Studies in the Wagnerian Drama

By Henry Edward Krehbiel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II.
"TRISTAN UND ISOLDE."

A VASSAL is sent to woo a beauteous princess for his lord. While he is bringing her home the two, by accident, drink a love-potion, and ever thereafter their hearts are fettered together. In the mid-day of delirious joy, in the midnight of deepest woe, and through all the emotional hours between, their thoughts are only of each other, for each other. Meanwhile the princess has become the vassal's queen. Then the wicked love of the pair is discovered, and the knight is obliged to seek safety in a foreign land. There (strange note this to our ears) he marries another princess whose name is like that of his love, save for the addition "With the White Hand;" but when wounded unto death he sends across the water for her who is still his true love, that she come and be his healer. The ship which is sent to bring her is to bear white sails on its return if successful in the mission; black, if not. Day after day the knight waits for the coming of his love--while the lamp of his life burns lower and lower. At length the sails of the ship appear on the distant horizon. The

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