I wanted to praise the innocence and inexhaustibility of nature and to present her course up to that point where, through inevitable suffering, she is forced to turn toward spirit, her distant polar opposite, and the oscillation of life between these two poles of nature and of spirit would be revealed as blithe, playful, and complete as the arch of a rainbow.


However, I was never, alas, successful in completing that opera. My experience with it was the same as with my poetry. I had had to give the latter up after I had seen that everything that seemed to be important to say had already been said a thousand times more clearly in 'Pot of Gold' and in Heinrich von Ofterdingen than I was able to say it. And that is the way it now went with my opera. Just when I had completed my years of preparatory musical studies and had made several drafts of the text and was once more trying to visualise as penetratingly as possible the real meaning and content of my work, just then I had a sudden realization that in my opera I was attempting exactly the same thing that had been so magnificently accomplished long before in The Magic Flute.