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" SENTA'S EYES SOUGHT THE roiriRAiT



WONDER TALES FROM WAGNER



for louncj {people



BY



ANNA ALICE CHAPIN

AUTHOR OF "THE STORY OF THE RHINEGOLD



ILLUSTRATED




NEW YORK AND LONDON

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

1898



BY THE SAME AUTHOR.



THE STORY OF THE RHINEGOLD (Der Ring
des Nibelungen"). Told for Young People. Illus-
trated. Post 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 25.

For a study of Wagner's operas no better book could
be secured than Anna Alice Chapin's "The Story of the
Rhinegold," which bears the marks of careful research.
. . . Miss Chapin has written this straightforward story
of Wagner's " Nibelungenlied ",for ( yo 4 ung,peQple v eAs a
matter of fact, tiptyever^hV t-oek \rilUrnske frS-e^^ng
reading for peop^oVdn^ ac;e'a'nd ik especially vhiable
as an interpreter* of tha operas 'themselves. Springfield
Union. _ _ , t . i ,r



NEW YORK '.AN D J TJJlfCi O Jl' f

HARPER & BRO'T'H'E'RS, 'PUBLISHERS.
" ' ''-



THE NEW YORK

PUBLIC LIBRARY



LENOX AN



Copyright, 1898, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

All rights re



78*
C-



TO
THE CHILDREN

WHO MAY HEAR

RICHARD WAGNER'S OPERAS

IN THE HOPE OF AIDING THEM TO UNDERSTAND



. - '

THIS BOOF; ', ; ',

- . . , , .

11 j >







< * i . .



" ,



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,,', O I' .< O t.



' 'Hark ! Gay fanfares from halts of old Romance
Strike through the clouds of clamor : who be these
That, paired in rich processional, advance
From darkness . . . . ?
B tight ladies and brave knights of Fatherland,
Sad mariners no harbor e'er may hold,
A swan soft floating towards a magic strand ;
Dim ghosts of earth, air, water, fire, steel, gold,
Wind, grief, and love ; a lewd and lurking band
Of Powers dark Conspiracy, Cunning cold,
Gray Sorcery ....
O Wagner, westward bring thy heavenly art,
No trifle r thon .

*

Thine ears hear deeper than thine eyes can see"

SIDNEY LANIER.



PREFACE



RICHARD WAGNER, in constructing his music
dramas, found his materials in the legends of all
lands. The source, or more correctly the sources, of
" The Flying Dutchman " essentially a sea-myth
are to be traced to many countries. " Tannhauser,"
the mediaeval tale of which has been recorded in
poetry, and thus handed down to us from the past,
is distinctly German. So, too, is " Lohengrin,"
though the story of Cupid and Psyche, from which
Wagner obtained part of the plot of this opera, is
Greek. "Tristan and Isolde" is Celtic; and "The
Mastersingers ' has an historical foundation, and is
peopled with real, not legendary, personages. It is
my purpose to show, as simply as I can, the origin
of the stories incorporated in the Master's works.

The legend of " The Flying Dutchman ' is the
most widely known sea -story in existence. It is
common to all lands, and sailors to this day tell tales
of the strange ship which passes a certain latitude



viii Preface

on a certain night of the year. The captain who
commands her bears many names, though it is gen-
erally believed that the varying tales told in differ-
ent tongues are but versions of one original legend,
which, probably, was diffused over many lands by
repetitions among the sailors. In the world of liter-
ature we often find the unfortunate captain. Cole-
ridge's Ancient Mariner, though from a different
cause, is obliged to

" Pass like night from land to land ;"

and in the description of his vessel, given by the
Hermit in the same poem, we find a strange sem-
blance to the ship of the Flying Dutchman :

" ' Strange, by my faith,' the Hermit said
'And they answered not our cheer!

The planks look warped ! and see those sails,
How thin they are and sere !

I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were

Brown skeletons of leaves ' ' . . .

We are reminded of Wagner's " Traft ihr das
Schiff im Meere an ?" in the following :

" But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without nor wave nor wind ?"

It is said that Wagner was influenced in the writ-
ing of this opera by the story contained in Heine's



Preface ix

Memoirem des Hcrrn von Schnabelewopski, and by
other writers, Wilhelm Hauff among them. The lat-
ter has told his weird tale of the phantom ship
Carmilhan most effectively, having introduced, in-
stead of a demoniacal chorus, a sad and slow song,
sung by the doomed seafarers. The following de-
scription of the marching of the uncanny procession
down the rocks to their ship, after a short sojourn
on land, is to be found in Edward Stowell's trans-
lation of Kauri's story : " The whole procession
marched away in the same order in which it had
come, and with the same solemn song, which grew
ever fainter and fainter in the distance, until finally
it was lost in the roar of the breakers." The tall
and gloomy captain, Alfred Frank von Schwelder, of
Amsterdam, is easily identified with Vanderdecken.
Wagner conceived his plan for the construction
of " Der Fliegende Hollander" while on his voyage
from Pillau to London. He declared afterwards that
he had been greatly interested in the tales of the
sailors, and their confirmation of that particular le-
gend, and it is probable that in this way a deeper im-
pression was made upon him than by the works al-
ready written on the subject. On that voyage, too,
he undoubtedly felt and assimilated that wonderful
and indescribable soul of the sea which subsequently
gave so distinct a coloring to " Der Fliegende Hol-
lander."



x Preface

Wagner first found the legend of " Tannhauser >:
in the verses of Ludwig Tieck. The story is an old
one, but has been less frequently the subject of po-
etry and prose than most of the legends from which
Wagner took his plots. The reason for this is prob-
ably the extreme difficulty of treating the tale ade-
quately. After that of the Master, the best version
which has ever appeared is Owen Meredith's " Bat-
tle of the Bards." This poem is most beautiful, and
that Meredith's conception of Elizabeth's character
is the same as Wagner's is shown in the lines in
which he compares her to

"The pale

Mild-eyed March violet of the North, that blows
Bleak under bergs of ice."

The first part of this poem is the description of
the coming of the Pope's messenger. Here, too, the
poet closely follows Wagner. He says that there
came into the valley

" A flying post, and in his hand he bore
A wither'd staff o'er flourish'd with green leaves."

He was followed by

" A crowd of youth and eld

That sang to stun with sound the lark in heaven,
'A miracle! a miracle from Rome!
Glory to God that makes the bare bough green !' "



Preface xi

Sir Walther von der Vogelweide, the Minnesinger,
is the subject of many poems. He was called the
Bard of Love, and was wont to declare that he had
learned his art of song from the birds. Longfellow,
in his " Walter von der Vogehveid," relates how the
great master, when dying in the cloister of Wurtz-
burg, enjoined the monks to feed the birds every
day in his name. This was done according to his
behest.

"On the cross-bar of each window,

On the lintel of each door,
They renewed the War of Wartburg
Which the bard had fought before."

At last the portly abbot murmured, " Why this
waste of food ?" and thereafter the meal was turned
to loaves for the brotherhood, and the birds went
hungry.

" But around the vast cathedral,
By sweet echoes multiplied,
Still the birds repeat the legend,
And the name of Vogehveid."

Wagner obtained much of his material for the
opera of " Lohengrin " from " Parzival " Wolfram
von Eschenbach's epic poem. Lohengrin may have
a prototype in Sir Galahad, of whom Tennyson has
written such inspired poetry. The characters of the
two knights are somewhat similar the strength,



xii Preface

spirituality, nobility, and great personal courage be-
ing equally developed in both. The special differ-
ences between their lives are that Galahad seeks the
Holy Grail, while Lohengrin is one of its recognized
guardians ; that Galahad leaves men, to lead his life
alone, in ceaseless endeavor and in communion with
angelic hosts, while Lohengrin abandons his high
and celestial estate to mingle with humanity and
love a mortal woman. The legend of the Holy
Grail is universally familiar, and, as is well known,
figures importantly in the " Idyls of the King." I
have written of the mystic cup further on, and need
not speak of it here. The plot of "Lohengrin" is
to be found in the legends of Jupiter and Semele,
and of Pururavas and Urvasi, but its most familiar
form is the tale of Cupid and Psyche. In all these
instances curiosity and anxiety prove stronger than
love, a promise is broken, and sorrow ensues.

Of all Celtic legends, that of Tristan, Tristram, or
Tristrem, and Isolde, Iseult, or Isolt, is the most
popular, the most poetical, and the best suited for
use in literature. Among those who have written
of the love and sorrow of the Knight of Lyonesse,
or Lionelle, and the lady whom he loved, are Mat-
thew Arnold, Algernon Swinburne, Alfred Tennyson,
and Sir Walter Scott. Matthew Arnold sings well of

" Those who lived and loved
A thousand years ago."



Preface xiii

Yet, in spite of its poetical beauty, his version of
the tale seems wanting in the dramatic feeling which
caused Wagner to centre the interest in his two lov-
ers alone, entirely omitting Iseult of Brittany. In
Arnold's poem this second Iseult is so sweet and her
fate is so touching that we lose something of the in-
tensity, and much of the concentration, which thrills
us in Wagner's music drama. The second Iseult
figures also in Swinburne's " Tristram of Lyonesse,"
and is a less attractive and touching character than
Arnold's. Swinburne's poem is exquisite, however.
The beginning seems to express Wagner's prelude
in words, and the last part is replete with beauty.
The King, after the lover's death, builds a chapel by
the ocean ; in that chapel he entombs the two so
well beloved by him. The years pass, and the water
rises and ingulfs the chapel. So over it forever is

" The light and sound and darkness of the sea."

Tennyson's story of Tristram and Isolt is con-
tained in " The Last Tournament," and is unimpor-
tant as a version of the ancient tale. In " Thomas
the Rhymer," by Sir Walter Scott, we find the sim-
plest version of the legend. It is identical with
Wagner's opera, save for the characterization of
Marke as " cowardly." At a feast spread in Ercil-
doune, Thomas the Rhymer sings to the assembly



xiv Preface

many songs of chivalry tales of the Round Table
and of the great knights of ancient times. At last,
in melodious song, he relates the tale of Tristrem,
Knight of Lionelle, who slew Morholde, and bore a
" venom'd wound " for the sake of his uncle, King
Marke of Cornwall. The poem continues as follows :

"No art the poison could withstand,

No medicine could be found,
Till lovely Isolde's lily hand

Had probed the rankling wound.

" With gentle hand and soothing tongue

She bore the leech's part ;
And, while she o'er his sick-bed hung,
He paid her with his heart.

" Oh, fatal was the gift, I ween !

For, doomed in evil tide,
The maid must be rude Cornwall's queen,
His cowardly uncle's bride.



" Through many a maze the winning song

In changeful passion led,
Till bent at last the listening throng
O'er Tristrem's dying bed.

" His ancient wounds their scars expand,

With agony his heart is wrung :
Oh, where is Isolde's lily hand,
And where her soothing tongue ?



Preface xv

" She comes ! she comes ! like flash of flame

Can lovers' footsteps fly ;
She comes ! she comes ! she only came
To see her Tristrem die.



" There paused the harp ; its lingering sound

Died slowly on the ear ;
The silent guests still bent around,
For still they seemed to hear."

The Mastersingers of Nuremberg were undoubt-
edly as authentic as other historical persons, and the
twelve good men of the famous guild left behind
them stable proofs that they had lived. There are
poems in existence to-day signed by Sixtus Beck-
messer, Veit Pogner, and the other masters. Hans
Sachs's mastersongs are looked upon with reverence
nowadays, and his name, with that of Albrecht
Diirer, is invariably mentioned in connection with
Nuremberg.

" Thy songs, Hans Sachs, are living yet,
In honest, hearty German,"

says Whittier, and we find innumerable references
to the cobbler-poet in both poetry and prose. If
the poem " Walter von der Vogelweid " be read in
connection with " The Mastersingers of Nuremberg,"
new light will be thrown by the legend of the birds
upon Walther von Stolzing's declaration that " in
the woods he learned his singing." The feathered



xvi Preface

minstrels which had taught song to the gentle Bard
of Love, and which still sang the record of his kind-
liness and tender thought, taught also the knight
who in their voices found the music which best ex-
pressed the emotions of his own heart.

The Mastersingers have attracted more than one
writer, but of all attempts at capturing the spirit of
the old art-loving burghers the best is Longfellow's
" Nuremberg," in which the very soul of Wagner's
work seems manifest :

" In the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadow-
lands

Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg the an-
cient stands.

" Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of

art and song,

Memories haunt thy pointed gables like the rooks that
round them throng.

"Memories of the Middle Ages, when the emperors, rough

and bold,

Had their dwelling in thy castle, time-defying, centuries
old.

" And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted in their un-
couth rhyme,

That their great imperial city stretched its hand through
every clime.



Preface xvii

"Through these streets so broad and stately, these obscure

and dismal lanes,

Walked of yore the Mastersingers, chanting rude poetic
strains.

" From remote and sunless suburbs came they to the

friendly guild,

Building nests in Fame's great temple, as in spouts the
swallows build.

"As the weaver plied his shuttle, wove he too the mystic

rhyme,

And the smith his iron measures hammered to the an-
vil's chime ;

" Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes the flow-
ers of poesy bloom

In the forge's dust and cinders, in the tissues of the
loom.

" Here Hans Sachs, the cobbler-poet, laureate of the gen-
tle craft,

Wisest of the Twelve Wise Masters, in huge folios sang
and laughed.



"Vanished is the ancient splendor, and before my dreamy

eye

Wave these mingled shapes and figures, like a faded tap-
estry.



xviii Preface

' Not thy Councils, not thy Kaisers, win for these the

world's regard,

But thy painter, Albrecht Diirer, and Hans Sachs, thy cob-
bler-bard."



CONTENTS



THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
(Der Fliegende Hollander')

CHAP. PAGE

I. THE SPELLBOUND SEAMAN 3

II. IN THE HOUSE OF DALAND 10

III. SENTA'S SACRIFICE 23

TANNHAUSER

I. IN THE VENUSBERG 35

II. THE CONTEST OF SONG 45

III. THE POPE'S STAFF 56

LOHENGRIN

I. THE COMING OF THE KNIGHT 67

II. BEFORE THE MINSTER So

III. THE THREE QUESTIONS 90

IV. How THE KNIGHT WENT AWAY 95

TRISTAN AND ISOLDE
(Tristan und Isolde)

I. FROM IRELAND TO CORNWALL 103

II. IN ISOLDE'S GARDEN 120

III. KAREOL 129



xx Contents

THE MASTERSINGERS OF NUREMBERG
(Die Meistersinger)

CHAP. PAGE

I. TRIAL BY THE MASTERS 141

II. HANS SACHS, THE COBBLER 157

III. THE COBBLER'S WORKSHOP 169

IV. THE SINGING OF THE MASTERSONG . 182



ILLUSTRATIONS



" SENTA'S EYES SOUGHT THE PORTRAIT' .... Frontispiece
"THE SAILORS, \VAVING THEIR CAPS, SHOUTED

' HOHO ! HALOHO !' ' Facing p. IO

" 'HERE I STAND, TRUE TILL DEATH'" 32

"'I PLEAD FOR HIM I PLEAD FOR HIS LIFE*" . . 52

"ELIZABETH CAME TO KNEEL AT THE SHRINE" . . " 58

"HE REACHED THE BIER WITH DIFFICULTY" ... " 60
"'I HAVE COME TO DO BATTLE BEFORE GOD FOR

THIS MAIDEN'" 76

' THE DUCHESS OF BRABANT WITH OUTSTRETCHED

HANDS BIDDING ORTRUD ENTER" " 84

"'I HAVE ASKED YOUR LOVE AND BELIEF IN ME'" Q2

"SHE TORE OFF HER VEIL, WAVING IT EAGERLY" 124
"FROM HER LIPS CAME SOFTLY HER HEART'S SPEECH

IN WORDS " , 136

"THE KNIGHT HAD JUST BESOUGHT EVA TO REPLY" 144
"SHE BEGAN TO QUESTION HIM IN REGARD TO THE

GUILD MEETING " , . . . l62

"READING AN OLD FOLIO WITH DUSTY COVERS". . IJO

"'AHA! NOW i HAVE FOUND THE PLACE THAT

HURTS'" ' . . " 178

"EVA CROW'NED THE VICTOR WITH A WREATH OF

LAUREL AND MYRTLE" " l86



THE FLYING DUTCHMAN

(Der Fliegende Hollander)



Motif of the Flying Dutchman




::



-I*-



CHAPTER I
THE SPELLBOUND SEAMAN

SAILORS believe that there is an Evil Spirit of
the ocean who, like the ancient Sea -Queen Ran,
" would many a man beguile," and who delights in
casting spells upon unfortunate mortals and in
dragging them down under the waves. He has
terrible power, they declare, and can arouse the
ocean to wrath, collect the thunder-clouds, and let
loose the wild storm-winds indeed, the number of
vessels he has wrecked cannot be counted. His
mighty magic enables him to doom mariners to
fearful fates if they displease or defy him ; and of
this magic you shall now hear.

There was once a Dutch sea-captain named Van-
derdecken, who, after a long and prosperous voy-
age, directed his course towards his home in Hol-
land. He was a brave-hearted but rash man, and,
on hearing of a certain particularly dangerous cape,
called Good Hope, he vowed that he would double
that cape, come what might, if it took all eternity.



4 The Flying Dutchman

Now the Sea-Spirit heard this vow, and laughed
for he loved well to punish men for defying his
power - - and wove spells about the ship, the cap-
tain, and the crew. From that day enchantment
lay upon them, and they were doomed to traverse
the seas forever trying always to sail around the*
Cape of Good Hope, and failing at every trial.}
Long years passed, and Vanderdecken and his crew
were only kept from death by the Sea-Spirit, who
condemned them to sail forever.

The unfortunate seaman had but one hope of
happiness and salvation: if a woman would give
him her love, and remain faithful to him until death,
the spell would be lifted and Vanderdecken freed.
Every seven years he was allowed to cast anchor
and go on shore to search for the woman who
would save him through her love and fidelity.
But, alas! he could find none, and as the end of
every term on land expired, bringing the return
of the fateful spell, the Dutchman put to sea for
seven more long years.

Time passed, and still he wandered over the
ocean in his ship, which seemed winged, so fast was
her flight. Still, the sight of her hull startled pass-
ing mariners, for a wierd light glimmered about it,
her sails were red as blood, and her masts as black
as the black depths of the night. Thus had she
been changed by the Sea-Spirit, to show that his



The Spellbound Seaman 5

spell was about her and all on board. Every one
who saw the ship felt a sense of mystery creep over
him, and regarded her passing, at the commence-
ment of a voyage, as no auspicious sign.

Sometimes a glimpse of a pale face at the prow
filled all hearts with terror and pity, for every one
knew that it was the spellbound Seaman who gazed
out to sea as though seeking the help which never
came.

Every sailor knew Vanderdecken's story and the
power which doomed him to eternally sail the seas,
and they had given him a name descriptive of his
wanderings. When, with all sails set and the waves
rushing past her sides, his ship flew by in the wind,
seafarers changed their course, and whispered, fear-
fully, "Yonder sails the Flying Dutchman!"

Once upon a time there lived a Norwegian cap-
tain named Daland. He made many long voyages,
none of them very prosperous, and, consequently, he
had a great love for gold. He was not a bad man,
but he was foolish enough to worship and envy all
those in possession of greater wealth than himself.
While he sailed away in search of riches, he used to
leave his daughter in the care of her old nurse.

The day on which the story opens he had re-
turned from a long voyage, and had met a severe
storm, in which he had put to shore on a part of



6 The Flying Dutchman

the Norwegian coast which he recognized as Sand-
wike Bay, forty miles from his own port. The wind
had fallen, and, as his crew were tired, he ordered
them to rest. He directed the steersman to keep
watch while the others slept ; but the man, being
drowsy himself, soon fell asleep at his post, after
singing a song to the south wind, beseeching it to
rise and blow him to his Norwegian sweetheart.

At the moment when his eyes closed a ship ap-
peared on the sea speeding towards the shore. As
she came the storm rose again, with violent mutter-
ings, increasing in rage. The sky darkened rapidly,
and the sea was lashed into fury by the whips of
the wind. The ship approached swiftly, and the
anchor crashed through the water. Noiselessly the
crew furled the blood-red sails and coiled the ropes.
With the uncertain step of one who had not set
foot on solid earth for years, the captain of the ship
went on shore. His face was ghastly pale, his hair
and beard were long and black, in his eyes was an
indescribable yearning. It was Vanderdecken, the
Flying Dutchman.

As he stood on the rock-strewn shore he thought
of his seven years' flight over the seas, of the sad-
ness of his doom, and the hopelessness of his quest.
At last he broke into passionate words, saying that
he longed only for the end of the universe, when
the sea, and he with it, would be gone. And in the



The Spellbound Seaman 7

hold of the ship his sailors, under the same strange
spell, echoed his words in hollow tones.

He had relapsed into silence and stood leaning
against a rock, wrapped in gloomy thought, when
Daland came out from the cabin of his ship. See-
ing the vessel at anchor near by, he hastily aroused
his sleeping steersman, upbraiding him for his neg-
ligence and pointing out the strange ship. Once
awake, the steersman seized the speaking-trumpet
and shouted, " Ahoy !"

Only the echoes answered.

Suddenly Daland perceived Vanderdecken on the
shore, and, advancing to the ship's side, cried aloud,
" Hallo, seaman ! What name have you, and what
country ?"

There was a long silence. Then, without moving,
the Dutchman answered, slowly, " I have come from
afar. Would you drive me from anchorage?"

" Heaven forbid !" said Daland, warmly. " I give
you welcome, seaman."

He left the ship, and, joining the Dutchman on
the rocks, asked, with friendly interest, " W T ho are
you ?"

"A Dutchman," was Vanderdecken's sole reply.

" Good greeting!" said Daland. " I suppose you
were brought by the storm to this bare, rocky
strand? I am in that same plight; but my home
is not far away, and I shall soon reach it. Whence



8 The Flying Dutchman

have you come? Have you weathered the storm
well?"

" My ship is strong," returned the Dutchman.
" It weathers all storms."

Then, speaking in accents fraught with deep sad-
ness, he said that he had long sailed the seas, and
that for certain melancholy reasons he could never
return to his native land. He ended by beseeching
Daland to give him shelter in his house for the
night, saying that he would repay his kindness with
riches brought from every land. To give force to
his words, he motioned to two of his sailors on
board the ship, who raised a large chest between
them and carried it on shore.

" Now you will see many treasures," said the
Dutchman, raising the lid. " Behold, and convince
yourself that they are of great value."

Daland was fairly dazzled at the wonders revealed
to his gaze ; costly pearls, incomparable gems of all
sorts, they formed a spectacle absolutely astounding
to the simple sea-captain. As the Dutchman went
on to declare, sadly, that the stones were useless to
him, who had neither wife nor child, and to offer
them freely for a single night's rest and shelter, Da-
land could scarcely believe that he heard aright.

Vanderdecken continued to talk with him, and on
discovering that he had a daughter, asked permis-
sion to woo her. Though somewhat startled at



The Spellbound Seaman 9

this sudden request, Daland could not forget the
glitter of the jewels, which proved the stranger's
great wealth ; moreover, he had descried in all that
he had said a melancholy grandeur which seemed
to indicate nobility of soul. After a few doubtful
words, Daland gave his consent to the Dutchman's
suit, speaking tenderly of the unceasing gentleness
and devoted love of the daughter whom he was re-


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