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Ye sounds, so low and calm,
Go, mingle yet once more
Tongues of the dead, not lost,
Glimmer, as funeral lamps,
THE SKELETON IN ARMOUR. THE following Ballad was suggested to me while riding on the seashore at Newport. A year or two previous a skeleton had been dug up at Fall River, clad in broken and corroded armour; and the idea occurred to me of connecting it with the Round Tower at Newport, generally known hitherto as the Old Windmill, though now claimed by the Danes as a work of their early ancestors.
“SPEAK! speak! thou fearful guest!
Comest to daunt me!
Why dost thou haunt me?”
Then, from those cavernous eyes
Gleam in December;
From the heart's chamber,
“I was a Viking old !
No Saga taught thee!
For this I sought thee.
“Far in the Northern Land,
Tamed the gerfalcon;
Trembled to walk on.
“Oft to his frozen lair
Fled like a shadow ;
Sang from the meadow.
“ But when I older grew, Joining a corsair's crew, O'er the dark sea I flew
With the marauders. Wild was the life we led ; Many the souls that sped, Many the hearts that bled,
By our stern orders.
“Many a wassail-bout Wore the long Winter out; Often our midnight shout
Set the cocks crowing, As we the Berserk's tale Measured in cups of ale, Draining the oaken pail,
Filled to o'erflowing.
'Once, as I told in glee Tales of the stormy sea, Soft eyes did gaze on me,
Burning, yet tender; And as the white stars shine On the dark Norway pine, On that dark heart of mine
Fell their soft splendour. “I wooed the blue-eyed maid, Yielding, yet half afraid, And in the forest's shade
Our vows were plighted. Under its loosened vest Fluttered her little breast, Like birds within their nest
By the hawk frighted.
“Bright in her father's hall Shields gleamed upon the wall, Loud sang the minstrels all,
Chanting his glory;
To hear my story.
“While the brown ale he quaffed, Loud then the champion laughed, And as the wind-gusts waft
The sea-foam brightly, So the loud laugh of scorn, Out of those lips unshorn, From the deep drinking-horn
Blew the foam lightly.
“She was a Prince's child, I but a Viking wild, And though she blushed and smiled,
I was discarded ! Should not the dove so white Follow the sea-mew's flight, Why did they leave that night
Her nest unguarded ?
“Scarce had I put to sea,
Among the Norsemen !-
With twenty horsemen.
“Then launched they to the blast,
When the wind failed us ;
Laugh as he hailed us,