Paul Dundon’s Weblog


A little cheese and a little whine

Oh, das Rheingold!

To the tune of “My Darling Clementine”

In a cavern, in a canyon
By the mighty river Rhein
Dwelt a race of dwarfs a-workin’
In a hot and fiery mine

One amongst ’em went a-swimming
And, enticed by maidens three
Tried to goose them and seduce them
But was spurned for all to see

He grew angry and frustrated
He was furious, he was sick
And the maids he then berated
And his name was Alberich

Thus rejected, and dejected,
He abjured all earthly love
And he stole the sisters’ gold there
Glistening in the sun above

Now that gold, it was enchanted
And such mighty power did bring
That the dwarf all love recanted
And he made a magic ring

Oh das Rheingold, oh das Rheingold
Oh das Rheingold is divine!
But we needed something shorter;
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Meanwhile Wotan was a-gloatin’
O’er his castle in the sky
Which he’d had two giants build him
For a promise and a lie

His wife Fricka had a sister
And he’d promised in his pride
That the ones who built the castle
Would then have her as their bride

Poor old Freia, ‘tdid dismay her
To be used as payment thus
And it made old Fricka bicker
With her spouse and curse and cuss

Wotan, calmer, tried to calm her
Then his plan he did reveal
He had asked the trickster Loge
To find a way to break the deal

Enter Loge: quite the rogue, a
God who’d been around the earth
To discover from the lover
What they deemed of equal worth

East and West and worst and best and
Rich and poor and young and old
There was but one thing that men would
Trade for love, and that was gold

He told Wotan, sugar-coatin’
This bad news with an appeal
That the gods restore the treasure
That old Alberich did steal

Loge shared it, Wotan heard it
And it came into his head
That the treasure of the maidens
Might be used to pay instead

Both the giants, they agreed it
Though of Freia they took hold
Giving Wotan until sunset
To deliver Alberich’s gold

Oh das Rheingold, oh das Rheingold,
Oh das Rheingold is on tour
We began the show at lunchtime
And we won’t be done by four

Follow fire and follow anvils
Follow smoke and follow grime
Go through mountain, cave and cavern
And you come to Nibelheim

There is Alberich, who with magic
Has enslaved the Nibelung all
And has forged a magic helmet
Making him invisi-ball

All the Nibelung work for Alberich
Mining gold for all they’re worth
And the treasure, ‘tis his pleasure
For he hopes to rule the earth

Enter Loge, enter Wotan
And they start to hatch their plot
They must get the gold from Alberich
Whether he agrees or not

Wotan chatters, Loge flatters
Of the helmet they enquire
And the dwarf boasts of his treasure
And the fear he can inspire

Loge praises Alberich’s helmet
But he’s playing now for keeps
So he asks how he’d prevent that
Someone steals it while he sleeps

Alberich quickly dons the helmet
(Such a terrible mistake)
And he shows how it allows him
To become a giant snake

“But could you be something smaller?”
Loge asks him in a goad
And to demonstrate his power
Alberich turns into a toad

In an instant Loge, Wotan
They both pounce upon the dwarf
Bind him up in chains and shackles
And then drag the poor dear orf.

Oh das Rheingold, oh das Rheingold
Oh the scoring is a hit
But it takes a dozen porters to get the
Anvils in the pit

Poor old Alberich, held to ransom
Must relinquish all his loot
For the gods they want the treasure
And the helmet charmed to boot

He surrenders all the Rheingold
But the ring he still retains
But the gods insist on adding it to
Their ill-gotten gains

Wotan rips it from his finger
Alberich swears and shouts; and worse
Lays on those who own the ring a
Truly terrifying curse

Our two giants come to Wotan
All their payment for to find
And the god he puts before them
All the gold that Alberich’s mined

So the question then arises
How much gold is Freia worth?
And the giants have the answer:
Make a pile of Freia’s girth

Oh das Rheingold, oh das Rheingold
Costs a fortune if it’s staged
But there’s usually concessions
For the students and unwaged

So the goddess Freia stands there
By this process much abused
And to satisfy the giants
Every piece of gold is used

But the giants find a chink through
Which the goddess might be scanned
And the only gold that’s left now
Is the ring on Wotan’s hand

They can’t stand it, and demand it’s
Added to their sordid fee
But the god, he starts a-shouting
“No, the ring belongs to me!”

Hark! a voice comes from the rafters
Telling Wotan to desist
And he scans the gods around him
Wondering what it is he’s missed

For ’twas Erda, and we heard her
Sing a story of the deep
For the waters hold her daughters
And the gold is theirs to keep

Good ol’ Wotan starts emotin’
‘bout the power of the ring
But our Erda cries blue murder
And berates the greedy king

Wotan hears her, and he fears her
So the ring he will release
His compliance leads the giants
To depart the gods in peace

But the giants start to quarrel
And to squabble and to scold
And the one he kills the other
And then leaves with all the gold

Oh das Rheingold, oh das Rheingold
Oh das Rheingold is a thrill
We’ve been here two solid hours
And the music’s playing still

Wotan’s happy with his castle
Having beaten all the odds
And he calls its name Valhalla
As a home for all the gods

Dear ol’ Freia, slightly greyer
Can return to tend her tree
Giving all her golden apples
And their immortality

Cousin Donner smiled upon ‘er
And a storm he quickly sowed
Giving thunder for a fanfare
And a rainbow for a road

See the gods, they cross the rainbow
Leaving Loge feeling vexed
He will not go to Valhalla
‘Cos he knows what happens next…

Oh das Rheingold, Oh das Rheingold
Take it from the horse’s mouth
How four dozen simple verses
Save you visiting Bayreuth!


Filed under: Humour

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

My links

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