Parsifal
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Parsifal Translation Act 2

German English Notes

Note: text in [square brackets] is that which appears in GSD vol.X, where this text differs from that in the score.

ACT TWO - SCENE ONE

Klingsor's magic castle - on the southern slope of the same mountains, facing Moorish Spain. In the inner courtyard of a roofless tower. Stone steps lead upward to the battlements on the tower wall; below all is darkness, out of which projects the wall of the tower, as it appears on the stage. Necromantic and magical apparatus. Klingsor sits in front of a metal mirror, on the projecting wall to one side of the scene.

Klingsor: Die Zeit ist da. Schon lockt mein Zauberschloss den Toren, den, kindisch jauchzend, fern ich nahen seh' - Im Todesschlafe hält der Fluch sie fest, der ich den Krampf zu lösen weiss. Auf denn! An's Werk!
The time has come. The fool is being drawn into my magic castle, I see him approach from afar, shouting childishly - While she is locked in deathlike sleep by the curse that my power alone can lift. Up then! To work!
Note Klingsor sees Parsifal at a distance with the aid of his magic mirror. This device is one of few elements in this act that Wagner retained from Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival. In the medieval epic, the sorcerer Clinschor had stolen the magic mirror from Queen Secundille in India.

He descends slightly towards the centre where he lights incense, which immediately fills the background with blue smoke. Then he sits again at his magic mirror and calls, while making mysterious gestures, into the darkness below:

Klingsor: Herauf! Herauf! Zu mir! Dein Meister ruft dich, Namenlose, Urteufelin! Höllenrose! Herodias war'st du, und was noch? Gundryggia dort, Kundry hier! Hieher! Hieher denn, Kundry! Dein Meister ruft [Zu deinem Meister]; herauf!
Arise! Arise! To me! Your master calls you, nameless one, primeval devil-woman! Rose of Hell! You were Herodias, and who else? Gundryggia there, Kundry here! Come here! Come hither, Kundry! Your master calls; obey!
Note Like Parsifal, it seems that Kundry has had many names; yet Klingsor calls her the "nameless one". She is everybody and nobody. Once she was Herodias, apparently a reference to the princess of Judea in Heine's poem Atta Troll. Then she was Gundryggia, who might be identified with Gunn, one of Odin's favourite valkyries. Like Herodias in Heine's poem, Gunn accompanied Odin in the Wild Hunt (mentioned in Die Walküre act one scene two).
Note It is not clear how Klingsor has come to know of Kundry's previous lives. In Wagner's projected Buddhist drama, Die Sieger, the Buddha Shakyamuni was able to reveal the details of Prakriti's earlier life for which she was suffering in her current life. In Buddhist tradition only Buddhas and advanced bodhisattvas know about earlier lives. Kundry herself only seems to remember, with difficulty, some things from her earlier lives. Therefore her statements about what she has experienced often are vague.

In the bluish light the figure of Kundry appears. She seems to be asleep. Gradually she begins to move like someone awaking from sleep. Finally she utters a terrible scream.

Klingsor: Erwachst du? Ha! Meinem Banne wieder verfiel'st du heut' zur rechten Zeit.
Are you waking? Ha! You are in my power again today just at the right time.
 
Kundry utters a loud wail that fades into a frightened whimper.
Klingsor: Sag', wo triebst du dich wieder umher? Pfui! Dort bei dem Ritter-Gesipp', wo wie ein Vieh du dich halten lässt! Gefällt dir's [Gefällt's dir] bei mir nicht besser? Als ihren Meister du mir gefangen - haha! - den reinen Hüter des Grales - was jagte dich da wieder fort?
Say, where have you been roaming now? Fie! There among the knights, whom you let treat you like a beast! Are you not better off with me? When you captured their master for me - haha - the pure guardian of the Grail - what drove you away again?
 
Kundry: (rauh und abgebrochen, wie im Versuche, wieder Sprache zu gewinnen.) Ach! Ach! Tiefe Nacht! Wahnsinn! Oh! Wut! Ach! Jammer! Schlaf ... schlaf ... Tiefer Schlaf! Tod!
(hoarse and broken, as if trying to regain the power of speech) Oh! - Oh! Darkest night! Madness! O rage! O misery! Sleep ... sleep ... Deep sleep! Death!
 
Klingsor: Da weckte dich ein And'rer? He?
Did another wake you? Eh?
 
Kundry: Ja ... mein Fluch! Oh! ... Sehnen! Sehnen!
Yes ... my curse! O yearning! Yearning!
 
Klingsor: Haha! Dort, nach den keuschen Rittern?
Haha! There, among those chaste knights?
 
Kundry: Da, da, dient' ich.
There - there I served.
 
Klingsor: Ja, ja, den Schaden zu vergüten, den du ihnen böslich gebracht? Sie helfen dir nicht; feil sind sie Alle, biet' ich den rechten Preis. Der festeste fällt, sinkt er dir in die Arme, und so verfällt er dem Speer, den ihrem Meister selbst ich entwandt. Den Gefährlichsten gilt's nun heut' zu besteh'n; ihn schirmt der Torheit Schild.
Yes, to make good the wrong that you maliciously had done them? They do not help you; they are all for sale, when I offer the right price. The steadiest will fall, when he sinks in your arms, then to be felled by the spear, which I myself seized from their master. Today we meet the most dangerous of them; he is protected by his foolishness.
 
Kundry: Ich will nicht. O! O!
I won't do it. Oh! Oh!
 
Klingsor: Wohl willst du, denn du musst.
You will do it, because you must.
 
Kundry: Du ... kannst mich ... nicht ... halten.
You ... cannot ... force me.
 
Klingsor: Aber dich fassen.
I have you in my power.
 
Kundry: Du?
You?
 
Klingsor: Dein Meister.
Your master.
 
Kundry: Aus welcher Macht?
By what power?
 
Klingsor: Ha! Weil einzig an mir deine Macht.. nichts vermag.
Ha! Since I alone can resist your power.
 
Kundry: (grell lachend) Haha! Bist du keusch?
(laughing cruelly) Haha! Are you chaste?
Note This is a cruel remark, assuming that Klingsor has castrated or emasculated himself and therefore has no further choice in the matter. Despite Nietzsche's complaint that Wagner was preaching chastity, this is the only reference to it in the libretto. Chastity is required of a saint, whether Buddhist or Christian. Klingsor had aspired to but not achieved saintliness, according to Gurnemanz.

Klingsor: (wütend) Was frägst du das, verfluchtes Weib?
(Er versinkt in finstres Brüten.) Furchtbare Not! So lacht nun der Teufel mein', dass einst ich nach dem Heiligen rang? Furchtbare Not! Ungebändigten Sehnens Pein, schrecklichster Triebe Höllendrang, den ich zum [zu] Todesschweigen mir zwang - lacht und höhnt er nun laut durch dich, des Teufels Braut? Hüte dich! Hohn und Verachtung büsste schon Einer; der Stolze, stark in Heiligkeit, der einst mich von sich stiess. Sein Stamm verfiel mir, unerlöst soll der Heiligen Hüter mir schmachten; und bald - so wähn ich - hüt' ich mir selbst den Gral - Haha! Gefiel er dir wohl, Amfortas, der Held, den ich zur Wonne dir gesellt?

(furiously) What do you ask, accursed woman?
(He sinks into gloomy brooding) Terrible distress! So now the devil mocks me, that once I pursued holiness? Terrible distress! The pain of untamed desire, terrible desire sent from Hell, which I stilled by force - does it mock and laugh at me now through you, the devil's whore? Guard yourself!
One repents his contempt and scorn; the proud one, strong in holiness, who once drove me out. His dynasty ruined by my magic, the holy guardian will languish unredeemed; and soon - so I believe - shall I guard the Grail myself - Haha! How did you like Amfortas, the hero, when I lured him with your beauty?
Note Klingsor's magic has found her out; he knows the curse and the power through which she can be forced into his service... not only the magic power through which he controls the curse upon Kundry, but also the most powerful assistance he finds in Kundry's own soul. [1865 Prose Draft]
Kundry: Oh! Jammer! Jammer! Schwach auch er! Schwach ... Alle! Meinem Fluche mit mir Alle verfallen! O ewiger Schlaf, einziges Heil, wie, wie dich gewinnen?
O anguish! Anguish! He too was weak! Weak ... all of them! Like me, all fall victim to my curse! O eternal sleep, my only salvation, how, how can I win you?
Note In his Prose Draft Wagner wrote that Kundry is trapped in an unending cycle of existence. Periodically she falls into her "deathlike sleep" and her waking is a kind of rebirth. She yearns for an "eternal sleep" from which she will not awake, in other words to die and not to be reborn.
Note The noun Heil can convey a range of meanings from "well-being" to "salvation". For Wagner it seems to have been associated additionally with "wholeness".
Klingsor: Ha! Wer's dir trotzte, lös'te dich frei; versuch's mit dem Knaben, der nah't!
Ha! The one who defies you will set you free; try with this boy who approaches!
 
Kundry: Ich . . . will nicht!
I ... won't do it!
 
Klingsor: (steigt hastig auf die Thurmmauer) Jetzt schon erklimmt er die Burg.
(hastily mounting the tower wall) Already he ascends the castle.
 
Kundry: Oh! Wehe! Wehe! Erwachte ich darum? Muss ich? Muss?
O alas! Alas! Did I wake for this? Must I do it? Must I?
 
Klingsor: (hinabblickend) Ha! Er ist schön, der Knabe!
(looking down) Ha! The boy is handsome!
 
Kundry: Oh! - Oh! Wehe mir!
Oh! Woe is me!
 
Klingsor, leaning out, blows a horn.
Klingsor: Ho! Ihr Wächter! Ho! Ritter! Helden! Auf! Feinde nah'!
Ha! [Hei!] Wie zur Mauer sie stürmen, die betörten Eigenholde, zum Schutz ihres schönen Geteufels! So! Mutig! Mutig! Haha! Der fürchtet sich nicht! Dem Helden Ferris entwand er die Waffe; die führt er nun freislich wieder den Schwarm.
(Kundry gerät in unmeimliches ekstatisches Lachen bis zu krampfhalten Wehegeschrei.) Wie übel den Tölpeln der Eifer gedeih't! Dem schlug er den Arm, jenem den Schenkel!
(Kundry schreit auf und verschwindet.) Haha! Sie weichen. Sie fliehen.

Ho! Guards! Ho! Knights! Heros! Up! The enemy approaches!
Ha! How they rush to the ramparts, my deluded garrison, to protect their beautiful demons! So! Courage! Courage! Haha! He is not afraid of you! He has disarmed the hero Ferris, and now wields his weapon against the crowd.
(Kundry breaks into wild hysterical laughter which turns into a convulsive wail.) How ill-matched he is with those boobies! He struck one in the arm, another in the thigh!
(Kundry screams and vanishes.) Haha! They yield. They run.
Note The guards are knights whom Klingsor has ensnared with the aid of his demons, the women of infernal beauty that Gurnemanz mentioned in the first act. They fight Parsifal as protectors of these magic women.

NoteIn Wolfram's "Parzival", Ferris is the red knight whom the young Parzival kills for his weapons and armour; the incident has nothing to do with Clinschor, however.
The bluish light is extinguished; leaving total darkness below, in contrast to the bright blue sky above the walls.
Klingsor: Seine Wunde trägt jeder nach heim! Wie das ich euch gönne! Möge denn so das ganze Rittergezücht [Rittergeschlecht] unter sich selber sich würgen! Ha! Wie stolz er nun steht auf der Zinne! Wie lachen ihm die Rosen der Wangen, da kindisch erstaunt in den einsamen Garten er blickt!
(Er wendet sich nach der Tiefe des Hintergrundes um.) He! Kundry! Wie? Schon am Werk? Haha! Den Zauber wusst' [kannt'] ich wohl, der immer dich wieder zum Dienst mir gesellt!
(Sich wieder nach aussen wendend) Du da [dort], kindischer Spross, was auch Weissagung dich wies, zu jung und dumm fiel'st du in meine Gewalt; die Reinheit dir entrissen, bleib'st mir du zugewiesen!

They retreat licking their wounds! How little I grudge them! May the whole brood [race] of knights destroy each other like this! Ha! How proudly he stands on the rampart! How happily glow his rosy cheeks, as in childish amazement he looks down into the empty garden!
(He turns to the depths.) Hey! Kundry! What? About your business? Haha! That magic I know well, that binds you to serve me again!
(Looking out again) You there, childish offspring; whatever might be foretold about you, you are falling under my control, young and stupid as you are; once deprived of your purity, you will belong to me!
Note He knows the prophecies about this wonder-child. He fears that he may have been summoned to deliver Anfortas and take his place with a power that cannot be overcome. [1865 Prose Draft]
He rapidly sinks from view with the entire tower; in its place appears the magic garden which fills the entire stage.

ACT TWO - SCENE TWO

Tropical vegetation, a luxuriant display of flowers; it rises in terraces to the battlements in the far background. On one side can be seen projections of the castle walls, in a rich Moorish style. Upon the wall stands Parsifal, gazing in astonishment into the garden. From all sides beautiful maidens rush in, first from the garden, then from the palace, in wild confusion, singly then in groups; they wear soft-coloured veils hastily donned, and they seem to have been startled out of sleep.
Note: the inspiration for the magic garden, as it appeared in the first production, Wagner found in the gardens of the Villa Ruffolo at Ravello.

All maidens: Hier was das Tosen! Hier, hier!
Waffen! Wilde Rüfe! Wehe!
Wer ist der Frevler?
Wo ist der Frevler?
Auf zur Rache!

Here was the uproar! Here, here!
Weapons! Angry cries! Alas!
Who is the offender?
Where is the offender?
Arise to vengeance!
NoteThe magic maidens or "flower maidens" were inspired by a number of different sources. For the women who once were flowers, Wagner's inspiration seems to have been the medieval poem Roman d'Alexandre. It is also likely that he was thinking of a Christmas pantomime that he had seen at the Adelphi theatre in London, in which the chorus girls were dressed as flowers. The reference to these women as demons underscores their relationship to the daughters of Mára who attempted to seduce the future Buddha when he was on the brink of total enlightenment.
NoteHere the word Frevler (which was applied to Parsifal already in act one) is translated as "offender". It can also mean "transgressor", "miscreant" or "blasphemer". Later in the scene, Parsifal will call Kundry Frevlerin.
First maiden group I: Mein Geliebter verwundert!
My beloved is wounded!
Note The ensemble of "flower maidens" consists of two groups each containing three solo singers and a double chorus of 1st, 2nd and 3rd soprano voices, which is again subdivided.
First maiden group II: Wo find' ich den meinen?
Where can I find mine?
 
Second maiden group I: Ich erwachte alleine!
I woke up alone!
 
Chorus I and II first half: Wohin entfloh'n sie?
Where have they fled?
 
First maiden group II: Wo ist mein Geliebter?
Where is my beloved?
 
Third maiden group I: Wo find ich den meinen?
Where can I find mine?
 
Second maiden group II: Ich erwachte alleine!
I woke up alone!
 
First maiden group I: Oh! Weh! Ach wehe!
Oh! Woe! Ack alas!
 
All maidens: Wo sind uns're Liebsten? Drinnen im Saale! Wo sind uns're Liebsten? Wir sah'n sie im Saale. Wir sah'n sie mit blutender Wunde. Wehe! Wehe! Auf, zur Hilfe! Wer ist unser Feind?
(Sie gewahren Parsifal und zeigen auf ihn.) Da steht er! Dort - dort! Seht ihn dort, seht ihn dort! Da steht er! Wo? Dort! Ha! Ich sah's!

Where are our lovers? Inside the castle! Where are our lovers? We saw them in the castle. We saw them with bleeding wounds. Alas! Alas! Arise, to help! Who is our foe?
(They see Parsifal and point to him.) There he stands! There - there! See him there, see him there! There he stands! Where? There! Ah! I see him!
 
First maiden group I: Meines Ferris Schwert in seiner Hand!
He holds a sword taken from my Ferris!
 
Second maiden group I: Meines Liebsten Blut hab' ich erkannt.
I recognise the blood of my lover.
 
Chorus I and II: Der stürmte die Burg!
He stormed the fortress!
 
Third maiden group II: Ich hörte des Meisters Horn.
I heard our master's horn.
 
Third maiden group I & second maiden group II: Ja, wir hörten sein Horn.
Yes, we heard his horn.
 
Chorus I and II: Der war's!
It was!
 
First and third maidens: Mein Held lief herzu.
My hero ran this way.
 
Second and third maidens group I: Sie kamen Alle herzu.
They all ran this way.
 
First maiden group I: Mein Held lief herzu.
My hero ran this way.
 
Chorus I and II: (abstimmen) Sie alle kamen, doch jeden empfing seine Wehr! O Weh'! Weh' ihm, der sie uns schlug!
(together) All of them came, but each met his weapon! O woe! Woe to him who struck them down!
 
Second maiden group I and maidens from chorus I: Der schlug mir den Liebsten.
He struck down my lover.
 
First maiden group I and maidens from the choruses: Mir traf er den Freund.
He struck down my friend.
 
Second maiden group II and maidens from the choruses: Noch blutet die Waffe!
There is blood on his weapon!
 
First maiden group II and maidens from the choruses: Meines Liebsten Feind!
My lover's foe!
 
All maidens: Weh! Du dort! Oh weh'! Was schufst du solche Not? Verwünscht, verwünchst sollst du sein!
(Parsifal springt tiefer in den Garten herab.) Ha! Kühner!

Woe! You there! O woe! What is the cause of this distress? Cursed, cursed shall you be! (Parsifal jumps down into the garden.) Ah! Bold one!
 
First maiden group I, first & second maiden group II: Wagst du zu nahen?
You dare to approach?
 
First and third maidens group I & third maiden group II: Was schlugst du uns're Geliebten?
Why did you strike down our beloveds?
 
Parsifal: Ihr schönen Kinder, musst' ich sie nicht schlagen? Zu euch, ihr Holden, ja wehrten sie mir den Weg.
You lovely children, should I not have fought them? They barred the way to you, pretty ones.
 
First maiden group II: Zu uns wolltest du?
You wanted to reach us?
 
First maiden group I: Sah'st du uns schön?
Did you call us fair?
 
Parsifal: Noch nie sah' ich solch' zieres Geschlecht: nenn' ich euch schön, dünkt euch das recht?
Never before have I seen such a handsome race: if I call you fair, don't you think I am right?
 
Second maiden group I: So willst du uns wohl nicht schlagen?
So you don't want to harm us?
 
Second maiden group II: Willst uns nicht schlagen?
You won't harm us?
 
Parsifal: Das möcht' ich nicht.
I don't want to.
 
First maiden group II: Doch Schaden schufst du uns so vielen!
But you have done us so much harm!
 
Second and third maidens both groups: Grossen und vielen! Grossen und peines!
Much and serious! Much and painful!
 
First maidens both groups: Du schlugest uns're Gespielen.
You struck down our playmates.
 
All maidens: Wer spielt nun mit uns?
Who will we play with now?
 
Parsifal: Das tu' ich gern!
I will, gladly!
 
The maidens, whose astonishment has changed to gaiety, break into hearty laughter. As Parsifal gradually approaches nearer to the excited groups, maidens of the first group and of the first chorus slip away unnoticed into the foliage to complete their floral decorations.
Chorus I: Bist du uns hold?
Are you kind?
 
Group II: So bleib' nicht fern!
Then don't keep your distance!
 
Chorus II: Bleib' nicht fern von uns.
Do not stay far from us.
 
First maiden group II: Und willst du uns nicht schelten ...
And if you don't chide us ...
 
Second maiden group II: Wir werden dir's entgelten:
We will reward you:
 
Group II: Wir spielen nicht um Gold.
We don't play for gold.
 
First maiden group II: Wir spielen um Minnes Sold.
We play for love's favours.
 
Second maiden group II: Willst auf Trost du uns sinnen ...
If you bring us consolation ...
 
First maiden group II: ... sollst den du uns abgewinnen!
... it will be repaid you!
 
The maidens of the first group and of the first chorus return, during the following, now covered in flowers, looking like flowers themselves, and at once rush upon Parsifal.
Second flower group I: Lasset den Knaben!
Leave the boy!
 
First flower group I: Er gehöret mir!
He is mine!
 
Third and second flowers group I: Nein!
No!
 
Chorus I: Nein! Mir!
No! Mine!
 
While those returning crowd around Parsifal, the maidens of the second group and of the second chorus quickly leave the scene, also to adorn themselves.
Chorus II and group II: Ha! Die Falschen! Sie schmückten heimlich sich. [Sie schmückten sich heimlich.]
Ah! The minxes! They have secretly adorned themselves.
 
During what follows, the maidens who remain on stage turn around Parsifal in what resembles a children's game and caress him gently.
Chorus I and group I: Komm', komm', holder Knabe! Komm', komm'! Lass mich dir blühen! Holder Knabe, die zu Wonn' und Labe gilt mein minniges Mühen!
Come, come, pretty boy! Come, come! Let me be your flower! Pretty boy, my loving care is for your delight and bliss!
 
First flower group I: Komm', holder Knabe!
Come, pretty boy!
 
Second and third flower group I: Holder Knabe!
Pretty boy!
 
The second group and second chorus return, similarly adorned, and join in the game.
All flower maidens: Komm! Komm, holder Knabe! Lass mich dir erblühen! Dir zu Wonn' und Labe gilt unser minniges Mühen!
Come! come, pretty boy! Let me be your flower! All our loving care is for your delight and bliss!
 
Parsifal: (heiter ruhig in der Mitte der Mädchen.) Wie duftet ihr hold! Seid ihr denn Blumen?
(standing calmly in the midst of the maidens.) How lovely you smell! Are you flowers?
 
First flower group I: Des Gartens Zier ...
The garden's pride ...
 
Second flowers groups I and II: ... und duftende Geister.
... and perfumed essence.
 
First flowers groups I and II: Im Lenz pflückt uns der Meister!
The master plucked us in the spring!
 
Second flowers groups I and II: Wir wachsen hier ...
Here we grow ...
 
First flowers groups I and II: ... in Sommer und Sonne ...
... in summer and sun ...
 
First and second flowers groups I and II: ... für dich erblühend [blühend] in Wonne.
... to bloom for your delight.
 
Third flowers groups I and II and chorus I: Nun sei uns freund und hold!
Now be friendly and kind to us!
 
Second flowers groups I and II and chorus II: Nicht karge den Blumen den Sold!
Don't spare the flowers their due!
 
All flowers: Kannst du uns nicht lieben und minnen, wir welken und sterben dahinnen.
If you cannot love and cherish us, we will wither and perish.
 
First flower group II: An deinen Busen nimm mich!
Take me to your bosom!
 
Chorus of flower maidens: Komm', holder Knabe!
Come, pretty boy!
 
First flower group I: Die Stirn lass' mich dir kühlen!
Let me cool your brow!
 
Chorus I and II: Lass' mich dir erblühen!
Let me be your flower!
 
Second flower group I: Lass mich die Wange dir fühlen!
Let me touch your cheek!
 
Second flower group II: Den Mund lass' mich dir küssen!
Let me kiss your mouth!
 
First flower group I: Nein! Ich! Die Schönste bin ich!
No! Me! I am the fairest!
 
Second flower group I: Nein! Ich bin die Schönste!
No! I am the fairest!
 
Chorus I and II: Ich bin schöner!
I am fairer!
 
First flower group II: Nein! Ich dufte süsser! [Duft' ich doch süsser.]
No! I smell sweeter!
 
All the others: Nein, ich! Ich! Ja, ich!
No, I do! I do!
 
Parsifal: (ihrer anmutigen Zudringlichkeit sanft wehrend) Ihr wild holdes Blumengedränge, soll ich mit euch spielen, entlasst mich der Enge!
(gently restraining their charming impetuosity) You lovely throng of wild flowers, if I am to play with you, allow me some space!
 
First flower group II: Was zankest du?
Why do you complain?
 
Parsifal: Weil ihr euch streitet.
Because you are quarrelling.
 
First flower group I, then second flower group II: Wir streiten nur um dich.
We're only quarrelling over you.
 
Parsifal: Das meidet.
That's enough!
 
Second flower group I: Du lass von ihm; sieh' er will mich!
Let him go; look, it's me he likes!
 
Third flower group I: Mich lieber!
He loves me!
 
Third flower group II: Nein, mich!
No, me!
 
Second flower group II: Nein, lieber will er mich!
No, it's me he prefers!
 
First flower group II: Du wehrest mich von dir?
Are you resisting me?
 
First flower group I: Du scheuchest mich fort?
Are you pushing me away?
 
Second and third flowers group I & third flower group II: Du wehrest mir?
You resist me?
 
Chorus II: Wie, bist du feige vor Frauen?
What, are you afraid of women?
 
All flowers group II: Magst dich nicht getrauen?
Don't you dare?
 
Chorus II: Magst dich nicht getrauen?
Don't you dare?
 
First flower group I: Wie schlimm bist du, Zager und Kalter!
How mean you are, timid and cold!
 
Chorus I and II: Wie schlimm! So zag?
How mean! So timid?
 
First flower group II: Wie schlimm bist du, Zager und Kalter!
How mean you are, timid and cold!
 
Chorus II: So zag und kalt!
So timid and cold!
 
First flower group I: Die Blumen lässt du umbuhlen den Falter?
Would you prefer that the flowers woo the butterfly?
 
Second and third flowers group II: Wie ist er zag!
How timid he is!
 
Second and third flowers group II: Wie ist er kalt!
How cold he is!
 
Chorus I: Auf! Weichet dem Toren!
Up! Leave the fool!
 
All flowers both groups: Wir geben ihn verloren.
We give him up for lost.
 
Chorus II: Doch sei er uns erkoren!
Then we will choose him!
 
All flowers group II: Nein, mir gehört er an!
No, he belongs to me!
 
All flower maidens: Nein, uns gehöret er! Ja uns! Auch mir! Ja mir!
No, he belongs to us! Yes to us! He's mine! Yes mine!
 
Parsifal: (halb ärgerlich die Mädchen abscheuchend) Lasst ab! Ihr fangt mich nicht!
(half in anger driving the maidens off) Let me go! You won't catch me!
 
Parsifal is about to leave when, out of the flower garden, the voice of Kundry takes him by surprise.
Kundry: Parsifal! Weile! [Bleibe!]
Parsifal! Wait!
 
The maidens are struck with terror by Kundry's voice and draw back from Parsifal.
Parsifal: Parsifal? So nannte träumend mich einst die Mutter.
Parsifal? That is what my dreaming mother called me once.
 
Kundry: Hier weile! Parsifal! Dich grüsset Wonne und Heil zumal. Ihr kindischen Buhlen, weichet von ihm; früh welkende Blumen, nich euch ward er zum Spiele bestellt. Geht heim, pfleget der Wunden, einsam erharrt euch mancher Held.
Wait here! Parsifal! Surpassing delight and salvation await you. You childish wantons, let him go: fresh but fading flowers, he is not meant for your play. Go home, tend the wounded, those lonely heros wait for you.
Note See earlier note regarding Heil.
The maidens withdraw timidly and reluctantly from Parsifal and gradually proceed into the castle.
First flower, then third flower group II: Dich zu lassen!
Must we leave you?
 
Second flower group II: Dich zu meiden!
May we not see you?
 
Third flower, then first flower group I: O, wehe!
Oh, alas!
 
Second flower group I: O, wehe der Pein!
Oh, woe and pain!
 
Chorus I and II: O wehe!
Oh alas!
 
All flowers group I: Von allen möchten gern wir scheiden ...
We would forsake all others ...
 
All flowers both groups: ... mit dir allein zu sein.
... to be with you alone.
 
Chorus I and II: Leb' wohl, leb' wohl! Leb' wohl, du Holder, du Stolzer, du - Tor!
Farewell, farewell! Farewell, you handsome, you proud, you - fool!
 
With these words the maidens, laughing, disappear into the castle.
Parsifal: Dies alles ... hab' ich nun geträumt?
All this ... have I but dreamt it?
Note Seen in relation to Wagner's commitment to the philosophy of Schopenhauer, this line might be more significant than it first appears. His major work The World as Will and Representation considers the question of whether life is but a dream, from which we might awake.
He looks inquiringly in the direction from which came the voice. There appears a young woman of great beauty - Kundry, thoroughly transformed - in loose, exotic clothing in a kind of Moorish style, on a bed of flowers.
Parsifal: Riefest du mich Namenlosen?
Did you call out to me, nameless one?
Note Like Klingsor, Parsifal addresses her as the "nameless one". She knows his name but he does not yet know hers.
Kundry: Dich nannt' ich, tör'ger Reiner, "Fal parsi", dich reinen Toren, "Parsifal". So rief, als in arab'schem Land er verschied, dein Vater Gamuret dem Sohne zu, den er, im Mutterschoss verschlossen, mit diesem Namen sterbend grüsste. Ihn dir [Dir ihn] zu künden, harrt' ich deiner hier: was zog dich her, wenn nicht der Kunde Wunsch?
I called you, foolish pure one, "Fal parsi", you pure fool, "Parsifal". So you were called by your father Gamuret, when he fell in far arabian land, greeting you, still safe in your mother's womb, with this name as he lay dying. To bring you this news, have I waited here; what brought you here, if not desire for news?
Note This erroneous etymology of Parsifal's name originated with Joseph Görres' edition of Lohengrin (1813). In Persian, it was claimed, parsi meant "pure" and fal meant "mad" or "foolish". See Wagner's letter to Judith Gautier of 22 November 1877.

Note Kundry alludes to Wagner's etymology of her own name: she is the bringer of news or information, Kunde.
Parsifal: Nie sah ich, nie träumte mir, was jetzt ich schau', und was mit Bangen mich erfüllt. Entblühtest du auch diesem Blumenhaine?
I never saw, nor dreamt of, what I see before me now, and which fills me with dread. Did you too grow on this bed of flowers?
 
Kundry: Nein, Parsifal, du tör'ger Reiner! Fern, fern ist meine Heimat. Dass du mich fändest, verweilte [weilte] ich nur hier. Von weither kam ich, wo ich viel ersah.
Ich sah' das Kind am seiner Mutter Brust, sein erstes Lallen lacht mir noch im Ohr; das Leid im Herzen, wie lachte da auch Herzeleide, als ihren Schmerzen zujauchzte ihrer Augen Weide!
Gebettet sanft auf weichen Moosen, den hold geschläfert sie mit Kosen, dem, bang in Sorgen, den Schlummer bewach't der Mutter Sehnen, den weckt' am Morgen der heisse Tau der Muttertränen. Nur Weinen war sie, Schmerzgebaren, um deines Vaters Lieb' und Tod. Vor gleicher Not dich zu bewahren, galt ihr als höchster Pflicht Gebot.
Den Waffen fern, der Männer Kampf und Wüten, wollte sie still dich bergen und behüten. Nur Sorgen war sie, ach! und Bangen; nie sollte Kunde zu dir her gelangen. Hörst du nicht noch ihrer Klage Ruf, wann spät und fern du geweilt? Hei! Was ihr das Lust und Lachen schuf, wann sie suchend dann dich ereilt; wann dann ihr Arm dich wütend umschlang, ward dir es wohl gar beim Küssen bang?
Doch, ihr Wehe [Ihr Wehe doch] du nicht vernahm'st, nicht ihrer Schmerzen Toben, als endlich du nicht wieder kam'st und deine Spur verstoben! Sie harrte Nächt' und Tage, bis ihr verstummt' die Klage, der Gram ihr zehrte den Schmerz, um stillen Tod sie warb; ihr brach das Leid das Herz, und - Herzeleide - starb.
No, Parsifal, you foolish pure one! Far, far away is my homeland. I waited here only for you to find. I have travelled far and seen many things.
I saw the child at his mother's breast, his first cries still laugh in my ear; with her heart full of pain, how Herzeleide laughed then too, when in her grief she delighted to look on you!
You rested on the gentle grass, as she caressed you into sleep, with anxious care your mother watched over your sleep, and her warm tears awoke you when morning came. She was filled with grief, child of sorrow, by your father's life and death. From such distress she would preserve you, as her highest duty.

Far from weapons, from fighting men and strife, would she shelter and guard you. She was all care and anxiety; lest you should acquire knowledge. Did you not hear her cries of woe, when you wandered late and far? Oh! How greatly she rejoiced and laughed, when she found her long-sought child; and when she took you in her arms, did you perhaps fear her kisses?
But you did not consider her feelings, her desperate pain, when at last you wandered away never to return! She waited night and day, till her lament grew faint, grief consumed her pain, and she found stillness in death; her sorrow broke her heart and - Herzeleide - died.
Note In Wolfram's Parzival the messenger Condrie is one of the people of Queen Secundille who live by the Ganges in India. The "homeland" of Wagner's Kundry is less well defined: she seems to have Arabian or Moorish roots, but she has lived many lives, one of them as a princess of Judea.

Note All attachments bring suffering, according to the teachings of Buddhism. Even a mother's love for her child is a cause of suffering.

Note In Wolfram's poem Parzival's mother was Herzeloyde. Wagner considered first calling her Schmerzeloyde but finally settled on Herzeleide, "Heart's Sorrow". Like Tristan and Siegfried, Parsifal is made to feel guilty about his mother's death.
Parsifal: (immer ernsthafter, endlich furchtbar betroffen, sinkt, schmerzlich überwältigt, bei Kundrys Füssen nieder.) Wehe! Wehe! Was tat ich? Wo war ich? Mutter! Süsse, holde Mutter! Dein Sohn, dein Sohn musste dich morden! O Tor! Blöder, taumelnder Tor. Wo irrtest du hin, ihrer vergessend, deiner, deiner vergessend! Traute, teuerste Mutter!
(with emotion growing to terrible distress, he collapses, painfully overwhelmed, at Kundry's feet.) Alas! Alas! What have I done? Where was I? Mother! Sweet, dear mother! Your son, your son had to murder you! O fool! Stupid, blundering fool. Where did you stray, forgetting her, forgetting yourself too! Dearest, loving mother!
Note In the first act Parsifal was accused of murder when he killed the swan. Now he accuses himself of the murder of his mother.
Kundry: War dir fremd noch der Schmerz, des Trostes Süsse labte nie auch dein Herz; das Wehe, das dich reu't, die Not nun büsse im Trost, den Liebe dir beut [den Liebe beut]!
If pain were still a stranger to you, the sweetness of consolation would never comfort your heart; the grief and remorse you feel, the distress too disappears in the consolation that love offers.
 
Parsifal: (im Trübsinn immer tiefer sich sinken lassend) Die Mutter, die Mutter konnt' ich vergessen! Ha! Was alles vergass ich wohl noch? Wess' war ich je noch eingedenk? Nur dumpfe Torheit lebt in mir.
(sinking deeper and deeper in his grief) Mother, mother, how could I forget! Oh! What else have I forgotten? What have I managed to remember? I am nothing but dull stupidity.
 
Kundry, still half sitting, half lying down, bends over Parsifal's head, gently touches his forehead and fondly puts her arm around his neck.
Kundry: Bekenntnis wird Schuld in [und] Reue enden, Erkenntnis in Sinn die Torheit wenden. Die Liebe lerne kennen, die Gamuret umschloss, als Herzeleids Entbrennen ihn sengend überfloss! Die Leib und Leben einst dir gegeben, der Tod und Torheit weichen muss, sie beut' dir heut', als Muttersegens letzten Gruss, der Liebe ersten Kuss!
Confession will end guilt in remorse; understanding changes folly into sense. Learn to know the love that enfolded Gamuret, when Herzeleid's passion set him on fire. She who gave you body and life, to subdue death and folly, she sends you today, as a mother's last greeting, love's first kiss!
Note Kundry's reference to the fire of passion introduces the idea of burning. When she kisses Parsifal, he begins to burn not with the fire of passion, but with the fire of aversion.
NoteWagner explained Kundry's kiss with a reference to the knowledge of good and evil. As promised by the serpent in the garden of Eden: Dixit autem serpens ad mulierem: "Nequaquam morte moriemini. Scit enim Deus, quod in quocumque die comederitis ex eo, aperientur oculi vestri et eritis sicut dii scientes bonum et malum".
Now her head is directly above his and she presses her lips to his mouth in a long kiss. Suddenly Parsifal breaks free with an expression of extreme terror; from his demeanour it seems that some terrible change has come over him; he presses his hands convulsively to his heart, as if to control an agonising pain.
Parsifal: Amfortas! Die Wunde! Die Wunde! Sie brennt in meinem Herzen!
See note 1
O, Klage! Klage! Furchtbare Klage! Aus tiefstem Herzen schreit sie mir auf.
[Aus tiefstem Inner'n schreit sie mir auf.]
Oh! Oh! Elender! Jammervollster! Die Wunde sah' ich bluten; nun blutet sie in mir [sie mir selbst].
Hier - hier!
Nein! Nein! Nicht die Wunde ist es [Nicht ist es die Wunde].
Fliesse ihr Blut in Strömen dahin! Hier! Hier im Herzen der Brand! Das Sehnen, das furchtbare Sehnen, das alle Sinne mir fasst und zwingt!
O! Qual der Liebe! Wie alles schauert, bebt und zuckt in sündigem Verlangen!See note 2
Amfortas! The wound! The wound! It burns in my heart!
O lament! Lament! Fearful lament! From deep in my heart it cries out [from deep within it cries out].
Oh! Oh! Misery! Full despair! I saw the wound bleed; now it bleeds inside me [now it bleeds in myself].
Here - here!
No! No! It's not the wound [The wound it is not].
Flow in streams, my blood, from it! Here! Here in my heart it burns! The yearning, the fearful yearning, that has overtaken my senses!
Oh! Love's suffering! How everything trembles, quakes and quivers in sinful desire!
Note 1 The wound is experienced as burning. Kundry's fire of passion becomes Parsifal's fire of aversion. As Parsifal in union with Amfortas experiences the wound, he sees how everything "trembles, quakes and quivers in sinful desire". Compare the Buddha's Fire Sermon: Everything is burning. What is burning? The eye is burning. Forms are burning. Consciousness at the eye is burning. Contact at the eye is burning. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye -- experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain -- that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Burning, I tell you, with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs.
Note 2 At this point Heinrich Porges, possibly quoting Wagner, noted: Now all at once Parsifal sees that the entire world is nothing but a sacrificial victim [ein Schlachtopfer].
As Kundry stares at Parsifal in terror and amazement, he falls completely into a trance.
Parsifal: Es starrt der Blick dumpf auf das Heilsgefäss - das heil'ge Blut erglüht; erlösungswonne, göttlich mild', durchzittert weithin alle Seelen; nur hier, im Herzen, will die Qual nicht weichen. Des Heilands Klage da vernehm' ich, die Klage - ach! Die Klage um das entweihte Heiligtum [um das verrat'ne Heiligtum].
"Erlöse, rette mich aus schuldbefleckten Händen!" So rief die Gottesklage furchtbar laut mir in die Seele. Und ich - der Tor, der Feige, zu wilden Knabentaten floh ich hin!
(Er stürzt verzweiflungsvoll auf die Knie.) Erlöser! Heiland! Herr der Huld! Wie büss ich, Sünder, meine Schuld?

My dull gaze is fixed on the sacred chalice - the holy blood shines; the divinely mild delight of redemption penetrates deeply into every soul; only here, in the heart, is the suffering not subdued. I hear the Saviour's lament, the lament - oh! The lament from the desecrated sanctuary [from the betrayed sanctuary]
See note 1 "Redeem me, save me from hands soiled by sin!" So the terrible divine lament echoed in my soul. And I - the fool, the coward, to wild boyish deeds wandered off!
(in full despair he falls to his knees) Redeemer! Saviour! Lord of grace! How can I, a sinnerSee note 2, atone for my guilt?
Note 1 The shock of the kiss triggers in Parsifal an awareness of Amfortas' suffering. According to Wagner's Prose Draft, he sees what the knights could not see, that Amfortas is wounded not only in his body but also in his soul. Then, "he hears the Saviour's cry for the relic to be freed from the custody of besmirched hands". In the poem, this becomes a request for redemption (or release). This suggests that the Saviour is, in some mystical sense, present in the Grail and that the work of salvation has been inhibited first by the unworthiness of its guardian, now by the confinement of the Grail in its shrine. It will be the mission of Parsifal to redeem the Saviour by suceeding that guardian and once more, for all time, uncovering the Grail.
Here Porges noted: Now Parsifal has been transported to the state in which he had seen Amfortas.
Note 2 Here Parsifal refers to himself as a fool and a sinner. He is not "the sinless fool", nor is he "the holy fool", but rather "the pure fool". Although we should treat Wagner's explanations as given to his patron with some caution (Adam and Eve became 'knowing') it is interesting that he drew attention to a parallel between Amfortas and Adam (as he did between Kundry and Eve, Parsifal and Christ). It would also be possible to compare Parsifal with Adam, or with Christ as a second Adam. Recent theology rightly attributes to Adam a kind of dreaming innocence, a stage of infancy before contest and decision. [Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 Part II, 1951]
Kundry, whose astonishment has changed to passionate admiration, hesitatingly tries to approach Parsifal.
Kundry: Gelobter Held! Entflieh' dem Wahn! Blick' auf! Sei hold der Huldin Nah'n!
Promised hero! Flee this delusion! Look up! Greet the fair one!
Note Huldin - a female personification of grace.
Parsifal: (immer in gebeugter Stellung, starr zu Kundry aufblickend, während diese sich zu ihn neigt und die liebkosenden Bewegungen ausführt, die er mit dem Folgenden bezeichnet) Ja! Diese Stimme! So rief sie ihm - und diesen Blick, deutlich erkenn' ich ihn - auch diesen, der ihm so friedlos lachte; die Lippe - ja - so zuckte sie ihm,
so neigte sich ser Nacken -
so hob sich kühn das Haupt;
so flatterten lachend die Locken -
so schlang um den Hals sich der Arm -
so schmeichelte weich die Wange!
Mit aller Schmerzen Qual im Bunde, das Heil der Seele entküsste ihm der [ihr] Mund!
(Er erhebt sich allmählich.)
Ha! Dieser Kuss!
(Er stösst Kundry von sich.) Verderberin! Weiche von mir! Ewig! Ewig - von mir!

(still kneeling, he gazes fixedly at Kundry, who during the following caresses him as indicated) Yes! This was the voice! Thus she called to him - and this was the look, its meaning I know now - and so she smiled on him without rest; the lips - yes - thus they twitched for him,
so she bent her neck -
so she bowed her head;
so laughingly flicked her hair -
so she entwined an arm about his neck -
so flatteringly offered her cheek!
In league with the pangs of torment, the soul's salvation she kissed from him!
(He has gradually risen to his feet.)
Ah! This kiss! See note 2
(He pushes Kundry away from him.) Corrupter! Get away from me! Forever! Forever - keep away!
Note Now Parsifal relives the seduction of Amfortas. He comes to understand Amfortas by himself experiencing what the King experienced.

Note Something that has annoyed me in several recent productions of Parsifal was that -- by some whim of the producer -- at this point Parsifal kissed Kundry. This is wrong and it only reveals the failure of those producers to understand the fundamentals of this scene and of the drama as a whole. There is only one kiss in this scene. Parsifal's "Ha! Dieser Kuss!" refers to the kiss of passion that brought him knowledge, understanding and a flash of enlightenment. It is not returned until the scene of Kundry's baptism in the last act of the opera, when Parsifal kisses Kundry. The (one) kiss of the second act is the turning point of the drama: that is why both Parsifal and Kundry talk about this kiss and no other. The second act kiss expresses (and attempts to arouse) sexual love ('έρως or amor) whereas that in the last act expresses brotherly love or loving- kindness ('αγάπη or caritas). This should obvious to anyone who studies Wagner's words and music, even those who have not read anything written by Schopenhauer.
Kundry: (in höchster Leidenschaft) Grausamer! Fühlst du im Herzen nur and'rer Schmerzen, so fühle jetzt auch die meinen! Bist du Erlöser, was bannt dich, Böser, nicht mir auch zum Heil dich zu einen? Seit Ewigkeiten harre ich deiner, des Heilands, ach! So spät! Den einst ich kühn geschmäht. Oh!
Kenntest du den Fluch, der mich durch Schlaf und Wachen, durch Tod und Leben, Pein und Lachen, zu neuem Leiden neu gestählt, endlos durch das Dasein quält!
Ich sah Ihn - Ihn - und ... lachte! Da traf mich sein Blick! Nun such' ich Ihn von Welt zu Welt Ihm wieder zu begegnen. In höchster Not wähn' ich sein Auge schon nah', den Blick schon auf mir ruh'n. Da kehrt mir das verfluchte Lachen wieder; ein Sünder sinkt mir in die Arme! Da lach' ich - lache - kann nicht weinen, nur schreien, wüten, toben, rasen, in stets erneuter [erneu'ten] Wahnsinns Nacht, aus der ich büssend kaum erwacht. Den ich ersehnt in Todesschmachten, den ich erkannt, den blöd' Verlachten, lass mich an seinem Busen weinen, nur eine Stunde mich dir vereinen, und, ob mich Gott und Welt verstösst, in dir entsündigt sein und erlös't!

(with utmost passion) Cruel one! If you now feel in your heart only the pain of others, then you can feel mine! If you are a redeemer, what evil stops you, from uniting with me for my salvation? An eternity have I awaited you, my Saviour, oh! So late! Whom once I dared revile. Oh!
If you knew the curse, which compels me asleep, awake, through death and back to life, in pain and laughter, in ever new forms to suffer anew, tortured by unending existence!
I saw Him - Him - and ... laughed! Then I met His gaze! Now I seek Him from world to world to meet Him once again. In times of great distress I feel those eyes turn to me, His gaze resting upon me. Then the accursed laughter grips me again; a sinner sinks in my arms! Then I laugh - laugh - unable to weep, only scream and storm, rave and rage, in ever recurring nights of madness, from which, though penitent, I scarcely awake. One I desire with deathly yearning, whom I recognised, though I stupidly despised him, let me weep upon his breast, for a brief hour only united with you, and, though it may offend both God and world, find forgiveness and redemption!
Note Kundry believes that she has found in Parsifal a redeemer, perhaps her redeemer, one who might release her from her unending cyclic existence. Like Amfortas she awaits one and only one (harre sein, den ich erkor). If life is for Parsifal an innocent dream, then for Kundry it is a sinful nightmare. She relates how she mocked the crucified one (or perhaps it was John the Baptist?), a sin for which she has been cursed to wander many worlds, bringing to men the suffering of seduction, until she meets one who can resist her charms. Her sin was to take malicious delight in the suffering of another being, Schadenfreude, which Schopenhauer called the devilish vice. It is the exact opposite of compassion.
Parsifal: Auf Ewigkeit wärst du verdammt mit mir für eine Stunde Vergessens meiner Sendung in deines Arms Umfangen!
Auch dir bin ich zum Heil gesandt, bleib'st du dem Sehnen abgewandt. Die Labung, die dein Leiden endet, beut nicht der Quell, aus dem es fliesst; das Heil wird nimmer dir gespendet, eh' jener Quell sich dir nicht schliesst.
Ein And'res [andrer] ist's - ein And'res [andrer], ach! Nach dem ich jammernd schmachten sah, die Brüder dort, in grausen Nöten, den Leib sich quälen und ertöten [ertödten].
Doch wer erkennt ihn klar und hell, des einz'gen Heiles wahren Quell? O Elend, - aller Rettung Flucht! O, Weltenwahns Umnachten: in höchsten Heiles heisser Sucht - nach der Verdammnis Quell zu schmachten!

For eternity would you be damned with me if I were to forget my mission and spend one hour in your embrace!
I was sent here also for your salvation, for which you must abandon your desires. The balm that will end your suffering does not flow from their source; salvation can never be granted you until it has been sealed.
There is another salvation - a different one - for which I saw the brothers longing in their despair, in utmost distress, scourging and mortifying their flesh.
But who can see clearly and brightly the only fixed fount of salvation? Oh misery, that prevents deliverance! Oh, benighted madness of the world: that while seeking for salvation, thirsts for the fountain of damnation!
Note This mention of the mortification of the flesh can be explained as a reference to the first sermon preached by the Buddha after his total enlightenment. Like the Buddha, Parsifal is preaching the "middle way", which rejects both sensuality and the opposite extreme of asceticism. The newly- enlightened Buddha taught as follows: O monks, there are two extremes that a monk should avoid. Attachment to sensual pleasures is low and vulgar ... And this other extreme course, which consists in the practice of mortifying one's body, this is also painful and associated with evil. [Lalitavistara, 416.16].

Note Regarding klar und hell: in his study of the sketches for the Ring, Curt von Westernhagen noted that Wagner sometimes used the word hell with the meaning "ringing", that is, a bright sound.

Note Weltenwahn, world-spanning illusion, is a central theme of this act. Like the heros who have already been ensnared by Klingsor, Parsifal is in danger of becoming trapped in a world of illusion, Klingsor's magic garden.

Note Umnachten means literally "mental derangement" or "benightment". Kundry (representing mankind ?) desires her release from this world while at the same time desiring all that binds her to this world. This is "Weltenwahns Umnachten", the fire of delusion in which we burn until our flame is extinguished. Grimms' dictionary only mentions umnachten as a verb, for which it gives the meaning unsinnlich and cites Gutzkow: der Wahnsinn umnachtete sein Gemüth für immer.
Kundry: (in wilder Begeisterung) So war es mein Kuss, der welthellsichtig dich machte? Mein volles Liebes Umfangen lässt dich dann Gottheit erlangen! Die Welt erlöse, ist dies dein Amt; schuf dich zum Gott die Stunde, für sie lass' mich ewig dann [lasse mich ewig] verdammt, nie heile mir die Wunde!
(in wild ecstasy) So was it my kiss that gave you world-perception? Then the full embrace of my loving surely will raise you to godhead! Redeem the world, if that's your mission; let me make you a god, for just an hour, rather than leave me to eternal damnation, my wound never to be healed!
Note Welthellsicht means literally "seeing the world clearly". Here Wagner refers to penetrating the veil of Maya, that hides the world as will. In this scene Welthellsicht is set against Weltenwahn, world-spanning illusion, the veil of Maya itself. See Cosima's Diary, entry for 8 July 1879.
Note It is difficult to see Kundry's reference to her own wound, which she tries to convince Parsifal is in more urgent need than the wound of Amfortas, as anything other than sexual metaphor. It is also possible, as Parsifal might have realised, that Kundry's wound is the same wound that tortures Amfortas.
Parsifal: Erlösung, Frevlerin, biet' ich auch dir.
Blasphemer, I offer you release and redemption.
Note Erlösung literally means "release". In a religious context it is usually translated into English as "redemption"; in this scene either release or redemption or deliverance would all be valid translations. The most exact meaning here is release: since Kundry seeks release from cyclic existence.
Note Frevlerin (feminine form of Frevler) could also be translated as "offender" or even perhaps as "heathen".
ha, sollte wol 
 die Frevlerin gewagt
in meiner liebe 
 Heiligthum sich haben?
(Schiller)
Kundry: Lass' mich dich Göttlichen lieben, Erlösung gab'st du dann auch mir.
Let me bring you divine loving, then you can redeem me.
Note Kundry's plea is similar to that of the nameless maiden who attempts to seduce Josaphat in the medieval tale Barlaam und Josaphat: she says to him, But fulfil me one other small and trivial desire of mine, if thou art in very truth minded for to save my soul. Keep company with me this one night only, and grant me to revel in thy beauty, and do thou in turn take thy fill of my comeliness. And I give thee my word, that, with daybreak, I will become a Christian, and forsake all the worship of my gods. [Translated from the Greek by G.R. Woodward and H. Mattingly; Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 1914; note however that the German edition used by Wagner does not always follow the Greek version.]
Parsifal: Lieb' und Erlösung soll dir werden [lohnen]See note, zeigest du zu Amfortas mir den Weg.
Love and deliverance will be yours if you show me the way to Amfortas.
Note Here the poem (in GSD) has lohnen, to reward. The Prose Draft has: ich will dich lieben u. erlösen, I shall love and deliver you.
Note Parsifal is announcing his intention to follow the path that leads to Amfortas.
Kundry: (in Wut ausbrechend) Nie - sollst du ihn finden! Den Verfall'nen, lass' ihn verderben, den Unsel'gen, Schmachlüsternen, den ich verlachte - lachte - lachte! Hah! Ihn traf ja eig'ne Speer!
(exploding in fury) You will never find him! Let the fallen one perish, the unholy one, seeker of disgrace, whom I mocked - laughing - laughing! Ha! He fell to his own spear!
 
Parsifal: Wer durft' ihn verwunden mit der heil'gen [mit heil'ger] Wehr?
Who dared to wound him with the holy weapon?
 
Kundry: Er - er - der einst mein Lachen bestraft - sein Fluch - ha! - mir gibt [giebt] er Kraft - gegen dich selbst ruf' ich die Wehr, gibst [giebst] du dem Sünder des Mitleids Ehr'! Ha! Wahnsinn! (Flehend)
Mitleid! Mitleid mit mir! Nur eine Stunde mein! Nur eine Stunde dein - und des Weges - sollst du geleitet sein!

He - He - whom once I mocked with laughter - his curse - ah! - gives me power - against you too I can summon the weapon, if you honour that sinner with compassion! Ah! Madness! (imploringly) Compassion! Pity me! To be mine for an hour! Let me be yours for just one hour - and you will be shown the path!
Note As Gurnemanz revealed in act one, the path to Monsalvat cannot be found unless the quester is guided along that path.
She tries to embrace him. Violently he throws her aside.
Parsifal: Vergeh', unseliges Weib!
Get off me, damned woman!
 
She jumps up in a wild fury and shouts into the background.
Kundry: Hilfe! Hilfe! Herbei! Haltet den Frechen! Herbei! Wehrt ihm die Wege! Wehrt ihm die Pfade! Und flöhest du von hier, und fändest alle Wege der Welt, den Weg, den du such'st, dess' Pfade sollst du nicht finden! Denn Pfad' und Wege, die dich mir [mir dich] entführen, so verwünsch' ich sie dir; Irre! Irre! Mir so vertraut - Dich weih' ich ihm zum Geleit'!
Help! Help! Over here! Stop the intruder! Here! Block his way! Block his path! Should you escape from here, and should you travel all the roads of the world, the way, the one you seek, that path you will never find; the path and way that leads you away from me, I curse you from it now! Stray! Stray! My faithful one - I leave him to your guidance!
Note Parsifal has declared that he will seek the way, the path. It is not only the path that leads to Amfortas, but also the way to enlightenment. Enlightenment cannot be communicated, but only the way to Enlightenment [Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, p 33]. Kundry and Klingsor will prevent Parsifal from finding this path (the path of deliverance) because on reaching its end Parsifal could become the spiritual leader of the knights and the protector of the Grail.
Klingsor appears on the castle wall and turns the lance towards Parsifal.
Klingsor: Halt da! Dich bann' ich mit der rechten Wehr! Den Toren stelle mir seines Meisters Speer!
Stop there! I banish you with the true weapon! The fool falls to me by his master's spear!
 

Klingsor throws the spear at Parsifal. It stops, suspended above his head. Parsifal reaches up his hand, grasps the spear, and holds it over his head. [In the poem: ... and with a gesture of highest delight, makes the sign of the Cross.]

Parsifal: Mit diesem Zeichen bann' ich deinen Zauber; (Er hat den Speer im Zeichen des Kreuzes geschwangen.) wie die Wunde er schliesse, die mit ihm du schlugest, in Trauer und Trümmer stürz'er die trügende Pracht!
With this sign I banish all your magic; ([in the score]With the spear he has made the sign of the Cross.) as the spear closes the wound which you dealt with it, in grief and ruin it destroys your deceptive display!
Note The hero who defeated a sorcerer with the sign of the cross was Josaphat, in the medieval tale of Barlaam und Josaphat. Wagner left his copy of the German translation by Rudolf von Ems (c. 1325) behind him in Dresden.

The tower collapses as if in an earthquake. The garden withers to a desert; the ground is strewn with faded flowers. See note Kundry falls screaming to the ground. Parsifal pauses as he hurries away; from the top of the castle wall he turns and looks back to Kundry.

Note [In the poem: ... the maidens lie strewn on the ground like faded flowers.]

Parsifal: Du weisst -
wo du mich wieder finden kannst!
[wo einzig du mich wiedersieh'st!]

You know -
where you can find me again!
[the only place you'll see me again!]
 
He hastens away. Kundry has lifted herself slightly and her gaze follows Parsifal's departure.


This English translation and commentary are copyright © 2001 by Derrick Everett. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Permission is hereby granted for electronic distribution by non-commercial services such as internet, provided that it is posted in its entirety and includes this copyright statement. This document may not be distributed for financial gain. Any other use, or any commercial use of this document without permission is prohibited by law. Applications for permission to reproduce all of part of the translation or commentary should be directed to the author and copyright holder.


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