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The Ring of the Nibelung
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[Siegfried then narrates the story of how he came to learn the meaning of birdsong: about his upbringing by the nefarious and treacherous Mime, his re-forging of his father’s sword, his killing of Fafner with that sword, how – through the taste of Fafner’s blood – he acquired the gift of understanding the meaning of birdsong, and of how the bird told him, first, the use of the Hoard, Tarnhelm, and Ring, and instructed him to obtain retrieve them from Fafner’s cave, and finally, how the Woodbird forewarned him of Nietzsche’s treachery, and how, after Mime admitted his guilty intention to murder Siegfried, Siegfried killed Mime instead. Since Hagen’s potion, which Gutrune gave Siegfried in T.1.2, obliterated Siegfried’s memory of Bruennhilde and of all which could remind Siegfried of his former relationship with her, Hagen now has to offer Siegfried a drink spiced with the antidote to that original potion of love and forgetting, so that Siegfried, remembering his original relationship with Bruennhilde, will appear to Gunther to have had sexual relations with the very woman Siegfried won for Gunther, as a pretext for Hagen to murder Siegfried to atone for breaking his Blood-brotherhood oath to Gunther. Since Hagen’s offer of this potion to waken Siegfried’s memory is a crucial part of the dramatic context of (#@: E or F?), The Motif of Remembrance, I reproduce it below, though the Motif of Remembrance may not recur at this point:]

“(Hagen has the drinking-horn refilled and squeezes the juice of a herb into it.)

 

Two Vassals: (#66?) What else did the bird have to tell you?

 

Hagen: (#153) Drink first, hero, from my horn. (#153) I’ve seasoned a sweet-tasting [“holden”] drink (#153) to stir your memory afresh. (#42 End Fragment: He hands Siegfried the Horn: #154) so that distant [“fernes”] things don’t escape you! (#154)

 

Siegfried: (Gazing thoughtfully into the horn and then drinking slowly from it. #150; #66; #149) In sadness I raised an ear to the treetop: (#11 Vari) It sat there still and sang: (#129 >>>) ‘Hey! Siegfried’s now slain the evil dwarf! Now I know the most glorious wife for him: (#129a?) High on a fell she sleeps, (#128a?) fire burns round her hall; (#128b) if he passed through (#15) the blaze (#128b) and awakened (#15) the bride, (#128 End Fragment) Bruennhilde would then be his!’

 

Hagen: And did you follow (#128b Fragment) the bird’s advice?

 

Siegfried: (#128b Fragment) Without delay I set out at once (Gunther listens with increasing astonishment. #35 Vari >>) till I came to the fiery fell; I passed through the flames and found as reward (with mounting ecstasy: #24; #139) a wondrous woman asleep (#98 >>) in a suit of shining armour. (#98) I loosed the glorious (#98) woman’s helmet; (#98) (#98) emboldened, my kiss awoke her: [I’ve reversed the order of Spencer’s English translation to reflect that of the original German below:] (#134) Oh! How clasped me in its ardor (#139; #? [is there any #23 or #99 here?]) the fair Bruennhilde’s arm!”

 

[Hagen uses this admission as a pretext to murder Siegfried by spearing him in the one spot Bruennhilde had told Hagen her magic had not protected, his back.

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