O not to-night!
I shall be here, Katrina, waiting for you.
The old woman comes in burdened with her sack.
Grandmother. Katrina, that was a young man with you.
Katrina. O grannam, you’ve had luck to-day; but now It’s I must be the porter.
Grandmother (giving up the sack).
Ay, you take it.
It’s sore upon my back. You should have care Of these young fellows; there’s a devil in them. Never you talk with a man on the seashore Or on hill-tops or in woods and suchlike places, Especially if he’s one you think of marrying.
Katrina. Marrying? I shall never be married!
I should think ’twas horrible
Even to be in love and wanting to give
Yourself to another; but to be married too,
A man holding the very heart of you,—
Grandmother. He never does, honey, he never does.— We’re late; come along home.
In SYLVAN’S house. SYLVAN and KATRINA talking to each other and betweenwhiles thinking to themselves.
Sylvan. How pleasant and beautiful it is to be At last obedient to love! (To know Also, I’ve sold myself,—is that so pleasant?)
Katrina. I cannot think, why such a glorious wealth As this of love on our hearts should be spent. What have we done, that all this gain be ours? (Nor can I think why my life should be mixt, Even its dearest secrecy, with another.)
Sylvan. Ay, there’s the marvel! If to enter life Needed some courage, ’twere a kind of wages, As they let sacking soldiers take home loot: But we are shuffled into life like puppets Emptied out of a showman’s bag; and then Made spenders of the joys current in heaven! (Not such a marvel neither, if this love Be but the price I’m paid for my free soul. Who’s the old trader that has lent this girl The glittering cash of pleasure to pay me with? Who is it,—the world, or the devil, or God—that wants To buy me from myself?)
And then how vain
To think we can hold back from being enricht! It is not only offered—
No, ’tis a need
As irresistible within our hearts
As body’s need of breathing. (That I should be
So avaricious of his gleaming price!)
And the instant force it has upon us, when
We think to use love as a privilege!
We are like bees that, having fed all day
On mountain-heather, go to a tumbling stream
To please their little honey-heated thirsts;
And soon as they have toucht the singing relief,
The swiftness of the water seizes them.