Imágenes de páginas



A LITTLE bird in the air
Is singing of Thyri the fair,

The sister of Svend the Dane;
And the song of the garrulous bird
In the streets of the town is heard,
And repeated again and again.

Hoist up your sails of silk,

And flee away from each other.
To King Burislaf, it is said,
Was the beautiful Thyri wed,

And a sorrowful bride went she;
And after a week and a day,
She has fled away and away,
From his town by the stormy sea.

Hoist up your sails of silk,

And flee away from each other. They say that through heat and through cold, Through weald, they say, and through wold,

By day and by night, they say, She has fled; and the gossips report She has come to King Olaf's court, And the town is all in dismay.

Hoist up your sails of silk,

And flee away from each other.
It is whispered King Olaf has seen,
Has talked with the beautiful Queen;

And they wonder how it will end;
For surely, if here she remain,
It is war with King Svend the Dane,
And King Burislaf the Vendi

Hoist up your sails of silk,

And flee away from each other.
O, greatest wonder of all !
It is published in hamlet and hall,

It roars like a flame that is fanned!
The King-yes, Olaf the king-
Has wedded her with his ring,
And Thyri is Queen in the land !

Hoist up your sails of silk,
And flee away from each other.




“Richer presents," said she, Flew the clamorous sea-gulls,

“ Gave King Harald Gormson Sang the lark and linnet

To the Queen, my mother, From the meadows green;

Than such worthless weeds;

[blocks in formation]

With his own hand fearless,
Steered be the Long Serpent,
Strained the creaking cordage,

Bent each boom and gaff;

Then said Olaf, laughing,
“Not ten yoke of oxen
Have the power to draw us

Like a woman's hair!

Til in Vendland landing,
The domains of Thyri
He redeemed and rescued

From King Burislaf.

“Now will I confess it,

Better things are jewels
Than angelica-stalks are

For a Queen to wear."



While every warlike Dane, Svend of the Forked Beard,

Seizing his arms again, As with his fleet he steered

Left all unsown the grain,
Southward to Vendland;

Unhoused the cattle.
Where with their courses hauled
All were together called,

Likewise the Swedish King Under the Isle of Svald,

Summoned in haste a Thing, Near to the mainland.

Weapons and men to bring

In aid of Denmark ; After Queen Gunhild's death,

Eric the Norseman, too, So the old Saga saith,

As the war-tidings flew, Plighted King Svend his faith

Sailed with a chosen crew To Sigrid the Haughty ;

From Lapland and Finmark, And to avenge his bride, Soothing her wounded pride,

So upon Easter day Over the waters wide

Sailed the three kings away King Olaf sought he.

Out of the sheltered bay,

In the bright season; Still on her scornful face,

With them Earl Sigvald came, Blushing with deep disgrace,

Eager for spoil and fame ; Bore she the crimson trace

Pity that such a name Of Olaf's gauntlet;

Stooped to such treason ! Like a malignant star, Blazing in heaven afar,

Safe under Svald at last, Red shone the angry scar

Now were their anchors cast, Under her frontlet.

Safe from the sea and blast,

Plotted the three kings; Oft to King Svend she spake,

While, with a base intent, “For thine own honour's sake

Southward Earl Sigvald went, Shalt thou swift vengeance take

On a foul errand bent,
On the vile coward !”

Unto the Sea-kings,
Until the King at last,
Gusty and overcast,

Thence to hold on his course, Like a tempestuous blast

Unto King Olaf's force, Threatened and lowered.

Lying within the boarse

Mouths of Stet-haven; Soon as the Spring appeared,

Him to ensnare and bring Svend of the Forked Beard

Unto the Danish King, High his red standard reared,

Who his dead corse would fling Eager for battle ;

Forth to the raven !


KING OLAF AND EARL SIGVALD. On the grey sea-sands

On that fatal day, King Olaf stands,

The histories say, Northward and seaward

Seventy vessels He points with his hands.

Sailed out of the bay.

[blocks in formation]

“STRIKE the sails !" King Olaf said ;

Never shall men of mine take flight:
Never away from battle I fled,
Never away from my foes !

Let God dispose
Of my life in the fight !”
“ Sound the horns !” said Olaf the King;

And suddenly through the drifting brume
The blare of the horns began to ring,
Like the terrible trumpet shock

Of Regnarock,
On the Day of Doom!
Louder and louder the war-horns sang
Over the level floor of the flood;
All the sails came down with a clang,
And there in the mist overhead

The sun hung red
As a drop of blood.

Drifting down on the Danish fleet
Three together the ships were lashed,
So that neither should turn and retreat;
In the midst, but in front of the rest,

The burnished crest
Of the Serpent flashed.

King Olaf stood on the quarter-deck,
With bow of ash and arrows of oak,
His gilded shield was without a fleck,
His helmet inlaid with gold.

And in many a fold
Hung his crimson cloak.

On the forecastle Ulf the Red
Watched the lashing of the ships ;
“If the Serpent lie so far ahead,
We shall have hard work of it here,"

Said he with a sneer
On his bearded lips.

King Olaf laid an arrow on string,
“ Have I a coward on board ?" said he.
“Shoot it another way, 0 King !"
Sullenly answered Ulf,

The old sea-wolf;
“ You have need of me!”

In front came Svend, the King of the Danes,
Sweeping down with his fifty rowers;
To the right, the Swedish king with his thanes ;
And on board of the Iron-Beard

Earl Eric steered
On the left with his oars.

“These soft Danes and Swedes," said the King, At home with their wives had better stay, Than come within reach of my Serpent's sting; But where Eric the Norseman leads

Heroic deeds
Will be done to-day!

Then as together the vessels crashed,
Eric severed the cables of hide
With which King Olaf's ships were lashed,
And left them to drive and drift

With the currents swift
Of the outward tide.

« AnteriorContinuar »