Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Garden Today

The rain has done the garden a lot of good! I wish you could see my chilli plants, and my beautiful flourishing nasturtiums! I'm about to put one of the chillies in the vegetable stew I am making.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Latin America and the Ecosocialist Alternative

Latin America and the Ecosocialist Alternative
University of London Union, September 18 2010

Organised jointly by Socialist Resistance and Green Left.

The guest of honour at this conference was Hugo Blanco, who is a tireless campaigner for the rights of indigenous communities in Peru, where he led a peasant revolution in 1961. He has been imprisoned and at one point was facing the death penalty. He is the editor of Lucha Indigena, a journal about the struggle of the indigenous peoples of Latin America. (As far as I am aware, this journal is not yet available in English-language editions). His campaign is based on the concept of Ecosocialism, and we were very proud to have him among us as a guest speaker. (He spoke via an interpreter).

He was introduced by Derek Wall, who was formerly Principal Male Speaker of the Green Party, and is a well-known campaigner for Ecosocialism. His most recent publication is The Rise of the Green Left, to which Hugo Blanco has written the introduction.


A general introduction to the day was presented by Diana Raby, an expert on Latin American affairs from the University of Liverpool. She spoke in general terms about the  'politics of hope' that is beginning to emerge from Latin America, for instance the fact that the Zapatistas were among the first to say no to the policies of neo-liberalism. She also referred to the leadership of Evo Morales in Bolivia, and advances for the Left in Guatemala, Paraguay and Uruguay, and the fact that the right-wing dictatorship in Chile is facing growing opposition by the indigenous Mapuche movement.

Blanco began his speech by quoting from an Uruguayan writer to the effect that "In 1492, America discovered capitalism". 

It is thought that before the 'discovery' of the Americas, there had not been a vast slave-owning society as it developed after the Conquest. This has to be qualified by acknowledging that the Aztec and Inca societies were in fact very hierarchical and stratified, and probably did own slaves - prisoners of war who were not killed. But other indigenous cultures of the Americas seem to have been more egalitarian. Blanco is of the opinion that what Marx called 'primitive communism' still exists, but has been weakened by the centralised power of the state.

The Conquest led to a virtual genocide of indigenous peoples, not all of it intentional, many died from diseases introduced by the Europeans, to which the indigenous people had no immunity, and civil strife among some nations made the Spanish conquest easier. The resistance of indigenous communities is not a phenomenon of our days.....it has in fact been continuing for 500 years, but of course has not been well documented. The 500 years of struggle have been in defence of the indigenous communities and their relationship with Nature; the movement is sometimes known as PACHAMAMA; Mother Earth in the Andean languages Aymara and Quechua.

Some gains have been made in recent years; for instance some Latin American states, such as Panama and Peru, recognise indigenous communities. Blanco quoted the example of Chiapas state in South-Western Mexico, which is governed by indigenous communities, protected by the Zapatistas. The Zapatista army, however, does not rule in the area: the government is made up of unpaid volunteers, and their functions rotate. If members of the Zapatista army wish to take part in any of the governing boards, they have to give up their membership of the army. (There is more information about Chiapas on Wikipedia).

The indigenous movement in Peru is at the forefront of the struggle. Blanco's idea is that all the indigenous organisations are by definition eco-socialists, although this is not a term that is actually used - or at any rate not in indigenous languages. (I think it must exist in Spanish....Blanco was speaking through an interpreter). That is, the campaigners don't call themselves eco-socialists, just defenders of Mother Nature.


When the time came for questions from the floor, some of the discussion was about the fact that the introduction of monoculture and European farming methods damaged the land; the indigenous cultures were familiar with the concept of crop rotation, one of the most common methods of cultivation was to grow beans, squash and maize together, not separately in plantations but in small plots. 

Many foodstuffs that we now take for granted in Europe originate in the Americas, and there is actually a close link between imperialism and exploitation and the introduction of these foodstuffs to Europe...the discussion today helped to raise our awareness of this, although it wasn't possible to discuss it in detail, due to time constraints - it would have required a whole new conference! One of the most obvious examples, though, is the introduction of the chili pepper (Capsicum annuum var.  annuum, Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum chinense, Capsicum baccatum var. baccatum and Capsicum pubescens) to Europe.

When Columbus landed in the Americas, he was convinced he had found a route to the spice lands of the Far East, and one of the spices he was looking for was pepper (Piper nigrum), which is native to India.

What we now know as the Chili Pepper is unrelated to the genus P. nigrum.....however, it was one of the New World plants that was very swiftly adopted and spread into Europe and eventually Asia after what is sometimes referred to as the 'Columbian Exchange'.  


(The meeting then divided into various workshops.)

Workshop on Water Resources in Latin America

This was subtitled WATER POVERTY AND WATER THEFT IN LATIN AMERICA, and introduced a great deal of information about the use and exploitation of water resources in various Latin American countries.
The first topic to be introduced was the threat to the town of Espinar in Peru, 400 miles south of Lima, which will be left without water if the Majes-Sigur dam project goes ahead. More recently (subsequent to the conference) it has transpired that residents of the city of Cuzco have staged a strike in support of the residents of Espinar; during the previous protests in Espinar, at least one person was killed.

The next topic was the Cochabamba Water War in Bolivia.

This resulted from an attempt in 1999-2000 to privatise water, and to make it illegal for people to collect water in water butts, rain barrels, etc. 


Then some statistics were discussed; apparently about 80 million people have no access to safe, clean water, and about 100 million have no access to sanitation of any kind. There are 260 million dependent on latrines and septic tanks; and only about 15% of sewage is treated. Poor people pay 150%-300% MORE for their water than the better-off. Access to water is a serious problem, especially for women: after the conference, I found this link, which elaborates upon why access to water is more of a problem for women. Water in Latin America: the importance of gender relations.

We were also given some information about Mexico City. In the barrios (shanty towns), there is no running water, or it is available for only one hour a week; the poor have to buy water. The water supply is polluted during the rainy season, and black water (untreated sewage) is used on crops as fertiliser; but untreated sewage is usually a health hazard. (In fact there are methods of treating sewage to render it harmless, but Mexico City doesn't have the infrastructure to do this). It has been found that 100% of the food sold at street stalls in the barrios is contaminated with fecal matter from the sanitation ditches in the barrios; when they dry, the wind blows the contents over the city.   

A solution to the many problems faced by Mexico City would be to change the model of agriculture in the region. Agri-business has created a huge 'surplus' rural population who are forced to migrate to the mega-city, as there is no longer any possibility of earning a living from the land.

Then we returned to discussion of Peru. It so happened that, a few days previous, there had been an article in The Guardian  (click  here to read it) about the threat to the Peruvian water supply by the cultivation of asparagus for the export market. It informs the reader that

The study, by the development charity Progressio, has found that industrial production of asparagus in Peru's Ica valley is depleting the area's water resources so fast that smaller farmers and local families are finding wells running dry. Water to the main city in the valley is also under threat, it says. It warns that the export of the luxury vegetable, much of it to British supermarkets, is unsustainable in its current form.

This led to a discussion about the whole concept of food miles and production of cash crops for export, to the detriment of the local ecology. I had always been under the impression that asparagus could be cultivated in the UK, and that it was a seasonal vegetable, only available for a few short weeks in the summer - in fact that the short period of availability was rather the point! I mentioned this in the discussion, and someone said that Peckham, In South London, used to be a centre of asparagus production, and that it was produced locally until comparatively recently. The discussion widened to take in the idea of local produce, to some extent it was related to the previous discussion about foodstuffs from the Americas, but was more based on the fact that in Europe it seems that we no longer have 'seasonal food', as the example of asparagus shows. 


Hugo Blanco delivered a final speech to the meeting, which he prefaced by saying that the indigenous peoples of Latin America are only a part of the general struggle against neo-liberalism and in defence of the planet. He reminded us also that the indigenous peoples of Latin America don't form a homogeneous unit, there is great diversity of peoples, languages and cultures. After 500 years of struggle, people are beginning to take pride in being indigenous and and trying to sustain cultures and ways of life that were more or less destroyed by the Spanish conquests. But he said he didn't want anyone to think that the indigenous peoples are in any sense the LEADERS of a movement of resistance; they are part of a movement which also includes working class people in the mega-cities of Latin America and the people of the barrios. He quoted the example of the question of the leadership of the struggle for water in Ecuador.  Water Management in Ecuador's Andes Mountains. The indigenous peoples of Ecuador have said that they don't see themselves as leaders in the struggle, but as part of society as a whole.

He concluded by reiterating what he had said at the beginning; we are all campaigning for the construction of a new society, and although the movement in Latin America may not use the same terminology, we are all part of the same struggle, the campaign for Mother Nature - what we in Europe call Eco-Socialism.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

My life as a 'benefit scrounger'

The Chancellor, George Osborne, has excelled himself in his latest outrageous announcement. 

(And has anyone noticed that he is almost a clone of his master, David Cameron?!)

In a recent BBC interview, he said the following:

Mr. Osborne told BBC political editor Nick Robinson that "those making a life-style choice to just sit on out-of-work benefits" would be affected. [by the newest welfare cuts]
Mr. Osborne said "We are going to reform out-of-work benefits so there's a strong incentive for people who can work to get work.......People who think that it's a life-style choice just to stay on out-of work benefits....that life-style choice is going to come to an end".

In my opinion (and experience) the only people who think that unemployment is a 'lifestyle choice' are the pampered public schoolboys of the Tory Cabinet.
For the record, here is the 'lifestyle choice' of the average 'benefit scrounger' - the minimum, apart from food, that even we need to buy. This only applies to single people and childless couples, parents will of course need even more frivols in order to feed their children and send them to school.

(I am a pensioner, so I won't be quite so badly affected as people younger than myself, but I am not exactly about to enjoy a comfortable retirement).

The comfortable lifestyle of the 'benefit scrounger'; basic necessities.

Toilet paper
Toilet cleaner
Shower gel
Washing-up liquid
Laundry liquid/fabric conditioner
Stain remover
Multi-purpose cleaner (to include bath/shower cleaner)
Light bulbs
Paper to write on
Pens to write with

Transport costs (so at least people can travel to job interviews!!!)
Weekly visit to the launderette (presumably a family would need a washing machine)
Gas bills
Electricity Bills
Phone Bills
Housing costs (rent or mortgage repayment)
Council Tax

Er....CLOTHES, SHOES...even if these are bought second-hand, we have to pay for them!!

And God forbid we should buy newspapers or ....gasp...BOOKS!! Or ever go to the theatre, or a concert, or an art exhibition, or the cinema.....that's too good for the likes of us!

Many of us are very angry about the way we are being treated, and we need to translate our anger into action. 

First port of call :

We can join this either as individuals or as groups, and protest against the cuts.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Wagner's Poetic Diction


(Explanatory note by the author.
There are some references to William Morris's SIGURD THE VOLSUNG - this is a chapter from a longer monograph discussing the RING and Morris's epic poem SIGURD THE VOLSUNG).

3.1. Wagner's poetic theories; the suitability of Stabreim .           
In Oper und Drama  Wagner explains his poetic and literary theories at some length,in particular his decision to use alliterative verse (Stabreim ); he discusses what he considers to be the nature of Stabreim, (or unsuitability of end-rhyme) and its particular relevance to, and importance for,  his dramatic purposes; specifically, for the purpose of dramatising material from Germanic myth [1]:

Der Rhythmus des modernen Verses ist ein nur gebildeter, und am deutlichsten mußte dieß der Tonsetzer empfinden, der eben nur aus diesem Verse den Stoff zur Bildung der Melodie nehmen wollte...
   (Eine Mitteilung an meine Freunde, Gesammelte Schriften,            Bd.IV, p.326)

Als ich den Siegfried entwarf, fühlte ich, mit vorläufigem gänzlichen Absehen von der musikalischen Ausführungsform, die Unmöglichkeit, oder mindestens die vollständige Ungeeignetheit davon, diese Deutung im modernen Verse auszuführen.
                           (ibid. p.327)

In speaking of “the utter impossibility of producing the poem with modern verse techniques”, Wagner refers specifically to the Germanic material (at this stage still the one poem, Siegfrieds Tod.) He also discusses the question of what would be the most suitable poetic form in which to depict Siegfried, as he conceived of him:

der männlich  verkörperte Geist der ewig und einzig zeugenden Unwillkür, des Wirkers wirklicher Thaten, des Menschen in der Fülle höchster, unmittelbarster Kraft und zweifellosester Liebenswürdigkeit. (ibid, p.328)

Wagner states that he found modern verse-forms, especially end-rhyme, unsuitable because he feels that his Siegfried-figure would not have used such  artificial means of expression:

So, wie dieser Mensch sich bewegte, mußte aber notwendig sein redender Ausdruck sein; hier reichte der nur gedachte moderne Vers mit seiner verschwebenden, körperlosen Gestalt nicht mehr aus.....
                           ( ibid. pp.328-329)

an dem urmythischen Quelle, wo ich den jugendlich schönen Siefgfriedmenschen fand, traf ich auch ganz von selbst auf den sinnlich vollendeten Sprachausdruck, in dem einzig dieser Mensch sich kundgeben konnte. Es was dies der, nach dem wirklichen Sprachaccente zur natürlichsten und lebendigsten Rhythmik sich fügende, zur undendlich mannigfaltigsten Kundgebung jeder Zeit leicht sich befähigende, stabgereimte Vers, in welchem einst das Volk selbst dichtete, als es eben noch Dichter und Mythenschöpfer war.
                           ( ibid., p. 239 )

Because Wagner thinks that Stabreim  is somehow a more "natural" or "primitive" form of poetic composition than end-rhyme, he  finds it an eminently suitable vehicle for conveying the character and personality of the jugendlich schöner Siegfriedmensch. In Wagner’s opinion, Stabreim  is

die urälteste Eigenschaft aller dichterischen Sprache.... Im Stabreime werden die verwandten Sprachwurzeln in der Weise zueinander gefügt, daß sie, wie sie sich dem sinnlichen Gehöre als ähnlich lautend darstellen, auch ähnliche Gegenstände zu einem Gesammtbilde von ihnen verbinden, in welchem das Gefühl sich zu einem Abschluße über sie äußern will.

Stabreim  does not actually reflect or reproduce the nature of ordinary speech ; it is just as highly stylised as end-rhyming verse in iambic pentameters. Wagner is, however, making a valid point in saying:

Wie einfach ist die Erklärung und das Verständnis aller Metrik, wenn wir uns die vernünftige Mühe geben, auf die natürlichen Bedingungen alles menschlichen Kunstvermögens zurückzugehen, aus denen wir auch einzig wieder nur zur wirklichen Kunstproduktion gelangen können!

Wagner seems to share with Wordsworth a dislike of what the latter called the "gaudiness and inane phraseology of many modern writers" and also to believe that poetry consists in "fitting to metrical arrangement a selection of the real language of men" (Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, 1805) .
For the Ring , Wagner invents his own version of Stabreim, based on Ludwig Ettmüller’s translations of the Poetic Edda, [2] but in a form which allows him much more flexibility. Wagner reproduces hardly any of the vocabulary that he found in Ettmüller's translations, and also disregards the strophic nature of the Poetic Edda. Very occasionally, a character in the Ring  will have a four-line strophe, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Ettmüller  explains in his introduction how Stabreim  works:

In den zusammengehörenden Zeilen müssen drei Wörter vorkommen, die mit denselben Buchstaben anfangen. Von diesen drei Wörtern finden zwei in der ersten, das dritte jedoch in der zweiten Zeile ihre Stelle.
               (Ettmüller, Introduction[3]

Ettmüller also attempts to convey something of the nature of Old Norse poetic idioms (kennings):[4]

So versteht sich denn auch von selbst, daß alle die kühnen bildlichen Ausdrücke, an denen die altnordischen Dichtungen so reich sind, in der Uebersetzung wiedergegeben werden mußten und nicht mit den durch sie ersetzten natürlichen Ausdrücken vertauscht werden durften. (ibid.)

The following passage probably had the greatest influence on Wagner:

[ich] habe keine neuen Wörter gemacht...wohl aber habe ich zuweilen...gutem alten Golde, dessen Gepräge, wenn auch nicht den Schriftstellern, doch dem Volke noch gar wohl bekannt ist...... auch in der Schriftwelt aufs neue Geltung zu verschaffen gesucht. (ibid.)

In   claiming Stabreim  as a more suitable vehicle for his drama than end-rhyming iambic pentameters, Wagner  notes that verse and metre are made up of Hebung und Senkung, Ausdehnung und Kürzungen, Steigerung und Abnahme der tönenden Laute. It is not always explicit in Oper und Drama, but he is actually making the point specifically about his own experimentation with various verse-forms, although in some passages he generalises far too much about the suitability of one or other particular verse-form: he appears to have a particular anitpathy to iambic pentameter, which at one point he dismisses as unsuitable for drama altogether. At times he seems not to be entirely clear whether the unsuitability refers to drama as a whole, or just to opera, and he cannot be entirely absolved from the charge of inconsistency, but on one point he seems quite definite:

Die Darstellung der Verwandschaft der zu Tönen gewordenen Vokallaute an unser Gefühl kann daher nicht mehr der Wortdichter bewerkstelligen, sondern der Tondichter.
   (Oper und Drama, iii ; Gesammelte Schriften, Bd.IV, p.138)
It is the flexibility of Stabreim  which attracts Wagner, and he claims that it is much more easily adaptable to musical rhythm than more conventional metre. What he says about stress pattern does not  apply to conventional, "authentic" Stabreim , but it does apply to his version of it:

Der rein musikalische Takt bietet dem Dichter Möglichkeiten für den Sprachausdruck dar, denen er für den nur gesprochenen Wortvers von vornherein entsagen mußte. Im nur gesprochenen Wortvers mußte der Dichter sich darauf beschränken, die Zahl der Sylben in der Senkung nicht über zwei auszudehnen, weil bei drei Sylben der Dichter es nicht hätte vermeiden können, daß eine dieser Sylben bereits als Hebung zu betonen gewesen wäre, was seinen Vers natürlich sogleich über den Haufen geworfen hätte.   [5]  (ibid.)
        Hardly any of Wagner's contemporaries or successors followed him in his claim for the superiority of alliterative verse over iambic pentameter, and the poets who did follow him most enthusisatically - the French Symbolists - were not dramatists, but lyric poets. [6]

3.2. Wagner's use and adaptation of alliterative verse technique;
  It may be helpful to illustrate Wagner's procedure by quoting a few of Ettmüller's translations,  to illustrate just how flexible Wagner's verse is in comparison. Ettmüller retains as far as possible the pattern of alliteration found in the Poetic Edda ; note for instance the following lines from Gripispá :

wird der Reiche mir
Rede bieten?
froh des Rathes
der Fremdling wäre;
flugs gern fände
des Fürsten ich.

Was fügt sich förderst
zur Freude mir,
hub ich aus deinen
Hallen mich?

       Since Wagner allows himself so much more flexibility in the pattern of alliteration, his constructions are rarely as clumsy as

wie läuft des Lebens
Lauf mir ferner?
although in the original Old Norse, this is not a particularly clumsy stanza.
       Ettmüller uses some archaisms that Wagner doesn’t use, for instance schaff' mir Stromes Strahlglut - translation of a kenning. [7] Those that Wagner does use, or invent, are not directly taken from Ettmüller's translations, but are words or expressions which he considered fitted best into the context of his poem. Wagner rarely uses a periphrastic expression such as schaff mir Stromes Strahlglut, but the Rhinegold is once referred to as der Wassertiefe wonniger Stern. Occasionally Wagner adapts an expression found in Ettmüller’s translation, but always expands upon it and amplifies it; a similar procedure to that which Morris adopts, in fact. For example, Andvari's curse is rendered by Ettmüller as Niemand des Goldes / genießen soll! which is adapted and expanded by Wagner into the line Doch keiner genieße mit Nutzen sein! 
Perhaps most useful for our purposes would be a comparison of the various versions of the Woodbird episode; in PE and in Morris's poem, Sigurd is warned by eagles of Regin's treacherous intent, told about the bride who awaits him on the fire-girt rock (Sigrdrifa/Brynhild), and advised to take the treasure. Wagner  alters the vocabulary and the structure of this episode;[8]  the birds are reduced in number to one Woodbird, whose advice to Siegfried is delivered in three stanzas, not consecutive but arising from the dramatic situation. I quote first of all Ettmüller's translation, then  Morris's translation for purposes of comparison.

Als aber Fafnirs Herzblut ihm auf die Zunge kam, verstund er die Vogelsprache. Er hörte, daß Adlerinnen von den Aesten riefen;

28.                                                                                 29.                                       
          Da sitzet Sigurd                                                          Da liegt Regin                         
         besudelt vom Blute,                                                    sinnt Rath bei sich;
          Fafnirs Herz                                                                will trügen, der ihm
          er am Feuer bratet;                                                    traute, den Mann;
          der Kampfwarspalter  [9]                                            aus Neid er denkt,
          klug mich däuchte,                                                    auf nichtige Händel;
          äßt er die leuchtende                                                 der Falschhart will
          Lebensfaser.                                                               Fafnirn rächen.

30.     Hauptes kürzer laß' er                                     36.     Die roten Ringe
          den haarigen Schwätzer                                           reihe dir an;
          fahren hin zur Hel:                                                    Furcht zu fühlen
          ihm dann eigen                                                           nicht Fürsten ziemt;
          wird alles Gold,                                                           Eine Maid ich weiß,
          der Hort, den Fafnir hegte.                                       die minniglichste,
                                                                                               hell in Golde,
                                                                                                 wenn du sie haben könntest.

        38.Ein Hof steht hoch                                    39.     Auf dem Steine schläft
          auf Hindarfiall,                                                          die Streitweise,
          fest umfängt ihn                                                        und ringsum lecket
          Feuer von außen;                                                       der Linde Feind;
          den haben hehre                                                        Yggur stach den Dorn
          Helden erbauet                                                           einst in's Gewand
          aus fern strahlender                                                   der Maid, die Männer
          Stromesgluth.[10]                                                          morden wollte.

Morris's translation

Bind thou, Sigurd,                             A high hall is there
the bright red rings!                           Reared upon Hindfell,
Not meet it is                                      Without all about it
Many things to fear.                         Sweeps the red flame  aloft.
A fair may know I                            Wise men wrought
Fair of all the fairest                         That wonder of halls
Girt about with gold,                         With the unhidden  gleam
Good for thy getting.                        Of the glory of gold.

Soft on the fell                                   Go, son, behold
A shield-may sleepeth,                     That may under helm
The lime-trees' red plague [11]           who from battle
Playing about her;                                            Vinskornir bore;
the sleep-thorn set Odin                   From her may not turn
Into that maiden                                               the torment of sleep,
for her choosing in war                    dear offspring of kings
the one he willed not.                       in the dread Norns' despite.

Wagner's Woodbird has three stanzas in which it conveys  the necessary information to Siegfried, plus a three line flourish it which it explains the nature  of its song. [12]
Almost any section one cares to isolate, however short, will serve to illustrate the flexibility of Wagner’s alliterative verse.  Hunding's lines

die so leidig los dir beschied
nicht liebte dich die Norn ;
froh nicht grüßt dich der Mann
dem fremd als Gast du nahst
(Die Walküre , Act I )
 follow the pattern of Eddic verse and Ettmüller’s translations. Thus in die so leidig Los dir beschied /nicht liebte dich die Norn, liebte  could be said to function as the høfu  stafr, (headstave) and to determine the alliterative pattern of the line. The next lines provide an example of double allliteration, without a head-stave; froh nicht grüßt dich der Mann,  dem fremd als Gast du nahst. Strictly speaking, grüßt  doesn’t quite alliterate with Gast, but this is a typical example of the flexibility and freedom that Wagner allowed himself.
       The use of alliteration often produces very striking onomatopæic effects, as in the epithet schäbiger Schuft. The alliteration is not always obtrusive or obvious, although this criticism has frequently been made; in the the following lines, for instance

Vor Klugheit bläht sich
zum Platzen der Blöde!
Nun plage dich Neid!
Bestimm', in welcher Gestalt
soll ich jach vor dir steh'n?
(Das Rheingold, sc. iii)
the alliteration is hardly noticeable, it forms part of the symphonisches Gewebe, as Wagner intended.[13] And on occasion, basicially factual information or lines of dialogue are as economical as possible, hardly bothering with alliteration at all:

Halt ihn fest, bis ich ihn band.
Nun schnell hinauf; dort ist er unser.
(Das Rheingold, sc. iii)

This would suggest that when Wagner gave Alberich such obtrusively alliterative lines as garstig glatter glitschriger Glimmer  or when Wellgunde expresses her negative opinion of Alberich's appearance;

Pfui, du haariger,
höckriger Geck!
Schwarzes, schwieliges
(Das Rheingold, ll.103-106)

very obtrusive alliteration is deliberately used for comic effect,  in order to make a point about Alberich, and that in his use of language Wagner was at least as competent a craftsman as Morris. Much of the alliteration used by and about Alberich in the first scene of Das Rheingold  conveys his unprepossessing nature and appearance; apart from the above lines, we have Wellgunde's comment  Prustend naht meines Freiers Pracht!  in which the alliteration enables Wagner to use Pracht  ironically, to alliterate with prustend, so that Alberich is subject to ridicule for his efforts.
       The same overloading of alliteration is used by Siegfried to express his revulsion at Mime's appearance:

seh' ich dich stehen, gangeln und geh'n,
knicken und nicken, mit den Augen zwicken...
(Siegfried, Act 1)
This couplet  is also one of the rare examples in the Ring  of the use of internal rhyme, combined with alliteration. Siegfried returns to the subject of Mime's unprepossessing appearance in Act II:

Grade so garstig,
griesig und grau,
klein und krumm,
 höckrig und hinkend....
( Siegfried, Act II  ll.5598-5601)
Do Siegfried’s insults about Mime’s appearance parallel the Rheinmaidens’ insults about Alberich’s appearance?  These examples support the contention that Wagner deliberately chose obtrusive alliteration, with spitting consonants, to characterise the Nibelung brothers. This is carried over into the quarrel between Alberich and Mime in Act II of Siegfried  :

Für des Knaben Zucht
will der knickrige
schäbige Knecht
keck und kühn
wohl gar König sein?
(Siegfried, Act II, ll.5806-5811)
Wagner gives himself constant opportunites to use cross-alliteration and double-alliteration effectively, as in the following example:

Wut und Minne,
wild und mächtig,
wühlt mir den Mut auf!
(Das Rheingold  ll.190-192 )

The alliteration here allows the use of antithesis. Wut  and Minne are linked in Alberich’s mind because of the situation in which he finds himself, but there is no natural link between the two states of mind.Wut  is linked with wild  and Minne  with mächtig. This is the first link between Minne and Macht  (and its derivative, mächtig), and we shall become aware that the main argument of the Ring  is the incompatibility  between power and love. There will be further close verbal links between Minne und Macht, most noticeably the condition under which the Rheingold can be obtained:

Nur wer der Minne
Macht entsagt,
Nur wer der Liebe
Lust verjagt,
(Das Rheingold, ll.269-272)

and at the beginning of Wotan’s narration in Die Walküre , in which he tells Brünnhilde

Von der Liebe doch
mocht’ ich nicht lassen;
in der Macht verlangt’ ich nach Minne.
(Die Walküre, Act II, ll.2778-2780)
The link is also found at the very end of Götterdämmerung, as Brünnhilde expresses her intention to join Siegfried on his funeral pyre: in mächtigster Minne vermählt ihm zu sein!  Of course it may be a coincidence, and mächtig(st)e Minne  is a fairly obvious epithet for any poet who has decided to use alliteration, but this functions as a demonstration of the different contexts in which the concept can be used, and I  like the way Wagner introduces it first in an ironic context.
       Further effective and striking examples of double  alliteration are found, for instance:

sollte die grimmige Wal
nicht schrecken ein gramvolles Weib?
(Die Walküre, Act II)

which also includes another archaism - Wal - which Wagner has to use in order for it to alliterate with Weib; as so often, the archaic vocabulary is effective in its context, the alliteration providing a balance of sounds that is satisfying to the ear.
       Another example worth noting is Sieglinde's Grauen und Schauder ob gräßlichster Schande where the double alliteration emphasises the related concepts. What is the gräßlichste Schande  that Sieglinde feels? There is perhaps a deliberate ambiguity here. In the eyes of the world (i.e. of Fricka, who may be seen to represent respectable opinion), what Sieglinde and Siegmund have done is a shameful disgrace; but during the ecstacy of their love-duet it was her marriage that she felt as a shameful disgrace:

was je ich gelitten
in grimmigem Leid,
was je mich geschmerzt
in Schande und Schmach,
süßeste Rache
sühnte dann alles!
       (Die Walküre, Act I  ll. 2244-2249)

A  splendid example of double alliteration followed by cross-alliteration occurs in

Freieste Liebe furchtbares Leid
traurigsten Mutes mächtigster Trotz!
(Die Walküre, Act III)

Or again, Wotan's despair at the situation in which he finds himself during Act II of Die Walküre  is  given expression  and emphasis by the skilful use of cross-alliteration: O heilige Schmach! O schmählicher Harm!
       The principle of using double and/or cross-alliteration for emphasis is found again and again in Wagner's text ; in Götterdämmerung, it occurs on one occasion  in conjunction with vowel alliteration, which Wagner only uses sparingly. Siegfried here accuses Brünnhilde of having scant regard for her own honour:

Achtest du so
der eig'nen Ehre?
Die Zunge, die sie lästert,
muß ich der Lüge sie zeihen?
(Götterdämmerung, Act II, ll.8104-8107)
The Blood-brotherhood duet in Götterdämmerung  suuplies further examples of cross-alliteration and double alliteration, for instance; Blühenden Lebens labendes Blut. Throughout the duet, the balance of meaning is paralleled by the balance of sounds, e.g.Was in Tropfen heut’ hold wir tranken, (cross-alliteration), or In Strahlen ström’ es dahin.
       Wotan’s first words in Das Rheingold  bear a closer resemblance to the form of Old Norse verse, or at least to Ettmüller’s translations, than anything that has preceded them:

Der Wonne seligen Saal
bewachen mir Tür und Tor;
Mannes Ehre, ewige Macht
ragen zu endlosem Ruhm!
(Das Rheingold, ll.324-327)

This still lacks the exactness of alliteration of Ettmüller’s translations, but it is a four-line strophe, unlike anything in the first scene, and we should note that cross-alliteration is used - Mannes Ehre, ewige Macht. We shall discover that Wotan's vocabulary, at least in Das Rheingold  and Die Walküre, is that of aggressive masculinity, consisting largely of references to power -Macht und Herrschaft - with love coming a poor second.
       Note should also be taken of the concluding four-line strophe of Das Rheingold:

Traulich und treu
ist's nur in der Tiefe;
falsch und feig ist,
was dort oben sich freut!
(Das Rheingold, ll.1857-1860)

Here the balance of the alliteration allows a balanced antithesis of ideas, even though, for the sake of the alliteration, there cannot be an exact antithesis, which the nature of the ideas would seem to demand.  There is the antithesis of traulich und treu  against falsch und feig,  although this is not an exact antithesis: treu  is the opposite of falsch, but traulich  is not the exact opposite of feig; in the context of the alliterative verse, however, it works  effectively.
       Wotan also gets a somewhat cryptic four-line stanza after Fricka asks  him to explain the name Walhall:

Was, mächtig der Furcht
mein Mut mir erfand,
wenn siegend es lebt,
leg' es den Sinn dir dar!
(Das Rheingold, ll.1814-1817)

The occasional cryptic nature of some of Wotan's utterances is due to the compactness of Wagner's poetic language, and is deliberate - possibly as deliberate as the cryptic nature of Gripir's prophecies in Sigurd the Volsung. He speaks equally cryptically to Siegfried about the absence of his eye;

Mit dem Auge,
das als eines mir fehlt,
erblickst du selber das Auge
das mir zum Sehen verblieb!  [14]
(Siegfried, Act III ll.6385-6388)

       The fact that Wagner has a  free alliterative pattern allows him the use of cross-alliteration, as in Mannes Ehre, ewige Macht,  which provides a satisfying balance of vowel and consonant alliteration. Similar use of cross-alliteration is found elsewhere, such as Fricka's Dich freut die Burg, mir bangt es um Freia  or herrliche Wohnung, wonniger Hausrat, in which the alliteration is not obvious, still less obtrusive, but  flows naturally.
       Cross-alliteration is used by Loge to give weight to his sarcastic comments as the gods fade into old age: Trügt mich ein Nebel? Neckt mich ein Traum? Necken  wouldn't have been the most obvious verb to choose in relation to Traum, so it was evidently chosen for the sake of the alliteration, and it is a very effective way of conveying Loge's mocking attitude. And here, as often when specific verbal effects are to be conveyed, the scoring is quite sparse.
       There appears to be no consistent reason for the use of cross-alliteration; that is, is it not always used in ironic contexts or for emphasis, but just where it seems to flow most naturally and be most effective, as in Wotan's interpretation of the relationship between himself and Alberich; mit neidischem Grimm grollt mir der Niblung (Die Walküre, Act II). Alberich is characterised by his envious anger, in general terms as a personality and specifically in his struggle with Wotan. But there are many instances where cross-alliteration does seem to be used where emphasis is required, as in Wotan's als mir göttlicher Not nagende Galle gemischt  or wütender Sehnsucht sengender Wunsch  (Die Walküre, Act III) where a fairly complex construction is compacted into a few words, which cross-alliterate for greater emphasis.

3.3.Poetic and stylistic devices used in the Ring
One of the most striking qualities of Wagner's poetic language is its compactness; a good example occurs in Siegfried's final words at the end of Act I of Götterdämmerung :

Nun, Nothung, zeuge du,
daß ich in Züchten warb;
die Treue wahrend dem Bruder,
trenne mich von seiner Braut!
(Götterdämmerung, Act I, ll.7727-7730)

Wagner here expertly manipulates alliterative patterns to emphasise the ideas that his character is expressing. [1] This compactness is a quality that Wagner shares with Gerard Manley Hopkins, and it is  a quality which Morris did not always value. Wagner claims (as did Wordsworth and Hopkins) that his poetry is closer to "the natural rhythms of speech" - this is not in fact the case, either for Wagner or for Hopkins, whatever may have been the intention.[2] Wagner’s  reputation for prolixity and long-windedness  is actually not  justified; he very rarely digresses from the main theme of the plot, as Morris does, especially in The Earthly Paradise  and Jason, which contain many descriptive passages, especially of landscape, which are the poetic equivalent to Pre-Raphaelite painting in their close attention to detail, but do not advance the narrative at all. [3]
Apart from the main poetic device of alliteration, Wagner uses various literary and stylistic devices. He is actually quite sparing in his use of imagery and metaphor, which I discuss below, but there are examples of antithesis, paradox, repetition, personification, anaphora and the less common devices of hyperbaton[4] and polyptoton[5] throughout the text. Most interesting is Wagner's frequent use of the balanced antithesis of vocabulary to create an antithesis of ideas; the alliteration is manipulated to create this effect, as in the following striking example from Götterdämmerung, in which Brünnhilde laments  Siegfried's  betrayal of her:

In seiner Macht
hält er die Maid,
in seinen Banden
faßt er die Beute,
die, jammernd ob ihrer Schmach,
jauchzend der Reiche verschenkt!
(Götterdämmerung, Act II, ll. 8216-8224)

Here, double alliteration (jammernd / Schmach - jauchzend / verschenkt) is used for emphasis, and the alliterative force of jammernd / jauchzend  serves to highlight the contrast between Brünnhilde's feelings and those of Siegfried.
        Skilful and effective use is made of anaphora, for instance in Siegmund's response to Brünnhilde's Todesverkündigung :

So grüße mir Walhall,
grüße mir Wotan,

grüße mir Wotan und alle Helden;
grüß'  auch die holden Wunschesmädchen -
zu ihnen folg' ich dir nicht!
(Die Walküre, Act II  ll. 3207-3214) (emphasis added)
A shorter example of anaphora occurs in Siegmund's couplet in Act I:        

Mißwende folgt mir, wohin ich fliehe;
Mißwende naht mir, wo ich mich neige

Another example occurs  at the end of Siegfried :

Brünnhilde         lachend muß ich dich lieben,
                             lachend will ich erblinden,
                             lachend lass' uns verderben,
                             lachend zugrunde gehn!
                                                    (Siegfried, Act III  ll.6851-6854) (emphasis added)

An extended example of anaphora occurs at the beginning of the Brünnhilde-Siegfried duet in Act I of Götterdämmerung :

                Brünnhilde                            Willst du mir Minne schenken,
                                             gedenke deiner nur;
                                             gedenke deiner Taten,
                                             gedenk' des wilden Feuers,
                                             das furchtlos du durchschrittest,
                                             da den Fels es rings umbrann!

Siegfried                              Brünnhilde zu gewinnen!

Brünnhilde         Gedenk' der beschildeten Frau
                                             die in tiefem Schlaf du fandest,
                                             der den festen Helm du erbrachst -

Siegfried                              Brünnhilde zu gewinnen!

Brünnhilde         Gedenk' der Eide, die uns einen;
                          gedenk' der Treue, die wir tragen;
                         gedenk der Liebe, der wir leben;
                          Brünnhilde brennt dann ewig,
                            heilig, dir in der Brust.
                                (Götterdämmerung, Act I, ll.7079-7097) (emphasis added)

       The following lines from Die Walküre  may serve as an example of hyperbaton (words in an unfamiliar order). Hunding says to Siegmund:

Die so leidig Los dir beschied,
nicht liebte dich die Norn;
froh nicht grüßt dich der Mann,
dem fremd als Gast du nahst.
(Die Walküre, Act I  ll.2061-2064 )

It would be tempting to conclude that  Wagner employed this rather strange syntax in order to fit in with the exigencies of the music, but in fact the scoring is rather thin at this point. In long narrative passages such as Wotan’s crucial narration to Brünnhilde in Act II of Die Walküre   the scoring is sparse in order to foreground the narrative, but this is only a four-line remark, made in order to draw the attention of the audience to Hunding’s instinctive antipathy to Siegmund. The syntax is twisted to fit the alliteration. 
Another, less complex example of hyperbaton evidently exists for the sake of the alliteration:

fröhlich nicht
hängt Freia
den Rauhen über dem Rücken.
(Das Rheingold, ll.841-843)

Wotan's reproach to Brünnhilde is an example of polyptoton:

Durch meinen Willen
warst du allein;
gegen mich doch hast du gewollt ;
meine Befehle nur
führtest du aus;
gegen mich doch hast du befohlen ;
warst du mir,
gegen mich doch hast du gewünscht;
warst du mir,
gegen mich doch hobst du dein Schild;
warst du mir,
gegen mich doch kiestest du Lose;
warst du mir,
gegen mich doch reiztest du Helden.
(Die Walküre, Act III  ll. 3758-3765. emphasis added)

It is one of the few examples in the Ring  of this stylistic device ;  the same root is used in varying grammatical forms, first as a noun, then as a verb deriving from, or related to, the noun. An example of similar usage occurs in

War es so schmählich,
was ich verbrach,
daß mein Verbrechen so schmählich du bestrafst?
War es so niedrig,
was ich dir tat,
daß du so tief mir Erneidrigung schaffst?
War es so ehrlos,
 was ich beging,
daß mein Vergeh'n nun die Ehre mir raubt?
      (Die Walküre, Act III  ll.3840-3848)

where schmählich  is repeated verbatim, but otherwise a word first found in one form is used in a different grammatical form in the next line.

 Floßhilde's deceptive praise of Alberich, and his response:

Mir zagt, zuckt
und zehrt sich das Herz,
lacht mir so zierliches Lob.
(Das Rheingold, ll.142-144)

 works out as a sort of antithesis. zagen, zucken, zehren, all relate to the same basic idea of his heart being affected, trembling for joy, and in this context perhaps zierliches Lob  is somewhat inappropriate; zierlich  obviously exists for the sake of the alliteration, since it is not  what Floßhilde says that is zierlich, but she herself, her appearance; the "praise" of Alberich is not zierlich  at all, but hyperbolic and ironic, as she proceeds to demonstrate:

Deinen stechenden Blick,
deinen struppigen Bart,
o säh' ich ihn, faßt ich ihn stets!
Deines stachlichen Haares
strammes Gelock,
umflöß es Floßhilde ewig!
Deine Krötengestalt,
deiner Stimme Gekrächz,
o dürft ich, staunend und stumm,
sie nur hören und sehen!
(Das Rheingold, ll. 153-162 )

This could almost be  a parody of a conventional love-lyric, [6] in which the man lists the qualities and beauties of his beloved and expresses the desire to spend his life in contemplation thereof; the lines seem to be a double parody, in which she  lists his negative  attributes, and expresses the desire to spend her life in contemplation of his ugliness. She even explicitly concludes by saying that her song  comes to an end (Wie billig an Ende vom Lied! )
       The laughter of the Rhinemaidens is double-edged, to say the least. It is the laughter of primal innocence, but also the laughter of cruel mockery at Alberich's defects, then laughter of pure happiness when the sun lights up the gold.
       Further examples of antithesis in Das Rheingold  include  the following, which occurs after Wotan has violently wrested the Ring from Alberich:

Alberich   Ha! Zertrümmert! Zerknickt!
                         Der Traurigsten traurigster Knecht!

Wotan           Nun halt’ ich, was mich erhebt,
                       der Mächtigen mächstigsten Herrn!
                       (Das Rheingold, ll.1473-1476)

The antithesis of situation is illustrated by the antithesis of language, and there is further emphasis on Wotan's obsession with Macht and Herrschaft. This idea of antithesis/opposition - but also a link between Wotan and Alberich - is illustrated by what they both say about Siegfried; they use almost identical vocabulary, as they realise that the curse cannot affect Siegfried, but of course they interpret this fact differently. Wotan expresses his willingness for Siegfried to inherit the world, whereas Alberich tells Hagen that they must now devote their efforts to the destruction of Siegfried:

dem herrlichen Wälsung
weis' ich mein Erbe nun an.
ledig des Neides,
erlahmt an dem Edlen
Alberichs Fluch;
denn fremd bleibt ihm die Furcht.
(Siegfried, Act III  ll.6261-6262,  6268-6272  emphasis added)


An dem furchtlosen Helden
erlahmt selbst mein Fluch;
denn nicht kennt
er des Ringes Wert,
zu nichts nützt er
die neidlichste Macht.
Lachend in liebender Brunst,
brennt er lebend dahin.
Ihn zu verderben
taugt uns nun einzig.
(Götterdämmerung, Act II ll. 7783-7792  emphasis added )

       In Alberich's curse, effective use is made of such figures of speech as oxymoron and paradox, for instance in Alberich’s designation of Des Ringes Herr als des Ringes Knecht!. The curse is built  up on use of repetition and antithesis, repetition to emphasise Alberich’s point ; he doesn’t repeat words verbatim, instead, ideas and concepts are recapitulated and expanded.[7] The curse elaborates upon ideas only hinted at in the source, and there is an attempt at a balanced antithesis of ideas expressed in pairs of opposites. For instance, in Jeder giere nach seinem Gut, / doch keiner genieße mit Nutzen sein,  the antithesis of  jeder /keiner  is echoed in the antithesis of giere/genieße,  emphasising the impossibility of any pleasure to be had from ownership of the Ring.
       Wotan's realisation of the paradoxical situation in which he finds himself - der durch Verträge ich Herr, /den Verträgen bin ich nun Knecht! - is perhaps deliberately intended to recall the central threat of Alberich's curse: des Ringes Herr als des Ringes Knecht! especially since much of Wotan's dispute with Fricka has been about the Herr/Knecht antithesis andthe nature of freedom.These are ideas which are interpreted rather simplistically by Fricka, but which Wotan is now developing. [8] In fact he now understands the situation perfectly well, but he does not yet know what to do about it; does not realise, in fact, that there is nothing left for him  to do, he will only begin to realise this after losing Brünnhilde, and will not come to acceptance of his impotence until his spear is shattered by Siegfried's reforged sword.
Weibes Wert, Weibes Wonne is used as antithesis to demonstrate Wotan's distorted values, as in Fasolt's words:

Die ihr durch Schönheit herrscht,
schimmernd hehres Geschlecht -
wie töricht strebt ihr
nach Türmen von Stein,
setzt um Burg und Saal
Weibes Wonne zum Pfand!
(Das Rheingold, ll.516-521)

Running through the disagreement between Wotan and the giants in Das Rheingold  is the idea of the antithesis Liebe/Minne  vs. Macht, and there is also a hint that the antithesis is related to the idea of male/female polarity which Wagner discusses so elaborately in Oper und Drama; not quite as crude and unsubtle as Weib/Liebe opposed to Mann/Macht, but the idea is there, especialy in Fricka's reproach to Wotan; Was ist euch Harten heilig und Wert /giert ihr Männer nach Macht?  When Wotan asks her whether she too was not lusting after power, her reply is that she was hoping for a lovely home where she and her husband could be at peace, but he will not accept this.[9]  This antithesis of Macht  and Liebe  is spelt out again by Fricka;

Um der Macht und Herrschaft
müßigen Tand
verspielst du in lästerndem Spott
Liebe und Weibes Wert?
(Das Rheingold, ll.402-405)

       Brünnhilde’s announcement to Sieglinde ; Den hehrsten Helden der Welt / hegst du, O Weib, in schirmenden Schoß!  functions as an antithesis to the dramatic irony of Wotan's des Hasses Frucht hegt eine Frau,/ des Neides Kraft kreißt ihr im Schoß!  It is almost the same vocabulary; Sieglinde bears the fruit of love in her womb, Grimhild[10] bears the fruit of hate in her womb.
 The conspirators in Act II of Götterdämmerung - Brünnhilde, Gunther and Hagen - utter the sort of sentiments that conspirators might be expected to utter, [11] but the last five lines contain a balanced antithesis of ideas, the finer nuances of which may sometimes be missed in performance:

Gunther /Brünnhilde                                                               Hagen
Allrauner, rächender Gott!                                     Alberich, gefallener    Fürst!                                                                                                  
Schwurwissender Eideshort!                                  Nachthüter! 
Wotan! Wende dich her!                                        Alberich! Achte auf     mich!                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Weise die schrecklichheilige
 Schar                                                                       Weise von             neuem der      Nibelungenschar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
hieher zu horchen der                                             dir zu gehorchen,
Rache Schwur!                                                        des Ringes Herrn!                                                                                                                                                   
Wotan is called upon by his daughter [12], Alberich by his son, in very similar terms; the parallels between Alberich and Wotan are again emphasised, and Alberich's association with night / darkness is recalled (Nachthüter! Niblungenherr! ) Perhaps there is a distant affinity with Milton's Satan? (gefallener Fürst ! )

Wagner occasionally uses internal rhyme, but only one example of end-rhyme, or rather assonance, can be found in the text of the Ring, in the passage in Act II of Götterdämmerung  in which Brünnhilde accuses Siegfried of lying:

Du listiger Held,
sieh' wie du lügst!
Wie auf dein Schwert
du schlecht dich berufst!
Wohl kenn' ich seine Schärfe,
doch kenn' auch die Scheide,
darin so wonnig
ruht an der Wand
Nothung, der treue Freund,
als die Traute sein Herr sich gewann!
(Götterdämmerung, Act II, ll. 8115-8124)

There are also expressions (e.g.Dach und Fach ) in which internal rhyme is substituted for alliteration; these are not very frequent, but other examples include mit Fleiß und Schweiß ist es gefügt.  A particularly interesting example of internal rhyme is Leben und Weben, used by Loge to indicate the extent of his researches to discover if there is any living creature that can live without love. It is introduced for the sake of the internal rhyme, and the onomatopæia; and Weben could perhaps be related to Wagner's idea of the symphonisches Gewebe  that he wanted his music to be. [13]

3.4 Vocabulary and characterisation
       The technique of associating particular vocabulary, as well as specific leitmotifs, with a character, is  followed in the case of Loge, whose vocabulary and music reflect his nature as a flickering flame. In the lines

zur leckenden Lohe
mich wieder zu wandeln
spür' ich lockende Lust
(Das Rheingold  ll.1822-1824)
the audience picks up a very strong sense of fire flickering - the alliteration contributes enormously to this effect, of course. Wotan's summoning of Loge at the end of Die Walküre [14] reinforces this idea.  Loge's vocabulary differs from that of the other gods just as his music does, though perhaps this is not quite so immediately noticeable; that is, Wagner does employ verbal leitmotifs to some extent, though of course they are not as important to him as musical leitmotifs. The main verbal leitmotif seems to be the imagery of light vs. dark, and fire imagery is also used. [15] Loge's nature as the embodiment of flame perhaps also exemplifies his nature as the embodiment of trickery - his music and his vocabulary express his evasiveness and tricksiness, and the dangerous nature of uncontrolled fire. There is no need for specific fire imagery in Das Rheingold, because Loge is present on stage as an embodiment of the spirit of flame. 
            Loge reminds Alberich that all the gold of Nibelheim would be no use without his help :

Kennst du mich gut,
kindischer Alb?
Nun sag', wer bin ich,
daß du so bellst?
Im kalten Loch,
da kauernd du lagst,
wer gab dir Licht
und wärmende Lohe,
wenn Loge dir nicht gelacht?
Was hülf' dir dein Schmieden,
heizt' ich die Schmiede dir nicht?
             (Das Rheingoldll.1138-1148 )

 Loge's vocabulary conveys subtlety, sinuousness, suppleness, whereas Wotan's language is that of aggressive masculinity. Wotan begins as articulate, but his progress towards self-knowledge is a progress from articulacy to silence; he has run out of evasions, and in silence he can no longer make treaties which he intends to break. This is emphasised in Waltraute’s Narration to Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung. (There is nothing comparable to this scene either in the sources or in Morris’s poem.)   Here we have Waltraute’s interpretation of Wotan’s silence, and Brünnhilde’s inability to comprehend or interpret Waltraute’s narrative, which has a dual purpose; both Brünnhilde and the audience have to be informed of the latest developments in Valhalla. We already know something of the World Ash Tree from the Norns in the Prologue:

Zweite Norn  
Da hieß Wotan
Walhalls Helden
der Weltesche
welkes Geäst
mit dem Stamm in Stücke zu fällen.

Dritte Norn  
Es ragt die Burg,
von Riesen gebaut;
 mit der Götter und Helden
heiliger Sippe
sitzt dort Wotan im Saal.
Gehau'ner Scheite
hohe Schicht
ragt zu Hauf
rings um die Halle;
die Weltesche war dies einst.
Brennt das Holz
heilig brünstig und hell
sengt die Glut
 sehrend den glänzenden Saal -
der sel'gen Götter Ende
dämmert ewig da auf.
(Götterdämmerung, Act  I, ll. 6951-6955, 6963-6978)

Since Waltraute is narrating the same events, her vocabulary is similar to that of the Norns, but her narration focuses more on Wotan's silence [16],  which the Norns don't mention, as it is not important to them:

Mit stummem Wink
Walhalls Edle
wies er zum Forst,
die Weltesche zu fällen.
Der Götter Rat ließ er berufen;
ihm zur Seite
hieß er die Bangen sich setzen,
in Ring und Reih'
die Hall' erfüllen die Helden.
So sitzt er,
sagt kein Wort,
auf hehrem Sitze
 stumm und ernst;
(Götterdämmerung, Act 1, ll. 7537-7556 emphasis added)
 Wotan's aggressive masculinity has brought him to silence and impotence. Perhaps he now remembers what Fricka said to him in Das Rheingold :

Wotan, Gemahl,
unsel’ger Mann!
Sieh’, wie dein Leichtsinn
lachend uns allen
Schimpf und Schmach erschuf!
(Das Rheingold , ll.898-902)
Fricka did rather emphasise  Wotan’s frivolity, and the fact that his heedlessness brought shame on the gods, and would finally bring about their destruction - and she was right.
Wotan's praise of Walhall - prächtig prahlt der prangende Bau! -proves on close examination to have a curious sub-text. Obviously something has to alliterate with prächtig, and prangend  is fine - but what about prahlt ? This - meaning to boast - is usually only found in negative contexts, and also usually conveys the idea of empty boasting. The vocabulary is thus as important as the music for revealing the hollowness of Wotan's triumph, and the shaky moral foundations on which Walhall is built. The frequent references to Walhall's Pracht  usually have an ironic sub-text, implying that this magnificence is hollow, as for instance Brünnhilde's dismissal of Walhall in her love-ecstacy at the end of Siegfried :

Fahr' hin, Walhalls
leuchtende Welt!
Zerfall' in Staub
deine stolze Burg!
Leb' wohl, prangende
End' in Wonne, du ewig Geschlecht!
       (Siegfried, Act III )

This is echoed in her refusal to surrender the Ring at Waltraute's request:

Die Liebe ließe ich nie,
nie nähmen mir sie die Liebe,
stürzt  auch in Trümmern
Walhalls strahlende Pracht!
      (Götterdämmerung, Act I. ll.7649-7652)

In his Narration in Act II of Die Walküre, Wotan  expresses despair in his outburst:

Fahre denn hin,
herrische Pracht,
göttlichen Prunkes
prahlende Schmach!
       (Die Walküre, Act II  ll.2949-2952)

As I have suggested,  in performance some of the more subtle nuances of the text may be overlooked. Here, for instance, there is surely a link with, and a reminder of, Wotan's praise of Walhall, with its rather suspect sub-text; prahlen  is now used in a more realistic context, an open admission that the boasting of Walhall and the gods is not only hollow but shameful. [17] 
 In discussion of Wagner's vocabulary in the Ring, the use of Tand  is significant - it is used as a metaphor by Fricka to illustrate the worthlessness of power, but is also used (by Loge) to refer to the Rhinegold itself, in its pure state:

Ein Tand ist's,
in der Wasser Tiefe,
lachenden Kindern zur Lust.
(Das Rheingold, ll.723-725)
In performance, the audience may not be completely aware of the context(s) in which the word Tand  is used, but the implication is always that the gold is  innocent or neutral  in itself, although it can be put to evil uses [18]. Tand - trinket, toy - always has overtones of frivolity or triviality, but possibly also harmlessness, so that, when the Rhinemaidens lament:

Rheingold! Rheingold!
Reines Gold!
O leuchtete noch
in der Tiefe dein lautrer Tand!
(Das Rheingold, ll.1853-1856)
they are wishing that the gold could be restored to its original condition of harmlessness, and also perhaps that the life of harmless frivolity that they previously enjoyed could be restored to them. The term Tand  is also used by Alberich, in response to Wotan's demand for the Ring:

zu fürstlichem Tand
soll sie fröhlich dir taugen,
zur Freude dir frommen mein Fluch?
(Das Rheingold, ll.1459-1641)

Alberich perhaps has not at this stage fully grasped that Wotan desires maßlose Macht  as well; he has previously reproached the gods for their frivolity; his argument is that what he has gained at a terrible cost should not be taken from him and put to frivolous use. He never had any idea of the gold just being a toy - his first question is, what use  is it.
Until the gold is stolen and put to use, emphasis is laid on its glittering triviality, especially by Loge:

Um den gleißenden Tand,
der Tiefe entwandt,
erklang mir der Töchter Klage.

Ein Tand ist's, in des Wassers Tiefe,
lachenden Kindern zur Lust;
doch ward es zum runden Reife geschmiedet,
hilft es zur höchsten Macht,
gewinnt dem Manne die Welt. [19]
(Das Rheingold, ll.696-698, 723-729)

Loge appears not to be corrupted by the desire for this glittering trinket, but it is as if he has introduced an Apple of Discord among the gods and the giants, and then watches with cynical amusement their subsequent actions, which are motivated by greed. He more than once reminds Wotan that the gold is supposed to be returned to the Rhinemaidens, and it is again implied that in its rightful place it is  a toy for them to play with:
Klug und fein
mußt du verfahren,
ziehst den Räuber du zu Recht,
um des Rheines Töchtern
den roten Tand,
das Gold, wiederzugeben...
(Das Rheingold, ll.778-784)

Loge emphasises the trivial. trinket-like nature of the gold; it is not something which interests him, though he can watch the gods with cynical amusement and later refuse to follow them into Valhalla.
            Alberich's curse makes it impossible that the gold can ever again be treated as a toy. In Das Rheingold   the gold is referred to as a toy, because once the Ring is forged out of it, it loses its glittering triviality, and when it is   referred to as a toy  in Siegfried  it is with ironic intent.  The Wanderer advises Alberich to wake Fafner, saying

Dort liegt der Wurm.
Warnst du ihn vor den Tod,
willig wohl ließ er den Tand.
Ich selber weck’ ihn dir auf.
(Siegfried, Act I, ll.5415-5418 emphasis added)

Fricka, too, is interested in the gold; she wants to know what use it is to women. She picks up Loge's terminology and also refers to the gold as a glittering trinket:

Taugte wohl
des goldnen Tandes
gleißend Geschmeid
auch Frauen zu schönem Schmuck?
(Das Rheingold, ll.736-739)
Loge tells Fricka what she most wants to hear, namely that wearing the Ring will enable her to enforce her husband's fidelity.
       Some of the ideas suggested by the vocabulary of Das Rheingold  are developed and perhaps re-interpreted in Die Walküre . We noted the  incongruity of prahlen in Wotan's praise of his fortress, indicating that on some unconscious level he may well have been aware of the hollowness of his power, and  in Die Walküre  he seems to have come to conscious awareness of it. And when he refers to  der Gottheit nichtigen Glanz  it may be a link back to Das Rheingold , in which Loge referred ironically to der Götter neuem Glanze, indicating that their "glitter" was false and trivial. [20]
       In the Todesverkündigung  scene of Die Walkuere, Siegmund calls Brünnhilde  fühllose Maid - a reproach which the Brünnhilde of Götterdämmerung  makes to Waltraute . In the latter case, it isn't quite justified, since Waltraute evidently has some feelings, but the point Siegmund is making is the same point that Brünnhilde makes to Waltraute - that the gods are incapable of feelingne of Die Walküre,    human emotions of love and loyalty, the only genuine emotion they feel is concern for their grip on power ; although Freia has stayed with them, in a way they have lost her, have lost the ability to love.
            We shall discover that Brünnhilde uses fire and light imagery in her funeral oration; wie Sonne lauter strahlt mir sein Licht  must surely be a deliberate reference to the sun imagery she used in Siegfried. And her reference to the ravens perhaps indicates that she has taken in some of what Waltraute said to her:

Auch deine Raben hör' ich Rauschen;
mit bang ersehnter Botschaft
send' ich die beiden nun heim;
ruhe, ruhe, du Gott.
(Götterdämmerung, Act III)  [21]
Of course this last line is the crux of the matter; it is all about Wotan, still. Brünnhilde addresses her last words to him, in love and pity; and so briefly, everything is summed up in this one exhortation - rest now, you god.

3.5 Fire, light and sun imagery in the Ring
 Imagery of fire/light/sun is the imagery most consistently used in the Ring .[22] It is not always used with the elaborate metaphorical meanings discussed below; at times there appears to be a somewhat crude antithesis  along the lines of dark=night=Nibelungs=bad, whereas light/sun=everyone else=good.[23]  Fire imagery is not always linked with the imagery of light/dark contrast ; in Brünnhilde's Immolation scene, the idea of fire as redemptive and cleansing is introduced [24], but fire does not always have these positive connotations.
       The idea of the antithesis of light/dark is introduced  early, when Alberich says to the Rhinemaidens that he comes from Nibelheims Nacht  and there is perhaps the suggestion that the night  (darkness) which is his habitual environment is contrasted with the intermittent brightness of the Rhine, which is illumined when the sun shines on the gold; light and sun here emphasise the innocence and beauty of the gold in its natural state. There are relatively few uses of light/dark contrast imagery in Das Rheingold ; there are more in Die Walküre, while the use of this imagery is found throughout  Siegfried  and is also frequent in Götterdämmerung, which culminates in the literal fire which consumes Siegfried, Brünnhilde and Valhalla and the metaphorical fire of love which consumes Brünnhilde's heart as the flames consume her body:

Im Feuer leuchtend,
liegt dort dein Herr,
Siegfried, mein seliger Held.
Dem Freunde zu folgen,
wieherst du freudig?
Lockt dich zu ihm
die lachende Lohe ?
Fühl' meine Brust auch,
wie sie entbrennt ;
helles Feuer
das Herz mir erfaßt....
(Götterdämmerung, Act III, ll.8935-8945  emphasis added )

Alberich's threat to Wotan and Loge in Das Rheingold  also emphasises the night and darkness of his natural element, in (implied) contrast to their brightness:

Die in linder Lüfte Weh'n
da oben ihr lebt,
lacht und liebt;
mit goldener Faust
euch Göttliche fang' ich mir alle!
Auf wonnigen Höh'n
in seligem Weben
wiegt ihr euch;
den Schwarz-Alben
verachtet ihr ewigen Schwelger!
Habt Acht vor dem nächtlichen Heer,
entsteigt des Nibelungen Hort
aus stummer Tiefe zu Tag.
      (Das Rheingold   ll. 1187-1191, 1197-1201, 1213-1215).

It is  implied that the fortress of Valhalla may provide protection against the night from which Alberich emerged, or that when Wotan says Es naht die Nacht; / vor ihrem Neid biete sie Bergung nun he is hinting specifically at Alberich's envy.
        There is a suggestion that the light of the gold, which reflectd the light of the sun,  is contrasted with the false and hollow glitter of the gods, when Loge sarcastically exhorts the Rhinemaidens:

glänzt nicht mehr
euch Mädchen das Gold,
in der Götter neuem Glanze
sonnt euch selig fortan!
(Das Rheingold, ll.1849-1852)

This complex of ideas is taken up again at the opening of Act III of Götterdämmerung  with the Rhinemaidens lamenting that it is night now in the depths since the Rheingold was stolen:

Nacht liegt in der Tiefe;
einst war sie hell,
da heil und hehr
des Vaters Gold noch in ihr glänzte.
(Götterdämmerung, Act III, ll.8393-8396)

The alliterating words  hell, heil  and hehr  also involve similar or related meanings, so that brightness is associated semantically  with wholeness. Later, they go on to say, not only wie hell du einstens strahltest, but wie froh du einstens strahltest, reinforcing the linkage between brightness and joy, which are so often associated in Wagner's text, if only by Loge's irony, the point of which is that both Loge and the girls are aware of the hollowness and worthlessness of the gods' new grandeur. Wotan himself begins to realise this in Die Walküre, and is fully convinced of it by the end of Siegfried..
The main focus of light/dark imagery centres round Siegfried, as it does in Morris's poem. Wagner, like Morris, uses imagery connected with the contrast between light and dark..[25] There is a link between the light/dark contrast imagery and the imagery of fire and flame used by Wagner. Mime’s fear (fearful nature) is expressed in onomatopœic  images of fire and flame. This isanother example of the perfect marriage of words and music, especially

was flackert und lackert, (internal rhyme)
was flimmert und schwirrt,
was schwebt und webt ( Internal rhyme)
und wabert umher?
In fact, it is worth looking at the whole passage:

Verfluchtes Licht!
Was flammt dort die Luft?
Was flackert und lackert,
was flimmert und schwirrt,
was schwebt dort und webt
und wabert umher?
Dort glimmert und glitzt
in der Sonne Glut!
Was säuselt und summt
und saust nun gar?
Es brummt und braust
und prasselt hieher!
(Siegfried, Act 1, ll.4859-4870)

The onomatopœia, alliteration and internal rhyme all combine to produce the effect of fear; it has the same aura of flickering sinuousness as Loge’s music, but it is here intensified to illustrate Mime’s cowardice.[26] If we look now at Mime’s attempt to inspire Siegfried with fear,  we will see that it is very similar in vocabulary and style  to the passage quoted above, in which he expressed his fear (culminating in the fantasy that Fafner was about to devour him) in images of hateful light and flickering flame. I have quoted Alfred Forman's translation in parallel text, as it may help us to decide whether Morris could have been influenced by any of this vocabulary, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Fühltest du nie                                         Hast thou not felt
im finstren Wald                                      in furthest wood
bei Dämmerschein                                  at gloomy spots
am dunklen Ort,                                      as twilight spreads,
wenn fern es säuselt,                               when far it hisses,
summt und saust                                     hums and howls,
wildes Brummen                                     now with cries
näher braust -                                           and crashes nears,
wirres Flacken                                          fiercely flares
um dich flimmert,                                   at thee, and flickers,
schwellend Schwirren                             storms and swells,
zu Leib dir schwebt -                               and sweeps and    strikes.-                                                                                                 
fühltest du dann nicht                            hast thou not felt        the hand
grieselnd Grauen die Glieder                  of horror along thy
dir fahen?                                                 limbs?
Glühender Schauder                               shuddering fire
schüttelt die Glieder                                shake thee to shivers,
                                                             wildly swim and   wander  thy senses,                                                                                                                                                  
in der Brust,
bebend und bang,                                  in thy breast,       hunted and hurt,                                                                                                      
berstet hammernd das Herz ?-             burst thy hammering  heart?                                                                                            
(Siegfried, Act I  ll.4942-4959 )
Comparing the two passages, we note

a) was säuselt und summt                     b) wenn fern es  säuselt                      und saust nun gar ?                                       summt  und saust _                                            

a) es brummt und braust                       b) wildes Brummen                                                                                                                       näher braust                                                                        

a) was flackert und lackert                    b) wirres Flackern
    was flimmert und schwebt                      um dich flimmert,
                                                                                       schwellend schwirren
                                                                                      zu Leib dir schwebt?                                                                                                                                                             (emphasis added)

This relies very much upon onomatopœia ; schwellend Schwirren/zu Leib dir schwebt almost comes into the category of nonsense rhyme. Mime retains the vocabulary of his own fear, and only slightly elaborates upon it in attempting to convey its nature to Siegfried. The attempt fails, but the music alerts the audience to the fact that Siegfried will only learn fear when he encounters the sleeping Brünnhilde. We are being told here that Mime fears everything, Siegfried only fears the unknown - and only until it ceases to be the unknown. Wotan also attempts to inspire Siegfried with fear of the flames, in the following extract (again with Forman's translation in parallel text):

    Wanderer                                                              (Forman’s translation)
Ein Feuermeer                                                          With floods of fire
umflutet die Frau,                                                   the woman is fenced,
glühende Lohe                                                         redly it rushes
umleckt den Fels,                                                    and licks the rock;
wer die Braut begehrt                                             he who finds the                                                                                                      bride
dem brennt entgegen die Brunst!                         must face the heat of                                                                                             her blaze!
Blick’ nach der Höh’!                                             Heighten thy look!
Erlugst du das Licht?                                              Beholds’t thou the                                                                                                                   light?
Es wächst der Schein,                                             How flies the flame!
es schwillt die Glut,                                                 How fares the flood!
sengende Wolken,                                                   Withering blasts
wabernde Lohe,                                                       and wavering beacons
wälzen sich brennend                                             of their coming,                                                                                                        below!
ein Lichtmeer                                                           The full heat
umleuchtet dein Haupt;                                         will hiss in thy face;
bald frißt und zehrt dich                                        the sucking fire
zündendes Feuer !                                                   will sear thee to                                                                                                        cinders ;-

Ha! Wonnige Glut!                                                  Ha, gladdening glow!
Leuchtender Glanz!                                                                Lightening look!
Strahlend nun offen                                               Ways of fire
steht mir die Straße!                                                                widen before me.
Im Feuer mich baden!                                            In flame to be floated!
Im Feuer zu finden die Braut!                              In blazes to fall on the                                                                                            bride!
(Siegfried , Act III  ll.6431-6448, 6470-6475)

Wagner is demonstrating the contrast between the negative way that Wotan  wants Siegfried to perceive the fire, and the joyful manner in which he in fact welcomes it. Mime had previously used fire imagery to illustrate the fear which Siegfried is incapable of feeling ; and Brünnhilde’s demand for the fire to protect her expresses the desire that the fire should be a thing of horror to all but one man:

Auf dein Gebot
entbrenne ein Feuer -
den Felsen umglühe
lodernde Glut!
Es leck’ ihre Zung’,
 es fresse ihr Zahn,
den Zagen, der frech sich wagte
dem freislichen Felsen zu nah’n!
(Die Walküre, Act III  ll. 4071-4078)

In the final scene of Götterdämmerung, fire has connotations of redemption and cleansing,  but Brünnhilde's first image of fire is, not unnaturally, a negative image, and throughout the Ring  there is a conflict between positive and negative images of fire.
When Siegfried finally does learn fear, he expresses his feelings in vocabulary not dissimilar to that which Mime has been using ; perhaps this is the only language in which to express fear ? Or at any rate, the only language available to Siegfried.

Brennender Zauber
zückt mir ins Herz ;
feurige Angst
 faßt meine Augen;
mir schwankt und schwindelt der Sinn.
Mir schwebt und schwankt
und schwirrt es umher!
Sehrendes Sehnen
zehrt meine Sinne;
am zagenden Herzern
zittert die Hand!
Wie ist mir Feigem?
Ist dies das Fürchten?
(Siegfried, Act III  ll. 6509-6513, 6524- 6531)

It is noteworthy that Siegfried's fear is expressed in these terms (brennender Zauber, feurige Angst ); evidently Wagner had a preference for fire imagery. Siegfried's mir schwebt und schwankt/und schwirrt es umher  recalls Mime's schwellend Schwirren zu Leib dir schwebt ; the same alliteration is used, but the nonsense  rhymes have developed into a description of feelings. These images can be contrasted with the fire/light imagery used by Siegmund, which convey a more positive idea of fire. Siegfried  takes Mime’s negative images and begins the process of turning them into something more positive. Siegfried's fear is evidently fear of the unknown, and is also connected with longing, ultimately with love - Sehrendes Sehnen zehrt meine Sinne - this is something Mime wasn't capable of experiencing. There is a sense of irony in Siegfried’s outcry:

O Mutter! Mutter!
Dein mutiges Kind!
Im Schlafe liegt eine Frau -
die hat ihn das Fürchten gelehrt!
(Siegfried, Act III , ll.6532-6535)
Siegfried himself may not fully understand the irony, but the attentive audience will.
       By Act III of Siegfried , which parallels Act II in its structure in the progression from night to dawn to full daylight, there is more emphasis on light and sun imagery. It begins with a  stage direction indicating a stormy night. [27] Dawn occurs as Sigurd penetrates the flames to find Brünnhilde, [28]  after which the stage directions specify full daylight. [29] The sun shines for the first time as Siegfried arrives on the plateau where Brünnhilde sleeps.When Brünnhilde wakes, she greets the day and the sun, but not the night and the darkness, as in Sigrdrifumál, on which these lines are based.Heil dir, Sonne!Heil dir, Licht! / Heil dir, leuchtender Tag! The greeting to the sun implies a greeting to Siegfried himself, recalling that the sun is called the Waker [30], and Siegfried is also the Waker. Brünnhilde greets him as Du Wecker des Lebens, siegendes Licht!
Brünnhilde's temporary fear of sexuality is expressed in images of darkness:

Trauriges Dunkel
trübt meinen Blick.
Mein Auge dämmert,
das Licht verlischt.
Nacht wird's um mich;
aus Nebel und Grau'n
windet sich wütend
ein Angstgewirr;
Schrecken schreitet
 und bäumt sich empor.
        (Siegfried, Act III  ll.6713-7622)

Siegfried tries to reassure her by reminding her of the sunlight and the day, which she greeted so enthusiatically on waking:

Nacht umbangt
gebund'ne Augen;
mit den Fesseln schwindet
das finstre Grau'n.
Tauch' aus dem Dunkel und sieh' -
sonnenhell leuchtet der Tag!
(Siegfried, Act III  ll.6723-6728)

In their final duet, Siegfried enthusiastically welcomes the sun and the day, but Brünnhilde's lines contain dramtic irony, though in performance the audience may not be fully aware of this:

Siegfried                              Heil dem Tage, der uns umleuchtet!
                                             Heil der Sonne, die uns bescheint!
                                             Heil dem Licht, das der Nacht enttaucht!

Brünnhilde         Götterdämm'rung, dunkle herauf!
                                             Nacht der Vernichtung, neble herein!
                                             Mir Strahlt zur Stunde Siegfrieds Stern!
                                             (Siegfried, Act III)
Brünnhilde is not echoing Siegfried's sentiments, but expressing negative sentiments of her own; the irony resides in the fact that she doesn't perceive these utterances as negative, it is rather that she no longer cares what happens to Valhalla and the gods, now that she has found human love. She will be instrumental in bringing about the destruction that she now hails so enthusiastically, and Siegfried will be included in that destruction - something which at this stage she cannot possibly foresee.
Siegfried and Brünnhilde, as representatives of the new order, emerge at daybreak onto the sunlit plateau at the beginning of Götterdämmerung. The Norns who, like Wotan and Erda, are representatives of the old order, spin and weave at night, and it is made clear that they can only function at night ; Die Nacht weicht; nichts mehr gewahr' ich, says the first Norn as day breaks.
During the scene with Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, Brünnhilde refers again [31] to the light and laughter that Siegfried’s love has brought her: In seiner Liebe leucht’ und lach’ ich heut auf! Leuchten  is perhaps rather unexpected, another nuance that might be missed in performance, but the alert listener/audience may be reminded of the light/sun imagery associated with Siegfried, which Brünnhilde feels that she now reflects. Similarly, her line an meiner Wonne willst du dich weiden  is almost metaphoric; obviously Wagner needed to find something that alliterated with Wonne and there may be a link with Siegfried’s metaphoric response to her in their love-duet at the end of Siegfried auf wonnigen Munde weidet mein Auge.

3.6 The illustration of the metaphor Die Musik ist ein Weib  in Die Walküre  and Siegfried.
In Oper und Drama Wagner uses male/female polarity as a metaphor for the relationship between words and music, and the nature of the what he calls the poetic intent (die dichterische Absicht). His discussion of the nature of music involves discussion of the nature of Woman; the language of the discourse is both literal and metaphorical, in that  Die Musik ist ein Weib involves using what Wagner considers to be the actual, literal  nature of Woman as a metaphor  for the nature of music, and the following can be interpreted both literally and metaphorically:

aller musikalische Organismus ist seiner Natur nach...  ein weiblicher, er ist ein nur gebärender, nicht aber zeugender; die zeugende Kraft liegt außer ihm, und ohne Befruchtung von dieser Kraft vermag sie eben nicht zu gebären.
(Oper und Drama iii ; Die Oper und das Wesen der Musik, G.S> Bd. III, p.314)

Die Natur des Weibes ist die Liebe; aber diese Liebe ist die empfangende und in der Empfängnis rückhaltlos sich hingebende.
(ibid, p.316)
Das Weib erhält volle Individualität erst im Momente der Hingebung. Es ist das Wellenmädchen, das seelenlos durch die Wogen seines Elementes dahinrauscht, bis es durch die Liebe eines Mannes erst die Seele empfängt.....
(ibid., p.316)

Das wahre Weib liebt unbedingt, weil es lieben muß. Es hat keine Wahl, außer da, wo es nicht liebt. Wo es aber lieben muß, da empfindet es einen ungeheuren Zwang, der zum ersten Mal auch seinen Willen entwickelt.
(ibid., p.317)

All these passages can be read both literally, as Wagner's analysis of the relationship between the sexes, and metaphorically, as his analysis of the relationship between words and music - which, when united, enable music to give birth to drama. And it could perhaps be seen as a foreshadowing of what happens to Brünnhilde in the Ring , when Love (compassion, as she experiences it in Die Walküre ) enables her to act as an individual.
       Wagner now turns to discussion of the poetic intent (die dichterische Absicht ).

Der nothwendige Drang des dichtenden Verstandes in diesem Dichten ist... die Liebe... die tiefe Sehnsucht in der mitempfundenen Wonne des liebenden Weibes sich aus seinem Egoismus erlöst zu wissen; und diese Sehnsucht ist das dichtende Moment des Verstandes... dieser zeugende Samen ist die dichterische Absicht, die dem herrlich liebenden Weibe Musik den Stoff zur Gebärung zuführt.
                    (ibid. p.320)
This seems to suggest that true poetry and drama, as Wagner conceives of them, cannot exist without music, but music (i.e. the feminine principle) is only activated by the poetic intent. He also introduces one of his key ideas, that of Erlösung. The poet is redeemed, and his Poetic Intent, is liberated by Woman (literally) and by music (metaphorically).  In a later section of Oper und Drama, Wagner returns to discussion of this relationship:    

Diese Melodie war der Liebesgruß des Weibes an den Mann... nur als höchstes Leibesverlangen ist das Weibliche zu fassen, offenbare es sich nun im Manne oder im Weibe... Erst der Dichter, dessen Absicht wir uns hier darstellen, fühlt sich zur herzinnigsten Vermählung mit dem "ewig weiblichen" der Tonkunst so unwiderstehlich stark gedrängt, daß er in dieser Vermählung zugleich seine Erlösung feiert.
(Oper und Drama ; G.S> Bd. IV, p.416)

...durch den erlösenden Liebeskuß jener Melodie wird der Dichter nun in die tiefen, unendlichen Geheimnisse der weiblichen Natur eingeweiht; er sieht mit anderen Augen und fühlt mit anderen Sinnen.
(ibid., p.146)

This use of metaphor is applied in the text of the Ring. Wagner actually makes very sparing use of metaphor; his characters only use it to any significant degree when they are inspired by Love; Love liberates and redeems the poetic intent of Siegmund, and then of his son. Occasional metaphoric or metonymic expressions are found elsewhere in the text - for instance, Wellgunde says of Alberich Ein Schwefelbrand in der Wogen Schwall; /vor Zorn der Liebe zischt er laut!  but for the most part the language of the characters in the Ring  is not metaphorical.
       In the first Act of Die Walküre, most of Siegmund’s language is metaphorical, and I suggest that he is inspired to these heights of poetic invention by his love for Sieglinde. We begin by discussing his image:

Sank auf die Lider mir Nacht,
die Sonne lacht mir nun neu.
(Die Walküre, ll.1910-1911)

 This image only operates on a metaphorical level; in Sieglinde’s presence, Siegmund is able to feel that the sun is shining again, or that he is revived - literally, with the drink she has given him, and metaphorically by her life-giving presence. He returns to this image in his first lyric effusion:

Nächtiges Dunkel
deckte mein Aug’,
ihres Blickes Strahl
streifte mich da;
Wärme gewann ich und Tag.
(Die Walküre, Act 1, ll.2165-2169)

Sieglinde’s exit from the room is compared to or equated with the sunset, and  also relates to the role of the sun and light throught the Ring.  He was invigorated by her presence (the sun shone on him again); when she left the room, it was as if the sun had set, but the fire burns (the sun glows) in his heart. The darkness of the physical environment is banished; but, more importantly, Siegmund's inner world is illuminated, so that he gains understanding of his feelings.
His narrations are factual, but when he is alone he has a lyrical reflective passage in which the narrative is to be understood on a metaphorical level:

Was gleißt dort hell
im Glimmerschein?
Welch ein Strahl bricht
aus der Esche Stamm?
Des Blinden Auge
leuchtet ein Blitz;
lustig lacht da der Blick.
Wie der Schein so hehr
das Herz mir sengt!
Ist es der Blick
der blühenden Frau
den dort haftend
sie hinter sich leiß,
als aus dem Saal sie schied?
Nächtiges Dunkel
deckte mein Aug’;
ihres Blickes Strahl
streifte mich da;
Wärme gewann ich und Tag.
Selig schien mir
der Sonne Licht,
den Scheitel umgliß mir
ihr wonniger Glanz,
bis hinter Bergen sie sank.
Noch einmal, da sie schied,
traf mich abends ihr Schein,
selbst der alten Esche Stamm
erglänzte in goldener Glut;
da bleicht die Blüte,
das Licht verlischt;
nächtiges Dunkel
deckt mir das Auge;
tief in des Busens Berge
glimmt nur noch lichtlose Glut.
(Die Walküre, Act I  ll.2151-2184)

I have quoted this at  length because it differs in many ways from the long narrative passages in which Siegmund told the story of his childhood. The dramatic function of Siegmund’s narrative passages is to convey information to Sieglinde and Hunding, and to the audience; all of whom will pick up a slightly different sub-text. The audience needs to know that Siegmund is the illegitimate son of Wotan (known as Wälse to his children), and is also the twin brother of Sieglinde. Sieglinde feels an instinctive sympathy with the stranger, and Hunding, for that very reason, feels an instinctive antipathy. He notices the resemblance between his wife and the stranger; Wie gleicht er dem Weibe!/Der gleißende Wurm /glänzt auch ihm aus dem Auge!  It is perhaps not suprising that the nearest Hunding comes to skilful manipulation of language or use of imagery (metonymy) is this comment.[32]
Da bleicht die Blüte, das Licht verlischt . How does this image of the blossom fading fit in to the overall pattern of the lyric? It is an attractive image, and a metaphor within a metaphor - is it possible to call it a double metaphor? Because up till this point there has not been any reference to blossom, but to sun and light. Sieglinde’s exit is equated with sunset, light fading, the blossom fading. Siegmund uses a considerable amont of fire and light imagery in this passage - reference to fire and light, especially the light of the sun [33], are often found in the text of the Ring, as we have already discussed, but rarely so closely fused as they are here, with several layers of meaning. Blindness  also is used with several layers of meaning in this passage.There is a literal level at which Siegmund can’t see that the firelight is showing him his way of escape, namely the sword in the tree, so at this level it could certainly be concluded that Siegmund is unobservant. In fact, though, what we are being told is not that Siegmund fails to observe outward reality, the physical details of his environment, but that he has the poet’s grasp of the nature of inner reality, and that he is able to express it in metaphor.
For greater dramatic effect Wagner has altered from the sources the context in which the sword is found; Siegmund doesn’t notice the sword until he is told about it by Sieglinde.She is given a narrative passage (Der Männer Sippe) to balance the narrative passages given to Siegmund in the first scene.
       The alliteration in Siegmund's lyric passage Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond [34] is very skilfully woven together ; Wagner does actually use weben  as a metaphor here, referring to the "wonders woven  by the Spring", but it is not a metaphor he uses as often as Morris. The compactness of expression is again most striking, as is the use of oxymoron, in  mit zarter Waffen Zier  - Spring conquers the world with "gentle weapons", not by force - and paradox, in which  the burgeoning of Spring is equated with tapfern Streichen. The metaphors that Siegmund uses in this lyric effusion  are caught up and interpreted literally by Sieglinde; she is the inspirer and the interpreter of his poetic intent. At the literal level, Siegmund does not actually “know” that Sieglinde is his sister, any more than he “sees” that the sword is in the tree; but possibly the metaphors he chooses (of Spring and Love as brother and sister) indicate a deeper level at which he does have an instinctive knowledge. The language also has the dramatic function of conveying the information to the audience; Siegmund’s earlier lyric passage has a similar dual function. The audience has to be alerted to the fact that Wälse’s sword has been placed in the tree, ready for Siegmund to find it, and Siegmund has the chance to expatiate upon his love for Sieglinde, and develop the metaphors of fire and light in which he expresses his love.  
Sieglinde recognises Siegmund, although she does not actually spell it out in literal terms until the very end of the Act. She recognises him as the Spring for which she has longed, just as he recognises her, not as his actual sister, but as the embodiment of the love for which he has longed. Her recognition of him involves the interpretation of his metaphorical language, and he caps her interpretations with another metaphor: Du bist das Bild das ich in mir barg!  Is the fact that she names him also part of inspiring his poetic intent? To name someone is to give them an identity; in this case, Sieglinde restores Siegmund's identity to him by giving him his correct name again.
       One of the differences between the portrayal of Siegmund and  that of his son is that Siegmund narrates the experiences of his childhood and youth, everything that led up to his stumbling into Hunding’s hut, whereas Siegfried’s youthful experiences occur before us on the stage; all that the audience actually sees of Siegmund’s  experiences is the last days of his adult life. We know that Siegfried’s Poetic Intent is liberated by love, because we know that he was inarticulate before and is subsequently inarticulate,[35] but we never actually find out how Siegmund becomes articulate, because he is presented from the outset as possessed of the ability to manipulate language skilfully. Siegmund and Sieglinde are, it seems to me, the most articulate characters in the Ring. (The idea of Wotan's progress from articulacy to silence  is discussed elsewhere).
 Brünnhilde's progress towards self-knowledge and wisdom enables her to gain in articulacy; her introductory ho-jo-to-ho  has some of the same innocence, meaninglessness and exuberance of the nonsense rhymes of the Rhinemaidens, and she gradually gains in eloquence throughout the Ring, until, at the end of Götterdämmerung , she alone of the women gains the ability to use metaphor.
At the beginning of Götterdämmerung, it will become apparent that Brünnhilde has tried to pass her wisdom on to Siegfried, but that he is not capable of profiting from it; in Siegfried, however, it appears that, temporarily at least, love has inspired his Poetic Intent, and that indeed er sieht mit anderen Augen und fühlt mit  anderen Sinnen. Brünnhilde states - as a literal statement of fact - that she sees her horse grazing. Siegfried turns weiden into an elaborate metaphor involving feasting his eyes on her beauty:
Dort seh' ich Grane,
mein selig Roß;
wie weidet er munter,
 der mit mir schlief;
mit mir hat ihn Siegfried erweckt!

Auf wonnigem Munde
weidet mein Auge;
in brünstigem Durst
doch brennen die Lippen,
daß der Augen Weide sich labe!
(Siegfried, Act III  ll.6648-6657)

She sees her helmet and shield, which protect her no longer. Siegfried replies - using more conventional imagery this time - that he came without any protection for his heart:

Eine selige Maid
versehrte mein Herz;
Wunden dem Haupte
 schlug mir ein Weib;
ich kam ohne Schild und Helm.
(Siegfried, Act III  ll. 6663-6667)

Siegfried then proceeds to elaborate upon the imagery of fire. The literal fire that encircled Brünnhilde's rock now burns in his breast:


Durch brennendes Feuer
 fuhr ich zu dir!
Nicht Brünne noch Panzer
barg meinen Leib;
nun brach die Lohe
mir in die Brust,
Es braust mein Blut
in blühender Brunst;
ein zehrendes Feuer
ist mir entzündet;
die Glut, die Brünnhilds
Felsen umbrann,
die brennt mir nun in der Brust!
O Weib, jetzt lösche den Brand!
Schweige die schäumende Glut!
            (Siegfried, Act III  ll. 6676-6690 )

That his final image should be schäumende Glut  is perhaps somewhat startling; one supposes that it has been used for the sake of the alliteration. [36]
       In a later section of the dialogue, Siegfried picks up her imagery of the clear stream, and uses it as a metaphor for his sexuality, hoping to elicit a response from her:

Sahst du dein Bild
im klaren Bach?
Hat es dich frohen erfreut?
Rührtest zur Woge
das Wasser du auf,
zerflöße die klare
Fläche des Bachs;
dein Bild sähst du nicht mehr,
nur der Wellen schwankend Gewog.

Ein herrlich Gewässer
wogt vor mir;
mit allen Sinnen
seh' ich nur sie,
die wonnig wogende Welle;
brach sie mein Bild,
so brenn' ich nun selbst
sengende Glut
in der Flut zu kühlen -
ich selbst, wie ich bin,
spring' in den Bach!
O, daß seine Wogen
mich selig verschlängen!
Mein Sehnen schwänd in der Flut!
(Siegfried  Act III  ll.6749-6757, 6773-6786)

Only at the very end of Götterdämmerung  does Brünnhilde acquire the ability to manipulate language by using metaphor and imagery - like the male characters, she uses the metaphor of fire, the literal flames of Siegfried's funeral pyre become the flame of love in her heart, as we have already observed, and the cycle closes with further fire and light metaphors from Brünnhilde.
       In Wagner androgyne, Jean-Jacques Nattiez  says that Wagner sees Siegfried as a poet, according to the metaphoric terms that he used in Oper und Drama. [37] My own view that Siegmund is more truly a poet, because Siegfried only demonstrates poetic ability (the ability to manipulate language and use metaphor) in Act III of Siegfried  ; in Götterdämmerung, he has lost it.   

3.7 Siegfried as inarticulate Naturmensch; his relationship with                         Mime; Mime's use of language
The relationship between Siegfried and Mime is, among other things, a question of language, of the manipulation of language and of Siegfried's inarticulacy. Siegfried, like the Rhinemaidens and the young Brünnhilde, is introduced with nonsense syllables and laughter. He is a Naturmensch - inarticulate, to the extent that he doesn't reflect or think. He shows instinctive antipathy to Mime, and demands to know who his parents are.
   Mime's opening monologue in Siegfried  is intended partly as exposition, to keep the audience abreast of events ; but the narrative doesn't only narrate events, it explains the perspective of the narrator.  Mime provides the information that the audience needs, namely that he has not brought Siegfried for altruistic reasons, but for his own ends. What he wants out of the relationship is that Siegfried shall kill Fafner and obtain the Ring for Mime  - Siegfrieds kindischer Kraft / erläge wohl Fafners Leib; des Nibelungen Ring erränge er mir          
There is a narrative thread that links links  four operas, so that what is said at one point  deliberately  recalls something the speaker said at an earlier point in the drama. For instance, when Mime says to Siegfried; dir schmiedet’ ich Tand und ein tönend Horn , this may be intended to recall:

Sorglose Schmiede
schufen wir sonst wohl
Schmuck unsren Weibern,
wonnig Geschmeid,
neidlichen Niblungentand.
(Das Rheingold  ll. 1019-1023)
If so, we may note the use of Tand  again, in a somewhat different context from that in which it was used in Das Rheingold.. We observed that the Rheingold is no longer a plaything after the Ring has been forged from it, but the word is used to refer to toys, playthings and trivia. Siegfried refers  to the swords Mime makes as müssiger Tand. Perhaps there may be some kind of link with the pride in his craftsmanship that Regin shows in Morris’s poem. Obviously craftsmanship is far more important to Morris than to Wagner, and in Chapters IV and VIII I shall draw attention to the way in which Morris’s experience as a craftsman influences the vocabulary and technique of his poetry. Wagner is not concerned with questions of craftsmanship in the Ring [38], but in his theoretical writings, especially Die Kunst und die Revolution, he does make some pertinent comments about the perceived difference between art and craft, which may be said to anticipate Ruskin and Morris.
Mime thinks that if he could get hold of the Ring, he would be avenged for his shame - meiner Schmach erlangt’ ich da Lohn!  Why his shame? His envy and resentment, yes, projected onto Siegfried, although he is really envious and resentful of Alberich. Mime, like his brother, has an envious and resentful nature.We noted in Das Rheingold  that obtrusive alliteration with spitting consonants is frequently used to chracterise the Nibelung brothers. A similar pattern may be discerned in Siegfried , in lines sich as nur Nothung nützt meinen Neid ; Mime not only share his brother's nature, he shares his vocabulary.
 References to, and discussion of,  the nature of wisdom - perhaps the difference between mere knowledge and wisdom - occur throughout the Ring . Brünnhilde only gains true wisdom through suffering, for instance. It is significant that Siegfried refuses to learn wisdom from Mime; he feels that any quality that Mime possesses can’t be worth possessing. Later, of course, it will transpire that he is incapable of learning wisdom from anyone. In the Norse literature, Mime (Sigurd's foster-father) is considered to be “wise”, [39] but the Wanderer’s Heil dir, weiser Schmied  is ironic. Mime reminds Siegfried that mit klugem Rate riet ich dir klug, / mit lichtem Wissen lehrt’ ich dich Witz. Siegfried responds that, rather than learn wisdom from Mime, he’ll remain stupid; Willst du mich weisen, witzig zu sein / gern bleib ich taub und dumm, and furthermore, if Mime is really wise, he will tell Siegfried something useful - who his parents were.  He may reject Mime’s false cunning, but he also rejects Brünnhilde’s true wisdom. Mime is really cunning, crafty, in the perjorative sense. [40]
       The alliteration in Siegfried  is freer than in Das Rheingold, and Die Walküre  and there is less emphasis on achiveing a satisfying balance of form and content. The texts of Siegfried  and Götterdämmerung  first saw the light of day as Der junge Siegfried and Siegfrieds Tod; Wagner was less proficient in the manipulation of Stabreim at this early stage in the development of the text.
       Siegfried's Forging Song is the first (but not quite the only) strophic song in the Ring ; the Woodbird's Song is also a strophic song, in which the first verse tells Siegfried what to take from the Hoard, the second warns him to beware of Mime, the third tells him about Brünnhilde. Although the Woodbird stresses the lyric nature of its song (lustig im Leid/sing' ich vom Lieben! ), its poem is narrative as well; it gives Siegfried information in the form of a lyric. Siegfried's Forging Song is perhaps rather like a folk-song, with its refrain and its nonsense rhymes.  The rather one-dimensional nature of the song expresses Siegfried's nature, and also the nature of his occupation - one supposes that forging a sword requires a fair amount of concentration, and something fairly simple would be sung in order to keep the rhythm going.Wagner doesn't use end-rhyme even for this strophic song ; the alliteration is freer than in the preceding operas, for the reasons outlined above, There are a few examples of cross-alliteration and double alliteration, for instance:

Des Baumes Kohle wie brennt sie kühn;

Schmiede, mein Hammer, ein hartes Schwert;

es ziert den Kühnen des Zornes Kraft.

Schlage den Falschen, fälle den Schelm!
but these are rarely used for to the same purpose as in Das Rheingold  and Die Walküre, where alliteration is often combined with compactness of expression, to give a sense of directness and emphasis. Wagner was still learning his craft at this stage, but the simple vocabulary is admirably suited to the simple sentiments that are being expressed. Perhaps Siegfried's language, like Wotan's earlier, is the language of aggressive masculinity . There may be some suggestion of a metaphor of sexual control in these lines, for instance:

Nun hat die Glut
dich rot geglüht;
deine weiche Härte
dem Hammer weicht;
zornig sprühst du mir Funken,
daß ich dich Spröden gezähmt!

Durch Glut und Hammer
 glückt' es mir;
mit starken Schlägen
streckt' ich dich;
nun schwinde die rote Scham,
werde kalt und hart, wie du kannst!
(Siegfried, Act I ll. 5184-5189, 5214-5219 )
Without labouring the point, one might suggest that terms such as Scham, Spröde, zähmen [41]  belong in the vocabulary of sexual conquest. In any case, it would hardly be surprising if Siegfried were aggressively masculine, since he has no experience of women.
When Siegfried expresses his pleasure in the sparks that emerge from the forge, the vocabulary anticipates his pleasure in Brünnhilde's fire:
Der frohen Funken
wie freu' ich mich;
es ziert den Kühnen
des Zornes Kraft;
lustig lachst du mich an,
stellst du auch grimm dich und gram!
(Siegfried, Act I  ll.5206-5211)

There is a certain amount of contrast between Siegfried's  vocabulary and that of Mime ; they sing at the same time, though it is not a duet in the normal sense in which that term is understood, as they are not responding to each other, instead what we have is the antithesis of Mime's deviousness and Siegfried's innocence and straightforwardness, and the contrast between Siegfried's joy in his task and Mime's grudging incompetence. Mime's language is more elaborate than Siegfried's ; this applies generally, as well as specifically to the contrast between the hearty simplicity of Siegfried's forging song and Mime's elaborate plot against Siegfried's life.

3.8 Wagner's use of archaisms
Some of the archaisms used by Wagner are listed in an Appendix.The question of archaism, the use (and the invention) of archaic or pseudo-archaic forms is discussed at length by Oswald Panagl in "Vermählen wollte der Magen Sippe dem Mann ohne Minne die Maid" - archaisches und archaisierendes in der Sprache von Wagners Ring  (in Richard Wagner und sein Mittelalter ed. Ursula und Ulrich Müller, 1989). Although Panagl does not actually discuss this particular sentence, with its alliterating M and the archaic vocabulary,  this is evidently as good an example as any to highlight  the idiosyncracies of Wagner's poetic style. Der Magen Sippe  is actually something of a tautology, since both Magen  and Sippe  belong to the group of words that can be translated as kin or kinfolk, or perhaps kinsmen[42], and Sippe is a word that will recur serveral times during Siegmund's narration, in the course of which Hunding realises that Siegmund is the enemy whom he has been pursuing; Sühne zu nehmen für Sippenblut, for instance. Magen may well have been used for the sake of the alliteration, and Sippe  for emphasis. As so often with Wagner, one is struck by the compactness  and conciseness with which the necessary information is conveyed, Siegmund goes to the aid of a girl whose kinsmen were trying to force her into a loveless marriage,  to help her wider den Zwang - against coercion. We are alerted to the sub-text, that Siegmund is one who will  defend the weak , [43]  and also to the fact that  Sieglinde's marriage to Hunding was brought about by coercion.
       Panagl also discusses some other archaisms used by Wagner, such as Harst,  which he suggests is ein altertümlicher Ausdruck für Kampfgruppe, der auf die Wurzel von Heer (heri) zurückgeht. Harst  is found in alliterating pairs such as vom Hetzen und Harst einst kehrten wir heim (Die Walküre , Act  I) and also in bis Speer und Schild im Harst mir zerhau’n.(Die Walküre, Act I) and in Wer hieß dich, Maid, dem Harst mich entführen? (Die Walküre, Act III)
This quotation from Die Walküre  also includes one of Wagner’s favourite archaisms, Maid.  Morris aroused the ire of some of his contemporaries for his persistent use of may [44] to mean maiden or girl - one reviewer reminded Morris that maiden  would be just as archaic, and “of his mays  we are heartily tired.” [45] Wagner would have found the epithet minnige Maid in Ettmüller's translation of Gripispá  [46], and also in Simrock's translation of Das Nibelungenlied.
       Panagl  discusses the developments in the usage of Minne, which in Wagner's texts is almost always synonymous with Liebe:

Das Substantiv Minne gehört zu einer Wortwurzel der Bedeutung “(ge)denken)”, die auch das Verbum mahnen einschließt, Im MHD zunächst das gängige Wort für Liebe in all ihren Schattierungen, galt es über eine betont sinnlich-geschlechtliche Lesart ab dem 15ten Jahrhundert als obszön und wurde zunehmend vermieden, d.h. von Liebe verdrängt. Die Wiederbesinnung auf das Wort gab ihm seine unverfängliche Bedeutung wieder (vgl. Minnesänger), ja ist Minne wieder in seine alten Rechte eingetreten und steht in einem nicht leicht definierbaren Konkurrenzverhältnis zu Liebe, das sich bald als Synonyme darstellt, dann aber doch bezeichnende Unterschiede erkennen läßt. In der ersten Szene des Rheingold stehen Liebesgier und “seiner Minne Brunst” nebeneinander und variieren offenbar denselben Gehalt. Und auch die berühmte Bedingung für des Schmieden des Rheingoldes (“nur wer der Minne Macht  entsagt, nur wer der Liebe Lust verjagt”) in derselben Szene scheint im Wortwahl eher den Gesetzen des Stabreimes als faßbaren Bedeutungsunterschieden zu verdanken.

The above analysis is undoubtedly correct in its conclusion that Liebe  and Minne  are more or less synonymous, and I think considerably more accurate than the view that Minne  should be equated with the OHG minni, remembrance. Even Elizabeth Magee, admirably sensible in most respects, has fallen prey to this in her comments on Siegfried's address to the absent Brünnhilde as he accepts the drinking horn from Gutrune; [47]
" Wagner's use of the word Minne has evidently caused some confusion, for it appears in various English editions translated as love. What Wagner had in mind, however, was very likely the ceremony of Minnetrinken as described by Jacob Grimm in the Mythologie :

Einem abwesenden oder verstorbenen pflegte man zu ehren indem man seiner bei versammlung und mahlzeit erwähnte, und auf sein andenken einen becher leerte, dieser trunk wurde altn. 'erfi dryckja', und wiederum  'minni' genannt.

Minnetrinken is thus a drink in memory of absent friends and Minne in this context is used in its archaic sense of remembrance, not love. The irony Wagner intended in these lines is therefore not that Siegfried ceases to love Brünnhilde but that in drinking to her memory he should forget her. " (Elizabeth Magee; Wagner and the Nibelungs  p.94)
       This interpretation of Siegfried’s address to the absent Brünnhilde is possible, perhaps even allowable, and is given weight by the fact that Etmüller provides a footnote in his translation of Sigrdrifumál  to the effect that, in this context, Minnetrank  means drink of remembrance . I  consider it  highly unlikely, though, that Wagner intended Minne to mean remembrance  only on this one occasion, since everywhere else in the Ring Minne and Liebe are more or less synonymous; it  is more reasonable to draw the conclusion that Panagl has drawn, namely that Wagner uses Minne and Liebe interchangeably, depending upon the exigencies of the alliteration and the rhythm, although admittedly in the instance quoted above, there seems to be no reason why Minne  should have been chosen in preference to Liebe ; it may be that Minne  is more “poetic”, “elevated” if one will, less colloquial than Liebe. In most cases, one is preferred over the other in Wagner's texts for the sake of the alliteration, as in Wotan's expression of grief over Siegmund: Was ich minne /muß ich mordern  (Die Walküre, Act II) or in Sieglinde's da ganz sie minnte den Mann / der ganz ihre Minne erweckt  (Die Walküre, Act II ).

[1] This is  noted and elaborated upon  by Leif Ludwig Albersten, in Plädoyer für die metrische Formung von Richard Wagners "Ring" ,in Orbis Litterarum, 41/1986, where the point is made  "daß Wagners alliterierende Praxis selber ein experimentelles Intermezzo blieb, ausprobiert nur als eine Art Pastische und am altgermanischem Stoff. Vorher und nacher hat der Verseschreiber Wagner anderer Formen der Metrik gewählt."

[2] Publihed in Zürich in 1837. Wagner met Ettmüller - known to his friends and colleagues as "Eddamüller" - during his period of exile in Switzerland.
[3] Wagner does not strictly observe this rule, and nor does Morris in his poem.  Morris's alliterative verse is  more flexible than the Old Norse versification and he uses end-rhyme which, as we observed, Wagner considered unnecessary.

[4] See Chapter IV and Appendices for definition of kenning .
[5] Stanley R. Hauer, in  Wagner and the Vøluspá  (Nineteenth Century Music, Summer 1991, Vol. XV, No. 1), observes: " Most notable is Wagner’s ignorance of the primacy of the høfu stafr, the head-stave which determines the alliteration of the entire long line. [The head stave is] the third stressed syllable in a full metrical line;
skeggjöld, scálmöld,     scildir ro klofnir. "
(Wagner and the Vøluspá , p.54)

It is true that Wagner’s alliterative verse rarely, if ever, follows this pattern. He did know Ettmüller's translations,, but it is possible that he didn't quite understand the nature of Stabreim  or the nature of Old Norse versification, and for his dramatic purpose it was perhaps not entirely necessary that he should.
[6] In Das Theater Richard Wagners , Dieter Borchmeyer suggests that Wagner was attracted to Stabreim  because " Stabreim und Leitmotif offenbaren die geheimen "Sympathien" der Dinge, von denen die deutschen Romantiker, die "Correspondances", von denen die Symbolisten gesprochen haben. "(p.144)
                It is noteworthy, though, that Wagner does use end-rhyme in Tristan und Isolde, which probably had more direct influence on the Symbolists than the Ring .
                It is suggested by Emeric Fiser , in his doctoral thesis  La théorie du symbole littéraire et Marcel Proust , that  "  Pour retrouver les traces du symbole dans l’œuvre de Wagner, nous n’avons pas à nous adresser à son œuvre musicale et poétique ... ce qui enchantait le plus les symbolistes, les pages où ils ont trouvé le plus enseignement pour compléter leurs théories, c’était les œuvres théoriques de Wagner....Le principal collaborateur de la Revue Wagnerienne était Theodor de Wyzewa, c’est lui qui a transformé l’esthétique de Wagner à prédominance musicale, en une esthétique littéraire plus conforme aux idées poétiques des symbolistes. "
   (La théorie du symbole littéraire , Paris 1941)
[7] Morris translates a similar expression - finn mér lindar loga! - as "fetch me fire of the flood", a periphrasis for "gold from the river", i.e. the Rhine. "Fire of the flood" is a fairly common kenning for gold - the kennings are listed in Skaldskaparmál , which was of interest to Morris, if not to Wagner.
[8] Perhaps there may be some resemblance to the Wotan-Mime colloquy in Act I of Siegfried; information of which the audience is already in possession has to be conveyed to Siegfried.

[9] sic. This is evidently a kenning, or an attempt at translating a kenning, but it is not clear what it means.
[10] kenning for gold
[11] Word-for-word translation of the kenning for fire ; Morris rarely uses this type of kenning in his poem.
 Hei! Siegfried gehört nun der Niblungen Hort!
O, fänd' in der Höhle den Hort er jetzt!
Wollt' er den Tarnhelm gewinnen,
der taugt' ihm zu wonniger Tat;
doch wollt' er den Ring sich erraten,
der macht' ihm zum Walter der Welt!

Hei! Siegfried gehört nun
der Helm und der Ring!
O, traute er Mime,
dem Treulosen nicht!
Hörte Siegfried nur scharf
auf des Schelmen Heuchelgered'!
Wie sein Herz es meint,
kann er Mime verstehn;
so nützt ihm des Blutes Genuß.

Hei, Siegfried erschlug nun den schlimmen Zwerg!
Jetzt wüßt' ich ihm noch das herrlichste Weib!
Auf hohem Felsen sie schläft,
Feuer umbrennt ihren Saal;
durchschritt er die Brunst,
weckt' er die Braut,
Brünnhilde wäre dann sein!

Lustig im leid, sing' ich von Liebe;
wonnig aus Weh web' ich mein Lied:
nur Sehnende kennen den Sinn!
(Siegfried , Act II)

[13] Discussed in his theoretical writings, particularly Oper und Drama.
[14] Perhaps we are (or Siegfried is ) meant to deduce from this that Wotan's eye is (an allegory of ) the sun.

[1] Space doesn't permit us to elaborate upon this at great length, but it is interesting that the consonant cluster tr can be used to express opposing ideas, whereas the cluster br seems to be used for kinship words . ie. Treue/trennen ; Bruder/Braut.
[2] Hopkins , refering to this metrical pattern of his verse (rather than the vocabulary) , says that he  developed sprung rhythm (his own terminology) because it is "the nearest to the rhythm of prose, that is the native and natural rhythm of speech, the least forced, the most rhetorical and emphatic of all possible rhythms, combining, as it seems to me, opposite and, one would have thought, incompatible excellences, markedness of rhythm - that is rhythm's self - and naturalness of expression."
                Much of the above could be applied to Wagner's verse, with the necessary modifications. His verse can perhaps best be described as a sort of rhythmic prose, or indeed as vers libre - Wagner was, after all, one of the major influences on the French Symbolists.
[3] The resemblance of Morris's poetry - especially The Defence of Guenevere - to Pre-Raphaelite painting earned the adverse criticism of his contemporaries, as this unsigned article from The Saturday Review  for Nov. 20, 1858 demonstrates:
But when painters think it is their duty to work through a microscope, and to try to paint every stain on every leaf, as well as every leaf on every tree, they not only forget what art is, but are ignorant of what artistic imitation is. This extravagance is, we think, what Mr. Morris delights in. He works in the patient spirit of the illuminators, but then he is grotesque as well as minute and patient. All his thoughts and figures are represented on a solid plane; he has no notion of distance or aerial perspective, or gradation of tints; or rather, of malice prepense, he neglects these things. He has abundance of vivid, positive colour, sharp outline, and great richness of word diaper, with a certain stiff, antique, cumbrous embroidery of diction; but it is all cold, artificial and angular.

[4] Words in an unfamiliar order.
[5] Defined by G.N. Leech, in A Linguistic Analysis of English Poetry , as 'the repetition of a word with varying grammatical inflections'.
[6] The Siegfried/Brünnhilde love-duet at the beginning of Götterdämmerung  may contain traces of the aubade ; not a parody in this instance.
Wie durch Fluch er mir geriet,
verflucht sei dieser Ring!
Gab sein Gold mir Macht ohne Maas,
nun zeug' sein Zauber Tod dem, der ihn trägt!
Kein Froher soll seiner sich freu'n,
keinem Glücklichen lache sein lichter Glanz!
Wer ihn besitzt, den sehre die Sorge,
und wer ihn nicht hat, den nage der Neid!
Jeder giere nach seinem Gut,
doch keiner genieße mit Nützen sein!
Ohne Wucher halt' ihn sein Herr,
doch den Würger zieh' er ihm zu!
Dem Tode verfallen, fessle den Feigen die Furcht;
so lang er lebt, sterb' er lechzend dahin,
des Ringes Herr als des Ringes Knecht,
bis in meiner Hand den geraubten wieder ich halte.
(Das Rheingold)

[8] See Chapter VII for extended discussion of the disputes between Wotan and Fricka.
[9] Possibly this dispute between Wotan and Fricka, and even more  their fatal disagreement in Act II of Die Walküre  ,contains an echo of Goethe's Nach Freiheit strebt der Mann, das Weib nach Sitte  (Torquato Tasso, Act II, sc. i)
[10]Although we don't actually know her name until Götterdämmerung.
[11] Shaw was one of the first to point out that Götterdämmerung  is more conventionally 'operatic' than the works which precede it. He condemned it on this account, but scenes such as the Conspirators' Trio which concludes Act II are dramatically effective; and surely a Conspirators' Trio is supposed  to be 'conventionally operatic' for maximum dramatic effect?
[12] And by the husband who has been forced upon her, who really has no independent voice in this conspiracy.
[13] Wagner is not, of course, using a full-fledged textile metaphor, as Morris does in Sigurd , but it is interesting that he refers to a "web of symphonic sound".
Loge, hör'! Lausche hieher!
Wie zuerst ich dich fand, als feurige Glut,
wie dann einst du mir schwandest, als schweifende Lohe,
wie ich dich band, bann' ich dich heut!
Herauf, wabernde Lohe!
umlodre mir feurig den Fels!

[15] Discussed in greater detail below
[16] Except for her allusion to his dream-like utterance;
                Des tiefen Rheines Töchtern
                gäbe den Ring sie wieder zurück,
                von des Fluches Last
                erlöst wär' Gott und Welt.
[17] Many of the references to Valhalla's Pracht  or Glanz  have an ironic subtext or are found in ironic contexts, implying that its magnificence is a sham.

[18]The same is true of Andvari's gold in Morris's poem.
[19] In Morris's poem, the nature of the gold is also mentioned, and there is perhaps the suggestion that it could be put to positive use;
How that gold was the seed of gold to the wise and the shapers of things,
The hoarders of hidden treasure, and the unseen glory of rings;
But the seed of woe to the world and the foolish wasters of men.
[20] An interesting link to Morris's poem, in which glitter  is always used in a negative context, whether with reference to Grimhild's glittering eyes , or to the Glittering Heath  on which Fafnir guards his hoard.
[21] Waltraute had told her ;   
Seine Raben beide sandt' er auf Reisen;
 kehrten die einst mit guter Kunde zurück,
dann, noch einmal, zum letzten Male,
lächelte ewig der Gott..
[22] This has been noted by Elizabeth Magee, who observes in Richard Wagner and the Nibelungs ; "It is probably better to see in Wagner's 'Licht-Alberich' not a precise statement on the identity of gods and light-elves but rather a more general wish to use the light-versus-dark contrast to symbolise the major opposing power forces in his drama, along the lines suggested by Jacob Grimm; (p.137)
Man findet in dem gegensatz der lichten und schwarzen elbe den dualismus, der auch in anderen mythologien zwischen guten und bösen, freudlichen und feindlichen, himmlischen und höllischen geistern, zwischen engeln des lichts und der finsternis aufgestellt wird.
[23] Wagner is not really as lacking in subtlety as this, but there may be a danger of reducing the many-layered  hermeneutic possibilities  to a crude schema of Knowledge+ Malevolence vs. Wisdom+Love.
Das Feuer, das mich verbrennt,
rein'ge vom Fluche den Ring!
Ihr in der Flut, löset ihn auf,
und lautrer bewahrt das lichte Gold,
das euch zum Unheil geraubt!
(Götterdämmerung, Act III)
[25] In Wagner’s case, for obvious historical reasons, this vocabulary may be regarded as having anti-Semitic  overtones; in fact, though, this imagery is not all that different from the imagery used by Morris - it is therefore at least possible that the language is not in itself racist, but that the racist connotations  have been grafted on It is suggested by Adorno that Mime is to be perceived as a “Jewish stereotype” - this is also  indicated in Patrice Chéreau’s production. The character is in fact based on the figure of Regin as he is portrayed in the mediæval literature - Morris’s Regin is also portrayed negatively. A more likely explanation is that the figure of Mime/Regin is a literary and/or mythological stereotype, not a racial stereotype. As we noted in Chapter II, a possible source for Siegfried's bad relationship with his stepfather was Fouqué's Sigurd der Held des Nordens , and it has never been suggested that this has an anti-semitic sub-text. Wagner here uses the topos of the lame craftsman, which is found in Homer (the figure of Hephæstus) and the topos of the uncaring step-parent.
[26] Actually, Mime as a blacksmith should know all about fire,  so this is obviously fear of something intangible, his cowardly nature, rather than fear of something actual and concrete.
[27] Wilde Gegend am Fuße eines Felsenberges, welcher links nach hinten steil aufsteigt. Nacht. Sturm und Wetter [sic ; perhaps Gewitter intended?] Blitz und heftiger Donner, welcher letztere dann schweigt, während Blitze noch längere Zeit die Wolken durchkreuzen.

[28]Sc. III: Das immer zarter gewordene Gewölk hat sich in einen feinen Nebelschlier von rosiger Färbung aufgelöst und zerteilt sich nun in der Weise, daß der Duft sich gänzlich nach oben verzieht und endlich nur noch den heitren, blauen Tageshimmel erblicken läßt, während am Saume der nun sichtbar werdenden Felsenhöhe --- ein morgenrötlicher Nebelschleier heften bleibt ...

[29]Endlich beginnt die Gluth zu erbleichen; sie löst sich wie in einen feinen, durchsichtigen Schleier auf, der nun ganz sich auch klärt und den heitersten, blauen Himmeläther, im hellsten Tagesscheine, hervortreten läßt.

[30] Lugt, Schwestern!
     Die Weckerin lacht in den Grund!
                (Das Rheingold, sc i)
[31] i.e. as in Siegfried ;
                Lachend muß ich dich lieben,
                lachend will ich erblinden,
                lachend lass’ uns verderben,
                lachend zugrunde gehen!
[32] Alberich's threat  Mit gold'ner Faust /euch Göttliche fang' ich mir alle!  is another rare example of the use of metonymy in the Ring;
 [33]Bearing in mind Wagner’s knowledge of contemporary scholarship, and the tendency to identify Siegfried as a sun-god. Elizabeth Magee notes that
"The sun-god in Wagner's cosmos is not Wotan, though [he is] lord of the light-elves and harbinger of the dawn, but Siegfried, that other Baldur, Wotan's heir." ( Elizabeth Magee ; Richard Wagner and the Nibelungs)
The idea of Sigurd as sun-god is something of which William Morris was also aware, and of which there are traces in his poem.
Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond,
in mildem Lichte leuchtet der Lenz;
auf linden Lüften, leicht und lieblich,
wunderwebend er sich wiegt;
durch Wald und Auen weht sein Atem,
weit geöffnet lacht sein Aug’:
aus sel’gen Vöglein Sange süß ertönt,
holde Düfte haucht er aus;
seinem warmen Blut entblühen wonnige Blumen;
keim und Sproß entsprießt seiner Kraft.
Mit zarter Waffen Zier bezwingt er die Welt;
Winter und Sturm wichen den starken Wehr;
wohl mußte den tapfern Streichen
die strengen Türe auch weichen
die, trotzig uns starr uns trennte von ihm!
Zu seiner Schwester schwang er sich her -
die Liebe lockte den Lenz!
In unsrem Busen barg sie sich tief-
nun lacht sie selig dem Licht!
Die bräutliche Schwester befreite der Bruder,
zertrümmert liegt, was je sie getrennt;
jauchzend grüßt sich das junge Paar -
vereint sind Liebe und Lenz!
(Die Walküre, Act.1)

[35] He claims that he would hardly have learnt to talk at all if he had not forced it out of Mime;
Kaum das Reden hätt' ich erraten,
entwandt' ich's mit Gewalt nicht dem Schuft!
                (Siegfried, Act I)
[36] In Götterdämmerung , Siegfried uses fire metaphors to express his sudden, drug-induced passion for Gutrune ;
Ha, schönstes Weib!
Schließe den Blick!
Das Herz in der Brust
brennt mir sein Strahl;
zu feurigen Strömen fühl' ich
ihn zehren zünden mein Blut!
(Götterdämmerung , Act 1 , ll. 7344-7352)
[37] L'oiseau de la forêt .. .[est] la première incarnation de l'union poésie-musique pour Siegfried, il joue les intermédiaires et lui explique où trouver Brünnhilde. ... Mais en même temps qu'il l'introduit à Brünnhilde, l'oiseau ... révèle à Siegfried qu'il a la possibilité de comprendre la pensée perfide de Mime ; l'artiste 'moderne' voudrait tuer l'artiste de l'avenir.
...C'est ... sa propre image, première étape de la fusion, que Siegfried reconnaît à travers les cheveux de Brünnhilde. ...C'est à cette union du masculin et du feminin que nous assistons après l'éveil de Brünnhilde. Elle a conscience d'être la part feminine de Siegfried ... et elle reconnaît en lui sa part masculine ... La scène se termine sur la célébration de l'union parfaite rendue possible par la complémentarité sexuelle des desux partenaires ... Or, Brünnhilde incarne bien la musique...Siegfried, le soleil, le poète ... Brünnhilde incarne la position précaire de la musique face au poète.
                (Jean Jaques Nattiez ; Wagner androgyne , pp.98 ff.)
[38] It is of greater interest in Die Meistersinger , of course. It is perhaps surprising that Morris was not more interested in Die Meistersinger.
[39] See Chapter VII for further discussion of this point.
[40] Morris occasionally uses cunning in its rare, archaic sense of skilful , as in ‘twas a country of cunning craftsmen . It is not meant perjoratively in this context. 

[41] For instance, when Siegfried returns to Brünnhilde disguised as Gunther, he threatens her by saying that he is Ein Helde, der dich zähmt / bezwingt Gewalt dich nur. After encountering the Rhinemaidens, he reflects
Trüg ich nicht Gutrun' Treu,
der zieren Frauen eine
hätt' ich mir frisch gezähmt!
                This is not the sort of language that would ever be used by Morris's Sigurd.
[42] All of these terms are slightly outmoded in English - in everyday colloquial speech, we would probably say family, but kin or kinship has perhaps deeper resonances than we are aware of, to do with tribe, nation, or maybe just "extended family"
[43] In Morris's poem, this is a characteristic of Sigurd rather than his father.
[44]Evidently a word he found very attractive, since his daughter was given the name May.
[45] The Spectator , XLIII , Aug . 13 , 1870
[46]            ef ek scal mœrrar
                  meyiar bi  ia
                  ø   rom til handa,
                eirar ek unna vel.

Ettmüller's translation

soll die minnige
Maid ich werben,
Andrem zu Handen,
die ich so liebte!
[47] Den ersten Trunk zu treuer Minne / Brünnhilde, bring ich dir!