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The Warrior's Barrow - Scene 6 Post by :Delmen Category :Plays Author :Henrik Ibsen Date :May 2012 Read :773

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The Warrior's Barrow - Scene 6

SCENE VI

(The Preceding.)

(ASGAUT, HEMMING and the VIKINGS, who lead RODERIK
between them.)

ASGAUT.
(To GANDALF.)
A meagre find, yet something, to be sure.

BLANKA.
My father!

(She throws herself in his arms.)

RODERIK.
Blanka! O, my child!

JOSTEJN.
A woman!
He will have company.

ASGAUT.
Yes, straight to Hell!

BLANKA.
O father, wherefore have you never told me--

RODERIK.
Hush! Hush! my child!

(Points to GANDALF.)

RODERIK.
Is this your chieftain?

ASGAUT.
Yes.

ASGAUT.
(To GANDALF.)
This man can tell you how your father died;
For he was in the thick of it, he says,
The only one to get away alive.

GANDALF.
Hush! I will nothing hear.

ASGAUT.
Good; let us then
Begin the task.

BLANKA.
O God! what will they do?

GANDALF.
(In an undertone.)
I cannot, Asgaut!

ASGAUT.
(Likewise.)
Is our king afraid?
Has woman's flattering tongue beguiled his mind?

GANDALF.
No matter,--I have said--

ASGAUT.
Bethink yourself,--
Your standing with your warriors is at stake.
Your word you pledged Valhalla's mighty gods,
And if you fail a dastard you'll be judged.
Do not forget our faith is insecure--
And wavering; one blow can strike its root,
And if the blow comes from the king above,
It will have had a mortal wound.

GANDALF.
Ah me!
That was a most unhappy oath I swore.

ASGAUT.
(To the VIKINGS.)
Now ready, warriors!

BLANKA.
Will you murder him,
An old, defenseless man?

ASGAUT.
Down with them both!

BLANKA.
O God!

HROLLOUG.
The woman is too fair! Let her
Return with us.

JOSTEJN.
(Laughing.)
Yes, as a warrior maid.

GANDALF.
Stand back!

RODERIK.
O spare,--O spare at least my child!
The slayer of your chieftain I will bring you,
If you will only spare her!

GANDALF.
(Quickly.)
Bring him here,
And she is free. What say you?

THE VIKINGS.
She is free!

BLANKA.
(To RODERIK.)
You promise that?

ASGAUT.
Then fetch him!

RODERIK.
Here he stands!

SOME.
Ha, that old man!

GANDALF.
O woe!

BLANKA.
No, no, you shall not--

RODERIK.
Struck by this hand the viking found his death,
Now rests he peacefully in yonder mound!

GANDALF.
My father's barrow!

RODERIK.
He was strong and brave;
Wherefore I laid him here in viking style.

GANDALF.
Since he is buried, then,--

ASGAUT.
Though he be buried,
The fallen king cries for revenge,--strike, strike!

BLANKA.
He is deceiving you!

BLANKA.
(To GANDALF.)
Do you not see
It is alone his daughter he would save?
Yet, how should your kind understand a soul
That sacrifices all--

GANDALF. I do not understand?
You do not think I can?

GANDALF.
(To the VIKINGS.)
He shall not die!

ASGAUT.
How so?

BLANKA.
O father! He is good like you.

ASGAUT.
You mean to break your oath?

GANDALF.
No, I shall keep it!

JOSTEJN.
Then what have you in mind?

HROLLOUG.
Explain!

GANDALF.
I swore
To take revenge or else to die myself.
Well, he is free,--I to Valhalla go.

BLANKA.
(To RODERIK.)
What does he mean?

ASGAUT.
Your honor you would save?--

GANDALF.
Go,--hold a ship in readiness for me,
With hoisted sail, the pyre light in the prow;
In ancient fashion I shall go aboard!
Behold, the evening breeze blows from the strand,--
On crimson wings I sail into Valhalla!

(JOSTEJN goes out to the right.)

ASGAUT.
Ah, 'tis the woman who has cast her spell on you!

BLANKA.
No, you must live!

GANDALF.
I live? No, to the gods
I must be true, I cannot break with them.

BLANKA.
Your oath is bloody, Balder hates it.

GANDALF.
Yes,
But Balder lives no longer with us now!

BLANKA.
For you he lives; your soul is gentleness.

GANDALF.
Yes, to my ruin! It became my task
As king to keep intact our great ideal,--
But I lack strength enough! Come, Asgaut, you
Shall take the kingly sceptre from my hand;
You are a warrior of the truest steel;
On me the Southern plague has been at work.
But if I cannot for my people live,
I now can die for them.

ASGAUT.
Well said, King Gandalf!

BLANKA.
Then need no more be said! Die like a hero,
Faithful and true unto the very end!
But now that we must part forever,--know,
That when you die yourself to keep your oath
You are then likewise marking me for death!

GANDALF.
What! You for death?

BLANKA.
My life was like a flower,
Transplanted in an unfamiliar soil,
Which therefore slumbered in its prison folds:
Then came a sunbeam from the distant home,--
O, that was you, my Gandalf! Opened then
The flower its calyx. In another hour,
Alas! the sunbeam paled,--the flower died!

GANDALF.
O, have I understood you right? You could?
Then is my promise thrice unfortunate!

BLANKA.
But we shall meet again!

GANDALF.
O, nevermore!
You go to heaven and the holy Christ,
I to Valhalla; silent I shall take
My place among the rest,--but near the door;
Valhalla's merriment is not for me.

JOSTEJN.
(Returns with a banner in his hand.)
See, now the bark is ready, as you bade.

ASGAUT.
O, what a glorious end! Many a man
Will envy you, indeed.

GANDALF.
(To BLANKA.)
Farewell!

BLANKA.
Farewell!
Farewell for life and for eternity!

RODERIK.
(Struggling with himself.)
Wait! Wait!

(Prostrates himself before BLANKA.)

RODERIK.
Mercy, I cry! Forgive, forgive me!

BLANKA.
O God!

GANDALF.
What means he?

RODERIK.
All will I confess:
My whole life here with you has been deceit!

BLANKA.
Ah, terror has unhinged his mind!

RODERIK.
No, no!

RODERIK.
(To GANDALF, after he has risen.)
You are released forever from your vow;
Your father's shadow needs no blood revenge!

GANDALF.
Ah, then explain!

BLANKA.
Oh, speak!

RODERIK.
Here stands King Rorek!

SOME.
The fallen king?

BLANKA.
O heavens!

GANDALF.
(In doubt.)
You,--my father?

RODERIK.
See, Asgaut! Do you still recall the scratch
You gave me on our earliest viking trip,
The time we fought about the booty?

(He uncovers his arm and shows it to ASGAUT.)

ASGAUT.
Yes,
By Thor, it is King Rorek!

GANDALF.
(Throws himself in his arms.)
Father! Father!
A second time now have you given me life.
My humble thanks!

RODERIK.
(Downcast; to BLANKA.)
And you now--what will you
Grant the old robber?

BLANKA.
Love as hitherto!
I am your daughter! Has not three years' care
Wiped off each spot of blood upon your shield?

ASGAUT.
Yet now explain,--how comes it that you live!

GANDALF.
She saved his life.

RODERIK.
Yes, like a friendly elf
She healed my wounds and cared for me,
And all the while she told me of the faith
These quiet people in the South believe,
Until my rugged heart itself was moved.
And day by day I kept the truth from her;
I did not dare to tell her--

GANDALF.
But the mound there?

RODERIK.
I laid therein my armor and my sword,
It seemed to me the grim old savage viking
Was buried then and there. Each day my child
Sent up a prayer for him beside the mound.

ASGAUT.
Farewell!

GANDALF.
Where do you go?

ASGAUT.
Northward again!
I now see clearly that my time is past--
So likewise is the viking life. I go
To Iceland; there the plague has not yet come.

ASGAUT.
(To BLANKA.)
You, woman, take my place beside the king!
For Thor is gone--and Mjölnir out of gear;
Through you now Balder rules.--Farewell!

(He goes.)

GANDALF.
Yes, Balder ruleth now, through you, my Blanka!
I see the meaning of my viking life!
'Twas not alone desire for fame and wealth
That drove me hence from my forefathers' home;
No, that which called me was a secret longing,
A quiet yearning after Balder. See,
Now is the longing stilled, now go we home;
There will I live in peace among my people.

GANDALF.
(To the VIKINGS.)
And will you follow?

ALL.
We will follow you!

GANDALF.
And you, my Blanka?

BLANKA.
I? I too am born
A Northern child; for on your mountain sides
The choicest flowers of my heart took root.
To you it was I journeyed in my dreams,
From you it was that I received my love.

RODERIK.
And now away!

GANDALF. But you?

BLANKA.
He comes with us!

RODERIK.
I shall remain.

(He points to the mound.)

RODERIK.
My barrow waits for me.

BLANKA.
And should I leave you here alone?

HEMMING.
No, no!
Be not afraid! For I shall close his eyes
And sing to him a saga from the mound;
My last song it will be.

HEMMING.
(Moved as he seizes GANDALF's hand.)
Farewell, my king!
Now have you found a better scald than I.

RODERIK.
(With firmness.)
It must be so, my Gandalf; you are king,
And you have sacred duties to discharge.

(He puts their hands together.)

RODERIK.
You are the children of the coming dawn,--
Go yonder where the royal throne awaits you;
I am the last one of the by-gone age,
My throne--it is the barrow--grant me that!

(GANDALF and BLANKA throw themselves silently into his arms. RODERIK ascends the burial mound.--HEMMING with his harp seats himself at his feet.)


GANDALF.
(With resolution.)
And now to Norway!

HROLLOUG.
Home!

ALL.
To Norway! Home!

BLANKA.
(Fired as she seizes the banner from JOSTEJN's hand.)
Yes, now away! Our course shall northward run
O'er ocean billow on through storm and sun.
Soon fades the daylight o'er the glacier's peak,
Soon is the viking life a memory bleak!
Already sits the hero on his mound;
The time is past when he could sail around
With sword and battle cry from strand to strand.
Thor's hammer will no longer rule the land,
The North will be itself a giant grave.
But bear in mind the pledge All-Fader gave:
When moss and flowers shall the barrow hide,
To Idavold the hero's ghost shall ride,--
Then Norway too shall from the grave be brought
To chastened deeds within the realm of thought!


(THE END)
Henrik Ibsen's play: Warrior's Barrow

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