(SHAWN BRUIN goes over to her.)
Beloved, do not leave me!
Remember when I met you by the well
And took your hand in mine and spoke of love.
Dear face! Dear voice!
Come, newly married bride!
I always loved her world—and yet—and yet—
(Sinks into his arms.)
THE CHILD (from
White bird, white bird, come with me, little bird.
She calls to me!
Come with me, little bird!
I can hear songs and dancing!
Stay with me!
I think that I would stay—and yet—and yet—
Come, little bird with crest of gold!
Come, little bird with silver feet!
(MAIRE dies, and the child goes.)
She is dead!
Come from that image: body and soul are gone.
You have thrown your arms about a drift of leaves
Or bole of an ash tree changed into her image.
Thus do the spirits of evil snatch their prey
Almost out of the very hand of God;
And day by day their power is more and more,
And men and women leave old paths, for pride
Comes knocking with thin knuckles on the heart.
VOICE (singing outside)
The wind blows out of the gates of the day,
The wind blows over the lonely of heart,
And the lonely of heart is withered away
While the faeries dance in a place apart,
Shaking their milk-white feet in a ring,
Tossing their milk-white arms in the air;
For they hear the wind laugh and murmur and sing
Of a land where even the old are fair,
And even the wise are merry of tongue;
But I heard a reed of Coolaney say,
“When the wind has laughed and murmured and sung,
The lonely of heart is withered away.”
(The song is taken up by
many voices, who sing loudly,
as if in triumph. Some of the voices seem to come from
within the house.)
[Footnote 1: This play is reprinted by permission of and by arrangement with Constable and Company, Limited, London.]
HALLGERD LONGCOAT, his wife
RANNVEIG, his mother
ODDNY, ASTRID, and STEINVOR, Hallgerd’s housewomen
ORMILD, a woman thrall
BIARTEY, JOFRID, and GUDFINN, beggar-women
GIZUR THE WHITE, MORD VALGARDSSON, THORGRIM THE
EASTERLING, THORBRAND THORLEIKSSON and ASBRAND
his brother, AUNUND, THORGEIB, and HROALD,
MANY OTHER RIDERS AND VOICES OF RIDERS