Context: In Act II of the play Der Sohn der Wildnis, translated as Ingomar the Barbarian, Myron, an armorer and a citizen of Massilia, captured by raiding Alemanni under Ingomar and enslaved, is forced to serve his new masters, especially Ingomar, captain of the brigand band. Ingomar decries the settled life with wife and children in cities and praises the wild, free existence in the wilderness; but Myron continues to lament his lost liberty and his beloved family. Alastor enters the scene, having on a pillaging raid captured a girl, who gave herself up rather easily, requesting to be conducted to the chief of the band. She, Parthenia by name, has come to try to free Myron, her father. She asserts that Myron should be able to earn his ransom if allowed to work where there are people, but in the wilderness he will die and be a total loss to the robber band. She offers herself as a pledge for his return; she will work diligently so as not to be a burden to the bandits. The bandits accept her offer, and Myron departs. Parthenia, weaving garlands to bedeck the cups and goblets used by the members of the band, falls into a discussion of love with Ingomar, who is completely ignorant of the matter. He is so taken by her manner and her resemblance to his brother, who had died in childhood, that he fetches flowers for her to use in her garlandmaking. To illustrate what love is she sings him a song:
What love is, if thou wouldst be taught,Thy heart must teach alone,–Two souls with but a single thought,Two hearts that beat as one.And whence comes love? like morning's light,It comes without thy call;And how dies love?–A spirit bright,Love never dies at all!