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Title: Fenris, the Wolf - A Tragedy
Author: MacKaye, Percy
Language: English
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FENRIS, THE WOLF


[Illustration: Publisher's logo]


FENRIS, THE WOLF

A Tragedy

by

PERCY MACKAYE

Author of “The Canterbury Pilgrims”



New York
The Macmillan Company
London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd.
1905

All rights reserved

Copyright, 1905,
By the Macmillan Company.

Set up and electrotyped. Published April, 1905.

Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing & Co. — Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.


                                   TO
                             NORMAN HAPGOOD

                           CRITIC AND FRIEND



AUTHOR’S NOTE


The invocation of Ingimund to Odin, on page 38, is adapted from
Fragments of a Spell Song, preserved as an insertion in the Great
Play of the Wolsungs, and to be found, both original and translation,
in the _Corpus Poeticum Boreale_ of Vigfusson and Powell, Oxford,
1883.

For dramatic reasons, various liberties have been taken by the writer
with those elements of this play which are drawn from Scandinavian
mythology. For example, according to mythology, the Fenris-wolf is
the offspring, not of Odin, but of Loki; the wolf and Baldur are not
brothers; no mention is made of the wolf’s Pack. Moreover, in the Old
Icelandic utterances of the Pack—for purposes of sound merely—a
preterite form has twice been used for a present tense, as in _Ulfr
sofnathi_, “the wolf sleepeth.”

Where authenticity, however, has harmonised with the dramatic idea,
it has equally been the writer’s aim.

    CORNISH, N.H., March, 1905.



               CHARACTERS

           OF THE PROLOGUE

    ODIN
    BALDUR
    THOR
    LOKI
    FENRIS
    FENRIS’S PACK
    FREYJA

             OF THE PLAY

    INGIMUND,    _Priest of Odin_
    EGIL,        _a Hunter_
    ARFI,        _a Dwarf, his brother_
    YORUL,       _liegeman of Egil_
    ROLF,        _liegeman of Egil_
    ERIC,        _liegeman of Egil_
    WULDOR,      _liegeman of Arfi_
    A LITTLE BOY
    THORDIS,     _daughter of Ingimund and priestess of Odin’s temple_
    FRIDA,       _one of her Virgins_
    A LITTLE GIRL

    FOLK, PRIESTS, VIRGINS, CHILDREN



                        SCENES

    THE PROLOGUE.  _The crater of a volcano; dawn._

    ACT FIRST.
        SCENE I.   _The rune-stone of Odin, outside a
                                tribal temple; morning._
        SCENE II.  _Egil’s lodge in the forest; toward twilight._

    ACT SECOND.
        SCENE I.   _A prison chamber; day._
        SCENE II.  _The same; night._

    ACT THIRD.     _A forest glade; the pool of Freyja; early morning._

    ACT FOURTH.    _The rune-stone again; sunset._

                      TIME AND PLACE
    _The Age of Northern Mythology; Iceland. The incidents of
          the play are conceived as taking place within the cycle
          of a year._



                            THE PROLOGUE


                     Foreground—a frozen crater

    _At back, a cavern. Overhanging this, at left and back,
        snow-crusted cliffs, partly bared by the winds, stand
        out against the stars._

    _On one of these_, ODIN _seated; on his
        shoulders, two ravens. Beneath him, in the crater and
        cavern, half-discernible_, FENRIS _and his_
        PACK.

                         ODIN
    He sleeps, yet restive still; with eyelids squint
    Through which his eyes, in dreams still shifting, flash
    Like flame through knot-holes. Yet he sleeps; beside him
    His wild pack, crouching, share his chain.—A lull:
    Betwixt moonset and sunrise, one at least,
    One lull in that insensate harsh defiance,
    The beast-night-barking of my wolfish son.
    You stars! Fenris is quiet. Now the dews
    May fall in silence, now the mountain birds
    Nest silent by the unawakened morning,
    The wide dark fold its wings and dream. Now peace,
    The infinite soliloquy of thought,
    Descends on Odin.

    [_A silent pause, during which the first pale signs of dawn
        appear on the crags. Odin whispers to the ravens on his
        shoulders and they fly away. He sits motionless and
        serene._]

                       THE PACK
                   [_Slumbrously._]
    Ulfr! Ulfr sofnathi!

                         ODIN
              [_Gazes again on_ FENRIS.]
                         That this dread should breathe!
    And yon beast born from out my loins—to me,
    To me, that from this forehead plucked an eye
    To pawn for Mimi’s knowledge.—Wisdom, truth,
    Beauty, and law, the tranquil goals of mind,
    All these had I attained, and I a god;
    Yet on the lank, alluring hag of Chaos
    Begat this son, this living fang.

                       THE PACK
                    [_Slumbrously._]
    Ulfr! Ulfr sofnathi!

                       ODIN
                         O thou
    Dumb spirit of the mind! O mystery!
    Were there a god whom Odin might invoke,
    To thee would Odin sue for pity.—Ages,
    A thousand ages, anguish;
    Anguish, remorse, forgiveness, malediction,
    Light into darkness, horror into hope,
    Revolving evermore.—O pain, O pain,
    Sear not my spirit blind!—Thou, tameless wolf,
    God of the void eternal retrograde,
    Prone deity of self, by that thou art—
    Illimitable passion, joyance mad
    Of being, hate, brute-cunning, gnawing lust,
    Fenris, I curse thee.
                          [_Fenris wakes._]

                         THE PACK
                       [_Wildly._]
    Ulfr! Ulfr vaknathi!

                          FENRIS
    Father!

                           ODIN
    Still that name!

                          FENRIS
    Father!

                           ODIN
    Fenris, my son, forgive me.

                          FENRIS
    Fetch Fenris Freyja.

                           ODIN
                               Bastard wolf,
    Be silent.

                          FENRIS
    Baldur, my brother’s bride betrothèd,
    Freyja, fetch me.

                           ODIN
                  Still no longing but ’tis lust,
    No aspiration but ’tis appetite.

                          FENRIS
    Anarch! anarch! anarch! Father, free me!

                           ODIN
    Free thee, thou poor antagonist. Knowest thou
    Not yet why thou art chained? Retarded thing,
    Emancipate thyself! What might it avail
    Though Odin burst these links and loosed thee?—Thou
    Thyself art thine own bondage and thy pain.

                         THE PACK
    Ulfr! Ulfr!

                          FENRIS
    Anarch! anarch! Ulfr!

                           ODIN
    Yet could’st thou show some genesis of good,
    Some spring of growth. Hadst thou, in all these ages,
    Waxed toward my stature imperceptibly
    Even as the seed, that germinates in darkness,
    Feels toward the sky; yea, hadst thou now one pale
    Potential spark of godhood, nobler desire,
    Evolving intellect, one lineal trait
    To prove that upward through thy brutish heart
    Yearns infinite Reason, even now, poor son,
    Would I strike off these fetters, set thee free,
    Thee and thy pack, and put my hope in time.

                         THE PACK
    Heil! Heil, Othinn!

                          FENRIS
    Fenris! Free him.

                           ODIN
    But lo! instead, what art thou? Ye faint stars,
    Before you close your eyes in day, once more
    Behold him! Ye icy craters and hoar caves,
    Thou solitary dawn, eternal sky,
    Perennial snows—you timeless presences,
    Behold your consummation: this, even this,
    Is Odin’s elder son, creation’s heir!

                          FENRIS
    Anarch! anarch! anarch! anarch! anarch!

    [_Odin, covering his face, turns away and disappears behind
        the crag. Fenris, with his pack, retires into the
        cavern, dragging his chain. Outside_ BALDUR
        _is heard singing, joined, in chorus, by the voices of
        nature on whom he calls_.]

                          BALDUR
    Flushing peak, fainting star,
            Freyja!
    Torches in thy temple are,
            Freyja!
          Spirits of air,
          Anses and elves,
          Brightens the dawn,
          Freyja is gone.
    Come! let us go to her, girding ourselves.

                         CHORUS
    Freyja, where art thou?
        Where? Where?

       [FREYJA _enters, looking fearfully around her_.]

                          FREYJA
    Those giant beards and backs!—They turn and look.
    The peaks pursue me, and the nudging cliffs
    Thrust out great chins and stare. Where should this lead?

                          BALDUR
                       [_Outside._]
    Mortal day, man’s desires,
            Freyja!
    Feed on earth thine altar-fires,
            Freyja!
          Spirits of earth,
          Wood-sprites and Wanes,
          Gone is our mirth,
          Sorrow remains.
    Come! let us hasten and bid her beware!

                         CHORUS
    Freyja, where art thou?
        Where? Where?

                          FREYJA
    Can this place be i’ the world? And were such shapes
    Wrought in the dear creation? And that voice—
    Was it this crater’s frozen mouth that moaned
    For blossoms and the south wind and my love?

                          BALDUR
                        [_Enters._]
    Freyja!

                          FREYJA
         O Baldur, come!

                          BALDUR
                            What hast thou seen?
    Why hast thou left the silver roof of shields,
    Thy lover’s eyes, the laughter of the gods,
    To wander forth in night?

                          FREYJA
                            Barkings I heard.

                          BALDUR
    Hush, Freyja!

                          FREYJA
                  Through the music of the gods
    Faintly I heard it knell and yearn for me;
    And so I stole away. But tell me—

                          BALDUR
                                  Come!

                          FREYJA
    Tell me what thing of nameless woe—

                          BALDUR
                                  Oh, come
    And ask not. Come away to Valhal.

    [_He leads her impetuously away from the crater toward
        the sunrise._]

                          FREYJA
                    [_Resists gently._]
                                      Baldur!

                          BALDUR
    Freyja, look down! Spring leaps among the valleys
    And calls his universal flocks, to drink
                  The love of Freyja.
    The forests rush together and the groves,
    And the male oaks, like herded elk at war,
    Tangle their budding antlers, and moan loud
                  For Freyja’s love.

    Look down! The silvered pastures and the lakes
    Lift all their sacrificial clouds, to crave
                  The love of Freyja;
    And day’s bright stallion, snorting in the east,
    Paws the pale stream of morning into gold
    And champs his golden curb to burning foam
                  For Freyja’s love.

            [_He draws her farther away._]

                          FREYJA
    But if _one_ yearn in vain—

    [_The rattle of Fenris’s manacles echoes in the crater._]

                         THE PACK
    Ulfr! Ulfr vaknathi!

                          FREYJA
                         Listen! They cry—
    “The wolf awakeneth!” What wolf? And why
    That clang of steel?

                          BALDUR
                        His chain.

                          FREYJA
                 [_In dreadful wonder._]
                                    But _he_?

                          BALDUR
                                          A beast
    Untamed and tameless.—Ask not with thine eyes!—
    Fenris, my brother.

                          FREYJA
          [_Springs joyfully toward the crater._]
                      Ah!

                          BALDUR
                      [_Stays her._]
                            Where art thou going?

                          FREYJA
    To greet my lover’s kindred. Were it not well?

                          BALDUR
    Oh, would it were! Look not; this kin is monstrous.

                          FREYJA
    Is it not a god as we?

                          BALDUR
                           It is a god,
    Freyja, but not as we.—It is the wolf-god,
    Lord of the dumb and kithless wild, that live
    To breed and kill their forms of dreadful beauty—
    A vacant sacrifice to him: the doe,
    That stills all night her knocking heart, to hear
    The wood-cat’s footfall, breathes mute prayer to Fenris;
    The frothing stag, that blazons the black boar
    With gules of death, bruits hymns to Fenris; yet
    Their pangs assuage him not, for he himself
    Remains the abject deity of lust,
    His rites, the stretched claw and the stiffened mane;
    His priest—a sated fang; his altar—fear.

                          FREYJA
    But why makes he his sanctuary thus
    Lonely in desolation?

                          BALDUR
                          ’Tis the will
    Of Odin. Ask no more. This cleft he chose
    Wherein to hide the secret woe of the world,
    That never thou shouldst look upon its face.

                          FREYJA

    I?

                          BALDUR
        Thou, O maiden! Thou art the hope of the world.

                          FENRIS
    Freyja!

                          FREYJA
            He calls me.

                          FENRIS
                          Freyja!

                          FREYJA
                             Hark! He yearns
    For me!

                          BALDUR
                   [_Urging her away._]
        ’Tis Odin’s will.

                          FENRIS
                          Freyja!

                          FREYJA
                               He cries
    In pain. Hold me no longer.—Fenris!

                           ODIN
    [_Entering, intercepts her path with his spear._]
                                     Stay!

                          FREYJA
    Allfather! hark his pain. Alas, poor wolf!

                           ODIN
    Poor wolf? Poor world! poor blind, precarious Reason,
    Beneath whose sovereign throne this horror sits,
    Cat-crouching to usurp it.—Fear him; go!

                          FENRIS
    Ai! ai! anarch! Freyja!

                          FREYJA
    He yearns for me. Am I not beautiful?
    Am I not holy? Wherefore should I fear?
    All living things love Freyja; gods and men,
    Anses and elves and helpless animals.
    Where I walk glittering, there lovers press
    And consecrate their eyes and beat their hearts
    Like moths against the moon. And shall I go
    Nor smile once kindly on him? Even the moon
    Is kinder to her loves.

                           ODIN
                           He craves no smile
    From thee, nor ever smiled into the face
    Of love since his birth-hour. He lusts for thee.

                          FREYJA
    Why should he not? Hath Odin never lusted?
    What mind that knows the lust of intellect
    Shall mock desire? Ah! Who that ever yearned,
    Yearned not in ignorance?

                          BALDUR
                             Have pity, father!

                           ODIN
                      [_To Freyja._]
    Child, pitiest thou this thing?

                          FREYJA
                              Hath not its voice
    Cried out immortally and craved me? Pity?
    _Love_ is a kind of pity for itself
    That longs so endlessly. Allfather, never
    Ere now hast thou gainsaid me.

                           ODIN
                              Yet must now!
    This bitterness is mine alone to bear.
    O Freyja! O my Baldur! You of all
    The creatures of my will, bright lovers, you
    Only are happy. Be so still. Depart!
    Forget these wolvish cries; seek not to help
    Evil unsolvable.

                          FREYJA
                     What then is evil,
    That lovers may not solve it?

                           ODIN
    [_His face turning wistful with a beautiful light,
           lifts his obstructive spear, and stands from
           the path._]
                             Hope of the world!

                          FENRIS
    Freyja!

                           ODIN
        Behold!

    [_He watches with the look of wistfulness as Freyja and
        Baldur, springing to the brink of the crater, gaze down
        upon Fenris._]

                          FREYJA
                          Ah me!

                          BALDUR
                            Fenris, my brother!

                          FREYJA
    O pain! Why dost thou look upon me so?

                          FENRIS
    Fair art, Freyja; shalt Fenris fear not?

                          FREYJA
    What wouldst thou?

                          FENRIS
    Lithe thy limbs are; lief am to lie with thee.

                         FREYJA
                  Are these snows thy dwelling-place?
    No flowers grow here. Take these.

    [_Freyja lets fall some of her flowers into the crater._]

                          FENRIS
         [_Tearing them, as the Pack yells._]
    Anarch! anarch!

                          FREYJA
                     [_Drawing back._]
                                 Alas!

                          BALDUR
                            Peace, brother!

                          FREYJA
    Thou lovest me. Why, then, art thou not glad?

                          FENRIS
    Chafe, choke me, chains; chaffeth the churl at me!

                          FREYJA
    Take heart; we come to bring thee peace. O Baldur!

    [_Clinging to Baldur, she gazes with fascinated awe upon
        Fenris, who, pacing ever in and out, amid his involving
        Pack, with the swift, incessant shuttle movement of
        a caged wild thing, upturns his shifting eyes in
        yearning._]

                          FENRIS
    Free me, Freyja; frore am I, frost-bit,
    Go we together into greenwood glad.
    Mirk under moon-mist mad will meet thee,
    Hunt thee from hiding, thy heart-beats hear!
    Press thee, panting!

                         THE PACK
    Ulfr! Ulfr!

                          FENRIS
    Bite—bark at thee—

                         THE PACK
    Ulfr! Ulfr!

                          FENRIS
                             Miles, miles, miles!

                          FREYJA
                      [_To Baldur._]
    He loves me, yet his looks are terrible.
    He saw me, yet he smiled not. Flowers I gave him,
    But he destroyed them. Sorrowful he is,
    Yet hath no tears in his eyes.—What shall we do?

                          FENRIS
    Free me, Freyja; fair art thou, froward—
    Go we together into greenwood glad.
    Burns thine eyebeam bright as the bitch-wolf’s,
    Longeth Fenris in thy lair to lie;
    Longeth to chase thee.

                         THE PACK
    Ulfr! Ulfr!

                          FENRIS
    Chafe, champ thee—

                         THE PACK
    Ulfr! Ulfr!

                          FENRIS
                            Leave thee with child.

                          FREYJA
    Baldur, what reeling darkness snows around us
    From heaven? The rose of dawn is stung with blight.

                           ODIN
                         [_Aside._]
    O mystery! O will behind the will,
    How shall this end?

                          BALDUR
                      From heaven no darkness falls;
    It is the glamour of his woeful eyes,
    That spet the night within them.

                          FREYJA
          [_Half wildly, whispers at Baldur’s ear._]
                                     It must cease!
    The shy bird hath his song within the wood,
    The shepherd’s call is sweet along the hills,
    To husband and to lover are the sounds
    Of gracious voices in the home places,—
    To _him_, the ceaseless clanging of his chain.

                          BALDUR
    O Freyja, we will minister to him,
    Until for him the shy bird’s song is sweet,
    And sweet the shepherd’s call along the hills.
    Fenris!

    [_Swinging from the brink of the crater, he lets himself
        down. As he descends, Fenris springs toward him to the
        limit of his chain._]

                          FENRIS
    Hail, Baldur! hail, brother! Boast thy beauty now;
    Woo now and wive thee, welcome to Fenris’ woe.
    All elf-gifts thou asked Odin gave thee,
    Sunlight, summer, song for solace,
    Fair face, freedom, Freyja to friend.
    Me what gave he? Mark!—Mountain-mist, madness,
    Monstrous made me, marr’d, wolf-masked,
    Cramped in snow-crater, frost-crusted, chained;
    Numb, naked, night-winds gnaw me,
    Blistereth black ice, biteth my bones.

                          BALDUR
    Thou shalt be free.

                          FENRIS
    Me mocketh, mocketh! Ai!

                          BALDUR
                          Fenris, my brother, hear me!
    I bring thee freedom.

                          FENRIS
           [_Holding out his chain to Baldur._]
                                Liest;—loose me!

                          BALDUR
                          Hush! I know the secret
    How thou mayst slip these shackles. I have learned
    From Odin how he binds thee. Wilt thou hear?

                          FENRIS
    [_Craftily beckoning Baldur under the shadow of a cleft._]
    Tss! Wise is the One-Eyed. Tss! read me thy riddle now.

                          BALDUR
    Know then, O Fenris, Odin of himself
    Is weak to hold thee. Of his kin, another
    Conniveth with him.

                          FENRIS
    Kin, sayst?

                          BALDUR
                Thou, his son. Thou forgest
    Chains stubborner than Odin’s, links of lust
    Mightier than these of steel, which are themselves
    The might of these thou wearest. O my brother,
    Lay off thine own, and Odin’s shall be straw.

                          FENRIS
                  Thus readest thy riddle?

                          BALDUR
    Thus findest thou freedom: do our father’s will.
    His law is wisdom. All the folk of heaven
    And earth and hell obey him gladly; thou—
    Submit thou also; make thine oath to Odin.

                          FENRIS
    Oathless be Odin; am _I_ earth’s overlord!

    [_Odin beckons to the eastward with his spear. From the
        distance comes a flash of fire and faint thunder._]

                          BALDUR
    Hush, brother, hush! He hears; for thy pain’s sake
    Remember he is Allfather. Be meek.

                          FENRIS
    Am _I_ Asa’s heir!—I—I—I am Allfather!

    [_By a dazzling river of light and thunder-peal, the whole
        scene is riven. On the peaks at either side appear_
        LOKI _and_ THOR. _Loki holds in his
        hand a serpentine whip of many lashes, as of glittering
        brass; Thor, a white hammer. The Pack cower, moaning;
        Fenris stands glaring, with head bent backward as in
        sudden pain._]

                           ODIN
    Hail, Loki! Welcome, Thor! in happy time.
    Are ye not come to crown me Odin the Wise?
    Shake out the live scorn of thy withering laughter,
    Loki, over the world: Odin hath been defied!
    Hammer it, Thor, on the clanged doors of hell,
    Till their intestine thunders toll our doom—
    “The wolf shall sit alone, at Valhal’s feast,
    And eat of Odin’s heart!”

                          FREYJA
                              Alas! What words

                           ODIN
    This is mine heir. Hath it not spoken? This
    Shall sit one day in Odin’s seat. Mine heir!
    The heir of all the gods. Behold then, gods,
    How this, your prince, receives his tutelage.

                          BALDUR
    Father, what wilt thou do?

                           ODIN
                               Tame him, the tameless;
    The eternal goad against the eternal stone.
    Yea, though I tame him not till doomsday darken.
                       [_To Loki._]
    Loosen thy scourge.

    [_Held by his chain, Fenris flees wildly in circles, and
        seeking to hide himself, finally crouches in terror,
        centre. He is prevented from entering the cavern by
        Thor, who stands there._]

                          FENRIS
    Anarch! Ai! anarch! Anarch! Ulfr! Ulfr!

                     BALDUR AND FREYJA
                           Have pity!

                           ODIN
                                Pity ask
    Of him; this wolf must reign or I. Strike, Loki!
    Let thy bright lashes scorch with all their snakes
    Till the live, brassy serum eats and crawls
    Into the writhing blood. Begin!

                     BALDUR AND FREYJA
                           Have mercy!

    [_As Loki swings his whip of fire, the Pack beneath fall on
        their faces. Amid them Fenris crouches at half stature.
        Baldur and Freyja kneel as frozen, with lifted hands
        toward Odin. Thus in sudden twilight and silence, fine
        silent lashes of unintermittent lightning uncoil and
        coil, as the scourge is whirled, around the cringing
        body of the wolf. A shudder only reveals his extreme
        pangs._]

                           ODIN
    Cease! [_Loki ceases._] Wolf, what of thine oath?

                          FENRIS
    Oathless am I.

                          BALDUR
                                Fenris, be tamed!

                          FENRIS
                    I—I—I am Allfather!

                           ODIN
    Sublime inanity! heroic ape!
    This strong defiance were itself divine,
    And thou a titan-martyr, had thy pride
    One rational aim commensurate with thy woe.
    But all thy suffering is purposeless.
    Strike, Thor! Make of his obdurate heart thine anvil.

                         THE PACK
         [_Some fawning toward Odin, others seeking
                   protection of Fenris._]
    Heil, Othinn! Ulfr, heil!

    [_As Fenris, by a gesture of rage, drives these from him
        into the cavern, Thor raises his hammer. Immediate night
        shuts out the scene. In this surge of darkness the
        deep rolling of thunder swells and culminates, as by
        waves, in the blank burst of the thunder-bolt. Through
        a half-lull, amid moaning of the Pack, are heard voices
        from the crater._]

                      BALDUR’S VOICE
    She leaps. Hold, Thor! She casteth herself down.

                      FREYJA’S VOICE
    Beat on my heart, for mine containeth his.

                           ODIN
    Light! light once more!
    [_The thunder dies away. Sudden dawn breaks, ripening
             soon to daylight. Within the crater, Freyja is
             revealed, standing over the exhausted form of
             Fenris._]
                            Freyja, what hast thou dared?

                          FREYJA
    The bolt of iron and the scourge of brass
    Avail not, Odin.—Let me conquer him
    For thee!

                           ODIN
              How wouldst thou tame him?

                          FREYJA
                                       By my love,
    Yea, and the exceeding might of Baldur’s love,
    Whose gracious arts of poesie shall aid me.
    Grant him to us!

                          BALDUR
                     Grant him to us, O father!

                           ODIN
                      [_Going apart._]
    O thou unknown Destroyer and Deliverer,
    Rape not again from me this nestling hope!
                       [_He descends into the crater._]

                     BALDUR AND FREYJA
    Grant him to us, Allfather, to be tamed!

                          FENRIS
       [_Clutching the snow at their feet, feebly._]
    I—I am Allfather!

                           ODIN
    Lovers, I grant him to you; but not here,
    For this concession must be darkly hid
    Till you have proved its beauteous consummation.
    Not, therefore, here I grant, but yonder.
                      [_Indicates the earth below them._]
                                   There
    You shall enact a vast experiment,
    Whereof the pregnant sequel none may know
    Save only him, the master magian,
    Whose prentices we gods and titans are,
    And the blind wills of men his medium.
    For he, with silent face from us averted,
    Holds in the awful hollow of his hand
    The world—his crucible, and plies with them
    Ordeals of anguish and of ecstasy.
    Therefore the earth must be your place of passion,
    And there in slumber, even as mortals dream,
    Slumb’ring, that they are bright immortal gods,
    You shall be mortals, and shall walk as men,
    Forgetful of your immortality.

    [_Faintly, as from a great distance, there rises a sound of
        many voices crying, “Odin! Asa Odin!” and the rumour of
        beasts in pain._]

    Hark, now! from far below us, the deep moan
    And lowing of a mortal sacrifice.
    Speak, Thor! What seest thou at Odin’s altar?

                           THOR
    A mighty hunter and a twisted dwarf
    Make sacrifice; rivals they seem, in feud,
    And claim the hand of Thordis, thy priest’s daughter,
    And the priest cries on Odin for a portent
    To choose which of the brothers shall be bridegroom.

                           ODIN
    Lo, then, my portent! We ourselves, we four,
    Shall be those rival brothers, priest and bride;
    Loki and Thor shall ravish them with death
    That we, in resurrection, may take on
    Their bodies as our mortal vestiture.
    For I will act with you this mystery,
    Dreaming myself the priest of mine own shrine;
    And Freyja, child, thy goddess heart shall beat
    Within the heart of Thordis, mortal maid;
    Thy boundless spirit, Baldur, shall be pinched
    Within the gnarled limbs of the stunted dwarf,
    Twisted with pain, as now thy brother is;
    Thou, envious wolf, jealous of Baldur’s joys!
    Thy feverish being shall invest the power
    And glorious stature of the hunter. So
    Shalt thou have scope and license measureless
    To woo the heart of Freyja. So shall ye,
    Lovers, make proof of your conjoinèd love
    And trothèd meekness, whether these be strong
    To tame this wolf, and from his blinding lusts
    Evolve a nobler consciousness, or weak
    To let themselves be blasted, and the world
    Itself eclipsed in universal chaos.

                          FREYJA
    If we be strong?

                           ODIN
                     The wolf-god shall be tamed.

                          FENRIS
                 [_In rage, half rising._]
    Oathless am I unto Odin ever!
                 [_He sinks back, faint._]

                          BALDUR
                       [_To Odin._]
    And tamed?

                           ODIN
               He shall go free.

                          FREYJA
                             Even in such freedom
    As ours?

                           ODIN
             O Freyja, larger liberty—
    The mightier peace which mortals only know—
    Even death.

                          FENRIS
    Freedom! Anarch—anarch! Freedom!

                           LOKI
              Hail, Odin; smoketh thine altar afar.
    Burneth to thee the cloven bullock’s heart;
    The sacrificers watch and wait thy sign.

                           ODIN
    Let them behold it! Thou and Thor, stretch out
    Your wings in storm, and ravish up their souls
    With night and death.
                  [_To Baldur and Freyja._]
                          Come, you my children! Now
    Shall our immortal fires be mixed with clay
    In the great crucible, and these our spirits
    No more shall know themselves for gods, until
    The shadowy Master shows the great solution.

    [_In faint lightning and thunder, Loki and Thor disappear.
        Odin ascends the crater, followed by Baldur and Freyja.
        Climbing together the steep slope, these two look
        backward upon the prostrate wolf who, following them
        with his eyes, moves not until they reach the summit.
        There, against a sky of sunlit storm, Freyja pauses and
        stretches forth her arm to him._]

                          FREYJA
    Dear wolf!

                          FENRIS
                   [_Starts up madly._]
    Freyja! death—freedom! freedom! death!—Now—now!

    [_As Freyja and the gods pass from sight beyond the cliffs,
        Fenris gnaws at his chain in inarticulate fury._]



ACT I


SCENE I: Outside a tribal temple.

    _The gable beams are low; only the entrance end of the
        building, set at an angle, on the left, is visible. In
        the distance rises a snow-capped volcano, its slopes—in
        the nearer background—pied with the young leaves and
        blossoms of early spring; against these, jutting from
        behind the temple, a gallows-tree. On the right, at
        back, a solitary pine of great age sways solemn boughs
        over half the scene, the centre of which is occupied by
        a vast monolith, or boulder, tapering upward to a jagged
        end. The face of this stone, graved deeply with runes,
        is (on its lower half) dark carmine and smooth as ivory;
        from behind it blue smoke is rising; before it stands an
        altar of stone, on which is set a silver bowl._

    _In front of this altar stands_ INGIMUND, _the
        temple priest, clad in a sleeveless leathern smock to
        the knees; his arms are reddened with sacrifice; from
        his throat—beneath his long, grey hair—hangs an image
        of Odin; on his right wrist a ring of plain gold; in
        his left hand a spear. On either side of him an altar
        priest holds a bunch of sprinkling twigs. From the
        temple four other priests are bearing a slaughtered
        bullock to the fire behind the rune-stone. Massed in
        the right foreground are_ EGIL _and his men;
        on the left_, ARFI _and his men. Egil, noble
        of stature, stands moodily filing the grooves of a
        crossbow; Arfi, bent and dwarfed, sits with his ear close
        to a harp, which he thrums softly._

    _From the right background, beneath the pine, enters,
        singing, a procession of the folk, escorting an ark
        on wheels, drawn by oxen, whose flanks are wreathed
        with flowers, and whose horns are adorned with gold.
        Following the ark, which passes on into the temple,
        horses and sheep are led to the sacrifice. These, as
        they pass before him, Ingimund marks with the sign of a
        spear, while the altar priests sprinkle them with blood
        from the silver bowl._

    _At the entrance of the temple stand_ THORDIS _and
        her_ VIRGINS, _who take from the beasts their
        garlands and hang them on the doors and outer walls.
        The men and women of the throng, chanting to a barbaric
        cadence, lift up their arms and faces to the sky._

                         THE FOLK
           Wanderer of earth and air,
           Walker on the giant flood,
             Odin! Asa Odin!
               Pilgrim of the storm!

           Lyer in the Sybil’s lair,
           Reader of the runes of blood,
           Thou who hearkenest all prayer—
               World-spirit and worm,
             Odin! Asa Odin!
             Hear us, Allfather!

                 [_Distant thunder._]

                          FRIDA
    Thordis, he hears.

                        THE VIRGINS
                         He hears!

                         THE FOLK
                               He hears!

                           YORUL
                        [_To Rolf._]
                                       Behold
    The dwarf, where he sits shrivelled by his harp.
    Ho, Arfi! hear’st thou Odin? Hast invited
    The trolls, thy cousins, to the bridal?

                          WULDOR
                                    Silence!
    He listens to the stars behind the storm.

                           YORUL
    The tree-frogs, Wuldor. He, thy master, is
    Their father.

                          WULDOR
             So thy master is their uncle.

                           YORUL
    My master shall be bridegroom, never fear!
    Hath Arfi slain his boar?

                          WULDOR
                              Hath Egil sung
    The slaying of his boar?

                           YORUL
                             Hath Arfi leashed
    The wild stag by the horns and led him home?

                          WULDOR
    Hath Egil read the runes on Odin’s stone?

                           YORUL
    Weaklings and women ye!

                          WULDOR
                            Thou liest, Yorul.

                           YORUL
                    [_Strikes Wuldor._]

    Ho, Egil, here!

                          WULDOR
                     [_Retaliating._]
                         Ho, Arfi!

    [_The followers, from either side, spring forward and fight
        fiercely. Ingimund strikes among them with his spear._]

                         INGIMUND
                              Fools of anger!
    This ground is Odin’s; he alone may judge
    Which of your masters shall betroth his priestess.
    Back! and await his sign.—Come, Thordis.

                           FRIDA
           [_Parting with Thordis by the temple._]
                                   Joy
    And love be thine, dear lady.

    [_Leaving her maidens, Thordis comes quietly from the temple
        and stands before the rune-stone and Ingimund, who, with
        his spear, beckons also Egil and Arfi. As these join
        Thordis, the altar priests, with a heavy chain of gold,
        enclose the four in a circular space, while the folk
        chant as before._]

                          THE FOLK
             Save us, Lord, from lovers’ hate,
             Shelter us from brothers’ feud!
               Odin! Asa Odin!
                 Only thou art wise.

             Choose unto this maid a mate
             Hallowed by thy sanctitude,
             Send thine omen while we wait,
                 Making sacrifice.
               Odin! Asa Odin!
               Save us, Allfather!

    [_Thunder; storm gathers and the scene grows darker, as
        bigger clouds of smoke roll upward from behind the
        rune-stone._]

                         INGIMUND
    [_Removing the gold circlet from his wrist._]
                                              Here,
    Your right hands here—all three—on Odin’s ring.
                   [_To Egil, then Arfi._]
    Press deeper in the sand thy foot, now thine.
                   [_To the Priests._]
    Fill up the footprints with the sacred blood.
    Brother in brother’s footstep, hark your oath—
    Your oath to abide by Asa Odin’s will.

    [_As Egil and Arfi grasp the ring, lightning begins to play
        over the scene, and thunder deepens the voices of the
        people._]

                         THE FOLK
                  Odin! Odin! Asa Odin!
                  Send upon thy folk a portent!

                         INGIMUND
  [_Lifting his face and spear toward the sky, intones._]
    By thy runes forever writ
    On Allwaker’s ear and Allswift’s hoof,
    On Sleipni’s teeth and the sledge-bands,
    On the Wolf’s claw and the eagle’s beak,
    On the bloody wings and the bridge’s end!—

                         THE FOLK
                  Odin! Odin! Asa Odin!
                  Send upon thy folk a portent!

                         INGIMUND
    By thy runes forever writ
    On Brage’s tongue and the bear’s paw,
    On the midwife’s palm and the amber god,
    On Norna’s nail and the owl’s neb,
    On wine and wort and the Sibyl’s seat!—

                         THE FOLK
                  Odin! Odin! Asa Odin!
                  Send thy portent, O Allfather!

                          FRIDA
    Look! look! himself doth come.

                         THE FOLK
                               Fly! fly! Oh, fly!

                          FRIDA
    Himself doth come, and with him all the gods!

    [_Amid supernatural darkness and thunder-peal, Ingimund,
        Thordis, Egil, and Arfi are struck to the earth, and
        all the people flee, except Yorul and Frida, who crouch
        beside the temple._]

                         THE FOLK
                   [_In the distance._]
    Bow down! bow down!
         [_Pause; the passing of the storm; silence._]

                          FRIDA
                       [_Rising._]
                        Yorul!—You do not speak.
    Yorul!

                           YORUL
           O Frida, hush!

                          FRIDA
                          And did you see them?
    Four were they all together, and they passed
    Like fire, and four returned, in robes of flame,
    But paler.

                           YORUL
               May be so; I saw them not.

                          FRIDA
    Two others stood on Odin’s stone, and one
    Laughed loud, and whirled a whip of blazing brass,
    And one thrust through his beard a smoking hammer.

                           YORUL
    May be; may be. What did you say? Speak not!
                     [_Embracing her._]
    O heart of mine, thou beatest yet. We live.
    The sun—how still it is! What’s that?

                           FRIDA
                                   A bird
    Singing under the temple’s eaves.

                           YORUL
                                      And all
    Are fled. What be those four that lie so still?

            [_Together they approach the bodies._]

                           FRIDA
    Alas! O lady dear!

                           YORUL
                       Dead! they are dead.
    Egil, my master! Odin’s voice hath slain him.
    Cursed be Odin!

                           FRIDA
                    Yorul—take them back,
    Those words! Their sacrilege shall work us woe.

                           YORUL
    What matter? He is dead.

                           FRIDA
                             Oh, do not think it!
    Perhaps they sleep. Look how their brows still wear
    High thoughts. I think they dream. Go! fetch a leech.

                           YORUL
    A leech for death?

                           FRIDA
                      Go quickly, Yorul!

                           YORUL
                                   Well!
                      [_Going out._]
    A leech here for the dead! A leech, ho!
                                     [_Exit._]

                           FRIDA
    [_Alone with the four bodies, stands before
              the rune-stone._]
                                       Odin!
    Have pity on the dead; let them awake!
       [_Slowly the bodies rise and look upon her;
                  she crouches before them._]
    Ah me! Your eyes! They burn. O turn away
    Your bright eternal eyes!

       [_She falls unconscious. Egil, who has risen
               with the gold altar chain wound about him,
               gnaws it._]

                           EGIL
                           Death! Freedom! freedom!

    [_Enter Yorul and a_ LEECH, _followed by the folk_.]

                         THE LEECH
    Who calls for leechcraft here?

                           YORUL
                   [_Stands bewildered._]
                                   A miracle!

                          THORDIS
                   [_Bends over Frida._]
    The child is stricken.

                           ARFI
                         Let me lift her, Thordis.

                           YORUL
    A miracle! O Frida, speak to me!

                         THE LEECH
                      [_To the folk._]
    Stand off! Give air!

                          WULDOR
                     [_To the folk._]
                     Hath Yorul then deceived us?

                           ROLF
    Behold, they live!

                           FRIDA
                    [_Rising, faintly._]
                   Thanks; lead me to the temple.

                          INGIMUND
    What hath befallen?

                           WULDOR
                        Hail, Ingimund! The portent
    Of Odin hath befallen.

                          INGIMUND
                          Saw ye, or what?

        [_Wuldor and the folk whisper among themselves.
            Yorul supports Frida toward the temple._]

                           YORUL
    But how? What chanced?

                            FRIDA
                           Their eyes! their burning eyes!
    Oh, I have seen their souls: they are not theirs.
    Four bright ones came, four pale ones went away.

                            YORUL
    Clean reft of wit!

                            FRIDA
                       Oh, shut me in the dark!

        [_Taking Frida from Yorul, the temple virgins lead
            her into the temple._]

                          INGIMUND
                       [_To Wuldor._]
    Saw ye, I say, or what?

                           WULDOR
                           Ask Yorul, father.

                          INGIMUND
    Speak thou! What hath befallen?

                            YORUL
             [_Returning dazed from the temple._]
                                    Odin is wise;
    Ye that were dead are risen from the dead,
    And Frida, my betrothèd, is reft of reason.—
    She said it would be, for I cursed him.—Egil!
    Master and lord, welcome to life!

        [_Egil, who, with fixed gaze, has been eyeing Thordis,
            starts wildly, paces back and forth, dragging the altar
            chain as he moves._]

                            EGIL
                                      A verdict!
    A verdict, priest and earls! Thordis is mine.

                         EGIL’S MEN
    Thordis for Egil!

                         ARFI’S MEN
                      Thordis for Arfi!

                          INGIMUND
                                        Peace!
    Heaven’s omen still is dark, and Odin’s sign
    Ambiguous. Not one, but four of us,
    His hand hath stricken. Wherefore thus I read
    His riddle: Thordis shall herself decide.

                           THORDIS
    Father, not I!

                          INGIMUND
                   This ancient feud must end.
    These two have sworn to abide by Odin’s will;
    His will it is that thou make choice of them.
    Hearken their pleas, and choose.

                           THORDIS
                               To one must I
    Give pain?

                          INGIMUND
               To one give joy. Speak, Arfi.

                            ARFI
                                         Lady,
    That those who love are blind I pray be so
    That, loving, so you may behold me not—
    What thing I seem, but only hear my voice—
    What truth I am. Thordis, even now I dreamed
    A dream more high and awful than the clouds
    And breathless peaks afire of poesie:
    We stood together on the morning’s brink;
    Crater and frozen cliff and snowy scar
    Hung, avalanche on avalanche, below,
    Below them still,—the world! You spoke to me;
    Sweeter than measures of imagined song
    Before the harp is struck, your voice! “Listen!” you said;
    And echoing from scar and crater rose
    The clanging of a chain. You clung to me;
    You clung to me and spoke not.—I have done.

                          INGIMUND
    Egil!

      [_Springing forward, Egil seizes Thordis’s hand,
                    which he raises to his lips._]

                            EGIL
            I love—I love thee!

      [_He bites her hand. Screaming, she draws away from
                   him and clings to the dwarf._]

                           THORDIS
                               Arfi!

                             ARFI
                       [_Facing Egil._]
                                   Brother!

                            WULDOR
    Blood! He hath bit her hand. Ho, sacrilege!

                             EGIL
    The maid is mine.

                             ARFI
                      The maid is Odin’s.

                             ROLF
         [_Seizing Yorul’s arm, points at Egil._]
                                          See!
    His eyes grow small and blaze!

                            YORUL
                                 He is possessed;
    Some god afflicts him.

    [_With a gesture of fury, Egil rushes upon Arfi._]

                            EGIL
                            Mine!

                          INGIMUND
                        [_Stays him._]
                                 The maid is Arfi’s,
    For she herself hath chosen him.

                            ARFI
                        [_Quietly._]
                                A clout,
    To stanch the blood.

                          WULDOR
         [_As Arfi binds her hand, gazes on Thordis,
                     whose eyes have closed._]
                         O fair beyond this world!

                           EGIL
    [_Clutching the air, in passion for coherence._]
    A rape! a rape! Thordis for Egil!

                           YORUL
                        [_Drawing._]
                                Thordis
    For Egil, here!

                         ARFI’S MEN
                      Thordis for Arfi!

                         EGIL’S MEN
                                  Egil!

                          INGIMUND
    Beware! Put back your weapons all, on pain
    Of Odin’s wrath.

                          THE FOLK
                         [_Murmur._]
                  Remember Odin’s wrath.

                            EGIL
    Egil recks not for Odin’s wrath nor will.
    Who fights for Thordis?

                          INGIMUND
                          This is blasphemy.

                            EGIL
    Who fights with Egil for the maiden?

                            YORUL
                                  I,
    And all of us.

                         EGIL’S MEN
                   Till death.

                          INGIMUND
                               Enough, mine earls!
    The patience of the lord of peace hath end.
    Egil, thy words and deed have violated
    The sacred place of Odin. Thou art banned!
    The lord hath put thee from his high place. Go!
    I cast thee forth, and all who follow thee.

                          THE FOLK
                      [_Falling back._]
    Accurst! accurst!

                            EGIL
              [_Stands alone in a great circle._]
                      Behold they cast him forth!
    Egil is banned! Who fights with Egil now?

                           YORUL
    I, master!

                       ONE OF EGIL’S MEN
               Fly! he is accurst.

        [_The men hesitate; then all—except twelve, including
             Yorul, who step into the circle—depart fearfully._]

                          THE TWELVE
                                   Hail, Egil!

         [_The folk cry out; some go from the scene, others
                into the temple._]

                             EGIL
          [_Seizing up with both hands the silver bowl._]
    Hail, liegemen! Twelve and one, we are enough
    To vow ourselves to vengeance ’gainst the world.
    A pledge, here! Ho, a pledge to groom and bride!
    Drink pledge with me, in Odin’s altar blood.
    Thordis and vengeance! Hail!

                          THE TWELVE
                              Thordis and vengeance!

        [_Egil drinks from the silver bowl._]

  SCENE II: The interior of Egil’s lodge in the
                     forest; toward twilight.

    _The room is roughly built of logs, long cross-beams
        overhead. From these (in the right corner, back) hang
        suspended the bodies and skins of antelope, bear, and
        wild game; and beneath these—piled upon a bench against
        the wall—a heap of furs and hides. Centre, back, a
        door. Left, in the earthen floor, a hearth with ashes;
        above it, a hole in the roof. Beyond this hearth, left,
        sitting at the open window_, FRIDA, _alone. She
        looks out dreamily toward the forest, from which horns
        echo and answer. Suddenly she starts up, gazes intently,
        gives a low cry, and, dodging down as she passes the
        window, springs across to the heap of hides, among which
        she conceals herself. After a pause, the door opens_;
        EGIL _enters, panting—evidently pursued. His
        brow is bleeding, and he limps. Turning to bar the
        door, he lets fall a bloodied wolf’s skin. Immediately
        he snatches it up caressingly; gazes around, listens
        enraged to the horns, limps swiftly to the hearth,
        hesitates; then, as a sudden horn-blast resounds close
        by, falls on his knees, digs ferociously in the ashes
        with his two hands like an animal, thrusts the wolf’s
        skin in the cavity, and covers it over with the ashes,
        carefully replacing the charred brands on top. Swiftly,
        then, binding up his bleeding brow and thigh, he unbars
        the door, seizes a whip from a corner, and springs
        stealthily out of the window. At the same moment, horses
        are heard to gallop up to the lodge; the door bursts
        open_; YORUL _and_ ROLF _appear on the
        sill._

                           YORUL
    He came this way. Look here, Rolf, in the sand—
    And here: are not these paw-prints?

                           ROLF
                                  May be so.
    I saw him last back yonder in the forest.

                           YORUL
    I saw him slinking hither across the open.
    Look, here again; here’s blood.

                           ROLF
                             What! was he wounded?

                           YORUL
    Did not you see?

                           ROLF
                     You know I did not; tell me.

                           YORUL
    Twice; once across the eye, once in the shank.
    ’Twas Ingimund struck both wounds.

                           ROLF
                                Ingimund!

                           YORUL
    Yes, when we left you, Egil rode ahead,
    I and the others after. We had ridden
    A half-mile, when I heard our master shout:
    “Here comes our brother with his bride ahunting.”
    And sure, there burst into our narrow glen
    Horse, hound, and horn, the whole bright cavalcade;
    And Thordis rode ahead, and Arfi next,
    Last, Ingimund. We reined our horses back—

                           ROLF
    Not to pollute the lady with the sight
    Of your accursed faces, eh?

                           YORUL
                              Say rather
    To keep our scanty numbers hid.

                           ROLF
                               Well—well?

                           YORUL
    Well, I had hardly reined back in the wood
    And Thordis passed me by—Man, it was awful!
    Under the very hoofs of the dwarf’s horse—
    Out of the earth, it seemed—there sprang a wolf
    And bit the stallion’s loin. The horse rolled over—
    A wolf—a giant wolf!

                           ROLF
                           What then?

                           YORUL
                                     I say
    It stood as high as that, Rolf, yet I swear
    If it were not a wolf, yet what—

                           ROLF
                               What happened?

                           YORUL
    There rang a great shout and the riders all
    Leapt to the ground where, in the midst of them,
    Tangled together with the kicking steed,
    Rolled the huge wolf and Arfi; him the beast
    Held by the gorge between his grinning jaws,
    Throttling him like a whelp. But Ingimund—

                           ROLF
    Hel have him! Did he save the dwarf?

                           YORUL
                                     He dragged
    The wolf away, and struck him with his spear
    Twice, as I told you. But the beast escaped.

                           ROLF
    And Arfi lives?

                           YORUL
                    I know not. I made after
    The wolf, and met you as I tracked him here.

                           ROLF
    But what said Egil?

                           YORUL
                      I was too amazed
    To look for him.

                           ROLF
                   There winds his horn in the wood,
    And yonder he comes riding with the others.
    Come; we’ll go meet them.
                                      [_Exit._]

    [_As Yorul is following Rolf, Frida steps forward._]

                           FRIDA
                       [_Speaks low._]
    Yorul!

                           YORUL
         _Her_ voice! Frida! Frida!

                           FRIDA
                               Keep me!

                           YORUL
    Stand farther off. O girl, what brings you here?
    How found you out this solitary place?

                           FRIDA
    I left my mistress’ side at dawn, and searched
    All day the forest.

                          YORUL
                        Little Frida, thou!

                           FRIDA
    Come with me!

                           YORUL
                  Stand away! You have forgot
    I am accurst. This place is Egil’s lodge,
    And all who dwell here banned and castaway.

                           FRIDA
    Where you are must I fear to be?

                           YORUL
                                  Yes, Frida,
    For Ingimund has cursed me with my master.

                           FRIDA
    Leave him.

                           YORUL
                       Whom?

                           FRIDA
                     Leave him, Yorul.

                           YORUL
                               Leave whom, child?

                           FRIDA
    Egil, your master.

                           YORUL
                     [_In amazement._]
                       Frida!

                           FRIDA
                              Hush!
                [_She goes to the hearth._]

                           YORUL
                       [_In scorn._]
                                  Desert
    My lord! His liegeman, I a traitor!

                           FRIDA
                                Look.
    [_She brushes back the ashes, revealing the beast’s head._]

                           YORUL
    The wolf! By heaven, dead! What—_you_ killed him?

                           FRIDA
                                 No.

                           YORUL
    And flayed, the very brute! Here are the marks
    Of Ingimund, his spear. Saw you the beast
    Alive?

                           FRIDA
                Yes.

                           YORUL
                       Here?

                           FRIDA
                      I watched it limping here,
    Wounded, from out the forest.

                           YORUL
                              Ha! I said so.
    Here to the very door-sill?

                           FRIDA
                             Yes; it pushed
    The door ajar.

                           YORUL
                     But—

                           FRIDA
                         Egil entered.

                           YORUL
                                 Egil!

                           FRIDA
    His brow was bleeding and he limped. He buried
    That thing beneath the ashes, and sprang forth
    Out at the window.

                           YORUL
                        Buried this?

                           FRIDA
                                    As dogs
    Bury their secrets, claw and nozzle.—Yorul!

                           YORUL
    You _saw_?

                           FRIDA
               I saw. O Yorul, ’tis a werewolf.

                           YORUL
            [_Drops the hide and steps back._]
    Ah! do not name it!

                           FRIDA
                        Leave him. Come away!

                           YORUL
    Bleeding—his brow, you said?

                           FRIDA
                                Yes; come away!

                           YORUL
    So be it.

                           FRIDA
              Gracious Odin! he will come.

                           YORUL
    Since that wild day he bit your mistress’ hand
    It hath misgiven me the gods torment him.
    Once, for seven days, ceaseless he paced this hall,
    Spoke not, nor ate, but ground and ground his teeth;
    And in the night, once, when I watched him sleeping,
    His eyelids lay rolled back and filled with fire.

                           FRIDA
    That day the storm burst over Odin’s stone
    And I beheld those mighty four in flame—
    Oh, since then, Yorul, they have changed, my mistress
    Even as your master, save that she has grown
    Lovelier than herself, and seems to bear
    About with her the loadstone of desire,
    For the poor hinds and churls that wait upon her
    Serve her with souls enamoured. If I thought
    You would believe my vision, I could tell—
    But come, Yorul. Yorul! you will not come?

                           YORUL
    Never! Stop, Frida; do not name the thing
    He is. It matters not to me; for me
    He is my lord, my master; that is all.

                           FRIDA
    But if—

                           YORUL
             If he were that eternal beast
    Whom Odin chains until the dawn of doom,
    Fenris, the wolf—

                           FRIDA
                       No, say not that!

                           YORUL
                                         I say
    Still it should matter not; I am his liegeman,
    His vassal, and his bondslave. I will serve him.

    [_Enter, with his followers, Egil, cracking his whip._]

                           EGIL
    The wolf! Where is your wolf?

                           ROLF
                              We tracked him here.

                           EGIL
    Lies! lies! He lurks yet in the forest.

                           ERIC
    [_Pointing at Yorul, who holds up the skin._]
                                     Look!

                          THE MEN
    The wolf!

                           EGIL
    [_Leaping upon Yorul, flings him to the ground._]
              Traitor!

                           YORUL
                       Hold, master—

                           FRIDA
                    [_Coming forward._]
                                      Save him!

                           ROLF
                                  Thou!
             Thou, maiden, here?

                           FRIDA
                        Oh, help him!

                           ERIC
    [_With the others’ help, separates the two._]
                                      Egil! off!

                           EGIL
    A ferret, ho! a ferret, earls; hath scent
    And sight and hearing—what, for rats? No, no,
    For wolves!

                           ROLF
                  [_Aside to Eric._]
              The madness!

                           YORUL
                             Master, ’tis the wolf.
    I killed him.

                           EGIL
                    Killed him? Thou?
                      [_Craftily._]
                                 What wolf?

                           YORUL
                                   The beast
    That bit the dwarf.

                           EGIL
                       Dead; so ’tis dead. Let see!
    [_Taking the pelt from Yorul, he drops it on the hearth._]
    It should, methinks, be buried too. _Thy_ kill?

                           YORUL
    Mine, Egil.

                           EGIL
    [_With his foot, covering the pelt with the ashes._]
                Killed and flayed. Huzza, mine earls,
    For Yorul and his kill.

                          THE MEN
                   [_Gather round Yorul._]
                           Huzza!

                           EGIL
                               ’Tis buried.
                        [_Aside._]
    He knows, he knows; I will avenge me.
                 [_Looks keenly at Rolf._]
                                          Well,
    What art thou gazing on?

                           ROLF
                           On nothing.

                           EGIL
                                      Liest,
    Liest; art gazing on my brow. What, what?
    ’Tis bandaged, ah! What then? What then, I say?

                           ERIC
    Why, he is wounded.

                           EGIL
    Traitors! traitors all!
    Aha, by Loki, but you lie. I fell—
    You lie! My horse was diked. I fell and gashed me,
    My brow, my thigh. Why not my brow and thigh?
    May not a huntsman fall from ’s saddle? Liars!
    I limp, but not for that. I _will_ limp!
                      [_Suddenly changing._]
                                             Hark!
                      [_He springs to the window._]

                           YORUL
    What dost thou hear?

                           EGIL
                         They smell the blood. They come
    To dig it up. Their nozzles scour the gorse.
    Yorul! Yorul!

                           YORUL
                 [_To whom Egil clings._]
              ’Tis nothing.

                           EGIL
                                They have found
    The scent. You cannot make them lose it, Yorul.
    You loop and loop for miles, plunge in the lake,
    Swim over, double through the thickets, spring
    All-feet from rock to rock in the ravine,
    Crouch in the fern and listen: still you hear them
    Belling behind you, all their big chests panting,
    Their red tongues lolled, the great hot breathing,—bloodhounds!
    Bloodhounds!

                           ROLF
                     [_At the window._]
                 By Odin, see, yonder the dogs
    Of Ingimund; he hath them in the leash;
    Behind him, on a litter, they are bringing
    Arfi, the dwarf.

                           EGIL
                     Yorul! Keep back the hounds!
    Mercy! Thou art no kin of theirs. They have
    No feud of blood with thee. Keep back the hounds!
    Mercy!

                           ERIC
                     [_Aside to men._]
              Still madder!

                           ROLF
                  They are twoscore men,
    And we a handful; shall we fight?

                           EGIL
                                      Fight, madmen?
    Have ye not heard the hounds? Keep back the hounds.
    Go forth and bind their leashes to the trees.
    Bind them, and guard them, every slave of you!
    Go! Go!

                           ROLF
            What! fear their dogs?

                           ERIC
                               Yorul, his eyes—
           They burn!

                           YORUL
               Be patient, master!

                           EGIL
                                   Treachery!
    You’ve lured ’em on. They come to dig it out;
    They smell the wounds. Ye have betrayed me.

                           YORUL
                                      Men,
    Come forth and let us bind the hounds.

                           EGIL
                   [_Swinging his whip._]
                                     Slaves! cowards!
    Traitors! the lash shall teach you.
                     [_Striking Rolf._]
                                     Bind the hounds!

                           ROLF
    This goes too far.

                           YORUL
                       [_Imploring._]
                    Come!

                           EGIL
                             Mercy! Ah! their fangs!
    Their fangs! Devils, go forth and bind the hounds.
          [_Follows the men, lashing them._]

                           ERIC
    By Loki!

                           YORUL
                         [_Aside._]
             Humour him.

    [_The men go forth, whipped wildly by_ EGIL,
         _who sinks exhausted by the closed door_.]

                           EGIL
                         Keep back the hounds—
            Their fangs!

                           YORUL
                        [_Outside._]
               Fear nothing; we will bind them.

                           FRIDA
                   [_Starts for the door._]
                                            Yorul!

    [EGIL, _rolling in her way, gazes at her,
        and rises, panting; she draws back_.]

                           EGIL
    Thou art the maid of Yorul.

                           FRIDA
                             I am his.

                           EGIL
    Who hid the wolf—he knows.

                           FRIDA
                              He knows.

                           EGIL
                               His maiden!
    Shalt make a fair revenge.

                           FRIDA
                             Ah! Save me, Yorul!
                      [_She faints._]

                           EGIL
    Yorul, a dear revenge!
    [_Lifting her in his arms, he bears her off, left._]
                           A lair! a lair!

    [_A pause; sunset glows through the window; the outer
        door is partly opened by Rolf, who calls in._]

                           ROLF
    O Egil! Ingimund demands to enter
    And rest here for the night. Thy brother’s wound
    Grows worse; they doubt his life. Shall we resist them,
    Or welcome? They are armed.—Egil!—Not here?

    [_Exit, closing the door. Another pause; the room
        grows dimmer; Egil slowly reënters, left._]

                           EGIL
    Now will I sleep.—The time is strangely sweet,
    Blank, and untroubled. Soon it will be starlight.
    My limbs are filled with peace, mine ears with sounds
    Of brooks and breezy leafage murmurous,
    Mine eyes with slumber. Well, I will lie down
    And sleep.

    [_As Egil goes to the hearth, enter_ INGIMUND,
        THORDIS, WULDOR, _and a number
        of Arfi’s men, carrying a litter, on which lies_
        ARFI; _these accompanied by Yorul, Rolf, Eric,
        and Egil’s men_.]

                         INGIMUND
               Slow; bear him softly, Wuldor. Let
    The others stay without, and place our men
    Most carefully on guard. For this one night,
    Yorul, thy master’s bann shall be suspended.
    The need is great.

                          THORDIS
                     [_By the litter._]
                    Father, he hath grown paler.

                         INGIMUND
    Here set him down.

                           EGIL
                   [_Gazing at Thordis._]
             Dreaming!

                          THORDIS
                             Gently! his side.

                           WULDOR
    Lady, what more to do?

                         ARFI’S MEN
    [_Some kneel, some kiss her robe; all give to her their
        eyes and hearts unconsciously._]
                           What more?

                          THORDIS
                                 Bring water.

                           YORUL
                         [_Aside._]
    Master, the hounds are tethered. Where is Frida?

                           EGIL
    Dreaming! still dreaming!

                           YORUL
                              Frida?

                           EGIL
                               Wake me not.

                          THORDIS
    Arfi! O gentle earl, look up! Let not
    Your ears be as the turf to our great sorrow.
    Arfi! I love you; live!

                           YORUL
                        [_To Rolf._]
                            Hast thou seen Frida?

                           ROLF
    No.
    [_Exit Yorul, left; Egil approaches Arfi’s litter._]

                           EGIL
           Will he die?

                          INGIMUND
                     The virus of the wolf
    Corrupts his blood; yet he may live.

                           EGIL
                               May live.

                           WULDOR
    O God! I could take heart to bear this woe
    But that the damnèd beast that bit my master
    Still breathes.

                          INGIMUND
                    I wounded him.

                          WULDOR
                               Yet he escaped us.

                           ROLF
    You, Wuldor, but not us. The wolf is dead;
    Behold his skin!
            [_Reënter Yorul. He staggers forward._]

                          INGIMUND
                     Who killed him?

                           ERIC
                               Egil’s man
        Yorul.

                          INGIMUND
           Hail, Yorul! This deed shall atone
    For much of thy defiance and thy master’s.
    Well done!

                           YORUL
                        [_Wildly._]
               A lie! a lie! the wolf still lives.

                            ALL
             Lives?

                           YORUL
             There!

                           EGIL
                    [_Crouching back._]
                Ai! anarch!

                           YORUL
       [_Grappling Egil, tears off his bandages._]
                              Look! Look, Ingimund!
    The wounds: you struck them with your hunting-spear.

                          INGIMUND

    Forehead and thigh!

                           YORUL
                        He sprang on Arfi’s horse,
    And bit his brother’s throat—his murderer.
    There lies his changeling skin. He buried it
    Here in the ashes.

                          THE MEN
                      [_Falling away._]
                     Werewolf! Werewolf!

                          INGIMUND
                                      Earl,
    Thou art accused of sin unnameable.
    Speak: art thou guilty?

                           EGIL
          [_Glares about him in fear and rage._]
                           Ai! Ai! anarch!

                          INGIMUND
                                   Demon!

                           YORUL
    Ah, Frida! Master—Frida!

                           ROLF
                            What of her?
          Not dead?

                           YORUL
              No, no; would God she were, and I!
    Frida!
                                   [_Exit, left._]

                          INGIMUND
           Destroy the wolf.

                          THORDIS
    [_To Wuldor, who is about to attack Egil with a spear._]
                           Stop, earl! Your master;
        He has heard all.

                           ARFI
      [_Raises his body painfully on the litter._]
                      My brother—Egil—spare him.

                          WULDOR
    But ’tis a werewolf!

                          INGIMUND
                         He has sought your life.

                           ARFI
    The life he sought to take I give to him.
    My strength is little; if you love me, spare him.

                          WULDOR
    ’Tis madness!

                          THORDIS
                  Nay, ’tis mercy, but to you
    Reason is vengeance. Father, look; he sinks
    Again. Will you deny the prayer of him—
                   [_Lowering her voice._]
    Perchance who dies.

                           ARFI
                       [_Faintly._]
                     Egil!

                          INGIMUND
                              Egil shall live;
    So much I grant thee, Arfi, but no more.
    Henceforth thy brother shall be cast in chains,
    Until the demon-beast that plagues his body
    Is exorcised and tamed.—Lay on the chains.

    [_As the men approach with fetters, Egil seizes a chain from
        one, and, springing fearfully to Thordis’s side, there
        crouches and lifts it to her._]

                           EGIL
    Not those—but thou!

           [_Thordis puts the chain upon Egil._]



ACT II


SCENE I: A prison chamber, dim, built of stone

    _On the right stands a high, framed tapestry, the design
        partly worked; beside it, on a table, several harps and
        instruments of music. On the left, extending centre,
        the half-completed model of a structure resembling the
        temple in Act I, Scene I; beside it, wooden blocks and
        miniature beams; in front of it a stone tablet, upon
        which_ EGIL—_stooped, with an instrument in
        his hand—is laboriously carving runes. Behind him
        stands_ ARFI, _at times guiding the hand of his
        brother, who is evidently being overcome by weariness,
        against which he struggles for concentration. Finally
        Egil’s head droops, his hand falls, and his body sinks
        prone. At the door,_ THORDIS _enters._

                          THORDIS
    Asleep?

                           ARFI
            Quite, quite outworn.

                          THORDIS
                               The task is done?
            The runes?

                           ARFI
                  He has mastered them.

                          THORDIS
                 [_Sighs unconsciously._]
                                  How swift he learns!

                           ARFI
    Yes, hourly he hath grown through the strange months
    Since Ingimund entrusted him to us
    To dispossess the beast that plagues him.

                          THORDIS
                                      Look
        Now where he lies and dreams.

                           ARFI
                             There lies a block
    Of chaos, for our wills to fuse and kindle
    Into a world, glowing with vital forms
    Of law and loveliness. Yea, Thordis, we—
    We are his being’s seasons, you and I;
    The sun and moon, the starshine and the dew,
    Of this stark heath and breeding moor of passion,
    And the large jurisdiction of our love
    Must ripen there the temperate growths of reason,
    And stablish the mind’s palaces.

                          THORDIS
                                 You speak
         In sadness.

                           ARFI
                Nay, in awe. The thought grows vast
    And awful.

                          THORDIS
               So? I do not feel it, I!
    I feel as elemental as the air,
    That holds secure within its crystal veins
    As many thousand summers and their blooms
    As the earth may yearn for.

                           ARFI
                                ’Tis because you are
    Bounteous as the air, that from your presence all
    Take breath and power. Since you elected me
    Beside the altar stone, even I, that was
    A warped and ailing mannikin of woe,
    Prickling with sensibilities and pangs,
    Have felt myself exalted and at peace
    With this poor twisted mask of torse and limb,
    So simple it seems, so sane, so actual,
    That what I am was your immortal friend
    Elsewhere.

                          THORDIS
               And have you felt the same? We two
    Have walked eternal mountains hand in hand,
    And watched the morning of our little lives
    Break over our birth-hour, and we shall stand
    Together at the sundown, and behold
    The passion clouds of death grow pale.

                           ARFI
                                  And then
    We shall pass on together.

             [_In his sleep, Egil moans._]

                          THORDIS
                               We forget;
    We must not leave _him_ as we found him, love.

                           ARFI
    The wolf torments him still in sleep.

                          THORDIS
                                   Poor dreamer!
    And have you told him yet we are to wed
    To-morrow?

                           ARFI
               No; I dreaded to rouse up
    The old, jealous hate; for since my wound has healed,
    He seems to have forgotten that old feud,
    And looks on you and me no more, methinks,
    As keepers of his prison-house, but rather
    As his accomplices, that smuggle in
    Subtle devices for his liberation,
    To comprehend the use of which he expends
    All of his time and powers.

                          THORDIS
                                Accomplices:
    It may be so; for he, that used to hang
    With looks of fire upon my merest motion,
    Will gaze beyond me now with eyes that gloat
    Blank as a miser’s on some buried hoard.

                           ARFI
    The gold he hoards is knowledge, and ’tis well,
    For that preoccupation may assuage
    The pain he else might feel, when he shall learn
    Our joy to-morrow.

                [_Egil cries out again._]

                          THORDIS
                       Yearning heart! how deep
    It labours still in pain! Let us take care
    To acquaint him gently with our happiness.
    We must divert him.—Why, what’s here?

                           ARFI
                       [_Smiling._]
                                    A temple;
    We’re architects.

                          THORDIS
                      He helped you build it?

                           ARFI
                               I
            Am helping him.

                          THORDIS
                    But how shall this avail
    To tame the wolf?

                           ARFI
                      His genius is destruction;
    His breath and bondage—to annihilate;
    And therefore Egil must be shown to build
    And not destroy; of mean, chaotic things—
    These blocks—to make admired harmony,
    And shape, however rude, some tangible
    Earnest of his constructive will.

                          THORDIS
                                   I see;
    Who would have thought of it but you? Not I!
                      [_Egil moans._]
    Hark!

                           EGIL
                   [_Low, in his sleep._]
          Freyja!

                          THORDIS
                     Did he call?

                           EGIL
                              Freyja!

                          THORDIS
                                 That name!
    You heard?

                           ARFI
               The goddess Spring’s.

                          THORDIS
                                You taught him, then,
    To pray?

                           ARFI
                Not I.

                           EGIL
                [_Starting to his feet._]
                    Freyja!

                          THORDIS
                            Can this be Egil?

                           EGIL
              [_Crouched, pacing to and fro._]
    Free me, Freyja! Frore am I, frost-bit;
    Go we together into greenwood glad!
    Mirk under moon-mist mad will meet thee,
    Hunt thee from hiding, thy heart-beats hear.

                           ARFI
    It is the wolf that wakes, while Egil slumbers.

                           EGIL
    [_Looking, with closed eyes, as toward a height._]
       Free me, Freyja! Fair art thou, froward;
       Go we together into greenwood glad!
       Burns thine eyebeam bright as the bitch-wolf’s;
       Longeth Fenris in thy lair to lie.

                          THORDIS
    What other name spake he?

                           ARFI
                              I could not hear.

                           EGIL
           [_In sudden terror, seeking to fly._]
    Ai! anarch! anarch! Ulfr!

                          THORDIS
                              Wake him.

                           ARFI
                                        Wait;
    What this reveals to us may prove of help
    To him.

                           EGIL
                      [_Defiantly._]
            Oathless am I!

                          THORDIS
                          But see! he suffers.

                           EGIL
    I—I am Allfather!
    [_Swaying with anguish, as under the blows of a scourge, he
    sinks upon the floor, overwhelmed and quivering._]
                       Oathless—am—I—

                          THORDIS
    Egil, awake! awake! ’Tis nothing.

                           EGIL
       [_Gradually waking, rises to his knees._]
                                  Freyja!

                           THORDIS
    No goddess I, poor Egil, but your friend
    Thordis, the maiden.

                           EGIL
                         She thou art—the same
    Even now that saved me. [_Starting._] What is that?

                           ARFI
                               Your brother.

                           EGIL
    My brother he is tall and beautiful,
    Happy and glorious, and I hate him for’t.

                           ARFI
    Nay, you have hated me, but not for that.
    Look on me, Egil.

                           EGIL
                      Arfi!

                          THORDIS
                            ’Twas a dream.

                           EGIL
    What’s that—a dream? Is it a mist that steals
    Between the eyelids, filling them with shap
    Begot of its own vapour,—shadows? lies?
    If so, which shapes are dreams—your forms, or those,
    Those even now that beheld me, where I crouched
    Among the crater’s hoar crusts, numb with cold,
    Yet writhing in the brassy flames, that eat
    And crawled into my vitals? Mine? No, no!
    That was not I, that nameless thing, not I!
    Say “No.”

                           ARFI
              It was the wolf. You fell asleep,
    Wearied, and dreamed of him.

                           EGIL
                                 If that be sleep,
    Then let me sleep no more. O friends, sweet friends,
    You that have weaned and reared me from this thing,
    Promise I nevermore may droop mine eyes
    But you will prod them open.

                          THORDIS
                                 You forget
    How you have grown. Soon you will be once more—
    But oh! how milder, mightier, than before—
    Egil, the hunter.

                           EGIL
                      Till then, Egil the hunted!
    O Thordis, could I meet—as many a time
    I’ve met within the forest, face to face,
    My quarry, and destroyed it—could I so
    Confront this inward beast and grapple him
    To the death-struggle,—ha! but with a dream!
    A spectral wolf, that lurks ever in the dusk
    And tangled thickets of my brain and will,
    A wraith invulnerable, that makes his lair
    In my bosom, that, when I would strike,
    I lacerate myself, draw life—myself
    The beast, the bait, the hunter and the hunted!

                          THORDIS
    Nay, you are still the hunter, he the quarry,
    Only to track him hath grown harder, for
    He hath grown duskier as your mind hath dawned,
    And can no more take shape, as he was wont,
    In tangible horror to the eyes of all.
    Yet we will track him—you and I.

                           EGIL
                                But how?

                          THORDIS
    With flaming torches we will set ablaze
    His ancient wilderness, till through the gap
    Of sundering boughs the quiet stars shall mock him,
    Naked and overwhelmed.

                           EGIL
                           But where? What boughs?
    What fire?

                          THORDIS
    [_Taking up, among the instruments, a reed-pipe._]
               The way is wild; this pipe shall lead us.
    Play, Arfi!

    [_Sitting beside the block temple, Arfi begins to play upon the
    reed._]

                           EGIL
                But this pipe—

                          THORDIS
                                Do you not hear
    Her voice alluring us? It is a wood-sprite,
    The elf-child Harmony.

                           EGIL
                           Where can she lead us?
    This is a prison.

                          THORDIS

                      She can lead us forth
    Into the beauteous world. Hark! even now—
    Do you not see?—the walls are crumbling, bright
    With ivy-dew and morning.—Don’t you hear?
    The birds! the birds!—Now, Egil, now your hand!
    Now on the dance with me! We’ll follow her
    On—to the chase!

    [_Taking hands, they dance whilst Arfi blows the mellow
        pipe. Eager, impetuous, Egil becomes kindled by the
        sound and motion till, in the midst, dropping Thordis’s
        hand, he gropes toward the wall._]

                           EGIL
                      The chase! the chase! the chase!
    Ho, torches for the chase!

                           ARFI
                [_Stops playing, and rises._]
                               A metaphor
    Transforms him.

                           EGIL
                    Torches!
             [_Stumbling against the blocks._]
                             What is this?

                           ARFI
                                 Our temple;
    We’ve left it uncompleted.

                           EGIL
                               This!—the chase!
    To sit block-building like a little child?
    To ask vague questions that await strange answers?
    No! do not mock me! Summon the great hunt.
    Hand me a torch into my gripping palm,
    Point where to leap, and let the whirlwinds sing
    And the great jungles crash in conflagration.
    The wolf! reveal the wolf! that I may rend
    The demon limb from limb.

                           ARFI
                              He rages blind
    Now in your eyes.

                           EGIL
            [_Controlling himself, shudders._]
                      Emancipate me!

                           ARFI
                                     Come;
    Here let us sit, as we were boys again,
    And pile our blocks.

                          THORDIS
                         Go, Egil! Build with him.
    The forest-sprite has led you to her temple.

    [_Going to the tapestry frame, while Egil joins Arfi, she
        begins to work upon the embroidery, observing from time
        to time their block-building._]

                           EGIL
    A temple! Still they mock me.—’Tis a toy.

                           ARFI
    Why, true, a toy, and yet a temple, if
    The mind bring incense here, and the bow’d heart
    Make sacrifice.

                           EGIL
                    We are not pigmies, we,
    To creep under this gable.

                           ARFI
                               Are we not?
    Are we so great? Who hath not stood beneath
    A sparrow’s egg-shell, speckled o’er with stars,
    And dwindled there with wonder? Who so small
    But hath, to quench desire, drunk of the sun
    Or set his parch’d lips to the moon’s pale rim?
    So great, so small, neither and both, our stature
    Waxes and wanes, inconstant as a shadow
    ’Twixt night and noon and night. This temple, lad,
    Will be as cramped or spacious as the spirit
    Which consecrates it.

                           EGIL
                        Dark! Thou speakest darkness.

                           ARFI
    Listen! This house of toy-wood is the altar
    Where you must supplicate the immortal gods
    For freedom.

                           EGIL
                 So; the immortal gods! What, then,
    Are they that I should sue to them for freedom?

                           ARFI
    They are the powers of the inevitable
    To whom we mortals must submit our wills
    Or perish.
                 [_Egil’s structure falls._]

                           EGIL
               Ah! it breaks. What made it fall?

                           ARFI
    A god: the same that holds these prison walls
    Stone upon stone; the same that mortises
    The rock-seams of the solid hills, and hangs
    Aloft the glittering roof-tree of the world.—
    You builded weak, and the god chided you.

                           EGIL
    Are then the gods so near?

                           ARFI
                              In all our acts
    We feel the might of their invisible hands,
    But only in prayer behold them face to face.

                           EGIL
    In prayer?

                           ARFI
               The abnegation of our wills
    For theirs, the affirmation of their laws,
    Which to the god’s “Thou must” answers “I will.”

                           EGIL
    And that is freedom?

                           ARFI
                         That alone is freedom.

                           EGIL
    I will be free then, Arfi. Why, ’tis simpler
    Than playing with these blocks. I will be free!
    Teach me to pray.

                           ARFI
                      I cannot.

                           EGIL
                           Teach me, Thordis.
            [_She shakes her head and smiles_.]
    Alas! who will?

                           ARFI
                      Yourself alone.

                            EGIL
                                    But how?
    How may I know when I have learned to pray?

                            ARFI
    When, in the full sight of your goal of yearning,
    Your spirit, pausing, cries out to the gods—
    “This is my heart’s desire—take it—’tis yours!”
    That instant of renunciation will
    Be prayer and freedom both and the wolf’s passing-bell.
      [_Enter_ WULDOR; _he goes to Arfi and speaks aside._]
    Admit him.

                          WULDOR
                  But—

                            ARFI
                     Why not?

                          WULDOR
                              His looks are wild,
    His words were bitter. When he spoke of thee,
    He laughed and scowled.

                           ARFI
                           Say we will come to him.
                     [_Exit Wuldor_.]

                          THORDIS
       [_Whom Arfi approaches, with a warning gesture._]
    Who is it?

                          ARFI
                       [_Aside._]
               Yorul; he has asked to speak
    With Egil.

                          THORDIS
                    Ought we to admit him?

                           ARFI
                            It is wise,
    For so may Egil measure what he is
    By what he was. Look; he has knelt to pray.
    The time is fitting; we will leave him so.

                          THORDIS
                 [_Leaving the tapestry._]
    How noble he looks! Shall we not tell him now
    About to-morrow?

                           ARFI
                     We will tell him all
    When he has prayed.
                              [_Exeunt._]

                           EGIL
                        [_Solus._]
                        To pray—to pray is simple:
    “This is my heart’s desire—take it—’tis yours!”
    And so—emancipation. O you gods,
    If through these prison walls you may behold
    The mock rites of this childish temple, hear me!
    Knowledge—knowledge, that is my heart’s desire.
    That is the soul-inebriating cup
    Which hath transformed me half unto your image
    And still hath drugg’d the other brutish half
    To lethargy and dreams. To know, to learn,
    And evermore to learn! To watch new worlds
    Kindling from out the dark of consciousness,
    Fresh firmaments gathering from drop to drop
    Of common morning dew; to be upborne
    On the light-trailing wings of understanding
    And scan far off the former crawling-place
    And wolf-haunt of the spirit, to spread those wings
    At one’s own will and mount into the sun,
    Searing the mind with ecstasy—you gods!
    That is my heart’s desire: take it from me!
    Take it, ’tis yours, for it hath come from you,
    But when of that you have bereft me, leave
    Freedom instead, and innocence.
                                  [_Enter_ YORUL.]
                         What’s there?
    Speak.

                           YORUL
    [_As Egil starts up, bows himself at his feet._]
     Thy betrayer.

                           EGIL
                         Oh, art thou a god?
    And art thou come in answer to my prayer?

                           YORUL
    Master—

                           EGIL
               I know thy voice.

                           YORUL
                 [_Turning upward his face._]
                             Destroy me.

                           EGIL
                       [_Dreamily._]
                                Yorul!
    Yorul, my liegeman!

                           YORUL
                        Once thou named me so;
    Once and the world was sweet—once and ’twas
    sweet.

                           EGIL
    Why have they sent thee, Yorul?

                           YORUL
                               Who, my lord?

                           EGIL
    Thou art their messenger; be swift; declare
    Their grace, or doom.—Shall I go free?

                           YORUL
                                        Destroy me
    With blows of steel, not of remorse. None sent me.
    Myself hath driven me here, here to the cell
    Wherein my treachery consigned my master.
    Hear me!

                           EGIL
             I hear thee, Yorul.

                           YORUL
                                 Since that night,
    That bitter sunset when she—since that night
    Till now, I have not left the forest, nor
    Spoken with friend or foe; but I have stopped
    My heart in the deep silentness of trees
    Till it hath burst for pain. My wrong and thine,
    Thy wrong and mine—I dared to balance them,
    To let my woe condone my treachery
    And prove it justified, as if my heart
    Were not itself thy vassal, and its pangs
    Feudal to thy desires. And so I sinned
    Until to-day.

                           EGIL
                  These are enigmas. Speak!
    How have the gods made answer to my prayer?

                           YORUL
    To-day I met with peasants in the wood
    Who drove their herds of swine all garlanded
    With green arbutus. Hailing me, they cried,
    “Why come ye not with us to Odin’s stone
    Against to-morrow’s wedding-day?” “Who weds?”
    Quoth I. “Our priestess Thordis weds the dwarf;
    Come with us!” Then I bit my arm and vowed
    That I would come to thee and speak my shame,
    And say, “Destroy me, lord, or let me serve thee.”

                           EGIL
    Peasants they were; they said—what was’t they said?

                           YORUL
    “To-morrow our priestess Thordis”—

                           EGIL
                                “_Weds the dwarf!_”
    Those were thy words; thou shalt not change them now.

                           YORUL
    I would not change them.

                           EGIL
                           Wouldst thou not? Well said!
    “To-morrow the maiden Thordis”—nay, not so;
    “To-morrow our priestess Thordis—_weds the dwarf_.”
    And all their swine were garlanded.—Was it so?

                           YORUL
    Even so, and I—

                           EGIL
                        Even so!

                           YORUL
                           I vowed to come—

                           EGIL
                       [_Laughing._]
    Knowledge—knowledge—that was my heart’s desire!

                           YORUL
    And make confession—

                           EGIL
                          Why, here have I sat
    And licked the crumbs of knowledge from his hand
    As I had been his beagle; and for what?
    To grow! to be transmuted from a wolf
    Into my brother’s ape! To evolve a mind
    That knows at last the rapture it must lose.
    Oh, noble!

                           YORUL
               And make confession of my crime
    As of my love.

                           EGIL
          [_Beginning to pace back and forth._]
                       Ha!

                          YORUL
                       For I loved her well,
    More than I dreamed. Love leads us from the truth
    And blinds us to ourselves.

                           EGIL
                               Ah!

                           YORUL
                               So when I
    Beheld that deed—forgive me!

                           EGIL
                               Ah!

                           YORUL
                                      I spake
    Those traitor’s words that damned thee to this cell;
    For I was mad. O God! the memory
    Maddens me now.

                           EGIL
                        Ha!

                           YORUL
                        Look not on me so,
    For I am weak and passionate. Take care!
    The truth deserts me!—Nay, forgive me, master,
    ’Tis love is falsehood.

                           EGIL
                         Ah!

                           YORUL
                               I am thy liegeman,
    And what was mine was thine to take, unquestioned.

                           EGIL
    Ah!

                           YORUL
        Yet my soul _would_ question, and I claimed her
    In spite of thee, for that same night—
                          [_Draws nearer and whispers._]
                                       I killed her.
    Mine! She is mine! Thou canst not touch her now.
    She lies out yonder with the virgin stars
    White and inviolable. Dead, she is mine
    Whom, living, ’twas thy title not to spare.
    Master, pity my triumph! Leave me yet
    This foible of my arrogance, for which
    Henceforth I am thy loyal slave, to do
    Or die for thee.

                           EGIL
                     Wouldst serve me—ah?

                           YORUL
                                Say how!

                           EGIL
    Seems thou canst kill.

                           YORUL
                           Speak but that word.

             [_They look long at each other._]

                           EGIL
                                 ’Tis spoken.
           Go!—Stay!

                           YORUL
               What more?

                           EGIL
                          Thine oath!—for sometimes, Yorul,
    The resolute grow sick with afterthought,
    And hot will cool—thine oath, to shun my sight,
    To speak not nor be spoken with, until
    ’Tis done.

                           YORUL
                 [_Raising his right arm._]
               By Frida’s cold and virgin hand,
    To shun my master’s sight, to speak not, nor
    Be spoken with, until ’tis done.

                           EGIL
                               ’Tis sworn;
             Go now.
           [_Yorul covers his face, and exit._]
            To-morrow she shall wed—not him.
    O dupe of lovers! Bond-slave to a dwarf!
    O gods, your fool! your fool!

    [_Throwing himself down beside the temple of blocks, he
        destroys it, insensate, and crouches, laughing, amid
        the ruins._]


SCENE II

    [_The curtain rises presently upon the same: a taper burns
        low_. THORDIS, _seated with a harp, is playing;
        near her_ EGIL _stands amid the block ruins.
        Ceasing to play, Thordis rises, looks at Egil (who
        stands oblivious), passes silently to the window and
        looks out._]

                          THORDIS
    The moon has set.

                           EGIL
                [_Stirs as from a trance._]
                      Can, then, the eternal cease?
    That perfect architecture pale in air?
    You built again my temple of sweet sounds
    And peopled it with deathless visitants,
    And shed around their forms a nameless grace
    Medicinal as moonlight, and as calm.
    I walked with them, and they discoursed with me.
    Almost it seemed myself was one of them.—
    And then you ceased.

                          THORDIS
                         ’Tis beauty’s paradox
    To prove itself immortal—and to die.

                           EGIL
    Die? Must this godlike transmutation lapse
    Into the lurking wolf again? Ah, no!
    That music died in labour, and its yearning
    Hath borne a man-child, that lives after it
    Here in my soul. Henceforth I nevermore
    May be that groping hypocrite of prayer
    Whom you uplifted from this ruined altar,
    With passion-sealèd eyes seeking the light
    Of freedom. No, henceforth I shall be strong,
    Clear-eyed, serene, and dauntless. See! I take
    Your hand and bid you go from me.—Thou only,
    Thou art my heart’s desire. See! I renounce thee.
    Go from me, for I love you. Leave me! Yet
    You leave me not alone; that passionate presence
    Which the blind wrath and hunger for possession
    Cries out for from my clay—of that I am
    Bereft indeed; but losing that, I gain
    The stellar part of you, the exceeding light
    Of fellowship and human sympathy.—
    Leave me! I love you.

                          THORDIS
                          Is this Egil speaks?

                           EGIL
    Egil, your lover, I!

                          THORDIS
                         The gods are mighty,
    And music is the lordliest. O Egil,
    Thou art emancipated, and to-morrow
    They will fling wide thy prison doors.—Good night!
                    [_Giving him the harp._]
    Keep here thy god with thee.
                    [_At the door, as they clasp hands._]
                            Brother!—Good night.

                         [_Exit._]

                           EGIL
    Sister!—Emancipated! Mine at last
    Freedom and innocence! The occult beast
    That crouched beside the sweet wells of my spirit
    Is exorcised at last.—To-morrow dawn
    I shall go forth and taste the wild, spring air,
    And gather the hamlet children in the woods
    To pluck arbutus for her wedding-day,
    Her wedding-day—and his. I have renounced her.
    Emancipated—but I have renounced her
    Even for that, for freedom. What were freedom
    Without—his! his! forever his own! And I
    Am happy, rapt, triumphant? _His!_ What power
    Hath wrought in me this ignominy?
                       [_Lifting the harp._]
                                 Thou!
    Wast thou, imperious instrument! Wast thou,
    Delirious god!
                 [_Fiercely he plucks out several strings._]
           Thou hast decoyed me!
                               [_Pausing._]
                                         Still,
    There’s Yorul; Yorul’s true.

    [_Wrenching with both hands the harp’s frame, he breaks it
        in halves, and exultant, raises them above his head,
        with a great breath._]

                             Emancipated!



ACT III


SCENE: A forest glade

    _On the left, a green bank and a pool, back of which is a
        thicket; on the right, a vista, beneath boughs, of a
        distant volcano, rising through the wet light of dawn._

                       EGIL’S VOICE
                       [_Outside._]
        Help—O! help—O!

                       SHRILL VOICES
                       [_Outside._]
               A troll! a troll! a troll!

    [_Enter, right_, EGIL, _running. He is completely
        surrounded and swarmed over by little children in bright
        spring garb. One little girl has climbed upon his
        shoulder, where she clings._]

                      THE CHILDREN
    Heigh! hold him fast. Troll! troll!

                          EGIL
                          Help, gentle greenwood!
    Am I but now escaped men’s prison walls
    To fall into this ambush of thine elves!
    Save me, you wrens and warblers! Fetch me wings!

                      THE CHILDREN
      [_Taking hands, dance about him, singing._]
                   Thrice, thrice,
                   Thrice around thee!
                   Star-wise
                   Our steps surround thee;
               Now yield thee, yield thee, proud Sir Troll!
                 Body and soul
                   Our spells have bound thee.

                           EGIL
                   Thrice, thrice,
                   Thrice around me!
                   Star-wise
                   Your steps surround me.
               Now yield I me and pay my toll—
                 Body and soul
                   As ye have bound me.
    [_He lies down, pretending death; each child places his foot
        upon him, with a shout. At this he springs up, laughing,
        seizes a little boy and girl, and, seating himself on a
        log, places them on his knees. The others cluster about
        him._]
    Ha, sirrah! is this maid thy sister?

                     THE LITTLE BOY
                                 Yes,
            She’s mine.

                           EGIL
                What wouldst thou do if I should steal her?

                     THE LITTLE BOY
         I’d kill you.

                           EGIL
                  Ha! wouldst let him?

                     THE LITTLE GIRL
                                   Oh, of course;
    He is my brother.

                           EGIL
                      ’Tis a brother’s right
    To kill, I see.

                     THE LITTLE GIRL
                    In play, you know.

                           EGIL
                               In play.

                      THE CHILDREN
    Come play! Come play!

                           EGIL
                          What now?

                      THE CHILDREN
                     [_Severally._]
                                Fox and wild geese!
    Glass-mountain, Spinning-fairy, Cat-skin, Crows,
    Frog-bridegroom!

                     THE LITTLE GIRL
                     _I_ know what!

                           EGIL
             [_Takes both her hands, smiling._]
                                Well, what?

                     THE LITTLE GIRL
                                       I’ll be
    Red Riding-hood, and you shall be the wolf.

         [_Egil drops her hands and rises._]

                     THE LITTLE BOY
    I’m the good hunter and these are my men.

                           EGIL
           [_Vassal-like to the little boy._]
    Beseech you, sir, may I not play your part?
    I’d fain be the good hunter.

                     THE LITTLE BOY
                             Granted, earl.
    I’d fainer be the wolf.
                 [_To the children._]
                            Come! gather your flowers.

                           EGIL
    And when you’ve filled your laps and aprons up
    With wind-flowers and arbutus, bring them here.
    Mind! ’tis our lady Thordis’ wedding-day.

                     THE CHILDREN
            [_Running from the little boy._]
    The wolf! the wolf!

    [_Passing left into the wood, they are seen for some time
        gathering flowers and watching, in their game, the
        stealthy approachments of the little boy._]

                           EGIL
                        O freedom! happy world!
    Hark, how they laugh, with bubbling undersong
    Sweetening the over-choir of the birds.
    And I—I, too, can laugh; can loose my soul
    Free-wing’d into the open with a cry
    Unfetter’d as a lark.

    [_Looking up into the tree-tops, he laughs again._]

                          O rarest laughter!
    O medicine of the long-languish’d mind!
    O welling of the heart’s sweet waters up,
    Washing the acid tang of cynic woe
    Sere from the spirit’s lips. O benison
    Of innocence! And have I lived before
    This hour? Is not this day creation’s dawn?
          [_Flinging himself upon the bank._]
    These children, with their lifted flowerlike faces,
    These flowers, with their dewy childlike eyes,
    These parting vapours on the golden hills,
    Yea, all these leaves of little twinkling grass
    Whose roots strike down to tears of yesterday—
    Now shine like things immaculate, new-born,
    And I, and they, like issue of one mother,
    The offspring of an universal birth.
    Oh, what exceeding power hath loveliness
    For her beholder!

    [_Where he lies thus rapt in the sylvan landscape, the
        first sunlight breaks through the wood, and by it the_
        SHADOW _of a man is thrown sharply, from the
        left, across the reclining form of Egil. At the same
        time, from the right, is heard Arfi’s voice, singing._]

                     THE VOICE OF ARFI
                Thy heart, love, give or take
                  Or cast away;
                Mine shall not break
                  Forever and a day;
    For lovers kiss their mates where thoughts are kind.
    Love lives within the mind—the mind—the mind.

        [_Slowly having risen to his feet, Egil perceives
                 the human shadow and starts._]

                           EGIL
                        Yorul!
    [_The shadow recedes, left, from the scene._]
                                 Yorul, stay!
    Come back!

                     THE VOICE OF ARFI
                The redstart and the rose,
                  The clear sunrise,
                What mortal knows
                  Their grace to immortalise?
    Seek them again, where Death can never find,
    By love, within the mind—the enamour’d mind.

                           EGIL
                 It must not be.—Yorul!—What, I
    Was mad, who now am sane and innocent.
    Come back! It shall not—Yorul!

                          THORDIS
                     [_Calls outside._]
                                    Egil!

                           EGIL
                       [_Pausing._]
                                     She!

    [_Enter, right_, THORDIS _and_ ARFI.
        _They are dressed in white, the dwarf being quaintly
        garlanded. They are followed by_ WULDOR.
        _Thordis goes gaily toward Egil, extending both her
        hands._]

                          THORDIS
    Deserter! runagate!—Look, Arfi, here’s
    Our truant brought to bay. And will not yield!
    And will not even surrender up his eyes
    To his imploring gaolers.—O proud brother!
    Not even a hand-clasp in return for all
    Thy struck-off shackles?
              [_Taking her hands, he still looks off left._]

                           EGIL
                             Lady!

                          THORDIS
                                 Still no eyes
    For mortals? Quite enamoured of a wood-sprite?
    Alas! we’ve broke a tryst and she has flown!
    Call her: perchance she’ll hear.

                           EGIL
                 [_Looking upon Thordis._]
                                     Lady!—
       [_Quickly then turning away, speaks under his breath
               to Wuldor._]
                                  A word,
               A word!

                           ARFI
              He’s deeply moved.

                          THORDIS
                             He’s deeply changed.
    Saw you his eyes when they turned full on me,
    And he said, “Lady”? There were tears in them,
    Tears, and yet through them glowed the ancient fire,
    Not now in wrath, but tenderness.

                           EGIL
                    [_Aside to Wuldor._]
                                  Overtake him;
    The oath he swore to Egil—tell him—Egil
    Now countermands. Bid him do nothing; go!
        [_Watches Wuldor off, left. Arfi, quietly looking
               at him, speaks to Thordis._]

                           ARFI
    You love him dearly?

                          THORDIS
                         Very dearly.

                           EGIL
                               Brother,
        Thordis, your hands again!

                           ARFI
                       [_Smiling._]
                           Have you despatched
    Wuldor to find the lady wood-sprite?

                           EGIL
                                    Friends,
    Were we less deeply known to one another,
    And chiefly I to you—what thing I was,
    What now, perchance, am grown—well, I suppose
    ’Twere custom, were it not? to wreathe our lips
    With honey-blossoms of superfluous
    Congratulation: you are to be wed,
    And I am free, and my emancipation
    Owes all itself to you.—“Heaven be with you!”
    “I thank you well,” “Joy is to me!”—But these
    Things being said, and rung with all the chimes
    Of truth, I beg of you let now these hands
    Speak the unsaid remainder for our hearts
    In silence.
                [_The three hold hands._]

                           ARFI
                     [_After a pause._]
                Vaster powers than we have wrought
    This friendship. Whom the gods join hand in hand
    Their fates thenceforth are mingled.

                          THORDIS
           [_Loosening her hands with a laugh._]
                                So, dear lord,
             Be merry!

                           ARFI
             [_Speaks low, with a smile._]
              Have I not divinest reason?
    This is the place.

                          THORDIS
                      Arfi! The sacred pool?

                           ARFI
    The pool of Freyja—there! The wood-folk call it
    Her mirror, for they say that once i’ the year,
    Ever at May-day, the fresh goddess comes
    To sit beside it with her elves, whilst they
    Comb her bright hair.

                          THORDIS
                          And then she peers within it?

                           ARFI
    As you do now.—Sweetest, good-bye!

                          THORDIS
                                  Good-bye?
         But where are you going?

                           ARFI
                             The wood pathway to heaven.
    I’m going to hasten that laggard priest, your father,
    To make him make you mine.

                           EGIL
                           Stop! You’re alone.

                           ARFI
    Well?

                           EGIL
                     [_Embarrassed._]
          Will it be now?

                           ARFI
                          Am I not written large
    With bridal runes? Hang not these garlands thick
    As invocations from an inn-house gable?
    “Here light ye down, fair guests! Light down, light down,
    Dear lady, at the sign of the ‘_Green Bridegroom_!’”—
    Farewell, sweetheart. This day is clothed in green
    For joy. I will return with Ingimund
    As swift as longing.

                           EGIL
                         Stay; we must be wise.
    You must not leave me here alone with her.

                           ARFI
    Why? Are you not my brother?

                           EGIL
                              I am he
    Who vowed against you hatred and revenge.

                           ARFI
    Also you are my brother.

                           EGIL
                              I am he
    That with a brutish fang struck at your life.

                           ARFI
    Good-bye, dear brother.

                           EGIL
                           Wait! Was I not then
    Your brother—_then_? Will not a brother lust?
    A brother covet? Are not beauty, grace,
    Lures to a brother’s eyes? Are brothers’ souls
    By nature kin? Or is that name a spell
    To render heart and mind innocuous
    That else might murder, ravish? Oh, be not
    So rash as put your trust in me because
    I am your brother.

                           ARFI
          [_Returning to Egil, embraces him._]
                       Lad, keep this with you.
    I would not be so rash as _not_ to trust
    In you a power more august than yourself
    For all the joy and honour which this day
    Holds out to me.—Adieu! This day is joy’s.
                                [_Exit, right._]

                           EGIL
    Now we’re alone. How is it with you—sister?

                          THORDIS
    Strangely, my brother; how is it with you?

                           EGIL
                                        O God!
    How many waking dawns and desperate nights
    Have I, in sharp imagination, moaned
    For this sweet hour, to stand—as now
    I stand—alone with you, in liberty.

                          THORDIS
    And now that time has come.
               [_She reaches to him her hand;
                       he does not take it._]

                           EGIL
                                Now it is come,
    But ah! how sternly different is this truth
    From all I dreamed. Can this be freedom? See!
    What hangs upon these arms? They wear no chains.
    Why, then, do they not catch you breathless up
    And bear you hence in rapture? In your eyes—
    Lo! veilless I behold your virgin soul!
    And yet she does not fly, nor I pursue.

                          THORDIS
    What should she fear?

                           EGIL
                    What should she not?—These eyes
    Renouncing hers; these hands that dare not press
    Her vesture’s hem, lest they consume like coals
    That robèd sanctuary; these desires
    That burn around her like the hedge of flames
    Round Brunhild’s bower; this waiting dawn, this hush
    And solitary wood—What fear? Herself,
    Herself that, all resolved to beauty, breathes
    Herself unto these eyes, these hands, this dawn,
    These leash’d desires!

                          THORDIS
                          You love me, you would say.
            Why should you not?

                           EGIL
                           I have renounced you.

                          THORDIS
                                            Me,
    But not your love for me. Surely that still
    Is happiness.

                           EGIL
                  Why, yes, I must be happy;
    For this is pain, and pain is very sweet
    To those who love; and this is bitter sweet
    To breathe the name of “sister” ’gainst your cheek
    Where but so late the sigh of “sweetheart” stole
    Warm from my brother’s lips.—O lure and vision!
    Do you not see? I have climbed up to you
    Out of the rank abyss; this is the verge:
    One word, one look, from you must hurl me back,
    Or save me.

                          THORDIS
                     Look.

                           EGIL
                      How have you dared to trust me?

                          THORDIS
    When have we ever ceased to trust you?

                           EGIL
                               “We”?

                         THORDIS
    Arfi and I. Oh, he is very wise.
    His judgment is as gracious as a child’s
    That in the wonderland of its own wisdom
    Imagines nothing baser than itself.

                           EGIL
          But I _am_ baser.

                          THORDIS
                      Hath it proved so?

                           EGIL
                     [_After a pause._]
                                         No!
    No; thanks to you and him and my own pain,
    It shall not prove so. This at last is power
    And innocence; this—this at last is freedom.
    Now when I clasp your hand I clasp his also—
    My saviour’s; now beneath your face, for shrine,
    I will confess my spirit to you both,
    For are you not my gods? You have created
    My heaven and hell, and builded my path heavenward.
    Now from your eyes nothing—nothing within
    This heart shall be concealed.

                          THORDIS
                        [_Smiling._]
                               What then is your secret?

        [_On the edge of the scene, left, unobserved by them,
               reappears the human_ SHADOW.]

                           EGIL
                     [_Slowly rises._]
          My secret?

                          THORDIS
               Come, sit with me on this bank,
    And I will be a listening stream, a bird,
    An opening flower, to overhear you.

        [_He follows and sits beside her; the Shadow
                 slowly moves toward them._]

                           EGIL
                                But—

                          THORDIS
    That thought which falters now behind your lips.

                           EGIL
    I have no thought which hides from you.
         [_The Shadow moves between them. Egil starts
                 up with a cry._]
                                  Again!
        Again it falls upon me!

                          THORDIS
                           What?

                           EGIL
                               ’Tis gone.

                          THORDIS
    What’s gone?

                           EGIL
                 It is no matter.

                          THORDIS
                               A surprise!
    I see: a wedding-day surprise for us.

                           EGIL
    No, but a lie. I lied to you. Last night
    I told you I renounced you, but I lied.

                          THORDIS
    Egil!

                           EGIL
          It was the music, the harp-demon;
    It blinded and then tempted me; it lured me
    To obtain my freedom falsely. But to-day,
    This morning when my body fetterless
    Roamed in this wood-side, and the little children
    Climbed over me in laughter, and I too
    Laughed with them, and all nature laughed and echoed
    “Thou art emancipated!”—I was healed;
    Then I was healed and now all’s well again;
    All’s well; no harm shall come to him.

                          THORDIS
                                   To whom?
    I do not understand.

                           EGIL
                         You have no need;
    I claim your own assurance. Will you trust me?

                          THORDIS
    So well that, now you have put your secret by,
    I will tell mine.

                           EGIL
                    What secret can you have
        For me?

                          THORDIS
            You have been wicked; so perhaps
        Have I.

                           EGIL
                       [_Smiling._]
            You!

                          THORDIS
                   [_Showing her hand._]
                 Look! look there.

                           EGIL
                               A scar.

                          THORDIS
                                 The mark
                  Of fangs.

                           EGIL
              What thing has dared to give you pain?

                          THORDIS
    Have you forgot?

                           EGIL
                     Ah me! I had forgot.
    Cannot you, too, forget?

                          THORDIS
                          I would not; that’s
    My secret. Yes, this scar is dear to me.

                           EGIL
    That sign of blasphemy, of him—the werewolf—

                          THORDIS
    Is dear to me.

                           EGIL
                    Thordis!

                          THORDIS
                            I loved the wolf.
    It was a life to nourish and protect,
    A being alien and mysterious,
    Yearning and captive. It was terrible,
    And yet so eager, swift, and passionate
    It fascinated me. It was ignoble,
    Cruel, yet infinite of promise; cunning,
    Malicious, yet beautifully animate,
    Sublimely animal.

                           EGIL
                      O pain!

                          THORDIS
                              To take it
    Into my bosom, foster its wild growth
    From hour to hour, to watch from day to day
    The fierce light of its eyes glow deeper, milder,
    To nestle it only to set it free—these joys
    Were pangs to me.

                           EGIL
                         [_Low._]
                    Have pity!

                          THORDIS
                                 Then it was
    So lordly, so imperious of strength,
    In grace so sinuous, in pride so ardent—
    Who had not been enamoured of it?

                           EGIL
                                      Cease!
    It wrought some monstrous spell to make you wanton.

                          THORDIS
    If that be wantonness which fain would take
    No joy of loving but the giving joy.

                           EGIL
    But for that beast you turned your thoughts from Arfi?

                         THORDIS
    You do not understand; Arfi and I
    Are one; it needs no murmured wedding vows
    To make us that. But I am beautiful,
    And all who look upon me love to press
    Nearer and touch my gown, and when I pass
    I feel the ruddy mantling of their cheeks
    And the wild admiration start; and these
    Are joys to Arfi as to me, and we
    Return their love.

                           EGIL
                    Even so you loved me?

                          THORDIS
                                          No,
    More than all those, for you alone of those
    Had need of me.—And so you have my secret.
    I fear indeed it is a wicked one;
    For I have been like a too-doting nurse
    That lets her heart hang backward in regret
    And whispers her loved one, “Grow, but do not leave me!”

                           EGIL
    For what then have I grown, O gods?

                          THORDIS
                                      For this:
    To be yourself, and free of that nurse-bondage.

                           EGIL
    Free! but alone, adrift! Oh, take me back
    Into the bosom of your care. Once more
    Nestle me there, the wild thing!

                          THORDIS
                                 That once more
    So you might struggle for your freedom? Nay,
    The wild thing now is dead.

    [_Enter Wuldor, left; he goes to Egil._]

                           WULDOR
                                I cannot speak
    With him. When I approached, he fled from me,
    Silent. I called, but both his hands he pressed
    Over his ears, and silently among
    The trees eluded me.

                           EGIL
    [_Seizing Wuldor’s wrists, speaks huskily._]
                         I have not willed this;
    They cannot lay this crime on me—these gods,
    For I have annulled it, I have cancelled it.
    Come here, look in my heart; is it not clean?
    Woe thou mayest see there, yearning, pain, but not—
    Say, canst thou see there—murder? Answer not,
    But go! What will come _will_ come; what have I
    To do with it? Go, go, I say.
                   [_Exit Wuldor, right, looking darkly._]

                          THORDIS
                               You are ill,
    Your gestures—they are wild.

                           EGIL
                        Why should they not be?
    The wild thing is not dead, but is exalted.
    Gods, why should we, your hinds, coin and devise
    Dreams of emancipation! We are quibblers
    And hypocrites, damned, every slave of us,
    To hug our chains in secret. Rather than
    Acknowledge what we are, the mind outwits
    The heart, the heart hoodwinks the mind, the tongue
    Cajoles and counterplots them both, while truth—
                          [_Breaks into laughter._]

                          THORDIS
    Tell me the truth.

                           EGIL
                       Again? Another version?
    Why, listen then: I love you; not in the awful,
    Serene idea of self-sacrifice,
    But passion, which of right demands return
    Of passion, nature’s just and ancient barter.
    I want you; I demand you—all yourself.
    I offer all myself.

                          THORDIS
                        What of your brother?

                           EGIL
    I ask you nothing which he does not ask.
    He offers nothing which I do not offer.
    There was a difference between us once,
    Not now.

                          THORDIS
             Hath he not made you what you are?

                           EGIL
    Yes, he and you.

                          THORDIS
                     And in requital now
    You would seduce his bride?

                           EGIL
                               No, not seduce;
    Demand. Yes, though I seem to rave, I speak
    Love and conviction. Judge me, dear my lady.
    You chose between us brothers when we were
    Contrasted in our souls as some meek bard
    Of pity, with a beast. Look on us now
    Again, before it be too late, and choose
    Between us now.

                          THORDIS
                    I have chosen once for all.

                           EGIL
    But have you chosen blindly?
                [_Points into the wood._]
                              Do you see,
    By yonder pine, that wild crab-apple tree?

                          THORDIS
    I see a tree just bursting into flower.

                           EGIL
    Is not it beautiful?

                          THORDIS
                         ’Tis ravishing.

                           EGIL
    Last winter, had you passed, you might have seen it
    Writhing its frozen limbs there like a thing
    Accurst, all pinched and scrambled by the pangs
    Of screaming winds; you would have shrunk from it
    Beneath the verdurous pine, in whose sad boughs
    The same winds sung like voices of tuned lyres.

                          THORDIS
        It may be so.

                           EGIL
                  Yet now behold it, now!
    A pale-rose pyre of fragrance and of flame,
    Wherein, like sacrificial spirits, sit
    The tawny and vermilion birds, and strike
    Their silvery chants in unison, and hung
    Amid the tangled bloom, in murmurous choirs,
    The blazing gold bees shrill their mellow horns.
    Look, Thordis, look again! If you were Freyja,
    Herself, goddess of spring, which would you choose
    For shelter now, and joy?

                          THORDIS
                      [_Gazing at him._]
                              Ah me!

                           EGIL
                                     If spring—
    If spring and the sweet south can so transform,
    What cannot love? Your warmth, your breath, your soul,
    Soft on my numbness, my deformity,
    Breathed, and I sprung—a burning tree of bloom—
    Beside you. Have you eyes for flights unseen?
    Hearing for choirs unheard? Here, too, beside you
    Fierce swarms of golden fancies work in song
    The fecund pollen of my passion, here
    A thousand bird-wing’d visions nest them down
    Into the heart of me, to chant your praise.
    You that have so transformed me, you repulse me
    Now?

    [_Enter right, in the background, Arfi; he pauses unseen._]

                          THORDIS
         Take your eyes from mine.

                           EGIL
                                You love me; you
    Who fostered me, the wild thing, love me still.
    My secret scar is on you; you are mine,
    Not his.

                          THORDIS
               Oh, leave me!

                           EGIL
                           Yet you seize my hand.

                          THORDIS
        Leave me, leave me!

                          EGIL
                        Yet you take me to your heart.

                          THORDIS
    A myriad loves the heart hath, but one mate.
    Once only may the cry of soul and body
    Be answered; the great need can be but once.

                           EGIL
    Now is the great need come.

                          THORDIS
                             How may we know?

                          EGIL
    I am your being’s master. If his soul
    Were listening to us now, I would cry out:
    “I have outgrown thee, brother. What thou art
    I am and more, for I have wrung from thee
    Thy potent mind, and forged it to my passions
    To make a lordlier instrument. Mine, therefore,
    Not thine, the ordainèd need of her. Mine!”

                          THORDIS
                                Love me!
    [_He kisses her. Arfi moves into the thicket and disappears.
        Thordis, putting Egil from her, draws a dagger upon
        herself._]
    Ah, my betrayer! It is ended.

                           EGIL
             [_Seizing the knife from her._]
                                  No;
    You shall not choose so. If that name indeed
    Be mine, keep silence now, while I avenge
    The kiss of thy seducer.

    [_As he turns the knife upon himself, Thordis cries out._]

                          THORDIS
                             Egil!

                           EGIL
                               Love!
    [_Springing to her, beside the pool, he recoils._]
    Impending image! persecuting shape!
    Depart.

                          THORDIS
            Alas! are we both mad?

                           EGIL
                                   Remove
    The prying horror of thine eyes. Not now—
    At this the utmost instant of my joy
    Intrude not now.

                          THORDIS
                       Whom do you speak to?

                           EGIL
           [_Staring past Thordis into the pool._]
                                           There!
    Look, we have murdered him. It comes to tell us;
    It points at thee, to say thou, too, art guilty.
    We have betrayed and killed him, thou and I.
    See, see! It kneels and craves our sanction.—Rise,
    Remorseless shadow! Go! I give it thee.

    [_He hurls the dagger into the pool. As he staggers back,
              Thordis rests his head on her shoulder._]

                          THORDIS
    Peace, brain and heart!

                          VOICES
                [_Far away, right, sing._]
          How should the bed, the bridal bed,
                  Freyja, be spread?
          Pine garlands at the foot, rose garlands at the head.

                           EGIL
                           Is it gone?

                          THORDIS
                                      Nothing is there.
    Rest, rest, poor dreamer!

                        THE VOICES
                         [_Sing._]
            What on the maid, the bride and maid,
                      Freyja, be laid?
            The rose’s innocence, ere those fresh garlands fade.

                           EGIL
                           Hark! the bridal virgins!
            [_Thordis shrinks from him._]
    Stay, Thordis; now the awful need is come.
    While yet we are alone in the great silence,
    Now, now, before they find it, pale and red,
    Heaped in the path of roses, now—be mine.

                          THORDIS
    Freyja, help me! Freyja, goddess and maiden!

                           EGIL
    His soul descends upon us both, and seals
    This act with blood of sacrifice. His blood
    Our nuptial rite hath reddened.

                          THORDIS
                                 Save me!

                           EGIL
                                        Hush!
    This is the vernal god, the appalling arm
    That clasped the world i’ the primal age, and moaned—
    “Let there be life!”—Hush, love; do not you hear
    The stealing saps stir through the forest, feel
    The seeking joys of all wild, mating things
    Throb in their blood and ours, their kindred,—

                          THORDIS
                   [_Breaking from him._]
                                           Help!
          Help, Arfi!

    [_She escapes, right, into the wood. As Egil pursues her,
        there steps from the thicket, into his path, Arfi.
        Egil pauses._]

                           EGIL
                May the dead be summoned back
    To curse us with forgiveness?—Spirit, be stern
    And not compassionate. Come in your wounds,
    Fell and disfigured, not benignly thus.
    Oh, not your love-your vengeance! Not your love!
      [_Shields his eyes with his arms. As he does so, Arfi, with
          a serene gesture, is about to speak, when from the
          thicket Yorul springs silently out and stabs him. Arfi
          falls motionless; Yorul withdraws. Slowly Egil looks
          again._]
    Yea, now thou hast resumed thy murder-garment,
    And hast drawn on thy bridal-robe of wounds,
    And laid thee at my feet in vengeance. Now
    This is indeed thy vengeance—brother! master!
            [_Stoops beside the body._]

                   VOICES OF THE VIRGINS
                      [_Sing, near._]
            What o’er the man the maid shall wed,
                        Freyja, be shed?
            The pine’s immortal breath, ere those green boughs are dead.

    [_Starting up, fearful, Egil hales the body toward the left,
        but having reached the centre pauses, as the laughter
        of children rises in the way before him. Turning, he
        is dragging the body down scene, when the children,
        scampering in, left, with their aprons and baskets
        full of wild flowers, run towards him. Finger on lip,
        he motions them silence; their laughter and shouts die
        away, awed_.]

                           EGIL
    He is asleep; the bridegroom is asleep.
    Scatter your wild flowers over him. Look, he smiles,
    He’ll laugh when he awakes and sees them.—Soft!

                       THE CHILDREN
    [_Whispering, gather in a circle and, pleased as at some game
         of mystery, heap the flowers upon Arfi, and sing low._]

                      Flowers bring
                      And fairy numbers!
                      Sweet Spring
                      His spirit cumbers.
                Still be highhole! still be thrush!
                    Hush! hush!
                      Now he slumbers.

    [_Treading softly, with covert laughter and “hushes,” the
        children steal away. Heaped over the body of Arfi and
        completely concealing it, they have left behind them a
        great pile of arbutus, violets, and other flowers. Some
        of these Egil is replacing more carefully, when the pile
        is shaken from within, and up through it rises the form_
        BALDUR. _Dazzled, Egil kneels._]

                          BALDUR
        Hail, brother!

                           EGIL
                   Art thou sunlight, or a voice?

                          BALDUR
    This is the word of Odin!
               [_Egil sinks prostrate._]
                              If the wolf
    Seduce to his desire his brother’s bride,
    He shall be lord with her of heaven and earth
    And hell, and by their passion the serene
    And stablished beacons of the gods shall be
    Eclipsed in night, anarchical and void,
    Where, staggering with lust, the blinded world
    Reels back to chaos and the primal dark.

                           EGIL
                    [_Hiding his face._]
    And if the wolf renounce her?

                          BALDUR
                          He shall perish,
    Slain by his own self-mastery, and all
    The spirits of light, freed from that awful dread,
    Shall strew his charnel, singing.

                           EGIL
                                 Ah! but she—

                          BALDUR
    She falters yet; she hangs upon his will.
    The lure of imperfection is the sin
    Of gods, the lure of godhood that of mortals.
    She wavers still.

                           EGIL
                      Bright shadow, golden voice,
    Say what thou art.

                          BALDUR
                       Baldur, the son of Odin.

                           EGIL
                       [_Starts up._]
          Then I—?

                          BALDUR
                Fenris, the wolf-god!
    [_He sinks again into the flowers, and is gone._]

                           EGIL
                                 Ah! the dream!
    The dream is true; the truth is visionary.

    [_From the left, two or three of the children return from
        the wood, and stand silent. From the right, the lutes
        and pipes of the bridal procession grow louder, and
        shortly enter the virgins_, INGIMUND, _Thordis,
        Wuldor, and others, as Egil still stands lost in
        soliloquy._]

    “And there, in slumber, even as mortals dream,
    Slumb’ring, that they are bright, immortal gods,
    You shall be mortals, and shall walk as men,
    Forgetful of your immortality.”

                          THORDIS
    Was not he with you, father?

                         INGIMUND
                                 He went before
    A little space, to greet you first.—My child,
    Why do you cling to me?

                           EGIL
                   [_Approaching her._]
                           Goddess and maiden!

                          THORDIS
    He’s mad. Save us! We both are mad.

                         INGIMUND
                                      Thy brother,
    Where is he?

                           EGIL
                 Father, he hath gone before
    A little space, but left thy word with me.

                         INGIMUND
        _My_ word?

                           EGIL
               The word of truth.

    [_A little girl, moving back some of the flowers, has
        disclosed the dead body of Arfi, blood-stained._]

                       THE LITTLE GIRL
                              He’s still asleep.

                          THORDIS
                 [_Goes to it with a cry._]
    Arfi!

                           WULDOR
          I thought it, Ingimund; he’s murdered.

                          INGIMUND
    His bane! What hand struck this?

                           EGIL
                                     Lo, I will tell;
    The dream must end. Thou saidest: He shall perish,
    And all the spirits of light, freed from that dread,
    Shall strew his charnel, singing.

                          INGIMUND
                                   Madman! Thou—

                           YORUL
                [_Entering from the thicket._]
        _I_ murdered him.

                          THORDIS
                [_Starting up from the body._]
                      Yorul!

                           YORUL
                     [_Showing dagger._]
                             His blood is here.

                           EGIL
    Yet shall the dreamers wake, the truth prevail.

                           YORUL
    ’Twas I! This hand—

                           EGIL
                      And shall that hand put out
    The beacons of the gods with primal dark,
    And hurl the blinded world to chaos?

                          THORDIS
                                         Egil!
    Thou art innocent! Oh, in this blank of death
    That truth remains.

                           EGIL
                  [_Turning upon Yorul._]
                        Scourge and seductor!

                         INGIMUND
                        [_To Egil._]
                                       Speak!
    Hath this man done this deed?

                           EGIL
                        [_Slowly._]
                               Yes; it was Yorul.

                    [_Yorul is seized._]



ACT IV


SCENE: The rune-stone.

    _A white-rose bush, beside it, in bloom; a flame on the
        altar; sunset._

          _Enter_ EGIL, _alone_.

                           EGIL
    Put it away? To put all from me—all—
    Or else despoil! Renounce, or with a kiss
    Consume the bright seduction! Mar—relinquish,
    In either path, to suffer; yet to see
    Myself at last for what I am, to know
    The inexorable bars, the nudging rafters,
    The starry lych-gate and the pit of tears
    Of this my soul and penthouse.—And the escape!
    To know that I—myself the miracle
    I worshipped—am a god, a sovereign lord
    Of nature, powerful to make the bounds
    And marches of the heaven my petty fiefs
    Of mind,—yet what a god! A clawed usurper,
    That snatches from the shoulders of the gods
    The green and azure cloth of summer-time,
    This human tapestry of spring and harvest
    Star-wrought with sanguine hearts and golden sheaves,
    And tears it, tooth-meal, for a wolf’s lair.—This,
    This also must have challenge: Might not Egil
    O’ermaster Fenris? Can the mind o’ermaster
    The will?
               [_Supplicating the rune-stone._]
             O mystery, that made us two
    Yet one, resolve thyself and this and seal it!
    To put all, all away, or with a kiss consume?

    [_Pausing, he breaks a white rose, and holding it near
        and nearer the altar-flame watches it—as though for
        a sign—till it scorches; then snatching it back,
        extinguishes the flame. While he is bending over thus_,
        THORDIS _enters,—in her hands a rope of
        twined arbutus-flowers. All in white, she is very pale;
        approaching behind Egil, she watches over his shoulder
        the rose petals and the flame. Suddenly, throwing the
        rope of arbutus over his head, she winds it about him.
        Turning, he drops the rose, and they gaze at each other,
        anguished._]

                           EGIL
                    [_After a silence._]
    Why have you left the body?

                          THORDIS
        [_Binding his arms down with the blossoms._]
                                I have come
    To bring you back in chains to prison.

                           EGIL
                                 Where—

                          THORDIS
    I know a dungeon where the dead are not.

                           EGIL
    Where—have you left the body?

                          THORDIS
                                 They are bringing
    Their burden here.

                           EGIL
                       These flowers?

                          THORDIS
                                  Arbutus.

                           EGIL
                                            Those?
    And you could weave of those this chain for me?

                          THORDIS
    Could weave a garland of a winding-sheet?
    I could; I did; and whilst I wove, I heard
    Above my head the small birds singing “Horror,”
    And underfoot “Horror” the sweet grass sang;
    But in my bosom sung, “He loves me.”

                           EGIL
                                    Keep
    From me, lest thou be scorched.

                          THORDIS
                                 Was he not gentle,
    Exalted, tender? Who that saw his smile
    But thought “A star breaks”?—Now for us all dark,
    A shape of clay. Oh, why should sudden love
    Come like the tempest, and blot out from skies
    Of memory all golden yesterdays?
    But so it is; the storm of thee shuts down
    Over my world; thy lightnings have put out
    His smile.

                           EGIL
               Is it not enough that I have spilled
    His blood upon my soul, but must that, more,
    Pollute the whiteness of a goddess’ heart
    And desecrate perfection?

                          THORDIS
       [_With a wan smile of pain, drawing him with the
                   arbutus toward her._]
                              Come—to prison.

                           EGIL
    His blood, I said; did you not hear? Not Yorul—
    _I_ murdered him!

                          THORDIS
                      You do not understand;
    It was not you; ’twas I.

                           EGIL
                             The hand of Yorul
    Stabbed him, but my intent.

                          THORDIS
                             You do not ask
    Where I’ve prepared your dungeon.—Come.

                           EGIL
                                   Too late,
    You precious chains! I am free.

                          THORDIS
                                 Thy words again!
    “Free, but alone, adrift!” I hear thee still,
    Forever, calling in thy need of me—
    “O take me back, the wild thing!” Come!—I take thee;
    I nestle thee once more, a captive. Come,
    Alone no more!

                           EGIL
                   It is too late. ’Tis he,
    Your god and lover, whom they are bringing back
    To claim you.

                          THORDIS
                     [_Clinging to him._]
                  Who shall claim me from your side?

    [_Enter a procession of folk, virgins, and children, bearing
        a low bier, covered with a cloth of green, behind which
        walks_ YORUL, _bound_. INGIMUND, _who
        enters first, ascends, by the stone steps, the altar,
        before which the bier is set down. While this is being
        borne, the dirge continues._]

                      VIRGINS AND CHILDREN
                           [_Chant._]
                      Heiri! heiri! heiri!
                        Othin ok Æsir!

    [_Ingimund signs to a priest to loosen the hands of Yorul,
    who stands in front of the bier._]

                         INGIMUND
    Give him the cup. The murderer shall drink
    The bane of murder.

        [_The priest hands to Yorul a cup, which, as he raises it
            quietly to his lips, is wrenched from his hand by Egil,
            who embraces him._]

                           EGIL
                        My deliverer!—
    Brother, awake! I give thee back thy bride.
        [_On the bier, the green cloth is thrown back, and_
            BALDUR, _rising, steps upon the altar._
            THORDIS _gazes upon him._]
    This is my heart’s desire—take it! ’tis yours.

                          BALDUR
            Freyja!

                          THORDIS
             [_With a wild cry, going to him._]
            Baldur!

                          THE FOLK
                 [_Prostrating themselves._]
                    The gods! the gods!

        [_Thordis and Ingimund, by Baldur’s side, are transfigured,
            and a hedge of flowers and flame springs up before the
            altar, encircling the three._]

                           EGIL
              [_Apart, drinks from the cup._]
                                        To freedom!

    [_Baldur and Thordis, clinging to each other, look at Egil._]

                           YORUL
             [_Staring at Baldur, speaks to Egil._]
    Whom, lord, dost thou name “brother”?

                           EGIL
                                     Him—and thee,
    Both, for through me henceforward you are kindred.
    Yorul! my men, my liegemen! you—you also
    Conceived in chains and born in passion, you
    Also, who from an immemorial brute
    Rage for emancipation, oh, forget not
    Your brother Fenris, him who was brought forth
    A glorious miscarriage of the gods,
    To be exalted to a man.
                    [_He sinks upon the bier._]
                            The chains!
    Yorul—the chains!

    [_Striving to break the arbutus links, which hang loosely
           upon him, he falls back._]

                           YORUL
                          Master!

                           ODIN
                           The wolf is tamed.

    [_In sudden fire, the gods disappear, leaving deep twilight.
        Vague, the body of Egil lies dead on the bier._ _Beside
        it, amid the prostrate folk, rising alone, stands Yorul,
        with arms upreached toward the rune-stone._]

                  THE VIRGINS AND CHILDREN
                        [_Singing._]
                      Heiri! heiri! heiri!
                        Balthur ok Freyja!

        [_Far off, the ice-crown of the volcano flushes in
                the afterglow._]



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

  Old or antiquated spellings have been preserved.

  Typographical errors have been silently corrected but other variations
    in spelling and punctuation remain unaltered.

  Each act in the original had a full page identifying the act as well
    as a heading at the beginning of the act. The full page act numbers
    have been removed from this edition as being redundant.





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