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All the prayers he knew by rote,

He could preach like Chrysostome,
From the fathers he could quote,
He had even been at Rome.

A learned clerk,

A man of mark,
Was this Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.

He was quarrelsome and loud,

And impatient of control, Boisterous in the market crowd, Boisterous at the wassail-bowl,


Would drink and swear, Swaggering Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.

In his house this malecontent

Could the King no longer bear,
So to Iceland he was sent
To convert the heathen there,

And away

One summer day
Sailed this Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.

There in Iceland, o'er their books

Pored the people day and night,
But he did not like their looks,
Nor the songs they used to write.

“ All this rhyme

Is waste of time!”
Grumbled Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.

To the alehouse, where he sat,

Came the Scalds and Saga-men;
Is it to be wondered at,
That they quarrelled now and then,

When o'er his beer

Began to leer
Drunken Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest ?

All the folk in Alftafiord

Boasted of their island grand; Saying in a single word, * Iceland is the finest land

That the sun

Doth shine upon!” Loud laughed Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest. And he answered: “What's the use

Of this bragging up and down,
When three women and one goose
Make a market in your town!"

Every Scald

Satires scrawled
On poor Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.
Something worse they did than that;

And what vexed him most of all
Was a figure in shovel hat,
Drawn in charcoal on the wall;

With words that go

Sprawling below,
“This is Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.”
Hardly knowing what he did.

Then he smote them might and main,
Thorvald Veile and Veterlid
Lay there in the alehouse slain.

“To-day we are gold,

To-morrow mould !"
Muttered Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.
Much in fear of axe and rope,

Back to Norway sailed he then.
“0, King Olaf! little hope
Is there of these Iceland men !”

Meekly said,

With bending head,
Pious Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.

RAUD THE STRONG. "All the old gods are dead,

And Sigurd the Bishop said, All the wild warlocks filed;

“The old gods are not dead, But the white Christ lives and reigns, For the great Thor still reigns, And through my wide domains

And among the Jarls and Thanes His Gospel shall be spread !”

The old witchcraft is spread."
On the Evangelists

Thus to King Olaf
Thus swore King Olaf.

Said Sigurd the Bishop.

But still in dreams of the night
Beheld he the crimson light,
And beard the voice that defied
Him who was crucified,
And challenged him to the fight.

To Sigurd the Bishop
King Olaf confessed it

“ Far north in tbe Salten Fiord,

By rapine, fire, and sword,
Lives the Viking, Raud the Strong ;
All the Godoe Isles belong
To him and his heathen horde."

Thus went on speaking
Sigurd the Bishop.

And the warlocks are no more "

Flushing with anger
Said Sigurd the Bishop.

65 A warlock, a wizard is he,

And lord of the wind and the sea;
And whichever way he sails,
He has ever favouring gales,
By his craft in sorcery."
"Here the sign of the cross made

Devoutly King Olaf.
sWith rites that we both abhor,

He worships Odin and Thor;
So it cannot yet be said,
That all the old gods are dead,

Then King Olaf cried aloud :
“I will talk with this mighty

And along the Salten Fiord
Preach the Gospel with my sword
Or be brought back in my shroud !”

So northward from Drontheim
Sailed King Olaf.



Loud the angry wind was wailing
As King Olaf's ships came sailing
Northward out of Drontheim haven

To the mouth of Salten Fiord.
Though the flying sea-spray drenches,
Fore and aft, the rowers' benches,
Not a single heart is craven

Of the champions there on board,
All without the Fiord was qniet,
But within it storm and riot,
Such as on his Viking cruises

Raud the Strong was wont to ride.
And the sea through all its tide-ways
Swept the reeling vessels sideways,
As the leaves are swept through sluices,

When the flood-gates open wide.
“ Tie the warlock! 'tis the demon

Raud !” cried Sigurd to the seamen;
“But the Lord is not affrighted

By the witchcraft of his foes.”
To the ship's bow he ascended,
By his choristers attended,
Round him were the tapers lighted,

And the sacred incense rose.
On the bow stood Bishop Sigurd,
In his robes, as one transfigured,
And the Crucifix he planted

High amid the rain and mist.

Then with holy water sprinkled
All the ship; the mass-bells tinkled;
Loud the monks around him chanted,

Loud he read the Evangelist.
As into the Fiord they darted,
On each side the water parted;
Down a path like silver molten

Steadily rowed King Olaf's ships ;
Steadily burned all night the tapers,
And the White Christ through the vapours
Gleamed across the Fiord of Salten,

As through John's Apocalypse, -
Till at last they reached Raud's dwelling
On the little isle of Gelling;
Not a guard was at the doorway,

Not a glimmer of light was seen.
But at anchor, carved and gilded,
Lay the dragon ship he builded;
'Twas the grandest ship in Norway,

With its crest and scales of green.
Up the stairway, softly creeping,
To the loft where Raud was sleeping,
With their fists they burst asupder

Bolt and bar that held the door. Drunken with sleep and ale they found him, Dragged him from his bed and bound him, While he stared with stupid wonder,

At the look and garb they wore. Then King Olaf said: “O Sea-King! Little time have we for speaking, Choose between the good and evil;

Be baptized, or thou shalt die!" But in scorn the heathen scoffer Answered: “I disdain thine offer ; Neither fear I God nor Devil;

Thee and thy Gospel I defy!" Then between his jaws distended, When his frantic struggles ended, Through King Olaf's horn an adder,

Touched by fire, they forced to glide. Sharp his tooth was as an arrow, As he gnawed through bone and marrow;

But without a groan or shudder,

Raud the Strong blaspheming died.
Then baptized they all that region,
Swarthy Lap and fair Norwegian,
Far as swims the salmon, leaping,

Up the streams of Salten Fiord.
In their temples Thor and Odin
Lay in dust and ashes trodden,
As King Olaf, onward sweeping,

Preached the Gospel with his sword.
Then he took the carved and gilded
Dragon-ship that Raud had builded,
And the tiller single-handed,

Grasping, steered into the main.
Southward sailed the sea-gulls o'er him,
Southward sailed the ship that bore him,
Till at Drontheim haven landed

Olaf and his crew again.

XII. ·


Ar Drontheim, Olaf the King
Heard the bells of Yule-tide ring,

As he sat in his banquet-hall,
Drinking the nut-brown ale,
With his bearded Berserks hale

And tall.
Three days his Yule-tide feasts
He held with Bishops and Priests,

And his horn filled up to the brim,
But the ale was never too strong,
Nor the Saga-man's tale too long,

For him.
O’er his drinking horn, the sign
He made of the Cross divine,

As he drank, and muttered his prayers;
But the Berserks evermore
Made the sign of the Hammer of Thor

Over theirs.
The gleams of the fire-light dance
Upon helmet and hauberk and lance,

And laugh in the eyes of the King;

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