Tilbake

Peer Gynt

by Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen

ACT 4

SCENE EIGHTH

(A caravan route. The oasis is seen far off in the background.)

(PEER GYNT comes galloping across the desert on his white horse, with ANITRA before him on his saddle-bow.)

ANITRA

Let be, or I'll bite you!

PEER

You little rogue!

ANITRA

What would you?

PEER

What would I? Play hawk and dove!
Run away with you! Frolic and frisk a bit!

ANITRA

For shame! An old prophet like you-!

PEER

Oh, stuff!
The prophet's not old at all, you goose!
Do you think all this is a sign of age?

ANITRA

Let me go! I want to go home!

PEER

Coquette!
What, home! To father-in-law! That would be fine!
We madcap birds that have flown from the cage
must never come into his sight again.
Besides, my child, in the self-same place
it's wisest never to stay too long;
for familiarity lessens respect;-
most of all when one comes as a prophet or such.
One should show oneself glimpse-wise, and pass like a dream.
Faith, 'twas time that the visit should come to an end.
They're unstable of soul, are these sons of the desert;-
both incense and prayers dwindled off towards the end.

ANITRA

Yes, but are you a prophet?

PEER

Your Emperor I am!

(Tries to kiss her.)

Why just see now how coy the wee woodpecker is!

ANITRA

Give me that ring that you have on your finger.

PEER

Take, sweet Anitra, the whole of the trash!

ANITRA

Thy words are as songs! Oh, how dulcet their sound!

PEER

How blessed to know oneself loved to this pitch!
I'll dismount! Like your slave, I will lead your palfrey!

(Hands her his riding-whip, and dismounts.)

There now, my rosebud, my exquisite flower!
Here I'll go trudging my way through the sand,
till a sunstroke o'ertakes me and finishes me.
I'm young, Anitra; bear that in mind!
You mustn't be shocked at my escapades.
Frolics and high-jinks are youth's sole criterion!
And so, if your intellect weren't so dense,
you would see at a glance, oh my fair oleander,-
your lover is frolicsome-ergo, he's young!

ANITRA

Yes, you are young. Have you any more rings?

PEER

Am I not? There, grab! I can leap like a buck!
Were there vine-leaves around, I would garland my brow.
To be sure I am young! Hei, I'm going to dance!

(Dances and sings.)

I am a blissful game-cock!
Peck me, my little pullet!
Hop-sa-sa! Let me trip it;-
I am a blissful game-cock!

ANITRA

You are sweating, my prophet; I fear you will melt;-
hand me that heavy bag hung at your belt.

PEER

Tender solicitude! Bear the purse ever;-
hearts that can love are content without gold!
(Dances and sings again.)

Young Peer Gynt is the maddest wag;-
he knows not what foot he shall stand upon.
Pooh, says Peer;-pooh, never mind!
Young Peer Gynt is the maddest wag!

ANITRA

What joy when the Prophet steps forth in the dance!

PEER

Oh, bother the Prophet!-Suppose we change clothes!
Heisa! Strip off!

ANITRA

Your caftan were too long,
your girdle too wide, and your stockings too tight-

PEER

Eh bien!

(Kneels down.)

But vouchsafe me a vehement sorrow-,-
to a heart full of love, it is sweet to suffer!
Listen; as soon as we're home at my castle-

ANITRA

In your Paradise;-have we far to ride?

PEER

Oh, a thousand miles or-

ANITRA

Too far!

PEER

Oh, listen;-
you shall have the soul that I promised you once-

ANITRA

Oh, thank you; I'll get on without the soul.
But you asked for a sorrow-

PEER

(rising).

Ay, curse me, I did!
A keen one, but short,-to last two or three days!

ANITRA

Anitra obeyeth the Prophet!-Farewell

(Gives him a smart cut across the fingers, and dashes off, at a tearing gallop, back across the desert.)

PEER

(stands for a long time thunderstruck)

Well now, may I be-!


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