He listened for awhile, then spake: “What
From yonder thicket come? No forest beast
Doth utter cry so piteous and sad.
This holy morn, the holiest of the year,
Doth bring to Nature a deep-thrilling joy.
’T is only humankind that can be sad.
Ah! there again the grieving and the moans,—
Methinks I know that sad despairing cry.
These brambles I will tear apart and see
What their thick undergrowth so well conceals.
Ah! Here she is again! The winter’s thorn
Has been her grave these many weary years.
Wake, Kundry, wake! The winter long is past;
The spring has come! Awaken with the flowers!
How cold she is, and rigid as the dead!
I could believe her dead,—and yet I heard
Her groaning and her piteous moan erstwhile.”
And kneeling down, he chafed her hands and face,
Breathed on them to awaken life again;
And at the last a tremor thrilled her through.
In deep amaze she wakened from her sleep,
And opened her sad eyes, with startled cries.
Long did she gaze on aged Gurnemanz;
Then she arose, but her whole mien was changed,—
The wildness of her former life was gone;
A tender softness shone forth from her eyes;
A gentle bearing lent an added grace;
And without word of question, or of thanks,
Away she moved as if a serving-maid.
Then Gurnemanz: “Hast thou no word for
Are these my thanks, that from the sleep of death
I waked thee?”
Kundry slowly bent her head,
And murmured brokenly the words: “To serve,—
O let me serve thee and the Holy Grail.”
Then Gurnemanz again: “This were light
For days of saddest peace have come to us,
And deeds of valiant arms no more are done.
A dark despair is over Monsalvat;
No messengers are sent to distant parts
To stir the hearts of fighting warriors;
Like every creature of the leafy woods,
Each man doth serve himself in daily needs.”
But Kundry had perceived the hermit-hut,
And knew that she could serve in little things;
And unto it she went to find some task.
And Gurnemanz deep wondered, and he spoke:
“How unlike days of yore her step and way,—
Grace in her step and grace in countenance.
Perchance God giveth grace to her sad heart.
Perchance this holy morn hath wrought the change.
O day of boundless mercy, ’twas for this—
Her soul’s salvation and another life—
That I have wakened her from sleep of death!
See, with a pitcher comes she from the hut,
And fills it at the spring!... But who is this
That now I see approaching through the woods
And drawing slowly near the holy spring?
Yon knight is not a brother of the Grail,
With all that war accoutrement of gloom.”
And one drew near, a splendid armored knight,
His armor shining black as darkest night,
His helmet closed, and lowered was his spear.
Forward he walked as if he moved in dream,
As if a servant of some high emprise,
Neither to right nor left he turned his face,
But seated him beyond the holy spring.