Peer Gynt: a dramatic poem by Henrik Ibsen; editions; First published in ; Subjects: Drama, Peer Gynt (Fictitious character), Norwegian drama. Why yet another translation of Peer Gynt? This translation / adaptation of the play came about as the consequence of a chance remark by John Wright. Henrik Ibsen - Peer Gynt - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online. French Text of the drama by Regis Boyer. Peer Gynt chronicles the journey of.
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Peer Gynt. Henrik Ibsen. Translated by William and Charles Archer. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. This web edition published by [email protected] ÅSE, a peasant's widow. PEER GYNT, her son. TWO OLD WOMEN with corn- sacks. ASLAK, a smith. WEDDING–GUESTS. A MASTER–COOK, A FIDDLER, etc. PEER GYNT. Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen, Henrik () - Norwegian playwright and poet who is often called the father of modern drama. His works concentrated .
That's a scurvy sort of tip. Baker in English. Yes, it's no wonder the boy is such a wastrel. Perhaps he's a preacher? But one thing is certain what's done can't be undone, And you will see how your offspring will grow up!
Himself he has gauntlets and sabre and scabbard. His cloak it is long, and its lining is silken. Full brave is the company riding behind him. None of them, though, sits his charger so stoutly. None of them glitters like him in the sunshine.
Women are curtseying. All the world knows him, Kaiser Peer Gynt, and his thousands of henchmen. Sixpenny pieces and glittering shillings over the roadway he scatters like pebbles. Rich as a lord grows each man in the parish.
Aslak The Smith [to some other young men, passing along the road]. The Smith [leaning against the fence and grinning]. I am going, yes. But tell us, where have you dropped from, man? Were you troll-taken, eh? Keep your temper, Peer! Though Ingrid has jilted you, others are left; — think — son of Jon Gynt! You will surely find one that will have you. Peer [looks after them a while, then makes a defiant motion and turns half round].
What was that? Who was it that tittered behind there? Hm, I certainly thought — No no, it was no one. How the lasses do swarm! Six or eight to a man! Oh, galloping death — I must join in the frolic!
Hei, how the Halling flies over the green! Ay, Guttorm, he can make his fiddle speak out! And then all that glittering bevy of girls! In the background, the dwelling-house.
A lively dance in progress on the green. A Woman [joins a group that is seated on some logs of wood]. Other Girls [standing in a ring round a lad who is dancing]. A Girl [to the others]. Peer Gynt [comes in heated and full of animation, stops right in front of the group, and claps his hands]. The Smith [after a moment, in a low voice]. He glances shyly and furtively at the group. All look at him, but no one speaks. He approaches other groups. Wherever he goes there is silence; when he moves away, they look after him and smile.
Peer [looking fixedly after the new-comers]. How fair! Did ever you see the like? Looked down at her shoes and her snow-white-apron —! I must look at that girl. A Lad [coming out of the house, with several others]. Peer among the Wedding Guests. A Lad [coming with a whole crowd of others from the dancing-green]. Several Others [forming a circle around him]. What I can do, that no one else can. I one day conjured him into a nut. It was worm-bored, you see! Of course.
I stopped up the hole with a peg. Why, no; by this time that devil has flown on his way. The grudge the smith bears me is all his doing. I went to the smithy, and begged that he would crack that same nutshell for me. He promised he would! He laid on like a man. But the devil showed fight, and tore off in a flame through the roof, and shattered the wall asunder. Stood there with his hands all scorched.
I can ride, I can, clean through the air, on the bravest of steeds! You may spare you the trouble of begging so hard. I will ride like a hurricane over you all!
Every man in the parish shall fall at my feet! Peer [goes towards them; his face lights up]. The Bridegroom [nudging him with his elbow]. Peer and Solveig at the Wedding. Come then! Is your father a psalm-singer?
And you and your mother as well, no doubt? Come, will you speak? I can turn myself into a troll! At the same moment a crowd of men come up from the dancing-green; most of them are drunk.
Noise and hubbub. Hang my Peer? The Hegstad Farmer [comes in, bare-headed and white with rage]. Is your psalm-book in your kerchief? Do you glance adown your apron? Peer [stands silent a moment, then cries: Ingrid [turning her head, and calling mockingly upwards: A storm is gathering. All things are against me with wrathful might! Heaven, and the waters, and the grisly mountains!
Fog-scuds from heaven roll down to bewilder him! The treacherous waters are lurking to murder him! The mountains would crush him with landslip and rift!
Oh, the oaf! He, that did nought but romance and tell lies; — he, whose sole strength was the strength of his jaw; he, that did never a stroke of true work; — he —! Oh, a body could both cry and laugh! Ay, you must know that my husband, he drank, loafed round the parish to roister and prate, wasted and trampled our gear under foot.
Some take to brandy, and others to lies; and we — why we took to fairy-tales of princes and trolls and of all sorts of beasts; and of bride-rapes as well. The Father [still softly and with mild eyes]. And his body! The shadows are long; it is late in the day. The parish is all at my heels in a pack!
Every man of them armed or with gun or with club. Foremost I hear the old Hegstad-churl howling. It is different, this, from a bout with a smith! This is life!
To crush, overturn, stem the rush of the foss! To strike! Wrench the fir-tree right up by the root! This both hardens and lifts one high! To hell then with all of the savourless lies! Three Saeter Girls [rush across the hillside, screaming and singing]. To crushTrond of the Valfjeld! Bard and Kare! To-night would you sleep in our arms? Mine called me his sweetheart and called me his darling. Now he has married a grey-headed widow.
Peer [stands, with a sudden leap, in the midst of them]. The Girls [making mocking gestures towards the mountain-tops, screaming and singing].
Heavy of Trond of the Valfjeld! Tower over tower arises! Hei, what a glittering gate! Will you stand! High on the vane the cock stands lifting his wings for flight; — blue spread the rifts and bluer, locked is the fell and barred. They are warriors heron-footed! Now they, too, are fading away. A shimmering like rainbow-streamers goes shooting through eyes and brain.
What is it, that far-off chiming? I cannot think who the devil has bound it around my head! Yonder sail two brown eagles. Southward the wild geese fly. And here I must splash and stumble in quagmire and filth knee-deep! I will wash myself clean in the bath of the keenest winds! I will plunge myself fair in the glorious christening-font! Gone are the clouts from the windows; the crazy old fence is gone. Peace, mother; what need we care! Why do they shout and bawl?
The captain is calling the son in; — oh, the provost would drink my health. In then, Peer Gynt, to the judgment; it rings forth in song and shout: Peer Gynt, thou art come of great things, and great things shall come of thee! Stars are gleaming through the leaves; birds are singing in the tree-tops.
The Green-clad One [stops and turns round]. Peer [drawing his finger across his throat]. As true as my name is Peer; — as true as that you are a lovely woman! Will you have me? Ay, there is one thing you must remember: Our gold will seem to you litter and trash! The Green-clad One [calls away over the hillside]. Peer follows the Woman in Green. Ah, but lately I wandered and moped and pined —. One never can tell what may happen to one! Peer [thrashing the pig and trotting off].
Violent commotion in the hall. Three-headed trolls are going clean out of fashion; one hardly sees even a two-header now, and even those heads are but so-so ones. Ay, but stop, my lad; — you also have some undertakings to give.
No difference at all, as it seems to me. Big trolls would roast you and small trolls would claw you; — with us it were likewise, if only they dared. Yet morning is morning, and even is even, and there is a difference all the same. Out yonder, under the shining vault, among men the saying goes: The devil fly off with your home-brewed drinks! Whoso owns the gold bowl, him my daughter holds dear.
It is written: Thou shalt bridle the natural man; — and I daresay the drink may in time seem less sour. So be it! Nay, my son, you mistake; I make you a mannerly wooer, no more. Tie away! No, that you are welcome to keep in peace. Why, in spite of your many conditions, you are a more reasonable chap than one might have expected. Music-maid, forth! Set the Dovre-harp sounding! Dancing-maid, forth! The Dance of the Trolls. Why, something unspeakably grim: If it gets a gash in the fight with us, it heals up at once, though a scar may remain.
Ay ay, my son, we must treat you, I see, to cure this pestilent human nature. The Old Man [lays a number of sharp instruments on the table]. You must remember, your eyes are the fountain of the bitter and searing lye of tears. If thine eye offend thee, then pluck it out. But tell me, when will my sight heal up into human sight? Come now, just listen to reason, Prince Peer!
You have gifts for trolldom. He acts, does he not, even now in a passably troll-like fashion? Yes, I would, sure enough. For a bride and a well-managed kingdom to boot, I can put up with losing a good many things. But there is a limit to all things on earth.
And lightly enough I can slip my cable from these your Dovrefied ways of life. I am willing to swear that a cow is a maid; an oath one can always eat up again: Now, sure as I live, I shall soon lose my temper; and then I am not to be trifled with. You pasty-faced loon! Do you know who I am? So you really think, then, that lust matters nought? Hear reason, maiden! The Old Man [looks at him for a while in high disdain; then says: Peer [struggling with a little imp that has bit himself fast to his ear].
The Courtier [hitting him across the fingers]. The palace collapses; everything disappears. Peer [tries to force a passage at another place, but strikes against something]. I can say what I will; and my sword can smite!
Mind yourself! Hu, hei, now the blow falls crushing! King Saul slew hundreds; Peer Gynt slew thousands! The Boyg, Peer Gynt! Ay, trust to your fists, lad, trust to your body. He is there! And there!
Let me see you! What are you? Not dead, not living; all slimy; misty. Not so much as a shape! Were there only a nixie here that could prick me! Were there only as much as a year-old troll! Only something to fight with. But here there is nothing. Gaze not adown so, lowly and bending. Hurl it straight into his eyes! The Boyg [shrinks up to nothing, and says in a gasp: The door is shut; all is silent and deserted. Peer [wakens, and looks about him with dull and heavy eyes. He spits]. Do you know where I was last night?
Look here, what I have in my pocket! A silver button, child! You shall have it — only speak for me! Peer [hewing at a large fir-tree with twisted branches]. You are banned to the woods. Ay, an outlaw, ay. Would you clothe yourself warmly, you must stalk your deer; would you found you a house, you must quarry the stones; would you build up its walls, you must fell the logs, and shoulder them all to the building-place.
Brave shall the building be. Tower and vane shall rise from the roof-tree, high and fair. And then I will carve, for the knob on the gable, a mermaid, shaped like a fish from the navel. Brass shall there be on the vane and the door-locks.
Glass I must see and get hold of too.
Strangers, passing, shall ask amazed what that is glittering far on the hillside. Now he stands wavering. There; only a kick, and he topples and measures his length on the ground; — the thick-swarming undergrowth shudders around him! A lad! One only. He seems afraid. He peers all round him. A sickle. He stops and looks around — now he lays his hand on a fence-rail flat.
Why does he lean like that —? Ugh, ugh! A whole finger off! What a devil of a lad!
An unmendable finger! Right off! And with no one compelling him to it! To sever for good and all —? Ay, think of it — wish it done — will it to boot — but do it —! Everything in disorder; boxes standing open; wearing apparel strewn around. A cat is lying on the bed. Come here —! Where is —? Where shall I find —? Tell me where —? What am I seeking?
Where is the key of the chest? Oh, what must a mortal abide and live through! God help me in mercy! The whole house is bare! What the Hegstad-churl left now the bailiff has taken. Not even the clothes on my back have they spared. Shame on them all that have judged so hardly! Both the land and the farm-place are lost to our line; the old man was hard, but the law was still harder; — there was no one to help me, and none would show mercy; Peer was away; not a soul to give counsel.
Ingrid came home none the worse in the end. The right thing had been to hold Satan to reckoning; — he was the sinner, ay, he and none other; the ugly beast tempted my poor boy astray! I wish I dared snap up the fur-rug as well! Why, what have we here? With this he would play button-moulder, would melt, and then shape, and then stamp them. One day — there was company — in the boy came, and begged of his father a lump of tin.
Here are the hose. The snow is lying deep around. It is dusk. Bars I must fix me; bars that can fasten the door against troll-folk, and men, and women. Bars I must fix me; bars that can shut out all the cantankerous little hobgoblins. Peer Gynt; think you staples and planks can shut out cantankerous hobgoblin-thoughts? God prosper your labour. You must not reject me. You sent for me hither, and so you must take me. One message you sent me by little Helga; others came after in storm and in stillness.
All that your mother told bore me a message, that brought forth others when dreams sank upon me. Nights full of heaviness, blank, empty days, brought me the message that now I must come. It seemed as though life had been quenched down there; I could nor laugh nor weep from the depths of my heart. I knew not for sure how you might be minded; I knew but for sure what I should do and must do.
I have loosed me from all of them. The worst was leaving my little sister; — but parting from father was worse, still worse; and worst to leave her at whose breast I was borne; — oh no, God forgive me, the worst I must call the sorrow of leaving them all, ay all! Away, away then with nails and planks!
No need now for bars against hobgoblin-thoughts. If you dare dwell with the hunter here, I know the hut will be blessed from ill.
Let me look at you! Not too near! Only look at you! Oh, but you are bright and pure! Let me lift you! Oh, but you are fine and light!
I will not soil you. With outstretched arms I will hold you far out from me, lovely and warm one! Oh, who would have thought I could draw you to me — ah, but I have longed for you, daylong and nightlong. Be it mean or brave — here is all to my mind.
One so lightly draws breath in the teeth of the wind. Down below it was airless; one felt as though choked; that was partly what drove me in fear from the dale. You are mine then! In the room let me see you! Go in! I must go to fetch fir-roots for fuel. Warm shall the fire be and bright shall it shine, you shall sit softly and never be a-cold. He stands still for a while, then laughs aloud with joy and leaps into the air. Now I have found her and won her!
Now the palace shall rise, deeply founded! I should think you might well know the pig by its skin! Why, where are your eyes? Just try if you dare! She there and I— we will take you by turns. Farewell, dear my lad, you can marry to-morrow!
By-the-bye, I forgot! You must rear your own youngster, you light-footed scamp! Little imp, will you go to your father?
What a head he has got on his shoulders, the dear! Peer and the Troll Witch. Right through? Hm, surely there should be one. But what? What is it? You can do it with a fiddle, but not with a bell. Now all that foulness is well out of sight. Thoughts will sneak stealthily in at my heel. And the three, they that danced on the heights! Will they too want to join us? With vixenish spite will they claim to be folded, like her, to my breast, to be tenderly lifted on outstretched arms?
One must put such things from one, and try to forget.
Go in after this? So befouled and disgraced? Go in with that troll-rabble after me still? Speak, yet be silent; confess, yet conceal —? The room is lighted by a wood fire on the open hearth. A cat is lying on a chair at the foot of the bed. The time drags so drearily on. So quickly! Who could have foreseen! The Lord give you gladness!
But how dare you show face in the valley? Peer [writhing, and walking towards the back of the room]. See there now! Are your hands and your feet a-cold, then?
No, that accursed liquor, from that all the mischief came! Ay, ay; of that yarn enough now. Enough of the whole affair. The Death of Aase. Are you thirsty? Can you stretch you? The bed is short. Ay, mind you? And then we played sledges when your father was far abroad. The coverlet served for sledge-apron, and the floor for an ice-bound fiord.
Ah, but the best of all, though — mother, you mind that too? To the castle west of the moon, and the castle east of the sun, to Soria—Moria Castle the road ran both high and low. A stick that we found in the closet, for a whip-shaft you made it serve. Ay, ay; you threw loose the reins, and kept turning round as we travelled, and asked me if I was cold. God bless you, ugly old mother — you were ever a kindly soul —! Oh, nonsense! Let me sit at your bedside here. Will you stir yourself, Black-boy?
Ay, ay; by the pace one knows it, when Grane begins to go! Ay, a heaped-up dish. Come up with you, Grane, my trotter! In the castle the throng is great; they bustle and swarm to the gateway.
Peer Gynt and his mother are here! What say you, Master Saint Peter? Shall mother not enter in? You may search a long time, I tell you, ere you find such an honest old soul. I have made up as many flim-flams as the devil at the pulpit-desk, and called my old mother a hen, too, because she would cackle and crow.
But her you shall honour and reverence, and make her at home indeed; there comes not a soul to beat her from the parishes nowadays. Saint Peter! For all of your days I thank you, for beatings and lullabies! Ah, then we are over the worst of the sorrow and need! A palm-grove.
Under an awning, on ground covered with matting, a table spread for dinner. Further back in the grove hammocks are slung.
In the offing lies a steam-yacht, flying the Norwegian and American colours. A jolly-boat drawn up on the beach. It is towards sunset. Drink, gentlemen! If man is made for pleasure, let him take his fill then. Lost is lost, and gone is gone —.
What may I hand you? A dash, a tinge of free soul-contemplation, and cosmopolitanisation, an outlook through the cloudy rifts by narrow prejudice unhemmed, a stamp of high illumination, an Ur—Natur, with lore of life, to crown the trilogy, united. Ei was! That language is so stiff. Yes, gentlemen, completely clear the matter is.
What should a man be? Himself, is my concise reply. He should regard himself and his. Ay yes, indeed; in former days; but always I came off with honour. Yet one time I ran very near to being trapped against my will. You understand that certain circumstances made for their marrying us without delay. But, truth to tell, the whole affair was, first to last, distasteful to me.
And when my father-in-law came out with delicately veiled demands that I should change my name and station, and undergo ennoblement, with much else that was most distasteful, not to say quite inacceptable — why then I gracefully withdrew, point-blank declined his ultimatum — and so renounced my youthful bride. Yes, yes; there is a ruling Fate! Oh no, far otherwise I found it; for busy-bodies mixed themselves, with furious outcries, in the business. The juniors of the clan were worst; with seven of them I fought a duel.
That time I never shall forget, though I came through it all in safety. It cost me blood; but that same blood attests the value of my person, and points encouragingly towards the wise control of Fate aforesaid. Your outlook on the course of life exalts you to the rank of thinker. Whilst the mere commonplace empiric sees separately the scattered scenes, and to the last goes groping on, you in one glance can focus all things.
One norm to all things you apply. You point each random rule of life, till one and all diverge like rays from one full-orbed philosophy. That way it goes more smoothly down. One should not read to swallow all, but rather see what one has use for. Dear friends, just think of my career in general. In what case came I to the West? A poor young fellow, empty-handed. I had to battle sore for bread; trust me, I often found it hard. But life, my friends, ah, life is dear, and, as the phrase goes, death is bitter.
Luck, you see, was kind to me; old Fate, too, was accommodating. I prospered; and, by versatility, I prospered better still and better. You think, no doubt, the business hovered on the outer verge of the allowable?
Myself I felt the same thing keenly. It struck me even as odious. Besides, I had begun to age, was getting on towards the fifties; — my hair was slowly growing grizzled; and, though my health was excellent, yet painfully the thought beset me: Who knows how soon the hour may strike, the jury-verdict be delivered that parts the sheep and goats asunder? What could I do?
To stop the trade with China was impossible. A plan I hit on — opened straightway a new trade with the self-same land. Why, of course. It prospered. Dauntlessly they toiled. For every idol that was sold they got a coolie well baptised, so that the effect was neutralised. The mission-field lay never fallow, for still the idol-propaganda the missionaries held in check.
There, too, my ethics won the day. I saw the traffic was a wrong one for people of a certain age. One may drop off before one dreams of it. And then there were the thousand pitfalls laid by the philanthropic camp; besides, of course, the hostile cruisers, and all the wind-and-weather risks. All this together won the day. I thought: Now, Peter, reef your sails; see to it you amend your faults!
So in the South I bought some land, and kept the last meat-importation, which chanced to be a superfine one. Yes, without boasting, I may say I acted as a father to them — and found my profit in so doing.
I built them schools, too, so that virtue might uniformly be maintained at a certain general niveau, and kept strict watch that never its thermometer should sink below it. At parting, too, I served around, to big and little, gratis grog, so men and women all got drunk, and widows got their snuff as well.
So that is why I trust — provided the saying is not idle breath: Whoso does not do ill, does good — my former errors are forgotten, and I, much more than most, can hold my misdeeds balanced by my virtues. How strengthening it is to hear a principle thus acted out, freed from the night of theory, unshaken by the outward ferment!
Peer [who has been drinking freely during the preceding passages]. We Northland men know how to carry our battle through!
The essence of the art of daring, the art of bravery in act, is this: To stand with choice-free foot amid the treacherous snares of life — to know for sure that other days remain beyond the day of battle — to know that ever in the rear a bridge for your retreat stands open.
Yes, by birth; but cosmopolitan in spirit. From France, again, I get my waistcoats, my manners, and my spice of wit — from England an industrious hand, and keen sense for my own advantage. The Jew has taught me how to wait. Some taste for dolce far niente I have received from Italy — and one time, in a perilous pass, to eke the measure of my days, I had recourse to Swedish steel.
The wine begins to go to his head. Well, first of all, I want to travel. Well, but no one hoists his sails for nothing but the sailing. Beyond all doubt, you have a goal; and that is —? By the might of gold! I soared with train and golden scabbard — and flopped down on all-fours again.
But still my goal, my friends, stood fast. That is the text — or something like it; and that remark is sober truth. The Gyntish Self — it is the host of wishes, appetites, desires — the Gyntish Self, it is the sea of fancies, exigencies, claims, all that, in short, makes my breast heave, and whereby I, as I, exist.
Not enough. But I must be myself en bloc, must be the Gynt of all the planet, Sir Gynt throughout, from top to toe! To-night we set off northward ho! The papers I received on board have brought me tidings of importance —! We now see gathered in glory all the Gyntish host of wishes, appetites, and desires —! Peer [after a short silence, leaning on a chair and assuming a dignified mien]. Witty, Come, gentlemen, I think it best we part before the last remains of friendship melt away like smoke.
Who nothing owns will lightly risk it. But when a man stands safely landed, as I do, then his stake is greater. Go you to Hellas. I will put you ashore, and arm you gratis too. The more you eke the flames of strife, the better will it serve my purpose.
Strike home for freedom and for right! God dam! I scarce can keep from weeping! I saw me owner of Olympus. If to its fame the mountain answers, there must be veins of copper in it, that could be opened up again.
And furthermore, that stream Castalia, which people talk so much about, with fall on fall, at lowest reckoning, must mean a thousand horse-power good —!
Cotton [shakes his fist towards the yacht]. Moonlight with drifting clouds. The yacht is seen far out, under full steam. A nightmare! And at furious speed! A dream! Oh, horror! My brute-beasts of friends —! Do but hear me, oh Lord! Since thou art so wise and so righteous —!
Oh judge —! It is I, Peter Gynt! Oh, Lord, give but heed! Make them back the machine! Make them lower the gig! Stop the robbers! Make something go wrong with the rigging! Hear me! The world can take care of itself for the time! A God that is bankrupt of help!
Surely one good turn should be worth another! Oh, help me on board —! Gradually the smoke clears away; the ship has disappeared. In a crack to the bottom, every soul, man and mouse! A chance? No, no, it was more than chance.
I was to be rescued and they to perish. Oh, thanks and praise for that thou hast kept me, hast cared for me, spite of all my sins! What a marvellous feeling of safety and peace it gives one to know oneself specially shielded!
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