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The Valkyrie: Page 398
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who, honourless, gave herself up to the hero! – (#40:) When he held her in loving embrace and she herself found joy supreme and was wholly loved by the man who wholly awakened her love (:#40) (#73 or #64?:) in the face of sweet rapture’s most hallowed solemnity, wholly imbuing her senses and soul (:#73 or #64?), (#24 minor vari; #25 minor vari with #40 hint:) what horror and dread at most horrible shame were bound to inspire with terror the whore who had ever obeyed a man who held her without any feelings of love (:#24 minor vari; :#25 minor vari)! Forsake the accursed creature, (#64:) let her flee far away! Depraved am I and devoid of all worth! You purest of men, from you I must run (:#64); (#39 loose inversion on strings:) to so lordly a man I may never belong (:#39 loose inversion on strings): shame I bring to my brother, offence to the friend who has wooed me! (#71)

 

Siegmund: (#71:) Whatever shame has done to you the villain’s blood shall now blot out (:#71)! So fly no further; wait for our foe; it’s here he’ll fall before me: when Nothung now (#57) but gnaws his heart, vengeance then you’ll have won!

Sieglinde, in hysterics, is harassed by contradictory emotions. On the one hand she is in a panic at the prospect of facing the consequences of having broken society’s code, making her and her lover a pariah. On the other hand, an even stronger impulse is her personal conscience, which informs her that having succumbed to the humiliation of letting Hunding force her into sexual intimacy without the blessing of love, she has become a virtual whore and dishonors the heroic Siegmund (his heroism represented here by #71) by her presence. Siegmund tries futilely to console her with the image of the vengeance he’ll wreak on Hunding, i.e., the vengeance his sword Nothung, the moral hero’s instrument for restoring mankind’s lost innocence, will wreak on corrupt society for dishonoring Sieglinde, the virtual incarnation of authentically sympathetic fellow-feeling.

[V.2.3: B]

But Sieglinde is not to be consoled. She vividly imagines Hunding, wakened, gathering his clan and hounds to pursue the illicit couple, and wreaking terrible vengeance on Siegmund. This vivid image is accompanied by #60, the variant of the Storm Motif based (like Siegmund’s own motif #62) on Wotan’s Spear #21. #60 was first heard at the beginning of V.1.1 when Siegmund was originally pursued by Hunding and his men, who were intent on punishing him for aiding their female relative in her bid to escape from the loveless marriage they were forcing on her. Siegmund of course is in precisely the same situation now that he was then, except that in this case it is his own sister whose honor he’s trying to defend. Sieglinde in the meantime is wholly overcome with the magnitude of the crime they are committing against society and even the gods, and faints, but not before envisioning Siegmund torn to shreds by the hounds (Hunding means “Hounding”), and prophetically foreseeing not only Siegmund’s sword broken by the powers of vengeance, but even the death of the World-Ash tree. The World-Ash, we’ll learn from Erda’s daughters the Norns in

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