And as she spake, she sought to hold him fast,
But off he thrust her with the last fierce words:
“Unhand me, wretched woman! Be ye gone!”
And Kundry beat her breast and cried in rage:
“Hither, ye powers of darkness! Hither, help!
Seize on the caitiff who defies my will!
Guard ye the ways, and ward the passage there!
Ah, Parsifal, if thou shouldst fly from hence
And learn the ways through all the weary world,
The one Way that thou seekest to the King—
That thou shalt never find! So have I sworn!
So do I curse all pathways and all courses
That lead thee from me. Wander, then, I say!
Wander forever, but the King find never!
I give thee up to Klingsor as thy guide,—
Klingsor my royal Lord and magic Master.”
And scarce the words had left her cursing lips,
Than Klingsor’s ugly form was on the wall.
In his black hands he swung the sacred Spear
And cried: “Halt there, thou cursed guileless One!
Feel thou the keenness of thy Master’s Spear!”
With that, he hurled it full at Parsifal;
But miracle of miracles! it stopped
Above the head of Parsifal, and there
It floated in the radiant air, a glory.
And Parsifal, with upward look and prayer,
Grasped it and wielded with supremest joy,
And with it marked upon the air, the cross;
And cried: “This sign of holy cross I make,
And ban thy cursed magic evermore
And as it soon shall heal the burning wound,
So may it wound thy power to utter wreck!”
And as the words of Parsifal were said,
An earthquake shook the castle to the ground,
The garden withered into desert waste
Strewn with the flowers, faded, desolate,—
And Kundry, crying loud, fell to the earth.
So Parsifal held high the holy Spear
And left the garden-waste and broken tower,
And all the ruin of the haunts of sin,
But stood a moment on the shattered walls
And looked at Kundry lying on the ground,
And spake: “Thou knowest where we meet again!”
And as he went, sad Kundry raised herself
A little, and looked after him.
Sinful and yet desiring to be helped,
Enthralled of sin, yet seeking after God!
Thou art our human nature, after all,—
Strange contradiction, mingled love and hate,
Half demon and half angel in thy moods!
THE CROWNING OF PARSIFAL
Morning was breaking in the pleasant land,
Where rising meadows full of fragrant flowers
Skirt with their beauty the deep forest wilds,
That lead to rocky cliffs among whose peaks
Lies Monsalvat, the castle of the Grail.
Forth from a hut that leans against the rock,
Close to a woodland spring, came Gurnemanz,
The faithful knight and noble counsellor,
But now a lonely hermit of the woods,
Clad in the sacred tunic of the Grail,
Grown very old and bent, and hair snow-white.