Marked up to be included in the Scandinavian-Canadian Journal
ABSTRACT: This version of
RÉSUMÉ : Cette version de
Ibsen’s original play was written in rhymed verse, and he intended it to be read rather than acted. This version of
This translation / adaptation of the play came about as the consequence of a chance remark by John Wright, a colleague of mine in the Theatre and Film Department at the University of British Columbia. He was recalling, nostalgically, a production of the play he had acted in when a student, directed by the legendary Dorothy Somerset. It was our mutual decision that I would produce a Scandinavian / Canadian version of the play, and that he would direct it. The Scandinavian content (Grieg’s music, some of the original language, the trolls, the Nordic myths) would remind the audience of the play’s origins; the Canadian content (current political references, etc.) would establish a more contemporary gloss on the play’s relevance.
Ibsen’s first translator into English was William Archer, and he posed the self-same question. Because he was a stickler for accuracy, he chose to sacrifice Ibsen’s rhymes to the principle of precise verbal equivalence (on the correct assumption that you cannot hope to replicate rhyme in a translation committed to exact English correspondence.) My working principle was that “accuracy” is of no particular advantage when one is reducing a seven-hour piece to one-third of its length, and that all of Ibsen’s wit is contained in his rhyming four-beat couplets and quatrains. Archer’s blank verse version misses all the fun—as do the many translations that opt for prose. I have been guided, moreover, by José Ortega y Gasset’s theoretical premise that
translation is not a duplicate of the original text; it is not—it shouldn’t try to be—the work itself with a different vocabulary. The simple fact is that the translation is not the work, but a path towards the work
A Dramatic Poem.When it was finally staged some eight years later, it was adapted without any change to its structure—except for the fact that it was drastically cut at Ibsen’s suggestion; and Grieg’s music was added (ostensibly to cover the gaps.) My intention has been to transform a dramatic poem into a poetic drama: to dramatize abstract ideas as actions and poetic concepts as stage symbols. I have incorporated most of Ibsen’s major scenes, but I have restructured many of them and rearranged their order to create a coherent through-line: the search for an authentic self when the hero is called upon, like the medieval Everyman, to provide a
This version of
Applications for permission to perform this translation / adaptation of
Jeg er knappestøberen. I’m the Buttonmoulder. I collect broken, wear-worn buttons. Ever since Eden, I’ve been picking up the broken bits: scraps that we can use again, the fragments of lives partly lived
… Any to spare? … Maybe a button without a loop … ? Maybe a flaw in the moulding …? Any buttons for my ladle? I’ll melt them down, with all the other flotsam and jetsam, and reuse what’s still usable.
Any buttons for my ladle?
All the shiny buttons on the waistcoat of the world! Not quite ready for the ladle yet? Lots of use still left ? Still firmly threaded to your garments?
Well—tonight I’ve come for a worn-out, shabby button, hanging by a thread from a broken loop, its pattern worn so smooth that nothing can be seen of it. He’s been scurrying over the face of the earth, like a man rushing to a funeral feast. What he doesn’t realize is
… Peer Gynt …. Peer Gynt.
Ja så? Who called? I have to be getting along
Peer Gynt, not so fast!
… I’ve been sent for you tonight.
What? Sent for me? What for?
I’m not ready to give a reckoning. Who are you, anyway?
Jeg er knappestøberen.
Why a buttonmoulder? I was expecting
A man in black? A game of chess?
Well, at least a cloven hoof or some roaring flames—something suitable, something dignified. Not a kerosene stove and a ladle
…. What do you intend to do with me?
Melt you down.
Melt? Me? Peer Gynt become a formless, molten glob? I demand consideration!
It’s not that I’ve been a large-scale sinner! Consider my career. It’s fairly innocuous. I’ve done what any politician would do—nothing exceptional, nothing really criminal. Petty sins, at best. Sins of omission, perhaps.
That’s why it’s me, and not the One with the cloven hoof. That’s why it’s the ladle, not the Pit. The kerosene stove and not eternal hellfire.
I’d rather roast in Hell, if I could choose!
It’s a meltdown, Peer. I’m here to recycle you. Merge you with the other mergibles.
But I’m me, Myself. You can’t compound me with every Gordon and Colin and Harry and lose Peer Gynt in the product!
Look: I’m not asking for the full redemption. I just don’t want to lose my Self
…. What about a season in Purgatory. I don’t mind waiting for a bit—as long as I’m still Me, not merged with other odds and sods. Once in your ladle, it’s tickets for Gyntishness. It’s no more Peer.
What a fuss! You’ve
No, no. That’s not me. There’s been some mistake. God means my cousin, or my uncle, or my Dad.
I melted them all down years ago.
Look—all I need is time.
For my reckoning. For my life’s review. I’ll show you that I’ve been Myself—truly Me—all my life. If that’s what it takes.
How will you convince me?
Give me a ticket-of-leave! Lend me myself for a few hours, and I’ll call my life to witness. I’ll dream it into being—no sweat, since we’re there already—and you’ll judge for yourself the spectacle of “Peer Gynt.”
I doubt whether my Master will accept this as evidence. But I have all the time in the world. And I always liked theatrical diversions
…. What’s first? Remember—
Scene One: “PEER GYNT RIDES THE BUCK ALONG THE RIDGE OF GJENDIN!”
Per, du lyver! Tell me lies! Eh?
Cross my heart, and hope to die!
Pull the wool across my eyes, eh?
Ma—I’d never tell a lie
Then where’ve you been for months on end? Chasing reindeer in the snow while I break my back? Where’s your gun, now? What’s happened to your clothes? Don’t give me that cock-and-bull about the one that got away
But Ma, it was the great buck of Gjendin that I caught!
The wind swept down from the west. And when I looked up from my shelter in the alderwood—there I saw him! Pawing through the snow-crust, snuffling after moss, his antlers branching like trees. Huge and sleek and fat!
Jesus save us!
God in Heaven
My boy! I’ve lost my boy!
Hang on, Ma. Listen to this bit. I haven’t finished yet. Just as we’re facing the end of our ride something miraculous happens——
As long as you’re OK, my boy, what does it matter. No bones broken?
Thank God for that. What do I care if your clothes are a bit torn or your
Wait a bit
… hang on … I’ve heard this thing before—about the Buck of Gjendin and the jump and flying through the air, and all that …. It’s in that book by whatshisname …. You’ve swiped his story! Liar!
Surely one poet can live through the dream of another. Dreams aren’t lies, Ma.
We’ve had some bad luck, Ma. It’s not because I dream.
Luck needs a helping hand, my lad. And what help does it get from you? When you’re not dreaming into the embers, you’re fighting in the village—Peer the Giant-Killer who broke the blacksmith’s arm in an epic tussle. Tales about hearing Aslak bellowing a mile away
…. My son, the Hero!
Actually, Ma. It was me. Yelling. It was Aslak who beat
What? Another lie! Where did you find that one? In whatsisname’s book of dreams and lies?
One day the lie will be a truth, Ma, and the whole village will honour you as Peer’s old lady. One day I’ll do something—I don’t know what—something impossible and magnificent. Wait and see.
I don’t put it past you to make something of your life
… maybe. But not if you keep deceiving yourself with nonsense. Like that girl from the farm in Hegstad—you could have married her … and her money. Lots of it. You could have been set up for life ….
Well, I’ll go and ask her.
Too late. You’ve missed the chance. While you were cavorting on Gjendin with your buck—Ha!—she promised herself to that fool, Mads Moen. They’re getting married tomorrow.
I’ll put a stop to it! Right now! And you’re coming with me.
…. Tell her father what Peer Gynt is.
Put me down!—Yes, I know what you are, and when I tell him he’ll sic the dogs on us. Put me down!
Right. I’ll go without you. And to make sure you don’t ruin my chances, I’ll tuck you up nicely.
You lunk! I’ll whip you! Liar! Thief of other men’s tales!
Ooo, Mrs. Åse. You’ve certainly gone up in the world.
Yes, and unless you help me down I’ll end up even higher than I want to be tonight.
May we all go happily in that direction.
Bugger your piety! Get me down. I’ve got to get to Hegstad before Peer gets there. I’ll whip him black and blue.
Aslak will save you the bother, Mrs. Åse. He’ll be at the wedding, waiting to ward off trouble.
Christ! Get me down. You don’t know what will happen.
What’s the trouble, old lady? Why are you so het up?
Why? Because he’s gone to rape the bride, that’s why. Don’t you know the story?
Rape her, Peer?
Only in a manner of speaking. No harm done. Not really. Wait and see.
Can’t you help me make it real?
Not if your castle’s in the clouds. Even a dream-house needs foundations.
Help me, Solveig!
With all my heart.
God help us!
… Lies and dreaming weren’t good enough for him. He had to act them out. And now of course, they’ll all blame
Go to hell!
Where do you think I’ve been? Where am I to go now?
To a nunnery. And the devil take the lot of you—except
Except the sort of woman I would want to marry.
You could marry me. I’ve got the farm and money.
That’s not enough.
What more do you want?
Everything that can’t be bought.
Fuck off Peer! You make a whore of me, and then you want the Virgin Mary. I hope they hang you! I hope you pickle in your sin! You’ll pay for this.
It’ll be worth it. Whatever the price.
God! Why wouldn’t she dance with me. This would never have happened.
Dance with me, Solveig!
Rapist! Thief! They’re after you. What have you done with the bride? Give her up, or they’ll have your balls.
Let him be. He’s sent her home.
Home? In her state? You’d better run, my boy!
Run from responsibility, eh Peer? Your life will be a marathon
Let Solveig come with me, then. She’s my promise of tomorrow. My joy, my life.
Take her, then.
But only on condition——
Come Peer. This is your cross-road. What’s your reckoning, now?
Seven years is long
Eternity is longer.
And so you made your choice.
Not really. Things just happened.
Not to choose is also a choice.
Sometimes life chooses us. And how can we resist? Remember those cowgirls shacked up with the herds all summer long? Who looks a gift cow in the mouth
Take me up front, or take me down rear
Love me up smooth, or love me up rough
Whatever you offer, it won’t be enough
I’d sleep with a troll
or a goat, or a bear
No need for that, if we can have Peer!
Thank God for the compensations of the flesh! What’s the point of sacrifice without some tangible reward!
All experience is grist for the mill! Peer Gynt never missed an opportunity
…. I lived my life! I feasted at the Viking’s smorgasbord!
What about the scraps you
The sound of children weeping.
I reserve judgment. We’re not through yet, are we? What comes next?
I bumped into his enchanting daughter in my flight across the Dovre hills
…. She was green as grass ….
Green?? My arse!
The mountains lock me in! They press down on me
…. I can’t breathe …. My head’s on fire …. I’m trapped in this hell-hole with my wings clipped, while eagles soar overhead and the wild-geese head South.
By night we’ll make love
… Yeah! We’ll snog all the day!
And between bouts of lovemaking?
… Grunt in the hay!
Well, Peer. You’ll first have to ask Daddy for my hand. Shall we go and meet my family? They’re a wee bit unusual, you know—so don’t be surprised. Daddy’s palace, for instance. Now it
Let’s try again, Peer. What do you see?
Now I ask you! Would King Brose’s daughter travel by pig! Would she expect the great Buckboy of Gjendin to ride on a swine?
I suppose not.
So—look again. What would you expect to see by way of transportation?
An Arabian mare!
And what have we got, Peer?
An Arabian mare?
Right, my boy! We’re halfway there!
He’s knocked up your daughter!
Rip out his eyeballs, and whack off his thumb!
Spit him and roast him!
Prepare him for slaughter!
Then stew him in horse-piss,
… and bite off his bum.
Castrate, kill, rip, whack, roast, stew, bite, etc.
Isvand i blodet!!!
Cool, calm, and collected, if you please.
Or Stephen Harper.
Let’s have him in. We’ll soon pervert him!
I think you mean to say
My dear Mr. Gynt. Welcome to my Trolldom. How may I help you?
I’ve come for your daughter.
And what are your terms?
Your crown, and your Kingdom!
An answer worthy of a Troll Crown Prince!—Now, as an earnest of my intention, you can have half my Trolldom as dowry, and the other half when you succeed me. So: you’re halfway there already!
Ah, but contracts cut both ways. May I make a few provisos? Minister, if you please
…. Item number one.
Easily. Fair price for power!
Good. We’re getting there
…. Now, a simple skill-testing question. Minister … Item number two.
A trick question! We’re all alike. You’re a pretty vicious mob—
kill him, castrate him, roast him, et cetera. Well, we’d be vicious too, if we only had the guts! It’s a question of degree
Nicely answered! But not quite the conventional way of summing up the situation. Minister, tell him.
Human! To thyself be true.
To thyself be
If a job’s worth doing, do it by halves. And never do today what can be put off for the day after tomorrow. And remember that a stitch in time is simply not worth the bother.
I thought not. Next: Item three.
Now, a little food and wine!
Christ! What’s this? The devil’s brine?
I’ll have you know, Mr. Gynt, that this delicious brew—although it may taste bitter to your palate—is, in fact, a home-grown product and not to be spat on my floor. It’s good Trollsheim Spätlese ‘67, and you better learn to appreciate the vintage. Try again. And pray remember this: if you want the container, you bloody-well take the contents! And that goes for my daughter as well.
You’ll find that trolls accommodate to anything in time. Item four?
It’s merely a matter, Mr. Gynt, of a small change in clothing. Now, if you would kindly doff your Christian outer-garments, we’ll provide something more trollish.
Did you say a tie and tails? I’ve always fancied something formal.
… if you please. The
Hey! What’s up? I’m not a beast! Get me out of this!
Oh, dear me no. Faith is none of our concern, as long as you don’t actually practise it. Observe, for example, the conduct of Sunday morning believers, and their afternoon activities.
Sounds good to me!
And now to minor matters. Let’s celebrate our contract with a dance.
What do you think of my corps-de-ballet?
Gross! They’re pigs and cows! I’ve never seen anything more disgusting!
Isvand i blodet!!! Remember, my trollish ones—
Mr. Gynt, our contractual agreement leaves only one term unaccounted for. And so—
Let me out of here!
Help, Ma! I’m done for! Ma! Ma! Help me, help me, Ma!
Go back to sleep, Peer. Next time dream better dreams.
… That’s enough … Let’s have the next scene in which
But they’re everywhere—inside us, and out—thick as sand. They hide themselves in our darkness, and we give them living space and nourish them on our failings. It’s not that we can’t dislodge them. We don’t want to. It means letting in the light.
What would you do without your Ma, Peer? You’re damn lucky to have women around to lay hell into your demons
…. Remember the time you ran into that slime-bag Troll, that lump of festering obstruction! Filthy thing. What did he call himself ….?
Who are you?
Let me pass.
Who is it?
DEN STORE BØJGEN! I’VE TURNED IN UPON MYSELF, LOOPED INSIDE OUT AND ROUNDABOUT, AND SUCKED ME INTO A BLACK-HOLE OF ETERNALLY RECIRCULATING SELFHOOD.
Can’t go forward
…. Can’t go back …. Can’t get out …. Can’t get in ….
I NEVER FIGHT. I MERELY OBSTRUCT. CALL IT APATHY. I AM INERTIA TRIUMPHANT!
Let go of me! Let me pass!
GO ROUNDABOUT GO ROUNDABOUT GO ROUNDABOUT
Help! Help me, Solveig! Save me from myself! Save me from the Boyg!
That’s done for the bloody Boyg, all right! It’s women, you see.
In this scene
Hey, it’s Peer! What’s up?
I can tell you what isn’t! His asparagus is boiled!
Hey, Peer! Still on the run? Want to come home with us for the winter?
I can’t. They’re still out to get me in the village. I must hide where I can
Have to light your own fire—if you know what I mean
Please—take three messages back for me. Tell the farmer’s daughter I’m sorry. Tell my mother I’ll be back to care for her. And
…. tell Solveig that I’m building a house. I’ve chopped the trees for her. I’ve broken stones for her. And give her this button. … not to forget me.
Goodbye, Peer. We’ll deliver your messages. Have a good winter!
I’ll build you a palace, Solveig. It’ll have a tower, and mermaids carved on the gable, and brass fittings, and sparkling panes of glass
Oh, Jesus! You’ve crippled your hand! Are you mad? You’ll bleed to death. Why did you do it? Why would you want to mutilate yourself. Fingers don’t grow back, you know. You’re crippled forever!
Yes—I remember him! Want to know why he did it? It was his trigger finger, you see. If you can’t pull a trigger, they can’t conscript you! He couldn’t look on death
… Poor bugger! I can imagine dreaming my way out of the draft—but …. To be maimed forever ….
I can! I hold together—I’m intact!
Oh, Solveig! I’ll keep you safe here from malice and evil thoughts
I need you. Peer.
Solveig! I never thought you’d come.
Your family? Your father’s home?
But Solveig, I have nothing! What will we live on? They’ve confiscated the farm, and the land, and everything
You are all I need. I didn’t leave my life and those I loved for land and chattels.
I’m a fugitive! They can arrest me any time
…. I have nowhere to go. No home to return to.
Wherever I am is home for you, and you are home for me. I ask no more. Hold me. Love me. Console me.
Solveig! My bride of grace! My blessing! No—don’t come too near. Let me look at you
…. Just look …. My angel, pure as air! My touch will tarnish you! My hand will bruise you. You have answered my longing—but all is unworthy. Me. This hut. It’s not fit for your presence in it.
You’re sure? Forever, and a day
There isn’t any other way.
It’s a miracle
… Come in, then. I’ll bring some wood for light and heat.
Ow! I’m not his father! That’s a lie!
I’ll suck out your desire and turn it into filth. Make love—I’ll interpose my body! Kiss her—I’ll shove my lips between you. Touch her—you’ll feel my pig-skin in your hand. We’ll share you, turn and turn about. Here, take your brat. Go to Daddy, you little shit!
Already showing his Gyntish qualities! Right—I’ll bugger off. But we’ll be back
…. Too bad about the girl, Peer, but that’s the way it has to be. When the innocent suffer, all’s right with the world. Bye, for now. Dream and lust … they keep the world going round.
Not my fault, old woman. The law’s the law. Property must be restored in kind: moveables, farm, land, whatever may be seized. You’re lucky to have this roof over your head.
Some place I’ve never been before
Forget it, Ma. Leave hard times alone
… Remember the old days … you used to tuck me up and sing me to sleep:
… Peer. It’s time to go. I long for it, now …
Shall I take you? Here. Help her.
…. His Majesty awaits your arrival, Queen Åse!
Comfortable? Not too cold? Listen to the silver sleigh bells ringing? Hold on tight. What do you hear? What do you see?
Who else is there, Ma! Who do you see? Who’s that Lady in a bright blue dress
Hav tak for alle dine dage.
Go where, Peer Gynt?
Away. I’ll make my fortune somewhere—east of the sun, or west of the moon. What does it matter
I’d like to know where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I ran away with nothing at the end of Act I—and that was thirty years ago! What’s been our career since then?
And what about this Indonesian venture? How does your
Flog a God today, baptize a heathen tomorrow! Conscience nicely set off against profit
Exactly. It’s called
… My reckoning is perfectly squared. My good deeds cancel out a few minor misdemeanors.
Like gun-running? Like that cartel of rogues you took on board at Gibraltar to fix the price of ammunition in the Peloponnesian war? A minor misdemeanor?
My hands are clean! I didn’t profit by a penny
…. Here—look what happened! And judge for yourselves ….
… to business. With your infusion of capital, we have a boatload of gunpowder to market on the battlefields of Europe. According to dispatches from Casablanca, the iron of conflict is hot for striking. Here—look at these news headlines.
No cigarettes! Put out that flame!
I’m one of God’s sparrows. He looks after his own!
Two for a penny!
Well, that’s better than nothing.
What price the celibate Self?
That’s not what I mean.
My Kingdom of Gyntiana! My death-defying stroke of genius! The desert is my oyster
…. A little grit won’t hurt it. All it takes is water to make the desert bloom! … I’ll …
Can you see it? Steam-mills pounding away in Timbuktu? Gambling casinos from Cairo to Babylon! Oases of exploitation! PROFIT! PROFIT!
The prophet has come! The prophet is here! Hail, Master! Our prophet has come!
Prophet? Prophet? Do they mistake me for an emissary of Allah?
Semantics, Peer, have caused confusion.
… I’m authorized to offer you Redemption!
It means “buying back”—you give me sex, I save your soul. I buy on credit here and now, and settle in the world to come. Ain’t that a deal? It’s spiritual economics—like buying futures!
But do I have a soul to save?
Here’s an opal. Will that do?
How you sweat, my Lord and Master! How heavy is your ring! How laden is your purse!
Help me, someone! I’ve been plucked!
Poor Peer expected to get
… Yes. Precisely.
All it takes is the standard gear of a research scholar in the field of ancient cultures. Fortunately, I have secured a little cash in the Bank of Cairo against such an emergency—so that’s where I’ll begin! And to hell with the distractions of sex. “Das Ewig Weibliche
…?” There’s no such creature ….
Can this be the Great Spinx of Gizeh?
Hey, Boyg! Who are you, Boyg?
Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?
Wer bist du?
Wer bin Ich? Wer bin Ich? Wer bin Ich?
Good God! It speaks with a Berliner accent!
mein Herr! It has this infuriating way with questions in any tongue. Ask it who it is, and it throws the riddle back! That’s why it’s called the Great Sphinx of Gizeh.
Sphinx? I know it as the Great Boyg of Etnedal. It’s a question of cultural anthropology. It’s an archetype.
You know him?
… her? We have been going crazy trying to find out what it is! Tell me! Tell me!
Peer Gynt. That’s me. That is my name.
Peer Gynt! Our hermeneutic sage,as they slowly disintegrate the Sphinx and form themselves into the crazy SSHRC.
We have been expecting you, Your Gyntship! Welcome to your Kingdom of Selbstheit! Welcome to our newly formed Society of Self-centred and Highminded Rightbrain Critics.—It used to be the Great Madhouse of Cairo. But we put an end to that last night. At 11 p.m. precisely!
Why 11 p.m.?
Craziness is back in Season!
Now the mad are as sane as I am—or as you!
… And if they all seem to be walking on their heads, it’s because the world is a little upsidedown at present, and we need to accommodate! Poor Hegel couldn’t do it … Mad as a Hatter. Quite beside himself!—Come my Philosophers! Come greet the Emperor of Selfhood!
The Emperor has come.
On the contrary, Your Gyntship. No one here is “beside” himself. They couldn’t be more quintessentially
Let me introduce you to His Whoness—totally autistic. Knows
And here is King Apis—at least one of them is, though I’m not sure which.
Shall we resolve this for them, Your Gyntship? Maybe a little bit of rope will do it? Bitte
I think I’m going to vomit!
It will soon pass! There’s nothing
…. The same cannot be said of our next distinguished member.
May I introduce you to His Nibbs, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy?—Before 11.00 p.m. he was completely out of his mind. Now, of course, it’s all post-modernism!
Indulge him, Your Gyntship. He loves splashing in ink, and penning hieroglyphics!
Humour him, Your Gyntship. Slit his nib a little!
Nibbs! How many times do I have to tell you?—Don’t splatter! Sorry, Your Gyntship
…. I see he’s written all over you! Hear his dying message to the world:
Es lebe hoch der grosse Peer! Es lebe hoch der grosse Peer!!
I hereby crown you Emperor of Self! Hip-hip-hooray! Long live the Self-made Emperor! O, Ego Imperial! Long live Peer, our Emperor of Self!
Emperor of Self.Peer keeps protesting.
No, Ma! I’m still in transit! The journey’s not over until its over. There’s still a little life in Peer
Hope and Faith and / Charity / Will outlast / Eternity
Sleep and dream, my darling boy!
Yes!—I can still dream it!
… I can still redeem it! … I’ll following the path of my longing, and dream myself home again! The next scene, please! On board a ship in the North Sea, off the coast of Norway.
Bound for Norway! All aboard!!
Step on board, Peer Gynt. I hope you don’t mind sharing your cabin with the ship’s dog—he’s been with us to Hell and back! He’s seen it all
…. We sail with the tide, and without any expectation of fair weather …. All aboard!! All aboard for Norway, and for home!!
Man the helm! Two to the wheel—give me some light in the rigging! Brace yourselves!
Jesus, I’m done for. Never learned to swim! Help me, someone! I’ll pay!!
Who are you? I’ve not seen you before?
Steer clear of those waves! Man the pumps! It’s blowing hard!
Captain! Who was that madman
I’ve no other passengers.
… That apparition who accosted me then disappeared?
Ship’s dog.——It’s getting worse!——The jib’s cracking!! We’re headed for the rocks!! Foresail’s gone!! She’s breaking up!!
I ordered a life-boat! Is this the best you can do? Unless you let go of it, I won’t pay a penny—
Please, sir! I have a wife and children!
Let go. It won’t hold both of us.
… I haven’t any children, so I need my life all the more …. Let go, damn you! ….
Our Father, who It’s going black on me
… who …
Hurry up! Just the important bits
Give us this day
… Give us this day …
Never mind the bread!
And forgive us our trespasses
… as we … as we …
Forgive those who trespass against us.
Dread has its uses.
Where am I?
… I dreamed of drowning …. What place is this?—Kierkegaard says smell the soil to locate your whereabouts in the world. I’ll try …
Look, Peer. There’s a funeral.
Who’s dead? Not me, thank God!
… Shall we pay our last respects to a countryman?
A bit short-sighted
No brains inside his head.
He broke the Law
time will mend!
Where are we friend?
Look friends—I’ve got a bag of rubbish! Old Åse’s stuff—the late Peer’s Gynt’s unclaimed estate. Nothing to be done, but auction it off and buy a round of drinks
Excuse me, friend. The
Gone to the dogs, I hear.
Hanged himself, most likely.
Dead and buried long ago. Come now, friends
… … Also some reindeer antlers on a skull.
Done! And done, at last, with Peer!
Hey! Can I auction off
Hey, shut up, old man! You’re bad as Peer
Dry up. Get lost. Don’t bore us with your troubles
Thank you for your drink, friends, and your kind attention. You’ve been the perfect audience. Such discerning critics of my life
…. But tell me this:
Is that noise real?
One man in his time plays many a part
… though you’re a grandpa, now, you know! Your boy turned out a perfect Gynt …. he’s shagged every cowgirl from Hegstad to the Rondë … and the hills are bouncing with your little buggers …. …. What do you want of me?
I’d like a favour.
Favours don’t come cheap, Your Highness.
My dear son-in-law, I’d be happy to perjure myself—for a consideration!
Crime doesn’t pay?
At være sig selv, er: sig selv at døde.
Being oneself is a form of self-murder
It’s largely a problem of English translation.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it.
Thy will be done.
Right!—anything’s better than the ladle
…. At least we’d be myself in Hell. It’s worth a try.
A priest! I’m in luck! He’ll vouch for my sins. Good evening, Pastor! I’m ready to confess!!
Christ! What a stroke of luck! You can help me out, Mephist
Sorry. Don’t trade souls for power nowadays
…. The market’s flat … and money’s out of the question ….
No, no. I mean you can help me out of the casting ladle! You can haul me off to hell—for a while, at any rate. Until this thing blows over. If business is bad, let’s make a deal. I come cheap.
Sorry. We can’t accommodate amateur sinners for all eternity
Now, I must hobble off. I’ve a truly superior sinner to bag
And what makes this sinner much better than me?
Consider the principles of photographic art. They discovered, long ago in Paris, that to create a positive, you have to work from a negative. Well—it’s the same in Hell. We start, at it were, with the undeveloped soul—
Well I’ll be damned!
The meaning of myself is you
Jeg skal vugge dig, jeg skal våge
Gud styrke dig, hvor du i verden går!