Then in the blue light Kundry slow appeared.
Asleep she seemed, and dreaming in her sleep,
But sudden wakened with a dreadful cry,
A shuddering cry, half laughter, half in pain.
And Klingsor spake again: “Awakest thou?
Again my spell is potent on thy life;
My will again shall use thee for my deeds.”
But Kundry cried in bitter agony,
And wailed in fear and anguish at his feet;
While Klingsor asked her in deep thunder tones:
“Where hast thou wandered since I used thee last?
I know. Among the brethren of the Grail,
Who thought thee but a witch and serving-wench.
Do I not treat thee with a better grace,
And use thee for the mightiest of deeds?
Since thou didst lure for me the brave Amfortas—
Chaste guardian (they thought him) of the Grail—
Thou hast deserted my high name and service.
What better hast thou found than me and mine?”
Then Kundry cried in hoarse and broken speech:
“O dismal night and shame and wickedness!
Would I could sleep the deepest sleep of death!”
And Klingsor asked: “What has there come
Has some one else awaked thee from thy sleep?”
And trembling Kundry answered: “Even so.
And, oh, the longing to redeem my life!”
Then Klingsor: “Yea, with knights so pure
The evil Kundry would be Heaven-pure.”
But Kundry answered all his mockery:
“Yea, I did serve them well and faithfully.”
And Klingsor spake with a great voice of scorn:
“Thou wouldst amend the mischief thou hast done?...
They are not worth it! They are fools and weak.
I buy them all for price of one sweet sin.
The strongest was the weakest in thine arms.
And so I ruined him, and won the Spear,
And left him with the ever-burning wound.
But now to-day another must be met,—
Most dangerous because so godlike pure,
For he is shielded by a guileless heart.”
And Kundry cried: “Him will I never tempt!
Thou canst not force me to the hateful deed.”
But Klingsor answered: “Yea, thou shalt, thou must.
I am thy master and I have the power.
Thy charms and woes are nothing unto me.
Laugh at me, if you will. I have the power!
Yea, I remember all the days of yore,—
That once I sought the holier, happier life,
Within the service of the Holy Grail;
But it was mad ambition, desperate wish,
And thou didst quench it for me, devil’s-queen,
And drown it in thy hellish arts of love.
But that is past. Now thou art but my slave.
And Titurel, who scorned me at the gates,
And all his knights with their proud King Amfortas,
Through thy dark wiles I ruined utterly.
And in my hand I hold their sacred Spear
And soon shall have their shining Holy Grail.
Remember now to use thy wiles again
As thou didst love Amfortas to his shame.”
But Kundry cried: “O misery and shame!
That e’en their King should be so weak with me,
And all men weak. O hateful, hateful curse
That ruins them and me in sin together!
O for the sleep of death to end all this!”