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Full Online Book HomePlaysOlaf Liljekrans - Act 3 Scene 3
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Olaf Liljekrans - Act 3 Scene 3 Post by :atuur Category :Plays Author :Henrik Ibsen Date :May 2012 Read :2358

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Olaf Liljekrans - Act 3 Scene 3

THIRD ACT SCENE III

(OLAF. ALFHILD.)

OLAF.
Ah, if it were--for certain I cannot doubt it. Alfhild herself said that her father played such music that no one who heard it could ever forget. He mentioned Lady Ingrid who disappeared on the eve of her wedding many years ago,--there was a young minstrel named Thorgjerd who loved her, so went the story. Many a strange tale was afterwards current about him; at times he stood right in the midst of the village and played so beautifully that all who heard it had to weep; but no one knew where he made his home. Alfhild--yes, she is his child! Here she has grown up, here in this desolate valley, which no one has known of by name for many a year; and Ingrid, who disappeared--indeed, he said--

(Becomes aware of ALFHILD.)


OLAF.
Alfhild! There she is! In her wedding garments she has fled up here. Here then shall you awaken after the bridal night; so sorry a day to you was my day of honor. You wished to go out into life, you said; you wanted to learn to know all the love in the world. So sorry a journey you had, but I swear it shall all be well again. She moves; it is as if she were writhing in sorrow and anguish;--when you awaken, it shall be to joy and delight!

ALFHILD.
(Still half in dreams.)
It burns! Oh, save him,--he is within!
He must not die! Life anew he must win!

(She jumps up in fright; the music ceases.)


ALFHILD.
Where am I! He stands here before me, it seems!

Olaf Liljekrans! save me from my dreams!

OLAF.
Alfhild! take heart, here you need fear no harm!

ALFHILD.
(Moves away, fearfully and apprehensively.)
You think with sweet words my soul to beguile?
In your heart there is evil, though with lips you may smile,
On me you shall nevermore practice your charm!

OLAF.
Alfhild! be calm, do not start;
'Tis Olaf I am, the friend of your heart!
Unkind I have been, I have treated you ill;
But deep in my heart I was faithful to you!
I was blind and deluded and weak of will,--
And thus I did wound you far more than I knew!
O, can you forgive me? Alfhild, you must,--
I swear to you I shall be worthy your trust!
I shall bear you aloft and smooth your way,
And kiss from your cheek the tears of dole,
The grief in your heart I shall try to allay,
And heal the wound that burns in your soul!

ALFHILD.
I know you too well and your cunning disguise.
Since last I did see you I too have grown wise.
You would have me believe with your wily speech
It is you for whom I now suffer and languish.
You would have me believe it was you that did teach
Me to revel in joy and to writhe in anguish.
'Twill profit you little, I know you too well,
Whether early or late you come to my dell.
I know you too well; for deceit on your brow
I can read. Not so was the other, I vow!

OLAF.
The other? Whom mean you?

ALFHILD.
He that is dead!
'Tis therefore I suffer so bitter a dread.
You don't understand? You must know there were two;
And that is why peace I shall nevermore find!
The one was all love, so good and so true,
The other was evil, faithless, unkind;
The one to me came on a late summer day,
When my heart burst in flower and bloom;
The other led me in the mountain astray,
Where all things are shrouded in gloom!
'Tis the evil one, you, that has come again;
The other who loved me, so good and so kind,
The one who will never be out of my mind,--
Ah, him have I slain!

(She sinks down on a stone near the house and busts into tears.)

OLAF.
Has he stolen your peace, has he robbed you of rest,
Then why let him longer dwell there in your breast!

ALFHILD.
Alas, were I laid in the grave far below,
With me, I am sure, my sorrow would go!
I knew it not then,--to you do I swear,
I thought it was little for him I did care;
Now I see I must die of a grief-broken heart,
Yet his image will never depart!

(A short pause.)

ALFHILD.
Have you chords in your bosom that you can command?
It seems so; your voice sounds so pleasant and sweet;
Pleasant--though blended it is with deceit.
Have you chords in your breast, then go round in the land
And sing of Alfhild a plaintive lay

To the village girls you meet on the way:

Only yesterday I was so little a roe,
I roamed in the green groves around;
They came to the forest with arrow and bow,
And chased me with falcon and hound!

Only yesterday I was a bird so forlorn,
I sat 'neath the linden alone;
They drove me away from the place I was born,
And threw at me stone after stone.

Only yesterday I was an untamed dove,
Which nowhere finds peace or rest;
They came from below, they came from above,
And pierced with an arrow my breast!

OLAF.
(Deeply moved.)
Alas, that I lay in the grave below.
Lulled in eternal rest!
Your every word is a steel-made bow
That strikes with an arrow my breast!

ALFHILD.
(Jumps up with childlike joy.)

Just so it shall be,--'tis rightfully so!
Yes, truly, indeed, have you chords in your breast!
So let it be sung; they easily show
That you are yourself by my sorrow oppressed.
They show that your own grief is just as strong
As the one that you voice in your plaintive song!

(She stops and looks sorrowfully at him.)


ALFHILD.
Yet no,--you shall not sing of Alfhild's lament;
What stranger is there whom my sorrow will move!
From whence I came, and whither I went
There is no one out there who shall question or prove!
Sing rather of Olaf Liljekrans,
Who wandered astray in the elf-maidens' dance!
Sing of Alfhild, the false and unkind,
Who drove his betrothed quite out of his mind;
And sing of all the sorrow and fear,
When dead Olaf Liljekrans lay on the bier.
Sing of all the weeping below,
When away they carried the three who had died!
The one was Olaf, the other his bride!
The third was his mother who perished of woe.

OLAF.
Yes, Olaf is dead; it is just as you say;
But I shall be now so faithful a friend;
Wherever you dwell, wherever you wend,
From your side I shall nevermore stray!
May I suffer in full for the sin I committed,--
Atonement to me shall be sweet.
'Twill comfort me much if I be permitted
To roam with you here in some far-off retreat!
From early dawn till the end of day,
Like a faithful hound I shall follow your lead!
I shall clothe my remorse in so plaintive a lay
Till finally you shall believe me indeed.
Each moment we spent here in ecstasy
I shall call up again to your memory!
Each flower that blooms shall speak it anew,
The cuckoo and swallow shall sing it to you!
The trees that grow here in the forest so green
Shall whisper thereof both soft and serene!

ALFHILD.
Enough! You would only beguile me anew;
Far better were it for you now to depart!
So fair is the falsehood I see within you,
So faithless the thoughts that dwell in your heart!
What would you up here? What is it you want?
You think that you know the place that you haunt?
So pleasant a spot was this valley of yore,
A curse lies upon it forevermore!
In the past, when lone in the forest I went,
The leaves on the trees had so fragrant a scent!
The flowers bloomed forth on my every side,
When you pressed me to you and called me your bride!
But now--the whole valley is burned in the night;
The trees are burned to the left and the right;
The straw and the leaves are withered away,
Each flower is turned to a dusty gray!--

ALFHILD.
Yes, clearly I see,--in a single night
Is the world become old!--When I wandered below
All alone, and sank down 'neath my shame and my woe,
Then faded the world and its golden delight.
All things but deceit have vanished away;
So much have I learned on my bridal day!
My father lied; he was wrong when he said
The dead are borne to the dwelling of God;
But Olaf knew better the fate of the dead:
The dead sink below, far under the sod!

ALFHILD.
(She breaks out in deepest agony.)
Ah, well do I see now you knew what you did;
For low in the grave my body is hid.

OLAF.
Alfhild! Your words deal so crushing a blow!
O, God! was your heart once so young and so bold--
Forgive me my sin and forget all your woe!

ALFHILD.
(With marked and increasing bewilderment.)

Hush, do not speak to me! Olaf, behold!
A corpse they carry, to the grave they creep;
But no mother is there, no children who weep,
No pillows are there of blue or of red,--
Alfhild on shavings and straw lies dead!
I shall never ride now to the heaven above,
And awake in the arms of the God of love.
No mother have I whose heart will break,
No one who follows and weeps for my sake;
No person have I in the world so wide,
Who weeps for me at the bier,--
No angels to scatter on every side
Blue pearls in the heavenly sphere;
And ne'er shall I reach the dwelling of God,
Where the dead dream only of mirth!

OLAF.
Alfhild!

ALFHILD.
They lower me under the sod!
They cover me over with earth!
And here must I lie with all my dread,
Must live and suffer although I be dead:
Must know there is nothing now left for me,
Yet cannot forget, nor fight myself free;
Must hear when he whom my love I gave
Rides off to the church right over my grave;
Must hear him forever suffer and languish,
And yet can not lessen his anguish!
O, how my bosom is filled with despair!
The angels of God have forgotten my prayer!
They heed no longer my weeping and woe--
The portal is closed to the heavenly bliss--
Dig me up again! Let me not lie here below!

(She rushes out to the left.)

OLAF.
Alfhild! Alfhild! O, Christ, what is this?

(He follows her quickly.)

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