The Master Builder
After his return to Norway, Ibsen's correspondence became very scant, and we have no letters dating from the period when he was at work on The Master Builder. On the other hand, we possess a curious lyrical prelude to the play, which he put on paper on March 16, 1892. It is said to have been his habit, before setting to work on a play, to "crystallise in a poem the mood which then possessed him;" but the following is the only one of these keynote poems which has been published. I give it in the original language, with a literal translation:
DE SAD DER, DE TO--
De sad der, de to, i saa lunt et hus ved host og i venterdage, Saa braendte huset. Alt ligger i grus. De to faar i asken rage.
For nede id en er et smykke gemt,-- et smykke, som aldrig kan braende. Og leder de trofast, haender det nemt at det findes af ham eller hende.
Men finder de end, brandlidte to, det dyre, ildfaste smykke,-- aldrig han finder sin braendte