Der Freischütz Libretto
English Translation

The Free-Shooter / The Marksman



Cast:
MAX, a forester (Tenor)
KASPAR, another forester (Bass)
KILIAN, a rich peasant (Tenor)
CUNO, the head forester (Bass)
AGATHE, his daughter (Soprano)
ANNCHEN, her cousin (Soprano)
PRINCE OTTOKAR (Baritone)
A HERMIT (Bass)
SAMIEL, the wild huntsman (Speaking part)
FOUR BRIDESMAIDS (Soprano)

CHORUS
Hunters, Peasants, Spirits, Bridesmaids, Followers of the Prince

ACT 1

Overture

The scene is laid in front of a gabled woodland tavern. There is a perch in the background, surrounded by a throng of people. Bohemian mountain music.

Kilian, Max, Countryfolk


No. 1 - Introduction

MAX
is sitting in the foreground at a table by himself, with a mug in front of him. Soon after the rise of the curtain Kilian fires a shot, and the last fragment of a piece of star drops down.

KILIAN
exclaims joyfully

THE CROWD
calls out
Ah!

sounds of rejoicing and applause

MAX
who has been sitting with his fist clenched on his forehead, pounds the table violently with it.

CHORUS OF COUNTRYFOLK
Victory! Victory! Long live the winner,
Who boldly put paid to the star.
Near or far there's no shot to equal him!
Victory! Victory! Victory!

General rejoicing. The perch is dismantled.

MAX
bangs his rifle on the ground and leans it against a tree.

A procession is formed. In front the musicians playing the march now heard. Next the farmer's boys who carry the last piece of the target on an old sword, and sundry new pieces of tin trinkets as trophies. Then Kilian as King of the marksmen, with an enormous bunch of flowers and a medal of honour to which his bullseyes have been fixed. Marksmen with rifles, some of them with bullseyes on their hats and caps; womenfolk and girls follow after. The procession moves round in a circle and everyone who passes Max, points scornfully at him, bows, whispers and laughs. Finally Kilian halts in front of Max, puffs out his chest and sings:


KILIAN
Now Sir, look at me, the king!
Do you think my power too small?
Take off your hat, then, by Gum!
I wonder if you will, will he, ha ha?

GIRLS
mocking, jeering, pointing with their fingers at Max
Hee hee! Hee hee! Hee hee!

MEN
I wonder if you will? Will he ? I am asking
Take off your hat, then, by Gum!
I wonder if you will, will he, ha ha.

KILIAN
I'm carrying a bullseye and a bouquet,
Joe, the cantor's son, holding the pieces!
Have you got eyes in your head, by Gum?
What did you hit, ha, ha!?

CHORUS
repeats the last lines

KILIAN
May I perhaps invite your Highness
To a shooting match next time?
You owe it to the others, by Gum!
You will come then, wo'nt you? Ha, ha!

CHORUS
as before

MAX
jumps up and seizes Kilian by the chest
Leave me in peace or I'll?

Enter Kuno, Kaspar and other huntsmen.

KUNO
What it this? Who dares to lay hands on one of my lads?

KILIAN
still cowed, though Max has let him go
Please, Sir, head ranger, it was not meant so badly. It is a tradition among us that anyone who has missed every shot is excluded from the King's shot and after that we tease him a little.

KUNO
sharply
Missed every shot? Who has done that?

KILIAN
Max! Ask him yourself.

MAX
shamefaced and despairing
I cannot deny it, I havn't made one hit.

KASPAR
aside
Thanks to Samiel!

KUNO
Max! Is this possible?

KASPAR
Take my advice, comrade! Go to a crossroads next Friday and call three times on the great huntsman

KUNO
Silence, Kaspar!
Kaspar makes a cringing gesture of apparent apology
or you're dismissed on the spot. But you, Max, take heed too. I like you, like a father does, but if you were to fail in the trial shot tomorrow. I would have, even so, to forbid you Agatha.

MAX
As early as tomorrow?

KILIAN
What's actually the meaning of the trial shot? Tell us, Kuno, Sir.

KUNO
I will.
he sits down
My ancestor whose portrait still hangs in the forester's lodge, was called Kuno as I am and he was gamekeeper to the prince. One day at a hunt the dogs were chasing a stag to which a man was fettered ? that's how cruelly they used to punish forest offenders in the old days. The sight of this roused the pity of the then prince. He promised a hereditary post of ranger to anyone who could lay the stag low without wounding the criminal. The bold gamekeeper didn't stop to think, he took aim ? the stag dropped, and the forest thief was uninjured.

KILIAN
That was a master?shot!

KUNO
My ancestor was glad too that the wretched man was saved. Now hear the end of the story.
with a glance at Kaspar
Kuno's enviers brought it to the prince's ears that he hadn't aimed, but had loaded a freebullet.

KASPAR
aside
Just as I thought. Help, Samiel!

KILIAN
to a few peasants
A free bullet! Six hit, but the seventh belongs to the Evil One who can guide it wherever he pleases.

KASPAR
Nothing but natural powers.

KUNO
Because of this the Prince made the appointment with the condition "that each of Kuno's successors should first make a trial shot". But enough of that.
To the huntsmen who have accompanied him
We will be on our way. And you Max, pull yourself together. Before sunrise I will expect you at the court lodge.


No. 2 - Trio with Chorus

MAX
who has only come out of his preoccupation when Kuno addressed him
Oh this sun,
It rises fearfully before me!

KUNO
Sorrow or joy,
Both are contained in your barrel.

MAX
Alas I must despair
Of a successful shot.

KUNO
Then you must give up.
Sorrow or joy, Both are contained in your barrel!

KASPAR
to Max with meaningful secrecy
It is only bold daring
That achieves happiness!

MAX
Give up Agatha,
How could I bear it?
But misfortune dogs me!

CHORUS
Look how glum is his face!
Foreboding seems to shudder through him.

HUNTSMEN
to Max
O let hope inspire you,
And trust your fate!

KUNO AND CHORUS
O let hope inspire you,
And trust your fate!

MAX
Woe's me! Luck has forsaken me.

KUNO AND CHORUS
O trust!

MAX
Invisible powers are angry,
Dread foreboding fills my breast!

CHORUS
And trust to your fate!

MAX
Invisible powers are angry
Dread foreboding fills my breast!
I could never bear the loss!

KUNO
If heaven's powers will it,
Then bear the loss like a man.

CHORUS
No! He could never bear the loss!

KASPAR
Let the lucky bullet spin;
He who knows of higher powers
Defies all change and loss!

MAX
Give up Agatha,
How could I bear it?
I could never bear the loss! Never!

KUNO
Bear it!

CHORUS
No, no, he'd never bear the loss!
No!

KUNO
clasps Max by the hand
Courage, my son!
Who trusts in God, builds well!
to the huntsmen
Up now! In mountains and ravines
The joyful battle will rage tomorrow!

CHORUS OF HUNTSMEN
The game in meadows and pastures,
The bird of prey in clouds and breezes
Is ours, and ours the victory!

CHORUS OF RUSTICS
Let the horns bray lustily!

HUNTSMEN'S CHORUS
We'll let the horns bray!

ALL
When evening next grows grey,
Echo and rocky face will resound:
Rah, Hurrah for the bridegroom and bride!

Exit Kuno with Kaspar and the huntsmen.
The others remain.


KILIAN
He's a fine chap, our head forester. But let's all go into the tavern.
to Max
Get yourself a girl, and come dancing in there.

He takes one of the women and dances. The others follow. Bohemian waltz. Most of them dance themselves into the pub, but the rest disperse outside. During the dance it becomes dark.

Max is alone. Later Samiel enters, almost superhuman in height, dressed in dark green and flame colour with gold. His tall hat decked with a cock's feather almost hides the whole of his dark yellow face.



No. 3 - Waltz, Recitative and Aria

Recitative
MAX
No, I can no longer bear the misery,
The fear that robs me of all hope.
What is the guilt that I must pay for?
Why is my head fated to ill luck?

Aria
Through the forests, through the meadows
I used to go with a light heart;
Everything I could set eyes on
Was winnings for my sure barrel.
At evening I brought back a rich bag,
And as if over her own luck,
Dangerous as it was for the slayer,
Agatha's loving gaze rejoiced.

Recitative
Has heaven forsaken me then?
Samiel, almost motionsless, takes a step out of the bushes in the background.
Foresight turned away its eyes?
in desperation
Must ruin overtake me?
Have I fallen into the hands of chance?

Samiel disappears again

Aria
Her window is open now,
And she is listening for my step;
Do not let real hopes be:
Max brings good omens with him!
When the leaves rustle and stir,
She will know it is my feet;
Jumps for joy, waves towards me -
But her loving greeting is only for the leaves.
In the background Samiel walks across the stage with long steps.
But powers of darkness are weaving about me.
Despair clutches, mockery torments me!
O will no ray pierce through this night?
Does fate rule blind? Is there no God?
Samiel, now at the opposite side, makes a convulsive gesture at the last word and vanishes.
Despair clutches, mockery torments me!

Kaspar sidles up to Max. Samiel is largely invisible.

KASPAR
There you are, comrade. Good that I've found you.

MAX
Are you eavesdropping again?

KASPAR
Is that the thanks I get? I had a good suggestion for you as I was on my way. I can't bear for you to be the butt of the farmers here. Hell, how they laughed! Ha, ha! I can't see you so sad, comrade, and you must have a drink with me, if it costs me my last farthing.

MAX
Spare me that.
He puts his head in his hand

KASPAR
quickly drops something from a flask into the glass for Max, he at once pours wine into it.
Help me, Samiel!

Samiel's head peeps from the bushes, then disappears.

MAX
starting up
To whom were you speaking?

KASPAR
I? ? to nobody. Long life to our head ranger! You'll surely drink a health to your mentor with me!

He hands the doped glass to Max. They clink glasses and drink.

No. 4 - Song

KASPAR
Here in this earthly vale of tears
There would be nothing but toil and misery
Did not the stalk bear grapes;
Therefore to my last breath
I lay upon god Bacchus' belly my firm faith!
Hey, you must sing too!

he drinks

MAX
Leave me alone!

KASPAR
Long life to mistress Agatha. The man who declined his bride's health would truly be a villain.

MAX
You are shameless!

They clink glasses and drink

KASPAR
One is one and three is three!
Two things then are added
To the juice of the vine;
Cards and dice
And a child with round breasts
help to eternal life!
But there's nothing to be done with you.

He drinks

MAX
How can you expect me to join in such a thing?

KASPAR
Long life to our Lord the Prince! Anyone who doesn't subscribe to that is a Judas.

MAX
All right then, but then not another drop!

They clink glasses and drink. Max fans himself with his hat and generally indicates that he is hot.

KASPAR
Without this trio
There's been no real joy
Since the fall of man.
Let the bottle be my ABC,
Dice, cards and pretty Kate
my three Rs!

MAX
Wretch! Agatha's right always to warn me against you.
He makes to go. From this point a certain vehemence is to be remarked in him, like a light but malicious drunkeness. The village clock strikes. Max stands up.
I must go to her, the clock struck seven.

KASPAR
To Agatha?
confidentially
How would it be, comrade, if even now, I helped you to a really lucky shot that would put Agatha's mind at rest and also guarantee you luck tomorrow?

MAX
How's that possible?

KASPAR
Here, take my gun.

MAX
What shall I do with it?

KASPAR
Looks into the sky. Quickly as he gives him the gun.
There, there ? d'you see that hawk there? Shoot!

MAX
Are you a fool? The bird's flying up in the clouds beyond bullet range!

KASPAR
Shoot, in the devil's name! Ha, ha!

MAX
Doubtfully pulls the trigger, the gun goes off. In the same moment a peal of laughter is heard. Max turns round aghast to Kaspar.
What are you laughing at?
A huge eagle hangs wheeling in the air, then drops dead at Max's feet.
What is that?

KASPAR
picking it up
The largest golden eagle that there is; and bravely hit.

MAX
But I don't understand, isn't this rifle like any other? What did you load it with? Kaspar, I adjure you, tell me what sort of bullet that was?

KASPAR
Are you really so ignorant, or just pretending? Didn't you really know what a free?bullet is?

MAX
brooding to himself
Have you any more bullets like it?

KASPAR
It was the last one, they've only just lasted me.

MAX
Lasted? What d'you mean?

KASPAR
Because ? this is the only night that you get them.

MAX
Kaspar, get me a bullet like that!

KASPAR
More than you need. Tonight, when the moonlight fades, is destined for great things. Be in the Wolf's Glen punctually at twelve.

MAX
At midnight in the Wolf's Glen? No, at midnight the gates of Hell open up.

KASPAR
Pah! So you only wanted to buy your happiness by endangering another.
Spreading out the eagles wings.
Do you think this eagle was a present to you? You dared shoot to comfort Agatha, but you lack the courage to win her.

MAX
Courage I have.

KASPAR
Then master it!

MAX
Gives Kaspar his hand.
For Agatha's sake I'll come.

SAMIEL
who has been listening from the left, nods at these words and disappears.

KASPAR
Don't tell a soul, it could bring you as well as me into danger. I'll await you at twelve of the clock!

Kaspar alone

No. 5 - Aria

KASPAR
Hush, hush, that none may warn you!
Hush, that none may warn you!
Hell has entwined you in its net!
Nothing can save you from the precipitous fall
From the precipitous fall can nothing save you!
Surround him, you spirits, winged with darkness
Already he gnashes his teeth to wear your chains!
Triumph, triumph, triumph! Revenge is achieved!

ACT 2

Front room in the ranger's house with side entrances.

Stag's antlers and dark hangings with hunting pieces give it an old fashioned aspect and suggest what was once a prince's hunting lodge.

Centre an exit covered by a curtain and leading to a balcony. At one side Annchen's spinning wheel, at the other a big table with a lamp burning on it and a white dress with a green ribbon.

Agatha and Annchen


No. 6 - Duet

ANNCHEN
standing on a ladder, hanging up the portrait of the first Kuno, hammering the nail home
Stick fast, you wretch!
I'll teach you!
We don't want ghoulery
In this old owl's nest.

AGATHA
taking a bandage from her forehead
Have some respect for our forebear's picture!

ANNCHEN
Oh, the old man
I treat him politely with pleasure;
But teaching the servants manners,
doesn't call for respect.

AGATHA
Tell me whom you mean. What servant?

ANNCHEN
The nail of course. Why did you ask?
Hasn't he got to carry his master?
Wasn't it bad to let him drop?

AGATHA
Of course it was bad.

ANNCHEN
Wasn't it bad to let him drop?
Certainly, it was bad!

She climbs down

AGATHA
Everything is a party for you,
Everything's an excuse for laughing and jokes!
O how different my heart feels!

ANNCHEN
Whims are bad guests of mine!
Always a light heart
Dancing on through life,
That's the only way to success!
Worries and troubles have to be driven away!
Always a light heart!
Whims are bad guests of mine!
Always a light heart
Dancing on through life,
That's the only way to success!

AGATHA
Who can control a beating breast?
Who the sweet sufferings of love?
For you, beloved, always
This anxious heart must fear.

ANNCHEN
Whims are bad guests of mine!
Always a light heart
Dancing on through life,
That's the only way to success!
Worries and troubles have to be driven away!
That's the only way to success!
Whims are bad guests of mine!

She looks at the picture
There, now, the old man'll hang safe for another hundred years.

AGATHA
Where can Max be? It's so quiet and lonely here.

ANNCHEN
Unattractive it certainly is when gentry long out of date come away from the walls; that's why I prefer living young ones.

No. 7 - Arietta

ANNCHEN
mimicking vivaciously
When a slim boy comes along,
Whether fair or dark-headed,
Bright eyed, rosy-cheeked,
Well, it's worth having a look at him.
Of course you drop your glance at your bodice,
After the fashion of bashful girls;
But you stealthily look up again
If the young man wasn't aware of it.
If you do exchange glances,
Well, what harm's done?
No one's going to turn blind on the spot,
Even if someone turns red.
A glance here, a glance there,
Till the mouth says something too!
He sighs: Fairest! She says: Dear one!
Soon they're called bride and bridegroom.
Come closer, dear people!
If you want to see me with a bridal wreath.
Isn't that a nice bride,
And the boy no less beautiful?

AGATHA
who has started putting ribbons on the dress, during the song, joins in at the end
And the boy no less beautiful!

ANNCHEN
That's how I like you, Agatha!
Now tell me! I still don't know how your visit went off, only that the pious old man gave you these sanctified roses.

AGATHA
He warned me of a great danger. When the picture fell down it could have killed me. Now his warning has been fulfilled.

ANNCHEN
Yes! One must take notice of evil omens.

AGATHA
Now the roses are doubly dear to me.

ANNCHEN
But now let's go to bed.

AGATHA
No! Max wanted to come here.

ANNCHEN
Exit

Agatha is alone

No. 8 - Scena and Aria

AGATHA
How did sleep come to me
Before I saw him?
Yes love and anxiousness take care
Always to go hand in hand.
Is the moon too laughing on its course?

She opens the balcony door to reveal a star-bright night.

What a beautiful night!

Goes on to the balcony and raises her hands in pure rapture.

Softly, softly,
My pure song!
Waft yourself to the region of stars.
Resound, my song!
Solemnly float
My prayer to the halls of heaven!

looking out

O how bright the golden stars are,
With how pure a gleam they glow!
There only, in the distant mountains
A storm seems to be brewing up.
There too in the forest hovers a clump
Of dark clouds, brooding and heavy.
To you I turn
My hands,
Lord without beginning or end!
From dangers
To guard us
Send your hosts of angels!

Looking out again

All things have long betaken themselves to rest.
Dear friend, where are you tarrying?
Even when my ear listens keenly,
Only the tops of the firtrees rustle.
Only the birchleaves in the grove
Whisper through the wondrous silence.
Only the nightingale and cricket
Seem to enjoy the night air.
And yet? Do my ears deceive me?
That sounds like footsteps!
From the middle of the firs there
Someone is coming!
It is he, it is he!
Let love's banner flutter!

She waves with a white kerchief.

Your maiden is watching
Even thought it is night!
He does not seem to see me yet!
God, if the moonlight
Does not deceive me,
A bunch of flowers adorns his hat!
For sure he has made the best shot!
That tells of good luck for tomorrow!
O sweet hope, o courage new revived!
All my pulses are beating,
And my heart pants wildly,
Full of sweet enchantment at his approach!
Could I dare to hope it?
Yes, luck has returned
Back to my dear friend,
And will stay faithful tomorrow!
Is it no mistake? Is it no madness?
Heaven, receive these tears of thanks
For this pledge of hope!
All my pulses are beating,
And my heart pants wildly,
Full of sweet enchantment at his approach!
Enchanted at his approach!

Agatha. Max enters, distraught and violent. Annchen in nightdress follows behind him.

AGATHA
There are you at last, dear Max!

MAX
My Agatha!
They embrace, then Agatha steps silently back, seeing the plume of feathers and not the bunch of flowers that she had hoped for.
Forgive me if you stayed up for my sake. Unfortunately I have only come for a few moments.

AGATHA
You aren't going away again already?

MAX
I must!

He throws his hat on the table, and the featherplume puts the lamp out.
The landscape seen from the balcony is now darkly lit.


ANNCHEN
strikes a tinder and lights the lamp again

AGATHA
fearfully, with all the signs of hope betrayed
Were you unlucky again?

MAX
No, on the contrary!

AGATHA
What did you hit? Today it's very important to me.

MAX
anxious and embarrassed
I wasn't at the star-shooting at all.

AGATHA
Yet do you say, you were lucky?

MAX
Yes, incredibly lucky! Look!
He shows the plume of feathers on his hat, so violently that she steps back.
I fetched down the greatest bird of prey out of the clouds.
He notices blood on her forehead.
But what's that? Are you wounded? By all the saints, what has happened to you?

AGATHA
Nothing, as good as nothing.
She draws him softly towards her

MAX
But do just tell me -

ANNCHEN
That picture there fell down. Agatha herself was half to blame. just after seven o'clock something made her keep running to the window. She could hardly expect you to be coming home already.

MAX
Strange!
aside
It was at that time that I shot the mountain eagle.

AGATHA
What did you say?

MAX
Oh, nothing!

AGATHA
to Max
Don't be so wrapped up in yourself. I love you, after all, so deeply. If you weren't lucky tomorrow you would be parted from me, I from you - and the grief would kill me!

MAX
Because of that I must be off again.
unable to look at Agatha
I shot a 16-footer at twilight, and it must be brought in.

AGATHA
Where is the stag lying?

MAX
Quite far away - near the Wolf Glen.

No. 9 - Trio

AGATHA
What? Where? Appalling!
There in the glen of terror?

ANNCHEN
The wild huntsman rages there, they say,
And he who hears him, flees.

MAX
Can fear dwell in the huntsman's heart?

AGATHA
But he who tempts God, sins!

MAX
Can fear dwell in the huntsman's heart?
I am aquainted with that horror,
The midnight murmuring in the forest,
When oaks rustle in the storm,
And jay squawks, the owl hovers.

He takes his hat, his hunting bag and rifle.

AGATHA
I am so afraid, do stay!
Don't hurry away so fast.

ANNCHEN
She is so afraid, do stay!
Don't hurry away so fast.

MAX
gazing at the balcony beyond
The moonlight is not waning yet;
Its shimmer still beams clear and bright;
But soon it will lose its gleam -

ANNCHEN
D'you want to observe the heavens?
That wouldn't be up my street!

AGATHA
Cannot my fear, then move you?

MAX
My word and my duty call me hence!

AGATHA, MAX and ANNCHEN
Farewell! Farewell!

MAX
hurring out, turns round at the door
But have you really forgiven
The reproaches, the suspicion?

AGATHA
My heart feels only its quaking.
Take heed of my warning!

ANNCHEN
That's a huntsman's life,
No rest, day or night!

AGATHA
Alas, I must leave you!
Think on Agatha's words!

MAX
Soon the moon will grow pale,
My destiny tears me away!

ANNCHEN
to Agatha
Try to take hold of yourself, dear one!
to Max
Think on Agatha's words!

MAX
cramming his hat over his eyes, rushes out violently


Change of scene

A terrible woodland glen

largely planted with pines, and surrounded by high mountains. A waterfall rushes down from one of them. The full moon shines wanly. Nearer to us a tree struck by lightening and withened, decayed inside so that it seems to glow. On a gnarled branch at the other side sits a huge owl with fiery, circling eyes. Crows and other woodbirds on other trees.

Kaspar and invisible spirits.


KASPAR
without hat or overmantle, but with hunting bag and knife, is busy with black boulders, laying out a circle in the middle of which a skull lies; a few paces away are the excised eagle's wings, a casting-ladle, and a bullet mould.

No. 10 - Finale: The Wolf's Glen

CHORUS OF INVISIBLE SPIRITS
Moonmilk fell on weeds!
Uhui!
Spiders web is dewed with blood!
Uhuil
Ere the evening falls again -
Uhui!
Will the gentle bride be slain!
Uhui!
E're the next descent of night,
Will the sacrifice be done!
Uhui! Uhui!

Kaspar. Shortly afterwards, Samiel. The clock strikes 12 in the distance.
The circle of stones is complete.


KASPAR
rips his hunting knife out, plunges it into the skull, raises the knife with the skull, turns round three times and calls out
Samiel! Samiel! Appear!
By the wizards cranium,
Samiel, Samiel, appear!

He puts both back in the centre of the circle.

SAMIEL
comes from the rock
Why do you call?

KASPAR
throws himself, cringing, down before Samiel
You know that my term
Is almost run out -

SAMIEL
Tomorrow!

KASPAR
If it might be extended once more -

SAMIEL
No!

KASPAR
I bring you a new sacrifice -

SAMIEL
What?

KASPAR
My hunting companion, he is coming -
He who has never penetrated your dark realm.

SAMIEL
What does he want?

KASPAR
It is magic bullets on which he builds his hopes!

SAMIEL
Six hit, seven befool!

KASPAR
The seventh shall be yours!
Speed it from his barrel to his bride.
Despair will make him yours,
Him - and the father -

SAMIEL
I have no stake in her yet!

KASPAR
fearful
Is he alone enough for you?

SAMIEL
That we shall see!

KASPAR
But you will set a term. And for another three years,
I'll bring him to you as your prey!

SAMIEL
So be it - By the gates of hell!
Tomorrow he or you!

He disappears. Dull thunder.
Kaspar. To him Max. Later apparitions which do not disturb the magic circle. Last of all Samiel.


KASPAR
raises himself up, - slowly and exhausted, and wipes the sweat from his brow. The skull with the hunting knife has disappeared; in its place a little fire with glowing coals comes up from below, and some bundles of rushes. Kaspar sees them:
Excellent service!
He takes a draught from the hunting flask.
Blessings on you, Samiel!
drinks
He has made me warm! - But where ist Max! Could he break his word? Samiel, help!

He walks up and down inside the circle, not without anxiety; the coals threaten to go out; he kneels down by them, lays rushes on top and blows on them. The owl and other birds raise their wings at this as if to kindle them. The fire smokes and crackles.

MAX
is seen on the rocky peak above the waterfall, peering down into the glen.
Ha! Fearful yawns
The gloomy chasm. What horror!
My eyes fancy themselves
Gazing into a slough of hell!
Look how the stormclouds cluster there,
The moon gives up its beams!
Ghostly mist-shapes waver,
The rock is alive!
And here - hush, hush!
Nightbirds fly up in the bushes!
Branches, ruddy-grey and scarred, stretch
Out gigantic arms at me!
No! Though my heart be horrified,
I must! I defy all terrors!

He climbs down a few paces.

KASPAR
standing up and looking at him
Thanks, Samiel. My term is achieved.
to Max
Have you come at last, comrade? Was it right too to leave me all alone? Can't you see how distasteful it is for me?

He has been fanning the fire with the eagle's wing and points it at Max as he speaks.

MAX
staring at the eagle's wing
I shot the eagle out of the lofty air;
I cannot turn back - my destiny calls!
He climbs down a few paces, then stops again and gazes fixedly at the rocks on the other side. His mother's ghost appears on the rock.
Woe is me!

KASPAR
Come on, time is flying!

MAX
I can't get down!

KASPAR
Rabbit! You usually climb like any chamois!

MAX
Look over there! Look!
He points to the rock; a form veiled in white is seen raising its hand.
What shows itself there
Is my mother's ghost.
So she lay in her coffin, so she rests in her grave.
She looks, and weeps, and warns me.
She is waving me back!

KASPAR
aside
Help, Samiel!
aloud
Ridiculous fancies! - Haha! Look again, and you'll see what comes of your cowardly stupidity.

The veiled form has vanished, and Agatha's form is seen, with dishevelled hair strangely adorned with leaves and straw. She is exactly like a mad person and seems about to throw herself into the waterfall.

MAX
Agatha! She's jumping into the water!
Down! Down! I must!

The image vanishes. Max climbs all the way down, and the moon begins to grow dark.

KASPAR
aside, mocking
I think so too!

MAX
to Kaspar, impetuously
Here I am! What have I got to do?

KASPAR
throwing him the hunting flask, which Max sets down
First have a drink! The night air is cold and damp. Will you do the casting yourself?

MAX
No, that goes against our agreement. What have I got to do?

KASPAR
Nothing. Whatever you may see or hear, keep quiet.
Disguising his own horror
If someone unknown to you should come and help us, what matter to you? But if you see me tremble, then come and help me, and call out what I call out, otherwise we're both lost.

MAX
with a gesture of objection
Kaspar!

KASPAR
Hush! Every moment is precious!
The moonlight has dwindled to a tiny beam. Kaspar takes the casting ladle.
Watch me so that you learn the art.
He takes the ingredients out of his hunting bag and throws them in one after another.
First the lead -some ground glass from broken church windows; you can find that! - Some quicksilver! - Three bullets that have hit their mark! The right eye of a hoopoe, the left one of a lynx! Probatum est! Now the blessing of the bullets!
Bowing to the earth in each of three pauses.
Protect us, you who watch in darkness!
Samiel, Samiel! Give ear!
Stand by me in this night
Till the spell is complete!
Bless for me the herb and lead,
Bless them by seven, nine and three,
That the bullet be obedient!
Samiel, Samiel, to me!

The mixture in the mortar begins to foment and bubble and gives out a greeny-white glow. A cloud passes over the moon, so that the whole surroundings are only lit by the fire, the owl's eyes and the rotten stump of the tree.

KASPAR
pours, lets the bullets fall out of their mould, and calls
One!

ECHO
repeats
One!

Woodbirds fly down, settle round the circle, hop and flutter.

KASPAR
pouring, then counting
Two!

ECHO
Two!
A black boar breaks through the bushes and chases on.

KASPAR
stops short and counts
Three!

ECHO
Three!
A storm arises, bends and breaks the tops of the trees and draws sparks from the fire.

KASPAR
counting anxiously
Four!

ECHO
Four!

A rustling is heard. Crack of whips and trample of horse's hooves; four fiery wheels run past, throwing off sparks, though, at their speed, one cannot trace their real form or the shape of any waggon.

KASPAR
counting, still more anxiously
Five!

ECHO
Five!

Barking of dogs and neighing in the air; misty images of hunters on foot and horseback, stags and dogs fly past overhead.

KASPAR
Alas! The savage pack!
Six!

ECHO
Six!

CHORUS
invisible
Over hill, over dale, through abyss and pit,
Over dew and clouds, tempest and night,
Over chasm, bog and abyss,
Through fire, earth, sea and air,
Yahoo, way a way, ho ho!

The whole sky turns black as night, the storms, which were previously impacted, clash and pour down terrible thunder and lightning, torrential rain pours down; the -earth spouts dark blue flames; will-o-the wisps appear on the mountains; trees crack and are torn out by the roots; the waterfall bubbles and looms up; the rocks avalanche; tempestous sounds on all sides; the earth seems to quake.

KASPAR
shuddering and calling out
Samiel! - Samiel! - Samiel!
He is thrown to the ground.
Help! - Seven!

MAX
buffeted hither and thither by the storm, as he is, jumps out of the circle, seizes a branch of the - rotten tree and calls out
Samiel!

At this very moment the storm begins to calm down, and in the place of the rotten tree there stands the black huntsman, reaching out for Max's hand.

SAMIEL
with a terrible voice
Here I am!

MAX
makes the sign of the cross and falls to the ground.

The clock strikes one. Sudden silence. Samiel has disappeared. Kaspar is still lying with his face to the ground. Max gets to his feet convulsively.


ACT 3

Agatha's room.

It is decorated in an old fashioned but neat manner. In one spot there is a little priedieu with the bunch of white roses in a vase on it; they are lit up by the sunlight coming in at the window.

Agatha is alone.


AGATHA
dressed in bridal white with green ribbon, kneeling at the priedieu. She gets up and sings with melancholy devotion

No. 12 - Cavatina

AGATHA
Even when clouds hide it,
The sun still shines in the tent of heaven;
One holy will rules there;
No blind chance governs the world.
That eye, eternally pure and clear,
Looks lovingly after all creation!
Our Father will care for me too,
With my childlike heart and trusting mind,
Even if this were my last morning,
If his paternal word would call for me, a bride:
His eye, for ever pure and clear
Looks upon me too with love.

Enter Annchen, in her finery

ANNCHEN
Have you been crying? Bridal tears and early rain do not linger long. Come now, we've had enough rain.

AGATHA
I had such tormenting dreams last night. I'd been turned into a white dove, and was flying from branch to branch. Max aimed at me, and I fell. But now the white dove vanished. I was Agatha again, and a great black bird of prey was weltering in its own blood.

ANNCHEN
How delightful!

AGATHA
Annchen!

ANNCHEN
There you have the whole lot; you were working late on your white wedding dress ? that's the white dove! You were scared by the eagle's feathers on Max's hat ? that's the black bird. Aren't I a clever interpreter of dreams?

AGATHA
Have you never heard of dreams coming true?

ANNCHEN
aside
Can't I think of anything to calm her?
aloud, with apparent seriousness and fear
It's true one can't repudiate everything. I myself know a spine?chilling example.

No. 13 - Romance, Recitative and Aria

Romance

ANNCHEN
My late cousin once dreamed
That her bedroom door opened,
And her nose turned as white as chalk
Because there crept nearer, and terribly nearer,
A monster
With eyes like fire,
With clanking chains,
It came up to the bed
She was sleeping in -
I'm talking about cousin
With her chalky nose -
And moaned oh, so hollowly
And groaned oh, so deep!
She crossed herself, called out,
Susanna, Margaret, Susanna, Margaret!
And they came with lights -
And - just imagine - and -
Now don't be terrified! -
And - though it appals me - and -
the ghost was: ? Nero, the watchdog!

AGATHA
turns away displeased

Recitative

ANNCHEN
tenderly
Are you cross with me?
But can you say
I don't feel for you?
Only  tears don't become a bride!

Aria

Sad eyes,
Darling one, don't suit
A blessed bride.
With her glances
She should refresh
And delight
And captivate,
And enchant everyone about her -
That is her most lovely duty.
Within their bare walls let
Penitents mourn;
To you the light of rosy hope is beckoning!
Already the candles are lit up
For the union of true hearts!
Dearest friend, do not be downhearted.
The bridesmaids are coming, Agatha.

She goes out.

Agatha. To her, bridesmaids in festal local costume but without wreath or flowers.

No. 14 - Folksong

1st BRIDESMAID
We're twining the maiden's wreath for you
With violet?blue silk;
We're leading you to games and dancing,
To happiness and joys of love!

ALL
dancing round Agatha in a circle
Lovely green, lovely green maiden's wreath!
Violet?blue silk! Violet?blue silk!

2nd BRIDESMAID
Lavender, myrtle and thyme,
They grow in my garden.
But how long will the suitor tarry?
I can hardly wait for it.

ALL
Lovely green maiden's wreath!
Violet?blue silk!

1st BRIDESMAID
And when the handsome suitor came
Seven years passed by;
And as he's taken the darling
She's won the wreath.

ALL
Lovely green maiden's wreath!
Violet?blue silk.

The above and Annchen

ANNCHEN
comes in with a round box tied up.
Here I am back. And I almost fell on my nose. Last night that old picture fell off the wall for the second time. The whole frame is ruined.

AGATHA
It might almost make me afraid.

ANNCHEN
You're scared even by a spider! Come on, the end of the song once again!

She cuts the string in two, kneels playfully down before Agatha and hands her the box, while singing with the others.

ALL
Lovely green maiden's wreath!
Violet?blue silk?

AGATHA
Opens it and starts back
Oh!

ALL
except Annchen who is still kneeling, turn pale, and step back too.

ANNCHEN
What is it then?
Agatha takes out the wreath; it is a silver funeral wreath. Annchen herself is frightened.
A funeral wreath? No!
Jumping up and concealing her embarrassment
That isn't to be borne! The old, half?blind delivery woman must have got the boxes mixed up!
The bridesmaids look questioningly at one another. Agatha gazes down silently in front of her and clasps her hands. Annchen quickly shuts the box and hides it.
Away with it! We must have another wreath!

AGATHA
Perhaps it is a sign from heaven. The holy hermit was so serious when he gave me the white roses - make my bridal crown out of them.

ANNCHEN
Takes the roses out of the vase and twines them into a wreath.
Look! The roses twine almost of their own accord into a wreath.
She puts the wreath on Agatha
Sing now! Sing!

BRIDESMAID AND ANNCHEN
going off with muffled voices
Lovely green maiden's wreath!
Violet?blue silk!


Change of scene

A romantically beautiful neighbourhood.

At one side the prince's hunting tents, in which noble guests and courtiers, all with green twigs in their hats, are banqueting. On the other side huntsmen and beaters are camped, also carousing; behind them are stags, boars and other game as hunting trophy.

Ottokar, Kuno, Max, Kaspar, Hunters, Beaters. Eventually Agatha, Annchen, the Hermit, the bridesmaids and a procession of country folk. Ottokar is in the main tent seated at table, at the lowest place sits Kuno. Max is in Kuno's vicinity, but outside, leaning on his rifle. On the opposite side Kaspar is listening behind a tree.


No. 15 - Huntsmen's Chorus

CHORUS OF HUNTSMEN
What pleasure on earth can compare with the hunter's?
Whose cup of life sparkles so richly?
To lie in the verdure while the horns sound,
To follow the stag through thicket and pond,
Is joy for a prince, is a real man's desire,
Is strengthens your limbs and spices your food.
When woods and rocks resound all about us,
A full goblet sings a freer and happier song!
Yo ho! Tralala!

Diana is present to brighten the night;
Her darkness cools us like any refreshment in the day.
To fell the bloody wolf, and the boar
who greedily roots through the green crops,
Is joy for a prince, is real man's desire,
It strengthens your limbs and spices your food.
When woods and rocks resound all about us,
A full goblet sings a freer and happier song!
Yo, ho! Trala!

Clinking of glasses and shouts of joy.

OTTOKAR
Enough of the pleasures of the table, worthy  friends and hunting companions. Now something serious. I gladly approve the choice which you, my brave old Kuno, have made. I am pleased with the suitor you have chosen. Tell him to be ready.

KUNO
leaves the tent, talks to Max, then returns inside

OTTOKAR
Where is the bride? I have heard so much to her credit.

KASPAR
aside
Where is the doll, then? Help, Samiel!
He climbs up the tree, and looks about him.

MAX
holds the bullet in the hollow of his hand and gazes blankly at it.

KUNO
According to the time, my daughter should be here soon. But if you would graciously accept my advice, my Lord prince, then let the trial shot take place before she arrives. I'm afraid the bride's presence might confuse Max.

OTTOKAR
Who knows, old man, if we would both have carried ourselves better on our wedding day?

KUNO
continues to talk softly to the prince

MAX
hastily loads and pushes the bullet in the barrel

OTTOKAR
Now then!
He leaves the tent. Guests and courtiers follow. The huntsmen get up and move to the other side.
Young marskman! One shot like your first three early this morning, and you are a made man!
Looking about him
Do you see there, on the branch, that white dove? The task is easy. Shoot!

MAX
aims. At the moment when he is about to pull the trigger, Agatha and the others emerge through the trees where the white dove is sitting.

AGATHA
calls out
Don't shoot, Max! The dove is me!

The dove flutters up and past the tree from which Kaspar clambers down hurriedly. Max follows with his gun; the shot rings out. The dove flies away. Agatha and Kaspar both drop. The hermit comes out from behind the former, raises her up and then is lost amid the crowd. This is all the work of a moment. As the shot rings out, the finale begins.


No. 16 - Finale

Annchen, Max, Ottokar, Kuno and some of the countryfolk busy themselves in the background about Agatha. The rest of the chorus stands apart in anxious groups, looking at Agatha and Kaspar.

CHORUS OF COURTIERS, HUNTSMEN and PEASANTS
Look,oh look!
He hit his own bride!

SOME
The huntsman  fell  from the tree!

CHORUS
We hardly dare
Even to look!
O terrible fate, o horror!
Our hearts tremble, stop beating!
Did this deed of fear happen?
Our eyes will hardly dare
To see who was the sacrifice.

Ottokar and those next to him have hurried to Agatha, the huntsmen to Kaspar. Agatha is carried to a grassy hummock in the foreground. Max is on his knees in front of her.

AGATHA
awakes from deep unconsciousness
Where am I? Was it only a dream that I fell?

ANNCHEN
O have courage!

MAX and KUNO
She's alive!

MAX, KUNO and CHORUS
Praise and thanks to the Saints!
Her eyes are open!

SOME
pointing to Kaspar
This one here is hit,
Who's lying red with his own blood.

KASPAR
writhing convulsively
I saw the recluse standing by her;
Heaven has conquered!
All's up with me!

AGATHA
gradually recovering and standing up
I still breathe; it was only feat that knocked me down.
I still breathe the lovely air,
I still breathe!

KUNO
She's really breathing!

MAX
She smiles again!

AGATHA
O Max!

MAX
Her sweet voice calls!

AGATHA
O Max, I'm still living!

MAX
Agatha you're still living!

ALL
Praise and thanks to the Saints!

SAMIEL
unseen by the rest, rises from the earth behind Kaspar

KASPAR
sees Samiel
You, Samiel, here already?
Did you keep your promise to me?
Take your plunder! I defy destruction!
He raises his clenched fist menacingly toward heaven.
Cursed be Heaven! ? Curses on you!

He collapses. Samiel disappears.

CHORUS
gripped by terror
Ha! Was that his dying prayer?

KUNO
He always was a bad fellow!
Heaven's punishment  fell upon him.

CHORUS and KUNO
He always was a bad fellow!
Heaven's punishment fell upon him!

SOME
He cursed Heaven itself!

CHORUS and KUNO
Did you not notice? He called on the Evil One!

OTTOKAR
Away! Pitch the miscreant in the Wolf's Glen!

SOME HUNTSMEN
carry the corpse away

OTTOKAR
to Max
Only you can solve this riddle.
Some dread misdeed has happened!
Woe to you, if you do not relate the whole truth.

MAX
Sir, I am unworthy of your mercy;
The dead man's trickery tempted me,
And in my despair I turned from the paths
Of piety and rightousness.
Four bullets  which I fired today,
They are free bullets, that I cast with that man.

OTTOKAR
wrathfully
Then hasten to obey my order,
And never return to this land!
Hell must be parted from Heaven;
Never, never ? will you grasp this chaste hand!

MAX
I may not dare
To complain
For I was weak, although no criminal.

KUNO
He was always been faithful to duty!

AGATHA
O do not tear him from my arms!

HUNTSMEN
He is so brave, full of strength and courage!

PEASANTS
O he was always faithful and good.

ANNCHEN
Gracious Sir, o have pity!

CHORUS and KUNO
Gracious Sir, o have pity!

ANNCHEN
O have pity!

OTTOKAR
No, no, no!
Agatha is too pure for him!
to Max
Away, out of my sight!
Prison awaits you if you ever come back!

THE HERMIT
comes forward. Everyone stands reverently back and greets him humbly; even the Prince bares his head.

HERMIT
Who lays so strict a sentence upon him?
An error, is it worthy of such atonement?

OTTOKAR
Is it you, holy man,
Whom the district honours far and wide?
My greetings, blessed among men!
I too obey you gladly.
Pronounce his verdict yourself; your will
I will faithfully fulfil.

HERMIT
Even the pious heart can easily swerve
And step away from right and duty,
When love and fear of rightousness' limits
Despair breaks all bounds.
Is it right that on a bullet's course
Two noble hearts' happiness depends?
And if they succumb to the toils
In. which passion entwines them,
Who is to raise the first stone?
Who does not look into his own heart?
So let the trial shot no more take place!
with a reproachful glance at Max
He, Sir,
Who has grieviously sinned,
But was ever yet pure and trusty,
Let him serve a year's probation for it!
And if he remains as I have ever found him,
Then let Agatha's hand be his!

OTTOKAR
Your word is enough for me;
A loftier One speaks from within you.

ALL
Hail to our Prince, he does not oppose
What the pious recluse says.

OTTOKAR
to Max
If you prove yourself worthy, as the old man found you,
Then I myself will plight your troth.

MAX
My heart shall think of the future,
May right and duty ever be holy to me!

AGATHA
to Ottokar
O read my thanks in these tears;
Weak words are not enough for them!

OTTOKAR and HERMIT
The One above the stars is full of mercy,
Therefore it honours princes to give pardon.

KUNO
to Max and Agatha
Never stray from the paths of rightousness
If you'd be worthy of your happiness.

ANNCHEN
to Agatha
O, beloved friend, then I will adorn
You once more for the wedding altar.

HERMIT
And now uplift your gaze
To Him who was the protector of innocence!

He kneels down and raises his hands.
Agatha, Kuno, Max, Annchen and several of the folk follow his example.


ALL
Yes, let us lift our gaze to Heaven,
And rely firmly on the ruling of the Eternal!

AGATHA, ANNCHEN, MAX, OTTOKAR, KUNO and HERMIT
Whoever is pure of heart and guiltless of life
May, childlike, trust in the gentleness of the Father!

ALL
Yes, let us lift our gaze
And rely firmly on the Eternal's ruling,
Trust firmly in the Father's gentleness!
Whoever is pure of heart and guiltless of life
May, childlike, trust in the gentleness of the Father.