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The Ring of the Nibelung
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dragon (serpent) he had killed [Fafner], and how the Woodbird told him to take possession of Alberich’s Ring and Tarnhelm, and of Mime’s treachery. Siegfried – having just now described how he killed Mime for trying to offer him a poisoned drink, after having been warned by the Woodbird of Siegfried’s intentions, and informed that Siegfried would be able to detect Mime’s ulterior intent during Mime’s protestations of false friendship - now, strangely, accepts a drink which Hagen has prepared for him, without evident suspicion. It is the antidote to Hagen’s potion of oblivion (of memory) and love which Siegfried had drunk at Gutrune’s behest earlier. Hagen’s sole purpose is that Siegfried will now remember what Hagen’s earlier potion had made him forget, his true relationship with Bruennhilde, whom Siegfried has now given to Gunther as his wife, and that Siegfried will confess before Gunther that he has had sexual relations with Bruennhilde, exposing himself to justifiable revenge at Hagen’s hands to atone for dishonoring his Blood-brother Gunther:]


“Hagen: (#153) Drink first, hero, from my horn: (#153) I’ve seasoned a sweet-tasting drink (#153) to stir your memory afresh (#42 end; #154) so that distant [“Fernes”] things don’t escape you!


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


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


Siegfried: (#128b frag) 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 >>) a wondrous woman asleep (#98>>) in a suit of shining armour. (#98?) I loosed the glorious woman’s helmet; (#98?) emboldened, my kiss awoke her: (#134; #139 vari>>) oh! How the fair Bruennhilde’s arm clasped me in its ardour!


Gunther: (leaping up in utter horror) What’s that I hear?


(#33b: Two ravens fly up out of a bush, circle over Siegfried and then fly off in the direction of the Rhine.)


Hagen: Can you also guess what those ravens whispered?


(Siegfried starts up suddenly and, turning his back on Hagen, watches the ravens fly away.)


Hagen: (#51/#170a>>) To me they counseled vengeance!


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