SCENE SIXTH(Night. A heath, with fir-trees. A forest fire has been raging; charred tree-trunks are seen stretching for miles. White mists here and there clinging to the earth.) (PEER GYNT comes running over the heath.)
Ashes, fog-scuds, dust wind-driven,-
here's enough for building with!
Stench and rottenness within it;
all a whited sepulchre.
Figments, dreams, and still-born knowledge
lay the pyramid's foundation;
o'er them shall the work mount upwards,
with its step on step of falsehood.
Earnest shunned, repentance dreaded,
flaunt at the apex like a scutcheon,
fill the trump of judgment with their:
Petrus Gyntus Caesar fecit!
What is this, like children's weeping?
Weeping, but half-way to song.-
Thread-balls at my feet are rolling!-
(Kicking at them.)
Off with you! You block my path!
(on the ground).
We are thoughts;
thou shouldst have thought us;-
feet to run on
thou shouldst have given us!
(going round about).
I have given life to one;-
'twas a bungled, crook-legged thing!
We should have soared up
like clangorous voices,-
and here we must trundle
as grey-yarn thread-balls.
Thread-clue! You accursed scamp!
Would you trip your father's heels?
(flying before the wind).
We are a watchword;
thou shouldst have proclaimed us!
See how thy dozing
has wofully riddled us.
The worm has gnawed us
in every crevice;
we have never twined us
like wreaths round fruitage.
Not in vain your birth, however;-
lie but still and serve as manure.
We are songs;
thou shouldst have sung us!-
a thousand times over
hast thou cowed us and smothered us.
Down in thy heart's pit
we have lain and waited;-
we were never called forth.
In thy gorge be poison!
Poison thee, thou foolish stave!
Had I time for verse and stuff?
(Attempts a short cut.)
(dripping from the branches).
We are tears
unshed for ever.
we could have melted.
Now the barb rankles
in the shaggy bosom;-
the wound is closed over;
our power is ended.
Thanks;-I wept in Ronde-cloisters,-
none the less they tied the tail on!
We are deeds;
thou shouldst have achieved us!
Doubt, the throttler,
has crippled and riven us.
On the Day of Judgment
we'll come a-flock,
and tell the story,-
then woe to you!
Rascal-tricks! How dare you debit
what is negative against me?
Fie, what a post-boy!
Hu, you've upset me!
Snow's newly fallen here;-
sadly it's smirched me.-
You've driven me the wrong way.
Peer, where's the castle?
The Fiend has misled you
with the switch from the cupboard!
Better haste away, poor fellow!
With the devil's sins upon you,
soon you'll faint upon the hillside;-
hard enough to bear one's own sins.