Page images
PDF
EPUB

Flock-wise, spread o'er the heavenly vault, when it bloweth in spring-time.
Twice twelve swift-footed coursers, mettlesome, fast-fettered storm-winds,
Stamping stood in the line of stalls, all champing their fodder,
Knotted with red their manes, and their hoofs all whitened with steel shoes.
The banquet-hall, a house by itself, was timbered of hard fir.
Not five hundred men (at ten times twelve to the hundred)
Filled up the roomy hall, when assembled for drinking at Yule-tide.
Thorough the hall, as long as it was, went a table of holm-oak,
Polished and white, as of steel; the columns twain of the high-seat
Stood at the end thereof, two gods carved out of an elm-tree;
Odin with lordly look, and Frey with the sun on his frontlet.
Lately between the two, on a bear-skin (the skin it was coal-black,
Scarlet-red was the throat, but the paws were shodden with silver),
Thorsten sat with his friends, Hospitality sitting with Gladness.
Oft, when the moon among the night-clouds flew, related the old man
Wonders from far distant lands he had seen, and cruises of Vikings
Far on the Baltic and Sea of the West, and the North Sea.
Hush sat the listening bench, and their glances hung on the graybeard's
Lips, as a bee on the rose; but the Skald was thinking of Bragé,
Where, with silver beard, and runes on his tongue, he is seated
Under the leafy beech, and tells a tradition by Mimer's
Ever-murmuring wave, himself a living tradition.
Mid-way the floor (with thatch was it strewn), burned for ever the fire-flame
Glad on its stone-built hearth; and through the wide-mouthed smoke-flue
Looked the stars, those heavenly friends, down into the great hall.
But round the walls, upon nails of steel, were hanging in order
Breastplate and helm with each other, and here and there in among them
Downward lightened a sword, as in winter evening a star shoots.
More than helmets and swords, the shields in the banquet-hall glistened,
White as the orb of the sun, or white as the moon's disc of silver.
Ever and anon went a maid round the board and filled

up

the drink-horns ; Ever she cast down her eyes and blushed; in the shield her reflection Blushed too, even as she ;-this gladdened the hard-drinking champions.

FRITHIOF'S TEMPTATION.

FROM THE SWEDISH. SPRING is coming, birds are twittering, forests leaf, and smiles the sun, And the loosened torrents downward singing to the ocean run; Glowing like the cheek of Freya, peeping rosebuds gin to ope, And in human hearts awaken love of life, and joy, and hope. Now will hunt the ancient monarch, and the queen shall join the sport; Swarming in its gorgeous splendour is assembled all the court; Bows ring loud, and quivers rattle, stallions paw the ground alway, And, with hoods upon their eyelids, falcons scream aloud for prey. See, the queen of the chase advances ! Frithiof gaze not on the sight! Like a star upon a spring-cloud sits she on her palfrey white, Half of Freya, half of Rota, yet more beauteous than these two, And from her light hat of purple wave aloft the feathers blue. Now the huntsman's band is ready. Hurrah! over hill and dale! Horns ring, and the hawks right upward to the hall of Odin sail. All the dwellers in the forest seek in fear their cavern homes, But, with spear outstretched before her, after them Valkyria comes.

*

E

Then threw Frithiof down his mantle, and upon the greensward spread,
And the ancient king so trustful laid on Frithiof's knees his head;
Slept, as calmly as the hero sleepeth after war's alarms
On his shield, calm as an infant sleepeth in its mother's arms.
As he slumbers, hark! there sings a coal-black bird upon a bough:
“Hasten, Frithiof, slay the old man, close your quarrel at a blow;
Take his queen, for she is thine, and once the bridal kiss she gave;
Now no human eye beholds thee; deep and silent is the grave.
Frithiof listens; hark! there sings a snow-white bird upon the bough:
“Though no human eye beholds thee, Odin's eye beholds thee now.
Coward, wilt thou murder slumber? a defenceless old man slay?
Whatsoe'er thou winn'st, thou canst not win a hero's fame this way."
Thus the two wood-birds did warble; Frithiof took his war-sword good,
With a shudder hurled it from him, far into the gloomy wood.
Coal-black bird flies down to Nastrand; but on light unfolded wings,
Like the tone of harps, the other, sounding towards the sun upsprings.
Straight the ancient king awakens. “Sweet has been my sleep,” he said;
Pleasantly sleeps one in the shadow, guarded by a brave man's blade.
But where is thy sword, O stranger? Lightning's brother, where is he?
Who thus parts you, who should never from each other parted be?”
It avails not,” Frithiof answered; "in the North are other swords ;
Sharp, O monarch, is the sword's tongue, and it speaks not peaceful words;
Murky spirits dwell in steel blades, spirits from the Niffelhem,
Slumber is not safe before them, silver locks but anger them."

[blocks in formation]

Then seemed to me this world far less

in size, Likewise it seemed to me less wicked

far; Like points in heaven, I saw the stars

arise, And longed for wings that I might

catch a star. I saw the moon behind the island fade, And thought, “O, were I on that

island there, I could find out of what the moon is

made, Find out how large it is, how round,

how fair!” Wondering, I saw God's sun through

western skies, Sink in the ocean's golden lap at

night, And yet upon the morrow early rise, And paint the eastern heaven with

crimson light;
And thought of God, the gracious

Heavenly Father,
Who made me, and that lovely sun

on high,

did say

to me:

And all those pearls of heaven thick- Ye have arisen strung together,

From the cares which keep us still in Dropped, clustering, from his hand prison. o'er all the sky.

We are still as in a dungeon living, With childish reverence, my young lips Still oppressed with sorrow and mis

giving; The prayer my pious mother taught Our undertakings

Are but toils, and troubles, and heart“O Gentle God! O, let me strive alway breakings. Still to be wise, and good, and follow thee!”

Ye, meanwhile, are in your chambers

sleeping, So prayed I for my father and my Quiet, and set free from all our weeping; mother,

No cross nor trial And for my sister, and for all the

Hinders your enjoyments with denial. town; The king I knew not, and the beggar

Christ has wiped away your tears for

ever; brother,

Ye have that for which we still enWho, bent with age, went, sighing,

deavour. up and down.

To

you are chanted They perished, the blithe days of

Songs which yet no mortal ear have boyhood perished,

haunted. And all the gladness, all the peace I knew!

Ah! who would not, then, depart with Now have I but their memory, fondly gladness, cherished ;

To inherit heaven for earthly sadness? God! may I never, never, lose that

Who here would languish too !

Longer in bewailing and in anguish?

Come, O Christ, and loose the chains BLESSED ARE THE DEAD.

that bind us! FROM THE GERMAN.

Lead us forth, and cast this world be

hind us ! O, how blest are ye whose toils are With thee, the Anointed,

ended! Who, through death, have unto God

Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed. ascended!

DEATH OF ARCHBISHOP TURPIN.

FROM THE FRENCH.
The archbishop, whom God loved in high degree,
Beheld his wounds all bleeding fresh and free;
And then his cheek more ghastly grew and wan,
And a faint shudder through his members ran.
Upon the battle-field his knee was bent;
Brave Roland saw, and to his succour went,
Straightway his helmet from his brow unlaced,
And tore the shining hauberk from his breast;
Then raising in his arms the man of God,
Gently he laid him on the verdant sod.
“Rest, Sire,” he cried, -"for rest thy suffering needs."
The priest replied, “Think but of warlike deeds!
The field is ours; well may we boast this strife!
But death steals on,-there is no hope of life;

[ocr errors]

In paradise, where the almoners live again,
There are our couches spread,—there shall we rest from pain.”
Sore Roland grieved; nor marvel I, alas !
That thrice he swooned upon the thick, green grass.
When he revived, with a loud voice cried he,
O Heavenly Father! Holy Saint Marie !
Why lingers death to lay me in my grave ?
Beloved France, how have the good and brave
Been torn from thee and left thee weak and

poor

!”
Then thoughts of Aude, his lady-love, came o'er
His spirit, and he whispered soft and slow,
“My gentle friend !-what parting full of woc !
Never so true a liegeman shalt thou see ;-
Whate'er my fate, Christ's benison on thee!
Christ, who did save from realms of woe beneath
The Hebrew prophets from the second death.”
Then to the paladins, whom well he knew,
He went, and one by one unaided drew
To Turpin's side, well skilled in ghostly lore ;-
No heart had he to smile,—but, weeping sore,
He blessed them in God's name, with faith that he
Would soon vouchsafe to them a glad eternity.
The archbishop, then,-on whom God's benison rest!-
Exhausted, bowed his head upon his breast;
His mouth was full of dust and clotted gore,
And many a wound his swollen visage bore.
Slow beats his heart,-his panting bosom heaves,-
Death comes apace, -no hope of cure relieves.
Towards heaven he raised his dying hands and prayed
That God, who for our sins was mortal made,-
Born of the Virgin, --scorned and crucified,
In paradise would place him by his side.
Then Turpin died in service of Charlon,
In battle great and eke great orison;
'Gainst Pagan host alway strong champion ;-
God grant to him his holy benison !

RONDEL.

FROM THE FRENCH.
Love, love, what wilt thou with this heart of mine?

Naught see I fixed or sure in thee!
I do not know thee,-nor what deeds are thine:
Love, love, what wilt thou with this heart of mine?

Naught see I fixed or sure in thee!
Shall I be mute, or vows with prayers combine?

Ye who are blessed in loving, tell it me:
Love, love, what wilt thou with this heart of mine?

Naught see I permanent or sure in thee!

RONDEL.

Has its appointed space,

As heat in the bright flame finds its FROM THE FRENCH.

allotted place. Hence away, begone, begone, Carking care and melancholy!

Kindles in noble heart the fire of love, Think ye thus to govern me

As hidden virtue in the precious stone:

This virtue comes not from the stars All my life long, as ye have done? That shall ye not, I promise ye:

above, Reason shall have the mastery.

Till round it the ennobling sun has

shone; So hence away, begone, begone, Carking care and melancholy!

But when his powerful blaze

Has drawn forth what was vile, the If ever ye return this way,

stars impart With your mournful company,

Strange virtue in their rays: A curse be on ye, and the day

And thus when Nature doth create the That brings yę moping back to me!

heart Hence away, begone, I say,

Noble and pure and high, Carking care and melancholy !

Like virtue from the star, love comes

from woman's eye.
RENOUVEAU.

FRIAR LUBIN.
FROM THE FRENCH.
Now Time throws off his cloak again

FROM THE FRENCH.
Of ermined frost, and cold and rain, To gallop off to town post-haste,
And clothes him in the embroidery

So oft, the times I cannot tell; of glittering sun and clear blue sky. To do vile deed, nor feel disgraced,

Friar Lubin will do it well.
With beast and bird the forest rings,

But a sober life to lead,
Each in his jargon cries or sings;
And Time throws off his cloak again

To honour virtue, and pursue it,

That's a pious, Christian deed, -
Of ermined frost, and cold and rain.

Friar Lubin cannot do it.
River, and fount, and tinkling brook
Wear in their dainty livery

To mingle with a knowing smile,
Drops of silver jewelry;

The goods of others with his own, In new-made suit they merry look ;

And leave you without cross or pile, And Time throws off his cloak again

Friar Lubin stands alone. Of ermined frost, and cold and rain.

To say 'tis yours is all in vain,

If once he lays his finger to it;

For as to giving back again,
THE NATURE OF LOVE.

Friar Lubin cannot do it.
FROM THE ITALIAN.

With flattering words and gentle tone, To noble heart Love doth for shelter fly,

To woo and

win some guileless maid, As seeks the bird the forest's leafy shade;

Cunning pander need you none,

Friar Lubin knows the trade. Love was not felt till noble heart beat high,

Loud preacheth he sobriety, Nor before love the noble heart was

But as for water, doth eschew it;

Your dog may drink it,-but not he; made.

Friar Lubin cannot do it.
Soon as the sun's broad flame
Was formed, so soon the clear light

ENVOI. filled the air;

When an evil deed's to do, Yet was not till he came:

Friar Lubin is stout and true; So love springs up in noble breasts, and Glimmers a ray of goodness through it, there

Friar Lubin cannot do it,

« PreviousContinue »