Book: Siegfried and The Twilight of the Gods
Author: Richard Wagner

Siegfried and The Twilight of the Gods By Richard Wagner

Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 258
Publication Date: This translation by Margaret Armour, 1910

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In the second part of Margaret Armour's translation of possibly Wagner's best-known work 'The Ring of the Nibelung', the last two opera's in the cycle, 'Siegfried' and 'The Twilight of the Gods', are reproduced with colour plates by Arthur Rackham. Rackham's hauntingly dark illustrations, are perfectly suited to the drama - an epic story that charts the struggles of gods, heroes and mythical creatures loosely based on characters from the Norse sagas. ‘Siegfried’, the third of the four operas, is primarily inspired by the story of the legendary hero Sigurd in Norse mythology. This narrative is followed by the finale, ‘Götterdämmerung’ – the title of which is a translation into German of the Old Norse phrase ‘Ragnarök’, which in Norse mythology refers to a prophesied war among various beings and gods that ultimately results in the renewal of the world.

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[Who has been hammering with a small hammer, stops working.]

Slavery! worry!
Labour all lost!
The strongest sword
That ever I forged,
That the hands of giants
Fitly might wield,
This insolent urchin
For whom it is fashioned
Can snap in two at one stroke,
As if the thing were a toy!

[Mime throws the sword on the anvil ill-humouredly, and with his arms akimbo gazes thoughtfully on the ground.]

There is one sword
That he could not shatter
Nothung's splinters
Would baffle his strength,
Could I but forge
Those doughty fragments
That all my skill
Cannot weld anew.
Could I but forge the weapon,
Shame and toil would win their reward!

[He sinks further back, his head bowed in thought.]

Fafner, the dragon grim,
Dwells in the gloomy wood;
With his gruesome and grisly bulk
The Nibelung hoard
Yonder he guards.
Siegfried, lusty and young,
Would slay him without ado;
The Nibelung's ring
Would then become mine.
The only sword for the deed
Were Nothung, if it were swung
By Siegfried's conquering arm
And I cannot fashion
Nothung, the sword!

[He lays the sword in position again, and goes on hammering in deep dejection.]

Slavery! worry!
Labour all lost!
The strongest sword
That ever I forged
Will never serve
For that difficult deed.
I beat and I hammer
Only to humour the boy;
He snaps in two what I make,
And scolds if I cease from work.

[He drops his hammer.]


[In rough forester's dress, with a silver horn hung by a chain, bursts in boisterously from the wood. He is leading a big bear by a rope of bast, and urges him towards Mime in wanton fun.]

Hoiho! Hoiho!


Come on Come on!
Tear him! Tear him!
The silly smith!

[Mime drops the sword in terror, and takes refuge behind the forge; while Siegfried, shouting with laughter, keeps driving the bear after him.]


Hence with the beast!
I want not the bear!


I come thus paired
The better to pinch thee
Bruin, ask for the sword!


Hey! Let him go!
There lies the weapon;
It was finished to-day.


Then thou art safe for to-day!