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THE MUSICIAN'S TALE.
THE SAGA OF KING OLAF.
THE CHALLENGE OF THOR.
Is but my red beard
Blown by the night-wind,
Affrighting the nations !
Jove is my brother ;
Mine eyes are the lightring;
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder,
The blows of my hammer
Ring in the earthquake!
Force rules the world still,
Has ruled it, shall rule it;
Meekness is weakness,
Strength is triumphant,
Over the whole earth
Still is it Thor's Day!
Thou art a God too,
And thus single-handed
Unto the combat,
Gauntlet or Gospel,
Here I defy thee !
All these thoughts of love and strife Thus came Olaf to his own, Glimmered through his Jurid life, | When upon the night-wind blown As the star's intenser light
Passed that cry along the shore; Through the red flames o'er bim trailing, And he answered, while the rifted As his ships went sailing, sailing, Streamers o'er him shook and shifted, Northward in the summer night.
“I accept thy challenge, Thor!'
THORA OF RIMOL.
“ THORA of Rimol! hide me! hide me!
Danger and shame and death betide me!
Thus cried Jarl Hakon
To Thora, the fairest of women.
Thus to Jarl Hakon
So Hakon Jarl and his base thrall Karker
Demanding Jarl Hakon
“ Rich and honoured shall be whoever
The head of Hakon Jarl shall dissever!"
Alone in her chamber
Said Karker, the crafty, “I will not slay thee!
More pale and more faithful
Was Thora, the fairest of women.
At the ring on her finger
At daybreak slept Hakon, with sorrows encumbered,
But wakeful and weeping
At Nidarholm the priests are all singing, *
While alone in her chamber
QUEEN SIGRID THE HAUGHTY.
The floor with tassels of fir was besprent,
She heard the birds sing, she saw the sun shine,
Like a sword without scabbard the bright river lay
She had given the ring to her goldsmiths twain,
She only murmured, she did not speak : 66 If in his gifts he can faithless be,
There will be no gold in his love to me."
He kissed the Queen's hand, and he whispered of love,
But she smiled with contempt as she answered : “ King, Will you swear it, as Odin once swore, on the ring?"
And the King: “O speak not of Odin to me,
Looking straight at the King, with her level brows,
Now from all King Olaf's farms
Halfred answered : “I am called His men-at-arms
The Unappalled! Gathered on the Eve of Easter;
Nothing binders me or daunts me To his house at Angvalds-ness
Hearken to me, then, O King,
While I sing
The great Ocean song that haunts me." Loudly through the wide-flung door
“I will hear your song sublime Came the roar
Some other time,” Of the sea upon the Skerry;
Says the drowsy monarch, yawning, And its thunder loud and near
And retires ; each laughing guest Reached the ear,
Applauds the jest ; Mingling with their voices merry.
Then they sleep till day is dawning.
Pacing up and down the yard, “ Hark!” said Olaf to his Scald,
King Olaf's guard
Saw the sea-mist slowly creeping “Listen to that song, and learn it!
O'er the sands, and up the hill,
Round the house where they were If by such songs you would earn it !
sleeping. “For of all the runes and rhymes It was not the fog he saw, Of all times,
Nor misty flaw, Best I like the ocean's dirges,
That above the landscape brooded; When the old harper heaves and rocks, It was Eyvind Kallda's crew His hoary locks
Of warlocks blue, Flowing and flashing in the surges !”. ! With their caps of darkness hooded I