It forms part of the cycle of the chansons de geste dealing with the Crusade, and relates how Helyas, knight of the swan, is guided by the swan to the help of the duchess of Bouillon and marries her daughter Ida or Beatrix in circumstances exactly parallel to the adventures of Lohengrin and Elsa of Brabant, and with the like result.
The Elsa and the Era, which join it on its left bank, descending from the hills near Siena and Volterra, are inconsiderable streams; and the Serchio, which flows from the territory of Lucca and the Alpi Apuani, and formerly joined the Arno a few miles from its mouth, now enters the sea by a separate channel.
Again, the appeal to " God's judgment " in the trial by battle in Lohengrin is a subject of which no earlier librettist could have made more than a plausible mess - which is the best that can be said for the music as music. But as dramatist Wagner compels our respect for the power that without gloss or apology brings before us the king, a model of royal fair-mindedness and good-nature, acquiescing in Telramund's monstrous claim to accuse Elsa without evidence, simply because it is a hard and self-evident fact that the persons of the drama live in an age in which such claims seemed reasonable.
Compare the mere fairy-tale mystery of Lohengrin's command that Elsa shall never ask to know his name, with the profound fatalism of Isolde's love-potion.
In 1401 he married Elizabeth, or Elsa, daughter of Frederick, duke of Bavaria-Landshut (d.