James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

August 28


By Andrew E. Watrous (d. 1902)

  • The first performance of Lohengrin was given in Weimar on Goethe’s birthday, August 28, 1850.

  • THE SUN has stricken the armor splendid,

    Till the silver scales into golden melt,

    And the stately sail of the swan is ended

    At the thronging bank of the sparkling Scheldt.

    The shout has risen, the strident clamor

    From the sense assured of a portent great,

    As the hero moves in his awful glamour,

    The gleaming shaft of a heavenly hate.

    Then, where the fierce drum savage hastened,

    In the troubled wake of the horns harsh blown,

    From the charmed hush of the tumult chastened,

    The swan knight sings to the swan—alone.

    There was one height left for the tenor-master,

    Who hath clearness taught to the silver bell,

    Who may lend the trump when the strain grows vaster—

    A deeper volume, a broader swell.

    For though the eye like the pendant glistens,

    When Fernand’s voice to the pendant flows,

    In a mellow whisper, one knows he listens

    To mortal miming a mortal’s woes.

    But in the old, half-sacred stories,

    The mystic mountain, the shining king,

    The awful cup, with its crimson glories,

    My faith was full as I heard him sing.

    And naught I’d know of the strange or terrent,

    Had the Grail-flame lighted his face upon,

    For ’twas the voice of an angel-errant,

    Wherewith he spake to the faithful swan.