Peer Gynt

by Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen



(Among the Ronde mountains. Sunset. Shining snowpeaks all around. PEER GYNT enters, dizzy and bewildered.)


Tower over tower arises!
Hei, what a glittering gate!
Stand! Will you stand! It's drifting
further and further away!
High on the vane the cock stands
lifting his wings for flight;-
blue spread the rifts and bluer,
locked is the fell and barred.-
What are those trunks and tree-roots,
that grow from the ridge's clefts?
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?
What's weighing my eyebrows down?
Hu, how my forehead's throbbing-
a tightening red-hot ring-!
I cannot think who the devil
has bound it around my head!

(Sinks down.)

Flight o'er the Edge of Gendin-
stuff and accursed lies!
Up o'er the steepest hill-wall
with the bride,-and a whole day drunk;
hunted by hawks and falcons,
threatened by trolls and such,
sporting with crazy wenches:-
lies and accursed stuff!

(Gazes long upwards.)

Yonder sail two brown eagles.
Southward the wild geese fly.
And here I must splash and stumble
in quagmire and filth knee-deep!

(Springs up.)

I'll fly too! I will wash myself clean in
the bath of the keenest winds!
I'll fly high! I will plunge myself fair in
the glorious christening-font!
I will soar far over the saeter;
I will ride myself pure of soul;
I will forth o'er the salt sea waters,
and high over Engelland's prince!
Ay, gaze as ye may, young maidens;
my ride is for none of you;
you're wasting your time in waiting-!
Yet maybe I'll swoop down, too.-
What has come of the two brown eagles-?
They've vanished, the devil knows where!-
There's the peak of a gable rising;
it's soaring on every hand:
it's growing from out the ruins;-
see, the gateway is standing wide!
Ha-ha, yonder house, I know it;
it's grandfather's new-built farm!
Gone are the clouts from the windows;
the crazy old fence is gone.
The lights gleam from every c┼SEment;
there's a feast in the hall to-night.
There, that was the provost clinking
the back of his knife on his glass;-
there's the captain flinging his bottle,
and shivering the mirror to bits.-
Let them waste; let it all be squandered!
Peace, mother; what need we care!
'Tis the rich Jon Gynt gives the banquet;
hurrah for the race of Gynt!
What's all this bustle and hubbub?
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!

(Leaps forward, but runs his head against a rock, falls, and remains stretched on the ground.)

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