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Henrik Ibsen's Prose Dramas Vol III Lady Inger of Ostrat   By: (1828-1906)

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LADY INGER OF OSTRAT, Translation by Charles Archer



LADY INGER OTTISDAUGHTER ROMER, widow of High Steward Nils Gyldenlove. ELINA GYLDENLOVE, her daughter. NILS LYKKE, Danish knight and councilor. OLAF SKAKTAVL, an outlawed Norwegian noble. NILS STENSSON. JENS BIELKE, Swedish commander. BIORN, major domo at Ostrat. FINN, a servant. EINAR HUK, bailiff at Ostrat. Servants, peasants, and Swedish men at arms.

The action takes place at Ostrat Manor, on the Trondhiem Fiord, the year 1528.

[PRONUNCIATION of NAMES. Ostrat=Ostrot; Inger=Ingher (g nearly as in "ringer"); Gyldenlove=Ghyldenlove; Elina (Norwegian, Eline)= Eleena; Stennson=Staynson; Biorn=Byorn; Jens Bielke=Yens Byelke; Huk=Hook. The final e's and the o's pronounced much as in German.]

Producer's Notes:

1. Diacritical Marks in Characters' names:

Romer, umlaut (diaresis) above the "o" Ostrat, umlaut above the "O", ring above the "a" Gyldenlove, umlaut above the "o" Biorn, umlaut above the "o"

2. All the text inside parentheses in the original is printed in italics, save for the characters' names. I've eliminated the usual markings indicating italics for the sake of readability. D. L.




(A room at Ostrat. Through an open door in the back, the Banquet Hall is seen in faint moonlight, which shines fitfully through a deep bow window in the opposite wall. To the right, an entrance door; further forward, a curtained window. On the left, a door leading to the inner rooms; further forward a large, open fireplace, which casts a glow over the room. It is a stormy evening.)

(BIORN and FINN are sitting by the fireplace. The latter is occupied in polishing a helmet. Several pieces of armour lie near them, along with a sword and shield.)

FINN (after a pause). Who was Knut Alfson?

Pronounce Knoot .

BIORN. My Lady says he was the last of Norway's knighthood.

FINN. And the Danes killed him at Oslo fiord?

BIORN. Ask any child of five, if you know not that.

FINN. So Knut Alfson was the last of our knighthood? And now he's dead and gone! (Holds up the helmet.) Well then, hang thou scoured and bright in the Banquet Hall; for what art thou now but an empty nut shell? The kernel the worms have eaten that many a winter agone. What say you, Biorn may not one call Norway's land an empty nut shell, even like the helmet here; bright without, worm eaten within?

BIORN. Hold your peace, and mind your work! Is the helmet ready?

FINN. It shines like silver in the moonlight.

BIORN. Then put it by. See here; scrape the rust off the sword.

FINN (turning the sword over and examining it). Is it worth while?

BIORN. What mean you?

FINN. The edge is gone.

BIORN. What's that to you? Give it me. Here, take the shield.

FINN (as before). There's no grip to it!

BIORN (mutters). If once I got a grip on you

(FINN hums to himself for a while.)

BIORN. What now?

FINN. An empty helmet, an edgeless sword, a shield without a grip there's the whole glory for you. I see not that any can blame Lady Inger for leaving such weapons to hang scoured and polished on the walls, instead of rusting them in Danish blood.

BIORN. Folly! Is there not peace in the land?

FINN. Peace? Ay, when the peasant has shot away his last arrow, and the wolf has reft the last lamb from the fold, then is there peace between them. But 'tis a strange friendship. Well well; let that pass. It is fitting, as I said, that the harness hang bright in the hall; for you know the old saw: "Call none a man but the knightly man." Now there is no knight left in our land; and where no man is, there must women order things; therefore

BIORN. Therefore therefore I order you to hold your foul prate! (Rises.) It grows late. Go hang helm and harness in the hall again... Continue reading book >>

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