
in the world?" some one asked him. "Beethoven," Rossini answered. "But
what about Mozart?" "Well, you see, Mozart is the _only_ musician in
the world," he answered, allowing of no comparisons! And he is the
only one, yet, to some of us!

That he was a man of the most fascinating temper cannot be doubted,
when one reads his memoirs. He was without any financial judgment. He
could make money, but he couldn't keep it. There is a story
illustrating the dominance of his heart over his head, told in
connection with an offer of patronage from the King of Prussia. At
that time Mozart was Emperor Leopold's musician, and when he went to
Leopold to offer his resignation and take advantage of the better
arrangement which the Prussian King had offered, Leopold said
urgently: "But, Mozart, you surely are not going to forsake me?" "No,
of course not," Mozart answered hastily. "May it please your Majesty,
I shall remain." When his friends asked him if he had not been wise
enough to make some demand to his own advantage at such a time, he
answered in amazement: "Why, who could do such a thing--at such a
time?"

His sentiment was charming, his character fascinating. He married
Constance Weber, herself a celebrated person. She was never tired of
speaking and writing of her husband. It was she who told of his small,
beautifully formed hands, and of his favourite amusements--playing at
bowls and billiards. The latter sport, by the way, has been among the
favoured amusements of many famous musicians; Paderewski is a great
billiard player.

As a little child, Mozart had a father who "put him through," so to
speak, he being compelled to play, and play and play, from the time he
was six years old. At that age he drew the bow across his violin while
standing in the custom-house at Vienna, on the way to play at
Schönbrunn for the Emperor, and he charmed the officers so much that
the whole Mozart family baggage was passed free of tax. While at the
palace he was treated gorgeously, and among the Imperial family at
that time was Marie Antoinette, then a young and gay princess. The
young princesses treated little Wolfgang Mozart like a brother, and
when he stumbled and fell in the drawing room, it happened to be
Antoinette who picked him up. "Oh, you are good, I shall marry you!"
he assured her. On that occasion the Mozart family received the sum of
only forty pounds for his playing, with some additions to the family
wardrobe thrown in.

Most composers have had favourite times and seasons for work--in bed,
with a heap of sausages before them, or while out walking. Beethoven
used to pour cold water over his hands till he soaked off the ceiling
of the room below; in short, most musicians except Mozart had some
surprising idiosyncrasy. He needed even no instrument when composing
music. He could enjoy a game of bowls, sitting and making his MS.
while the game was in progress, and leaving his work to take his turn.
He was not strong, physically, and was often in poor circumstances,
but wherever he was there was likely to be much excitement and gaiety.
He would serenely write his music on his knee, on his table, wherever
and however he chanced to be; and was most at ease when his wife was
telling him all the gossip of the day while he worked. After all, that
is the true artist. Erraticalness is by no means the thing that makes
a man great, though he sometimes becomes great in spite of it, but for
the most part it is carefully cultivated through conceit.

Mozart's burial was probably the most extraordinary commentary on fame
and genius ever known. The day he was buried, it was stormy weather
and all the mourners, few enough to start with, had dropped off long
before the graveyard was reached. He was to be buried third class, and
as there had already been two pauper funerals that day, a midwife's,
and another's, Mozart's body was to be placed on top. No one was at
the grave except the assistant gravedigger and his mother.

"Who is it?" the mother asked.

"A bandmaster," the hearse driver answered.

"Well, Gott! there isn't anything to be expected then. So hurry up!"
Thus the greatest of musical geniuses was done with this world.

Germany has given us the greatest musicians, but she leaves other
people to take care of them, to love them, and to bury them--or to
leave them go "third-class."


THE MAGIC FLUTE

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Queen of the Night.
Pamina (Queen's daughter).
Papagena.
Three ladies of the Queen's Court.
Three Genii of the Temple.
Tamino, an Egyptian Prince.
Monostatos, a Moor in the service of Sarastro.
Sarastro, High Priest of the Temple.
Papageno, Tamina's servant.
Speaker of the Temple.
Two priests.
Two armed men.

Chorus of priests of the Temple, slaves, and attendants.

The scene is near the Temple of Isis, in Egypt.

Composer: Mozart.


ACT I

Once upon a time an adventurous Egyptian youth found himself near to
the Temple of Isis. He had wandered far, had clothed himself in
another habit than that worn by his people, and by the time he reached
the temple he had spent his arrows, and had nothing but his useless
bow left. In this predicament, he saw a monstrous serpent who made
after him, and he fled. He had nothing to fight with, and was about to
be caught in the serpent's fearful coils when the doors of the temple
opened and three ladies ran out, each armed with a fine silver spear.

They had heard the youth's cries of distress, and had rushed out to
assist him. Immediately they attacked the monster and killed it, while
Tamino lay panting upon the ground. When they went to him they found
him unconscious. He seemed to be a very noble and beautiful youth,
whose appearance was both heroic and gentle, and they were inspired
with confidence in him.

"May not this youth be able, in return for our services to him, to
help us in our own troubles?" they inquired of each other; for they
belonged to the court of the Queen of the Night, and that sovereign
was in great sorrow. Her beautiful daughter, Pamina, had been carried
away, and none had been able to discover where she was hidden. There
was no one in the court who was adventurous enough to search in
certain forbidden and perilous places for her.

As Tamino lay exhausted upon the ground, one of the women who had
rescued him declared that she would remain to guard him--seeing he had
no arrows--while the others should go and tell the Queen that they had
found a valiant stranger who might help them.

At this suggestion the other two set up a great cry.

"You stay to guard the youth! Nay, I shall stay myself. Go thou and
tell Her Majesty." Thereupon they all fell to quarrelling as to who
should remain beside the handsome youth and who should go. Each
declared openly that she could gaze upon him forever, because he was
such a beauty, which would doubtless have embarrassed Tamino
dreadfully if he had not been quite too tired to attend to what they
said.

The upshot of it was that all three went, rather than leave any one of
them to watch with him. When they had disappeared into the temple once
more, Tamino half roused himself and saw the serpent lying dead beside
him.

"I wonder where I can be?" he mused. "I was saved in the nick of time:
I was too exhausted to run farther," and at that moment he heard a
beautiful strain of music, played upon a flute:

[Music]

He raised himself to listen attentively, and soon he saw a man
descending from among the rocks behind the temple. Still fearful of
new adventures while he was unarmed and worn, Tamino rose and hid
himself in the trees. The man's name was Papageno, and he carried a
great cage filled with birds upon his back; in both hands he held a
pipe, which was like the pipe of Pan, and it was upon this that he was
making music. He also sang:

[Music:

     A fowler bold in me you see,
     A man of mirth and minstrelsy;
     My name is ever in demand,
     With old and young thro'out the land--
     I set my traps, the birds flock round,
     I whistle, and they know the sound.]

     For wealth my lot I'd not resign,
     For every bird that flies is mine.

     I am a fowler, bold and free,
     A man of mirth and minstrelsy;
     My name is ever in demand,
     With old and young throughout the land.
     But nets to set for pretty maids:
     That were the most divine of trades.

     I'd keep them safe 'neath lock and key,
     And all I caught should be for me.

So that exceedingly jolly fellow sang as he passed Tamino. He was
about to enter the temple when Tamino, seeing he had nothing to fear,
stopped him.

"Hello, friend! Who are you?"

"I ask the same," the fowler answered, staring at Tamino.

"That is easily answered. I am a prince and a wanderer. My father
reigns over many lands and tribes."

"Ah, ha! Perhaps in that land of thine I might do a little trade in
birds," the fowler said, jovially.

"Is that how you make your living?" Tamino asked him.

"Surely! I catch birds and sell them to the Queen of the Night and her
ladies."

"What does the Queen look like?" Tamino asked, somewhat curious.

"How do I know? Pray, who ever saw the Queen of the Night?"

"You say so? Then she must be the great Queen of whom my father has
often spoken."

"I shouldn't wonder."

"Well, let me thank you for killing that great serpent. He nearly did
for me," Tamino replied, taking it for granted that the man before him
had been the one to rescue him, since he had fallen unconscious before
he had seen the ladies. The fowler looked about at the dead serpent.

"Perfectly right! A single grasp of mine would kill a bigger monster
than that," the fowler boasted, taking to himself the credit for the
deed; but by this time the three ladies had again come from the temple
and were listening to this boastful gentleman with the birds upon his
back.

"Tell me, are the ladies of the court beautiful?" Tamino persisted.

"I should fancy not--since they go about with their faces covered.
Beauties are not likely to hide their faces," he laughed boisterously.
At that the ladies came toward him. Tamino beheld them with pleasure.

"Now give us thy birds," they said to the fowler, who became suddenly
very much quieter and less boastful. He gave them the birds and
received, instead of the wine he expected, according to custom, a
bottle of water.

"Here, for the first time, her Majesty sends you water," said she who
had handed him the bottle; and another, holding out something to him,
said:

"And instead of bread she sends you a stone."

"And," said the other, "she wishes that ready mouth of yours to be
decorated with this instead of the figs she generally sends," and at
that she put upon his lips a golden padlock, which settled his
boasting for a time. "Now indicate to this youth who killed that
serpent," she continued. But the fowler could only show by his actions
that he had no idea who did it.

"Very well; then, dear youth, let me tell you that you owe your life
to us." Tamino was ready to throw himself at the feet of such
beautiful champions, but one of them interrupted his raptures by
giving him a miniature set in jewels.

"Look well at this: our gracious Queen has sent it to you."

Tamino gazed long at the portrait and was beside himself with joy,
because he found the face very beautiful indeed.

"Is this the face of your great Queen?" he cried. They shook their
heads. "Then tell me where I may find this enchanting creature!"

"This is our message: If the face is beautiful to thee and thou
would'st make it thine, thou must be valiant. It is the face of our
Queen's daughter, who has been carried away by a fierce demon, and
none have dared seek for her."

"For that beautiful maiden?" Tamino cried in amazement. "I dare seek
for her! Only tell me which way to go, and I will rescue her from all
the demons of the inferno. I shall find her and make her my bride." He
spoke with so much energy and passion that the ladies were quite
satisfied that they had found a knight to be trusted.

"Dear youth, she is hidden in our own mountains, but----" At that
moment a peal of thunder startled everybody.

"Heaven! What may that be?" Tamino cried, and even as he spoke, the
rocks parted and the Queen of the Night stood before them.

"Be not afraid, noble youth. A clear conscience need have no fear.
Thou shalt find my daughter, and when she is restored to my arms, she
shall be thine." With this promise the Queen of the Night disappeared
as suddenly as she had come. Then the poor boastful fowler began to
say "hm, hm, hm, hm," and motion to his locked mouth.

"I cannot help thee, poor wretch," Tamino declared. "Thou knowest that
lock was put upon thee to teach thee discretion." But one of the women
went to him and told him that by the Queen's commands she now would
set him free.

"And this, dear youth," she said, going to Tamino and giving him a
golden flute, "is for thee. Take it, and its magic will guard thee
from all harm. Wherever thou shalt wander in search of the Queen's
daughter, this enchanted flute will protect thee. Only play upon it.
It will calm anger and soothe the sorrowing."

"Thou, Papageno," said another, "art to go with the Prince, by the
Queen's command, to Sarastro's castle, and serve him faithfully." At
that the fowler was frightened half to death.

     No indeed! that I decline.
       From yourselves have I not heard
       That he's fiercer than the pard?
     If by him I were accosted
     He would have me plucked and roasted.

"Have no fear, but do as you are bid. The Prince and his flute shall
keep thee safe from Sarastro."

     I wish the Prince at all the devils;
       For death nowise I search;
     What if, to crown my many evils,
       He should leave me in the lurch?

He did not feel half as brave as he had seemed when he told Tamino how
he had killed the serpent.

Then another of the ladies of the court gave to Papageno a chime of
bells, hidden in a casket.

"Are these for me?" he asked.

"Aye, and none but thou canst play upon them. With a golden chime and
a golden flute, thou art both safe. The music of these things shall
charm the wicked heart and soothe the savage breast. So, fare ye well,
both." And away went the two strange adventurers, Papageno and Tamino,
one a prince, the other a bird-catcher.


_Scene II_

After travelling for a week and a day, the two adventurers came to a
fine palace. Tamino sent the fowler with his chime of bells up to the
great place to spy out what he could, and he was to return and bring
the Prince news.

Without knowing it they had already arrived at the palace of Sarastro,
and at that very moment Pamina, the Queen's daughter, was in great
peril.

In a beautiful room, furnished with divans, and everything in Egyptian
style, sat Monostatos, a Moor, who was in the secrets of Sarastro, who
had stolen the Princess. Monostatos had just had the Princess brought
before him and had listened malignantly to her pleadings to be set
free.

"I do not fear death," she was saying; "but it is certain that if I do
not return home, my mother will die of grief."

"Well, I have had enough of thy meanings, and I shall teach thee to be
more pleasing; so minions," calling to the guards and servants of the
castle, "chain this tearful young woman's hands, and see if it will
not teach her to make herself more agreeable." As the slaves entered,
to place the fetters upon her hands, the Princess fell senseless upon
a divan.

"Away, away, all of you!" Monostatos cried, just as Papageno peeped in
at the palace window.

"What sort of place is this?" Papageno said to himself, peering in
curiously. "I think I will enter and see more of it." Stepping in, he
saw the Princess senseless upon the divan, and the wretched Moor
bending over her. At that moment the Moor turned round and saw
Papageno. They looked at each other, and each was frightened half to
death.

"Oh, Lord!" each cried at the same moment. "This must be the fiend
himself."

"Oh, have mercy!" each shrieked at each other.

"Oh, spare my life," they yelled in unison, and then, at the same
moment each fled from the other, by a different way. At the same
instant, Pamina awoke from her swoon, and began to call pitiably for
her mother. Papageno heard her and ventured back.

"She's a handsome damsel, and I'll take a chance, in order to rescue
her," he determined, feeling half safe because of his chime of bells.

"Why, she is the very image of the Prince's miniature and so it must
be the daughter of the Queen of the Night," he decided, taking another
good look at her.

"Who art thou?" she asked him, plaintively.

"Papageno," he answered.

"I do not know the name. But I am the daughter of the Queen of the
Night."

"Well, I think you are, but to make sure"--He pulled from his pocket
the portrait which had been given to him by the Prince and looked at
it earnestly for a long time.

"According to this you shouldn't have any hands or feet," he announced
gravely.

"But it is I," the Princess declared, looking in turn at the
miniature. "Pray, where did you get this?"

"Your mother gave this to a young stranger, who instantly fell in love
with you, and started to find you."

"In love with me?" she cried, joyfully.

"You'd think so if you saw the way he carries on about you," the
fowler volunteered. "And we are to carry you back to your mother even
quicker than we came."

"Then you must be _very_ quick about it, because Sarastro returns from
the chase at noon exactly, and if he finds you here, you will never
leave alive."

"Good! That will suit the Prince exactly."

"But--if I should find that, after all, you are an evil spirit," she
hesitated.

"On the contrary, you will find in me the best spirits in the world,
so come along."

"You seem to have a good heart."

"So good that I ought to have a Papagena to share it," he answered,
plaintively, whereupon Pamina sang affectingly:

[Music:

     The manly heart that claims our duty,
     must glow with feelings high and brave.]

It is a very queer and incoherent opera, and not much sense to any of
it, but, oh! it is beautiful music, and this duet between the fowler
and Pamina is not the least of its beauties. At the end of it they
rushed off together--Pamina to meet the Prince and be conducted back
to her mother.


_Scene III_

In the meantime, Tamino, instead of looking for Pamina himself, had
been invoking wisdom and help from a number of Genii he had come
across. There were three temples, connected by colonnades, and above
the portal of one of these was written, Temple of Wisdom; over
another, Temple of Reason; the third, Temple of Nature. These temples
were situated in a beautiful grove, which Tamino entered with three
Genii who each bore a silver palm branch.

"Now, pray tell me, ye wise ones, is it to be my lot to loosen
Pamina's bonds?" he asked anxiously.

"It is not for us to tell thee this, but we say to thee, 'Go, be a
man,' be steadfast and true and thou wilt conquer." They departed,
leaving Tamino alone. Then he saw the temples.

"Perhaps she is within one of these temples," he cried; "and with the
words of those wise Genii in my ears, I'll surely rescue her if she is
there." So saying, he went up to one of them and was about to enter.

"Stand back!" a mysterious voice called from within.

"What! I am repulsed? Then I will try the next one," and he went to
another of the temples.

"Stand back," again a voice called.

"Here too?" he cried, not caring to venture far. "There is still
another door and I shall betake me to it." So he went to the third,
and, when he knocked, an aged priest met him upon the threshold.

"What seek ye here?" he asked.

"I seek Love and Truth."

"That is a good deal to seek. Thou art looking for miscreants, thou
art looking for revenge? Love, Truth, and Revenge do not belong
together," the old priest answered.

"But the one I would revenge myself upon is a wicked monster."

"Go thy way. There is none such here," the priest replied.

"Isn't your reigning chief Sarastro?"

"He is--and his law is supreme."

"He stole a princess."

"So he did--but he is a holy man, the chief of Truth--we cannot
explain his motives to thee," the priest said, as he disappeared
within and closed the door.

"Oh, if only she still lives!" Tamino cried, standing outside the
temple.

"She lives, she lives!" a chorus within sang, and at that reassurance
Tamino was quite wild with happiness. Then he became full of
uncertainty and sadness again, for he remembered that he did not know
where to find her, and he sat down to play upon his magic flute. As he
played, wild animals came out to listen, and they crowded around him.
While he was playing, lamenting the loss of Pamina, he was answered by
Papageno from a little way off, and he leaped up joyously.

"Perhaps Papageno is coming with the Princess," he cried. He began to
play lustily upon his flute again. "Maybe the sound will lead them
here," he thought, and he hastened away thinking to overtake them.
After he had gone, Pamina and Papageno ran in, she having heard the
magic flute.

"Oh, what joy! He must be near, for I heard the flute," she cried,
looking about. Suddenly her joy was dispelled by the appearance of
Monostatos, who had flown after them as soon as he discovered Pamina's
absence.

"Now I have caught you," he cried wickedly, but as he called to the
slaves who attended him to bind Papageno, the latter thought of his
chime of bells.

"Maybe they will save me," he cried, and at once he began to play.
Then all the slaves began to dance, while Monostatos himself was
utterly enchanted at the sweet sound. As the bells continued to chime,
Monostatos and the slaves began to leave with a measured step, till
the pair found themselves alone and once more quite safe. Then the
chorus within began to sing "Long life to Sarastro," and at that the
two trembled again.

"Sarastro! Now what is going to happen?" Papageno whispered.

While they stood trembling, Sarastro appeared, borne on a triumphal
car, drawn by six lions, and followed by a great train of attendants
and priests. The chorus all cried, "Long life to Sarastro! Long life
to our guard and master!"

When Sarastro stepped from the car, Pamina knelt at his feet.

"Oh, your greatness!" she cried. "I have sorely offended thee in
trying to escape, but the fault was not all mine. The wicked Moor,
Monostatos, made the most violent love to me, and it was from him I
fled."

"All is forgiven thee, but I cannot set thee free," Sarastro replied.
"Thy mother is not a fitting guardian for thee, and thou art better
here among these holy people. I know that thy heart is given to a
youth, Tamino." As he spoke, the Moor entered, followed by Prince
Tamino. For the first time the two lovers met, and they were at once
enchanted with each other.

At once Monostatos's anger became very great, since he, too, loved the
Princess. He summoned his slaves to part them. Kneeling in his turn at
Sarastro's feet he protested that he was a good and valiant man, whom
Sarastro knew well, and he complained that Pamina had tried to flee.

"Thou art about good enough to have the bastinado," Sarastro replied,
and thereupon ordered the slaves to whip the false Moor, who was
immediately led off to punishment. After that, Sarastro ordered the
lovers to be veiled and led into the temple to go through certain
rites. They were to endure a period of probation, and if they came
through the ordeal of waiting for each other properly they were to be
united.


ACT II

The priests assembled in a grove of palms, where they listened to the
story of Pamina and Tamino, told by Sarastro.

"The Princess was torn from the Queen of the Night, great priests,
because that Queen would overthrow our temple, and here Pamina is to
remain till purified; if you will accept this noble youth for her
companion, after they have both been taught in the ways of wisdom,
follow my example," and immediately Sarastro blew a blast upon a horn.
All the priests blew their horns in concurrence.

Sarastro sang a hymn to the gods, and then he and his priests
disappeared. Tamino and Papageno were next led in to the temple porch.
It was entirely dark.

"Art thou still near me, Papageno?" he asked.

"Of course I am, but I don't feel very well. I think I have a fever.
This is a queer sort of adventure."

"Oh, come, be a man. There is nothing to fear."

The priests asked Tamino at that moment why he had come to seek
entrance in the temple.

"I came to find Friendship and Love," he replied.

"If you would have that, you must go through every trial; and how
about you, Papageno?"

"Well, I do not care as much as I might for wisdom. Give me a nice
little wife and a good bird-market, and I shall get on.'"

"But thou canst not have those things, unless thou canst undergo our
trials."

"Oh, well, I'll stay and face it out--but I must be certain of a wife
at the end of it. Her name must be Papagena--and I'd like to have a
look at her before I undertake all this sort of thing," he persisted.

"Oh, that is quite reasonable--but thou must promise not to speak with
her."

"And Pamina?" Tamino suggested.

"Certainly--only thou too must not speak." Thus it was agreed, and the
priests went out. Instantly the place was in darkness again.

"I should like to know why, the moment those chaps go out, we find
ourselves in the dark?" Papageno demanded.

"That is one of our tests; one of our trials," Tamino responded. "Take
it in good part." He was interrupted by the appearance of the three
ladies of the Queen of the Night's court.

"Why are you in this place?" they demanded seductively. "It will ruin
you."

"Do not say so," Tamino returned, stoutly, this being one of the
temptations he was to meet: but Papageno was frightened enough. "Stop
thy babbling, Papageno," Tamino cautioned. "Or thou wilt lose thy
Papagena."

In short, the ladies did all that was possible to dishearten the youth
and Papageno; but the Prince Tamino stood firm, and would not be
frightened nor driven from his vow to the temple; but Papageno found
himself in an awful state of mind, and finally fell down almost in a
fit. At once the ladies sank through the temple floor.

Then the priests and a spokesman appeared and praised Tamino, threw
another veil over him and led him out; but when a priest inquired of
Papageno how it was with him, that fine gentlemen was so addled that
he couldn't tell.

"For me--I'm in a trance," he exclaimed.

"Well, come on," they said, and threw a veil over him also.

"This incessant marching takes away all thought of love," he
complained.

"No matter, it will return"; and at that the priests marched him out,
and the scene changed to a garden where Pamina was sleeping.


_Scene II_

Monostatos was watching the beautiful Pamina sleep, and remarking
that, if he dared, he certainly should kiss her. In short, he was a
person not to be trusted for a moment. He stole toward her, but in the
same instant the thunder rolled and the Queen of the Night appeared
from the depths of the earth.

"Away," she cried, and Pamina awoke.

"Mother, mother," she screamed with joy, while Monostatos stole away.
"Let us fly, dear mother," Pamina urged.

"Alas, with thy father's death, I lost all my magic power, my child.
He gave his sevenfold Shield of the Sun to Sarastro, and I have been
perfectly helpless since."

"Then I have certainly lost Tamino," Pamina sobbed somewhat
illogically.

"No, take this dagger and slay Sarastro, my love, and take the shield.
That will straighten matters out."

Then the bloody Queen sang that the fires of hell were raging in her
bosom. Indeed, she declared that if Pamina should not do as she was
bidden and slay the priest, she would disown her. Thus Pamina had met
with her temptation, and while she was rent between duty and a sense
of decency--because she felt it would be very unpleasant to kill
Sarastro--Monostatos entered and begged her to confide in him, that he
of all people in the world was best able to advise her.

"What shall I do, then?" the trusting creature demanded.

"There is but one way in the world to save thyself and thy mother, and
that is immediately to love me," he counselled.

"Good heaven! The remedy is worse than the disease," she cried.

"Decide in a hurry. There is no time to wait. You are all bound for
perdition," he assured her, cheerfully.

"Perdition then! I won't do it." Temptation number two, for Pamina.

"Very well, it is your time to die!" Monostatos cried, and proceeded
to kill her, but Sarastro entered just in time to encourage her.

"Indeed it is not--your schedule is wrong, Monostatos," Sarastro
assured him.

"I must look after the mother, then, since the daughter has escaped
me," Monostatos remarked, comforting himself as well as he could.

"Oh don't chastise my mother," Pamina cried.

"A little chastising won't hurt her in the least," Sarastro assured
her. "I know all about how she prowls around here, and if only Tamino
resists his temptations, you will be united and your mother sent back
to her own domain where she belongs. If he survives the ordeals we
have set before him, he will deserve to marry an orphan." All this was
doubtless true, but it annoyed Pamina exceedingly. As soon as Sarastro
had sung of the advantages of living in so delightful a place as the
temple, he disappeared, not in the usual way, but by walking off, and
the scene changed.


_Scene III_

Tamino and the speaker who accompanied the priests and talked for them
were in a large hall, and Papageno was there also.

"You are again to be left here alone; and I caution ye to be silent,"
the speaker advised as he went out.

The second priest said:

"Papageno, whoever breaks the silence here, brings down thunder and
lightning upon himself." He, too, went out.

"That's pleasant," Papageno remarked.

"You are only to think it is pleasant--not to mention it," Tamino
cautioned. Meantime, Papageno, who couldn't hold his tongue to save
his life, grew thirsty. And he no sooner became aware of it, than an
old woman entered with a cup of water.

"Is that for me?" he asked.

"Yes, my love," she replied, and Papageno drank it.

"Well, next time when you wish to quench my thirst you must bring
something besides water--don't forget. Sit down here, old lady, it is
confoundedly dull," the irrepressible Papageno said, and the old lady
sat. "How old are you, anyway?"

"Just eighteen years and two minutes," she answered.

"Um--it is the two minutes that does it, I suppose," Papageno
reflected, looking at her critically.

"Does anybody love you?" he asked, by way of satisfying his curiosity.

"Certainly--his name is Papageno."

"The deuce you say? Well, well, I never would have thought it of
myself. Well, what's your name, mam?" but just as the old lady was
about to answer, the thunder boomed and off she rushed.

"Oh, heaven! I'll never speak another word," Papageno cried. He had no
sooner taken that excellent resolution than the three Genii entered
bearing a table loaded with good things to eat. They also brought the
flute and the chime of bells.

"Now, eat, drink, and be merry, and a better time shall follow," they
said, and then they disappeared.

"Well, well, this is something like it," Papageno said, beginning at
once to obey commands, but Tamino began to play upon the flute.

"All right; all right! You be the orchestra and I'll take care of the
_table d'hôte_," he said, very well satisfied; but at that instant
Pamina appeared.

She no sooner began to talk to Tamino than he motioned her away. He
was a youth of unheard-of fortitude.

"This is worse than death," she said. She found herself waved away
again. Tamino was thoroughly proof against temptation.

Then Pamina sang for him, and she had a very good voice. Meantime,
Papageno was sufficiently occupied to be quiet, but he had to call
attention to his virtues. When he asked if he had not been amazingly
still, there was a flourish of trumpets. Tamino signed for Papageno to
go.

"No, you go first!" Tamino only repeated his gesture.

"Very well, very well, I'll go first--but what's to be done with us
now?" Tamino only pointed to heaven, which was very depressing to one
of Papageno's temperament.

"You think so!" Papageno asked. "If it is to be anything like that, I
think it more likely to be a roasting. No matter!" Nothing mattered
any longer to Papageno, and so he went out as Tamino desired, and the
scene changed.


_Scene IV_

Sarastro and his priests were in a vault underneath one of the
temples. There they sang of Tamino's wonderful fortitude and then
said:

"Let him appear!" And so he did. "Now, Tamino, you have been a brave
man till now; but there are two perilous trials awaiting you, and if
you go through them well--" They didn't exactly promise that all
should be plain sailing after that, but they led the youth to infer as
much, which encouraged him. "Lead in Pamina," the order then was
given, and she was led in.

"Now, Pamina, this youth is to bid thee a last farewell," Sarastro
said.

Pamina was about to throw herself into her lover's arms, but with
amazing self-control Tamino told her once more to "Stand back." As
that had gone so very well, Sarastro assured them they were to meet
again.

"I'll bear whatever the gods put upon me," the patient youth replied.

Then he said farewell and went out, while Papageno (who if he ever did
get to Heaven, would surely do so by hanging on to Tamino's immaculate
coat-tail) ran after him, declaring that he would follow him
forever--and not talk. But it thundered again, and Papageno shrunk all
up.

Then, while the speaker chided him for not being above his station,
Papageno said that the only thing he really wanted in this world or
the next was a glass of wine: he thought it would encourage him.

"Oh, well, you can have that," the speaker assured him, and
immediately the glass of wine rose through the floor. But he had no
sooner drunk that than he cried out that he experienced a most
thrilling sensation about his heart. It turned out to be love; just
love! So at once, the matter being explained to him, he took his chime
of bells, played, and sang of what he felt. The moment he had fully
expressed himself, the old water lady came in.

"Here I am, my angel," she said.

"Good! You are much better than nobody," Papageno declared.

"Then swear you'll be forever true," she urged.

"Certainly--since there is no other way out of it." And it was no
sooner said than the old lady became a most entrancing young one,
about eighteen years old.

"Well, may I never doubt a woman when she tells me her age again!"
Papageno muttered, staring at her. As he was about to embrace her, the
speaker shouted:

"Away; he isn't worthy of you." This left Papageno in a nice fix, and
both he and the girl were led away as the Genii appeared.

The Genii began to sing that Pamina had gone demented, and no wonder.
She almost at once proved that this was true, by coming in carrying a
dagger; and she made a pass at the whole lot of them. No one could
blame her. She thought each of them was Tamino.

"She's had too much trouble," the penetrating Genii declared among
themselves. "And now we'll set her right." They were about to do so
when she undertook to stab herself, but they interfered and told her
she mustn't.

"What if Tamino should hear you! It would make him feel very badly,"
they remonstrated. At once she became all right again.

"Is he alive? Just let me look at him, and I'll be encouraged to wait
awhile." So they took her away to see Tamino.

Then two men dressed in armour came in and said:

     He who would wander on this path of tears and toiling,
     Needs water, fire, and earth for his assoiling,

which means nothing in particular. Although "assoiling" is an
excellent old English word.

Then Tamino and Pamina were heard calling to each other. She entreated
him not to fly from her, and he didn't know what he had better do
about it, but the matter was arranged by somebody opening some gates
and the lovers at once embraced. They were perfectly happy, and there
seemed to be a mutual understanding between them that they could
wander forth together. They did so, and wandered at once into a
mountain of fire, while Tamino played entertainingly upon his flute.
Soon they wandered out of the fire, and embraced at leisure. Then they
wandered into the water, and Tamino began again to play upon his
flute, the water keeping clear of the holes in a wonderful way. After
they got out of the woods--the water, rather,--they embraced as usual,
and the gates of the temple were thrown open and they saw a sort of
Fourth-of-July going on within. Everything was very bright and
high-coloured. This would seem to indicate that their trials were over
and they were to have their reward. Then the scene changed.


_Scene V_

Papageno was playing in a garden, all the while calling to his
Papagena. He was really mourning for his lost love, and so he took the
rope which he used as a girdle and decided to hang himself. Then the
Genii, whose business it seemed to be to drive lovers to suicide and
then rescue them just before life was extinct, rushed in and told him
he need not go to the length--of his rope.

"Just ring your bells," they advised him; and he instantly tried the
same old effect. He had no sooner rung for her than she came--the
lovely Papagena! They sang a joyous chorus of "pa-pa-pa-pa" for eight
pages and then the Queen of the Night and Monostatos, finding that
matters were going too well, appeared. They had come to steal the
temple.

"If I really get away with that temple, Pamina shall be yours," she
promised Monostatos,--which would seem to leave Pamina safe enough, if
the circumstances were ordinary. Nevertheless it thundered again.
Nobody in the opera could seem to stand that. The Queen had her three
ladies with her, but by this time one might almost conclude that they
were no ladies at all. The thunder became very bad indeed, and the
retinue, Monostatos, and the Queen sank below, and in their stead
Sarastro, Pamina, and Tamino appeared with all the priests, and the
storm gave way to a fine day.

Immediately after that, nothing at all happened.



SIR ARTHUR SULLIVAN


Sir Arthur Sullivan was a man of many musical moods and varied
performances, yet his surest fame, at present, rests upon his comic
operas.

Perhaps this is because he and his workfellow, Gilbert, were pioneers
in making a totally new kind of comic opera. "Pinafore" may not be the
best of these works, "Mikado" may be better; but "Pinafore" was the
first of the satires upon certain institutions, social and political,
which delighted the English-speaking world.

Music and words never have seemed better wedded than in the comic
operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. The music is always graceful,
gracious, piquant, and gaily fascinating. The story has no purpose but
that of carrying some satirical idea, and the satire is never bitter,
always playful.

Sullivan's versatility was remarkable, his work ranging from "grave to
gay, from lively to severe," and his was a genius that developed in
his extreme youth. Many anecdotes are told of this brilliant composer,
and all of them seem to illustrate a practical and resourceful mind,
while they show little of the eccentricity that is supposed to belong
to genius. It was Sir Arthur Sullivan who first popularized Schumann
in England. Potter, head of the Royal Academy in London in 1861, had
known Beethoven well, and had never been converted to a love of music
less great than his--nor was his taste very catholic--and he
continually regretted Sullivan's championship of Schumann's music.
But one day Sullivan, suspecting the academician didn't know what he
was talking about, asked him point-blank if he had ever heard any of
the music he so strongly condemned. Potter admitted that he hadn't.
Whereupon Sullivan said, "Then play some of Schumann with me, Mr.
Potter," and, having done so, Potter "blindly worshipped" Schumann
even after.

Frederick Crowest tells this story in his "Musicians' Wit, Humour, and
Anecdote":

"The late Sir Arthur Sullivan, in the struggling years of his career,
once showed great presence of mind, which saved the entire breakdown
of a performance of 'Faust.' In the midst of the church scene, the
wire connecting the pedal under Costa's foot with the metronome stick
at the organ, broke. Costa was the conductor. In the concerted music
this meant disaster, as the organist could hear nothing but his own
instrument. Quick as thought, while he was playing the introductory
solo, Sullivan called a stage hand. 'Go,' he said, 'and tell Mr. Costa
that the wire is broken, and that he is to keep his ears open and
follow me.' No sooner had the man flown to deliver his message than
the full meaning of the words flashed upon Sullivan. What would Costa,
autocratic, severe, and quick to take offence, say to such a message
delivered by a stage hand? The scene, however, proceeded successfully,
and at the end Sullivan went, nervously enough, to tender his
apologies to his chief. Costa, implacable as he was, had a strong
sense of justice, and the great conductor never forgot the signal
service his young friend had rendered him by preventing a horrible
_fiasco_."

There are numberless stories of his suiting his composition to erratic
themes. Beverley had painted borders for a woodland scene. Sullivan
liked the work and complimented Beverley, who immediately said: "Yes,
and if you could compose something to fit it now." Instantly,
Sullivan, who was at the organ, composed a score within a few minutes
which enraptured the painter and which "fitted" his borders.

Again: A dance was required at a moment's notice for a second
_danseuse_, and the stage manager was distracted. "You must make
something at once, Sullivan," he said. "But," replied the composer, "I
haven't even seen the girl. I don't know her style or what she needs."
However, the stage manager sent the dancer to speak with Sullivan, and
presently he called out: "I've arranged it all. This is exactly what
she wants: Tiddle-iddle-um, tiddle-iddle-um, rum-tirum-tirum--sixteen
bars of that; then: rum-tum-rum-tum--heavy you know--" and in ten
minutes the dance was made and ready for rehearsal.


H.M.S.[B] "PINAFORE"

The Right Honourable Sir
  Joseph Porter, K.C.B.        First Lord of the Admiralty.
Captain Corcoran               Commanding H.M.S. _Pinafore_.
Ralph Rackstraw                Able seaman.
Dick Deadeye                   Able seaman.
Bill Bobstay                   Boatswain's mate.
Bob Becket                     Carpenter's mate.
Tom Tucker                     Midshipmate.
Sergeant of marines
Josephine                      The Captain's daughter.
Hebe                           Sir Joseph's first cousin.
Little Buttercup               A Portsmouth bumboat woman.
First Lord's sisters, his cousins, his aunts, sailors, marines, etc.

The story takes place on the quarterdeck of H.M.S. _Pinafore_, off
Portsmouth.

Composer: Sir Arthur Sullivan. Author: W.S. Gilbert.

[Footnote B: Her Majesty's Ship.]


ACT I

On the quarterdeck of the good ship _Pinafore_, along about noon, on a
brilliant sunny day, the sailors, in charge of the Boatswain, are
polishing up the brasswork of the ship, splicing rope, and doing
general housekeeping, for the excellent reason that the high
cockalorum of the navy--the Admiral, Sir Joseph Porter--together with
all his sisters and his cousins and his aunts, is expected on board
about luncheon time. When an Admiral goes visiting either on land or
sea, there are certain to be "doings," and there are going to be
mighty big doings on this occasion. If sailors were ever proud of a
ship, those of the _Pinafore_ are they. The _Pinafore_ was, in fact,
the dandiest thing afloat. No sailor ever did anything without singing
about it, and as they "Heave ho, my hearties"--or whatever it is
sailors do--they sing their minds about the _Pinafore_ in a way to
leave no mistake as to their opinions.

     We sail the ocean blue,
       And our saucy ship's a beauty.
     We're sober men and true,
       And attentive to our duty.

     When the balls whistle free,
     O'er the bright blue sea,
       We stand to our guns all day.
     When at anchor we ride,
     On the Portsmouth tide,
       We've plenty of time for play--Ahoy, Ahoy!

And then, while they are polishing at top speed, on board scrambles
Little Buttercup. Naturally, being a bumboat woman, she had her basket
on her arm.

"Little Buttercup!" the crew shouts; they know her well on pay-day.

"Yes--here's an end at last of all privation," she assures them,
spreading out her wares, and this ridiculous "little" Buttercup sings:

[Music:

     I'm called little Buttercup,
     Dear little Buttercup,
     Though I could never tell why,
     But still I'm called Buttercup,
     Poor little Buttercup,
     Sweet little Buttercup I.]

     I've snuff and tobaccy,
     And excellent jacky;
       I've scissors and watches and knives.
     I've ribbons and laces
     To set off the faces
       Of pretty young sweethearts and wives.
     I've treacle and toffee,
     I've tea and I've coffee,
       Soft tommy and succulent chops,
     I've chickens and conies,
     I've pretty polonies,
       And excellent peppermint drops--

which would imply that Little Buttercup might supply on demand
anything from a wrought-iron gate to a paper of toothpicks.

"Well, Little Buttercup, you're the rosiest and roundest beauty in all
the navy, and we're always glad to see you."

"The rosiest and roundest, eh? Did it ever occur to you that beneath
my gay exterior a fearful tragedy may be brewing?" she asks in her
most mysterious tones.

"We never thought of that," the Boatswain reflects.

"I have thought of it often," a growling voice interrupts, and
everybody looks up to see Dick Deadeye. Dick is a darling, if
appearances count. He was named Deadeye because he _had_ a dead-eye,
and he is about as sinister and ominous a creature as ever made a
comic opera shiver.

"You _look_ as if you had often thought of it," somebody retorts, as
all move away from him in a manner which shows Dick to be no
favourite.

"You don't care much about me, I should say?" Dick offers, looking
about at his mates.

"Well, now, honest, Dick, ye can't just expect to be loved, with such
a name as Deadeye."

Little Buttercup, who has been offering her wares to the other
sailors, now observes a very good-looking chap coming on deck.

"Who is that youth, whose faltering feet with difficulty bear him on
his course?" Buttercup asks--which is quite ridiculous, if you only
dissect her language! Those "faltering feet which with difficulty bear
him on his course" belong to Ralph Rackstraw, who is about the most
dashing sailor in the fleet. The moment Buttercup hears his name, she
gasps to music:

"Remorse, remorse," which is very, very funny indeed, since there
appears to be nothing at all remarkable or remorseful about Ralph
Rackstraw. But Ralph immediately begins to sing about a nightingale
and a moon's bright ray and several other things most inappropriate to
the occasion, and winds up with "He sang, Ah, well-a-day," in the most
pathetic manner. The other sailors repeat after him, "Ah, well-a-day,"
also in a very pathetic manner, and Ralph thanks them in the politest,
most heartbroken manner, by saying:

     I know the value of a kindly chorus,
       But choruses yield little consolation
     When we have pain and sorrow, too, before us!
       I love, and love, alas! above my station.

Which lets the cat out of the bag, at last! "He loves above his
station!" Buttercup sighs, and pretty much the entire navy sighs.
Those sailors are very sentimental chaps, very!--They are supposed to
have a sweetheart in every port, though, to be sure, none of them are
likely be above anybody's station. But their sighs are an
encouragement to Ralph to tell all about his sweetheart, and he
immediately does so. He sings rapturously of her appearance and of how
unworthy he is. The crew nearly melts to tears during the recital.
Just as Ralph has revealed that his love is Josephine, the Captain's
daughter, and all the crew but Dick Deadeye are about to burst out
weeping, the Captain puts in an appearance.

"My gallant crew,--good morning!" he says amiably, in that
condescending manner quite to be expected of a Captain. He inquires
nicely about the general health of the crew, and announces that he is
in reasonable health himself. Then with the best intentions in the
world, he begins to throw bouquets at himself:

     I am the Captain of the _Pinafore_,

he announces, and the crew returns:

     And a right good Captain too.

     You're very, very good,
     And be it understood,
     I command a right good crew,

he assures them.

     Tho' related to a peer,
     I can hand, reef and steer,
       Or ship a selvagee;
     I'm never known to quail
     At the fury of a gale,--
       And I'm never, never sick at sea!

But this is altogether too much. The crew haven't summered and
wintered with this gallant Captain for nothing.

"What, never?" they admonish him.

"No,--never."

"What!--NEVER?" and there is no mistaking their emphasis.

"Oh, well--hardly ever!" he admits, trimming his statement a little:
and thus harmony is restored. Now when he has thus agreeably said good
morning to his crew, they leave him to meditate alone, and no one but
Little Buttercup remains. For some reason she perceives that the
Captain is sad. He doesn't look it, but the most comic moments in
comic opera are likely enough to be the saddest. Hence Little
Buttercup reminds him that she is a mother (she doesn't look it) and
therefore to be confided in.

"If you must know, Little Buttercup, my daughter Josephine! the
fairest flower that ever blossomed on ancestral timber"--which is very
neat indeed--"has received an offer of marriage from Sir Joseph
Porter. It is a great honour, Little Buttercup, but I am sorry to say
my daughter doesn't seem to take kindly to it."

"Ah, poor Sir Joseph, I know perfectly what it means to love not
wisely but too well," she remarks, sighing tenderly and looking most
sentimentally at the Captain. She does this so capably that as she
goes off the deck the Captain looks after her and remarks
abstractedly:

"A plump and pleasing person!" At this blessed minute the daughter
Josephine, who does not love in the right place, and who is beloved
from all quarters at once, wanders upon the deck with a basket of
flowers in her hand. Then she begins to sing very distractedly about
loving the wrong man, and that "hope is dead," and several other
pitiable things, which are very funny. The Captain, her father, is
watching her, and presently he admonishes her to look her best, and
to stop sighing all over the ship--at least till her high-born suitor,
Sir Joseph Porter, shall have made his expected visit.

"You must look your best to-day, Josephine, because the Admiral is
coming on board to ask your hand in marriage." At this Josephine
nearly drops into the sea.

"Father, I esteem, I reverence Sir Joseph but alas I do not love him.
I have the bad taste instead to love a lowly sailor on board your own
ship. But I shall stifle my love. He shall never know it though I
carry it to the tomb."

"That is precisely the spirit I should expect to behold in my
daughter, my dear, and now take Sir Joseph's picture and study it
well. I see his barge approaching. If you gaze upon the pictured noble
brow of the Admiral, I think it quite likely that you will have time
to fall madly in love with him before he can throw a leg over the
rail, my darling. Anyway, do your best at it."

"My own, thoughtful father," Josephine murmurs while a song of Sir
Joseph's sailors is heard approaching nearer and nearer. Then the crew
of H.M.S. _Pinafore_ take up the shout, and sing a rousing welcome to
Sir Joseph and all his party. Almost immediately Sir Joseph and his
numerous company of sisters and cousins and aunts prance upon the
shining deck. They have a gorgeous time of it.

"Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!" the Captain and his crew cry, and then Sir
Joseph informs everybody of his greatness in this song:

[Music:

     I am the monarch of the sea,
     The ruler of the Queen's Navee,
     Whose praise Great Britain loudly chants;

COUSIN HEBE.

     And we are his Sisters and his Cousins and his Aunts;
     His Sisters and his Cousins and his Aunts!]

     When at anchor here I ride,
     My bosom swells with pride,
     And I snap my fingers at the foeman's taunts--

The chorus assures everybody that

     So do his sisters and his cousins and his aunts.

In short, while we learn from Sir Joseph that he is a tremendous
fellow, we also learn, from his sisters and his cousins and his aunts,
that they are whatever he is. Among other things he tells precisely
how he came to be so great, and gives what is presumably a recipe for
similar greatness:

     When I was a lad I served a term
     As office boy to an attorney's firm.
     I cleaned the window and I swept the floor,
     And I polished up the handle of the big front door.

         I polished up the handle so carefullee,
         That now I am the ruler of the Queen's Navee.

     As office boy I made such a mark
     That they gave me the post of a junior clerk.
     I served the wits with a smile so bland,
     And I copied all the letters in a big round hand.

         I copied all the letters in a hand so free,
         That now I am the ruler of the Queen's Navee.

     In serving writs I made such a name
     That an articled clerk I soon became.
     I wore clean collars and a brand new suit
     For the pass examination at the Institute.

         And that pass examination did so well for me
         That now I am the ruler of the Queen's Navee.

This was only a part of the recipe, but the rest of it was just as
profound. After he is through exploiting himself, he bullies the
Captain a little, and then his eye alights on Ralph Rackstraw.

"You are a remarkably fine fellow, my lad," he says to Ralph quite
patronizingly.

"I am the very finest fellow in the navy," Ralph returns, honouring
the spirit of the day by showing how entirely satisfied with himself
he is.

"How does your Captain behave himself?" Sir Joseph asks.

"Very well, indeed, thank you. I am willing to commend him," Ralph
returns.

"Ah--that is delightful--and so, with your permission, Captain, I will
have a word with you in private on a very sentimental subject--in
short, upon an affair of the heart."

"With joy, Sir Joseph--and, Boatswain, in honour of this occasion, see
that extra grog is served to the crew at seven bells."

"I will condescend to do so," the Boatswain assures the Captain,
whereupon the Captain, Sir Joseph, and his sisters and his cousins and
his aunts leave the deck.

"You all seem to think a deal on yourselves," Dick Deadeye growls, as
he watches these performances.

"We do, we do--aren't we British sailors? Doesn't the entire universe
depend on us for its existence? We are fine fellows--Sir Joseph has
just told us so."

"Yes--we may aspire to anything--" Ralph interpolates excitedly. He
had begun to think that Josephine may not be so unattainable after
all.

"The devil you can," responds Dick. "Only I wouldn't let myself get
a-going if I were you. What if ye got going and couldn't stop?" the
one-eyed gentleman inquires solicitously.

"Oh, stow it!" the crew shouts. "If we hadn't more self-respect 'n
you've got, we'd put out both our eyes," the estimable crew declares,
and then retires to compliment itself,--that is, all but Ralph. He
leans upon the bulwark and looks pensive; and at intervals he sighs.
While he is sighing his very loudest, Josephine enters. Sir Joseph has
been making love to her, and she is telling herself and everybody who
happens to be leaning against the bulwark sighing pensively, that the
Admiral's attentions oppress her. This is Ralph's opportunity. He
immediately tells her that he loves her, and she tells him to
"refrain, audacious tar," but he does not refrain in the least. In
short he decides upon the spot to blow out his brains. He pipes all
hands on deck to see him do it, and they come gladly.

Now Ralph gets out his pistol, he sings a beautiful farewell, the
Chorus turns away weeping--the sailors have just cleaned up and they
cannot bear the sight of the deck all spoiled with a British sailor's
brains so soon after scrubbing! Ralph lifts the pistol, takes aim--and
Josephine rushes on.

"Oh, stay your hand--I love you," she cries, and in less than a minute
everybody is dancing a hornpipe, except Deadeye. Deadeye is no
socialist. He really thinks this equality business which makes it
possible for a common sailor to marry the Captain's daughter is most
reprehensible. But nobody notices Dick. Everybody is quite happy and
satisfied now, and they plan for the wedding. Dick plans for revenge.

He goes apart to think matters over. The situation quite shocks his
sense of propriety.

Meantime the crew and Ralph and Josephine decide that:

     This very night,
     With bated breath
     And muffled oar,
     Without a light,
     As still as death,
     We'll steal ashore.
     A clergyman
     Shall make us one
     At half-past ten,
     And then we can
     Return, for none
     Can part us then.

Thus the matter is disposed of.


ACT II

It is about half-past ten, and everything ready for the elopement. The
Captain is on deck playing a mandolin while holding a most beautiful
pose (because Little Buttercup is also "on deck," and looking
sentimentally at him). The Captain sings to the moon, quite as if
there were no one there to admire him; because while this "levelling"
business is going on in the Navy there seems no good reason why
Buttercup or any other thrifty bumboat lady shouldn't do a little
levelling herself. Now to marry the Captain--but just now, even though
it is moonlight and a very propitious moment, there is other work on
hand than marrying the Captain. She can do that almost any time! But
at this moment she has some very mysterious and profound things to say
to him. She tells him that:

     Things are seldom what they seem,
     Skim milk masquerades as cream.
     High-lows pass as patent leathers,
     Jackdaws strut in peacock feathers.

And the Captain acquiesces.

     Black-sheep dwell in every fold.
     All that glitters is not gold.
     Storks turn out to be but logs.
     Bulls are but inflated frogs.

And again the Captain wisely acquiesces.

     Drops the wind and stops the mill.
     Turbot is ambitious brill.
     Gild the farthing if you will,
     Yet it is a farthing still.

And again the Captain admits that this may be true. It is quite, quite
painful if it is. On the whole, the Captain fears she has got rather
the best of him, so he determines to rally; he philosophises a little
himself, when he has time. He has time now:

     Tho' I'm anything but clever,

he declares rhythmically, even truthfully;

     I could talk like that forever,
     Once a cat was killed by care,
     Only brave deserve the fair.

He has her there, beyond doubt, because all she can say is "how true."

Thus encouraged he continues:

     Wink is often good as nod;
     Spoils the child, who spares the rod;
     Thirsty lambs run foxy dangers,
     Dogs are found in many mangers.

Buttercup agrees;--she can't help it.

     Paw of cat the chestnut snatches;
     Worn-out garments show new patches;
     Only count the chick that hatches,
     Men are grown-up catchy-catches.

And Little Buttercup assents that this certainly is true. And then,
just as she has worked the Captain up into a pink fit of apprehension
she leaves him. While he stands looking after her and feeling
unusually left alone, Sir Joseph enters and declares himself very much
disappointed with Josephine.

"What, won't she do, Sir Joseph?" the Captain asks disappointedly.

"No, no. I don't think she will. I have stooped as much as an Admiral
ought to, by presenting my sentiments almost--er--you might say
emotionally, but without success; and now really I----"

"Well, it must be your rank which dazzles her," the Captain suggests,
and thinks how he would like to take a cat-o'-nine-tails to her.

"She is coming on deck," Sir Joseph says, softly, "and we might watch
her unobserved a moment. Her actions while she thinks herself alone,
may reveal something to us that we should like to know"; and Sir
Joseph and the Captain step behind a convenient coil of rope while
Josephine walks about in agitation and sings to herself how reckless
she is to leave her luxurious home with her father, for an attic
that, likely as not, will not even be "finished off."

Of course Sir Joseph and her father do not understand a word of this,
but they understand that she is disturbed, and Sir Joseph steps up and
asks her outright, if his rank overwhelms her. He assures her that it
need not, because there is no difference of rank to be observed among
those of her Majesty's Navy--which he doesn't mean at all except for
one occasion only, of course. At the same time, it is an admirable
plea for his rival Ralph.

Now it is rapidly becoming time for the elopement, and Josephine
pretends to accept Sir Joseph's suit at last, in order to get rid of
him at half-past ten. He and Josephine go below while Dick Deadeye
intimates to the Captain that he wants a word with him aside.

Then Dick Deadeye gives the Captain his information, thus:

[Music:

     Kind Captain, I've important information,
       Sing hey, the gallant Captain that you are!
     About a certain intimate relation,
       Sing hey, the merry maiden and the tar!]

     Kind Captain, your young lady is a-sighing,
       Sing, hey, the gallant Captain that you are!
     This very night with Rackstraw to be flying,
       Sing, hey, the merry maiden and the tar!

This information certainly comes in the nick of time, so the Captain
hastily throws an old cloak over him and squats down behind the deck
furniture to await the coming of the elopers.

Presently they come up, Josephine, followed by Little Buttercup, and
all the crew on "tip-toe stealing." Suddenly amid the silence, the
Captain stamps.

"Goodness me!" all cry. "What was that?"

"Silent be," says Dick. "It was the cat," and thus reassured they
start for the boat which is to take the lovers ashore. At this crisis
the Captain throws off the cloak and creates a sensation. He is so mad
he swears just as Sir Joseph puts in an appearance.

"Damme!" cries the Captain.

"What was that dreadful language I heard you use?" Sir Joseph demands,
highly scandalized.

"He said 'damme,'" the crew assure him. Sir Joseph is completely
overcome. To excuse himself the Captain is obliged to reveal the cause
of his anger.

"My daughter was about to elope with a common sailor, your Greatness,"
he says, and at this moment Josephine rushes into the arms of Ralph.
The Admiral is again overcome with the impropriety of the situation.

"My amazement and my surprise, you may learn from the expression of my
eyes," the Admiral says. "Has this sailor dared to lift his eyes to
the Captain's daughter? Incredible. Put him in chains, my boys," he
says to the rest of the crew, "and Captain--have you such a thing as a
dungeon on board?"

"Certainly," the Captain says. "Hanging on the nail to the right of
the mess-room door--just as you go in."

"Good! put him in the ship's dungeon at once--just as you go in--and
see that no telephone communicates with his cell," whereupon Ralph is
lugged off.

"When the secret I have to tell is known," says Little Buttercup, "his
dungeon cell will be thrown wide."

"Then speak, in Heaven's name; or I certainly shall throw myself into
the bilge water," Josephine says desperately.

"Don't do that: it smells so dreadfully," Buttercup entreats; "and to
prevent accidents I will tell what I know:"

     A many years ago,
       When I was young and charming,
     As some of you may know,
       I practised baby farming.

     Two tender babes I nursed,
       One was of low condition,
     The other upper crust--
       A regular patrician.

     Oh, bitter is my cup,
       However could I do it?
     I mixed those children up,
       And not a creature knew it.

     In time each little waif,
       Forsook his foster-mother;
     The well-born babe was Ralph--
       Your Captain was the other!

So, the murder is out! Nobody outside of comic opera can quite see how
this fact changes the status of the Captain and Ralph (the Captain not
having been a captain when in the cradle) but it is quite enough to
set everybody by the ears. Josephine screams:

"Oh, bliss, oh, rapture!" And the Admiral promptly says:

"Take her, sir, and mind you treat her kindly," and immediately,
having fixed the ship's affairs so creditably, falls to bemoaning his
sad and lonesome lot.

He declares that he "cannot live alone," and his cousin Hebe assures
him she will never give up the ship; or rather that she never will
desert him, unless of course she should discover that he, too, was
changed in the cradle. This comforts everybody but the changed
Captain. Ralph has, in the twinkling of an eye, become the Captain of
the good ship _Pinafore_, while the Captain has become Ralph, and
Ralph has taken the Captain's daughter. But while he is looking very
downcast, Buttercup reminds him that she is there, and after regarding
her tenderly for a moment, he decides that he has always loved his
foster mother like a wife, and he says so:

     I shall marry with a wife,
     In my humble rank of life,
       And you, my own, are she.

The crew is delighted. Everybody is happy. But the Captain adds,
rashly:

     I must wander to and fro,
     But wherever I may go
       I shall never be untrue to thee!

Whereupon the crew, which is very punctilious where the truth is
concerned, cries:

"What, never?"

"No, never!" the Captain declares.

"What--never?" they persist.

"Well, hardly ever," the Captain says, qualifying the statement
satisfactorily to his former crew. And now that all the facts and
amenities of life have been duly recognized, the crew and Sir Joseph,
Ralph and the former Captain, Josephine and Buttercup, all unite in
singing frantically that they are an Englishman, for they themselves
have said it, and it's greatly to their credit; and while you are
laughing yourself to death at a great many ridiculous things which
have taken place, the curtain comes down with a rush, and you wish
they would do it again.



VERDI


Giuseppe Verdi, born October 9, 1813, was the composer of twenty-six
operas. His musical history may be divided into three periods, and in
the last he approached Wagner in greatness, and frequently surpassed
him in beauty of idea.

Wagner made both the libretti and the music of his operas, while Verdi
took his opera stories from other authors. Both of these great men
were born in the same year.

Of Verdi's early operas, "Ernani" was probably the best; then he
entered upon the second period of his achievement as a composer, and
the first work that marked the transition was "Rigoletto." The story
was adapted from a drama of Hugo's, "Le Roi S'Amuse," and as the
profligate character of its principal seemed too baldly to exploit the
behaviour of Francis I, its production was suppressed. Then Verdi
adjusted the matter by turning the character into the Duke of Mantua,
and everybody was happy.

The story of the famous song "La Donna è Mobile," is as picturesque as
Verdi himself. While the rehearsals of the opera were going on,
Mirate, who sang the Duke, continued to complain that he hadn't the
MS. of one of his songs. Verdi kept putting him off, till the evening
before the orchestral rehearsal, when he brought forth the lines; but
at the same time he demanded a promise that Mirate--nor indeed any of
the singers--should not hum or whistle the air till it should be heard
at the first performance. This signified Verdi's belief that the song
would instantly become a universal favourite. The faith was justified.
The whole country went "La Donna" mad.

"Il Trovatore" came next in this second period of the great composer's
fame, and we read that "Nearly half a century has sped since Verdi's
twelfth opera was first sung of a certain winter evening in Rome." Out
of the chaff of Italian opera comes this wheat, satisfying to the
generation of to-day, as it was to that first audience in Rome. We do
not even know any longer why we love it, because in most ways it
violates new and better rules of musical art, but we love it. Helen
Keyes has written that "the libretto of 'Il Trovatore' is based on a
Spanish drama written in superb verse by a contemporary of Verdi's,
Antonio Garcia Gutierrez," and she relates a romantic story in
connection with the Spanish play; the author was but seventeen years
old when he wrote it and had been called to military duty, which was
dreaded by one of his temperament. But his drama being staged at that
moment, the authorities permitted him to furnish a substitute on the
ground that such genius could best serve its country by remaining at
home to contribute to its country's art.

At the time the opera was produced in Rome, the Tiber had overflowed
its banks and had flooded all the streets near the theatre;
nevertheless people were content to stand knee-deep in water at the
box office, waiting their turn for tickets.

So great had Verdi become in a night, by this presentation, that his
rivals formed a cabal which prevented the production of "Il Trovatore"
in Naples for a time, but in the end the opera and Verdi prevailed.

Now came "Traviata,"--third in that time of change in a great master's
art, and this marked the limits of the second period. "Aïda" followed.
It is well said that "the importance of Verdi's 'Aïda' as a work of
musical art can hardly be overestimated!" This opera was written at
the entreaty of the Khedive Ismail Pacha. He wished to open the opera
house at Cairo with a great opera that had Egypt for its dramatic
theme. Upon the Khedive's application Verdi named a price which he
believed would not be accepted, as he felt no enthusiasm about the
work. But his terms were promptly approved and Mariette Bey, a great
Egyptologist, was commissioned to find the materials for a proper
story. Verdi, in the meantime, _did_ become enthusiastic over the
project and went to work. Egyptian history held some incident upon
which the story of "Aïda" was finally built. First, it was given to
Camille du Locle, who put the story into French prose, and in this he
was constantly advised by Verdi, at whose home the work was done.
After that, the French prose was translated into Italian verse by
Ghislanzoni, and when all was completed, the Italian verse was once
more translated back into French for the French stage.

Then the Khedive decided he would like Verdi to conduct the first
performance, and he began to negotiate for that. Verdi asked twenty
thousand dollars for writing the opera, and thirty thousand in case he
went to Egypt. This was agreed, but when the time came to go, Verdi
backed out; he was overcome with fear of seasickness and wouldn't go
at any price. Then the scenery was painted in Paris, and when all was
ready--lo! the scenery was a prisoner because the war had broken out
in France! Everything had to wait a year, and during that time Verdi
wrote and rewrote, making his opera one of the most beautiful in the
world. Finally "Aïda" was produced, and the story of that night as
told by the Italian critic Filippi is not out of place here, since the
night is historic in opera "first nights:"

"The Arabians, even the rich, do not love our shows; they prefer the
mewings of their tunes, the monotonous beatings of their drums, to all
the melodies of the past, present, and future. It is a true miracle to
see a turban in a theatre of Cairo. Sunday evening the opera house was
crowded before the curtain rose. Many of the boxes were filled with
women, who neither chatted nor rustled their robes. There was beauty
and there was intelligence especially among the Greeks and the
strangers of rank who abound in Cairo. For truth's sake I must add
that, by the side of the most beautiful and richly dressed, were
Coptic and Jewish faces, with strange head-dresses, impossible
costumes, a howling of colours,--no one could deliberately have
invented worse. The women of the harem could not be seen. They were in
the first three boxes on the right, in the second gallery. Thick white
muslin hid their faces from prying glances."

This gives a striking picture of that extraordinary "first night."

Verdi was born at a time of turmoil and political troubles, and his
mother was one of the many women of the inhabitants of Roncole (where
he was born) who took refuge in the church when soldiery invaded the
village. There, near the Virgin, many of the women had thought
themselves safe, but the men burst in, and a general massacre took
place. Verdi's mother fled with her little son to the belfry and this
alone saved to the world a wonderful genius.

When Verdi was ten years old he was apprenticed to a grocer in
Busseto, but he was a musical grocer, and the musical atmosphere,
which was life to Verdi, surrounded him. He had a passion for leaving
in the midst of his grocery business to sit at the spinet and hunt out
new harmonious combinations: and when one of his new-made chords was
lost he would fly into a terrible rage, although as a general rule he
was a peaceable and kindly little chap. On one such occasion he became
so enraged that he took a hammer to the instrument--an event
coincident with a thrashing his father gave him.

There is no end of incident connected with this gentle and kindly
soul, who, unlike so many of his fellow geniuses, reflected in his
life the beauty of his art.


RIGOLETTO

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA, WITH THE ORIGINAL CAST AS PRESENTED AT THE
FIRST PERFORMANCE

The Duke of Mantua      Signori           Mirate
Rigoletto                                 Varesi
Sparafucile                                 Ponz
Count Monterone                           Damini
Marullo                                 Kunnerth
Matteo Borsa                             Zuliani
Count Ceprano                            Bellini
Usher of the Court                         Rizzi
Gilda                   Signore Teresa Brambilla
Maddalena                               Casaloni
Giovanna.                                  Saini
Countess Ceprano                        Morselli
Page                                Modes Lovati

The story belongs to the sixteenth century, in the city of Mantua and
its environs.

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi. Author: Francesco Maria Piave.

First sung in Venice, Gran Teatro la Fenice. March 11, 1851.


ACT I

Dukes and duchesses, pages and courtiers, dancing and laughter: these
things all happening to music and glowing lights, in the city of
Mantua four hundred years ago!--that is "Rigoletto."

There lived, long ago, in Mantua, the Duke and his suite, and the only
member of his household who dared do as he pleased was the Duke of
Mantua's jester, Rigoletto. The more deformed a jester happened to be,
the more he was valued in his profession, and Rigoletto was a very
ugly little man, and as vindictive and wicked as he was ill-favoured
in appearance. The only thing he truly loved was his daughter, Gilda.
As for the Duke of Mantua, he loved for the time being almost any
pretty woman who came his way.

On the night of a great ball at the Duke's palace he was thinking of
his latest love, Gilda, the jester's daughter. The Duke usually
confided his affairs to his servant Borsa, and the ball had no sooner
begun than he began to speak with Borsa of his newest escapade. He
declared that he had followed Gilda to the chapel where she went each
day, and that he had made up his mind to speak with her the next time
he saw her.

"Where does this pretty girl live, your Highness?"

"In an obscure and distant street where I have followed her each day.
At night a queer-looking fellow is admitted, thus I am sure she has a
lover. By the way, whom do you think that fellow to be?" the Duke
asked with a laugh.

"Pray tell me."

"None other than Rigoletto!" the Duke cried, laughing more
boisterously. "What do you think of that--the little hunchback!"

"And does he know that you have followed this sweetheart of his?"

"Not he. But look at all of these beautiful women," he exclaimed with
delight as the company began to assemble from another room. "Alas, a
man hardly knows whom to love among so many beauties," he sighed
heavily. "But after all, I think it must be the Countess Ceprano! do
you see her? Most beautiful!"

"Just the same I advise you not to let the Count Ceprano hear you!"
Borsa advised.

     Ah, in my heart, all are equally cherished,
     Every thought of exclusion within me I smother,
     None is dearer to me than another,
     In their turn, I for each one would die,

the Duke sang gaily, giving his friend and servant the wink.

Now, Rigoletto was in the habit of assisting the Duke in all his
wrongdoing, and on this night the Duke confided to him his new
enchantment--not Gilda, but the Countess Ceprano.

"The Countess has a jealous husband, Rigoletto; pray what do you
advise?"

"Why, that you carry her off, to be sure; or else get rid of her
husband the Count; maybe that would be the easiest way."

The Duke was wild enough to undertake almost anything, and so with the
help of Rigoletto he was ready to undertake that. Hence, he made
desperate love to the Countess all the evening, while the Count became
more and more angry, and followed the pair continually about.

Even the courtiers were a good deal disgusted with the Duke's conduct,
and they especially hated Rigoletto, who they thought was the real
author of most of the Duke's misconduct.

"I don't know what we are coming to," Marullo exclaimed.

     Yes, and 'tis here but as elsewhere!
     'Tis gambling and feasting, duelling and dancing;
     And love-making always, wherever he goes.
     To-day he's for pastime, besieging the countess,
     While we watch the husband and laugh at his woes!

This condition of things exactly suited the malevolent dwarf,
however.

After the Count had followed the Duke and Countess about the palace
half the night, the Duke came into the room in a rage.

"What am I to do with this Count? I'd like to fight him and kill him.
He torments me to death. If you don't think out a way to rid me of him
while I am making love to the Countess, I'll get some other fellow to
make life gay for me, Rigoletto," he cried to the dwarf.

"Well, have I not told you--run off with her."

"Oh, yes, that's easy enough to say."

"It's easy enough to _do_. Try it to-night!"

"But what about her husband?"

"Oh, I don't know--let him be arrested."

"No, no, that won't do; he's of noble birth. You are going too far."

"All right! If he is too good to be arrested, then exile him," the
dwarf obligingly arranges, showing thereby his notion of the fitness
of things.

"No! that would hardly do, either," the Duke exclaimed impatiently.

"Well, cut off his head, then." Rigoletto thought that should be an
ending dignified enough for any one. Meantime Ceprano overheard that
pleasing conversation.

"They are black-hearted villains," he muttered aside.

"Cut off that head so unbending," the Duke exclaimed, looking at
Ceprano, who was really a noble-appearing aristocrat.

"Aye--we have discovered its use. Cut it off; that will make it
pliant," the charming dwarf said, facetiously; and that being a bit
too much for any noble to put up with, the Count drew his sword.

"Enough! you ribald hunchback," he cried; at which the Duke became
uneasy.

"Yes, come here, you jesting fool!" he called to Rigoletto, trying to
turn the matter off. "We've had enough of your jests. We are tired of
you. I advise you not to impose too much on our good humour, because
some of this maliciousness may come back at you."

But the Count was not so easily to be pacified. He turned to the other
nobles and asked them to help him revenge himself; but the Duke of
Mantua was very powerful, and few were willing to displease him,
however much they disapproved of his conduct.

"What can we do?" several of them murmured, and meanwhile the dwarf
was trying aside to secure help in carrying off the Countess for the
Duke. That was really too audacious, and all of the nobles finally
sided with the Count, privately agreeing to help him ruin the dwarf,
since they dared not directly oppose the Duke.

While the excitement of this general quarrel was at its height, the
dancers all poured in from the other room and began to sing gaily of
life's pleasures, which were about all that made life worth living. In
the very midst of this revelry some one without made a great noise and
demanded instant admittance. The Duke recognized the voice of
Monterone, a powerful noble, whom he had wronged and cried out
angrily:

"He shall not come in." As a fact, Rigoletto had carried off
Monterone's daughter for the Duke but a little time before.

"Make way there," the old Count insisted, more enraged than ever, and
forcing his way past the attendants, he entered the room. He was an
old and proud man and the nobles present were bound to give heed to
him.

"Yes, Sir Duke, it is I. You know my voice! I would it were as loud as
thunder!" he cried.

"Ah! I will deign to give you audience," Rigoletto spoke up, mimicking
the Duke's voice in a manner insulting to Monterone.

He continued to speak insultingly to the old man, using the Duke's
manner and voice, till the Count cried out against the shameful
action.

"Is this thy justice? Thou darest deride me? Then no place shall hide
thee from my curse. I will pursue thee as long as I live, day and
night. I will recall to you how you have taken my daughter away from
me, and have disgraced us. You may cut off my head, but still I'll
appear to thee and fill thee with fear. And thou, thou viper," he
cried to Rigoletto, "be thou accursed!"

"Don't curse me," the dwarf exclaimed, turning pale. He was
superstitious, and the fearful words of the wronged father sounded
ominous. The scene became terrifying to the whole company and they
cried out.

"Away with him," the Duke demanded, angrily. "Am I to have the gaiety
of my guests spoiled because of this old dotard? Take him to prison."
The attendants rushed in and seized Monterone, while he turned again
upon the dwarf and cursed him roundly. Not only did the dwarf shrink
back, the whole company became affrighted, while the old man was
silenced at last by the guards, and Rigoletto hurried, panic-stricken,
from the palace.


_Scene II_

As Rigoletto hastened away from the palace with the curses ringing in
his ears he could not rid himself of the terror they inspired;
probably because he was so bad a man and knew that he deserved them.
He was in a street very near to his home, when he was stopped by a
forbidding-looking fellow.

"It was a father's curse he laid upon me," Rigoletto was muttering,
thinking of his own daughter, the only thing in the world that he
loved.

"Ho, there," said the fellow in the road, calling softly.

"Oh, don't stop me," Rigoletto answered with impatience. "I have
nothing worth getting." He lived in a time of bandits and highwaymen,
and, since he had nothing to be robbed of, was not much frightened. He
was far more afraid of the Count's curse.

"No matter, good sir; that is not exactly what I stopped you for. You
look to me like a man who might have enemies; or who might wish to
employ me."

"What for, pray?"

Sparafucile laughed shortly. "Well, you are not a very
benevolent-looking chap, and I'd murder my brother for money," he
whispered, grinning at the crooked, odious-looking Rigoletto.

Rigoletto eyed him. The villain had spoken almost as if he knew the
dwarf's fear.

"I believe you," he muttered, looking steadily at the cut-throat. "You
look it, every inch. What do you charge to kill a noble?"

"More than I charge for a churl, by double."

"And how do you want your money?"

"Half before I do the deed, and the other half when he is dead."

"You're a demon," Rigoletto murmured; and certainly he himself was bad
enough to be able to judge of a rogue when he saw one. "Aren't you
afraid of being discovered?"

"No, when it is dangerous to kill in the city, I do it in my own
house. There in the gloom of night, far away from help, it is easy
enough. No one ever finds it out."

"You are the wickedest man I know--not excepting myself," said
Rigoletto, contemplating the wretch with curiosity. "Tell me how you
lure people to your home?"

"Easy enough. I have a handsome sister there. Nobody ever thinks of
resisting her. She gets them to come; I do the rest."

"I follow you."

"Then not a sound is heard. The knife is a silent fellow. Now what do
you think?--that I can serve you?"

"No. I don't like the notion." Rigoletto was not half as daring of
wicked deeds as he had been an hour before; the curse was still
ringing in his ears.

"You have enemies, I judge," Sparafucile urged, shrewdly. "You'll
regret not accepting my services."

"Nay. Be off. No, stay a moment! If I ever should need thee, where
could I address thee?"

"You won't have to address me; you'll find me here each night."

"Well, be off, be off!" As a fact Rigoletto didn't much care to be
seen with one of his own kind. But he looked after the _coupe-jarret_
uneasily. "After all, we are equals, that fellow and I. He stabs in
the dark--and so do I. I with my malicious tongue, he with his knife.
Bah! I am all undone. I hear that old man's curse yet. How I hate
them, all those nobles who hire me to laugh for them and to make them
laugh! I haven't even a right to know sadness. It is my business in
life, because I am born crooked, to make sport for these rats of
fellows who are no better than I am. I am hired to bear the burden of
their crimes. I wish they all had but one neck; I'd strangle them with
one hand." Overwhelmed with the exciting scenes of the night, he
turned toward the gate in his garden wall. As he opened it, Gilda ran
out gaily to meet him. To her he was only the loving and tender
father. She waited for his coming all day, and had no pleasure till
she saw him.

"Oh, in this abode, my nature changes," the crooked little man
murmured as he folded his daughter in his arms.

"Near thee, my daughter, I find all the joy on earth that is left me,"
he said, trying to control his emotion.

"You love me, father?"

"Aye!--thou art my only comfort."

"Father, there is often something mysterious in thy actions. You have
never told me of my mother. Who was my mother, dear father?"

[Music:

     Ah why recall in misery,
     What tempests dread have moved me?
     An angel once companion'd me,
     An angel in pity lov'd me]

he sang.

"Hideous, an outcast, penniless, she blessed my lonely years. Ah! I
lost her, I lost her. Death wafted her soul to heaven!--But thou art
left me," he said tenderly, beginning to weep.

"There, father, say no more. My questions have made thee sad. I shall
always be with thee to make thee happy. But, father, I do not know
that you are what you tell me. What is your real name? Is it
Rigoletto?"

"No matter, child, do not question. I am feared and hated by my
enemies. Let that suffice."

"But ever since we came to this place three months ago, you have
forbidden me to go abroad. Let me go into the city, father, and see
the sights."

"Never! You must not ask it." He was frightened at the very thought.
If men like the Duke, his master, should see such a beautiful girl as
Gilda, they would surely rob him of her. At that moment the nurse,
Giovanna, came from the house and Rigoletto asked her if the garden
gate was ever left open while he was away. The woman told him falsely
that the gate was always closed.

"Ah, Giovanna, I pray you watch over my daughter when I am away," he
cried, and turned suddenly toward the gate upon hearing a noise. "Some
one is without there, now!" he cried, running in the direction of the
sound. He threw the gate wide, but saw no one, because the Duke--who
it was--had stepped aside into the shadow, and then, while Rigoletto
was without, looking up the road, he slipped within and hid behind a
tree, throwing a purse to Giovanna to bribe her to silence. Giovanna
snatched it and hid it in the folds of her gown, showing plainly that
she was not to be trusted, as Rigoletto trusted her, with his precious
daughter. There was the man whom Rigoletto had most cause to fear, who
ran off with every pretty girl he saw, and he had now found the
prettiest of them all in the dwarf's daughter.

"Have you noticed any one following Gilda?" the dwarf asked, returning
to the garden and fastening the gate behind him. "If harm should come
to my daughter it would surely kill me," he sobbed, taking Gilda in
his arms. At that the Duke, listening behind the tree, was amazed. So!
Gilda was no sweetheart of his jester; but was his daughter instead!

"Now," said Rigoletto, "I must be off, but I caution you once more;
let no one in."

"What, not even the great Duke if he should come to inquire for you?"

"The Duke least of all," the dwarf answered in a new panic. And
kissing Gilda he went out again.

No sooner had he gone than Gilda turned tearfully to her nurse.

"Giovanna, my heart feels guilty."

"What hast thou done?" the nurse asked, indifferently, remembering the
purse of the Duke which she carried in her bosom.

"Ne'er told my father of the youth whom I have learned to love and who
has followed me."

"Why should he know it? Would he not prevent it? If you wish that----"

"Nay, nay," Gilda replied, fearfully; and in her loneliness and
distress she confided to Giovanna how much she loved the Duke. Mantua,
behind the tree, heard all, and, motioning Giovanna to go away, he
came toward Gilda. Giovanna went at once into the house, but Gilda
cried to her to come back, as the sudden appearance of the Duke
frightened her, after the scene she had just had with her father.

Then while the Duke was giving her a false name, and trying to
reassure her, they heard voices outside the garden wall. The Duke
recognized the voice of Borsa and Ceprano. They seemed to be searching
for some house, and again, quite terror-stricken, Gilda started to
rush within.

Giovanna met her. "I am afraid it is your father returned. The young
gentleman must hasten away," she whispered under her breath, and
immediately the Duke went out by another way, through the house. Then
Gilda watched off, down the road, and while she was watching, Borsa,
Ceprano, and other dare-devils of the Duke's court stole into the
garden. Ceprano, who had heard that Gilda was some one beloved by
Rigoletto, although it was not known that she was his daughter, meant
to carry Gilda off, since he owed Rigoletto a grudge. Having seen the
Duke disappear, Gilda had gone within again, and as the kidnappers
were about to enter, they heard Rigoletto coming.

It was then their opportunity to plan a great and tragic joke upon the
wretched dwarf.

"Listen to this!" Borsa whispered. "Let us tell him we are here to
carry off the Countess Ceprano, who has fled here for safety from us.
Then when we have blind-folded him, we will make him help to carry off
his own sweetheart." Just as that infamous plan was formed, in came
Rigoletto. He ran against one of the men in the dark.

"What's this?" he cried.

"H'st! Be silent!"

"Who spoke?" he unconsciously lowered his voice.

"Marullo, you idiot."

"The darkness blinds me, and I cannot see you."

"H'st, Rigoletto! We're for an adventure. We are going to carry off
the Countess Ceprano: she has fled here from us. We had the Duke's key
to get into her place." He holds out the key which the dwarf felt in
the darkness and found the Duke's crest upon it.

"Her palace is on the other side----"

"She fled here, we tell thee. We are stealing her for the Duke. Put on
this mask, hurry!" Marullo tied on a mask and put the jester at the
foot of a ladder which they had run up against the terrace.

"Now hold the ladder till one of us gets over and unfastens the door."
Rigoletto, somewhat dazed, did mechanically what he was told, and the
men entered the house.

"Ah, I shall have a fine revenge on that scamp," Ceprano muttered,
looking toward Rigoletto through the dark.

"Sh! Be silent," Borsa whispered. "They will bring the girl out
muffled so he can't hear her scream. Rigoletto will never hear a
sound. No joke of his ever matched the one we are preparing for him."
At that moment, Gilda was brought out, her mouth tied with her scarf;
but as they were bearing her away, she got the scarf loose and uttered
a piercing shriek, and the scarf fell near Rigoletto.

"Father, help, help!" she cried, but the voice seemed to come from
afar off. Rigoletto only just heard. He could not collect his senses.

"Here, what does this mean? Aren't you nearly through?" he cried,
angrily tearing off the mask and also the handkerchief that bound his
ears. "What cry was that? I thought I heard a cry!" He was becoming
mad with fear. All the conditions seemed so strange.

"Hello there!" But no one answered; all the men were gone. Then he
snatched a lantern one of the men had left near, and suddenly he saw
Gilda's scarf. He stared at it, rushed like a madman into the house
and dragged out the nurse, tried to shriek "Gilda," but overcome with
horror he fell senseless.


ACT II

Now if the Duke of Mantua was ever angry in his life, he was angry
when the curtain rose on the second act. There he was, pacing about a
sumptuous apartment, fuming with rage.

"If ever I loved any one in my life, it was that girl!" he cried. "And
heaven knows what can have become of her." As a matter of fact, the
Duke had some misgiving after he had left Gilda in the garden, and,
later, he had returned. But he had found the place deserted and could
get no news of her from that hour.

"Oh, but I would defend thee, if thou art in trouble," he cried; and
in the midst of his excitement Marullo, Borsa, and Ceprano and other
courtiers rushed into the room. All were fairly bursting with news of
the escapade of the night before.

"Oh, Duke! Oh, Lord! What do you think? We have carried off the
jester's sweetheart!"

"What?" The Duke stared and then gave a great cry. "Speak, speak. What
have you done?"

"The jester's sweetheart."

"Where is she?" the Duke asked, hardly daring to trust his voice.

"Here, in this house."

"What do you say?"

"Yes, we brought her here."

"Oh, joy!" the Duke exclaimed; then aside: "She is near me," and
forgetting all about his friends he went out excitedly.

"Why did he turn away from us?" the men asked each other. "He has
enjoyed our adventures before now." They were a little uneasy and were
conferring together when Rigoletto came in. He was a pitiful-looking
fellow, worn with a night of horror and weeping, but he came singing:

"La, la, la, la, la,"--pretending not to be agitated. "Pray what is
the news?" he asked off-hand, seeking not to betray his agony of mind,
till he should have learned something about his daughter.

"Pleasant morning, Rigoletto!" the men answered, mockingly, and
glancing with grins at each other. "Pray what _is_ the news?"
Rigoletto, half dead with anxiety, moved about the room looking for
some sign of Gilda.

"Lord! See him fishing about in every corner for her? He thinks to
find her under the table," one of them whispered, and the men burst
out laughing.

Then Rigoletto discovered a handkerchief on the floor and snatched it,
hoping to find a clue, but it was not hers. Just then a page ran in to
say that the Duchess was asking for the Duke.

"He is still in bed," one of the men answered, watching the effect of
that upon Rigoletto, who was listening to every word.

"He cannot be," the page persisted. "Didn't he just pass me on the
stairs?"

"All right, then! He has gone a-hunting," and they laughed.

"With no escort? Hardly. Come, don't think me a fool. Where's the
Duke? The Duchess wishes to speak with him."

"It is you who are a dull fool," the men exclaimed, seeming to carry
on the conversation aside, but taking good care that Rigoletto should
hear. "The Duke cannot be disturbed--do you understand? He is with a
lady."

"Ah! Villains!" Rigoletto shrieked, turning upon them like a tiger.
"My daughter! You have my daughter--here in this palace. Give me my
daughter!" The men all rushed after him as he made for the door.

"Your daughter? My God! Your daughter?" They were horrified at their
own doings, hearing it was Rigoletto's daughter.

"Stand back! Don't think to keep me from my daughter." As they still
held him tight, hardly knowing what then to do, he sank down in
despair. He entreated help of the different courtiers whom he had so
often and maliciously misused. Then he wept.

"Oh, have pity on me, my lords! Let me go to my daughter." While
everybody was hesitating in consternation, Gilda, having got free,
rushed from the next room, and into his arms. She screamed
hysterically that she had been carried off by the Duke. Rigoletto
nearly foamed at the mouth with rage, and at last the men became truly
afraid of him.

"Go, all of you!" he stammered, no longer able to speak plainly. "And
if the Duke comes into this room I will kill him." So the courtiers
withdrew. The palace was in an uproar.

"It is a mistake to jest with a madman," Marullo whispered to Borsa as
they went out. Father and daughter were left alone. After looking at
Gilda a moment, trying to recover himself, Rigoletto whispered.

"Now, my child; they have gone. Speak!" Gilda throwing herself into
her father's arms, told of her meetings with the Duke, and of how she
had grown to love him, and finally of how in the night she had been
carried away.

As they were in each other's arms the guard entered with old Count
Monterone, who was being taken to his cell. As he was being led across
the room, Rigoletto's wild eyes fixed themselves in horror upon the
man whose curse had cursed him. The Count paused before the Duke's
picture and cursed it.

"I shall be the instrument to fulfill thy curse, old man," Rigoletto
whispered as the Count passed out, and he made a frightful oath of
vengeance against the Duke of Mantua. His words frightened Gilda,
because she dearly loved the Duke even though she believed he had
caused her to be carried off. As the jester raised his hand to take
the dreadful oath to kill, Gilda fell upon her knees beside him.


ACT III

Rigoletto and Gilda had fled from the palace, for the dwarf meant to
hide his daughter away forever; and in the darkness they were
hurrying on their way to an old inn, which could be seen near at hand.
A swift, rushing river ran back of the inn, and the innkeeper could be
seen inside his house sitting at a table polishing an old belt. It was
the villainous old cut-throat, Sparafucile, who had stopped Rigoletto
on his way home two nights before, offering to kill whomever Rigoletto
would for a sum of money.

Gilda was very weary and she and her father were about to stop at the
inn for the night. They were speaking in the road:

"Do you still love the Duke, my child?"

"Alas, father! I cannot help it. I think I shall always love him." At
that moment Rigoletto espied a man, dressed as a cavalry officer,
approaching the inn by another road. Instantly he recognized the Duke
in disguise. He peeped through an opening in the wall which surrounded
the house and could see the Duke greeting Sparafucile and ordering a
bottle of wine, after which he gaily sang, while waiting:

[Music:

     Plume in the summer wind,
     Waywardly playing,
     Ne'er one way swaying,
     Each whim obeying, etc.]

The song was gay and thoughtless, and when it should be last heard by
Rigoletto it was to have a fearful meaning.

"Ah, ha?" Rigoletto murmured to himself. "This rat of a noble is
seeking some new adventure! Let us see if Gilda will continue to love
him when she knows the true wickedness of the wretch! when she knows
that he is false to all that he has said to her: because there is of
course another woman in the case!" While Rigoletto was observing him,
the wine was brought to the Duke, who raised his sword and rapped upon
the ceiling with its hilt. At that signal a pretty girl ran down the
ladder and Mantua embraced her.

That freed Sparafucile and he ran out of the inn to look for
Rigoletto, whose coming was expected. In fact, Rigoletto had at last
made a bargain with the _coupe-jarret_ to kill the Duke.

"Your man's inside. Shall I do the job at once, or wait a bit?"

"Wait a bit," said Rigoletto, glancing at Gilda, who heard nothing,
"I'll give the signal," whereupon Sparafucile went off, toward the
river. Then while the father and daughter stood outside the inn they
could see all that was taking place within it. The Duke began to make
love to the gipsy girl, and she laughed at him.

"You have told fifty girls what you tell me," she declared.

"Well, I'll admit all that. I am an unfaithful fellow--but you don't
mind that! Just at this moment I love no one in the world but you," he
returned.

"Father, do you hear that traitor?" Gilda whispered, tearfully, and
Rigoletto nodded. He was indeed glad; maybe it would cure her of her
infatuation.

"I must laugh to think how many girls you have made believe you," the
gipsy said again, mocking the Duke. But he only protested the more,
and Gilda threw her arms about her father in despair.

"Now, my child, since this traitor is here, you cannot well go in; so
return to Mantua, change thy dress for that of a youth; get a horse
and fly to Verona. There I will meet thee and see thee safe. You can
see that this man is no longer to be trusted."

"Alas, I know that is true;--yet, if I must go--come with me, father,"
she entreated, feeling very lonely and heartbroken, there in the dark
night.

"Not at once. I cannot go at once; but I will soon join thee"; and in
spite of her pleading he started her back to the city alone. Then he
and Sparafucile stood together in the middle of the road while the
dwarf counted out the half of the money to the cut-throat.

"Here is thy money, and I am going away. But at midnight I shall
return and help thee throw him into the river. It will make a great
noise,--this killing of a man of the Duke of Mantua's fame," he
muttered.

"Never mind about coming back. I can dump him into the river, without
help. It is going to be a bad night," the fellow said, uneasily
looking up at the storm clouds that were gathering. As the lightning
began to flash and the thunder to roll distantly, Rigoletto turned
toward Mantua, while Sparafucile went into the inn.

"A fine night! Black as thunder and going to storm like Satan," he
said as he entered.

"So much the better," the Duke answered, "I'll stay here all night,
and you clear out," to Sparafucile;--"go to the devil, will you? I
don't want you about."

"You're a nice, soft spoken gentlemen--if a man doesn't care what he
says," Sparafucile returned.

"You mustn't stay here," Maddalena said hastily to the Duke. She well
knew the tricks her brother was up to when a stranger with money
stopped at the house; and after the Duke had made himself so agreeable
she didn't care to see him killed under her nose.

"You mind your business," her brother said to her, shortly, seeing his
plans interfered with. Then speaking to her aside: "It's worth a
pot-full of gold to us. Mind your own business, I say." Then to the
Duke: "Sir, I am delighted to have you sleep at my inn. Pray take
shelter in my own chamber. Come, I will show you the way." Sparafucile
took the candle and went toward the ladder that led to the rooms
above.

The Duke then whispered to the gipsy girl, and went laughing up the
ladder. Maddalena looked thoughtfully after him. She liked money as
well as her brother did. Should she let her brother kill him or not?

"Heavens! That thunder is loud," she exclaimed, as the storm struck
the dreadful house. Up in the loft, the Duke was laughing with
Sparafucile about the airiness of the chamber.

"Well, well, I'm tired," he said, after the cut-throat had gone down
the ladder. "I'll take off my sword and have an hour's sleep, anyway."
He removed his protecting sword, and began to hum to himself while he
was waiting for more wine. The storm, the gay song, the murder which
was about to be committed!--it was a fearful hour.

Down below Sparafucile was saying to his sister: "Go and get my
dagger. This affair will give us a tidy sum of money." Maddalena
listened to the Duke singing above and hesitated.

"He--he is young and--no--we shall not do this thing, Sparafucile,"
she declared.

"Come! No foolishness, now," he growled. "Get my dagger and be quick."
She reluctantly ascended the staircase again to where the Duke was
sleeping. It was not very light. The flickering candle made but a
wavering shadow over all, and as Maddalena went up the ladder, Gilda,
who had returned, softly stole up to the inn door and began to listen
to what went on within, but not daring to enter. She had returned
because for some reason unknown to herself she was oppressed with a
sense of danger to the Duke who had so ill-treated her. Through the
chink of the door she could see the innkeeper at the table drinking.
Gilda had already changed her girl's clothing for that of a youth with
spurs and boots.

Now she saw Maddalena come back down the stairs with the Duke's sword
which she had stolen from his side.

"Oh, it is a horrible night," Gilda whispered to herself, shuddering
and cold and frightened there in the dark, with only Sparafucile's
wicked face before her.

"Brother," Maddalena began, "I am not going to let you kill that young
man up there. I have taken a fancy to him and I won't let you do it."

"You mind your own affairs and get away from here. I'll attend to my
business," he snarled. Upon hearing there was a plan to kill the Duke
whom after all she truly loved, unworthy as he was, Gilda nearly
fainted.

"You just take this sack and mend it," Sparafucile said, throwing an
old sack toward his sister.

"What for?" she asked suspiciously.

"It is to hold your fine young man, up there--when I shall throw him
in the river." Upon hearing that, Gilda sank down upon the stone
step.

"See here! If it were not for the money you are to get, you would let
him go, I know," Maddalena urged.

"Well, no--because you see already I have received half my pay, and
the fellow I am doing the job for is a nasty customer, and, to tell
the truth, I shouldn't dare let the Duke go.

"Then listen to my plan: The hunchback will presently return with the
rest of the money." Gilda learned then to her horror that it was her
father who had bargained for the Duke's assassination. "When the
jester comes, kill him instead and take his money--all of it--and
throw him into the river, and let this young man above go." At that
Gilda could not longer support herself and she fell down upon the
ground.

"No, I won't do it," the fellow said doggedly. "I agreed to kill the
man upstairs--and there must be honour among rogues. It wouldn't be
right to kill the one I hadn't bargained for. I make it a rule never
to kill my employer," the rascal returned piously.

"I'll call him, then, and tell him to defend himself," the girl cried,
running toward the stairs.

"Hold on there," Sparafucile cried; "I'll tell you--I agree to kill
the first man who enters this house between now and midnight, in the
Duke's stead, if that will suit you. Then we shall put him in the
sack, and the hunchback will not know the difference. Will that suit
you?" he repeated.

"That will do, and see that you keep your word or I will arouse the
young man, I promise you."

At that moment the clock struck half past eleven, and Gilda was
frantic with fear. Maddalena was in tears, fearing that no one would
come along, in that storm, so late at night.

"If no one comes!" Gilda thinks shudderingly. "Oh, how shall I save
him?" But no sooner had she that thought than a desperate plan entered
her mind. She would go into the inn! She was dressed like a young man
and no one would ever know the difference in the darkness and the
storm. She would go in and the Duke would be spared. Then she waited a
moment, overcome with the fear of death; finally, summoning all her
courage, she knocked against the door.

"Who's there?" Both Maddalena and Sparafucile exclaimed, looking in
terror at each other. The knock was sudden and ominous. Then another
knock.

"Who's there?" again he called.

"A stranger, caught in the storm. Will you give me shelter?" Gilda
could hardly speak, with terror. Maddalena and the murderer looked at
each other significantly. They knew well what they would do the moment
the door was opened. The lightning flashed, the thunder rolled and
broke above them, and the scene became terrifying. Sparafucile placed
himself behind the door and motioned to Maddalena to open it.

"Thou art welcome," she said, throwing the door back suddenly; and as
Gilda stumbled in, Maddalena ran out and closed the gateway. The
candle went out in the gust of wind, and all was dark. Gilda stood an
instant in the blackness of the room. With one blow of the knife,
which could not be seen for the darkness, Sparafucile killed her, and
then all was silent. After a moment the storm broke away, the moon
came forth, and Rigoletto could be seen coming up the river bank.

"It is the time of my vengeance, now," he muttered to himself. He
tried the inn door and found it locked. "He cannot have done the deed
yet," he muttered. After waiting a little he knocked.

"Who's there?"

"I am known to thee," he whispered back; at this Sparafucile came out,
dragging behind him a sack.

"Bring a light," Rigoletto called, "that I may see him."

"That's all right--but you pay my money first," the cut-throat
insisted. Rigoletto impatiently paid him.

"I'll throw him into the river, myself," Rigoletto said triumphantly.

"The tide is shallow here--go farther on--and be sure no one surprises
you," Sparafucile advised. "Good night," he said shortly, and went
inside the inn. Then Rigoletto stood in the dripping road looking
gloatingly at the sack.

"I've got you at last," he chuckled, diabolically, "I have revenge for
your treatment of my daughter. My dear daughter! The child of my
heart!" At the very thought of what she had suffered the dwarf sobbed.
"I'll put my foot upon you, you noble vermin," he cried, kicking the
body in the sack. At that moment he heard a song--_La Donna è
Mobile_--The voice! Was he going mad? He knew the voice. He had heard
it only a few hours ago, in the inn--he had heard it daily at
court--_La Donna è Mobile_! He looked toward the windows of the inn.
_La Donna è Mobile!_ As he looked he saw the Duke and Maddalena step
from the window to the terrace that ran by the river bank. "_La Donna
è Mobile_," the Duke sang gaily. With a frightful cry, Rigoletto
dragged the sack open and the body of his murdered daughter rolled out
upon the road. She moved ever so little.

"Father?" and she gasped out the truth, with a dying breath, while
the dwarf shrieked and tore his hair.

"The curse, the curse! Monterone's curse!" he screamed, and went
raving mad.


IL TROVATORE

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA, WITH THE ORIGINAL CAST AS PRESENTED AT THE
FIRST PERFORMANCE

Leonora              Penco
Azucena              Goggi
Inez                 Quadri
Manrico              Baucardé
Count di Luna        Guicciardi
Ferrando             Balderi
Ruiz                 Bazzoli
An old gipsy.
Messenger, jailer, soldiers, nuns, gipsies, and attendants.

The story belongs to the fifteenth century in Spain, and tells of the
border wars of northern Spain, carried on in the provinces of Arragon
and Biscay.

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi.
Author: Cammarano.

First sung in Rome, _Teatro Apollo_, January, 19, 1853; Paris,
_Théâtre des Italiens_, December 23, 1854 (in Italian); at the
_Opéra_, January 12, 1857 (in French); London, Covent Garden, May 17,
1855; New York, Academy of Music, April 30, 1855.


ACT I

[Music]

There you are, prepared for almost anything in the way of battle,
murder, or sudden death, to the accompaniment of beautiful music;
opera in true Italian style, at its second best.

Soldiers and servants were gathered about the beautiful columns of a
porch of the Aliaferia palace just before midnight awaiting the return
of the Count di Luna. Among them was Ferrando, the captain of the
Count's guard. All were lounging in the vestibule of the palace
gossiping till it was time to go on duty within.

"Hey, wake up! You'll be caught napping," Ferrando called to his
comrades. "It is time for the Count to come. I suppose he has been
under the Lady Leonora's windows. Ah, he is madly in love with
her--and so jealous of that troubadour who sings beneath her windows
that some day they will meet and kill each other."

This was an old story to the men, and in their effort to keep awake
they clamoured for the story of the Count di Luna's brother, which all
had heard told with more or less of truth; but Ferrando knew the whole
horrible tale better than any one else; besides, it was a good story
to keep awake on.

"Ah, that was a great tragedy for the House of Luna," Ferrando began
with a shiver. "I remember it as if it were but yesterday:"

     When the good Count di Luna here resided,
       Two children fair he numbered;
     One to a faithful nurse was once confided,
       By the cradle she slumbered.

     At morning when she woke and gazed about her,
       Sorely stricken was she,
     And what sight do ye think did so confound her?
       Cho. ... What, oh tell us did she see?

[Music:

Ferrando.

     Swarthy and threatening, a gipsy woman,
     Bearing of fiendish art, symbols inhuman
     Upon the infant fiercely she gazes,
     As if to seize him her arm she raises!
     Spellbound the nurse watch'd at first the beldame hoary
     But soon her shrieking was answer'd in the distance,
     And quicker than now I can tell you the story,
     The servants of the [Transcriber's Note: music ends here]]

The frightful story was sung in a deep bass voice, by Ferrando. He
sang of how the cry of the nurse on that morning years before had
brought the servants running and they had put the gipsy out; but
almost at once the baby grew ill, and the Count and his people
believed the old hag had put a spell upon it, so that it would die.
They sought wildly for her, and, when they finally found her, they
burned her alive.

While that frightful scene was being enacted, the baby was stolen,
outright, and the di Luna family saw it thrown upon the fire which had
consumed the gipsy.

This deed was done by the daughter of the gipsy whom they had burned
alive. There were those who believed that the child burned had not
been the Count's, but a young gipsy baby--which was quite as horrible.
The name of the young woman who had done this fiendish thing was
Azucena, and the di Lunas searched for her year after year without
success.

It was believed that the spirit of the hag they had burned had entered
into the younger woman's body. The gossiping soldiers and servants
sang:

     Anon on the eaves of the house-tops you'll see her,
     In form of a vampire; 'tis then you must flee her;
     A crow of ill-omen she often is roaming,
     Or else as an owl that flits by in the gloaming.

While they were talking of this tragedy for the hundredth time, it
approached the hour of midnight. The servants, through fear, drew
closer together, and the soldiers formed a rank across the plaza at
the back.

Each recalled some frightful happening in relation to witches; how one
man who had given a witch a blow, had died, shrieking and in awful
agony. He had been haunted. It was at the midnight hour that he had
died! As they spoke of this, the castle bell tolled the midnight hour.
The men, wrought up with fright, yelled sharply, and the face of the
moon was hidden for a moment.


_Scene II_

When the cloud which had hidden the moon's rays cleared away, a
beautiful garden belonging to the palace was revealed. The place was
very silent, the soldiers and servants, excepting those on guard,
having gone within.

The Lady Leonora, whom the Count di Luna loved, was one of the suite
of the Princess of Arragon, and when all in the palace were sleeping
it was her custom to steal into the lovely gardens with her friend,
Inez. Of late, when she came there, she had hoped, secretly, to find a
mysterious young troubadour, who sang almost nightly beneath her
windows. She loved this troubadour and not the Count.

The first time she had met the handsome youth was at a tournament.
There he had come, dressed in a suit of black, and all unknown;
wearing a sweeping sable plume in his helmet; and when the jousting
took place, he had vanquished all the nobles. It was Leonora, herself,
who had placed the wreath of the victor upon his brow. From that very
moment they had loved. He had worn no device upon his shield by which
he could be known, but she had loved him for a gallant knight.

He belonged to the retinue of a neighbouring prince, who was an enemy
of the Princess of Arragon, and he risked his life each time he came
to sing in the gardens to Leonora.

"Ah, I fear some harm will come of this love of yours!" Inez said to
her friend and mistress. "The Princess awaits thee, dear Countess, and
we must go within. I hope your trust will never be betrayed by this
unknown knight and singer." The women mounted the gleaming marble
staircase, and then Leonora paused for a moment looking down into the
garden again.

She had no sooner gone than a man peered out from the shadow of the
trees. It was the Count di Luna, jealously watching for the knight who
sang beneath the lady's window. Also, he hoped to see Leonora,
herself, but all was still, and after watching the balcony a moment,
he started toward the marble steps. At that instant a beautiful voice
stole through the moonlight.

[Music:

Manrico.

     Naught upon earth is left me,
     Fate of all joy hath bereft me.]

It was Manrico the troubadour!

The Count paused upon the stair and looked down; but Leonora, too, had
heard, and ran out upon the balcony, then down the steps, throwing
herself into the Count's arms, mistaking him for Manrico. Manrico,
still hidden by the shadows, witnessed this, and becoming enraged at
the sight, believing Leonora faithless, he rushed upon them just as
the moon again shone forth and revealed to Leonora that she was in the
Count's arms, instead of the troubadour's.

"Traitress!" Manrico cried.

"Manrico, the light blinded me," she implored, throwing herself at the
troubadour's feet.

     For thee alone the words were meant,
     If those words to him were spoken,

she sang.

"I believe thee," Manrico answered; while the Count, enraged in his
turn, cried:

"You shall fight with me, Sir Knight!"

"Aye, behold me!" Manrico answered, lifting his visor and standing in
the bright light of the moon. At the sight of him di Luna started
back:

"Manrico! The brigand! Thou darest----"

"To fight thee? Aye, have at it!" and Manrico stood _en garde_.
Leonora implored them not to fight, but too late. They would fight to
the death.

"Follow me," di Luna called, drawing his sword, which he had half
sheathed when he had seen that his antagonist was not of noble birth
like himself. "Follow me," and he hurried off among the trees,
followed by Manrico.

"I follow, and I shall kill thee," the handsome troubadour cried, as
he too rushed off after the Count. Whereupon the Countess Leonora fell
senseless.


ACT II

This opera of shadows and darkness began again in a ghostly ruin in
the mountains of Biscay. A forge fire blazed through a yawning doorway
of tumbled-down stones. It was not yet day, but very soon it would be;
and Manrico, the handsome knight, brigand, troubadour, lover of
Leonora, lay wounded upon a low couch near the forge fire. Azucena,
his gipsy mother, sat beside him, tenderly watching. Many months had
passed since the night of the duel in the palace garden, when Manrico
had had di Luna at his mercy, but had spared him. Since that time
there had been war between the factions of Arragon and Biscay, and
Manrico had been sorely wounded in his prince's service. Here he had
lain ever since, in the gipsy rendezvous, cared for by his mother.

All night the gipsy band had been at work, forging weapons with which
to fight, and just before the early dawn they were discovered singing
a fine chorus, which they accompanied by a rhythmic pounding upon
their anvils.

There, beside him, through the long nights, Azucena had sat, conjuring
back memories of her fierce past, and soon she broke into a wild song
describing the death of her mother, years before, when Manrico was a
baby. She sang how that old mother had been burned at the stake by the
di Lunas--by the father of the living Count.

"Di Luna, mother?" Manrico questioned.

"Aye, it was di Luna. Why did ye not kill the young Count when ye
fought?" she asked, fiercely.

"I do not know," he murmured, rising upon his elbow. "Mother, do you
know when I had disarmed him, something seemed to hold me back, to
paralyze my arm. I hated him, but I could not strike the death-blow."

"His father burned my mother at the stake, Manrico. Ye must avenge
me." And at that moment a gipsy interrupted the talk between mother
and son by crying:

"The sun rises! we must be off!" Thereupon the gipsy band threw their
tools into bags, gathered up their cloaks and hats, and one by one and
in groups they disappeared down the mountain-side, leaving Azucena and
her wounded son alone in the ruined hut. He remained wrapped in his
mantle, sword and horn beside him, while the old hag continued to
croon about the horrors of the past. In her ever-increasing rage she
called again and again upon Manrico to avenge her.

"Again those vengeful words, mother! There is something in thy voice
which I do not understand."

"Listen! I will tell thee! I have told thee how my mother was accused,
arrested by the old Count and burned alive. Well, in that fearful
moment, crazed with grief I crept into the palace, snatched the
Count's child, and rushed out, thinking only of my revenge. With
maddened mind I tossed the babe into the flames that were consuming my
mother--or so I thought! But when I looked around there was the child
of noble birth, and my own was gone. It was you who were left to me.
My own child had gone into the flames. I snatched thee up and fled."

"What is this that ye tell me?" Manrico cried, his eyes strained, his
body stiffened with horror. "Thou who art so tender of me--" and he
fell back upon his couch overcome with the frightful deed.

"I was mad! but now you must avenge me. You must ruin my enemy. Have I
not tended thee as my own, and loved thee?"

"Oh, tale of woe! Mother, speak no more." Frightful as the deed had
been, he tried to soothe the demented old woman who had truly cared
for him with a mother's care. He had known no other mother, but the
tale had distracted him. The knowledge that the Count di Luna, whose
life he had spared, was his own brother, explained much to him. No
wonder something had stayed his hand when he might have killed him.
Yet, he also recalled that his unsuspecting brother loved Leonora. In
all their encounters, di Luna had shown only a hard, unyielding heart,
and Manrico had no reason to love him. After all, Manrico was but a
wild young brigand, living in a lawless time, when nobles themselves
were highwaymen and without violating custom. Such a one had little
self-control.

"Show di Luna no mercy, my son," Azucena urged. "Art thou not my son?
my own, dear son?" Then suddenly remembering all that her distraught
condition had betrayed her into saying, she cried remorsefully:

"I am an old and wretched woman who has seen much sorrow. When I
spoke I was distracted with my griefs, but remember the Count di Luna
and do not spare him. If you do, he will take the Lady Leonora from
thee."

"True, mother, and I will kill him," the troubadour said suddenly. The
thought of di Luna's rivalry overcame his sense of humanity.

The forge fire died down, and Manrico, exhausted by his mother's
story, lay back upon his couch while his mother continued to sit, lost
in her tragic thoughts, but while he rested, half sleeping, the long
clear note of a horn was heard, and Manrico started up.

"It is Ruiz," he said anxiously, believing it to be his servant.
Snatching his horn from his belt, he blew a clear, answering blast. In
a moment a messenger, who was not Ruiz, ran in.

"Quick, what is thy news?" Manrico demanded, made apprehensive by
illness and the stories he had heard. He expected misfortune from
every quarter.

"A letter for thee, Master," the messenger panted, leaning against the
rocky wall, worn with running. Manrico read excitedly:

"Our men have taken Castellar. The Prince's order is that thou shalt
come instantly to defend it. Unless thy wounds have laid thee low, I
shall expect thee. Know that, deceived by the tidings of thy death,
the beautiful Lady Leonora will this day become the elect of Heaven."
Manrico started, then stared at the letter again. Leonora to enter a
convent where he could never see her again! No!

"Bring me my horse, quick. I shall join thee below the hill. Mother, I
go! My mantle!" And snatching his cloak and helmet, his mother threw
her arms about him.

"Where do you go, my son?" she cried with anxiety.

"To save Leonora--let me go."

"Thou art still ill. It will kill thee, and I shall die if I lose
thee."

"Farewell, mother; I go. Without Leonora, I could not live. I go."
Tearing himself from her he rushed down the mountain.


_Scene II_

Again it was night; there was always an appearance of darkness and
gloom about the lovers. From the cloisters of the convent to which
Leonora had gone, there stretched away at the back a deep wood. The
Count, having heard where Leonora was hidden, had also started with
his followers and vassals, to reach the convent before she could take
the veil and retire forever beyond his reach. When he reached the
convent it was just before day, and with Ferrando he stole into the
gardens, wrapped in his long cloak.

"Everything is still; the convent is sleeping. They have ceased their
prayers awhile and we are safe, Ferrando," the Count whispered.

"It is a bold adventure, Count. I fear----"

"Do not speak. A man does not fear when he is in danger of losing the
woman he loves." He began to sing softly:

[Music:

     On the light of her sweet glances,
     Joy celestial beameth upon me.]

It was a love song to Leonora, who, within the convent, was about to
bury herself from all the world, believing Manrico to be dead. As the
light of day slowly flushed the scene, a bell sounded from the chapel
tower.

"That bell, Ferrando!"

"It is to summon the nuns to prayer. They will pass this way."

"Now to rescue her!" Di Luna motioned to his men, who had lain
concealed in the shadows. "She is coming," he whispered, watching the
convent door, while a weird chant floated out. The nuns were singing.
While di Luna watched, Leonora came from the convent with her beloved
friend, Inez, who was weeping.

"Why weep, Inez?" Leonora asked, gently.

"In another hour shall we not be forever parted?"

"Have no regrets for me, dear sister. There is no longer any happiness
for me in this life, since Manrico is dead. Come, weep no more. Let us
go to the altar."

"No," di Luna cried, rushing upon her, while the nuns from the convent
screamed:

"Sacrilege! Help!" They struggled, and the Count's men rushed up to
help him. The Count had overcome Leonora and was about to flee with
her, when Manrico leaped into the midst of the fight. His men set upon
the Count's men, while Manrico himself lifted Leonora and ran off with
her.

His men vanquished the Count's. Leonora believed herself in Heaven
upon finding herself in Manrico's arms, and as he carried her away he
cried to di Luna that he would be revenged upon him. Then he fled to
Castellar.


ACT III

At last this tragedy began to see daylight, inasmuch as the third act
began in broad day with the banner of the Count floating from his
tent, pitched before the ramparts of Castellar, which could be seen in
the distance. Soldiers were moving about, brightening their armour,
and a band of strong crossbow-men crossed the ravine behind the camp.

"Those are the troops to reinforce us," some of the soldiers sang out.

"We shall vanquish Castellar then, without delay," others cried; and
then comes a famous soldiers' chorus. The Count di Luna came from his
tent and looked off toward the grim stronghold of Castellar.

"Thy day is over," he said, vindictively, thinking of Manrico, who,
with Leonora, in the castle, was defending the domain. His thoughts
were interrupted by a commotion in the camp.

"What is the trouble there?" he asked Ferrando, who came from the
hill.

"A wandering gipsy has been found near the camp, and the men believe
her to be a spy from Castellar. They have arrested her, and are
bringing her to you, Count," he announced as Azucena appeared with
some men.

"Let me go!" she screamed, struggling to get away from her captors.

"Bring her here," di Luna said, and they released her before him.

"Where is your home?"

"Not here," she replied sullenly.

"Well, where?"

"The gipsy has no home; she wanders. I come from Biscay, if you must
know."

Biscay! Di Luna started at the word. Ferrando looked at him quickly.

"Say, old hag, how long hast thou been among the Biscay mountains?
Dost thou remember that many years ago--fifteen--a young child was
stolen from a noble, by one of thy people?"

"What is that you say?" she screamed in fright.

"I say the child was my brother."

She stared at him in horror. "Well," she muttered, "thy tale is no
concern of mine." But Ferrando, who had been watching her closely,
believed he recognized her features.

"Count, do not let her go--it is the murderess herself; she who threw
thy brother upon the fire."

"Ah, my God!" The Count cried, shrinking away from her. "Let me punish
her. To the stake with her!" and she was instantly surrounded by the
men.

She twisted and screamed, calling upon Manrico to come and save his
mother, but Manrico was in the castle of Castellar defending it and
Leonora from the Count below. He was about to marry the Countess and
they were even at that moment on their way to the chapel. They entered
the great hall, whose windows opened out upon the horrid scene below,
where Azucena was to be burned at the stake. It was now dusk, and the
clamour of battle could be plainly heard, within the hall. Leonora,
being frightened, asked Manrico if the trouble would never end.

"Banish all sad thoughts, Leonora; our soldiers will win and it will
soon be over. Think only of joyful things. We shall live and be
happy." The organ sounded from the chapel. "That calls us to our
marriage," Manrico said, leading her toward the chapel door, but as
they were about to enter, Ruiz rushed in.

"Manrico! Look out--that gipsy." He pointed frantically out of the
window. Manrico looked, and there he saw his old mother being tied to
the stake, the fagots being piled about her. He yelled with horror.

"Leonora! It is my mother. She was my mother before I loved thee. I go
to save her. Call our men, Ruiz, I follow!" Embracing Leonora, he
rushed wildly away, while the trumpets of war were heard, and the din
of battle began.


ACT IV

Back at Aliaferia, Manrico was held prisoner. All was gloom and
darkness again, with the prison tower where Manrico was confined
looming near, its bars seeming very sinister, the evening more
forbidding by contrast with that first moonlight night, when he had
sung to Leonora in the gardens.

Leonora, protected by Ruiz, the faithful servant, stole from the
shadows, while Ruiz tried to reconnoitre and spy out where Manrico was
hidden. The Countess was worn with fear and trouble. While they stood
there, outside the prison, the "Miserere" was dolorously chanted. The
sound was ominous.

"They chant prayers for the dead!" she whispered, and then the bell
tolled.

"It is the bell for the dead," she whispered again, fainting with
despair. "What voices of horror. My God! death is very near;" and she
stood listening. Then, mingling with the death chant, the troubadour's
glorious voice floated out upon the night.

[Music:

     Ah send thy beams, Aurora,
     Light me to early death,
     Waft her my longing,
     Waft her my latest breath!
     I leave thee, Leonora, ah, I leave thee!]

It was the doomed Manrico singing, from his prison, while waiting,
wearily, for the dawn.

It was a fearful hour: The death song! The bell for the dead, the
lonely troubadour's voice, and prayer for the dead, sounding through
the night.

As Leonora listened, her anguish became too great to bear, and she
resolved to save his life or die. Then di Luna came, accompanied by
his men; he was giving hurried orders:

"The moment the day dawns, bring out the man, and here, on this spot,
cut off his head," he commanded. The attendants entered the prison
tower, and di Luna, believing himself to be alone, began to sing
passionately of Leonora. He thought her dead in the ruins of
Castellar, which his soldiers had demolished. While cursing his fate,
Leonora came near to him and threw herself at his feet.

"Thou art not dead!" he cried.

"Nay--but I shall die unless you give me Manrico's life," she murmured
pleadingly.

"He dies at dawn," di Luna answered.

"Spare him and I will wed thee," she swore. At that di Luna regarded
her in amazement.

"You speak the truth?" he demanded, scarcely daring to believe his
senses.

"Unbar those gates; let me into his dungeon and take him word that he
is free, and I swear to be thy wife," she repeated.

"Hola! You there!" He called to his men. "Show this woman to Manrico's
dungeon," he commanded, trembling with joy. Unseen by him, she took a
deadly poison from her ring. She would free Manrico with her promise,
and before di Luna could reach her she resolved to die. The men stood
ready, and she went into the prison with them.


_Scene II_

In the gloomy tower a lamp swung from the ceiling by a chain, casting
a dim uncertain light upon Azucena, whom Manrico had saved from the
flames, but who had been imprisoned with him, and was presently to be
killed also. She was lying on a low bed with Manrico beside her, and
in her half-waking dream anticipated the scorching of the flame, which
was soon to be lighted about her. She cried out pitifully.

"Art thou waking, mother?"

"This fearful dungeon, my son! It is a living tomb. But they shall not
torture me: I am already dying. I shall be dead before they come to
drag me to the stake."

Manrico tried to soothe her to sleep, saying that he would guard her;
and gradually the poor wretch slept. As she did so, Leonora slipped
into the room, through the door unbarred for her at di Luna's order.

"Leonora! I am dreaming," Manrico muttered.

"Nay, it is I. I have come to save thee. Do not waste a moment. Go!"

"Without thee--never! What have you done? How have you purchased my
freedom?" he demanded, shrewdly. "It was by promising to be di Luna's
wife," he cried. "Before that can be, I will kill thee and myself." He
covered his face with his hands. He was in despair, and Leonora did
not at first tell him that she was already dying.

"Go while there is time," she pleaded, feeling the poison in her
veins.

Manrico saw her stagger and grow faint. "We shall not part," he
whispered, as she fell at his feet! "We shall not part." He lifted her
up, but she was already dying.

"Fly before di Luna discovers that I have cheated him," but Manrico
still held the dying Leonora to his breast, and at that moment the
Count entered.

"I have cheated him," she murmured. "I am dying." Hearing this the
Count made an outcry and his guards rushed in.

"Away with him!" he shouted, pointing to Manrico; and Manrico was torn
from Leonora, as she sank back dead. He was bound and hustled out,
while Azucena was awakened by the confused sounds. She sat up and
called desperately:

"Manrico!" Finding him gone and seeing di Luna, "Where hast thou taken
him?" she screamed, tearing her gray hair.

"See--" and di Luna dragged her to the barred window. "See! The knife
falls--look upon the sight, old fiend." She saw Manrico's head struck
from his shoulders as the day dawned. With a frightful shriek she
cried:

"Mother, I am avenged! Fiend! he was thy brother!" Di Luna looked
first at the dying gipsy, then at the horrid scene below, and
staggered back, unable to speak his brother's name. His peace was
destroyed forever.


AÏDA

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA, WITH THE ORIGINAL CASTS AS PRESENTED AT THE
FIRST PERFORMANCES

              CAIRO                 MILAN

Aïda          Signora Pozzoni       Signora Stolz
Amneris       Grossi                Waldmann
Radames       Signor Mongini        Signor Fancelli
Amonasro      Steller               Pandolfini
Ramphis       Medini                Maini
The King      Costa                 Pavoleri
Messenger     Bottardi              Vistarini

Priests, priestesses, ministers, captains, soldiers, officials,
Ethiopian slaves, prisoners, Egyptian populace, etc., etc.

The time of the story is when the Pharaohs were puissant, and the
scenes are laid in the cities of Thebes and Memphis.

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi.
Author: A. Ghislanzoni.

The opera was first sung at Cairo, Egypt, December 27, 1871; at Milan,
February 8, 1872.


ACT I

All Egypt was troubled with wars and rumours of wars, and in Memphis
the court of the King was anxiously awaiting the decision of the
Goddess Isis, as to who should lead the Egyptian army against Egypt's
enemies. The great hall of the Memphis palace was beautifully
ornamented with statues and flowers, and from its colonnades of white
marble one could see the pyramids and the palaces of the city. It was
in this vast and beautiful hall that Radames, a gallant soldier and
favourite of the Egyptian court, met Ramphis, the High Priest, on the
day when the Oracle, Isis, was to choose the general of the army.

Isis had already spoken, and Ramphis knew it, but he did not tell
Radames. Together they spoke of Radames's loyal wish to serve his
people, either as a great general or as a soldier. He was too modest
to think that Isis would choose him, out of all the worthy men of the
army, to lead the hosts of Egypt. His desire to do valorous deeds was
inspired by his love for a slave girl, who attended the Princess
Amneris. The slave's name was Aïda. The only thing that saddened him
at the moment, was the fact of Aïda being an Ethiopian, for it was the
Ethiopians whom the Egyptians were about to war against.

After he had spoken with the Priests, Radames sat down alone, in the
hall, and fell to thinking of Aïda. Presently he sang of her
loveliness:

[Music:

     Heav'nly Aïda, beauty resplendent,
     Radiant flower, blooming and bright;
     Queenly thou reignest o'er me transcendent,
     Bathing my spirit in beauty's light.]

Aïda could not be happy in an alien land, serving the daughter of the
King who had been the conqueror of her people, and Radames knew this;
but what he didn't know was that the Princess, herself, loved him, and
therefore that her jealousy might do Aïda much harm. While he was thus
sunk in deep reflection, Amneris, the Princess, entered the hall,
attended by her slave. Radames no sooner looked at Aïda than his love
could be seen by any one present. He was so sincere and honest that he
could not conceal his feelings.

"Ah, Radames, you are very happy to-day! Something has happened to
please you! Are you not going to tell me?" Amneris asked, smiling
happily at him.

"Nay, Princess," he answered. "I am not more happy than before, only I
am thinking of this war that is about to be, and how I should love to
do some valiant deed--for us all," he added as an after-thought, but
Amneris surprised the look of tenderness that he gave to Aïda. From
that moment she watched the lovers closely.

"To-day the Goddess is to decide who shall lead the Egyptians against
the Ethiops; I would it were to be I," he sighed. Amneris flushed with
anger, as she again saw a look of devotion pass between the
slave-girl and Radames, the darling of the court. Still, she pretended
to be unsuspicious.

"Is there nothing to attract you in Memphis, that you wish to be off
to the war?" she asked, narrowly observing him. Radames, so sensitive
and so much in love, saw that he had betrayed his love for Aïda. All
three became ill at ease, but the Princess called the slave girl to
her, pretending great affection for her, and said:

"Why do you weep, Aïda? Neither you nor Radames seem to be happy
to-day."

"Ah, Princess, I weep because of this war rumour. I have known the
sadness and terror of war, and the thought of assembled war-hosts
gives me pain. It means ruin and despair to so many."

"That is the only the reason for your tears?" she persisted, trying to
hide her anger, but her glances belied the softness of her tone.
Radames, noting this, trembled for Aïda. Even the life of the girl was
in the hands of the Princess, and Radames knew it.

"Ah, my love, you are weeping for something besides a nation, and your
blush betrays you," Amneris answered, gently enough, but in her heart
she determined to punish the helpless girl. As the scene became more
and more painful, trumpets, which always preceded the King's coming,
were heard near at hand, and in he came, surrounded by guards,
ministers, priests, and officers; a brilliant company, making a
brilliant picture.

"Greeting!" he cried, "it is a mighty cause which brings us here
together. A messenger has this moment arrived among us with news of
great import. I need the support of all the gallant men of my kingdom.
Now, messenger, come before us, if thou wilt, and tell thy news," the
King cried in a fine and haughty manner, motioning the messenger
before him.

"I came to tell thee, Sire, that Egypt is invaded by Ethiop's King,
and all her border lands are laid waste. Our crops are destroyed,
great havoc hath been wrought, and unless thou shouldst send an army
to resist the invading hosts, we are lost."

"Ah, the presumptuous bandit!" the King cried, thus regarding his
brother ruler, and it is probable that the King of Ethiopia did not
feel more temperately toward the King of the Egyptians.

"By whom are the Ethiopians led?" the King asked.

"By one Amonasro--a warrior who hath never been conquered."

"What? the Ethiopian King, himself," all cried, because that was news
with a vengeance. Amonasro was known to be an invincible warrior, and,
if he was going to take the field in person, Egypt had indeed
something to fear. At the name, Aïda started.

"Amonasro!" she began to cry, but checked herself. Amonasro was her
beloved father! Since she was already a slave, her life would be in
danger if it were known that the Ethiopian King was her father. She
leaned, almost fainting, against the Princess's throne, and in the
excitement her agitation passed unnoticed. The messenger continued to
speak:

"All Thebes has risen and sallied forth to check this foe."

"Death and battle, be our cry!" the King shouted; and all his nobles
took up the war-cry: "Death and battle, death and battle!"

"War, war, war! fierce and unrelenting," cried Radames, loudest of
all, his war spirit and love of country both aroused. At his cry all
became still, and the King looked at him with great affection.

"Egyptians, warriors, hear! the chief to lead our hosts against this
bold invader has this day been named by the Goddess Isis." Every one
leaned breathlessly forward. Many a brave fellow hoped the choice had
fallen upon him. None listened more eagerly than the Princess and
Aïda.

"There is the choice!" the King continued, pointing to Radames. A
moment of silence followed, then Radames shouted:

"Ah! ye Gods! I thank thee! My dearest wish is mine." All the court
and soldiers burst into shouts of joy and confidence.

"Now to the Temple of Vulcan, Chieftain, and there equip yourself and
men for victory," the King cried, and all prepared to follow Radames.

"Take the war-standard from my hand, Radames," Amneris said, smiling
at him with affection: but Aïda murmured unheard:

"Whom shall I weep for, my lover or my father?" Her heart was
breaking, for the defeat of either her father or her lover would be a
disaster to one so tender as she.

"Battle, battle," all cried excitedly, all certain of victory at the
hands of their beloved leader, Radames. "May laurels crown thy brow!"
they shouted, following him to the temple, where they were to don
their armour, feel if their swords were sharp, and pray for success.

"Aye, may laurels crown thee," Aïda murmured. "I cannot wish thee
ruin, yet what a wicked wish, since victory must mean my father's
loss. If Radames shall conquer, I may see my father brought here in
chains." The unhappy girl prayed in turn for her father and Radames.


_Scene II_

When the men entered the Temple of Vulcan, a mysterious light came
into the temple from above and long rows of columns could be seen,
placed one behind the other, while statues stood between. The long
rows of columns were lost in the dim distance. In the middle of the
temple was placed a high altar, and all the scene was wrapped in the
haze of incense which arose from golden bowls. The High Priestess sang
a song of mystic beauty in which the High Priest and others joined,
and then the Priestesses danced to an exquisite measure.

While this beautiful thing was happening, Radames entered, all
unarmed, and went to the altar. There the gallant chief offered
prayers for strength and victory.

A fine silver veil was placed upon his head, to show that he was
favoured of the Gods and chosen by them.

The weapons, those of the Temple, given him were tempered by an
immortal hand and were to bring him success forever in all battles.

While he knelt there before the God of War, all the sacred men and
women of Vulcan's Temple joined in praise and in prayers for his safe
return. The chorus swelled higher and higher, till at last in one
mighty volume of glorious sound their invocations were completed, and
Radames departed for war.


ACT II

The return of the Egyptian troops was hourly expected; all Thebes was
preparing to receive them with honours and rejoicing; and great fêtes
were arranged for their amusement. Amneris was in her apartment,
surrounded by her attendants. Slave-girls waved feather fans, others
were hanging beautiful jewels upon her and anointing her with rare
perfumes, all being done to prepare her for the celebration of
Radames's return. The air was full of incense which rose from
beautiful metal bowls placed on tripods about her chamber, and she,
herself, was waiting impatiently for news that Radames and his men
were in sight of Thebes.

The Egyptian King had decided to reward Radames for his victories by
giving him his daughter for a wife, but all the while Amneris was
disturbed and devoured by jealousy for she believed that Radames and
Aïda loved, though she could not be certain. She had thought and
thought of this, till she could not rest longer without some proof,
and after her slaves had danced awhile for her amusement, to make the
time waiting for the fêtes pass more quickly, the Princess dismissed
all but Aïda. Then she said to her:

"Ah, Aïda, my heart goes out to thee in this affliction--because thy
people have been beaten in this fearful war, and so many taken
captive." Her voice was very soft and affectionate, and she sighed,
seeming to be deeply moved. "But I mean to make thee as happy as I
may, and----"

"Princess, far from my home, my father's fate uncertain, what
happiness is there in this world for me?"

"Time will bring thee comfort, Aïda; thou shalt be as my sister; and
then this return of our brave men--alas! that the bravest of them all
may not return to us." She seemed about to weep, and Aïda looked at
her anxiously.

"The bravest?" she faltered; "that can mean but one"; and she became
pale with fear and apprehension.

"Aye--our brave Radames! He fell in battle; have you not heard?" While
the Princess was speaking, Aïda clasped her hands wildly and cried
out. Thus, she betrayed instantly all her love for Radames, and
Amneris was no longer in doubt.

"So, you love him?" she cried. "That was what I wished to know. Now
let me tell thee that he lives and is returning with honours--but not
for thee. If you love him, so do I. What chance has one like you--a
slave--beside a princess like me? I feel nothing but hate now for you,
and from this moment you shall know all the humility of a slave. Since
you have dared to love Radames, I shall be revenged."

"Not upon him, madame. I care not what my fate is, if he be happy.
Surely you can spare a sad and despairing heart? I am poor and far
from friends and country. My father is ruined, since he too was a
soldier, and may even now be a captive. Can you wish me greater ill
than this, Princess?"

"I wish thee every ill. Come, now, while I exhibit thee before Radames
and all the court as my slave and servant. You shall see me triumph."

"I have no hope," Aïda answered, bowing her head, "but I have not
harmed thee." The sound of a trumpet was heard, and outside the people
shouted:

"The troops! They come! They are here!"


_Scene II_

Down an avenue lined with palms and with the Temple of Ammon to be
seen near by, the people went. There was a stately throne with a
purple and gold canopy, and a vast, triumphal arch under which the
returning heroes were to come. The trumpets sounded louder and nearer
and the music became martial and triumphant.

First came the King of Egypt and his High Priest and standard-bearers
and fan-bearers; then followed Amneris with Aïda and her other slaves.
The King sat upon his throne and the Princess beside him, while all
assembled were vibrating with excitement and pleasure.

Presently all burst into a loud song of celebration and rejoicing, and
then the troops began to enter in procession. Trumpets sounded and one
rank after another defiled before the King. There came more, more,
more, covered with the glory of victory; all glittering in their
armour and helmets, and their swords glancing. Then came the dancing
girls laden with jewels and golden ornaments, and the fine spoils of
war, brought by the soldiers. Then came the war-chariots, and banners
borne aloft, and images of gods, and last and greatest came Radames.

The King descended from his throne to embrace him, the soldiers and
people shouted his triumphs, and Radames knelt before Amneris to
receive the crown of victory from her hands.

"Ask anything thou wilt and I will give it thee," she cried joyfully.

"First, Princess, order the captives of war brought before thee,"
Radames asked.

"The prisoners!" she called, and the Ethiopians entered surrounded by
the guard, and among them marched a splendid figure dressed in an
officer's uniform. Now this man's rank was quite unknown to Radames or
to any one, but he was really the King of Ethiopia, himself, and
Aïda's father. She gave a cry upon seeing him, but Amonasro looked at
her with a commanding, if agonized, glance, and spoke quickly:

"Yes, I am thy father," he answered cleverly, "and have fought and
sought death in vain. My garment," pointing to his officer's dress,
"tells that I fought for my King. The King is dead," he said
impressively, looking at Aïda with meaning; "I would that I were dead,
too, my child. But thou, great King of Egypt," he continued, turning
to him, "hast conquered, and so I pray you spare the lives of my
soldiers. Thou canst generously do so much for us." At this, Aïda
understanding that she must not let it be known that the King himself
was a prisoner, added her entreaties to Amonasro's.

"Nay, ye must face the fortune of war. Death is thy portion," the King
answered. Then Aïda's grief became pitiful, and Radames, who was
watching her lovingly, was sorrowful on her account. While all others
clamoured for the death of the Ethiopians, Radames stepped forth and
asked the King to hear him.

"My King, thou hast said that I should have whatever I would ask of
thee."

"True! Ask!"

"Then give these captives their freedom. Their country is conquered.
Oh, King! Do not take their lives," and he looked quickly at Aïda, to
inspire her with hope.

The King thought upon this for a moment, and was inclined to grant the
plea, but Ramphis and the other priests clamoured for their death.

"At least keep this girl's father as a surety," they persisted.

"It shall be so," the King answered. "Aïda's father shall remain our
prisoner; and since I cannot grant your request, Radames, yet love
thee so for thy valour, I give thee instead the greatest prize within
man's gift; my daughter, Amneris."

Alas! The King could not well have done worse had he tried. If his
gift was most distracting to the lovers, Amneris was overwhelmed with
delight, ready to weep with joy and pride.

"You shall reign with her," the King added, but Radames could not
speak, so overcome was he with his misfortune. All assumed his silence
to mean an overmastering joy at the honour bestowed upon him.

Aïda, nearly fainting with pain to see her father a captive, and her
lover given to another who was her enemy, stared motionless before
her, but Amonasro had observed everything, had seen Radames's glances
at Aïda, the distraction of the lovers, and suddenly, under his breath
to Aïda, he said:

"Have courage. I will give thee thy revenge, daughter. Together we
shall conquer." Radames roused himself and knelt before the Princess.


ACT III

The eve before her marriage it was proper for Amneris to go to the
Temple of Isis to pray. She went accompanied by Ramphis, the High
Priest, who promised to remain near till morning, that she might feel
safe, and not be lonely. She knew well that Radames's heart was then
Aïda's, and her prayers were to be appeals for his love. The Temple
was built upon a high rock, surrounded by beautiful palms, and the
moon, which shone brightly upon it, silvered all the landscape. As
Amneris entered the Temple, the chorus of priests and priestesses
swelled forth and added to the weirdness of the scene.

Amneris had no sooner disappeared within than Aïda approached the
place. It was the last night of Radames's freedom, and he and she had
arranged to meet near the Temple to speak together, perhaps for the
last time of their lives. As she entered the grove she looked sadly
about her.

"My griefs and misfortunes are now greater than I can bear," she
murmured. "After to-night, all will be over. It is better to drown
myself in the Nile than to live alone, without father, mother,
country, or friends." Thinking of her lost country, she leaned against
the rock and half forgot why she had come. She recalled the warmth and
beauty of her childhood's home, and then by contrast her term of
slavery in Egypt. While she waited, thinking of these sad things, she
saw a man's form coming toward her, through the night; it was not
Radames. As he drew nearer she recognized her father, Amonasro.

"Father, what brings thee here?" she whispered.

"A grave cause, my child. Naught escapes my eye. I know thy heart. I
know that Radames loves thee and that thou art here to meet him;--also
that thou art in the grasp of this Princess, who hates thee."

"Alas, there is no hope," she cried, despairingly.

"That shall be as you may decide, daughter. Our people are waiting for
a signal to strike a blow at these Egyptians. Our backbone is not yet
broken. All that is needful for our success is to know by what road
our enemies will march in their next sortie upon us. That is for thee
to find out for us. Radames alone knows--and Radames loves thee," he
finished significantly.

"But since he loves me, how can I betray him, father?" she asked.

"Choose--between thy father and the man who is to marry
Amneris.--Or--" with a new thought he hesitated a moment--"or why
should Radames not leave these cold people for a fairer place and
kinder? Why should he not become one of us?" Aïda stared at her father
in amazement.

"Betray his people?"

"Why not? Since he loves thee, shall not thy people become his people,
even as thou wouldst have made his people thine, hadst thou been
wedding him. Choose between us, child."

Amonasro looked at her menacingly. "Unless thou doest this, it means
the destruction of thy people and of me; and, too, thou must live and
die the hated bond-maiden of this cruel woman Radames is about to
marry."

"Radames is coming," she whispered in affright. "What shall I do?"

"Thy duty to me and to thy people and to thyself. Make Radames join
us. I shall wait near thee." So saying, he stepped within the shadow
of the trees as Radames approached.

"Art thou there, Aïda?" Radames called softly.

"Alas, why should I meet thee," she sobbed, "since thou wilt marry
Amneris to-morrow?"

"Aïda, I have come to tell thee there is hope," Radames whispered,
trembling with happiness. "The Ethiopians have again risen against us.
I am immediately to go forth to battle. I shall crush them this time,
and on my return the King will once more be generous to me, and I
shall demand then, that for my reward he free me from Amneris and give
me thee for my wife. When I have twice saved his kingdom, he cannot
refuse me."

"But do you not see that though the King should favour us, yet
Amneris's rage would be beyond all bounds?"

"I would defend thee."

"Thou couldst not. She is nearly as powerful as the King. If you
slight her we are lost."

"Alas, then, what can I do?"

"But one thing can save us--all of us--my father, you, I."

"Name it," he cried.

"You would not listen to me," she sobbed, wringing her hands in
despair.

"I will do whatever you desire," he cried recklessly.

"Then make my people thy people. Fly with us. Even now the Ethiopians
are without the gates ready for battle. Join them, lead them, and----"

"A traitor to my country!" he cried, stricken with horror at the
thought.

"Then there is no hope. The Princess will drive us to death and
despair." She drew a picture that brought it all vividly into
Radames's mind. At last with breaking heart he cried:

"I will go with thee--making thy people my people," and he started to
leave the Temple with her.

"What path shall we take to avoid the Egyptian soldiers?" she
questioned wildly.

"We may go by the same path that the army will take: the gorges of
Napata: the way will be free till to-morrow." That was how Aïda
discovered the way the Egyptians would take, while her father
listened.

"Ah! I will post my men there," Amonasro cried, stepping forth into
the moonlight, that Radames might see him.

"Who has heard?" Radames said, with a start.

"Amonasro, Aïda's father, King of Ethiopia," he answered, proudly
facing Radames.

"Thou--thou art the King--Amonasro--Aïda thy daughter! Do I dream? I
have betrayed my people to thee!" He suddenly realized all that he had
done, in wavering between love and duty.

"No, thy people are the people of Aïda. The throne is thine, to share
with her."

"My name will be forever branded--a coward!" He groaned in despair.

"No blame to thee, son. It was thy fate; and with us thou wilt be far
from these scenes that try thy heart: far away where none can reproach
thee." But Radames knew that he had better die than live, knowing
himself for a traitor. He determined that he would not go; that he
would remain and undo the wrong that he had blindly done, but even
then Aïda was trying to drag him away, and urging him with each loving
breath to fly with them. As he would have broken away from her,
Amneris, who had heard all, ran from the Temple, crying, "Traitor!"

"Destruction! She would undo us," Amonasro shouted, and as the people
began to pour from the Temple, he sprang forward and would have
plunged his sword through her had Radames not sprung between them.

"Thou art a madman," he shouted, horrified at the deed Amonasro would
have done. Meantime all was confusion. People shouted for the guard,
and Radames cried to Aïda:

"Fly with thy father. Fly or thou art lost." His voice was so full of
agony for her that she suddenly turned and fled.

"Follow them," Ramphis demanded of the soldiers, while Radames said
hopelessly:

"Ramphis, I yield to thee."


ACT IV

There was no joy in the court, and Amneris sat in the vast hall of the
palace between Radames's prison, on the one hand, and the hall of
justice on the other, where the trial of the gallant soldier was soon
to be held. He was in prison, and Aïda and her father were far away.
Amneris still loved him, and hoped yet to save him, and thus to win
his love. Presently she called to the guard to bring him before her,
and almost at once he was brought through the hall accompanied by the
priests who were to try him in the underground dungeon.

"Radames, the priests who are to judge thee are assembled. Consent to
clear thyself. Say that thou didst not mean to betray us and I,
myself, will kneel to the King, and promise you your freedom. I would
give my life and power and country for thee," Amneris pleaded, as he
passed before her.

"I would give no less for Aïda," Radames declared sadly. "I shall not
try to save myself. I shall say nothing in my own defense. I wish to
die."

At the mention of Aïda, Amneris was enraged.

"I'll hear no more of her!" she cried.

"Ah, you have killed her----"

"No! Her father is slain, but she lives. She has vanished--no one
knows where!"

"Then may the gods guide her safe to her home and country, and keep
her from knowing how I die."

"If you will swear to see her no more, Radames, I will save thee."

"If I were to live I should find her. I will not swear."

"Then you shall die. If you will not hear me, I shall avenge myself,"
she answered bitterly, motioning to the guards to take him away.

Radames was taken below to the subterranean hall which was to be his
grave and judgment hall alike, while Amneris was left alone, both
grief-stricken and revengeful. Her jealousy was certain to bring
fearful retribution upon her. As more white-robed priests passed
below, looking spectral and ominous, she hid her face in her hands.

"It was I who brought him to this fate," she murmured, and then
listened in anguish to the chorus of the priests which sounded
dismally from below.

Then a voice called from the crypt, three times:

"Radames, Radames, Radames," and it was his summons to judgment.

"Oh, who can save him now?" Amneris murmured, horrified at what was
taking place.

"Defend thyself!" she heard voices from below command. There was no
answer.

"Radames, Radames, Radames," the High Priest called again in a fearful
voice, and again the Princess shuddered.

"Thou hast deserted the encampment the very day before the
combat!--defend thyself." She listened, but still no answer.

"Radames, Radames, Radames," again the High Priest called, and for the
third and last time. Still no answer.

"Oh, have mercy on him," Amneris then cried, her love becoming greater
than her desire for revenge. Then listening again, she heard the judge
say:

"Radames, thy fate is decided. It is to be the fate of a traitor. You
shall be buried alive beneath the altar of the God of War, whom thou
hast derided and betrayed."

"Oh, horror," Amneris shrieked.

"We have spoken," the priests replied, and then ascended.

"Ye priests of Isis, ye are tigers! demons!" and the Princess assailed
them bitterly as they came into the hall. She was now mad with grief.
Truly loving Radames, she cursed the priests and even the gods. Then
the scene changed, revealing the interior of Vulcan's Temple and the
crypt beneath the altar. There were spectral statues, and great marble
columns which seemed to vanish in the gloom, and all was gloomy as the
grave. Stairs led from the temple above into the vault, and Radames
sat down upon the steps as the priests let down again the massive
stone that covered the opening beneath the altar. Radames watched the
closing of the opening, the descent of the great stone into place.

"I can bear my fate, since Aïda may never know. She could not survive
such horror," he said, under his breath. The vault, the ghostly cold
about him, the rows upon rows of senseless marble, supported by the
expressionless stone faces of the gods, these things overwhelmed the
great warrior. Then, from the gloom, he saw a white figure emerge. Is
it a phantom? At first he thought it some fearful vision. But as he
peered through the twilight he recognized--Aïda. Perhaps it was her
ghost come to comfort him, he thought, and raised himself to stare at
the figure.

"Aïda!"

"I am here to die with thee," she answered, and Radames clasped her in
his arms. He had thought her safe, unacquainted with his fate, but she
was there to share it.

"My heart foreboded thy fearful sentence," she said. "I hid here till
the stone shut down upon thee, and now I am beside thee till the end."

Radames beat wildly upon the stone above. He called for help. He tried
with his great strength to raise the deadly stone with his shoulders,
only to sink down, exhausted and horrified. He could not save her. The
chorus sung by priests began above; Aïda was already dying. At least
she would not live slowly to starve. And while Amneris appeared above
in black garments, dying of grief for Radames, and threw herself upon
the stone, Radames held the dying Aïda in his arms and waited for
death.

"Peace," Amneris moaned while lying prostrate above on the altar
stone.

"Peace," and while the women were dying and Radames losing his senses
below, the priests of Isis chanted, "Peace," the light faded out, and
the tragedy ended.



WAGNER


Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig, on the 22d of May, 1813. His
father was Chief of Police and his mother was Johanna Rosina Bertz.

His brothers and sisters were distinguished singers or actors; thus
love of dramatic art was common to all the family. His father died and
his mother married an actor, Ludwig Geyer. The stepfather became very
fond of young Richard and intended to make a painter of him, but upon
hearing him play some of his sister's piano pieces Geyer wondered if
it were possible that he had the gift of music!

Wagner was a poor scholar during his school days, the only thing he
especially enjoyed being literature, mainly Shakespeare, Sophocles,
and Æschylus; and about the time the dramatic philosophies of these
men filled his attention, he wrote a great drama in which there were
forty-two characters, every one of whom was killed or died in the
course of the play, so that he was compelled to finish his performance
with the spectres of his original characters. Later he wished to put
music to that remarkable drama, and he did so, much to the distraction
of his family. It was actually performed. He thus described his
composition:

     This was the culmination of my absurdities. What I did,
     above all things wrong, was a roll _fortissimo_ upon the
     kettle-drums, which returned regularly every four bars
     throughout the composition. The surprise which the public
     experienced changed first to unconcealed ill-humour, and
     then into laughter, which greatly mortified me.

It was under Theodor Weinlig's teaching that he finally developed a
fixed purpose of composition and something like regular study.

When he first wished to marry, he could not for lack of money to
provide a home for his wife. In time this difficulty was overcome, and
later he started to London with his wife and his dog, which was named
Robber. The terrors of that voyage impressed him so much that he was
inspired with the idea for "The Flying Dutchman," one of his great
operas. He was told the legend of "The Flying Dutchman" by the
sailors; but long before he was able to write that splendid opera he
was compelled to write music for the variety stage in order to feed
his wife and himself. He wrote articles for musical periodicals, and
did a great deal of what is known as "hack" work before his great
genius found opportunity. One manager liked the dramatic idea of "The
Flying Dutchman" so well that he was willing to buy it if Wagner would
let him get _some one who knew how to write music_, to set it.

After the production of "Rienzi" in Dresden, his difficulties were
never again so serious, and soon he became _Hofkapellmeister_ (musical
director at court), which gave him an income, leaving him free to
write operas as he chose.

When "Rienzi" was produced, a great musician said: "This is a man of
genius; but he has already _done more than he can_! Listen to me, and
give up dramatic composition!" But he continued to "do more than he
could."

When he wrote "Tannhäuser" he was reduced almost to despair, for
nobody liked it. Schumann said of it: "It is the empty and unpleasing
music of an amateur." But Spohr wrote: "The opera contains certain new
and fine things, which at first I did not like, but to which I became
accustomed on repeated hearings."

At last, this composer, whose inspirations had come entirely from
historical subjects, found his mythological beginnings in the
Scandinavian Eddas; and in a poem of the "Nibelung" he found the germ
of "Siegfried."

As _Kapellmeister_ of the court, Wagner did too many indiscreet
things: allied himself with revolutionists and the like; and, before
he knew it, he found himself an exile. Liszt was his friend, and when,
on a visit to Weimar, politics made his presence hazardous, Liszt got
him a passport which took him out of the country. He did not return
for twelve years.

During his exile, which was passed mostly in Zurich, he had Karl
Ritter and Hans von Bülow for pupils, and it was there that he did all
of his most wonderful work. There he composed the "Nibelung Ring." He
wrote the last of it first, and the first of it ("Das Rheingold")
last. This was because his central idea, as it developed, seemed to
need explanation, and successive operas upon the same dramatic and
mythological theme became necessary.

Wagner's mythology is not the mythology of the Eddas. It is distinctly
his own, he having adapted a great and rugged folklore to his dramatic
purposes, regardless of its original construction.

In the Ring, the Goddess Fricka is a disagreeable goddess of
domesticity, and the story is told of a first reading of the opera
series, which involved an anecdote of Fricka and his hostess:

He went to the house of a friend, Wille, to read the poem after it was
finished, and Madame Wille happened to be called from the room, while
he was reading, to look after her little sick child. When she
returned, Wagner had been so annoyed by the interruption that he
thereafter named Madame Wille, Fricka.

During a sleepless night in Italy he formed the plan for the music of
"Das Rheingold," but not wishing to write on Italian soil, he got up
and hastened to Zurich.

He would not come to America to give a series of concerts because he
"was not disposed to go about as a concert-pedlar, even for a fabulous
sum."

The irony of all the world is epitomized in a single incident that
occurred to Wagner in London. He was accused of a grave fault because
he conducted Beethoven's symphonies "from memory." Therefore he
announced he would thereafter conduct them from the score. He
reappeared with the score very much in evidence upon his rack, and won
British approval completely. Then he announced that he had conducted
from "Il Barbiere de Siviglia" with the Barber's score upside down!

He wrote to his friend Roekel: "If anything could increase my scorn of
the world, it would be my expedition to London."

Wagner was fiery and excessive in all his feelings and doings. He hurt
his friends without malice, and made them happy for love of doing so.
His home was broken up by his own unruly disposition; and when his
good, commonplace wife left him, it was said that he neglected to take
care of her, but this was not true. She, herself, denied it before she
died. His second marriage was a happy one--to the daughter of his
friend Liszt.

When his little son was born, he named him Siegfried, after his
favourite hero, and at the time of the christening he had a
magnificent little orchestra hidden away, conducted by Hans Richter,
which played the old German cradle-song, now woven into the third act
of "Siegfried."

The manner in which the cycle of the "Nibelung Ring" was first
presented was as follows: The first opera was given on a Sunday, the
last on a Wednesday, and then there were three days of rest, beginning
once more on a Sunday and ending as before. This order continued for
three representations, and it has been followed in Bayreuth ever
since.

For lack of means, Wagner saw his theatre opened only three times, but
since his death there have been several performances.


THE NIBELUNG RING

FIRST DAY

TETRALOGY

THE RHEIN DAUGHTERS: Woglinde, Wellgunde, Flosshilde; guardians of the
Rheingold. They appear in the "Rheingold" and in the "Dusk of the
Gods."

FRICKA: Goddess of Marriage or domesticity, Wotan's wife; sister of
Donner, Froh, and Freïa. Appears in the "Rheingold" and in the
"Valkyrie."

FREÏA: Goddess of Plenty; sister to Donner, Froh, and Fricka. Appears
in the "Rheingold."

ERDA: Goddess of Wisdom; mother of the three Fates or Norns and of the
nine Valkyries. Appears in the "Rheingold" and in "Siegfried."

SIEGLINDE: Daughter of Wotan under his name of Wälse. Hunding's wife,
and then Siegmund's wife. Siegfried is her son. Appears in the
"Valkyrie."

BRÜNNHILDE: A Valkyrie; daughter of Wotan and Erda; first Siegfried's
wife, then Gunther's.

THE VALKYRIES: Helmwige, Gerhilde, Waltraute, Ortlinde, Rossweisse,
Grimgerde, and Schwertleite. [Transcriber's Note: Siegrune omitted in
original.] Daughters of Wotan and Erda, and sisters to Brünnhilde.
Appear in the "Valkyrie," and Waltraute also in the "Dusk of the
Gods."

NORNS: Earth's daughters who spin men's destinies.

GUTRUNE: Daughter of Gibich and Grimilde and Gunther's sister, Hagen's
half-sister, and Siegfried's wife. Appears in the "Dusk of the Gods."

WOTAN: (The Wanderer) King of the Gods, and God of War, Father of the
Valkyries, Father of Siegmund and Sieglinde. Appears in the
"Rheingold," the "Valkyrie," and as the Wanderer, in "Siegfried."
Married to Fricka.

ALBERICH: Gnome: King of the Nibelungs, Spirit of Darkness. Appears in
the "Rheingold," "Siegfried," and the "Dusk of the Gods."

FASOLT: Giant and brother of Fafner; belongs to the race of mortals.
Appears in the "Rheingold."

FAFNER: Giant and brother of Fasolt, and of the race of mortals.
Appears in the "Rheingold" and "Siegfried."

FROH: God of Pleasure; brother of Donner and Freïa, and Fricka.
Appears in the "Rheingold."

DONNER: God of Thunder, brother to Fricka, Freïa, and Froh. Appears in
the "Rheingold."

LOGE: Spirit of Fire and Flame. Belongs first to the underworld and
then the Gods. Appears in the "Rheingold."

MIME: Dwarf (Nibelung, foster-father of Siegfried.) Appears in the
"Rheingold" and in "Siegfried."

SIEGMUND: Son of Wotan, husband to Sieglinde and Siegfried's father.
Appears in the "Valkyrie."

SIEGFRIED: Son of Siegmund and Sieglinde, and grandson of Wotan
(Wälse). Husband of Brünnhilde and Gutrune. Appears in "Siegfried" and
the "Dusk of the Gods."

HUNDING: Sieglinde's husband. Appears in the "Valkyrie."

GUNTHER: Son of Gibich and Grimhilde and brother to Gutrune and
husband to Brünnhilde; half-brother to Hagen. Appears in the "Dusk of
the Gods."

HAGEN: Son of Alberich and Grimhilde; half-brother to Gunther and
Gutrune. Appears in the "Dusk of the Gods."


THE RHEINGOLD

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Donner     }
Wotan      }
Froh       } Gods.
Loge       }

Fricka     }
Freïa      } Goddesses.
Erda       }

Alberich   }
Mime       } Nibelungs.

Fasolt     }
Fafner     } Giants.

Woglinde   }
Wellgunde  } Rhein-daughters.
Flosshilde }

Nibelungs.


ACT I

Deep down in the jagged bed of the river Rhein there lay hidden a
great treasure of gold, which for ages had belonged to the
Rhein-daughters--three mermaids who guarded it.

Above the gold, in and out of the shadowy fissures, the beautiful
fishwomen had swum and played happily, and the years had never made
them old nor weary nor sad. There they frolicked and sang and feared
nothing. The golden treasure was heaped high upon the rock in the
middle of the river's bed, and it shone through the waters of the
stream, always to cheer and delight them.

Now, one tragic day, while the daughters of the Rhein were darting
gaily about their water home, a little dark imp came from
Nibelheim--the underground land of the Nibelungs--and hid himself in
the dark cleft of a rock to watch the mermaids play. In all the
universe there was probably not so malevolent a creature as that one.
His name was Alberich. Hidden in his dark nook, he blinked his rheumy
eyes at the mermaids, envied them their beauty, and thought how he
might approach them. Above, on the surface of the earth, it was
twilight, and the reflection from the gold upon the rock was soft and
a beautiful greenish hue. The mermaids, all covered with iridescent
scales from waist to tail, glimmered through the waters in a most
entrancing way. In that shimmering, changeful light they were in
amazing contrast with the slimy, misshapen Alberich, who came from
that underworld where only half-blind, ugly, and treacherous creatures
live. The mermaids disported themselves quite unconscious of the imp's
presence, till he laughed aloud, and then, startled, they swam in
haste and affright to the rock where the gold lay stored.

"Look to our gold," Flosshilde cried in warning to her sisters.

"Aye! It was just such a creature as this, whom our father warned us
against. What does he want here, I should like to know?" Woglinde
screamed, swimming frantically to join her sisters.

"Can I not watch ye at play?" Alberich called, grinning diabolically.
"Dive deeper,--here, near to me; I shall not harm ye."

At this they recovered a little from their fright, but instead of
approaching the ugly fellow, they laughed at him and swam about, near
enough to tantalize him.

"Only listen to the languishing imp," they laughed. "He thinks to join
us in our sport."

"Why not swim down and torment him?" Flosshilde said. "He can never
catch us--such a sluggish creature as he!"

"Hello!" Wellgunde cried; "Scramble up here, if you like." Alberich
tried to join them, but he slipped and rolled about over the wet
stones and cursed in a most terrible way.

"That is all very well, but I am not made for thy wet and slippery
abode. The water makes me sneeze." He sneezed in a manner that set all
the mermaids laughing till their scales shook. However, he at last
reached the rock whereon the gold lay and he had no sooner got near
than the sun shone out so brightly above, that the rays shot through
the waters and reflected a beauteous gleam from the Rheingold.
Alberich started back in amazement.

"What is that, ye sleek ones," he asked, "that gleams so brightly
there?"

"What, imp! Dost thou not know the story of the Rheingold? Come, bathe
in its glow and maybe it will take away a little of thy ugliness," one
of the sisters cried.

"What do I care for the lustre of gold? It is the gold itself that I
want."

"Well, the lustre is all that thou wilt get," Flosshilde answered him.
"The one who would take our gold and hope to make of it the magic ring
must forswear love forever. Who is there who would do that?" she
called, swimming triumphantly toward the rock.

"What is the secret of thy ring that a man must forswear love for it?"
Alberich asked craftily.

"The secret is, that he who would be so rash would have in return
power over all the earth."

"What?" shouted the wretched Nibelung, "Well, then, since love has
forsworn me, I shall lose nothing by forswearing love. I need not
hesitate to use thy gold." Springing and clinging to the rock the
Nibelung tore the gold from its resting place, dived deep into the
river-bed and disappeared into the fissures of the earth. The mermaids
followed frantically, but he was quite gone, and with him the
beautiful gold, which till then had given only innocent pleasure to
the Rhein-daughters. As soon as the gold vanished, the sun was hid,
and the waters turned dark and gloomy. The waves began to grow black,
rough, and high, while the water sank, sank, sank, till only darkness
and a rushing sound could be seen or heard.

As the waves disappeared, a thick mist took their place, and soon
separating, became detached clouds, till at last the sun shone forth
again. As the cloudlets floated quite away a great mountain was
revealed. The water had given place to the surface of the earth, and
there, in the early morning light, lay Fricka, the Goddess of home and
domesticity, and Wotan, the God of War, who was Fricka's husband.
Behind them rose a great cliff and as the sun shone more and more
brightly a splendid palace could be seen rising into the clouds. All
its pinnacles sparkled in the sun's rays, while the river Rhein
flowed peacefully between the mountain peak whereon the palace rose,
and the hills where Wotan and his Goddess lay.


_Scene II_

Just as the sun arose, the Goddess Fricka lifted her head, and,
looking behind her, saw the palace. It gave her a terrible fright,
because it had not been there when she fell asleep.

"Look, Wotan!" she called loudly. "What do I see?" Wotan raised
himself at her call. He gazed and was spellbound with delight.

"Walhall, the home of the Gods; the home of the Eternals!" he cried.
"It appears as it did in my dreams."

"That which enraptures thee fills me with fear," Fricka replied sadly.
"Hast thou not promised to give my sister Freïa to the Giants who
builded it for thee? Their task is done, and now they will claim their
reward. Hast thou no feeling? Thou art cold and cruel, knowing nothing
of tenderness and love!"

"How falsely thou accusest me," Wotan answered. "Did I not give an eye
to win thee, Fricka?" He looked tenderly at her with his single,
brilliant eye. "True, I have promised Freïa to the Giants when they
should have finished the palace, but I do not mean to keep that
promise."

"How wilt thou evade it?" Fricka asked scornfully.

"Loge, the Spirit of Flame, shall prepare the way. He agreed to help
me satisfy them in some other way and he will do it."

"Loge?" Fricka cried, still more scornfully. "That trickster! He is a
fine one to look to. It was a sad day for us when thou didst rescue
him from the underworld, where even his own did not trust him."

"He will keep his word," Wotan answered, confidently.

"Then it is time he appeared," the Goddess cried, "since here comes
Freïa, the giants after her, to demand the reward." At that moment,
Freïa, their Goddess sister, ran crying to Wotan to save her from
Fasolt and Fafner, the Giants, who followed her with great strides.

"Save me, save me, brother," Freïa cried.

"I shall save thee," Wotan answered, reassuringly. "Did not Loge
promise to ransom thee? He will be here presently. Have no fear."
Nevertheless Wotan, himself, was not too confident, and he looked
anxiously for the Spirit of Flame. Meantime the Giants were striding
over the mountain.

"Come now," they shouted, "while we wrought, ye slept. Give us our
reward as promised and we shall be off."

"Well, what do ye want? Name a suitable reward and I shall give it to
ye." Wotan answered, trying to pacify them.

"We want only what is promised, and we shall have it. We shall take
the Goddess Freïa." They struck the earth with their staves and roared
loudly.

"Donner! Froh!" Freïa shrieked to her brothers, and immediately they
rushed upon the scene. Donner, the God of Thunder, carried a great
hammer with which he woke the thunders. "Save me from Fasolt and
Fafner," Freïa cried.

"We'll save thee, sister," Froh answered, facing the Giants, while
Donner menaced them with his thunders.

"You know the weight of my hammer's blow," he threatened, while the
Giants laughed a horrible, rumbling laugh and Donner swung his
hammer. Wotan feared the strife that would surely follow, and being a
god of war, understood the value of diplomacy, as well as of force, so
he interposed his spear between the Giants and Donner.

"Thy thunder is powerless against my spear, Donner. The whole world is
shattered if only I interpose thus; so hold thy peace."

"Even Wotan abandons us," Fricka cried in despair. "Where is now thy
fine Loge?"

"I can quench thy accursed Loge with only one blow of my hammer, which
shall make the mists collect and the waters descend upon the earth
till his fires are put out," Donner answered bitterly.

"Hold thy peace," Wotan commanded. "His cunning is worth all thy force
and here he comes to straighten out this coil. Come, Loge," Wotan
demanded, "thou hast promised to free us from this bargain; get thy
wits to work."

"Alas, Wotan!" the tricky fellow replied, coming into their midst, "I
have wandered everywhere for a substitute for the Goddess Freïa, and
have found none; but I have brought news of great misfortune, which
thou art called upon to set right," he said, watching the Giants
craftily out of the corner of his eye. "The Rhein-daughters have lost
their gold. It has been stolen by a Nibelung, and with the golden
treasure he can rule the world. The bargain with the Fates was: he who
should forswear love forever would be able to make of the Rheingold a
magic ring which would give him power over all the earth and over the
Eternals as well. Alberich has done this and has stolen the gold."

Now, while the cunning Loge spoke, the Giants had been listening, and
exchanging glances. When Loge had finished, Fafner spoke up:

"I would not mind having that gold for myself."

"How? Wouldst thou take it in exchange for Freïa?" Wotan instantly
asked.

"Have a care, brother," Fasolt interposed; "after all, a woman's
love----"

"It will not gain for us what the Rheingold will gain," Fafner
answered determinedly. "Wilt give us the gold for Freïa?" he asked
Wotan.

All the Gods fell to talking among themselves. Freïa pleaded with
Wotan, and Wotan reflected: the word "gold" made even the Gods tremble
with pleasure. Why should Wotan not have the treasure for himself?

"Well, answer us!" Fafner shouted, making a motion to take the Goddess
and flee. Fricka and Freïa shrieked with fright. "What is the secret
of this ring?" Fafner asked again.

"That whoever shall make a ring out of the Rheingold shall rule the
universe. Alberich has already forsworn love, and is already having
the ring made."

"We shall take the Goddess Freïa," Fafner cried, "and give ye till
evening to decide among yourselves. If ye have not the gold by that
time the Goddess is ours forever." So saying he leaped toward Freïa,
grasped her and fled over mountain and valley, while the Goddess
Fricka cried out wildly, and Freïa echoed her shrieks. All looked
anxiously toward Wotan.

"How darkly Wotan broods," Loge thought, while a great gloom settled
upon all. A pale mist gradually enfolded all the Gods, as they stood
uncertain and troubled. Until that moment they had appeared young and
handsome, but now they looked at each other in fright.

"What aileth thee?" each asked of the other. "Do the mists trick us?"
Each stared at the other in horror, because all were growing old,
suddenly.

"My hammer drops from my hand," Donner muttered, weakly.

"My heart stands still," Froh sighed faintly.

"Ah! Know ye not the fate that has overtaken you?" cried Loge. "Ye
have not to-day eaten of Freïa's magic apples; the Apples of Life.
Without them ye must grow old and die, ye well know. Without Freïa to
tend the fruit, it must wither."

Reminded of what they had forgotten, the Gods started up in terror.

"'Tis true, 'tis true! We are fainting, dying! What is to be done?"

"Get the gold quickly from Alberich, and redeem the Goddess," the
tricky Spirit of Flame answered with decision. "That is why they have
taken Freïa. Well those Giants know that without her and her apples ye
must die; thus they will overcome the good of the Gods. Ye must redeem
her before the evening comes, or ye all must die."

"Up, Loge!" Wotan cried desperately. "Down to Nibelheim with me. The
gold must be ours. Oh, death! stay thy hand an hour till We can buy
back our youth and everlasting life!" Loge interrupted him, narrowly
eyeing him:

"The gold belongs to the Rhein-daughters. It should be returned to
them."

"Cease thy babbling," Wotan shouted, "and get thee down to Nibelheim."

"Shall we not go through the river Rhein?" Loge craftily asked.

"Get thee through that sulphurous cleft," Wotan answered, pointing to
the deep fissure in the rock. "Swing thyself down and I will follow
thee." He no sooner ceased to speak than Loge swung himself into the
black abyss, and a frightful, sulphurous vapour arose from the
opening.

"Await us here till evening," Wotan charged the Gods and Fricka, and
he in turn disappeared.

As Wotan followed Loge into the abyss, such clouds of vapour arose as
to hide the Gods completely, and as Fricka called "farewell" through
the mist the earth began slowly to rise, showing the descent of Wotan
and Loge. Their passage through the earth was long and filled with
astounding sights. It grew blacker and blacker, but after a time they
saw the far-off glow of forge-fires, and heard the sound of hammers
ringing upon anvils. These things, too, passed them by, and on a
sudden, they found themselves in the midst of a large open space,
formed by a cavern in the rock.


_Scene III_

As they arrived at that place, they heard groans and moans, and
shrieks and wrangling. Presently they saw Alberich bring from a cleft
of the rock a wretched Mime, one of the inhabitants of Nibelheim.

"Ah, thou mischievous imp! I'll pinch thee well if thou forgest me not
the thing I commanded thee," Alberich shouted, at the same time
pinching and poking the miserable little fellow.

"I've finished thy work," the Nibelung screamed, trying to flee from
Alberich's blows.

"Then where is it?" the wretch demanded; as he wrenched open the
Mime's hand in which was concealed a piece of metal called a Tarnhelm.

"Ah, ha! Now thou shalt writhe," Alberich shouted, and setting the
Tarnhelm upon his head he immediately became invisible. Unseen
himself, he pinched and cuffed the Mime so as to make the tortured
little imp cry for mercy.

"I cannot see you," the Mime screamed piteously, trying to dodge the
blows.

"No matter, I am somewhere about," Alberich answered, giving him
another pinch. Then taking the Tarnhelm from his head he stood there
in his own shape.

"Now," shouted the imp of darkness, "Now I can punish thee properly!
If thy work is not well done I can torment thee to death. With this
magic helmet and my ring I can make the whole world smart if I choose.
And I shall choose," he added, reassuringly. "Wait till I get at those
fine Gods up there." He disappeared chuckling, into a crack in the
rock while the Mime crouched down in pain.

Alberich had no sooner gone, than Loge and Wotan came from the
darkness.

"What is wrong with thee, thou merry dwarf?" Wotan asked.

"Only leave me to myself," the Mime sobbed, moving his sore body.

"So we shall, but we shall do more than that; we shall help thee. Only
tell us what ye forged for Alberich which gave him such power over
ye!"

"Oh, it was a ring, made from the Rheingold. Now he has power over all
the Nibelheim, and he will kill us. Till this happened, we wrought at
the forge beautiful trinkets for our women-folks and laughed gaily all
day, but now he has made us his slaves who must dig precious metals
from the earth and turn them into what he commands. There is no more
happiness for us. I thought to keep the Tarnhelm he bade me make, and
learn its power, but I had to give it up." He went on whining and
moaning.

"Ah, thy case is a hard one! but we shall help thee." While Wotan was
thinking what they should do, Alberich was heard returning. He was
cracking his whip and driving a great host of Nibelungs before him
from the cleft of the rock. All were staggering under loads of
valuable metals; gold and silver, and precious stones.

"Hi, there! Move thy fastest," he shouted, lashing them as he drove
them before him. He had taken his Tarnhelm off and hung it at his
girdle: turning, he saw Wotan and Loge.

"Hey! Who are these?" he cried. "Nibelungs, be off to your digging;
and mind ye bring me treasure worth having." Lashing them soundly, and
raising his magic ring to his lips, the Nibelungen shrunk away in
affright and disappeared into the clefts of the rock.

"Ah, ye are a precious possession," he said to the ring. "Whoever
fails to obey thy Lord, feels thy power." The little black villain
looked gloatingly upon it; then turning to Wotan and Loge he asked:
"What are ye doing in my domain?"

"We have heard of thy power, great sir, and came to see it," Loge
replied.

"It were nearer the truth if ye come to envy me, and to spy out my
possessions," he answered, but Loge laughed as he retorted:

"What! you miserable imp of darkness! You speak thus to me! Do you not
remember me? I was once of thy realm. Pray tell me what you would do
in your underground caverns with your forges and smithies if I were to
deny you my flame? How, then, would you forge your precious rings?"
Loge laughed mockingly.

"You are that false rogue, the Spirit of Flame, then?" Alberich said.

"Never mind calling names; you can't get on without me, you know that
well enough," Loge answered, grinning.

"What good can thy treasures do thee here in this perpetual night?"
Wotan asked.

"My gold shall buy me even the Gods, themselves." Alberich replied;
"and though I forswore love, I am likely to get even that; my gold
shall buy it for me."

"What prevents some one stealing thy magic ring? Thou hast no friend
in all the world, so when you sleep who shall guard the ring?"

"My own wit! What, think you I am a fool? Let us see! By my own
cunning I have had fashioned this Tarnhelm which makes me invisible to
all. Then who shall find me when I sleep?" he demanded triumphantly.

Loge smiled contemptuously.

"Doubtless thou wouldst be safe enough--if such magic could be," he
answered, incredulously, "but----"

"You doubt?" Alberich shouted, his vanity all aroused.

"Well, if it be true--show us," the cunning Flame Spirit returned.
Immediately Alberich set the Tarnhelm upon his head.

"What would ye that I become?"

"Oh, it matters not--so that you become something that you are not,"
Loge answered carelessly.

"Then behold!" Alberich cried, and instantly he turned into a great
writhing serpent which coiled and uncoiled at Wotan's feet.

"Oh, swallow me not," Loge cried, as if in mortal fear. Then Alberich,
becoming himself again shouted, "Now will you doubt?"

"That was very well done," Loge assured him, "and I grant you
frightened me; but as for your safety--if you could have turned
yourself into some small thing--a toad or mouse for example--it would
be safer for you."

"Then behold!" Alberich shouted again, losing all caution in his
pique. He turned himself into a slimy crippled toad, which crawled
upon the rock, near Wotan's foot. Instantly Wotan set his heel upon
the creature and pinned him to the earth, while Loge grasped the
Tarnhelm. Then Alberich becoming himself again squirmed and shouted,
beneath Wotan's feet.

"Something to bind the imp, quickly," Wotan called to Loge, and in a
trice the dwarf was bound, and borne upward by the God and Loge. Again
they passed by the smithy lights, heard the ring of the anvils, and
soon they were back at the trysting place. The Nibelung, still
shrieking and cursing at his own folly, was placed upon a rock, while
Loge and Wotan stood looking down at him.


_Scene IV_

"There, imp, the Gods have conquered thee and thy magic. Thus they
conquer the powers of evil and darkness. Thou art henceforth our slave
unless you see fit to ransom yourself with the Rhein treasure."

At this, Alberich set up a great howling, but Wotan was impatient.

"Slavery for thee--worse than that of thy Mimes--or else give me the
Rheingold quickly." Alberich remembered his ring--the Tarnhelm hung
at Loge's girdle--and thought he might safely give up the gold.

"With my ring, I can win it back and more too," he thought; so he said
to Loge:

"Well, then, rascal, unbind my arm that I may summon the Nibelungen."
Loge loosened one arm for him, Alberich raised the ring to his lips
and called upon his host of imps. Instantly they poured from the
crevasses of the rocks, laden with the Rheingold, which they dumped in
a great heap before Wotan.

"Ah, thou rogues," Alberich shrieked to Loge and the War-god; "wait
till my time comes!--I'll make you dance." The awful little fellow
roared from his small throat with rage.

"Never mind that: we shall be able to take care of ourselves," the God
answered, while Alberich lifted the ring and the Nibelungen rushed
pell-mell into the rocks again.

"Being a God, you think you can take what you desire without pay; but
even the Gods must pay. The gold was stolen and you need not think to
profit by another's roguery."

"We shall chance it," Wotan replied, with a smile--"so take off that
ring of thine--" At this Alberich gave a frightful scream.

"Never! I will give my life, but never this ring. Oh, you wretches!
Rascals! Villains!" He stopped shouting for sheer lack of breath. He
saw before him the loss of that which was to win him back his gold and
power. Wotan made a motion to Loge, who laughed and dragged the ring
from the dwarf's hand, Wotan put the magic ring upon his own finger,
and Alberich nearly fainted with despair. Gathering his scattered
senses, he began to utter a frightful curse upon the ring. He swore
that whoever had it should meet ruin and death instead of power and
happiness, and cursing thus in a way to curdle even the blood of the
Gods, he spat at Wotan.

"Have done, thou groundling," Loge said. "Go to thy hole." Alberich
fled, still crying curses on the gold.

When Wotan and Loge first returned to earth with the imp, it had been
twilight, but now, just before night, the light grew stronger, and
when the mist that had hung lightly over all cleared away, Fricka,
Donner, and Froh could be seen hurrying to the tryst.

"Thou hast brought Freïa's ransom," Fricka cried, joyously, looking at
the great golden heap. "Already, she must be near, because see! Do we
not all grow younger?" she asked tremblingly, looking at the others.

"It is true; we were dying and now I feel strength in all my limbs,"
Donner answered, looking in amazement at his brother Gods.

"Yes--here comes Freïa with Fafner and Fasolt." Freïa would have
rushed into Fricka's arms, but the Giants still held her fast.

"She is not thine till we have the gold," they declared; and thrusting
his staff into the earth, Fafner said:

"Thou shalt heap the Rheingold as high as my staff--which is as high
as the Goddess, and the heap shall be made as thick and as broad as
she. When this is done, she is thine." Wotan called out impatiently:

"Heap up the gold; make haste and be rid of them." So Loge and Froh
fell to heaping the gold about the staff, while the Giants stood by
and watched. When it all was piled, Fafner peered through the heap to
see if there was an unfilled chink.

"Not enough," he cried; "I can still see the gleam of Freïa's
hair--which is finer than gold. Throw on that trinket at thy belt," he
signified the Tarnhelm which hung at the girdle of Loge. Loge threw it
contemptuously upon the heap. Then Fafner peeped again. "Ah! I still
can see her bright eyes--more gleaming than gold. Until every chink is
closed so that I may no longer see the Goddess and thus behold what I
have sacrificed for the treasure, it will not do. Throw on that ring
thou wearest on thy finger," he called to Wotan.

At that Wotan became furious.

"The ring. Thou shalt never have the ring--not if thou shouldst carry
away the Eternals, themselves." Fafner seized Freïa as if to make off
with her.

"What, thou cruel God! Thou art going to let them have our sister,"
Fricka screamed, mingling her shrieks with Freïa's. Donner and Froh
added their rage to hers, and assailed Wotan.

"I'll keep my ring," Wotan shouted, being overcome with the power it
would give to him, and determined rather to lose his life.

"Thou wretched God! Thy wickedness means the doom of the Eternals,"
Fricka again screamed, beside herself with the shrieks of Freïa. As
the Gods were about to curse Wotan, a bluish light glowed from a
fissure in the earth.

"Look," cried Loge, and all turned to see, while Fafner, certain of
one treasure or the other, looked and waited.

The bluish light grew and grew, and slowly from the ground rose a
frost-covered woman, her glittering icy hair flowing to her waist, the
blue light about her causing her garments of frost to glance and
shimmer and radiate sparkles all about her.

"Wotan," she spoke, "give up thy ring." All were silent, the Gods and
Giants dumb with amazement.

Again she spoke: "It is Erda, she who knows the past, present, and the
future. Thy ring is accursed. Ruin and disaster follow its possession.
Give up thy ring!"

"Who art thou?" Wotan asked in amazement.

"I am mother of the three Fates--of her who weaves--her who
watches--and her who cuts the cord of life. They are my daughters. Thy
fate is spread out before me; give up thy ring." The Gods trembled
before one who knew both good and evil. Erda had sunk into the earth
as far as her breast.

"Give up thy ring," she sighed again, and disappeared in the earth, as
Wotan rushed toward her. Donner and Froh held him back.

"Touch her not--to touch her would mean death!" they cried. Wotan
stood thoughtfully, looking at the spot where Erda had been, till
presently, with a quick movement, he threw the ring upon the
Rheingold.

"Freïa!" he cried, "give us back our youth and life, and thou, Giants,
take thy treasure." As Freïa sprung toward her sister Fricka to
embrace her, the Giants fell to quarrelling over the gold.

"Here, thou! give me my share," Fafner roared, as Fasolt was trying to
possess himself of all the hoard. Thus they fought while the Gods
looked on.

"Keep the ring, Fafner," Loge called. "It is worth more to thee than
all the gold." But the struggle became more fierce till at last Fafner
with one great blow killed his brother, while the Gods looked on in
horror.

"Behold how Alberich's curse begins to work," Loge cried to Wotan.

"I must see Erda the Wise again," Wotan answered, abstracted and
troubled.

"Nay," said Fricka, grasping his arm. "See thy palace--the Walhall of
the Eternals for which thou hast nearly caused us to perish. Thou hast
got what thou desired, yet hast not even entered its halls. Come--let
us go and seek peace and happiness." Thus urged, but looking
thoughtfully at the spot where Erda had disappeared, he permitted
himself to be led toward Walhall.

"The place was paid for with an evil wage," one of the Gods said,
moodily, for all saw the mists settling upon them and felt youth and
hope leaving them. They had not yet eaten of their apples of life, but
Donner at last aroused himself and strode to a high peak.

"Come," he cried, in a mighty voice; and swinging his mammoth hammer
above his head he called again: "Come! Come, ye mists of all the
earth! Gather around me. Come, ye hovering clouds, ye foreboding
mists! Come with lightnings and with thunder and sweep the heavens
clear," and swinging his hammer he shouted: "Heda, heda, heda! To me,
all mists! To me, all ye vapours! Donner calls his hosts. Vapours and
fogs; wandering mists, heda, heda, heda!"

The black clouds gathered about him till all the Gods were obscured,
and as they enfolded them, even the Thunder God was hidden.

Out of the darkness flashed the lightning. Boom! his hammer crashed,
and the thunders rolled away into the hills.

Boom! the hammer crashed against the rock again, and with another
mighty stroke the darkness rolled away, the storm cleared, the sun
shone forth and at Donner's feet a brilliant rainbow-bridge appeared.
It bridged the way from peak to palace. It was the bridge of promise,
and to it Froh pointed the way. As the sun beamed upon the earth, the
pinnacles and roofs of Walhall shone like burnished gold, and Wotan
took his Goddess by the hand and crossed the bridge of promise while
the others followed in his train. Loge, going last, paused.

"I foresee the downfall of the Eternals," he murmured. "They have
longed for ease and luxuries which they have bought with evil
bargains. Shall I go with them, or shall I once more wander,
flickering, dancing, wavering, glancing--a Spirit of Flame that shall
destroy while others build?" Thinking of what was to come, he slowly
crossed the rainbow-bridge and cast in his lot with the Eternals.

As the Gods departed for Walhall, the Rhein-daughters were lamenting
their loss; but Wotan heard and turned to chide them. (_See following
pages--in which the music is to be read straight across five pages:
331 to 335 inclusive._)

[Music:

(Die drei Rheintöchter in der Tiefe des Thales, unsichtbar.)

(_The three Rhein-daughters in the valley._)

Wogl.

     Rheingold! Rheingold!
     guileless gold!
     how brightly and clear
     shimmered thy beams on us!

Wellg.

     Rheingold! Rheingold!
     guileless gold!
     how brightly and clear
     shimmered thy beams on us!

Flossh.

     Rheingold! Rheingold!
     guileless gold!
     how brightly and clear
     shimmered thy beams!

Wotan

(im Begriff den Fuss auf die Brücke zu setzen, hält an, und
wendet sich um.)

(_preparing to set his foot on the bridge, stops and turns
round._)

     What plaints come hither to me?

Wogl.

     For thy pure lustre now lament me:

Wellg.

     For thy pure lustre now lament me:

Flossh.

     For thy pure lustre now lament me:

Loge

(späht in das Thal hinab.)

(_looks down into the valley._)

     The [Transcriber's Note: music ends here]]


THE NIBELUNG RING

SECOND DAY

THE VALKYRIE

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Siegmund.
Hunding.
Wotan.
Sieglinde.
Brünnhilde.
Fricka.

The Valkyries: Gerhilde, Ortlinde, Schwertleite, Waltraute, Helmwige,
Siegrune, Grimgerde, Rossweisse.


ACT I

Far off in the forest lived a huntsman and his wife. The huntsman was
rough and brutal, but his wife, Sieglinde, was a young and tender
creature who lived far away from pleasure and friends, while her
husband hunted all day, went to sleep as soon as he had his supper,
and was always surly and rough.

The huntsman's house was strangely built, with the trunk of an ash
tree in its very centre, while struck deep into its hole was a sword.
The weapon had been driven so far into the tree's trunk, that only its
hilt was to be seen. The house was poor, indeed, with only a table and
some rough benches for furniture, and at one side, a fireplace where a
dull fire flickered.

One night, while Sieglinde was about to prepare Hunding's supper, a
handsome youth burst into the hut, seeking shelter from the storm. The
room was empty and he stood at the open door, looking about for some
one from whom he might ask a welcome; but all was silent and deserted;
so he staggered to the hearth and sank down before the fire upon a
great bearskin. He appeared to be exhausted as if he had fled far from
some persistent foe. He wore no armour, had no arms, and was quite
defenceless and worn.

"Whoever owns this shelter and warmth must share it with me for a
moment," he sighed: "I can go no farther;" and he stretched himself
before the welcome blaze.

Sieglinde, hearing a sound and thinking Hunding might have returned,
came from an inner room. Upon opening the door the sight that met her
eyes was the man upon her hearth-stone.

"Some stranger here!" She whispered to herself, a little afraid, for
she was not able to see his half-hidden face. Poor Siegmund had no
sooner stretched himself before the blaze than he fell asleep.
Presently Sieglinde drew nearer, looked into his face and saw that he
was very handsome, besides being gentle in appearance.

"I wonder if he can be ill?" she thought, compassionately; and as she
continued to look into his face a great feeling of tenderness and love
for him crept into her heart. Half waking, he called for water, and
Sieglinde gave it to him from the drinking horn. As she again bent to
give him the water, he saw her for the first time, and he looked at
her thoughtfully in his turn, and in his turn, too, he loved her. She
appeared to him to be very beautiful and kind.

"Whose house is this?" he asked, at last, watching Sieglinde wherever
she went.

"It is the house of Hunding, the hunter," she answered, "and I am
Sieglinde, his wife."

"I wonder will he welcome a wounded and defenceless guest?" he asked
with some anxiety.

"What? art thou wounded?" she demanded with solicitude. "Show me thy
wounds that I may help thee."

"Nay," he cried, leaping to his feet; "my wounds are slight and I
should still have been fighting my foes, but my sword and shield were
shattered and I was left at their mercy. They were many and I could
not fight them single-handed and weaponless. I must now be on my way.
I am but an ill-fated fellow, and I would not bring my bad luck upon
thee and thy house." He started to go out of the door.

"Thou canst not bring ill-fate to me," she answered, looking at him
sadly. "I am not happy here."

"If that be true," he said, pausing to regard her tenderly, "then I
shall remain," and he turned back into the house.


_Scene II_

At that very moment, Hunding was heard returning. Sieglinde, hearing
him lead his horse to the stable, opened the door for him, as was her
wont, and waited for him to come in. When Hunding finally appeared, he
paused at seeing Siegmund.

"Whom have we here?" he asked his wife, suspiciously.

"A wounded man whom I found lying upon the hearth-stone. I gave him
water, and welcomed him as a guest." Hunding, hearing this, hung his
sword and shield upon a branch of the dead ash tree, and taking off
his armour, handed it to Sieglinde.

"Set the meal for us," he said to her in a surly tone, looking sharply
at the stranger. Sieglinde hung the armour upon the tree and began to
prepare the meal.

"You seem to have come a long way," said Hunding at last to Siegmund.
"Have you no horse?"

"I have come over mountain and through brake. I know not whither the
journey has led me. I would find that out from thee; and may I ask who
gives me shelter?"

"I am Hunding whose clan reaches far, and who has many kinsmen. Now
for thyself?"

"I, too, have kinsmen who war for freedom. My father was a wolf and my
mother is dead. I am the son of the Wälsungs--a warring race. Once my
father, the wolf, and I wandered together in the forest. We went to
hunt, and upon our return we found our hut laid waste and my mother
burned to ashes. Then, sadly, my father and I went forth again."

"I have heard of this wolfling," Hunding answered, frowning. "A wild
and wolfish race, truly! Tell me, stranger, where roams thy father,
now?"

"He became the game of the Neidlings--they who killed my mother; but
many a Neidling has been destroyed in his pursuit. At last my father
must have been slain. I was torn from him, but later escaped from my
captors and went in search of him. I found only his empty skin, and so
I was left alone in the forest. I began to long for the companionship
of men and women; but I was mistrusted; whatever I thought right,
others thought wrong, and that which others thought well of appeared
to me to be evil. Thus, in all my wanderings, I found no friend. In
truth my name is Wehwalt: Woe. I may never find love and kindness.
Foes wait ever upon my track. Since I am a wolf's son, who will
believe that I have loving thoughts?" Hereupon, Sieglinde looked at
the handsome yet sorrowful stranger with great tenderness.

"Tell us, guest, how thy weapons were lost?" Hunding insisted.

"Willingly I shall tell thee. A sorrowing maid cried for help. Her
kinsmen thought to bind her in wedlock to one she did not love; and
when she cried to me to free her, I had to fight all her kinsmen
single-handed. I slew her brothers and while protecting her as she
bent above their bodies, her people broke my shield and I had to
flee."

"Now I know you," Hunding shouted, rising and glaring at the young
wolfling. "I was called to battle with my kinsmen--they were your
foes! He who fought us fled before I could reach the battling place,
and here I have returned to find my enemy in my house! Let me tell
you, wolf-man, my house shall hold you safe for the night, since you
came here wounded and defenceless; but to-morrow you must defend
yourself, for I will kill you."

At that Hunding moved threateningly toward Siegmund, but Sieglinde
stepped between them, regarding Siegmund with a troubled face.

"As for thee," said Hunding to her roughly; "have off with thee! Set
my night-draught here and get thee to bed!"

Sieglinde took from the cupboard a box of spices from which she shook
some into the drinking horn in which she was making the night-draught.
All the while she moved about she tried to direct Siegmund's eye
toward the sword hilt which gleamed upon the ash tree; but Hunding was
not pleased with her and drove her from the room to her bed-chamber.
Then taking the armour from the tree he glowered darkly at Siegmund.

"Look well to thyself, to-morrow," he said; "for I mean to kill thee."
Then he followed Sieglinde to the inner chamber.


_Scene III_

Siegmund sat down, sad and lonely, while the lights burned out and the
fire flickered lower. The wolf-man with his head in his hands thought
gloomily upon his unhappy fate. Never was he to find friends, though
he was true and honest and meant harm to no man.

"I have no sword," he thought; "hence I cannot defend myself against
Hunding. If only I could find, somewhere in the world, that enchanted
sword of which my father told me!" he cried, aloud in his despair.
Suddenly, the logs in the fire fell apart and the flame flared
high--it was Loge doing the bidding of Wotan, who, from Walhall, was
watching the movements of the Universe--and in the blaze the sword
hilt could be seen shining upon the tree. The gleam caught Siegmund's
eye, but he did not know what he saw.

"What is that so bright and shining?" he said to himself. "Ah, it must
be the memory of dear Sieglinde's brilliant eyes, which rested so
often upon that spot before she left the room. It is because I love
her and think of her that I fancy I see a jewel shining in the dark."
Musing thus he became sadder than before. Again Loge flamed up high,
and again Siegmund saw the gleam of the sword, but still he did not
know what he saw, so the lonely wolf-man was again left in darkness.
Then the chamber door softly opened and Sieglinde stole into the room.
She had left Hunding sleeping.

"Guest," she whispered. "Art thou sleeping?" Siegmund started up
joyfully.

"It is Sieglinde?" he whispered back.

"Listen! Make no sound. Hunding lies sleeping, overcome by the heavy
drink that I have given him. Now, in the night, fly and save thy life.
I have come to show thee a weapon. Oh, if thou couldst make it thine!
Many have tried, but all have failed. It is only the strongest in all
the world who can draw it from its strange sheath." Siegmund's glance
wandered to where she pointed, and rested upon the sword hilt which
the flame had shown him.

"I was given by my kinsmen to the cruel Hunding," she continued; "and
while I sat sad and sorrowful on my wedding night, and my kinsmen
gathered around rejoicing, there entered an old man, clad all in gray,
his hat pulled low over his face, and one eye hidden; but the other
eye flashed fear to all men's souls but mine. While others trembled
with fear, I trembled with hope; because on me his eye rested
lovingly. He carried a sword in his hand, and with a mighty stroke,
buried it deep in the ash tree.

"'Only he who has a giant's strength can draw that sword,' he cried.
After that, guests came and went, came and went, tried and tried; but
none could draw the sword. So there it cleaves until this day. Ah! if
thou couldst draw it out and save thy life! He who draws that sword
shall also deliver me from Hunding," she added, wistfully.

At that, Siegmund leaped up and clasped her in his arms:

"Then in truth shall I draw it. It is I who shall free thee. And who
but the God Wotan put the weapon there for thy deliverance? Thou sayst
he had but one eye! Did not Wotan give one of his to win his wife,
Fricka? Thou hast been guarded by the Gods themselves," he cried, and
again clasping her to his breast he promised to free her forever from
Hunding. "It is the weapon told of by my father, the wolf," he
declared; and while they stood thus, the outer door swung noiselessly
open and the moonlight streamed in.

"Ah! It is the Spring," he whispered. "The beautiful Spring! She has
entered unannounced to bring us cheer and hope, it is an omen of good.
I am no longer sad. I have found one to love who loves me, and a
weapon to defend her." With a mighty wrench Siegmund pulled the sword
from its bed and swung it above them.


ACT II

When Sieglinde and Siegmund had fled and while they were wandering,
waiting for the battle which was certain to occur between Siegmund and
Hunding, Wotan was preparing to send out his war-maid, Brünnhilde,
from the palace of the Gods--Walhall. The warrior-maid had been given
him by Erda, and she went forth each day to the ends of the earth, to
guard all warriors. When men died in battle, she and her eight
sisters, who were called the Valkyries, bore those heroes to Wotan,
and they dwelt in Walhall forever. It was on the day of the battle
that Brünnhilde and Wotan came to a high rock, armed and prepared for
war. Wotan carried a magic spear.

"Listen, Brünnhilde! Thou art to hasten. There is this day to be a
great battle between Siegmund, who is of the Wälsung race, and
Hunding. As for Hunding, I want him not in Walhall. Yet it is Siegmund
whom thou art to shield in the strife. Take thy horse and hurry
forth." Brünnhilde, springing upon her beautiful horse, Grane, flew
shouting over the rocks, loudly calling her battle-cry:

"Ho-jo-to-ho! Ho-jo-to-ho! Heia-ha, heia-ha, heia-ha!" This loud clear
cry, rang from peak to peak, from crag to crag, while the maid on her
enchanted horse flew away to summon her sisters. On a far peak she
paused, and called back to Wotan:

"Have a care war-father! Thy Goddess, Fricka, comes drawn in her car
by rams. She will give thee a great battle I fear; she swings her
golden lash, and makes the poor beasts dance. I tell thee, war-father,
thy Goddess has some quarrel with thee!" and laughing, Brünnhilde flew
on her way. Fricka's rams, scrambling over the rocks, dragging her car
behind them, landed her close to Wotan.

"So, Wotan, I must look the world over for thee!" she cried angrily.
"I have no time to chide thee, however. The hunter Hunding has called
to me for help. He is sorely pressed. Siegmund is his foe, and has
taken the magic sword from the ash tree. With that sword he is
invincible. He has carried off Hunding's wife, and I, the Goddess of
Home and Domesticity, must avenge him. I have come to warn thee not to
interfere for Siegmund. I shall help Hunding."

"I know of thy Hunding," Wotan answered, frowning. "And I know no harm
of Siegmund. It was the beautiful Spring which united the pair. Am I
to overwhelm these two with ruin because thy cruel Hunding has come to
thee for help? Spring's enchantment was upon Sieglinde and Siegmund."

"What, ye speak thus to me, Wotan? When those two had been united in
holy wedlock----?"

"I do not call so hateful a union, 'holy'," Wotan answered, sternly.

"Thy words are shameful. I have come to tell thee thou shalt take back
the magic power thou hast given to Siegmund with the sword. I know
well he is thy son, and that thou wandered upon the earth as a wolf,
leaving behind thee this sword, invincible, for thy beloved wolf-boy,
but I declare to you, I shall give you henceforth no peace till the
sword is taken from him. Hunding shall have his revenge! The conduct
of these mortals is shameful. But when Gods, such as thou, misbehave,
what can be expected of mere mortals?" Fricka sighed. "However thou
may seek to free thyself or defend thyself, I am thy eternal bride;
thou canst not get away from me, and if thou wouldst have peace, thou
wilt heed me. See to it that the wolf-man loses his life in this
encounter." Fricka, for all the world like a shrewish, scolding mortal
wife, quite overwhelmed the unhappy War-god.

"But what can I do, since I should have to fight against my own
enchantments?" Wotan urged, hoping to save his beloved wolf-son.

"Thou shalt disenchant the sword. The magic thou gavest thou canst
destroy." The quarrel was at its height, when Brünnhilde's cry could
be heard afar.

[Music:

     Ho-jo-to-ho! ho-jo-to-ho!
     heia-ha! heia-ha!
     ho-jo-to-ho! ho-jo-to-ho!
     heia-ha! heia-ha!
     ho-jo-to-ho! ho-jo-to-ho!
     ho-jo-to-ho! ho-jo-to-ho!
     heia-ha-ha!
     ho-jo-ho!]

"Ho-jo-to-ho-ho-to-jo-ho! Heia-ha, heia-ha, heia-ha!" Brünnhilde came
leaping down the mountain again, upon her horse, Grane. Seeing a
quarrel was in progress between the Goddess and Wotan she became
quiet, dismounted, and led her horse to a cave and hid him there.

"There, Wotan, is thy war-maid now. Pledge me thine oath that the
magic sword which Siegmund bears, shall lose its virtue! Give thy
war-maid instruction." Fricka urged this in a manner calculated to
show Wotan there would be no more peace in Walhall if he flouted his
wife. He sat down in dejection.

"Take my oath," he said miserably; and thus Sieglinde's and Siegmund's
doom was sealed. Fricka triumphantly mounted into the car drawn by
rams, and in passing, spoke to Brünnhilde.

"Go to thy war-father and get his commands." Brünnhilde, wondering,
went to Wotan.


_Scene II_

"Father, Fricka has won in some encounter with thee, else she would
not go out so gaily and thou sit there so dejected. Tell me, thy
war-child, what troubles thee!"

At first Wotan shook his head, but presently his despair urged him to
speak and he told Brünnhilde the story of the Rheingold and the ring
of the Nibelungs.

"I coveted what was not mine," he said. "I got the gold from Alberich
and in turn Fafner and Fasolt got it from me. Fafner killed his
brother for love of the gold, and then turning himself into a dragon,
set himself to watch over the gold forever. It was decreed by the
Fates--Erda's daughters--that when Alberich should find a woman to
love him, the overthrow of the Gods was at hand. Alberich had bought
love with the treasure. Our only hope lay in the victory of some hero
in whose life I had no part. I left for such a one a magic sword, so
placed that only the strongest could draw it. He had to help himself
before I gave him help. Siegmund has drawn the magic sword. If he had
won in the battle with Hunding, the Eternals would have been saved;
but Fricka demands that Hunding shall win the fight and a God must
sacrifice all Walhall if his wife demands it. He had better be dead
than browbeaten forever." Wotan almost wept in his anguish. "So must
the Eternals face extermination. A wife can crush even a God!"

"What shall I do for thee, Father Wotan?" Brünnhilde cried
distractedly.

"Obey Fricka this day in all things. Desert Siegmund and fight on
Hunding's side." Wotan sighed heavily.

"Nay, I shall defy thy commands for once," she declared, but at this
Wotan rose in wrath.

"Obey me!--or thy punishment shall be terrible. To disobey would be
treason to the Gods." He strode away.

Brünnhilde put on her armour once more.

"Why is my armour so heavy, and why does it hurt me so?" she asked of
herself. "Alas! It is because I donned it in an evil cause." Slowly
she went toward the cave where her enchanted horse, Grane, was hidden.


_Scene III_

Now that the Gods had forsaken them, the two lovers, Sieglinde and
Siegmund, were in great danger, and Sieglinde, without knowing why,
was filled anew with fright. She hurried painfully along, assisted by
Siegmund who was all the time lovingly urging her to stop and rest.

"Nay," she answered always; "I cannot rest because I hear Hunding's
hounds who would tear thee in pieces, if they caught thee." At that
very moment they heard the blast of Hunding's horn in the distance.

"There he comes with all his kinsmen at his back, and they will surely
overwhelm thee," she cried in distress; and fell fainting with fear.

As Siegmund placed her tenderly upon the ground, Brünnhilde came
toward them from the cavern, leading her horse.


_Scene IV_

She regarded Siegmund sorrowfully and said in a troubled voice:

"I have come to call thee hence, Siegmund." The youth stared at her
curiously.

"Who art thou?" he asked.

"I am Brünnhilde, the Valkyrie; and whoever I look upon must die."

"Not I," Siegmund answered, incredulously. "I fight with the enchanted
sword of Wotan. My life is charmed. I cannot die."

"Alas!" she answered, then paused. Presently she spoke again. "Whoever
looks upon me must die, Siegmund," she said earnestly.

"When I have died, where do I go?" he asked. He was not sad at the
thought of giving up a life so full of strife.

"Thou goest to Walhall to dwell with the Eternals."

"Do I find there Wotan, and the Wälsungs--my kinsmen who have gone
before me?"

"Aye," she answered--"And Wish-maidens to fill thy drinking cup and to
cheer thee. It is the home where heroes dwell, forever and forever."

Siegmund's face glowed with hope.

"And Sieglinde?" he cried.

"Ah, not she. She must stay yet a while behind thee."

Then a terrible change came upon Siegmund and he frowned at the
Valkyrie.

"Begone! Thinkest thou I go to thy Walhall without Sieglinde? Begone!
What do you of the Gods know of love such as ours. Walhall is not for
me. I carry the enchanted sword given by Wotan. This day I kill
Hunding, and live my life in peace with Sieglinde."

Brünnhilde could no longer let him deceive himself.

"The enchantment of thy sword is gone!" Siegmund started. "Wotan
deserts thee. To-day thou must go hence with me. Hunding will kill
thee." For a moment Siegmund regarded the Valkyrie, then drawing his
sword, he turned to where Sieglinde was lying, still unconscious.

"What wouldst thou do?" Brünnhilde cried.

"Kill Sieglinde, to save her from Hunding's wrath."

"Leave her to me," Brünnhilde entreated, moved with pity. "I swear to
thee I will preserve her. Leave her with me."

"With thee--when Wotan himself has tricked me? Nay. The Gods are no
longer trustworthy," he said, bitterly, turning again to Sieglinde.
Brünnhilde, overcome with pity and admiration for such devotion
between mortals--a love more steadfast than the promises of the Gods
themselves--sprang forward to stay him.

"Do not! I will preserve thee--thee and thy Sieglinde. I am here to
guard Hunding, but it shall not be so. I will shield thee in the
fight. I will brave the wrath of Wotan for such love as thine and
Sieglinde's. If the magic of thy sword is destroyed, the power of my
shield is not. I will guard thee through the fight. Up! Renew thy
courage. The day is thine, and the fight is at hand." Mounting her
horse, Grane, the Valkyrie flew over the mountain tops and
disappeared. Siegmund's despair was turned to joy and again hearing
Hunding's horn, he turned to go, leaving Sieglinde to sleep till the
fight was over. The storm-clouds gathered, and all the scene became
hidden.


_Scene V_

Lightning flashed and thunder rolled ominously. Siegmund bent to kiss
Sieglinde and disappeared in the blackness of the storm. All the
heavens and earth spoke of war and death. The air grew thick with
vapours, and lightning cleft the hills. Siegmund called through the
darkness to Hunding to face him for the fight, and at the sound of his
voice and the horns and the shouting of battle, Sieglinde awoke. She
could see naught, but could hear the sounds of war. Her fear for
Siegmund returned. She shrieked and ran toward the storm-shrouded
mountain. The skies were rent, and high upon the rocky peak, Hunding
and Siegmund stood forth in battle.

"The Goddess Fricka is with me!" Hunding shouted.

"Away with thy Goddess! It is the Gods who support me" Siegmund
answered, bravely swinging his sword. Instantly Brünnhilde floated
above the warriors. She interposed her burnished shield between
Siegmund and the sword of Hunding, and cried:

"Thrust, Siegmund! Thy sword shall preserve thee!" Instantly the whole
earth was filled with a dazzling fire, in which Wotan appeared,
foaming with rage. He thrust his spear to catch the blow of the
wolfling's sword, which broke in half upon it; while Hunding's point
pierced Siegmund's breast. Brünnhilde fell at Wotan's feet, while with
a shriek Sieglinde in the glade below fell as if dead. While Wotan
faced Hunding, Brünnhilde rushed down the mountain to save Sieglinde.
Taking her in her arms she sprang upon Grane and flew for the rock of
the Valkyries.

"Now go, thou miserable being," Wotan thundered at Hunding, and waving
his spear at him, the man fell dead.

"Now Brünnhilde, for thee! and for thy punishment!" he cried in an
awful voice, and amidst the crashing of Donner's hammer against the
sides of the universe and flames from heaven, Wotan disappeared.


ACT III

Away on a far mountain, the Valkyries were waiting for Brünnhilde's
coming. They were her sisters: Gerhilde, Ortlinde, Waltraute and
Schwertleite, seated upon a high place, dressed in their armour. From
time to time they gave the cry of the Valkyries:

"Ho-jo-to-ho! Ho-jo-to-ho! Heia-ha, heia-ha, heia-ha!" Soon this call
was answered by Helmwige, who could be seen coming on her horse, with
a slain warrior tied to her saddle.

The Valkyries were arriving from the four quarters of the earth--each
bearing a slain warrior. At last, all but Brünnhilde had come.

"We cannot go to Wotan without her," they said among themselves. "She
is his favourite and she brings to him those heroes he most desires.
We must not start for Walhall till she has come." Thus they talked
among themselves, now and then sounding their cry and laughing over
the misfortunes of mortals. At last one called:

"Look! Brünnhilde is coming in wildest haste. Look, look! Her pace is
so furious that the horse staggers. What lies on her saddle?" All
peered in amazement into the vale below.

"It is no man," one cried.

"It is a maid," shouted another.

"She does not greet us." They ran to help her from her horse, shouting
their war-cry as they went, and returned supporting Sieglinde, while
they surrounded Brünnhilde and questioned her wildly.

"Shield us!" she cried to them. "I am pursued. The war-father is
coming after me. He is foaming with rage. Hide us, shield us." All
looked at her in consternation.

"What hast thou done?" they questioned.

"Who can shield thee from our father's wrath, Brünnhilde?" one cried.

"I see him not," one who was on the look-out called. "But a fearful
storm gathers."

"It is Wotan. Our father rides upon the storm. Oh, shield this poor
wife," Brünnhilde called.

"Alas! the storm increases."

"Then he is near. His anger increases as he comes," Brünnhilde cried
in terror. "Now who will lend me a horse to put this poor wife upon?"
None dared brave the wrath of the God.

"All of you are silent," she said at last, in despair. Turning to the
fainting Sieglinde, she cried:

"Up! Take the way to the east. There dwells the dragon, Fafner, and
near him Alberich also watches. That is the only place in the world
Wotan avoids. Go thou, and I will detain the Father till thou art far
and safe. Take these pieces of the magic sword. I snatched them when
Siegmund fell. Give them to thy son and Siegmund's, and that son shall
be named Siegfried. With these sword-pieces again made whole, the
sword shall win the world for that son of thine." With these words she
turned Sieglinde's face toward the east, while she herself stood
waiting.

Sieglinde was no sooner gone than the storm grew more fierce, and
Wotan called with a loud voice from the clouds:

"Brünnhilde!" Full of fear she sought to hide herself in the midst of
her sisters.

"He is coming, sister," they shouted. All the forest about them was
lighted up with a lurid fire, and Wotan came raging through the midst
of it.


_Scene II_

Striding from the wood he called again:

"Come forth! Naught can save thee from thy punishment." Without hope,
Brünnhilde came from the company of her sisters and threw herself on
her knees before Wotan. He looked at her in pity because he loved her
dearly.

"For thy treason to the Eternals and to me, I doom thee to roam the
earth as a mortal woman. I take thy glory from thee. Walhall shall
know thee no more. Thou art forever cast out from us. Henceforth thy
fate shall be to spin the flax, to sit by the hearth, a slave to man."
He could not look upon her because he loved her so.

At this, all the Valkyries cried out.

"Away!" he called to them. "Her punishment is fixed and whoever tries
to help her shall share her fate."

At this threat, all fled wildly to their horses, and shrieking, flew
away, leaving behind them a sound of rushing and a streaming light.


_Scene III_

Wotan regarded Brünnhilde mournfully. She raised herself and tried to
move him with her tears.

"If I am doomed to become mortal, to suffer all mortals' ills and
woes, remember still that my treason was partly for love of thee. I
knew Siegmund was dear to thee. Wilt thou not pity me a little?" Her
pleading was so mournful that Wotan at last listened to it.

"Brünnhilde, I will guard thee from the worst. Since thou must become
as mortals are, and the slave of man, I will guard thee from all but
the brave. I will enchant thee into a sleep from which only a hero can
wake thee. Fire shall surround thee, and he who would win thee must
pass through the flame." He kissed her on the eyelids which began to
droop as with sleep, and he laid her gently down upon a little mound
beneath a fir tree. He closed her helmet and laid upon her her shining
shield, which completely covered her body. Then he mounted a height.

"Loge!" he called, and struck the rock three times with his spear.
"Loge, Loge, Loge! Hear! Once I summoned thee, a flickering flame, to
be companion of the Gods. Now, I summon thee to appear and wind
thyself in wavering, dancing, fairy flame, about the fallen. Loge, I
call!"

A little flashing flame burst from a riven place. It spread, it crept,
it darted and stung; catching here, clutching there, fading, leaping,
higher, higher, higher, till all the world was wrapped in fire. The
shooting tongues drew about the God, who, stretching forth his magic
spear, directed it toward the rock on which the Valkyrie lay asleep.
The fiery sea spread round and in its midst Brünnhilde slept safely.

"He who fears my spear-point, may not cross the flame," he said,
pointing his spear toward the tomb of fire; and then, with backward
glances, the God of War passed through the flame and was seen no
more.


THE NIBELUNG RING

THIRD DAY

SIEGFRIED

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Siegfried.
Alberich.
Mime.
Fafner.
The Wanderer.
Erda.
Brünnhilde.


ACT I

In a cavernous rock in the forest, hammering upon an anvil, was a
complaining Mime. As he hammered, the sparks flew from the sword which
he was forging.

"Alas!" he cried, muttering to himself, as he worked at his task;
"Alas! Here I am, day after day, trying to forge a sword which
Siegfried cannot break. I, who have made swords for giants, am yet
unable to satisfy this stripling."

At this the Mime flung the new-made sword upon the anvil with a crash,
and stood gazing thoughtfully upon the ground.

"There _is_ a sword to be forged which even that insolent boy cannot
break; a sword which, if the race of Nibelungs could wield it would
win them back the treasure and the ring. This sword must kill the
dragon, Fafner, who guards that ring--the magic sword, Nothung! But
my arm cannot forge it; there is no fire hot enough to fuse its metal!
Alas! I shall always be a slave to this boy Siegfried; that is plain."
While he lamented thus, Siegfried, himself, ran boisterously into the
cavern, driving a great bear before him. The youth was dressed all in
skins, wore a silver hunting-horn at his girdle, and he laughed as
bruin chased the Mime into a corner.

"Tear this tinkering smith to pieces," Siegfried shouted to the beast.
"Make him forge a real sword fit for men, and not for babes." The Mime
ran about, shrieking with fear.

"There is thy sword, Siegfried," he shouted, pointing to the sword
which he had thrown on the anvil.

"Good! Then for to-day thou shalt go free--the bear can eat thee
another day?" he cried, mockingly; and giving the bear a blow with the
rope which held him, the beast trotted back into the forest.

"Now to test thy great day's work! Where is this fine sword? I warrant
it will be like all the others; fit only for a child's toy." The Mime
handed him the sword saying:

"It has a fine, sharp edge"; thus trying to soothe the youth.

"What matters its edge if it be not hard and true?" he shouted
irritably, and snatching the sword from the Mime's hand he struck it
upon the anvil and it flew in pieces.

Siegfried flew into a great rage, and while he foamed about the
smithy, the Mime got himself behind the anvil, to keep himself out of
the angry fellow's way. When Siegfried's anger had spent itself, the
Mime came from the corner and said solicitously:

"Thou must be hungry, my son."

"Don't call me thy 'son,' thou little black fool," the boy again
shouted. "What have I to do with a misshapen thing like thee, whose
heart is as wicked as its body is ugly? When I want food, I'll cook
it." The Mime held out a bowl of soup to him, but Siegfried dashed it
to the ground.

"Did I not rescue thee from the forest when thou wert born, and have I
not fed and clothed thee?" he whimpered.

"If so, it was for no good purpose. I know thee." Siegfried had a
marvelous instinct which told him good from evil. "Dost know why I go
forth and yet return, day after day?" he asked presently, studying the
Mime's face thoughtfully. "It is because I mean to learn from thee
something of my mother and my father." Siegfried's voice had become
gentle, and full of longing.

"What can I tell thee?" the Mime replied, craftily. "I found thy
mother ill in the wood, and brought her to my cave, where I tended her
till thou wert born. I know nothing of thy father--except one thing."
He paused, considering whether or not he should reveal what he knew
about the good sword, Nothung.

"Well, get on with thy tale. I will know it all," Siegfried
threatened.

"Thy mother carried the fragments of a sword which had been thy
father's, and when she died at thy birth, she named thee Siegfried and
gave to me the pieces, saying if thou couldst reweld the sword, so as
to make it new, it would win thee the world. The sword's name is
Nothung."

"Where are those pieces," Siegfried roared, starting up and menacing
the Mime.

"Do not set upon me so fiercely--I will give them to thee," the Mime
pleaded, and taking the pieces from a cleft in the rock, he gave the
youth a sword in two parts. "It is useless to thee, I tell thee
frankly; I could not make thee the sword. There is no fire hot enough
to fuse the metal, and no arm strong enough to forge it--not even
mine, which has fashioned swords for giants."

Siegfried shouted with joy.

"Thou old thief, have the good sword done ere I return or I will have
the bear swallow thee at a gulp." Leaping with joy he went back into
the forest. The Mime sat down in great trouble. He did not doubt
Siegfried's word--yet he knew that he could never make the sword. He
fell to rocking himself to and fro upon the stone seat, while he
thought of what he should do to excuse himself upon Siegfried's
return.

In the midst of his trouble a strange man entered the cavern, dressed
in a dark blue cloak which nearly hid him. On his head was a great hat
pulled low over his face, but one fierce eye shone from under it. When
the Mime saw him, he felt new fear.


_Scene II_

"Who art thou?" the Mime demanded in an ugly tone, as the Wanderer
stood watching him reflectively.

"I am one who brings wisdom, and whom none who have good hearts turn
away. Only the evil turn from me. The good offer me shelter." The
Mime, seeing only his own cunning and wickedness reflected in the
Wanderer, tried to think how he should rid himself of one he believed
had come to harm him. He thought the Wanderer must be a spy, but in
reality, he was the God Wotan, who had seated himself upon the hearth,
and was watching the Mime.

"Listen!" he said, beholding the Mime's fear; "ask of me what thou
wilt and I shall lighten thy burden, be it what it may." He looked
long and curiously at the Mime and could read his heart.

"Wilt answer me three questions?" the Mime demanded.

"Aye--and stake my head upon the truth of the answers."

"Then tell me what race it is that dwells in the depths of the earth."

"It is the Nibelung race, and Nibelheim is their land. There, all are
black elves, and once upon a time, Alberich was their lord. He tamed
them with the spell of a magic ring formed of the Rheingold. Ask on."

"What is the race which dwells upon the surface of the earth?" The
Mime asked, less timidly.

"It is the race of Giants. Riesenheim is their land and Fasolt and
Fafner were their rulers, but, possessing themselves of the Nibelung's
gold, they fought, and one killed the other; till now, Fafner alone,
in the form of a dragon, guards the hoard and ring. Speak on."

"Thou hast told me much," the Mime said, wondering. "But now canst
thou tell me who are they who dwell upon cloud-hidden heights?"

"They are the Eternals, and Walhall is their home. Wotan commands that
world. He shaped his spear from the branches of an ash tree, and with
that spear he rules the Gods. Whoever wields that spear rules all the
giants and the Nibelungs." As if by accident, Wotan--the
Wanderer--struck the spear he carried upon the ground and a low roll
of thunder responded. The Mime was terror-stricken.

"Well, Mime, is my head which I pledged to thee, free?"

"Aye, go."

"If thou hadst welcomed me, I could have solved thy problems for thee,
but I had to pledge my head to thee before I could rest here. So now,
by the law of wager, this matter is now reversed. It is for thee to
answer me three questions--or lose thy head. Tell me, then: What race
does Wotan the War-god favour?"

"Ah, I can answer that: it is the Wälsungs--a race sprung from wolves.
The Wälsungs' mightiest son is his care. His name is Siegfried."

"Now tell me the name of the sword with which this same Siegfried is
bound to conquer the world, to kill the dragon Fafner, and to get the
Rheingold and the ring?"

"The name of the sword is Nothung," the dwarf replied, not daring to
keep silence.

"Now one more answer, as wise as those gone before, and thy head is
free: Who shall fashion this same sword, Nothung, for Siegfried?"

At this question the Mime leaped up and flung his tools all about in
rage.

"I know not who has the power to make the sword," he screamed.

"I will tell thee," the Wanderer answered, smiling contemptuously upon
the Mime. "The sword shall be forged by one who has never known fear.
Now thy head is forfeit, but I shall leave it on thy shoulders for
that same man--he who knows no fear--to strike from thee." Still
smiling at the terror-stricken Mime, the Wanderer passed out into the
forest.

He had no sooner gone, than the Mime began to think upon the last
words he had spoken. He was to lose his head by the stroke of one who
had never known fear. The only one the Mime knew who was fearless was
Siegfried. Then unless Siegfried could be made afraid, he would one
day strike off the Mime's head.


_Scene III_

When Siegfried returned to the cavern, the Mime began to tell him that
he must learn to fear, before he could go forth into the world to seek
adventures. He told Siegfried of the horrible dragon, Fafner, who
guarded the Rheingold and the Ring, thinking to strike terror to the
youth's heart; but Siegfried became at once impatient to go in search
of the dragon, that he might know what the experience of fear was.

"Where is that strong sword you are to make for me?" he demanded,
being thus put in mind of it again. The wretched Mime knew not what to
answer.

"Alas!" he sighed; "I have no fire hot enough to fuse the metal."

"Now by my head, I will stand no more of thee!" Siegfried shouted.
"Get away from that forge and give me the sword's pieces. I'll forge
that sword of my father's and teach thee thy trade before I break thy
neck." So saying, he grasped the fragments of the sword, began to heap
up the charcoal, and to blow the bellows. Then he screwed the pieces
into a vise and began to file them.

"Use the solder," the Mime directed. "It is there, ready for thee."

"Solder? What should I do with solder?" he said, and continued to file
the pieces till the file was in shreds. In time he had ground the
pieces to powder, which he caught in a crucible and put upon the fire.
While he blew the bellows with a great roaring of the fire, he sang
the song of Nothung, the invincible sword.

[Music:

     Nothung! Nothung! conquering sword!
     What blow has served to break thee?
     To shreds I shattered thy shining blade;
     the fire has melted the splinters
     Ho ho! Ho ho! Ho hei!
     Ho hei! Ho ho!
     Bellows blow!
     Brighten the glow.]

As the Mime watched that easy forging of the mighty weapon, he
believed that Siegfried was the one who would slay the dragon as Wotan
had foretold. If he did that then he surely would possess himself of
the treasure and the ring. So the Mime fell to planning how he could
get the gold into his own hands. Siegfried knew nothing of gold and
power, and so, why should he not willingly hand the treasure over to
the Mime? Then the Mime would determine that Siegfried should perish,
and by the ring's magic his destruction would come about, leaving the
Mime lord of all. So the Mime decided it was well that Siegfried
should forge the sword, because the Mime, even if he had such a sword,
had known fear, and therefore, could not kill the Dragon with it.
Siegfried must do this and the Mime should profit by it, and afterward
kill Siegfried. Thus he reasoned. All this time Siegfried had been at
work upon his sword. He had poured the molten metal into a mould, and
held the mould high above his head. Presently he plunged it into cold
water, and a great hissing of steam occurred. Again he thrust the
sword into the fire to harden it the more, and meantime the Mime was
fussing about the fire, making a broth.

"What is the devil's brew thou art making," Siegfried demanded giving
him a lowering look.

"Something to take with us upon the journey to the Dragon's lair."

"None of it for me," Siegfried shouted. "I'll have none of thy brew."

But the Mime reasoned that by the morrow, when Siegfried would have
slain the Dragon and have found himself weary, he would gladly drink
of the broth. As it was poisoned, it would kill Siegfried as soon
almost as he had killed the Dragon.

At last the broth was finished and poured into a bottle ready for
taking, while the sword was done at the same time, Siegfried having
tempered it and tested its point and its strength a little.

"Now," shouted Siegfried, "if the good sword will stand, let us go."
He stood before the anvil, swung Nothung about his head, and with a
frightful blow he cleaved the anvil from top to bottom so that the
halves fell apart with a great crash. The sight was more than the Mime
could bear and he stood palsied with fear of such tremendous strength.

"Yes, yes, let us be off," he cried, when he could speak again. He
longed to have the Dragon dead and Siegfried dying; only then would he
feel safe.

Swinging the great sword about his head, Siegfried started off into
the forest, in search of adventures.


ACT II

Alberich crouched, waiting near the Dragon's cave, having always
known, even as the Gods knew, that the day would come when even
Fafner, the Dragon, would meet his match.

When that time came, Alberich meant to possess himself again of the
gold, for he felt capable of fighting any one but the Dragon.

As Siegfried and the Mime reached the part of the forest where the
Dragon kept guard, it seemed to be black, black night and a storm was
brewing. The scene was very frightful, indeed. The thunder muttered,
showing that Donner was somewhere about, using his hammer. While
Alberich, imp of the underworld, sat watching and waiting, he saw a
bluish light, such as had appeared when Erda spoke to Wotan. Alberich
started up in alarm.

"Can that light mean the coming of him who is to slay Fafner?" he
wondered, as the bluish radiance grew brighter and brighter. Then the
storm abated and the light died out. Next, the Wanderer entered the
place before the Dragon's cave, and although it was very dark such a
bright light seemed to come from him that Alberich recognized Wotan.

"What are you doing here, thief," cried the black revengeful spirit,
"you who took the Rheingold? Once more let me gain possession of the
ring and I'll come against all Walhall and thy celestial world."

"Peace! Thy rage means naught to me," the Wanderer replied. "Listen,
and I will tell thee what thou wouldst like to know. The Mime brings
hither a boy who shall kill the Dragon. The Mime plans to win the gold
and the ring. I may not help the boy: I may not serve those whom I
love; but if thou wouldst warn the Dragon, very likely he would give
thee the treasure for thy reward. I'll call the Dragon to thee," he
said, and stepped to the mouth of the cave.

"Fafner, Fafner, awake, thou Dragon!" Alberich trembled with fear when
an awful voice roared in answer:

"Who wakes me from my sleep?"

"A friend," Wotan, the Wanderer, replied, bending his head toward the
cave and listening.

Alberich, taking courage, listened too, and called:

"A foe is near who comes to snatch the Rheingold and the ring from
thee."

"Then food is near at hand," the Dragon roared in his softest voice.

"Listen," Alberich persisted. "If thou wilt give the ring to me, I
will help thee." The Dragon yawned terrifically:

"Don't trouble yourself. I will look after my hoard and my ring."
Even if he had whispered, he could have been heard a mile away. As it
was, he spoke in his loudest voice, although he was sleepy, and
Alberich nearly fainted with terror.

"Thou hast failed with the Dragon, Alberich," the Wanderer said,
smiling, "but I will give thee one word more of advice: Make terms
with the Mime. Attack him; perhaps thou wilt have better luck with thy
kind!" In a flash of lightning, the Wanderer mounted his magic steed
and disappeared. When he had looked after him for a moment, Alberich
slipped into the Dragon's cave, and as he disappeared, the day slowly
dawned, and all the scene grew bright in the morning light.

Just at the dawn of day, Siegfried, and the Mime reached the glade
before the Dragon's cave. The enchanted sword hung at Siegfried's
belt.


_Scene II_

"Now we have arrived where the Dragon lives," the Mime said to
Siegfried.

"Ah?" the youth said, sitting down to rest under a lime tree. He
looked curiously about him. "Is it time to be afraid?" he asked,
anxiously. "Because if so, I feel nothing yet--although maybe I do,
and do not know it?"

"Oh, you'll know it fast enough," the Mime assured him. "In that cave
there lies the Dragon. His great hairy jaws will open and swallow thee
at one gulp." But Siegfried sat under the lime tree and asked if that
were really true. It interested him greatly.

"But one thing I tell thee," he cried: "If this thing which you have
told me be not true, we'll part company at once. I'm not to be
fooled. I have come here to learn something--how to be afraid--and if
I don't learn it as thou hast said, I'll teach thee to stop lying."

"When, out of the Dragon's mouth, a poisoned foam pours, which will
kill thee if any drop gets upon thee, I guess thou wilt shake a
little. Thy body and thy bones would melt if that stuff touched thee."

"Well, I'll give him plenty of room, to be sure," Siegfried replied.

"His great tail will sweep about and if he should catch thy limbs in
it, thy bones would be crushed like glass."

"That sounds very bad; but tell me if this thing has a heart which is
placed where other hearts are placed?"

"Truly--a cold and cruel heart."

"Oh, as to that, I am not concerned, but if he has any heart, Nothung
will slip into it. Now come, old babbler, is this the thing that is to
teach me fear--this thing that spits a bit and lashes about with a
clumsy old tail?"

"Laugh away, laugh away! But I have no mind to stay so near, so I
shall go away and lie down beside a stream to sleep. Watch thou there,
and have a care for thyself." So saying the Mime went off a little way
and laid himself down. When he had gone, Siegfried stretched himself
beneath the lime tree to listen to the birds' song. He cut himself a
reed and tried to answer the birds, but could not. As he rested there
in the bright day, he had lonely thoughts of his mother and his
father, and longed for some one whom he could love. While in the midst
of these musings, he looked up and there, with his frightful head
resting upon the knoll, was Fafner, the Dragon. He was giving vent to
a terrific yawn, and made such an awful sound that Siegfried regarded
him in amazement, but suddenly burst out laughing.

"Hello! Are you the beauty who is to teach me to be afraid? Well,
well!" and he laughed again. The Dragon ceased to yawn and stared hard
at Siegfried.

"You are a pretty plaything," Siegfried continued. "Such a nice, rosy
little mouth. I fancy you must be the fellow who was to scare me to
death. Thou art a beauty, surely!"

"Who is it?" the Dragon roared suddenly.

"Ho! And a sweet voice--like the birds," Siegfried grinned.

"Since my mouth is so rosy, let me see how my teeth will feel when set
in a juicy morsel like you," said the Dragon and he spouted venomous
vapours, stretching his horrid jaws, while Siegfried nimbly sprang to
one side to avoid the poisonous steam. Standing watchful, with his
sword, he tried to thrust it at the Dragon's tail, but Fafner roared
and swished his tail away, and prepared to strike with his body; but
to do this he had to raise himself upon high, and in so doing exposed
his breast. Instantly Siegfried plunged Nothung into his heart, and
the Dragon rolled over upon his side with a groan which shook the
trees to their very roots. Siegfried left his sword in the wound and
sprang to one side.

"Oh," groaned the Dragon, with a sigh like a weary earthquake. His
blood spouted upon Siegfried and burnt his hand like fire. As the
blood soused him, a little bird sang.

"It is almost as if that little bird was speaking to me," he said,
pausing and looking up into the trees. "Can it be the Dragon's burning
blood has some virtue which makes me understand the bird's song?"

"Siegfried now owns all the Nibelung's hoard which lies hidden in the
cave. There will be found the Tarnhelm and the ring, which will give
him power over all the earth," so the bird sang, and Siegfried
understood.

"I thank thee, dear birdling, for thy counsel. I shall follow thy
call." He turned toward the cave and entered it in search of the
treasures. At that moment, the Mime came into the glade, and Alberich,
in the dark of the cavern's mouth, slipped out past Siegfried, and the
Mime and he came face to face, while the dead Dragon lay between them.


_Scene III_

"Thou sly and slippery knave," Alberich began pleasantly to address
the Mime; "thou wouldst have the ring and the gold, eh?" He glared
viciously at the little imp of Nibelheim.

The Mime tried to pacify the evil creature, but Alberich, who had
waited long, would listen to nothing. Before they could fall
a-fighting, however, Siegfried came from the cave bearing the ring and
the Tarnhelm.

He slipped the ring upon his finger and hung the Tarnhelm at his belt.

"I know not what these things are for," he murmured to himself, "but I
have taken them because the little bird gave me that advice." Unseen
behind him, Alberich slipped into the cave to fetch the treasure. At
that same moment the little bird sang:

"Let Siegfried wait to see what the Mime will do. Listen and learn and
have a care."

"Good!" the youth cried. "I am the one to take advice." As the Mime
approached him, Siegfried stood steadily, one foot upon the knoll
where the Dragon had lain, and watched the imp.

"Ah, my lovely boy, hast thou now learned to fear?" he said, in an
ingratiating tone.

"Not yet, Mime!" Siegfried said, seriously.

"Well, at least thou art weary, so drink of this and rest a while,"
and the Mime drew forth his bottled broth. "It will give thee new
courage." But Siegfried, filled with loathing for the little man,
felled him with a single stroke of his sword. Thus the Mime was slain,
as Wotan had said, by one who knew no fear.

After that, the youth picked up the Mime's body and threw it into the
cave where the treasure lay still, and with a great effort he tugged
at the Dragon's body till he had rolled it near, and in turn he dumped
the Dragon into the cavern. After looking down into the darkness, he
sighed and turned back to the green glade.

"I am truly tired," he said. "I think I can now stretch myself beneath
this tree and rest." So saying he laid himself down and turned his
face to the sky.

"Ah, little birdling," he said, "Here am I, so lonely, without father
nor mother nor any one to love me. I wish thy clear voice would speak
again to me and tell me of some fond friend." The bird trilled:

[Music]

"Thou hast great treasure and power from this time forth; still thou
art not happy without love and one to share thy fortune. I will tell
thee then of a lovely bride who lies guarded round by fire in a rocky
forest fastness. She sleeps and waits for one who shall dare the
flames for love. The glorious maiden's name is Brünnhilde."

"Oh, song of joy," Siegfried cried, starting up. "Now indeed thou hast
made me happy."

"Only he who has never known fear may wake her," the little bird sang.

"Have no fear, dear bird. I have known no fear and Brünnhilde shall be
mine. Lead on, lead on, dear bird. Lead me to the rock where this dear
maid lies and I shall know no fear." The little bird rose beside him,
and circling a few times above his head, took a straight flight and
led the way while Siegfried followed.


ACT III

While Siegfried was on his way, led by the little bird, the Wanderer
was seeking Erda, who had given to him Brünnhilde and his eight other
warrior daughters. Erda was Wisdom, and the Wanderer sought her at the
base of a wild and rock-made mountain. It was night and a storm was
roaring all about. Wotan arrived at the mouth of a cave and called
"Erda!"

"Waken," he cried, "I must waken thee from thy long sleep." The bluish
light shone steadily and slowly Erda rose. She was covered with hoar
frost and her iridescent garment shimmered as if made of ice.

"Erda, a youth has been found who knows no fear. He has slain Fafner.
He is governed only by love, and I am about to resign my Godhood in
his favour. Wisdom has been sleeping and the Gods have lost their
power. Wisdom and the Gods must at last give way to love." Having
heard this, Erda slowly sank back to her sleep. Wotan, the Wanderer,
leaned gravely against the face of the rock, waiting for Siegfried.
Suddenly a little bird fluttered along, dropped to the ground, and
disappeared.

Siegfried, coming up afterward, saw the flight and disappearance of
his birdling, so knew that his journey was ended and that Brünnhilde
was near.


_Scene II_

"I must find the burning rock, without further help," he said. "I
think the little bird would not have gone, if it had not left me very
near the place." He looked impatiently about, and went toward the
mountain. In passing the Wanderer, who stood watching him, he paused
and asked which way he should take.

"Is there not a rock surrounded by flames, near by? And is there not a
maiden?" He told the Wanderer his story; and as the old man did not
speak, Siegfried became curious to know who he was. He looked closely
into his face, questioned him about his queer hat, and suddenly saw
that the strange old man had but one eye. He mocked at him, in his
youth and strength.

Wotan, being a God and truly loving Siegfried, spoke gently to him,
but the youth was defiant and mocked him again. The Wanderer became
enraged and declared that Siegfried should never pass the flames that
divided him from Brünnhilde.

"It is only he who fears naught," the God cried. "Look and say if thou
art he," He pointed his spear toward the mountain top and the flames
broke forth, burning fiercely.

"Ah," Siegfried cried; "it is there the lovely Brünnhilde sleeps!
Farewell, old man. I go to waken her and claim my bride." But the
Wanderer again halted the youth.

"That sword of thine has once been broken on my spear. I shall break
it again, wild boy. No sword has ever yet withstood the shock of my
spear. Thou canst not go!" He plunged his spear to bar Siegfried's
way, but Siegfried stepped back and regarded him closely.

"If this sword of mine has once been broken on thy spear, then thou
art the destroyer of my father--for this sword is Nothung. Thus, with
one blow I avenge him." So saying, he struck once at the Wanderer's
spear, and shattered it. The Wanderer stepped back, knowing then that
the end of the Eternals was at hand. Thunder crashed and lightning
splintered across the sky and sprung from the spear to the
mountain-top.

Presently, the flaming mountain height seemed to descend nearer to
Siegfried, and putting his horn to his lips he blew a great blast and
plunged into the fire.

He was soon out of sight, but gradually the fire died down, and the
red cloud hovering over all became less lurid in its reflection.
Gradually the cloud dissolved till naught was left but a beautiful
rosy mist. With the passing of the mist, Brünnhilde could be seen,
still lying on the mound where Wotan had laid her, and she was still
covered with her helmet and the beautiful shining shield.


_Scene III_

The fir tree spread itself above Brünnhilde, and she shone in her
brilliant armour. Siegfried rose above a mound, and stood looking at
her, spellbound. Near at hand, he saw a beautiful steed, standing as
if asleep: it was Grane, who had been enchanted along with his
mistress.

Gently lifting Brünnhilde's shield he thought himself to be gazing
upon a young man.

"I think his helmet must press too heavily upon his brow!" Siegfried
murmured, and lifted it. The beautiful hair of Brünnhilde streamed
down, and Siegfried paused in admiration; but still he thought her a
man.

"I think his armour presses," he whispered. "I will lift it." He
carefully cut the fastenings with his sword and lifting the
breast-plate he saw the form of Brünnhilde lying shrouded in the soft
folds of her gown. She was so beautiful that at last he was afraid.

"Oh, how shall I awaken her?" he cried, and stooping he kissed her
lips, as she opened her eyes. At the same moment, Grane, the horse,
moved and began quietly to graze.

Brünnhilde looked about her, saw her dear horse, and the sun and the
glory of the day, and lastly beheld Siegfried who had delivered her
from the enchantment of Wotan.

"Is it thou who hast gone through flame for me?" she asked.

"It is I who will guard thee forever," he cried, embracing her
tenderly. Knowing that she loved him, the only fear he had ever known,
vanished. Thus mortal love overthrew the powers of evil, and of the
Gods, as well.


NIBELUNG RING

FOURTH DAY

THE DUSK OF THE GODS

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Norns (3).
Fricka.
Brünnhilde.
Gutrune.
Waltraute.
Siegfried }
Gunther   } Nibelungen.
Hagen     }
Wotan.
Donner.
Alberich.
Woglinde.
Wellgunde.
Flosshilde.


PROLOGUE

On the Valkyries' rock, where Siegfried woke Brünnhilde, the Norns
were gathering. The first Norn was old and tall and lay where
Brünnhilde had lain--under the spreading fir tree. The second was
younger and also tall, and she was stretched upon a rock in front of
the cave. The third was the youngest, and she, too, was tall, and she
sat upon a rock below the mountain peak, and all were clothed in dark
and veil-like draperies.

They were Erda's daughters, and were called the Fates. Behind them
shone the firelight which guarded the rock and it flared fitfully
above the peaks.

The first Norn unwound from her waist a golden rope and tied one end
of it to a branch of the fir tree. While one wove into this rope the
destinies of the world, another clipped it, and the three sang the
story of creation. They sang of the ash tree, of Wotan and the
Eternals; and as they sang they threw the rope from branch to branch,
weaving and clipping, weaving and clipping. They sang the story of
Brünnhilde, of the Rheingold, of all the strife in the world, and of
the destinies of the Gods and mortals.

After a while the dawn began to glow, the sun to rise, and the
fire-glow behind the mountain to die out.

On the Third Day, Brünnhilde and Siegfried had entered the cave; then
when the sun rose and night was dispelled, they came out, Siegfried
dressed in Brünnhilde's armour and Brünnhilde leading her good horse,
Grane.

"Now, I must be gone and do valorous deeds, dear Brünnhilde,"
Siegfried said to her. Taking the Nibelung ring from his finger, he
put it upon hers. "Keep thou this ring and thou art all powerful and
it shall keep our faith, truly."

In return Brünnhilde gave him her horse, Grane.

"Once he mounted above the clouds while now he can only pace the
earth; but that he will do bravely for thee, my Siegfried," she
assured him. The parting was full of promises and love for each other.
Siegfried and Grane disappeared below the cliff, while Brünnhilde,
standing upon a little mountain height, looked down at them and bade
Siegfried a loving farewell.


ACT I

While Siegfried was on his way to search for the glory suited to such
a hero, a banquet was being held in the hall of the Gibichungs, a
race of mortals living on the banks of the river Rhein.

Gunther and his sister Gutrune were the rulers, and they sat upon a
rude throne, side by side, while the banquet table was spread before
them.

At one side sat Hagen, the half brother of Gunther, half a
Nibelung--in short, the son of Alberich. Through the great door of the
hall could be seen a green field stretching away to the bank of the
Rhein.

"Tell me, Hagen," Gunther asked of his half brother, "is there
anything I have left undone that could enhance the fortunes of my
race?"

"That there is," Hagen cried. "Dost thou not know of the Nibelungs'
ring?"

"I have heard there is a treasure stolen from the Rhein-daughters; and
that of it a ring was made, which has magic power."

"That is true; but the ring belongs to a wonderful youth, who by its
power hath won a beautiful maiden called Brünnhilde. She lay in an
enchanted sleep, in a forest-fastness, guarded by fire. This youth,
Siegfried, alone, by means of this ring and his sword, has dared that
flame; and now he has power over all the world, over thee and the
Nibelungs, and even over the Gods."

Upon hearing this, Gunther became moody and frowning.

"Why hast thou stirred up envy in my breast. Why should this youth
have the most beautiful maiden for a wife, and also a golden treasure
that gives him power over us all?"

"Why not have these things for thyself?" Hagen asked, eyeing him
keenly.

"How could I manage that?"

"Dost thou remember a magic potion I brought here to the hall of the
Gibichungs? If Siegfried should chance to drink that when our sister
Gutrune were in his sight, he would forget Brünnhilde and love none
but Gutrune. Would not the ring and the treasure of the Rhein thus
come into the hands of the Gibichungs?" Gutrune looked earnestly at
Hagen.

"From what thou sayest of this brave youth, I long to have him for my
husband; but he is not here! How are we to lure him hither?"

"He is an adventurous youth and hath heard of the fame of the
Gibichungs. He will not rest until he has met with all the adventure
the Gibichungs can afford him. Even now, he may be near this place."
As Hagen spoke, the sound of Siegfried's horn was heard afar off.

"Ah, dost hear the challenge?" cried Hagen, running to the broad
entrance from which could be seen the river Rhein. "There comes a
horse and a man, standing in a boat which nears the shore. It must be
he, because he is beautiful as none other is beautiful, and he wears
the air of a brave man." Putting his hands to his mouth in the fashion
of a trumpet he called loudly:

"Hoi-ho! Whom seekest thou, hero?"

"The stalwart son of the Gibichung."

"A welcome waits thee," Hagen answered. Siegfried could now be seen,
disembarking with his horse, Grane. Hagen went to help him and made
the boat's chain fast. Gunther followed his brother to the bank, while
Gutrune stood in the great entrance to welcome the stranger.


_Scene II_

"Which is the son of the Gibich?" Siegfried asked, standing with his
arm thrown across his horse.

"I am he, Siegfried," Gunther answered.

"Thy fame as a fighter has spread to the farthest corners of the earth
and I am come to seek thee. Fight me, or be my friend, whichever thou
wilt," he said, tranquilly. Gunther held out his hand in welcome:

"Come thou in friendship, Siegfried," he begged; and Siegfried gave
Grane's bridle into Hagen's hand.

"Care well for the horse, Hagen; for it is of the mightiest strain
ever known, and dear to me as my eyes; but how do you know my name?"
he asked curiously of Gunther.

"Thou hast the appearance of that bold knight of whom all have heard.
There can be no braver in the world, and if thou art not he I know not
who thou art," Gunther answered, and, unseen by Siegfried, he motioned
his sister to leave the hall before they entered it.

"These lands and people are mine," he continued, leading the way.
"This great hall is my heritage, and my kinsmen are legion. I give all
to you; share all with me. Let us dwell together in peace." At this
saying a beautiful light came into Siegfried's face.

"I have neither kinsmen nor lands," he answered, much moved; "but I
have this good sword, Nothung, which I forged myself and it, with my
life, shall be thine." Thus they made a compact of brotherhood.

"Dost thou not own the treasure of the Nibelungen, then?" Hagen asked.

"True, but when I won it I let all but the ring and the Tarnhelm lie.
I cared naught for the gold." He held up the Tarnhelm for them to see.

"Aye, 'tis the Tarnhelm!" Hagen cried. "Thou hast only to set it on
thy head to be transformed into what thou wilt. Put it on thy head and
wish it so, and thou wilt be transported in a trice to other lands.
But there is also the ring----"

"Aye," Siegfried said tenderly; "but that is held by a woman," Hagen
and Gunther looked at each other, meaningly, for they knew he spoke of
Brünnhilde.

"Brother, call Gutrune to bring Siegfried a refreshing drink," Hagen
said, and Gunther opening the door called to his sister who came out
and offered the magic drink to the knight.

No sooner had he drunk, than he raised his eyes to thank Gutrune and
beholding her, loved her.

"I drink to thee, dear Brünnhilde," he had been about to say, but
looking, he loved another.

"What is thy sister's name?" he asked of Gunther in a low voice,
scarcely daring to speak for fear his love would depart.

"Gutrune."

"I must have her for my wife. Hast thou not a wife, Gunther--why hast
thou none?" he said, not waiting for one question to be answered
before asking another.

"Alas, I have no wife because I have set my heart on one I may not
have. I long for Brünnhilde, the Valkyrie maid who lies surrounded by
fire--and I may not cross the flame."

"What! Is that thy only reason for being lonely? Then thou shalt have
thy Brünnhilde. If Gutrune may be mine, I will win thy Brünnhilde for
thee. Wearing the Tarnhelm I shall change my shape to thine, and as
thy brother go through fire for thee and bring forth the maid."

"Ah," the Gibichung cried, joyfully; "our oath of brotherhood upon
that! Gutrune shall be thine, thou ours, Brünnhilde mine."

Thus it was agreed. Hagen filled a drinking horn, while the two men
cut their arms and let their blood mingle in the cup. Having drunk,
they swore fidelity in the drink, and Hagen cut the horn in two with a
single blow, while Siegfried and Gunther joined hands.

Putting on his armour again, Siegfried declared they should at once go
forth and win Brünnhilde for Gunther.

"Wilt thou not rest, first?"

So eager was the enchanted Siegfried to win for another his own bride
that he would take no rest till it was done; so Hagen was left to
guard the hall till their return. Soon Gunther and the knight were
pushing off from the river bank, and floating down the middle of the
stream.

Hagen, the half Gibichung, half Nibelung, thought of nothing but
winning the Rheingold for the Nibelungs. He had sent Gunther after
another's bride, by means of an evil enchantment, and when she was
brought to the hall, she would certainly be wearing the ring. Thus the
prize of the Nibelungen would once more be within the grasp of an evil
race, and that which might be a power for good if rightly used, would
become a power for evil and be badly abused.


_Scene III_

While Siegfried and Gunther were on their way to fetch Brünnhilde, she
sat lonely upon her rock, looking at the ring given her by Siegfried.
As long as she looked upon it, she felt Siegfried to be near;
nevertheless she was lonely. Very soon she heard the thunder.

"It is Donner! It is like a greeting to me from the Eternals," she
thought, smiling half sadly. Once again she heard it and saw the flash
of lightning. In the clouds, she saw Waltraute, her sister, coming on
her winged horse, and Brünnhilde started up joyfully.

"Wotan has forgiven me," she cried, running to meet Waltraute, who
arrived in great excitement.

"Brünnhilde, I have braved the war-father's wrath to beg thee to save
the Eternals," she cried. "Since the day of thine enchantment Wotan
has sent us no more to the battle-field for heroes. He has roamed over
all the earth, till he is known as the Wanderer. One day he returned
to Walhall with his spear broken, and he ordered the ash tree to be
hewn in pieces and its splinters piled about Walhall. Then he summoned
all our heroes about him, mounted the throne with his broken spear in
his hand, and while we Valkyries crouched at his feet, he closed his
eyes and seemed to wait for calamity to overwhelm us.

"At last in despair I threw myself upon his breast and demanded to
know our fate. He told me that the Nibelungs' ring was now yours, and
that should you restore it to the Rhein-daughters, the Eternals would
once more be given back their life and youth, and all would be well
with the world. Now I have fled to thee to beg thee to save us by
restoring the ring."

At that, Brünnhilde looked at her sister sorrowfully. "The ring given
me by Siegfried? Nay! I will never give up my ring. So hasten back to
Walhall, sister. I cannot aid thee." Sadly embracing the despairing
Valkyrie, Brünnhilde parted from her.

Mounting her winged horse, Waltraute rose among the clouds whose
bright effulgence was watched sadly by Brünnhilde, till with the last
sight of the Valkyrie, the evening closed in and the fire which
guarded the beautiful maid began to be reflected again from below.
Soon the flames seemed to leap with anger, and Brünnhilde watched the
strange sight with anxiety. Suddenly she heard a call. It was
Siegfried's. She ran to the edge of the cliff to look below, and
almost instantly he appeared, rushing to her through the flames which
immediately grew dull. The knight wore the Tarnhelm, but it hid only
the half of his face, and his eyes were visible. His form was strange
to Brünnhilde because he had changed into the image of Gunther, and
when she looked at the unknown figure she shrieked. Then she
whispered:

"Who cometh?" At first Siegfried stood motionless, leaning upon his
spear. Then he said in a strange voice:

"I am a Gibichung come to wed thee." This made Brünnhilde frantic with
terror, and to protect herself she stretched out the hand which wore
the ring.

"Go back," she cried, but Siegfried in the guise of Gunther tore the
ring from her, and after that she had no more strength to fly from
him, so seizing her he carried her away to the hall of the Gibichungs.


ACT II

Back at the home of the Gibichungs sat Hagen, awaiting the return of
Gunther and Siegfried. Altars to Fricka, Donner, and Wotan were raised
upon the Rhein, ready for sacrifices to be offered, when Gunther
should return with Brünnhilde for his bride.

Toward evening, Hagen sat just inside the entrance hall asleep and
leaning upon his spear, his shield beside him. When the bright moon
rose above the river, Alberich could be seen crouching at Hagen's
knees, whispering evil dreams to him.

"Thou art my son," he said, "and must win back the Rheingold for the
Nibelungen"; and in his dreams, Hagen promised to follow the counsel.
Then the moon's light was hidden, and in the darkness Alberich
disappeared. When he had gone, the dawn broke. Hagen woke and looked
out upon the peacefully flowing Rhein.


_Scene II_

As the Rhein grew redder and redder in the morning light, Hagen heard
Siegfried's call and, all at once, the knight's head rose above the
river's bank. He still wore the Tarnhelm upon his head, but appeared
in his own shape.

"Waken and greet me, Hagen!" he cried gaily.

"Where are Brünnhilde and Gunther?" Hagen called, going to meet
Siegfried.

"They follow, more slowly, in the boat. When I called to thee just
now, I was miles away--at Brünnhilde's rock; but with the Tarnhelm
upon my head, I arrived before thou couldst answer. Where is the
beautiful Gutrune?"

"She will come at once to hear thy tale and to greet thee." Hagen
called to her, and she appeared to learn of Brünnhilde's coming with
her brother. She looked shyly at Siegfried.

"Let us call all to the wedding and greet Brünnhilde gaily, that she
may be glad to dwell with us, and not sigh for her mountain rock," she
cried; and Siegfried, taking her hand, went with her to prepare the
feast.

Meanwhile, Hagen, watching from a high rock, blew upon his cow-horn as
he saw a boat slowly coming up the river bearing Gunther and
Brünnhilde.


_Scene III_

"Ho! Vassals! Come! Hither come ye with your arms!" he shouted,
blowing again a sharp blast upon the horn. In response the warriors of
Gunther began to pour from the hall, and to run in great excitement to
the river-bank.

"What do we gather for? Whom shall we fight? Is our Lord, Gunther, in
danger?"

"He comes hither with a Valkyrie maid, and ye are to make sacrifices
to the Gods. Kill ye a boar for Froh, a goat for Donner, and for
Fricka kill a sheep. After ye have done those things, take the
drinking horns and drink yourselves drunk in honour of the Gods."

The vassals went, some of them to the river's bank to receive Gunther
and Brünnhilde, some to the hall to await their coming, and to welcome
them upon its threshold.

"If any one has done your Lord's bride wrong, see that ye avenge her,"
Hagen forewarned. He was already beginning to stir up strife for
Siegfried in accordance with Alberich's advice.


_Scene IV_

Clashing their shields and arms together, the vassals formed a line
through which Brünnhilde and Gunther should pass, and when the boat
reached the landing place all cried "Hail!" But Hagen stood silently
watching, planning Siegfried's ruin.

When the pair stepped ashore, Brünnhilde walked with eyes cast down,
full of despair and sorrow, while Gunther led her by the hand.

They reached the hall, where Siegfried and Gutrune stood to welcome
them, and the men hailed each other as brother. Gunther rejoiced that
Siegfried had won Gutrune for his wife, but Brünnhilde raised her eyes
to the knight, and beholding her own husband, the hero knight, she
gave a great cry:

"Siegfried here?" She became distracted with horror. But Siegfried did
not know her, and all her entreaties were in vain, since he was still
enchanted by the potion.

Suddenly the Valkyrie maid saw the Nibelungen ring upon Siegfried's
finger, and she pointed to it, trembling. Gunther, astounded by her
appearance, touched her.

"Regard thy husband, Brünnhilde," he commanded; but instead of heeding
him, she pointed to the knight.

"He is my husband," she cried, and Hagen at once demanded that all
should give heed to what she might say. He foresaw the downfall of
Siegfried, in her words.

"The one who won me, wore that ring," she said, pointing to it with
shaking hand. "He was the image of Gunther, then, and he took the ring
from me." Gunther looked at Siegfried and frowned while all stared at
the men and at Brünnhilde in amazement.

"It was he who wrenched the ring from me," she declared, pointing to
Gunther, "yet it is this knight who wears it." Gunther denied having
given or taken from her the ring, and Siegfried declared she did not
speak the truth. Gunther feared to have it known that he had not dared
the flame himself, for his bride, and yet he feared Siegfried had
betrayed his honour. There was confusion among the spectators who said
among themselves:

"Whose wife can Brünnhilde be?" But Siegfried, having quite forgotten
the woman he so dearly loved, declared that he had got the ring he
wore from no woman, but had taken it from a dragon, whom he attacked
in his lair, and killed. This was true, of course, but it was also
true that he had given the ring to Brünnhilde and under a wicked
enchantment had taken it away.

Hagen spoke next, seeing a chance to gain the ring for the Nibelungs:

"Brünnhilde, thou sayest it was Gunther who wooed thee, and that it
was he who took the ring from thee? Since that is true, Siegfried has
won the ring by some false deed. It must have been Siegfried who came
to thee in the guise of Gunther."

At this all the vassals murmured, and Gunther began to feel
resentment, notwithstanding the part he had played in the deception.
Brünnhilde wildly accused them both, and everybody cried out against
Siegfried, Gutrune, too, accusing him. All the women called upon the
knight to defend himself if he could, but he called for the spear's
point on which to take an oath. When Hagen presented the spear to him,
the knight laid his two fingers upon it and swore that he had been a
faithful friend to Gunther, and that Brünnhilde's words were false.
Brünnhilde, thus wronged, struck his hand from the spear and placing
her own upon it, swore that Siegfried should die by that same spear's
point.

By this time the quarrel had waxed so hot that the vassals and women
called upon Donner to send his thunder, to silence it.

In the midst of the threats and confusion, Siegfried went close to
Gunther and said aside:

"Brother, I am sorrier than thou art for all this, but it must have
been the fault of the Tarnhelm which must have hidden only half of me.
Thus, Brünnhilde cannot know whose wife she really is. But thou
knowest well, that I won her for thee, and have no love for any but
Gutrune. Come, let's be gay, and leave this poor girl to rest, so
that she may recover herself. Like enough it is the strangeness of
this place, after her wild, free life in her mountains, that gives her
these uncanny thoughts."

Gunther, convinced by Siegfried's words, joined him in urging all to
make gay upon this day of double marriage, and finally they followed
Siegfried out into the forest, shouting and laughing, to feast and
make sacrifices.


_Scene V_

Brünnhilde, Gunther, and Hagen remained in the hall after Siegfried
had been followed out by the company, and the Valkyrie stood, gloomily
bewailing her fate; till Hagen, watching fate work Siegfried's ruin,
went at last to the unhappy wife.

"Give me thy trust, Brünnhilde," he said; "I will avenge thy wrongs."

"How wilt thou avenge me? One glance of Siegfried's eye would kill
thee, if he so willed it." she answered, looking at Hagen darkly. "No
weapon can pierce him in battle: I enchanted him against all
danger--except some one thrust at him from behind. In the back I did
not guard him. I would not protect him in cowardice, but Siegfried
will never turn his back upon the enemy. Thou canst not kill him in
battle."

Gunther then began to bemoan his disgrace; but Brünnhilde turned upon
him.

"Oh, thou most cowardly of men--betrayed and betrayer! If I dealt
justice, the whole world's destruction could not pay for the wrong
done me."

"Naught but Siegfried's death can wipe out the wrong," Hagen cried,
watching Brünnhilde as he spoke. "Since he cannot be killed in battle,
listen to my plan! To-morrow we hunt in honour of the weddings of
Gutrune and the knight, Gunther and thee. While in the chase, and
Siegfried all unsuspecting, I shall thrust at him from behind."

"So let it be," Brünnhilde cried, and Gunther, too cowardly to know
the right, consented. With the morrow's tragedy arranged Hagen saw the
way at last to possess himself of the Nibelungen ring.

As they decided upon the deed, the bridal procession came from the
inner hall. All the vassals and women bore spears and flowers. Gutrune
and Siegfried were carried aloft, upon shields, and as Brünnhilde and
Gunther met them, they too, were hoisted high and the procession moved
onward, toward the altars on the river's bank, where they were to
offer sacrifices unto the Gods.


ACT III

[Music]

Three days had passed since the Rhein-daughters had lost their golden
treasure, and on the fourth they were swimming near the surface of the
river, popping their heads up and calling to each other, when they
heard the sound of the Gibichung hunters. Fearing to be caught by
mortals, they dived to the bottom of the Rhein. No sooner had they
disappeared than Siegfried came into the wood, armed for the hunt. He
had lost his way, having followed his game, far from the others, and
as he began to complain that he had that day got no game, the
Rhein-daughters rose again to the surface and mocked him.

"If we grant thee some game to-day, wilt thou give us that ring upon
thy finger?" they called to him.

"What! In return for a paltry bearskin give to you a ring which I
gained in battling with the Dragon?" he laughed, "nay."

"Ah, maybe thou hast a scold for a wife, who would make thee feel her
blows if thou gavest away the ring." This tormenting reply annoyed
Siegfried and finally he took off the ring and held it up to them,
offering it if they would cease to deride him. Then they regarded him
gravely.

"Keep that ring," they said, "till thou hast tasted the ill-fate that
goes with it; after that thou wilt gladly give it to us. Now thou art
parting with it, reluctantly." So Siegfried replaced the ring on his
finger.

"Tell me the ring's secret, wilt thou?" he asked, and the maidens told
him that it was accursed, and that very day, even while he thought
himself so safe and fortunate, his death was determined.

Upon hearing this, Siegfried became troubled and told them to hold
their peace. So they swam away, while he stood watching them,
reflecting gravely, till he heard Hagen's horn sound through the
forest.


_Scene II_

Hearing Hagen's horn, Siegfried wound his own in reply, and soon
Hagen, followed by Gunther and his vassals, entered the glade and
flung their game in a great heap.

"Ah, this is where thou hast hidden thyself?" Hagen cried, gaily.
"Come, let us all rest a while," and he threw himself down upon the
ground. "The chase has wearied us, so let us have the wine-skins and
drink heartily."

"I shall have to share your booty, if I am to eat," Siegfried laughed,
"for I have had no luck to-day. I might have found game, but I
followed the water-birds and heard from them a tale of disaster. It
seems that I am to meet my death to-day." Hagen and Gunther started
and looked meaningly at each other. Siegfried, all unsuspecting, threw
himself down between Hagen and Gunther to drink his wine, and
presently, seeing Gunther downcast, he sat up and began to while the
time by telling tales of his youth--how he had lived with the Mime;
how he had forged his good sword Nothung. After he had told about
Fafner the Dragon, Hagen interrupted him and bade him drink again.
Then he gave Siegfried a horn of wine, into which he had unnoticed
poured another potion, which was to disenchant the knight. As in a
dream, Siegfried's memory returned. He told of slaying the Dragon, and
then of the little bird who directed him to a beautiful maiden who
slept upon a rock, surrounded by fire.

"It was Brünnhilde," he cried, joyfully; "I waked her and made her
mine." At this saying, all the company roused themselves and regarded
each other with troubled looks. Siegfried had confirmed the story that
Brünnhilde had told.

At that moment two ravens, which Wotan had sent out from Walhall to
learn the time when the doom of the Eternals had come, flew from a
thicket near by, and Siegfried raised himself up to watch them. He
turned his back to Hagen, and instantly the warrior plunged his sword
into the knight's back and Siegfried fell dead.

There was a frightful outcry then from all, and Gunther, remembering
the truth, knowing that Siegfried had been betrayed by magic, and had
believed himself to be serving Gunther without harm, felt remorse and
knelt beside the body. Hagen turned away and went into the hills,
while the vassals gathered about, prepared to take the body to the
hall of the Gibichungs. As the funeral procession moved off, to the
measure of wonderful music, the moon rose, its light flooded all the
valley, and touched the corpse.

Back at the hall, Gutrune had risen from sleep, believing she heard
some strange, threatening sound. First she went to Brünnhilde's door,
but she appeared to be asleep. Next she went to the entrance of the
great hall and listened, but she heard nothing; then after a little
she saw Hagen, wearing a fearful look, coming from the river's bank.
Something in her heart told her that a dreadful thing had happened.

"What misfortune has come to Siegfried?" she cried.

"They come--bearing his body," Hagen answered, looking upon the
ground.


_Scene III_

After Hagen, came the men bearing the body, and when Gutrune saw it,
she shrieked and fell upon it.

"Who hath done this wicked thing?" she shrieked, and Hagen looked at
Gunther.

"Nay," said Gunther, shaking his head angrily, "do not look at me. It
was not I who did this. It was that accursed man," and he pointed to
Hagen. Already the fight for the ring, in the hall of the Gibichungs
was beginning to divide brothers. "May grief and ill-fate be thine,
forever!"

"Well," said Hagen, "I admit the deed, and now I claim my
heritage--the ring of the Nibelungen!" He tried to take the ring from
the dead man's finger.

"Never shalt thou have it," Gutrune cried, flinging herself upon him.

"Away! What I have won, thou shalt ne'er make thine!" Gunther shouted.
"Dost think to grasp Gutrune's dower?" The two men fell a-fighting;
and Hagen, piercing Gunther's breast, sprang aside, while Gunther fell
dead. Instantly Hagen leaped toward Siegfried's body to snatch the
ring; but slowly, slowly the dead hand was raised threateningly, and
Gutrune shrieked out.

Brünnhilde, who now appeared, advanced toward the corpse, solemnly.

"Do ye who have betrayed me, now think to make that which is mine your
own?" she asked, looking at the company contemptuously, and speaking
in a grave voice. "Thou wert no wife of his," she said to Gutrune.
"Naught that was his is thine." Gutrune looked steadily at Brünnhilde,
and believing that she spoke the truth, she crouched down beside her
brother's body, and did not move again. Brünnhilde's appearance was so
noble that her word convinced everybody and more than that,
Siegfried's story and his last cry had told them the truth.

"Now," said Brünnhilde to the vassals, "bring great logs and heap them
high beside the river Rhein. There shalt Siegfried's body find a tomb.
Bring, too, his steed, and let it await me, here." While Brünnhilde
knelt beside Siegfried's beloved body, the men heaped up the logs and
the women strewed the top of the pile with garlands. The vassals came
for Siegfried's body and as they lifted it, Brünnhilde drew the ring
from his finger.

"There, ye sorrowing Rhein maidens, I give ye back this accursed
ring," she cried. "Give heed, ye wayward sisters; this ring which has
brought so much sorrow to Gods and men, shall now become yours. I thus
restore the Rheingold to its owners. I place the ring upon my finger,
and when I have leaped into the flames beside my Siegfried, the ring
shall be purged by fire from all the stains that have come upon it
since it was so wrongfully come by. Take the ring from amid the ashes,
and return with it to your water-home." She flung a great brand upon
the heap of wood where Siegfried's body lay, and immediately two
ravens flew from the heap.

"Go thou, ye ravens, to Walhall, and tell Wotan what ye have seen. The
end of Godhood is near. Then go to the rock where Loge burneth and
tell him to go to Walhall." The ravens flew away, while the flames
leaped about Siegfried. Turning to the horse, Grane, and putting her
hand lovingly upon him, Brünnhilde took off his bridle. "Now,
Siegfried, we join thee," she cried, and giving her great war-cry,
Brünnhilde sprang upon the horse, and together they leaped upon the
burning bier. Instantly the flames roared and flared high and seemed
to seize upon the Hall of the Gibichungs, while all the company fled,
crowding close together. When the fire was at its worst, the river
Rhein overflowed its banks and rolled upon the land, extinguishing the
flames. On the waves, the three Rhein-daughters swam and hovered over
the place where the bodies were. Hagen, who saw before him the loss of
the ring, became frantic with despair, so he rushed into the flood, to
wrench the treasure from the maidens, but Woglinde and Wellgunde
threw their arms about him, dragged him down into the depths, and swam
away with him.

Flosshilde, having found the ring, swam before them, holding up the
prize triumphantly. A great bank of clouds had piled up beyond the
river, and soon this began to glow, as if with fire. The Rhein
returned to its natural bed, while the maidens swam once more happily
in its waters. The Hall of the Gibichungs had been destroyed, and all
the vassals and women had crowded together, watching the scene with
horror and wonderment. As the fiery clouds glowed more and more
brightly, the Palace of the Gods appeared, and the inner courts of
Walhall could be seen, brightly lighted by the fire which was
consuming it. Wotan and the Eternals sat within, surrounded by the
heroes and the Valkyries. All awaited the flames without resistance,
and as the Gibichungs looked, Loge, the spirit of flame, seized upon
everything and the Eternals were seen no more.


THE MASTERSINGERS OF NUREMBERG

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Hans Sachs, shoemaker         }
Veit Pogner, goldsmith        }
Kunz Vogelgesang, furrier     }
Konrad Nachtigal, tinsmith    }
Sixtus Beckmesser, town clerk }
Fritz Kothner, baker          }
Balthasar Zorn, pewterer      } Mastersingers.
Ulrich Eisslinger, grocer     }
Augustin Moser, tailor        }
Hermann Ortel, soap boiler    }
Hans Schwarz, stocking weaver }
Hans Foltz, coppersmith       }
Walther von Stolzing, a young knight from Franconia.
David, Sachs's apprentice.
Eva, Pogner's daughter.
Magdalene, Eva's nurse.
Night Watchman.

Burghers, women of all guilds, journeymen, apprentices, girls, and
people.

The action takes place in Nuremberg about the middle of the sixteenth
century.

Composer: Richard Wagner.


ACT I

Four hundred years ago in Nuremberg there was a great rivalry among
the townsmen, as to who was the best singer. Indeed, in the history of
this great yearly competition, some had become so noted for their
excellence, that in a spirit of fairness they had almost ceased to
compete. There were twelve Mastersingers, and this number was to be
added to by future competitions. Among those who had removed
themselves from the contest (because his previous successes made it
unfair that he should continue) was Hans Sachs, the cobbler. Hans was
beloved by all, and had a spirit as well as a genius above his
fellows.

The prize for which the singers contended had hitherto been a sum of
money, given by the rich man of the city, one Veit Pogner, a
goldsmith, but upon the occasion we are about to describe he had
decided to make the prize far more precious. He agreed to give his
daughter Eva in marriage to the best singer, provided she could love
him; and if she could not love him, she was to live unmarried for the
rest of her days.

On the morning of the preliminary trial, when those qualified to enter
the real competition were to be chosen, the good folk of Nuremberg
were assembled in the church, singing the last hymn. Eva and her
nurse, Magdalene, were there and also the knight, Walther von
Stolzing, a newcomer in Nuremberg, greatly in love with Eva. She, too,
loved him, but it would have displeased her father had she been seen
speaking with the handsome stranger.

Upon that day, both the young people lingered after the others had
gone, in order to get speech together. All the time the hymn was being
sung, the two looked tenderly at each other, and these glances were
surprised by the devoted nurse, Magdalene. When the service was over,
and Eva was near the door, she pretended to have left her handkerchief
in her pew, and she sent Magdalene back to find it.

The lovers had but a minute together before Magdalene returned, so Eva
had to think of a new way to be rid of her.

"Where can my buckle be," she cried, looking about her. "I must have
left that as well"; and back Magdalene went the second time. She had
no sooner returned than Eva found she had forgotten her book, and back
the nurse went again, grumbling and declaring that Master Pogner would
be in a rage if he knew what was going on.

"Only promise that thou wilt marry me," Walther urged, while the nurse
was gone for the last time.

"Now what do you mean by standing there and talking love?" Magdalene
cried on her return, angry and half frightened, because she was
responsible for her nursling's conduct. "Don't you know, Sir Walther,
that Eva is to be given in marriage to the singer who shall this year
carry off the prize--otherwise she may not marry at all?"

"The prize? What does she mean?" he questioned, greatly agitated.

"It is for him who shall prove to be the best singer in Nuremberg."
The knight looked dejected.

"Can you not sing?" Eva asked anxiously.

"Alas, I do not know. I think not; I have never tried. What must I
sing?"

"A song that you have made yourself, Sir Knight; you must make both
rhyme and music yourself according to the rules of the Mastersingers."

"I fear I could never do it--unless I should be inspired by my love
for you. Alas! I fear we are lost unless your father can be persuaded
to change his mind."

"Nay, he cannot." Eva shook her head sadly, "He has given his word and
cannot break it. You must try to sing for love of me," she pleaded.

Walther was quite distracted at the prospect. Meantime, after the
church had become empty, David, the apprentice of Hans Sachs, came in
with a great piece of chalk stuck in his belt, and carrying a big
rule. Magdalene was quite in love with David, so that when Eva
appealed to her for help, she had turned her attention to the
apprentice.

"David, what are you doing there?" she cried, in order to give the
lovers a little more time.

"Doing? Why is it not weighty business to-day? The Mastersingers are
to have a trial of voices, to be sure. The pupil, whoever he may be,
whose voice is fine and whose composition breaks none of the rules
that govern those things is to be made free to enter for the prize;
and later, when the great festival of song is on, he may even become a
Mastersinger, himself."

"There, Sir Knight, is your opportunity! You must be the pupil. Eva,
we must be gone and leave Sir Walther to try for thee."

"Oh, heaven! I am all of a fright. I fear I shall never understand
what is expected of me," Walther cried distractedly.

"David here shall tell you, Sir Walther. Here, David, help this brave
gentleman all that you can. I wish it." She looked admonishment at
him.

"Tell him all the plan of the Mastersingers and how they will expect
him to conduct himself in the competition. Come, Eva." But Eva still
lingered. In came two other apprentices, bearing benches. Walther
watched those formidable preparations with uneasiness, walking up and
down the church in dismay.

"Good heaven! I am sure I cannot sing. I have never tried to sing. I
shall never be able to sing. Yet I must sing. What in the world can a
man do, in such a fix?"

"Well, well, do the best you can. David will instruct you, Sir
Knight," said Magdalene, and she hurried away with Eva, leaving the
poor knight alone with the apprentices.

These chaps came in thick and fast, bringing benches for the
Mastersingers to sit upon, and arranging everything in the church for
the trial of song. David kept watching Walther, who had flung himself
into a great ecclesiastical chair, and sat there brooding. After
observing him in silence for a time, David shouted:

"Begin," Walther started.

"What for?"

"Begin!"

"What for?"

"What for?--why that is how the Marker calls. You must then at once go
and sing. Don't you understand anything about this business?" he asked
in amazement.

"Who is the Marker?" Poor Walther asked, more and more bewildered.

"Were you never before at a singing trial?"

"Not where the judges were craftsmen," Walther answered. He was quite
certain if he knew anything about music, it could not be the kind that
shoe-makers, and boiler makers, and the like were acquainted with.

"Are you a poet?"

"I wish I were," Walther sighed dejectedly.

"Are you then a 'scholar'?"

"Lord, no, I think not--I don't know. What is a 'scholar?"

"Don't know that, and yet expect to become a Mastersinger!" David
cried, in amazement. "Well, now, let me tell you, Sir Knight, no one
gets to be a Mastersinger in a minute! For a full year, Hans Sachs,
our greatest master, has been teaching me the art, and I am not yet
even a 'scholar.'"

     Shoemaker's craft and Poet's art,
     Daily I learn by the heart.
       First, all the leather smooth I hammer,
       Consonants then, and vowels I stammer.
     Next must the thread be stiff with wax,
     Then I must learn it rhymes with Sachs.

David continued to tell of the difficulties of learning from a cobbler
how to become a Mastersinger, though the cobbler was one himself. By
the time David had finished telling Walther about the process of
shoemaking and music making, Walther threw up his hands in despair.

"Defend me from learning--the cobbler's trade," he cried, half
humorously, yet troubled.

"You must learn:

     The shortened, long, and over-long tones;
     The paper mode, the black-ink mode;
     The scarlet, blue, and verdant tones;
     The hawthorn bloom, strawhalm, fennel mode:
     The tender, the dulcet, the rosy tone;
     The passing passion, the forgotten tone;
     The rosemary, wallflower mode;
     The rainbow mode and the nightingale mode
     The English tin, the cinnamon mode,
     Fresh pomegranates, green linden-bloom mode;
     The lonely gormandizer mode,
     The skylark, the snail, the barking tone;
     And the honey flower, the marjoram mode;
     The lion's skin, true pelican mode,
     The bright glittering thread mode."

"Dreadful, dreadful," cried poor Walther. "What an endless medley of
tones!"

"Oh, those are only the titles; after that comes the singing--and it
has to be according to rules, remember."

Walther groaned. David at once outlined some of the rules; they
appeared quite hopeless.

"Why no one in the world could meet such demands, it is ridiculous."

"You had better not say so," David answered, significantly. "I want
you to know that the great Mastersingers of Nuremberg run this thing;
and it doesn't make any difference to anybody but you and Herr
Pogner's daughter whether you approve or not." At the mention of Eva,
Walther tried to control his feelings; he must try at least, the Lord
help him--to come out somewhere in the midst of all that shoemaker's
music of "modes" and "thread" and "buttons" and what-not!

By this time the apprentices had erected a small stage with a chair
and a desk upon it and a blackboard behind, with a piece of chalk
hanging from a long string upon the board, and all about that funny
arrangement were black curtains which could be drawn close.

"The Marker will let seven faults slip by," David explained to the
knight; but if he finds more than seven it is all over for the
candidate.

     So God save you from disaster,
     May you, to-day, be a master,

he wound up poetically.

Having finished their preparations, the apprentices began to dance
about in a ring. In the midst of the jollity in came Pogner from the
sacristy; also, Beckmesser, who was the town clerk and a singer who
believed in himself.

David took his place at the sacristy door, to let in the other
Mastersingers, and the other apprentices stood waiting before the
bench at back. Walther, sick to death through being teased by the
apprentices, had sat himself down on the very front seat, and there,
before all, was the dreaded Marker's seat. There was the great
"singing chair"--where the candidate was to sit while under trial.
Pogner stood talking with the town clerk, Beckmesser.

"Herr Pogner," the latter was saying, "I know what this prize is to
be, and I love your daughter with all my soul." Beckmesser, who was a
rather old and absurd chap, made a sentimental and dramatic gesture.
"I want to beg of you if there is any preference shown, that it be
shown to me."

"I cannot say there will be any favours shown, Beckmesser, but my plan
should serve you well. Eva is to go to the best singer--in case of
course that she loves him. She shall not be forced; and who sings so
well as you?"

"Yet, in certain respects, I am weak," Beckmesser murmured. "I should
like those weak points to be passed over." He was a foxy old fellow,
far too old for the lovely Eva, and he was quite willing to take an
unfair advantage of his brother singers.

Walther then jumped from his chair and went to Pogner.

"Herr Pogner, may I have speech with you?" he asked.

"What, Sir Walther seeks me in singing school?"

"Yet it is a fitting place, because, to tell the truth, Herr Pogner, I
came to Nuremberg town, solely for the love of art," he said promptly,
hoping he would be forgiven for the lie. "I failed to mention this
yesterday, but to-day it seems fitting to tell you because I wish to
enter the competition. In short, I wish to become a Mastersinger."
Walther was fairly amazed at his own bravado. At the same moment, Kunz
Vogelgesang and Konrad Nachtigal entered.

"Vogelgesang, Nachtigal, listen to this: here is a noble knight,
Walther of Stolzing, well known to me, who wishes to join our singing.
This is very fine. I am sure we all welcome you to our guild, Sir
Walther," he cried heartily. Beckmesser, who had observed the handsome
Walther, became uneasy.

"If anything should go wrong with my singing," he thought, "I should
stand small chance any other way with this whipper-snapper. I'll go
to-night beneath Eva's window and sing a serenade which will surely
win her heart. I'll not lose her even if this great knight should
prove to be a great singer." Every time he thought of Walther, it was
with a sneer. On the whole, Beckmesser was a nasty little man, even
though he was quite a singer. He was old and ugly and it was quite
ridiculous of him to think of marrying Eva.

Walther, still speaking with Pogner, confessed:

"My strongest reason for entering this competition is love for your
dear daughter. I know well that she is to be the prize." Pogner was
well pleased, for he liked the knight.

"I am glad to hear you say this, Sir Knight; but the matter has to be
settled--after the promise I have given--according to certain
regulations set down by the Mastersingers; but I shall try to give you
the best of chances." Pogner said this heartily, for he would like to
have that fine fellow for a son-in-law. Meanwhile, all the
Mastersingers had arrived by way of the sacristy door, and Hans Sachs
the very last. Kothner took from his pocket the list of names of those
who were to sing, and standing apart, he began to call the roll. Each
responded to his name, and then Pogner formally announced what the
prize was to be. Each man cried that he would be the one to win the
prize--since it was _such_ a prize.

"But remember," Pogner interrupted their enthusiasm, "although I am
determined she shall marry none but him who wins the prize, if she
should not love that singer, she shall not be forced, but shall remain
single all the rest of her life"; and with that they had to be
content.

"Let me make still a suggestion, Herr Pogner," Hans Sachs, the
shoemaker spoke up. He loved Eva with all his heart, but he was good
and true and fair. He knew that he was growing old, and that he sang
so finely that it was not fair he should enter into such a
competition. If he sang for the prize, the contest would be won before
it was begun. "Let me suggest that all the people of Nuremberg shall
have a hand in choosing the best singer. To-morrow at the fête, let
all the people hear the singers, and let theirs be the choice."

"Ho, ho! Then farewell, art," the Mastersingers cried, indignantly.
"That is a fine joke, indeed, Sachs. Pray what do the people know
about art? What do they know of the singing master's rules? Bah!"

"Listen!" Sachs said, impressively. "That which the people approve, is
good; they know naught of rule, but they know what beauty of song and
theme is better that we. Leave it to the people's choice and you shall
not rue it. Besides, a maiden's heart is to be disposed of, and those
who are judges among us are not without selfish feelings. Let the
people decide and leave the maiden free."

"Oh, I suppose you are thinking and speaking for yourself--a widower,"
Beckmesser cried, trying to belittle the shoemaker.

"So little is that so, my friends, that I shall not sing." Every one
loved Hans Sachs and now recognized his generosity. "I am too old for
such as she." Thereupon Beckmesser became furious, because he was
older than Hans, yet he considered himself quite young enough to marry
her.

"Well, my friends, there is one more piece of business: this young
knight," leading forth Walther, "wishes to enter the race, and I
present him with right good will." This was almost too much for the
beset Beckmesser. He fairly foamed at the mouth.

"Now, I understand this matter," he muttered aside. "Pogner would have
it seem that he treated us fairly in this matter, while in reality he
had this handsome fellow up his sleeve. A knight at that, and if he
can sing it certainly is all up with the rest of us." He loudly
declared it was far too late for Walther to be let into the
competition; but there were several opinions about that, and a good
deal of wrangling. All were somewhat afraid of Walther, not knowing
that he had no confidence in his own singing or making of verses. At
last it was decided that he should have a trial that morning.

"But thou must say who has been thy master," they insisted; whereupon
Walther named a great master, Sir Walther of the Vogelweid.

"In truth," Hans Sachs said, nodding kindly. "He is a great master."
Hans meant to stand by the knight and to serve him if possible,
because he seemed the best choice for Eva, whom Sachs loved above
everything. Walther added that, for the most part, he had learned his
songs from the birds, titmouses, and finches, and the like. He loved
the woods and streams, and a joyous heart made him sing in spite of
himself, and the song of birds was the one he loved best to imitate.
The others were inclined to jeer at these words, but Hans Sachs saw
in them a beautiful nature, fine poesy.

"Very well, very well, let him begin," all cried, and so the knight
took his place in the singer's chair while Beckmesser, who was
appointed Marker, went to his place.

"As Marker, I guess I can settle his affair for him," Beckmesser
muttered, in malice. All the while Walther, was in despair, having no
confidence in himself.

"It is for thee, beloved," he murmured, trying to gain courage by
putting his thoughts upon Eva. Then Beckmesser, hidden behind the
curtain, cried:

"Now begin."

Walther hesitated a moment, then began, uncertainly, to sing. It was a
beautiful song of the spring. At the end of the first part, Beckmesser
scratched horribly upon his slate, and sighed in a most disconcerting
manner. Walther listened and his heart nearly failed him, but he began
again. This time he sang of winter, and as he went on he became so
much inspired that he forgot his tremendous anxiety, rose from his
chair, and sang passionately, with _abandon_. When he came to a pause
in the theme, Beckmesser burst into the group with his slate. It was
all covered with chalk marks.

"Will you never have done," he shouted angrily. "I've no more room in
which to set marks against you. If we must go on listening to such
singing we must use the side of the church if we would have room to
set down your mistakes." Every one but Hans Sachs burst out laughing.

"But I have not finished," Walther pleaded. "Will none of you let me
finish my song, good friends? It is not fair."

"That is true, that is true, not too much zeal, Beckmesser," Hans
tried to interpose. Everybody was talking at once.

"I could not understand one word of his meaning," one cried.

"There was false time, false everything; it was ridiculous!" another
shouted.

"The most absurd thing I ever heard," another called. In short, every
one shouted and mocked and offered suggestions, except Hans Sachs who
had stood apart, and after the first notes of Walther, had listened
with great earnestness. In the midst of the excitement he came
forward.

"Master Beckmesser, you have gone too far. We do not all agree with
your opinion. The song which you despise, I find both beautiful, new,
and free from fault. It is not such as we sing, but it is true and
fine. I fear you have forgotten your own rules."

"Never, never!" the Marker shouted.

"Now, friends, hear my final word. This young knight shall be heard to
the end." With a decisive gesture he motioned Walther to the chair
again. All shouted "No, no!" but Sachs insisted and amidst the riot
and hullabaloo Walther again began his song. His clear, beautiful
voice was heard above the noise, but every one was engaged in telling
what they thought about it. Only Sachs stood determined, trying to
quiet the frightful uproar. Beckmesser was making a terrible to-do,
and the apprentices were shouting with laughter, following the lead of
their masters. After a little, Walther became so confused that at last
he could sing no longer.

The apprentices began to dance wildly about their masters, and in the
midst of the extraordinary scene, the knight descended from the chair,
and turned away with a contemptuous glance. He was about to go, as the
Mastersingers were struggling toward the door; but to add to the
confusion the apprentices who had torn up the benches began marching
about with them. While Walther, the Mastersingers, and the apprentices
were struggling out, Sachs stood looking at the singer's chair, where
Walther had lately sat, singing so beautifully that none but the
splendid Sachs, with his good soul and his poetic nature, had been
able to understand how great it was.


ACT II

Night of the same day came on, and David and other apprentices were
putting up the shutters of their masters' houses, before it became too
late. Hans Sachs's house--which was also his workshop--stood in a
corner made by a little crooked path which crossed a Nuremberg street;
while Pogner's house, much finer--altogether quite grand--stood
opposite. Beside Hans's house grew an elder tree, and beside Pogner's,
a lime. Magdalene, very anxious to know from David what had taken
place in the church, had gone from her master's house with a little
basket of the good things which David liked. This gave her a good
excuse to seek him.

"What happened to the handsome knight?" she inquired, standing on
Hans's side of the way, and speaking with David.

"Why what should happen? He was rejected, of course," David answered
sulkily, while all the other apprentice boys laughed at him because
Magdalene, his sweetheart, was trying to pump him.

"Ho, ho! Then you get nothing out of my basket," she answered, walking
off. Again the boys mocked him, and he grew very angry, telling them
to be off about their business. The quarrel grew so loud that finally
Sachs, coming home unexpectedly, burst into the midst of them and
scattered them.

"What is all this?" he cried.

"The rascals are plaguing me, master," David growled.

"Well, get thee within and light the lamp; lock up and bring the lamp
here to me; after that, put the shoes on the lasts and go"; and as
David went into the workshop to obey, Sachs followed. At that moment,
Eva and her father passed along the path, and seeing the light in
Sachs's house, Pogner peeped through the chink of the door.

"If Sachs is there I shall stop in and speak with him," he said to
Eva. David just then came from the house with a lamp which he placed
upon the work-bench, and seating himself began work upon a pair of
shoes.

"To-morrow will be a fine day for the festival," Pogner said to his
daughter, as they seated themselves upon a stone bench, on their own
side of the path.

"But, father, must I certainly marry the best singer?" Eva asked
anxiously.

"Not unless he pleases thee; but in case he does not, Eva, I have
decided that thou shalt marry no other." He was interrupted by
Magdalene who came to bid them to supper. Eva lingered behind to get a
private word with her.

"What about the knight? Did he succeed?" she asked so anxiously that
it broke Magdalene's heart to tell her the truth.

"David said not--but he would not tell what had happened."

"Maybe I can learn from Hans Sachs; he loves me very much, and may
feel some distress over my trouble. I shall ask him." Just then Sachs
came to the door of his house.

"Come, boy," he said to David, "put up thy work for the night, and get
thee to bed; to-morrow will be a busy day. Put my stool and table
outside the door that I may finish a pair of shoes, and then get thee
to bed." David gathered up his tools, and after arranging Sachs's work
bade him good night. Sachs sat down, with his hands behind his head,
and instead of going at once to work, began to think upon the day's
happenings--and other things, maybe. He leaned his arms upon the lower
half of the door and sometimes spoke his thoughts aloud:

"Truly the young knight is a poet," he mused. Hans himself was a true
poet, tender and loving, and he could think of nothing but Eva's good.
Becoming nervous and apprehensive while thinking of her he began to
hammer at a shoe, but again he ceased to work and tried to think. "I
still hear that strain of the young knight's" and he tried to recall
some part of the song. While he mused thus alone, Eva stole shyly over
to the shop. It had now become quite dark and the neighbours were
going to bed.

"Good evening, Master Sachs! You are still at work?" she asked softly.
Hans started.

"Yes, my child, my dear Evchen. I am still at work. Why are you still
awake? Ah, I know--it is about your fine new shoes that you have come,
those for to-morrow!"

"Nay, they look so rich and fine, I have not even tried them on."

"Yet to-morrow you must wear them as a bride, you know."

"Whose shoes are these that you work upon, Master Sachs," she asked,
wishing to change the subject.

"These are the shoes of the great Master Beckmesser," Sachs answered,
smiling a little at the thought of the bumptious old fellow.

"In heaven's name put plenty of pitch in them, that he may stick, and
not be able to come after me," she cried.

"What--you do not favour Beckmesser, then?"

"That silly old man," she said scornfully.

"Well, there is a very scanty batch of bachelors to sue for thee, or
sing for thee," Hans answered, looking lovingly at her, with a little
smile.

"Well, there are some widowers," Eva said returning his friendly look.
Hans laughed outright.

"Ah, dear Evchen, it is not for an old chap like me to snare a young
bird like thee. At the trial to-day, things did not go well," he
ventured, trying to turn the conversation.

Instantly Eva was all attention, and she got from him the story of
Walther's failure and unfair treatment, just as Magdalene called from
the house over the way.

"St--st," she whispered. "Thy father has called for thee."

"I'll come presently," Eva answered. Then to Hans: "But tell me, dear
Hans, was there not one who was his friend? Is there no hope?"

"No master has hope among other masters," Hans replied, sorrowfully.
"I fear there is nothing for him but to give thee up." Hans knew well
that Eva loved the knight.

"What man has a friend, whose own greatness makes other men feel
small?" he asked still more sadly. "It is the way with men."

"It is shameful," she cried angrily, and hurried across the street.
Hans closed the upper half of his door, so that he was almost shut
in, and only a little light showed through.

"Eva," Magdalene called at the house door, "that Beckmesser has been
here to say he is coming to serenade you, and to win your love. Did
ever one hear of such a ridiculous rascal."

"I will not hear him," Eva declared angrily. "I will not. I am going
to see Walther to-night, and I will not see Beckmesser. Look out and
see if any one is coming." Walther was at that moment coming round the
corner of the path, and Eva rushed toward him.

"You have heard--that I may not sing to win thee?" he said under his
breath, for fear Pogner should hear him. At that moment the horn of
the Night Warder was heard, which assured them that the town was all
quiet and people gone to bed.

"It does not matter, I have made up my mind. I will never give the
victor's crown to any one but thee, and so we shall flee
together--this night, at once, before it is too late." Walther, beside
himself with joy, looked after her while she hurried into the house to
get ready for flight. The Night Warder came round the house corner.

     Hear all folk, the Warder's ditty,
     'Tis ten o'clock in our city;
     Heed well your fire and eke your light,
     That none may be harmed this night!
         Praise ye God, the Lord!

He blew a long loud blast upon his trumpet.

Hans Sachs had heard the plan concocted between the lovers, from
behind his nearly closed door; so he put out the lamp, that he might
not be seen, and opened his door a little way. He could never permit
them to elope; it would cause no end of trouble. After a moment Eva
and Magdalene came from Pogner's house with a bundle, while at the
same moment Walther came from the shadow of the lime tree to meet
them. They were hurrying off together when the clever shoemaker caught
up his lamp from its place of concealment and turned it full upon the
alley-way, so that it shone directly upon the path of the lovers.

Eva and Walther found themselves standing together in a bright light,
when they had thought to escape unseen in the darkness. Again the
Warder's horn was heard at a distance.

"Oh, good gracious! We shall be caught," Eva whispered, frightened
half to death, as Walther drew her out of the streaming light.

"Which way shall we go?" he whispered, uneasily.

"Alas! look there--at that old rascal, Beckmesser," she returned,
distracted with fright and anger, as she saw the old fool come in
sight with his lute strung over his shoulder, while he twanged it
lightly.

The moment Hans saw Beckmesser he had a new thought. He withdrew the
light a little and opened the door. Then in the half light he placed
his bench in the doorway and began to work upon a pair of shoes.

"It is that horrible Marker who counted me out this morning," Walther
murmured, looking at Beckmesser as he stole along the pathway. Then
almost at once, Beckmesser began to bawl under Eva's window.

He looked up where he supposed her to be, in the most languishing
manner, so that Walther and Eva would have laughed outright, if they
had not been in such a coil.

He no sooner had struck the first notes, than Hans Sachs gave a bang
upon his shoe-last. Thus began an awful scrimmage. Hans Sachs,
disliking the absurd old Beckmesser as much, if not more, than others
did, banged away at Beckmesser's shoes, in a most energetic way. He
made such a frightful din that Beckmesser could hardly hear himself
sing.

The town clerk tried by every device to stop the shoemaker,--to get
him to put aside his cobbling for the night, but Hans answered that he
had to work lively if he hoped to get the shoes done for the fête.
Beckmesser did not dare tell why he was there, singing at that hour.
Walther and Eva remained prisoners under the lime tree, wondering what
on earth to do. After a while, poor Beckmesser, making the most
frantic efforts to hear his own voice, pleaded with Hans to stop.

"I'll tell thee what to do--it will make the time pass pleasantly for
me as well, you see," Hans cried. "Do thou go ahead and sing, and I'll
be Marker. For every mistake of thine, I'll hammer the shoe. Of course
there will be so few mistakes that there will then be but little
pounding." Beckmesser caught at that suggestion. Of course it was
imprudent, but then Beckmesser was in a bad way, and it was his only
chance. So he began his serenade once more. Then Hans began to "mark"
him. Before he had sung a line, Hans's hammer was banging away in the
most remarkable manner. Even Walther and Eva had to laugh, frightened
as they were. Beckmesser became so furious he could hardly speak.
Sachs pretended to see nothing, and "marked" away valiantly. Then the
Night Watch could be heard coming. Hans banged louder. Beckmesser put
his fingers in his ears, that he might drown the sound of Hans and the
Warder, and keep on the key. Hans too began to sing as he waxed his
threads and banged upon his shoes. Meantime windows were going up,
the people who had gone to bed having wakened.

"Stop your bawling there," one shouted.

"Leave off howling," another screamed.

"What's the matter? Have you gone crazy down there," others yelled,
but Beckmesser still shrieked, unable to hear anybody but himself and
Hans.

"Listen to that donkey bray," a neighbour called.

"Hear the wild-cat," another bawled; and in the midst of the singing
Magdalene stuck her head out of the window. Beckmesser, thinking it
was Eva, was encouraged to keep on, but David, who had come out at the
rumpus, believed that Beckmesser was serenading Magdalene, and
instantly became jealous. So out he rushed with a cudgel. The
neighbours then began to come from their houses in their night-gowns
and caps; some wearing red flannel about their heads and some in very
short gowns, and all looking very funny. Meanwhile, Hans, who had got
the row started, withdrew into his house and shut the door. Walther
and Eva were still trembling under the lime tree, sure of being
discovered, now that all Nuremberg was aroused and on the spot.

Beckmesser was surrounded by the neighbours, the apprentices came from
every shop to swell the crowd, also the journeymen, while all the
women bawled from the house windows where they were hanging out half
way. David and Beckmesser were wrestling all over the place,
Beckmesser's lute being smashed and his clothes torn off him. At last
the Mastersingers themselves arrived.

Walther, at last deciding that the time had come when he must rescue
Eva, drew his sword and rushed forth. Hans, who had been watching
behind his door, then ran out, pushed his way through the mob and
caught Walther by the arm. At that moment--Poof! Bist! the women in
the windows threw down buckets of water over all the people, and
Beckmesser was half drowned in the streams. This added to the
confusion, so that Hans grasped Walther, and Pogner his daughter;
Sachs and Walther retired into Sachs's house and Eva was dragged
within her own. As Sachs disappeared, he gave David a kick which sent
him flying, to pay him for his part in the fight.

Beckmesser, battered half to pieces, limped off, while the crowd,
dripping wet and with ardour cooled, slunk out. When all was perfectly
quiet and safe, and not a sound stirring, on came the Night Warder. It
was comical to see the way he looked all about the deserted place, as
if he had been taking a little nap, while all Nuremberg had been
fighting like wild-cats, and he quavered out in a shaky voice:

     Hear, all folks, the Warder's ditty,
     Eleven strikes in our city,
     Defend yourselves from spectre and sprite,
     That no evil imp your soul affright.

He finished with a long-drawn cry:

     Praise ye God, the Lord,

and all was still.


ACT III

The morning of the song festival dawned clear and fine. Early in the
morning, Hans Sachs seated himself in his shop, beside his sunny
window, his work on the bench before him, but he let it go unheeded as
he fell to reading. David found his master thus employed when he
stole into the shop, after peeping to make sure that Hans would pay no
attention to him. David was not at all sure of the reception his
master would give him after the riot in which he had taken a hand the
night before. As Hans did not look up, David set the basket he carried
upon the table, and began to take out the things in it. First there
were flowers and bright-coloured ribbons, and at the very bottom a
cake and a sausage. He was just beginning to eat the sausage when Hans
Sachs turned a page of his book noisily. David, knowing his guilty
part in the fight, looked warily at his master.

"Master, I have taken the shoes to Beckmesser and----" Sachs looked at
him abstractedly.

"Do not disturb our guest, Sir Walther," he said, seeming to forget
David's misbehaviour. "Eat thy cakes and be happy--only do not wake
our guest."

Soon David went out while Sachs still sat thinking of the situation
and half decided to take a part in the contest himself--since it were
a shame to have Beckmesser win Eva. While he was thus lost in
contemplation, Walther woke and came from his room.

"Ah, dear Hans--I have had a glorious dream," he cried. "It is so
splendid that I hardly dare think of it."

"Can it be thou hast dreamed a song?" Sachs asked breathlessly.

"Even if I had, what help would it bring me, friend Sachs, since the
Mastersingers will not treat me fairly?"

"Stay, stay, Walther, not so fast! I want to say of yesterday's
experience: the Mastersingers are, after all, men of honour. They were
hard on thee yesterday, but thou hast troubled them much. Thy song was
as strange, its kind as new to them as it was beautiful, and they have
thought of it again and again since then. If they can make themselves
familiar with such beauty they will not fail to give thee credit. I
own I am much troubled and know not what to do for you."

"I wonder could it be possible that I have had an inspiration in my
sleep that might lead me to win my dear Eva?" the knight said, taking
heart.

"That we shall soon know. Sir Walther, stand thou there, and sing thy
song, and I will sit here and write it down. So it shall not escape
thee. Come, begin, Sir Knight," Sachs cried, becoming hopeful for the
young man. Trembling with anxiety Walther took his stand and began his
song, while Hans placed himself at the table to write it down.

[Music:

     Bathed in the sunlight at dawn of the day,
     when blossoms rare
     made sweet the air,
     with beauties teeming,
     past all dreaming,
     a glorious garden lay, cheering my way.]

As the knight sang he became more and more inspired and when he had
finished Hans Sachs was wild with delight.

"It is true!--you have had a wonderful inspiration. Go now to your
room, and there you will find clothing gay enough for this great
occasion. No matter how it came there!--it is there! I have all along
believed in you, and that you would sing, and I have provided for it."
The knight went rejoicing to put on his new clothes.

Now Hans, when he went with Walther to his bedroom, had left the
manuscript of the great song upon the table, and no sooner had he gone
out than Beckmesser, looking through the window and finding the place
empty, slipped in. He was limping from the effects of the fight and
altogether cut a most ridiculous figure. He was very richly dressed,
but that did not conceal his battered appearance. Every step he took
he rubbed first his back and then his shins. He should have been in
bed and covered with liniments. Suddenly he espied the song upon
Hans's table. He believed that after all Hans was going to sing, and
if he should, all would be up with himself. Wild with rage, Beckmesser
picked up the song and stuffed it into his pocket. No sooner had he
done so than the bedroom door opened, and Hans Sachs came out in gala
dress, ready for the festival; seeing Beckmesser, he paused in
surprise.

"What, you? Sir Marker? Surely those shoes of yours do not give you
trouble so soon?"

"Trouble! The devil! Such shoes never were. They are so thin, I can
feel the smallest cobblestone through them. No matter about the shoes,
however--though I came to complain to you about them--for I have found
another and far worse cause of complaint. I thought you were not to
sing."

"Neither am I."

"What, you deny it--when I have just found you out!" Beckmesser cried
in a foaming rage. Hans looked at the table and saw that the
manuscript was gone. He grinned.

"So, you took the song, did you?" he asked.

"The ink was still wet."

"True, I'll be bound!"

"So then I've caught you deceiving!"

"Well, at least you never caught me stealing, and to save you from the
charge I'll just give you that song," Hans replied, still smiling.
Beckmesser stared at him.

"I'll warrant you have the song by heart," he said, narrowly eyeing
the shoemaker.

"No, that I haven't. And further than that, I'll promise you not to
lay any claim to it that shall thwart your use of it--if you really
want it." Hans spoke carelessly, watching the greedy town clerk from
the tail of his eye.

"You mean truly, that I may use that song as I like?"

"Sing it if you like--and know how," Sachs said obligingly.

"A song by Hans Sachs!" he exclaimed, unable to hide his joy--because
no one in Nuremberg could possibly write a song like Sachs. "Well,
well, this is very decent of you, Sachs! I can understand how anxious
you are to make friends with me, after your bad treatment last night."
Beckmesser spoke patronizingly, while his heart was fairly bursting
with new hope. Any song by Hans Sachs would certainly win him the
prize, even if he could but half sing it.

"If I am to oblige you by using this song," he hesitated, "then swear
to me you will not undo me by laying claim to it." After all, he was
feeling considerable anxiety about it. That he should be saved in this
manner was quite miraculous.

"I'll give my oath never to claim it so long as I live," Sachs
answered earnestly, thinking all the while what a rascal Beckmesser
was. "But, friend Beckmesser, one word; I am no scoffer, but truly,
knowing the song as I do, I have my doubts about your being able to
learn it in an hour or so. The song is not easy."

"Have no fear, Hans Sachs. As a poet, your place is first, I know; but
believe me, friend, when it comes to 'tone' and 'mode,' and the power
to sing, I confess I have no fear--nor an equal," the conceited ass
declared. "I tell you, confidentially, I have now no fear of that
presumptuous fellow, Walther. With this song and my great genius, we
shall no longer fear his bobbing upon the scene and doing harm."
Assured of success at last, away went Beckmesser, limping and
stumbling, to learn his song.

"Well, never did I see so malicious a fellow," Hans declared, as
Beckmesser stumbled out of sight. "And there comes Evchen--hello, my
Evchen, thou art dressed very fine. Well, well, it is to be thy
wedding day, to be sure."

"Yes--but the shoe pinches," she said putting her little foot upon the
bench.

"That will never do. That must be fixed," Hans answered gravely, his
eyes twinkling. He fell to examining the shoes. "Why, my child, what
is wrong with it? I find it a very fine fit?"

"Nay, it is too broad."

"Tut, tut, that is thy vanity. The shoe fits close, my dear."

"Well, then I think it is the toes that hurt--or maybe the heel, or
maybe--" she looked all about, hoping to see Walther. At that moment
he entered, and Eva cried out. Then Hans said:

"Ah, ah! Ho, ho! That is where the shoe pinches, eh? Well, be patient,
that fault I shall mend very soon," he declared, thinking of the song
that Beckmesser had stolen, while he took off the shoe and sat once
more at his bench. Then he said slyly:

"Lately I heard a beauteous song. I would I might hear its third verse
once more." Immediately, Walther, looking at Eva, began softly to sing
the famous song. As it magically swelled, Sachs came to her and again
fitted the shoes. When the song was rapturously finished, Eva burst
into hysterical sobbing, and threw herself into the shoemaker's arms.
But this scene was interrupted by the coming of Lena and David, all
dressed for the fête.

"Come, just in time!" Sachs cried. "Now listen to what I have to say,
children. In this room, a song has just been made by this knight, who
duly sang it before me and before Eva. Now, do not forget this, I
charge you; so let us be off to hear him christened a Mastersinger."

All then went out into the street except David, who lingered a moment
to fasten up the house. All the way to the meadow where the fête was
to be held were sounding trumpets and horns, glad shouts and laughter.
Very soon the little group from Sachs's reached the fête, and there
they found a gala sight.

Many guilds had arrived and were constantly arriving. Colours were
planted upon the raised benches which each guild occupied by itself. A
little stream ran through the meadow, and upon its waters boats were
continually being rowed, full of laughing men and women, girls and
boys. As each new guild disembarked, it planted its colours.
Refreshment stands were all about, and apprentices and journeymen were
having great sport.

The apprentices and girls began a fine dance, while the people kept
landing at the dock and coming from their boats.

There came the bakers, the tailors, and the smiths; then the informal
gaiety came to a sudden pause and the cry went up that the great
Mastersingers themselves had arrived. They disembarked and formed a
long procession, Kothner going ahead bearing the banner, which had the
portrait of King David and his harp upon it.

At sight of the banner all waved their hats, while the Masters
proceeded to their platform.

When they had reached their place, Pogner led Eva forward, and at the
same moment Hans Sachs arrived and again all waved and cheered loudly.
Eva took the place of honour, and behind them all was--Beckmesser,
wildly struggling to learn his great song. He kept taking the
manuscript from his pocket and putting it back, sweating and mumbling,
standing first on one of his sore feet and then upon the other, a
ridiculous figure, indeed.

At length, Sachs stood up and spoke to those who had welcomed him so
graciously.

"Friends, since I am beloved of thee, I have one favour to ask. The
prize this day is to be a unique one, and I ask that the contest be
open. It is no more than fair, since so much is to be won. I ask that
no one who shall ask for a chance to sing for this fair prize be
denied. Shall this be so?"

While he waited for an answer, every one was in commotion.

"Say, Marker," he asked of Beckmesser, "is this not as it should be?"

That rascal was wiping his face from which the sweat was streaming and
trying in despair to conquer the knight's song.

"You know you need not sing that song unless you wish," Hans reminded
him, aside.

"My own is abandoned, and now it is too late for me to make another,"
Beckmesser moaned; "but with you out of the contest--well, I shall
surely win with anything. You must not desert me now."

"Well, let it be agreed," Hans cried aloud, "that the contest shall be
open to all; so now begin."

"The oldest first," Kothner cried, thus calling attention to the age
of Beckmesser. "Begin, Beckmesser," another shouted.

"Oh, the devil," Beckmesser moaned, trying to peep again at the song
which he had not been able to learn. He desperately ascended the mound
which was reserved for the singers, escorted by an apprentice. He
stumbled and nearly fell, so excited was he, and so frightened at his
plight, for he did not know the song, and he had none of his own.
Altogether he was in a bad way--but he was yet to be in a worse!

"Come and make this mound more firm," he snarled, nearly falling down.
At that everybody laughed. Finally he placed himself, and all waited
for him to begin. This is how he sang the words of the first stanza:

     Bathing in sunlight at dawning of the day,
     With bosom bare,
     To greet the air;
     My beauty steaming,
     Faster dreaming,
     A garden roundelay wearied my way.

Only compare this with the words of the song as Walther sang them! The
music matched the words for absurdity.

"Good gracious! He's lost his senses," one Mastersinger said to
another. Beckmesser, realizing that he was not getting the song right,
became more and more confused. He felt the amazement of the people,
and that made him desperate. At last, half crazed with rage and shame,
he pulled the song from his pocket and peeped at it. Then he tried
again, but turned giddy, and at last tottered down from the mound,
while people began to jeer at him. Hans Sachs might have been sorry
for the wretch, had he not known how dishonest he had been, willing to
use another's song that he might gain the prize.

Beckmesser rushed furiously toward Sachs and shook his fist at him:

"Oh, ye accursed cobbler! Ye have ruined me," he screamed, and rushing
madly away he lost himself in the crowd. In his rage, he had screamed
that the song was Sachs's, but nobody would believe him, because, as
Beckmesser had sung it, it had sounded so absurd.

Sachs took the manuscript quietly up, after Beckmesser had thrown it
down.

"The song is not mine," he declared. "But I vow it is a most lovely
song, and that it has been sung wrong. I have been accused of making
this, and now I deny it. I beg of the one who wrote it to come forth
now and sing it as it should be sung. It is the song of a great
master, believe me, friends and Mastersingers. Poet, come forth, I
pray you," he called, and then Walther stepped to the mound, modestly.
Every one beheld him with pleasure. He was indeed a fine and
gallant-looking fellow.

"Now, Masters, hold the song; and since I swear that I did not write
it, but know the one who did--let my words be proved. Stand, Sir
Knight, and prove my truth." Then Kothner took the manuscript that the
Mastersingers might follow the singing and know if the knight was
honest; and Walther, standing in the singers' place, began the song a
little fearfully.

The Masters following him recognized the truth of all that Hans Sachs
had spoken, and presently dropped the paper in amazement. They became
lost in listening to the music, which swelled higher and higher,
growing more and more beautiful with every measure, till all the
people of Nuremberg sat spellbound. At last:

"His prize, his prize!" they shouted; and Pogner came to him weeping
with joy.

"It is thy doing," Walther said tremblingly to Hans; and then he was
conducted to where Eva awaited him. He stooped and she placed the
victor's wreath upon his head. But that was not the end. The
Mastersingers turned to Pogner:

"Herr Pogner, it is thy right to crown the knight who has won this
prize," and with that Pogner hung a golden chain about Walther's neck,
from which was suspended three medals. Walther would have refused it.

"I have a dearer prize than this, my friends," he cried, looking at
Eva.

"Nay, take thy chain, too," Sachs urged him, smiling. "That shall be
the sign of the Mastersingers' approval." Walther bowed his head and
received the chain, while the people stood up and shouted.

Thus in one day, the knight, Walther von Stolzing, became a bridegroom
and a Mastersinger.


LOHENGRIN

CHARACTERS OF THE OPERA

Lohengrin, Knight of the Holy Grail.
Henry I, King of Germany.
Frederick of Telramund, a noble of Brabant.
The Royal Herald.
Gottfried, Elsa's brother, and mute.
Four nobles of Brabant.
Elsa von Brabant.
Ortrud, wife of Telramund.
Four pages.

Saxons, nobles of Brabant, ladies, and pages.

The story is laid in Antwerp, during the first half of the tenth
century.

First production at Weimar, Germany, August 28, 1850.

Composer: Richard Wagner.


ACT I

On a meadow on the banks on the river Scheldt, King Henry and his
Saxon nobles were one day assembled in their hall of justice, which in
those times was beneath a broad-spreading oak. From another petty
German political division had come Frederick of Telramund, with his
wife Ortrud. In turn they were surrounded by their own retainers from
their province, but all were assembled at King Henry's call to rally
in defence of the Kingdom.

When all were awaiting Henry's will, his Herald stepped forth and blew
a blast upon his trumpet.

"Hark! Princes, Nobles, Freemen of Brabant! Our sovereign has called
ye all to rally to his defence. May he count upon the loyalty of all?"

At once, the nobles took up the cry, and welcomed their sovereign to
the country. Then King Henry thanked them for their good will and made
the following announcement:

"Nobles, Freemen, all! I come not only to receive this welcome, but to
tell ye that Germany is in danger of invasion from the Hungarian
hordes; and that upon our frontiers there are German wives and
children praying for our protecting arms. As the nation's guardian it
is fitting that I make an end of this misrule which has left us
threatened again and again by this lawless people. As ye will recall,
I made a nine years' truce with our enemies, when they last tormented
us; and now the time is past, they demand a tribute which, for the
sake of our people, I have refused them. It is time for us to up and
arm against them, and once for all defeat them."

Henry spoke earnestly, with evident devotion to his subjects, and both
Saxons and Brabantians responded, but the men of Brabant looked to
their immediate Lord, Frederick of Telramund, for assent. He hesitated
a moment, and then stepped before the King.

"Great King," he said, "thou art here to judge, to listen to the
differences of thy people, to make wrong right, so far as in thee
lies, and on my part I will not stoop to falsehood. I have a
grievance. Thou knowest when death took away our beloved Duke, his
children, Elsa and Gottfried, were left in my charge. I became their
guardian. I treasured them and guarded their interests valiantly; but
one day, the two wandered forth into the forest. In time Elsa, the
elder, returned, trembling and seemingly full of fear. She was alone,
and when questioned about the safety of her young brother could tell
us nothing. We sought for him, but never found him. She pretended to
be in great distress, but her manner betrayed her guilt; of that I am
certain. There were but they two, alone, and yet she could give us no
intelligent story of his disappearance. A horror of the young girl
fell upon me. I could not bear her in my sight, because I felt she was
responsible for her young brother's death. Her hand had been offered
me in marriage by her father, but feeling that she was guilty, I gave
her up. I could not have married one who, in my mind, was so wicked.
Therefore I have chosen another wife, Ortrud of Radbod." As he spoke,
he brought his wife before the King and she made an obeisance.

"Now, my sovereign, I here charge the Lady Elsa with the crime, and
ask thee to punish her as may be fitting. I also claim that as a
fratricide she has forfeited her claim to all her lands; and as her
nearest kinsman, I claim them." There ensued a painful silence,
because the Lady Elsa of Brabant was a beautiful and gentle creature,
and it was difficult for any one to believe such a monstrous story of
her. Then arose a great outcry against the statement.

"Telramund, what hast thou said? This is a dreadful accusation."

"A fearful thing, indeed, Frederick," the good King protested.

"But if thou wilt consider, great King, there is cause for my belief.
The maid, believing herself sole sovereign of Brabant, now that the
boy was dead, became dreamy and strange, thinking upon some other with
whom she might wish to share both her fortune and her power. Me she
disdained, after her younger brother was gone."

The just King became very thoughtful for a time, then he said sadly:

"Summon the accused maid, and all of ye prepare to utter a just
judgment. Heaven help me to judge her rightly!"

The Herald again sounded his trumpet.

"Dost thou determine to hold thy court of judgment here, O King?"

"Aye! I will not rest beneath my shield until the truth is sifted."
Then all the Saxon nobles, who had instantly bared their swords,
struck them against the earth, but those of Brabant laid theirs flat
upon the ground.


_Scene II_

"Appear, ye royal maid, appear!" the Herald cried, and slowly from
behind the crowd of nobles the beautiful Elsa appeared. She left the
ladies of her court behind her, and stood forth quite alone.

"Behold!" all cried. "See how her face is clouded with sorrow!" She
appeared so beautiful and innocent that no one could believe in her
guilt.

The King asked her if she were willing to recognize him as her
sovereign and to abide by his judgment, and she bowed her head.

"Dost thou know the crime with which thou art charged?" he asked. Elsa
looked toward Ortrud and Telramund, and bowed her head. "Canst thou
deny the accusation?" he demanded in a kind voice. She shook her head,
sadly, for she was without defence.

"Then dost thou confess thy guilt?" he persisted, but her only answer
was:

"Oh, my poor brother!" All those present looked sorrowfully at her.
The King was much touched by her hopeless bearing.

"Come, Lady, confide freely in thy sovereign."

Then she stood alone and told what she knew had happened, as if she
were speaking in a dream.

[Music]

     Oft when hours were lonely, I unto Heav'n have prayed,
     One boon I asked for, only, to send the orphans aid;
     I prayed in tears and sorrow, with heavy heart and sore,
     Hoping a brighter morrow yet was for us in store.

     Afar my words were wafted, I dreamt not help was nigh,
     But one on high vouchsafed it, while I in sleep did lie.
     I saw in splendour shining, a knight of glorious mien,
     On me his eyes inclining with tranquil gaze serene.

     A horn of gold beside him, he leant upon his sword,
     Thus when I erst espied him 'mid clouds of light he soar'd;
     His words so low and tender brought life renewed to me.
     My guardian, my defender, thou shalt my champion be!

Thus she sang, while all present looked at her in amazement.

"She dreams!" they cried.

"Frederick of Telramund," the King cried, "it is hard to believe
wrong of this maiden. Think, while yet there is time, of what ye say!
Do not let any hate in thy heart make thee wrong a defenceless girl,"
he cautioned, while all the nobles protested that it seemed impossible
she could have done so foul a thing as that of which she was accused.

"Her dreamy mood may deceive thee," Frederick said, "but it has never
deceived me. Do ye not hear that she raves about a lover? I declare
that I have spoken truly, and who will dare give me the lie?"
Whereupon all the nobles of Brabant came forward to uphold their Lord.

"We stand by thee, Frederick of Brabant," they cried.

"I have always known thee to be honourable," the King replied, turning
his eyes sadly upon Elsa, who still stood gazing ahead of her, as if
half dreaming, or maybe seeing the vision she had described.

"Elsa of Brabant, I have no choice but to let Heaven decide for thee.
I have no proof of thy guilt or innocence. This knight Frederick is
known to me as an honourable man, and I cannot slight his word, so
Heaven alone can help thee." The King drew his sword and struck it
against the ground.

"Answer me, Frederick, wilt thou do battle here with whoever may
appear to defend this Lady?"

"I will, right valiantly," he answered, his wife urging him on to all
that he said.

"And thou, Elsa, wilt thou name thy champion, and leave thy honour in
his hands?"

"Aye," she answered, simply.

"Then name the man," the King demanded.

"Now we shall hear the name of her lover," Frederick said hastily. "It
will surely be he who was her accomplice."

"To whomsoever will defend me I will give all my lands and love," she
answered firmly, waiting for some knight to stand out from the others,
and declare for her cause and defence.

Each looked at the other, but no one spoke or moved. Then the King
cried:

"Sound the trumpet! Call the warrior knight by thy bugle!" The Herald
advanced with four trumpeters, whom he turned toward north, south,
east, and west, and had them sound their trumps.

"Who will here do battle for Elsa of Brabant," he shouted. No one
answered and the lonely, defenceless Elsa looked about pitifully, in
great anxiety.

"Ah, ye see how poor a cause she hath!" Frederick called, pointing to
her.

"Dear sovereign, once again I beg the right to call for a defender. My
knight dwells afar off, and cannot arrive at once."

"Again sound thy trumpets," the King directed the Herald, and again
they called to the four points of the compass. Still all was silent.
Then Elsa sank upon her knees, while the ladies of her court came
forward to crowd protectingly about her because they loved her very
much. She prayed earnestly that some defender might come to her, and
so affected were all present, except Frederick and his wife, that all
joined in her prayer.

Then a strange thing happened; those standing nearest the water's edge
saw a boat coming up the river, drawn by a lovely swan. In the boat
stood a handsome knight, so beautiful and kind of face, and so
glittering with silver armour, that they fairly held their breath in
admiration.

"See!" they cried. "Some one--a marvellous man appears upon the
river." All the others, excepting Elsa, who remained upon her knees,
went back to the river's edge to look.

"Oh, he is a brave knight--he stands in the prow--his armour gleams
like the sun--a swan draws him. He wears a helmet of light upon his
brow. He is nearing the shore!--He has golden reins upon his swan."
All but the King, Telramund, Ortrud, and Elsa were crowding about the
river's bank, to see the glorious sight.

Frederick and Ortrud were frightened, and cast strange looks of fear
at each other; the King rose from his seat to see; but Elsa, overcome
with joy, remained where she was, not even looking around.

"It is a miracle wrought among us," the nobles cried, and all the
ladies of the court fell upon their knees.


_Scene III_

The gorgeous knight drew to the shore. He wore his shield upon his
back, a little silver horn at his side, and he glittered and gleamed
in his beautiful armour in a way almost sufficient to blind one. The
people fell back to let him land, and Frederick looked frightened,
while the moment Ortrud saw the swan she was for some reason seized
with a terrible fright. As everybody bowed their heads, having doffed
their helmets, Elsa looked around and gave one great cry of joy at the
sight of her champion, who was the knight of her dream.

Lohengrin--for it was he--stepped from his boat, and with one foot
upon the shore and one upon his boat gave thanks to his swan for
having borne him so swiftly and safely.

"Now, thou trusty swan, return at once to that land whence we came,
and rejoice, for thy task is over." After he had bade it farewell, the
stately swan slowly sailed away.

Lohengrin came toward the King and bowed low.

"Hail! gracious sovereign. Thy name shall ever stand proudly in this
land. I have come to fight for this dear maid's honour. I ask her,
before thee all, if she will entrust to me her fame?" Elsa, so tender
and confiding, sank upon her knees before him.

"If thou wilt protect me I am thine forever," she answered.

"I must ask of thee one promise in return, dear maid. It is this: If I
win the fight in thy cause, and thou become my bride, never, as thou
dost love me, must thou ask whence I came. I must never be asked by
thee my name or race. This one promise alone must I crave of thee." He
waited hopefully for her answer.

His appearance was so noble that none could doubt him, and she
answered instantly:

"There is no doubt of thee in my heart, dear defender. I will never
question thee. I will ever cherish thy command." He raised her to her
feet, and embraced her.

"I shall guard and love thee always," Lohengrin answered, and led her
to the King who gave her into his charge. After that he stepped into
the midst of the crowd of nobles.

"I want you all to know that this maid is innocent. The tales of
Frederick of Telramund are false, and now I shall prove it by
vanquishing him in the fight. Great King, command us to begin." The
company drew back to their places, and the King commanded six knights
to measure a certain space upon each side, which he declared was a
fenced field for the combat. Three Saxon nobles advanced for
Lohengrin and three Brabantians for Frederick. When they had formed a
circle, all stuck their spears into the ground and waited.

The Herald declared that any one who interfered should lose his head.
He also declared that neither combatant should use magic arts in
fighting. The King stepped into the circle made for the fighters, and
prayed to Heaven to let the right conquer; to give the champion of the
right a stronger arm and more skill than his enemy.

The six men forming the circle stood beside their spears which were
stuck into the ground; the other nobles and freemen formed a larger
circle outside the battle ground, while Elsa and her ladies stood in
front, beneath the oak tree beside the King, and the fighters prepared
to enter the circle. The King struck his sword three times upon his
great shield which hung upon the tree, as a signal to begin. At the
first stroke the fighters entered the circle; at the second stroke
they raised their shields and drew their swords; at the third stroke
they began the fight. After a mighty battle, Frederick fell, and
Lohengrin placed the point of his sword at his throat.

"I shall spare thee, Frederick of Telramund. Repent in peace," he
said, standing aside that Telramund might get up from the ground. The
six men drew their spears from the ground, and the others who had
taken sides put their swords back into their scabbards, while Elsa
rushed into the knight's arms. The King cried to Lohengrin:

"Hail!" As Elsa sank upon the knight's breast, she sang of her love
for him and of her faith, and all rejoiced in having her innocence
proven, except Ortrud. She, indeed, looked dark and menacing.

"How comes my power to naught?" she questioned of her husband aside,
for in reality she was a wicked enchantress, who had lived in the wood
near to Frederick. Her wicked magic had turned him into a bad man, and
it was she who had made him accuse Elsa.

But the fear and resentment of those wicked people made little
impression upon the crowd of exultant nobles. The King banished
Frederick and his wife, ordering them immediately to leave the place,
while plans for the wedding of Elsa and Lohengrin were being made.
Frederick fell senseless upon the ground, and the youths, spreading
their mantles upon the shield of the King, hoisted Elsa upon it, and a
rejoicing procession of ladies, knights, and retainers moved away.


ACT II

In the great palace of King Henry I, at Antwerp, there were two parts,
called the Palas, and the Kemenate. The former was where the knights
lived, and the latter was the home of the ladies of the court. Late on
the night of the battle between Frederick and Lohengrin, Frederick and
his wife, Ortrud, were sitting without the palace, which was brightly
illuminated, thinking of the misfortunes their wickedness had brought
upon them. They were dressed in the garments of outcasts, as the King
had commanded, and especially was Frederick gazing at the brightly
lighted part where the knights were doubtless making merry since the
wedding of Lohengrin and Elsa was to be on the morrow. He knew that
had he been an honest man, he would have been among them and happy.

Music could be heard floating from the palace windows, and everything
spoke of gaiety and happiness.

"Come, arouse thyself, Ortrud. You have brought this upon us, now
rouse thyself, since it is near day, and we must be gone out of the
city."

"I cannot flee! Some strange thing holds me here. I shall avenge us,
you may be sure before I have gone from this place." She rose from the
steps upon which she had been reclining and went toward the palace,
looking up at the windows where the women dwelt in the Kemenate.

"I don't know what spell binds me to a woman so wicked as thou art,
Ortrud," Frederick exclaimed, watching her moodily. "I should leave
thee, and cast thee off. To tell the truth I never believed the crimes
with which I charged that maiden."

"Get thyself up," she cried to him, for he had thrown himself upon the
ground. "Thou art but a chicken-hearted creature, not fit for an
heroic woman like me."

"Thou art a black-hearted woman," he answered, and so they fell to
quarrelling vigorously. But at last, each being quite lost to
goodness, they felt their only help lay in each other.

"If thou wilt be a decently conducted husband toward me, I tell thee I
will use my enchantments to undo that strange knight, and then all
will be well with us." The lights in the palace began to go out, one
by one. "Now is the hour when the stars reveal their secrets to me,
Telramund," she said. "Sit here by me, and I will tell you who that
swan was who drew the knight's boat upon the river. It was the brother
of Elsa--enchanted,--whom we accused her of destroying. More than
that, the knight is ruined if the secret of his home and his birth is
discovered. If Elsa can be made to break her promise, and get him to
reveal these things, he will be compelled to leave her and return
whence he came. No one but she hath the power to drag the secret from
him; but should she do so, it is as I have said: all happiness is over
for them."

"But she has promised--she will never ask that fatal question."

"Do thou go forth and say that sorcery hath triumphed over thee, and
leave the rest to me. Rouse suspicion about this knight in every
breast. He who will not tell of his birth nor land is soon suspected.
Say that he won the fight by magic, and I will see that Elsa asks the
fatal question."

"She will never do it----"

"Well, suppose she does not; the magic of my father is not forgotten
by me. Let me tell you how we may force his ruin, even if we cannot
make her break her word. If that knight should lose one drop of blood,
he would be lost. All his power would then be gone."

"Oh, if I had but pricked his finger in the fight!"

"He would have been completely in thy power." As she said this, the
door of the Kemenate slowly opened, and Elsa came out upon the
balcony.


_Scene II_

Elsa was clothed all in white, and she came out into the night to
think alone of her knight, to thank Heaven for her deliverance, and to
take new vows of faith and steadfastness to her promise. All the while
she stood there, Frederick and Ortrud were watching her from below,
where they sat upon the steps.

"Now away!" she whispered to Telramund. "It is for me to be left alone
with this affair. I shall speak with her." Telramund, hoping that by
fair or foul means his wife would win him back his forfeited
knighthood, departed. After a little Ortrud called in a very sweet but
sad voice:

"Elsa!" Elsa started and looked over the balcony.

"Ortrud! What art thou doing here? Wert thou not told to go far away
from this place, where you tried so hard to wrong me?"

"Alas! Elsa, can you who are so happy, speak harshly to one so forlorn
and deserted? Indeed it was not I who harmed thee. Telramund had some
strange delusion, and it was he who cast a doubt upon thee. Now his
eyes are opened and he is wandering sadly and alone; but I have done
thee no harm. It was he who accused thee. I could not stay him. Yet I
must suffer for it all, while thou art happy and serene. I am glad of
thy happiness, but do not let it make thee unfeeling toward one who is
so wretched."

That touched the soft heart of Elsa, and she listened kindly. After a
little she spoke words of comfort to Ortrud:

"Hast thou no place to go this night?"

"Nay! We are quite abandoned; but I could rest well enough upon these
steps if I did not remember that you had suffered through Telramund."
That made Elsa's generous heart trouble her.

"Thou must come in, and stay this night with me," she said. "Wait here
and I shall return." She went back into the Kemenate, and the moment
she was left alone, Ortrud began rejoicing in the wickedest way,
because she had been thus far successful in deceiving Elsa. Elsa
returned with two of her maids bearing lights.

"Where art thou, Ortrud?" Elsa called before opening the door below
the balcony; and the sorceress threw herself upon her knees and
answered sweetly:

"Here, kneeling before thee, generous maiden."

"Thou art worn and unhappy, and to-morrow is my wedding day. I could
not be gay and know that thou wert suffering, so come in with me, and
sleep beside me, and to-morrow array thyself in fine clothing and be
happy with the rest of us." Ortrud pretended great happiness and
gratitude upon hearing this.

"Ah! Who would betray so gentle and trusting a maid?" Ortrud sighed.
"I pray that the glamour which surrounds thy knight who was brought
hither by magic may never depart and leave thee miserable." She sighed
again, as if she had some secret fear.

"Oh, I could not doubt him," Elsa cried. But the same moment a little
seed of distrust entered her heart. It was true she knew nothing of
whence he had come; and moreover was forbidden to ask.

"Nay. Thou must never doubt him," Ortrud said plausibly, "since thy
lips are forever sealed and ye can never ask one of those questions
which other maidens and wives may ask their husbands and lovers. It
would not do to doubt him. Thou must try to believe he is true and
good, as he himself has said."

Elsa looked doubtfully at Ortrud, whose words had made a sad
impression upon her, and yet she loved the knight so well she would
not own it. But Ortrud guessed perfectly that already she had made
Elsa suspicious and unhappy.

Trying to shake off the apprehension that was settling upon her
because of the wicked woman's words, Elsa led the way into the palace,
and the maids locked the door, and the day almost immediately began to
break. Frederick came prowling back, like some bad animal, looking
after the two women who had gone within.

"There went a woman of darkness!" he murmured, "but I can trust her
magic and her godless spirit to win back my fortunes." While he was
thinking upon these things the day dawned and two warders blew a blast
from the turret where they walked, which announced the wedding morning
of the knight and Elsa. A warder in another turret answered with his
trumpet, and soon people began to assemble from all the country round.
Frederick looked about for some place to conceal himself from the
crowd. Seeing some projecting ornamentation upon the porch of the
place where he and Ortrud had sat, he slipped behind and waited.


_Scene III_

Trumpets began to sound back and forth, from all parts of the vast
buildings of the palace. Soon the warders descended from their towers
and unlocked the gates of the court. The servants of the castle
entered, and went about their duties, some drawing water at the well,
some passing on into the palace, where they were employed to wait upon
knights and ladies. The four royal trumpeters went to the gates, and
sounding their trumps to the four corners of the earth, notified the
country round that it was time to assemble at the palace. Nobles and
inhabitants of the great castle entered and peasants and knights
living without the gates came from the road, till a magnificent host
were gathered for the occasion of Elsa's wedding.

When all had assembled, a Herald mounted a high place before the
palace.

"Now all listen," he cried. "By order of the King, Frederick of
Telramund is laid under a ban, and whoever shall serve him or take
pity upon him shall suffer his fate." The people cried curses upon the
false knight. "Furthermore," the Herald cried, "I am to announce that
the King has given to the brave knight who defended the honour of the
Lady Elsa a sceptre and a crown. The knight does not consent to take
the title of Duke, but he is willing to be known as the Guardian of
Brabant, and as such he will defend his people." All hailed the knight
joyously, and welcomed him as their guardian. "The knight bids me give
a message. All of you are to come to the wedding, but as soon as it is
over he bids ye take up arms, and to-morrow at dawn, he will go forth
with ye to rout the invader who has so long troubled our King." Again
all cried, "Hail!" They were delighted with the valour of their new
defender.

"We shall follow where he leads!" all cried, and turned to speak
enthusiastically with each other and to promise loyalty among
themselves.

In the midst of this rejoicing and good will, four nobles of Frederick
collected.

"Ye hear, do ye not, that we are banished?" one said; because they, as
supporters of Frederick against the Lady Elsa, were under the ban.
"What think ye? Are we too to leave home and country and fight a
people who ne'er harmed us, because of this new comer?"

"I feel as bitter as ye," another said. "Yet who dares affront the
King or resist his will?"

"I," said a cold and bitter voice, and as they turned, they saw
Frederick himself, standing by their shoulders.

"Great heaven! If thou art seen, thy life will be in danger!" they
cried.

"Do not fear. This very day I shall unmask this upstart knight!" He
was about to say more, but some pages ran gaily down the palace steps
and the Brabantian nobles pushed Frederick back into his hiding place,
in haste. Every one crowded round the pages, who they knew came before
Elsa and her ladies.

"Make way there!" the pages cried, forcing a way for the procession.
When a wide passage was made, Elsa and all her retinue appeared at the
door of the Kemenate.


_Scene IV_

A magnificent procession of great ladies and nobles, attended by
train-bearers and pages, came from the palace and crossed the court to
the Minster where Ortrud and Frederick had rested upon the steps the
night before and the bridal procession marched to fine music:

[Music]

While this march was being played, and the procession passing, all the
nobles bared their heads. As Elsa was about to pass into the church,
everyone cried long life and happiness to her, and the air rang with
shouts of rejoicing. But in the very midst of this fine scene, as Elsa
stood with her foot upon the church steps, Ortrud rushed forward and
confronted her. Her rage and jealousy had got the better of her
cunning and judgment.

"Stand back!" she cried. "I will not follow thee like a slave, while
thou art thus powerful and happy. I swear that thou shalt humbly bow
thy head to me!" Every one stood in amazement and horror, because the
sorceress looked very wicked and frightful, almost spitting her anger
at the lovely maid.

"How is this, after thy gentleness of last night?" Elsa murmured.
"Last night thou wert mild and repentant, why now so bitter?" She
looked about her in bewilderment, while the nobles sprang forward and
pushed back the raging woman.

All this passed as quick as lightning.

"Ye flout me! Ye who will have for a husband, one whom thou canst not
name!" She laughed derisively. That hurt Elsa very much because it was
true. Ortrud had remained with her through the night, and had
continued to say so many things which had aroused her curiosity and
fear, that she was thinking more and more of the fact that she knew
nothing whatever of her knight.

"She is a slanderer! Do not heed her!" all cried to Elsa.

"What is his race? Where are his lands? He is an adventurer!" the
sorceress continued to shout bitterly, each word sinking deep into
Elsa's heart. But she roused herself and suddenly began to cry out
against Ortrud, and to say how good and noble the knight was and how
tenderly she loved him.

"When he might have killed your husband yet he spared his life; that
was a sign of his great nobleness of heart!" she declared, trying to
forget Ortrud's words and to convince herself.

When the excitement was at its height and Elsa nearly fainting with
fright and grief, and her ladies crowding about her, the palace doors
again opened, the trumpeters came out, and began to blow their blasts,
while the King, Lohengrin, and the Saxon nobles and counts came in a
procession from the Palas as Elsa and her women had come from the
Kemenate.


_Scene V_

All hailed Lohengrin as Guardian of Brabant, and Elsa threw herself
passionately into his arms. At once he saw that something had
happened.

"What is it?" he asked.

"What is all this strife?" the King demanded, looking about upon the
scene. Then Lohengrin saw Ortrud.

"Horror! What is this wicked woman doing here beside thee?"

"Shelter me against her wrath!" Elsa pleaded. "I harboured her last
night, because she was weeping outside my door, and now she has tried
to drive my happiness from me." Lohengrin looked fixedly at Ortrud and
bade her begone.

"She hath filled thy heart with doubts, dear Elsa," he said, half
reproachfully and full of fear, because he saw a change in the maid.
She wept, and he drew her into the church, while the King and his
train turned toward the church also. Frederick then confronted the
King.

"O great King and deluded Princess! Ye have all done me a grievous
wrong. I accuse this stranger of undoing me with magic. I confront him
here and demand his name and land! If he has naught to fear or to be
ashamed of, let him speak." Everyone was full of hatred for Frederick,
but at the same time, the challenge had a kind of justice in it and
all were troubled.

"It is not thou who can humble me, base knave," Lohengrin answered,
looking contemptuously at Frederick. "It is not the doubts of evil men
that can harm me."

"Thou, O King, command him to tell his place and name," Frederick
implored.

"Not even the King nor any prince that rules the earth shall question
me upon these things," Lohengrin replied proudly, facing them all, as
they turned looks of inquiry toward him. "There is but one who may
ask--and she has given her word. She will not break it," he declared,
looking tenderly at Elsa, who still waited beside him at the entrance
to the church.

"His secret is his own," the King declared; "so have done with this
shameful scene! And thou, dear knight--no doubts shall disturb thy
happiness." All the nobles crowded loyally about him as the King
ceased speaking; but while they were taking Lohengrin by the hand,
Frederick got close to Elsa, who, he and Ortrud could see, was
troubled with womanish doubts.

"Let me tell thee something, Elsa of Brabant! If but one drop of thy
knight's blood is shed--a finger scratched--his power and magic are
gone. Give me leave to draw one drop of his blood, and all that he now
conceals, he will at once reveal to thee."

"Ah, do not tempt me!" she cried, afraid to listen, because she had
now become curious to learn Lohengrin's secret.

"I will say no more now, but this very night I shall be within call.
And if thou dost only speak the word, I'll enter and prick his arm
with my sword and instantly he will tell all, and can never more leave
thy side." Lohengrin saw Frederick had got the ear of Elsa, and in a
terrible voice told him to go, and chided Elsa gently for listening to
such a man. As he spoke she sank at his feet, full of self-reproach.

Lohengrin lifted her and embraced her lovingly, while she swore
eternal faith in him, and then all turned once more to the church. The
King, the nobles, Lohengrin with Elsa--all were passing in at last;
when Elsa, looking back just once, saw the arm of Ortrud raised in
menace and with an expression of triumph upon her wicked face. Elsa
turned terrified once more to Lohengrin, and they passed into the
church.


ACT III

After the ceremony and the festivities that had followed the marriage,
came the peace and quiet of night. The door of the bridal chamber
opened, and pages went in bearing lights, while the ladies of the
court followed, leading Elsa, and the King and nobles in turn followed
them, leading Lohengrin. It was a most beautiful room, with a great
open casement at the right, through which the night-breeze swept.

The nobles and ladies sang in chorus the most beautiful of wedding
songs:

[Music:

     Faithful and true, we lead ye forth,
     Where love, triumphant, shall crown ye with joy!
     Star of renown, flow'r of the earth,
     Blest be ye both far from all life's annoy.]

The King embraced Lohengrin; and the ladies, Elsa. Then the pages gave
a signal to go, and all passing before the pair went out in the same
order as they came in.


_Scene II_

After all had gone Lohengrin sat upon the couch beneath the open
casement and drew Elsa down beside him. He wished above all things to
drive from her mind all thoughts of the suspicion which Ortrud had
implanted. But even while he spoke most lovingly and reassuringly to
her, her thoughts were upon the mystery of his name. When he spoke her
own she looked at him reproachfully.

"Ah! my name sounds so beautiful to me from thy lips--if only I might
speak thine!" she complained. "If thou wouldst only tell me thy name,
it should never pass my lips." Lohengrin was sad upon hearing this. He
spoke of other things--of how beautiful the night was, and of how they
were to pass a long and happy life together; but still her thoughts,
poisoned by Ortrud, returned again and again to the forbidden subject.

"Oh! do not doubt me! Let me share thy secret whatever it may be," she
entreated. "I feel that I am not loved by thee, since I am not trusted
with thy story--not even with thy name." At last, after begging her to
be silent, after reminding her of her promise, after all the
persuasions he could think of, he rose and spoke sternly:

"I have given thee the greatest confidence, by believing thee free
from every stain. With no proof but thy word, I fought for thy honour.
I asked no word to prove thy innocence. In return, I desired only
silence from thee about my name and birth and land. It was partly for
thy sake that I asked even so much. Now I will tell thee. But--" He
hesitated, begging her once more to let them live in happiness, and
not to ruin all by her fatal curiosity. At that moment, Frederick and
his false nobles broke through the door with drawn swords. They had
come to draw his blood and thus to render him quite powerless.

But Elsa, though quite ready to ruin him herself by her curiosity,
would not let him be hurt by another. Lohengrin's armour was laid off,
but the sword was by the couch. Elsa snatched it, thrust it into his
hand and with a single blow he killed Frederick. The nobles fell upon
their knees before him, while Elsa fainted. Lohengrin looked upon the
scene, feeling nothing but despair. If his blood had not been shed,
yet to save his life he had been forced to shed the blood of another,
and he had thus been rendered helpless, quite the same. After a moment
he rang a bell which summoned Elsa's ladies, and bidding the four
nobles rise, he confided Elsa to the care of the women.

"Bear the corpse to the King's judgment hall," he said to the men, who
then did as they were bid. "For you," he said to the women, "take your
mistress into the presence of the King, and I will answer all that she
desires to know. Nothing shall longer be hidden." He went out with his
head bent and his thoughts very sad and melancholy. The day began to
dawn, and the lights were all put out, and again the trumpets sounded
in the courtyard.


_Scene III_

All repaired again to the river bank, where Lohengrin had first been
seen, drawn by his swan. A count first entered, with his train of
vassals. He came upon a horse, and was assisted from it by one of his
train. Then he took his shield and spear from his pages who bore them,
and then set up his banner, after which the vassals grouped themselves
about it.

Trumpets were heard on all sides and counts continued to arrive in the
same order as the first, all with their vassals, all setting up their
spears and their people grouping themselves about them. Finally, the
Herald who announced the coming of the King was heard, whereupon all
the banners were unfurled and the trumpets of each noble and his
people were sounded, and then entered the King and his Saxon men. As
the King reached the royal oak, all struck their spears upon their
shields, and cried:

"Hail!" The purpose of the gathering was to go forth against the foe
that threatened the Germans, the Hungarian hordes. When all were
beginning to wonder where the strange and brave knight was who had
them summoned for the hour of dawn, and who was expected to lead them
to victory, they saw the body of Frederick brought in by the four
false Brabantians. All stood aside in horror. They could not think
whose corpse it was.

"They who bear it are Telramund's vassals," some cried, and at the
same moment Elsa appeared, coming slowly and surrounded by her ladies.
The King met her and conducted her to a seat opposite the royal oak.

"Art thou mourning because thou art sorry to lose thy Lord so soon,
sweet Lady?" the kind King questioned. She tried to answer him, but
her sense of guilt was so great that she could not. The fearful things
that were about to happen and that had happened had been caused by her
woman's curiosity, and now that it was too late, she was filled with
remorse. Some one cried:

"Make way! make way! the Guardian of Brabant is coming." All looked
and saw the shining knight, Lohengrin. They hailed him joyfully.

"I come not to lead ye to glory," he answered sadly, and uncovered the
corpse of Frederick of Telramund. All shrank back. "Neither shall ye
condemn me. I killed him, but he came to seek my life. Your judgment,
O King!" he asked of Henry.

The King stretched his hand across the body of Telramund to clasp
Lohengrin's.

"The saints would not shield him: he deserved thy thrust," Henry
answered.

"Once more!--The Lady Elsa has betrayed her promise. I am undone. Ye
all heard her give her word that she would never ask my name nor
country; but her impatient heart hath broken that pledge, and her
injurious doubts now compel me to tell ye all." Everybody groaned and
cried out sorrowfully. They had entire faith in the brave knight, and
loved the Lady Elsa. All regretted that her curiosity had ruined a
fair future, deprived them of their defender, and made her own life
forever miserable.

"Now, mark well what I say," the knight cried, and while he spoke, his
face became illuminated with a kind of splendid goodness and faith in
his own integrity.

     In distant land, by ways remote and hidden,
       There stands a burg that men call Monsalvat;
     It holds a shrine to the profane forbidden,
       More precious, there is naught on earth than that.
     And throned in light, it holds a cup immortal,
       That whoso sees, from earthly sin is cleansed;
     'Twas borne by angels through the heavenly portal,
       Its coming hath a holy reign commenced.

     Once every year a dove from heaven descendeth,
       To strengthen it anew for works of grace;
     'Tis called the Grail; the power of Heaven attendeth
       The faithful knights who guard that sacred place.
     He whom the Grail to be its servant chooses,
       Is armed henceforth with high invincible might;
     All evil craft its power before him loses,
       The spirits of darkness, where he dwells, take flight.

     Nor will he lose the awful charm it lendeth,
       Although he should be called to distant lands,
     When the high cause of virtue he defendeth,
       While he's unknown, its spell he still commands;
     By perils dread the holy Grail is girded,
       No eye, rash or profane, its light may see;
     Its champion knight from doubtings shall be warded,
       If known to man he must depart and flee.

     Now mark! craft or disguise my soul disdaineth,
       The Grail sent me to right yon lady's fame;
     My father, Percival, gloriously reigneth,
       His knight am I, and Lohengrin my name!

When Lohengrin had ceased to speak, having told his story, all that
Elsa wished to know, everyone spoke softly. They were enchanted by the
knight's purity and goodness, and full of sorrow for the ruin which
Elsa had brought about. She herself cried out that all was dark; she
could no longer see; she felt that she was dying. As she fell,
Lohengrin caught her in his arms.

"Oh, thou wilt not leave me broken-hearted," she said when she could
speak.

"Alas! I must go. Thou hast brought this ruin upon thyself," he said
tenderly. "I was not free to tell thee, but if thou hadst been silent
for a year, according to thy promise, two things would have happened
to make thee happy. I would then have been freed from the bond and
could have spoken--and thy lost brother would have been restored to
thee." Hearing this the grief of all was insupportable. "I must return
to guard the Holy Grail," he said sadly. At that moment those nearest
the bank cried out that the swan was coming, drawing the boat.

Lohengrin handed his sword and horn and ring to Elsa.

"If thy brother ever returns after I am gone, give him these things in
token of me. The horn will bring him help in battle, the sword will
conquer every foe, and the ring will remind him of the one who most
befriended him and who saved thee from suspicion and dishonour." He
kissed her again and again in farewell, while even the nobles wept;
but as he was about to enter the boat the wicked Ortrud entered,
accused him of falsehood, declared that she had wound the golden band
worn by the swan around its neck, and that the swan was the lost
brother, enchanted by her. "If thy knight had remained here, his magic
spells would have brought thy brother back in his rightful shape, but
now he is lost to thee forever. The knight must go, and I will keep
the swan under my spell."

Lohengrin, who had stood upon the bank listening to all this sank
upon his knees in prayer. All looked toward him, waiting in awe to see
what would happen next. The white dove of the Holy Grail flew slowly
down and hovered over the boat. When Lohengrin saw it his face shone
with joy, he rose and loosened the chain from the swan, which
immediately sank out of sight. Then from the river, rose a youth in
shining silver garments, while Lohengrin stooped down and placed him
upon the bank. It was Gottfried, the brother of Elsa, and the heir of
Brabant.

"Behold thy ruler!" Lohengrin cried, affectionately looking at Elsa.
At the sight of Gottfried, Ortrud shrieked and fell down in a fit,
which might have ended in death. Lohengrin jumped into the boat and
the dove seized the chain which had hung loose since the swan had
gone, and drew it along. Elsa, roused from her stupor of agony, saw
her dear brother, and as he and she rushed into each other's arms, the
glorious knight slowly passed from sight, having brought joy to all,
even if he had left sadness wrought by a woman's curiosity.





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