Parsifal’s Quest

A Version in Hexameter

“Woven in language of myths –let the truth be imparted in pictures”

1. Parsifal and Herzeleide

Hidden away in the woodlands – has Parsifal grown into manhood,

Blind to the ways of the world, – knowing naught of the rulers of kingdoms.

ThereHerzeleide, his mother – tells only the secrets of nature;

Beauty of streams, and the paths – of the forest are all he encounters.

Timeweaves a mystery that veils – any thought of another existence.

Life is the turning of flower – to fruit, and provisions for winter

Have to be gathered and sought for, – so follows the flow of the seasons

2. His Discovery

Then on a day in the springtime, – while wandering over a clearing,

Parsifal spies the bright glow – of clear sunlight on metal. He follows,

Wondering what it might be – and beholds seven horsemen in armour.

He bows before them in wonder, – and learns they are knights of King Arthur,

Seeking the truth and upholding- the right, protecting the ladies.

Courtesy, freedom, and courage – are virtues pursued by the knighthood.

3. Herzeleide’s Distress

Brimming with hopes he runs home; – at the door of the hut, he now pauses,

Mother, ‘tis time that I part; – to be knighted is my heart’s desire,

There, at the court of King Arthur – to willingly serve where I’m needed.

It is the Grail Quest they speak of – adventurous trials, seeking goodness.

-‘Now’, thought his mother, ‘my plan – to keep him from danger is ruined;

So, like his father, he’ll go – and be killed by some knight seeking swordplay’.

ThenHerzeleide gives answer: – “My fears have not been without reason.

Why must you now leave your mother? – To perilous deeds you are driven.

Go, if you must, you’ve your freedom; – May God keep you safe from all danger!”

-‘What can I do to protect him?’ – she thinks. ‘He knows naught of the problems

Waiting to threaten his pathway’- At last an idea comes to her:

-‘Foolish he is without doubt – to negate my advice and precautions,

So as a fool I shall clothe him. – At court they will break out with laughter;

Then they will send him away; – I will have him once more at my hearth fire.’-

Hiding her tears Herzeleide – lets Parsifal go to his future.

Sorrowful is her demeanour – she knows that he has no conception

What it has cost her to lose him. – No more can she do to persuade him.

Suddenly sad Herzeleide – succumbs to the shock and falls over,

Pierced by the anguish; Bereft – of all hope, she then dies on the threshold.

4. Sigune’s Lament

Parsifal meanwhile has parted. – Nary a thought of his mother

Enters his head, as he wanders – O’er hillside and woodland. For only

Knighthood and courage awakes – in his mind. He is called to attention:

Wailing in loud lamentations – is heard; as he searches the pathway,

Running to see what has happened, – he meets with his cousin, Sigune.

Stricken with sorrow, she’s mourning – her husband, brave Schionatolander.

Dead on the ground he rests; – he was killed while defending the forest

Owned by the man who stands staring – distraught by the terrible bloodshed.

Parsifal has no idea – that it’s he who possesses the birthright.

For he has never been told – that he would inherit the forest.

Destined is he to discover – the truth of his family title.

Parsifal”, utters Sigune, – “’tis time that you knew of your forebears;

And of your name which means ‘pierced – through the middle’ or ‘pierced through the valleys’.

Look what remains of my bridegroom. – His life has been given away now.

After this morning let grief – be my lot, my companion be sorrow.

Go on your way now; you may – never live to behold your possessions!”

5. The Fight for his Armour

Onward to forge” is my motto. – Don’t tarry; no matter if tragic

Happenings come to confront you – Now Schionatolander would surely

Want me to stride to the deeds – which are pending “to fight against evil”…

Parsifal journeys along. – When he comes to the court, he’s astonished.

Everyone’s dressed in fine clothing; – ‘tis just as his mother expected;

Dressed as a fool in patched trousers, – and wearing the boots of a farmer;

Ridicule meets his endeavour. – But even while heartily laughing,

Arthur the King watches closely. – He speaks then in earnest, “If you would

Honestly win knightly armour, – befitting the Round Table glory,

There is a way now. You must – try to conquer the Red Knight in jousting.

No one has dared meet that challenge…” – “but I”, replied Parsifal bravely,

Powerful he may well be, – yet no fear will affect my decision.”

Sunlight is shining on spearhead. – The Red Knight, enormous on horseback,

Knocks the young lad down at once; – then he walks away scoffing in laughter.

Parsifal, furious, follows, – and shouting a challenge attacks him.

Turning, the Red Knight is briefly – viewed, facing a spear unexpected!

So, are the tables reversed, – and the Red Knight is speared through the forehead!

Dead is the ‘dangerous foe’. – Thus does Parsifal win his own armour.

6. The Castle of Gurnemanz

Skills will be needed in battle; – there lives an old knight in a castle.

Parsifal goes there alone – in a tournament, he’ll practice jousting.

PrinceGurnemanz vows to teach him – to fight and win justly at swordplay.

Chivalrous conduct he learns, – whereby honour is not to be doubted.

Sure of yourself, you need not – ever ask others what is the problem.

Act and give answer befitting – a knight, as is manly and proper.”

Such is the discipline that – leads to error untold, in the future.

7. Kondwiramor

Journeying onward to meet – his adventure, he travels o’er mountains.

Seeking his fate, he then comes – to a swift flowing stream that he follows

Down to the sea; a fine castle – is under attack; in a city,

Sieged by the King Clamidae – who is trying to court a fine lady.

She is a princess whose name – is Kondwiramur. Radiant in beauty,

Fair and demur, she will not – deign to marry a scoundrel who plunders

Kingdoms, and murdered her father. – A vision of her now appears to our hero,

Telling her sorrow, revealing – to him in the night how she suffers.

Parsifal vows to prevail – against whatever obstacles present

He now intends to win back – and restore Pelrapur and the kingdom.

Falling in love with the princess – whose beauty surpasses all others,

Parsifal flares with the fire – that he’s destined to show in his lifetime.

Now he is brave without measure, – and conquers the forces opposing.

Daring, with nary a doubt, – he restores the lost freedom and justice.

Fortune has smiled on the lovers. – Kondwiramor Queen and her destined

Parsifal marry and live – in sweet harmony; meanwhile the kingdom

Celebrates victory; peace – now prevails, as the evil is vanquished.

But, once again, an idea – occurs to the newly wed husband.

He is now longing to see – his dear mother again-she who raised him

Notrealising this futile – desire will cause long separation,

Parsifal then asks his wife – to let him depart on his journey.

Granted your wish, for I really – do love you; go search for your mother.

May you fare well; I do hope – your desire is fulfilled and that we might

Soon be together again, dear!” – So Parsifal leaves the next morning.

If he could know that his wife, – was now pregnant, and would bear him twin sons,

He would be bound to stay with her. – However, the news is a secret,

Kept by the Queen; so her husband – is free to pursue his desire.

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