Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Scene II

The scene is slowly illumined as by dawn. SEELCHEN is still lying on the window seat. She sits up, freeing her face and hands from the blankets, changing the swathings of deep sleep for the filmy coverings of a dream. The wall of the hut has vanished; there is nothing between her and the three mountains veiled in mist, save a through of darkness. There, as the peaks of the mountains brighten, they are seen to have great faces.

SEELCHEN
Oh! They have faces!

The face of THE WINE HORN is the profile of a beardless youth. The face of THE COW HORN is that of a mountain shepherd. solemn, and broom, with fierce black eyes, and a black beard. Between them THE GREAT HORN, whose hair is of snow, has a high. beardless visage, as of carved bronze, like a male sphinx, serene, without cruelty. Far down below the faces of the peaks. above the trough of darkness, are peeping out the four little heads of the flowers of EDELWEISS, and GENTIAN, MOUNTAIN DANDELION, and ALPENROSE; on their heads are crowns made of their several flowers, all powdered with dewdrops; and when THE FLOWERS lift their child-faces little tinkling bells ring.

All around the peaks there is nothing but blue sky.

EDELWEISS
[In a tiny voice] Would you? Would you? Would you? Ah! ha!

GENTIAN, M. DANDELION, ALPENROSE [With their bells ranging enviously] Oo-oo-oo!

From behind the Cow HORN are heard the voices of COWBELLS and MOUNTAIN AIR:

"Clinkel-clink! Clinkel-clink!"
"Mountain air! Mountain air!"

From behind THE WINE HORN rise the rival voices Of VIEW OF ITALY, FLUME OF STEAM, and THINGS IN BOOKS:

"I am Italy! Italy!"

"See me--steam in the distance!"

"O remember the things in books!"

And all call out together, very softly, with THE FLOWERS ringing their bells. Then far away like an echo comes a sighing:

"Mountain air! Mountain air!"

And suddenly the Peak of THE COW HORN speaks in a voice as of one unaccustomed.

THE COW HORN
Amongst kine and my black-brown sheep I Live; I am silence, and monotony; I am the solemn hills. I am fierceness, and the mountain wind; clean pasture, and wild rest. Look in my eyes. love me alone!

SEELCHEN
[Breathless] The Cow Horn! He is speaking for Felsman and the mountains. It is the half of my heart!

THE FLOWERS laugh happily.

THE COW HORN
I stalk the eternal hills--I drink the mountain snows. My eyes are the colour of burned wine; in them lives melancholy. The lowing of the kine, the wind, the sound of falling rocks, the running of the torrents; no other talk know I. Thoughts simple, and blood hot, strength huge--the cloak of gravity.

SEELCHEN
Yes. yes! I want him. He is strong!

The voices of COWBELLS and MOUNTAIN AIR cry out together:

"Clinkel-clink! Clinkel-clink!"

"Mountain air! Mountain air!"

THE COW HORN
Little soul! Hold to me! Love me! Live with me under the stars!

SEELCHEN
[Below her breath] I am afraid.

And suddenly the Peak of THE WINE HORN speaks in a youth's voice.

THE WINE HORN
I am the will o' the wisp that dances thro' the streets; I am the cooing dove of Towns, from the plane trees and the chestnuts' shade. From day to day all changes, where I burn my incense to my thousand little gods. In white palaces I dwell, and passionate dark alleys. The life of men in crowds is mine--of lamplight in the streets at dawn. [Softly] I have a thousand loves. and never one too long; for I am nimbler than your heifers playing in the sunshine.

THE FLOWERS, ringing in alarm, cry:

"We know them!"

THE WINE HORN
I hear the rustlings of the birth and death of pleasure; and the rattling of swift wheels. I hear the hungry oaths of men; and love kisses in the airless night. Without me, little soul, you starve and die,

SEELCHEN
He is speaking for the gentle Sir, and the big world of the Town. It pulls my heart.

THE WINE HORN
My thoughts surpass in number the flowers in your meadows; they fly more swiftly than your eagles on the wind. I drink the wine of aspiration, and the drug of disillusion. Thus am I never dull!

The voices of VIEW OF ITALY, FLUME OF STEAM, and THINGS IN BOOKS are heard calling out together:

"I am Italy, Italy!"

"See me--steam in the distance!"

"O remember, remember!"

THE WINE HORN
Love me, little soul! I paint life fifty colours. I make a thousand pretty things! I twine about your heart!

SEELCHEN
He is honey!

THE FLOWERS ring their bells jealously and cry:

"Bitter! Bitter!"

THE COW HORN
Stay with me, Seelchen! I wake thee with the crystal air.

The voices of COWBELLS and MOUNTAIN AIR tiny out far away:

"Clinkel-clink! Clinkel-clink!"

"Mountain air! Mountain air!"

And THE FLOWERS laugh happily.

THE WINE HORN
Come with me, Seelchen! My fan, Variety, shall wake you!

The voices of VIEW OF ITALY, FLUME OF STEAM and THINGS IN BOOKS chant softly:

"I am Italy! Italy!"

"See me--steam in the distance!"

"O remember, remember!"

And THE FLOWERS moan.

SEELCHEN
[In grief] My heart! It is torn!

THE WINE HORN
With me, little soul, you shall race in the streets. and peep at all secrets. We will hold hands, and fly like the thistle-down.

M. DANDELION. My puff-balls fly faster!

THE WINE HORN
I will show you the sea.

GENTIAN
My blue is deeper!

THE WINE HORN
I will shower on you blushes.

ALPENROSE
I can blush redder!

THE WINE HORN
Little soul, listen! My Jewels! Silk! Velvet!

EDELWEISS
I am softer than velvet!

THE WINE HORN
[Proudly] My wonderful rags!

THE FLOWERS
[Moaning] Of those we have none.

SEELCHEN
He has all things.

THE COW HORN
Mine are the clouds with the dark silvered wings; mine are the rocks on fire with the sun; and the dewdrops cooler than pearls. Away from my breath of snow and sweet grass, thou wilt droop, little soul.

THE WINE HORN
The dark Clove is my fragrance!

THE FLOWERS ring eagerly, and turning up their faces, cry:

"We too, smell sweet."

But the voices of VIEW OF ITALY, FLUME OF STEAM, and THINGS IN BOOKS cry out:

"I am Italy! Italy!"

"See me--steam in the distance!"

"O remember! remember!"

SEELCHEN
[Distracted] Oh! it is hard!

THE COW HORN
I will never desert thee.

THE WINE HORN
A hundred times I will desert you, a hundred times come back, and kiss you.

SEELCHEN
[Whispering] Peace for my heart!

THE COW HORN
With me thou shalt lie on the warm wild thyme.

THE FLOWERS laugh happily.

THE WINE HORN
With me you shall lie on a bed of dove's feathers.

THE FLOWERS moan.

THE WINE HORN
I will give you old wine.

THE COW HORN
I will give thee new milk.

THE WINE HORN
Hear my song!

From far away comes the sound as of mandolins.

SEELCHEN
[Clasping her breast] My heart--it is leaving me!

THE COW HORN
Hear my song!

From the distance floats the piping of a Shepherd's reed.

SEELCHEN
[Curving her hand at her ears] The piping! Ah!

THE COW HORN
Stay with me, Seelchen!

THE WINE HORN
Come with me, Seelchen!

THE COW HORN
I give thee certainty!

THE WINE HORN
I give you chance!

THE COW HORN
I give thee peace.

THE WINE HORN
I give you change.

THE COW HORN
I give thee stillness.

THE WINE HORN
I give you voice.

THE COW HORN
I give thee one love.

THE WINE HORN
I give you many.

SEELCHEN
[As if the words were torn from her heart] Both, both--I will love!

And suddenly the Peak of THE GREAT HORN speaks.

THE GREAT HORN
And both thou shalt love, little soul! Thou shalt lie on the hills with Silence; and dance in the cities with Knowledge. Both shall possess thee! The sun and the moon on the mountains shall burn thee; the lamps of the town singe thy wings. small Moth! Each shall seem all the world to thee, each shall seem as thy grave! Thy heart is a feather blown from one mouth to the other. But be not afraid! For the life of a man is for all loves in turn. 'Tis a little raft moored, then sailing out into the blue; a tune caught in a hush, then whispering on; a new-born babe, half courage and half sleep. There is a hidden rhythm. Change. Quietude. Chance. Certainty. The One. The Many. Burn on--thou pretty flame, trying to eat the world! Thou shaft come to me at last, my little soul!

THE VOICES and THE FLOWER-BELLS peal out.

SEELCHEN, enraptured, stretches her arms to embrace the sight and sound, but all fades slowly into dark sleep.

John Galsworthy

Sorry, no summary available yet.