The Rhinegold & The Valkyrie - Richard Wagner - E-Book

The Rhinegold & The Valkyrie E-Book

Richard Wagner

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Rumours I have heard Of the Rhinegold; Runes of riches Hide in its ruddy glow; Pelf and power Are by the ring bestowed.

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Seitenzahl: 124


The Rhinegold & The Valkyrie



Richard Wagner

Like a storm-wind he comes!

"Raging, Wotan Rides to the rock! Like a storm-wind he comes!"




At the bottom of the Rhine A greenish twilight, lighter above than below. The upper part is filled with undulating water, which streams respectively from right to left. Towards the bottom the waves resolve themselves into a mist which grows finer as it descends, so that a space, as high as a mans body from the ground, appears to be quite free from the water, which floats like a train of clouds over the gloomy stretch below. Steep rocky peaks jut up everywhere from the depths, and enclose the entire stage. The ground is a wild confusion of jagged rocks, no part of it being quite level, and on every side deeper fisures are indicated by a still denser gloom. Woglinde circles with graceful swimming movements round the central rock. WOGLINDE Weia! Waga! Roll, O ye billows, Rock ye our cradle! Wagala weia! Wallala, weiala, weia! WELLGUNDE [From above. Woglinde, watchest alone? WOGLINDE If Wellgunde came we were two. WELLGUNDE [Dives down to the rock. How keepest thou watch? WOGLINDE [Swimming off, eludes her. Wary of thee. [They playfully tease and chase one another. FLOSSHILDE [From above. Heiaha weia! Ho! ye wild sisters! WELLGUNDE Flosshilde, swim! Woglinde flies: Help me to hinder her flying. FLOSSHILDE [Dives down between the two at play. The sleeping gold Badly ye guard; Watch with more zeal The slumberer's bed, Or dear you'll pay for your sport! [They swim asunder with merry cries. Flosshilde tries to catch first the one, then the other. They elude her, and then combine to chase her, darting like fish from rock to rock with jests and laughter. Meanwhile Alberich climbs out of a dark ravine on to a rock. He pauses, still surrounded by darkness, and watches the frolic of the Rhine-Maidens with increasing pleasure. ALBERICH Hey, hey! ye nixies! Ye are a lovely, Lovable folk! From Nibelheim's night Fain would I come, Would ye be kind to me. [The maidens, as soon as they hear Alberich's voice, stop playing. WOGLINDE Hei! Who is there? WELLGUNDE A voice! It grows dark! FLOSSHILDE Who listens below? [They dive down and see the Nibelung. WOGLINDE AND WELLGUNDE Fie! the loathsome one!The frolic of the Rhine-Maidens. FLOSSHILDE [Swimming up quickly. Look to the gold! Father warned us Of such a foe. [Both the others follow her, and all three gather quickly round the central rock. ALBERICH You above there! THE THREE RHINE-MAIDENS What wouldst thou below there? ALBERICH Do I spoil sport By standing and gazing here? Dived ye but deeper, Fain the Niblung Would join in your frolic and play. WELLGUNDE He wishes to join us? WOGLINDE Is he in jest? ALBERICH Ye gleam above me So glad and fair! If one would only Glide down, how close in my arms Fondly clasped she would be! FLOSSHILDE I laugh at my fears: The foe is in love. WELLGUNDE The amorous imp! WOGLINDE Let us approach him. [She sinks down to the top of the rock, whose base Alberich has reached. ALBERICH Lo! one of them comes! WOGLINDE Climb up to me here! ALBERICH [Climbs with gnome-like agility, though with repeated checks, to the summit of the rock. Irritably. Horrid rock, So slippery, slimy! I slide and slip! My hands and feet vainly Attempt to hold on To the slithery surface! Vapour damp Fills up my nostrils— Accursed sneezing! [He has got near Woglinde. WOGLINDE [Laughing. Sneezing tells That my suitor comes! ALBERICH Be thou my love! Adorable child! [He tries to embrace her. WOGLINDE [Escaping from him. Here thou must woo, If woo me thou wilt! [She swims up to another rock. ALBERICH [Scratching his head. Alas! not yet caught? Come but closer! Hard I found What so lightly thou didst. WOGLINDE [Swims to a third rock lower down. Deeper descend: Thou'lt certainly seize me! ALBERICH [Clambers down quickly. Down there it is better! WOGLINDE [Darts upwards to a higher rock at the side. But better still higher! WELLGUNDE AND FLOSSHILDE [Laughing Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ALBERICH How capture this coy, Elusive fish? Wait for me, false one! [He tries to climb after her in haste. WELLGUNDE [Has sunk down to a lower rock on the other side. Heia! my friend there! Dost thou not hear? ALBERICH [Turning round. What? Didst thou call? WELLGUNDE Be counselled by me: Forsake Woglinde, Climb up to me now! ALBERICH [Climbs hastily over the river-bottom towards Wellgunde. Thou art more comely Far than that coy one; Her sheen is duller, Her skin too smooth. But thou must deeper Dive to delight me! WELLGUNDE [Sinking down till she is a little nearer him. Well, now am I near? ALBERICH Not near enough. Thine arms around me Tenderly throw, That I may fondle Thy neck with my fingers, And closely may cling To thy bosom with love and with longing. WELLGUNDE Art thou in love? For love art thou pining? Approach and show me Thy face and thy form. Fie! thou horrible Hunchback, for shame! Swarthy, horny-skinned Rogue of a dwarf! Find thou a sweetheart Fonder than I! ALBERICH [Tries to detain her by force I may not be fair, But fast I can hold! WELLGUNDE [Swimming up quickly to the middle rock. Hold firm, or I will escape! WOGLINDE AND FLOSSHILDE [Laughing. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ALBERICH [Angrily calling after Wellgunde. Fickle maid! Bony, cold-blooded fish! Fair if I seem not, Pretty and playful, Smooth and sleek— Hei! if I am so loathsome Give thy love to the eels! FLOSSHILDE What ails thee, dwarf? Daunted so soon? Though two have been wooed, Still a third waits thee, Solace sweet Fain at a word to grant! ALBERICH Soothing song Sounds in my ear! 'Twas well I found Three and not one! The chance is I charm one of many, Whilst, single, no one would choose me! Hither come gliding, And I will believe! FLOSSHILDE [Dives down to Alberich. How senseless are ye, Silly sisters, Not to see he is fair! ALBERICH [Hastening towards her. I well may deem them Dull and ill-favoured, Seeing how lovely thou art! FLOSSHILDE Sing on! Thy song, So soft and sweet, Entrancing sounds in my ear! ALBERICH [Caressing her with confidence. My heart burns And flutters and fails, Flattered by praises so sweet! FLOSSHILDE [Gently resisting him. Thy grace and beauty Make glad my eye; And thy smile refreshes My soul like balm [She draws him tenderly towards her. Dearest of men! ALBERICH Sweetest of maids! FLOSSHILDE Wert thou but mine! ALBERICH Wert mine for ever! FLOSSHILDE [Ardently. To be pierced by thy glance, To be pricked by thy beard, To see and to feel them for aye! Might thy hair hard as bristles Flow ever more Enraptured Flosshilde wreathing! And thy form like a frog's, And the croak of thy voice— O could I, dumb with amaze, Marvel forever on these! WOGLINDE and WELLGUNDE [Dive down close to them and laugh. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ALBERICH [Starting in alarm. Wretches, dare ye thus scoff? FLOSSHILDE [Suddenly darting away from him. A suitable end to the song. [She swims up quickly with her sisters. WOGLINDE AND WELLGUNDE [Laughing. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ALBERICH [In a wailing voice. Woe's me! Ah, woe's me! Alas! Alas! The third one, so dear, Does she too betray? O sly and shameful Worthless and dissolute wantons! Live ye on lies Alone, O ye false nixie brood? THE THREE RHINE-MAIDENS Wallala! Wallala! Lalalelai leialalei! Heia! Heia! ha! ha! Shame on thee goblin, Scolding down yonder! Cease, and do as we bid thee! Faint-hearted wooer, Why couldst not hold The maid, when won, more fast? True are we, And troth we keep With lovers when once caught. Grasp then and hold; Away with all fear! In the waves we scarce can escape. Wallala! Lalaleia! Leialalei! Heia! Heia! Ha hei! [They swim apart hither and thither, now lower, now higher, to provoke Alberich to give chase.The Rhine-Maidens teasing Alberich. ALBERICH Fiercely within me Passionate fires Consume and flame! Love and fury, Wild, resistless, Lash me to frenzy! So laugh and lie your fill— One of you I desire, And one must yield to my yearning! [He starts chasing them with desperate energy. He climbs with terrible agility, and, springing from rock to rock, tries to catch one maiden after another. They keep eluding him with mocking laughter. He stumbles and falls into the abyss, and clambers up quickly again and resumes the chase. They sink down a little towards him; he almost reaches them, but falls, back again, and once more tries to catch them. At last he pauses out of breath, and, foaming with rage, stretches his clenched fist up towards the maidens. ALBERICH If but this fist had one! [He remains speechless with rage, gazing upwards, when he is suddenly attracted and arrested by the following spectacle. Through the water a light of continually increasing brilliance breaks from above, and, at a point near the top of the middle rock, kindles to a radiant and dazzling golden gleam. A magical light streams from this through the waves. WOGLINDE Look, sisters! The wakener laughs to the deep. WELLGUNDE Through the billows green The blissful slumberer greets. FLOSSHILDE He kisses the eyelid, Making it open; Bathed in splendour, Behold it smiles, Sending, like a star, Gleaming light through the waves. THE THREE RHINE-MAIDENS [Swimming gracefully round the cliff together. Heia jaheia! Heia jaheia! Wallala la la la leia jahei! Rhinegold! Rhinegold! Radiant delight, How glorious and glad thy smile, Over the water Shooting effulgence afar! Heia jahei! Heia jaheia! Waken, friend! Wake in joy! That we may please thee, Merry we'll play, Waters afire, Billows aflame, As, blissfully bathing, Dancing and singing, We dive and encircle thy bed! Rhinegold! Rhinegold! Heia jaheia! Heia jaheia! Wallala la la la heia jahei! [With increasing mirthful abandonment the maidens swim round the rock. The water is filled with a glimmering golden light. ALBERICH [Whose eyes, strongly attracted by the radiance, stare fixedly at the gold. What is it, sleek ones, That yonder gleams and shines? THE THREE RHINE-MAIDENS Where dost thou hail from, O churl, Of the Rhinegold not to have heard? WELLGUNDE Knows not the elf Of the famed eye golden That wakes and sleeps in turn? WOGLINDE Of the star resplendent Down in the depths Whose light illumines the waves? THE THREE RHINE-MAIDENS [Together See how gaily We glide in the glory! Wouldst thou also Be bathed in brightness, Come, float and frolic with us! Wallala la la leia lalei! Wallala la la leia jahei! ALBERICH Has the gold no value Apart from your games? It were not worth getting! WOGLINDE He would not scoff, Scorning the gold, Did he but know all its wonders! WELLGUNDE That man surely The earth would inherit Who from the Rhinegold Fashioned the ring Which measureless power imparts. FLOSSHILDE Our father told us, And strictly bade us Guard with prudence The precious hoard That no thief from the water might steal it. Be still, then, chattering fools. WELLGUNDE O prudent sister, Why chide and reproach? Hast thou not heard That one alone Can hope to fashion the gold? WOGLINDE Only the man Who love defies, Only the man From love who flies Can learn and master the magic That makes a ring of the gold. WELLGUNDE Secure then are we And free from care: For love is part of living; No one would live without loving. WOGLINDE And least of all he, The languishing elf, With pangs of love Pining away. FLOSSHILDE I fear him not Who should surely know, By his savage lust Almost inflamed."Mock away! Mock away! The Niblung makes for your toy!" WELLGUNDE A brimstone brand In the surging waves, In lovesick frenzy Hissing loud. THE THREE RHINE-MAIDENS [Together. Wallala! Wallaleia la la! Join in our laughter, Lovable elf! In the golden glory How gallant thy sheen! O come, lovely one, laugh as we laugh! Heia jaheia! Heia jaheia! Wallala la la la leia jahei! [They swim, laughing, backwards and forwards in the light. ALBERICH [His eyes fixed on the gold, has listened attentively to the sisters rapid chatter. Could I truly The whole earth inherit through thee? If love be beyond me My cunning could compass delight? [In a terribly loud voice. Mock away! Mock! The Niblung makes for your toy! [Raging he springs on to the middle rock, and clambers to the top. The maidens scatter, screaming, and swim upwards on different sides. THE THREE RHINE-MAIDENS Heia! Heia!heia jahei! Save yourselves! The elf is distraught! Swirling waters splash At every leap: The creature's crazy with love! Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ALBERICH [Reaching the top with a last spring. Still undismayed? Go, wanton in darkness. Water-born brood! [He stretches his hand out towards the gold. My hand quenches your light; I tear the gold from the rock; Forged be the ring for revenge! Bear witness, ye floods— I forswear love and curse it! [He tears the gold from the rock with terrific force, and immediately plunges with it into the depths, where he quickly disappears. Sudden darkness envelops the scene. The maidens dive down after the robber. THE THREE RHINE-MAIDENS Seize the despoiler! Rescue the gold! Help us! Help us! Woe! Woe! [The water sinks with them. From the lowest depth Alberich's shrill, mocking laughter rings up. The rocks are hidden by impenetrable darkness. The whole stage from top to bottom is filled with black waves, which for some time appear to sink even lower."Seize the despoiler! Rescue the gold! Help us! Help us! Woe! Woe!"


The waves have gradually changed into clouds which, becoming lighter and lighter by degrees, finally disperse in a fine mist. As the mist vanishes upwards in light little clouds an open space on a mountain height becomes visible in the dim light which precedes dawn. At one side Wotan with Fricka beside him both asleep, lie on a flowery bank. The dawning day illumines with increasing brightness a castle with glittering pinnacles which stands on the summit of a cliff in the background. Between this and the foreground a deep valley is visible through which the Rhine flows. FRICKA [Awakes; her gaze falls on the castle, which has become plainly visible; alarmed. Wotan! My lord! Awaken! WOTAN [Continuing to dream.