Loke. Whom, Skolding,
Whom fearest thou? Why hide in yonder vestments?
Hother. I fear? thou warlock! Wise
thou wert in speaking
Loke. Spare thy wrath my youthful warrior!
Reserve it for thy foes!
Hother. They shall not miss it!
Loke. And yet ’tis plain thou hidest thee from some one.
Hother. It was Nanna bade me. Ha!
I blush by heaven!
When Nanna spake I always blindly listen’d.
She has disguised me, as thou see’st, stranger;
She plagues me with her fears; the dreamer would not—
Would really not—for all the wide world’s riches,
That the wood goblin, or perhaps some lover
Invisible, should know me.
Loke. Pretty folly!
Balder invisible! the handsome half-god!
Hother. What! Balder, son of Odin?
He her lover?
O heaven! Say, where is he? where?
Loke. With Nanna.
Hother. There? Now? (After some refection.) She drove me out.
Loke. Perhaps, thou see’st
That she has rid herself of thee by cunning.
Hother. I simply thought the Alf had caus’d
But Balder, false one, he shall soon experience
That I fear no one. [About to go.
Loke. Softly, prince! be cautious!
I see thy courage; but thy foe is mighty.
Hother. Is my arm weak?
Loke. It is against a half-god;
Yet he can die. I know a spear which slayeth.
Hother. Thou dreamest!
Loke. Spare thy doubts. That spear
Can wound his breast.—But see, the sun is rising,
And I must fly to subterranean places;
But I’ll forsake thee not. This horn I give thee,
And when thy need is greatest, then, O Hother!
Blow strongly in that horn, and turning westward,
Call thrice aloud on Vanfred—Vanfred! Vanfred!
[The two last times he cries it with a hollow voice, after having disappeared among the rocks, and the last time of all evidently farther away than the other. Immediately thereupon a noise is heard among the rocks, as of distant thunder.
Hother, and presently Nanna.
Hother (casts away the horn). Accurs’d
be thou, thy horn, and all thy
Is Hother fearful? Does he crave in battle
The aid of warlocks and of arts ignoble?
Is not my arm sufficient? Ha! I’ll show thee!
[He is going; but Nanna meets him at the entrance of the scene.
Nanna. Where now?
Hother. I go to dare the wrath of Balder.
Nanna (affrighted). Ah!
Hother. His stern look may teach me how to tremble.
Nanna. O Heaven!
Hother. Hold me not!