Tilbake

Peer Gynt

by Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen

ACT 2

SCENE SEVENTH

(Pitch darkness.)

(PEER GYNT is heard beating and slashing about him with a large bough.)

PEER

Answer! Who are you?

A VOICE IN THE DARKNESS

Myself.

PEER

Clear the way!

THE VOICE

Go roundabout, Peer! The hill's roomy enough.

PEER

(tries to force a passage at another place, but strikes against something). Who are you?

THE VOICE

Myself. Can you say the same?

PEER

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!
(Cutting and slashing.)

Who are you?

THE VOICE

Myself.

PEER

That stupid reply
you may spare; it doesn't clear up the matter.
What are you?

THE VOICE

The great Boyg.

PEER

Ah, indeed!
The riddle was black; now I'd call it grey.
Clear the way then, Boyg!

THE VOICE

Go roundabout, Peer!

PEER

No, through!

(Cuts and slashes.)

There he fell!

(Tries to advance, but strikes against something.)

Ho ho, are there more here?

THE VOICE

The Boyg, Peer Gynt! the one only one.
It's the Boyg that's unwounded, and the Boyg that was hurt,
it's the Boyg that is dead, and the Boyg that's alive.

PEER

(throws away the branch). The weapon is troll-smeared; but I have my fists!

(Fights his way forward.)

THE VOICE

Ay, trust to your fists, lad, trust to your body.
Hee-hee, Peer Gynt, so you'll reach the summit.

PEER

(falling back again).

Forward or back, and it's just as far;-
out or in, and it's just as strait!
He is there! And there! And he's round the bend!
No sooner I'm out than I'm back in the ring.-
Name who you are! Let me see you! What are you?

THE VOICE

The Boyg.

PEER

(groping around).

Not dead, not living; all slimy; misty.
Not so much as a shape! It's as bad as to battle
in a cluster of snarling, half-wakened bears!

(Screams.)

Strike back at me, can't you!

THE VOICE

The Boyg isn't mad.

PEER

Strike!

THE VOICE

The Boyg strikes not.

PEER

Fight! You shall

THE VOICE

The great Boyg conquers, but does not fight.

PEER

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.-
Now he's snoring! Boyg!

THE VOICE

What's your will?

PEER

Use force!

THE VOICE

The great Boyg conquers in all things without it.

PEER

(biting his own arms and hands). Claws and ravening teeth in my flesh!
I must feel the drip of my own warm blood.

(A sound is heard like the wing-strokes of great birds.)

BIRD-CRIES

Comes he now, Boyg?

THE VOICE

Ay, step by step.

BIRD-CRIES

All our sisters far off! Gather here to the tryst!

PEER

If you'd save me now, lass, you must do it quick!
Gaze not adown so, lowly and bending.-
Your clasp-book! Hurl it straight into his eyes!

BIRD-CRIES

He totters!

THE VOICE

We have him.

BIRD-CRIES

Sisters! Make haste!

PEER

Too dear the purchase one pays for life
in such a heart-wasting hour of strife.

(Sinks down.)

BIRD-CRIES

Boyg, there he's fallen! Seize him! Seize him!

(A sound of bells and of psalm-singing is heard far away.)

THE BOYG

(shrinks up to nothing, and says in a gasp:)

He was too strong. There were women behind him.


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PGENG