And her eyes were opened to all the store
Of treasure wherewith the good earth is filled.
For mark this well: it hath ever been found
That those who in caverns deep lie bound
Are lightly freed by the harp’s glad sound.
He saw her prisoned, he heard her wail—
But he cast unheeding his harp aside,
Hoisted straightway his silken sail,
And sped away o’er the waters wide
To stranger strands with his new-found bride.
[With ever-increasing passion.
So fair was thy touch on the golden strings
That my breast heaves high and my spirit sings!
I must out, I must out to the sweet green leas!
I die in the Hill-King’s fastnesses!
He mocks at my woe as he clasps his bride
And sails away o’er the waters wide.
With me all is over; my hill-prison barred;
Unsunned is the day, and the night all unstarred.
[She totters and, fainting,
seeks to support herself against
the trunk of a tree.
[Weeping, has rushed up to her, and takes her in her arms.] Margit! My sister!
[At the same time, supporting her.] Help! help! she is dying!
[BENGT and the GUESTS flock round them with cries of alarm.
The hall at Solhoug as before, but now in disorder
after the feast.
It is night still, but with a glimmer of approaching dawn in
the room and over the landscape without.
BENGT stands outside in the passage-way, with a beaker
of ale in
his hand. A party of GUESTS are in the act of leaving the
house. In the room a MAID-SERVANT is restoring order.
[Calls to the departing GUESTS.] God speed you, then, and bring you back ere long to Solhoug. Methinks you, like the rest, might have stayed and slept till morning. Well, well! Yet hold—I’ll e’en go with you to the gate. I must drink your healths once more.
[He goes out.
GUESTS. [Sing in the distance.]
Farewell, and God’s blessing on one and all
Beneath this roof abiding!
The road must be faced. To the fiddler we call:
Tune up! Our cares deriding,
With dance and with song
We’ll shorten the way so weary and long.
Right merrily off we go.
[The song dies away
in the distance.
[MARGIT enters the hall by the door on the right.
God save us, my lady, have you left your bed?
I am well. Go you and sleep. Stay—tell me, are the guests all gone?