SCENE NINTH(At a cross-road.)
Now comes the pinch, Peer, as never before!
This Dovrish Enough has passed judgment upon you.
The vessel's a wreck; one must float with the spars.
All else; only not to the spoilt-goods heap!
(at the cross-road).
Well now, Peer Gynt, have you found your voucher?
Have we reached the cross-road? Well, that's short work!
I can see on your face, as it were on a signboard,
the gist of the paper before I've read it.
I got tired of the hunt;-One might lose one's way-
Yes; and what does it lead to, after all?
True enough; in the wood, and by night as well-
There's an old man, though, trudging. Shall we call him here?
No let him go. He is drunk, my dear fellow!
But perhaps he might-
Hush; no-let him be!
Well, shall we turn to then?
One question only:
What is it, at bottom, this "being oneself"?
A singular question, most odd in the mouth
of a man who just now-
Come, a straightforward answer.
To be oneself is: to slay oneself.
But on you that answer is doubtless lost;
and therefore we'll say: to stand forth everywhere
with Master's intention displayed like a signboard.
But suppose a man never has come to know
what Master meant with him?
He must divine it.
But how oft are divinings beside the mark,-
then one's carried ad undas in middle career.
That is certain, Peer Gynt; in default of divining
the cloven-hoofed gentleman finds his best hook.
This matter's excessively complicated.-
See here! I no longer plead being myself;-
it might not be easy to get it proven.
That part of my case I must look on as lost.
But just now, as I wandered alone o'er the heath,
I felt my conscience-shoe pinching me;
I said to myself: After all, you're a sinner-
You seem bent on beginning all over again-
No, very far from it; a great one I mean;
not only in deeds, but in words and desires.
I've lived a most damnable life abroad-
Perhaps; I must ask you to show me the schedule!
Well well, give me time; I will find out a parson,
confess with all speed, and then bring you his voucher.
Ay, if you can bring me that, then it is clear
you escape this business of the casting-ladle.
But Peer, I'd my orders-
The paper is old;
it dates no doubt from a long past period;-
at one time I lived with disgusting slackness,
went playing the prophet, and trusted in Fate.
Well, may I try?
My dear fellow,
I'm sure you can't have so much to do.
Here, in this district, the air is so bracing,
it adds an ell to the people's ages.
Recollect what the Justedal parson wrote:
"It's seldom that any one dies in this valley."
To the next cross-roads then; but not a step further.
A priest I must catch, if it be with the tongs.
(He starts running.)