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The Valkyrie: Page 407
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And, speaking of the myth of Zeus and Semele (in which Zeus took human form to seek human love) as Wagner’s model for the relationship of Lohengrin (who it turns out did not so much redeem Elsa by coming down from the transcendent Grail realm to earth, as seek redemption from the sterility and vacuity of the illusion of divine being through Elsa’s earthly love) to Elsa, Wagner asks:

“Who had taught Man that a God could burn with love toward earthly Woman? For certain, only Man himself; who however high the object of his yearning may soar above the limits of his earthly wont, can only stamp it with the imprint of his human nature. From the highest sphere to which the might of his desire may bear him up, he finally can only long again for what is purely human, can only crave the taste of his own nature, as the one thing worth desiring. What then is the inmost essence of this Human Nature, whereto the desire which reaches forth to farthest distance turns back at last, for its only possible appeasement? It is the Necessity of Love; and the essence of this love, in its truest utterance, is the longing for utmost physical reality, for fruition in an object that can be grasped by all the senses, held fast with all the force of actual being. In this finite, physically sure embrace, must not the God dissolve and disappear? Is not the mortal, who had yearned for God, undone, annulled? Yet is not Love, in its truest, highest essence, herein revealed?” [565W-{6-8/51} A Communication To My Friends: PW Vol. I, p. 334-335] [See also 580W]

And once again we find that Wagner has not only paraphrased Feuerbach in Siegmund’s resistance to seeking the meaning of his life in Valhalla, but also in Wagner’s conception of the meaning of Lohengrin:

[P. 145] “If immortality lay in wait

For you behind this time, …

The flood of ages without end,

Without the boundary and obstacle of death,

Would wash away all your power,

Would erode all your quality.

Once in heaven, this earth

Would become for you the beautiful hereafter.

[P. 146] You would gladly give up immortality

For this time,

And, in the land of death, you

Would long to leave the tiresome angelic state

To become a loving human

Once again on this earth.

… only where there are conflict and suffering,

Where pain clouds the clarity of soul,

Only there is my true fatherland;

Pain is the pledge of Spirit.

Let cowardly clerics

Fall in love with the hereafter!


And if the whole world wished to be divine,

And to go to heaven –

… I would stay outside, …

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