here will I bide;
[Listening towards the right.
Or better—down by the riverside,
I hear Knut Gesling, with maidens and men.
There will you stay?
Till you come again
[She goes out to the
right. GUDMUND goes into the house.
[MARGIT enters from behind the house on the left.
In the hall there is gladness and revelry;
The dancers foot it with jest and glee.
The air weighed hot on my brow and breast;
For Gudmund, he was not there.
[She draws a deep breath.
Out here ’tis better: here’s quiet
How sweet is the cool night air!
[A brooding silence.
The horrible thought! Oh, why should it be
That wherever I go it follows me?
The phial—doth a secret contain;
A drop of this in my—enemy’s cup,
And his life would sicken and wither up;
The leech’s skill would be tried in vain.
[Again a silence.
Were I sure that Gudmund—held me dear—
Then little I’d care for—
[GUDMUND enters from the house.
You, Margit, here?
And alone? I have sought you everywhere.
’Tis cool here. I sickened of heat and
See you how yonder the white mists glide
Softly over the marshes wide?
Here it is neither dark nor light,
But midway between them—
in my breast.
[Looking at him.
Is’t not so—when you wander on such
You hear, though but half to yourself confessed,
A stirring of secret life through the hush,
In tree and in leaf, in flower and in rush?
[With a sudden change of tone.
Can you guess what I wish?
That I could be
The nixie that haunts yonder upland lea.
How cunningly I should weave my spell!
Margit, what ails you? Tell!
MARGIT. [Paying no heed to him.]
How I should quaver my magic lay!
Quaver and croon it both night and day!
[With growing vehemence.
How I would lure the knight so bold
Through the greenwood glades to my mountain hold.
There were the world and its woes forgot
In the burning joys of our blissful lot.
MARGIT. [Ever more wildly.]
At midnight’s hour
Sweet were our sleep in my lonely bower;—
And if death should come with the dawn, I trow
’Twere sweet to die so;—what thinkest thou?