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SCENE VI

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The castle of Vautsberg on the Rhine. Prince Henry and Elsie stand on the terrace. It is the evening of their marriage day. The sound of bells heard from a distance.

Prince Henry
  We are alone; the wedding guests
Ride down the hill with plumes and cloaks,
And the descending dark invests
The forest's hoar and haunted oaks.
Elsie
  What are those bells that ring so slow,
So mellow, musical, and low?
Prince Henry
  They are the bells of Geisenheim
That with their melancholy chime
Ring out the curfew of the sun.
Prince Henry and Elsie on the terrace
Elsie
  Listen, beloved!
Prince Henry
 

They are done.
Dear Elsie, many years ago
These same soft bells at eventide
Rang in the ears of Charlemagne,
As, seated by Fastrada's side
At Ingelheim, in all his pride,
He heard their sound with secret pain.

Elsie
  Their voices only speak to me
Of peace and deep tranquility,
And endless confidence in thee.
Prince Henry
 

Thou know'st the story of her ring,
How when the court went back to Aix
Fastrada died; and how the king
Sat watching by her night and day,
Night and day;
Till into one of the blue lakes
Which water that delicious land,
They cast the ring drawn from her hand;
And the great moon-arch sat serene
And sad beside the fated shore,
Nor left the land for evermore.

Elsie
  That was true love.
Prince Henry
 

For him the queen
Ne'er did what thou has done for me.

Elsie
  Wilt thou as fond and faithful be?
Wilt thou so love me after death?
Prince Henry
 

Thou has Fastrada's ring.
Beneath the calm blue waters of thine eyes,
Deep in thy steadfast soul it lies,
And, undisturb'd by this world's breath,
With magic light,
With magic light its jewels shine.

Elsie Prince Henry
  In life's delight, in death's dismay,   In life's delight, in death's dismay,
  In storm and sunshine, night and day,   In storm and sunshine, night and day,
      In health and sickness
  In health and sickness, in decay,     in decay,
      In storm and sunshine, night and day,
  In health and sickness, in decay,   In health and sickness, in decay,
  Here and hereafter,   Here and hereafter,
  Here and hereafter I am thine,   Here and hereafter I am thine,
  I am thine!   I am thine!

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Date modified 5 September, 2011 Copyright © 2010 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved