An outlaw! You, Gudmund!
I am indeed.
But I swear, by the Holy Christ I swear,
Had I known the thoughts of your heart, I ne’er
Had bent me to Solhoug in my need.
I thought that you still were gentle-hearted,
As you ever were wont to be ere we parted:
But I truckle not to you; the wood is wide,
My hand and my bow shall fend for me there;
I will drink of the mountain brook, and hide
My head in the beast’s lair.
[On the point of going.
MARGIT. [Holding him back.]
Outlawed! Nay, stay! I swear to you
That naught of your outlawry I knew.
It is as I tell you. My life’s at stake;
And to live are all men fain.
Three nights like a dog ’neath the sky I’ve lain,
My couch on the hillside forced to make,
With for pillow the boulder grey.
Though too proud to knock at the door of the stranger,
And pray him for aid in the hour of danger,
Yet strong was my hope as I held on my way:
I thought: When to Solhoug you come at last
Then all your pains will be done and past.
You have sure friends there, whatever betide.—
But hope like a wayside flower shrivels up;
Though your husband met me with flagon and cup,
And his doors flung open wide,
Within, your dwelling seems chill and bare;
Dark is the hall; my friends are not there.
’Tis well; I will back to my hills from your halls.
Oh, hear me!
My soul is not base as a thrall’s.
Now life to me seems a thing of nought;
Truly I hold it scarce worth a thought.
You have killed all that I hold most dear;
Of my fairest hopes I follow the bier.
Farewell, then, Dame Margit!
Nay, Gudmund, hear!
By all that is holy—!
Live on as before
Live on in honour and joyance—
Never shall Gudmund darken your door,
Never shall cause you ’noyance.
Enough, enough. Your bitterness
You presently shall rue.
Had I known you outlawed, shelterless,
Hunted the country through—
Trust me, the day that brought you here
Would have seemed the fairest of many a year;
And a feast I had counted it indeed
When you turned to Solhoug for refuge in need.
What say you—? How shall I read your mind?
MARGIT. [Holding out her hand to him.]
Read this: that at Solhoug dwell kinsfolk kind.