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Wilhelm Tell

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SCENE I. A high, rocky shore of the lake of Lucerne opposite Schwytz.The lake makes a bend into the land; a hut stands at a shortdistance from the shore; the fisher boy is rowing about in hisboat. Beyond the lake are seen the green meadows, the hamlets,and arms of Schwytz, lying in the clear sunshine. On the leftare observed the peaks of the Hacken, surrounded with clouds; tothe right, and in the remote distance, appear the Glaciers. TheRanz des Vaches, and the tinkling of cattle-bells, continue forsome time after the rising of the curtain.FISHER BOY (sings in his boat).Melody of the Ranz des Vaches.The clear, smiling lake wooed to bathe in its deep,A boy on its green shore had laid him to sleep;Then heard he a melodyFlowing and soft,And sweet, as when angelsAre singing aloft.And as thrilling with pleasure he wakes from his rest,The waters are murmuring over his breast;And a voice from the deep cries,"With me thou must go,I charm the young shepherd,I lure him below."HERDSMAN (on the mountains).Air.—Variation of the Ranz des Vaches.Farewell, ye green meadows,Farewell, sunny shore,The herdsman must leave you,The summer is o'er.We go to the hills, but you'll see us again,When the cuckoo is calling, and wood-notes are gay,When flowerets are blooming in dingle and plain,And the brooks sparkle up in the sunshine of May.Farewell, ye green meadows,Farewell, sunny shore,The herdsman must leave you,The summer is o'er.CHAMOIS HUNTER (appearing on the top of a cliff).Second Variation of the Ranz des Vaches.On the heights peals the thunder, and trembles the bridge,The huntsman bounds on by the dizzying ridge,Undaunted he hies himO'er ice-covered wild,Where leaf never budded,Nor spring ever smiled;And beneath him an ocean of mist, where his eyeNo longer the dwellings of man can espy;Through the parting clouds onlyThe earth can be seen,Far down 'neath the vaporThe meadows of green.[A change comes over the landscape. A rumbling, crackingnoise is heard among the mountains. Shadows of clouds sweepacross the scene.[RUODI, the fisherman, comes out of his cottage. WERNI, thehuntsman, descends from the rocks. KUONI, the shepherd, enters,with a milk pail on his shoulders, followed by SERPI, his assistant.RUODI.Bestir thee, Jenni, haul the boat on shore.The grizzly Vale-king comes, the glaciers moan,The lofty Mytenstein draws on his hood,And from the Stormcleft chilly blows the wind;The storm will burst before we are prepared.KUONI.'Twill rain ere long; my sheep browse eagerly,And Watcher there is scraping up the earth.WERNI.The fish are leaping, and the water-henDives up and down. A storm is coming on.KUONI (to his boy).Look, Seppi, if the cattle are not straying.SEPPI. There goes brown Liesel, I can hear her bells.KUONI.Then all are safe; she ever ranges farthest.RUODI.You've a fine yoke of bells there, master herdsman.WERNI.And likely cattle, too. Are they your own?KUONI.I'm not so rich....