Peer Gynt

The poem Peer Gynt, by Henrik Ibsen, was published 14 November 1867 by Gyldendalske Boghandel (F. Hegel) in Copenhagen.

The initial printing totalled 1,250 copies. A new printing consisting of 2,000 copies was ready after only 14 days. The work was not originally intended as a theatrical piece, but was eventually to have its premiere at Christiania Theatre in Christiania 24 February 1876 with music by Edvard Grieg. However, Grieg was not the first one to compose music for Ibsen’s drama. As early as the end of the 1860’s, a Swede named August Söderman had created a series of vocal and musical pieces for Ibsen’s work. Harald Sæverud wrote original music for the poem in 1947.

Have you ever chanced to see the Gendin-Edge? Nigh on four miles long it stretches sharp before you like a scythe. Down o’er glaciers, landslips, scaurs, down the toppling grey moraines, you can see, both right and left, straight into the tarns that slumber, black and sluggish, more than seven hundred fathoms deep below you.

Right along the Edge we two clove our passage through the air. Never rode I such a colt! Straight before us as we rushed ’twas as though there glittered suns. Brown-backed eagles that were sailing in the wide and dizzy void half-way ‘twixt us and the tarns, dropped behind, like motes in air.

Ice-floes on the shores broke crashing, but no murmur reached my ears. Only sprites of dizziness sprang, dancing, round;-they sang, they swung, circle-wise, past sight and hearing!

Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen