Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (ACT THREE)
(Walther enters from the chamber. He pauses a moment at the door, looking at Sachs. The latter turns and allows his book to slip to the ground)
God be with you, Sir knight! You've rested till now?
You were up late, and then you slept?
A little, but deeply and well.
So you are now in good heart?
I had a wonderfully beautiful dream.
That bodes well! Tell it to me!
I scarcely dare even to think of it:
I fear to see it vanish from me.
My friend, it is precisely the poet's task
to interpret and record his dreamings.
Belive me, man's truest madness
is disclosed to him in dreams:
all poetry and versification
is nothing but true dream interpretation.
What are the odds that your dream told you
how you might become a Master today?
No, from the guild and its Masters
my vision did not want to take its inspiration.
But it taught you the magic spellwith which you might win her?
How you delude yourself, after such a failure,
if you still cherish hope!
I shan't let my hope diminish;
nothing has yet overthrown it;
were it so, then belive me, instead of hindering your flight
I would have run away with you!
So please give up your resentment now!
You are dealing with men of honour;
they make mistakes and are content
that one takes them on their own terms.
He who decides prizes and offers prizes
expects also that people should please him.
Your song made them uneasy;
and rightly so; for when you think of it,
it is with such fire of poetry and love
that daughters are seduced to adventure;
but for loving and blissful wedlock
other words and melodies were invented.
These too I know, since last night;
there was much noise in the street.
Yes, yes! Very true! The time-beating as well
you must have heard! But let that be,
and follow my advice; in short:
take courage and make a Master-song!
A beautiful song, a Master-song:
how am I to grasp the difference?
My friend, in the sweet time of youth,
when from mighty impulse
to blissful first love
the breast swells high and free,
to sing a beautiful song
many have succeeded:
the spring sang for them.
But when summer, autumn and winter come,
much hardship and care in life,
much married joy as well,
baptism, business, discord and strife:
whoever then can still succeeded
in singing a beautiful song:
Behold! He is called Master!
I love a woman, and will woo her
to be my wife for ever.
Learn the Master's rules in good time,
that they may truly accompany you
and help you keep
what in youthful years,
with lovely impulse,
spring and love
placed unawares in your heart,
so that you may cherish it safely.
If they now stand in such high repute,
who was it who made the rules?
It was sorely-troubled Masters,
spirits oppressed by the cares of life:
in the desert of their troubles
they formed for themselves an image,
so that to them might remain
of youthful love
a memory, clear and firm,
in which spring can be recognised.
But the form whom spring has long since fled,
how can he capture it in an image?
He refreshes it as often as he can:
so, as a troubled man, I should like,
if I am to teach you the rules,
you to explain them to me anew.
See, here is ink, pen, paper:
I'll write it down for you if you will dictate to me.
How I should begin I scarcely know.
Tell me your morning-dream.
Through the good precepts of your rules
I feel as if it were effaced.
Then take poetry to your hand now:
many found through it what was lost.
So it might be not dream, but poetry?
The two are friends, gladly standing by each other.
How do I begin according to the rule?
You make it yourself, and then you follow it.
Think of your beautiful dream of this morning;
of the rest let Hans Sachs take care!