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Operas Every Child Should Know - Descriptions of the Text and Music of Some of the Most Famous Masterpieces
by Mary Schell Hoke Bacon
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Lohengrin—for it was he—stepped from his boat, and with one foot upon the shore and one upon his boat gave thanks to his swan for having borne him so swiftly and safely.

"Now, thou trusty swan, return at once to that land whence we came, and rejoice, for thy task is over." After he had bade it farewell, the stately swan slowly sailed away.

Lohengrin came toward the King and bowed low.

"Hail! gracious sovereign. Thy name shall ever stand proudly in this land. I have come to fight for this dear maid's honour. I ask her, before thee all, if she will entrust to me her fame?" Elsa, so tender and confiding, sank upon her knees before him.

"If thou wilt protect me I am thine forever," she answered.

"I must ask of thee one promise in return, dear maid. It is this: If I win the fight in thy cause, and thou become my bride, never, as thou dost love me, must thou ask whence I came. I must never be asked by thee my name or race. This one promise alone must I crave of thee." He waited hopefully for her answer.

His appearance was so noble that none could doubt him, and she answered instantly:

"There is no doubt of thee in my heart, dear defender. I will never question thee. I will ever cherish thy command." He raised her to her feet, and embraced her.

"I shall guard and love thee always," Lohengrin answered, and led her to the King who gave her into his charge. After that he stepped into the midst of the crowd of nobles.

"I want you all to know that this maid is innocent. The tales of Frederick of Telramund are false, and now I shall prove it by vanquishing him in the fight. Great King, command us to begin." The company drew back to their places, and the King commanded six knights to measure a certain space upon each side, which he declared was a fenced field for the combat. Three Saxon nobles advanced for Lohengrin and three Brabantians for Frederick. When they had formed a circle, all stuck their spears into the ground and waited.

The Herald declared that any one who interfered should lose his head. He also declared that neither combatant should use magic arts in fighting. The King stepped into the circle made for the fighters, and prayed to Heaven to let the right conquer; to give the champion of the right a stronger arm and more skill than his enemy.

The six men forming the circle stood beside their spears which were stuck into the ground; the other nobles and freemen formed a larger circle outside the battle ground, while Elsa and her ladies stood in front, beneath the oak tree beside the King, and the fighters prepared to enter the circle. The King struck his sword three times upon his great shield which hung upon the tree, as a signal to begin. At the first stroke the fighters entered the circle; at the second stroke they raised their shields and drew their swords; at the third stroke they began the fight. After a mighty battle, Frederick fell, and Lohengrin placed the point of his sword at his throat.

"I shall spare thee, Frederick of Telramund. Repent in peace," he said, standing aside that Telramund might get up from the ground. The six men drew their spears from the ground, and the others who had taken sides put their swords back into their scabbards, while Elsa rushed into the knight's arms. The King cried to Lohengrin:

"Hail!" As Elsa sank upon the knight's breast, she sang of her love for him and of her faith, and all rejoiced in having her innocence proven, except Ortrud. She, indeed, looked dark and menacing.

"How comes my power to naught?" she questioned of her husband aside, for in reality she was a wicked enchantress, who had lived in the wood near to Frederick. Her wicked magic had turned him into a bad man, and it was she who had made him accuse Elsa.

But the fear and resentment of those wicked people made little impression upon the crowd of exultant nobles. The King banished Frederick and his wife, ordering them immediately to leave the place, while plans for the wedding of Elsa and Lohengrin were being made. Frederick fell senseless upon the ground, and the youths, spreading their mantles upon the shield of the King, hoisted Elsa upon it, and a rejoicing procession of ladies, knights, and retainers moved away.

ACT II

In the great palace of King Henry I, at Antwerp, there were two parts, called the Palas, and the Kemenate. The former was where the knights lived, and the latter was the home of the ladies of the court. Late on the night of the battle between Frederick and Lohengrin, Frederick and his wife, Ortrud, were sitting without the palace, which was brightly illuminated, thinking of the misfortunes their wickedness had brought upon them. They were dressed in the garments of outcasts, as the King had commanded, and especially was Frederick gazing at the brightly lighted part where the knights were doubtless making merry since the wedding of Lohengrin and Elsa was to be on the morrow. He knew that had he been an honest man, he would have been among them and happy.

Music could be heard floating from the palace windows, and everything spoke of gaiety and happiness.

"Come, arouse thyself, Ortrud. You have brought this upon us, now rouse thyself, since it is near day, and we must be gone out of the city."

"I cannot flee! Some strange thing holds me here. I shall avenge us, you may be sure before I have gone from this place." She rose from the steps upon which she had been reclining and went toward the palace, looking up at the windows where the women dwelt in the Kemenate.

"I don't know what spell binds me to a woman so wicked as thou art, Ortrud," Frederick exclaimed, watching her moodily. "I should leave thee, and cast thee off. To tell the truth I never believed the crimes with which I charged that maiden."

"Get thyself up," she cried to him, for he had thrown himself upon the ground. "Thou art but a chicken-hearted creature, not fit for an heroic woman like me."

"Thou art a black-hearted woman," he answered, and so they fell to quarrelling vigorously. But at last, each being quite lost to goodness, they felt their only help lay in each other.

"If thou wilt be a decently conducted husband toward me, I tell thee I will use my enchantments to undo that strange knight, and then all will be well with us." The lights in the palace began to go out, one by one. "Now is the hour when the stars reveal their secrets to me, Telramund," she said. "Sit here by me, and I will tell you who that swan was who drew the knight's boat upon the river. It was the brother of Elsa—enchanted,—whom we accused her of destroying. More than that, the knight is ruined if the secret of his home and his birth is discovered. If Elsa can be made to break her promise, and get him to reveal these things, he will be compelled to leave her and return whence he came. No one but she hath the power to drag the secret from him; but should she do so, it is as I have said: all happiness is over for them."

"But she has promised—she will never ask that fatal question."

"Do thou go forth and say that sorcery hath triumphed over thee, and leave the rest to me. Rouse suspicion about this knight in every breast. He who will not tell of his birth nor land is soon suspected. Say that he won the fight by magic, and I will see that Elsa asks the fatal question."

"She will never do it——"

"Well, suppose she does not; the magic of my father is not forgotten by me. Let me tell you how we may force his ruin, even if we cannot make her break her word. If that knight should lose one drop of blood, he would be lost. All his power would then be gone."

"Oh, if I had but pricked his finger in the fight!"

"He would have been completely in thy power." As she said this, the door of the Kemenate slowly opened, and Elsa came out upon the balcony.

Scene II

Elsa was clothed all in white, and she came out into the night to think alone of her knight, to thank Heaven for her deliverance, and to take new vows of faith and steadfastness to her promise. All the while she stood there, Frederick and Ortrud were watching her from below, where they sat upon the steps.

"Now away!" she whispered to Telramund. "It is for me to be left alone with this affair. I shall speak with her." Telramund, hoping that by fair or foul means his wife would win him back his forfeited knighthood, departed. After a little Ortrud called in a very sweet but sad voice:

"Elsa!" Elsa started and looked over the balcony.

"Ortrud! What art thou doing here? Wert thou not told to go far away from this place, where you tried so hard to wrong me?"

"Alas! Elsa, can you who are so happy, speak harshly to one so forlorn and deserted? Indeed it was not I who harmed thee. Telramund had some strange delusion, and it was he who cast a doubt upon thee. Now his eyes are opened and he is wandering sadly and alone; but I have done thee no harm. It was he who accused thee. I could not stay him. Yet I must suffer for it all, while thou art happy and serene. I am glad of thy happiness, but do not let it make thee unfeeling toward one who is so wretched."

That touched the soft heart of Elsa, and she listened kindly. After a little she spoke words of comfort to Ortrud:

"Hast thou no place to go this night?"

"Nay! We are quite abandoned; but I could rest well enough upon these steps if I did not remember that you had suffered through Telramund." That made Elsa's generous heart trouble her.

"Thou must come in, and stay this night with me," she said. "Wait here and I shall return." She went back into the Kemenate, and the moment she was left alone, Ortrud began rejoicing in the wickedest way, because she had been thus far successful in deceiving Elsa. Elsa returned with two of her maids bearing lights.

"Where art thou, Ortrud?" Elsa called before opening the door below the balcony; and the sorceress threw herself upon her knees and answered sweetly:

"Here, kneeling before thee, generous maiden."

"Thou art worn and unhappy, and to-morrow is my wedding day. I could not be gay and know that thou wert suffering, so come in with me, and sleep beside me, and to-morrow array thyself in fine clothing and be happy with the rest of us." Ortrud pretended great happiness and gratitude upon hearing this.

"Ah! Who would betray so gentle and trusting a maid?" Ortrud sighed. "I pray that the glamour which surrounds thy knight who was brought hither by magic may never depart and leave thee miserable." She sighed again, as if she had some secret fear.

"Oh, I could not doubt him," Elsa cried. But the same moment a little seed of distrust entered her heart. It was true she knew nothing of whence he had come; and moreover was forbidden to ask.

"Nay. Thou must never doubt him," Ortrud said plausibly, "since thy lips are forever sealed and ye can never ask one of those questions which other maidens and wives may ask their husbands and lovers. It would not do to doubt him. Thou must try to believe he is true and good, as he himself has said."

Elsa looked doubtfully at Ortrud, whose words had made a sad impression upon her, and yet she loved the knight so well she would not own it. But Ortrud guessed perfectly that already she had made Elsa suspicious and unhappy.

Trying to shake off the apprehension that was settling upon her because of the wicked woman's words, Elsa led the way into the palace, and the maids locked the door, and the day almost immediately began to break. Frederick came prowling back, like some bad animal, looking after the two women who had gone within.

"There went a woman of darkness!" he murmured, "but I can trust her magic and her godless spirit to win back my fortunes." While he was thinking upon these things the day dawned and two warders blew a blast from the turret where they walked, which announced the wedding morning of the knight and Elsa. A warder in another turret answered with his trumpet, and soon people began to assemble from all the country round. Frederick looked about for some place to conceal himself from the crowd. Seeing some projecting ornamentation upon the porch of the place where he and Ortrud had sat, he slipped behind and waited.

Scene III

Trumpets began to sound back and forth, from all parts of the vast buildings of the palace. Soon the warders descended from their towers and unlocked the gates of the court. The servants of the castle entered, and went about their duties, some drawing water at the well, some passing on into the palace, where they were employed to wait upon knights and ladies. The four royal trumpeters went to the gates, and sounding their trumps to the four corners of the earth, notified the country round that it was time to assemble at the palace. Nobles and inhabitants of the great castle entered and peasants and knights living without the gates came from the road, till a magnificent host were gathered for the occasion of Elsa's wedding.

When all had assembled, a Herald mounted a high place before the palace.

"Now all listen," he cried. "By order of the King, Frederick of Telramund is laid under a ban, and whoever shall serve him or take pity upon him shall suffer his fate." The people cried curses upon the false knight. "Furthermore," the Herald cried, "I am to announce that the King has given to the brave knight who defended the honour of the Lady Elsa a sceptre and a crown. The knight does not consent to take the title of Duke, but he is willing to be known as the Guardian of Brabant, and as such he will defend his people." All hailed the knight joyously, and welcomed him as their guardian. "The knight bids me give a message. All of you are to come to the wedding, but as soon as it is over he bids ye take up arms, and to-morrow at dawn, he will go forth with ye to rout the invader who has so long troubled our King." Again all cried, "Hail!" They were delighted with the valour of their new defender.

"We shall follow where he leads!" all cried, and turned to speak enthusiastically with each other and to promise loyalty among themselves.

In the midst of this rejoicing and good will, four nobles of Frederick collected.

"Ye hear, do ye not, that we are banished?" one said; because they, as supporters of Frederick against the Lady Elsa, were under the ban. "What think ye? Are we too to leave home and country and fight a people who ne'er harmed us, because of this new comer?"

"I feel as bitter as ye," another said. "Yet who dares affront the King or resist his will?"

"I," said a cold and bitter voice, and as they turned, they saw Frederick himself, standing by their shoulders.

"Great heaven! If thou art seen, thy life will be in danger!" they cried.

"Do not fear. This very day I shall unmask this upstart knight!" He was about to say more, but some pages ran gaily down the palace steps and the Brabantian nobles pushed Frederick back into his hiding place, in haste. Every one crowded round the pages, who they knew came before Elsa and her ladies.

"Make way there!" the pages cried, forcing a way for the procession. When a wide passage was made, Elsa and all her retinue appeared at the door of the Kemenate.

Scene IV

A magnificent procession of great ladies and nobles, attended by train-bearers and pages, came from the palace and crossed the court to the Minster where Ortrud and Frederick had rested upon the steps the night before and the bridal procession marched to fine music:

[Music]

While this march was being played, and the procession passing, all the nobles bared their heads. As Elsa was about to pass into the church, everyone cried long life and happiness to her, and the air rang with shouts of rejoicing. But in the very midst of this fine scene, as Elsa stood with her foot upon the church steps, Ortrud rushed forward and confronted her. Her rage and jealousy had got the better of her cunning and judgment.

"Stand back!" she cried. "I will not follow thee like a slave, while thou art thus powerful and happy. I swear that thou shalt humbly bow thy head to me!" Every one stood in amazement and horror, because the sorceress looked very wicked and frightful, almost spitting her anger at the lovely maid.

"How is this, after thy gentleness of last night?" Elsa murmured. "Last night thou wert mild and repentant, why now so bitter?" She looked about her in bewilderment, while the nobles sprang forward and pushed back the raging woman.

All this passed as quick as lightning.

"Ye flout me! Ye who will have for a husband, one whom thou canst not name!" She laughed derisively. That hurt Elsa very much because it was true. Ortrud had remained with her through the night, and had continued to say so many things which had aroused her curiosity and fear, that she was thinking more and more of the fact that she knew nothing whatever of her knight.

"She is a slanderer! Do not heed her!" all cried to Elsa.

"What is his race? Where are his lands? He is an adventurer!" the sorceress continued to shout bitterly, each word sinking deep into Elsa's heart. But she roused herself and suddenly began to cry out against Ortrud, and to say how good and noble the knight was and how tenderly she loved him.

"When he might have killed your husband yet he spared his life; that was a sign of his great nobleness of heart!" she declared, trying to forget Ortrud's words and to convince herself.

When the excitement was at its height and Elsa nearly fainting with fright and grief, and her ladies crowding about her, the palace doors again opened, the trumpeters came out, and began to blow their blasts, while the King, Lohengrin, and the Saxon nobles and counts came in a procession from the Palas as Elsa and her women had come from the Kemenate.

Scene V

All hailed Lohengrin as Guardian of Brabant, and Elsa threw herself passionately into his arms. At once he saw that something had happened.

"What is it?" he asked.

"What is all this strife?" the King demanded, looking about upon the scene. Then Lohengrin saw Ortrud.

"Horror! What is this wicked woman doing here beside thee?"

"Shelter me against her wrath!" Elsa pleaded. "I harboured her last night, because she was weeping outside my door, and now she has tried to drive my happiness from me." Lohengrin looked fixedly at Ortrud and bade her begone.

"She hath filled thy heart with doubts, dear Elsa," he said, half reproachfully and full of fear, because he saw a change in the maid. She wept, and he drew her into the church, while the King and his train turned toward the church also. Frederick then confronted the King.

"O great King and deluded Princess! Ye have all done me a grievous wrong. I accuse this stranger of undoing me with magic. I confront him here and demand his name and land! If he has naught to fear or to be ashamed of, let him speak." Everyone was full of hatred for Frederick, but at the same time, the challenge had a kind of justice in it and all were troubled.

"It is not thou who can humble me, base knave," Lohengrin answered, looking contemptuously at Frederick. "It is not the doubts of evil men that can harm me."

"Thou, O King, command him to tell his place and name," Frederick implored.

"Not even the King nor any prince that rules the earth shall question me upon these things," Lohengrin replied proudly, facing them all, as they turned looks of inquiry toward him. "There is but one who may ask—and she has given her word. She will not break it," he declared, looking tenderly at Elsa, who still waited beside him at the entrance to the church.

"His secret is his own," the King declared; "so have done with this shameful scene! And thou, dear knight—no doubts shall disturb thy happiness." All the nobles crowded loyally about him as the King ceased speaking; but while they were taking Lohengrin by the hand, Frederick got close to Elsa, who, he and Ortrud could see, was troubled with womanish doubts.

"Let me tell thee something, Elsa of Brabant! If but one drop of thy knight's blood is shed—a finger scratched—his power and magic are gone. Give me leave to draw one drop of his blood, and all that he now conceals, he will at once reveal to thee."

"Ah, do not tempt me!" she cried, afraid to listen, because she had now become curious to learn Lohengrin's secret.

"I will say no more now, but this very night I shall be within call. And if thou dost only speak the word, I'll enter and prick his arm with my sword and instantly he will tell all, and can never more leave thy side." Lohengrin saw Frederick had got the ear of Elsa, and in a terrible voice told him to go, and chided Elsa gently for listening to such a man. As he spoke she sank at his feet, full of self-reproach.

Lohengrin lifted her and embraced her lovingly, while she swore eternal faith in him, and then all turned once more to the church. The King, the nobles, Lohengrin with Elsa—all were passing in at last; when Elsa, looking back just once, saw the arm of Ortrud raised in menace and with an expression of triumph upon her wicked face. Elsa turned terrified once more to Lohengrin, and they passed into the church.

ACT III

After the ceremony and the festivities that had followed the marriage, came the peace and quiet of night. The door of the bridal chamber opened, and pages went in bearing lights, while the ladies of the court followed, leading Elsa, and the King and nobles in turn followed them, leading Lohengrin. It was a most beautiful room, with a great open casement at the right, through which the night-breeze swept.

The nobles and ladies sang in chorus the most beautiful of wedding songs:

[Music:

Faithful and true, we lead ye forth, Where love, triumphant, shall crown ye with joy! Star of renown, flow'r of the earth, Blest be ye both far from all life's annoy.]

The King embraced Lohengrin; and the ladies, Elsa. Then the pages gave a signal to go, and all passing before the pair went out in the same order as they came in.

Scene II

After all had gone Lohengrin sat upon the couch beneath the open casement and drew Elsa down beside him. He wished above all things to drive from her mind all thoughts of the suspicion which Ortrud had implanted. But even while he spoke most lovingly and reassuringly to her, her thoughts were upon the mystery of his name. When he spoke her own she looked at him reproachfully.

"Ah! my name sounds so beautiful to me from thy lips—if only I might speak thine!" she complained. "If thou wouldst only tell me thy name, it should never pass my lips." Lohengrin was sad upon hearing this. He spoke of other things—of how beautiful the night was, and of how they were to pass a long and happy life together; but still her thoughts, poisoned by Ortrud, returned again and again to the forbidden subject.

"Oh! do not doubt me! Let me share thy secret whatever it may be," she entreated. "I feel that I am not loved by thee, since I am not trusted with thy story—not even with thy name." At last, after begging her to be silent, after reminding her of her promise, after all the persuasions he could think of, he rose and spoke sternly:

"I have given thee the greatest confidence, by believing thee free from every stain. With no proof but thy word, I fought for thy honour. I asked no word to prove thy innocence. In return, I desired only silence from thee about my name and birth and land. It was partly for thy sake that I asked even so much. Now I will tell thee. But—" He hesitated, begging her once more to let them live in happiness, and not to ruin all by her fatal curiosity. At that moment, Frederick and his false nobles broke through the door with drawn swords. They had come to draw his blood and thus to render him quite powerless.

But Elsa, though quite ready to ruin him herself by her curiosity, would not let him be hurt by another. Lohengrin's armour was laid off, but the sword was by the couch. Elsa snatched it, thrust it into his hand and with a single blow he killed Frederick. The nobles fell upon their knees before him, while Elsa fainted. Lohengrin looked upon the scene, feeling nothing but despair. If his blood had not been shed, yet to save his life he had been forced to shed the blood of another, and he had thus been rendered helpless, quite the same. After a moment he rang a bell which summoned Elsa's ladies, and bidding the four nobles rise, he confided Elsa to the care of the women.

"Bear the corpse to the King's judgment hall," he said to the men, who then did as they were bid. "For you," he said to the women, "take your mistress into the presence of the King, and I will answer all that she desires to know. Nothing shall longer be hidden." He went out with his head bent and his thoughts very sad and melancholy. The day began to dawn, and the lights were all put out, and again the trumpets sounded in the courtyard.

Scene III

All repaired again to the river bank, where Lohengrin had first been seen, drawn by his swan. A count first entered, with his train of vassals. He came upon a horse, and was assisted from it by one of his train. Then he took his shield and spear from his pages who bore them, and then set up his banner, after which the vassals grouped themselves about it.

Trumpets were heard on all sides and counts continued to arrive in the same order as the first, all with their vassals, all setting up their spears and their people grouping themselves about them. Finally, the Herald who announced the coming of the King was heard, whereupon all the banners were unfurled and the trumpets of each noble and his people were sounded, and then entered the King and his Saxon men. As the King reached the royal oak, all struck their spears upon their shields, and cried:

"Hail!" The purpose of the gathering was to go forth against the foe that threatened the Germans, the Hungarian hordes. When all were beginning to wonder where the strange and brave knight was who had them summoned for the hour of dawn, and who was expected to lead them to victory, they saw the body of Frederick brought in by the four false Brabantians. All stood aside in horror. They could not think whose corpse it was.

"They who bear it are Telramund's vassals," some cried, and at the same moment Elsa appeared, coming slowly and surrounded by her ladies. The King met her and conducted her to a seat opposite the royal oak.

"Art thou mourning because thou art sorry to lose thy Lord so soon, sweet Lady?" the kind King questioned. She tried to answer him, but her sense of guilt was so great that she could not. The fearful things that were about to happen and that had happened had been caused by her woman's curiosity, and now that it was too late, she was filled with remorse. Some one cried:

"Make way! make way! the Guardian of Brabant is coming." All looked and saw the shining knight, Lohengrin. They hailed him joyfully.

"I come not to lead ye to glory," he answered sadly, and uncovered the corpse of Frederick of Telramund. All shrank back. "Neither shall ye condemn me. I killed him, but he came to seek my life. Your judgment, O King!" he asked of Henry.

The King stretched his hand across the body of Telramund to clasp Lohengrin's.

"The saints would not shield him: he deserved thy thrust," Henry answered.

"Once more!—The Lady Elsa has betrayed her promise. I am undone. Ye all heard her give her word that she would never ask my name nor country; but her impatient heart hath broken that pledge, and her injurious doubts now compel me to tell ye all." Everybody groaned and cried out sorrowfully. They had entire faith in the brave knight, and loved the Lady Elsa. All regretted that her curiosity had ruined a fair future, deprived them of their defender, and made her own life forever miserable.

"Now, mark well what I say," the knight cried, and while he spoke, his face became illuminated with a kind of splendid goodness and faith in his own integrity.

In distant land, by ways remote and hidden, There stands a burg that men call Monsalvat; It holds a shrine to the profane forbidden, More precious, there is naught on earth than that. And throned in light, it holds a cup immortal, That whoso sees, from earthly sin is cleansed; 'Twas borne by angels through the heavenly portal, Its coming hath a holy reign commenced.

Once every year a dove from heaven descendeth, To strengthen it anew for works of grace; 'Tis called the Grail; the power of Heaven attendeth The faithful knights who guard that sacred place. He whom the Grail to be its servant chooses, Is armed henceforth with high invincible might; All evil craft its power before him loses, The spirits of darkness, where he dwells, take flight.

Nor will he lose the awful charm it lendeth, Although he should be called to distant lands, When the high cause of virtue he defendeth, While he's unknown, its spell he still commands; By perils dread the holy Grail is girded, No eye, rash or profane, its light may see; Its champion knight from doubtings shall be warded, If known to man he must depart and flee.

Now mark! craft or disguise my soul disdaineth, The Grail sent me to right yon lady's fame; My father, Percival, gloriously reigneth, His knight am I, and Lohengrin my name!

When Lohengrin had ceased to speak, having told his story, all that Elsa wished to know, everyone spoke softly. They were enchanted by the knight's purity and goodness, and full of sorrow for the ruin which Elsa had brought about. She herself cried out that all was dark; she could no longer see; she felt that she was dying. As she fell, Lohengrin caught her in his arms.

"Oh, thou wilt not leave me broken-hearted," she said when she could speak.

"Alas! I must go. Thou hast brought this ruin upon thyself," he said tenderly. "I was not free to tell thee, but if thou hadst been silent for a year, according to thy promise, two things would have happened to make thee happy. I would then have been freed from the bond and could have spoken—and thy lost brother would have been restored to thee." Hearing this the grief of all was insupportable. "I must return to guard the Holy Grail," he said sadly. At that moment those nearest the bank cried out that the swan was coming, drawing the boat.

Lohengrin handed his sword and horn and ring to Elsa.

"If thy brother ever returns after I am gone, give him these things in token of me. The horn will bring him help in battle, the sword will conquer every foe, and the ring will remind him of the one who most befriended him and who saved thee from suspicion and dishonour." He kissed her again and again in farewell, while even the nobles wept; but as he was about to enter the boat the wicked Ortrud entered, accused him of falsehood, declared that she had wound the golden band worn by the swan around its neck, and that the swan was the lost brother, enchanted by her. "If thy knight had remained here, his magic spells would have brought thy brother back in his rightful shape, but now he is lost to thee forever. The knight must go, and I will keep the swan under my spell."

Lohengrin, who had stood upon the bank listening to all this sank upon his knees in prayer. All looked toward him, waiting in awe to see what would happen next. The white dove of the Holy Grail flew slowly down and hovered over the boat. When Lohengrin saw it his face shone with joy, he rose and loosened the chain from the swan, which immediately sank out of sight. Then from the river, rose a youth in shining silver garments, while Lohengrin stooped down and placed him upon the bank. It was Gottfried, the brother of Elsa, and the heir of Brabant.

"Behold thy ruler!" Lohengrin cried, affectionately looking at Elsa. At the sight of Gottfried, Ortrud shrieked and fell down in a fit, which might have ended in death. Lohengrin jumped into the boat and the dove seized the chain which had hung loose since the swan had gone, and drew it along. Elsa, roused from her stupor of agony, saw her dear brother, and as he and she rushed into each other's arms, the glorious knight slowly passed from sight, having brought joy to all, even if he had left sadness wrought by a woman's curiosity.

THE END

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