Part 2 out of 3
Swell not so high,
Billows of blue with your deafening cry!
Stars lend assistance, a shining
With the spring doves
Fridthjof will come, but the maiden he loves
Cannot in hall or dell meet him,
Lovingly greet him.
Buried she sleeps,
Dead for her love's sake, or bleeding she weeps,
Heart-broken, given by her brother
Falcon he left,
Mine shalt thou be, winged hunter bereft;
I for thy owner will heed thee,
Lovingly feed thee.
Here on his hand~
'Broidering I'll picture thee on the cloth's rand,
Silvery pinions I'll give thee,
Golden claws weave thee.
Once, it is said,
Freyja with falcon-wings north and south sped,
Seeking for Oder, her lover,
All the world over.
Vainly I seek
Wings of the falcon, for mortals too weak.
Only in passing death's portal
Soareth a mortal.
Sit here with me,
Beautiful hunter and look at the sea;--
Longing and looking forever
Bringeth him never.
Dead shall I be,
When Fridthjof comes again over the sea;
Bear thou my love for his weeping,
I shall be sleeping.
FRIDTHJOF AT SEA.
On shore king Helge stood,
By turns he sang and prayed,
And in embittered mood
Besought the goblins' aid.
See! the heavens with darkness toiling,
Empty space with thunders boom,
Lo, the furious waves are boiling,
Ocean's surface hid with foam.
Lightnings now the clouds are streaking,
Here and there a bloody rand,
All the sea-fowls now are shrieking.
Hasting to the safer strand.
"Hard's the weather, brothers!
Hear the stormy pinions
Flapping in the distance,
Yet we do not pale.
Sit within the temple,
Think on me with longing,
Beauteous in thy weeping,
'Gainst Ellide's stem,
Two goblins warfare made.
One was wind-cold Ham,
One was snowy Heyd.
Now the storm-wind wildly drifts them
O'er the deep, and madly down;
Now it beating, whirling lifts them,
Upward where the heavens frown.
All the powers of evil coming,
Riding on the billows' top,
From the bottomless, the foaming,
From the wide graves up.
"Brighter was the journey
By the pale moon's glimmer,
Over mirrored waters
Unto Balder's grove;
Warmer was it, nearer
Ing'borg's heart reposing;
Whiter than the sea-foam
Swelled her bosom fair."
Solund island fair
Above the waves so white!
Stiller seas are there,
Harbors safe invite.
But the bold sea-rover feareth
Less upon the trusted oak,
Mans the helm himself and jeereth
At the wild wind's sportive stroke.
Tighter now the sail he fastens,
Fleeter o'er the water skims,
Straight to westward fearless hastens,
Goes where'er the billow swims.
"Fighting for a moment
With the storm delighteth:
Storm and Northman prosper
Well upon the wave.
Ingeborg would redden
Should her sea-eagle fly with
Slackened wings, affrighted
By a passing breeze."
Higher rise the waves,
Deeper furrows plow,
Cordage madly raves,
Creak both keel and prow.
Waves whichever way contending,
With or 'gainst Ellide's form,
Meet good timbered sides, defending
Menaced ship, defying storm.
Like an evening meteor sweeping,
Joyful glides she through the night,
Like an Alpine roebuck leaping
Over precipice and height.
"Better was it kissing
her in Balder's temple,
Than to stand here tasting
Salt-foam as it whirls.
Better 'twas embracing
Bele's royal daughter
Than to stand here gripping
Fast the rudder's helm."
From the cold sky's field
Snows intense prevail,
And on deck and shield
Rattling storms of hail.
Lo, o'er all the vessel flying
Night has placed her sable pall,
As in rooms where dead are lying,
Gloomy darkness covers all.
Wave implacable now lashes
Toward his doom the sailor brave
White-gray as with sifted ashes
Frightful yawns a boundless grave.
"Pillows Ran is making,
Luring us to quiet;
Thine I know are waiting,
Ingeborg, for me.
Faithful men are plying
Oars of good Ellide;
Gods the keel have made us,
Bear us yet awhile."
See the sea advances,
Seeking now a wreck,
Ere the eye can glance,
Clears the starboard deck.
Fridthjof's sinewy arm adorning,
Shone a massive golden ring,
Bright its rays of early morning,
'Twas the gift of Bele, king.
This in many pieces broken,--
Made by dwarfs with skillful art,--
Gives to all on board a token.
Every man receives a part.
"Gold is good to carry
When you go a-wooing,
Empty-handed no one
Comes to sea-blue Ran.
Cold is she to kisses,
Flee'th from embraces,
But the sea-bride yieldeth
Met with shining gold."
Now with threatenings new
Falls the frozen storm,
Rends his sail in two,
Snaps the brittle arm.
O'er Ellide's side prevailing
Entering rolls the mountain wave,
Men of giant strength are bailing,
'Gainst, the sea make battle brave.
Fridthjof cannot fail discerning
That he carries death on board;
Then above the billows storming
Rises his commanding word.
"Bjorn, attend the rudder,
Grip it with a bear's paw;
Valhal's holy powers
Never sent such storm.
Goblins rule the voyage;
Coward Helge chanted
Safety o'er the waters;
I will up and see."
Like a bird he flew
Up the icy spar,
Sat on high to view
Fiendish goblins war.
See, before Ellide gliding,
Like an island floating free,
Sea-whale on whose back are riding,
Loathsome goblins of the sea.
Heyd a snowy pelt, doth cover,
Figure like a polar bear;
Ham hath wings which, waving hover
Eagle-like in stormy air.
"Now. Ellide, ready!
Show if hero temper
Dwells within your banded
Convex breast of oak.
Listen to my order;
Are you Valhal's daughter?
Strike with keel of copper,
Gore the conjured whale!"
Brave Ellide hears
Fridthjof's proud behest.
With a spring she rears
'Gainst the monster's breast.
From the wound a stream is driving,
To the skies 'tis quickly sped,
Now the wounded monster diving,
Roaring seeks his miry bed.
Fridthjof's giant strength then casteth
Lances at the goblins bold,
One in Ice-bear's bosom fasteneth,
One Storm-eagle's breast doth hold.
"Bravely done, Ellide!
Not so quickly riseth
Helge's magic dragon
Up from out the mire.
Ham and Heyd no longer
Rule the sea together;
Bitter is it biting
'Gainst the dark-blue steel."
Storm from sea and land,
Gentle wavelet steers
Toward the nearing strand.
All at once the sun advances,
Like a king doth he unveil,
All enlivens, all entrances,
Ship and billow, mount and dale.
Last rays, gleaming now like amber,
Tops of cliff and forest bound,
Now each sailor well remembers
The emerald shores of Efje Sound.
"Ingeborg, pale maiden,
Prayers sent unto Valhal;
Lily-white she bowed her
Knees on sacred gold.
Light-blue eyes in weeping,
Breast of swan's down, sighing,
Moved the hearts of asas;
Let us give them thanks."
Now Ellide leaks,
Faithful dragon ship,
Shallow water seeks.--
Wearied of the trip.
Still more tired by labor dreary,
Fridthjof's men desire the land;
But enfeebled, faint and weary,
Sword-supported, scarce can stand.
Bjorn, on powerful shoulders, beareth
Four of them and safely lands;
Fridthjof, too, the labor shareth,
Eight sets round the burning brands.
"Do not bhtsh, pale heroes!
Waves are sturdy vikings;
Hard indeed is fighting
'Gainst the ocean's bride.
See, there comes the mead-horn,
Gold the feet that bear it.
Warm your frozen members;
Skoal to Ingeborg!
FRIDTHJOF WITH ANGANTYR.
'Tis now to tell the story
How in his fir-wood hall,
Sat Angantyr, the hoary,
And drank with champions all.
He, joyous and light-hearted,
Looked out to where the sun
Behind the waves departed,
Just like a golden swan.
Outside the hall's commotion
Old Halvard watched,--indeed
Not only watched the ocean,
But also watched his mead.
His custom, seldom broken,
Was, quick the horn to drain,
And ere a word was spoken,
To thrust it in again.
But now he threw it; striding
Into the hall he spake:
"I see the billows riding
A ship, whose timbers shake;
I see some sailors dying
Already on the strand,
And two strong giants, trying
To bring the rest to land."
O'er waves no longer foaming,
The noble earl looked out:
"That is Ellide coming,
And Fridthjof too, no doubt;
His step, so firm and steady,
Bespeaks him Thorstein's son.
Such brow, and smile so ready,
In Northland there is none."
Then viking Atle sturdy
Sprang up at one swift bound;
Black-bearded berserk, bloody,
And fiercely looked around.
"Now, I will prove," he thunders,
"What rumor means by this,
That all blades Fridthjof sunders,
And never sues for peace."
And with the doughty viking,
His twelve best champions start,
And in the air sharp striking,
They brandish sword and dart.
They storm the strand, where by it
The weary dragon lay;
But Fridthjof, sitting nigh it,
Looks ready for the fray.
"Quite easy could I fell thee,"
The noisy Atle cries:
"No one comes here, I tell thee,
But either fights or flies.
If peace thou ask'st, believe me,--
I fight, but am no churl,--
In friendship I'll receive thee,
And lead thee to the earl."
"Although I'm scarcely rested,"
Is Fridthjof's sharp reply,
"Our good swords must be tested,
Before for peace I cry."
Then swift the sun-brown fighter
His flashing sword-blade swung,
Bright glowed the runes and brighter
On Angervadil's tongue.
Blows fell without cessation,
Now deadly blows like rain,
And now in quick rotation
Each shield is cleft in twain.
Unhurt, with wrath unspoken
They stand within the ring,--
Now Atle's sword is broken
And Fridthjof's sword is king.
Said he: "A swordless foeman
I've no desire to slay;
But if you will, as yeomen,
We'll try another way."
As waves 'gainst waves are pushing,
And breaking crest on crest,
So on each other rushing,
They wrestled breast to breast.
They fought like two bears trying
Their strength on crust of snow,
Or, as o'er mad waves flying
The eagle meets his foe.
The firm earth trembled round them,
Though based on solid rock,
And oaks, though strong roots bound them,
Could scarce withstand the shock.
Their brows with sweat were beaded,
Their breasts heaved with a sound,
The brush and stones unheeded,
They scattered all around.
The twelve in expectation
Stood quaking on the sand;
Renowned through every nation
That struggle on the strand.
But Fridthjof was the stronger,
He felled his foe at last,
And said with fiery anger,
His knee on Atle's breast:
"Had I my good sword ready,
Thou berserk blackbeard, now
Thy miserable body
I'd straightway plunge it through."
"Go bring it! Who'll prevent thee?"
Is generous Atle's cry,
"And if it will content thee,
As now I'll quiet lie.
Why should it make me sorrow?
For all must Valhal see;
I go to-day--to-morrow
Perhaps thy turn will be."
Then Fridthjof quick returning,
Desired to end the fray;
Raised Angervadil burning,--
But Atle quiet lay.
The falling blade ne'er harmed him,
For Fridthjof struck the sand;
Such courage had disarmed him,
He took brave Atle's hand.
With gleeful admonition
Old Halvard swung his staff:
"For your battle-meal potation
There's nothing here to quaff;
Upon the board hot-smoking
The silver dishes glow;
A cold meal is provoking,
And thirst annoys me so.'
Appeased, with friendly feeling,
The portals they pass through,
And here from floor to ceiling,
To Fridthjof all was new.
Rough planks well matched together
Lined not the spacious hall,
But 'broidered golden leather
Was stretched along the wall.
The center was not littered
By mortared hearthstone wide;
A marble fireplace glittered,
Built up against the side.
No smoke 'mid rafters flitted,
No roof with soot spread o'er;
Glass panes the windows fitted,
A lock secured the door.
No woollen torches crackling,
Illumed the champions' feast,
But waxen candles, sparkling,
In silver sconces placed.
A roasted stag, well larded,
The table's center graced;
Gold bands his raised hoof guarded,
With flowers his horns were dressed.
Beside each champion sitting,
A youthful maiden stood,--
An evening star, bright flitting,
Behind a stormy cloud
The blue eyes beamed, in showers
The gold-brown tresses flowed,
Complete as sculptured flowers
The little rose-lips glowed.
On silver stool, high mounted,
Sat Angantyr, the old;
His helm shot rays uncounted,
His corselet was of gold.
His mantle, rich and splendid,
With golden stars was strewn,--
And where the purple ended,
The spotless ermine shone,
Three steps the earl descended
To Fridthjof genially
He said, with hand extended:
"Come higher, sit by me.
Of horns I've emptied many
With Thorstein in his day;
His son, more famed than any,
Shall not sit far away."
He filled each goblet brimming
With wine from Sicily,--
Like sparks of fire 'twas gleaming,
And foaming like the sea.
"Welcome!" exclaimed the speaker,
"My friend's most worthy son!
To Thorstein fill a beaker,--
And drink now, every one!"
Now woke the harpstring's slumbers,
A skald from Morven's hills,
In Gaul's melodious numbers,
Sad hero-songs he trills.
But Thorstein's praise was chanted
In old Norwayan tongue;
His noble deeds were vaunted,
His daring valor snug.
The earl asked much concerning
His friends of days gone by;
In words replete with learning
Young Fridthjof made reply.
A judgment given blindly,
Swift accusation brings,
He spoke like Saga, kindly,
Remembering holy things.
And when he there recounted
How Helge goblins sent,
Which first the blue waves mounted,
Then, conquered, downward, went,
The champions cheered him loudly,
And Angantyr the same,--
In high approwd, proudly,
They echoed Fridthjof's name.
But when he spoke in anguish,
Of Ing'borg in her bloom,
How she was left to languish,
Her heart with grief o'ercome,--
Each maiden's cheek was burning,
Each bosom sore distressed;
And to her lover turning,
His faithful hand she pressed.
His embassy to mention
He ventured by and by;
The earl gave pleased attention,
And then he made reply:
"I ne'er was tributary;
King Bele's health, maybe,
To drink was customary,
But from his law we're free.
"His sons, I do not know them;
If tribute they demand,
Custom the way will show them,
We'll meet them on the strand,
And see who best is reckoned;
But Thorstein was my friend."
His daughter then he beckoned,
Who sat quite near at hand.
Then rose the maiden tender,
From stool all golden bound,
Her waist is trim and slender,
Her bosom full and round,
Each dimpled cheek encloses
An Astrild, roguish sprite,
As when on opening roses,
The butterflies alight.
She hastened to her bower,
A green silk purse she brought,
With bird and tree and flower
And beast 'twas deftly wrought;
On seas were white-winged vessels,
Beneath the silver moon,
Of gold were all the tassels,
The clasp with rubies shone.
She placed the dainty treasure
Within her father's band;
He filled it, brimming measure,
With coin from foreign land.
"This welcome gift is only
A tribute to a friend;
And now the winter lonely
Consent with us to spend.
True courage knows no danger,
But Heyd and Ham, I fear,
Revived await the ranger,
And winter storms are here.
All foes the deep is hiding,
Ellide may not shun,
And many whales are riding
The waves, though conquered one."
With jesting and potation
The hours till day were spent,
The wine-cup gladness lent.
A brimming skoal was given
To Angantyr at last;
So Fridthjof in this haven
The cheerful winter passed.
Now spring is breathing in skies of blue,
And earth her carpet has woven anew,
And Fridthjof grateful his kind host leaving
Again the billowy plain is cleaving,
And gayly speeding through silver-spray,
His black swan ploweth her sunny way.
The western breezes that spring is bringing,
Like nightingales in the sails are singing,
And AEger's daughters in veils of blue
About the rudder their sports pursue.
Ah, how delightful when safely clearing
A foreign land, to be homeward steering!
When memory pictures the smoke that curled
Above one's hearthstone, his childhood's world,
The fount where playing his swift feet hurried,
The honored graves where his dead are buried.
He thinks of her who perchance may be
On high cliffs standing to watch the sea.
Six days he sailed on his way returning,
The seventh a strip of blue discerning
Low down the horizon, he neared it fast,
Saw rock and islet and land at last.
That land is his; from the waves advancing,
He sees green forests in sunlight dancing.
He hears the roar of the foaming streams,
Can trace each cliff which with granite gleams,
Salutes the headland and sound, then glideth
Along by the groves where his Ing'borg bideth.
Thinks how last summer each evening fair,
With her beside him he wandered there.
"Where is she? Guesses she not her lover
Is near her, safely the blue waves over?
Perhaps, removed from her Balder's care,
She strikes the harp in the palace, where
Her grief she'd lessen, her needle plying."
Then sudden rises his falcon, flying
From temple turret, then downward flits
To Fridthjof's shoulder, and there he sits,
As was his wont, of his love to assure him.
From Fridthjof's shoulder can none allure him,
He scratches fast with his gold-tipped claws,
He gives no quiet, he makes no pause.
To Fridthjof's ear now his beak he bendeth,
Perchance some loved one a message sendeth;
Is it Ingeborg? Wildly his pulses bound,
But none interprets the broken sound.
Ellide gayly the headland rounding,
Skips lightly on, like a roebuck bounding.
Familiar waters surround the prow
Where happy Fridthjof is standing now.
He rubs his eyes and his hand he places
Above his brow to discern the traces
Of home so dear; but he looks in vain,--
Of Framness ashes alone remain.
The naked chimney stands lone and dreary,
Like warriors' bones of their grave-mounds weary;
The garden place is a blackened floor,
The ashes whirl round the wasted shore.
In bitter mood from his ship he hasteth,
Around the ruins his eyes he casteth,
His father's dwelling, his childhood's pride.
Then faithful Bran with the shaggy hide,
Comes running toward him, each moment faster,--
Of forest bears had he oft been master;
How high he springs in his gladsome glee,
How leaps with pleasure his friend to see.
The milk-white steed he so oft had ridden
Comes bounding up from the valley hidden,
With swan-like neck and the frame of a hind
And gold mane floating upon the wind.
He curves his neck and he stamps while standing,
His food from Fridthjof's own hand demanding;
But Fridthjof, poorer by far than they,
Has nought to give them,--he turns away.
Unsheltered, sorrowful stands the rover;
He looks at the meadow and grove burnt over,-
Of Hilding's coming quite unaware,
His foster-father with silver hair.
"At what I see I can scarcely wonder,
When eagles flit then their nests are plunder.
'Tis Helge's deed lest the land be wroth,
So well he keeps his crowning oath!
To hate mankind and to gods be loyal,
While blackened homes mark his progress royal!
More grief it gives me and less of pain;
But where does my Ingeborg meanwhile remain?"
"The word I hear," Hilding said in sadness,
"I fear will bring you but little gladness.
You scarce had sailed when king Ring came on,
Five shields I counted against our one.
In Disar-dale did we prove our valor,--
The river foamed with a crimson color.
King Halfdan's jest and his laugh arose,
So too the sound of his manly blows.
My shield I held as a buckler o'er him,
Well pleased with fruits his bravery bore him.
Not long indeed did the battle last.
King Helge yielded, and flying fast,
Though asa-blood in his veins was welling,
In passing Framness he fired the dwelling.
Before the brothers the choice was placed,
To give their sister to Ring, disgraced.
(By her alone could his wrongs be righted),
Or give their throne for his offer slighted.
Then hither and thither the messengers hied,
But now has Ring carried home his bride."
"O woman, woman!" said Fridthjof, scorning,
"Old Loke's thought should have been a warning;
His thought a lie, was in woman's form,
To man he sent it his heart to warm,
A blue-eyed lie that with tears alarms us,
Forever cheats and forever charms us;
A rose-checked lie with bust defined,
Of spring-ice virtue and faith like wind;
From out whose heart folly often glances,
On whose fresh lips basest falsehood dances.
And yet how dear to my heart was she!
And dear as ever she still must be.
My wife I've called her since in the wildwood.
We played together in happy childhood.
Of high achievement if e'er I thought,
Her love alone was the prize I sought;
As stems which grow from one root together,
If Thor strikes one then they both will wither;
If one its vesture of emerald shows,
The other mantles with green its boughs.
Our lives in joy and in grief thus blended,
I cannot think of the union ended.
But I'm alone. O, thou noble Var
Who wanderest over the earth afar,
To record on gold every vow that's spoken,
Forego thy pastime, the vows are broken.
The tablet filled with but falsest lies,
The faithful gold 'gainst the insult cries.
Of Balder's Nanna I've oft been dreaming,
But truth in mortals is only seeming.
In faithfulness can no heart rejoice
Since falsehood borrows my Ingeborg's voice,--
A voice like wind which o'er flower fields strayeth
Or harp-strings' music when Brage playeth.
I'll list no more when the harp is tried,
I will not think of my faithless bride;
Where storms are raging there will I follow,
Till blood thou drinkest, thou ocean billow.
Where swords sow seeds for pale death to reap,
On mount or vale I my vigil keep.
If king I meet and to combat dare him
I smile to think how my sword shall spare him.
But if in battle a youth I meet,
With heart enamored and visions sweet,
Deluded fool who on faith relieth,
I'll hew him down e'er the vision flyeth,
Will kindly slay him ere yet he be
Deceived, disgraced and betrayed like me."
"The blood that's youthful no boundaries heedeth,"
Old Hilding said, "how much it needeth
The cooling touch of the snows of age.
You wrong the maid with your senseless rage.
My foster-daughter beware of blaming
For adverse fortune which, heaven ordaining,
The wrathful norns upon men below
Hurl down, for none can escape the blow.
Like silent Vidar, no outward token
The maiden gave that her heart was broken.
Her grief was mute as in southern grove
The voiceless woe of the widowed dove.
To me alone who her childhood guided
Was all the pain she endured confided.
As dives the sea-fowl with wounded breast
Lest daylight's eye should upon it rest,
And there remaineth with life-blood flowing,
No sign of weakness or misery showing,
So she in darkness her suffering bore,
And only I saw her anguish sore.
She often said: 'I am but an offering
For Bele's kingdom; who talks of suffering!
The snow-drop fragrant, with leaf and vine
To deck the victim in wreaths they twine.
How sweet to die and escape from anguish!
But no, in pain must I live and languish;
For Balder's wrath will no rest allow
My aching heart and my throbbing brow.
But tell to no one my secret sorrow,
I'd rather suffer than pity borrow;
King Bele's daughter her fate may dare,--
But kindly greeting to Fridthjof bear.'
The wedding day with its footsteps fateful
Arrived at last. O, the day most hateful!
To the temple marched in procession sad,
The white-robed virgins and men steel-clad;
A bard dejected the train was guiding,
The pale bride followed, a black steed riding
As pale was she as the wraith which sits
On a storm-cloud black, when the lightning flits.
From off the saddle I quietly took her,
Nor at the temple door forsook her;
But led her up to the altar, where
Her vows she uttered in accents clear.
She wept and prayed, on good Balder calling,
While down her cheeks were the tear-drops falling.
When Helge saw on her arm your band,
He tore it off with an angry hand;
On Balder's image now hangs the jewel.
My wrath burst forth at this act so cruel;
My sword was by me, I drew it forth,--
King Helge then was but little worth.
'Let be,' said Ing'borg, in accents broken,
'My brother might surely have spared this token;
How much one suffers ere death sets free,--
The Allfather judgeth 'twixt him and me.'"
"The Allfather judgeth," said Fridthjof slowly,
"I too would give him my judgment lowly.
Is't not now mid-summer, Balder's feast?
And in the temple the crowned priest,--
The king, who sold the maiden tender?
Ah! yes, my judgment I fain would render."
BALDER'S FUNERAL PILE.
Midnight's sun on the mountain lay,
Blood-red was its gleaming
It was not night nor was it day,
But just between them seeming.
Balder's bale-fire, symbol bright,
On sacred hearth was burning,--
Soon is quenched its wasted light,
Hoder's reign returning.
Priests around the temple wall
Burning brands were grasping;
Silver-bearded, old men all,--
Their hard hands flint knives clasping.
The crowned king stands the altar near;
Hark! the midnight soundeth,--
With clash of weapons, sharp and clear,
The sacred grove resoundeth.
"Bjorn, stand fast by yonder door,
No one must pass under,
Whosoe'er would cross the floor,
Cleave his skull asunder."
Helge paled: he knew too well
Whose that voice so ringing.
Forth stood Fridthjof; his fierce words fell
Like autumn storm winds singing.
"Here's the ordered tribute; it came
Safe through the tempest's rattle;
Take it; then here by Balder's flame,
For life or death we'll battle.
"Shields behind us, our bosoms free.
Fair the fight be reckoned;
As king, the first blow belongs to thee,
Mind thou, mine's the second.
"Caught at last is the wily fox,
Vain all thought of flying;
Think of her with the golden locks,
Of Framness wasted lying."
Thus he spake, and the purse he'd brought,
Forth he quickly drew it,
Careless of the mischief wrought,
In Helge's face he threw it.
Darkness swam before the eyes
Of asas' kinsman sainted;
Blood gushed forth, he could not rise,
But near his altar fainted.
"With the gold you as tribute claim,
Are you overpowered?
None shall Angervadil blame
For felling such a coward.
"Silence, priests with altar-knives,
Moonshine princes, quiet!
Else my sword may drink your lives;
Thirsting 'tis to try it.
"Holy Balder, thy wrath forbear,
Nor 'gainst me enrol it:
But the arm-ring which you wear,
Yonder craven stole it.
"Not for thee did Volund old
Work its fair dimensions;
The maiden wept, but the thief was bold;
Away, such false pretensions."
Bravely drew he; together fast
Arm and ring seemed growing;
Angered Balder, when loosed at last,
Fell 'mid the embers glowing.
Hark! each flame, as it leaps on high,
A golden tooth resembles;
Bjorn, all pale, stands the doorway nigh,
Fridthjof, anxious, trembles.
"Open, Bjorn, let the people go,
Bv watchmen unimpeded;
The temple burns; throw water, throw
The ocean full, if needed."
Now a chain is knit to the strand,
Not a link is missing;
Flies the billow from hand to hand
Against the fire-brands hissing.
Fridthjof sits like the god of rain
High o'er beam and water,
Gives to all his orders plain,
Calm amid the slaughter.
Vain! the fire has the upper hand,
Smoke-clouds dense are growing,
Gold falls first on the red-hot sand,
Silver streams are flowing.
All is lost! to the half-burned hall
A fire-red cock is clinging,
He sits and crows on the roof-peak tall,
His loosened pinions swinging.
The wind-blown flame mounts the vaulted sky,
Everything it levels,
Balder's grove is summer dry,
The hungry fire-king revels.
Fiercely leaping from height to height
Aiming yet still higher;
O, what wild and terrific light!
Strong is Balder's pyre!
Hark, it crackles! the roots now burn,
The tops are fiery showers;
Muspel's ruddy children spurn
Man's mere human powers.
A fire-sea billows in Balder's grove,
Strandless breaks and hisses,
The sun is up, but bay and cove
Mirror flaming abysses.
Soon in smoldering ashes lay
Grove and temple's adorning;
Sadly then Fridthjof turned away,--
Wept in the light of morning.
FRIDTHJOF GOES INTO EXILE
On deck at night
In summer bright,
Sat Fridthjof grieving;
Like billows heaving,
Now wrath, now grief,
In his heart was chief;
And shoreward turning
Saw fires still burning.
"Thou temple reek
Fly up and seek
High Valhal's towers;
The White God's powers
Call down on me
With wrath's decree.
And tell, swift bounding,
The vault resounding,
The temple burned
To dust is turned;
The imaged glory
But lives in story.
Quick burned the god
Like common wood.
The grove protected
Nor once neglected
Since men swords bore
Is now no more;
By fire the slaying
Not time's decaying.
Forget no word
Thou hast seen or heard,
In Balder's dwelling
The story telling,
Thou message cloud
Of gods the shroud.
Long live in story
King Helge's glory,
Who exiled me
From him and thee,
My father's nation.
We'll roam creation
Where blue is king,
Where wild waves sing.
Thou canst not rest thee
Ellide, haste thee;
Earth's farthest bound
We'll sail around.
Soon thou'lt be rocking,
The sea-foam mocking,
My dragon good;
A drop of blood
Will nothing hinder
As on we wander.
In fiercest storm
Art thou my home;--
The one I cherished
By Helge perished.
Thou art my North
The other leaving
I wander grieving:
My bride caressed
In black robes dressed;
The one in lustre
I could not trust her.
Thou ocean free,
Unknown to thee
Is king oppressive,
Thy king is he
Among the free
Who trembles never
How high soever,
With wrath oppressed,
Heaves thy white breast.
Blue fields are charming
And not alarming;
There heroes plow
With keel and bow,
And blood-rain showers
In oaken bowers.
The good steel blade
Is seed-corn made.
The fields bring yearly
Not honor merely,
But gold as well.
Oh, kindly swell,
Thou ocean billow!
Thee will I follow.
My father's grave
Calm waters lave
(How still he sleepeth
Where green grass creepeth).
Mine blue shall be,
Flecked like the sea;
On tempest gloating,
And fathoms deep
Draw men to sleep;
To me thou'rt given
For life a haven;
My grave thou'lt be,
Thou ocean free."
Thus inly burning
Sang Fridthjof, turning
His prow so true
From seas he knew,
And slowly creeping
'Mid rocks still keeping
Their faithful ward
O'er shallow fjord.
But vengeance watcheth;
King Helge fetcheth
Ten dragons out.
Thh people shout,
With breath abated:
"The king is fated;
He offers fight,
We scorn his might;
His reign is ended;
From earth we know
He now must go,
The blood god-given
Now longs for heaven."
Scarce was it spoke
Ere keels of oak
By unseen power
Began to lower;
Then on and on
Are downward drawn
To Ran's safe keeping.
King Helge, leaping,
Is glad to swim
From the sinking stem.
And Bjorn, none blaming,
Laughed loud, exclaiming:
The art was good;
No one detected,
Or e'en suspected,
I bored so quick,--
A worthy trick!
May waves enfold them
And Ran still hold them
It grieves me sore
That Helge misses
False Ran's cold kisses."
In wrathful mood
King Helge stood
From death delivered;
His round bow quivered,
Though made of steel,
As toward the shoal
So hard he drew it,
Though scarce he knew it,
It clanging broke.
Then Fridthjof spoke,
His lance well aiming,
While loud exclaiming:
"A death-bird here,
Enchained I bear:
If once set; flying,
Then low is lying
Thy coward head.
By Loke led
Thy fear abuseth;
My lance, refuseth
A coward's blood;
It is too good
For food so craven;
Its worth be graven
On funeral stone,
But not upon
A name which beareth
The stain thine weareth.
One exploit brave
Sank 'neath the wave;
The next one failed thee,
Nor aught availed thee;
Thy bow rust broke,
Not thou. The stroke,
When I aspire,
Is set much higher,
As thou mayst see
'Tis far from thee."
His carved oar limber
Was fir-tree timber,--
A mast-fir tall,
From Gudbrand's dale.
With both together
He rowed amain;
Like arrowy cane
Or steel blade brilliant
Were the oars resilient.
The sun climbs up
The mountain slope,
The winds, advancing
From land, to dancing
In morning's light
The waves invite.
Where foam-crest swimmeth
On joyous wings;
But Fridthjof sings:
"Thou front of creation,
I have no station
On thy green earth.
Thy lineage sharing
My pride doth swell,
Thou home of daring!
Farewell thou royal
Thou night's-eye loyal,
Thou sky unclouded
As hero's soul!
Thou vault star-crowded!
Ye mountain ranges
Where honor dwells,
Your rune-face tells.
Ye lakes and highlands
I knew so well,
Ye rocks and islands,
Farewell ye grave-mounds
Where the linden showers
Near azure wave bounds
The dust of flowers!
But time revealeth
And judgeth well
What earth concealeth;
Farewell ye bowers,
Beneath whose shade
So many hours
By brooks I've played;
Ye friends of childhood
Ye meant me well,
I love your wildwood;
My love is cheated,
My home is burned,
My shame completed,
I'm exiled, spurned.
From land appealing
To ocean's swell,
Life's joyous feeling,
The VIKING CODE.
Now he floated around on the desolate sea, like a
prey-seeking falcon he rode,
To the champions on board he gave justice and law;
wilt thou hear now the sea-viking's code?
"Make no tent on thy ship, never sleep in a house, for
a foe within doors you may view;
On his shield sleeps the viking; his sword in his hand,
and his tent is the heavenly blue.
See how short is the shaft of the hammer of Thor, but
an ell's length the sword blade of Frey;
'Tis enough, for your weapon will ne'er be too short if
you dare near the enemy stay.
"When the storm rageth fierce, hoist the sail to the top,--
O how merry the storm-king appears;
Let her drive! let her drive! better founder than strike,
for who strikes is a slave to his fears.
"Never take on thy vessel the land-sheltered maid; were
she Freyja herself she'd ensnare;
For the dimples she wears are but pitfalls for men, and
a net is her free flowing hair.
"Wine is Allfather's drink, and the cup is allowed if you
only can use it with sense;
He who falls on the land may arise,--who falls here he
to Ran, the sleep-giving, goes hence.
"If a merchant sail by, you must shelter his ship, but
the weak will not tribute withhold;
You are king of the waves, he a slave to his gains; and
your steel is as good as his gold.
"Let your goods he divided by lot or by dice, how it
falls you may never complain;
But the sea-king himself takes no part in the lots,--he
considers the honor his gain.
"If a viking-ship come, there is grappling and strife,
and the fight 'neath the shields will rejoice;
If you yield but a pace you are parted from us; 'tis the
law, you may act by your choice.
"If you win, be content; he who praying for peace
yields his sword, is no longer a foe;
"Prayer's a Valhalla-child, hear the suppliant voice; he's
a coward who answereth no.
"Wounds are viking's reward, and the pride of the man
on whose breast or whose forehead they stand;
Let them bleed on unbound till the close of the day, if
you wish to be one of our band."
Thus his law was enrolled,--and his name, every day,
through all foreign coasts grew renowned;
For his like was not seen on the blue-rolling sea, nor the
valor his champions crowned.
Then he sat by the rudder and sullenly gazed in the
depths of the blue rocking tide;
"Thou art deep; in thy depths thriveth peace, it may
be, but it thriveth not here where we ride.
"Is the White God enraged? Let him take up his sword,
I will fall if it thus is designed;
But he sits in the skies, and the thoughts he sends
down which forever are clouding my mind."
When the conflict came on, then his spirit arose like an
eagle refreshed for its flight;
And his brow it was clear, and his voice it rang high,--
like the thunderer first in the fight.
So from conquest to conquest unbroken he went, and
was safe o'er the high, foaming grave;
And he saw in the south many islands and rocks, till
he came to the calm Grecian wave.
When he saw the green groves that stand out from the
waves, and the temple before him uprose,
What he thought Freyja knows, and the poet knows too,
and the lover, he knows, ah! he knows!
"Here we ought to have dwelt, here's the island and
grove, here the fane as my father set forth.
It was here, it was here I invited my love, but the cruel
one staid in the North.
"Surely peace has its home in those blissful green dales,--
in the colonnades, memory's words;
Like the whisper of love are the murmuring founts, and
a bride-song the voice of the birds.
"Where is Ingeborg now? Hath forgotten me quite for
the gray-haired and withered old king?
I can never forget, but my life I would give, if one sight
of my love it would bring.
"Now three years have passed by since the land I beheld
where heroic achievement prevails;
Tower the honored mounts yet to the heavenly blue? is
it green in my forefathers' dales?
"On the grave where my father is laid I once planted
a tree; can it be it lives now?
And who cares for the weakling? Thou earth give it
moisture, and dew, kindly heaven, give thou.
"But why linger I longer on far distant waves, taking
tribute and striking men down?
For my soul but despises the glittering gold, and I've
gained quite enough of renown.
"There's a flag on the mast and it points to the North,
in the North is the land I hold dear;
I will follow the course of the heavenly winds, and back
to the Northland I'll steer."
FRIDTHJOF AND BJORN.
Bjorn, I am weary of riding the sea,
Turbulent traps are the billowy fountains;
Northland's firm earth and her long cherished mountains,
Wondrous attractions, are calling to me.
Happy is he by his land unrejected,
No one denies him his father's green grave;
Too long, alas, have I wandered dejected,
Outlawed, afloat on this wilderness wave.
Good is the sea, your complaining you squander,
Freedom and joy on the sea flourish best;
He never knoweth effeminate rest,
Who on the billows delighteth to wander.
When I am old, to the green growing land
I too will cling, with the grass for my pillow;
Now I will drink and will fight with free hand,
Now I'll enjoy my own sorrow-free billow.
Now hath the ice indeed chased us to land,
Close round our keel are the stiffened waves dozing;
Let me not waste the long winter reposing
Here among rocks on this desolate strand.
Let me once more keep the Yule banquet olden,
Guest of king Ring and the bride of my choice;
Let me once more see those waving locks golden,
Hear the sweet tones of that well-beloved voice.
Good! to king Ring it shall be my glad duty,
Something to teach of a wronged viking's power;
Fire we the palace at midnight's still hour,
Scorch the old graybeard and bear off the beauty.
Or, being viking you may think it right
Honor to grant the old man by a duel:
Challenge him out on the ice for a fight,--
Whatever you will, only waiting is cruel.
Speak not of firebrands, to war give no thought,--
Peace would I bear to the king, and not terror;
Ring nor his partner committed the error--
Heavenly vengeance my punishment sought,
Little of hope is now left worth the telling,
Only farewell would I take of my dear,--
Final farewell. When the green buds are swelling,
Sooner it may be, you'll see Fridthjof here.
Fridthjof, 'tis time for your folly's abating;
Sigh and lament for a false woman's loss!
Earth is, alas, but too full of such dross;
One may be lost, still a thousand are waiting.
Say but the word, of such goods I will bring
Quickly a cargo,-- the Southland can spare them,
Red as the rose, mild as lambs in the Spring;
Then we'll cast lots, or as brothers we'll share them.
Bjorn, you're as frank and as joyous as Frey,
Bold to wage war and with wisdom advising;
Odin and Thor you ne'er think of despising,--
Freyja, the heavenly, you dare to gainsay.
Let us not question her power supernal,
Rather beware lest we waken her ire;
Once, though now slumbering, the sparkle eternal
Mortals and gods shall enkindle to fire.
Go not alone, lest return be prevented.
Singly I go not, my sword goes with me.
Hagbert, remember, was hanged to a tree.
Who can be taken, to hang has consented.
Fallest thou then, on thy murderer fell
Carve I the blood-eagle, vengeance bestowing.
Needless, fond Bjorn, he'll not hear the cock crowing
Longer than I do. Farewell, fare thee well.
FRIDTHJOF COMES TO KING RING.
King Ring in state was seated at Yule-time drinking mead.
And with him sat his consort, so white and rosy red;
They seemed like Spring and Autumn. when both together seen,--
The king was chilly Autumn, fresh Spring the fair young queen.
A man, unknown, there entered within the spacious hall,
From head to foot enveloped, a bear-skin covering all;
And though by staff supported, and bent with age and care,
He stood a head the taller than any champion there.
He chose for seat to rest him a bench beside the door,--
'Tis now the poor man's station, as 'twas in days of yore;
The courtiers all laughed loudly, with many a gibe and jest,
And with the finger pointed to him in bear-skin dressed.
The stranger's eyes flashed lightning which made his anger felt,
And quick a young man seizing with one hand, by the belt,
Both up and down he turned him; then ceased the gleeful din,
For all the rest were silent,--so you and I had been.
"What causes such an uproar? who dares disturb our peace?
Old man, come here and answer, and let the tumult cease;
Your name, your place, your errand; come, answer if you can."
Thus spake the angered monarch to the half-concealed
"You ask me many questions, I'll answer every one:
My name (I will not give it) belongs to me alone;
My birthplace was misfortune, my heritage is want,--
I hither came but lately from wolf so fierce and gaunt.
"In youth I rode a dragon upon the waters blue,
Its wings were stout, and gayly and safely too it flew;
But crippled now and frozen, it leaves the land no more,
And I, grown old and weary, burn salt upon the shore.
"I came to see thy wisdom, renowned so far and wide;
And when they met me rudely (for scorn I'll not abide),
One idiot by the girdle I grasped, and turned him round,
For that I beg your pardon,--though now he's safe and sound."
"Thy words are wisely chosen," said Ring, "I must agree;
The aged should be honored, come sit thee here by me;
Slip off these false disguises and let thy form appear,--
Disguise is foe to pleasure, and pleasure ruleth here."
The guest now loosed the bearskin,--it fell from off his head,
Where stood old age decrepit, each saw a youth instead,--
From off whose noble forehead, and round whose shoulders brave,
The light locks fell and floated in many a golden wave.
In azure velvet mantle, he then stood forth erect,
His belt a silver girdle with forest beasts bedecked,--
Embossed by cunning workman, each figure deftly traced,
And round and round the hero they each the other chased.
A massive golden circlet his sinewy arm displayed;
His battle-sword hung by him as though the lightning stayed;
A hero glance about him he cast from time to time,
And stood as Balder beauteous, as Asa-Thor sublime.
Surprised, the queen's cheeks quickly with changing color glow,
As northern lights so ruddy paint fields of driven snow;
As two twin water lilies, alarmed by tempest's swell,
Stand swinging on the billow, her bosom rose and fell.
The horn a shrill blast sounded, then silence reigned throughout;
The hour for vows was coming, and Frey's boar now they brought;
His mouth contained an apple, wreaths on his neck were laid,
His four knees bent beneath him upon a silver cade.
King Ring, his gray locks flowing, arose and straight-way now
The boar's head gently touching, he thus declared his vow:
"I swear to conquer Fridthjof, the champion in war,
So help me Frey and Odin, and. likewise mighty Thor."
Then with a smile defiant uprose the stranger tall,
A look of wrath heroic spread o'er his features all,--
He smote with sword the table till through the hall it rang;
And up from oaken benches the steel-clad warriors sprang.
"And now, sir king, please listen while I my vow shall tell,--
Young Fridthjof is my kinsman, and so I know him well;
'Gainst all the world I'll shield him, I give you here my word,
So help me now my norn, and likewise my good sword."
The king then laughed. "Right daring, methinks, your speech," said he,
"But in this Northland palace shall all fair words be free;
My queen, fill him a bumper of wine, the very best,--
I hope that through the winter he'll here remain our guest."
The queen then took the goblet, before her it was placed,--
A rare and costly jewel, which once the ure's head graced;
It stood on feet of silver, and on its golden bands
Were runes of high achievement, engraved by skillful hands.
With downcast eyes she reached him the goblet, brimming filled,--
But with a hand so trembling that wine thereon was spilled:
As evening's shades so ruddy upon the lilies glow,
So gleamed the drops of ruby on hand as white as snow.
The guest the horn accepted with reverential bow,--
Not two men could have drained it, as men are reckoned now,--
Without an instant's waiting the strong man, at a draught,
The lovely queen to honor, the brimming ruby quaffed.
The skald at table seated, his waiting harp brought forth,
And sang a heartfelt story of true love in the North,--
Of Hagbert and of Signe; and at the deep tones' peal
Each warrior's heart was melted, though clad his breast in steel.
He sang of Valhal's mansions, of heroes' blest reward,
Of ancient deeds of valor, on fields of wave and sward;
Then grasped each hand its sword-hilt, then flashed each eye intent,--
And quickly round the table the foaming mead-horn went.
And lively was the drinking within that royal hall,--
An honest Yule carousal engaged the champions all;
The sleep that followed after no care or anger stained;
But Ring, the aged monarch, with Ingeborg remained.
THE RIDE ON THE ICE.
King Ring to a banquet his queen would take,
The ice like a mirror o'erspread the lake.
"Go not on the ice," said the stranger bold,
"It may break, and the bath is too deep and cold."
"The king," answered Ring, "is not easily drowned,
Whoever is fearful let him go round."
The stranger was angered and sullen frowned,--
Then quickly his skates to his feet he bound.
The sledge-horse sets out, he is strong and free,--
His nostrils are flaming, so glad is he.
"Strike out," cried the monarch, "my charger good,
And show if you are of the Sleipner blood."
As swift as a storm on the sea his speed;
The prayers of the queen does the king not heed.
The stranger in mail on his skates is not still,
But passes them swiftly whenever he will.
He writes many runes on the ice besides,--
And over her name lovely Ingeborg rides.
They swiftly speed onward, the lake to span,
But under them lurketh the treacherous Ran.
Her silvery roof in a trice she breaks,
And catches the sled in the hole she makes.
The cheeks of the beautiful queen turn pale;
Then comes like a whirlwind the skater in mail.
He buries his skate in the ice, to clasp
The steed's flowing mane in his iron grasp.
With one single effort his arm the swings,
And charger and sled to the firm ice brings.
"That stroke," said Ring, "was a noble one,--
Not Fridthjof, the strong, could have better done."
So they all returned to the house of the king,--
The stranger remaining until the spring.
Spring is coming, song-birds twitter, woods are leafing, smiles the sun;
Dancing downward, toward the ocean, see the loosened rivers run;
Glowing like the cheeks of Freyja, from the buds the roses ope,--
Hearts of men to life awaken, full of courage, love and hope.
Ho! the chase! the aged monarch with his queen will go to-day;
Now in crowds the court assembles, waiting in confused array,--
Bows are clanging, quivers rattling, steeds impatient paw the ground;
Hooded falcons, wildly shrieking, make the echoing hills resound.
See! the queen appears! Poor Fridthjof, do not thither cast your eye;
Sits she on her milk-white palfrey like a star in spring's clear sky,--
Half a Freyja, half a Rota,--lovelier far than either one,--
From her dainty hat of purple, plumes are waving in the sun.
Look not on those eyes so heavenly,--of those golden locks beware!
Oh! take care! that form is supple, full that bosom, oh! take care!
Look not where the rose and lily shifting hues alternate fling;
Listen not to those loved accents, sighing like the winds of spring.
Now the hunting troop is ready. Hark, through hills and valleys all
Sounds the horn, the falcon loosened straight ascends to Odin's hall;
Forest denizens in terror haste to seek their cavern-homes;
But, with spear outstretched before her, each valkyrie swiftly comes.
Aged Ring no longer follows where the eager hunter flies;
By his side alone rides Fridthjof, silent, grave, with downcast eyes.
Darkest thoughts, and full of anguish, stir within his sorrowing breast,
And wherever he may wander, haunting voices banish rest.
"Oh, the sea! why did I leave it? thus to my own peril blind!
Sorrow thrives not on the billow, scattered 'tis by every wind.
Broods the viking? danger cometh bidding him the lance prepare;
Vanish then all sad reflections, blinded by the weapon's glare.
"Here, a longing, past describing, flaps its wings about my brow,
And like one asleep and dreaming, to and fro I wander now;
Balder's precincts I remember, nor forget the oath she gave.
'Twas the gods, not she, who broke it,--gods relentless as the grave.
"For they hate the race of mortals, on their joy with anger look,
So to deck cold winter's bosom, they my tender rose-bud took;
What does Winter with my blossom? Can he understand its worth?
Nay, but bud and stem and leaflet, clothes in ice with frosty breath."
Thus bewailed he. Soon they came into a dark and lonesome dell,
Gloomy, crowded 'twixt two mountains; o'er it densest shadows fell.
Then the monarch halted, saying: "See how lovely, fresh and deep!
I am weary and would rest me, fain would have a moment's sleep."
"Sleep not here, for hard and chilly is the ground, O king, indeed:
Up, thy sleep will not refresh thee, let me back the monarch lead."
"Like the other gods, sleep cometh unexpected. Does my guest,"
Said the king with feeble accents, "grudge his host a moment's rest?"
Fridthjof then took off his mantle, and outspread it 'neath a tree;
And the king, in trusting friendship, laid his head on Fridthjof's knee;
Soon he slept as sleeps the hero after battle's rude alarms,
On his shield, or as an infant cradled in his mother's arms.
As he slumbers, hark! there singeth from a branch a coal-black bird;
"Hasten, Fridthjof, slay the gray-beard, free your mind by discord stirred;
Take the queen, she's thine by promise; thee the bridal kiss she gave,
Human eyes do not behold thee; deep and silent is the grave."
Fridthjof listens; hark! there singeth from a branch a snow-white bird:
"Though no human eye behold thee, Odin sees and hears each word;
Coward, wilt thou murder slumber? Slay an old defenceless man?
Win what else, the crown of heroes is not won by such a plan."
So sang both the birds, but Fridthjof, snatching up his battle-blade,
Flung it from him with a shudder, far into the gloomy glade.
Black-bird flew away to Nastrand, airily the other one,
Singing, sweetly as a harp-tone, straightway mounted toward the sun.
Suddenly the old man wakens. "Much that sleep was worth to me;
Guarded by a brave man's weapon, sleep is sweet beneath a tree.
Yet I do not see your weapon; where has fled the lightning's twin?
What has parted you who never in your lives have parted been?"
"Little matters it," said Fridthjof, "'tis not hard to find a sword;
Sharp its tongue, O king. and never speaks for peace a single word;
Haunted 'tis by evil spirit, black, from Niflheim it roams,
Sleep is here in danger from it, seeking silver locks it comes."
"I, O youth, have not been sleeping, but to prove you have I tried;
Man or sword a wise man testeth, ere in them he will confide.
You are Fridthjof; since you entered first my hall I've known you well;
Ring, though old, at once detected what his guest would fain conceal.
"Wherefore, thus into my dwelling, crept you nameless, in disguise?
Wherefore, but to cheat and rob me, and my bride bear off a prize?
Honor, Fridthjof, sits not nameless, hospitality's rude guest;
Bright its shield as sun at noonday, on its face all eyes may rest.
"Fame had told us of a Fridthjof, whom both men and gods revere;
Shields he cleft and temples wasted, bold and brave, without a fear.
Soon with war-shield, so I reasoned, he will come against my land;
And he came, but clad in tatters, beggar's staff within his hand.
"Wherefore now cast down your eyelids? Once, like you, I too was young;
From the first is life a struggle, and fresh youth its _Berserk-gang_.
Hardly pressed and tried it must be, that its onset triumph not;
I have proved you and forgiven. I have pitied and forgot.
"Now am I grown old and weary, in the grave shall rest me soon,
Therefore take O youth, my kingdom, take my queen, she is thine own;
Be my son, till then remaining still my guest as heretofore.
Swordless champion shall protect me and our feud exist no more."
"As a thief," said Fridthjof sadly, "came I not, O king, to thee;
Had I wished thy queen to capture, tell me, who had hindered me?
But my bride, though lost forever, wished I to behold once more;
Fool was I! anew I kindled flames which were half quenched before.
"In thy halls too long I've tarried; here I must no longer stay.
Gods unreconciled their anger rest upon me day by day;
Balder, with the light locks flowing, loveth all mankind but one;
Only I am now rejected; see, he hateth me alone}!
"Yes, l set on fire his temple. Fane-profaner call they me.
Children shriek when I am mentioned, joy and gladness from me flee;
Northland casteth out the lost one, and in anger cries--depart!
In my native land I'm outlawed, I am outlawed in my heart.
"I will seek for peace no longer on the earth, so green and sweet,
Trees no more their shade aford me, burns the ground beneath my feet.
Ingeborg I've lost forever; she, my bride, accepted Ring,
From my life the Sun has vanished, night and noonday darkness bring.
"Therefore hence to ocean's billow! Out, away my dragon good,
Bathe again thy pitch-black bosom in the briny boiling flood;
Wave in clouds thine inky pinions, let the sea a path prepare,
Fly as far as star can guide us, far as conquered billows bear.
"Let me hear the rolling thunder, let me hear the lightning's voice;
When it thunders all around me, Fridthjof's heart will then rejoice;
Clang of shields and rain of arrows! Let the sea the battle fill;
Purified, I'll then fall gladly, reconciled to heaven's will."
KING RING'S DEATH.
Golden mane flowing,
Draweth the spring sun more bright than before;
Morning beams glowing
Doubly as beauteous,
Sport in the hall;--there's a knock at the door.
Though his heart grieveth,
Enters the stranger;
Pale sits the king, while the queen's gentle breast
Singeth the ranger
A song of departure, with sorrow oppressed.
"Bathes now the billow
Winged steed flying,
Sea-horse is longing to flee from the strand;
Glad will he follow
Him who is hieing
Far from his home and his well beloved land.
"The arm-ring I give thee,
Ing'borg, receive it.
Holiest memories with it remain.
Ne'er let it leave thee:
Fridthjof, believe me
Truly forgives. Thou'lt not see him again.
"No more beholding
The smoke's upward motion
Northland I'll see. Truly man is a slave;
Fate is unyielding;
Far on the ocean
There is my fatherland, there is my grave.
"When in your roaming
Stars the vault cover,
Go not with Ingeborg down to the strand;
Lest in the gloaming
You should discover
Fridthjof, the outlawed, cast up on the sand."
"Sad is the hearing,"
Ring said, replying,
"When a man moans like a weak maiden's sigh.
Valhal is nearing,
E'en now the sighing
Death song I hear. Every mortal must die.
"No one can frighten,
Or by complaining
Change the allotment the norns have set down;
Sorrow thou'lt lighten
O'er the land reigning,--
Take thou my queen, for my son guard the crown.
"True is it spoken,
Loved and respected
Peaceful I've reigned, over mountain and vale;
Yet have I broken
Landward and seaward, without turning pale.
"Now shall the bleeding
Geirs-odd relieve me,--
Dying in bed ill befits Northland's kings;
Not worth my heeding,
Death shall receive me,--
Life's pain is equal to that which death brings."
Then carved he rightly
Letters all glowing,--
Death runes to Odin on arm and on chest;
Shine now so brightly
Dyeing the silvery hair on his breast.
"Bring for my drinking
The horn with wine flowing;
Skoal to thy honor, thou land of my birth!
Minds deeply thinking,
Harvest fields growing,--
Peaceful exploits have I loved on the earth.
"Vain amid slaughter
Bloody and daring,
Sought I for peace,--she fled in dismay.
Now the mild daughter
Of heaven appearing,
Beckons me hence to Valhal away.
"Hail ye immortals!
Sons of high heaven!
Earth disappears; Gjallarhorn to a feast
Opens the portals;
By the gods given,
Blessedness crowns as a helmet the guest!"
Ing'borg's hand loyal,
Also his son's, and his friend's, too, he pressed;
Eyelids close gently,--
Spirit so royal
Flies with a sigh to the Allfather's breast.
Sepultured sits he,
Battle sword by him,
Buckler on arm;
Chafes his good charger
Pawing with gold-hoof
The gate of the grave.
Ring, great in riches,
Rideth o'er Bifrost;
Bends with its burden,
Bridge of the gods.