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Terje Vigen, by Henrik Ibsen
The Lord: August Falck
The Lady: Edith Erastoff
Terje Vigen: Victor Sjöström
His wife: Berliot Husberg
AB Svenska Biograﬂeatern Stockholm
There lived a remarkably grizzled man
on the uttermost, barren isle;
He never harmed, in the wide world's
span, a soul by deceit or guile;
His eyes, though, sometimes would blaze
and fret most when a storm was nigh.
And now, all I've heard about Terje,
I'll try to tell from the first to last.
With land underfoot he was never at ease;
no, better by far then to dwell on
the seas, on the mighty ebb and the ﬂow.
In autumn, when wild-geese were singing
south he met with their flying skein.
A heaviness fell on the sailor's breast;
Life lay astern with fire and zest
and ahead lay a winter's gloom.
They anchored, and off his crewmen
went with leave for a wild carouse.
He watched them with envy and discontent
while he stood by his silent house.
Indoors there were two bestowed.
His wife sat and span
in the peaceful light,
but the crib held a rosy, healthy mite,
a baby girl, and it crowed.
That instant, and Terje's mind, men say,
turned sober upon the spot.
He would sing all his happiest ditties
there where little Anna tugged his
brown hair and lay in his folding arm.
Life ambled along till the year of war
in eighteen-hundred and nine.
The tale's still told of what people
bore, where want and distress combine.
Cruisers from England
blockaded each port,
by land there was dearth far and wide;
the poor people starved,
the wealthy went short,
two powerful arms were no longer support
with death and disease outside.
Then Terje drooped for a day or two.
But his miseries quickly go;
he thought of a comrade, ancient and
true, the sea's great ebb and its ﬂow.
The smallest dory there was to hand
he chose for his Skagen trip.
Sail and mast he left home on land,
such gear he thought best not ship.
"When winds stopped blustering
quite so wild
Terje Vigen rowed for his wife and child,
crossed the sea in an open boat!"
The Jutland reef was the devil to clear,
he'd the English blockade to clear,
its look-out's eagle-eyed gleam.
To be continued
At Fladstrand, reaching there safe and
sound, he gathered his precious stores.
And here was the staff of life to hand;
and his wife and baby call.
The fourth morning,
at dawn, by sun's first rays,
a blurred, misty line to scan.
Near home at last;
That instant the phrase froze on his lip;
Gaeslingen, the shoal with the hidden top
just east of the Homburg sound.
The English officer shouted "stop"!
He hoisted an oar butt and let it drop
and stove in the dory's shell.
"There on the innermost beach a-shore
watches my wife at our pitiful door
and waits with our baby for bread!"
He dived and he swam
and he dived yet again;
in two feet depth all that treasure sank.
They lifted him out and over the side.
He offered his sorrow,
they sold him their glee.
Then Terje fell silent, all hope was
past, he locked up his grief in his soul.
He languished in prison for many a day,
for all of five years, say some.
His shoulders rounded, his hair ii turned
gray from dreaming about his home.
Then eighteen-fourteen came
and with it accord;
A Swedish frigate brought home on board
Norway's prisoners, and Terje too.
Back at the jetty he came ashore,
a pilot by King's decree;
But few recalled in the greybeard they
saw the youngster who braved the sea.
His house was a stranger's; and how they
fared those two, inside he soon found:
"The husband forsook them,
and nobody cared,
they came to the plot
that the paupers shared
in the parish burial-ground."
To be continued
Years went by, and he kept to his trade
as pilot out there on the isles.
His eyes, though,
sometimes would blaze and fret,
when the reef to the breakers ran high.
And then people sensed
he was troubled yet,
and then there were few
who felt no threat with Terje Vigen by.
One moonlit night, with onshore wind,
there was stir where the pilots sit;
an English yacht being carried in
with mainsail torn and jib split.
Close-reached to the weather,
a cutter sped.
Like a hero he seized on the wheel;
"Preserve us alive
from the breakers' roar
I'll make you as wealthy
as wretched before."
The pilot let go of the craft.
His cheeks, they went white,
and his mouth shaped a sound
like a smile
that at last can break free.
The yacht was broached
and ran squarely aground,
his lordship's queen of the sea.
"Abandon the ship! To the boats I say!
My lord and my lady, stay near!"
To leeward he glanced at Gaeslingen's top
and to windward at Hesnes' sound.
He let go helm and the foresail strop,
he hoisted an oar butt and let it drop
and stove in the cutter's shell.
"Anna, my child!" she cried out in dread.
To be continued
They grounded and sank,
but calmness itself
inshore of the arc of rough seas.
"There's no cause for grief
a sunken dory supplies our relief,
three barley grain casks our dock."
He knew, now, the sailor that on his knee
had crouched on his deck and wept.
"You sailed at ease in your mighty
corvette, I rowed in my humble boat."
"I toiled for my own in my forehead's
sweat, you robbed them of bread,
and could mock me yet
and over my salt tears gloat."
"it's time for my vengeance to strike,
"Stand back! One step if you dare,
and your wife and child is the price!"
But Terje's forehead
showed peaceful and fair.
"And now Terje Vigen's himself again.
Like a rocky stream ﬂowed my blood till
then; for I had to - I had to repay!"
The years I spent in the prison s roar,
they bred my heart's sickliness."
"But now it is over; we two are quit."
When daylight had broken, then
all was well; long lay the yacht in port.
One day milord and lady came by.
"No, rescue came in the nick out there
from this little mite by me!"
The yacht then headed for Hesnes-sound.
With Norway's own ﬂag for wear.
He lay to the sun
and the winds' keen weight.
And that's why the grass
was so stubborn-straight,
but with wild field-ﬂowers between.