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Ye sounds, so low and calm,
That in the groves of balm
Seemed to me like an angel's psalm!

Go, mingle yet once more
With the perpetual roar
Of the pine forest, dark and hoar!

Tongues of the dead, not lost,
But speaking from death's frost,
Like fiery tongues at Pentecost!

Glimmer, as funeral lamps,
Amid the chills and damps
Of the vast plain where Death encamps !


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!
Who, with thy hollow breast
Still in rude armour drest,

Comest to daunt me!
Wrapt not in Eastern balms,
But with thy fleshless palms
Stretched as if asking alms,

Why dost thou haunt me?

Then, from those cavernous eyes
Pale flashes seemed to rise,
As when the Northern skies

Gleam in December;
And, like the water's flow
Under December's snow,
Came a dull voice of woe

From the heart's chamber,

“I was a Viking old !
My deeds, though manifold,
No Skald in song has told,

No Saga taught thee!
Take heed, that in thy verse
Thou dost the tale rehearse,
Else dread a dead man's curse !

For this I sought thee.

Far in the Northern Land,
By the wild Baltic's strand,
I, with my childish hand,

Tamed the gerfalcon;
And, with my skates fast-bound,
Skimmed the half-frozen Sound,
That the poor whimpering hound

Trembled to walk on.

“Oft to his frozen lair
Tracked I the grisly bear,
While from my path the hare

Fled like a shadow ;
Oft through the forest dark
Followed the werewolf's bark,
Until the soaring lark

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;
When of old Hildebrand
I asked his daughter's hand,
Mute did the minstrel stand

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,
Bearing the maid with me,-
Fairest of all was she

Among the Norsemen !-
When on the white sea-strand,
Waving his armèd hand,
Saw we old Hildebrand,

With twenty horsemen.

“Then launched they to the blast,
Bent like a reed each mast,
Yet we were gaining fast,

When the wind failed us ;
And with a sudden flaw
Came round the gusty Skaw,
So that our foe we saw

Laugh as he hailed us,

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