Paraphrased from Wolfram von Escenbach. Herzeloida, the Mother of Parcival, Laments the Death of Her Husband Gahmuret.

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Paraphrased from Wolfram von Escenbach. Herzeloida, the Mother of Parcival, Laments the Death of Her Husband Gahmuret.

"O misery and sorrow! Where, where now is my soul's dear life!
The noblesness of Gahmuret enlarged my heart with joy.
Alas, alas for his proud renown! Alas for his hardihood!
In battle was his delight, his pride; and therefore have I lost him.
Less are my years than his, far less: yet young though I may seem,
For him am I not both a bride and mother too? for behold,
Do I not bear his body within my own, the seed of his life?
Such the dear exchange he gave me for our tender love.
If God's designs be just, ah then will he not suffer now
This fruit to ripen for my sake? Reft of a lord so noble,
Shall not that loss suffice? Or is cruel Death not yet content?"
These words she sighed, then with her arms encircled her womb and child;
And, "O my God," she cried, "preserve this offspring of Gahmuret:
From my soul's depth this I implore. Deliver me moreover
From mad temptation. A second time should Gahmuret be slain,
If in despair I struck myself, who bear beneath my heart
This living pledge by his love so committed to my charge."
No heed she took of who stood by: her gown she rent away:
Her breast she took and drew it forth, shining smooth and white,
Gazing awhile in tender joy; then pressed it with sweet grace
Towards her lips. "'Tis thou," she said, "art storehouse for my babe
Of life and nourishment: aye, 'twas he by whom thou hast been prepared
Since first within me he took life." Great joy was hers to see
How the milk lay there and covered her heart. Some few drops she pressed forth,
Then spake again: "Sincere and holy is thy source, I know.
Though baptism I had ne'er received, yet will instead thereof
Woudst thou have served me. Now for teardrops shalt thou serve me oft,
Whene'er in public or in secret I lament my lord."

Herzeloida bade them bring the blood-stained coat-of-arms,
Which Gahmuret had worn that day he found the hero's death
For which he longed. They brought her too the lance-head that had slain him.
Blows to a very rag had pierced and rent the broidered silk:
Yet would she robe herself therein, her custom in old days
Whene'er her lord returned from battle. But despite her prayers,
Her noble vassals took them from her hands, and to a cloister
Bore them away with solemn pomp, and gave them burial there
As to a king. And now when fourteen days were past, a son
She brought forth. Great and large of limb already was the child.
And when she and her women having turned and turned it again
Had found the clear proofs of its sex, oh then what smiles, what laughter!
How they redoubled glad caresses upon the little boy!
Should he not one day play the forger mightily with his sword?
Smite sparks from casques and prove his virile strength? So the women chattered.
But his mother sighed: far other were her thoughts. Their babbling tongues
Brought back into her mind the death of Gahmuret. Yet now,
What happiness to cover him with kisses over and over!

Shunning the fault of many women, she resolved forthwith
To be the nurse of her own child. Sometimes to her fancy
It seemed as though Gahmuret to her her prayers had been restored
Back to her arms. Unceasingly she lavished on the boy
Care and devotion. Oft to herself these pious words she said:
"The most sublime of queens once gave her breast to him who endured
A cruel death, nailed to the cross to prove his love for man."
From the queen's face the bitter dews of sorrow oft fell down
Over her child. All women's gracious qualities were hers.
How the same time to smile and sigh her beauteous mouth knew well.
One moment it grew gay with joy to have born a son; the next
The pretty playful words in grieving from her lips died off.