Henrik Ibsen.

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Lady Inger {composedly, with emphasis). The
last resource? Right, right — the last resource stands
open to all. {Points to the left?) See, meanwhile you
can hide in there.

Nils Stensson {softly). Trust me — you will never
repent of this.

Lady Inger {half to herself). God grant that you
speak the truth !

(Nils Stensson goes out hastily by the furthest
door on the left. Olaf Skaktavl is following;
but Lady Inger detains him.)

LADY Inger. Did you understand his meaning?

Olaf Skaktavl. The dastard ! He would be-

Act V.] Lady Inger of OstrAt.


tray your secret. He would sacrifice your son to
save himself.

Lady Inger. When life is at stake, he said, we
must try the last resource. — It is well, Olaf Skaktavl,
— let it be as he has said !

Olaf Skaktavl. What mean you ?

Lady Inger. Life for life ! One of them must

Olaf Skaktavl. Ah — you would ?

Lady Inger. If we close not the lips of him that
is within ere he come to speech with the Swedish
captain, then is my son lost to me. But if he be
swept from my path, when the time comes I can
claim all his rights for my own child. Then shall
you see that Inger Ottisdaughter has metal in her
yet. And be assured you shall not have long to
wait for the vengeance you have thirsted after for
twenty years. — Hark ! They are coming up the
stairs ! Olaf Skaktavl, — it lies with you whether
to-morrow I shall be a childless woman, or

Olaf Skaktavl. So be it ! I have one sound
hand left yet. {Gives her his hand.) Inger
Gyldenlove — your name shall not die out through

{Follows Nils STENSSON into the inner room.)

LADY Inger (pale and trembling). But dare I ?

(A noise is heard in the room; she rushes with
a scream towards the door.)

No, no, — it must not be !

(A heavy fall is heard within; she covers h cl-
ears with her hands and hurries back across the
hall with a wild look. After a pa7ise she takes

n6 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.

her hands cautiously away, listens again and
says softly :)

Now it is over. All is still within

Thou sawest it, God — I repented me ! But Olaf
Skaktavl was too swift of hand.

(Olaf Skaktavl comes silently into the hall?)

Lady INGER {after a pause, without looking at him).
Is it done ?

Olaf Skaktavl. You need fear him no more ;
he will betray no one.

Lady Inger (as before). Then he is dumb?

Olaf Skaktavl. Six inches of steel in his
breast. I felled him with my left hand.

LADY Inger. Ay — the right was too good for
such work.

Olaf Skaktavl. That is your affair ; — the
thought was yours. — And now to Sweden ! Peace
be with you meanwhile ! When next we meet at
Ostrat, I shall bring another with me.

(Goes out by the furthest door on the right.)

LADY Inger. Blood on my hands. Then it was
to come to that ! — He begins to be dear-bought now.
(BlORN comes in, with a number of Swedish men-
at-arms, by the first door on the right?)

One of the Men-at-Arms. Pardon me, if you
are the lady of the house

LADY INGER. Is it Count Sture you seek ?

The Man-AT-Arms. The same.

Lady INGER. Then you are on the right scent.
The Count has sought refuge with me.

The Man-at-Arms. Refuge ? Pardon, my noble
lady, — you have no power to harbour him ; for

Act V.] Lady Inger of Ostrat. 117

Lady Inger. That the Count himself has doubt-
less understood ; and therefore he has — ay, look for
yourselves — therefore he has taken his own life.

The Man-at-Arms. His own life !

Lady INGER. Look for yourselves. You will
find the corpse within there. And since he already
stands before another judge, it is my prayer that he
may be borne hence with all the honour that beseems
his noble birth. — Biorn, you know my own coffin has
stood ready this many a year in the secret chamber.
{To the Men-at-Arms.) I pray that in it you will
bear Count Sture's body to Sweden.

The Man-at-Arms. It shall be as you command.
{To one of the others.) Haste with these tidings to
Jens Bielke. He holds the road with the rest of the

troop. We others must in and

{One of the Men-at-Arms goes out to the right ;
the others go with BlORN into the room on the

Lady Inger {moves about for a time in uneasy
silence). If Count Sture had not said farewell to the
world so hurriedly, within a month he had hung on a
gallows, or had sat for all his days in a dungeon.
Had he been better served with such a lot ?

Or else he had bought his life by betraying my
child into the hands of my foes. Is it /, then, that
have slain him ? Does not even the wolf defend her
cubs ? Who dare condemn me for striking my claws
into him that would have reft me of my flesh and
blood ? — It had to be. No mother but would have
done even as I.

But 'tis no time for idle musings now. I must to work.

n8 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.

{Sits down by the table on the left.)
I will write to all my friends throughout the land.
They must rise as one man to support the great

cause. A new king, — regent first, and then king

{Begins to write, but falls into thought, and says
softly :)
Whom will they choose in the dead man's place ? — A

king's mother ? 'Tis a fair word. It has but

one blemish — the hateful likeness to another word.
— King's mother and — king's murderer?- — King's
murderer — one that takes a king's life. King's
mother — one that gives a king life.
{She rises.)
Well, then ; I will make good what I have taken. —
My son shall be king !

{She sits down again and begins writing, but
pushes the paper away again, and leans back in
her chair.)
There is no comfort in a house where lies a corpse.
'Tis therefore I feel so strangely. ( Turns her head to
one side as if speaking to some one.) Not therefore?
Why else should it be ?
Is there such a great gulf, then, between openly
striking down a foe and slaying one — thus ? Knut
Alfson had cleft many a brain with his sword ; yet
was his own as peaceful as a child's. Why then do
I ever see this — {makes a motion as though striking
with a knife) — this stab in the heart — and the gush
of red blood after ?

1 The words in the original are "Kongemoder" and " Konge-
morder," a difference of one letter only.

Act V.] Lady Inger of Ostrat. 119

{Rings, and goes on speaking while shifting about
her papers.)
Hereafter I will have none of these ugly sights. I
will work both day and night And in a month — in
a month my son will be here

BlORN (entering). Did you strike the bell, my

Lady Inger (writing). Bring more lights. See
to it in future that there are many lights in the

(BiOrn goes out again to the left.)

LADY Inger (of ter a pause, rises impetuously). No,
no, no ; — I cannot guide the pen to-night ! My head

is burning and throbbing

(Startled, listens?)
What is that ? Ah, they are screwing the lid on the
coffin in there.

When I was a child they told me the story of Sir
Age, 1 who rose up and walked with his coffin on his
back. — If he in there were one night to think of
coming with the coffin on his back, to thank me for
the loan ? (Laughs quietly.) Hm — what have we
grown people to do with childish fancies ? ( Vehe-
mently.) But such stories are hurtful none the less !
They give uneasy dreams. When my son is king,
they shall be forbidden.

(Goes up and down once or twice ; then opens the

How long is it, commonly, ere a body begins to
rot ? All the rooms must be aired. 'Tis not whole-
some here till that be done.

1 Pronounce Oayh .

120 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [ActV.

(Biorn comes in with two lighted branch-candle-
sticks, which he places on the tables.)
Lady Inger {who has begun on the papers again).
It is well. See you forget not what I have said.
Many lights on the table !

What are they about now in there ?
Biorn. They are busy screwing down the coffin-lid.
Lady Inger (writing). Are they screwing it down
tight ?

Biorn. As tight as need be.

Lady Inger. Ay, ay — who can tell how tight it
needs to be ? Do you see that 'tis well done.

(Goes up to him with her hand full of papers, and
says mysteriously :)
Biorn, you are an old man ; but one counsel I will
give you. Be on your guard against all men — both
those that are dead and those that are still to die. —
Now go in — go in and see to it that they screw the
lid down tightly.

BlORN (softly, shaking his head). I cannot make
her out.

(Goes back again into the room on the left.)
Lady Inger (begins to seal a letter, but throzvs it
down half closed ; walks up and down awliile, and
then says vehemently :)

Were I a coward I had never done it — never to all
eternity ! Were I a coward, I had shrieked to myself:
Refrain, ere yet thy soul is utterly lost !

(Her eye falls on Sten Shire's picture ; she
turns to avoid seeing it, and says softly :)
He is laughing down at me as though he were
alive ! Pah !

Act V.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 121

{Turns the picture to the wall without looking
at it.)

Wherefore did you laugh ? Was it because I did
evil to your son ? But the other, — is not he your son
too ? And he is mine as well ; mark that !

{Glances stealtliily along the row of pictures?)

So wild as they are to-night, I have never seen
them yet. Their eyes follow me wherever I may
go. {Stamps on the floor?) I will not have it ! I
will have peace in my house ! {Begins to turn all
the pictures to the wall?) Ay, if it were the Holy

Virgin herself Thinkest thou now is the

time ? Why didst thou never hear my prayers,

my burning prayers, that I might get back my
child ? Why ? Because the monk of Wittenberg is
right. There is no mediator between God and man !

{She draws her breath heavily and continues inf\Nv
ever-increasing distraction. )

It is well that I know what to think in such things.
There was no one to see what was done in there.
There is none to bear witness against me.

{Suddenly stretches out her hands and zvhispers:)

My son ! My beloved child ! Come to me ! Here
I am ! Hush ! I will tell you something: They hate
mc up there — beyond the stars — because I bore you
into the world. It was meant that I should bear the
Lord God's standard over all the land. But I went
my own way. It is therefore I have had to suffer so
much and so long.

BlORN {comes from the room on the left). My lady,

I have to tell you Christ save mc — what is

this ?


122 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.

Lady Inger {has climbed up into the high-seat by
the right-hand wall). Hush! Hush! I am the
King's mother. They have chosen my son king.
The struggle was hard ere it came to this — for 'twas
with the Almighty One himself I had to strive.

Nils Lykke {comes in breathless from the right).
He is saved ! I have Jens Bielke's promise. Lady
Inger, — know that

Lady Inger. Peace, I say ! look how the people

{A funeral hymn is heard from the room within?)

There comes the procession. What a throng ! All
men bow themselves before the King's mother. Ay,
ay; has she not fought for her son — even till her
hands grew red withal ? — Where are my daughters ?
I see them not.

Nils Lykke. God's blood ! — what has befallen

LADY INGER. My daughters — my fair daughters !
I have none any more. I had one left, and her I lost
even as she was mounting her bridal bed. ( Whispers.)
Lucia's corpse lay in it. There was no room for

Nils Lykke. Ah — it has come to this ! The
Lord's vengeance is upon me.

LADY Inger. Can you see him ? Look, look !
It is the King. It is Inger Gyldenlove's son ! I
know him by the crown and by Sten Sture's ring that
he wears round his neck. Hark, what a joyful sound !
He is coming ! Soon will he be in my arms ! Ha-
ha ! — who conquers, God or I ?

{The Men-at-Arms come out with the coffin.)

Act V.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 123

Lady Inger {clutches at her head and shrieks).
The corpse ! ( Whispers.) Pah ! It is a hideous

{Sinks back into the high-seat?)

Jens BlELKE {who has come in from the right,
stops and cries in astonishment). Dead ! Then after

One of the Men-at-Arms. It was himself

Jens Bielke {with a look at Nils Lykke). He
himself ?

Nils Lykke. Hush!

Lady Inger {faintly, coming to herself). Ay,
right; — now I remember it all.

Jens Bielke {to the Men-at-Arms). Set down the
corpse. It is not Count Sture.

One of the Men-at-Arms. Your pardon, Cap-
tain ; — this ring that he wore round his neck

Nils Lykke {seizes his arm). Be still !

LADY Inger {starts up). The ring? The ring!
{Ruslies up and snatches the ringfro7ii him.)

Sten Sture's ring! {With a shriek.) Oh, Jesus
Christ — my son !

(Throws herself dozvn on the coffin.)

The Men-at-Arms. Her son ?

tjENS BlELKE {at the same time). Inger Gylden-
ove's son ?
Nils Lykke. So it is.

Jens Bielke. But why did you not tell
j rpi ? '

BlORN {trying to raise her up). Help ! help ! My
1 lady — what ails you ?

LADY INGER {in a faint voice, half raising herself ).

124 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.

What ails me ? I lack but another coffin, and a
grave beside my child.

{Sinks again, senseless, on the coffin. NILS Lykke
goes hastily out to the right. General consterna-
tion among the rest.)

& 671 U J foJA ■




Ornulf of the Fiords, an Icelandic Chieftain.

Sigurd the Strong, a Sea-King.

Gunnar Headman, 1 a rich yeoman of Helgeland.

Thorolf, Ornulf ' s youngest son.

Dagny, Ornulf's daughter.

Hiordis, his foster-daughter.

Kare the Peasant, a Helgeland-tnan.

Egil, Gunnar 's son, four years old.

Ornulf's six older Sons.

Ornulf's and Sigurd's Men.

Guests, house-carls, serving-maids, outlaws, etc.

TJie action takes place in the time of Erik Blood-axe {about A.D. 933)
at, and i?i the neighbourhood of, Gunnar's house, on the island of
Helgeland, in the north of Norway.

[Pronunciation of Names. — Helgeland = Helgheland; Omulf=
Ornoolf ; Sigurd = Sig oord; Gunnar = Goonnar ; Thorolf = Toorolf;
Hiordis = Yordeess ; Kare = ICoare; Egil = Ayghil. The letter o as
in German.]

1 Failing to find a better equivalent for the Norwegian " Herse,"
I have used the word "Headman" wherever it seemed necessary to
give Gunnar a title or designation. He is generally spoken of as
"Gunnar Herse" in the Norwegian text; but where it could be done
without inconvenience, the designation has here been omitted.


Act First.

(A rocky coast, running precipitously down to the sea at the
back. To the left, a boat-house ; to the right, rocks and pine-
woods. The masts of two war-ships can be seen down in the
cove. Far out to the right, the ocean, dotted with reefs and
rocky islands j the sea is running high; it is a stormy
snow-grey winter day.)

(SlGURD comes up from the ships; he is clad in a white tunic
with a silver belt, a blue cloak, cross-gartered hose, untanned
shoes, and a steel cap ; at his side hangs a short sword.
Ornulf comes in sight immediately afterwards, up among
the rocks, clad in a dark lamb-skin tunic with a breastplate
and greaves, woolleji stockings, and imtanned shoes; over his
shoulders he has a cloak of brown frieze, with the hood
drawn over his steel cap, so that his face is partly hidden.
He is very tall and massively built, with a long white
beard, but somewhat bowed by age j his weapons are a round
shield, sword, and spear.)

SlGURD {enters first, looks around, sees the boat-shed,
goes quickly up to it, and tries to burst open the door.)

Ornulf (appears among the rocks, starts o?i seeing
SlGURD, seems to recogitise him, descends and cries:)
Give place, Viking !

128 The Vikings at Helgeland. [Act I.

SlGURD {funis, lays his hand on his szvord, and
ansivers :) 'Twere the first time if I did !

Ornulf. Thou shalt and must! I have need of
the shelter for my stiff- frozen men.
SlGURD. And I for a weary woman !
ORNULF. My men are worth more than thy
women !

SlGURD. Then must outlaws be highly prized in
Helgeland !

ORNULF. Dearly shalt thou aby that word !
SlGURD. Now will it go ill with thee, old man !
(Ornulf rushes upon him; SlGURD defends

(DAGNY and some

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Online LibraryHenrik IbsenIbsen's prose dramas (Volume 3) → online text (page 8 of 22)