Lohengrin at Linderhof



Pomp and Circumstance, my lad, hold your head high,
Look alive. We are going to court, a court of glass — Why,
Donít tremble, the warís over. Watch the mist fade
Like the chosen of Valhalla, wraith-like, that I made
Gallop through storms across my halls in gilt. Is it not fair,
This country, this mountain dream suspended in air...
The trees are shot through with silver. Perhaps it is snow
But I prefer gossamer. Ah, the swans, my court of glass — The lake is like a mirror, so pure — they bow. Alas,
They do not sing. Do you know music, my dear boy?
Man was meant to walk in music. I will show you my joy,
My Wagner. I am musicís slave, and he its master. He makes
Me Lohengrin. What, speechless? So all quake
Before the thundering of his name, I know.
Here I may unmask at last and show
It is not Ludwig who is play-acting. I am
Lohengrin here, and I may damn
That pantomine name of Wittelsbach. What, do you fear
To speak to your king? Lift your eyes, boy, and revere
The mountains. What is your king but a servant of tyrranical time
And death and tedium...opera and the sky are sublime,
not my eyes. Iíd go, if I could
But I am the Prince of Swans, born in a cage. I would
Fly, and swim, but instead I break mirrors. Ah, here.
As cages go, I like it. But Wagnerís more severe
And keeps to my city palace, though I erected whole rooms
For him here, golden filigree chambers for the rose-blooms
Of his music to flourish in. Such a humble god,
Who deigns to walk with a prince on the mean sod
Of lowly Bavaria. I have an orchestra, you know
But I want to hear your sweet voice now. Speak low
So that you do not wake the air. You and I
And Tannhšuser are the sole tenants now. My
Orchestra will come, but meanwhile donít stand
Dumbstruck — Speak, I command,
I am your lord! You are my servant, are you not?
Of course you arenít! You are my swan-boat...I forgot
To have hinges added to that door. Donít bother with the knob.
Sit! No chairs? Ah, I see. That was the job
Of the furniture-maker, and I sent him home with a prize
Of excess gold. On the floor, then, sit, and lift your eyes.
Subordination will not do here on the ground.
I suppose stableboys do not waltz, but I shall surround
Your heart with musicís sharp illusion, that you may learn
To love smoke and mirrors. Now, your turn.
I have a mind to listen. Overture! Sound!
Youíll do for an orchestra when noneís around.
Speak freely, with your voice a violin...
What shall a Swan-Boat ask his Lohengrin?

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