(to the Vassals)
Mighty logs I bid you now pile
on high by the river shore!
Bright and fierce kindle a fire;
let the noblest hero’s corpse in its flames be
His steed bring to me here,
that with me his lord he may follow:
for my body burneth with holiest longing my
hero’s honor to share.
Fulfill Brünnhild’s behest.
(During the following, the young men raise a huge
funeral pyre of logs before the hall, near the bank of
the Rhine: women decorate this with coverings on
which they strew plants and flowers.)
(Brünnhilde becomes again absorbed in contemplation
of Siegfried’s dead face. Her features take
gradually a softer and brighter expression.)
Like rays of sunshine streameth his light:
the purest was he, who hath betrayed me!
In wedlock traitor, true in friendship;
from his heart’s own true love, only beloved one,
barred was he by his sword.
Truer than his were oaths ne’er spoken;
faithful as he, none ever held promise;
purer than his, love ne’er was plighted:
Yet oaths hath he scorned, bonds hath he broken,
the most faithful love none so hath betrayed!
Know ye why that was?
Oh ye, of vows the heavenly guardians!
Turn now your eyes on my grievous distress;
behold your eternal disgrace!
To my plaint give ear, thou mighty god!
Through his most valiant deed,
by thee so dearly desired,
didst thou condemn him to endure
the doom that on thee had fallen;
he, truest of all, must betray me,
that wise a woman might grow!
Know I now all thy need?
All things, all things, all now know I.
All to me is revealed.
Wings of thy ravens wave around me;
with tidings long desired,
I send now thy messengers home.
Rest, rest, o god!
(She makes a sign to the Vassals to lift Siegfried’s
body onto the pyre; at the same time she draws the
ring from Siegfried’s finger and looks at it meditatively.)
My heritage yields now the hero.
Accursed charm! Terrible ring!
My hand grasps thee, and gives thee away.
Ye sisters wise who dwell in the waters,
give ear, ye sorrowing Rhine maids,
good counsel lives in your words:
what ye desire I leave to you:
now from my ashes take ye your treasure!
Let fire, burning this hand,
cleanse, too, the ring from its curse!
Ye in the flood, wash it away,
and purer preserve your shining gold
that to your sorrow was stolen.
(She has put the ring on her finger and now turns
to the pile of logs on which Siegfried’s body lies
stretched. She takes a great firebrand
from one of the men.)
(waving the firebrand and pointing to the
Fly home, ye ravens! tell your lord the tidings
that here on the Rhine ye have learned!
To Brünnhilde’s rock first wing your flight!
there burneth Loge:
straight way bid him to Valhalla!
For the end of godhood draweth now near.
So cast I the brand
on Valhalla’s glittering walls.
(She flings the brand on the woodpile, which
quickly breaks out into bright flames. Two ravens fly
up from the rock and disappear in the background.)
(Brünnhilde notices her horse, which has just
been led in by two men.)
Grane, my steed, I greet thee, friend!
(She has sprung toward him, seizes and unbridles
him: then she bends affectionately toward him.)
Knowest thou now to whom
and whither I lead thee?
In fire radiant, lies there thy lord,
Siegfried, my hero blest.
To follow thy master, joyfully neighest thou?
Lures thee to him the light with its laughter?
Feel, too, my bosom, how it doth burn;
glowing flames now lay hold on my heart:
fast to enfold him, embraced by his arms,
in might of our loving with him aye made one!
Heiajoho! Grane! Greet thy Master!
(She has swung herself on the horse and urges it to
Siegfried! Siegfried! See!
Blisfully Brünnhilde greets thee.
(She makes her horse leap into the burning pile of
logs. The flames immediately blaze up so that they fill
the whole space in front of the hall and appear to
seize on the building itself. The men and women
press to the front in terror.)
(As the whole space of the stage seems filled with
fire, the glow suddenly subsides, so that only a cloud
of smoke remains, which is drawn to the background,
and lies there on the horizon as a dark bank of cloud.
At the same time the Rhine overflows its banks in a
mighty flood which rolls over the fire. On the waves
the three Rhine daughters swim forward and now
appear on the place of the fire.)