But you said of late—?
To that pay no heed,
Or hear me, and understand indeed.
For me is life but a long, black night,
Nor sun, nor star for me shines bright.
I have sold my youth and my liberty,
And none from my bargain can set me free.
My heart’s content I have bartered for gold,
With gilded chains I have fettered myself;
Trust me, it is but comfort cold
To the sorrowful soul, the pride of pelf.
How blithe was my childhood—how free from care!
Our house was lowly and scant our store;
But treasures of hope in my breast I bore.
GUDMUND. [Whose eyes have been fixed upon her.]
E’en then you were growing to beauty rare.
Mayhap; but the praises showered on me
Caused the wreck of my happiness—that I now see.
To far-off lands away you sailed;
But deep in my heart was graven each song
You had ever sung; and their glamour was strong;
With a mist of dreams my brow they veiled.
In them all the joys you had dwelt upon
That can find a home in the beating breast;
You had sung so oft of the lordly life
’Mid knights and ladies. And lo! anon
Came wooers a many from east and from west;
And so—I became Bengt Gauteson’s wife.
The days that passed were but few
Ere with tears my folly I ’gan to rue.
To think, my kinsman and friend, on thee
Was all the comfort left to me.
How empty now seemed Solhoug’s hall,
How hateful and drear its great rooms all!
Hither came many a knight and dame,
Came many a skald to sing my fame.
But never a one who could fathom aright
My spirit and all its yearning—
I shivered, as though in the Hill-King’s might;
Yet my head throbbed, my blood was burning.
But your husband—?
never to me was dear.
’Twas his gold was my undoing.
When he spoke to me, aye, or e’en drew near,
My spirit writhed with ruing.
[Clasping her hands.
And thus have I lived for three long years—
A life of sorrow, of unstanched tears!
Your coming was rumoured. You know full well
What pride deep down in my heart doth dwell.
I hid my anguish, I veiled my woe,
For you were the last that the truth must know.
’Twas therefore, then, that you turned away—
MARGIT. [Not looking at him.]
I thought you came at my woe to jeer.
Margit, how could you think—?